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Where The Falcons Went Wrong


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When TD and Smith came on board, their first move was to sign a power running back: Michael Turner.

Their goal was to develop a power-running, possession offense and a solid defense. The offensive scheme was desinged to help a young QB (by not putting the entire offense on the QB's shoulders) and help the defense by keeping their time on the field to a minimum.

This was a good plan, and worked well the first few years. But, something happened in year 1. People started to say this:

Matt Ryan is the next Peyton Manning.

Apparently everyone in the Falcon's organization bought into that idea hook, line, and sinker, because they abandoned their original ideas of how the team should be built and instead starting to build the team as a mirror image of the the Manning led Colts: a high scoring, QB centered offense and a defense that was an after thought.

This is where the Falcons got off track. Years of almost total focus on the offense, ignoring the defense, and expecting Ryan to carry the entire team on his shoulders caught up with them.

This is not a criticism of Ryan. Ryan is an excellent QB, but he is no Peyton Manning. In fairness though, Manning is unique. Few QBs can carry an entire team on their shoulders the way Manning has done (Kurt Warner is the only other example I can think of, but he was hot & cold doing it; Manning has consistently done it).

Had TD and Smtih stayed with their original vision (power-running, possesion offense; solid defense), Smith would still be the head coach, and the Falcons record would have been (imho) just as good if not better than it was over the last 7 years.

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When TD and Smith came on board, their first move was to sign a power running back: Michael Turner.

Their goal was to develop a power-running, possession offense and a solid defense. The offensive scheme was desinged to help a young QB (by not putting the entire offense on the QB's shoulders) and help the defense by keeping their time on the field to a minimum.

This was a good plan, and worked well the first few years. But, something happened in year 1. People started to say this:

Matt Ryan is the next Peyton Manning.

Apparently everyone in the Falcon's organization bought into that idea hook, line, and sinker, because they abandoned their original ideas of how the team should be built and instead starting to build the team as a mirror image of the the Manning led Colts: a high scoring, QB centered offense and a defense that was an after thought.

This is where the Falcons got off track. Years of almost total focus on the offense, ignoring the defense, and expecting Ryan to carry the entire team on his shoulders caught up with them.

This is not a criticism of Ryan. Ryan is an excellent QB, but he is no Peyton Manning. In fairness though, Manning is unique. Few QBs can carry an entire team on their shoulders the way Manning has done (Kurt Warner is the only other example I can think of, but he was hot & cold doing it; Manning has consistently done it).

Had TD and Smtih stayed with their original vision (power-running, possesion offense; solid defense), Smith would still be the head coach, and the Falcons record would have been (imho) just as good if not better than it was over the last 7 years.

Matt Ryan is exactly where tony romo was for the past 3 years.

Bad offensive line, little defense and they expected romo to do everything and carry the team. It the same thing

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A number of things went wrong:-

- Smith's risk averse, play not to lose approach doesn't work against good teams.

- The team took on the characteristics of Smith and became mentally soft.

- Smith is one of the worst game managers in the NFL, in term of his usage of personnel, play calling and time management. Getting Abe inured in a meaningless game in 2012 was unforgivable and cost us a world title IMO.

- Nolan's hybrid/Nickel Schemed is fundamentally flawed. Sadly we spent 2 years heavily investing draft picks in a scheme that was never going to work. We do have some young talent, but Emphasising stoutness over pressure was a massive mistake and left us without the DE's to run a good 4-3, or OLB's to be a good 3-4. That was a coaching decision.

- Replacing out S&C coach 2 years ago was a mistake. Fish was made a scapegoat for coaching staff's failure. Our 2nd half collapses were a product of our coaches poor game management, not a lack of conditioning.

- not enough was invested in the OL from 08-13 (this has been an issue for 15+ years)

- We traded away too many draft picks. An entire draft's worth of picked were traded away from 2011-13. The golden rule in building a team is to hoard picks and use them well. When we departed from that, a medium/long term decline inevitable.

- The Julio Jones trade crippled us. We gambled on the trade putting us over the top whilst we still had Turner/Abe/Gonzo. It nearly worked. The trade was always going to have a very high price in the medium term, becuase it was blatantly obvious to anybody looking at the bigger picture in 2011 that it left us with little or no chance of filling our medium/longer term needs going forward.

- The 5 picks we traded away should have been invested in the OL and in seeking a replacement for Abe. That trade meant that we neglected an OL that desparately needed a complete rebuilt in 2011 & 2012. The trade left us with a shortage of high value picks at a time when we were under increasing salary cap pressure because our best, cheap young players were becoming eligible for free agency. When you have a lot of needs, very few high/mid round picks and not a lot of cap room you are in deep trouble and have very very limited options. This forced us to gamble on Osi and SJax because they were proven but cheap. They were cheap because of their age and they inevitably declined in production. It also forced out hand in retaining Baker (who we should have looked to replace with an LT pick in 11 or 12), because we weren't in a pisition to acquire anybody better than a healthy Baker via free agency or to draft a LT who could start from day 1 in his place.

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A number of things went wrong:-

- Smith's risk averse, play not to lose approach doesn't work against good teams.

- The team took on the characteristics of Smith and became mentally soft.

- Smith is one of the worst game managers in the NFL, in term of his usage of personnel, play calling and time management. Getting Abe inured in a meaningless game in 2012 was unforgivable and cost us a world title IMO.

- Nolan's hybrid/Nickel Schemed is fundamentally flawed. Sadly we spent 2 years heavily investing draft picks in a scheme that was never going to work. We do have some young talent, but Emphasising stoutness over pressure was a massive mistake and left us without the DE's to run a good 4-3, or OLB's to be a good 3-4. That was a coaching decision.

- Replacing out S&C coach 2 years ago was a mistake. Fish was made a scapegoat for coaching staff's failure. Our 2nd half collapses were a product of our coaches poor game management, not a lack of conditioning.

- not enough was invested in the OL from 08-13 (this has been an issue for 15+ years)

- We traded away too many draft picks. An entire draft's worth of picked were traded away from 2011-13. The golden rule in building a team is to hoard picks and use them well. When we departed from that, a medium/long term decline inevitable.

- The Julio Jones trade crippled us. We gambled on the trade putting us over the top whilst we still had Turner/Abe/Gonzo. It nearly worked. The trade was always going to have a very high price in the medium term, becuase it was blatantly obvious to anybody looking at the bigger picture in 2011 that it left us with little or no chance of filling our medium/longer term needs going forward.

- The 5 picks we traded away should have been invested in the OL and in seeking a replacement for Abe. That trade meant that we neglected an OL that desparately needed a complete rebuilt in 2011 & 2012. The trade left us with a shortage of high value picks at a time when we were under increasing salary cap pressure because our best, cheap young players were becoming eligible for free agency. When you have a lot of needs, very few high/mid round picks and not a lot of cap room you are in deep trouble and have very very limited options. This forced us to gamble on Osi and SJax because they were proven but cheap. They were cheap because of their age and they inevitably declined in production. It also forced out hand in retaining Baker (who we should have looked to replace with an LT pick in 11 or 12), because we weren't in a pisition to acquire anybody better than a healthy Baker via free agency or to draft a LT who could start from day 1 in his place.

That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.

Sincerely,

Judge Chamberlain Haller

My+Cousin+Vinny.jpg

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A number of things went wrong:-

- Smith's risk averse, play not to lose approach doesn't work against good teams.

- The team took on the characteristics of Smith and became mentally soft.

- Smith is one of the worst game managers in the NFL, in term of his usage of personnel, play calling and time management. Getting Abe inured in a meaningless game in 2012 was unforgivable and cost us a world title IMO.

- Nolan's hybrid/Nickel Schemed is fundamentally flawed. Sadly we spent 2 years heavily investing draft picks in a scheme that was never going to work. We do have some young talent, but Emphasising stoutness over pressure was a massive mistake and left us without the DE's to run a good 4-3, or OLB's to be a good 3-4. That was a coaching decision.

- Replacing out S&C coach 2 years ago was a mistake. Fish was made a scapegoat for coaching staff's failure. Our 2nd half collapses were a product of our coaches poor game management, not a lack of conditioning.

- not enough was invested in the OL from 08-13 (this has been an issue for 15+ years)

- We traded away too many draft picks. An entire draft's worth of picked were traded away from 2011-13. The golden rule in building a team is to hoard picks and use them well. When we departed from that, a medium/long term decline inevitable.

- The Julio Jones trade crippled us. We gambled on the trade putting us over the top whilst we still had Turner/Abe/Gonzo. It nearly worked. The trade was always going to have a very high price in the medium term, becuase it was blatantly obvious to anybody looking at the bigger picture in 2011 that it left us with little or no chance of filling our medium/longer term needs going forward.

- The 5 picks we traded away should have been invested in the OL and in seeking a replacement for Abe. That trade meant that we neglected an OL that desparately needed a complete rebuilt in 2011 & 2012. The trade left us with a shortage of high value picks at a time when we were under increasing salary cap pressure because our best, cheap young players were becoming eligible for free agency. When you have a lot of needs, very few high/mid round picks and not a lot of cap room you are in deep trouble and have very very limited options. This forced us to gamble on Osi and SJax because they were proven but cheap. They were cheap because of their age and they inevitably declined in production. It also forced out hand in retaining Baker (who we should have looked to replace with an LT pick in 11 or 12), because we weren't in a pisition to acquire anybody better than a healthy Baker via free agency or to draft a LT who could start from day 1 in his place.

Beautiful. I think this is the best analysis I have seen from a MB poster in a while. Had we had better coaching in 2012 the Julio trade could have paid off with a Lombardi and it would have been well worth it.

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If I owned a team I'd pour so much money into the lines

that the coach would be able to put my grandmother at

running back and she'd make the Pro Bowl.

The Falcons will NEVER win a big game until

they load up on linemen, period. I don't care

how many 'stars' you have, there's still only

one football in play at a time, and sooner or

later, your 'stars' are going to falter. But

at least if you have a great line, you can

move the chains and keep your opponents' offense

on the bench.

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I thought the Falcons would beat the Panthers at home Sunday after the way they handled New Orleans.

Let's pause a moment and give the Panthers some credit for playing a lights out,aggressive football game.

The Panthers team was red hot Sunday and hitting on all eight cylinders,it's hard for another team to compete when this happens,so don't be so hard on your team.

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Julio trade was not a main factor in our decline. TD even said he wanted carimi had Julio not been possible, and you see how he turned out. TD may have picked different players, but it's not guaranteed he would have picked the right ones. TD had other chances to pick quality linemen, but didn't. Julio almost got us to the Super bowl. I doubt we even make it that close without him.

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I thought the Falcons would beat the Panthers at home Sunday after the way they handled New Orleans. Let's pause a moment and give the Panthers some credit for playing a lights out,aggressive football game. The Panthers team was red hot Sunday and hitting on all eight cylinders,it's hard for another team to compete when this happens,so don't be so hard on your team.

I give your team props Panty, the 2 things I feared worst came true, our O line folded and our tackling was atrocious.....never try to grab or arm tackle vs the Pantys LOL.....at times we had 6 guys flying to the ball, but no one in position to make a decent fkng tackle.....angry.png

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Julio trade was not a main factor in our decline. TD even said he wanted carimi had Julio not been possible, and you see how he turned out. TD may have picked different players, but it's not guaranteed he would have picked the right ones. TD had other chances to pick quality linemen, but didn't. Julio almost got us to the Super bowl. I doubt we even make it that close without him.

There are no guarantees that picking differently would have made us better. But, if you have major needs in an area, the only realistic chance of filling them is by investing your resources there. If you don't invest in the areas where you are lacking, it is almost certain that you will remain weak in those area. A stragtegy that required you to defying the odds by finding gems in the back end of the draft or UFA's isn't a sound philosophy.

If you have a leaky roof, you have to invest resources (time and/or money) to fix it. If you don't spend the time/money to do so, the problem will not fix itself and it is inevitable that your roof will continue to leak water.

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There are no guarantees that picking differently would have made us better. But, if you have major needs in an area, the only realistic chance of filling them is by investing your resources there. If you don't invest in the areas where you are lacking, it is almost certain that you will remain weak in those area. A stragtegy that required you to defying the odds by finding gems in the back end of the draft or UFA's isn't a sound philosophy.

If you have a leaky roof, you have to invest resources (time and/or money) to fix it. If you don't spend the time/money to do so, the problem will not fix itself and it is inevitable that your roof will continue to leak water.

I agree with the need to invest resources into fixing problems, but TD has used top picks on both lines, and not have those picks flourish. The trend would have continued if he sat at 27 and took Carimi.

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I thought the Falcons would beat the Panthers at home Sunday after the way they handled New Orleans. Let's pause a moment and give the Panthers some credit for playing a lights out,aggressive football game. The Panthers team was red hot Sunday and hitting on all eight cylinders,it's hard for another team to compete when this happens,so don't be so hard on your team.

The Panthers have beaten jack **** in the past four weeks and are slightly less of a trainwreck than the Falcons are. I swear I tell everyone who will listen that the Falcons and the Panthers are the exact same franchise. Both chase and settle for mediocrity and wouldn't know excellence if it slapped them in the faces.

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The turning point was the Wildcard Game in 2010 when Green Bay came into Atlanta and slapped us around. After that we wanted to be "explosive" like Green Bay, and changed philosophically, what we wanted to do and be, while retaining a coach that didn't fit that new direction. With that came the Julio trade, who was supposed to make us explosive, and we stopped investing in the positions that make you stable and consistent.

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I think you have to look at it in a broader scope of who the Falcons looked toward a few years ago and said, that's who we need to be. They made the mistake of looking at the Green Bay loss, coupled with the Packers getting hot and winning the Super Bowl, and deciding that explosiveness was the key to long term success. They were wrong. They should've been looking out west to the up and coming Seahawks, Niners and Cards and realized that defensive dominance was the way to go. We sacrificed way too many defensive vets to become a scoring oriented team.

I don't think it had much at all to do with Matt as it did knee jerk reacting to getting blown out in one playoff game. The problem was, they jerked in the wrong direction.

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