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SS- Indianapolis at Atlanta: 27 Observations

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SS- Indianapolis at Atlanta: 27 Observations

1. The right side of the offensive line is tenacious. On both of Michael Turner’s long runs, Dahl and Clabo were the two main hole openers.

2. Ovie Mughelli is finally going to earn his money. Last week against the Jaguars, we saw our well-paid fullback actually being used in short-yardage situations and as a receiver. This week, we saw him crush a couple of Colts, most notably on Turner’s second long run.

3. Ryan’s interception was definitely a mistake on his part, but it shouldn’t be made into a big deal. Comeback routes are among the easiest to jump on for cornerbacks, and that’s exactly what Kelvin Hayden did. Ryan should have have zipped the ball more, but Finneran should have come back to the ball.

4. The Dome looks a million times better than it used to and really looks like the Falcons’ house now.

5. Jamaal Anderson obviously still has work to do. Most of agree that he has underperformed and had his problems (i.e. the missed tackle on the reverse to his side), but I’m still not ready to make that leap into “bust” territory. Given that Anderson is a young defensive end (he was a wide receiver until being converted at Arkansas) and that he had horrid coaching in his rookie year, I think Jamaal needs a little more time. He better start showing a glimpse of something soon, though.

6. Sam Baker had a strong performance again. He was consistently able to render the Colts defensive ends ineffective. Baker exhibited good poise and even better technique: He was able to handle stunts, absorb bull rushes, and hold off speed moves. He is definitely looking better than a lot of tackles taken ahead of him (Chris Williams, Jeff Otah).

7. Lawyer Milloy is a huge asset to this team. Nobody can question his amazing leadership, but that pop he put on Joseph Addai shows he can still play.

8. Brent Grimes is solid. I’m sure I don’t need to remind anybody, but Grimes is going to be huge for us this season. Not only is he great in coverage, his support in the box is great. He makes plays DeAngelo Hall never would have. As he gains experience and enhances his ball skills, he’s going to become a Pro Bowler.

9. Despite all the praise of Curtis Lofton, Tony Taylor has been looking strong as well. Taylor was in on a couple of tackles for losses and some pressures. Not to say, however, that Lofton wasn’t impressive with his sack and big hit on Pierre Garcon.

10. Our coverage as a whole is working well. We all know about Grimes, but Chevis Jackson for the most part was holding his own against Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Again, we didn’t hear Erik Coleman’s name at all, which is definitely a good thing. Notice how for these first two preseason games, no plays have happened behind our starting defense. Coleman is a huge upgrade over Crocker. When Houston fully recovers from his dislocated shoulder, I think the secondary will be a strong point.

11. Our pass rush is, as always, an area of concern. The only saving grace is the fact that we generated a lot of pressure and had 2 sacks without John Abraham playing a snap. Kroy Biermann is proving Division II players can roll with the best with his two consecutive weeks of big plays. Regardless, we need to see the first team really generate some heat. As far as rushing defense goes, although there is room for improvement, the front seven is looking better each day.

12. Michael Turner is a burner. In case you didn’t know.

13. I love Michael Turner.

14. Michael Boley is finally going to get his Pro Bowl bid. Not only was 59 shooting across the field on his way to 5 tackles in a short amount of playing time, he was moving like a cornerback in coverage. Hopefully that injury is nothing.

15. Adam Jennings isn’t going to make this team. I’ve been a little too sympathetic for a while, but now there’s just no point. His punt return ability is below average as is his receiving ability. Unless he has great games in the coming weeks, he is going to be in trouble.

16. Among the quarterbacks, Chris Redman looked the best. Given he was in with the second string, but still he looked confident and sharp. Redman made good reads, good throws, and stepped into all the tosses. Ryan did well, too, but Redman was on a roll until that tip turned into a pick.

17. Matt Ryan has smarts and mobility. Together, those two things make him a dangerous guy. The ability he displayed on the play where he scrambled out of the pocket and launched one to Roddy White was the reason he was the most highly ranked QB.

18. Jason Elam is fine. Apparently people were worried about his performance last week even though he has historically done badly in the preseason. This week’s game should calm them down.

19. Jason Snelling and Thomas Brown looked okay. Brown looked a little better, but didn’t do anything to separate himself as a clear winner in the fight for the third RB spot. Plus, I wouldn’t blame Snelling too much for his negative yardage. The third and fourth team offensive lines were imploding onto him.

20. Laurent Robinson’s catch was beautiful. Robinson’s hammy and tailbone were bothering him throughout camp, but if he can stay healthy he’s going to do some more special things this season.

21. Michael Jenkins played better this week. 4 receptions for 25 yards isn’t mind blowing by any standard, but Jenkins read defenses well and was run-blocking well, too.

22. If our offensive line stays: Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Todd McClure, Harvey Dahl, and Tyson Clabo (possibly Todd McClure), people will be surprised by their effectiveness. Some were saying Clabo is a better guard than tackle, and while that still may hold true, he showed us this week he is very capable at tackle.

23. Mularkey’s play calling is good. Take a trip back to Greg Knapp and you’ll remember a time when you knew exactly what was coming next. Mularkey keeps it unpredictable, diverse, and entertaining.

24. The Falcons have an attitude I haven’t seen in a while. There is a new drive, excitement, and confidence to the team which can only help.

25. While we did lose, I would say being down only 7 points after 5 turnovers isn’t too bad.

26. Mike Smith is a good coach. He does what is necessary to make this team better, and that is has been the formula for winning for the past century. For example, last week we partially lost the game because of penalties. This week, the first and second teams didn’t have a single call against them. I’m sure this week Smith will help the team get over turnovers and also help them get better scoring inside the red zone.

27. All in all, here are the grades:

QBs: C – Mostly on target, tips just turned into picks. Plus, no touchdowns.

RBs: B+ - Turner looked good, Norwood was strong. Brown did okay, Snelling had line problems.

WR: C+ – Bad case of the “tipsies”, but main players were fine.

TEs: B – Strong blocking, average receiving. But we weren’t expecting much.

DT: C+ – Did fine against the run, longest Colt run was for 12 yards against third team. Need more pass rush up the middle, though.

DE: C+ – Abraham’s absence was obvious, Anderson had some struggles. Evans and Biermann looked good, though.

LB: A – All over the place and did everything well.

CB: A – Grimes and Jackson were strong. Held without much pass rush.

S: B+ – Coleman and Lawyer held up well, Stone had an interception.

P: A - Koenen was hitting the sidelines, had good hang and distance.

K: A – Elam was 3 for 3 with long of 40.

Grade Point Average: 3.09

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Good post. I agree on mostly all points.

To go along with #23, I think we'll start seeing some trickery when the regular season starts. I definitely want to see The Burner and Norwood together in the backfield on select plays. We may not have the best all-around offense, or anything close to it, but we have some serious weapons. I'm fairly confident that Mularkey will get the most out of all of these guys.

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We gotta get the 2nd and 3rd and short though. That needs to become automatic. We have to "will" ourselves to get positive yards on these attitude plays. They can define the physicality of our team and be the difference between us being perceived as physical or finesse.

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Great Post!

After watching the game twice, I made the assessments and came away with the same reviews on:

The starting Offensive Line; Redman and Ryan; Brent Grimes, Lawyer Milloy and the rest of the secondary; T. Taylor vs. C. Lofton; Boley; Robinson; Jennings; and Mularkey's imaginative playcalling.

I'd like to throw a bone to Darren Stone as well. He had a good game from the FS spot last too.

I mean spot on with what I stated in a post of my own!

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excellent post, and couldn't agree more about the new attitude and swagger of the team. The way every player responded after a big play congralutating each other. especially after the milloy hit. you could tell they were having fun and excited to play.

Right before the ryan interception i was telling myself he is the real deal. i still think he is. He showed amazing pocket precense and poise. he knew when to step up and when to get rid of it. He looked extremely calm, even when the pocket did begin to collapse. I do want him to work on his arm strength, b/c most of his passes appear to float to his targets. the checkdown to norwood was a great example of him understanding the offense, knowing where his players will be, an quick decision making. It was the play where he was running through his progression and turns back to the right to have a Colt directly in his face. he make a very quick and accurate throw to norwood, staying there to take the hit. that was the play that probably impressed me the most.

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He was able to handle stunts, absorb bull rushes, and hold off speed moves. He is definitely looking better than a lot of tackles taken ahead of him (Chris Williams, Jeff Otah).
You know, and people said Baker was a reach. Williams will be out for a while, is Otah a LT?? Just think about it, he was suppose to be the 2nd LT taken in the 07 draft after Joe Thomas. :o
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Very good post. I agree with most all of your points.

"Formally known as Rmarchma"

Man, it's a shame you have to start all over... I remember you from the Peerless Price days... you, Gazoo and Pzummo were/are definitely some of the better posters on here...

Good to have you back, tho... ^_^

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19 I think. Who was in on the OL during the 4th QTR, because Snelling was getting washed under in the backfield repeatedly.

And who is this Blue Adams character? Anybody got a draft analysis on him somewhere? He had 10 tackles (9 solo) if the stats are right. With all the talk of Stone, Milloy, Grimes, Jackson and others, where was this guy playing? 5th LBer LOL? I know he's not a rookie, so I was hoping someone might know something about him that the rest of us don't. I know nothing.

And Baker.... well, I just moved from SoCal to NY last year and it didn't bother me at all when we took Baker. As a matter of fact, I was grinning and pretty baffled by all the negative responses to our choice. I attributed most of those complaints to a regional handicap. When you live in the SEC belt (or were born in it), you don't pay attention to much else, certainly not USC. Baker is no joke. Yeah, his injury issues mean we take on a little risk. Well, if anyone hasn't noticed, I think TD is a little more risk for higher reward kind of guy. I thought that was obvious with all the veteran cuts we made when he and Smith first came on board. Having lived in CA and pretty much having been forced to watch USC, I might even be of the mind that what he brings to the table when he's healthy is well worth putting up with the times when he's not, but I haven't quite gone to that conclusion. He's a kick you while you're down kind of nasty that we need - a lumberjack type and he's used to pushing down redwood trees. I still think we're all going to be impressed with him. I'd say he might even get votes for rookie of the year, but we all know linemen get no love with that sort of thing.

I think we better start taking predictions now on what game Turner will go over 1000 yards for the year.

I have lost all respect for Horn. I wish we'd low ball him on an injury settlement and get his behind out the door. He re-injured himself in warm-ups (yeah, wasn't that just convenient). He's such a wuss, and it's pretty obvious he's pulling to make the Falcons cut him. We paid him a lot of cash that he'll never earn, and I hate to just let him go without a little payback. So let's not cut him until the season kicks off, and I doubt anyone will pick him up, and if they do, it won't be for more than the minimum.

I think Jennings is a goner. And Kino. Did he get in the game?

And did we hear Coach Smith name our defense in his presser. He referred to them as a "lunchbox gang" or something very similar, a bring your lunchbox bunch or something like that. Anyway, I'm all for that. Hopefully, they'll be deserving of a nickname as soon as this year.


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GREAT post. I agree with like 25 of em. I think Brown and Snelling are showing such skill we should keep both on the active roster. Seriously, I'd give em an A if I was hard on them, but being a fan I'd give our run game an A+. Turner WAS great, and I can't believe we have Norwood behind that. I see a highlight show coming from our run game.

And the LB's really helped the run defense. I think Hart had over 50 yards in like 4 carries last week, and we pretty much shut him down. Forget exactly, but Hart looked great behind their line last week, and looked average against us.

Redman did improve, and it should be him and Ryan in the running to start, the others are really not important to the team.

But great analysis, I can't wait till the first game with all our starters in.

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