What Jets writers had to say about New York-Atlanta joint practices Friday

The first day of Falcons – Jets joint practice was an up and down one, by the sounds of it. Falcons reporters on-site in New Jersey reported that Atlanta’s defense got cooked by Joe Flacco throughout the afternoon, which is not the omen we want or need for Monday night.

Of course, you can only invest so much meaning in that, given that we heard all about the Falcons kicking the Dolphins’ butts at joint practices last year in a way that translated to a win against Miami in the regular season but did not bode well for Atlanta’s fortunes overall. You should take one shaky day from this team for what it is: One day. Still, some of the concerns that cropped up today are bigger concerns for this team, so they’re worth at least keeping an eye on.

A little earlier today, Matt Chambers did us the favor of rounding up Falcons-centric coverage from beat writers. Now, we’ll look at how the Falcons looked from the Jets beat perspective. A tip of the cap to Pride of Detroit, who we’re “borrowing” this format from based on their reports from Lions and Colts joint practices.

Falcons offense vs. Jets defense

It didn’t sound like the best day for Atlanta here from the Jets perspective, although Desmond Ridder threw a nice touchdown pass to Jared Bernhardt early on that was encouraging. He also led the team on a field goal drive in an end-of-game, unscripted scenario late in practice.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, Ridder wasn’t that successful all day, throwing a pick under pressure. Ridder’s willingness to put the ball in harm’s way and his struggles under pressure were the two significant downbeat notes from an otherwise impressive first night against the Lions, so it’s something he’s going to have to continue to work on that as he tries to push Mariota in the weeks ahead. He’s making good progress, though.

Mariota and company had their hiccups as well, with the veteran mixing in a brilliant run with some misses through the air. Rosenblatt noted that Mariota struggled more against the Jets defense than Joe Flacco has—that’s not surprising given that Flacco works against them daily—but Mariota was sacked several times and couldn’t close out a scoring drive on a two-minute drill. He did, however, once again look terrific running the ball.

We didn’t see much from Mariota as a passer a week ago against the Lions—his lone attempts were fine passes, but he just didn’t play all that much—but we know that he’s going to be the starter Week 1 and that he’s done well throughout camp. Monday night should give us a chance to see more from him when it comes to throwing the football, with the hope that he’ll make this practice effort a forgotten one soon enough. I’m not really concerned about his ability.

Part of his lack of success appeared to be owing to tight coverage and defenders making plays on passes, as well.

The fact that pressure was a consistent theme for both quarterbacks against a capable Jets front sets off familiar alarm bells, though. Atlanta’s pass protection is maybe the major concern for the 2022 offense, and we’re going to need to see them hold up effectively Monday night to feel good about where things are headed. It is worth noting that Tori McElhaney singled out Kaleb McGary for praise and had a more positive take on the line, which she said kept Mariota and Ridder clean much of the day. I prefer her case.

Falcons defense vs. Jets offense

Things sounded a bit tough on this side. I mean no disrespect to Joe Flacco, a quarterback who will go down as one of the better passers of the early 2010s, but his best days are welcome behind him and it’s not great news that he’s finding success and wide open options.

Or that he’s running away from Falcons defenders, frankly.

The biggest play of the day, though, belonged to rookie running back Breece Hall. I’m a big Hall fan so it’s not surprising to see him doing well, but a 75 yard touchdown run that looks pretty effortless is less than ideal for this defense.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Cimini notes that Grady Jarrett did Grady Jarrett things, overwhelming the Jets offensive line to take down Flacco at one point. No matter what happens with the Falcons’ defensive front this season, Jarrett will be Jarrett, which is a major comfort.

The practice ended on this note for Rosenblatt, which is a bleak note indeed.

Again, it’s one practice, so do remember that making sweeping conclusions about this team’s fitness and ability is unwise. After an up-and-down preseason game against the Lions and with familiar pass protection concerns cropping up, though, we’ll be eager to see the Falcons show us that their perceived weaknesses are improving tomorrow during practice and on Monday night in the Week 2 preseason matchups.

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