It has been too long since the Falcons played football.
Bye weeks are nice refreshers for players and fans alike, but we're well past a free weekend and on to the part where the time away from a game field feels like a drought.
We're starting the formal practice week on Wednesday, leading into a winnable road game against the Miami Dolphins.
The Falcons are in a good state health-wise, with an opportunity to win their second straight and reach .500.
Can they do it? Sure, but how? We'll discuss that and some future prospects in this week's Bair Mail:
Charlie C. from Boulder, Colo.
If [Calvin] Ridley and [Russell] Gage can return to the field playing like they're capable of, don't you think that our offense could be very difficult to defend?
Bair: I do, especially if they can build off what was accomplished against the Jets. Kyle Pitts was still a factor despite other top targets not being in the pattern.
The respect he has earned recently will bring attention his way, which should open opportunities for others. Calvin Ridley can be a dynamic force down the field, as we've seen, and can change a game by himself. He's expected to be fully back in action this week.
Russell Gage is back practicing after missing a few games, though his status ultimately remains uncertain. There have been a few times in-game where I mentioned out loud – Tori can vouch for me – that the Falcons really missed him. He was a favored third-down target and someone who was emerging last season.
With Cordarrelle Patterson, Pitts, Ridley and Gage – Hayden Hurst is also a factor, but hasn't been super impactful thus far – the Falcons will be hard to defend. Assuming, of course, the offensive line can give Matt Ryan time to work. That's the essential component to this whole thing and how the Falcons offense can be scary.
Jim Graham from Saint Simons Island, Ga.
I realize that the Falcons have a lot of games to play this year, but I have a question about the future. Based upon your observations, do you have an opinion as to whether either Josh Rosen or Felipe Franks can be the Falcons quarterback of the future?
Bair: Appreciate the question, Jim, and for checking in from a location I hadn't heard of before Wednesday. I'm unfamiliar with the region, so I have to look up cities and towns to see if they're in the state. Saint Simons Island looks like a place I've got to see.
Regarding your question, I don't have an opinion on whether one of those guys are a long-term answer. It's so hard to evaluate backup quarterbacks during the season because the starters take most every rep. The backup (that's Josh Rosen) typically runs the scout team, and Feleipe Franks isn't wearing a red non-contact jersey anymore has he adjusts to a role as a tight end and zone-read quarterback.
I'm also not in meeting rooms, where we can see how much Rosen has absorbed and how much of a help he is preparing Ryan to play.
I can say that Rosen has arm talent and is just 24 years old. The former first-round pick certainly warrants consideration and continued evaluation on that front. The Falcons will have a great idea if he's a real option by the time they draft next spring or are ready to replace Ryan down the line.
The Atlanta Falcons are back and well rested after a bye week, ready to take on Miami this Sunday. Take a look at the best images in this gallery.
David Thomas from Atlanta
Scott, I was watching the NFL Network Monday night and one of the [pundits] thought it would be a good idea if we traded Matt Ryan to the Broncos. I think this is a terrible idea! My question is, how likely do you think it is that such a trade could come to fruition?
Bair: Literally nil, David. That's one of those topics designed to fill airtime. I've worked in TV before and have discussed pies in the sky, but that one's an all-timer. Let's ignore that the Broncos don't have enough cap space to take Matt Ryan on without giving a player back, or that the dead money from a Ryan trade would be astronomical. He's also the Falcons MVP and playing at a high level.
While, in my opinion, the Falcons would be sellers if they're active at all before the NFL trade deadline, a Ryan deal ain't it.
Call for questions
We've got one more Bair Mail before the Dolphins game. Let's get some good questions in, and a bunch of 'em, right here. Bring your "A" game, everyone. Let's freaking go.
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 Atlanta Falcons Insiders Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Kris Rhim. 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.