EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J — Before we get to today’s Falcons’ game, I have two important travel updates:
1.) Our beat guy, Darryl Ledbetter, rolled into Manhattan at 2:53 a.m. I know this because he sent me a very excited text message, which of course I ignored until about 8:30. For those who missed our travel experiences, and if you want to know how D-Led blew it by not following my lead, click here.
2.) We STILL almost didn’t make it the game. Our taxi from the hotel did I nice little swerve and side slide on the New Jersey Turnpike after the doofus driving the Lexus in front of us lost control because he was driving too fast, spun out and kissed the wall. Our driver apologized for startling us. Apologize? For what? He just gave me a blog lead. Of course, now Ledbetter is screaming at me for not taking a picture of the Lexus.
Anyway, I can now say I’ve experienced everything. Having a cab driver from Brooklyn apologize was the last thing on my Bucket List.
Inside the stadium, things are fine. Well, not great for the Falcons. As I’m sure you know, they officially were eliminated from playoff contention last night when Dallas upset New Orleans. Of course, I know most us knew they realistically were out of it following last week’s lost to the Saints.
But it doesn’t make today’s game against the New York Jets uninteresting. I realize athletes are human. But an NFL season is only 16 games. To me, there’s no excuse for letting up. I plan on making this central to the column later. But the Falcons have a lot of questions to answer — about Matt Ryan, about the offense, about the team in general. They need to get the most out of these “meaningless” games as possible.
About Ryan and Michael Turner: If you missed the earlier flashes on Twitter — follow @AJCFalcons and @JeffSchultzAJC!!!– both will start. How a quarterback with turf toe and a running back with a high ankle sprain hold up in this weather remains to be seen. But it will be good to see the offense somewhat intact again.
By the way, the weather is good right now. Cold, but clear skies. The snow on the field has been cleared to the side. So that shouldn’t be a factor. Let’s just say things are a little more under control here now than they are at LaGuardia. Or on the Turnpike.
I’ll check back in a little while.