The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and Noah Coslov preview Falcons-Saints on Monday Night Football by getting into the Falcons offensive rhythm and how to fix the defense.
FLOWERY BRANCH — After posting a thrilling 35-28 victory over the Oakland Raiders, the Falcons (1-1) are set to face the rival New Orleans Saints (0-2) at 8:30 p.m Monday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Thursday:
1. Practice. The Falcons return to practice today. There was no media availability on Wednesday.
2. The return of Schofield. The Falcons are set to announce the signing of linebacker O’Brien Schofield to a one-year contract today. He had 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, two sacks and 13 quarterback hits last season with the Falcons. Linebacker Paul Worrilow is out for three to four weeks and is sent for groin surgery.
3. Practice squad shuffle. Defensive end Nordly Capi and cornerback Devonte Johnson had their practice squad contracts terminated. The Falcons held tryouts for five players: tackle Carter Bykowski (Iowa State), defensive tackle A.J. Francis (Maryland), defensive tackle Justin Hamilton (Louisianna-Lafayette), tackle Kyle Roberts (Nevada) and defensive end Daivs Tull (Chattanooga). They signed Bykowski and Tull to the practice squad.
4. Running backs split time near equally. Folks are closely watching the running back split between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Through two games, Freeman has 32 touches for 133 yards and no touchdowns and Coleman has 27 touches for 188 yards and one touchdown. Freeman had played 70 snaps and Coleman 62 in a near 50-50 split.
5. Last Day to vote. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is a finalist for this week’s FedEx Air player of the week award for his play against Oakland. Ryan completed 26 of 34 passes (76.5 percent) for 396 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the end zone. He finished with a passer rating of 131.5.
Ryan is up against Carolina’s Cam Newton and San Diego’s Philip Rivers.
Newton completed 24 of 40 passes (60 percent) for 353 yards and four touchdowns for a 111.8 passer rating in the Panthers’ 46-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Rivers completed 17 of 24 passes (70.8 percent) for 220 yards and four touchdowns for a 138.9 passer rating in the Chargers’ 38-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Every week, following the Monday Night Football game, through Thursday at 3 p.m., fans can visit NFL.com/FedEx or tweet using #AirandGround and the nominees’ last name to cast their vote.
FedEx and the NFL will announce the winners every Thursday afternoon and then FedEx will award a $2,000 donation in the winning players’ names to The USO.
GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28
GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24