Following the Falcons’ 28-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arthur Smith was very candid about the decisions he and general manager Terry Fontenot will have to make in the coming days. With the date of August 30 fast approaching with a roster of 53 men, many questions need to be answered.
However, in his post-game press conference, Smith emphasized that just because the Falcons downgraded the roster on Tuesday doesn’t mean the roster has been fixed. Far from. So, with this in mind, let’s dissect five questions we have left as the preseason ends and the regular season (and its decisions) looms.
1. Who earns the final wide receiver spot(s)?
we have done this comparison before but we’re going to do it again: let’s say the Falcons have five or six roster spots open for receivers. Let’s say Drake London, Olamide Zacceaus, Bryan Edwards and KhaDarel Hodge are locks. You’re looking at having one – maybe two – spots to fill. You realistically have four or five players competing for those spots: Damiere Byrd, Cameron Batson, Frank Darby, Jared Bernhardt and a recent sleeper in KeeSean Johnson, who picked up the Falcons last week.
All five names on this list played on Saturday, which should tell you how much the Falcons staff has yet to see of them to make a final decision on who to bring with them. Here are their stats (if you’re into that sort of thing):
Byrd: One catch on three targets for 17 yards
Batson: Three catches on four goals for 22 yards
Darby: One catch on three targets for 35 yards
Bernhardt: One catch on three targets for 14 yards
Johnson: One catch on one target for 35 yards
Of course I would suggest not reading too much into these statistics. What will separate these individuals is not this unique game, but the overall evaluation of the past month. Smith said earlier this week that he is looking for receivers he can trust, when asked Saturday if he believes he has them, Smith said: “Yes.”