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Bair Mail: Avoiding slow starts, outside help at cornerback and Matt Ryan comps

Your questions get answered in this week's mailbag. 


The Falcons digital team left Mercedes-Benz Stadium around 2 a.m. Monday morning after wrapping coverage from the Falcons preseason finale.

Not like the kids cared I hit the pillow at around 4. They were still shaking me awake just before 7 o'clock, demanding Fruit Loops in copious amounts.

I say all that to say this: I haven't had much sleep. This Bair Mail may get a little wacky.

We'll try to keep things focused on what you want to know as the Falcons transition to the regular season.


They'll have full roster cuts by Tuesday afternoon, when the NFL mandates rosters go from 80 to 53. That's just the initial wave, however, with more movement on the horizon while signing practice squad players and claiming/signing players cut by other teams.

Jim Campbell from Townsend, Tenn.

Scott, Great work keeping us up to speed with the Falcons. Last three years have been woeful to start the year...1-4 in 2018, 1-7 in 2019 and 1-6 in 2020. My concern is that a stumble out of the gate against a less talented Eagles team and a trip to Tampa immediately following might have us on a slippery slope yet again to start the season. We do have the Giants, Washington football team and Jets before an early bye week. Do you see us stopping the slide against any or all of those squads?

Oh, and for the record, I am with you 100% on starters in preseason. That chemistry everyone is screaming for is worthless with a Ryan, Davis, Ridley or Jarrett on the IR. Thanks again for your great work. -- Jim

Bair: Glad to hear you're with me on starters in the preseason. Always nice to have friends on the right side of an argument.

Regarding the Falcons' slow starts, you're correct. They're season killers. That can't happen in 2021, and the schedule sets up favorably for the Falcons. If they could start the season at 3-2, that would build confidence and kick this season off right. That's not pie-in-the-sky. That's possible against a softer spot on the schedule.

The Falcons need momentum, proof recent fourth-quarter woes are really behind them. It would also help players buy in further to Arthur Smith after the new head coach make a solid first impression during the offseason program and training camp.

Genaro Espinosa from Mexico

Dean Pees and his aggressive defense is certainly a breath of fresh air, but we don´t have enough impact players. At least we should try to make a trade for a cornerback to play next to A.J. Terrell. I hope the GM makes a move before the season starts, if not, we should expect a long season. But that is just my opinion. What do you think?

Bair: I don't think the Falcons are a starting cornerback away from being a dominant defense. I also don't think general manager Terry Fontenot has any desire to trade valuable draft assets while in the process of building this team through the college ranks and with smart spending that will free them from salary-cap issues.

So, unless Fontenot can pry Jalen Ramsey from the Rams for a conditional seventh, it probably ain't happening. Get to know Fabian Moreau. Odds are astronomical going to be the outside cornerback to start the season.

Jake Stevens from Gainesville, Ga.

Dude I know you came from another team. I've always lived in Georgia and always been a hometown fan. So, with that being said, do other fan bases across the nation disrespect there quarterback the way Atlanta has disrespected Matt Ryan this off-season?

Bair: In two words: Heck yeah. I covered the Raiders for eight seasons and Derek Carr was a public enemy when things didn't go right. It didn't seem to matter that he'll set every franchise passing record, that his numbers have steadily improved each year under Jon Gruden. If the Raiders didn't make the playoffs, it was his fault. He's essentially the lone carryover from several failed regimes, so fans now blame him when things go south despite the fact he has always represented the organization well.

I use that as example you can relate to. Everything I just said about Carr could be attributed to Matt Ryan, with a few major differences. Carr never won an MVP. He never played in a playoff game. He never to a team to a Super Bowl.

It seems like fans are upset because a window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl closed without a championship, and Ryan's the one left to blame despite the fact it wasn't his fault they didn't get one.

That adage that the backup is every fan's favorite player, until he plays, anyway, rings true. Ryan's the right guy for 2021. He was the right guy the last 13 years.

Mike S. from Calgary, Canada

All right, save this question if you must but you'll get it a lot - once the final roster is announced hit the Falcons faithful with your never to be made a cold take final record prediction for this season?

Bair: The final roster hasn't been announced yet, so I don't have to give you one yet. Ha. But here's a bold prediction for you. They won't go .500.

Mostly, you know, because they can't. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns in the third preseason game of 2021.


Celebrate the return of Falcons football with a FREE kickoff party featuring special appearances by Jeezy, Pastor Troy, and Falcons Legend Michael Vick. Join current Falcons players and special guests as we kick off the 2021 season!

This event will be emceed by announcer Ryan Cameron and Falcons Legend Harry Douglas and will feature:

  • Appearances by Calvin Ridley, Younghoe Koo, Mike Davis, Coach Smith and Terry Fontenot
  • Special appearances by Jeezy, Pastor Troy, and Falcons Legend Michael Vick
  • Performances by Falcons Cheerleaders and Freddie Falcon
  • Giveaways and more!

Plus, gear up for gameday and shop our new Dirty Birds collection in-person at the Atlantic Station Team Store, located just across from the Atlantic Green.

Date: Friday, September 10 // Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00pm

Location: Outdoors in the Atlantic Green at Atlantic Station, near HOBNOB (245 18th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30363)