Know Your Enemy: Stripe Hype Q&A with Falcons Website Blogging Dirty

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4. In the 2011 Draft, the Bengals selected A.J. Green over Julio Jones. What do you feel separates them as players and who ultimately do you foresee having the better NFL career and why?


"Both are great players. Both are superstars in the past, present, and more importantly the future. I personally have a belief that when the Falcons traded up in the draft they were really trying to get Green, but when the Bengals took him they ‘settled’ for Julio Jones. Early on, I felt Green had better hands, caught the ball at its highest point better, and was a little more polished a route runner, whereas Jones was stronger, more physical, faster, and a better blocker. At this point, I don’t think there is much separating these two. I think Jones is definitely faster (although not by much) and he is certainly closing the gap in catching radius. His hands are massively improved over last season, and I think that just has to do with him becoming more comfortable with the NFL. They aren’t exactly interchangeable players, but both are Pro-Bowlers. I’m biased and believe Jones will ultimately have the better NFL career, but honestly I could swap Jones for Green with you, and never hesitate with the decision."


5. Matt Ryan is one of the top QBs in the NFL, but most would put him in the 10-15 range as far as rankings go. Some would even say he’s only the third-best QB in his own division. Has Ryan reached his ceiling or do you believe there’s still room to grow into one of the elite QBs in the NFL?


"I’d say there’s no doubt he’s in the 9-12 range as far as rankings go. I don’t think he is on Brees’ level yet, and Cam Newton also runs for a bazillion yards/touchdowns, which is something Ryan won’t do. That being said, he is arguably a top-10 passer now, and with a very good 2012 can easily crack that list. The biggest thing that he can do to climb that ladder is to improve his deep passing game. At times he was inaccurate on deep routes (25+ yards down the field) but the offensive line was atrocious. He can accomplish a lot in the vertical passing game, and that will improve his raw stats and ranking on these lists. A great connection with Julio Jones will certainly facilitate that happening. Arm strength is a lot of people’s concerns with Ryan, but I know he has worked on it and it is improved over 2011. There are two quarterbacks with a similar and weaker arm in the NFL who are massively effective: Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. Neither have rocket arms, but they are very accurate with the ball and have good protection. Ryan has to arm to connect on deep routes, he just needs to be more accurate with those passes and connect on a higher percentage of those. If he improves only slightly, he can throw for 35 touchdowns, be better in the postseason, and there will be no doubt he belongs in the top-10."



6. How and where do you see the Bengals and the Falcons finishing the 2012 season?


"I think the amount of young talent for the Bengals is a major reason they will remain in contention for years to come. That being said, the time is now for the Bengals to take the AFC North by storm. The usual Kings of the division (the Ravens and Steelers) have incredible aging at key spots that were once strengths, or entire units that have major question marks. The Bengals are solid on both offense and defense, even if they aren’t spectacular on one side of the ball at this point. Cincinnati will be one of the premiere AFC teams for the next five years at least, but they will have to face the Texans if they want to go to the Super Bowl as the AFC representative. Right now, I’m not sure they are prepared to do that just yet.   The Falcons are in a little different situation. The Saints are at their peak and will probably go nowhere but down in the next few seasons, but the Carolina Panthers are hot on their tracks for a division crown. The Falcons will compete in the NFC South every season and will emerge with a couple division crowns, but they are more likely to win a wild-card spot than a division title. However, once in the playoffs all bets are off. The Falcons absolutely have to get stronger up front on defense and especially on the offensive line if we are to protect our most valuable asset. I know we can win the first playoff game this season, but I think there is probably a multitude of teams who won’t be stopped by our pass-rush, or can beat our o-line with their pass-rush and emerge with a victory over us in the playoffs."


I’d like to thank William for participating in this Q&A session with us. Good luck to the Falcons this year, and make sure you keep up with all of the latest Falcons news at

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