What could determine who succeeds or not during this NFL season may occur on the sidelines instead of the field.
I'm talking about kneeling.
How will each team handle kneeling?
Yes, kneeling is on the horizon throughout the league, stretching from whatever the preseason looks like due to COVID-19 through all of the high and low notes sung by whichever diva performs the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Not only that, but kneeling will dominate the league this season as much (if not more) than it did in 2016, when some quarterback named Colin Kaepernick sat and then knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner before games for his San Francisco 49ers.
Without a plan for kneeling, you can fracture your locker room.
Doesn't matter whether the majority of players for a team decides that everybody should kneel or some can or nobody should.
Every NFL team needs a plan, and it must come from the players.
Which brings us to the Atlanta Falcons.
Sounds like the Falcons get it, or at least Matt Ryan does, and as the starting quarterback, harmony begins and ends with his leadership.
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Ryan suggested to reporters this week that his teammates will deal with the kneeling question in the near future.
"That discussion part hasn't come up in terms of my talks with the players at this point," Ryan said of whether to kneel or not to kneel, either collectively or individually. "I expect to see that for sure in different ways throughout the season."
Then Ryan added, "As we get closer to the season, and that opportunity is going to come up, I think its going to be within our team, having that discussion and creating an open forum for the teammates to talk about what that means to them and how they are going to act."
It's good the Falcons are thinking about kneeling now.
Sooner rather than later, they'll have to go from thinking about it to talking about it and then to doing it . . .
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