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Sun Tzu 7

Comparing the Falcons 2019 and 2014 rosters

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https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/10/9/20902669/comparing-the-falcons-2019-and-2014-rosters-desmond-trufant-devonta-freeman-dan-quinn-mike-smith

 

When we’re looking for a comparison for 2019, the year that keeps getting dredged up, over and over again, is 2014. It’s obvious why.

The parallels are there. Both years have featured a coach coming off a deeply disappointing, injury-riddled year and knowing they’re on the hot seat. Both have featured heavy investments in free agency and the draft to improve the trenches. And both seasons, as we’re learning quickly about 2019, are massive disappointments.

With another regime change likely in the offing, it’s worth looking at the situation the Falcons were left with in 2014 versus 2019. The conclusion, as you’d suspect, is that this team is far more talented, but that does not serve to make us feel better about anything that’s happening here.

Offense

2019 vs. 2014 Offense

2019 2014
Matt Ryan Matt Ryan
Devonta Freeman Steven Jackson
Keith Smith Patrick DiMarco
Julio Jones Julio Jones
Calvin Ridley Roddy White
Austin Hooper Levine Toilolo
Jake Matthews Jake Matthews*
James Carpenter Justin Blalock
Alex Mack James Stone
Chris Lindstrom* Jon Asamoah
Kaleb McGary Ryan Schraeder

There is no doubt that the 2019 offense is more talented more or less across the board. Matt Ryan is better now than he was in 2014, Devonta Freeman is far better than Steven Jackson, Calvin Ridley is an upgrade on late-career Roddy White (albeit not a tremendous one just yet), Austin Hooper is miles and miles ahead of Levine Toilolo, and Jake Matthews and Alex Mack are obviously much better than...well, Jake Matthews. And James Stone.

There are places where the Falcons had more strength in 2014, of course. Fullback is an obvious one, given how good Patrick DiMarco was and is, and even late career Justin Blalock was better than James Carpenter. Jon Asamoah may not be better than Chris Lindstrom, but Lindstrom being hurt and the team having to dip into reserves makes that close to a wash. And it’s not at all clear that McGary, for all his considerable promise, is a better player now than Ryan Schraeder was then. Actually, it is: He’s not.

 

But here’s the funny thing: This obviously less talented 2014 team, run by the same offensive coordinator, was a better team through five weeks than the 2019 version. The 2014 Falcons scored 151 points in the first five weeks and stood at 2-3, while the 2019 team has 102 points and is 1-4. The offensive line has been a limiting factor despite everything the team has poured into it, but while this Falcons team has more talent, they’ve been considerably worse.

That’s extremely depressing, but does indicate that the Falcons don’t have a massive rebuild in the offing on this side of the ball. A line with a healthy Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, and maybe Jamon Brown and Alex Mack should be good enough to win games in 2020, and the playmakers are still everywhere. It’s just unbelievable how bad they’ve been thus far in 2019.

Defense

2019 vs. 2014 Defense/Special Teams

Position 2019 2014
DE Takk McKinley Jonathan Babineaux
DE Vic Beasley Kroy Biermann
DT Grady Jarrett Paul Soliai
DT Tyeler Davison Tyson Jackson
LB Deion Jones Paul Worrilow
LB Joplo Bartu De'Vondre Campbell
CB Desmond Trufant Desmond Trufant
CB Robert Alford Isaiah Oliver
CB Damontae Kazee Robert McClain
S Keanu Neal* Kemal Ishmael
S Ricardo Allen Dwight Lowery
K Matt Bryant Matt Bryant
P Matt Bosher Matt Bosher
LS Josh Harris Josh Harris

You can gin up some sympathy for Dan Quinn and this coaching staff when you watch the Falcons blunder in ways that can’t simply be due to scheme, like the failure to find Will Fuller in zone coverage over and over again on Sunday. But then you look at the talent disparity between these two defenses and it makes you really, really mad.

There isn’t a single position where you can say with confidence that the Falcons were better in 2014 than they are in 2019. Not at defensive end, where Kroy Biermann and some combination of Tyson Jackson/Jonathan Babineaux/Malliciah Goodman was not inspiring even if Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley aren’t having huge years; certainly not at defensive tackle, where Grady Jarrett is a star and Tyeler Davison is pretty good; DEFINITELY not at linebacker, where Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell compared to Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu isn’t fair on paper and isn’t fair no matter how much Campbell struggles in 2019. Maybe at cornerback, where Desmond Trufant was terrific in 2014 and Robert Alford was quite good, but not at safety, where Keanu Neal/Kemal Ishmael and Ricardo Allen are better than 2014 Kemal Ishmael and Dwight Lowery. The talent disparity is massive.

Here, you’d expect the results to be better for the 2019 Falcons defense, but again you would be sadly mistaken. The Falcons have surrendered 152 points this year compared to 143 in 2014, and while things continued downhill in awful fashion for the Falcons in 2014, that’s pretty **** shameful given what Dan Quinn and company are working with.

Special teams is the same, though obviously everyone is older.

Conclusion

Mike Smith left this roster is abysmal shape, which is still the worst part of his otherwise fine legacy as Falcons coach. The team hadn’t nurtured young talent in years, and the result was largely a veteran team with a lousy defense and holes riddling the offense. He did, however, leave Dan Quinn building blocks he didn’t know were building blocks, including Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen, and Ryan Schraeder.

Dan Quinn will leave the next coach far more talent to work with, which is about the only positive note I can see at the moment in this bleak year. The new regime is likely to clear out several high-priced players and is almost certainly not bringing back guys like Vic Beasley and De’Vondre Campbell, but even so there’s a legitimate foundation, and a turnaround shouldn’t take all that long if the right staff is brought in.

Unfortunately, comparing 2014 to 2019 just makes you feel worse about what we’ve seen thus far.

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This is an Interesting article but it has one thing wrong.  The 2014 offensive line.  I believe that's what they ended up with.  They're listing Lindstrom as a starter for 2019 so let's take a look at the original starting lineup for 2014.

Sam Baker->Jake Matthews

Justin Blalock

Joe Hawley->Peter Konz->James Stone

Jon Asamoah

Jake Matthews*->Lamar Holmes->Ryan Schraeder

As you can see the Falcons ended up on their 3rd string options at Center and RT.  Mike Johnson was supposed to compete for the RT spot was lost in camp.

*Not mentioned is Gabe Carimi who was so bad I forgot he was even on the team.  (props to falcon007 for reminding me he existed).

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1 minute ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

This is an Interesting article but it has one thing wrong.  The 2014 offensive line.  I believe that's what the ended up with.

Sam Baker->Jake Matthews*

Justin Blalock

Joe Hawley->Peter Konz->James Stone

Jon Asamoah

Jake Matthews*->Lamar Holmes->Ryan Schraeder

As you can see the Falcons ended up on their 3rd string options at Center and RT.  Mike Johnson was supposed to compete for the RT spot was lost in camp.

It’s more than that at RT. Gabe Carimi was starter at RT for almost half season. Heck Toilolo played RT in Ravens game.

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3 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

This is an Interesting article but it has one thing wrong.  The 2014 offensive line.  I believe that's what the ended up with.

Sam Baker->Jake Matthews*

Justin Blalock

Joe Hawley->Peter Konz->James Stone

Jon Asamoah

Jake Matthews*->Lamar Holmes->Ryan Schraeder

As you can see the Falcons ended up on their 3rd string options at Center and RT.  Mike Johnson was supposed to compete for the RT spot was lost in camp.

No mention of Spoon and William Moore on IR. Alford was out and then put on IR for most part of the season. Roddy White was hurt and limping most of the season.  Where is Osi?

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16 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

It’s more than that at RT. Gabe Carimi was starter at RT for almost half season. Heck Toilolo played RT in Ravens game.

Oh crap you're right.

I completely forgot about him.  He was benched because he just sucked.  At least the other guys were injured.

And yeah that Ravens game was rough.  Lost 3 linemen which included the Center and his backup.  I want to say Konz was playing Guard in that game before Hawley went down.

Can you imagine what this team would look like if we were on the 3rd string center and 4th string RT?

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12 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

No mention of Spoon and William Moore on IR. Alford was out and then put on IR for most part of the season. Roddy White was hurt and limping most of the season.  Where is Osi?

I just went with the oline but yes.  Those guys were banged up as well.

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23 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Oh crap you're right.

I completely forgot about him.  He was benched because he just sucked.  At least the other guys were injured.

And yeah that Ravens game was rough.  Lost 3 linemen which included the Center and his backup.  I want to say Konz was playing Guard in that game before Hawley went down.

Can you imagine what this team would look like if we were on the 3rd string center and 4th string RT?

Yep, DQ wouldnt have won one game in 2014. With injuries like that is why I don’t buy Smitty lost the team crap. The team started great then injuries derailed them from Vikings game. Sure MS screwed up DET and CLE game. I wanted MS gone replaced with a Offensive HC.

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I just remembered Bear Pasco played Guard that season when Blalock was hurt. Blalock wasn’t healthy in 2014, just toughed it out when he played. 

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1 hour ago, falcons007 said:

Yep, DQ wouldnt have won one game in 2014. With injuries like that is why I don’t buy Smitty lost the team crap. The team started great then injuries derailed them from Vikings game. Sure MS screwed up DET and CLE game. I wanted MS gone replaced with a Offensive HC.

Yeah.  That was one instance where the head coach really directly had a hand in his own demise.

If he doesn't call those timeouts the Falcons probably win and he has a 2 game lead over the Panthers, wins the division, and might not have been fired.

Just another example that you can lose your job over bad clock management.

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3 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

I just remembered Bear Pasco played Guard that season when Blalock was hurt. Blalock wasn’t healthy in 2014, just toughed it out when he played. 

Yeah I want to say every offensive linemen was banged that season.

Every linemen missed games that season and 4 different guys went on IR.

I think Carimi started at LT when Matthews went out.

And this is why I really don't understand the problems the offense is having currently.  Koetter still had them producing even when they were down to the 3rd string C/RT.  Clearly this line in its current state is light years ahead of the unit from 2014.

But in 2019 you have problems across the entire team.  Penalties, blown assignments, etc.  I can't help but think the problems the offense has had is symptomatic of the problems we're seeing across the board. 

 

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The defenses in 2017 and 2018 were better than the 2019 model. I still appears that Quinn just wants to tinker and not let the defense be what it is. Get back to the 43 and dumped us 3-4 model

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We've had one of the toughest offensive schedules so far in 2019 and a complete cake of an offensive schedule in 2014 first four games through. In 2014 we put up close to 60 points against Tampa Bay's dumpster fire of a squad in just one game. It's not as easy as looking at points scored to say which offense has been better so far. This year we've played Viking (top 3 d) Tenesse and Philly (both top 10) Indy who is 15 but held Kansas City to 13 points, and Houston. The only sub-par defense we've played is perhaps Houston and we put up 30+ on them. 

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3 minutes ago, Dirtybird56 said:

 

Yes, the schedule this year is a gauntlet. First half of the year it's a gauntlet for our offense and the second half is the one that is tough on the defense. It's going to be hilarious to see our defense that is struggling against bad offenses go up against Tampa, New Orleans, Carolina and San Francisco. Offense is going to have to average 50 ppg for us to have a chance. 

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6 hours ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Oh crap you're right.

I completely forgot about him.  He was benched because he just sucked.  At least the other guys were injured.

And yeah that Ravens game was rough.  Lost 3 linemen which included the Center and his backup.  I want to say Konz was playing Guard in that game before Hawley went down.

Can you imagine what this team would look like if we were on the 3rd string center and 4th string RT?

wasnt that the vikings game where we lost everyone. i think it was teddy's first start and of course he looked great

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3 minutes ago, kenn.junior said:

wasnt that the vikings game where we lost everyone. i think it was teddy's first start and of course he looked great

Yes it was.

I remember it now.

AP had just gotten hurt the week before and I guess the Falcons took them lightly.... and you know what happens when they do that.

Baseball bat to the face seems appropriate considering the injuries.

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1 hour ago, kenn.junior said:

wasnt that the vikings game where we lost everyone. i think it was teddy's first start and of course he looked great

 

1 hour ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Yes it was.

I remember it now.

AP had just gotten hurt the week before and I guess the Falcons took them lightly.... and you know what happens when they do that.

Baseball bat to the face seems appropriate considering the injuries.

Falcons took back the lead and then with injuries all **** broke lose. They lost Hawley, Blaylock and William Moore. Alford was banged up too in the game. The Vikings took the lead and Offense couldn’t do much with Toilolo at RT and Bear Pasco at Guard. 

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