The Birds are Back!

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan | NFL.com

Tonight Football returns and your Atlanta Falcons have been chosen to open it with the Hall of Fame game versus the Denver Broncos.

Julio Jones announced he will sit the whole postseason and most Falcons starters won’t play this game but it’s still plenty of reasons to watch. The Falcons are 0-8 in their last 2 preseasons and even though they don’t matter we still want to see what change the Falcons made and how it will affect this season.

The offense and defensive line are full of position battles, with young and old players looking to solidify their spot on the team. Coach Dan Quinn claims he’s bringing a new mindset to the Falcons and with a couple years of mediocrity. Some think he might be coaching for his job. He brags about a lot of the young players developing tremendously and can’t wait to see them shine this season. With Dirk Koetter back at offensive coordinator and Dan Quinn running the defense,the preseason will be big to get our rhythm together.

A lot of analysts pick the Falcons to go far this season. We have loads of talent, our stars aren’t getting any younger and fans are getting impatient. With a difficult schedule to start we need to use preseason to get our rhythm. Once again the Falcons are 0-8 in their last 2 preseasons. I’m not saying any preseason game is a must win but we can’t go 0-4 again. It would be a record to go 0-4 in 3 straight preseasons. This is the year the Falcons can shock the league and it all starts tonight at 8pm at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium.

Evan Nix

Be sure to head to BirdsInTheBenz tonight for live coverage! 

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Playoffs?!

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Trae Young and John Collins (Hawks.com)

After a two year absence are the Hawks playoff bound?

After a flurry of late season thrillers and a stellar draft, Hawks fans have a sense of excitement not felt since the 60 win season. Some are even speaking about the P word…Playoffs!

Atlanta is coming off a season that started a putrid 6-23 due in part to an injured John Collins and a Trae Young that was just getting his feet wet in the NBA.

When healthy, the Hawks finished the season a competitive 23-30. Extrapolate that winning percentage (.434) over a full 82 game period and you roughly get a 35.5 win total. That would’ve placed Atlanta six games below the playoff line in the East.

I get the notion of most thinking the Hawks will automatically greatly improve next year. But let’s slow down just a bit.

Key Additions 

Evan Turner | Acquired via Trade from Portland | Backup Point Guard

Allen Crabbe | Acquired via Trade from Brooklyn | Reserve Wing

De’Andre Hunter | Drafted 4th Overall | Starting Wing

Cam Reddish | Drafted 10th Overall | Backup Wing

Bruno Fernando | Drafted 34th Overall | Backup Center

Jabari Parker | Free Agent Signing | Backup Forward

Chandler Parsons | Acquired via Trade from Memphis | Backup Wing

Key Departures

Kent Bazemore | Traded to Portland | Starting Wing

Taurean Prince | Traded to Brooklyn | Starting Wing

Dewayne Dedmon | Signed a Free Agent deal with Sacramento | Starting Center

Vince Carter | Unsigned Free Agent (could still return) | Reserve Wing

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Jim Mora

On paper, it appears that the Hawks are a better team. But losing three of your five starters and possibly Vince is huge not only in locker room but on the court.

Bazemore, Dedmon and Vince were the unquestioned leaders and “tough guys” of the team. That is not easily replicated. While Atlanta definitely replaced that production on the wing, the team is very thin up front.

The Hawks will have to rely on Alex Len and Rookie Bruno Fernando at the 5 spot. They may have to slide Collins to the Center spot at times to make ends meet.

It is expected that the Hawks go with this lineup on opening night:

Trae Young

Kevin Huerter

De’Andre Hunter

John Collins

Alex Len

That is very very young. There will be growing pains.

Let’s also not forget how “lucky” we have been drafting lately. John Collins, Trae Young, and Kevin Huerter have had outstanding Rookie seasons. We can not place unfair pressure based on our recent history on Cam, Hunter and Bruno.

Vegas has set the over/under for next year at 32.5 wins. Personally I expect the Hawks to fall around 10th in the Eastern Conference with around 33-38 wins. That would end in disappointment for some but that should be considered a success. It would also give us another shot in the new lottery which has proved to be a crapshhot that anyone can win.

Hawks fans, let’s not put unrealistic expectations on this team. We know they are going to be very exciting so let’s just enjoy the ride.

What do you think fans? Should we temper expectations or are we playoff bound? Hit us up @ATLHawks_Talk and @_ATLPhil and let us know.

I know one thing is for sure, I speak for all of us when I say bring on October!

Here’s to more moments like this.

As always, send us your Atlanta Sports questions and you’ll hear them answered live on Youtube on the next episode of HQ Live.

Stay with ATLSportsHQ for full Hawks’ coverage and all things Atlanta sports.

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Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil Twitter/IG | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

Through the Lenses | Big 3 Hits Atlanta

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A couple of familiar faces came to town this past Sunday as the Big 3 took to StateFarm Arena.

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Joe Johnson continued to show that he still belongs on the court with his third straight strong showing. His 27 points let the Triplets to a come from behind 51-40 victory on the court he called home.

Former Hawk star Josh Smith led Bivouac with 22 points and 9 rebounds in the losing effort.

Joe Johnson

The other scores included a 51-48 Killer 3’s victory off of strong performances from Mario Chalmers and Rashad Lewis and a 21 point performance from David Hawkins to lead his Trilogy squad.

The Big 3 heads to Providence and Brooklyn this coming week.

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Stay with ATLSportsHQ all season long for the best coverage and all other Atlanta Sports, for the fans, by the fans.

Jeremy Davis |@x_Th3_Truth_x Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG

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HQ Live 28 TONIGHT

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Phil and Bret and maybe Mr. Patel will be live for episode 28 of the podcast series on Youtube at 8:45 PM WEDNESDAY The group will recap the first week of NBA Free Agency. There will also be discussion on other Atlanta sports and national news.

Send in your questions, subscribe, share and rate – and you may win Braves tickets!

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