Wednesday, Oct. 8 – Jason to Daniel
Three wins. I did not see a preseason publication that predicted the Falcons win total at any number higher than four. I'm not saying that these young birds are going to win the Super Bowl, but going into Week Six of the NFL season with a 3-2 record is pretty incredible.
Apparently the odds-makers in Vegas agree with me because, including this week's game at home against the Bears, the Falcons have been underdogs against-the-spread in five of their first six games.
Through five games, Atlanta's Michael Turner is leading the NFL in rushing yards, John Abraham is the NFL leader in sacks, Roddy White is third in the league in receiving yards, and rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan, looks more like Peyton Manning in his fifth year than a first-year quarterback.
With these individual achievements has come some recognition that the Falcons haven't had in a while, national critics are starting to take notice—check out the ESPN Power Rankings where the Falcons have gone from No. 32 in week one to No. 20 in the current Week Six scale, and Pat Yasinskas (ESPN.com's resident NFC South expert) has gone from saying, "The Falcons are throwing rookie QB Matt Ryan into the fire. He'll need a lot of help from the defense," (in Week One) to, "Matt Ryan won at Lambeau Field. That means he can win anywhere" (in Week Six).
Come on Pat! Get on the Falcons' bandwagon that Matty Ice is driving for us!
Oh, and R & R doesn't stand for Rest & Relaxation in Atlanta any more. It represents the next great quarterback/wide receiver tandem in the NFL...Ryan to Roddy, get you some R & R!
Wednesday, Oct. 8 – Daniel to Jason
R&R—I love it! I think we just found the Ryan to White nickname. I may have to use that one.
I just heard that the Dome is sold-out for Sunday's game against the Bears. That's really nice news and in this post-Vick era (and in light of last season's debacle) something that I don't think was expected so quickly.
This game is starting to feel like one of real importance. If last week's win, on the road, against the Packers established Atlanta as relevant, a win over the Bears, making the Falcons 4-2, would catapult the birds up everybody's "Power Rankings" and get more folks talking about them.
It is still early, but if you peek ahead, this is what's coming up: A bye in Week Seven (which will be needed after what is expected to be a tough game with Chicago), a tough, yet winnable game (especially if the health of Westbrook remains in question) in Philly, at Oakland, home versus the Saints, home versus the Broncos (a tough game if the secondary remains in the shape it's in—speaking of the secondary, where is Foxworth?), home versus the Panthers, and at San Diego.
It's still a tough schedule, but I think it could be manageable. After the game at the Chargers, three-quarters of the season will be over. Beat the Bears at home Sunday, and split those next six games and the Falcons are sitting at 7-5, which is beyond respectable.
Regardless of what happens, I think it's safe to say that this season, the Falcons exceed expectations and are a team on the rise. Smith and Dimitroff provide a bright future for the Falcons community.
We've come a long way in a year.
Wednesday, Oct. 8 – Jason to Daniel
R&R it is. It would be cool to get a shirt with one of those old railroad crossing signs and come up with a cool emblem for them. I'll let you work on that, since I came up with the nickname.
Hopefully the Falcons can use reverse-karma to find astrological strength in the fact that they avoided a (local television) blackout because blackouts haven't had much success in Georgia lately.
My Falcons' season tickets were $250 each, and a single upper-level end-zone ticket for the Bears game this weekend were going for more than three times the $25 face value. If only I didn't love the dirty birds as much as I do …
D. Orlando Ledbetter at the local Atlanta Journal-Constitution answers your question regarding Domonique Foxworth's whereabouts. Apparently Foxworth is mentoring our young cornerbacks instead of getting on the field, and he's not exactly pleased with the situation either.
It has to be tough for him, but the system is completely different than the scheme he was used to in Denver—and the Falcons did acquire him a mere five days before the beginning of the season.
However, I expect him to be in the lineup and contributing if the Falcons are going to have any chance of slowing down Philly, New Orleans (twice), Denver, or Carolina's passing attacks.
Did you know that Domonique was born in Oxford, England? That's a sweet little nugget of info for you to drop when he does get in the game. I was thinking of saying, "He looks cheeky" or "It's about bloody time" when they do start playing him.
If Dimitroff ran for president with Coach Smitty as his VP running mate, I would gladly blaze the campaign trail with them. Another good t-shirt idea for you.
Friday, Oct. 10 – Daniel to Jason
Okay, let me start by saying I'm going to need help setting up down at the gulch when I print the R&R shirts. So maybe you can help out with at least that.
Did you notice the line of Sunday's game is only two-and-a-half points in favor of the Bears? Something seems off about that. Now, I know the home team get a few points just for playing at home, and I'm certainly not much of a betting man (I did win last year's squares game at the Super Bowl though) but I feel like Vegas knows something we don't.
I hope you enjoy your upper-level seats. I'll enjoy the game from the comfort of my couch. The season tickets are incredibly inexpensive (hopefully they'll stay that way for a while—though I doubt it, and I probably missed my second window of opportunity to purchase tickets without a waiting list), but it's just not something I can swing right now—the newborn son thing and all.
I trust Coach Smith's judgment (Dimitroff/Smith ticket is what I may write in on Election Day), but this Foxworth thing is still curious to me. I hear what they're saying about familiarity with the system, but he's a third-year player (a veteran in the NFL's book), you'd think he'd have familiarized himself by now.
He played well in Denver and you can't help but think he'd offer that young secondary some help if he actually found his way onto the field. The plays that Grimes is giving up are starting to make me nervous.
Roddy White is currently listed as questionable for the game. I guess he ran into Milloy with his head at practice on Wednesday. Laurent Robinson is doubtful. If both of those players are not in the game Sunday, I feel doubtful about the Falcons' chances.