New Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith will make his head coaching debut on Friday night against his former team, the Tennessee Titans.
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With a new system in place, preseason snaps could be valuable experience for the veterans, but Smith - previously the Titans offensive coordinator - sounds like making decisions deeper down the roster will outweigh the need to get his veterans reps.
So. don't expect to see much of players like Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett.
“We're going to make that decision (Thursday)," Smith said when asked about Ryan and Jarrett. "So, feel pretty good about where we're at, some of those veterans. We got to make roster moves after this game and the next one, so you're kind of sitting there weighing the options and the risk reward, certain guys we need to see so we can make sound decisions on next week.”
The Falcons have been in training camp for three weeks, but Smith knows the importance of seeing his players in live action against an opponent.
“It's a big part of it for me,'' Smith said. "We're not tackling live right now. It’ll be the first time a lot of these guys have tackled in a long time."
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"You just hope we're sound. Not a lot of missed tackles, just want to clean operation. You don't want to see a million flags, and there's nothing that can replace that. The quarterbacks are going to feel pressure for the first time, you get hit, get tackled to the ground. Receivers, some of the catches over the middle."
Continued the coach: "A little different consequence when you're able to get tackled. it's a great step to get us ready to go for the regular season.”