1. How much do you love Julio Jones? Will they get a long term deal done with him before the end of the season?
I love him so much I'm going to name my next son Julio Jones, which I'm sure won't be awkwardly received.
I think a long term deal gets done, hopefully on the sooner side. The owner loves him, the team loves him, Julio seems to like being in Atlanta, and he's so integral to the offense as a whole that I can't imagine him hitting the open market. The years and money are up in the air, but you'll see this get done for certain.
2. The pass rush seemed to be the biggest concern for the Falcons heading into the offseason. Do you feel they have done enough to strengthen that group to this point?
Enough, no. Have they done enough to turn it from a huge detriment into a decent collection of talent? Possibly!
Adding Vic Beasley gives them a young, dynamic pass rusher they've needed for years, which is a huge plus. Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield have the potential to be useful pieces in the rotation, as does linebacker Brooks Reed. It's not enough to transform one of the most moribund pass rushes in the NFL, but Beasley's going to free up other guys to rush the passer, and the overall collection of talent (and the coaching staff behind them) are better than they were a year ago, and I do love progress.
3. Y'all have an interesting running back situation. Who will lead the team in carries in 2015?
This is a great, great question that I'm still figuring out the answer to. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are both injured right now, so we're not getting a real sense of how that battle is going to go. Coleman's an ideal fit for the offense as a speedy, pretty powerful one-cut back, but Freeman looks much improved from his rookie season and is a truly versatile, well-rounded player, and he appeared to have a small lead on Coleman early in camp. It's arguably the closest battle on the roster right now, though, and we won't know the results until the end of preseason.
My gut says Coleman leads the team in carries, while Freeman leads the team in snaps. It'll be a fun battle to watch.
4. Give us a guy to watch in this game that we have never heard of.
Ricardo Allen is the man you'll want to watch. He's a quick, aggressive former cornerback the team just moved to free safety, and he's on the inside track to the starting job there. He's a player with a lot of upside who will have to grow into the role, so you may see him make a big play, get torched, or both during his limited snaps against the Titans.
5. What's your prediction for the game?
I've got the Falcons winning something like 27-21, with the reserve defense showing pretty well and perhaps forcing a turnover or two. As is always the case with preseason, I just want this team to look good, regardless of the outcome.