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WP Email: Coming Friday: The Falcons

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Old 08-30-2004, 03:27 PM   #1
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WP Email: Coming Friday: The Falcons

Who needs Michael Vick when you have Matt Schaub?

The Atlanta Falcons know their success depends on the play -- and the health -- of Vick, their dynamic starting quarterback. That's why first-year coach Jim Mora Jr. took the cautious route and held Vick out of Saturday's 37-10 exhibition triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals.

That allowed Schaub, a third-round draft choice from the University of Virginia, to steal the show again, throwing three touchdown passes for a second straight preseason game as he tries to unseat veteran Ty Detmer as Vick's primary backup. In the past two games, Schaub has completed 30 of 39 throws for 419 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He was the fifth quarterback drafted in April following first-rounders Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and J.P. Losman, and the Falcons believe they have found a future NFL starter -- whether it's in Atlanta or elsewhere.

Vick was a late scratch Saturday because of a lingering hamstring injury. He has taken only 24 snaps and has thrown only nine passes in this preseason, and the Falcons might have to play him a bit more than usual in Friday's exhibition finale against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field as he learns the team's version of the West Coast offense.

Tailback Warrick Dunn had 53 rushing yards on nine carries Saturday but has been bothered by a strained thigh muscle. Mora's defense seems to be improving after General Manager Rich McKay focused on upgrading the unit during the offseason. The Falcons have 11 sacks in their three exhibition games. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, the eighth overall selection in the draft out of Virginia Tech, suffered a strained hip muscle against the Bengals and could be withheld from Friday's game if the Falcons take the same cautious approach with him that they took with Vick over the weekend.

-- Mark Maske
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Old 08-30-2004, 10:32 PM   #2
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i was actually surprised the first time i saw the falcon's D this preseason... much better than i thought they'd be.
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