Usually Wednesday is the busiest day of the week for me up here. It's one day of the week when Michael Turner, Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez talk, plus it's the day when you do conference calls with the opposing team's coach and a player. Obviously, with this being the bye week, there were no conference calls today and the whole pace of things was much slower.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore, who rushed for 207 yards in Week 2 against Seattle, is going to be out for three weeks with an ankle strain. On that timetable, it seems pretty certain that Gore will miss the Falcons' game on Oct. 11. Wes Welker, the NFL's leading pass receiver over the last two seasons, missed Sunday's game but that did not appear to affect the Patriots very much in their 26-10 win over the Falcons. Do you think Gore means more to the 49ers than Welker does to the Falcons? Probably so.
With Gore out, it seems as if Glen Coffee, the rookie from Alabama, will take over. (Maybe he'll have a nice reunion with the Falcons' John Parker Wilson.) Coffee rushed for 54 yards on 25 carries last week against a Vikings defense that ranks fourth in the NFL in total defense.
I asked Falcons starting free safety Thomas DeCoud, who had five solo tackles last week, about what it could mean playing San Francisco without Gore. He mostly deflected the question, saying that everyone on the field is a professional football player. True, especially for those who saw Coffee play at Alabama (I'm guessing there are a few Georgia fans who remember that game from last year).
I'm thinking about how the Dallas Cowboys have stockpiled running backs the last few years with Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Maybe the Niners have a similar situation with Coffee. What do you think?
Speaking of injured running backs, it looks like Jerious Norwood (concussion) definitely will be back for the 49ers game. In Norwood's absence, Jason Snelling has been impressive. So has Eric Weems in Norwood's kickoff returner role. If you were Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith or Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey, how much would you continue to keep Snelling in the game plan? And would you allow Weems to keep returning kickoffs? I wrote a separate notebook today about how Weems' 27.0 yards per kickoff return ranks fifth in the NFL among those with six attempts or more. Not bad, especially considering his long is only 41 yards.