Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst is an advocate for discussing and understanding mental health struggles. As someone who has battled his own thoughts of suicide, Hurst appreciated the comments recently made by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In an episode of the television program "In Depth with Graham Bensinger," Prescott explained that he sought help over the offseason after experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Hurst, himself, attempted suicide in 2016 while deep in a downward spiral of depression. Through the help of mental health experts, the Falcons tight end pulled himself out of the tailspin and is in the process of building a successful career in the NFL. In Week 2 against the Cowboys, Hurst caught his first touchdown pass as a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
After the game, Hurst took a moment to seek out Prescott and talk with him about his comments concerning mental health. The Cowboys quarterback discussed collaborating in the future, and it appears that partnership has begun.
According to a story by ESPN’s Todd Archer, Hurst and Prescott, whose brother took his own life earlier this year, plan to begin work on suicide prevention next offseason.
"Such a moment. Obviously excited after a big win like that but for him to just come over there, us embrace that moment," Prescott said of the discussion with Hurst. "He was telling me about what him and his mom are doing with their foundation. I'm excited to work with him. We've talked since. Excited in the offseason for us to get something going. Our teams have already started making steps to do that while we're in the midst of the season."
Week 3 NFL picks
Despite their slow start to the season, the Falcons have shown some positives. The offense continues to be a strength for this group, and that's the reason CBSSports.com writer Will Brinson believes the Falcons will be successful against the Bears in a much-needed game this weekend. He likes Atlanta to win in runaway fashion, beating Chicago 35-14.
"This one feels pretty easy," Brinson writes. "There's a 2-0 team on the road against an 0-2 team and the 2-0 team is a 3.5-point dog. Who do you think Vegas would prefer the majority of the public taking when they look at this matchup? Bears fans are yelling at me for calling them "fraudulent" during our Wednesday episode of the Pick Six Podcast VIDEO SHOW -- airing daily at 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports HQ (free to watch!) unless it's superseded by a Champions League situation -- but how can they think this is a good football team? I could see Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson finally connecting for a pair of touchdowns, but I don't think the Bears defense is good enough to just lock down a high-powered Falcons offense. They certainly won't come back if Atlanta stakes a big lead."
Ranking the NFL's 0-2 teams
Entering Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season, 11 teams sit at 0-2; unfortunately, the Falcons are among them. There have been both positives and negatives on the field for Atlanta in its first two games, but the Falcons are still seeking their first win of the season.
ESPN's Bill Barnwell shared his thoughts on the 11 teams without a victory thus far, ranking them from the team he believes has the least chance of turning things around and making a playoff run to the team he believes has the best chance of doing so. Among the 11 teams, Barnwell ranks the Falcons third behind the Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to the ESPN Football Power Index, the Falcons currently have a 12.4-percent chance of reaching the postseason. What concerns Barnwell about the team moving forward, however, is that the offseason additions haven't substantially impacted the team's performance on the field. He mentions Dante Fowler's one sack and knockdown as well as Todd Gurley's 3.3-yard average through two games.
Still, when looking at the upcoming schedule, Barnwell sees some daylight for Atlanta if the Falcons can get things turned around. There's still a long way to go yet, and things get a little more favorable.
"Atlanta has a pair of 2-0 teams coming up in the Bears and Packers, but Chicago's two games have come down to a drop in the end zone and a failed conversion on fourth down," Barnwell writes. "After that, the Falcons have five straight games against 0-2 teams in the Vikings, Lions, Broncos and a pair against the Panthers before their Week 10 bye. As disgusted as they must be to sit here at 0-2, the Falcons have the sort of schedule that could allow them to turn it around quickly."
In two games back, Keanu Neal 'playing like myself'
After back-to-back season-ending injuries, it's been good to see Keanu Neal back on the field for the Falcons. He made several big hits against Dallas, asserting himself as the defense's enforcer in the middle of the field. As with most players coming off of injury, it's taken Neal a bit of time to fully regain the confidence in his body and trusting it to play at full speed. With the defense playing 82 snaps against the Cowboys, of which he was on the field for 64, Neal feels like he's finally getting back to normal.
"(I'm) playing like myself," Neal told reporters Wednesday. "I think the first game I was out there playing, but there were certain things where I wasn't as fluid or moving the way I wanted to. Last game, I felt like I was."
More headlines for Falcons fans
- AtlantaFalcons.com: Social Bird: Internet explodes over Hurst, Dak
- AtlantaFalcons.com: Injury report: Kazee, Oluokun improving
- AtlantaFalcons.com: Falcons or Bears? Expert picks
- AtlantaFalcons.com: Beek’s Bits: Key’s to beating the Bears
- NFL.com: Unpleasant and pleasant surprises in Week 2
- NFL.com: NFL Week 3 picks
- CBSSports.com: Early 2021 NFL mock draft
- ESPN.com: Week 2 NFL overreactions
- TheRinger.com: The winners and losers of Week 2
- AJC.com: Matt Ryan’s fundraiser focused on helping youth
- AJC.com: Keanu Neal says confidence has returned
- AJC.com: Falcons run game looking for room to run