The Falcons are sorely lacking depth at just about every position.
The first team looked sharp and polished. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones completely had their way with the Ravens defense, and the offensive line did a superb job of protecting Ryan. The running game was solid, and the defense was moving fast and hitting hard.
However, after the starters came out of the game, the quality of play took a steep decline, and the Ravens took advantage of it, scoring 24 unanswered points from the third quarter on.
For the reserves in the defensive secondary to give up three touchdown passes to the likes of Curtis Painter, and for the offense to score only three points from the middle of the second quarter on, is unacceptable, and sent up huge red flags to head coach Mike Smith and his staff. This week against the Cincinnati Bengals, the focus will be directed much more at the second-third teams, and how they perform on the field.
Of utmost importance in the reserves, Smith needs to know who can lead this team in the absence of Matt Ryan. Neither Chris Redman nor John Parker Wilson looked particularly impressive against the Ravens, so the job of second string quarterback is still very much up for grabs. The Falcons know what Redman can do, and with Wilson entering into his fourth season with Atlanta, this may be his last shot.
Undrafted free agent quarterback pick up Dominique Davis had a few moments, but it’s clear he’s still a long way from being ready to play in an NFL game.
The Bengals defense is much improved, although dinged up, and will test both Atlanta’s starters and reserves.
The Cincinnati passing attack is far and away superior to what the Ravens brought, so the secondary will see their first true test trying to stop the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green combo.
Both the Bengals and Falcons suffered some key injuries in their first preseason games, so both coaches will be looking to limit the amount of bodies left laying on the field after plays.