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Are We Doomed To Be Even More Disappointed In 2014?

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While a few unsinkable ho-zombs cling resolutely to the comically infinitesimal chances the Falcons can make the play-offs this year, multitudes of other fans have turned their gaze away from the blood, the tire tracks on the bodies and the excrement of this season and started contemplating a better day dawning for the fans and the team in 2014.

We're going to have all our wounded back. The youngsters who were untested and green as grass are now battle-hardened, steeled by tough lessons learned the hard way. The defense in all likelihood will be bolstered by as many as three additional impact players through the draft and FA to go with Osi, Goodman, Warlock, Spoon, Tru and Alford.

In terms of overall experience, depth and improved talent, the 2014 version of the Falcons should be as good or better than any team yet fielded by the TD/Smith regime in their six-year's of developing and bringing to life the "process" by which said regime is going to get this franchise its first Lombardi Trophy.

All this sounds rosy, but will having our injured guys back and adding a few much-needed pieces to two of the worst-performing units in the NFL really going to transform this team from 4-12, 5-11 back to the play-offs? More specifically, what if the lack of fresh, creative ideas on offense and defense dooms this team to a mediocre finish, despite an upgrade of talent?

Will "Smittyball," the plodding, reactive, clock-obsessed, old-school scheme which helped raise this franchise from the dead, be one of the major factors in its return to the abyss of being one of the league's bottom-feeder franchises? Can this team simply execute better and not have to change their schemes?

If changes need to be made to our schemes, do we have anyone now employed on this coaching staff who would be able to put a completely new scheme together and have the players buy into it? Yes, I think Nolan is very capable of doing so, I just don't know how much freedom he gets in creating this defensive scheme. He seems more like the manager of it, not who made it. It looks way too much like BVG 2.0 with the lack of emphasis on pass rush, the soft-zone pass coverage, etc. so I have to think it's Smitty's defensive philosophy.

How about Koetter? Does he have anything in his bag of tricks except a couple of screen pass plays? How much can this offense be jazzed up? Or can it? If Koetter can't get this offense out of its funk in the Red Zone, could he possibly create and implement a whole new offensive scheme that fits this group of players and also puts this offense on the same page with the high-scoring offenses in the league like the Saints and Broncos?

As Mark Bradley says in this article, there is a question as to what the real essence of the team's struggles are this year. Yes, injuries matter, but all teams have injuries and this team has lost games it should have won with the players it had available.

if the team's only problems are injuries to players, I think we can all look to 2014 with some anticipation we're going to be back in the thick of the quest for the NFC South title and beyond, but if the players aren't able to get it done ~ if we keep blowing leads, if we keep coming up snake-eyes in the Red Zone, if we keep committing stupid penalties, if we keep playing passive on defense, will this team really be able to play and beat the Saints, Packers, 49ers, Seahawks, Panthers and Patriots?

What are your thoughts concerning the Falcons chances for improvement next year? Are we just short of players, or also short of ideas?

Here's the link to the Bradley article. Advance warning: There's not a whole lot of substance to the article.


Edited by PokerSteve
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if the FO and HC look at this season and think injuries we suck because of injuries then yes, 214 will be even more disappointing. If however, by some miracle, someone in the FO realizes that our team building philosophy is inherently flawed we may have some hope yet. From what they are saying publicly though I think they are going to do their best to blame the injuries, in both the FO and HC we have continued to make the same mistakes over the past 6 years, once points of concern or weakness are identified they are not addressed accordingly. TD has been in this "few missing pieces" mode since 2008, need to get out of that ish and work on building a team for the future.

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Personally looking back on this season I think its a blessing in disguise.

We all no what needs to be fixed this off season and I believe the FO and ownership will get it done.

The closet isn't bare here I think it isn't time to panic just re-access where we are at as a franchise and move foward.

I'm confident I hate the fact we are struggling right now but as per the first sentence we'll be ok.

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Our power running game has little power, slow running and no game.

I don't care how much talent you stock at the skill positions it cannot function adequately without the ability to block the opposition.

I'm not saying we haven't attempted to build through the draft I'm saying we have failed miserably at doing so.

Address the glaring problems in the trenches or pay the consequences of every other regime in Falcons' history and get run out of town.

It's not injury, coaching or strategy......it's blocking.

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We will have a very good shot if they fix the OL and get cheap (but decent) skill players on O (young TE, tall 3rd WR).

We don't have a good enough D to rely on it, so we need to get our OL in order. If we don't do that, I think we're in trouble next year.

If they get 2 top tier line players in FA, and one more midtier line player in FA, and then 2 more with the 1st and 2nd round of the draft, we have 5 quality guys to up the OL and DL, and can use our 3rd-5th (and some cheap FA dollars) getting TE, WR, LB.

If the lines (particularly OL) just get minor tweaking, we will be in for some hurt as our skill players fade.

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