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What Is Wrong With The Falcons


FalconFanForLife
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I posted this article outlining what the author thinks is wrong with our team.

What's wrong with the Atlanta Falcons?

by Chris Wesseling

Gregg Rosenthal already has delved into the reasons behind the 1-2 San Francisco 49ers' slow start.

Like the 49ers, the 1-2 Atlanta Falcons were billed as Super Bowl contenders throughout the offseason. Unlike the 49ers, the Falcons could be undefeated had a few late-game plays gone in their favor.

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So what's gone wrong with the Falcons so far?

Availability of best players

The Falcons couldn't keep up with the New Orleans Saints' offense in the season opener because Roddy White was nursing a high ankle sprain and Tony Gonzalez still was rounding into football shape after taking an offseason hiatus through the end of August.

White hasn't been able to push off his ankle, leaving Harry Douglas exposed as the second option in the passing game. We noted on Sunday's "Around The League Podcast" that Gonzalez isn't moving as well as last season. That problem is exacerbated by White's inability to draw extra attention and the need for Gonzalez to chip in as a blocker to help a overwhelmed offensive line.

Steven Jackson has played just five quarters. Kroy Biermann and Sean Weatherspoon -- two of the team's most valuable defensive players -- are out for the season and the next eight weeks, respectively.

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Overhauled offensive line

It's not the Julio Jones blockbuster trade that killed theFalcons' depth up front. This team is starting a second-round draft pick at center and a third-rounder at right tackle. A former first-rounder collecting $41.1 million is protectingMatt Ryan's blindside.

The problem isn't one of neglect. It's simply that those three players are allowing too much pressure on Ryan. Among all NFL starting tackles, Atlanta's Sam Bakerand Lamar Holmes have the two lowest Pro Football Focus grades through three weeks.

Red-zone inefficiency

The Falcons are 6 of 12 in red-zone efficiency through three games. They are 17th in the league this year compared to 10th a season ago.

This was the issue that killed the Falcons on both offense and defense in a Week 3 loss in which they outplayed the Miami Dolphins. Ryan was just 2 of 5 in the red zone. It would help if White was at peak strength and the offensive tackles were blocking more effectively, freeing Gonzalez up as the primary end zone security blanket rather than extending Douglas beyond his means.

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Burned by the blitz

The lack of a consistent push up front means defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is forced to dial up blitzes to manufacture a pass rush. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 13 of 14 against Nolan's blitz, according to Pro Football Focus. Drew Brees was similarly near perfection against the blitz in Week 1.

It doesn't help that the Falcons now have a pair of undrafted free agent rookies (Joplo Bartu, Paul Worrilow) seeing extensive action at linebacker, joining a pair of early-round draft picks (Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford) in the secondary.

Can't solve second-half woes

The Falcons have been outscored 48-24 in the second halves of their three games. Jackson was supposed to fix this problem, allowing Atlanta to lean on a powerful rushing attack after losing trust in a burned-out Michael Turner the past two seasons.

Instead, this team continues to bleed commanding leads in the same fashion as last year's playoff games versus the Seahawks and 49ers.

The "Around The League Podcast" broke down every Week 3 game. Click here to listen and subscribe.

Here is the link

http://www.nfl.com/n...atlanta-falcons

Not a lot here that most of us don't know already, but I thought he touched the Juiio trade quite well since some here continue to blame that trade for our lack of line development. We have invested in the O-line heavily, but are not getting the production from them we should. Whether that means we made the wrong picks, or have failed in development is another matter for debate. Hopefully, we can expect progress from Konz and Holmes with their youth, and a much improved Baker once his injury heals.

Also, I think we can all be optimistic at improved offensive production once Roddy is fully healed. Likewise, improved production from Tony as well once he gets back in true playing shape; however, it is disturbing that the poor line play limits what we can do with him while he tries to help them block on the line. I am also troubled by the lack of effectiveness of our blitz packages. We need more results when we blitz. We can't have QBs completing such a high percentage against us when we commit LB's and secondary in blitz packages.

What do you think?

Edited by FalconFanForLife
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You Sir are way too informative and factual for this board. Be careful. We have one of the best QB's in the league who should be allowed to call his own plays. Also as you pointed out he has LOUSY protection, allowing mostly short throws. We have ZERO pass rush against opponents, especially on 3rd & long. We have players getting injured at the drop of a hat. Forty years ago................non existent. Add all this up and you have a Toyota Camry in place of the Porsche 911 Turbo we all expected in July. Oh..............and we haven't won a meaningful game since Jan. 13...............8 1/2 months ago. Losing has a way of becoming a habit...........did you know ??

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The question is though, can this be fixed before it's too late? If we can win the next two before the bye, the slow start will be forgotten. If we split, (even if we lose the first, which will look really, really bad at 1-3) and start out at 2-3, we can still survive. IF the offensive line steps up - that to me is the #1 determination of whether or not we will be able to have a successful season. Because ever other "issue" will be tolerable if we can score in the redzone, and sustain drives in the second half of games; putting less and less pressure on our defense to have to get game winning stops.

However, if the offensive line continues to struggle, it's going to continue to be a long and disappointing year. The thing that sux the most is that we should be @ least 2-1 and probably 3-0.

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Less than 5 plays sum up a game. In 2 of our 3 games we have made at least one fewer play than our opponent. We need to flip the results by one play this week. One less HD fumble. One less holding call. One less time that Ryan needs to take has to dump off due to instant pressure.

We are not as horrible as chicken little would have you believe. We are up against it due to injuries for sure. We are good enough to overcome them. All it takes is about one more play per game than we are making now.

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I agree with the article. There's no question the Falcons will be playing better ball the second half of the season. The OL should be better, injured starters will be healthy and well rested and our pass rush couldn't be any worse, so there's a good chance it also will be improved. The big question is can this team avoid falling into too deep of a hole in the first half of the season? A win vs the Pats would really pick this team up, help it to regain that bedrock belief they are legit Super Bowl contenders. A loss would just cast further doubt on this team's chances of reaching post-season at all.

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Well good point about losing has a way of becoming a habit. That's why this is really a must game just to stop the downward spiral we currently find ourselves in. I also agree it's really all on the O-line as to how we do this year. Our defense is nothing to shout about, but it never has been in the current regime. We have to protect Matt better. I was impressed with their run blocking though, and if they can keep that up we can at least have a balanced attack.

I am slowly getting over the agony of losing two close ones we should have won, but I will probably join the meltdown club if we do that again on Sunday.

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Less than 5 plays sum up a game. In 2 of our 3 games we have made at least one fewer play than our opponent. We need to flip the results by one play this week. One less HD fumble. One less holding call. One less time that Ryan needs to take has to dump off due to instant pressure.

We are not as horrible as chicken little would have you believe. We are up against it due to injuries for sure. We are good enough to overcome them. All it takes is about one more play per game than we are making now.

As another poster pointed out, though, it's because of Smittyball that our games do hinge on a few plays. If we were to go out there ballz to the wall and perform the way this offense is capable of performing from quarter ONE to quarter FOUR, our games would not hinge on a few plays. A drop or fumble wouldn't be so egregious because we'd have to points to absorb a few mistakes. Problems arise when we play so conservatively that every bad play is magnified by the closeness of the game...

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Whats wrong with the Falcons? Its coaching! The OC and DC were fired a year and a half ago but now the offense and the defense are playing very similar to the last OC and DC. Hmmm now whats the common denominator with this problem? That would be the head coach Smith. The red zone results are the same and the 4th quarter defense is the same.

1. How do we have Julio Jones but we don't throw the ball up high to him in the end zone?

2. Why we had Jackson and the offense was on the 2 yard line why did we not attempt to pound the ball into the endzone?

3. Why does the defense decide to play 10 yards off the WR's in the 4th quarter with the game on the line?

4. Why is it the team is having such a hard time developing or drafting a good pass rusher?

Coaching!

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Whats wrong with the Falcons? Its coaching! The OC and DC were fired a year and a half ago but now the offense and the defense are playing very similar to the last OC and DC. Hmmm now whats the common denominator with this problem? That would be the head coach Smith. The red zone results are the same and the 4th quarter defense is the same.

1. How do we have Julio Jones but we don't throw the ball up high to him in the end zone?

2. Why we had Jackson and the offense was on the 2 yard line why did we not attempt to pound the ball into the endzone?

3. Why does the defense decide to play 10 yards off the WR's in the 4th quarter with the game on the line?

4. Why is it the team is having such a hard time developing or drafting a good pass rusher?

Coaching!

Not at all our O hardly runs the ball at all yet under MM it was a power run team, now we run a version of the WCO, that is why Turner wasn't good for us our offense evolved away from what we used him for. Also we never screened with MM now we do it top 5 in the league we also do a lot of quick passes.

On D Tannehill and Brees carved up our blitz which is something we hardly did with BVG also also we play a lot with DEs standing up which we never did with BVG, we use the Ameoba which we didn't with BVG. We never run 3 man rushes which we did all the time with BVG.

In fact we are a completely different team with these two OC and DC.

Smith isn't holding the OC and DC back.

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As another poster pointed out, though, it's because of Smittyball that our games do hinge on a few plays. If we were to go out there ballz to the wall and perform the way this offense is capable of performing from quarter ONE to quarter FOUR, our games would not hinge on a few plays. A drop or fumble wouldn't be so egregious because we'd have to points to absorb a few mistakes. Problems arise when we play so conservatively that every bad play is magnified by the closeness of the game...

What is your suggestion having deep pass plays where Ryan does a five step drop and get murdered, it isn't Smitty ball it is lack of talent in the trenches that doesn't allow us to go for big plays....

We have to blitz becasue our front 4 cannot pass rush and we have to run quick short routes/ screens/ run because our Oline can't protect Ryan.

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Tx falcon is spot on! I think our injuries have exposed some of our coaching "decencies". We don't have a complete coaching meltdown. However our roster situation has put us in the position where we can't afford to mk inferior coaching mistakes and have our talent save the day ala last year. I would agree with the OP if after watching all 3 of our games twice I didn't feel we where the better team on the field AND should have won.

All the problems the falcons face roster wise is a problem all teams will face. It has no place as an excuse in professional sports. Players step up that's why they are paid. To perform over a short stretch. Great players perform great over a long stretch consistently. Difference between a good player and riding the bench is very small in the NFL. Thus why you see rapid decline in many very good players from year to year. More importantly We have put a 3-0 roster on the field period. Who here can deny that?

We have yet to step on the field in the last 8 games and loose a game we should've lost. For that matter we have yet to win a game we should've lost. Let that sink in! Every coach of the teams we've played this year has won a game they should have lost. That's coaching. We've been out coached fellas. Fumbles happen, INTs happen. Drew Brees through 5 against us last year and we still let them back in the game.

We've had these same problems healthy and now banged up. Our coaches prepare wonderfully. Give our coaches credit they put the best team on the field just about every game. However just like there are many facets to the game there are many facets to coaching. Not all coaches are strong in all facets. Our second half adjustments, including defensive and offensive SUCK. Time management suck! It always has. This is and always has been our weak link!! This is why Matty has so many 4 qtr come backs or winning drives. Its been a cover up for deficiencies. Sooner or later cracks become holes if they are not patched. Now that we have caught the injury bug our "problem" is magnified and coming to collect payment.

Can anyone think of a recent game where we are getting owned in the first half. We come back in the second half mk adjustments and blow them out....hmmmm none come to mind. There is a reason.

It's not rocket science. It is football. Non delusional fans know it. The opposition knows it. They talk about it around the league it's not a big secret. Coaches foam at the mouth with dreams to coach this offense. FYI: Matty is the real deal. Julio is a freak of nature randy moss good. Do I even have to mention the rest. Roddy...Gonzo....Snelling would start for the Giants and 5-6 other NFL teams. Plays hb,fb and can catch out the backfield. Look at his games where he has gotten touches. Very under utilized. Juilo, under utilized in redzone at 6'3.

Our offensive line is not the problem. Are they world beaters? no!

Trust me NFL teams have people that just study your game tapes for hours. After the first game no more secrets there. We still surmounted leads game after game. Why? We are that good! No one spots you points in the NFL for the heck of it. They are trying to stop you.

We've should be blowing people out point and simple. When your opponent has to pass they become one dimensional. Do we take advantage of this? Do we get in their face and blitz...nooooo

We back off give cushions and give the QB time?? We should be getting INTs in second halves of games.

Make them throw it overtop, where over the top help is waiting. Take away middle of field. Dare you to beat us deep and beat my blitz. We know you have to pass you are down 17pts?

We're is that at?

If there was enough time on the clock we would have lost to Seattle last year. Like we lost to the 49ers.

We should have whopped Seattle and the 49ers like they got whooped by Indy this year. Just like Denver is whooping people.

We play too cute. It's football, not golf. Beat your opponent down and make them give up. Not give them life and hope. Football is an emotion sport. We give opponents hope for 4 qtrs.

The good news is its being exposed now. Before this season it was a good stat with the 4qtr winning drives. Many of those Matty ice moments should have been blowouts. No more positive spin on the crap we put ourself in all too often.

The good news is yes this can be fixed.

I love our team but the first step to change is to stop making excuses and to call a spade a spade.

We have the team that should be 3-0 right now injuries included. No excuses. The problem has been coaching thus far. PERIOD.

The problem had to be exposed before it could be fixed. Last year Championship wasn't pegged as coaching it was Kap and the 49ers unbeatable Offense. Noooo it was our coaching.

Perfect game plan...crappy second half adjustments. The problems hasn't gone anywhere or has hidden. Our rosters has proven that if you put them in the correct plan they will succeed.

Now all eyes are on the coaching and second half. We either fix it or crumble.

It's a turn the corner moment for the falcons!

The good news is yes this can turn for the good. What if we where sitting 3-0. Do you think anything would have changed for the playoffs. Hard to fix something when it's working or appears to be working(4qtr comebacks).

At the moment The coaches don't coach to play with everything left on the field. Huddle your team up and say we are not kicking a d@mn field goal form the two yd line. Players rally behind that!

Play to win not to lose. It pays dividends during the coarse of a game and season.

I may be new to this board but I'm not new to football.

Players don't just want money they want to be believed in and trusted with the game on the line.

They live for that moment. They dream for those moments. They work hard for those momemts.

Believe that Matt Ryan can run the no huddle for a whole quarter like Manning and Brady. Don't just pay him manning and Brady money.

Believe that we are going for it on the 2yrd line four times in a row, if that what it takes.

Believe that if we don't make it our Defense will get us the ball back.

Us as fans can only wait and see Sunday. Will we turn the corner to climb the mountain or will we turn the corner to fall among the discarded rocks.

I repeat there is no reason why the Patriots don't loose by two scores other than the reason listed above. Period.

Saints - should've lost by two scores

St Louis - should've lost by two scores

Dolphins - should've lost by two scores

Patriots - lose by two scores

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Tx falcon is spot on! I think our injuries have exposed some of our coaching "decencies". We don't have a complete coaching meltdown. However our roster situation has put us in the position where we can't afford to mk inferior coaching mistakes and have our talent save the day ala last year. I would agree with the OP if after watching all 3 of our games twice I didn't feel we where the better team on the field AND should have won.

All the problems the falcons face roster wise is a problem all teams will face. It has no place as an excuse in professional sports. Players step up that's why they are paid. To perform over a short stretch. Great players perform great over a long stretch consistently. Difference between a good player and riding the bench is very small in the NFL. Thus why you see rapid decline in many very good players from year to year. More importantly We have put a 3-0 roster on the field period. Who here can deny that?

We have yet to step on the field in the last 8 games and loose a game we should've lost. For that matter we have yet to win a game we should've lost. Let that sink in! Every coach of the teams we've played this year has won a game they should have lost. That's coaching. We've been out coached fellas. Fumbles happen, INTs happen. Drew Brees through 5 against us last year and we still let them back in the game.

We've had these same problems healthy and now banged up. Our coaches prepare wonderfully. Give our coaches credit they put the best team on the field just about every game. However just like there are many facets to the game there are many facets to coaching. Not all coaches are strong in all facets. Our second half adjustments, including defensive and offensive SUCK. Time management suck! It always has. This is and always has been our weak link!! This is why Matty has so many 4 qtr come backs or winning drives. Its been a cover up for deficiencies. Sooner or later cracks become holes if they are not patched. Now that we have caught the injury bug our "problem" is magnified and coming to collect payment.

Can anyone think of a recent game where we are getting owned in the first half. We come back in the second half mk adjustments and blow them out....hmmmm none come to mind. There is a reason.

It's not rocket science. It is football. Non delusional fans know it. The opposition knows it. They talk about it around the league it's not a big secret. Coaches foam at the mouth with dreams to coach this offense. FYI: Matty is the real deal. Julio is a freak of nature randy moss good. Do I even have to mention the rest. Roddy...Gonzo....Snelling would start for the Giants and 5-6 other NFL teams. Plays hb,fb and can catch out the backfield. Look at his games where he has gotten touches. Very under utilized. Juilo, under utilized in redzone at 6'3.

Our offensive line is not the problem. Are they world beaters? no!

Trust me NFL teams have people that just study your game tapes for hours. After the first game no more secrets there. We still surmounted leads game after game. Why? We are that good! No one spots you points in the NFL for the heck of it. They are trying to stop you.

We've should be blowing people out point and simple. When your opponent has to pass they become one dimensional. Do we take advantage of this? Do we get in their face and blitz...nooooo

We back off give cushions and give the QB time?? We should be getting INTs in second halves of games.

Make them throw it overtop, where over the top help is waiting. Take away middle of field. Dare you to beat us deep and beat my blitz. We know you have to pass you are down 17pts?

We're is that at?

If there was enough time on the clock we would have lost to Seattle last year. Like we lost to the 49ers.

We should have whopped Seattle and the 49ers like they got whooped by Indy this year. Just like Denver is whooping people.

We play too cute. It's football, not golf. Beat your opponent down and make them give up. Not give them life and hope. Football is an emotion sport. We give opponents hope for 4 qtrs.

The good news is its being exposed now. Before this season it was a good stat with the 4qtr winning drives. Many of those Matty ice moments should have been blowouts. No more positive spin on the crap we put ourself in all too often.

The good news is yes this can be fixed.

I love our team but the first step to change is to stop making excuses and to call a spade a spade.

We have the team that should be 3-0 right now injuries included. No excuses. The problem has been coaching thus far. PERIOD.

The problem had to be exposed before it could be fixed. Last year Championship wasn't pegged as coaching it was Kap and the 49ers unbeatable Offense. Noooo it was our coaching.

Perfect game plan...crappy second half adjustments. The problems hasn't gone anywhere or has hidden. Our rosters has proven that if you put them in the correct plan they will succeed.

Now all eyes are on the coaching and second half. We either fix it or crumble.

It's a turn the corner moment for the falcons!

The good news is yes this can turn for the good. What if we where sitting 3-0. Do you think anything would have changed for the playoffs. Hard to fix something when it's working or appears to be working(4qtr comebacks).

At the moment The coaches don't coach to play with everything left on the field. Huddle your team up and say we are not kicking a d@mn field goal form the two yd line. Players rally behind that!

Play to win not to lose. It pays dividends during the coarse of a game and season.

I may be new to this board but I'm not new to football.

Players don't just want money they want to be believed in and trusted with the game on the line.

They live for that moment. They dream for those moments. They work hard for those momemts.

Believe that Matt Ryan can run the no huddle for a whole quarter like Manning and Brady. Don't just pay him manning and Brady money.

Believe that we are going for it on the 2yrd line four times in a row, if that what it takes.

Believe that if we don't make it our Defense will get us the ball back.

Us as fans can only wait and see Sunday. Will we turn the corner to climb the mountain or will we turn the corner to fall among the discarded rocks.

I repeat there is no reason why the Patriots don't loose by two scores other than the reason listed above. Period.

Saints - should've lost by two scores

St Louis - should've lost by two scores

Dolphins - should've lost by two scores

Patriots - lose by two scores

You in here preaching!

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Very reminiscent of the media pundits criticizing the New York Giants the last year they won the Super Bowl when they started out 0-2. I put what they say on the same level as Swift, or a Siamese cat.

Geez. Some you guys. New York won their Super Bowls because they had a crazy stable of pass rushers and a QB who was average most of time, but clutch in the playoffs. That's not us at all. Please stop comparing us to past Super Bowl winners.

It's not comparable at all. We're the team that's pissed away two #1 seeds. Let me repeat that. We're the team that's pissed away TWO #1 SEEDS! On top of that we've been waxed on the road in the playoffs. We're the guy with the hot girl in the car who nuts in his pants.

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One thing bothering me is seeing Roddy White on the field. Resting for a few days and then trying to play in real games is not the way to treat a high ankle. He should never have been allowed into the first game of the season. If they'd sat him then, he'd have been better by now. But as it stands, he probably won't be a factor until mid season, if then. The team has handled his injury like a bunch of middle school coaches.

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Not at all our O hardly runs the ball at all yet under MM it was a power run team, now we run a version of the WCO, that is why Turner wasn't good for us our offense evolved away from what we used him for. Also we never screened with MM now we do it top 5 in the league we also do a lot of quick passes.

On D Tannehill and Brees carved up our blitz which is something we hardly did with BVG also also we play a lot with DEs standing up which we never did with BVG, we use the Ameoba which we didn't with BVG. We never run 3 man rushes which we did all the time with BVG.

In fact we are a completely different team with these two OC and DC.

Smith isn't holding the OC and DC back.

I think what he meant was even though the scheme has changed the philosophy remains the same. Our play calling once again has become predictable and for some reason Matt is having less and less control of the offense (where's the no huddle)

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