Mailbag: Atlanta Falcons edition
The Atlanta Falcons are next in our tour of team-by-team mailbags.
Lee in Cincy, OH writes: People are saying that the drafting of Lawrence Sidbury is a sign that Jamaal Anderson better step it up or he's out of Atlanta. However, it generally takes a few years to develop a DE...is it more likely that Sidbury is John Abraham's replacement 2-3 years down the road as our pass rushing DE?
Pat Yasinskas: I think the situation you describe is what the Falcons are hoping for. They would love nothing more than for Anderson to step up this season, use Sidbury as a situational pass-rusher for a year or two and, gradually, build him into an every-down player. We'll see how it plays out, but this clearly is a make-or-break year for Anderson.
Bill in Atlanta writes: Hi Pat, With the deal in place where Vick does not get paid unless he plays, the Falcons do not have to cut him - and Vick knows he is not going to get 9M to play - I think this gives Atlanta an opening to trade him. I see Vick in Washington - he is from Hampton Roads, Snyder like to make a splash, Zorn is a west coast offense guy and a QB coach, and thry missed on Cutler and Sanchez and have not resigned Cambell - your thoughts? Thanks, Bill
Pat Yasinskas: Hey, anything's possible and I wouldn't rule out the Redskins. But, from an Atlanta perspective, I don't think the Falcons have any grand illusions about what they can get for Vick. If they can get a draft pick -- really, any draft pick -- in exchange, I think they would be happy.
Atljbo in parts unknown: What is the 1 thing you look forward to see during the Atlanta Falcons Mini-Camp ?
Pat Yasinskas: This may not be the flashy answer, but when I get out to Flowery Branch on Friday, I'm going to be looking closely at the defense. The offense hasn't had much change aside from adding Tony Gonzalez. But there are going to be a lot of new faces on the defense. I thought the defense overachieved most of last year. A bunch of veteran guys are gone and the Falcons are going to be very young on defense. I think that may be for the better in the long run, but I'm curious to see how that young defensive talent looks right now.
Dash in Nashville writes: Will the Falcons open up the playbook for Ryan to throw the ball more this year, or do you expect Michael Turner to get a TON of carries again?
Pat Yasinskas: The Falcons aren't going to suddenly turn into the Saints and throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game. They don't want to be that kind of team. But I think the addition of Gonzalez gives the Falcons another big weapon offense and they may throw a bit more than last year. I do think the Falcons still will run Turner a lot because he's one of the best running backs in the league. But I think they want to limit Turner's carries a bit. They don't want him getting close to 400, like he did last season. But I don't think they plan to just cut carries from the running game. If anything, the Falcons probably want to give backup Jerious Norwood a few more of the carries that went to Turner last season. I'm thinking somewhere around 320 carries would be a nice number for Turner.
Jeff in Atlanta writes: Pat, I'm trying to make an educated guess on the Defensive starting unit for the Falcons in '09. There are a number of positions that I'm sure wont be decided until maybe after pre-season. 2 Players (drafted rookies) intrigue me the most. S Moore and DE Sidbury. First for SS. It seems like the coaching staff should give DeCoud a chance to compete, but I think drafting Moore, clearly most talented S in draft makes him an instant starter. What are your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: There are no guarantees for second-round pick William Moore, but the Falcons are hoping he can come in and be ready to start right away. From all the scouting reports I've seen on Moore, that sounds like a very real possibility.
Tom in SC writes: Pat, when you go to Falcons minicamp, can you particularly pay attention to William Moore? After his junior season, he would have been a top 15 pick, and last year he battled injury which made him drop. I think Falcons got an absolute STEAL in Moore and he will be a pro bowl free safety for them(much to my dismay since i'm a saints fan, I would have killed for the Saints to pickup Jenkins and Moore). I would appreciate your thoughts on his first minicamp.
Pat Yasinskas: You've got a deal. I promise, Moore will be one of the guys I'll watch closely and I'll post something on the blog about how his first minicamp goes.