Happy "Game Of Thrones" Finale Day! Or as those who don't have premium cable call it, Sunday.
The ATL Mailbag is back. As always, thanks for your questions, which can be sent to @NFL_ATL or ATLmailbag@gmail.com. If I didn't respond, you're right to assume it's personal.
Let's get to work ...
@NFL_ATL Will Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds get past the playoff blues this year?- Jordan Black (@jimmyparsons11) June 9, 2013
Much respect to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who gave me an honest answer when I asked him last week if anything less than the Super Bowl for the Falcons will be considered failure in 2013.
"There's nothing left but to make it to the Super Bowl," White replied. "We gotta make it or else changes have to be made. Because this team has maxed out. There's no more, get to the NFC championship and lose, get to the NFC championship and lose and again and again. We can't do that, we got to make it to the big game and find a way to win."
The Falcons took a step in the Matt Ryan era by winning a playoff game in January. They'll be flying under the radar again while the world falls deeper in love with the talent in the NFC West. My prediction? This is the year the Falcons finally get out of the NFC.
@NFL_ATL do ANY of the ATL guys think Ponder can step up this season?- Graeme Smith (@smith_stuff) June 9, 2013
I can't speak for the other guys, but I have my doubts. And yes, I remember how Christian Ponder performed in the Minnesota Vikings' Week 17 win-and-in victory over the Green Bay Packers. He was awesome in that game. But it doesn't erase the fact that Ponder also had seven games in which he posted a 75 passer rating or below, including three sub-42 dumpster fires.
Perhaps he forms great chemistry with wide receiver Greg Jennings. Maybe another year of seasoning is all it takes. But I have a sneaking suspicion the Vikings will be using a high draft pick on a signal-caller in 2014. The Vikings can't afford to be too patient as Adrian Peterson enters his age-28 season.
@NFL_ATL would u ever be a cannibal- Adrian valdivia (@Adrian_AFC_west) June 9, 2013
It obviously depends on the circumstances. Am I trapped on top of the Andes, "Alive" style? Or am I am sitting in the DMV, just a really hungry dude eyeing other humans? If we're talking about a life-and-death situation -- and I'd like to hope we are -- the answer is a soft yes. No friends and family (you're safe, Mom). No old people, either. I really don't want this to happen.
@NFL_ATL Why don't Chad Johnson and T.O. Understand that teams don't see them as anything other than distractions?- Manning Negativity (@80884Manning) June 9, 2013
@NFL_ATL Do you think T.O. will get signed, and do you think Chad J. will get signed ? #ByWho- Stephen Ll?yd (@Fat_Tommy1) June 9, 2013
I think they're both done. In the case of T.O., he ran out of time. He's almost 40, and you're just not going to get a job at wide receiver in this league at that age even if you are a physical marvel. As for Johnson, I don't think he gets it. Violating probation, tweeting about hangout sessions with a homeless man named Porkchop. It's all just too much. Why would a team want to deal with that?
Indulge me ...
All I want to do is watch the NBA Finals without Adam Sandler ruining everything. Alas, that's impossible thanks to the ad campaign for "Grownups 2," which is childbirth painful. Sandler's effort level has been deplorable for a decade and counting. If he were an NFL quarterback, he'd be at the stage of his career where he's telling coaches he studied a blank DVD.
Please don't see this movie. Please. I beg of you.
Back to the 'bag ...
@NFL_ATL @nfl will demarco Murray have a breakout season or will Dallas have another poor year at RB?- Stephen Villanueva (@S_Villa23) June 9, 2013
I think Murray is the X-factor of the Cowboys' season. The passing game can be great, while the defense under Monte Kiffin should be improved with DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Barry Church all healthy and back on the field. If Murray can stay on the field, the Cowboys have all the pieces in place for a playoff run. If he can't, look out. There's not a lot of depth behind him.
@NFL_ATL who shows first at camp: Nicks or Cruz?- Gerardo Santacruz (@santacruz_g) June 9, 2013
Hands down, my least-favorite running storyline of the offseason. It finishes just ahead of the Cowboys' play-calling situation and any business matter involving Jay-Z.
What's gonna happen in Game of Thrones tonight!- Dick Grits (@DickGrits) February 12, 2013
Somebody will be tortured for reasons that are unclear. CGI dragons will be involved. There will be a fair bit of nudity. People will die. Your DVR will fail you. Your cousin will go spoiler on Facebook.
EnjoyFollow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.