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Bair Mail: On Marlon Davidson, Jaylinn Hawkins, AJ McCarron concerns and more


Well, that wasn't so fun to watch.

The Falcons lost their preseason opener 23-3 against the Titans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a lackluster performance that isn't worth storage in the memory bank, unless you're someone trying to make decisions on roster construction. Outside of that small group, let it go, let it go.

We only include the score because Journalism 101 dictates it be there, not because it's actually important. Let's not freak out about one mid-August performance where no prominent Falcon played. That isn't worth the stress.

That's what we'll do with Monday's Bair Mail, bring some perspective to this recent event and try to put it in proper context. We're nothing if not rational. Well, most of the time.

Let's test that theory by answering some questions about the preseason opener and what happens next:

Dukah J from Dawsonville, Ga.

[Marlon] Davidson, [Jaylinn] Hawkins and the cheerleaders looked good Friday night. What say you?

Bair: I can only speak to the first two. I swear I had my eyes on the field of play the entire time and wouldn't know anything about that third thing. [Hi, honey!!! Thanks for reading Bair Mail. Love You.]

And thanks to you, Dukah, for bringing up two of my favorite performances from Friday night. Their stats may not scream dominance, but defensive lineman Marlon Davidson and safety Jaylinn Hawkins were really good in their opportunities to shine.


While a Grady Jarrett pep talk may have gotten Davidson's head right, the Auburn product's talent shined through. He can be hard to handle when going right, and he's determined to show well in his second season.

Hawkins is a versatile asset currently sitting behind veterans Erik Harris and Duron Harmon, but he could push for a role moving forward. We saw him get a great sack against the Titans. He can move around and still be felt. More showings like that and University of California alum may carve out significant role for himself yet.

Tristan Blair, Douglasville, Ga.

How do you feel about Arthur Smith calling offensive plays? I thought it would work well with [Dan Quinn] calling defensive plays but it seems like that failed miserably...any thoughts?

Bair: I feel like it's the exact right thing to do. Smith is an excellent play caller who has developed a scheme respected throughout the league. The Falcons hired him in large part for his offensive mind. Why have access to it and then not let him use it fully?

There's no doubt he can handle play calling and the larger responsibilities of being a head coach. We're getting to know Smith better with every press conference, but it's already clear this guy gets it. He's perfectly capable of running the offense and the team overall at the same time.

Also, any relation to Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair? Probably, right? Because there aren't, like, a million Blairs in the world. Ha. Somebody confused me for him right after I joined the Falcons. Unfortunately, I don't have an "L" in my name and can't knock it through the uprights. Connect me with him if you can. That'd be a fun Bair Mail.

Scott Shirley from Albany, Ga.

Welcome to Atlanta Scott. Although a lot of us miss Matthew Tabeek, we're glad you're here. If we have to rely on A.J. being the backup QB we're in trouble for sure. With Ryan's age this might be the year he is injured so we need a good, solid # 2. A.J. didn't look like he could be that man. What say you?

Bair: Thanks for the warm welcome, Scott. Matt did a great job, and I'm gonna work my tail off to keep the quality Falcons coverage coming.

I'm not ready to abandon ship on McCarron just yet. He was with the Raiders briefly while I covered the team, and he's certainly better than what he showed on Friday. He can manage a game and make some good throws. I understand your trepidation, and it's well placed after that Titans game. Let's be a patient at this stage, though the Falcons might need a quick hook and a wandering eye toward the free agent market if he repeats performances like the one he recently gave.

We're not there now, though. Let's see how AJ fares next week when the Falcons practice against and then play the Dolphins. If he's really bad during that stretch, you have more permission to freak out.

Terry Blevins from Granite Falls, N.C.

Hey Scott, greetings from a North Carolina Falcons fan since 1971. Over the years, we've had some great draft picks and some not-so-great draft picks. We've also hit some home runs with some free agents out of college -- Olamide Zaccheaus was the most recent. After watching Friday nights preseason game, I really love this kid out of Louisville: Dorian Etheridge. He looked great, what more can you tell me about him?

Bair: Stacy tuned for our next "Eye on the Undrafteds" installment. Etheridge will be a pointed topic of conversation because. I, too, was impressed by his performance. Let's throw away the tackle total. I generally don't care much about that stat, but 13, a team-high by several stories, proves he was everywhere and always around the ball. He can play in coverage or as a run defender and pass-rusher when required. He had a solid college career at Louisville but will have to fight for a roster spot with a deep and talented position group. He'll have to stack quality performances and practices to earn a spot.

Call for questions

The Falcons have joint practices coming up against the Dolphins, which should provide plenty to discuss. Get your questions in now by clicking this link. Promise I'll answer a ton in a Wednesday morning Bair Mail.

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