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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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1 hour 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

This jackass needs to understand something... wins are wins. Period. Metrics are crap, and wins are wins. ESPN is pathetic these days. 

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After having watched this team play, I can basically ignore what the pundits are saying. Again who knows what the W's and L's will look like, but it's idiotic to think this team won't be competitive. Probably have twice as much talent as last year's team. We're going to be much closer to middle of the pack than bottom-feeder team by season's end. 

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We definitely won't be the worst team in the league. That isnt the falcons way. The falcons way is like last year. Get blown out by every decent team you face but beat enough bad teams to not get a premium draft pick. I suspect that will be the case again this year, but that we will be more competitive with the good teams. OL and pass rush are still very suspect. 

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Sports writers are the laziest employed people on earth. Let's see, team A was good last year, therefore, they'll be good this year. Why? Because I've heard of more guys on that team.

This other team? I don't know a bunch of their guys, and they aren't in a big market, so they're going to be bad. Here are some nonsense stats that are made up by other lazy sports writers to prove it.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, thanat0s said:

The entire lot of them approach their reporting based on their fantasy football rankings.

Barnwell used to be better back in the days when he wrote for that defunct sports site that I can't remember the name of. He was all about analytics and looked at football from a different perspective. Like you said now he's all about fantasy, which may not be his choice. All sports media has turned that way because it's a billion dollar cash cow. Same with gambling.

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3 minutes ago, thanat0s said:

Sports writers are the laziest employed people on earth. Let's see, team A was good last year, therefore, they'll be good this year. Why? Because I've heard of more guys on that team.

This other team? I don't know a bunch of their guys, and they aren't in a big market, so they're going to be bad. Here are some nonsense stats that are made up by other lazy sports writers to prove it.

 

 

Exactly.  ESPN is in the macro media business, so not much time/effort spent on teams that aren't considered the Blue Bloods with large fan bases, or the "hot team of the year" type coverage for the assumed top tier.  (2020 Browns for instance).  Secondly, when has the national media ever given Atlanta any in depth coverage, other than when we're supposed to be good.  Par for the course.....

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1 hour ago, MilleniumFalcon said:

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

Words came right out of his mouth. Said he went to bed thinking the deal was done. We even (speculatively) know what the contract was. 2 year deal with 10 mil of the cap spread over 3 added voidable years with a cap hit of 23 mil in 2022.

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5 minutes ago, FA91 said:

Words came right out of his mouth. Said he went to bed thinking the deal was done. We even (speculatively) know what the contract was. 2 year deal with 10 mil of the cap spread over 3 added voidable years with a cap hit of 23 mil in 2022.

I hate to say it but I think the team is better off without Matt this year. He is the all time greatest Falcon but the last couple of years, I don't know, this is just me, but I'm not sure his heart was in it. Maybe he doesn't want to go through another rebuild, or maybe he just didn't want to run the offense like how Smith wants him to, but the team we saw the last two preseason games is much much different than the team we saw last preseason.

I don't know if that's because of Matt or what but it's different.

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10 minutes ago, Jesus said:

I hate to say it but I think the team is better off without Matt this year. He is the all time greatest Falcon but the last couple of years, I don't know, this is just me, but I'm not sure his heart was in it. Maybe he doesn't want to go through another rebuild, or maybe he just didn't want to run the offense like how Smith wants him to, but the team we saw the last two preseason games is much much different than the team we saw last preseason.

I don't know if that's because of Matt or what but it's different.

I wouldn't have been mad if Matt stayed, but I think it was the right move to start anew. I couldn't careless on how we got their (lol at disrepct towards a man that was paid multiple amounts of generational wealth for playing a game that has no impact on anything real).

 

So I agree with this.  

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6 minutes ago, Jesus said:

I hate to say it but I think the team is better off without Matt this year. He is the all time greatest Falcon but the last couple of years, I don't know, this is just me, but I'm not sure his heart was in it. Maybe he doesn't want to go through another rebuild, or maybe he just didn't want to run the offense like how Smith wants him to, but the team we saw the last two preseason games is much much different than the team we saw last preseason.

I don't know if that's because of Matt or what but it's different.

I agree. The change was best for both parties involved. I really enjoyed the last 2 preseason games like I haven't in years. I wish Ryan the best, unless he's playing the Falcons.

Until Watson called Blank, Ryan was going to be a Falcon. The deal was already done. If he had called a day later, it would've been to late.

I think it would have been horrible anyway. Rumor had it that Grady and Terrell were on the block in lieu of 1st round picks. I don't really know but if true that would have set us back another couple of years.

All said and done, I'm glad we got Mariota.

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1 minute ago, FA91 said:

I agree. The change was best for both parties involved. I really enjoyed the last 2 preseason games like I haven't in years. I wish Ryan the best, unless he's playing the Falcons.

Until Watson called Blank, Ryan was going to be a Falcon. The deal was already done. If he had called a day later, it would've been to late.

I think it would have been horrible anyway. Rumor had it that Grady and Terrell were on the block in lieu of 1st round picks. I don't really know but if true that would have set us back another couple of years.

All said and done, I'm glad we got Mariota.

But Ridder is the Chef's Kiss!

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6 minutes ago, Jesus said:

But Ridder is the Chef's Kiss!

I actually had Ridder mocked to us. In the 3rd no less, I thought he was going to be a steal.

All the quarterback's moved up seemingly to the first and I thought we had to many needs to get one. It turned out we got him in the 3rd anyway. One of the biggest steals since Grady imo.

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1 minute ago, FA91 said:

I actually had Ridder mocked to us. In the 3rd no less, I thought he was going to be a steal.

All the quarterback's moved up seemingly to the first and I thought we had to many needs to get one. It turned out we got him in the 3rd anyway. One of the biggest steals since Grady imo.

If he turns out to be a 10+ year franchise QB it will be the steal of the decade. 

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