Straight from the Beek

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Questions about the Falcons’ window, playoff chances, NFL Draft, Dan Quinn, Saints, more 

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Welcome to Straight from the ’Beek! The Falcons will be hitting the road and heading to New Orleans for a monster showdown on Thanksgiving Day. In the meantime, you’ve got plenty of questions – so let’s get right to them. Just remember that all opinions here are mine unless otherwise noted.

And away we go.

Jay from Saunderstown, RI
Hey, Beek. My man, love your column, keep up the hard work and stay blessed. I am not going to ever bash our coach or QB, but can we agree on the fact that more responsibility needs to be taken from both of these guys? I know our defense is decimated but we have had six games literally come down to the wire and being in the league for 11 years I expect more out of our QB. I get it, when we win the praise is given to the team just like if we lose the postgame press conference is "We didn't execute." But in all honesty for $30 million a year I want to see Matt Ryan come out and flat out say, "I blew this game" and "this loss is on me." What I am trying to say I guess is how much longer do you see this current core's window being open for? Thanks a bunch, and God bless Beek.

Matt: Hey, Jay. Great to hear from you and thanks for the praise. Appreciate it a ton. The thing is, I have heard Matt Ryan be accountable, maybe just not the way (or using the words) that you’d prefer. But as far as keeping this core together, I’d have to say that three or four seasons seems realistic. So much can happen and change on a whim, though, in this league – as we’ve witnessed in 2018 with all of the injuries. But if everyone remains healthy (knock on wood), I think that’s realistic … but I’m also guessing. Let’s be up front about that, too. The truth is that this is also a year-to-year business for many players and coaches.

Tommie from Hephzibah, GA
Well Beek, the inevitable is now here. We just could not overcome our injuries. I mean that is all there is to it! I was very hard earlier this year on the entire offense, and boy did this team respond, so my hat is off to Sark and Matt and the gang, not perfect but well done!! We simply could not expect rookies who are still learning how to tackle consistently to protect the soft underbelly of our defense period! Add to this the sometimes slip-shod performances of Alford and Trufant! Well it is what it is. By the way, this probably is just where Drew Brees will crack open this clam! So let’s stop it with there is still hope. Did you see the Rams last night? Wow!!!!! Let’s get a good draft pick, get healthy and with a few tweaks here and there, the 2019 Falcons will have something to say about it all. Thanks, Beek.

Matt: Tommie, Tommie, Tommie. There is still hope. Did you watch any of the games this weekend and look recently at the NFL playoff picture? The battle for those two wild-card spots is going to be a crazy one. The Falcons’ season isn’t over. It’s not. That’s not hope; it’s a fact. Let’s see what happens in New Orleans. But you’re right in that there’s a lot to be excited about in terms of the future of this team.

Ricardo from Villa Rica, GA
You guys have to be kidding me if you think the Falcons are going to make the playoffs. And yes I am a fan too. If you watch the Falcons closely, the starting cornerbacks are garbage. When Patrick Peterson announced he wanted to be traded we should have been on the phone trying to make something happen by getting him and getting rid of one or both starting cornerbacks which are straight garbage. And yes the defensive line and linebacker core needs a lot of work too. If those issues aren’t addressed we will be having this conversation again.

Matt: Let’s be clear here: No one said or guaranteed the Falcons would make the playoffs here. The Falcons can still make the playoffs, though. That’s just a fact. Two weeks ago, everyone left the Cowboys and their coach for dead and now they’re suddenly eyeing an NFC East title. You just never know, Ricardo. Now, a lot depends on what happens in New Orleans on Thursday night. But if the Falcons win (and shock the NFL world, and you included), then there is a path for them. I won’t get into positions of need, etc., until the offseason.

Damon from Pikesville, MD
In key losses suffered to the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, Robert Alford gave up a touchdown in Cleveland and surrendered a critical catch that allowed the Cowboys a game-winning field goal. Will the Falcons be looking to upgrade his position in the future?

Matt: Hey, Damon. I think when you evaluate the Falcons defense this year, there are a lot of factors to consider (especially due to all of the injuries sustained). That said, the team will always look for ways to improve or upgrade at every single position during the offseason. They’ll also play the players who give them the best chance to succeed. They drafted cornerback Isaiah Oliver in the second round and he’s been thrown into the fire and had to learn a lot this season. But he has the physical tools and should only get better with each passing week.

Parker from Malad, ID
Hey Beek, I hate to jump straight into the draft talk but here it goes. Is there any chance or consideration in drafting Riley Ridley? I think it would be awesome to have the Ridley brothers playing on the same team like the Griffin brothers for the Seahawks. Thanks!

Matt: I never say never, but when it comes to the upcoming draft, the one position I’m fairly certain the Falcons will not address (at least early on) is receiver. The Falcons are loaded at that position and have greater needs elsewhere. We’re still a long ways from April, but I’m pretty certain that receiver will not be high up on the wish list for this team. If it were up to me, the draft board would be loaded with offensive and defensive linemen.

Charles from Atlanta, GA
Hi Matt! I enjoy and look forward to reading your column! I'm sure you scratch your head on many of my submissions, but this is an important part of my 'fandom'! An important word for all of our Falcons fans: tough year so far amid the huge expectations, Super Bowl being in Atlanta and the success of those dreaded Saints! Bad luck, bad circumstances and bad calls don't make a bad team! Fan support is needed now more than ever, I'm sure no one feels worse than the team of Quinn, Dimitroff and Blank, they've worked hard to give Atlanta the champion they deserve! Heck, the Saints fans endured three straight seasons of 7-9 and they stuck with them! So rise up! We have a great team that needs our support!

Matt: Thanks for writing in, Charles. I think a lot of Falcons fans feel the same you do, but just don’t feel like it’s necessary to write in – but I’m glad you did, and that’s why you’re appearing here today. Thanks for reading Straight from the ’Beek!

Cliff from Atlanta, GA
At what point do we ask the real question: Is Dan Quinn good enough coach to take us over the hump? It could be me but if the game is close one, I feel like we are going to do the same old, same old play back and watch the other team score. That is on the head coach.

Matt: To answer your question, yes. Dan Quinn is without a doubt good enough to take this Falcons team over the hump – and then some, Cliff. Stay patient.

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