Analysts Greg Jennings and Ronde Barber discuss how the young receivers on the Atlanta Falcons stepped up this week against the New Orleans Saints. The duo raved about first-round picks Drake London and Kyle Pitts, their production in the Falcons’ offense, and their long-term projection with the team.
Editor’s Note: After visiting the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility, Michael Vick predicts that they will fly under the radar and shock some people this season.
I wish that I would’ve said this when I was talking to the team, but I really feel like this is going to be a team that’s going to fly under the radar and shock some people.
Expectations for Mariota
I had a chance to spend some time with Marcus Mariota. Arthur Smith was gracious enough to let me sit down with him and a have a chat. I feel like he’s ready to step into that role of being a leader and taking the next step on the field. Which means being a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
We expected that from Marcus and we thought he could give us that when he was in Tennessee. We have seen glimpses of it, and we know he has the potential to do a lot.
I’ve always been a big fan of his. These guys spent time together in Tennessee. Marcus knows the offense and has a great understanding of it. That means he can coach the guys around him as they go through this process, and it’s not all on Arthur Smith to try to bring each and every player along. Atlanta has a solid leader in Mariota who understands what that’s about, and how to make that happen.
Putting the Pieces Together
One of the really good things I’ve seen about the Atlanta Falcons is that they have two receivers over six-three. I know what it’s like to have a big receiver and how you can use them. They have Kyle Pitts and Drake London. These guys are gonna be mismatches for almost 80% of the DBs in the league depending on how they move them around.
Cordarrelle Patterson still being at the running back position is instant offense. He’s always been a versatile offensive guy. Whether he’s at receiver or running back he’s a guy that can do many things. Atlanta has big offensive players who aren’t the fastest but are pretty hard to bring down. I know because I saw it first hand.
I’m excited about the quiet confidence these guys have about them right now. It was great energy in the building, and a focus on the defensive side of the ball. They brought back AJ Terrell, Deion Jones, and Grady Jarrett. These are the guys who are cornerstones of the defense. They have their leaders on offense. They have a couple of leaders on defense and they have guys who know how to win. I think they feel good about being a team that can fly under the radar not being on the hot seat, and they can just play ball this year.
Also, I think the addition to Casey Hayward was big! Casey is a veteran player. He’s going to be able to show AJ Terrell some things. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been and I’ve liked him as a corner, I think he’s solid. It was really good to see him on the defense.
I was standing on the sideline talking to a couple of people, and then I look up and I see Casey Hayward right there and it shocked me. Then I began to piece it all together, and I started seeing why this practice is going so amazing. I like this team to be able to fly under the radar and I’m super excited about the Atlanta Falcons.