Falcons-Rams Preseason Preview

Falcons-Rams Preseason Preview

Brian McIntyre of FalconInsider.com previews Friday night's Falcons-Rams game.

Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-0)

Time & Place: 8pm ET, Edwards Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

Preseason Series: The Falcons and Rams have met once in the preseason, a neutral site meeting in Jacksonville, Florida in 1991, which the then-Los Angeles Rams won, 38-17.    

Notable Newcomers

St. Louis Rams
Kyle Boller, QB (UFA, Baltimore)
Jason Brown, C (UFA, Baltimore)
James Butler, S (UFA, NY Giants)
Ronald Curry, WR (Trade, Detroit)
Craig Dahl, S (UFA, NY Giants)
Renardo Foster, OT (UFA, Atlanta)
Mike Karney, FB (UFA, New Orleáns)
Laurent Robinson, WR (Trade, Atlanta)
Hollis Thomas, DT (UFA, New Orleans)

Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez, TE (Trade, Kansas City)
Mike Peterson, LB (UFA, Jacksonville)
Brett Romberg, C (UFA, St. Louis)

2009 Draft Class

St. Louis
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor (1st round, 2nd overall)
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State (2nd round, 35th overall)
Bradley Fletcher, CB, Wisconsin (3rd round, 66th overall)
Darell Scott, DT, Clemson (4th round, 103rd overall)
Brooks Foster, WR, North Carolina (5th round, 160th overall)
Keith Null, QB, West Texas A&M (6th round, 196th overall)
Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Texas (7th round, 211th overall)

Atlanta
Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi (1st round, 24th overall)
William Moore, S, Missouri (2nd round, 55th overall)
Christopher Owens, CB, San Jose State (3rd round, 90th overall)
Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Richmond (4th round, 125th overall)
William Middleton, CB, Furman (5th round, 138th overall)
Garrett Reynolds, OT, North Carolina (5th round, 156th overall)
Spencer Adkins, LB, Miami (6th round, 176th overall)
Vance Walker, DT, Georgia Tech (7th round, 210th overall)

Stats & Rankings (2008 regular season rankings)

St. Louis
Offense
Total: 27th (287.2 yards per game)
Passing: 26th (184.2 yards per game)
Rushing: 25th (103.1 yards per game)
Scoring: t-30th (14.5 points per game)

Defense
Total: 28th (371.9 yards per game)
Passing: 19th (217.2 yards per game)
Rushing: 29th (154.7 yards per game)
Scoring: 31st (29.1 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: 23rd (-5)

Atlanta
Offense
Total: 6th (361.2 yards per game)
Passing: 14th (208.5 yards per game)
Rushing: 2nd (152.7 yards per game)
Scoring: 10th (24.4 points per game)

Defense
Total: 24th (347.9 yards per game)
Passing: 21st (220.4 yards per game)
Rushing: 25th (127.5 yards per game)
Scoring: 11th (20.3 points per game)

Turnover Ratio: 21st (-3)

Injury Report

Falcons cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring), safety William Moore (knee), linebacker Edmond Miles (knee), defensive tackle Jason Jefferson (hip) will not play. Running back Thomas Brown (leg) is a game-time decision.

TV/Radio

WXIA has the broadcast, with Randy Waters on the play-by-play, Brian Baldinger providing the color commentary, and Fred Kalil reporting from the sidelines. Dave-FM (92.9) has the radio broadcast, with Wes Durham and Dave Archer on the call. The NFL Network will replay the game at 2am ET on Saturday, August 22.

Falcons to Watch

Five (plus) Falcons to watch on Friday night:

Chevis Jackson – With Houston nursing a minor hamstring injury, Jackson will get the start at the right cornerback position.

William Middleton – Third-round pick Christopher Owens has been stealing the spotlight among the rookie defensive backs, but Middleton, chosen in the fifth-round out of Furman, has played well and with Houston's injury, he'll get even more playing time against the Rams.

Vance Walker – The seventh-round pick from Georgia Tech has been one of the surprises of training camp, and head coach Mike Smith plans to see what Walker can do against the Rams' first and second-team offense.

Eric Weems & Chandler WilliamsHarry Douglas is lost for the season and Adam Jennings is in Detroit, opening the door for Weems or Williams to earn a back-up receiver spot by returning punts. Each got an opportunity a kick last week against the Lions, with Williams returning one punt for 19 yards and Weems breaking a 34-yard return.

Chauncey Davis – The fifth-year defensive end who signed a four-year contract extension in the off-season has a real chance of unseating Jamaal Anderson for a starting job. Some might say that's long overdue.  

In addition to writing for FalconInsider.com, Brian maintains blogs daily at (www.macsfootballblog.com). If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.

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