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The Falcoholic Mailbag, Week 6: Whoops! My bad.

I was supposed to remind Matt to answer your questions last week, and I forgot, so this week’s call for questions also features last week’s answers.

Houston Texans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Last week I asked for your Falcons questions, I promised you my esteemed colleague Matt Chambers would be answering them, and I dropped the ball on reminding Matt. So this post will serve two purposes: Answering last week’s questions, and asking you to submit this week’s questions in the comment section.

Diving right in, let’s get to last week’s questions.

What will AS need to see to pull the trigger and bench Ridder? Another multi-INT day, another under-10 pts scoring game?

I think this question is even more interesting after Ridder’s career game on Sunday. Because despite how well Ridder played against the Texans — when he showed big improvements in timing, not locking in on his first read, and using his eyes more effectively to keep the defense guessing — none of it erases how bad he looked against the Lions and Jaguars.

Ridder is just nine starts into his NFL career, and it is too early to make a full assessment of his potential. At this point, I don’t see the Falcons benching him this season, period. But he can’t play every game at home, and if he reverts back to the struggles we saw in Weeks 3 and 4, the Falcons might not have a choice.

Dave Early
no coach gets less out his top end talent than Arthur Smith. Other than Nathaniel Hacket last season, it's just unbelievable they can't see he's just a running game coordinator, assistant to a real OC who values the pass catching weapons, helping bake in the run schemes for that person. How long until Blank realizes he's just targeting 7-9 with his strategy?

I guess, for me at least, this raises an entirely different Falcons question: If your assessment is correct, do these wins create a false sense of security? I agree with you — there’s no excuse for the fact that Arthur Smith is treating Lamborghinis like Kyle Pitts and Drake London like Kia Souls in this offense. But if it ain’t broke to the point that the team is entirely out of the playoff picture, I don’t see them doing much to fix it. Winning covers a multitude of sins. Hopefully the addition of Van Jefferson gives the passing game more flexibility going forward.

Three drafts in, Fontenot has still not drafted even a single legit pass rusher. Too many times opposing QBs sit in a clean pocket, while Ridder is getting pummeled at a Matt Ryan-esque rate. Are there any pass rushers out there we could sign or acquire to put a spark in our pass rush?

I feel like we’ve all been asking this question since John Abraham’s last game with Atlanta. I truly don’t know what it will take to actually draft a quality pass rusher for this team. I do think we’ve seen an improved defense across the board this season — and it feels weird to say this, but the defense has been a bright spot this year compared to the offense.

I think Melvin Ingram is still a free agent — he had six sacks with Miami last season. Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings out there at this point of the NFL calendar. Unless they decide to make a move on that side of the ball before the trade deadline, I think we’re better off hoping Ryan Nielsen can get more out of the players he already has.

Does someone know why Jake Matthews contract was restructured? for what purpose?

I suspect they’re planning ahead for an A.J. Terrell extension before they have to pick up his fifth-year option.

Question: Let's bring some positivity here. What's one improvable trait you see in Ridder's skillset so far that could spark this offense? In other words, what is maybe a "quick fix" for Ridder and this offense? Or should we be freaking out?

Honestly, a lot of the issues we saw with Ridder in Weeks 3 and 4 ARE fixable. Staring down his first read is a choice, not a necessity. It’s a habit that’s breakable, and we saw this in action against the Texans. A lot of the inconsistency and game-breaking mistakes could be improved significantly by more consistent offensive line play. Here’s hoping that what we see against the Commanders is more of what we saw on Sunday.

From the last four games last year through the first four games this year, there is basically one major change to the offense. The offense now includes Bijan Robinson. One would think it would be a good thing for the offense. Maybe not in some weird way.....?
When Julio Jones was drafted, the Falcons had a terrible time getting him the ball and involving him in the offense.
Has Coach Smith spent too much time trying to include Bijan Robinson in ever facet of the offense at the exclusion of keeping the parts of the previous offense working? The offense cannot depend upon one player which seems to be the current direction.
I am asking this question to the Falcoholic.

I feel like every time I try to explain what I think about this Falcons offense, what I keep coming back to is that it’s about impossible to make sense of the way London and Pitts seem to be de-emphasized in this offense. I don’t think that’s a result of trying to get Bijan TOO involved. The potential for magic exists every time he touches the ball. But I do feel like Bijan could be more effective if the passing game were an actual threat to defenses.

Do you think Ridder was rattled due to all of his teammates being turned into toys? I also couldn't help but notice, his back to back interceptions happened when aliens began to fly over the stadium. Maybe some guys aren't cut out to play in Andy's room. What are your thoughts?

It’s true: Andy’s room is a big stage, and aliens flying over the stadium must be a huge distraction. All very fair points.

Go ahead and leave your Falcons questions for this week in the comments!