Win-loss record aside, the Falcons' 2017 preseason should be considered a successful one.
ATLANTA -- The Falcons dropped their fourth game of the preseason on Thursday night, falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-7. Despite the urge that some fans might have to worry that an 0-4 preseason record is a bad omen, hold off on the doomsday thinking for just a bit.
Atlanta’s preseason should actually be considered a pretty big success.
While some teams around the NFL have lost key players to injury, the Falcons enter the regular season with minimal bumps and bruises. Better yet, their key pieces got healthier as the preseason progressed.
Here’s a quick rundown of the notable Falcons’ injuries throughout the preseason:
Devonta Freeman, RB
Injury: Freeman entered the league’s concussion protocol at the conclusion of training camp.
Outlook: The Pro Bowl running back was cleared to return fully to practice in the week leading up to the Falcons’ final preseason game.
Taylor Gabriel, WR
Injury: Lower leg strain
Outlook: Gabriel was one of three players who were designated as “limited” entering training camp. He’s progressed throughout his rehab and made an appearance in Atlanta’s third preseason game.
Brian Hill, RB
Outlook: Hill, a fifth-round draft pick, injured his ankle during the Falcons’ preseason matchup against the Cardinals and missed the final exhibition game.
Martin Ifedi, DE
Outlook: Ifedi injured his ankle midway through training camp, and he was unable to participate in any preseason games.
Julio Jones, WR
Outlook: Jones was one of the three players listed as “limited” at the start of training camp, but he’s looked uninhibited in practice and made an appearance in the Falcons’ third preseason game.
Damontae Kazee, DB
Outlook: A fifth-round draft pick, Kazee suffered an ankle sprain against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, he’s been unable to practice and did not play in the final two preseason games.
Takkarist McKinley, DE
Outlook: The Falcons’ first-round pick entered training camp as a limited participant, but he quickly progressed through his rehab and played in the second preseason game.
Austin Pasztor, OL
Outlook: Pasztor was signed by the Falcons prior to their second preseason game. He has practiced on a limited basis and been unable to play in an exhibition contest, however, as he recovers from a pectoral injury.
LaRoy Reynolds, LB
Outlook: Reynolds left the Falcons’ third preseason game with what coach Dan Quinn called a chest injury. Per Quinn, Reynolds sought a second opinion on his diagnosis prior to the preseason finale.
Until the regular season starts, it doesn’t matter whether a team wins or loses. When it came to staying healthy, though, the Falcons scored a major victory and have nearly every core player ready to go for Week 1.