Sunday, November 1, 2009
Mailbag: Atlanta Falcons edition
By Pat Yasinskas
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
The Atlanta Falcons are the final stop on our tour of team-by-team mailbags.
Neil in Columbus, Ga. writes: With Thomas Dimitroff absolutely killing his 1st draft with the Falcons with the selections of Matt Ryan, Sam Baker, Curtis Lofton, Harry Douglas, Kroy Biermann and Thomas DeCoud, us Falcons fans were hoping for one heckuva encore! But alas both top selections are out for the year and everyone else the Falcons drafted either have been non-contributors to this point or flat out didn't even make the roster! What did Dimitroff do that was so successful his 1st year, but so horrendous his 2nd? Thanks!
Pat Yasinskas: Well, I think there are a few differences between last year and this year. First and foremost, the Falcons already had a pretty good roster this year and didn’t need a whole bunch of immediate contributors like they did last year. Yes, they were counting on top two picks Peria Jerry and William Moore playing big roles. They got hurt and that’s part of football. I think both those guys will come back and be good players in the future. Finally, I think it’s also worth a reminder that the Falcons were positioned a lot lower in the draft this year. It’s a little easier to hit on picks when your choice is third in each round, rather than in the 20s.
Ellis in Longwood, FL writes: I'm on the Atlanta Falcons message boards a lot and what I don't get is why we(as the fans) are so quick to react when the Falcons have a bad game. And then say Matt Ryan isn't that great as a QB. The guy has a bad game and its attacks on him left and right saying he has lost it or something to that effect. If I'm not mistaken all QBs (even the mighty Tom Brady or Drew Brees) have a few bad games even now and then. I don't get why people lose faith in the Falcons after one game. Were still 4-2 and still have a lot of football left to play.
Pat Yasinskas: I think that’s just the nature of a lot of football fans in a world where instant gratification is so important. A guy can be a hero one week and a bum the next. If you want to hear some real quarterback bashing, ask Carolina fans about Jake Delhomme. Ryan is an excellent young quarterback. Yes, he had a rough game against Dallas. But I think a lot of the blame can fall on the lack of protection he received and the disappearance of the running game. Ryan will be fine in the long run.
Jeff in Charleston, SC writes: Hey Pat. The Falcons' backfield and running game is in horrible shape this year. Aaron Stecker will be a nice change-of-pace back while Jerious Norwood is out for a bit it seems, but what are some more long-term answers? If Michael Turner keeps slumping is he in danger of losing his job to Jason Snelling?
Pat Yasinskas: I don’t think the Falcons are ready to pull the plug on Turner just yet. The guy was fantastic last year. But he’s been ordinary, or less, this year. Not sure how much of that falls on Turner and how much on the offensive line. I think the coaches will stick with Turner for the time being. But, if he continues to struggle, you could see Snelling take his place. I like what I’ve seen out of Snelling so far.
Adam in Baton Rouge writes: Pat, what are the chances that the Falcons signed Stecker, because they are playing the Saints this week? Seems a little convenient to me.
Pat Yasinskas: Well, it’s not the first time someone has signed a player just in time to go against his former team. I’m sure Stecker has spent some time with Atlanta’s defensive coaches and shed some light on the Saints’ play book. But I’m not sure that really will matter much. The Falcons still have to go out and stop Brees and the New Orleans offense and that’s not easy under any circumstances.