It's about time we developed one of these. Going forward, we expect to have this mailbag series running every week on either Wednesday or Thursday. Start coming up with questions now.
Dave and I will be asking for your questions on Twitter, but if you aren't big on tweeting (in which case I don't know what you do with your life), feel free to shoot us inquiries on the message boards as well.
Let's get started with our first round of mailbag questions.
Let's face it, Matt Ryan is going to be around forever. His arm strength is subpar, and he doesn't even have a Super Bowl ring. It's probably time to start planning for a change. Michael Vick is a familiar face in Atlanta, and everyone absolutely loves him here. Plus, a lot of fans still wear his jersey. It will be like he never left.
It's all a part of their ongoing effort to eliminate concussions. When players see their heads bobbing all over the place on a little statue, that brings back painful memories from past injuries. And then they get dizzy from watching their bobblehead and thinking about concussions and then they accidentally run straight into a wall. Boom, another concussion. The NFL isn't taking that risk.
As we mentioned above, now is the time to look to replace Ryan. Sean Renfree is obviously a genius since he went to Duke, and he's winning the age battle. Anything is possible.
All joking aside, though, Renfree is battling for the No. 3 spot behind Dominique Davis. Seth Doege is his primary competition. Renfree has good size and a familiarity with a pro-style system after playing for David Cutcliffe. Remember when the Falcons drafted him? Mike Mayock was in love. Don't focus on the college stats, especially coming from the Blue Devils program. Renfree could eventually become Ryan's backup.
Realistically? No. Good enough at times? Probably. Swapping John Abraham with Osi Umenyiora doesn't change much on the right end. Kroy Biermann will be a solid contributor again. Jonathan Babineaux can generate pressure up the middle. But can the Falcons depend on the young guys to step up?
Where does Jonathan Massaquoi fit in? His pass-rushing prestige coming out of Troy was heavily discussed. If Mike Nolan can utilize him on the edge and continue to groom Cliff Matthews, we could see an upgrade from last year's somewhat underwhelming display. The rookies Atlanta drafted are nice additions, but don't look to them to breakout in their first season.
Everyone wants to see Brian Banks succeed. It's just a natural desire to watch his story grow to even greater heights. While his position on the 53-man roster, theoretically assuming he makes the cut, won't be huge, he has the opportunity to move up.
Sean Weatherspoon, Stephen Nicholas, Akeem Dent and Robert James fill up the top of the linebacker depth chart. It's cloudy beyond these four. Banks is competing against Joplo Bartu, Nick Clancy, Pat Schiller and Paul Worrilow. Schiller is the only player in the group with any NFL experience, and his most important role last year was sitting in the background of D-Block with his shades on.
I haven't seen Banks in action, so I'm not ready to declare him as the leader of the pack for the fifth linebacker spot. Most reports speak highly of his work ethic and determination. If he can prove himself in training camp, there's potential to grow. The linebacking corps isn't outstanding in Atlanta. Banks could contribute on special teams and work his way into situational use, at least starting out.
Finally, Beardsley Hammerstorm, who is definitely not Dave Choate nope he isn't, wrote in to ask:
"What kind of numbers should we expect from Julio Jones, with an expanded route tree this year?"
Well, Beardsley, it's safe to say Julio Jones is on pace for another impressive campaign. He finished with double-digit touchdowns last season, and he easily would've broke into that territory as a rookie if not for nagging injuries.
Jones finished with 79 receptions on 129 targets in 2012. Roddy White will still control a heavy amount of looks from Ryan, and Jones isn't a first-down machine like his veteran counterpart. But we should expect No. 11 to break into the 80-catch territory. If he and White continue to pull even, 90 receptions isn't out of the question. His ability to break off yards after the catch also puts him above the 15-yard average per reception.
Sound off with your thoughts/questions.