Atlanta Falcons mailbag

The Atlanta Falcons are up in our series of team-by-team mailbags.

Patrick in Greenville, S.C., writes: Hey Pat, I appreciate all the info you provide. I read that Michael Jenkins has returned to practice . Does this mean he will start against the Saints? Do you think he will improve the Falcon's offense?

Pat Yasinskas: Jenkins practiced on a limited basis for the first time Wednesday. We’ll see if he does more this afternoon. It’s obvious he’s on the road to coming back from his shoulder injury. But he still might be a week or so away from actually starting. I know a lot of Atlanta fans don’t think Jenkins is all that good as a No. 2 receiver, but I disagree. I think he’s a role player, who can be a decent possession receiver, which is what the Falcons want from him because they’ve got him surrounded with Roddy White, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. They also think Jenkins is very important to the offense as a run blocker.

Randy in Hampton, Va., writes: I am Falcons fan and I was wondering your opinion on this question. Do you think the Falcons are a physical enough team to compete with the rest of the AFC North teams on the schedule?

Pat Yasinskas: I think the Falcons are a more physical team than a lot of people give them credit for. Their offensive line has been very tough and aggressive the past few years. It took some time to get the right personnel, but the defense is now much more physical than it’s been in the first two years of the Mike Smith era.

Rick in Atlanta writes: Do you have any insights on how William Moore graded out vs. Arizona? On a related note, any idea on the status of Erik Coleman's knee injury?

Pat Yasinskas: Coleman was held out of practice again Wednesday, so it’s looking like Moore will get another start. He’s a player the Falcons are very high on. They weren’t all that happy with Coleman last season and they were hoping Moore would win the job in the preseason. That didn’t happen because Moore was dealing with some injury issues. But he’s getting a chance now and the Falcons hope he shows them enough to convince them to keep him in the starting lineup for the long term.

Jeremy in Cedartown, Ga., writes: Why does the Falcons-Saints rivalry get overshadowed? All week, all I've heard is Packer-Bears. Geez the Bears haven’t been good in 10 years. Falcons-Saints has a college rivalry touch to it. I mean hundreds of the opposing teams fans invade the home team’s city year after year. I know these two teams stunk it up for years, but the essence of this rivalry is strong even in the down years.When will it get the respect this rivalry deserves?

Pat Yasinskas: Hey, you’re talking to the NFC South blogger, so I’m with you on this. Right now, Atlanta and New Orleans is the best rivalry in the NFC South. Maybe it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves because the Falcons and Saints don’t have the long tradition like the Bears and Packers and because New Orleans is a small market. But this is a very good rivalry and it’s going to get plenty of attention here in the next few days. I’ll be writing my Friday column on the Saints and Falcons and am scheduled to cover the game in New Orleans on Sunday.