This week, I continue our season-long segment by corresponding with our fellow SBNation bloggers at The Falcoholic. Their great answers and insights are much appreciated. Special thanks to both Dave Choate and Jeanna Thomas, who were most helpful and kind.
1.) In my opinion, the Falcons' Offensive Line was the team's main problem last season. While there were many freak injuries last year, has this unit improved any?
It seemed like they had improved until the third preseason game, which was terrible and inspired panic throughout the Falcons fan base. It doesn't help that the coaching staff hasn't really settled on a solid starting five, which prevents this unit from forming necessary chemistry and playing cohesively. They do seem to be improved from last season, but this unit has a long way to go.
2.) Justin Hardy. I loved the pick, and I love what he brings to the table as a player. How has he looked in camp, and can he replace Harry Douglas?
Hardy has been very impressive throughout camp. In practice, he catches nearly everything that's thrown his way. In preseason action, it has looked like he's maybe still adjusting to being covered by NFL receivers, which isn't terribly surprising or alarming. I think he'll be a great addition long-term. I do think Hardy can replace Harry Douglas, and the Falcons also added Leonard Hankerson as a free agent this offseason, and Hankerson has been phenomenal throughout camp. Hankerson seems to be above Hardy on the depth chart at present, which will allow Hardy time to fully develop.
3.) So the Falcons have a pretty awesome-looking new stadium. Will it live up to the hype? Which new amenity are you most looking forward to?
I do think Atlanta's new stadium will be very impressive. One thing I don't like about the Georgia Dome is that it's pretty generic. I'm looking forward to a stadium experience that's more Falcons-focused. I believe they're adding a 100-yard bar, which is something I'm looking forward to, and Falcons fans all wish we would have had access to this during games over the past two seasons.
4.) Devonta Freeman v. Tevin Coleman. Who wins this battle? Or does Shanahan go for a split in carries?
Both of these guys are solid backs and good fits for Shanahan's system, and I expect they'll split carries, with Freeman getting slightly more work. So Freeman would be the de facto number one, but I think we'll see plenty of Coleman on the field this season. The bigger question is the run blocking, because if that doesn't improve, I'm not certain how effective either of these guys can be on the ground.
5.) Many still think the NFC South is a 'crapshoot', are they wrong? And who do you think prevails with the division title this year?
When you're coming off of a season like 2014, when the entire division was absolutely terrible and the Panthers won the NFC South with a record of 7-9-1, it's hard to imagine that any one of these four teams will have improved drastically enough for there to be a decisive favorite to win the division this season. I will say, though, considering the steps Atlanta took to add talent, fill holes and shore up depth this offseason, I do think the Falcons have a good shot of winning the division. I refuse to believe otherwise, to be honest.