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Resilient Falcons Have Chance To Soar


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http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/42663/resilient-falcons-have-chance-to-soar

Resilient Falcons have chance to soar

Somewhere in the process -- and I can’t put my finger on exactly where -- Mike Smith changed buzzwords.

The coach of the Atlanta Falcons still is about as predictable as a Mike Mularkey offense. But “the process" Smith talked so much about in his first four seasons has seemed to disappear from his vocabulary this season.

In its place, Smith is using the word “resilient" as often as Mularkey used to call runs up the middle for Michael Turner.

“You reflect back on the 12 games that we’ve played and one of the things you realize is that we’re a resilient team," Smith told the local media Monday.

I chuckled a bit when I first read the quote. That’s only because I’ve heard Smith use “resilient," “resilience" or “resiliency" after just about every Atlanta game I've been to this year. By unofficial count, he has used some variation of the word multiple times in the same news conference on more than one occasion.

Hurry up and print the “Resilient Birds" T-shirts. They’ll be a big seller for the holidays.

But in a season in which die-hard fans and skeptics alike have been waiting for the Falcons to develop a true identity, maybe they already have. Maybe the best and worst thing you can say about the Falcons is that they are a resilient team.

That might not be flashy, but there’s nothing wrong with being resilient.

That has been a big part of the reason the Falcons, who play at Carolina on Sunday, are 11-1 and already have clinched the NFC South title.

Yeah, I know fans like to nitpick because the Falcons haven’t really put together a complete game and blown an opponent out of the stadium. Skeptics get on the Falcons for the same reason.

Count Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy among the critics. On Wednesday, he said the Falcons aren’t as good as their record. Tampa Bay’s Adam Hayward and Donald Penn have made a similar claim. So have various members of the New Orleans Saints.

I get Hardy’s point. The Panthers took the Falcons down to the wire in the Georgia Dome early in the season. Atlanta won 30-28 in a game the Panthers had every chance to win.

That has been the story with a lot of Atlanta’s games this season. The Falcons seem to let even the weakest opponents (see the Arizona Cardinals) hang in there right until the end and then do just enough to get the win. That beats the alternative.

It has to be frustrating for fans, and it’s understandable that opponents walk away with the impression the Falcons really aren’t that good. I’ve thought the same thing at times.

But the more I think about the Falcons, the more I’m convinced they really are good. A team can be lucky here and there. But when at team is lucky week after week, that’s no accident. When a team repeatedly wins close games in the NFL, it's doing something right.

The Falcons have done plenty of things right. They just haven’t done them all at once. In the past two games, the defense has carried Atlanta. The Falcons picked off New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees five times in the last outing and held Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin to 50 rushing yards the week before.

Early in the season, Matt Ryan and the passing game carried the Falcons. At times, even Turner and a running game that’s not what it once was have been responsible for the Falcons closing in on the No. 1 NFC seed in the playoffs.

No, the Falcons haven’t been dominant this season. But look around the league and tell me who has. I don’t see a dominant team out there.

What I do see is an Atlanta team that has won 11 of 12 games. Salute (don't bash) the Falcons for that.

“We don’t blink," Smith said. “We focus on the next play. When you do that, you’re going to have a chance to be successful.”

The Falcons have been very successful. But everyone knows the true measure of Atlanta’s success will be the postseason. Everyone knows that although the Falcons have won a lot of regular-season games since the arrival of Smith and Ryan in 2008, they have yet to win a postseason game.

It’s easy to flash back to the 2010 season -- when the Falcons went 13-3, had the No. 1 seed and were beaten at home by the Green Bay Packers -- and say this team is headed for a similar fate. But it doesn’t have to end that way for the Falcons.

Remember, even a creature of habit such as Smith can change buzzwords.

“We’re just starting the fourth quarter of the season, and there is going to be a lot of things happening over these last four weeks,’’ Smith said. “It’ll be fun for the teams involved. It ought to be fun for the fans and it’s going to be fun for the coaches. Football in December, it can’t get any better.”

Yeah, actually it can get better. If Smith still is using the word “resilient" in January, it might mean the Falcons have a chance to play into February.

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I don't understand why the media chooses to beat up on the Falcons because how close we win games I never understood that.

Its as though we have to apologise for doing the above like we should be blowing lesser opponents out or something I like to think that a lesser opponent is going to give you there best shot as the Falcons have had the best record in the league for the basically the whole way and so we have a big fat target on our backs hence alot of close games.

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It's how the media works. It's better to have a blowout win and a loss than to have two close wins.

Falcons,Patriots,Sea Hawks and Bucs are the only teams in the NFL which didn't lose a game with double digit margin. I wonder its ok to get blown out than win close games.

Edited by falcons007
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Pure garbage.

Is there nothing else to write about other than a descriptive word?

Rah rah,rah.

I'm not a Pat Y. stan, but I like this one. I think the point of him singling out the word is to make a statement about Mike Smith's predictability, how good the Falcons have been this year, and how this good season doesn't have to end like the other good seasons we've had. I disagree that we haven't had a complete game yet, especially considering Philly, SD, and KC.

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This article is no better than the rest of the rubbish that we read and see in the media. It's full of backhanded complements, and a refusal to ackowledge how well we have played in many of our wins.

We haven't been "lucky every week". Even in many of the close, we were clearly the better team, winning the time of possession and yardage battes as well scoring the most points.

The only 2 games where we were clearly second sbest, we Oakland and Arizona. Both of them were coming off their bye week and therefore had an extra week to prepare as well as being fresh. The media love to talk about out schedule but not one of them has even mentioned that, or questioned why the Falcons have (yet agian) had to face multiple teams coming off bye weeks. The scheudlers tried to shaft us in 2012, as they did last time we played the NFC East in 2009 (when we had 4 games against teams coming off byes). Coincidence? I doubt it.

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This article is no better than the rest of the rubbish that we read and see in the media. It's full of backhanded complements, and a refusal to ackowledge how well we have played in many of our wins.

We haven't been "lucky every week". Even in many of the close, we were clearly the better team, winning the time of possession and yardage battes as well scoring the most points.

The only 2 games where we were clearly second sbest, we Oakland and Arizona. Both of them were coming off their bye week and therefore had an extra week to prepare as well as being fresh. The media love to talk about out schedule but not one of them has even mentioned that, or questioned why the Falcons have (yet agian) had to face multiple teams coming off bye weeks. The scheudlers tried to shaft us in 2012, as they did last time we played the NFC East in 2009 (when we had 4 games against teams coming off byes). Coincidence? I doubt it.

And no consecutive home games all season. If we got the one seed and won first round, it would be the first two consecutive weeks at home all year.

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This article is no better than the rest of the rubbish that we read and see in the media. It's full of backhanded complements, and a refusal to ackowledge how well we have played in many of our wins.

We haven't been "lucky every week". Even in many of the close, we were clearly the better team, winning the time of possession and yardage battes as well scoring the most points.

The only 2 games where we were clearly second sbest, we Oakland and Arizona. Both of them were coming off their bye week and therefore had an extra week to prepare as well as being fresh. The media love to talk about out schedule but not one of them has even mentioned that, or questioned why the Falcons have (yet agian) had to face multiple teams coming off bye weeks. The scheudlers tried to shaft us in 2012, as they did last time we played the NFC East in 2009 (when we had 4 games against teams coming off byes). Coincidence? I doubt it.

He didn't say that we have been lucky every week, he stated that we are doing something more than getting lucky since we have win so many close games. He saying that we are doing something right to pull out so many close victories

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It's almost like some of these writers are having to come to grips with the Falcons being a good team....so they're going to change the tone of what they write....

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It's funny that other teams can't stand it that we've won by the slimmest of margins on a consistent basis. If the 2012 Falcons do end up finishing with a 14-2 or 15-1 record, they'll probably be the worst team to do so. Even the 1998 team would laugh at how this team got to be where it is considering the type of games they've had.

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It's funny that other teams can't stand it that we've won by the slimmest of margins on a consistent basis. If the 2012 Falcons do end up finishing with a 14-2 or 15-1 record, they'll probably be the worst team to do so. Even the 1998 team would laugh at how this team got to be where it is considering the type of games they've had.

I disagree. how exactly do you define the worst 14-2 or 15-1 team. Even if we go one and done in the playoffs, we'll have done no worse than last years Packers for example.

We've been good value for the vast majority of our wins, and were 1 yard away from wining the one that we lost.

This whole easy schedule and shold have won by more stuff is total BS invented by a media that has an irrational and ridiculous hatred for this franchise and is desperate in the search for pathetic excuses to avoid giving us any credit.

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I disagree. how exactly do you define the worst 14-2 or 15-1 team. Even if we go one and done in the playoffs, we'll have done no worse than last years Packers for example.

We've been good value for the vast majority of our wins, and were 1 yard away from wining the one that we lost.

This whole easy schedule and shold have won by more stuff is total BS invented by a media that has an irrational and ridiculous hatred for this franchise and is desperate in the search for pathetic excuses to avoid giving us any credit.

This , its not just the media though. Its even our own fans with a lack of understanding.

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This , its not just the media though. Its even our own fans with a lack of understanding.

.

It is worse when it is from the fans on the message board. I refuse to believe that this MEsage board makes up a good sample of our fan base. Most of my friends aren't doing the type of complaing that we get from this MEsage board. Most fans I know and come in contact with a pleased with the Falcons resilency and heart to be able to pull out those close wins and think that we can continue to get better.

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I disagree. how exactly do you define the worst 14-2 or 15-1 team. Even if we go one and done in the playoffs, we'll have done no worse than last years Packers for example.

We've been good value for the vast majority of our wins, and were 1 yard away from wining the one that we lost.

This whole easy schedule and shold have won by more stuff is total BS invented by a media that has an irrational and ridiculous hatred for this franchise and is desperate in the search for pathetic excuses to avoid giving us any credit.

Other than perhaps division rivals, no one hates this franchise. I'm just saying that of all the teams that have lost two games or less in the regular season, the 2012 Falcons probably have the smallest point margin. It's not necessarily a criticism (take it for what it is), I'm just saying what probably is fact.

Edited by JerseyNo12
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