Bair Mail: On Arthur Smith's offense, Troy Andersen, Cordarrelle Patterson and Casey Hayward

We also give a little love to the Falcons' red helmets in this Thursday mailbag

Yeah, I know. Thursday Bair Mails are weird.

And, sorry that Wednesday's never arrived. But we're getting two in a row now, on Thursday and Friday. So that ain't half bad. Ha.

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Let's get right to your questions, and there were some good ones waiting in the mailbag. We go over what's working with Arthur Smith's scheme, Troy Andersen's development, Cordarrelle Patterson's progress, the impact of Casey Hayward's injury and, as we should, we give a little love to the red helmets.

Giles Hider from Walton, U.K.

Having looked at the past couple of games and the way Arthur Smith has called the offense, are we really surprised that we are seeing him lean on the run. Particularly when we consider he came from the Titans as their OC, and having Henry dominating that team. My belief is that this now creates a great platform to build upon, and gradually expand the offense and even more so once Patterson is back. Your thoughts please?

Bair: We're seeing an innovative offensive scheme that has adjusted to the personnel Arthur Smith has available. That's what good coaches do, and Arthur Smith is a damn good coach. Like, really good.

And, yes, I think he uses what he has put on tape against future opponents, giving him unscouted looks. I also think his run schemes are as good as anyone, and I'm not just saying that because his office is a 90 second walk from mine.

We have a clear idea of this team's offensive identity, and that's to wear the opposition down with the run, even when the game situation suggests you have to air it out. He has an solid run-blocking line. He has an athletic quarterback who's really good at RPOs. He has physical, one-cut-and-go backs. Why would he not use those guys?

That sets up playaction, with Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Olamide Zaccheaus as quality, clutch pass catchers. The only question I have is this – if the Falcons have to throw it 35-plus times, can they win that way. They might have to at some point, but not if they stay on schedule and dictate the tempo as they have in so many games this season.

James Tate from Glendale Ariz.

Hi Bair, I am now a huge fan of Troy Andersen! This young man has a motor that won't quit and he makes every hit with intensity. I've been really impressed with him since Mykal Walker went down. Even when he comes back, Dean Pees needs to find a way get Andersen plenty of snaps to make an impact.

Bair: Troy Andersen has fared well with his action, and had a decent game against the 49ers. He was a bit behind in terms of Xs and Os this summer but he seems to be catching up well. He's also SO FAST. Am I right? Like, so fast. He has the potential to be a quality starter as the Falcons continue to develop him, but I don't think he's supplanting anyone in the starting lineup when healthy. Rashaan Evans has been really good. Mykal Walker has, too, something Arthur Smith reminded us about on Wednesday.

"I know everybody gets all excited and giddy inside because they haven't seen enough of a new young player and get all warm and fuzzy about a draft pick, what they could potentially be but we're happy with Troy's progress," Smith said. "But I've been very, very pleased with Mykal Walker, so we'll find ways to get good football players out there if they're going to help us. How that's going to look this week may be different from what we've shown in the past, but we'll find a way."

Frank Martin from Star, Id.

When is Cordarrelle Patterson scheduled to return for IR?

Bair: Patterson can be back for the Week 9 contest against the L.A. Chargers, and start practicing before that game, but there's no guarantee he will. That's just when he's eligible.

But, if this video is any indication, Patterson's coming along well after having a procedure on his knee.

Nick Mandelin from Durham, N.C.

Hey, Scott. Love reading Bair Mail, never miss a single one. I'm loving how this defense is looking so far. The line has been creating some great pressure, and the secondary has been playing awesome. Speaking of the secondary, they're about to face a huge challenge against Cincy, with the likes of Chase, Higgins and Boyd. Hayden Hurst is also due for a revenge game, so to speak. We all saw what happened with Casey Hayward on his tackle attempt on Deebo late last game. Looked like he hurt his shoulder. AJ also went down with something. How do you think the young/fresh guys, such as Alford and Oliver, can do in their absence? I don't think AJ's was terrible, but Casey's didn't look great. Definitely a big challenge for this young secondary, but I do not doubt they are up to the task!

Bair: First off, let's note that Nick's question came in before Casey Hayward was placed on injured reserve. We know he'll miss at least four games, though it's uncertain if he'll miss more beyond.

Also, it should be noted that this is a big blow. I believe Hayward was the Falcons' best cornerback this season, and that's no slight to A.J. Terrell. That's a compliment to a veteran cornerback who gets it and is most always in position to make a play. He's a true pro's pro, not someone you want to target. He allowed 16 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown on 28 targets and an 80.2 passer rating, with two pass breakups and a pick in the end zone. That's, you know, pretty good.

The issue here is the secondary injuries go beyond Hayward. Terrell was limited with a thigh injury on Wednesday and, in a real test of their depth, Dee Alford was out with a hamstring issue. The status of those defensive backs is worth monitoring as we move forward. The Falcons are somewhat thankful, however, that defensive back might be the deepest position group.

Bryan Pool from Traveler's Rest, S.C.

Hey Bair. I got a uniform question of all things. Everyone and I mean everyone, thought the uniforms worn against the 49ers were light years ahead of what we have now. I know it's a long process to change but if every single Falcons fan loves them why not change. How do you let the organization know we would love to have those uniforms permanently!

Bair: You're right, Bryan, that it's a major undertaking to change uniforms. Takes multiple years and focus groups and tons and tons of leg work. All that said, why not switch? The red helmets are legit. I covered the Chargers a billion years ago, and their throwbacks were way better than their actual helmets. Took them forever, but they eventually switched to white helmets that are AWESOME. Falcons should do the same. That said, don't expect a permanent chance any time soon. I would think the red helmets will be seen again and again and again.

Call for questions

We have another Bair Mail coming on Friday, so submit your questions right here for inclusion in that installment.

Take a look as the team puts in the work in Flowery Branch to prepare for this week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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