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Five Things To Watch For In Week 1

Posted Sep 2, 2013

The 2013 season kicks off Monday and everything from this point counts. After an 0-4 preseason, the Falcons look to get the season started right with a win on the road in New Orleans. Here are five things to watch for this week as the Falcons begin their march back to the playoffs.

1. Real Games, Real Plans: This week the games matter again and the coaches return to a no-stone-unturned approach to beating the Saints. Although the long weekend may have given the coaching staff a head start on game planning for this week's opponent, the week truly begins Monday when a plan for victory is hatched. Players return to practice Monday and after a day off Tuesday, as is the regularly the case during the regular season, the Falcons will return to the field Wednesday for the installation of the game plan. We'll also hear from players on Wednesday as they participate in their first regular season media open-locker room session and there will no doubt be a lot of talk about the heated NFC South rivalry that kicks off the 2013 season.

PHOTOS: View The Final Roster In Pictures

2. Regular Season Depth Chart: On Tuesday, the Falcons will release their first unofficial depth chart of the regular season. While they've been releasing these throughout the preseason, this week's marks the first with the final 53-man roster. It'll be interesting to see where the coaching staff places rookies like Zeke Motta and Kemal Ishmael among the crowded depth at safety. Of course, this is an unofficial depth chart because rosters remain fluid, especially in the first week of the season and while players may be listed as starters, plans for game day can be different and will change situationally once the game begins and as it continues.

3. Official Injury Reports: Preseason rules for coaches mean injuries don't have to be discussed, but now that the regular season is beginning that all changes. In the regular season, head coach Mike Smith will have to speak about injuries when asked following practices, but more importantly the injury reports become mandatory. While Smith has said he anticipates veterans with injuries late in the preseason to return to action this week, the injury report and it's progression up to Friday, when final game day projections are made, will show a lot about whether players like Roddy White and Asante Samuel will be ready to go against the Saints.

4. Calls to Opponents: Each week we'll get on the phone with the opponents' head coach and a key player for conference calls. This week's will be interesting since it marks New Orleans' Sean Payton's return to the head coach position he vacated last season due to his suspension. With such a volatile game to begin the regular season, expect Payton to share his excitement and desire to kick things off with a big win over a rival. Saints quarterback Drew Brees will most likely be the player option for the calls, fitting since he's the player Falcons fans should be most concerned about in stopping. We'll get plenty of insight into what Brees thinks of the second year of Mike Nolan's defense, specifically William Moore, who has had some good games against Brees in the past and is determined to go to New Orleans and keep that streak going.

5. D-Block Returns: Everyone's favorite talk show hosts return this week as the linebackers unveil the 2013 season of D-Block. This season Sean Weatherspoon will be your host, but Stephen Nicholas and Akeem Dent will vie for some face time as well. Who will they speak to as they kick off this year? You'll have to tune in later this week after the taping on Friday, but one thing is certain, they have two rookies to introduce this season in Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu. With just five linebackers on the roster and none on the practice squad, can they really let these two go all season without speaking?


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