Atlanta Falcons' Biggest Preseason Disappointments so Far

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Atlanta Falcons' Biggest Preseason Disappointments so Far
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Heading into the third week of the preseason, the Atlanta Falcons have three major disappointments thus far. 

The first of which comes from the football gods. Mike Johnson injured his ankle and is out for the year forcing what was a competition at right tackle to now be handed to Lamar Holmes.

Next up is Levine Toilolo's ability to become the second best tight end—or should we say inability to become the second tight end on the depth chart. 

Finally, there's the Brian Banks situation: something that isn't exactly going how it should if he wants to earn a roster spot.

 

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mike Johnson's injury

One of the biggest disappointments all preseason has been that Mike Johnson went down with an ankle injury. The big man looked to have solidified his hold on the right tackle job by taking the majority of the first team snaps in training camp practices.

Now the burden rests on Lamar Holmes to show that he's capable at right tackle. Otherwise, the Falcons will have to bring in a veteran or even trust undrafted free agent rookie Ryan Schraeder with the starting role. 

Johnson's injury also closed the door on the Falcons having him play right guard. Johnson would have been much more effective there than Garrett Reynolds has been early on.

Johnson was a big reason for the release of former Pro Bowl right tackle Tyson Clabo. The team wouldn't have cut Clabo if they weren't confident that Johnson or Holmes could take over for the talented professional.

The Falcons will have to take what could have been a positive in their offense by having Johnson start and make it as positive as they can with Holmes developing. Otherwise, Johnson's injury could be what derails a potential Super Bowl winning team.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Levine Toilolo

Levine Toilolo's best attribute coming in was his size and strength combination. He was expected to be a talented blocker early on while he worked on his already solid receiving abilities. At 6'8" and 265 pounds with good mid-level agility, there's a ton to work with, and he should be sprouting sooner rather than later.

But that hasn't really been the case.

Toilolo has been awful as a run blocker during the preseason earning a minus-5.8 grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and looking more inept than his grade has shown.

And in the passing game, Toilolo hasn't even been targeted yet. So, despite his good size and quickness, the quarterbacks aren't even seeing him get open enough to throw it to him.

Due to all of this, Chase Coffman looks to have a stranglehold on the backup job, and Toilolo isn't even coming close.

 

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Brian Banks

Despite being an extremely inspiring story, Brian Banks hasn't impressed enough to see the football field except in garbage time the past two games. He had three snaps versus the Ravens and 12 snaps versus the Bengals in the preseason games.

In a linebacking group that's crowded with talented players like Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu, Robert James and Pat Schiller, the Falcons may not be keeping Banks on the 53-man roster. He could have a shot at the practice squad, but he will have to earn that over Nick Clancy and/or one of the previously mentioned.

Banks hasn't been bad. But he hasn't been great either. He's a great case for someone who needs to spend a year on a college team or in a developmental league. He's definitely got the size, but his rust is taking a while to knock off.

It's a shame because Banks deserved to have a legitimate career.

 

All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.

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