The game I was looking most forward to before the season is now one I’m actively dreading, given how the Falcons and Saints seasons have gone. There’s no time like the present for a surprise, but can Atlanta manage it?
Per most of our articles yesterday and simple common sense, probably not. Don’t let that stop you from biting into some fresh, hot links this morning.
Why Raheem Morris hopped the (de)fence
Raheem Morris had been a defensive coach his entire career until Dan Quinn surprisingly moved him to work with the wide receivers in 2016. This past week, Quinn finally moved his longtime friend and former player back to his natural side of the ball, in the hopes that a coach known as an effective communicator would be able to get more out of the secondary.
Was that the main reason, or was there more to it? Our Evan Birchfield combed through DQ’s Wednesday press conference remarks to The Falcoholic’s Jeanna Thomas and other reporters and came away with a slightly more complex picture, though only slightly moreso.
It’s also interesting that Arthur Blank appeared to be on board with the shuffling, which suggests again that he’s trying to avoid firing Quinn if at all possible. As I noted in my editorial yesterday, this Falcons-Saints game has the potential to be Quinn’s final ride, because a blowout here after a bye week and some shuffling would make it beyond clear that we’re not heading for anything better at 1-8.
Will the move make a big difference for the defense? I guess it had better.
What is Keanu Neal’s value?
Keanu Neal was one of the bright young stars of this Falcons defense just two years ago. Following his second straight season-ending injury, which is as brutal and unfair as you can possibly imagine, is that still the case?
Our James Rael took a closer look at what Neal means to the team at the moment, what his future might be, and how we unfortunately can’t talk about either without talking about what injury has done to a player we all loved to watch and hope to love to watch again.
How do the Falcons and Saints stack up?
It’s not surprising that the Saints, who love to hate the Falcons, are also making a show of showing respect to them this week. They know the history of this particular rivalry well.
That said, do the Falcons look like they stand a chance on paper? Dear reader, they do not. Kevin Knight went deep on the matchup, as he so often does, while David Walker looked more closely at the Falcons defense versus the Saints offense. In both cases, it’s going to take a lot of improvement for the Falcons to feel like they have a fighting chance here.