Falcons

Some Falcons stars expected to take the field Thursday night

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The Falcons played a little bit of hooky on their fans in week one of the preseason. Dan Quinn said 8-10 guys would not see the field when it was really more like double that. None of the offensive stars suited up, and key defensive players that are coming off of injury like Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal did not play either.

While it was anti-climactic, it was far from unexpected. Given the Falcons injury history last season and how long this core has been together, there is no reason for them to be out there for three games before the regular season. But Dan Quinn has said (and for real this time) that many of his star players could see limited action come tomorrow night.

Matt Ryan will “get a little more” than one series against the Jets, William McFadden of the team’s official site reports. He’s probably the last person on the Falcons, outside of maybe Julio Jones, that needs it, however.

Quinn’s words weren’t as confident in regards to Devonta Freeman playing on Thursday. The Pro-Bowl running back has been raved about in training camp, but even if he does see some action tomorrow, it will likely only be a few plays. Among the Falcons’ top priorities is keeping their star running back healthy. He missed all but two games last season with multiple injuries, and Atlanta doesn’t have a player like Tevin Coleman anymore to turn to if he goes down.

We know Julio Jones won’t be out there for any preseason games, and he doesn’t need them. However, his counterpart and second-year wide receiver, Calvin Ridley may not play in any either. He just returned to practice following a hamstring injury, and the Falcons are not going to risk anything, especially when it comes to a hamstring, which is an easily re-injured muscle.

On the defensive side, we could see several welcome faces. Most notably, you can expect Keanu Neal back on the field for the first time since he tore his ACL in week one of last year. Dan Quinn said Neal was not in the best of spirits when he told him he wasn’t going to play last week, but that did not stop him from delivering a helluva pre-game speech.

There’s also a chance we see Ricardo Allen, who the Falcons have wisely taken it slow with in his return from an Achilles injury. That would be a pleasant sight for all Atlanta fans to see, even if it is only for one series.

I don’t expect to see Deion Jones at any point this preseason. He is receiving the Julio Jones treatment as he recovers from a foot injury. The Falcons need him healthy for week one, and that is all they are focused on. We could see Desmond Trufant for the first time, however. He returned to practice this week, but his appearance on Thursday will largely depend on how he is feeling.

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