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Pre-Game Recon With The Falcoholic

Our illustrious counterpart over at SB Nation's Atlanta Falcons site (which, by the way, has the coolest name in the world, in my humble opinion) agreed to subject himself to five (5) questions with BRB.  I also agreed to answer his queries, though I refrained from making any dog jokes or repeatedly cackling, "Where's your QB now?".  You can thank the lithium for that.  Dave's answers to my burning questions:

1.  I know you assume I'm going to start with a Vick question, but I'm better than that.  Not much better, but a little better.  So let's kick things off with the DeAngelo Hall situation.  Best I can tell, he's been fined six figures and will not start on Sunday; some reports say he'll sit for a quarter, others say a half.  First, what is your best guess as to what the final punishment will be?  Secondly, how much will his absence, for any period of time, hurt the Falcons' secondary?  The Texans' receiving corps is banged up in a big way, so I'm looking for any glimmer of hope in the passing game.

The Falcoholic:  Well, we might also be missing Lewis Sanders, so there's a good chance the Falcons start Chris Houston and David Irons. I think both of them will be good players eventually, but by sweet fancy Moses please don't let it happen this weekend. As it stands, though, I think Hall will only sit for a quarter. He more or less cost the Falcons the game against Carolina and I'm tired of his motor mouth and inability to live up to his own press clippings. If Andre Johnson ends up playing, though, we'll need him out there. He's still capable of doing great things as a cornerback in this league and matches up very well against any Texans receiver (even A-J), so I can't imagine Petrino will try to keep him on the bench very long.

2.  I drafted Jerious Norwood in my fantasy league, and I am, ahem, a bit irritated at how little he's being utilized.  After Week One, I read that Petrino pledged to get him the ball more, but it hasn't materialized.  Given Warrick Dunn's issues with holding onto the ball (to say nothing of Norwood's obvious talent), what the heck is the deal there?  What does Norwood have to do to become a bigger part of the offense?

The Falcoholic:  Norwood needs to break off an 80 yard run and then take off on golden angel wings into the sky while dropping candy to orphans. Seriously, I'm not sure what the deal is here either. His yards per carry are better than Dunn's, Dunn had a bad fumble in the first half of the game against Carolina, and our current offensive line isn't amenable to running the ball up the middle. All of that adds up to a situation where Norwood should be getting the ball more often. He's probably not a 20+ carry back in this league, but his elite speed makes him a potent weapon 10 times a game. He's like Reggie Bush without the hype and with more talent. I fully expect--and damn near demand--that he gets his 10-15 carries this week.

3.  Much has been made about the lack of productivity from the Falcons' bevy of former first round WRs.  Notwithstanding Roddy White's big game last week, have you noticed any improvement in their performance under Petrino?  What do you expect out of them on Sunday?

The Falcoholic:  Petrino doesn't coddle players. He's about as huggable as a Chernobyl cactus, and that's something I actually admire in an NFL coach. I believe he opened this year with an eye on having all the receivers earn playing time, and thus far it's worked. The first two games were really more of a product of Harrington being unable to find time to throw, but last game you saw a glimpse of what this receiving corps is capable of. When White holds on to the balls and doesn't make dumb mistakes, he's this team's clear #1 receiver. Mike Jenkins has also climbed out of his grave to hopefully regain some playing time as a possession receiver. Joe Horn is ancient and creaky, but rookie Laurent Robinson might be effective sooner than later. I'm looking for White to put up 4-5 catches for 90-100 yards and a TD, Jenkins 3-4 for 45 yards, and of course Official Falcoholic Mancrush Alge Crumpler should put up some numbers as well. I'm confident that the receivers will continue to improve, though I don't expect another 300 yard day through the air.

4.  After the deal for Matt "The" Schaub went down in March, you were elated.  Now that the guy to whom your franchise staked its claim has been exposed as a vile criminal of the lowest order (sorry--PETA must have hacked into my e-mail) and suspended indefinitely, I suspect your feelings have changed.  Not rubbing it in here, but what about Schaub's play made the Falcons think he was expendable?  Or was it simply a case of the team being too cozy with Vick and not properly evaluating The Schaub's talents?  Regardless, do you get lightheaded every time you realize that Matt Schaub could be starting at QB instead of one Joey Harrington?  Frankly, I admire that you haven't guzzled a gallon of Chlorox already.

The Falcoholic:  I feel old even using this defense. The Falcons have been around for about 40 years now and have not once posted back to back winning seasons. Our best quarterbacks have arguably been Chris Miller for a couple of years, Steve Bartkowski and Chris Chandler. That's not a list that makes people jump for joy. I still feel strongly that the Falcons made out well from that deal. If the team had known what they know now about Vick, they never would have pulled the trigger on the deal, but I'm not ready to put my head on the train tracks because Schaub has played reasonably well through three games. We now have Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich, and either could fill that void. Maybe neither will, but if we bomb out we're in a good position to get star Louisville QB Brian Brohm. Schaub may do great things for you guys, and I wish him the best in his career. But there's hope for the future in Atlanta without him, and I'll get by without a Drano dessert.

At least until one of our QBs throws 8 INTs in a game.

5.  Put your name on it:  The final score of Sunday's game will be _-_.  And at the end of the regular season, Atlanta's record will be _-_.

The Falcoholic:  The final score of the game will be Houston 21, Atlanta 13. Atlanta's defense will keep it close, but Atlanta will ultimately be unable to get the offense into the endzone enough. At the end of the year, Atlanta will be 6-10...I hope.

As always, a hearty thanks to Dave for putting up with us.  Given the QB situation of our respective teams, I know it wasn't easy.  You can check out our answers to Dave's questions here.