/Sports/NFL/Atlanta Falcons/ Last Updated: Mon, Jun 21st, 2021 @ 12:10pm EDT

The Falcoholic

David J Walker

Falcons 2021 schedule predictions: The Eagles in week 1

Photo by Frank Mattia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How do we think the first game under new head coach Arthur Smith is going to play out?

Now that the first wave of free agency and the NFL draft are over, we have some idea of what each roster in the league looks like. We have a feel for the quarterback situations, the composition of the offense and the general direction of the defense. Predictions are always tricky and can look ridiculous in hindsight, but we’re going to dive in...

The Falcoholic

Carter Breazeale

Falcoholinks: All the Falcons news you need for Monday, June 21

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Fun fact: Ernest Hemingway read The Falcoholinks each morning prior to writing The Sun Also Rises.

It’s Monday and that means we’ve got some ultra-fresh links for you.

Richie Grant signed

The Atlanta Falcons second-round selection, safety Richie Grant, is now officially under contract. The defensive playmaker signed his rookie deal last week, leaving the Falcons with just one rookie left to sign: tight end Kyle Pitts.

Stop it

Please: Stop...

The Falcoholic

David J Walker

Falcons 2021 over/under: Mike Davis rushing yards

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Can the presumed lead back for Atlanta break the 1,000 yard barrier?

The Falcons running back depth is a big question mark for 2021, though we think we have a pretty good idea of who is starting. The team moved on from the three primary backs of 2020 in Todd Gurley, Brian Hill and Ito Smith and signed Mike Davis in the off-season. He will join Cordarelle Patterson and Qadree Ollison (and possibly an undrafted free agent) to form the new unit in the...

The Falcoholic

Dave Choate

Matt Hennessy heads into training camp as the front runner for the center job

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The second-year pro has the opportunity to seize the job and never let it go.

The center battle figures to come down to Matt Hennessy and rookie Drew Dalman. The Falcons were clearly excited about Dalman and had no existing attachments to Hennessy, so while the second-year pro is the more experienced player, it has been fair to wonder whether Dalman might have a real shot to grab the job. My expectation has been that it will indeed be Hennessy, with Dalman serving...

The Falcoholic

Dave Choate

Forgotten Falcons: Bert Emanuel

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Emanuel was a mighty useful receiver for four years in Atlanta, and never reached those heights again after leaving.

Apparently, all our forgotten Falcons in 2021 are going to be guys who were strong contributors for four years and then moved on to other teams. That was true of Mike Pitts, who we profiled earlier this week, and it’s true of Bert Emanuel.

Emanuel doesn’t get mentioned among the great receivers the Falcons have ever had, which...

The Falcoholic

David J Walker

Stop comparing Calvin Ridley to Julio Jones

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin is not another Julio and he does not need to be.

It was inevitable. Whenever a Hall of Fame quality player leaves a team - whether by retirement, trade or being cut - fans look toward the player taking his place and begin to make comparisons. Every tight end the Falcons had after 2013 was compared to Tony Gonzalez—and, it goes without saying, none of them were Gonzo—and now we’re heading down that road with Julio Jones.

I get it. Julio was a fan...

The Falcoholic

Dave Choate

The NFL is intent on making life tougher for unvaccinated players

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This week’s news is already rubbing unvaxxed players the wrong way, and setting up a blink-and-get-the-shot or dig in ultimatum for holdouts.

The NFL really wants its players to get a COVID-19 vaccine. After a year of protocols, players missing time and hitting the reserve/COVID-19 list, and either no fans in stadiums or severely deflated numbers, the league wants things to return to normal as much as possible. That’s less out of the goodness of their...

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

Fantasy Football Outlook: Falcons TE Kyle Pitts

Prior to the Julio Jones trade, Kyle Pitts’ fantasy value was limited due to the majority of targets going to Jones and Calvin Ridley. Now that Jones is in Tennessee, his targets will have to go somewhere, which is why Pitts could be in for a big year.

The Falcoholic

EricJRobinson

Falcons 2021 over/under: Matt Ryan passing yards

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

How many yards can the veteran passer reach in the 2021 season?

Just about every Atlanta Falcons fan is fully aware of the amount of turnover that veteran quarterback Matt Ryan has seen in offensive play callers during his career. As he enters his 14th season in Atlanta, Ryan will have Arthur Smith feeding him plays on game days, and if you count Dirk Koetter twice, that’s his fifth play caller.

He will also enter the season without his favorite target...

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons sign second-round pick Richie Grant to four-year, $8.3M rookie deal

The Falcons moved down from No. 35 overall to No. 40, scoring Grant and adding a fourth-round choice in the process.

The Falcoholic

Dave Choate

Falcons sign rookie safety Richie Grant

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The young playmaker will be a significant piece of the 2021 Falcons defense.

With cap space in their pockets, the Falcons are finally getting their rookie class signed. After they announced the signing of Richie Grant this morning, Kyle Pitts is the only unsigned player remaining.

Grant is a player worth getting excited about, as we’ve written before. This team is in need of playmakers on defense, and with his strong ball skills and a well-rounded game,...

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts ranks first among 2021 rookies in contested catches

Not that anyone needed confirmation that Kyle Pitts is a one-of-a-kind receiving threat, but PFF brought up another statistic showing off his incredible ability.

The Falcoholic

Carter Breazeale

Falcoholinks: All the Falcons news you need for Friday, June 18

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LINKS

Busy week — but it’s Friday, which means the links arriveth nonetheless.

Ridley confident he’ll be ready

On the heels of trading Julio Jones we learned that now No. 1 wide receiver Calvin Ridley had been absent from OTAs due to offseason foot surgery. Obviously not good news!

The good news, however, is that per Calvin Ridley, he will be ready to go for the start of training camp and eager to assume the role of WR1.

Atlanta’s group of wideouts...

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

PFF analytics say Chris Lindstrom will reach full potential in 2021

Chris Lindstrom is the future of Atlanta’s offensive line. After a slightly better-than-average rookie year riddled with injuries, the former first-round pick made quite the impression in his second season.

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 6/17/21

Here are the latest mid-round rookie contracts agreed to around the league: Atlanta Falcons Signed: CB Darren Hall (SDSU, fourth round) Signed: C Drew Dalman (Stanford, fourth round) Detroit Lions Signed: WR Amon-Ra St.

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

First impressions of Arthur Smith and Minicamp recap

Talkin’ Birdy is back this week, as Matt Karoly, Alex Lord, and Jake Gordon recap the hot topics of minicamp. They also give their first impressions of new head coach Arthur Smith as well as talk about the Falcons preseason schedule.

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Updated Report: Matt Gono undergoes undisclosed surgery, believed to not be season-ending

My fellow co-host of Talkin’ Birdy, Matt Karoly, reported earlier that Matt Gono could potentially miss the entire 2021 season. Still, thankfully, the outlook of the official announcement from the Falcons seems to be a bit more optimistic.

Yardbarker: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons OL Matt Gono Has Surgery

It sounds like the Falcons’ offensive line may have just taken a significant blow. Versatile offensive lineman Matt Gono has undergone surgery recently, a source told Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The Falcoholic

Evan Birchfield

2021 Fantasy Outlook: WR Calvin Ridley

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

What should fantasy owners expect from Calvin Ridley in 2021?

We’re on the cusp of fantasy football season, as some leagues may have already started drafting, while others will be sometime in the upcoming weeks. I’ve already covered sleepers for all 32 NFL teams, but it’s time to now focus on the Atlanta Falcons and what you can expect from a few of their players in fantasy football.

We currently have no idea how impactful the departure of Julio Jones...

The Falcoholic

David J Walker

Falcons sign rookies Darren Hall and Drew Dalman

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This leaves Kyle Pitts and Richie Grant as the only unsigned rookies.

While it’s easy to focus on the fact that Julio Jones wanted to be traded, there’s an important aspect to the trade that is now coming to fruition: freed up cap space. Before the move, the Falcons were just a few hundred thousand under the cap and had no room to sign their rookie class.

Just two days ago the team made moves to sign many of their draft picks, particularly guys taken...

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