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Tdb's Quick Take Aways From The Falcons Vs. Saints Game


The Dirty Bird
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1) What happened to our hurry up, no huddle passing attack?

All offseason, we heard about how the shackles were being taken off Matt Ryan and we'd allow him to spread his wings with Roddy, Julio, Tony, HD, and Quizz. In the first game of the season against Kansas City that's exactly what we did and our offense rolled up the points.

In every game since then, we have taken a small step back each time until the last few weeks when we are now huddling up constantly and running Turner just for the sake of "keeping a balanced attack." I for one am not in favor of doing something just to do something, and it's pretty clear that putting the ball in Turner's hands is now our best bet to make a positive play, but more on this later.

Don't let Matt Ryan's passing yards stats today fool you -- yes we threw the ball a lot, but that is because we were playing from behind and the pass is what was working. But we huddled, we let their crappy defense rest and get set and make substitutions, and we didn't play to our supposed strength.

I'd like someone to ask Koetter what has happened to our game plan? It's like Koetter and Mike Smith have forgotten what they set out to do this season with our offense, and after Turner had one good game because the defense was out of the box we decided to go back to a balanced attack. Our strength is no huddle Matthew Ryan playing mental chess with the other Defensive Coordinator on the fly, using Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, and Jacquizz Rodgers out of the backfield. Someone needs to ask....maybe they're thinking about so many thins that they've forgotten what is most basic.

2) Turner needs to go.

I was at the charge of Turner needs to go in the offseason, then decided I was totally wrong as he had some good games this year and we were winning, but after watching him these last few weeks those games were clearly a fluke and a product of playing with a lead against teams who were trying to take away the pass. They basically said "beat us with Michael Turner" and we did...barely. When we needed to have comeback drives late in the 4th, we went to the pass.

What is most important here for me is that our coaches insist on using Turner while he's on the team. The analogy I believe fits is a dieter with bad will power -- if junk food is around, you will eat it -- so you need to throw it all out. If Turner is around, we will continue to use him, and end up with 2nd and 10's or 3rd and 8's and we can't convert all of those. Turner may be the "best runner", but we aren't a running team anymore. He offers 0 in the passing game, and if he's in he tips our hand as to what we're doing. Even if we pass when he is in, he is a marginal pass blocker and does not need to be accounted for by a safety or linebacker. With Snelling or Quizz in, however, they need attention from the defense and we all saw that our offense was moving much smoother today (and all season) with those two multi-dimensional guys in. Our biggest offensive need may be a true feature back, a guy that can make plays in all phases of the game.

He can't get the short yardage plays anymore. He was truly terrible today against a porous defense because he's so slow to get to the hole......that by the time he gets there it is closed up by LBs and he goes down.

Saying he has to go may be extreme, but he needs to be okay with being demoted and we need to demote him. Short yardage and clock killing strickly, like Shonn Greene when he was a rookie on the Jets. If we played the whole game with Quizz as the feature back, I believe we win. We basically lost a down on that critical goal-line series late in the 4th because we tried to run Turner and we lost a yard. Everyone knew we'd try it, everyone knew they'd stop it easily. Why not give Matt Ryan the ball with 5 weapons on the move and let him make a play. That, vs. giving Turner a carry up the middle, there's an obvious advantage to the passing choice.

3) We have no pass rush & our line play is regressing.

This is becoming a serious problem. I thought Nolan could scheme up some pressure, but if we didn't blitz today Drew Brees would just stand there in the pocket and have all day to pick apart our secondary. It was sickening. Go back and watch the game and you'll see Brees has a clean pocket and plenty of time all day. On the flip side, Matt Ryan always had pressure in his face and muddled pocket, and he had to make quicker throws trying to move out of it. The Saints didn't even have to bring pressure, their 4 guys would just beat our 5 guys. Clabo has regressed, and Baker hasn't stepped up. The interior of our line pass blocking has been okay...but I thought this would be better than it has.

Addressing just our pass rush, Ray Edwards was a mirage that we bought into. I've been all for giving him more chances, but it's clear he's a run defender. That's fine, but we have no one else to put in. The media love to play up Kroy as an "x" factor for us, but he's really just a good utility player while we have no other. If you put him on most other defenses, he wouldn't be starting on the defensive line or getting significant snaps. Sidbury....smh. Abe couldn't get it done today, so we had nothing. We have to be able to pressure QBs to get the ball out in bad spots. This leaves me very concerned for the playoffs vs the likes of Green Bay, Chicago, San Francisco, whoever else.

4) Spoon is one of the best LBs in the league.

This is one of those "Peyton Manning is the 2012 NFL MVP" kind of things. Dent is just okay, and that's fine, but our defense looks bad with him in -- and its not fully his fault. He's much slower than Spoon, not as good as taking angles on tackles, and much worse in pass coverage. I have no doubt Spoon slows down Jimmy Graham, and can't wait to see him take him on when we get the Saints at home. Ingram, Ivory, and whoever ran on us up the middle at will today, breaking tackles. I don't think they'd be breaking Spoons tackle or getting to the corner before him. Nicholas is also better with Spoon next to him, as both are good in coverage and thus the QB doesn't have a spot to pick at. Our zone coverages were picked apart in the middle as well.....something that rarely happens with Sean Weatherspoon in the game.

Summary:

We need to phase Turner out of the offense so we can get to the high flying Falcons we were promised in the offseason and we caught glimpses of early in the season -- more no huddle, more passing, less running. Quizz may not be on par as a runner with Turner if you compare them on paper, but with Quizz in we get a favorable look from the defense to run the ball on because they have to cover 5 targets in pass coverage vs. 4 targets with Turner in. We should start scouting RBs in the draft for a Top 4 round pick, like Barner from Oregon (projected 4th) or Redd from USC (projected 4th).

We need to keep the pocket clean for Matt, and utilize screens more (this means Quizz or Snelling) needs to be in, to neutralize pressure. I thought Koetter was Mr. Screen? Where has that gone?

We need to dial up pressure because our front 4 can't get it done if Abe isn't having his way. Either give Massaquoia or Sidbury a chance in game action to get some pressure, look at a free agent, or blitz. We will get picked apart in the playoffs by any of those QBs who will be there if they have all day like Brees did today.

Spoon is the fiery heart of our defense. Moore and DeCoud seemed a little flat, Nicholas had no edge, and our DL was terrible. We need his energy because everyone feeds off it, and we need his excellent play.

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Guest Negatorris

Yeah, we really don't see a lot of no-huddle or hurry up. But honestly, we've never really needed it. We should have used it more today though since we were digging ourselves out of a defense caused hole.

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1.Julio Jones was out for much of the game, and harry douglas needs to be cut cause he sucks bowls. Thats where our passing attack went. We had no one to stretch the defense, where Julio normally would.

2.Its not turner's fault, he's still a stud running back. We don't have the kind of line that would give him or quiz holes to run. You could put walter payton there and he'd suck, cause we just are terrible at run blocking, and we dont finish blocks. Clabo is just overrated and is horrible, and baker is mediocre.

3.Yes we have an urgent pass rush problem, we just aren't getting pressure which is a huge HUGE issue. Especially come playoff time. It doesn't help that Dent is the worst MLB in the league, and our DTs aren't playing the run well (peters?).

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I look at this team and I see ingrained conservatism, timidity, passivity, stupidity and over-rated mediocrity along the DL, OL, secondary, running back, special teams and coaching staff. What I don't see is a team that can compete with the elite teams or do anything at all in the play-offs. Same ol' Falcons, just a different year.

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I look at this team and I see ingrained conservatism, timidity, passivity, stupidity and over-rated mediocrity along the DL, OL, secondary, running back, special teams and coaching staff. What I don't see is a team that can compete with the elite teams or do anything at all in the play-offs. Same ol' Falcons, just a different year.

LOL at your diction poker, . . . .but I agree

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While I can agree with some of what you say I disagree with a couple things. Biermann may not be a top tier end but usually he's in the backfield at least putting pressure on. I think the lack of stopping the run had a good bit to do with the pass rush today. If you don't stop the run you can't make them one dimensional and it slows down the rush.

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I look at this team and I see ingrained conservatism, timidity, passivity, stupidity and over-rated mediocrity along the DL, OL, secondary, running back, special teams and coaching staff. What I don't see is a team that can compete with the elite teams or do anything at all in the play-offs. Same ol' Falcons, just a different year.

A lot of people rag on you because they perceive you as coming off as pessimistic and m'rose. . . but you are one of the more realistic and objective posters that just tells it like it is. I agree with your many sentiment though.

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1.Julio Jones was out for much of the game, and harry douglas needs to be cut cause he sucks bowls. Thats where our passing attack went. We had no one to stretch the defense, where Julio normally would.

2.Its not turner's fault, he's still a stud running back. We don't have the kind of line that would give him or quiz holes to run. You could put walter payton there and he'd suck, cause we just are terrible at run blocking, and we dont finish blocks. Clabo is just overrated and is horrible, and baker is mediocre.

3.Yes we have an urgent pass rush problem, we just aren't getting pressure which is a huge HUGE issue. Especially come playoff time. It doesn't help that Dent is the worst MLB in the league, and our DTs aren't playing the run well (peters?).

Barry Sanders didn't have a good line for most of his career and he did pretty okay...

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A lot of people rag on you because they perceive you as coming off as pessimistic and m'rose. . . but you are one of the more realistic and objective posters that just tells it like it is. I agree with your many sentiment though.

Thanks, Joe, although I'm sure neither of us take any pleasure whatsoever in facing the grim reality of the situation.

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When arguably your most talented reciever leave the game, and you are playing in one of the loudest and toughest places to play it becomes difficult to go no huddle as much as most of us would have preferred. We use the no huddle primarily to exploit matchups. Without Julio on the field our recieving corp gets quite pedestrian. I would argue we have the best 1-2 recievers in the league and maybe the worst 3-5. The matchups werent there.

Also noise level was a problem. We burned a timeout

In the first half because of the noise level and trying to call the play at the line.

Today was not our day.

On both sides of the ball we made too many mistakes.

I think we are a much better team than NO but we did not play like it today. My hope is that we will play like in January when it matters most.

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When arguably your most talented reciever leave the game, and you are playing in one of the loudest and toughest places to play it becomes difficult to go no huddle as much as most of us would have preferred. We use the no huddle primarily to exploit matchups. Without Julio on the field our recieving corp gets quite pedestrian. I would argue we have the best 1-2 recievers in the league and maybe the worst 3-5. The matchups werent there.

Also noise level was a problem. We burned a timeout

In the first half because of the noise level and trying to call the play at the line.

Today was not our day.

On both sides of the ball we made too many mistakes.

I think we are a much better team than NO but we did not play like it today. My hope is that we will play like in January when it matters most.

Interesting point about the noise level, but I just think Koetter has gone away from this team's goal of leading a high flying passing attack for the sake of being "balanced". You can go no-huddle and still call a run, and we were going no-huddle because like the Pats, it keeps the defense off balance and gives the advantage to the offense. We did it vs. Kansas City in Arrowhead and that place is very loud too. It just seems like Koetter is now focused too much on getting everyone involved versus sticking to our strengths and ramming it down teams throats.

I want to see the no-huddle passing attack with balls to Julio, Roddy, HD, Tony, and Quizz as promised. I don't want to see I-formation runs with Turner. I don't care if he's our hammer, he is our worst skill position player at this point and we aren't giving our offense an advantage by calling a run for him. He doesn't beat defenders to the hole anymore -- he was met in the backfield many times. Part of that is because our line play has been poor, and the other is that he is SO SLOW that what takes a RB like Peterson, Foster, Forte, Lynch 1 second to get to the hole it takes Turner 2.5-3 seconds.

Yeah, we really don't see a lot of no-huddle or hurry up. But honestly, we've never really needed it. We should have used it more today though since we were digging ourselves out of a defense caused hole.

That is the conventional use and not our use of the no huddle. The Patriots run a no huddle attack and it's never because they are in a hole -- it's to give them a bigger lead and keep the defense off balance, not allowing them to substitute or huddle up and get comfortably set for the next play. We could have been ahead by 20 if we just kept getting up to the line and finding the mismatch with Tony or Roddy or Julio (when he was in), or with Quizz out of the backfield. Our offense is much smoother that way, and also smoother with Quizz in. He gives Matt a checkdown option capable of getting his own 5-10 yards. Turner can't get 1 yard in that situation, or even catch the ball.

It used to be that offenses only went no-huddle to climb out of a hole when they were down, but teams are now going no huddle all the time to score a lot of points and build leads. The Patriots do that. We promised to do that in the offense, and we did early on. We've gone away from it, and someone needs to remind our coaching staff and get back to it.

While I can agree with some of what you say I disagree with a couple things. Biermann may not be a top tier end but usually he's in the backfield at least putting pressure on. I think the lack of stopping the run had a good bit to do with the pass rush today. If you don't stop the run you can't make them one dimensional and it slows down the rush.

Biermann is solid, and yes he gets some pressure...sometimes...but you only think that because he's all we got. Understand that if you stick him on any of the other NFC contenders he would not be getting significant playing time. Not in San Fran, not in Green Bay, not in Chicago, not in Dallas even or Philly. Even with the Saints pass rush woes he wouldn't be getting significant PT there behind Cam Jordan and Will Smith. It just goes to show how poor our DE quality is behind John Abraham and how TD hasn't found a good rusher to compliment him. It's a big weakness of ours.

The last thing you said makes no sense. On any pass play, our 4 guys up front couldn't get pressure. The Saints could, and we didn't go pass only. Even when the Saints were in obvious passing sets we couldn't make Brees move out of the pocket. Our rush was horrible today, and there are no excuses. Our defense in general was poor aside from Asante, although he totally whiffed on a tackle on the Ivory TD run. If he stuck his body in there on the sideline, Ivory is tackled. He just threw his arms and missed. Disgusting, but that's what Asante gives you vs. the run.

We were able to stop the rush and get them to 3rd and long, and we couldn't generate pressure and they'd convert. That happened multiple times.....so there goes your argument.

We need our line to step up and our pass rush to materialize or else we're going to have some very, very tough games to overcome when we get to the playoffs. We'll get picked apart by Green Bay again at home if we don't get pressure on Rodgers.

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