|Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons|
|Sun., Oct. 17, 1 PM, FOX, Lincoln Financial Field|
Two young quarterbacks. Two different methods of preparing them.
Atlanta's Matt Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft and was thrust into action immediately. Kevin Kolb was the team's top pick in 2007 and had to wait until this season to get the starting nod.
Then again, the Falcons were a mess between losing their franchise quarterback in Michael Vick to watching head coach Bobby Petrino quit midseason. The Eagles had the luxury to allow Kolb to develop behind Donovan McNabb while the team was in the midst of their annual playoff runs.
The Falcons didn't make the playoffs in 2009, but they did have back-to-back winning seasons for - believe it or not - the first time in franchise history.
Ryan has the skill position pieces around him which eased his transition to the pro game. Michael Turner is a bruising workhorse tailback who must be accounted for. Roddy White is one of the budding young stars at the wide receiver position. Oh, Tony Gonzalez is only a Hall of Fame tight end, who could be entering the final year of his career.
Atlanta looked to bolster the youth on defense last year by using its first two draft picks - defensive tackle Peria Jerry and safety William Moore - on that side of the ball. However, both of those players were on injured reserve by midseason. The Falcons did sign Dunta Robinson from the Houston Texans. Robinson was the premier cornerback on the limited free agent market. Curtis Lofton is one of the up-and-coming middle linebackers in the game and they added rookie first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon into the fold as well.
Last year, Michael Vick's return to Atlanta was the primary storyline. This year, it's two young quarterbacks trying to guide their teams to the playoffs.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:00 p.m., July 3