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I'm just gonna post the visual evidence. Not a whole lot of elaboration needed. This one's for the ones who contend that no one was schemed open last night. 3rd and Goal, 1st quarter. Sark dials up a spacing concept, good in short yardage. Instead of a flat route by the #3 receiver, he has #1 Julio running an out which draws double coverage, stretching the defense horizontally in the end zone, theoretically creating space underneath. Eagles played a lot of man down near the goal line. This is an ideal call out of bunch, which is designed to create space against one on one coverage. Eagles play the bunch side well but Matt never looks that way. Seems like his psr (pre-snap read) had him favoring the single receiver side to Hooper. But this here is the issue. He's locked in on Hooper the whole way. Hooper has a man draped all over him, even before he got bumped... but take a look at who doesn't have anyone near him at the bottom of the screen there. I remember a lot of critiques about running backs not used in the passing game or no one getting schemed wide open... well here you go. Walk-in touchdown and Matt never even looks his way. Looks like Bennett was in a peel technique-- or it's possible he just sensed something was up, but the linebacker who did have Free in man got lost in the wash. Can't ask for a better look than this.
Stray Dog THA GAWD posted a topic in Talk About the FalconsGlad to see coach is on top of this! Quinn on Falcons' red zone issues: 'That has to change' (NFL.com) This time Julio Jones caught the ball. The Atlanta Falcons still lost. In a near-mirrored version of last year's playoff loss in Philadelphia, the Falcons drove to the red zone in the north end of Lincoln Financial Field with the game on the line. Like the previous loss, Thursday night's failure ended with a boundary pass Jones couldn't corral in bounds. The Falcons' All-Pro receiver was body-slammed out of bounds to end the 18-12 loss to the Eagles. The red-zone failure on the final play bookended a night of offensive struggles for Atlanta that began by getting stuffed at the doorstep on fourth down of the opening drive. Matt Ryan's offense went 1-5 in red-zone scoring Thursday night, managing just 12 points. "Our ability to score down there, that has to change," coach Dan Quinn said, via NBC's Pro Football Talk. "We weren't able to do that tonight. Give credit to them. We knew coming in this was going to be a good matchup defensively, offensively and all in different areas but that part of our game clearly tonight we didn't execute at the level we'd like and we've got work to do." The struggles in the red zone are nothing new for Atlanta, which ranked 23rd in RZ percentage last season. Matt Ryan had a particularly brutal night throwing the ball. Not only was he badgered by Eagles pressure, his throws were often late, off-target and lacked zip. Appearing uncomfortable in the pocket, Ryan finished with a 5.8 yards per attempt average on 43 attempts, completing a dastardly 48.8 percent of his tosses, with one interception (in the red zone) and zero TD passes. The only thing worse than the odd lack of arm strength on Ryan's passes was the red zone play-calling and execution. Ryan went 1-9 in red area passing Thursday night, including 0-3 to Jones, one target of which sailed about a mile over the receiver's head. "I really believe we're going to make those plays as we move forward," an optimistic Ryan said after the game, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. "It just comes down to making a play here or there. And I think when we get those changes again, we're going to come up with those plays. But we're going to continue to work at it and practice it. I think we are closer. We're disappointed that we didn't make those plays tonight. But I'm confident that we're going to make them moving forward." After an offseason of supposedly focusing on improving in the red zone, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian finds himself right back in the eye of ire. First was the odd decision not to have the team's best player, Julio Jones, on the field during the first failed red-zone trip. Jones propelled the Falcons to the doorstep of the end zone, then sat the next four plays out watching the offense fail in both scheme and execution. "Nobody was in. We were in goal line," Jones said of the personnel on the field for the first scoring opportunity. "I'm comfortable with every call that's made. My job is to go out there and execute and do my best when it's my time." Even if Jones is playing nice, Sark will get heat for not at least using his top player as a decoy. Jones ended the game with 10 receptions on 19 targets for 169 yards - zero catches coming in the red zone. If Thursday's problems were a one-off situation, they could be dismissed as knocking off rust. They were not. The Falcons have scored just one offensive touchdown in each of their last four games, per NFL Research. Atlanta opens the season the same way the last one closed: with a loss in Philly, red-zone problems and an offensive coordinator most fans want to drive out of town.
Stray Dog THA GAWD posted a topic in Talk About the FalconsPick Six Podcast: Matt Ryan's arm might be as concerning as Falcons' red-zone woes (CBS Sports) The Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles collided to kick off the 2018 NFL season on Thursday night, and they virtually replayed their 2017 playoff game thanks to a low-scoring start and a goal-line stand at the finish. While the defending Super Bowl champions avoided a Week 1 upset by milking life from "Philly Special" 2.0 and flexing their defensive muscles, the Falcons stumbled their way through countless opportunities to quiet the Eagles' crowd. Not only did they lose, but they lost almost exactly as they did to end their 2017 campaign -- with a whole slate of botched red-zone tries. One game into the 2018 season, all of a sudden the Falcons and 2016 MVP quarterback Matt Ryan don't look like sure bets to make their own Super Bowl run, after all. That's why CBS Sports NFL writer John Breech joined Will Brinson for Friday's edition of the Pick Six Podcast (a daily, 30-minutes-or-so podcast on the NFL -- subscribe: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play) -- to vent about Atlanta's ongoing red-zone problems, wonder what's up with Matt Ryan and look ahead to the rest of the games on tap for Week 1. Brinson, in particular, was admittedly frustrated after watching the Falcons repeat the mistakes that haunted them in 2017. "The whole thing about this offseason was, OK, the Falcons were great at moving the ball last year, (but) they stunk in the red zone," he said. "Steve Sarkisian's got like six to eight months to figure out how to fix that problem. And he didn't." Just as concerning, perhaps, was Ryan's performance both in and outside the red zone. The newly paid signal-caller completed just 48 percent of his throws, tossed a floater of an interception inside the Eagles' 20-yard line and finished 1-for-9 in that range on the night. "His arm looks like it's a spaghetti noodle," Brinson said. "He looked like he developed a change-up this offseason. He looked terrible." Breech agreed, suggesting that "on the field, (Ryan) was the goat of the game for the Falcons."