Opposite Sideline: Expect noise for Falcons' stadium opener
The lowdown on the Green Bay Packers' next opponent from a beat writer who covers that team.
The Green Bay Packers head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in a prime-time matchup on Sunday night, which will opening night for their brand new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
We caught up with D. Orlando Ledbetter, who covers the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, to get an idea where this Falcons team is heading going into their showdown with the Packers.
You can read our quick Q&A below and check out our conversation in the video above.
1. How are Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense handling the move from Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator?
The players have been very supportive of Sarkisian. He said that he’s not trying to re-invent the wheel and simply trying to make something that was great a little bit better. There have been some personnel grouping changes and some formations. About the only major noticeable tweak has been that they plan to use tight end Austin Hooper more.
2.Rookie pass rusher Takk McKinley made a lot of headlines this offseason. How has he looked so far through camp and Week 1?
He has looked simply awesome. He already has a great bull rush for a 21-year-old kid and he’s working on his pro counter moves. The Falcons mostly stayed in their base 4-3 against the Bears. They are expecting that he’ll play more against the Packers as a rush right defensive end in the nickel. In 14 rushes against the Bears, he had three pressures.
3. Do you expect the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be as loud as the Georgia Dome?The old dome may have seen better days toward the end there but the Falcons always enjoyed a distinct advantage when the fans cranked up the volume.
Remember, they also were busted by the league for pumping crowd noise in there from 2012 to 2014. I’m not sure how the new stadium holds noise because it’s so massive. I couldn’t really tell during the sparsely attended home exhibition games. We’re all going to find out at the same time on Sunday.