Keep tearing pages off the daily calendar. There are only a few more to rip before Sunday's game against Philadelphia, which should have a big red circle around the Sept. 12.
Dean Pees' scheme in action. It's the first time we'll see Kyle Pitts for more than a snap, and how he'll going to be used.
We focused on defense during Wednesday’s Bair Mail, so it's time to move to the offensive side of the ball and get to your questions on who's going to score points and how:
Charlie C. in Boulder, Colo.
I think [Sunday's clash] will be a close hard-fought game, with the difference being Arthur Smith's play calling getting Ridley, Pitts, & Hurst open in our offense to lead the Falcons to victory in the season opener, and how about you?
Bair: I tend to agree that this will be a close one decided in the final seconds. I also agree that the players you listed will play a big role in this one and future endeavors.
I also think that Smith has kept his plans for Pitts away from prying eyes, and we're going to see some innovative things work extremely well against an Eagles team that will struggle to handle the rookie tight end.
The chess match between Smith, Pees and the Eagles staff will be fascinating and, if it comes down to the end, the Falcons will have to show the mental fortitude they often lacked in one-score games a year ago.
Emery Langston from Loganville, Ga.
What do you think the long-term plan for Josh Rosen is?
Bair: Honestly, I don't think there is one. The goal here is simple. They need to keep teaching Rosen, keep developing him and see how he responds to that information. They need to see how he performs under pressure and takes advantage of the few midweek reps he'll get.
If he excels and gains trust, the Falcons will give him more and more and could end up the primary backup. I think he would be that guy if disaster struck and Matt Ryan was lost even for a little bit, though on Friday Smith declined to name his No. 2.
Fans are certainly intrigued by Rosen – you should see how many Rosen questions the mailbag gets – because he's a former top 10 draft pick with an excellent arm who's only 24 years old, and Ryan's remaining time here may be short.
The reason why I say there's no long-term plan is that the Falcons don't need to have one. If they fall in love with Rosen over time, they can develop one that could lead him to a competition for the starting gig when it comes along. That's all up to Rosen, who must impress each day and show better than he had during his previous NFL stops.
Jim Rettinger from Roanoke, Va.
Terry [Fontenot] says the roster is going to be 'fluid.' How in the world do you get any continuity plugging new players in and out?
Bair: Think about it this way: The “fluid” part of the roster is the back third, maybe even less, of the depth chart. Continuity will come for the starters and primary reserves, who will mostly stay together when healthy. If someone struggles, then they should be a major contributor anyway.
The constant churn of roster moves will be about trying to improve depth and get at least one percent better in some aspect. In the case of Wayne Gallman, they got a little better on special teams and got a more proven commodity at backup running back. That's a good thing.
This is the right way to build a team, especially one that's remarkably thin in several position groups. It's also a contrast to how the Falcons used to run their show, which is why it seems different. Different, however, isn't bad in this instance.
Daron Walker from Federal Way, Wash.
[Jake] Matthews, [Chris] Lindstrom and [Kaleb] McGary are fine. What's the plan at center and [left] guard? That has been a need for way too long.
Bair: I won't have an inspiring answer for you Daron, but those positions remain areas of grave concern. The Falcons have confidence in Matt Hennessy, but he's got to show me something before being considered a long-term answer in the middle. He was just OK when asked to play last year, and improvement's required now that he's the full-time guy. Don't forget that Drew Dalman's waiting in the wings, and the rookie could compete for that center spot either in this season or the next.
Left guard has been an abyss for quite some time, and that problem still isn't solved. Josh Andrews, now on IR with a hand injury, signed a one-year deal. Jalen Mayfield could be an option inside, but he has a ton to prove before being given that gig.
Call for questions
Let's get Monday's mailbag full this weekend, especially with questions after the game. You can submit them right here.
Mike Davis and the Atlanta Falcons running backs prepare for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Take a look at the best images in this gallery,
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)