It's the offseason. If you're reading this, you probably already knew that, but I just wanted to reiterate: it's the offseason. And this specifically is the dead part of the offseason. The only content we're really getting right now is rookie camp videos and fans assuming that their team definitely got better this offseason and will certainly be in the playoffs.
This is the best time to do a little mailbag post. A lot has happened over the past few months, why not rehash the offseason by getting readers involved too?
First edition of the offseason mailbag. Let's dive in.
@mickbricks: Why is Pete Carroll leading a rebuild when he can't drive at night?
Man, I don't know. I would've been retired a long time ago if I was Pete Carroll, but I also don't have the drive to be an NFL head coach. I'm cool with where I'm at right now.
But on a serious note, the age of Carroll (71 in September!) made the Seahawks draft strategy interesting to me. Unless they sign Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo later in the offseason, they're fully embracing a rebuild with Drew Lock and Geno Smith as the quarterbacks.
Which makes me think: exactly how long does Carroll plan to be coaching? He seems like someone that thinks he'll always have the energy for this and at this point I'm rooting for him. Maybe he'll be the first 100-year old NFL coach in 30 years. Assuming the Earth and society as we know it still, you know, exists.
@quigsliam: Do we think there’s any chance that Mariota has a resurgence?
I was kind of interested to see how Mariota played this year when they signed him. The Falcons have enough skill talent where they can be watchable. The tight end room and running backs room are bordering on good to me.
But, honestly, don't think it makes much sense to bother with Mariota at this point. The Falcons are in full on rebuild mode. Desmond Ridder wasn't a high investment of a pick, so I think it's better to find out what you have early so there aren't any uncertainties at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft. If he shows promise, congratulations, here's a Will Anderson or Jalen Carter for your troubles. If he stinks, take a quarterback.
This year should be able to finding out if you have something in Ridder. I don't know if thats how the Falcons will look at it because they can be shortsighted, but I would be trying to get a full 17-game season out of Ridder.
@harmlessbunny: Why are the Falcons?
Man, I don't know. I don't like them anymore, they bring me great pain. My Matt and Julio left me.
See you Week 1.
@KHMakerD: You ever reflect upon that there are 31 other fanbases with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who follow their team and go through the same stuff you do?
Let me stop you there. There aren't. There is only one 28-3. One fanbase knows what I'm talking about and we are totally broken. Just look at the replies to the Falcons schedule release tweet.
@alltwentyQ: How many starting QBs could Drew Brees beat out in training camp this fall?
Excluding Atlanta, because no one should even THINK about putting him on the Falcons, I think the only teams that would make sense for a one year Brees rental are Carolina and Seattle. And Seattle doesn't even really make that much sense given the organizational time frame that they're on right now.
Brees throwing 100 screens a game to Christian McCaffrey would be good content though, and the tweets Robby Anderson would throw up in frustration might be even funnier.
Truthfully, I would be stunned if Brees decided to unretire. He got out at the right time for him. He can't carry an offense anymore and football really, really hurts. Gotta polish up the broadcast game so people will stop asking these questions.
@RedBred32: Will Jameis be able to have enough time to throw to all of his weapons this year?
Man, I hope not. Don't need the Saints being good this year. I do think the left side of the Saints offensive line is in a dangerous spot. Andrus Peat has struggled despite getting a contract extension from the Saints and Trevor Penning has a lot of work to do before he can be the franchise left tackle they drafted him to be.
If everyone can stay healthy, the Saints' skill players might be good enough to carry this offense back to the playoffs. They'll need big improvements from Peat and center Cesar Ruiz to make the production of this offense more sustainable as they move through the season.
@thegandofhod: f-ck marry kill, scheme edition: shanny outside zone; arians heavy downfield play action; payton west coast offense
Marry Arians, Fornicate Shanahan, and always punt Sean Payton to the moon. I don't have data on which offenses have been most effective because I assume that's heavily quarterback dependent, but I've always loved watching quarterbacks in the Arians offense play.
You can't have any fear in that offense. You have got to be able to throw down the field — and even with streaky quarterbacks like Jameis Winston that can be an entertaining product for me. I think the Carson Palmer years in Arizona is when I fell in love with the offense. Throw that thang down the field and see what happens! And then Robo-Brady took it to a new level these past few years. I'm a big fan.
Shanahan's offense is fun as well, but I just enjoy watching the difficulty of the throws that Arians asks of his quarterbacks. It'll put some hair on your chest. Or maybe you can get the first season with 5,000 yards, 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. It's how I play in Madden, it's how I like to watch my football in real life.
It's not the most conducive offense for elevating poor personnel, but when it has great players in it, it's an aesthetic beauty.
@_aHuby: If you could describe the upcoming Falcons season with one song what would it be?
Chopped N Skrewed by T-Pain. Look, there are going to be some watchable, fun moments in that offense. The skill players are solid. Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Drake London is more talent than they had a season ago. Even though I joke, I do think Arthur Smith is a capable head coach in the NFL.
But don't get lost in the eye candy of some of the big names on this team. This is a bad, bad team. The offensive line is bad enough to tank the season and the front seven and safety situation still has a lot of room to improve on defense. Don't get lost in the highlights that happen and stay rooted in reality.
Cuz this team ain't going nowhere, especially not home with you.
@Bert_MU: is there anyone currently in the NFL with the potential to be as good at Twitter as KD or high school Miles Bridges?
Yes and no. There are plenty of guys in the NFL that would make for hilarious social media users, but football culture keeps those personalities hidden in a way that is boring for people on the outside. Tarell Basham is the funniest NFL player I have ever met. Seriously, the kind of laughter that makes your abs sore after every interaction.
I don't think people would know that by following him on Twitter. Most of the NFL players I've encountered are funny as hell, but there's still a level of self-perseveration that goes on because football culture doesn't always tolerate boisterous personalities.
@LoganJaworski98: Do you think ATL is onto something w/ the basketball team they are assembling at WR?
Probably not this year, but I have to say I am a little intrigued how this offense comes together during the season. Kyle Pitts is the best separator they have on the team right now, which is fine because I think that's something he really excels at, but I think they're going to need to get creative with how they use Drake London and Bryan Edwards. I think London is a better route-runner and separator than given credit for, but this might be an adjustment area for him as he gets used to the speed of NFL defensive backs.
Where he should make a difference immediately is as a big play threat after the catch. He's got a great feel as a ballcarrier and extremely physical after the catch. They still could use a great route-runner. Someone like a Calvin Ridley talent. You know?
@iamjoeyconnors: Fill in the blanks: the first Afghani nfl player will join the league in the year ____ and his position will be _____
What?! What kind of question is this? Get your brain check Joey, easily the most random mailbag question I've ever received in my like...seven years of being in the media. Good god, man.
Slot corner in 2030.
@thisryanjackson: Is there a way to make people stop looking at players as commodities and make it clear that they are human beings with emotions (bonus: is momentum real)
1) LOL! Most of these players are black, what do you think?
2) Yes I believe in the emotional phenomenon, but I am willing to concede that "momentum" is probably not the best word to describe it. However, I will continue to do so and believe in it.
@mackensen: On a scale of Wayne Fontes to Marty Mornhinweg, how should I feel about Dan Campbell?
I like Dan Campbell a lot. I have and will continue to joke about and mock the Detroit Lions, because they're the Detroit Lions, but I do think they're on the right path for the first time in a long time. I'm interested to see how taking Penei Sewell over Justin Fields plays out long term, but they're off to a great start.
Campbell had these boys playing over their talent level most weeks and really did try to put them in positions to win during close game scenarios. They have three good offensive linemen, a couple of promising rookie pass rushers and will hopefully continue to get contributions from young guys in the secondary like Amani Oruwariye.
The meathead stuff is easy media fodder, but I do actually feel like he has a good grasp on what it means to be a head coach in this league that not only nurtures players on the field, but off it. I think Campbell has a really good feel for how to push his players using the media without being overbearing and insulting. He's a truth-teller, wants to win and seems like a good dude. I'm rooting for him.
@Sarge_8641: Who finishes in 2nd in the nfc south?
Probably that team in Louisiana. They have weapons on offense still have some studs on defense. I don't really see them having a problem with the Panthers or Falcons with what we currently know about them.
@tezah_: you can grab any two players from Atlanta falcons history who never made a pro bowl to be added to this team who do you pick
Center Todd McClure because they desperately need an upgrade on the interior. McClure was a great center for the team for a long time and played well with Vick and Ryan at quarterback. A steady, scheme-proof center is exactly what Atlanta needs right now.
Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux would be my second pick. Babs was always a solid penetrating 3-technique and the Falcons still need help at defensive tackle even though they locked in Grady Jarrett through likely the end of his career. Jarrett is a stud and running next to Babineaux again would be good for him.
We will do this again at some point later in the offseason, thanks for the questions!