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Thoughts On This Team Moving Forward


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As for today's game, I would like to start by pointing out what I viewed as the highlights and lowlights:

Highlights:

- Tevin Coleman - What a weapon to pair with Freeman. He was consistently making plays in the passing game. While either running back did not do much on the ground, I have full confidence that the running game will bounce back and be a strength over the course of the season. 

- Matt Ryan - While many people are pointing the finger at him for losing the game, I see a lot of improvements from him compared to last year. While I do not think this is the best offense for him by any means, he does look a lot more comfortable in this offense than he did in his first year running it. He spread the ball around, and played very efficiently. There were also quite a few costly drops. No QB will be precisely accurate on every play. This is game one, and his performance today has to be a confidenc booster. Again, this is week one. You can't expect him to be in mid season form in week one. He was the reason we even had a chance in this game. I'll say it again, Matt today, looked far better than he did at any point last year. He seems to be getting more comfortable in the system. 

- Mo Sanu - I am impressed! It was nice to see a WR other than Julio make big plays for the first time since Roddy in 2014. Having a threat opposite Julio will not only open up things for Julio, but for the running game as well. If he can play bear the level he played today on a weekly basis, then I think our offense is talented enough to win us a few games this year, regardless of how the defense plays. When Matt gets in a groove, and the offense starts to click, we could see some offensive e plosions this year. It's week one, let's give this team a few weeks to gel and build chemistry. We have a lot of new faces this year playing key roles. Give it some time. 

- DeVondre Campbell and DeBo Jones - it was there first game at the professional level, so we were bound to see rookie mistakes. We will see more mistakes this year, but hopefully we will see less and less as the games go by. Both of these players added the speed that this defense has been lacking in the middle for years. Both Jones and Campbell showed flashes of what is to come. The more comfortable they get, the more confident they will become, the better they will perform, and mistakes will become less and less frequent. Both players showed why they are going to be GREAT long term options as complete, every down linebackers. You can't teach that athletacism. I also have a lot of confidence in Ulbrich as a LB coach. Both of these players will be 2 of the better rookie defenders the league will see this year. DeBo's game looks like it could evolve into something similar to NaVarro Bowman. Campbell has a game similar to Wagner and Wright in Seattle. I am excited to see these two become the heart and sole of this defense over the course of the season. 

- Grady Jarrett - I am like the improvements I am seeing in this young man's game. Since the beginning of last year, he has improved consistently on a week to week basis. I could see him putting up 6 or so sacks this year. He is lightning quick for a DT, and is really filling out his NFL frame. He is strong as an Ox, and I have high hopes for him this season and with this organization going forward. 

- Desmond Trufant - Trufant turned in one of his more complete games as a Falcon. His playmaking skills were on display with the INT. His coverage skills continued to be displayed as he allowed only 3 receptions on 6 targets for 22 yards. We are not going to face two 6'5" WRs on a weekly basis, and I excpect Trufant and Alford to be a very solid duo this season. While Alford struggled at points today, he also had some good plays. The size advantage was just something that Alford has always struggled with when going up against really big receivers that can jump out of the gym. 

- Adrian Clayborn - Another player that has consistently improved since coming to Atlanta, is Clayborn. He is stout against the run, and has enough pass rushing skills to be a very solid, complete DE for the defense that DQ wants to run. I think he is on the way to turn some heads this year, and have a very respectable season. 

- Matt Bosher - While punters get catch a lot of flack, Bosher is truly a game changer for this team. He consistently pinned the Bucs inside their own 10 yard line, and while we did not reap the rewards of that today, you can bet we will this season when our defense gels more and builds more chemistry as a unit. Bosher did more for the defense today, than a lot of the defenders on this team. Pinning the opposing team deep in their own territory is something that we will truly benefit from throughout this season. 

Lowlights:

- Vic Beasley - While I am going to see how the season plays out before I label him a bust, Beasley did nothing today to make me think he is the pass rushing game changer that this team needs. He did not even have a tackle. Not one. For a former top 10 pick, he has been nothing but a disappointment since putting on the red and black. I still will not lose hope for him just yet, because I watched him straight up beat Tyron Smith, arguably the best LT in the league, for a sack last year, dominated the second game against the Panthers, and showed flashes last year of what he could be. If Beasley doesn't put at least 6 sacks up this year, a lot of people are going to lose hope for him as a game changer for this defense. I really hope he can redeem himself next week against the Raiders, because we will have to come up with some pressure to out on Carr if we want any chance next week. 

- Safeties - I was disgusted by the play of the safeties today. I put a lot of the blame on them for the amount of big plays we gave up today. As a safety, you are supposed to be the last line of defense, while also helping a CB when they get beat. They just did not show up today. I am not, and might never, be sold on Rico Allen as the long term FS that this team needs to become a contender. He just is not a game changer. Ishmael is also far too often a liability in the passing game. Simply not athletic enough to compete with the top flight WRs and cerebral TEs that you see in today's game. On the bright side, we have a 1st round pick returning in a couple of weeks, and I have very high expectations for Mr. Neal. Keanu is exactly what this team needed today, both in run support, and as an athlete in pass coverage. I am very excited to see what Neal brings to the table, and how he meshes with DeBo and DeVondre as enforcers in the middle of the field this season. Having a player like Neal will not only help the LBs, but the CBs and Rico as well.

- Chris Chester & Andy Levitre - While Jake Matthews had one of his worse games as a Falcon, he still showed why this game is more likely a fluke for him, and will return to his normal, consistent self next week. As for Chester and Levitre, I have simply seen enough. Both are constantly mandhandled by DL, and it really affected the running game today. I do expect them to be formidable this season, but I'm hoping and praying that Wes, Garland, and Person get a shot sooner rather than later. Levitre and Chesters best days are behind them, and I hope that this is the last season we have to deal with subpar OG play. The rest of our OL is far too talented to be dragged down by these has beens. 

- Pass Rush - Ever since The Predator left Atlanta, the Falcons pass rush has been bush league at best. No one can win big in this league without a steady pass rush. It's sadly getting routine to look at the box score on a weekly basis, and regularly see one sack at most as a team. That's just awful, and our young LBers and DBs deserve better. I am not including Jarrett and Clayborn in this, because they have held their own, especially when neither of them are viewed as strong pass rushers. We need to see more of Freeney, and Beasley needs to step the heck up and play like a grown man on a mission. If we do not double dip at DL in the first 3 rounds of next year's draft, then I simply do not understand how we expect this team to ever be a contender without a consistent pass rush. We need an interior rusher to pair with Grady, a complete edge rusher on the edge opposite Beasley, and possibly another edge rusher if Beasley doesn't show some major improvements. It's just getting annoying how we are only pressuring the QB at best. We need to be able to get there, and put the QB in the ground, or we will never be able to throw the opposing QB out of rhythm. They will continue to have the upper hand over our pass defense until we develop a steady pass rush. 

As you see my highlights and lowlights of today, I also want to point out a few things to think about going forward:

- We should be very encouraged about the offense going forward. You can bet that our running game will improve, and be a threat on a weekly basis as we gel and get in mid season form. We have a solid #2 WR opposite the best WR in th game. You can bet we will be targeting Julio a lot more than we did today. Matt showed a lot of improvement today, when it comes to understanding the offense. You can bet that it will improve on a week to week basis. Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers in the past are great examples of how a top QB will need a season or so to adjust to an unfamiliar offense. He showed a lot of promise today, and he will only get more comfortable as the weeks go on. Coleman also looks to be a great playmaker for this offense that can take it the distance with any given touch. I also like what I saw from Hooper today in limited action. You can bet that his role will expand as he learns the offense and produces in games. I also want to give a lot of credit to Alex Mack. Having a pro bowl, veteran C snapping the ball to Matt has its benefits, and we saw that today. He fit right in, and will continue to help Matt read opposing defenses, and be the glue of this OL. 

- Our defense is VERY young, and with youth, comes learning experiences. I mean our starting LBers are all first or second year players, if you include Beasley as the starting SAM. Our FS is essentially in his second year. Our starting SS is a rookie. Our starting NB is a rookie. Grady Jarrett is a second year player. Trufant and Alford are two of the most experienced starters in this defense, and they are in their 4th year. Our defense lacks leadership, but we have a lot of promising talent that will use this season as an opportunity to gel with one another, build chemistry, and hone in on their craft. With youth, comes learning. We are not where we want to be, but you can bet we are closer than we were last year. You're crazy if you expect us to replace as many players as we have over the last 2 years, and not have to deal with the bumps and bruises that come with playing young players. Give it time falcon fans.

I hate to put a cap on excoectations, but I'm also a realist. I expect this team to win between 6-9 games this year. We might not win as many as last year, but I have full confidence that we are a more promising team for the future today, as opposed to week one last year. Our young players need learning experiences, and need to learn there roles in this team, and how to be a professional. It will take some time, but I'm confident in the direction that Quinn has pointed this roster in. While I do think that this is not the ideal offense for Matt, I think that this scheme is great for a running game, and that Matt is finally starting to grasp it, and can perform at a pro bowl caliber level in this offense. Take the good with the bad, and enjoy the ride and enjoy watching this young team mature and develop. It will make the road to success much sweeter.

Edited by LaurentRobinsonDaGawd
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I was okay with our passrush, they did enough, though they can obviously do a lot more. 

Teco was up and down. His hands and speed flashed but he still needs to work on his vision. There were a few times where he either cut the wrong way or cut a few steps too late and it cost us a lot of yards. I like his improvements though.

Camp and Jones did well but showed rookie mistakes. I like them going forward. 

Chester is not very good. We need to replace him with somebody by next year. 

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18 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

I was okay with our passrush, they did enough, though they can obviously do a lot more. 

Teco was up and down. His hands and speed flashed but he still needs to work on his vision. There were a few times where he either cut the wrong way or cut a few steps too late and it cost us a lot of yards. I like his improvements though.

Camp and Jones did well but showed rookie mistakes. I like them going forward. 

Chester is not very good. We need to replace him with somebody by next year. 

Levitre didn't look bad to me. Seems more like group think than reality. If this board had it their way, we would have two more OL in FA for top $$$, another top receiver, top TE, and a top swing tackle, and low tier DL they swear are great and sacks are overrated.

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1 minute ago, Knight of God said:

Levitre didn't look bad to me. Seems more like group think than reality. If this board had it their way, we would have two more OL in FA for top $$$, another top receiver, top TE, and a top swing tackle, and low tier DL they swear are great and sacks are overrated.

Yeah I'm not sure why people are constantly knocking levitre. He does a more than adequate job. I feel like because we've had absolutely nothing on the OL for so long now nobody's happy unless everybody along there's an all pro. If your tackles are really good your guards are okay just being average to above-average. vice-versa too, if you can swing it that way easier. Levitre's more than good enough to hold it down between Jake and Mack. 

Chester hurts us a bit, though. Not getting any better at this point either. I hope Wes or Garland are ready to step up sometime soon. 

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26 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

I was okay with our passrush, they did enough, though they can obviously do a lot more. 

Teco was up and down. His hands and speed flashed but he still needs to work on his vision. There were a few times where he either cut the wrong way or cut a few steps too late and it cost us a lot of yards. I like his improvements though.

Camp and Jones did well but showed rookie mistakes. I like them going forward. 

Chester is not very good. We need to replace him with somebody by next year. 

Teco's vision will improve with experience. He did not get consistent enough reps throughout the year last year, and seemed to be banged up a lot throughout the year and the fumbles seemed to really mess with his confidence. I think him and Freeman will be a lethal combo this year, especially as pass catchers. I'd like to run a formation with Toilolo in as an extra blocker. Have Sanu and Julio on the outside, and Freeman and Coleman running routes out of the backfield. I think that would be a deadly formation in the right dosage. 

Edited by LaurentRobinsonDaGawd
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4 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

Yeah I'm not sure why people are constantly knocking levitre. He does a more than adequate job. I feel like because we've had absolutely nothing on the OL for so long now nobody's happy unless everybody along there's an all pro. If your tackles are really good your guards are okay just being average to above-average. vice-versa too, if you can swing it that way easier. Levitre's more than good enough to hold it down between Jake and Mack. 

Chester hurts us a bit, though. Not getting any better at this point either. I hope Wes or Garland are ready to step up sometime soon. 

 

4 minutes ago, LaurentRobinsonDaGawd said:

Teco's vision will improve with experience. He did not get consistent enough reps throughout the year last year, and seemed to be banged up a lot throughout the year and the fumbles seemed to really mess with his confidence. I think him and Freeman will be a lethal combo this year, especially as pass catchers. I'd like to run a formation with Toilolo in as an extra blocker. Have Sanu and Julio on the outside, and Freeman and Coleman running routes out of the backfield. I think that would be a deadly formation in the right dosage. 

It was touched on a little here, but I think because of group think and hyping mediocrity (myself included in this one) we may be overlooking the safeties.

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4 minutes ago, Knight of God said:

 

It was touched on a little here, but I think because of group think and hyping mediocrity (myself included in this one) we may be overlooking the safeties.

I like Ish for what he is, but what he is, is not a starter. I hope Keanu is really good when he comes back because we need it. 

I'm not sure what to think about Allen... I think he may be in the same boat as Ish. How do you see those guys KoG?

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2 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

I like Ish for what he is, but what he is, is not a starter. I hope Keanu is really good when he comes back because we need it. 

I'm not sure what to think about Allen... I think he may be in the same boat as Ish. How do you see those guys KoG?

I think like Ish he's a board fave. Not big on Keanu either.I think Therezie is as good or better than Alle, What happened to Goldson?

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2 minutes ago, socalriseup said:

It's really upsetting when I'm talking with friends who are fans of other teams, and even they are wondering why the heck we haven't gotten rid of shanahan. So far 5 separate people, all fans of other teams, have directly pointed towards shanahan.

Maybe so. Who knows at this point...I think we need to get meaner on defense, maybe the runningbacks need to get bigger too.

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2 minutes ago, tl;dr said:

At some point the team will have the choose between Shanahan or Ryan. 

Idk about that. Matt looked a lot more comfortable today than he did at any point last year. It's very possible that he is finally starting to master the playbook and scheme. I love this scheme for our running game, especially with the types of RBs we have. If Ryan starts to get in a groove and get comfortable in this offense, then shanahan could be here for th long haul. Ryan had a **** of a game, and still showed areas where he could have improved by a simple detail or two. My bold prediction is that Matt throws for 4600+ yards and 28+ td this year while taking good care of the ball. He's too good of a QB to struggle like last year again. Eli struggled learning his offense for a season or so, and feels very comfortable in it now. New things take time. Not just 4 games, but usually a couple offseasons. Matt has that experience in it now, and had a better game today than he did in all of 2015. A lot of posters on here believe that since Matt Ryan struggled in this offense last year, that he will never improve in it. I mean c'mon. Matt schaub excelled in this offense for Christ sake. There is also this preconceived notion that shanahan won't adapt his scheme to fit Matts strengths, and he will continue to try and out a round peg in a square hole. Shanahan has continued to get employed for a reason. I think he and Matt are finally starting to put things together. Matt was very efficient today, and I think he will have a great game next week to help this team improve to 1-1. Each week will build confidence. Matt had to rebuild his confidence after last year. He's human and deals with similar problems as us. He is starting to understand the scheme. If you can't see that after today, then you are just a hater. TB's secondary and LBers are no joke either. He played great against a very talented pass defense. 

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3 minutes ago, socalriseup said:

It's really upsetting when I'm talking with friends who are fans of other teams, and even they are wondering why the heck we haven't gotten rid of shanahan. So far 5 separate people, all fans of other teams, have directly pointed towards shanahan.

Unfortunately, I think Shanny will be around for another year unless Quinn is told to either fire his OC or himself. 

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Dan Quinn you keep telling us pass rush is a group effort and everyone has to do there part.I accept this.

Is there anytime soon that this group effort is going to happen or are you going to be bagging groceries before this occurs.

Yours sincerely impatient Falcons fan from New Zealand. 

PS.Great thread OP.

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4 hours ago, Knight of God said:

Maybe so. Who knows at this point...I think we need to get meaner on defense, maybe the runningbacks need to get bigger too.

I agree on rbs. Everyone was all on Freeman tip last year, and he's decent. But he's shifty, quick...not a bruiser that can push piles and wear down Defenses. I'd rather Coleman paired with a big David Johnson type

you're right the defense just isn't mean.

i do disagree with your Ryan assessment. He played like I'd really prefer he play. Be careful and efficient. Get that big rb and I think we'd be a heckuva lot better

on FS. I still like Thereze. Liked him last year. Like him this year. Just more physical and a more dynamic athlete

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51 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

I like Ish for what he is, but what he is, is not a starter. I hope Keanu is really good when he comes back because we need it. 

I'm not sure what to think about Allen... I think he may be in the same boat as Ish. How do you see those guys KoG?

They both are gotchas upgradeable. I see Neal and Goldson being your starters soon. On one TD, Therezie was back there and showed up late. 

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I think you're being hard on Ishmael. I didn't think he was a problem yesterday and definitely don't think at this stage of his development that Neal would have been any better. 

The unfortunate truth is that all the rules in the NFL make passing the ball easier and Winston was throwing darts. To stop a QB you need a pass rush. Coverage only gets you so far. 

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