Kung-Pow Posted August 28, 2011 Share Posted August 28, 2011 I know a lot of the knee-jerk reacting, negative nancies are less optimistic, but from my preseason observations, the Falcons are about to have a GREAT year. The first team defense is playing with energy and at a high level; and it looks like Matt Ryan has been handed control of the offense. We are shifting from riding Michael Turner's back to riding Ryan's arm. I'm really looking forward to getting this thing started for real.Now, my observations from the game:-- Falcons have got to get off to faster starts in the beginning of games against the better opponents. This team is still missing that swagger that the elite teams in the League have. PIT came out ready to play and breathing fire. But PIT is a veteran-laden team stocked with players that have successful playoff experience on their resumes. That will come with time for the Falcons.-- I saw a well-coached team that really grew up and took some giant leaps in their maturation process during this game. You have to admire the way the Birds responded and fought back after getting hit in the mouth. All week, you heard/read quotes about how the Falcons knew what a physical fight they would be in for against PIT, but still didn't appear ready. We saw instances last season where when the Falcons were hit early, they folded (PIT, PHI, GB). It was good to see them get off the mat and hit back. It's imperative they take these lessons into the season, and I think they will. This game will serve them well.-- On PIT's first drive, it was disappointing to see the defense surrender large gains on the same play TWICE! Misdirection plays are still the way to attack our defense, which can be overly aggressive. But that's youth.-- John Abraham and Johnathan Babineaux continue to have fantastic preseasons. They have wreaked havoc in opposing backfields in every game thus far.-- It was tough to expect much from Ray Edwards in his first live action this year. He's been held out of many of the practices and drills during TC, so it's only natural and should be expected that there's some rust to knock off. He was held plenty.-- Atlanta Braves head coach Fredi Gonzalez often says that you believe what's on the back of the baseball card. What's on the back of Michael Turner's card is 1300 yards and double-digit TDs every year (as a full-time starter); Roddy White has 1100 yards and 85 receptions; John Abraham has double-digit sacks; Ray Edwards gets 8.5. They're production should not be questioned. There should be NO doubts over Turner.-- Matt Ryan got caught up staring at the rush and not downfield. It caused many of his throws to be quite erratic, and nothing's worse than a QB with happy feet. But PIT's done that to the best of them. No shame in it.-- TE Michael Palmer needs to understand situations better. When he's leaking out after chipping a blitzer, he's got to get his turned and expect the football. Low awareness.-- Can we please end this silly debate about Matt Ryan's arm strength now?? You'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautifully thrown deep ball than the one he threw to Julio Jones in the endzone. That ball traveled 63 yards in the air.-- Ryan runs the no-huddle so well. I would go to it after every three-and-out.-- After a rough outing against JAX, I was anxious to see how the line would hold against PIT. They did okay. No individual lineman got beat for a sack, but PIT often had free rushers on their blitzes. LT Sam Baker tried to run his man wide on the INT by Matt (Palmer), but No. 99 still got around him and forced the hurried pass from Ryan. Great hustle from HD to run down Lawrence Timmons and not give him a free seven. Again I say, the Falcons are a well-coached group.-- The defense showed some real backbone after that first series. On consecutive series, they had a three-and-out where PIT only went backwards to an eventual fourth-and-34, and they held stout on a goal line stand that started at the ATL 4. They will keep the Falcons in a lot of games in which the offense sputters that they couldn't/didn't last year. -- The offense needs to catch up to the defense. The defense appears a step or two ahead at the moment. -- Matt Ryan is no statue in the pocket. He ran away nicely from a blitzing PIT corner on a naked bootleg. Had two carries for 24 yards.-- Eight catches and 101 yards for White; five catches for 59 yards for Jones (ohh, if only he makes that grab!) -- in one half of play. Julio may have dropped the pass, but it's not easy to get behind two defenders. A very good sign.-- Matt Ryan started the game 4-10 for 36 yards; finished 18-32 for 184 yards. Very nice comeback. -- No surprise that 15 years later, Tony G. no longer has the athleticism that he once possessed -- even what he had two years ago was magnificent. But if he can still win the one-on-one matchups in open space on third downs and in the endzone, he'll still provide a valuable asset to the offense.-- Chris Owens and Dominique Franks played very well. I'll give Owens the edge in this game if only because he didn't allow a receiver to get behind him the way Franks did on the long TD. But that maybe doesn't happen if Edwards doesn't do a complete face-plant on the edge and allow Ben to roll to his vacated spot and throw that long bomb. -- In fact, the secondary as whole was really good and the defense worked well as a unit to stifle PIT's offense much of the time they were in there. It's just that as Smitty said in the presser, gotta eliminate the penchant for allowing explosive plays. That they both came on third-and-long situations is what's really frustrating about it.-- If Brent Grimes is one half-inch taller, he's got two INTs and three PDs. In such a short amount of time, we've become accustomed to seeing the spectacular from Grimes that we're shocked when he doesn't. It seems that he's being targeted less and less as his reputation for play-making grows. For all my Basketball Wives fans, WR Mike Wallace was a "non-mutha f@*$in facta, b!^%h!"-- Also, the secondary is still having breakdowns in coverage/communication. If not for pressure from a heavy blitz, Big Ben nearly connected with an insanely free-running Hines Ward for a long TD -- also on third down.-- Harry Douglas is ready to go! Another poster mentioned that he's essentially relegated Tony Gonzalez to a fourth option... wow! Tony usually gets that push-off call on the PI when he got caught with the arm extended in the endzone. -- Chris Redman looked old. Thomas Dimitroff made comments about the new third QB rule that inclines me to think that the Falcons really wanna go with JPW as the backup.-- Jaquizz Rodgers nearly de-cleated Pro Bowl LB James Farrior on a key 3rd-and-6 that allowed Matt Ryan time to complete a 13-yard pass to HD. The coaches have mentioned that it would be important for Rodgers to pick up the protection schemes to see the field; nice to see him progressing in that. Also, many wondered how the diminutive back would fare in blocking these huge rushers. That's great to see.-- Once the offense got rolling, they made it look easy. Just couldn't put the exclamation point on the end. -- It seemed the protection really picked up when RG Mike Johnson was subbed for Garrett Reynolds. I said in Week 1 that Reynolds left the door open for Johnson, who may be taking advantage. They were rotated in and out with the first unit and both had good series.-- The Falcons will be in good hands with whomever wins the NB competition between Franks and Owens. Both are athletic and physical guys with all the tools you need to succeed as a corner.-- All units got in some really good work against the Steelers. Matt Ryan and the offense threw 42 times and the defense played into the third quarter. Those are good reps. Evaluate the good and the bad and the just okay, but throw the final score out the window.-- DeCoud and Moore were really good again in providing run support. But DeCoud got himself in a bad position on the 76-yarder to Brown. I think he was just as surprised as the rest of us that Brent didn't at least get a hand on the football.-- Maybe if it's not preseason, Ryan sacrifices himself for the TD on that long scramble to the PIT 2 yard line. We all remember the Minny helicopter, right?-- Jacquizz Rodgers is always going forward. He is so impressive running the football. -- Who's the better punt returner, Weems or Franks? Weems lacks the breakaway speed that Franks has, but still has great vision and acceleration. Tough choice.-- The drop off in execution from the first team to the reserves is a bit disconcerting. Shann Schillinger does not provide comfort should he ever be thrust into a prominent role. But fortunately, these guys won't see the field all at the same time. They are a bunch of young, developmental guys that will get better as they get more time in the system.That is all! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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