On the Falcons’ hot seat vs. Bucs: centers Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman

Atlanta Falcons center Matt Hennessy (61) is shown during their NFL training camp football practice Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Flowery Branch. (John Bazemore/AP)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Falcons center Matt Hennessy (61) is shown during their NFL training camp football practice Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Flowery Branch. (John Bazemore/AP)

Credit: AP

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons used two centers Sunday against Jacksonville.

Centers Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman will be on the hot seat against the Bucs when the teams meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“The thing that me and Matt were both thinking about was, we wanted to make sure that the rest of the lineman didn’t feel a difference in communications,” Dalman said. “When one of us was in or the other, we just wanted everybody to be on the same page and not have that be an issue.”

Falcons coach Arthur Smith planned to play Hennessy two series and then Dalman, a rookie fourth-round pick from Stanford, for two series.

“We’ve got a one-game sample size,” Smith said. “There are multiple factors that probably helped. Like every week, the challenge is being consistent. We’ll just have to assess that and see how we feel. We’ll tell them the plan, and we’ll go with the plan.”

Using the rotating centers, the Falcons ran the ball for a season-high 149 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.

“Usually, the act of doing something gets you the reps,” Smith said. “It helps, but we are trying to win football games, (but) ... it also helps improve guys in development. The old saying is, you kill two birds with one stone, then great.”

Smith didn’t understand what much of the fuss was about with him playing two centers.

“Ultimately, the goal every week is not about stats, it’s about winning,” Smith said. “It’s about doing what’s best for this team short-term and long-term. Pretty practical and pretty simple.”

Hennessy played 40 of the 60 offensive snaps (67%), and Dalman played 20 snaps (33%) against the Jaguars.

Dalman outperformed Hennessy, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. Dalman received a 72.7 run-blocking grade and a 63.7 pass-blocking grade. His overall grade was 71.2.

Hennessy received a run-blocking grade of 70.6 and a pass-blocking grade of 43. Hennessy’s overall grade was 66.3. His overall grade for the season is 67, which ranks him 16th of 39 centers who have played the minimum amount of snaps.

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Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Patriots 25, Falcons 0

Falcons 21, Jaguars 14

Next four games

Tampa Bay at Falcons, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

Falcons at Carolina, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12

Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19

Detroit Lions at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26

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