Three weeks of the season have come and gone, and while we're a glum bunch because of the 1-2 record, there have been some stellar performances for the Falcons this season. Let's look at them now.
QB Matt Ryan: Yeah, you'd like to see Ryan be a little more aggressive and avoid throwing the ball out of bounds, but he's having a fantastic year. Through three games, he's at a 68.1% completion percentage with 909 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. All this despite a limited top receiver, a ghostly version of Tony Gonzalez and a line that is affording him less time before getting smashed than the Large Hadron Collider.
My point is, he's been stellar despite everything working against him. That's been a comfort. Now if we can just make this happen:
#Falcons OC Dirk Koetter said "We need to have more vertical shots in our game. That’s something that we are probably lacking right now."— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) September 25, 2013
WR Julio Jones: Through three games, he has 27 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns. That's an average of about 9 catches and 124 yards per game, which is absurd production. Finally the clear #1 option in this passing game, Jones is responding by putting up the otherworldly numbers we all knew he could, and he should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Worth every penny.
RG Garrett Reynolds: The only Falcons lineman with a positive grade from Pro Football Focus all three weeks, albeit at times only a tick over. Reynolds has been a rock for a line that has struggled with injuries, ineffectiveness and penalties. It's not a ringing endorsement, I'll grant you, but I'm grateful someone has been good.
DE Osi Umenyiora: Remember when we were all told that Osi was washed up? Lies.
So far, Umenyiora has put up two sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass deflections and an interception returned for a touchdown in just three games. He looks rejuvenated and active in Mike Nolan's system, and if he continues at this pace we may finally be able to let go of the immortal John Abraham.
DT Corey Peters: Peters has quietly been one of the most effective run-stoppers in the NFL and has added a sack. As always, he's an underrated player who will be vital to the success of this front seven in 2013.
CB Desmond Trufant: I could grab a lot of young defenders for praise here, but Trufant has to be at the top of the list. He endured a lot of questions about his readiness and calls for Robert Alford in preseason, but all he's done since then is show the promise of a future shutdown cornerback while handling some real receiving threats outside. He's a keeper.
Your picks for the best Falcons of 2013?