Hope everyone had an awesome Fourth of July. We watched some fireworks, hung out by the pool and took in some minor league baseball. Not a bad way to spend the holiday.
- How good can Kyle Pitts be in Year 2?
- How to crack the Cordarrelle Patterson code
- Bair Mail: On Marcus Mariota impact, Marlon Davidson and Terry Fontenot retaining homegrown players
- Finding the Falcons rookie class: Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer, John FitzPatrick
We're all getting in some much-needed vacation before camp begins, with me headed for a week in Key West and Tori leaving for Jamaica toward the end of the month. Fear not, Falcons fans. The mailbag will carry on through the summer with me or Tori on the byline. So please, please keep the good questions coming.
Let's get to some submissions from the long weekend in this Wednesday Bair Mail.
Keith Smith from Atlanta, Ga.
Running backs/ have been in question for yrs. Now with what we have who will become the falcons 1&2 to start the season??
Bair: Let's get one this out of the way for everyone. This isn't Falcons fullback Keith Smith asking a question about his own position group. He might have more insight that me on this one, though. Ha. Different Keith. Just has to be, right?!?. Ha.
The Falcons have some options in the backfield, with Cordarrelle Patterson returning, Damien Williams signing this offseason and Tyler Allgeier added in the NFL draft. It will be interesting to see how much Patterson lines up as a running back and takes more traditional carries. He's going to play a lot, and he's going to make an impact.
Allgeier will have a chance to take significant carries in 2022 if he earns them. I'm pretty excited about his fit within the scheme. Damien Williams brings a different vibe to the room. And don't forget about Avery Williams. Adding his elusiveness to the group could be beneficial.
I think we'll see a by committee approach to accentuate each player's strengths. In terms of snap counts, I'll make a bold predictions and say: 1. Patterson, 2. Allgeier, 3. Damien Williams.
The veterans and rookies were out on the field during Minicamps this week putting in some extra work and interacting with fans before the summer break.
Alvin Watkins from Columbia, Ga.
First thank you for these columns they are very informative, and you do a great job of answering these questions. My question is this. If the Calvin Ridley suspension is indeed only 1 year long, do you think that the falcons will bring him back for another season next year or do you think they still try to pursue a potential trade?
Bair: It's an interesting question to ponder during this slower period, Alvin. Calvin Ridley has been suspended a minimum of one season for violating the league policy on sports gambling, able to apply for reinstatement in mid-February.
His contract doesn't progress, meaning the Falcons will still retain his rights in 2023 on a fifth-year option. Will he come back? Adding him to a pass-catching crew with Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bryan Edwards could be explosive. Let's not forget that Ridley is an elite route runner and a receiver of real quality.
That could serve the Falcons well no matter who they have at quarterback. It could also be an asset in the trade market, though he has less value with the sports gambling issue attached to him and, assuming he's reinstated next year, a season and a half away from the game for various reasons. As I always say about trade scenarios, answering questions about Ridley and Deion Jones, it's all about the package presented. The cost/benefit analysis is key. The Falcons aren't going to move Ridley simply to move him. The price has to be right. So, to answer your question (sorta), it's a maybe. I also think we can say it's possible Ridley has played his last down for the Falcons. Time will tell on that front.
Stacy B from Buford, Ga.
The Falcons have a lot of weapons on offense, but I don't think Anthony Firkser is getting talked about enough. How do you think he'll do in this offense?
Bair: I've got high hopes for him, Stacy. Firkser had his best offensive year in 2019 with Arthur Smith as Titans play caller and, even with Kyle Pitts playing most every snap, there's plenty of room for two tights in this scheme. I think 500 yards and 3-4 touchdowns could be realistic and really strong numbers considering how much the ball will get spread around.
Joe Faulkner from Salem, Va.
For the last couple of years , I have seen a disturbing trend in our 2nd round picks. I still have hope for our last 2nd rounder at safety. On a different note, I liked this year's draft selection and look forward to this season. Keep up your good work, Scott.
Bair: You are correct, Joe, in saying that the Falcons need more out of their second-round picks. At this point, however, most of the major missteps were executed by a previous regime. Though, in fairness to them, there haven’t been many second-round picks in the last six years. Two got traded away. And it's still possible that Isaiah Oliver produces well from the slot position. Deion Jones has been very good for a long time.
Still too early to grade Richie Grant, though we'll have a better idea after this season. And there are two solid options to thrive from the 2022 draft in Arnold Ebiketie and Tory Andersen.
But I understand your point if we’re looking long-term. Terry Fontenot is obviously working to buck that trend and extract talent from a round typically loaded with value.
Call for questions
I'm headed on vacation for a little while, so we've got a prolonged Tori takeover starting on Friday!! Keep the mailbag full for her over the next week by submitting your questions right here.