Last week, Blogging Dirty reached out to our readers with the first addition of “Falcons Mailbag,” answering questions from our social media pages. Now, we’ll continue the trend and do our best to share our answers to your latest questions.
The Falcons’ biggest free agency signing this offseason, Dontari Poe, has generated a lot of hype for 2017. Hopefully, he’ll perform effectively in the middle of the trenches, taking pressure off of edge rushers like Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley. Even if he is just a shell of his former self, he should still be able to handle double-teams from opposing offensive lines to clear up the path to the backfield for other defenders. Further, Poe’s defense against the run will be a great asset for the Falcons defense.
Overall, the Chiefs will miss Poe. The AFC West is one of the toughest divisions in NFL, and play-makers like Poe are the key to success. While he may not be a superstar, he is the key to stopping plays like short runs that convert first downs and then add up to successful drives.
The tragic end of Super Bowl LI is definitely still in the minds of several Atlanta Falcons, but many have shared that they have made peace with the outcome. Matt Ryan was featured in a Gatorade commercial concerning the loss, Devonta Freeman has taken responsibility for missing his block late in the game, and head coach Dan Quinn has encouraged his team to “embrace the suck” in spite of the reminder of negativity from fans and the media.
The Falcons have learned from the Super Bowl loss, and they will use it as motivation for success this coming season.
There are so many choices for this answer, but wide receiver Justin Hardy would be my favorite to surprise fantasy leagues. He hasn’t had his breakout like Taylor Gabriel yet, but with his hands, speed, and impressive ability to play the slot, he should be in for a great year.
Second-year tight end Austin Hooper could also be an intriguing selection, as he performed well in his rookie season and looks to be developing into a great threat in the red-zone.
Duke Riley should be another piece of the puzzle for the young Falcons defense. His speed and athleticism make him a great developmental player for Atlanta to build around in the near future. Hopefully, Riley will perform similar to Deion Jones in his rookie season, becoming a young leader and showing no hesitation to fly all over the field. His presence will definitely make the middle of the field a less inviting area for opposing offenses, and running backs that break out past the defensive line now have yet another quick and hard-hitting defender to worry about.
The AFC and NFC are both very difficult conferences with multiple elite teams. That said, it’s difficult to compare the two. The NFC has more parity, with only one team being NFC Champion more than once in the last nine years (Seattle Seahawks 2013 and 2014), while the AFC has been won by the Steelers twice, the Broncos twice, and the Patriots three times in that same time frame.
It simply comes down to a matter of opinion. Is the AFC tougher because it seemingly has more teams that are consistently competitive, or is the NFC tougher because every team looks to have a chance at the conference title every season? You tell me.