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Jeff Schultz ( Ajc ) On The State Of The Falcons...good Read


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Falcons’ flaws aren’t worse than any other NFL team

5:51 pm November 14, 2012, by Jeff Schultz

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Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff will take their team's 8-1 record, flaws and all. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – This is the way the season has gone for the Falcons. They win games, and people find flaws. They finally lose a game, and people scream, “Aha!”

As if the struggles of the running game, or the instability of the run defense, or the fact that Ray Edwards too often seemed more passionate about conquering the art of modeling than the art of a tackle should come as any surprise.

The Falcons have flaws, but so does every team, and they’re not going away. This is the NFL. Rosters don’t morph significantly during the season. The league has a salary cap. There is little roster flexibility. Unlike baseball, there aren’t pyrotechnics at the trade deadline. Once a season starts, the best a team can hope for is that a backup evolves and contributes more than expected, or a player released by another team can fill a void, or that drop-kicking a high-profile veteran like Edwards gets everybody’s attention.

But from September to January (playoffs included), strengths, weaknesses and perceptions generally don’t change much. In the Falcons’ case, perceptions are that they’re not an overly physical team, they can’t even convert third-and-1’s, and therefore they’re not going to be a great team down the stretch or in the postseason. So much for basking in 8-1.

“If the NFL had rankings like college football, we’d be last,” safety William Moore mused. “Because we don’t get the love. We can win a million games, but we’d be like Boise State. Maybe they’d give us a decent bowl game. … I like Shreveport.”

With their options limited, credit the Falcons for cutting Edwards. It was a bold decision, even if it meant admitting they goofed by signing him. It says a lot about the player (in terms of how far Edwards had fallen) and the team’s mindset (believing releasing him was addition by subtraction). There is no financial benefit to cutting Edwards now. He’ll still get his $11 million guaranteed. The Falcons merely came to the realization that he was dragging them down, whether in performance, attitude or both.

The damning analysis from coach Mike Smith: “We did it to make our football team better today and in the future.” This about a player that the organization was going gaga over seemingly five minutes ago.

Edwards couldn’t rush the passer. He couldn’t defend the run. He wasn’t nearly as versatile or athletic as one might think for a guy who so proudly showed off his abs in his 2012 modeling calendar (12 months, 12 poses). Younger, cheaper, hungrier players with a pulse were better options.

Everybody realized the Falcons would not be a great power-running team this season, despite the team’s continuous, “We will be a power-running team” declarations. Michael Turner showed signs of slowing down last season. He’s not running behind an overly physical offensive line. The new offensive scheme clearly would maximize the team’s main talents.

At some point, one would think the Falcons will be able to figure out how to convert a third-and-1.

Offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said, “I still think we have a chance to be a good short-yardage team. It’s not that we aren’t blocking well, we’re just not blocking the right people.”

As flaws go, that would seem to be a correctable one.

Everybody has issues. New England ranks 29th in pass defense, and it lost at home to Arizona. Pittsburgh lost to Oakland and Tennessee. Also, Ben Roethlisberger feels like a piano just fell on him. Chicago has one of the worst offenses in the league (28th), punctuated by one of the worst passing attacks (30th). The mean, nasty, rip-your-head-off Baltimore Ravens? They rank 27th in total defense.

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers has been sacked more times (29) than any other quarterback. San Francisco’s offense is led by … Alex Smith. And they lost to Minnesota. Houston: Solid overall but not a great passing attack. Eli Manning has 11 interceptions — right between Cam Newton (10) and Brandon Weeden (12) — and has lost to three teams with losing records (Philadelphia, Dallas, Cincinnati).

None of this makes the Falcons better, it just illustrates that every team has to overcome something. We know the Falcons’ flaws. But 8-1 and flawed isn’t a bad place to be.

By Jeff Schultz

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That article does make me feel better. I wasn't aware of how awful Chicago's offense was. Everytime I watch a little bit of their game the announcers are going on and on about what Brandon Marshall has brought to that team so I just assumed they had been playing pretty good lol

I bet ESPN, NFLN, Fox, NBC, and CBS will never mention this fact about the Bears offense. They have been ignoring it all season because just a week or 2 ago the Bears had the last ranked passing offense in the NFL.

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Chicago's defense seems to be outscoring thier offense. They had been tearing teams up every week, until they ran into Green Bay and Houston, and looked like an entirely different team. Add to that now with a bad offense, Cutler has a concussion. Those can linger through the rest of the season, and put him down indefinitely should he suffer another serious blow to the head. Not saying I want to see him hurt, that's just a fact when dealing with concussions.

SF got drop kicked by the Vikings, and struggled against the Rams at home to earn a tie. Rodgers has been beat up and some weeks the Packers looked very average. They could have lost to the Jags a couple of weeks ago at home, that is sad. Matthew is hurting as well and they look nothing like the team that ran through the 2010 playoffs or went 15-1 last season for that matter. Consistently, they've looked like the team that got exposed by the Giants in the playoffs. At least no one can say that about us this year.

I'm not worried about Dallas, and I don't think we'll see them again anyway. Even if they make the playoffs, I don't see them winning a wild card game, home or not. I can't see the Saints going undefeated the rest of the way, even if they only lose 1 more game, I don't think 10-6 would get them a wild card. They are too far back at this point and would need an insane amount of help from other teams losing. I think we will hand them thier *** on Nov 29th and that may all but do thier season in. I'm curious to see how we match up in our two meetings with Tampa, because we could see them in the playoffs.

IMO , I think the teams that could give us the most competitive game, (not saying beat us) in the playoffs are Tampa, The Giants or the Seahawks should they make it in. They are a gritty team, thier defense is playing nasty and Marshawn Lynch can be a beast. Our run defense would have to bring thier A game and gang tackle all day.

Should we end up against Green Bay, Chicago , Minnesota, Dallas or New Orleans, we will prove who the better team is that day in our house.

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Chicago's defense seems to be outscoring thier offense. They had been tearing teams up every week, until they ran into Green Bay and Houston, and looked like an entirely different team. Add to that now with a bad offense, Cutler has a concussion. Those can linger through the rest of the season, and put him down indefinitely should he suffer another serious blow to the head. Not saying I want to see him hurt, that's just a fact when dealing with concussions.

SF got drop kicked by the Vikings, and struggled against the Rams at home to earn a tie. Rodgers has been beat up and some weeks the Packers looked very average. They could have lost to the Jags a couple of weeks ago at home, that is sad. Matthew is hurting as well and they look nothing like the team that ran through the 2010 playoffs or went 15-1 last season for that matter. Consistently, they've looked like the team that got exposed by the Giants in the playoffs. At least no one can say that about us this year.

I'm not worried about Dallas, and I don't think we'll see them again anyway. Even if they make the playoffs, I don't see them winning a wild card game, home or not. I can't see the Saints going undefeated the rest of the way, even if they only lose 1 more game, I don't think 10-6 would get them a wild card. They are too far back at this point and would need an insane amount of help from other teams losing. I think we will hand them thier *** on Nov 29th and that may all but do thier season in. I'm curious to see how we match up in our two meetings with Tampa, because we could see them in the playoffs.

IMO , I think the teams that could give us the most competitive game, (not saying beat us) in the playoffs are Tampa, The Giants or the Seahawks should they make it in. They are a gritty team, thier defense is playing nasty and Marshawn Lynch can be a beast. Our run defense would have to bring thier A game and gang tackle all day.

Should we end up against Green Bay, Chicago , Minnesota, Dallas or New Orleans, we will prove who the better team is that day in our house.

I've been thinking about Seattle as well and don't know how we would fare against such a talented and physical secondary. I believe we beat them in the Dome, but it would be ugly and the emergence of a running game would really help against them. At some point, we have to be able to run in order to achieve our primary objective.

Edited by Falconsin2012
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Guest Negatorris

That article does make me feel better. I wasn't aware of how awful Chicago's offense was. Everytime I watch a little bit of their game the announcers are going on and on about what Brandon Marshall has brought to that team so I just assumed they had been playing pretty good lol

I've been saying it for weeks. Their offense is pretty horrible. I know their D is on pace to be on of the best at taking the ball away and scoring, but your defense should still never score more TDs than you. That's a problem. One the Bears haven't addressed because they think they can get by with great defense. What happens when they meet a disciplined offense? They were calling them a powerhouse just a week ago and I just couldn't believe it.

The analysts got so hard on us about our 'easy schedule', but the Bears have had an equally easy schedule. The only opponents on their schedule worth mentioning so far are GB and HOU, and the Bears looked horrible against both those teams en route to losses. If it were us, we'd be getting slammed. They say Falcons fans whine too much, but they give us a pretty da*n good reason to.

It's the same thing with NYG. Oh well, nothing to do now but win the Superbowl.

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Not nearly as much as we dig your attempts to troll. Perhaps you will enlighten us on why our flaws are special and sets us apart from every other team in the NFL?

Just watch the rest of the season.

You will see, and I wont tell ya I told ya so later, like I did on our CB's a few tears ago.

However,

It is refreshing to Not Hear our Pedigree Poodles Yapping this week.

Better stay that way too.

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