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4 Weeks In - My Thoughts So Far


USAF HART
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So here we are sitting at 1-3. With a Saints win tonight, we fall further out of the division race (some may even say we won't rebound at all if the Saints win tonight). We currently sit in 3rd place behind (3-0) New Orleans and (1-2) Carolina. It's been a real kick in the pants these first 4 weeks, but through it all we've had plenty of opportunities to win every game. Our 3 losses have all come against teams who are currently undefeated. That's not saying that they are the cream of the crop, but more or less that they are playing some **** good football at this time. No other NFL team this season has been faced with the task of facing 3 undefeated teams in 4 weeks.

Looking Back:

Week 1: This game felt like the Katrina game in '09. Same type of atmosphere, on the road in a hostile rival environment. It was the first game back for Payton and everyone knew that the Saints had a chip on their shoulder. Many (including myself) thought that even with Payton back, that the Saints defense just wouldn't be good enough to stop us. I was wrong. They played aggressive, they played with the same chip that the offense played with and they showed up.

Offensively, I thought we did great considering the issues on the OL. We had 2 guys playing in the same spot that they had last year, and 3 guys who had very limited to no experience in an NFL game, and not in their normal position. We dominated the first quarter and looked good doing it. From the 2nd quarter on, we looked like a much different team. We couldn't keep their offense off the field as we finished a lousy 3-11 on 3rd down conversions. When you can't keep a potent offense like the Saints' off the field, you are going to have issues.

Through all of that, we still had a shot at the end of the game to win it, but we fell a finger tip short. The following sentence will get most of you angry, and will probably cause you to stop reading, but this is why these are my thoughts. In crunch time, Tony Gonzalez hurts us more than he helps us. It's not his fault, and I honestly don't know whose fault it is, but for some reason, Ryan feels it absolutely necessary to throw to Tony when the game is on the line. There were 3-4 Saints players that could have made a play on the ball thrown to Gonzalez. that's 3-4 defenders that were not defending another receiver. Because of Gonzalez's career and numbers, you expect him to make those plays, but you have to recognize the coverage and look elsewhere.

Week 2: Home opener of the 2013 season was simply amazing. We were pissed from the Saints loss, we were in front of the home crowd and we had something to prove. We did that and THEN some in the first half. However, in typical Falcons fashion, the opposing team makes halftime adjustments and we rest on our laurels. Sam Bradford who, as we all know is a pretty average QB all of a sudden became a stud in the 2nd half just ripping our defense apart. The Rams came storming back and dominated us the 2nd half. Their comeback fell short though and the Falcons move to 1-1 on the season.

Week 3: This game I think was the turning point in our young season. We had absolutely ZERO reason to lose this game. If you took away the scoreboard and you polled 100 people, they would point to the statistics for the Falcons and say they won. This will be the week that the secondary will think about when they are handed their walking papers. I have no clue why they couldn't come up with a stop on the last drive. Our defensive front 7 had the best game they've had in their collective careers. 5 team sacks, 6 QB hits, 5 pass deflections and 2 turnovers. The loss wasn't felt just in the standings, but I think this was a huge emotional letdown. We have always been the team that comes in and shatters the dreams of teams under 2 minutes and to be on the receiving side of that is clearly devastating. Falcons fall to 1-2 on the season

Week 4: This loss is still fresh on everyone's mind and it seemed to be over before it really began. Our first drive we marched right down the field like we have done time and time again, but we saw a familiar outcome. We settled for 3 points. When you are playing the top caliber talent in the NFL, you cannot simply settle for points. Maybe we were still hungover from our crushing defeat to the Dolphins, but our team never showed any real emotion last night. A combination of a mildly successful passing game, and a heavy dose of blitzing forced the Falcons to move away from the running game extremely early. We moved the ball easily on offense, but as soon as we crossed that 20 yard line, we became a practice squad trying to punch it in against an NFL team. We couldn't run, and none of our receivers could get off their blocks to catch a pass. It wasn't until we recovered the onside kick that this team started showing any signs of life. You could just see the expressions on their face that after the INT by Talib that we had been defeated. I personally think that Talib should have been flagged for pass interference on the final play. He was holding the back of Roddy's jersey and then came over the top of Roddy well before the ball had got there. Again, it was a bang bang play, but I think he should have been flagged. The 49ers weren't flagged for it in the playoffs, and the Patriots got the same deal. If Roddy White is 100% healthy, I think he is able to make a sharper cut instead of rounding it off like he did, and he makes the catch. The Falcons fall to 1-3 on the young season.

LOOKING FORWARD:

With some extremely tough games behind us, we have a chance at redemption on the national stage as the Jets come to town for Monday night football. We have a real chance at reeling off 4 straight wins starting Monday night against the Jets, as Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta after a bye week, and then we travel to Arizona and an upstart Carolina Panthers. Atlanta REALLY needs to win all 4 games to keep their seemingly slim playoff hopes alive. After those 4 games, the tough schedule kicks back into gear as Seattle comes to Atlanta in week 10 seeking revenge for their playoff loss last year. We follow that physical game up with a trip to Tampa and then come back home on a revenge game against New Orleans in The Dome.

If we are able to turn our season around and we somehow make the playoffs, we could potentially see what is in store for us weather wise when we travel up to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills. It will be December, and it will be cold. Much like it should be in February in New York. Following Buffalo is a very telling and very tough stretch for our team as we face off against Green Bay, Washington, and San Francisco. We need to take AT LEAST 2 of 3 from those games to limit the damage in the W-L column. We finish off our brutal schedule with a home game against the Panthers.

Unfortunately, I think the lack of urgency in addressing the offensive line issues will be too much for us to overcome this year, and I think we miss the playoffs for only the 2nd time in Coach Smith's career. I think we finish with a 10-6 record losing to Seattle, Green Bay and San Francisco.

Following this season, we need to make some changes. Mr. Blank needs to put as much effort and attention to the defensive side of the ball as he has done with the offense. Signing Osi was nothing more than a lateral move. It didn't make us better, but it didn't hurt us either. We simply remained unchanged. Drafting Trufant and Alford helps us tremendously shore up a very weak secondary. Decoud needs to be released. He gets beat, and he gives up way too easy. Willy Mo is serviceable, but I don't think he is Pro Bowl caliber right now. McClain is just plain awful. How he is still starting is mind blowing. Teams target him because they know he can't get the job done. LB wise, Dent is not the answer. He's not good in pass coverage, and struggles to fight off the blocks to stop the run. Warrilow and Bartu were bright spots in the off-season, but the jury is still out on them at this time.

Offensively we need an offensive line more than anything. You could have Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Adrian Peterson, and Tony Gonzalez as your offensive weapons, but if you don't have an OL worth a ****, then you aren't going to win ball games. There's a reason why they say that games are won in the trenches. If you can win the war up front, you most likely win the war on the scoreboard. Our "juggernaut" offense will only go as far as our OL will take us, and at this point it's not that far.

I don't really have a well thought out way of ending this long boring read, but I just hope that the Falcons are able to recover and are able to find a way to start winning games. As long as we get more efficient in the red zone, and we can keep the opposing offense off the field, we should start winning ball games again. Here's to a turnaround on the season and another push for a playoff birth smile.png

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Good to hear from you Hart. The breakdown was pretty straight forward. I agree with you on pretty much everything. Nothing can be done about injuries or youth. It is just rediculous as to how soft we are in the trenches on both sides of the ball...

Injuries are always on the back of your mind, but we are supposed to trust in our FO that they have made the right moves and are able to plug and play. A prime example of this is the Patriots. Look at their receiving corps. They don't have a household name at WR, but they play extremely well even without Gronk. Imagine how much better those receivers will be when they get Gronk and Amendola back.

I think the fact of the matter is that our Front Office just really has no idea what to really look for in the Offensive Line. One game we want to run the ball, and the next game we want to air it out. We don't know if we want a zone blocking scheme or traditional. We don't know that our LT is our pass blocker and our RT should be our best Run Blocker. We need to hit the offensive line in free agency, and hit it hard. I don't know what it's going to take, but whatever we have to sacrifice to get the job done, we need to do it.

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Very good post. Sums up my sentiments too.

But I have a more bleak outlook on the remaining schedule. Our O-line is dreadful, and we cannot get anything done against any team that blitzes and puts pressure on the QB. I'm sure Tampa will steal a game from us, and realistically I can see the Panthers taking one as well.

I think we will be swept in the Saints series this year, and I don't have much optimism against the Packers or Seahawks.

The 49er's is the only game I think we MIGHT have a chance, but it depends on the health of their LB's and D-Line. If they're healthy, we lose that game.

Trying to be optimistic, I see us finishing 7-9 or possibly 8-8, The O-line isn't good enough to keep us in enough games.

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So here we are sitting at 1-3. With a Saints win tonight, we fall further out of the division race (some may even say we won't rebound at all if the Saints win tonight). We currently sit in 3rd place behind (3-0) New Orleans and (1-2) Carolina. It's been a real kick in the pants these first 4 weeks, but through it all we've had plenty of opportunities to win every game. Our 3 losses have all come against teams who are currently undefeated. That's not saying that they are the cream of the crop, but more or less that they are playing some **** good football at this time. No other NFL team this season has been faced with the task of facing 3 undefeated teams in 4 weeks.

Looking Back:

Week 1: This game felt like the Katrina game in '09. Same type of atmosphere, on the road in a hostile rival environment. It was the first game back for Payton and everyone knew that the Saints had a chip on their shoulder. Many (including myself) thought that even with Payton back, that the Saints defense just wouldn't be good enough to stop us. I was wrong. They played aggressive, they played with the same chip that the offense played with and they showed up.

Offensively, I thought we did great considering the issues on the OL. We had 2 guys playing in the same spot that they had last year, and 3 guys who had very limited to no experience in an NFL game, and not in their normal position. We dominated the first quarter and looked good doing it. From the 2nd quarter on, we looked like a much different team. We couldn't keep their offense off the field as we finished a lousy 3-11 on 3rd down conversions. When you can't keep a potent offense like the Saints' off the field, you are going to have issues.

Through all of that, we still had a shot at the end of the game to win it, but we fell a finger tip short. The following sentence will get most of you angry, and will probably cause you to stop reading, but this is why these are my thoughts. In crunch time, Tony Gonzalez hurts us more than he helps us. It's not his fault, and I honestly don't know whose fault it is, but for some reason, Ryan feels it absolutely necessary to throw to Tony when the game is on the line. There were 3-4 Saints players that could have made a play on the ball thrown to Gonzalez. that's 3-4 defenders that were not defending another receiver. Because of Gonzalez's career and numbers, you expect him to make those plays, but you have to recognize the coverage and look elsewhere.

Week 2: Home opener of the 2013 season was simply amazing. We were pissed from the Saints loss, we were in front of the home crowd and we had something to prove. We did that and THEN some in the first half. However, in typical Falcons fashion, the opposing team makes halftime adjustments and we rest on our laurels. Sam Bradford who, as we all know is a pretty average QB all of a sudden became a stud in the 2nd half just ripping our defense apart. The Rams came storming back and dominated us the 2nd half. Their comeback fell short though and the Falcons move to 1-1 on the season.

Week 3: This game I think was the turning point in our young season. We had absolutely ZERO reason to lose this game. If you took away the scoreboard and you polled 100 people, they would point to the statistics for the Falcons and say they won. This will be the week that the secondary will think about when they are handed their walking papers. I have no clue why they couldn't come up with a stop on the last drive. Our defensive front 7 had the best game they've had in their collective careers. 5 team sacks, 6 QB hits, 5 pass deflections and 2 turnovers. The loss wasn't felt just in the standings, but I think this was a huge emotional letdown. We have always been the team that comes in and shatters the dreams of teams under 2 minutes and to be on the receiving side of that is clearly devastating. Falcons fall to 1-2 on the season

Week 4: This loss is still fresh on everyone's mind and it seemed to be over before it really began. Our first drive we marched right down the field like we have done time and time again, but we saw a familiar outcome. We settled for 3 points. When you are playing the top caliber talent in the NFL, you cannot simply settle for points. Maybe we were still hungover from our crushing defeat to the Dolphins, but our team never showed any real emotion last night. A combination of a mildly successful passing game, and a heavy dose of blitzing forced the Falcons to move away from the running game extremely early. We moved the ball easily on offense, but as soon as we crossed that 20 yard line, we became a practice squad trying to punch it in against an NFL team. We couldn't run, and none of our receivers could get off their blocks to catch a pass. It wasn't until we recovered the onside kick that this team started showing any signs of life. You could just see the expressions on their face that after the INT by Talib that we had been defeated. I personally think that Talib should have been flagged for pass interference on the final play. He was holding the back of Roddy's jersey and then came over the top of Roddy well before the ball had got there. Again, it was a bang bang play, but I think he should have been flagged. The 49ers weren't flagged for it in the playoffs, and the Patriots got the same deal. If Roddy White is 100% healthy, I think he is able to make a sharper cut instead of rounding it off like he did, and he makes the catch. The Falcons fall to 1-3 on the young season.

LOOKING FORWARD:

With some extremely tough games behind us, we have a chance at redemption on the national stage as the Jets come to town for Monday night football. We have a real chance at reeling off 4 straight wins starting Monday night against the Jets, as Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta after a bye week, and then we travel to Arizona and an upstart Carolina Panthers. Atlanta REALLY needs to win all 4 games to keep their seemingly slim playoff hopes alive. After those 4 games, the tough schedule kicks back into gear as Seattle comes to Atlanta in week 10 seeking revenge for their playoff loss last year. We follow that physical game up with a trip to Tampa and then come back home on a revenge game against New Orleans in The Dome.

If we are able to turn our season around and we somehow make the playoffs, we could potentially see what is in store for us weather wise when we travel up to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills. It will be December, and it will be cold. Much like it should be in February in New York. Following Buffalo is a very telling and very tough stretch for our team as we face off against Green Bay, Washington, and San Francisco. We need to take AT LEAST 2 of 3 from those games to limit the damage in the W-L column. We finish off our brutal schedule with a home game against the Panthers.

Unfortunately, I think the lack of urgency in addressing the offensive line issues will be too much for us to overcome this year, and I think we miss the playoffs for only the 2nd time in Coach Smith's career. I think we finish with a 10-6 record losing to Seattle, Green Bay and San Francisco.

Following this season, we need to make some changes. Mr. Blank needs to put as much effort and attention to the defensive side of the ball as he has done with the offense. Signing Osi was nothing more than a lateral move. It didn't make us better, but it didn't hurt us either. We simply remained unchanged. Drafting Trufant and Alford helps us tremendously shore up a very weak secondary. Decoud needs to be released. He gets beat, and he gives up way too easy. Willy Mo is serviceable, but I don't think he is Pro Bowl caliber right now. McClain is just plain awful. How he is still starting is mind blowing. Teams target him because they know he can't get the job done. LB wise, Dent is not the answer. He's not good in pass coverage, and struggles to fight off the blocks to stop the run. Warrilow and Bartu were bright spots in the off-season, but the jury is still out on them at this time.

Offensively we need an offensive line more than anything. You could have Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Adrian Peterson, and Tony Gonzalez as your offensive weapons, but if you don't have an OL worth a ****, then you aren't going to win ball games. There's a reason why they say that games are won in the trenches. If you can win the war up front, you most likely win the war on the scoreboard. Our "juggernaut" offense will only go as far as our OL will take us, and at this point it's not that far.

I don't really have a well thought out way of ending this long boring read, but I just hope that the Falcons are able to recover and are able to find a way to start winning games. As long as we get more efficient in the red zone, and we can keep the opposing offense off the field, we should start winning ball games again. Here's to a turnaround on the season and another push for a playoff birth smile.png

kudos great post.....idk if the oline or the injuries can be overcome or not but i have to believe that it can.. the lb are just in dire need of help maybe we get the new guys up and running and throw them out there.but yes i agree dent is garbage i hate him out there...the large run up the middle he was there and should have made the tackle or at least slowed him down but could get off the block to make the tackle and he scores.has ive said in previous post today if atl is healthy i believe we are undefeated nothing the teams showed me so far that they would have be capable of beating a healthy falcons team.i guess thats why its so fusterating to watch.at worst we should be 2-2 but heres to a strong playoff push and getting some guys healthy

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kudos great post.....idk if the oline or the injuries can be overcome or not but i have to believe that it can.. the lb are just in dire need of help maybe we get the new guys up and running and throw them out there.but yes i agree dent is garbage i hate him out there...the large run up the middle he was there and should have made the tackle or at least slowed him down but could get off the block to make the tackle and he scores.has ive said in previous post today if atl is healthy i believe we are undefeated nothing the teams showed me so far that they would have be capable of beating a healthy falcons team.i guess thats why its so fusterating to watch.at worst we should be 2-2 but heres to a strong playoff push and getting some guys healthy

The thing that bugs me the most is that our Front Office has this preconceived notion that we HAVE to have household names to have a good on field product. In all reality, we just need guys with high motors and a never give up attitude. I'd almost rather pull some guys who were part of last roster cuts because at least you know they would give 110% every single play.

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