It has been quite the week for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins, both teams dealing with more action than they would like to be headed into week 1 of the 2017 NFL preseason. Sunday, hours after the end of their practice, the league announced that Atlanta Falcon’s cornerback, Jalen Collins, had been suspended without pay for the first 10 games of the 2017 regular season for violating NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. This is the second consecutive year the Super Bowl LI starter has violated the policy leaving his fate with the team in doubt. The suspension still allows for Collins to participate in the Falcons’ preseason practices and games, but after little word from Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff on the matter, it is unclear whether Collins will see the field again.
Further south, the Miami Dolphins have been tackling their own issues. Late last week, in a noncontact injury during team practice, Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee. Tannehill went down on the same knee in December with a partially torn ACL but elected to have stem-cell treatment instead of choosing to have surgery. Now, the Dolphins “are growing increasingly concerned that surgery will be the most viable and likely option,” states ESPN’s Adam Schefter. As a result, enter Jay Cutler stage left. Cutler eventually came to an agreement on a 1-year $10million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins that also has up to 3 million in incentives based on performance. How that show will play out? For now, Dolphins fans will have to wait and see as Cutler isn’t slated to play in their first game of the pre-season Thursday, August 10, at 7:00 PM from Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida.
The Atlanta Falcons will play the first exhibition game of 2017 on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock Stadium.
The Falcons’ first unofficial depth chart was released today:
Some things of note after seeing the initial Falcons’ pre-season lineups.
- Ben Garland is listed as the starting RG; Garland and Wes Schweitzer have been competing to replace former starting right guard Chris Chester. “We could have went either way with it really, but I felt Ben was the one we named coming into training camp based on his experience of playing last year,” Quinn said. “That’s why we went that way. But both of them should see about the equal amount of time. We’ve got to get a good evaluation on these two guys. Ben will start it off, but we’ll get great evaluations on Wes as well.”
- Backup Tackle options “wide open”; Daniel Brunskill and Kevin Graf listed as the backups to Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder respectively. Quinn said the competition is “wide open” they will have a better evaluation after they get into some games and see some action.
- Tak McKinnley not expected to play; it was believed he could miss most of his rookie season after having shoulder surgery six months ago, but instead the UCLA product has been lighting it up after getting the greenlight at camp. Still, Quinn is expected to be cautious with his new defensive weapon.
- Reed and Upshaw to start at DE; Many were predicting Adrian Clayborn and Derrick Shelby to take over the starting roles at defensive end, but recovering from injuries could be a factor in how much time they see in week 1.
- Rookie linebacker Duke Riley and defensive back Damontae Kazee have both impressed the coaching staff during camp and should see plenty of action in week 1.
- J. Goodwin behind Trufant and Alford; as expected Trufant has regained his starting position and C.J. Goodwin looks to fill the void left by the absence of Jalen Collins. Look for Poole and Olatoye to get plenty of opportunities as well.
- A plethora of WRs; With Julio and Sanu set as one and two on the WR depth chart, there does not seem to be much room for the remaining contenders. Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel seem to be sure things and Andre Roberts is listed as the starting KR and PR specialist which would secure him a spot on the roster. Jones and Gabriel both will be held out of the game against Miami. Any remaining spots on the roster will be tightly contested by Nick Williams, Josh Magee, Marvin Hall, Deante Burton, Anthony Dable, Reginald Davis III, Bra’Lon Cherry, and local favorite Reggie Davis, a rookie out of the University of Georgia.
A list of stations to watch the Falcons first exhibition game can be found below.
- Atlanta- WUPA (CW-69)
- Augusta, Ga.- WFXG (FOX-54)
- Macon, Ga.-WGXA (FOX-24)
- Columbus, Ga.- WXTX (FOX-54)
- Savannah, Ga.-WTOC (CBS-11)
- Albany, Ga.-WALB (NBC-10)
The game can also be viewed using NFL Game Pass and can be heard live on radio on 92.9 The Game.
By: Michael Morency