Hi there, Falcons fans! This week we will be running our first community mailbag of the season, which I have decided to call “BD-Mail”. Get it? It kind of sounds like “e-mail”. Hold your applause until the end please.
We asked you, our loyal readers and fans, for your questions this week about the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys, and football in general. If you would like to have your question answered here next week or in the future, simply tweet it to me @KevinKnightATL using the hashtag #BDMail.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into your questions for Week 3.
Matt Bosher is playing like the best punter in the NFL right now. He’s averaging an insane 56.2 yards per punt at this point in the year. His punts were so good in Week 2, in fact, that he routinely out-kicked the coverage unit.
Bosher is on top of his game, and he is as close to a “lockdown punter” as you can get. Let’s hope he keeps it up for a long, long time.
Kyle Shanahan seems like a very hands-on coach. I think he likes being on the sideline so that it is easier to communicate with his offensive players and position coaches. Being on the sideline means that he is in close contact with everyone, including Quinn.
That is advantageous for several reasons, one of them being that he can “coach up” players face-to-face and in real time. It might also be easier to pass on game-plan or play-calling adjustments to the team. The coaching staff seems to be very tight-knit, so I’m sure that Quinn likes having his top guys nearby.
This is a tough one to answer because the team has been pretty vague on the injury front.
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I think Devin Hester will be ready to suit up either next week (Week 4), or Week 5 against Washington. The Falcons need Hester back, because their return game has been absolutely anemic in his absence.
Brooks Reed was expected to be out until Week 6 or 7, but the news that he has been working out on a side field and doing limited drills is very encouraging. He could be back as early as next week, but I’d also pencil him in as more likely to play in Week 5. Expect the defense to become even more stout when he returns to action.
As far as Jake Long is concerned, I think he could be active starting this week. But it seems unlikely that he will crack the starting line-up unless a) he returns to his Pro Bowl form, or b) Schraeder/Matthews underwhelm or (god forbid) are injured. Still, I think the Falcons will try to get him on the field from time-to-time, likely as the swing tackle and as an extra lineman.
I think Freeman is ready to assume the starting role. Remember, in training camp the battle between Freeman and Coleman was considered to be pretty close. It was only because of the hamstring injury (and subsequent longer recovery time) that Coleman seized the starting role.
Freeman should do just fine carrying the ball 15-20 times. He runs differently than Coleman, and is a better receiver out of the backfield. What he lacks in quickness he makes up for in agility and elusiveness, and he runs with surprising power. Had Freeman caught a few of those drops, he would have had a much better stat line against the Giants.
I think the OL will do the same thing they always do. Dallas doesn’t exactly have a fearsome pass rush at this point, with Greg Hardy still suspended, Randy Gregory out with injury, and now Jeremy Mincey out with a concussion. They also took a hit on the interior when rotational DT Terrell McClain was put on IR with a toe injury.
Dallas will likely need to blitz Ryan in order to generate pressure, which should open up opportunities in the passing game. If the Falcons can generate enough of a ground game for play-action to work, the offense should find success.
Richard Smith and Dan Quinn are said to be of one mind when it comes to defense. They’ve worked closely together for years, and Smith seems to follow the same philosophy as Quinn when it comes to playing fast and physical. Smith is a well-known players’ coach who was key in the development of star LBs Von Miller and Danny Trevathan in Denver.
Smith brings a ton of experience and a similar attitude to Quinn to this team. With Raheem Morris as the defensive passing game coordinator, it seems likely that Smith is more focused on the run defense. If so, he’s done a terrific job, as the Falcons are currently the 9th ranked team in rushing defense (80.0 yds/game). I’d also wager that he’s been key in the development of Vic Beasley, and the surprising play of Kroy Biermann thus far.
Quinn seems to be the one calling the shots, but Smith is one of the key defensive teachers on this coaching staff.
That’s it for this week on BD-Mail. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your questions.
Remember to send us your questions for next week as well. Tweet them to me @KevinKnightATL with the hashtag #BDMail!