We're in a slow period on the NFL calendar, a point where nearly everyone involved in the sport is headed for or is currently on a white-sand beach sipping drinks with umbrellas in them.
The relative lack of actions provides time and opportunity to ponder how these Falcons will fare, and candidates for breakout seasons and instant impacts.
- Question of the Week: What lingering questions do you have after Falcons wrap OTAs?
- How to crack the Cordarrelle Patterson code
- Avery Williams discusses move to running back position
- Finding the Falcons rookie class:Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer, John FitzPatrick
There are a few of those guys we're not talking about enough, which is why I'm leading off this Friday Bair Mail with one of my favorite new additions to the squad, who will be a lot better than people think.
How's that for a tease?? Let's get to your questions right here, right now:
Payton M from Smyrna, Ga.
We hear a ton about Drake London and Kyle Pitts and rightfully so, but I think Bryan Edwards is flying under radar a little bit. What does he bring to the table?
Bair: I agree wholeheartedly that the Bryan Edwards deal will have a bigger impact than most people realize. The dude can play. His South Carolina highlights, and strong moments with the Las Vegas Raiders, show what he can do.
Edwards is a big target who can make plays in traffic, a deep threat whether he's covered or not. Considering Drake London can play most anywhere, including the slot, Edwards can be a consistent threat on the outside and keep defenses honest and, if he starts the season strong, take pressure off London and tight end Kyle Pitts.
I'm not into bold predictions, but I truly believe the Edwards trade will be viewed as a steal for the Falcons. He'll fit in well in this scheme, and has an opportunity to realize solid potential in Atlanta.
Bryan Donkin from Stoke on Trent, England, U.K.
Hey Scott. Never miss your column and have tried a few times to get a question in to you. Call me an optimist but what do you think about the Birds having at least a 500 season? They seem to be ignored by the pundits of the NFL and hardly get a mention. I think we've added a lot of talent, especially at WR to help Kyle who did a fantastic job flying solo last season, and have improved our chances greatly so that we may be one of the surprise teams of 22 / 23..
Bair: Appreciate you being a regular, Bryan. Appreciate those you take time to submit questions and make Bair Mail into what is has become. I get lots of requests to predict records or take the over or under regarding expectations. That's always so tough at this point in the year, when I haven't seen this group take a single snap in pads.
I would like to expand on your last point, however, on getting Kyle Pitts some help at the skill spots. There were points last year where it was Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson or punt, which led to some offensive struggles down the stretch. I think the Falcons are deeper and more versatile in the pattern. I think Drake London and Bryan Edwards, as I discussed above, will help Pitts find more favorable coverage.
London will have an opportunity to make a real impact, and his size and athleticism make him a force to be respected from the outset. I also think Anthony Firkser will fit in better than Hayden Hurst did, and Olamide Zaccheaus and Auden Tate will find ways to make an impact.
Chris Atlas from Marietta, Ga.
Hey Scotty "Preamble" Bair? See what i did there? (I made a rhyme lol). Without further ado, to my inquiries. Without naming the obvious McGary, Davidson, Oliver and Mariota what player/players in your estimation need to produce this season to warrant a new long term contract from the Falcons or any other team? As always keep up the great work.
Bair: I was essentially done with Friday's mailbag when I saw this one, Chris, and I just had to change things up and get it in. Rhyming always gets you in. And the Mr. Preamble nickname doesn't hurt, either. And you backed it up with a solid question, too. A-plus effort, my guy.
In terms of guys earning a longer-term deal, there are plenty to choose from. So many are here on prove-it deals, signing up to secure the bag next offseason.
I keep saying that Lorenzo Carter's my breakout candidate, and an 8-10 sack season could land him a lucrative deal with the Falcons or elsewhere. Terry Fontenot finally has the means to extend his own, and he'll look to do so with those worthy of reward.
I think Rashaan Evans is a prospect in this category. He's a former first-round pick with real talent. If he can thrive in this system, he could be a solution here or elsewhere. If Germain Ifedi can win the right tackle job and show real value, he could be in line for a raise as well.
Call for questions
Let's keep the mailbag full! We'll take a break on July 4th, but submit your questions right here for inclusion in a Wednesday Bair Mail.