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Thoughts On This First Game After The Bye


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I rarely ever post. I prefer to read the forums, and most of the time there is already someone echoing what I would say. But, now that the bulk of the season is gone and we’ve seen the first game after the bye I’d like to get out some thoughts and vent.

I’m no guru, but this season has actually unfolded closely to what I expected. I felt Mike Smith deserved another season, and I never liked the risk of replacing a staff that has had success. He and his staff were part of the problem, but not the whole problem. Instead we got Quinn, who is a complete departure from Mike Smith. If we had gotten an experienced head coach with a ring or two as a head coach I’d have been a lot happier. I like Quinn and his enthusiasm, but those things only take you so far. And although I like the ZBS I was not a fan of hiring Shanahan and completely changing our system in one off season.

That being said, replacing a head coach and staff can easily result in early gains, especially when you replace someone like Mike Smith with a rah-rah guy like Quinn. Change breeds opportunity, excitement and effort. When you combine that with a scheme that the league has not seen the Falcons execute before (along with some luck), the Falcons didn’t just have a good start (which I figured they’d have), they had a great start.

Unfortunately, that early enthusiasm from the change in staff, and the unfamiliarity of the league seeing these players execute this scheme wore off. The flaws began to assert themselves. Putting Ryan in a completely new scheme with a mediocre O-line was not a recipe for success. Asking Ryan to turn his back to the defense with pass protection that rarely holds up and new receivers with new routes made his job incredibly difficult. Naturally, he’s made bad interceptions and missed receivers. This is the closest he could come to being a rookie again.

Shanahan’s play calling has been very suspect at times, too. The past few games they have come out slinging the ball when their biggest success has been running it. I know all of us are frustrated with the lack of commitment to the run recently. The Colts dominated the line today. Without the run game to keep people honest then it is all on Ryan and the receivers. Ryan’s interception backed up in our own end zone was as much Shanahan’s fault as Ryan’s. A short pass into the middle of the field when you’re backed up to the goal line? If there is any proof that Matt doesn’t have enough authority to change plays then that is it. He may make mistakes, but he’s not stupid.

I expected we would win the games against the Bucs, 49ers and Colts. Instead, we won some games against the NFC East. Either way, we’re 6-4, which was my optimistic prediction for where we’d be at this point. We were simply fooled into thinking we were a playoff team because the majority of those wins came early and in a row.

Looking at the rest of the schedule we likely have two or three wins ahead. Carolina looks unbeatable, and the Bucs are improving. The Jaguars aren’t bad and the Saints always play us hard. We’ll see if Bridgewater’s injury is serious, but back-up QBs haven’t given us any advantages this year. Before the season started I figured we were an 8-8 or 9-7 team. I was more worried about the defense. They’ve been good enough. Competent and opportunistic. But until or if Quinn and Shanahan make the most of what we have on offense, and unless the play calling improves, it is hard to see us winning a wild card spot. Anything can happen in the NFL, but at this point it is hard to imagine anything other than 8-8 or 9-7.

Thanks for listening, guys. Let’s keep our chins up and hope for the best.

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With one of the NFL's softest schedule, I thought 10-6 no problem...with the fast start, looking at the schedule, I thought there was a chance of running the table, then New Orleans game, the site of that blocked punt...& we let it happen again (thanks K Armstrong!), then our soft schedule gets softer with facing backup QB's...still can't shake it...now it looks like we may run the table with goose eggs...I have patience, but with a 1st time Head Coach, please surround him with at least 1 proven & successful veteran HC on the staff...here lies TD's problem!

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Good thing for us is Rams , Vikings lost.

That means now we have to win 5 - 6 or 4 - 6 final games.

Even if worst case scenario we end up 10- 6 final record

We will have edge over tie breaker and make final spot.

But, our season has to get jump started now and we can't afford to lose our next pivotal sorta must win game vs NFc opponent battling for wildcard berth.

Hope still prevails.

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Overall, good post.

One thing I've now seen multiple times is:

I was not a fan of hiring Shanahan and completely changing our system in one off season.

What do you mean "completely changing our system in one offseason"? Systems aren't changed over seasons. Did you want us to run half of Koetter's offense and half of Kyle's?

Also, who was your preference for OC?

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we showed some signs today of things being worked on. we ran more up tempo, we were actually rushing more than 4, got roddy involved early. unfortunately we did not clean up the turnovers. not sure what the refs saw, but that did not look like an int in the endzone. coleman putting it on the ground again, pick 6. not sure if bryant is going on an elam type slide or what. i am not sure what was going on with him and bosher before the snap but that did not help. the defense giving them 3 3rd down conversations by penalty on the td drive. we have gone from one of the most discipline teams in the league to one of the least. hopefully free will be back next week. that definitely lets some air out of the tires of the offense. 6 games left, i guess we will have to see how we "finish", because as of late, we have not.

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My preference was to see Smith and Koetter get another year, and replace Nolan. I also would have been good with hiring Quinn and him keeping Koetter.

My understanding is that the zone blocking system and plays that Shanahan runs are substantially different that what Mularkey and then Koetter ran. Matt was under center and turned his back to the defense far less often under Koetter. The calls are different, the protections are different, and the receivers are running different routes. There was one off season to install, practice and perfect it. Obviously, they haven't perfected it yet.

Edited by chronob
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