We've got a brand new Bair Mail for you.
Man. It has been a while since I typed that sentence. The mailbag has been on a hiatus lately as training camp has ramped up and we've onboarded some new folks. We've got Terrin Waack on the roster now – y'all… she's le-git -- so I've got some time to get back to answering your questions in one of my favorite forums on this site.
No need for a long preamble. Let's get to your questions in the first mailbag in a while, which comes on the heels of a week in South Florida featuring joint practices and a preseason game with the Miami Dolphins:
Ashleigh Coffie from Metro Atlanta
Hey, just wondering about the backs: how has Tyler Allgeier, Keith Smith, and Clint Ratkovich been doing this offseason and camp?
Bair: Thanks for the question, Ashleigh. Let's focus on the biggest name in the group and then we'll address the fullbacks.
Tyler Allgeier talked a bunch this summer about wanting to be a more complete back. We've seen that this summer, with the BYU product proving to be a quality option receiving out of the backfield. He's tough to bring down in space, which makes him easier to keep on the field even on obvious passing downs. He's a good (and willing) pass protector, making him the type of player you feel comfortable with in any situation.
That said, the Falcons have top options in the passing game with Bijan Robinson and Cordarrelle Patterson. That may limit his opportunities somewhat outside being a ball carrier, but he'll still get plenty of touches in this offense. I expect him to be a smarter and more efficient runner in 2023, with a year under his belt.
Regarding Keith Smith and Clint Ratkovich, they're both working in an offense that values the fullback position. Not on every play, but often. I think they only keep one and Smith seems like a lock considering all he does on special teams. As a lead blocker, he's one of the best around. He'll have a role on the team. Ratkovich has been good, but Smith is the guy in Atlanta. That's a tough act to best.
Elizabeth Wach from Sugar Hill, Ga.
I thought Logan Woodside played pretty well against the Dolphins. What are the odds you think he sticks around as a No. 3 quarterback?
Bair: I think the odds of Arthur Smith keeping Logan Woodside as a third quarterback are pretty decent, though nothing's set in stone. There's more of an advantage to keeping a third QB this season, with a new/old rule that a No. 3 signal caller can go into a game despite being ruled inactive, only if two active quarterbacks get injured. That rule doesn't apply to practice squad elevations, adding incentive to keeping a third quarterback.
Woodside got to play the entire preseason opener, and while he didn't finish as hot as he started, he had full command of the offense and ran it well. While at times it took him too long to get rid of the ball, in my opinion, he has solid arm strength and is accurate when he lets it fly. He's a good fit in the meeting room and could benefit the position group overall.
At the end, though, it's a bit of a cost-benefit analysis. Keeping Woodside helps in an emergency. Adding another player who could help on special teams or as injury protection, especially one you don't think will make it through waivers and onto the practice squad, could be a greater asset than a third quarterback. That's a tough decision, one Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have a few more weeks to make.
Payton Victoria from Smyrna, Ga.
The loss of Jeff Okudah seems like a big deal, even if it isn't for long? Do you think Tre Flowers or Mike Hughes or someone else can fill in well? Do we need to look for someone else to fill that spot?
Bair: I agree, Payton, that losing Jeff Okudah for any stretch. I don't, however, think they need to look beyond their own depth chart to fill that void. The Falcons have quality depth throughout the secondary, especially at the cornerback spot. We've primarily seen Tre Flowers step in at the first-unit outside cornerback spot opposite A.J. Terrell, though Mike Hughes is an option there as well. Even Dee Alford or Cornell Armstrong could step in there.
Flowers seems to be the top option at the moment, bringing size – the dude is 6-foot-3, 203 pounds – and 41 starts over 73 games into the fray. Hughes is a former first-round pick and someone with top physical skill for the position. The Falcons will likely go with one of those two, keep Alford in his position battle to be the top nickel back.
There's plenty here to like about the cornerbacks, and they should be able to work through the Okudah injury setback well.
Call for questions
I know we only did three questions in this Bair Mail, but we're doing them more often these days, so we'll get to several questions submitted right here for inclusion in future installments.