Was up pretty late Thursday night and figured I'd get ahead on Friday's Bair Mail delivery with the entire family already gone to bed.
Checked the submissions after only 36 hours away and, to borrow from Eleanor Shellstrop, holy forking shirtballs.
There were a lot of questions in there, far too many to address in one installment.
Before I answer a few, thank you, thank you, thank you for all the welcomes and kind words about the mailbag and the content we've been producing lately. The support means a great deal coming to the ATL from so far away. You guys are awesome. And, don't tell the projected rosters or practice reports, but Bair Mail's my favorite story to write and it ain't even close.
Oh, and one more thing. If you didn't get the Eleanor Shellstrop reference above, stop what you're doing (well, read Bair Mail first) and go binge The Good Place. It's on Netflix and so great you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. Or have you?
And now on to the questions. For realsies this time.
James Tilley from Calhoun, Ga.
With Kyle Pitts' athleticism and speed, I believe he'll be up for rookie of the year. Your thoughts?
Bair: Where's my penny? I always charge for them.
Owner Arthur Blank gave his expectations out for free during a Thursday press conference.
"They're high, like all of us," Blank said. "There are a lot of things to like about Kyle Pitts, even beyond his athletic ability and what he has done over the years. He has a lot of humility. He's a good listener, a good learner. I think he's going to be a great team leader. The fact we can use him in multiple ways in Coach Smith's play design. I'm looking forward to seeing Kyle on the field."
- AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp preview: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Receivers; Tight ends; Offensive line; Defensive line; Linebackers; Cornerbacks; Safeties; Specialists
- Why Terry Fontenot believes Falcons can win now while preparing for better future
- Falcons GM Terry Fontenot details why Matt Ryan is 'the right leader'
- Arthur Blank trusts Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith to lead Falcons renaissance
- More info on AT&T Training camp: https://www.atlantafalcons.com/schedule/event-calendar/att-training-camp
I am interested in seeing him line up across the formation exploiting smaller cornerbacks and slower linebackers. He's a massive human with great athleticism who should make an instant impact. Will he be rookie of the year? All these awards seem to go to quarterbacks. I mean, Kyler Murray over Josh Jacobs in 2019 was just absurd. Trevor Lawrence could do the same to Pitts by nature of his position. But I will be bold here – what the heck? It's not like this lives in cyberspace forever or anything -- and say I think Pitts will be deserving of the award if all goes as planned.
Preston Krah from John's Creek, Ga.
What would it take for the Falcons to acquire Xavien Howard from the Dolphins?
Bair: Only one thing needs to happen: Pigs must fly. Okay, two: Hell needs to freeze.
I kid, Preston. I kid. Sorta. You mentioned the Falcons less-than-ideal salary cap space in an unpublished portion of your letter, but you're taking free space down the road too far. Howard wants a massive deal. Said so on social media. Those come with massive sums of up-front, guaranteed money. That ain't happening with the Falcons, especially having to give up the valued draft capital and then pay the man top dollar.
Since we're talking cornerbacks, let's just say there's no quick fix here. So Andres Sarimento from Paterson, N.J., I don't think another veteran addition's coming to save the day. They signed cover man Fabian Moreau to help Terrell and I think he will. I also agree the Falcons are too thin at that spot, and that it's definitely a question mark. I just don't think the Falcons are going big game hunting at this pointing, especially with disgruntled employees looking for a massive contract.
Mike Siciliani from Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I read a question (in Wednesday's edition) about fans down on Matty Ice. Do you think the way the Super Bowl was lost impacts how we as fans view his time here? I know he's the greatest player in franchise history, but his career will always have that massive asterisk unless they win it all while he's behind center.
Bair: What happened in Super Bowl LI shouldn't be blamed on Ryan. He had a 144.1 passer rating in that game despite getting sacked five times. He had a lost fumble in the fourth quarter and that stinks – P.S. Devonta Freeman completely whiffed on a block -- but he wasn't calling the plays. Talk to Kyle Shanahan about that one. He wasn't playing defense, either.
All that brings me to another thing about football that grinds my gears. Wins should not be a quarterback stat. They are, and all the best (Yup. Ryan's in that camp) somehow aren't quite as good without a Lombardi Trophy. Dan Marino, Phil Rivers and Jim Kelly all get slapped with that tag. That shouldn't define them as it does. Ryan has earned his place among the greats no matter what happens from here on out.
Tyler Lewis from Tucker, Ga.
The NFL never shows the Falcons any respect. Do you think the NFL should pay more attention to them.
Bair: Hold up. Are you saying the Falcons get no respect? I will not make a Rodney Dangerfield reference….I will not make a Rodney Dangerfield reference…I will not make a Rodney Dangerfield reference…
I will say that primetime games and late-window contests go to teams who were awesome the year before. The Falcons were 4-12 and therefore left out of the rotation. A good year, or even a great start, will draw the league back in, for sure.
Questions, questions and more questions
And that'll do it for this edition Bair Mail. Let's let the good times roll by submitting your questions here. They could get answered in the next installment.
The Atlanta Falcons kicked off 2021 AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp in Flowery Branch. Here are the best images from Day 1.
2021 AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp: Dirty Birds Open Practice
WHEN: August 7th
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
The 2021 AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp: Dirty Birds Open Practice entertainment, including cheerleaders, drumline and Atlanta Falcons Legends, will kick-off when gates open and fans are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy Mercedes-Benz Stadium's award-winning food & beverage experience offering fan-first prices.
Tickets for the open practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be $5 each and all proceeds will go to the Emory Healthcare's research and discovery programs.
Due to the current NFL protocols around COVID-19, there will not be opportunities for player autographs.
Stay tuned here for more information!