So much happens during an NFL season that it's easy for things to be overlooked or forgotten about. Often, fans have questions about some of the finer details about the team, or players who looked promising but aren't being seen on the field on Sundays. Well, we've gathered some of the more common questions you guys have asked, and have provided some answers here - as best we can tell, anyways.
What's going on with Justin Hardy?
The rookie fourth round pick, who many thought would jump in and immediately contribute, has been inactive every Sunday so far. He's not hurt, so he is a healthy scratch. For those that don't know, NFL teams are required to keep 7 players inactive on game day. The rule is in place to create a "fair" competition between rosters in case a team has several injured players.
So, why has Hardy been inactive every week, while Nick Williams is getting playing time? It's pretty simple: Hardy just isn't ready yet. It's important not to make more out of this than what it is. Most young wide receivers need time to learn the complexities of an NFL playbook and to adjust to the faster pace of the NFL game. There's a good chance we'll see Hardy active sometime this season, though his real contributions will likely come in 2016 and beyond.
What's the story with Jake Long?
Former All-Pro offensive tackle Jake Long was signed after the first game of the season on a one-year deal worth about 1.5M. While that would be a substantial sum for all of us, that is really backup money in the NFL. Long as been inactive each week and coach Quinn has said that he and Bryce Harris are in competition for the primary swing-tackle position. I would expect Long to be active within the next few weeks.
With Jake Matthews playing very well, and right tackle Ryan Schraeder with him, the reality is the Falcons can let Long fully heal from his ACL surgery of a year ago. Should anything happen to Matthews or Schraeder, it's good to know we have a former All-Pro waiting in the wings. But as it stands now, Long is really on the team as an insurance policy.
When will Hester be back?
As we reported on the 6th, Hester has been put on short-term IR with a turf toe injury. While the name of the injury doesn't sound so bad, it's a pretty concerning one. This particular injury can only be healed with rest and it is an injury that has ended the careers of other football players. Per the rules of short-term IR, Hester can't return to the active roster for 8 weeks, which would likely mean the December 8th game against the Bucs. Of course, that's assuming he is fully healthy. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Will the Falcons trade Roddy?
All of this talk started when Roddy expressed some frustration with his low number of receptions this season. To be honest, much of this seems overblown and Roddy even walked back his comments a bit. Dan Quinn has said repeatedly that they value Roddy highly. There's also this reality: he just doesn't have a lot of trade value. He'll be 34 in November and it's clear he's not the receiver he once was.
While Roddy's spot on the 2016 roster is anything but guaranteed, it would be highly shocking if Roddy didn't finish this year as an Atlanta Falcon.
Who will be the starter when Tevin Coleman returns?
After two games and 6 TDs, Devonta Freeman quickly reminded everyone why there was a RB battle to begin with. So what does that mean for Coleman, who was also looking pretty good before he was injured? At this point, Freeman will likely remain the "starter", but I fully expect that we'll see him and Coleman split reps almost evenly. Neither back is going to get 30 carries going forward, so you can expect that each will garner between 12 to 15 carries depending on game situations.
Regardless, it's nice to even have to answer this question.
What's the issue with Jalen Collins?
Atlanta fans may be a bit spoiled with how quickly Desmond Trufant emerged as a good corner in this league. The reality is that the Falcons drafted Collins knowing full well that he is a very raw prospect with incredible athletic traits. There was zero expectation in camp that Collins would be a starter this year, and while fans are eager to see a contribution from the 2015 2nd round pick, that isn't likely to happen until 2016 and beyond. Truthfully, cornerback is a position that normally requires 2 to 3 years of development before guys can play at a high level. Though it's difficult, Falcons fans need to be patient with Collins development. It may take some time before he's ready to be an every-Sunday contributor.
Are there any other questions you have seen that you haven't see a good answer for?