Straight from the 'Beek

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Questions about the Falcons' win over the Giants, trade deadline moves, rejuvenated D, Ricky Ortiz


Welcome to Straight from the 'Beek! The Falcons are heading into their bye week on a two-game winning streak thanks to a much-needed 23-20 win over the New York Giants on "Monday Night Football." In the meantime, you still have lots of questions and comments so let's get to them. Just remember that all opinions here are mine unless otherwise noted.

And away we go.

Gregory from Louisville, KY
Hey, Beek. Good win for the Falcons against the Giants and we welcome a much-needed bye week! Will the Falcons make any moves prior to the trade deadline?

Matt: Hey, Gregory. I never say never to anything in the NFL, but I just don't see the Falcons making any sort of trade right now with the Oct. 30 deadline approaching. As most of you probably know by now, the Cowboys sent a first-round pick to the Raiders on Monday for receiver Amari Cooper – and there are several players rumored to be moved in the coming days. However, I don't think the Falcons will be in the mix for any of them, mainly because a major move would require a corresponding move and would have salary cap implications. That's significant for a team that has said it would like to re-sign a number of key players they believe are core players to build around. The Falcons have experienced a number of injuries, including season-ending ones to Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen. Devonta Freeman and Deion Jones are injured reserve, too. And just in case you are wondering … Two safeties that have been rumored to moved are the Raiders' Karl Joseph and the Cardinals' Deone Bucannon.

André from Fort Valley, GA
My question for today is, does the Falcons' coaching staff actually read SFTB?! Ha-Ha. OK, it's more of a rhetorical remark rather than a realistic question, but I'm just in disbelief of the improvement. It's as if they listened and worked on everything we've been discussing here on SFTB this past week. The defense bent a little but showed consistency playing with the same energy all four quarters, so that's all that matters right now. Down here where I'm from it's a bit of a saying that Atlanta goes into the locker rooms at halftime thinking they've won the championship game, pops champagne and comes back out laying down. So it's just really good to see four quarters of hunger and I will be sporting my Super Bowl edition jersey today to gloat (the irony). Thanks again for providing us with this space, 'Beek.' #KeepThatSameEnergy

Matt: Haha! You know, André, I've had some coaches actually tell me they read SFTB, including Dan Quinn once last year. I think some of them like to know what the fans are thinking sometimes, ya know? Anyway, you could tell the defense benefitted from having Grady Jarrett and Derrick Shelby back in the lineup. Jarrett ended up with two first-half sacks and brought a ton of energy to the defensive front. The Falcons have won two in a row now – both must-wins, in my opinion – and now have back-to-back road games coming up against the Redskins and Browns before returning home to face the Cowboys in Week 10. I believe they need to win all three of those, too. That three-game skid early on in the season really hurt, but they're slowly climbing out of that hole. There's still a lot of work to do, but winning heading into the bye week has got to feel good for this team – not to mention having some time to heal.

Craig from Fort Lauderdale, FL
Hi, Beek. Still loving what you do with and for the fans of this team. I have a question/comment, I suppose. I watched the game last night in its entirety as I have for over 40 years now as a die-hard fan. While I am glad we got a win, the amount of yards that we gave up in the passing game on the way to getting it wasn't pretty. I know the Giants have one of the best receivers in the game in OBJ, but we made Eli look like his brother with those yards given up. My first question is, do you think that if we are going to stay with what we have in the secondary and not go after someone before the trade deadline that the offense should start taking more chances like Philly does? What I mean by that is if you can count on the defense giving up 24-30 points per game then we need to go more on fourth-and-under 5 when we are at or near the 50. If you take that mentality, then on a third-and-short you basically know that you have two plays to pick it up. With so many offensive weapons we should flip the old say to the best Defense is a good Offense. I know you give the other team a shorter field if you don't make it, but we are giving up the big plays most of the time anyway and I have more confidence in the offense than the defense right now. That said, the run stopping was much improved getting Shelby and Jarrett back. Second question is that while like you said we could have one a lot more games and have a very different record with a play or two, we could also be without that Carolina and Tampa win with a play of two on their side. Our offense is built to win now so why not pick up someone in the secondary before the deadline to help the defense compete now? The Raiders seem to be in a dealing mood so why not Joseph, and Patrick Peterson wants out of Arizona so why not test the waters? I know you have salary cap to deal with, but Thomas Dimitroff is a smart GM and can figure that out – I'm sure if it means bringing in someone now to win now. Even if we make it past these next three winnable games, after that I am afraid without some secondary help it will all be for nothing. Thanks for the sounding board.

Matt: Thanks for being a loyal reader, Craig. As I noted above, I just don't see the Falcons being a major player in any of the possible trade discussions for some of the players reportedly being shopped around – including Patrick Peterson and Karl Joseph. I think most Falcons fans would absolutely love seeing the Falcons make a move right now for either one of those players, especially Peterson because he's such a dynamic player. But the Falcons believe in their approach and will stick to it. And why not? They've been to the postseason the last two years and their playoffs hopes for this year are still alive. We all saw what having Grady Jarrett back meant for this defense on Monday night. Well, Deion Jones is expected to make his return, too, in the coming weeks – and that will be another shot in the arm for this team. If they can eek out three more wins and head into New Orleans with a 6-4 record, then everyone will be talking about what an amazing turnaround. And it would be. And it's possible.   

Abraham from Atlanta, GA
Hello, Matt. I download the Falcons app and saw Straight from the Beek and thought, wow. Thanks for allowing us fan to have a voice. I like how our defense answered this week's test on containing a dynamic running back and one of the best receivers in the league. My only gripe is with Robert Alford. I watched him for a few games this season, I noticed who many penalties and/or big yardage he has giving up. Alford is a physical corner, however appears he does not trust his speed. Do you think it's due to him covering a Julio Jones in practice? Or maybe not having Ricardo Allen there for help over the top? My question is, do we use our first pick on a defensive back or on the offensive line?

Matt: Abraham, you get an additional star since you mentioned downloading the app AND reading SFTB! An NFL Draft question, eh? I love it. I'd really like to see the Falcons bolster the defensive line – either at tackle or with an edge rusher – early in the coming draft. Early, as in the first round. Yes the Falcons tallied four first-half sacks on Monday night, which is fantastic, but it was against one of the worst offensive lines in the league, too. Eli Manning has been sacked 24 times now – only three teams have given up more sacks (Browns, 49ers and Bills). I was concerned when the Falcons lost Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn during the offseason because those two players were major contributors on a top-10 unit in 2017. Yes, they drafted Deadrin Senat and signed Terrell McClain, but the defense has struggled this year (largely due to injuries). The Falcons need more guys who can wreak havoc in the trenches, in my opinion. Those guys affect offenses and help win championships. Second on my list would be offensive line and third would be the secondary, specifically cornerback. You can't have enough solid cover guys in this pass-happy league. Thanks for reading and for the question, too.

Travis from Kaiserslautern, Germany
Beek! Good win. Who is the Falcons fullback, Ricky Ortiz? He was the player of the game. He brought some attitude and nastiness for a couple of series. I never heard of him or never seen him play (I do not get to watch all games). The first play I noticed, he came into the game and was hit late on a run in the first (or second) quarter and he jumped up ready to mix it up. The second play that I noticed was a catch, where he did not get the first down, but he got it to third-and-1 with just his hard nose running after the catch. Do you think we should use a fullback more as we did a couple of years ago with Patrick DiMarco? Thanks.

Matt: Hey, Travis! Finally … someone who appreciates some hard-nosed fullback play. Yes, Ricky Ortiz won the job in the preseason, beating out two undrafted rookie free agents in Luke McNitt and Daniel Marx. Against the Giants, Ortiz had a couple of catches for 7 yards but he's here primarily to block and pass protect in certain formations. I would not put him in the same category as Patrick DiMarco, though. Not yet anyway. For now I'd just like to see the Falcons get more production out of the running game – they've only had one runner surpass the 100-yard mark once all season long.

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