How much of human life is lost in waiting. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
After two seconds of reflection, I can answer that great sage's question. In the case of we Falcons fans, it's been almost eight full months of waiting that has been lost, but with football returning today we can once again rejoice. I don't know about you, but I've found it increasingly difficult to wait. Even still, it seems hard to believe the games are here, even if they don't yet mean much beyond the confines of the Falcons' roster.
Without further ado, let's take a look at some notes in anticipation of today's game:
Matt Ryan will be starting. Each quarterback on the roster is expected to get a quarter, which will give D.J. Shockley and John Parker Wilson a chance to prove they belong before the axe falls.
- The Lions will be trotting out Daunte Culpepper, who will attempt to fend off rookie Matthew Stafford out of Georgia. Stafford has a ton of talent and is this year's best bet to provide value, but the team wisely isn't giving him anything.
- Robert Ferguson is being given a real chance to contend for the slot job, and he appears to have all but sunk Marty Booker's chances of sticking there already. While Mike Smith has nice things to say, I can't help but wonder if a guy who has never shown consistent success in the NFL can or should jump into a role as important as the slot based on a month or so of practice. Here's another opportunity for the coaching staff to instill faith in the fans, I guess.
- There's still plenty of discussion about who will be getting that spot opposite Chris Houston in the secondary, as is the case at the AJC's Bird Cage blog. Based on everything I've seen and heard, it's going to be Brent Grimes, who has been playing like there's a fire burning in his helmet. That would likely leave Chevis Jackson in a nickel role, where he can hopefully flash those ballhawking skills once more.
- Here's what I'll be looking for today, personally. Outside of Jon Babineaux, Peria Jerry and Trey Lewis, the Falcons have a mix of largely unproven or untested guys competing for spots in the middle of the defensive line. I want to see if a guy like Tommy Jackson, who judging by his last name and size is somehow related to Grady, can step up and ease some concerns about the depth there. I'll also be looking to see who steps up in the race for wide receiver roster spots and punt return time.
Enjoy the game!