Jump to content

The Falcons 2015 Season May Hinge On The Fortunes Of The Offensive Line, The Falcoholic


gazoo
 Share

Recommended Posts

by Dave Choate, The Falcoholic

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2015/8/16/9139949/the-falcons-2015-season-may-hang-on-the-fortunes-of-the-offensive-line

Thus far, it has been difficult not to get swept up in the optimism surrounding Falcons training camp. Everyone looks leaner, hungrier and ready to go, and while that only means so much in August, we're all looking for positive signs. It doesn't hurt that most of the team's new acquisitions are looking very good thus far, either.

The good vibes are deserved, but there's a growing and reasonable unease about the state of the offensive line that I think lurks behind every report. The Falcons are returning a healthy Jake Matthews, a recovering Joe Hawley, and a capable Ryan Schraeder at right tackle, which gives them a little continuity. The guard spots are, to put it mildly, unsettled.

There was always going to be some turnover here, with Kyle Shanahan favoring quicker, more athletic linemen and a new coaching staff coming in wholesale, but bluntly the Falcons simply weren't going to be able to turn everything over and put an outstanding line on the field in just one season. Their best blueprint lies in finding at least three or four long-term starters who can play at a reasonably high level, and patching over the other two spots with what they've got.

That's how we've arrived at a potential starting line that features Matthews, James Stone, Hawley, Chris Chester, and Schraeder. That's not a bad line by any stretch of the imagination, and with Jon Asamoah potentially hitting the bench, the Falcons suddenly have legitimate depth on the interior. But Chester is aging, Stone is a question mark due solely to his lack of experience playing left guard, and Matthews and Hawley are of course returning from injury. This could go very well, but there are a million ways it could go very wrong.

After one game, we have a (very limited) answer. The first team offensive line had a mild surprise in the form of Mike Person at left guard, played well on that magical first drive. Then the Falcons got into the backups, and there were multiple botched snaps, some mediocre protection, and not a lot of great blocking for the ground game. In fact, the one area where the Falcons' first team line was pretty weak was on the ground, partly a function of not having Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, and partly a function of not being the finest assortment of run-blocking linemen ever assembled. Obviously that will have to improve for this offense to have the balance it's craved for several years now, and until we see it we're all going to be a little bit nervous.

The bottom line is this: We know the Falcons defense looks a little better and should be more useful, and the passing game should be as strong as ever. If the offensive line can hold up, this could very well be a playoff team. If injuries and/or poor play wrack the line, though, it could very well be a disappointing debut year for Dan Quinn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

KOG asked me what I think of thee team at this point. Myt response is very hopeful, there are a LOT of things going right and if the DL can go from being useless (last year) to dominating (as it did in preseason game drive) it is a huge game changer for this defense and team. Man, Quinn can really go to town on offenses if his front 4 rotation can collapse the pockmet, disrupt, get in the backfield on a level of consistency with the need to blitz.

This briongs me to my fear. This offensive line is still shaky to me. I've extremely concerned about backup OT. If Mathews goes down we could see another year of defenses pounding on Matt Ryan and no plaoffs. If we are fortunate and can stay healthy along the OL, I see playoffs in the near future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

KOG asked me what I think of thee team at this point. Myt response is very hopeful, there are a LOT of things going right and if the DL can go from being useless (last year) to dominating (as it did in preseason game drive) it is a huge game changer for this defense and team. Man, Quinn can really go to town on offenses if his front 4 rotation can collapse the pockmet, disrupt, get in the backfield on a level of consistency with the need to blitz.

This briongs me to my fear. This offensive line is still shaky to me. I've extremely concerned about backup OT. If Mathews goes down we could see another year of defenses pounding on Matt Ryan and no plaoffs. If we are fortunate and can stay healthy along the OL, I see playoffs in the near future.

I'm enthusiastic also Gaz...probably more than I have been in a few years.

We got the HC I wanted more than anyone else...How often does that happen?

We got the 1st round pick I wanted more than anyone else...Again, doesn't happen every year.

Our FA acquisitions and draft looked very solid to me. I think you're spot on though when you voice those concerns about the depth (and guys returning from injuries) along that OL.

I have thought all along that this was going to be a 2 year replenishing of this roster...however, the NFC South is so watered down now I believe our team can take it if we finally do have a relatively injury-free year.

Next year is when I believe strongly the Falcons are going to be the best team in the NFC and possibly in the entire NFL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we'll know what this OL will be by week 8. By that point, I think we'll know if we're playoff bound or not.

It's funny how we all knew changing to the ZBS blocking scheme was going to take time but now that it's going to...umm...take time, everyone is freaking out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a really fair and well written article.

As the lines go so goes our season...but that's true for all 32 NFL squads.

Dave Choate is the man. He has probably been my favorite Falcons writer hands down over the past several years. He runs TheFalcoholic very well too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we'll know what this OL will be by week 8. By that point, I think we'll know if we're playoff bound or not.

It's funny how we all knew changing to the ZBS blocking scheme was going to take time but now that it's going to...umm...take time, everyone is freaking out.

Yeah, I'm going to be patient waiting for the guys on the OL to really get the ZBS scheme down. I think this team is offensively talented enough to win while they're still learning.

It's the injury and depth factor I'll have my fingers crossed over.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave Choate is the man. He has probably been my favorite Falcons writer hands down over the past several years. He runs TheFalcoholic very well too.

The Falcoholic is better now than it has ever been IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a Fair Article.

After one game, we have a (very limited) answer. The first team offensive line had a mild surprise in the form of Mike Person at left guard, played well on that magical first drive.

BESIDES THE FACT THAT MIKE PERSON DIDN'T ******* PLAY LEFT GUARD THE WHOLE ******* GAME. IF HE DID PLAY LG, it was with KONZ at CENTER. I DONT EVEN KNOW BECAUSE HIS PLAY WAS SO BAD I DIDNT WANT TO WATCH HIM at 3rd String LG.

AND THESE ******* IDIOTS GET PAID TO WRITE.

I swear you guys must be trolling me. James Stone is my favorite, but for ******* christ sakes, can you please acknowledge him. I love the fact that Hawley is on the same level as Jake Matthews. ARE YOU ******* KIDDING ME. Matthews is a Franchise Left Tackle coming off injury. Hawley? Oh yeah that guy with 1 year left on his contract and battling the spot with Person and Stone possibly for the starting center which by my view looked like **** this past game. Why did it look like ****? Was because we had Hawley, Person and ******* KONZ playing the Center position.

It's so sad that James Stone actually made some great blocks on the play action passes and yet no recognition, because it was MIKE PERSON making those plays. One in particular to block Orakpo from getting Ryan for the big Julio Gain.

Of course call me a troll, call me a Hawley Hater and a Stone Lover. Call me all the names you want. I ACTUALLY WATCH THE GAMES. I REWATCH them. I see who is playing and who isn't. I DONT ******* GIVE PEOPLE credit for making plays when they were SITTING ON THE BENCH!

In fact we should start a trend since DAVE CHOATHE is such an established writer. Mike Person MAGICAL with the first unit. Great Stuff by Person. Fantastic Touchdown grab on the first drive by Bernard Reedy. Renfree LOOKED great with the 1's. I have to give a big shout out to the sack made by Kroy Biermann. Kroy was a monster, 2 sacks, Fumble recovery and a TD. Great Game By Kroy.

Its so ******* sad. I have seen at least 10 replies on this topic and NOT ONE OF YOU GUYS WILL SAY, OH YEAH IT WAS JAMES STONE WHO STARTED.

Edited by R_The_Great
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm going to be patient waiting for the guys on the OL to really get the ZBS scheme down. I think this team is offensively talented enough to win while they're still learning.

It's the injury and depth factor I'll have my fingers crossed over.

If we can catch a break we haven't caught the last two years, I think we will be just fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm enthusiastic also Gaz...probably more than I have been in a few years.

We got the HC I wanted more than anyone else...How often does that happen?

We got the 1st round pick I wanted more than anyone else...Again, doesn't happen every year.

Our FA acquisitions and draft looked very solid to me. I think you're spot on though when you voice those concerns about the depth (and guys returning from injuries) along that OL.

I have thought all along that this was going to be a 2 year replenishing of this roster...however, the NFC South is so watered down now I believe our team can take it if we finally do have a relatively injury-free year.

Next year is when I believe strongly the Falcons are going to be the best team in the NFC and possibly in the entire NFL.

Like you said, so many things really have fallen into place quicker than I could have hoped for Gritz.

We first cleaned up getting Quinn (even Shanahan IMO) I like them both. But what I like most, is Quinn is working very closey, hands on with his defense and itr appears to me it is paying off. Ive never seen our DL use their hands like they were in that game.

Then, as you said, to have Vic Beasley fall to us at #8, an absolutely PERFECT fit for what Quinn needs at LEO, is remarkable....couldnt have planned that any better.

So you are two for two in your favorite picks making it here!

I agree with you next year may be the year, unless we manage to avoid too many injuries. If we stay healthy, the easy schedule will give us time to hone our skills and possibly be a dangerous playoff team this year. We really stocked our roster this summer with the draft and FA with players ready to contribute right away. If the DL goes into beast mode, sky is the limit.

In any event, I'm very excited about what I'm seeing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we'll know what this OL will be by week 8. By that point, I think we'll know if we're playoff bound or not.

It's funny how we all knew changing to the ZBS blocking scheme was going to take time but now that it's going to...umm...take time, everyone is freaking out.

LOL, so true vel!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those stretch plays looked like highlights from yesteryear but they worked well with the first string OL. When Matt Ryan is in the game regularly eight in the box will be suicidal. I say we average over a c=note per game on the ground. Yes we have injury vulnerabilities but then most teams do. I like to think Kyle could be a little more creative if we lose passblockers. I like our tight ends and backs as recievers and he's already got Matt sprinting out. We might split with the Panthers. We might lose to the Pokes, the Vikes, and the Colts. Philly is dead men walking. I put Atlanta somewhere between 12-4 and 14-2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...