Scooby Wright started at middle linebacker again in week two but the Cardinals showed their hand in game three. Against Dallas, they opened in a very Cardinals-like 4-2-5 with Josh Bynes and Deone Bucannon at linebacker, Budda Baker and Antoine Bethea as dual in the box safeties, and Tre Boston playing deep. They stayed with this personnel group throughout the first half, including some third-down plays with 10 or more yards to gain. Hasaan Reddick had a nice stat line of 4-3-0 in the game, but he saw little if any action with the starters.
Robert Nkemdiche aggravated was in line to start at the 3-technique tackle spot before aggravating his foot injury in the second preseason game He did not play against Dallas but the team is optimistic he will be available for the opener.
Atlanta sat a few starters against Jacksonville including middle backer Deion Jones and free safety Ricardo Allen. They started Duke Riley in the middle with Brooks Reed at Riley’s normal strongside position. Riley looks good in the middle, but there is no reason to believe he will see action there unless Jones is injured. In the first preseason game, it was Jones and De'Vondre Campbell as three-down linebackers. With Jones sitting the last two games, it has been Campbell and Riley in those situations. It would seem Campbell is the favorite to play three downs come Week 1, but Riley has been solid in coverage so this is going to be an uncertain situation until we see a real game.
The Falcons moved Damontae Kazee to free safety early in the offseason and it has been a great move. The former corner is a bit undersized but has been making a lot of noise. The team just gave Allen a new contract, but it will be hard to keep Kazee off the field if he continues to play as he has this preseason.
The four-game suspension handed down to Jimmy Smith is not going to have much fantasy impact for IDP managers. Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey will be the starters with safety/corner Anthony Levine Sr moving into the nickel role.
Tremaine Edmunds continues to make IDP managers nervous with average play on the field and a lack of production in the box scores. A complete half of action against Cincinnati had Edmunds showing a tackle and four assists. On film Edmunds simply looks slow to react on a lot of plays, as if he is thinking too much. This is the kind of issue that usually corrects itself in time. There is no question of his talent and skill set.
Matt Milano continues to see action as a three-down weakside backer. He could end up providing more value than most IDP managers are expecting. Milano totaled five tackles and two assists in the first half versus the Bengals.
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