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Bill Barnwell: The Falcons are likely going to be the worst team in the league this season


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Predicting NFL teams most likely to decline in 2022: Numbers, history show Packers, Raiders, Steelers, Titans, Falcons will lose more games

Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Atlanta finished with just 4.9 expected wins, which ranked 30th in the NFL. It needed a late-season surge to rise from the very bottom of the DVOA charts, eventually settling in at 30th by that metric. It finished the season 27th in FPI and 29th by the Simple Rating System. By every measure besides win-loss record, the Falcons were one of the league's worst teams.

How did they get to 7-10? Unsurprisingly, they pulled out some squeakers. Aided by an excellent season from star kicker Younghoe Koo, they went 6-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Their largest victory came by a whopping eight points over the Panthers, who were rolling out the duo of Cam Newton and PJ Walker at quarterback.

Three of those seven victories came over backup quarterbacks, with the Falcons also topping Trevor Siemian during his time starting for the rival Saints and Tim Boyle's Lions. Their other wins came against the Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Their average win came by 4.7 points. Their average loss was by nearly 18 points.

With that being said, the Falcons are likely going to be the worst team in the league this season. Smith was furious at suggestions his team was tanking the season. I take him at his word. I don't think the Falcons are going to be tanking, because they aren't trying to lose on purpose. It'll just end up looking that way.

 

https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/insider/story/_/id/34444732/predicting-nfl-teams-most-likely-decline-2022-numbers-history-show-packers-raiders-steelers-titans-falcons-lose-more-games

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6 minutes ago, MilleniumFalcon said:

Predicting NFL teams most likely to decline in 2022: Numbers, history show Packers, Raiders, Steelers, Titans, Falcons will lose more games

Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
The Falcons were a competent team with terrible luck in 2020. As such, they made it onto last year's list of the teams mostly likely to improve. In this column, "improve" and "decline" refer to your win-loss record, and by that measure, they succeeded. They jumped from 4-12 to 7-10.

Last season, though, the Falcons were a terrible team with incredible luck. In coach Arthur Smith's first season, they were outscored by 146 points, which is 8.6 points per game. No seven-win team in league history has posted a worse point differential, and while that's cheating because of the 17-game schedule, no six-win team in league history has posted a worse point differential than Atlanta's minus-146 mark, either.

Atlanta finished with just 4.9 expected wins, which ranked 30th in the NFL. It needed a late-season surge to rise from the very bottom of the DVOA charts, eventually settling in at 30th by that metric. It finished the season 27th in FPI and 29th by the Simple Rating System. By every measure besides win-loss record, the Falcons were one of the league's worst teams.

How did they get to 7-10? Unsurprisingly, they pulled out some squeakers. Aided by an excellent season from star kicker Younghoe Koo, they went 6-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Their largest victory came by a whopping eight points over the Panthers, who were rolling out the duo of Cam Newton and PJ Walker at quarterback.

Three of those seven victories came over backup quarterbacks, with the Falcons also topping Trevor Siemian during his time starting for the rival Saints and Tim Boyle's Lions. Their other wins came against the Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Their average win came by 4.7 points. Their average loss was by nearly 18 points.

This would normally be a pretty bad profile for the upcoming season. The Falcons were ticketed for this list before anything happened this offseason, solely based on how they performed in 2021. Take teams that outperformed their Pythagorean expectation by 1.5 to 2.5 wins and see how they performed the following year, and you'll find that nearly 70% of them decline the following season, with the average team falling off by 2.3 wins. There weren't many reasons to think Atlanta would be the exceptions to that rule.

Then, the Falcons had one of the more bizarre offseasons in recent memory. They decided to briefly flirt with the idea of trading for Deshaun Watson, who would have been joining a team with no cap space and one of the league's worst rosters before losing multiple future first-round picks. While they were occupied with Watson, they were stuck in stasis. They lost starting wideout Russell Gage to the division-rival Bucs and breakout linebacker Foyesade Oluokun to the Jaguars, costing them two NFL-caliber starters in the process.

The team's public interest in Watson unsettled stalwart quarterback Matt Ryan, who then sought a trade elsewhere. With no leverage, the Falcons were able to get only a third-round pick from the Colts for their longtime starter. Atlanta, which had previously intended to restructure Ryan's contract to create short-term cap space, instead ate a record $40.5 million in dead money on his deal. It had to then extend Grady Jarrett, who likely would have been a cap casualty to fit Watson on the roster, just to create cap space.


On top of all that, the NFC South got much tougher than it seemed in January. Tom Brady unretired. The Saints decided to invest heavily in competing this year as opposed to starting a rebuild after coach Sean Payton resigned. The Panthers finally were able to land an upgrade on Sam Darnold in Baker Mayfield. There was a window in which it looked like the Falcons might have fielded a team against a division whose starting quarterbacks were Darnold, Taysom Hill and Kyle Trask. That window closed quickly.

Oh, and while all that was happening, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the 2022 season after the league found that he had gambled on games. Atlanta used its first-round pick on wideout Drake London, but he'll have to make up for two departed starting wideouts in Gage and Ridley. London already is dealing with a right knee issue suffered during his preseason debut, although he expects to play in Week 1.

It's not all doom and gloom for the Falcons. They have a beautiful stadium. Cornerback A.J. Terrell is one of the best young players at his position in the game, and tight end Kyle Pitts might join him in that grouping this season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was a reasonable Plan B with experience in Smith's system, and while the Titans got much better after inserting Ryan Tannehill as their starter, Mariota was more competent than people remember. We might get to see rookie third-rounder Desmond Ridder at some point during the season. Koo has become one of the best kickers in the league. London and Pitts are going to put up some wild highlights on RedZone in garbage time at 3:45 p.m. ET every Sunday.

With that being said, the Falcons are likely going to be the worst team in the league this season. Smith was furious at suggestions his team was tanking the season. I take him at his word. I don't think the Falcons are going to be tanking, because they aren't trying to lose on purpose. It'll just end up looking that way.

 

https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/insider/story/_/id/34444732/predicting-nfl-teams-most-likely-decline-2022-numbers-history-show-packers-raiders-steelers-titans-falcons-lose-more-games

Well, it's ESPN.  Nothing but bias and opinion pieces.  No one watches that dreck anymore.

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Brah is wrong on his Ryan timeline. The decision to move on from Matt had already been made before they even considered Watson. 
 

Matt didn’t throw a hissy fit and demand to be traded. He had already begun his narrowing down  teams he would like to play for by this point.

Reporter just making up **** that never happened to enhance his point.

Will we be the worst team this year? Who knows. I can see why someone would think so, but don’t just go make up bull**** to try to convince others.

Lazy, manipulative reporting, but hey that’s  the way of the world circa 2022.

Edited by Emmitt
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My problem is the word likely. If people see us as the worst team right now, fair enough. I can see the reasoning behind it. But trying to guess the worst team of a season before one meaningful game is played is close to impossible. So I wouldn’t use the term ‚likely‘ on such a guess

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9 minutes ago, Emmitt said:

Brah is wrong on his Ryan timeline. The decision to move on from Matt had already been made before they even considered Watson. 
 

Matt didn’t throw a hissy fit and demand to be traded. He had already begun his narrowing down  teams he would like to play for by this point.

Reporter just making up **** that never happened to enhance his point.

Will we be the worst team this year? Who knows. I can see why someone would think so, but don’t just go make up bull**** to try to convince others.

Lazy, manipulative reporting, but hey that’s  the way of the world circa 2022.

I would disagree with you on the timeline, even Ryan has said he wasn't planning on going anywhere until the Watson stuff came to light.  Didn't make any sense for us to get rid of Ryan this year with the money repercussions, and Ryan's team forced the issue to move.  Totally agree Barnwell is getting clicks, but I really think, HE THINKS, we're going to be the worst team in football.  

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18 minutes ago, Emmitt said:

Brah is wrong on his Ryan timeline. The decision to move on from Matt had already been made before they even considered Watson. 
 

Matt didn’t throw a hissy fit and demand to be traded. He had already begun his narrowing down  teams he would like to play for by this point.

Reporter just making up **** that never happened to enhance his point.

Will we be the worst team this year? Who knows. I can see why someone would think so, but don’t just go make up bull**** to try to convince others.

Lazy, manipulative reporting, but hey that’s  the way of the world circa 2022.

I thought in an interview Ryan said he had no intentions of being traded before the Watson fiasco.

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35 minutes ago, MilleniumFalcon said:

Predicting NFL teams most likely to decline in 2022: Numbers, history show Packers, Raiders, Steelers, Titans, Falcons will lose more games

Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
The Falcons were a competent team with terrible luck in 2020. As such, they made it onto last year's list of the teams mostly likely to improve. In this column, "improve" and "decline" refer to your win-loss record, and by that measure, they succeeded. They jumped from 4-12 to 7-10.

Last season, though, the Falcons were a terrible team with incredible luck. In coach Arthur Smith's first season, they were outscored by 146 points, which is 8.6 points per game. No seven-win team in league history has posted a worse point differential, and while that's cheating because of the 17-game schedule, no six-win team in league history has posted a worse point differential than Atlanta's minus-146 mark, either.

Atlanta finished with just 4.9 expected wins, which ranked 30th in the NFL. It needed a late-season surge to rise from the very bottom of the DVOA charts, eventually settling in at 30th by that metric. It finished the season 27th in FPI and 29th by the Simple Rating System. By every measure besides win-loss record, the Falcons were one of the league's worst teams.

How did they get to 7-10? Unsurprisingly, they pulled out some squeakers. Aided by an excellent season from star kicker Younghoe Koo, they went 6-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Their largest victory came by a whopping eight points over the Panthers, who were rolling out the duo of Cam Newton and PJ Walker at quarterback.

Three of those seven victories came over backup quarterbacks, with the Falcons also topping Trevor Siemian during his time starting for the rival Saints and Tim Boyle's Lions. Their other wins came against the Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Their average win came by 4.7 points. Their average loss was by nearly 18 points.

This would normally be a pretty bad profile for the upcoming season. The Falcons were ticketed for this list before anything happened this offseason, solely based on how they performed in 2021. Take teams that outperformed their Pythagorean expectation by 1.5 to 2.5 wins and see how they performed the following year, and you'll find that nearly 70% of them decline the following season, with the average team falling off by 2.3 wins. There weren't many reasons to think Atlanta would be the exceptions to that rule.

Then, the Falcons had one of the more bizarre offseasons in recent memory. They decided to briefly flirt with the idea of trading for Deshaun Watson, who would have been joining a team with no cap space and one of the league's worst rosters before losing multiple future first-round picks. While they were occupied with Watson, they were stuck in stasis. They lost starting wideout Russell Gage to the division-rival Bucs and breakout linebacker Foyesade Oluokun to the Jaguars, costing them two NFL-caliber starters in the process.

The team's public interest in Watson unsettled stalwart quarterback Matt Ryan, who then sought a trade elsewhere. With no leverage, the Falcons were able to get only a third-round pick from the Colts for their longtime starter. Atlanta, which had previously intended to restructure Ryan's contract to create short-term cap space, instead ate a record $40.5 million in dead money on his deal. It had to then extend Grady Jarrett, who likely would have been a cap casualty to fit Watson on the roster, just to create cap space.


On top of all that, the NFC South got much tougher than it seemed in January. Tom Brady unretired. The Saints decided to invest heavily in competing this year as opposed to starting a rebuild after coach Sean Payton resigned. The Panthers finally were able to land an upgrade on Sam Darnold in Baker Mayfield. There was a window in which it looked like the Falcons might have fielded a team against a division whose starting quarterbacks were Darnold, Taysom Hill and Kyle Trask. That window closed quickly.

Oh, and while all that was happening, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for the 2022 season after the league found that he had gambled on games. Atlanta used its first-round pick on wideout Drake London, but he'll have to make up for two departed starting wideouts in Gage and Ridley. London already is dealing with a right knee issue suffered during his preseason debut, although he expects to play in Week 1.

It's not all doom and gloom for the Falcons. They have a beautiful stadium. Cornerback A.J. Terrell is one of the best young players at his position in the game, and tight end Kyle Pitts might join him in that grouping this season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was a reasonable Plan B with experience in Smith's system, and while the Titans got much better after inserting Ryan Tannehill as their starter, Mariota was more competent than people remember. We might get to see rookie third-rounder Desmond Ridder at some point during the season. Koo has become one of the best kickers in the league. London and Pitts are going to put up some wild highlights on RedZone in garbage time at 3:45 p.m. ET every Sunday.

With that being said, the Falcons are likely going to be the worst team in the league this season. Smith was furious at suggestions his team was tanking the season. I take him at his word. I don't think the Falcons are going to be tanking, because they aren't trying to lose on purpose. It'll just end up looking that way.

 

https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/insider/story/_/id/34444732/predicting-nfl-teams-most-likely-decline-2022-numbers-history-show-packers-raiders-steelers-titans-falcons-lose-more-games

As soon as I saw it was ESPN I decided to save my time reading and come straight to the comments to say F#€k Them! Lol

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SOOOOO lazy.

Yeah, London has to top Gage's production AND Ridley's production from last season.

So, 97 grabs for 1,051 yards and 6 TDs.  HOW WILL HE EVER?!?!?!?!?!?

I'm not saying he's a lock to be a thousand yard receiver and 6 TDs.  But I am saying Barnwell is out to lunch and completely oblivious to the fact that of those numbers, Calvin had 31 grabs for 281 yards and 2 TDs, so........

Realistically, London has to top Gage's production.  That's a much more reasonable 66 grabs for 770 yards and 4 TDs.  Edwards has to top Calvin, which again, is 31 for 281 and 2 TDs.  Zacchaeus is still on the roster, and he outperformed Calvin last season.  Patterson is still on the team, and he outperformed Ridley and wasn't too far off from Gage even though he's a RB.  Surely Hodge and someone else can top the next two leading receivers from last season, who were Tajae Sharpe and Hayden Hurst (leaving Mike Davis out because I think our other RBs will at least match him).  Both had less than 250 yards 3 TDs between them (all by Hurst).  We haven't even mentioned that Firsker and Pruitt or Franks will be playing TE and will have some of those opportunities.  And we also haven't mentioned that we still have Kyle Pitts on the roster and having even one competent WR option will immensely help him out.

He makes it sound like the WR picture regressed despite Drake London.  That's because he doesn't know **** about the WR room last year and he doesn't know **** about the WR room this year.  He thinks we swapped London for Gage and 2020 Ridley and that's all we did.  2020 Ridley wasn't there last year, and I'll take London for Gage 10 times out of 10.  But even more, the bottom half of the WR room is so much better than last season when we were trotting out Sharpe and Darby and Christian Blake and Marvin Hall.  

Put it this way.  In 2021, there were 4 WRs in the top 10 in receiving yards on the team.  The rest were TEs, RBs and the FB.  Does anyone think that's how it plays out this season?  Pitts will still be at or near the top, and Patterson and at least one other RB will be on the list, but does anyone really think 60% of the top 10 pass catchers on this team will be non-wideouts?

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44 minutes ago, Emmitt said:

Brah is wrong on his Ryan timeline. The decision to move on from Matt had already been made before they even considered Watson. 
 

Matt didn’t throw a hissy fit and demand to be traded. He had already begun his narrowing down  teams he would like to play for by this point.

Reporter just making up **** that never happened to enhance his point.

Will we be the worst team this year? Who knows. I can see why someone would think so, but don’t just go make up bull**** to try to convince others.

Lazy, manipulative reporting, but hey that’s  the way of the world circa 2022.

Exactly. He is distorting the facts to prove his point. Unfortunately, it is par the course for most sports writers..

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Enough with the expected win crap.  Expected wins is the silliest stat.  Each game is different, to use data to project wins is useless.  It's like when you read that running the ball on 4th and 1 results in a first down 70% of the time........ the stat is true for NFL but for the Falcons behind Hennessey and Mayfield, I don't think that holds true.  Coaches know their team and work to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses.  AS did a pretty solid job of that last season.

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1 hour ago, MilleniumFalcon said:

London and Pitts are going to put up some wild highlights on RedZone in garbage time at 3:45 p.m. ET every Sunday.

In general, I thought the comments he had were fair and only time will tell if he is right.

However this line right here, is why he is a clown. You don't need to stoop to this level if you are an even halfway competent journalist. Stick to the facts like he did early on and add in some opinion based points and boom publish the article. Leave out your corny one liners next time Bill.

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