Jump to content

A Tdwii Observation: Taking Stock @ 10-1…Pointless


Recommended Posts

If there was a singular motto or motif for the Falcons 2012 season it would be ‘Get To January’. When I was a kid, I would play video games…these games would have however many levels and if you could complete the game in 20 levels, where your frustration would come through was when you lost your last life on Level 19. Back in the days of Intellivision or Atari, this necessitated having to start from Level 1 all over again. For those of you under the age of 30 – this may seem archaic, but we walked to and from school uphill as well. So for the Falcons losing on Level 19 was what happened to the Falcons in 2010 against what turned out to be a Green Bay juggernaut. And as such the 2012 season has become about the tedious process of getting back to Level 19.

It’s tough to determine if the how matters for this team? One the one hand, you get the sense that this team despite its 10-1 record is as vulnerable as 10-1 teams get. While going 7-1 in their last 8 games, they’ve outscored their opponents by 32 points. Without a 13 point victory against the mailing it in Eagles team serving it’s time on Andy Reid’s Death Row, that margin become less impressive. However, the Falcons sport a 1.5 game lead over the #2 NFC seed at the moment. A 3-2 record down the stretch more than likely puts the Falcons in the NFC’s driver seat…once again. So do we interpret the Falcons ability to win close games as a testament to their character? Or their inability to pull away from teams they outclass as an incurable flaw? Arguments could be made on both sides. Quite frankly, I can’t determine which side I’m on. I may be on both.

On the national stage, the Falcons exist in the NFL’s version of purgatory. In a sort of limbo status as it relates to the overall perception of who this franchise is. That perception isn’t simply about how others perceive them…it’s about how they perceive themselves. Everyone in the Falcons locker room will tell you that what matters to this franchise now doesn’t happen until January 2013. Much like a convicted criminal looking to get a new trial…the first victory is the actual getting of the new trial. All that does is place you squarely in the jury’s crosshairs.

When you look at yesterday’s win – the Falcons did a lot of good things.

· Made Doug Martin look pedestrian.

· Kept the wraps on an explosive offense.

· Executed an explosive play of their own that changed the complexion of the game.

· Showed incredible efficiency and production in the passing game.

…and yet, the Falcons were a completed Hail Mary from walking away from a game with a disgusting loss (Mike Smith’s decision not to punt ranks amongst his most puzzling in 5 years).

To be sure…the Falcons showed plenty of warts. Namely a run game that seems to losing the confidence of everyone associated with the Falcons by the week. 2-3 years ago, could you see the Falcons lining up in a shotgun formation on a 3rd & 1? Short yardage? The Falcons probably prefer 3rd & 7 at this point to 3rd & 1.

But if we all understand – fans/franchise that what mattered about this season was January…then ‘how’ almost doesn’t matter. To get to and complete Level 20, the Falcons need to complete the previous levels. In fact, the cause and the goal wouldn’t change at all, whether the Falcons were the #6 seed or the #1 seed. If the Falcons go 0-5 to finish the season versus 5-0, what changes? At 10 wins, the Falcons have likely secured their new trial.

Whether the Falcons are beatable or simply look beatable for the most part has no bearing as to whether they can be beat in January. The last two seasons have seen lower seeds reach ultimate glory while shuffling to this point in the season. In fact, the last two Super Bowl Champs have been 7-4 after 11 weeks. Which means for the remainder of the season – they combined for a .500 record. So for however pointless the 2012 season has been for the Falcons, aside from getting to Level 19 so they could have a chance to get further in the game than they’ve ever gotten before, the season believe it or not is about to get more pointless.

January can’t get here soon enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are still two HUGE games against the Saints and Giants. The Falcons, honestly, need to win both games to exercise some demons from their past. If they can do that, they'll be riding an emotional high going into the playoffs. I think that's way more important than being first seed. It's almost as if the Falcons need to prove to themselves that they are better than the 2010 team and they have the chance to do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big difference from years past...the coordinators.

We see the change in the attitude of this team...they play harder, they fight for the yardage, and the toughness is there.

This is something that you're going to need come January and the new additions have brought that here.

On offense, we can kill you from every direction...on defense, we give up yards, but we hold you to 3 or NONE.

All it's going to take is us bringing it all together at the right time and we have an opportunity to do it this week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are still two HUGE games against the Saints and Giants. The Falcons, honestly, need to win both games to exercise some demons from their past. If they can do that, they'll be riding an emotional high going into the playoffs. I think that's way more important than being first seed. It's almost as if the Falcons need to prove to themselves that they are better than the 2010 team and they have the chance to do that.

I agree. If we can beat the Saints on Thursday night, it will go a long way to convincing me that this team is a different beast than the 2010 team.

Honestly, I care a lot more about seeing us beat New Orleans and New York at home, and I could care less if we drop the games against Carolina and Detroit on the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the video game analogy. Used to have a buddy who would start over rather than continue through the tougher levels (NES Castlevania).

The Falcons have mastered this level. They can win close games, hold a lead and make late comebacks. Projecting that into a culture change without seeing it firsthand in the playoffs is not realistic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big difference from years past...the coordinators.

We see the change in the attitude of this team...they play harder, they fight for the yardage, and the toughness is there.

This is something that you're going to need come January and the new additions have brought that here.

On offense, we can kill you from every direction...on defense, we give up yards, but we hold you to 3 or NONE.

All it's going to take is us bringing it all together at the right time and we have an opportunity to do it this week.

I do think one thing that's being overlooked is that the entire team, on both sides of the ball, is adjusting to new coordinators. They're still trying to figure out the new coaches and come together in this new offense/defense.

I definitely liked what I saw from the defense yesterday... holding an explosive offense to only 23 points despite being -2 in the turnover battle and despite temporary injuries to Robinson and Samuel. Hopefully Nolan and the D can continue this streak on Thursday night by bottling up the Saints rushing attack better than we did a few weeks ago.

As for the offense, overall I've been more pleased with Koetter than with Mularkey's past two seasons, but he and the offense are definitely struggling in red zone efficiency. I think Ryan has looked a little off the past 4 games as well. Using Jacquizz more and running the no huddle more could definitely help out... hopefully they'll realize this sooner rather than later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So do we interpret the Falcons ability to win close games as a testament to their character? Or their inability to pull away from teams they outclass as an incurable flaw? Arguments could be made on both sides. Quite frankly, I can’t determine which side I’m on. I may be on both.

I'm more in the camp that Falcons have a flaw of not putting teams away when they can and SHOULD. However, I think this is more coaching-driven than player driven. Mike Smith seems to want to milk leads in 2nd half. This is a coaching flaw and it is 'fixable' but it requires Mike Smith wanting to fix it.

Falcons should not be letting teams like Cardinals, Panthers and Raiders hang around. Sure we are 3-0 in those games but sometimes you need a breather. Sometimes you need to be able to rest a player that is playing slightly hurt.....Sometimes your field goal kicker misses at the end. Falcons tend to come through in the clutch but it seems foolish to me to actually play to get to this point of needing a drive to win at end of game - too many variables and things that can go wrong.

Falcons need to get up on teams when they can - sure, its the NFL and you are not going to blow every team out each week - i get it - but sometimes you are supposed to blow the bad team out in your building. Sometimes its OK to have a 7 play drive where you don't run the ball one time - not every time but sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't get these kinds of threads. Which team making the playoffs this year is invulnerable to losing? Which team has not had close calls or even losses to "lesser" opponents? This is not some new revelation in the NFL.

The only game that has me worried is the Saints game. Their offense played at a PO caliber level and we had no defensive answer. Defense wins championships and even though Nolan has done a pretty good job with scheming we still lack the talent we need to dominate opponents. Nothing can be done about it now, we just have to move forward and hope for the best. Hopefully next year Blank will just hand Nolan the checkbook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm more in the camp that Falcons have a flaw of not putting teams away when they can and SHOULD. However, I think this is more coaching-driven than player driven. Mike Smith seems to want to milk leads in 2nd half. This is a coaching flaw and it is 'fixable' but it requires Mike Smith wanting to fix it.

Falcons should not be letting teams like Cardinals, Panthers and Raiders hang around. Sure we are 3-0 in those games but sometimes you need a breather. Sometimes you need to be able to rest a player that is playing slightly hurt.....Sometimes your field goal kicker misses at the end. Falcons tend to come through in the clutch but it seems foolish to me to actually play to get to this point of needing a drive to win at end of game - too many variables and things that can go wrong.

Falcons need to get up on teams when they can - sure, its the NFL and you are not going to blow every team out each week - i get it - but sometimes you are supposed to blow the bad team out in your building. Sometimes its OK to have a 7 play drive where you don't run the ball one time - not every time but sometimes.

I remember thinking along these lines last year - toward the end of the year we plastered Jacksonville/Tampa. But it was Fools Gold.

If we plaster Detroit/Carolina...will this make a difference as we head into January?

For years, we've all debated the merits of a meticuloulsy crafted process about the Falcons ability to one day bring home the Lombardi Trophy. With that said, we've also experienced enough success lined with ultimate failure to realize that at the end of the day, we can't predict the team that will show up come playoff time. It may resemble a team we are familiar with... but it also may not. 3 times have shown us a team that was a far cry from our expectations. But each year brings a new hope. That said - nothing that happens between now and then will tell us anything as to what will hahppen on that fateful day. Only that, once again, we've now earned the right to show up for a fourth time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there was a singular motto or motif for the Falcons 2012 season it would be ‘Get To January’. When I was a kid, I would play video games…these games would have however many levels and if you could complete the game in 20 levels, where your frustration would come through was when you lost your last life on Level 19. Back in the days of Intellivision or Atari, this necessitated having to start from Level 1 all over again. For those of you under the age of 30 – this may seem archaic, but we walked to and from school uphill as well. So for the Falcons losing on Level 19 was what happened to the Falcons in 2010 against what turned out to be a Green Bay juggernaut. And as such the 2012 season has become about the tedious process of getting back to Level 19.

It’s tough to determine if the how matters for this team? One the one hand, you get the sense that this team despite its 10-1 record is as vulnerable as 10-1 teams get. While going 7-1 in their last 8 games, they’ve outscored their opponents by 32 points. Without a 13 point victory against the mailing it in Eagles team serving it’s time on Andy Reid’s Death Row, that margin become less impressive. However, the Falcons sport a 1.5 game lead over the #2 NFC seed at the moment. A 3-2 record down the stretch more than likely puts the Falcons in the NFC’s driver seat…once again. So do we interpret the Falcons ability to win close games as a testament to their character? Or their inability to pull away from teams they outclass as an incurable flaw? Arguments could be made on both sides. Quite frankly, I can’t determine which side I’m on. I may be on both.

On the national stage, the Falcons exist in the NFL’s version of purgatory. In a sort of limbo status as it relates to the overall perception of who this franchise is. That perception isn’t simply about how others perceive them…it’s about how they perceive themselves. Everyone in the Falcons locker room will tell you that what matters to this franchise now doesn’t happen until January 2013. Much like a convicted criminal looking to get a new trial…the first victory is the actual getting of the new trial. All that does is place you squarely in the jury’s crosshairs.

When you look at yesterday’s win – the Falcons did a lot of good things.

· Made Doug Martin look pedestrian.

· Kept the wraps on an explosive offense.

· Executed an explosive play of their own that changed the complexion of the game.

· Showed incredible efficiency and production in the passing game.

…and yet, the Falcons were a completed Hail Mary from walking away from a game with a disgusting loss (Mike Smith’s decision not to punt ranks amongst his most puzzling in 5 years).

To be sure…the Falcons showed plenty of warts. Namely a run game that seems to losing the confidence of everyone associated with the Falcons by the week. 2-3 years ago, could you see the Falcons lining up in a shotgun formation on a 3rd & 1? Short yardage? The Falcons probably prefer 3rd & 7 at this point to 3rd & 1.

But if we all understand – fans/franchise that what mattered about this season was January…then ‘how’ almost doesn’t matter. To get to and complete Level 20, the Falcons need to complete the previous levels. In fact, the cause and the goal wouldn’t change at all, whether the Falcons were the #6 seed or the #1 seed. If the Falcons go 0-5 to finish the season versus 5-0, what changes? At 10 wins, the Falcons have likely secured their new trial.

Whether the Falcons are beatable or simply look beatable for the most part has no bearing as to whether they can be beat in January. The last two seasons have seen lower seeds reach ultimate glory while shuffling to this point in the season. In fact, the last two Super Bowl Champs have been 7-4 after 11 weeks. Which means for the remainder of the season – they combined for a .500 record. So for however pointless the 2012 season has been for the Falcons, aside from getting to Level 19 so they could have a chance to get further in the game than they’ve ever gotten before, the season believe it or not is about to get more pointless.

January can’t get here soon enough.

Great post as always but be careful when you sit on a fence cause you can crush your walnuts.

I choose to believe they have a shot and it's a better shot getting Home Field Advantage yea I want them to dominate but it is what it is. If somebody could show me where me thinking the opposite would actually make them a better team give them a running game and a better OL and a time machine for Turner I'd would then think the opposite. Doesn't mean I don't see their flaws I just see flaws in every contender and especially the last 3 Super Bowl winners. Not to mention 30 other teams would trade records with them. With apologizes to FFS70 "Trust me"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great post as always but be careful when you sit on a fence cause you can crush your walnuts.

I choose to believe they have a shot and it's a better shot getting Home Field Advantage yea I want them to dominate but it is what it is. If somebody could show me where me thinking the opposite would actually make them a better team give them a running game and a better OL and a time machine for Turner I'd would then think the opposite. Doesn't mean I don't see their flaws I just see flaws in every contender and especially the last 3 Super Bowl winners. Not to mention 30 other teams would trade records with them. With apologizes to FFS70 "Trust me"

the biggest flaw that I see is just a team that is not very physical on the offensive or defensive lines. This cannot be fixed in mid-season and generally takes more than one off-season to fix.

Falcons win so ugly most of the time - its hard for folks to visualize them stepping up in post-season. Its certainly difficult for the national media to see it.

Falcons have been such an utter flop in post-season that most of us just long for a team that is 180 degrees different than the 2010/2011 version of Falcons. To some degree, with the coordinators, we have initiated some of those changes. On the other hand, the personnel is virtually the same and there are some talent gaps.

I feel like Falcons have a decent chance against anybody - but I also think Falcons will need to play their best and stay aggressive with playcalling. Don't be trying to sit on any leads with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, etc. in the playoffs - if you get a chance to knock the bully out, you better do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone saying we need to beat the Saints and or Giants to get the team confidence is wrong. I guess people forget quickly how we beat that same GB team in our house during the regular season before they spanked us in the playoffs. Beating or losing to either of those teams won't have an impact on a playoff game come January.

Edited by JBourneMurkedU
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone saying we need to beat the Saints and or Giants to get the team confidence is wrong. I guess people forget quickly how we beat that same GB team in our house during the regular season before they spanked us in the playoffs. Beating or losing to either of those teams won't have an impact on a playoff game come January.

being Giants/Saints in regular season isn't a predictor of playoff results, but it is a measuring stick and more of a test than beating Cards, Panthers, Raiders, etc.

The reason I like those tests is because we face QBs who can be prolific and it challenges the Falcons defense to get stops - and challenges the offense if games become shootouts.

I would love to see a game where Falcons have to outscore a hot offense - say a 35-31 type of game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm more in the camp that Falcons have a flaw of not putting teams away when they can and SHOULD. However, I think this is more coaching-driven than player driven. Mike Smith seems to want to milk leads in 2nd half. This is a coaching flaw and it is 'fixable' but it requires Mike Smith wanting to fix it.

Falcons should not be letting teams like Cardinals, Panthers and Raiders hang around. Sure we are 3-0 in those games but sometimes you need a breather. Sometimes you need to be able to rest a player that is playing slightly hurt.....Sometimes your field goal kicker misses at the end. Falcons tend to come through in the clutch but it seems foolish to me to actually play to get to this point of needing a drive to win at end of game - too many variables and things that can go wrong.

Falcons need to get up on teams when they can - sure, its the NFL and you are not going to blow every team out each week - i get it - but sometimes you are supposed to blow the bad team out in your building. Sometimes its OK to have a 7 play drive where you don't run the ball one time - not every time but sometimes.

Flaw? Lmao I would love to blow teams out and some are closer than should be, but MS does the right thing. No need for blowing teams out run ing up the score. It's pointless and unclassy. Kind of like the Giants going for it on 4th down last night up big. Smh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flaw? Lmao I would love to blow teams out and some are closer than should be, but MS does the right thing. No need for blowing teams out run ing up the score. It's pointless and unclassy. Kind of like the Giants going for it on 4th down last night up big. Smh.

blowing teams out in the NFL is winning by more than 2 TDs. I am not talking about 70-0 beatdowns like those administered by Alabama against a directional school........this ain't college.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

blowing teams out in the NFL is winning by more than 2 TDs. I am not talking about 70-0 beatdowns like those administered by Alabama against a directional school........this ain't college.

Lol I know that. Would I rather be up a TD or 2 than a field goal? Yes, but I will take a win any way we can get it. MS record is good for a reason so why shouldn't he stick to what he does?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol I know that. Would I rather be up a TD or 2 than a field goal? Yes, but I will take a win any way we can get it. MS record is good for a reason so why shouldn't he stick to what he does?

if you keep doin' what you've always done,

you will keep gettin' what you've always got.

MS has a great regular season record. Over the last 4.5 years, he is the KING OF NFL REGULAR SEASON........no doubt. I am not calling for MS head - just would like to see him evolve a little more. He has taken a few steps this year already (new coordinators with new philosophies) - so that is a positive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another great, tell-it-like-it-is post by Tdwii. I think we all will readily admit that before the season began if someone were to tell us that the Falcons would be 10-1, but they would get there by barely squeaking by almost every team in the process, we'd all have hollered, "Oh Hale Yes!" But, having suffered through the gut-wrenching frustration of living through those 10 wins, I'm less than ecstatic about where this team finds itself. And it's not just me, the Falcons actually dropped to fifth in the power rankings from third place after Sunday's win. Almost none of the pundits you listen to feel the Falcons will fare any better this year in the play-offs than they have the last three times they made it.

The reasons are fundamental ~ this team can not rush the passer; it has an OL that can't block for the running game, even to make just one lousy yard when it has too. And also very telling is its inability to put an inferior opponent away. This is on the coaching staff, and particularly on Mike Smith. He seemingly can't get past his obsession with sitting on even the smallest of leads and trying to run the clock out. Ryan threw one deep ball yesterday, which Julio gathered in and ran it in for a TD. Did we even attempt another long pass to Julio or anybody else the rest of the day? When the Falcons were marching at the end of the first half, there was time on the clock to try to score a TD. But no, Smith burns the clock down and sends out the FG unit. It was almost poetic justice that Bryant missed the 22-yard bunny. It points out the towering ignorance of playing for field goals instead of TDs against even the middle-of-the-road teams like Tampa Bay.

This philosophy of playing conservative, scared, tight-azzed football that Smith has instilled in his team seems to keep them hovering on the ragged edge of disaster every single game, no matter how weak the opponent, whether we're playing on the road or at home. By the time this team makes it to the play-offs every year, they're not ready to dominate anybody and win against the good teams. Instead, they're emotionally spent, have no confidence they can beat a good team and they're far too aware of their own weaknesses and how vulnerable they are rather than confident and aggressive. Whatever fire this team might have individually, under Smith that fire is dampened and forced deep into the background in the name of conservatism and trying to play like mistake-free automotons.

I'd love to see this team at least get to the Super Bowl this season because I don't know if they'll be able to put the talent back together to get back to the potential they have this year in my lifetime. But, sadly, I don't see this team getting past the first round under Smith. Does anybody in TATF think the Packers, Giants, 49ers, Bears or anybody else that will be in the play-offs this year have any fear whatsoever of playing the Falcons in the Georgia Dome? No way. And I don't believe in their heart of hearts not one single player on this team has any real confidence they could beat any one of those teams in the play-offs with or without home field advantage.

In short, I don't know of a team ever that was more smoke and mirrors, more of a paper tiger, more of a sham, more of a flash-in-the-pan, more of a weak poser than this Falcon team this year or in past years under Smith. And it makes me sad, frustrated and it also pisses me off to no end. But that's what I see when I watch this team play and Sunday was a classic example of why this team will collapse again come January.

Edited by PokerSteve
Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you keep doin' what you've always done,

you will keep gettin' what you've always got.

MS has a great regular season record. Over the last 4.5 years, he is the KING OF NFL REGULAR SEASON........no doubt. I am not calling for MS head - just would like to see him evolve a little more. He has taken a few steps this year already (new coordinators with new philosophies) - so that is a positive.

Another thing is if we had been scoring TDs instead of FGs we would of been winning by more. Don't worry though MS isnt worried about the regular season? But the playoffs. We will be more aggressive on both sides of the ball and step on people's throats. Not sure if other people have noticed, but we have been playing vanilla lately. Saving the aggressiveness for the right time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing is if we had been scoring TDs instead of FGs we would of been winning by more. Don't worry though MS isnt worried about the regular season? But the playoffs. We will be more aggressive on both sides of the ball and step on people's throats. Not sure if other people have noticed, but we have been playing vanilla lately. Saving the aggressiveness for the right time.

it does not work like that........you cannot be Dr. Jekyll all regular season and then flip a switch in post-season and be Mr. Hyde. Falcons have gotten into this safe way of playing in regular season and have been unable to make the transition to the intensity of the playoffs the last two years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it does not work like that........you cannot be Dr. Jekyll all regular season and then flip a switch in post-season and be Mr. Hyde. Falcons have gotten into this safe way of playing in regular season and have been unable to make the transition to the intensity of the playoffs the last two years.

Yep. There won't be one iota of difference in what this team does in the play-offs than what it's been doing all season ~ Turner up the gut for minus yards on first downs and third and short, dink and dunk passing instead of bombs to JJ or White, tentative play in the Red Zone producing FGs instead of TD's, trying to sit on two or three-point leads with half the game left to play. Predictable as it is pathetic and doomed to fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...