Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 23-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins in their exhibition season opener on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium:
Run offense: Tevin Coleman was stopped on a third-and-2. Freeman had a carry for 3 yards. Fifth-round pick Brian Hill, who declared that the Falcons picked the best running back in the draft, made an uninspiring pro debut with 10 yards on nine carries. Terron Ward, who had a 26-yard run and 3-yard touchdown run, isn’t just going to give up his roster spot. Grade: B-plus
Pass offense: Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub were sharp before being replaced by Matt Simms and Alek Torgerson. Ryan completed 3 of 3 passes for 32 yards and tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Devonta Freeman. Schaub was 2 of 2 for 20 yards. Simms was victimized by dropped passes including one by Deante Burton that killed a promising second-quarter drive. Grade: A
Run defense: The team speed was evident through all three units. They stretched Miami’s runs out to the sideline and hit with power. Rookie free safety Damontae Kazee is physical in run support. Grade: A
Pass defense: De’Vondre Campbell had a nice interception along the sideline. Courtney Upshaw had some pressure on the play. C.J. Goodwin, who was elevated to the second team before Jalen Collins was suspended for 10 games, mis-played the ball on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Miami’s Brandon Doughty to Leonte Carroo in the second quarter. -Later, Collins was beaten on a 99-yard touchown and safety Marcelis Branch couldn’t make the stop. The backups dragged down the grade. Grade C-minus
Special teams: New returner Andre Roberts had a 39-yard punt return to set up the first-team offense’s first and only possession. Matt Bryant missed a 47-yard field goal that sailed wide right in the second quarter. The coverage units were strong. Marvin Hall had a 26-yard punt return to setup the second touchdown, but would later fumble a kickoff return in the fourth quarter. Grade B-minus
Coaching: There were a few miscues, but that was to be expected in the first exhibition game. The coaches had the players prepared. There were some physical mistakes, like Burton’s drop, a missed tackle by Duke Riley and a couple of penalties by tight end Eric Saubert. Overall, the group was relatively crisp, prepared and organized. Grade B-plus
Next up: The Falcons face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, August 20 at Heniz Field.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.