I think it's safe to say that based on the events of the offseason and current season, no blog is more appropriately named than The Falcoholic. While the Atlanta Falcon's season has been ugly, Dave the Falconer was so kind as to answer some of my questions heading into this Sunday's game against your San Francisco 49ers. Head on over to The Falcoholic when you get a chance as I also answered five questions for him.
NN: How come we don't see more of Jerious Norwood each week? It seems like he's always making big plays, but he doesn't seem to build on his playing time.
Dave the Falconer: Norwood's absence is a continued sticking point for any Falcons fan with an ounce of common sense. Warrick Dunn keeps starting though he's been virtually ineffective all year. I can't explain the coaching staff's stubbornness here, but I would hope they would wise up and put Norwood in. Look for him to get about 10-15 carries against you guys next week, but there'll still be a healthy dose of Dunn's dynamic 2 yards per carry.
NN: What's up with DeAngelo Hall and everything I hear in the media?
Dave the Falconer: Hall is making himself persona non grata in Atlanta very quickly. After whining about the coaching staff, whining about the younger players and whining about Grady Jackson being cut, it's pretty clear he's not coming back next year. He possesses all the skills to be a truly elite cornerback. One of these days he might actually end up being one, though I seriously doubt he'll come back to the Falcons next year. But first he needs to learn to shut his mouth and do his job, something that's definitely escaped him so far in his young career. When he complains he's being misrepresented in the media, don't believe a word of it: he means everything he says.
NN: It's obviously been a tough season, but what would be something Falcons are seeing that gets them excited about the future? Or are they just depressed and prefer to bury their heads in the sand for now?
Dave the Falconer: The Falcons have to like what they're seeing out of young receivers Roddy White and Laurent Robinson, who look like the future 1-2 punch at the position. Justin Blalock looks like an anchor at guard for years to come, providing some hope that the next QB we draft won't end up on his ass every five minutes. On defense, we have a lot of talent, some of it still growing. Michael Boley is one of the best linebackers in the league (definitely the best nobody's heard of) and sixth round pick Trey Lewis, who will line up at nose tackle against you guys on Sunday. While it's safe to say the Falcons need to rebuild on offense, some smart drafts and a couple of good trades have made the defense solid with a chance of improving quite a bit.
NN: Who should the 49ers fear the most on the Falcons offensively and defensively?
Dave the Falconer: The 49ers should fear Roddy White more than anyone, as he's really come into his own this season at receiver. He's always had excellent speed and good instincts, but he also learned how to catch the ball this year. As a fan of the team which currently employs Ashley Lelie, I don't have to tell you how important the ability to catch really is. I think you guys have a capable secondary, but White has been good enough this year to command their respect.
On the defensive end, it's unquestionably Michael Boley. The stud outside linebacker makes tackles in bunches, plays the run and the pass equally well, and has a knack for authoring at least one big play a game. If anyone's going to change the game on D, I'm reasonably confident it's going to be Boley.
NN: 5. Do you see Byron Leftwich potentially being a long term answer or are they clearly going to try and get Brian Brohm or Andre Woodson for Petrino?
Dave the Falconer: I don't think a single person in the organization really believes Leftwich is a long term answer. With the season going as poorly as it has been, I can't see the draft going by without the Falcons getting a project quarterback. If it's someone like Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm (a Petrino favorite from his days at Louisville), or Andre Woodson, the Falcons may only ask Leftwich to start for a short time. My guess is that they re-sign him as a backup, but he'd have to show some pretty impressive stuff in the second half of the season to win the job over the long haul.
Thanks against to Dave and make sure and check out The Falcoholic in preparation for the Sunday showdown.