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Nfl Roundtable: Atlanta Falcons


Dusty
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JUL 15, 2014 6:24p ET

The Falcons had a miserable 2013 season and are looking for more than a mild bounce back in 2014. Mike Smith returns for his seventh season as coach, and Mike Nolan remains in charge of a defense that finished 27th in the league last year. Atlanta brought in former Patriots and Chiefs personnel man Scott Pioli to assist GM Thomas Dimitroff in January, and the front office promptly acquired a group of nasty, big players on the offensive and defensive lines in free agency and the draft.

If there was a message being sent to the rest of the league with the signings of guard Jon Asamoah, defensive end Tyson Jackson and 350-pound defensive tackle Paul Soliai and the drafting of offensive tackle Jake Matthews and defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman in the first two rounds, it was that this team is going to be tougher, stronger and better up the middle. The Atlanta Falcons will not be pushed around at the line of scrimmage as they were in 2013. Oh, and quarterback Matt Ryan actually may stand a chance to again stand upright in the pocket on passing downs.

Atlanta came a few plays short of a Super Bowl appearance two seasons ago, yet finished with a 4-12 record in 2013. That doesn't happen without at least a small amount of bad luck and misfortune. Injuries to Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Sam Baker and Sean Weatherspoon seriously hampered the Falcons early in the season, and neither the offense nor defense recovered. If there was any positive to be taken away from a lost 2013, it was the unexpected contributions of linebacker Paul Worrilow and defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi. Both players will have the opportunity to compete for starting jobs in 2014.

Tony Gonzalez, the most consistent offensive performer from a season ago, is now doing TV for CBS, but there are high hopes that Levine Toilolo can serve as a suitable replacement at tight end.

The addition of HBO's "Hard Knocks" cameras throughout training camp will ensure the Falcons are on everybody's radar come September, but there are still questions at linebacker and in the defensive backfield. Weatherspoon, a talented linebacker who's seemingly always on the cusp of stardom, has already been lost for the season with a torn Achilles suffered in June. The Falcons are used to this by now, though, and will adapt to the best of their abilities.

With a healthy Jones and White back in the lineup and some much needed new talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage, there's no reason for the Falcons not to rebound from their forgettable 2013 season. Whether they can return to their 2012 heights is another question.

VIDEO!!!~~~> http://msn.foxsports.com/watch/fox-sports-live/video/nfl-roundtable-atlanta-falcons-071514

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Whether they can return to their 2012 heights is another question.

Put a sock in it. I can't wait for all these haters to see what a real team with real heart and fight is capable of. The Falcons will be a team everyone will hate to play. Nasty hard hitting, physical, hard running team. Mark my words.

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it's also on the players too,they have gotta execute as well....

Coach has to motivate them and get them and put them in the best position.This has been an issue since Smitty has been here. The players have shown they can make plays in the clutch, I can't think of many situations where our second half coaching has been the difference.

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Coach has to motivate them and get them and put them in the best position.This has been an issue since Smitty has been here. The players have shown they can make plays in the clutch, I can't think of many situations where our second half coaching has been the difference.

You say the coach has to put them in position to make a play but yet you turn around and say they have shown that they can make plays in the clutch.

Which one is it? Obviously the coach put them in position to make plays in the clutch then.

People want to point fingers at Coach Smith but never look at the entire story.

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You say the coach has to put them in position to make a play but yet you turn around and say they have shown that they can make plays in the clutch.

Which one is it? Obviously the coach put them in position to make plays in the clutch then.

People want to point fingers at Coach Smith but never look at the entire story.

I always look at the whole story. We have playmakers. Matt, Roddy, Julio all have made gamewinning plays. Matt has led more gamewinning drives and comeback wins than anyone in the league since he's been in it, despite the 3rd quarters lulls we've suffered for 6 years. We come out of the half ill prepared, and Smitty has admitted we do not make halftime adjustments. I don't think we just somehow draft and recruit players that have an inability to play an entire 4 quarters. I think that can only be placed on the coaching staff. That responsibility falls on Smitty. The buck stops with him.

No doubt, we've built from the outside in, and talent has been an issue, but even in games we win, we follow the same pattern. Fast start, go into the half, come out slow, let the the other team comeback, and it perpetually always comes down to the last few drives. I don't see how you can blame anyone else other than Smitty. It's far too global of a problem with the entire team to pin it on just talent.

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I love how he said we lost DeCoud and Asante Samuel like thats a bad thing? I love Asante but Alford outplayed him hard last year. Dez Southward or Lowery should easily fill DeCoud's shoes (1 of the many hundred pairs he has). Weatherspoon being injured, yet PW and Bartu play just as well as he does. Don't know if we're gonna get anything out of Osi? lol with a poor D last year Osi still was our top Sack player, he might be positional now but he can still play. These dudes are crazy.

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I think this is a very positive piece. There have been major upgrades to the infrastructure, new blood has been brought in to improve the run and stop the run. We have JJ and White back. Only the most fervent skeptics and haters would look at the Falcons and say they will be as bad as last season. This guy is saying what I believe and what seems to be the consensus opinion around the league: the Falcons will be a lot better than last season and will finish somewhere around 8-8 and will not make the play-offs. He also says they can be back at their 2012 level, but it's questionable. That's as close to completely objective as you can get.

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I think this is a very positive piece. There have been major upgrades to the infrastructure, new blood has been brought in to improve the run and stop the run. We have JJ and White back. Only the most fervent skeptics and haters would look at the Falcons and say they will be as bad as last season. This guy is saying what I believe and what seems to be the consensus opinion around the league: the Falcons will be a lot better than last season and will finish somewhere around 8-8 and will not make the play-offs. He also says they can be back at their 2012 level, but it's questionable. That's as close to completely objective as you can get.

I think this team they have assembled is a little bit of experience and playing time from a championship. They need a season to gel, though, I feel. If we bring in a stud pass rusher and a FS (if we need one) next draft - I think we're gonna be nasty as all **** in 1-2 years. But that time MIGHT come sooner. I hope it does.
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I think this is a very positive piece. There have been major upgrades to the infrastructure, new blood has been brought in to improve the run and stop the run. We have JJ and White back. Only the most fervent skeptics and haters would look at the Falcons and say they will be as bad as last season. This guy is saying what I believe and what seems to be the consensus opinion around the league: the Falcons will be a lot better than last season and will finish somewhere around 8-8 and will not make the play-offs. He also says they can be back at their 2012 level, but it's questionable. That's as close to completely objective as you can get.

I agree. I temper my expectations of what the 2014 Falcons will look like. I think going in and thinking 8-8 is what to expect is okay. I personally feel 10-6 is more like it but that might be the homer in me. I just hope that the fans don't turn on the team if 8-8 is in fact what we get. I hope that all of those people that truly feel this is a rebuilding year really accept that and understand there will be some bumps and bruises that come with said rebuilding year.

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Guest MikeKennHOF

Whether they can return to their 2012 heights is another question.

Put a sock in it. I can't wait for all these haters to see what a real team with real heart and fight is capable of. The Falcons will be a team everyone will hate to play. Nasty hard hitting, physical, hard running team. Mark my words.

I remember under Jerry Glanville, we played the Raiders. There were a LOT of penalties on both sides. After the game, Al Davis of all people complained about how dirty we played to the league office.

I was never so proud of my Falcons as I was when I learned that.

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Guest MikeKennHOF

Randy Moss was actually dead on. Its all about sustaining through 4 quarters, That's on Smitty.

You could always count on 4 quarters of good effort from Randy Moss. Its just a shame that those 4 quarters were spread over a whole season.

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Besides the loss of TG I think at least on paper we look alot better than 2012. Our lines are better and bigger which will allow us to play more exotic defenses and Ryan will stay upright more, our secondary is quicker and should be better at tackling and our two young CB's will be better than Asante and Dunta, our running game will be better, our special teams will be better with Hester. We also have better more aggressive coaches on both lines.

We can't account for injuries or luck but this looks to be a more complete and balanced team than we were in 2012.

Edited by MAD597
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