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Falcons Rapid Reports: Jan. 10


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Latest Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:57 p.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Mularkey to be named Jaguars head coach, team says

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has left the Falcons to take the head coaching job in Jacksonville with the Jaguars, according to a Jaguars release. Mularkey will be announced in Jacksonville Wednesday at a press conference. Jaguars RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:46 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons RapidReports MVPs: Newcomer

WR Julio Jones. Five times in his rookie campaign, Jones tallied 100 yards receiving or more. He caught multiple touchdowns in three games and set franchise records for a rookie in receiving yards (959) and touchdown receptions (8). He did all this despite missing three entire games because of injury. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:44 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons RapidReports MVPs: Special Teams

K Matt Bryant. Bryant set a franchise record in 2011 when he connected on his 27th-consecutive field goal attempt. He drove the record up to 30-straight before he missed, which he only did twice this season. His 93.1 percent (27 for 29) success rate led the NFL. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:43 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons RapidReports MVPs: Defense

LB Sean Weatherspoon. Both Weatherspoon and LB Curtis Lofton were worthy of this superlative, but in the end Weatherspoon’s four sacks and his ability to disrupt opposing quarterbacks swayed this decision. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:43 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons RapidReports MVPs: Offense

RB Michael Turner. Turner averaged 4.5 yards per carry and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the NFL with 1,340 yards. When Atlanta established Turner in the run game, the Falcons usually fared well. In Atlanta’s 10 wins, Turner averaged 98.5 yards per game; in its six losses, 59.2 ypg. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:34 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Grading the 2011 Falcons: Coaching

Grade: C-minus. Coach Mike Smith took heat for a fourth-and-inches call during the season that many believe cost Atlanta the game. OC Mike Mularkey was often criticized for under-utilizing weapons available on offense. Atlanta was outshined regularly in the third quarter, hinting that proper adjustments weren’t being made at halftime. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:33 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Grading the 2011 Falcons: Special Teams

Grade: A-minus. Nobody had a better field-goal percentage than K Matt Bryant, who went 27 for 29 in 2011. While the season started slowly for rookie P Matt Bosher, he improved and opponents averaged a league-worst 4.8 yards per return. WR Eric Weems didn’t shine as a return man. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:24 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Grading the 2011 Falcons: Defense

Grade: B-minus. Atlanta’s run defense was one of the NFL’s top units for the better part of 2011, but faltered towards the end. The linebackers were solid but not special, and the secondary was a weak point all year. The absence of an effective pass rush was an Achilles heel. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 11:21 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Grading the 2011 Falcons: Offense

Grade: C-minus. Atlanta’s offense featured weapons galore: WR’s Roddy White and Julio Jones, RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez and QB Matt Ryan. But the unit endured an identity crisis to begin the season and underperformed throughout. You can’t have these playmakers and score 16 points or less six times. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 10, 2012 9:59 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Report: Mularkey interviewing for Jags' head job

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday for their vacant head coaching position, according to the Florida Times-Union. Mularkey has been Atlanta's offensive coordinator since 2008, and was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004 to 2005. Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 09, 2012 6:45 p.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons took a step back this season, Smith says

Coach Mike Smith said when evaluating a team you either are “getting better or you’re going backwards.” When asked if Atlanta took a step back, Smith answered affirmatively. “Well, obviously, I said we didn’t get better so that would definitely be the case.” Falcons RapidReports

Jan. 09, 2012 3:07 p.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons' defensive coordinator takes same job at Auburn

Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder has accepted a job at Auburn University to become the new defensive coordinator for the Tigers, according to head coach Mike Smith. Falcons RapidReports

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- Falcons took a step back this season, Smith says

Coach Mike Smith said when evaluating a team you either are “getting better or you’re going backwards.” When asked if Atlanta took a step back, Smith answered affirmatively. “Well, obviously, I said we didn’t get better so that would definitely be the case.” Falcons RapidReports

So Smitty is contradicting his owner there....

In an interview with Ledbetter after the Giants game Blank said that the Falcons had not regressed in 2011.

Interesting. I wonder if there will be a meeting about this.

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Jan. 10, 2012 11:43 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Falcons RapidReports MVPs: Offense

RB Michael Turner. Turner averaged 4.5 yards per carry and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the NFL with 1,340 yards. When Atlanta established Turner in the run game, the Falcons usually fared well. In Atlanta’s 10 wins, Turner averaged 98.5 yards per game; in its six losses, 59.2 ypg. Falcons RapidReports

Trade the bum. He can't even open holes for himself. What good is a RB who can't block 4 linemen and 3 LB's while carrying the ball?

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Am I the only one who thinks we didn't regress this year? Yeah, our record was worse than last year but I thought everyone on the team played better except the offensive line. I could also add Abe's supposed injury in as well. Aside from the offensive line and Abe's injury, I thought everyone on the team played better. We just played better teams than us this year, and all the injuries certainly didn't help us.

I'm not saying changes don't need to be made, but I just don't feel like we really regressed. I thought our players actually played better individually this season.

I really hope Mularkey goes. I was actually fine with BVG staying, but glad to see change will be made there as well. We need a simpler defensive scheme... but I'm fine with just letting Matt Ryan call all our offensive plays.

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I do think we regressed...yes it is true some players individually had good seasons (Spoon especially) but individual performances means nothing as long as it leads to better results...The better individual play in other areas does not outweigh the amount we regressed on the O-line. Our pass rush certainly did not get any better and being shut out in our last game demonstrates how explosive we really have become on offense...Everything we tried to address last offseason was pretty much unsuccessful.

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Mularkey has got to go...I was pretty indifferent on BVG...the defense actually looked like it was improving as the year progressed where the offense looked like it was staying the same or getting worse. Way too much talent on that side of the ball to not score points...If we can address our O-line i think the OC job here in Atlanta would be very appealing seeing all the tools you would have to work with

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Jan. 10, 2012 11:34 a.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Grading the 2011 Falcons: Coaching

Grade: C-minus. Coach Mike Smith took heat for a fourth-and-inches call during the season that many believe cost Atlanta the game. OC Mike Mularkey was often criticized for under-utilizing weapons available on offense. Atlanta was outshined regularly in the third quarter, hinting that proper adjustments weren’t being made at halftime. Falcons RapidReports

How many times have we all pointed this out? I'm glad to see it in black and white by someone other than us.
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So Smitty is contradicting his owner there....

In an interview with Ledbetter after the Giants game Blank said that the Falcons had not regressed in 2011.

Interesting. I wonder if there will be a meeting about this.

Smitty even contradicted himself on the issue of whether the Falcons regressed this season. Just after the game on Sunday, Smitty said the following:

"ON IF HE THOUGHT THE FALCONS TOOK A STEP BACKWARDS THIS SEASON: I don’t. We didn’t play consistent football. I think that our roster, we made some moves and we’ve got some guys that are going to be very good football players for years to come. Unfortunately, the record wasn’t as good and we ended up not playing beyond the first game of the playoffs. That’s a disappointment. It’s a disappointment for every man in that room; players, coaches and staff. It’s something [where] we’re going to do everything in our power, starting tomorrow to get it better and get it fixed."

http://blogs.ajc.com...ta_falcons_blog

The Rapid Report quote from Smitty, where he acknowledged that the Falcons regressed ie took a step backwards, came from his press conference on Monday. Smitty had apparently changed his mind on the regression question in one day, as follows from the transcript:

"So, to sit here and say that this season was a success or was more successful than the previous year, it wasn’t simply because we didn’t advance. You’re never really staying the same.....Hey, you’re either getting better or you’re going backwards. There’s no staying the same in this business. You’re going in one or the other direction. There is no neutral.”

On whether he would say the team took a step back from last season:

“Well, obviously, I said we didn’t get better so that would definitely be the case. We did not win as many football games. We were more consistent last year. We were inconsistent. We’ve said it from the very beginning of the season, the way that our games played out: up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. Had a little three-game win streak. Never put two back-to-back losses together but then we got going where we didn’t put a long streak together like we did last season.”

http://www.atlantafa...-conference-19/

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I'm almost indifferent to BVG's departure as well; I'm not because it's exciting to see what might happen with a new DC. I recognize BVG improved team defense each year he was here, but 3rd and long has been a problem for this team seemingly since Brooking's AZ mishap. The unit played better as the 2011 season went on, but the 3rd downs continued to be a killer.

I'm eager to see MM go. I think the talent on this team has exceeded what he's capable of scheming for. We've outgrown him. Best of luck to him where he goes as he did a great job bringing along a young rookie QB, but I think it's time for him to do that again with another franchise.

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Am I the only one who thinks we didn't regress this year? Yeah, our record was worse than last year but I thought everyone on the team played better except the offensive line. I could also add Abe's supposed injury in as well. Aside from the offensive line and Abe's injury, I thought everyone on the team played better. We just played better teams than us this year, and all the injuries certainly didn't help us.

On defense, I think Dunta, DeCoud, Babs and Biermann all regressed. Certainly Ray Edwards regressed from his play last season as a Viking. Abe regressed too, but his was a combination of injury and age.

On offense, Clabo, Baker, and Mr. Dropsy Roddy all regressed. No RG was able to effectively replace Dahl, so that position regressed. On Special teams, Weems was not as good as he was last season. Bosher really struggled early in the season as the new Punter, and could never get his kickoffs into the endzone on a consistent basis for no returns like Koenen did.

All the coaches regressed. This team was clearly not prepared for some games. The game plan was lacking in several games. Game-time adjustments were lacking as evidenced by the bad third quarters in most all the games. Players didn't seem motivated, and didn't play with all their heart in more than a few games, especially against the better teams.

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On defense, I think Dunta, DeCoud, Babs and Biermann all regressed. Certainly Ray Edwards regressed from his play last season as a Viking. Abe regressed too, but his was a combination of injury and age.

On offense, Clabo, Baker, and Mr. Dropsy Roddy all regressed. No RG was able to effectively replace Dahl, so that position regressed. On Special teams, Weems was not as good as he was last season. Bosher really struggled early in the season as the new Punter, and could never get his kickoffs into the endzone on a consistent basis for no returns like Koenen did.

All the coaches regressed. This team was clearly not prepared for some games. The game plan was lacking in several games. Game-time adjustments were lacking as evidenced by the bad third quarters in most all the games. Players didn't seem motivated, and didn't play with all their heart in more than a few games, especially against the better teams.

I didn't really feel like Roddy's drops were a result of regression. The drops were just stupid on his part. I don't understand how he continued to drop passes all season long, but I would be surprised if he does the same next season.

I don't think Dunta regressed in coverage, he was always bad, but I certainly don't remember his tackling being that dramatically bad last season. I can understand your point of view on that aspect of his game.

On Ray Edwards, I just think he was a poor FA pickup. He really wasn't that good when he was with Minnesota. If you watch tape you see that almost every single one of his sacks was a "clean-up sack" after Allen or the DT's pressured QB's into him. He never really had any sacks from his own pure pass rush like Abe does.

On the coaching, it's hard for me tell what's on the players and what's on the coaches. I will never understand Dunta intentionally running away from a wide open receiver, while the safeties are just back-peddling up the field watching that same receiver in front of them, not even closing in on him. Like I said, I can't tell what's on the players and what's on the coaches. I do think a professional level D-Coordinator (not fresh out of the college level like BVG was) would be good - that, along with a much simpler scheme. We need a scheme that lets our players actually play, rather than trying to stay in their zones and keep everything in front of them. If we get a new D-coordinator with a complicated scheme like BVG's, than we're just going in circles in that department.

As I've said in other threads and posts, I think our offense would be fine if we would just let Matty call all our plays. In Indy Peyton basically is their offensive coordinator, and I think we should do the same here. I never really felt like our play-design was bad, just the execution of those plays and the poor play-calling by Mularkey.

Edited by Adema1226
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Late added RapidReport on Jan. 10:

Jan. 10, 2012 11:57 p.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Mularkey to be named Jaguars head coach, team says

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has left the Falcons to take the head coaching job in Jacksonville with the Jaguars, according to a Jaguars release. Mularkey will be announced in Jacksonville Wednesday at a press conference. Jaguars RapidReports

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Late added RapidReport on Jan. 10:

Jan. 10, 2012 11:57 p.m. - by Knox Bardeen - Mularkey to be named Jaguars head coach, team says

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has left the Falcons to take the head coaching job in Jacksonville with the Jaguars, according to a Jaguars release. Mularkey will be announced in Jacksonville Wednesday at a press conference. Jaguars RapidReports

Those lucky Falcons: Mike Mularkey goes to Jacksonville

6:39 am January 11, 2012, by Mark Bradley

The Jacksonville Jaguars, for reasons unclear, have hired Mike Mularkey as head coach.

That means the Atlanta Falcons lucked out. They’ve been spared having to fire him as offensive coordinator.

The belief here was that Double M, as he’s known, wasn’t going to be retained, but that’s not to say the decision would have been painless. The Falcons won a lot of (regular-season) games with Mularkey overseeing the offense, and it’s never easy to break a winning pattern even if you know the pattern needs breaking.

Moot point now, though. Mularkey is gone, same as defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. The Falcons have two key hires to make this offseason, and the offensive position is surely the more important. In the end, offensive failings undid this talented aggregation. The Falcons need to find a man who could make these glittering pieces more of a whole.

Mike Martz is a name that keeps surfacing, but I might look first to Rick Neuheisel, who was just fired as UCLA’s head coach but who’s an offensive man by trade and who worked as coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. That’s just a first look, though. There are a handful of good men out there whose addition would constitute an upgrade.

The Falcons, I say again, lucked out. A staleness had come over this coaching staff. That’s inevitable after four years together, and now the team gets to change on both offense and defense without having to fire anybody. Auburn and Jacksonville came calling at the right time, Jacksonville especially. Time now for Smitty and Thomas Dimitroff to make the most of this opportunity. Time to hire even better coordinators.

By Mark Bradley

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