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Bair Mail: On possible OL help, Matt Ryan in the red zone and what needs to get fixed fast

Your questions answered in Wednesday's Bair Mail

The 24-hour rule is over. Win or loss, it's time to move on. That's especially true by Wednesday, when the past game's in the rear view and it's time to prep for the upcoming opponent.

You all have followed suit, asking questions about how the Falcons can be better, how they can improve on last week's showing.

Love that mentality.


It's okay to be down and a bit out while looking for more.

Appreciate all the questions. Wish I could've gotten to them all. We hit on three questions addressing three key topics as we move closer to a Week 2 clash in Tampa. Let's get started with Wednesday's Bair Mail:

Mack Guynn from Woodland, Calif.

Wow…Game 1 left a bad taste in our mouth (like sweet tea to you?…he he)..anyway I have faith in Coach Arthur Smith and GM Terry Fontenot, that they will right the ship, but we're in desperate need of OL help. Do you think the Falcons will pick up a stud OL or continue to weather the storm and develop the young OL they have drafted?…Thanks for all your insight on the Falcons

Bair: Appreciate the question, Mack. I agree with you, that the Falcons need better from the offensive line. There are some question marks at left guard especially, where Jalen Mayfield had a rough go in his NFL debut. While he has taken plenty of heat, center Matt Hennessy and right tackle Kaleb McGary need to improve as well.

Head coach Arthur Smith was asked in his Monday press conference if the Falcons need to add another guard. He said this: "At every position we're going to look to upgrade the team. So, if there's guys out there that we feel like can help this team. We're certainly going to look and that'll be every week, regardless of the position."

Cory Kight from Knoxville, Tenn.

What's up Bair? Despite being awful last Sunday, I remain optimistic for this offense. Ridley and Ryan looked great early, then the rush started getting home. Mayfield specifically looked like he was really struggling. Any way you think we can help the guy out [against] an even better Tampa front? Do we think Gallman might dress next week?

Bair: Thanks for checking in, Cory. I do think there were some positive signs on offense, especially in the first half. Don't want to keep knocking Mayfield. It was the guy's first game. It didn't go well. He wasn't supposed to start. Josh Andrews’ injury changed things a bit. I think Smith can help the interior line schematically, or keep a running back in for protection.

I was a bit surprised that Wayne Gallman wasn't active. Must think he will be against Tampa, though Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson should continue getting carries.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles during Week 1 of 2021.

Bill Whitten from Killen, Ala.

Since the second half of the 2016 Super Bowl Matt Ryan has not been able to get the ball in the end zone. I don't know if a statistic is kept on interceptions and failure to score in the red zone but my bet is that Ryan leads in this category. Why doesn't management recognize this and take a different approach? Thanks for letting me vent.

Bair: Anytime, Bill. While I agree that the Falcons have some red zone issues, I don't think it's all quarterback.

I looked up Ryan's red-zone passing stats – thanks! – and they're actually pretty good. He was No. 16 in the red-zone in 2020, with 19 TDs and one interception. He was No. 3 in the red-zone efficiency in 2019 and No. 4 in that category in 2018.

Ryan has been pretty solid, but the unit as a whole hasn’t been good finding pay dirt enough. It was really bad last year. It's never on just one person, but Ryan's more of a help than a hindrance inside the 20.

Genaro Espinosa from Mexico

First of all, Congratulations to all the digital team for the awesome coverage from the preseason all to the first game of the new official season. I think the team suffered from the most obvious weakness they have, and that is inexperience. Whether it was from first time coaching or playmaking, they got baptized indeed. But looking at the bright side, now they now where they stand and it´s only upwards from there. As far as you know from watching this week's training, what/s the biggest need the team is trying to improve for next Sunday? How does the environment feel in comparison with last week's training?

Bair: Thanks for the submission, Genaro. Always enjoy hearing from international Falcons fans. The logic isn't off here, that inexperience and a lack of continuity played a part here, in everything from performance to penalties.

In term's of the team's response to what went wrong, it has been professional. Head coach Arthur Smith set the proper tone earlier this week and I expect that to drive a solid practice week. All he can do is continue to get a little better each day and week to be a better and more competitive. That will get the Falcons were they need to be in time.

In terms of what needs to get fixed, the offensive line is the first and most important thing to improve. They need better across the board, especially through the interior and the right flank. They also need better from the pass rush, especially while bringing four. Losing in the trenches makes it highly likely you lose games. Gotta get right up front above all else.


Falcons Final Whistle | A Postgame Podcast

Break down the hottest topics surrounding the Atlanta Falcons and how they can impact the team's success with Falcons Insiders Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Terrin Waack. Like and subscribe to join us for the lively debate on Falcons Final Whistle.

Welcome to Falcons Final Whistle – an Atlanta Falcons football postgame podcast during the season that shifts gears in the offseason to answer a pressing question about the team's future each week through free agency, the NFL Draft and the offseason program.

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