Five Questions with Fox’s Kenny Albert

Five Questions with Fox’s Kenny Albert

Jay Adams

Published September 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM

For the second straight week, the Fox crew of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa — known popularly as Moose, Goose and Kenny — will be covering the Falcons, which gave me the opportunity to get some thoughts from Albert on the Falcons after the Week 1 loss to the Saints as they head into a now all-important Week 2 matchup against a Rams team that stormed back to earn a season-opening win over Arizona.

Here’s my Thursday morning conversation with Albert:

Jay Adams: A couple of days have passed since the loss to the Saints, so you’ve had time to process the game. What were your impressions watching the Falcons in Week 1?

Kenny Albert: I thought it could have gone either way. It’s obviously a tough environment — division rival, New Orleans, the (Superdome), return of Sean Payton — so leading up to the game, we all amongst our crew thought it could have gone either way. And it could have, coming down to the last play, obviously. We’re excited to see the Falcons again this week. St. Louis surprised some people last week by coming back down 11 in the fourth quarter. The thing about St. Louis is, despite their record last year, finishing under 500, they played such tight games with San Francisco and Seattle within their divisions. So, I think you can’t take them lightly either. As far as the Falcons go, we certainly saw some good things last week. Roddy (White’s) injury, obviously, was a factor but (there were) two big plays — the Steven Jackson 50-yard run and the Harry Douglas 50-yard catch leading to touchdowns. Disappointing to start with a loss, especially after the 8-0 start last year but I’m sure they’ll be ready to go this Sunday.

JA: Matt Ryan took some bumps on Sunday and the offensive line is a work in progress at this point. If that O-line can come together, how good do you think this offense can be?

KA: I think very good. When you look at the skill position players, I don’t know if there is another team out there that can match what the Falcons have at all the positions — when you look at the three wide receivers and Tony (Gonzalez) and Steven Jackson and obviously Matt. We talked a lot about the offensive line on Sunday. Moose Johnston even highlighted, we picked a couple players to watch right before the start of the game, Lamar Holmes is one of those guys coming off the season in which he only played seven snaps and replacing a veteran and Mike Johnson goes down (in training camp). Garrett (Reynolds) … missed half the season with Peter (Konz) moving over to center. We talked to Matt on Saturday at the hotel. We asked him about the guys. He said, look with Lamar it’s not the easiest place to make your first start in New Orleans with the noise factor. But he was very complimentary of him. Said he was highly athletic and with Peter, this is a direct quote from Matt, he felt he was the most mature rookie he’s ever been around. So, he was very impressed with what he’s seen from Peter in training camp and preseason. I think he feels confident in these guys and obviously it will take a little bit of time. I agree, it’s definitely a tough place to make your first start.

JA: As you’re preparing to cover this game Sunday against the Rams, what are some of the big keys that you’re going to be looking for from both teams?

KA: I think one of them you mentioned. The Falcons offensive line going up against the Rams defensive line. They led the league in sacks last year and they got off to a great start Sunday — Robert Quinn with three sacks and two forced fumbles, Chris Long, one of the top young players in the league. He’s now in his sixth year, but a great combination when you look at those two defensive ends. So I think it will be a big challenge for the Falcons this week, especially the right side of the line. You know, you have so many storylines — Steven Jackson going up against his former team. He’s led the Rams in rushing the last eight years, so it’s not like he’s some journeyman player that has bounced around that’s playing against one of his former teams. When you look back in the record books, he’s right up there with Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson. He’s surpassed those guys, as far as total yards. I’m sure he’ll be fired up. The home opener, obviously, the first real home game since the NFC Championship game. So, I think there is a lot to look forward to on Sunday.

JA: We’ve talked a little bit about the line battle, but they say games are won and lost in the trenches. Is this perhaps no more true than this game coming up between the Falcons O-line and the Rams D-line?

A: I think that will be a big part of it. Tony Siragusa is the third guy in our crew and he’s down on the field and he keeps a close eye on the line battle, so I’m sure that will be a big part of his analysis. You know, we were also impressed with the young players on the defensive side for the Falcons. (Desmond) Trufant and (Robert) Alford, coming up with the interception, (Robert) McClain playing even more plays than usual with Asante (Samuel) out. We’ll be keeping a close eye on those guys as well to see how they do in Game 2.

JA: It’s early and injuries certainly haven’t been kind to the Falcons after Week 1. Should the Falcons get off to a rough start in the first few weeks of the season and once they get healthy, do you see this being a team that’s built to make it up down the road as the schedule wears on?

KA: Absolutely. I mean, when you look at what the Falcons did last year, in all sports I think great teams, teams that become champions — and I don’t want to use the word dynasty — but teams that have great runs and maybe get to a Super Bowl or win a championship, I think they always have that one hurdle, that one major disappointment that they have to get over and perhaps get to the next step the following year. Last year’s NFC Championship game could be that, when they fall just short. In a way, I think it’s similar to the 49ers two years ago, hosting the NFC Championship game with the Giants and it goes to overtime. They have chances to win and commit a couple of big turnovers on special teams. Then next year, they get to the Super Bowl. So I think for the Falcons it was obviously a disappointing loss and they had the whole offseason to think about it. But, you have to put them right up there amongst the top teams in the NFC looking at things right now.

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