I think we got a pretty good glimpse Friday night of what the Atlanta Falcons’ offense is going to look like with Dirk Koetter as the coordinator in a 23-6 preseason victory against the Miami Dolphins.
The starters got their most extensive playing time of the summer. I think it’s fair to say, the Falcons showed signs of everything they’ve talked about for months.
They aren’t completely putting running back Michael Turner on the shelf, but the Falcons sure look like a team that’s intent on relying more on the passing game than it has in recent seasons. In the time the first-team offense was in the game (the starters didn’t return after a touchdown drive with 6:48 left in the third quarter), the Falcons had 249 yards of total offense -- 204 of those coming through the air and 45 on the ground.
Turner carried 10 times for 35 yards and Jacquizz Rodgers had four carries for 4 yards. As they’ve promised, the Falcons took more shots downfield in the passing game.
Matt Ryan completed 18 of 26 passes for 220 yards and the highlight of his night was a third-quarter touchdown pass to Roddy White. The 20-yard pass was perfectly thrown into the corner of the end zone and White made the catch despite strong coverage. Ryan also hit Julio Jones on a 49-yard pass in the first half.
Turner and Rodgers didn’t get a lot of opportunities on the ground, but both were involved in the passing game. Turner, who isn’t known as a big receiving threat, had three catches for 36 yards and Rodgers had one catch for 18 yards.
Some other observations on the Falcons:
Atlanta’s first-team offense also had a pretty strong outing. After allowing Reggie Bush to gain 18 yards on his first carry, the Falcons did a nice job against the run. Cornerback Dunta Robinson and Kroy Biermann each tackled Bush for losses early in the game and cornerback Asante Samuel stopped him for no gain on a third down to force the Dolphins to punt. The pass defense did a pretty nice job against rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed 11 of 27 passes for 112 yards.
The defensive highlight of the night was an interception by safety Thomas DeCoud in the first quarter. It came on a Tannehill pass that was tipped by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and the interception led to an Atlanta field goal.
Rookie left tackle Lamar Holmes got his first playing time of the preseason in the second half and promptly was called for a false start. Once again, I don’t think Holmes is an immediate threat to beat out Sam Baker for the starting job.
Oh, by the way, preseason results don’t matter. But this one had some significance. The win snapped Atlanta’s seven-game preseason losing streak, which had been the longest active losing streak in the NFL.