The Atlanta Falcons return home, seeking to pick up the pieces after a devastating 27-24 loss on the road to the Indianapolis Colts. While the score appears to be close, the game within the game told a different story.
Atlanta was penalized 16 times for 128 yards, with seven of those penalties gave the Colts first downs. After three games, the Falcons accumulated 35 penalties for 264 yards. Sounds like a lot? Well, Atlanta accounts for the 2nd most penalties across the NFL committed in the first three weeks of the season.
As the 1-2 Falcons face off against the 1-2 Tennessee Titans this Sunday, the Dirty Birds are 19-18 in the past 37 regular season and playoff games since playing in Super Bowl LI. This week, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn had a seven man officiating crew on hand to monitor Wednesday’s practice and instill discipline.
“That’s really the emphasis of having the extra officials here, another set of eyes just on that from the coaching side,” Quinn said. “Whether I’m looking at the scheme or the technique, I want to make sure there’s another set of eyes only watching the player if there’s a foul or not. For me, it’s more of a teaching emphasis.”
Running back and kick returner Kenjon Barner will not play Sunday due to the concussion protocol. Rookie Kendall Sheffield, cornerback from Ohio State practiced returning kickoffs in Friday’s practice. Also, running back Ito Smith returned kickoffs in practice. Wide receivers Justin Hardy and Mohamed Sanu will share punt return duties. Moreover, punter Matt Bosher fully participated in Thursday’s practice and appears to be ready to play Sunday.
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (toe), defensive end Takk McKinley (knee), and wide receiver Calvin Ridley (hip) fully participated in practice Friday.
The Opposition: Remember these Titans
The Tennessee Titans will travel three and a half hours from Nashville to Mercedes-Benz Stadium with an offensive line that has given up nine sacks in their last game, a loss at Jacksonville. Left tackle Taylor Lewan will miss this game due to suspension. However, the Titans will feature running back Derrick Henry as they seek to control the clock by running the ball and keeping the Falcons offense on the sidelines. Henry has three rushing touchdowns and a 75 yard touchdown reception this year. Also, quarterback Marcus Mariota is a threat to run and if given time, can find the open receiver. Tennessee’s signal caller has been sacked seventeen times this year, a league high.
Defensively, three players to watch are defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, defensive end Cameron Wake and safety Kevin Byard.
Casey is stout against the run, similar to the Falcons’ Grady Jarrett. Wake, 37, has 2.5 sacks in three games for the Titans and is strictly a pass rush specialist.Wake has 100.5 sacks in his 11 year career.
Byard has one interception on the 2019 campaign, however, the safety from Middle Tennessee State has 13 picks in his three years in the league, the most in the NFL since 2017. Last week, Byard had seven tackles against the Jaguars.