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Bair Mail: On Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Pitts, Falcons pass rush, A.J. Terrell and more

We also discuss offensive-line play, the good and an area needing improvement, in this Monday mailbag

The Falcons got a big win on Sunday in Seattle, coming home from an extended road trip in a good mood.


The offense picked up steam, and the defense shut things down in the fourth quarter for a second straight game. Those are positive signs for the future, as were heavier Kyle Pitts involvement and better play from A.J. Terrell. We'll get into the performance of those players and an assessment of the Falcons pass rush through three games.

We'll start this Monday Bair Mail, however, with Cordarrelle Patterson's stellar day in the Pacific Northwest.

Madison Lorraine from Sugar Hill, Ga.

It has been awesome watching Cordarrelle Patterson run so well to start the season. This has to be even better than what the Falcons expected, right?

Bair: The coaches don't fill us in on what they're hoping for out of a particular player, but I think it's fair to say Cordarrelle Patterson's efficiency has been impressive. And while we always knew what he could do in space, the 31-year-old has been running hard. Like, really hard.

It's that combination of big-play ability and tough running that has been most impressive. His decision making is on point as well, choosing the right lanes to throttle through in a decisive manner.

He has been getting good blocking from the offensive line and the receivers at the second level, allowing him to take yards in chunks. He's an exciting player to watch and, to your point, Patterson's off to a great start.

Jackson Scott from Decatur, Ga.

Seeing Kyle Pitts get the ball so often against the Seahawks can't be a fluke, right? It sure seemed like that was intentional after he wasn't as involved over the first couple weeks. What did that do for the rest of the offense?

Bair: They went to Kyle Pitts on the first offensive play – with a deep shot that didn't connect – and at several other times in the early going of that Week 3 win over Seattle. He ended up with five catches for 87 yards on eight targets, a tally that included some important third-down catches.

Getting to Pitts early forced Seattle to scheme hard against him, with his activity and Marcus Mariota's willingness to go deep opening things up for the running game in the second half. Atlanta still needs to find Pitts in the end zone, but him getting active early helps the entire offense. That was evident against the Seahawks, where the Falcons were fairly efficient churning out points.

Will Bryce from Atlanta, Ga.

Thoughts on the pass rush through three weeks? I like what Grady's doing on the inside, but I think we need more from everyone else.

Bair: I agree with you there, Will. Grady Jarrett has been awesome on the inside in all three games, dealing with double teams while still creating havoc. Lorenzo Carter has two sacks and has been good in spurts, though I'd like to see more pressure overall even if the sack totals don't shoot way up. The Falcons need more from Ade Ogundeji, though fans must be patient while waiting for Arnold Ebiketie and the young players to develop on the job. It remains a work in progress and isn't always an intimidating presence, but there's no doubt the pass rush is better than it was a year ago. It's more impactful, yet not quite where it should be.

We take a monochrome look at the win over the Seattle Seahawks on September 25, 2022.

Jakob Bauer from Brighton, England, U.K.

Hey Bair, so much to unpack after this one. But I'll keep it to one question and one observation.

What can the coaching staff do to help the O-line stop making me feel like I live in Punxsutawney?! 3 games, 5 O-line penalties in the red zone (3 of them followed up by a sack). It just seems the O-line has discipline issues when under the most pressure...

Also halfway through the game I was going to come down on one of our arguably best defensive players as well. Terrell getting burned bad a couple times again. But gotta give props the guy. Started hitting and defending passes in the second half like he finally woke up from an extended preseason. Onwards and upwards!

Bair: Thanks for the questions and comments, Jakob! Let's check them off one at a time.

First off, I agree that the red-zone penalties are killers. They impacted a few drives in Week 3 and several others before that. Those issue must be remedied for this offense to increase its efficiency. Going from second- or third-and-manageable to long distances to go isn't how you want to operate, and generally set up situations where bad things happen, as we've seen. I would say, however, that the offensive line has been good thus far. They're blocking well for the run and giving Marcus Mariota the space to extend plays or make quality throws. Overall, I think offensive line play has been a plus in 2022.

Regarding A.J. Terrell, I thought he did a solid job against DK Metcalf. He had several clutch passes defensed, preventing scores and big plays. He was targeted a ton, though. Per Pro Football Focus, he was targeted 11 times (!!) and allowed six catches for 73 yards and a score. That's still not great, but he's making big plays at important times. He's heading in the right direction, for sure. I'm not worried about A.J. at all. The target count is probably higher because Casey Hayward is on the other side instead of Fabian Moreau. That's fine, providing he continues making plays on the ball.

Call for questions

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