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John Clayton Uses The Falcons As A Cautionary Tale For The Colts


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http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2015/6/5/8735775/john-clayton-uses-the-falcons-as-a-cautionary-tale-for-the-colts

In 2012, the Indianapolis Colts got lucky.

Andrew Luck was available as the first pick in the draft. General manager Ryan Grigson surrounded him with a great stable of young draft choices, including tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard. The Colts rebounded with three straight division titles and three 11-win seasons, including last season's run to the AFC Championship Game.

From the outside, though, it seemed a little strange to see the Colts sign six new starters this offseason whose average age is 31.2. Frank Gore, Andre Johnson,Todd Herremans,Trent Cole, Kendall Langford and Dwight Lowery join what was already the league's oldest roster in 2014, with an average age of 27.5, according to Elias.

Andre Johnson is one of several veteran additions the Colts made to their roster this offseason. Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

What's clear is the biological clock is ticking on the Colts, even though Luck is only 25 years old. It might not be now or never for Luck to get to his first Super Bowl, but the Colts could be heading down the path of five other franchises that have quality quarterbacks. Teams that don't hit on two or three starters in each draft class eventually suffer roster decay -- and that's the position in which the Colts currently find themselves.

The Falcons are a recent cautionary tale.

In 2008, Atlanta started their roster reconstruction by taking Matt Ryan at No. 3 overall, and then selecting Sam Baker, Curtis Lofton, Harry Douglas, Thomas DeCoud and Kroy Biermann in the draft and signing Michael Turner at running back. The next year, they traded for tight end Tony Gonzalez . By 2010, the Falcons were 13-3 and won 26 games over a three-year period.

But drafts from 2010 to 2012 didn't successfully fill the roster attrition that happens to every team after the first three to five years. Despite having an elite quarterback, the Falcons have won just 10 games over the past two seasons. Similar things have happened to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers,New York Giants and Chicago Bears in recent seasons (although the Bears' quarterback situation isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned teams).

This is a critical season for the Colts. Their 2013 and 2014 drafts haven't filled needs on defense. Bjoern Werner started 15 games at linebacker last year, but he wasn't a difference-maker while filling in for the injured (and aging) Robert Mathis. With the signing of Trent Cole at outside linebacker and Mathis' possible return by September, Werner might be a backup this season.

To fill needs and improve on defense, Grigson has relied heavily on free agency and a trade to land cornerback Vontae Davis. As of the end of last season, the only drafted starters on defense were Werner and nose tackle Josh Chapman. That's a concern, because the successful shelf life of free-agent signings is often two or three seasons. In other words, they've made some short-term fixes that could pay off in 2015 -- but the longer-term outlook is more of a concern, even with the presence of Luck, and especially if any of the Jaguars, Texans or Titans make marked improvements over the next two seasons in the AFC South.

The "win-now" approach taken this offseason is probably the right one. Luck will be the anchor of the franchise and should get a huge second contract next year, and given Tom Brady's suspension in New England and Peyton Manning's decline in play at the end of last season, there's no reason to think the Colts won't be one of the top contenders in the AFC again. That said, remember that the Colts have a lot of flexibility now because Luck is paid far less than his market value. Once you're paying full freight for a player of his caliber, it won't be as easy to shop in free agency to fill holes the draft isn't taking care of. So the potential roster drain ahead and improvements of competitors in the AFC South -- face it, the Colts have had it good in that division during Luck's tenure -- could make it hard to stay at the 11-win level by 2017 and 2018, particularly if the Colts continue to have to rely on free agency more than the draft.

The Colts don't need to be lucky this year. They need to be really, really good.

Edited by DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins
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.....drafts from 2010 to 2012 didn't successfully fill the roster attrition that happens to every team after the first three to five years. Despite having an elite quarterback, the Falcons have won just 10 games over the past two seasons. Similar things have happened to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers,New York Giants and Chicago Bears in recent seasons (although the Bears' quarterback situation isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned teams).

This is a critical season for the Colts.

Someone is going to claim that Smitty was somehow coaching all six of these teams.

.

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.....drafts from 2010 to 2012 didn't successfully fill the roster attrition that happens to every team after the first three to five years. Despite having an elite quarterback, the Falcons have won just 10 games over the past two seasons. Similar things have happened to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers,New York Giants and Chicago Bears in recent seasons (although the Bears' quarterback situation isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned teams).

This is a critical season for the Colts.

Someone is going to claim that Smitty was somehow coaching all six of these teams.

.

We all know he was, you can't hide it

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.....drafts from 2010 to 2012 didn't successfully fill the roster attrition that happens to every team after the first three to five years. Despite having an elite quarterback, the Falcons have won just 10 games over the past two seasons. Similar things have happened to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers,New York Giants and Chicago Bears in recent seasons (although the Bears' quarterback situation isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned teams).

This is a critical season for the Colts.

Someone is going to claim that Smitty was somehow coaching all six of these teams.

.

Smitty might not, but coaching was as much as talent. The Aints have been through 3 DCs, and the repercussions of bounty gate. The Giants have had a lot of turnover at DC. The Bears need no explanation.

Coaching is half of it. If the coaching and the GM lose their connection, and a coach doesn't know how to use the talent he has, it's an issue. There has to be a uniform vision. If that vision isn't there, more often than not, the coach will lose his job first.

The last Colts draft baffled me, but they are proof that coaching trumps talent. They have a few pieces, but are hardly loaded.

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Ok we had to go through 2 (at least) losing seasons due to lack of talent on the Oline, at RB, and on the entire defense. Hope the rebuilding is over

More due to coaching and injuries imo but I guess I get your point. Wouldn't consider that rebuilding though.

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The Falcons failed to keep up with attrition with their drafts from 2010 onward. Whether you believe that's all on TD or that Smith and TD share equal blame doesn't really matter. The talent level went down and Smith couldn't or wouldn't make adjustments in scheme, coaching, personnel assignments, etc. to keep the team competitive. Then Smith compounded the problem by instilling an up-tight, overly cautious mindset and making some truly dumb in-game coaching decisions.

It was definitely time for Smith to go. Now that he's gone, time to move on and lay this chapter of Falcon history to rest.

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I don't understand why they spent a 1st on the Miami WR Dorsett. They got manhandled by the Patriots 2 years in a row in the playoffs especially in the ground game 150 yards last game . DT Malcolm Brown fell right in their laps and they pick a WR. Who do the Patriots pick? Malcolm Brown to replace Wilfork.

Same with us. We should have spent more on the defense in FA but I like how we are drafting defensively as well. Hageman, Beasely, Collins, Trufant, Alford, Jarret etc.

Hard to tell now but I think we need dominating big man like wilfork,ngata, dareus in the draft next year so we can cut ties with Soliai's contract, a LB, and Safety (good class coming out)

Add Irvin,JPP,Miller,A Smith in FA would be pipish but would be ideal

Edited by GleasonForever!
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More due to coaching and injuries imo but I guess I get your point. Wouldn't consider that rebuilding though.

Yes that definitely played a part. Our Oline is actually above average if they could just stay healthy and our defense is not 32nd in terms of talent. I expect a quick turn around, but these last 2 seasons were ridiculous

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Smitty might not, but coaching was as much as talent. The Aints have been through 3 DCs, and the repercussions of bounty gate. The Giants have had a lot of turnover at DC. The Bears need no explanation.

Coaching is half of it. If the coaching and the GM lose their connection, and a coach doesn't know how to use the talent he has, it's an issue. There has to be a uniform vision. If that vision isn't there, more often than not, the coach will lose his job first.

The last Colts draft baffled me, but they are proof that coaching trumps talent. They have a few pieces, but are hardly loaded.

there wasnt any talent to coach, again the artical was based specifically on thoes teams missing on draft picks.. thats not coaching, but that does make coaching that much harder.

Its easy to coach a bunch of allstars.

Far harder trying to keep up with allstars with a bunch of scrubs.

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there wasnt any talent to coach, again the artical was based specifically on thoes teams missing on draft picks.. thats not coaching, but that does make coaching that much harder.

Its easy to coach a bunch of allstars.

Far harder trying to keep up with allstars with a bunch of scrubs.

We had holes, but we had plenty of talent. Every team in the NFL does. Injuries were part of it, but we could have had a 10 win team with a competent coaching.

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Coaching has a lot to do with it. Coaches develop players. A good draft finds good scheme fits. A good coach fits a scheme to the players. I'm not suggesting we drafted a bunch of studs and then failed to develop them, but I refuse to accept that more could have been done to help many of those players succeed. I'm a Smitty guy, but I think he did better with guys who were already good than he did with guys who were potentially good.

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Yes that definitely played a part. Our Oline is actually above average if they could just stay healthy and our defense is not 32nd in terms of talent. I expect a quick turn around, but these last 2 seasons were ridiculous

considering how 'terrible' and 'horrible' our O-Line was last season Matt had the longest streak of pass attempts without a sack, even though a lot of that was due to Matt being able to see the pressure coming from the right side and adjusted accordingly

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We had holes, but we had plenty of talent. Every team in the NFL does. Injuries were part of it, but we could have had a 10 win team with a competent coaching.

Yep. We lost at least five games in the last two seasons that we should have won if Smitty had read 'Coaching For Dummies'.
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considering how 'terrible' and 'horrible' our O-Line was last season Matt had the longest streak of pass attempts without a sack, even though a lot of that was due to Matt being able to see the pressure coming from the right side and adjusted accordingly

People forget, the OL was good until the injuries piled up. People were declaring Tice a genius the first half of the season.

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Yep. We lost at least five games in the last two seasons that we should have won if Smitty had read 'Coaching For Dummies'.

We would've been a 9 win team, playing the Cardinals, a team with no QB, no RB, and half their D suspended or on IR in the playoffs if Smitty just knew how to manage a clock.

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People forget, the OL was good until the injuries piled up. People were declaring Tice a genius the first half of the season.

actually the streak was towards the end of the season. Matt got sacked once in GB then he didn't get sacked again until the Panthers figured out they needed to get Schraeder in one on one match-ups and they went HAM. I'm a VSU alum and I'm biased towards my fellow Blazers but to people thinking Schraeder is the answer at RT are mistaken. hopefully he's improved over the offseason and he's a better fit in a zone blocking scheme. at the beginning of the season, we went the first 3 games without a negative run attempt. injuries did us in big time

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.....drafts from 2010 to 2012 didn't successfully fill the roster attrition that happens to every team after the first three to five years. Despite having an elite quarterback, the Falcons have won just 10 games over the past two seasons. Similar things have happened to the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers,New York Giants and Chicago Bears in recent seasons (although the Bears' quarterback situation isn't nearly as strong as the aforementioned teams).

This is a critical season for the Colts.

Someone is going to claim that Smitty was somehow coaching all six of these teams.

.

All I could hear is that Matt Ryan is an elite quarter back!!/purple :)
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We had holes, but we had plenty of talent. Every team in the NFL does. Injuries were part of it, but we could have had a 10 win team with a competent coaching.

i agree every team has holes but no, that wasnt a 10 win team. we were an offensive driven team that had a bad line with or without injuries.

Our defense was trash.

Evident of how many different faces we have on that side of the ball..

Bellichck, quinn, or even rex wouldnt have made this team any better with the lack of quality players compared to other teams..

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