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Questions about Color Rush uniforms, Jamal Anderson, Jake Matthews, Falcons offense, more

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Welcome to Straight from the ’Beek! Falcons minicamp is underway, and we’ll get one more look at the players in action before training camp kicks off in July. In the meantime, you’ve got plenty of Falcons-related questions – so let’s get right to them. And if you have one you'd like to submit, send it in here. Just remember, all opinions here are mine unless noted otherwise.

And we’re off.

Jacob from Loan, UT

Hi, Beek. Thank you for all the work you do to keep us fans informed. I don't know how I would get through the off-season without Straight from the Beek. OK, I absolutely love the Color Rush jerseys and once Deion Jones made that interception (against the Saints on Thursday night last season), they instantly became my favorite jerseys. My question is, do you know which game the Falcons will be wearing the Color Rush jerseys in 2018?

Matt: Hey there, Jacob. Appreciate the oh-so-kind words. In case you missed it, Color Rush might be a thing of the past – and what I mean is, from what I understand it’s not going to be a staple of Thursday Night Football games like it has been the last few years. Some teams are still going to wear their alternate jerseys, but not all of them. As far as the Falcons go, I’m not sure when or if they’ll be rolling out the all-red jerseys in 2018. And from what I could tell (at least in this space), some Falcons loved them, and some hated them. So, you’ll have to stay tuned.

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Mark from Statesville, NC

Totally agree with your all-time best Falcons team. Great picks! If Jamal Anderson’s knees held up, he’d be there.

Matt: Thanks, Mark. Next year I plan on releasing a much more thorough list – its own story. The list I put together here last week was one a question submitted here by Damian from Chicago, so I answered it. Jamal Anderson was certainly one of the more popular players to ever play in Atlanta, most notably for his “Dirty Bird” touchdown celebration. William Andrews was a lock and if anyone was going to supplant Warrick Dunn on my list, it was Devonta Freeman. Frankly, there were some tough decisions to make – and running back was one of them. The other positions that were more difficult to choose were along the offensive line and kicker.

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Kyle from Flowery Branch, GA

Is #MoneyMatt a Hall of Famer in your book, Beekster?

Matt: Hey there, Kyle. Speaking of the kicker … I’m glad you brought up kicker Matt Bryant. While Morten Andersen is already in the Hall of Fame as well as the Falcons Ring of Honor, there’s a very strong case for Bryant to eventually join him – in both places. Bryant owns several franchise records already and will likely own them all before he’s done. And who can forget clutch Bryant was in 2017? He made big kick after big kick last season – and we’re not talking about chip shots, either. But to answer your question, yes, I think if Bryant keeps it up there’s a very strong case for him to be wearing a gold jacket one day in Canton. Thanks for writing in!

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Chris from Atlanta, GA

Hey Beek. I loved your all-time Falcon list. I like the mixture of past and present, although Alex Mack is a great center for us, I was hoping to see long-time Falcons Todd McClure, Alge Crumpler and Ray Buchanan make the list. McClure did play center during the Michael Vick era and then some of Matty Ice’s era.

Matt: First, thanks for writing in. Glad you liked the list, although it’s totally cool to disagree (plenty of folks did on Twitter). Everyone’s got the right to their own opinion. Like I noted above, Chris, there were some tough calls and some great players were left off the list. That’s what happens when you’re only picking one center. Now some guys just pick offensive line when they’re putting together lists like that and can get away with picking two or three centers. I chose not to do that. McClure had a great run here in Atlanta, playing here for 13 seasons. That’s impressive. I still can’t see him supplanting Jeff Van Note or Alex Mack though.

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Frank from Chatsworth, GA

My question is, when is Jake Matthews going to start doing a better job at protecting the QB? He has not shown any improvement since he has been on the team. He moves like his feet are in a bucket of cement!

Matt: Totally disagree with you there, Frank. I think Matthews has improved and for as much criticism the Falcons offensive line receives, Pro Football Focus ranked them No. 2 in their offensive line rankings. And Matthews, in case you’re wondering, graded out with an 80.8 percent – which is above average. And here’s the thing with Matthews, I see him only getting better, which should make Falcons fans feel pretty good.

Mark from Marietta, GA

Hi Beek. Jake Matthews deserves credit for protecting Matt Ryan's blind side during his MVP year. The left tackle certainly has an upside. Wishing Pro Bowl recognition in 2018 and forward. Aside from the list, any comments on underrated Ricardo Allen? Thanks.

Matt: Thanks, Mark. Glad you liked my Jake Matthews pick, too! Like I said, I see him only getting better in the years to come. I think he’s a solid left tackle – and as you noted, that’s a crucial position in protecting the quarterback. Regarding Ricardo Allen, he’s perhaps one of my favorite players – and human beings – on this team. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, Allen is not a big guy back there – and does so much with what he has, especially the last three seasons. He’s a leader on the field and always gracious with his time off it. He’s a stand-up guy who’s always accountable, which is also something else I love about him.

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Jay from McDonough, GA

Hey, Beek. I love reading all your question-and-answer conversations. My question is, what do you think of starting Calvin Ridley at WR and using Mohamed Sanu in some of those tight end crucial catch situations?

Matt: Gary, thanks for reading. I need you to be more specific with this one, but the way I’m reading it is what do I think of starting Calvin Ridley at receiver in place of Mohamed Sanu, who will line up as a tight end. Am I right? I’d have to see the entire formation, bud. Why not just line up in a three- or four-receiver set? If you’re trying to put pressure on the defense by getting more receiving threats on the field, that should do it.

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Tevin from Colorado Springs, CO

What are your thoughts on the tight end position? If all goes well this year we should have defenses scrambling to contain Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. With that being said, I believe the TE position could benefit greatly due to lack of coverage available because of the aforementioned guys drawing all of the attention. I’ve felt ever since Tony Gonzalez retired we’ve lacked at explosive plays when it comes to our TE position. Once we get our hands on or develop a “new age” tight end, I believe our offense will be at 100 percent potency. Thoughts?

Matt: I totally agree with your logic here, Tevin. When you have that many weapons on the field at once, the defense really can’t overlook even one of the guys – and it’s up to the Falcons to make them pay if they do. When you stop and think about it, how many NFL teams will have that many legitimate weapons on offense in 2018? And yes, that should only benefit guys like Austin Hooper, Logan Paulsen and Eric Saubert.

? If all goes well this year we should have defenses scrambling to contain Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. With that being said, I believe the TE position could benefit greatly due to lack of coverage available because of the aforementioned guys drawing all of the attention. I’ve felt ever since Tony Gonzalez retired we’ve lacked at explosive plays when it comes to our TE position. Once we get our hands on or develop a “new age” tight end, I believe our offense will be at 100 percent potency. Thoughts?

Matt: I totally agree with your logic here, Tevin. When you have that many weapons on the field at once, the defense really can’t overlook even one of the guys – and it’s up to the Falcons to make them pay if they do. When you stop and think about it, how many NFL teams will have that many legitimate weapons on offense in 2018? And yes, that should only benefit guys like Austin Hooper, Logan Paulsen and Eric Saubert.

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