In order to get ready for Sunday's game against Atlanta, I exchanged five questions with Dave from The Falcoholic, SB Nation's Falcons blog. You can find my answers to Dave's questions over at The Falcoholic, and Dave's answers to my questions can be found below.
1. Is Matt Ryan really ready to start? I know some rookie QBs are able to come in and be successful that early on in their careers, but does Ryan have what it takes?
The Falcoholic: The coaching staff feels he's ready. Ryan has shown a good arm and most importantly has not panicked, which is all you can ask for with a rookie quarterback. I think the offensive line is going to have a direct effect on his success, but I don't think something like 16 to 20 TDs and the same number of interceptions is out of the question this season. He looks like the real deal early on.
2. Sticking with Matt Ryan, is the Atlanta offensive line going to be able to provide him with enough protection to lead the Falcons to a win [on Sunday]?
TF: That's the question we've all been asking ourselves. The line is young and has what our beat writers insist on calling a "nasty attitude," but that alone has never propelled anyone to great heights. I think Ryan is definitely going to get knocked around this season, but if they can limit the damage to 20 to 30 sacks I think we'll have a lot to be thankful for. There's about a 50/50 shot that they can.
3. I see that Joey Harrington was cut on Saturday. Was that move expected? Also, just how bad was Harrington in his short-lived career in Atlanta?
TF: It wasn't completely expected, but D.J. Shockley outplayed him in the last pre-season game. Harrington wasn't awful for the Falcons, but he was no better than mediocre and fell victim to quality starts from Chris Redman. At this stage in his career, nobody should think of him as more than a backup or third stringer. I'd be surprised if the Packers didn't take a shot at him with Brian Brohm sucking like a black hole each week this pre-season.
4. Michael Turner was signed in the offseason to become Atlanta's starting running back. I personally liked the move a lot as Turner has great upside. I liked it enough to draft him in one of my fantasy leagues actually, so what kind of production can I expect out of Turner this season?
TF: I'd say you can expect about 250-300 carries, which is what Turner himself is boasting he'll get. If he stays healthy the whole season, I'd say he's virtually a lock to end up with 1,000 yards and should get plenty of goal line opportunities. As much as everyone's focusing on Matt Ryan's rookie season, it's useful to remember that Turner is definitely going to be the centerpiece of the Falcons' offense. Because he's never held up to a full season of getting pounded, health is really the only concern.
5. Recently on ESPN there was a segment asking questions about the win totals for certain teams in 2008. One of those teams was the Falcons and their over/under for wins in '08 was set at 3. I believe one of the analysts said Atlanta will push and win 3 games, whereas the other analyst said under. Are the Falcons really capable of winning only 2 games this season?
TF: I think that's a load of crap from experts who don't really pay attention to teams supposedly as bad as the Falcons. Despite a defense that looked very talented this pre-season and a better than expected set of players on offense, they're still predicting the same old thing. I really think the Falcons could top out at 6 or 7 wins, and I'd actually be pretty amazed if they only won 2 or 3. They may win ugly, but they're going to win more than people think.
Thanks to Dave for answering my questions, and as stated already, my answers to his questions can be found over at The Falcoholic.