The Atlanta Falcons have lost 10 preseason games in a row now after last night’s 34-27 loss to the Miami Dolphins. There were some questionable game decisions by Dan Quinn but none of that has to do with why the Falcons losing streak in fake games has reached 10.
First, the decision not to put offensive starters on the field makes sense for the Falcons and today’s NFL as a whole. Quinn and the coaching staff know what they have with the starters, even with Dirk Koetter as the new offensive coordinator. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Devonte Freeman and the rest of the starters all know each other from years of game action.
There was a time when coaches placed much more importance to these games. Occasionally you’d see starters come back in the fourth quarter of a tight game in an attempt to win. The mantra around the league was, winning is a habit and it starts in the preseason.
Occasionally you’d see starters come back in the fourth quarter of a tight game in an attempt to win. The mantra around the league was, winning is a habit and it starts in the preseason.
That hasn’t been the case the past few years across the NFL. More and more coaches are climbing on the new trend. The preseason has evolved to not getting your starters hurt while developing team depth and finding the players who are practice squad worthy. For Dan Quinn, winning a fake game means nothing if Ryan, Freeman, Sanu or Grady Jarrett go down with a season ending injury.
As for late in the game, with the score tied at 27 and the Falcons facing fourth and nine on their 16-yard line, yes Bosher could have come in and kicked it away. That would have been the real game thing to do but not in a fake game. No one, coaches, players, officials, fans, wants to play overtime in the preseason.
Simms did get an extra series of snaps after the Falcons last-string defense folded like a tent in two plays. Simms needed those extra plays. His feet looked to be in mid-season form but he struggled with his timing when passing. Still, if it weren’t for a couple of drops by receivers who failed in their chance to make a favorable impression, the Falcons may have still pulled the game out.
That’s not the point though. Fans gnash their teeth when a preseason game is lost because the team ‘lost a chance to learn how to win.’ Except the game was lost by players who would be on the bench, well out of the way while “Matty Ice” led the team on the field. The Falcons lost their second game of the preseason but Dan Quinn and his coaching staff accomplished what they needed to anyway.