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Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints: Chat with the Enemy

Welcome to another installment of our weekly cross-blog interaction. Because the Saints are playing Atlanta this week, we get to talk with none other than our very good friend Dave the Falconer of The Falcoholic

You may not know this but the Falconer was actually my mentor when I first arrived on the SB Nation scene. He helped show me the ropes and answered my annoying questions; for that I am forever grateful. Naturally, I am closer to him than any other blogger. So we thought it would be fun to do the whole live chat thing this week instead of the five questions. That conversation can be found below. Why does Dave tell me that Falcons cornerback Tye Hill is stuffed with chicken? You'll want to read on...

Saintsational: Alright, let's start off with Tony Gonzalez. Pretty nice off-season pickup. Is he benefiting from having Matt Ryan as his quarterback?

Dave the Falconer: Well, it's a hell of a lot better than Matt Cassel, wouldn't you say? I think he's benefitted more from having Roddy White to take some of the attention off of him, really.

Saintsational:  What does Roddy White do that benefits Gonzalez?

Dave the Falconer:  He's just good enough to draw attention away from Gonzalez. With the Chiefs, he was far and away the best option on the field, so defenses always went out of their way to account for him. In Atlanta, he's option 1B. or maybe even 2, which gives him a little more flexibility.

Saintsational: Give us a quick little breakdown of Atlanta's other notable receivers other than Gonzalez.

Dave the Falconer:  Well, everyone probably knows a little about Roddy White by now. Still plagued by the occasional drop, but he's got elite separation skills and really makes things happen after the catch.

Dave the Falconer: Then there's Michael Jenkins, who is a big target and our best blocking wide receiver. I expect he won't break the game open or anything.

Dave the Falconer:  And from there it's Brian Finneran (who is decent), Marty Booker (who is decent) and Eric Weems (who has mostly been used as a kick and punt returner).

Saintsational: Last year I never would have thought I would be asking this question, but is there any fear about the Saints secondary being so good?

Dave the Falconer:  I think it's a concern, but because White and Gonzalez are so good, I'm more concerned about what's happening with Matt Ryan. If your pass rush is any good, you could make life really difficult for us.

Dave the Falconer:  Do you foresee the Saints using the ground game early, or is going to be all Drew Brees in the beginning?

Saintsational: The Saints just seem to be a pass first team. As long as it's working, I'm okay with that. You always hear about teams using the run to set up the pass. I think the Saints do the opposite. I think they pass to set up the run later in the game. The nice part is that with Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell, they can always get fresh legs in the game. We're loving it right now here in New Orleans.

Saintsational: Options, baby!

Dave the Falconer:  We'll see about that!

Dave the Falconer:  Alright. Now tell us about the guys who are catching those passes from Brees? Are they any good? Not that I care.

Saintsational: Wait, before I answer your question, what will the Falcons do to try and stop the Saints running game and who will be a big part in that?

Dave the Falconer:  I expect we'll bring help to the edges to counter Bush and Thomas. For the more up the middle runs, say hello to Jamaal Anderson. Dude's been a monster against the run since we converted him from his bust-tastic position of defensive end on in to defensive tackle.

Saintsational: The Falcons are currently ranked 23rd in the league against the run, giving up 117 yards a game. I'm not that scared.

Dave the Falconer:  Well...

Dave the Falconer:  :-(

Saintsational:  But let's, for a minute, assume the Falcons do manage to stop the run. The Saints still have the best wide receiving corp in the league. Allow me to answer your previous question by telling you a little bit about them.

Dave the Falconer:  Please do!

Dave the Falconer:  If it's taking this long for you to type it, chances are I'm not going to like your answer.

Saintsational:  Marques Colston has been a man on fire lately. Still the Saints number one guy and still Drew's favorite target. Next is Devery Henderson, the speedy deep threat. Now that he's cured his stone hands, he's a dangerous weapon. Shockey needs no introduction and played a big part in the Saints comeback on Sunday. Lance Moore has continued to be great when he gets involved. Robert Meachem makes an appearance whenever he's needed.

Dave the Falconer:  That's solid top to bottom. But I really fear Colston.

Saintsational:  As you should. Hofstra has an elite program.

Saintsational:  Who will the Falcons have covering all that talent? It's got to create some mismatches.

Dave the Falconer:  That would our cornerbacking corps.

Dave the Falconer: Chris Houston, who has performed above expectations but still has a knack for at least one excruciating play a game. Brent Grimes, who has played very well but whose height (or lack thereof) creates some mismatches.

Dave the Falconer:  And the pupu platter.

Saintsational:  Sounds like Colston and Meachem would do well to match up against Grimes.

Saintsational:  I love the pupu platter.

Dave the Falconer:  Especially the spare ribs.

Saintsational:  Yes!

Saintsational:  Mmmmm...pupu.

Saintsational:  Anyway, what is the pupu platter?

Dave the Falconer:  That'd be second year corner Chevis Jackson. Rookie corner Chris Owens. And fallen first round pick Tye Hill, who has barely seen the field.

Saintsational: : Ahhh, Chevis Jackson. A local product from LSU.

Dave the Falconer:  Yeah, he escaped from hell.

Dave the Falconer:  I mean, Louisiana.

Saintsational: So which one of them is the spare ribs?

Dave the Falconer:  Probably Chevis Jackson.

Dave the Falconer:  He's got sweet, tangy coverage skills, but his starting experience isn't very robust thus far.

Saintsational: Haha. Can you give us any more pupu platter metaphors for Owens and/or Hill?

Dave the Falconer:  Hmm...

Dave the Falconer:  Hill is the golden chicken.

Dave the Falconer:  He looks like a cornerback on the outside.

Dave the Falconer:  But on the inside.

Dave the Falconer:  It's just chicken.

Dave the Falconer:  I'm not sure that even works.

Saintsational:  It sounds like you're saying Tye Hill is stuffed with chicken. Is that correct?

Dave the Falconer:  ....Close enough.

Saintsational: This conversation has taken quite an interesting turn.


Check back this afternoon for part two of my chat with Dave the Falconer