This was a fun mailbag to assemble, and it's not because we're coming up on a game day, preseason or otherwise.
It was due to the high volume of kind words you all used complimenting the work that Tori and I do. That's ever so kind of you. There were so many in fact, that I told Tori about it on Tuesday afternoon. She, too, was moved.
- Why Dean Pees' speech on defensive culture shift matters
- How the Falcons decided on Troy Andersen in the 2022 NFL Draft
- 'The will to get it done': How Arnold Ebiketie found his way to football, then to the NFL
- Positional breakdowns: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Receivers/Tight ends, O-line; D-line; ILBs, EDGE; Secondary
- Training camp storylines: Line of scrimmage; Edge rush, Quarterbacks
So, on behalf of both of us, thank you for the kind words. We love working for this Falcons fan base. Appreciate ya.
Now on to why you clicked. Let's get to your questions in the last Bair Mail before the Falcons play Detroit on Friday night.
Genaro Espinosa from Mexico
Thank you all for all hard work. Can not wait for the new season to come. With the preseason games right around the corner, I have some doubts concerning the depth of our quarterback room. While I love the competition between Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder, it doesn´t feel like Feleipe Franks is a lock on 3rd string, especially considering the work he´s gotten as a TE Hybrid. With Marcus' injury prone history, and Ridder´s inexperience, Does Arthur Smith consider having a third QB at all? If he does, Is Feleipe the man for the job or should we expect another full time QB either being one of our UDFA or a veteran arriving via Free Agency?
Bair: Glad you brought up the QB room, Genaro. It's a big unconventional to essentially go with two quarterbacks through training camp. Desmond Ridder especially is getting tons of work and should see a good amount of playing time in the preseason.
That said, I think Marcus Mariota is the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback at this stage, before we hit the preseason slate. He looks better in training camp and is consistently running the top unit.
Feleipe Franks has worked a few periods at quarterback this week and hasn't looked bad. He should get some preseason work to prep for occasion where he'd be called upon in that role. He has been pretty good at tight end as well, and should make the team as a valuable, versatile talent.
My thoughts on adding a third QB: If they were gonna add another arm, they would've done it already. They've got three games and two joint practice sessions coming up. The time to get a quarterback involved would've been easier at the start of camp. Not saying it can't happen, but I think the Falcons are happy getting Mariota and Ridder plenty of work this summer.
I am interested to see how both guys (and maybe Franks) play on Friday.
Tanner Bennett from Adel, Ga.
With Roquan Smith wanting out of Chicago, do you think the Falcons should make a run at a trade for him, keep in mind he is on the last year of his rookie contract
Bair: Roquan Smith is awesome, but the entire state of Georgia already knows that. What he did for the Bulldogs won't be soon forgotten. I think he's a next-level player, but you have to trade for him. That won't come cheap. Then you have to pay him long term. Again, that won't come cheap.
Doubt the Bears would take Deion Jones' contract in a straight up trade, either. Jeff Schultz of The Athletic ponders a Smith trade right here. I might do that straight swap, though, and exchange big contracts. Anything more and I might raise an eyebrow. It would take a lot of hard work to get a deal done and it's a fair question to wonder if inside linebacker is where to spend a huge chunk of cash with A.J. Terrell and Chris Lindstrom will be up for extensions soon enough and other areas were wise investment could help the club. Never say never because Terry Fontenot's always looking to add quality, but I'm not sure that's the move to make right now if the Bears want a big return. We'll have to see how things play out.
Chris Atlas for Marietta, Ga.
Ok Scott we all know you have an affinity for certain players heading into the season, most notably Lorenzo Carter. So with the first preseason game Friday which player or players are you most excited to see in live game action? Furthermore, do you foresee any players currently leading in position battles that could lose their spot in preseason?
Bair: I definitely have favorites, don't I? I am intrigued by how Lorenzo Carter will fare over significant snaps during the regular season. My new favorite under-the-radar player is receiver KhaDarel Hodge, a scrapper who just gets open and is available to make plays.
I do want to see quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder on Friday against Detroit, and I think (I don't know) that we'll see both guys in Detroit. I've been waiting all summer to see Tyler Allgeier in a game, and he'll get some carries in the preseason. And the rookie edge rushers, Arnold Ebiketie and D'Angelo Malone. There are so many new faces that Tori and I will be taking lots of notes for analysis right after the game and well beyond.
T-minus three days until Detroit #RiseUp
Jaxon James from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hello from way up North! Really been enjoying your coverage off the Falcons. My question is about Dee Alford and how you think his performance has been in camp? I saw the video of him being beat by London but then making a great play to break up a pass later in the day. Is he a practice roster candidate or is he a likely cut? We spent the last year watching him up here in Winnipeg and couldn't understand how he never received a shot in the NFL. Thanks for considering my Q!
Bair: Appreciate the opportunity to talk about the CFL standout getting an opportunity with an NFL club. Dee Alford has had some good moments in camp, rotating in occasionally with the higher units. It's going to be really tough to make the squad at cornerback, with A.J. Terrell, Casey Hayward, Darren Hall and Isaiah Oliver as virtual locks to make the roster. Gotta think Mike Ford's in line for a roster spot as well. That might do it on the 53-man, or maybe there's a battle for a sixth roster spot. Alford would be in that mix, along with Cornell Armstrong.
He'll have to show out in preseason games, especially if he gets a chance to work against better opposition early in these preseason. He can definitely compete at this level, though. Alford's a good player.
Isaac A from Savannah Ga.
We don't hear much about D'Angelo Malone, do you have thoughts or predictions on him? I kinda have a feeling that Troy Anderson and D'Angelo Malone will be busts, but that's just me. Thoughts?
Bair: Two things: 1. There's no way we'll know how these rookies will play. They haven't taken a single NFL snap. We have no basis of knowledge on how they'll fare. Gotta let them play it out.
And, 2. This provides a change to plug my story on D'Angelo Malone that I wrote on Tuesday. Check it out right here.