Each week Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was and is. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!
Dave: Patrick I know you're very upset that both Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow are no longer Eagles. However will we cope. But on the bright side, we now have a 53 man roster, which means real football is around the corner (almost quite literally for me)! We talked a few weeks ago about how different this off-season has felt. Now that we're on the doorstep of it, I find myself getting very excited for it. I'm really looking forward to what this offense can do on Monday. What are your expectations?
Patrick: Irrational Tebow fans, we hardly knew ye.
I am cautiously excited for the season, which I know isn't the sexiest answer. There are so many things that could go very, very right. But there are also a few things that could be disastrous. I feel like Sam Bradford has just as much of a chance to win Comeback Player of the Year as he does to miss 10 games due to injury.
But! The defense has been markedly improved with additions like Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell and surprise - Walter Thurmond III. And the running and passing games look like they could be special. There are a few things to nitpick (can Andrew Gardner really be the starting right guard on a Super Bowl team?), but other than that, this is a team built for a playoff run. What do you think, Dave?
Dave: I think Monday's game could give us some false hope. The Falcons are terrible. They can't rush the passer, they can't stop the run, they can't cover receivers, they can't run the ball and they're not going to get much of a home field advantage because there are going to be a lot of Eagles fans in attendance, such as myself and the dearly departed Dan Klausner. Could the Falcons win? Sure, anything can happen, and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could go off against a rebuilt and untested secondary and steal a win. But the Eagles have an advantage in every other facet of the game. I think they win, win easily, and give us fans some false confidence heading into the Dallas game. But hey, I'll take the false confidence of beating a bad team over the misery of losing to them.
Don't get me wrong, this should be a playoff team and they're better than the Cowboys. But the Falcons are, as a team, a poor litmus test of how good the Eagles can be. There's some things we can learn about the 2015 Eagles on Monday, such as how they will deal with top tier WRs, but if this wasn't the season opener, if this wasn't a prime time game, we'd be talking about it being a trap game.
Patrick: I like the idea of the Eagles getting an opponent like this on a national stage for Week 1, though. I agree - the Eagles have the advantage pretty much everywhere but WR1 and maybe quarterback. I'm guessing this new-look Eagles team is going to want to bring it on a national stage and go into their Week 2 home opener against the Cowboys with some gusto.
Speaking of Julio, how worried are you about him? It doesn't sound like Byron Maxwell will be sticking with him the entire time, and you'd better believe Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is going to be trying to get his star receiver matched on Nolan Carroll II or rookie Eric Rowe. This game should be a good test for the secondary.
Dave: Pretty worried. The Falcons should try to get Jones matched up against anyone but Maxwell.... but this is Kyle Shanahan calling plays, he can find a way to screw it up. It's a good test for the secondary ahead of the Cowboys, who present a similar challenge. This is just getting me more excited. Can't believe I'm saying this, but is it Monday yet?
Na Brown Award
Alright, let's get to it, handing out the Na Brown Award. JaCorey Shepherd got out to a strong lead, then got hurt. Denzel Rice and Raheem Mostert seemed to be vying for it. But then, in the true spirit of Na Brown, one man stood above the rest with his in-game performances massively exceeding our expectations: Kenjon Barner. We all thought he was just a camp body, but he seized a spot on the 53 man roster. What say you?
Patrick: Ah, the Na Brown Award! It's unquestionably the most exciting time of the year.
It's hard to argue against Barner, since he made the team but probably gets a carry a game and maybe an occasional return. He's a definite trade deadline candidate.
Training camp this year was mostly chalk, as we've talked about. There were only a couple surprises on the final 53, and none of them will dress anyway. But for my Na Brown Award winner, I'll go with Ed Reynolds II. He didn't really follow up his two-interception game with much, but he was definitely a lazy pick for the 53-man roster after that, so I think that's enough to qualify him.
Dave: Reynolds had one good game against a QB who should never have been on a 90 man roster. Mostert made a late and strong push, but Barner made the team. Making the team isn't a requirement, but it's a the trump card.
Congratulations Kenjon Barner!
Patrick: Dave, it's here. It's finally here. No more talking about fringe quarterbacks for a week straight, no more struggling to stay awake in the fourth quarter. The games are for real now. Make sure to cheer nice and loud at the Georgia Dome on Monday night.
Dave: I will do my best to not embarrass you. I can't speak for Dan though.