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Some Root Cause Analysis On Why The Falcons Are 2-6


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As a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, I thought I'd conduct some high-level root cause analysis into exactly why the Falcons are 2-6. For those of you unfamiliar with it, root cause analysis is just that: an analysis of potential causes of problems, not solutions to them. I'll leave the solutions piece to you guys to discuss in this thread, because I don't have time to conduct a full-fledged cause and effects analysis.

Offense:

Currently, the Falcons offense ranks 18th in the NFL at 22 PPG, 29th in plays from scrimmage with 496, 21st in Time Of Possession (29:38) and 12th in YPG at 353.6. Our offense is averaging 5.7 yards per play, which ranks 9th in the league. We are 20th in offense in total points at only 176. We are 20th in 1st downs per game with 20.

Problem statement: These are not awful offensive stats. Yeah, they're bad, and they could be better, that's for sure, but they're not awful. So, why are the Falcons not scoring more points? What's the solution?

Defense:

The Falcons defense is allowing opponents to convert 3rd downs on 46 percent of attempts (tied with Cleveland and second only to Minnesota at 49 percent), with a 4th down conversion percentage of 75 percent. We are 17th in the league defensively with 51 penalties (6.4 per game). We rank 7th in defense in PPG allowed at 27.2 (tied with Denver). The defense has allowed 499 plays from scrimmage, which ranks 26th in the league.

Problem statement: Unlike above, these are awful stats. Why is the defense struggling? What's the solution here?

Discuss.

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An offenses best friend is its defense and vise versa... This team will continue to struggle if both departments dont work hand in hand.

Injuries!... I know they are part of the game and the next man has to step up, but if the replacement is not as talented as the starter, you have opened up a hole for opposing teams to exploit. All in all, this season has presented its challenges that in no way the falcons were prepared for.

In a way, this could be a blessing in disguise. This regime has yet to feel the history of falcons football...They are getting a heavy dose of it now. Hopefully everyone will learn from this to keep our new found tradition of winning seasons going.

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Take it further to the root cause Banker. Why are the Falcons getting yards but not points? We are getting decent passing yards but no running yards. Why does that affect points? Because we can pass in the open, but fail in the tighter red zone. Why? Because we cannot run well due to poor blocking and teams know to play to stop our passes in the tighter redzone. Problem: Lack of balance due to ineffective run game. Ineffective run game due to poor line run blocking. Cause: bad players, bad blocking assignments and schemes or both?

On defense we have poor to streaky LB, CB and safety play coupled with average at best D line and pressure. We don't trust D to blitz effectively and still give up 3rd down from poor zone play and blown assignments.

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Take it further to the root cause Banker. Why are the Falcons getting yards but not points? We are getting decent passing yards but no running yards. Why does that affect points? Because we can pass in the open, but fail in the tighter red zone. Why? Because we cannot run well due to poor blocking and teams know to play to stop our passes in the tighter redzone. Problem: Lack of balance due to ineffective run game. Ineffective run game due to poor line run blocking. Cause: bad players, bad blocking assignments and schemes or both?

On defense we have poor to streaky LB, CB and safety play coupled with average at best D line and pressure. We don't trust D to blitz effectively and still give up 3rd down from poor zone play and blown assignments.

Boom! And THAT is THE question on offense!

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simple fix, as I asked when we stacked up the injuries "how many more point will we have to score to overcome this?" we are or were 1st or 2nd in trips to the redzone, if we score every time we have a chance, problem solved. Defense is good enough to slow down our opponets 1 or 2 times a game. If we make the games track meets and put up the points that we shoud, we win.

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Nobody has to fear the Falcons rushing attack and without our weapons at 100% along with a crap OL, our passing game has become stagnant too. Our O is so easy to scheme for right now, I could become the Seahawks DC right now and hold ATL under 10 points

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A good RG and maybe another T could fix the entire offense. The defense, by contrast, really needs a lot of work in the front 7. When Spoon is healthy he's solid. We need depth, preferably depth that will get our undrafted rookies off the field some. So probably 2 solid LB additions. We need at least 1 tackle, and probably 2 ends, and at least 2 of those 3 need to be playmakers.

And that's if we stand pat schemewise. If we move to a more traditional 3-4 based front (as opposed to the hybrid with 3-4 looks we use now), we'll need more pieces. I don't think we'll be doing that, but a lot of people seem to think we should, and it will require more pieces and more of them will have to be performers, since we don't really have a lot of scheme fit players for a 3-4 base.

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Great post BB!!

I still don't get how our D has not improved in the slightest, under TD and Smith. My guess is it has to be bad draft picks and poor coaching.

Smith and Nolan have decades of football experience and yet we are regressing. Makes no sense.

Blank, TD and Smith need to truly reevaluate their "process". Cause it is severely flawed.

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Offensive line and injuries. Not rocket science.

Just thought I'd post some quantifiable data as a rationale for the season thus far, as opposed to people hauling off and screaming "Fire _____________!!!" The time to fire anyone is IF we still suck if/when the O-line gets fixed and we have everyone healthy. All these head-hunters around here are premature in their calls for heads to roll.

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not able to pass block or run block is why we struggle in the end zone.

When there is less real estate for the offense to work with the offensive skill players need more time to get open and get separation, since defenses no longer have to worry about you going over the top.

Offensive struggles always come back to the same point, will be addressable in the off season if management doesn't dance around the elephant.

We are in bad shape on defense and we struggle in all position types other than corner.

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It's pretty simple, Falcons can't score cause we can't run the ball. Defense is awful cause we can't stop the run. Our line coaches have failed at every aspect of their jobs.

No point in bruising my fingers when the obvious is already stated. I might add the root cause for both of these is awful line play, which is attributable to both personnel and coaching.

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Offense:

29th in plays from scrimmage with 496

Defense:

The defense has allowed 499 plays from scrimmage, which ranks 26th in the league.

This is why we are 2-6. We don't run a no huddle or even a faster pace game on offense resulting in less plays and we don't get off the field on 3rd down defensively.

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Just thought I'd post some quantifiable data as a rationale for the season thus far, as opposed to people hauling off and screaming "Fire _____________!!!" The time to fire anyone is IF we still suck if/when the O-line gets fixed and we have everyone healthy. All these head-hunters around here are premature in their calls for heads to roll.

Absolutely premature, BB.

We just don't have a very good team on the field this year, for a plethora of reasons. It may well be the most disappointing season ever when you consider the expectations going in, but it happens. Remember the '99 Birds? Just one injury (Jamal Anderson) in the 2nd game spun that team in a 180 and we went, what, 5-11 in '99 after a SB appearance in '98. Reeves was fired and we were then blessed with Mora and then Petrino. Wow. Things can go from bad to worse and when it rains, it pours.

Whatever the reason(s) for 2-6, the real story of Mike Smith and/or Thomas Dimitroff will be told next season and how well they can rebound from this three-alarm dumpster fire called the 2013 Atlanta Falcons. Another season even close to this one and I'll be calling for heads to roll too.

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