After tlozwarlock capably filled in on his birthday, which is just about the worst present I could've gotten him, I'm back to handle the news and notes this weekend. Try to contain your excitement.
The Falcons handled their business against the Chicago Bears last week, but the pundits are still searching for a a beatdown of a so-called "elite" team. I guess that means if we beat the Cowboys this week—a quality team with some struggles who have been largely ignored this year—and lose to the Saints, we're the worst 5-2 team in football. Argh. The only thing the Falcons can do is keep handling their business, oblivious to the outside world, and force that opinion to change. Fortunately, they're pretty good at that.
The key against the Cowboys will be stopping that potentially devastating trio of running backs. Marion Barber is a powerful back, Felix Jones is shifty as all get out, and Tashard Choice balances them out well. There may not be a better 1-3 set of backs in the entire league, so the Falcons' newly revitalized run defense is going to have their hands full. If we can slow them down or stop them completely, my hope is that our defense can then force a few mistakes and let the offense work its scoring magic. It's certainly within the realm of possibility, and I'll have my fingers firmly crossed all day Sunday.
Of course, on the offensive side of things, it'd be nice to see everyone clicking and put up some major points. The Cowboys can flat-out score when they're on, and we're going to need to have the offense going strong against them and the next week against the New Orleans Saints.
But enough of my thoughts. Let's jump into the links, shall we?
- It's always good to see your coach getting his due. When he gets it from a non-hometown source like this one, so much the better. It's really impossible to overstate how much Smith's arrival in Atlanta has meant to this team. I still remember when the ball was rolling on the hiring process and I pleaded that Arthur Blank & Co. choose someone who wasn't necessarily a big name but a successful coach. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but Mike Smith was that choice.
- Ovie Mughelli is questionable again. If Mughelli, who didn't practice all week, isn't ready to roll on Sunday, the Falcons would presumably roll on with Jason Snelling at fullback again and ask Michael Turner to carry the load. Turner is banged up, of course, and the only other running back on the roster is Verron Haynes, who isn't exactly a game-changer. This isn't the world's greatest news all the way around, but a good day from Turner could go an awfully long way.
- With Brian Williams out, the cornerbacking corps remains one of this week's most interesting stories. With Mike Smith hinting that Tye Hill could be active for the first time this season, we might get a glimpse of the former first round pick, according to The Times and Democrat. Whoever ends up getting the most play out there, I just hope they don't make us want to blind ourselves.
- Expect to hear an awful lot about Keith Brooking playing his old time, as this article aptly demonstrates. I love Brooking and he's very likely to be honored by the team after he retires, but for this week at least, I hope he's mighty disappointed.
- Unfortunately for us, the Cowboys look awfully healthy coming into this week.
- Remember all those discussions of putting a new Falcons' stadium in Doraville? Yeah....about that.