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Saturday Pre-Game Notes: Tackling The Carolina Panthers

Our first division rival of the season is up this weekend, and I'll be darned if we don't stand a pretty good chance of walking away with a win.

After a sweet and filling victory over the Dolphins last week, the Falcons return to the business of ensuring their spot at the top of the NFC South standings stays secure throughout the season. The Panthers are likely to put up a good fight on the rebound of a brutal loss against the Eagles, so the Falcons can't afford to take them lightly. Not that they would.

In fact, that might be what I like best about these Falcons. They're not so confident in their own ability that they're willing to overlook anyone or anything on their way, so you almost always see four quarters of rugged, aggressive football played. We can quibble with the plays called—and lord knows I've done so—but the end result is an effort you can feel good about no matter what the final score is. I'll expect nothing less than that Sunday, and honestly I expect a lot more than that. What can I say? Success has already gone to my head.

Enough of my rambling. Let's hit the bullet points, people!

  • Jake Delhomme's struggles have been well-documented here, at Cat Scratch Reader, in Redbook, and on several other planets outside our own solar system. That doesn't mean the Falcons are going to sit back there, hands in the hair, hoping one of his errant passes heads their way. They're also not stupid enough to believe the Panthers are going to put this game entirely in his hands. Expect Trey Lewis and Thomas Johnson to get a few more snaps this week to slow down the running game, but John Abraham should be in the backfield plenty to destroy Delhomme's chances of doing any damage.
  • Alright, I'm putting out the call right now. If Kroy Biermann is going to continue to play well—and frankly, why wouldn't he?—we need a better nickname than Beerman. My own lame choice is Duff Man, but I'm sure you can do better. Wax poetic in the comments while you read this little AJC feature.
  • Gonna love seeing those throwbacks uniforms. Those attending the game, please bring back some quality photos to share with the rest of us.
  • Tony Gonzalez and the zen of tight end repair. Short story here: I received a copy of Tony Gonzalez's All-Pro Diet book and have been attempting, off and on, to follow it. Great workout, very healthy diet and plenty of pictures of Tony staring at you like you're the most worthless, pasty blogger he's ever seen in his life. It's really quite motivating. Motivation is something that Gonzalez, who could easily lead the team in touchdowns and catches this year, never lacks.
  • Speaking of Cat Scratch Reader, Jaxon Ryan Basen writes that the Panthers-Falcons rivalry just ain't all that compelling. I'll agree that history is the biggest factor in a good rivalry, which is why ours with the Saints should probably be higher on his list, but he may yet turn to a thoroughly invigorating bitterness and rage with a little help from our Birds.