Originally written on Grits Blitz  |  Last updated 11/4/14

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 06: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles rushes upfield against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 6, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

First Off - Something I Don"t Want To See Tonight:

 

  Well - that's if it were Matt Ryan, and not Michael Vick. If someone brought Michael Vick out into the middle of the field, slapped his old Falcons uniform on him, and broke his leg again...well...that'd be alright with me. Ultimately, just want to make sure everyone stays good and healthy for the next 21-22 weeks, and that starts tonight. As Falcons fans - we know players can get hurt at any time - whether it be in a preseason game, or straining a wrist ligament when an undercover Miami vice cop slaps cuffs on you the day before Super Bowl XXXIII. On to things I want to see from members of the current team:  

1) Young defensive playmakers - I was going to do one each about Dent, Spoon, and Sir Lawrence of Sidbury - but I'll just put them all here together. More than any 3 players in the front 7, this is the trio that could really transofrm the D under Mike Nolan. Sidbury has been handed more of a free, hybrid, DE/OLB role which I think suits his talents. He was a ferocious pass rusher at the FCS level, and Jared Allen aside, those type of players at that level generally translate better to an edge and open field role. If he can begin his path to an 8-10 sack season tonight, we'll know the coordinator change was more than just symbolce. Dent, of course, has the biggest shoes to fill with the departure of Curtis Lofton and Lofa Tatupu's freak, but sadly predictable, injury (remember what I said about injuries happening anytime?). His ability to roam the middle, read the offense, and make plays could make Thomas Dmitroff look like a frugal genius. As for Spoon - he's now the leader of the linebacking corp. No one is more vocal and agressive - and in a more diversified defense he can go from being considered one of the more promising 4-3 OLBs in the league, to a top OLB, regardless of scheme.

2) The vertical passing game actually existing - I haven't seen any footage, or been to practice, but I have heard it was sighted there. We'll have Julio, Roddy, and Matty Ice on the field for a bit tonight, so I hope my grainy Hi-8 footage allows me to record it glimpsing over its shoulder at me before it lumbers back into the woods. 3) The 4th Wide Receiver emerge - White and Jones look ready to become 1a and 1b - with Harry a distant 3rd. After that, it gets pretty murky. Kerry Meier looked great in pre-season 2 years ago when he...wait for it...got randomly injured. Most feel it's his to lose, and hopefully being a full offseason removed from injury will help him reach that potential. The rest of the crew is mostly constructed of promising, yet completely unproven, guys like Michael Calvin, Kevin Cone, and (with apologies to Asante Samuel) Little Lil' Homey, James Rodgers. All of them have their various strenghts - Meier's posession, Cone's raw athleticism, Calvin's track star speed, and Rodgers savvy and experience. Likely only 2 of these guys are wearing a Falcons jersey in Arrowhead next month - we have a chance to see who they might be tonight. 4) Peter Konz's Hauling and Grading, Inc. - we waited and waited for the Falcons first pick, and it ended up looking like a tremendous value. It will be even more so if Konz can plug a hole at the Guard position this year before, ideally, transitioning to Center in the next few seasons. The offensive line is going to be a big question mark overall, but getting immediate production from your top pick will go a long way to answering that query. 5) The Screen game's development - We've heard all Summer about finally keeping defenses off balance with this. Snelling and Rodgers are suited perfectly for this aspect of offensive football, but I would also like to see if they'll do what many won't expect and get Turner involved. While the consensus was that Dirk Koetter had little talent to work with in Jacksonville, he always knew how to get the ball to his best backfield player. If he can transform Turner into a dual threat, he won't have to pay for meals around town very often. 6) Some competition for 3rd QB - Looks like Domonique Davis might actually make the Falcons think about carrying a 3rd QB this year, or at least bump JPW off the practice squad. Davis was incredbly productive in an Air Raid offense at East Carolina. That said - he was at least enough of a traditional passer to get a scholarship from Jeff Jagodzinski and Boston College, where he redshirted while Matt Ryan was a Senior. Here's another chance for him to be on the same roster as #2. Those are the things I'll be watching tonight. What do you want to see?

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Russell Wilson to skip Seahawks' first OTAs this week

Former NFL wideout Joe Horn calls Roger Goodell 'the devil'

Dolphins expect Ndamukong Suh to attend voluntary OTAs

Kyle Long has great reaction to Bears releasing Ray McDonald

Hot start helps Rockets stave off elimination against Warriors

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Matt Millen leaving ESPN for FOX, Big Ten Network

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout loss to Yankees

John Farrell: Pitchers need an approved gripping substance

Cam Newton: Nobody has ever been who I'm trying to be

Bears cut Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest

Report: Paul Pierce could opt out of contract, join Clippers

NFL OTAs: Learning, communication & camaraderie

Rockets players got media release about Warriors' sweep

Dwight Howard hangs with fans left stranded by Houston storm

Eight biggest disappointments a quarter way into MLB season

Stephen Curry leaves Game 4 after nasty fall, returns later

WATCH: Khris Davis trolls umps after controversial homer

Is Adrian Peterson leveraging himself out of the league?

Mascot creates controversy with 'Police Lives Matter' sign

The Talented Mr. Blatt

The curious case of Frank Kaminsky

Is the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player?

LeBron lifts Cavaliers to brink of Finals, but are they ready?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

Could the NBA Finals be moved up?

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Ballplayers in the military: A tribute

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.