What’s Next – Part 3

Wide Receivers

wrs

by Dewey

Having looked through the offensive backfield, it’s time to look at the wide receiver position. This one becomes more convoluted for a myriad of reasons.

Julio Jones

2019 cap charge-$13,466,666

2020 cap charge-$12,892,668

Traded/released 2019

Cap charge-$5,333,334

Traded/released post June 1st

2019 cap charge-$3,866,666

2020 cap charge-$1,466,668

Mohammed Sanu

2019 cap charge-$7,400,000

2020 cap charge-$7,900,000

Traded/released 2019

Cap charge-$2,800,000

Traded/released post June 1st

2019 cap charge-$1,400,000

2020 cap charge-$1,400,000

Calvin Ridley

2019 cap charge-$2,477,439

Not listing anything else here for Calvin because it’s irrelevant. He’s not going anywhere coming off the rookie season he had and only entering the 2nd year of his contract.

Justin Hardy

2019-free agent

Marvin Hall

2019-exclusive rights free agent

Russel Gage

2019 cap charge-$609,048

Once again, not going into detail because Russell is safe.

Devin Gray (futures contract)

2019 cap charge-$615,000

2020 cap charge-$615,000

Traded/released 2019

Cap charge-$0

Traded released post June 1st

2019 cap charge-$0

2020 cap charge-$0

Christian Blake (futures contract)

Same details as Devin Gray

myriad

Convoluted myriad.

OVERVIEW

The Falcons could quite possibly have the best trio of WR’s in the NFL as things stand right now. However, things could drastically change over the next few months.

1-we all remember the drama that started off our 2018 campaign that revolved around Julio wanting a bigger contract. Apparently, that’s going to happen. The length and width of contract is anyone’s guess, but you can bet it will land somewhere in the neighborhood of 5yrs/$20 mil/yr.

2-that money’s gonna hafta come from somewhere and you can see by the above contracts that Sanu is a good possibility to be released/traded or at the very least, restructured.

Ridley was a very good #3 WR that just needs to get over the case of the drops he encountered at times during 2018.

Past the top 3, Hall had his moments and I was happy to see Gage get some offensive playing time to show he could be counted on more than just a special teamer.

Justin Hardy has been average, at best. A good blocker. A good route runner. Decent hands. Decent special teamer. No speed. He’s your average “take him or leave him” NFL WR.

Devin Gray showed promise during the 2018 pre-season.

I have absolutely no scouting report on Christian Blake other than I could google to tell you his height, weight, speed, where he went to college, etc. I will not bore you with those details on someone who was on our practice squad all season. Meaning another team could have grabbed him anytime they wanted to, and no one did. I will continue this practice through the rest of these posts where I see fit.

trio

Best trio.

WHAT WILL THE FALCONS DO?

This one is easy and it’s not so easy. Julio will get his raise. How much and how long and what effect it has on the cap remains to be seen. Mohamed Sanu will more than likely be asked to restructure his deal. At 30 years old when next season starts, he might not have many other options depending how low the Falcons ask him to go. If Sanu leaves, Ridley will be the WR2. If not, we still have a dynamic trio out wide. Justin Hardy won’t be re-signed. Gage is staying. Hall as an exclusive rights free agent will be given a contract 10% more than his 2018 deal. Gray and Blake are longshots. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons don’t go for another WR at some point in this draft, especially if Sanu decides he doesn’t want a pay cut. Also, if Sanu goes, look for the Falcons to make a minor move in free agency. Nothing extravagant, but maybe a mid-row pickup who could fill in as a WR3. And as always, there will be some undrafted rookie free agents brought into camp.

WHAT WOULD DEWEY DO?

First, Julio would not be getting a new contract until he had only 1 year remaining on his current deal. But since it’s going to happen anyway, I might as well include it like it’s already happened. Figuring on a 3-year extension, will make it a total of 5 more years under contract. Will be worth $20mil/year, but I’m guessing this first year won’t incur a cap hit of more than $15mil. So, his cap charge for 2019 won’t change drastically.

Second, I ask Sanu to restructure his deal. I’m not gonna chop his feet off, but we need room and he would have difficulty getting much more than I’d offer on the open market. I’ll ask him to drop to $5 million/year. Will hurt his ego, but I don’t think he would turn it down.

restructure

Restructure the Deal.

I’ll be looking for a WR4 in the draft, but not before the 5th round. You can find excellent receivers late in the draft. They might not have all the measurables, but they can either run, catch, block, get open or maybe return kicks. Right now, that’s all we need from a WR4. Gage will be given every opportunity to win the WR4 spot.

Hardy will not be asked to return. There a literally dozens of WR’s available late in the draft and through undrafted free agency that have the same skill sets as he does

Hall is an exclusive rights free agent. What that means is, if we want, we just sign Hall back at a 10% increase over his 2018 salary. For Hall that would be $610,500. Might as well. Nothings guaranteed on it.

I will not be signing any high priced or even mid-level free agent WR’s. With our top 3, everything else is gravy and we have more important positions to spend money on.

And, per usual, there will be 2-3 undrafted free agents invited to camp.

Dewey’s sap cap counter:

QB’s (2)-$23,370,000

RB’s (3)-$8,120,000

FB’s (1)-$570,000

WR’s (7) Julio Jones-$15,000,000

Mohammed Sanu-$5,000,000

Calvin Ridley-$2,477,439

Russell Gage-$609,048

Devin Gray-$615,000

Christain Blake-$615,000

Marvin Hall-$610,500

Running Cap total-$54,509,766

Dewey’s needs: vet free agency/draft

1-vet backup QB, hopefully at league minimum or close to it

1-bigger RB, through the draft, 5th round or later

1-blocking FB, through the draft, undrafted or vet free agent

2-WR’s, one through the draft, 5th round or later. One undrafted free agent, preferable with KR skills.

gravy

Everything else is gravy.

For some quick clarity, as I noticed from the comments after the last installment. The number of players I have listed at each position are not who I think will make the team or what the final 53-man roster will be. I’m listing the players under contract and what their contracts are or would be under my scenario in an attempt to see how much cap room we would have to work with when all is said and done. I know spotrac and over the cap have rough cap numbers, but this will give us a little better idea of the actual cap figure once the Falcons make all of their roster moves heading into free agency and the draft. Since we don’t know exactly what they will do, I’m using what I would do. It will all be much clearer on the final wrap-up, weeks from now when I’m finally finished with all of these parts.

What’s next? Tight ends

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What’s Next – Part 2

heisman

by Dewey

Moving on now to the Running backs and Fullbacks. This is going to be a point of serious debate all off season. Freeman or Tevin? Or both? There are hot takes on each side. There are idiotic takes on each side. Here’s what we’re looking at for these positions…

debate

Serious debate.

PART 2-RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS

Devonta Freeman

2019 cap charge-$6,750,000

2020 cap charge-$9,500,000

Traded/released 2019

-2019 cap charge-$9,000,000

Traded/released post June 1st

-2019 cap charge-$3,000,000

-2020 cap charge-$6,000,000

Tevin Coleman

2019-free agent

Ito Smith

2019 cap charge-$725,218

Traded/released 2019

-2019 cap charge $465,654

Stopping here for a moment. You may have realized I didn’t include 2020 numbers for Ito Smith. I’m including 2020 salaries for a chance to look at post June 1st cuts. These types of cuts are typically designed to rid the team of a huge contract while spreading the penalty for doing so over the course of a couple of seasons rather than just having to swallow it all at once. Moving forward, I won’t be including 2020 cap charges or post June 1st cuts on players where it really doesn’t make any sense to include.

Moving on…

Brian Hill

2019 free agent

Jeremy Langford

2019 restricted free agent

FULLBACKS

Ricky Ortiz

2019 cap charge-$570,000

2020-free agent

Traded/released 2019

-2019 cap charge-$0

OVERVIEW

This one could get juicy over the next few months. On the one hand, you have Devonta Freeman, who when healthy is one of the best around, especially in the outside zone blocking scheme. And on the other hand, you have a running back who missed almost the entire season with a couple of different ailments and who has been prone to concussions.

juicy

Getting juicy.

Devonta is good at stretching a run play as far as he needs to, hitting the smaller holes that bigger backs can’t seem to see or fit and getting north and south in a hurry. Devonta has no illusions about his speed which is good because he doesn’t have that knee-jerk reaction to try to race around the corner when he doesn’t see an immediate hole. Devonta has pretty good hands for a running back, though he has been known to try and run before he catches the ball, causing some wide-open drops. I never realized how poor a blocker Devonta was until the colossal Super Bowl screw up. Since then, I’ve watched him in pass protection. Devonta gets trucked or simply misses his block more than you’d be comfortable with in a full-time running back.

Tevin Coleman has world class speed but needs open holes or to be in the open one-on-one with a defender. Tevin seems to skate more than he runs, making him susceptible to ankle tackles, which can ruin the chance at a long gainer. A terrific compliment, I’m not sure Tevin can be a every down, all game long back. Tevin is a much bigger receiving threat than Devonta and is a more accomplished blocker in pass protection than Devonta. I’m not going to hold this season’s rushing performance against Tevin because of our putrid offensive line. I will point out however that Devonta managed 1,000 yards in2015 with an equally ineffective offensive line.

Ito Smith showed absolutely nothing in pre-season, but then really turned it on playing with the #1’s. Ito is a fine backup at the running back position and would probably do OK if we needed him to start a game or 2. It was just Ito’s 1st season, so he’s only going to get better.

We’ve been waiting for 2 years to see what Brian Hill had to offer and I must say, he didn’t disappoint, though in a very limited capacity. A bigger back than we’re used to around here, with much more speed than I thought he had. I’m not saying we can hand over the reigns to Hill, but I can’t wait to see more of him on the field with a better supporting cast.

Jeremy Langford was a starter in Chicago for a few games until an injury side tracked his career. We didn’t get to see much from him, and to be honest, the little we saw of him was about what I expected.

Hard to honestly grade Ricky Ortiz as a fullback. You really got the feeling Sark doesn’t like using the fullback. And when Sark did use a fullback, the play was so telegraphed for a run that the defense was stacked in the box, making it harder to gain necessary yardage. Ortiz didn’t catch many balls and I don’t think he ran the ball even once. I saw Ricky miss probably as many blocks as he made. Once again, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to show his worth or lack there- of.

contract

Huge contract.

WHAT WILL THE FALCONS DO?

A lot of what happens here depends on the health of Devonta, which only he and the Falcons brass truly knows.

If Devonta is healthy then Devonta stays. Tevin is offered a bigger contract that you or I are comfortable with and unless he gets a bigger deal elsewhere (San Fran?), he’ll be here. Ito isn’t going anywhere, as he proved to be a valuable piece of property should Devonta or Tevin get injured again. Brian Hill deserves another look, but not certain he will get one if Devonta, Tevin and Ito are all still here. Jeremy Langford goes looking for another team.

If Devonta is not healthy, all bets are off. He will be released post June 1st. As you can see it would be cap suicide to do it earlier. Tevin will get a bigger contract and Hill will probably be re-signed. The Falcons might draft one late (4th round or later) but will certainly bring in a couple undrafted rookie free agents. I don’t see the Falcons going out and signing any vet free agent running backs.

Fullback will depend on what the new offensive coordinator likes. The Falcons will certainly bring in 1 or 2 free agents, vet, rookie or otherwise. I don’t see the Falcons drafting a fullback.

WHAT WOULD DEWEY DO?

I have to assume Devonta will be 100% healthy going into the 2019 season. So, I keep him. As much as I like Tevin, and even if we could get him at a bargain of $3-5 million/year, I need to let him go. There are much more pressing needs on this ball club that $3-5 million could help with. Besides, Ito proved he can handle backup duties and Devonta works better when he gets more work (not split 50/50). I invite Hill back on a 2-year league minimum, no guarantees. With 2 years NFL experience, that’s $645,000/year. Langford is a restricted free agent. Meaning we can offer Jeremy 1 of 4 tenders. Was going to go over the tenders, but it’s a moot point really. Langford is not good enough that someone would be willing to give up 4th round pick for him (original round tender), much less a 1st or 2nd round pick for a higher-grade tender. I’m letting Jeremy walk. If there’s a Running back I like in the 5th round or later, I will draft one. I will definitely bring in 1 or 2 undrafted free agent running backs to compete.

As for fullback, I don’t care of a guy is fast, can run, catch or all those pretty thing Patrick DiMarco used to do for us. I want someone who can block. Someone who can move one of the 300lb defensive linemen out of the way when our offensive linemen misses him so we can gain a dam yard when we need to! Vet free agent, rookie free agent, maybe a 7th round draft choice. Someone who can lead the way and move the dam pile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll keep Ortiz in the meantime for competition.

pile

Moving the dam pile.

Dewey’s salary cap total.

QB’s (2)-$23,370,000

RB’s (3) Devonta Freeman-$6,750,000

Ito Smith-$725,218

Brian Hill-$645,000

FB’s (1) Ricky Ortiz-$570,000

Running cap total-$32,060,218

Dewey’s needs: vet free agency/draft

1-vet backup QB, hopefully at league minimum or close to it

1-bigger RB, through the draft, 5th round or later

1-blocking FB, free agent, through draft, undrafted or vet free agency

What’s next? Wide Receivers

What’s Next?

next

by Dewey

Quite a few weeks back, I posed the question, “What Now?”. The Falcons, at one time 4-4 and looking poised to make a 3rd consecutive playoff run…fell apart. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. A team loaded with talent enough to make a Super Bowl run withstood a rash of injuries only to crumble when it mattered most. Sometimes you could even call effort into question, which had never been a problem here in the Dan Quinn era. I finished that post by asking the question “What Next?”, alluding to the possibility that there would be a follow up post. Well here it is.

sugar

No way to sugarcoat it.

I started writing this while the Falcons were sitting at 4-8, coming off an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Didn’t know if I would see this all the way through (in truth, I’m just short of half way done, but it’s a long offseason). This will be an in-depth breakdown of the roster from top to bottom, to the point of nauseating. Hopefully, when I’m done, we will all have a better understanding of our players and all the salary cap ramifications for any move we armchair GM’s would like to explore. There will be approximately a dozen parts to this post, spread out every 2-3 weeks leading us up to free agency and the draft.

Make no mistake, this team is a mess. Many will wrongly point to the injuries that ultimately caused our team’s demise in 2018. Truth is, a small handful of plays go our way (Trufant catching the dam ball at the end of the Cincy game for example), and we’re in the playoffs again. Then anything can happen.

handfull

Handful of plays go our way.

But our Falcons problems go much deeper than injuries. The injuries were a tool to magnify what’s wrong with this team. Poor draft choices (personnel, schematically, positionally), bad contracts (too big, too early), no plan for the inevitable (injuries), too much reliance on the top 22, and it goes on and on.

Yes, there probably needs to be changes to the coaching staff. And don’t get me started on why Dimitroff needs to be ousted. But the truth is, I’m not plugged in enough to the inner workings of all 32 NFL teams to write an intelligent article about it. I could be like others, screaming, “Sign Kubiak!!”, but that’s all I could realistically offer. If anyone knows enough to write a thought provoking article about the subject, please do, I would love to read it.

sign

“Sign Kubiak!!”

So, although coaching and front office personnel changes should be a major topic, I’m afraid all I can offer you is my limited expertise on the player and contract side of things.

Now it’s time to dive into the roster. I will be drawing my information from overthecap, spotrac, the Falcons website and any other site I can find to help through this…

PART 1-QUARTERBACKS

Matt Ryan

2019 cap charge-$22,800,000

2020 cap charge-$31,800,000

Trade/cut 2019- cap charge $79,200,000

Trade/cut post June 1st 2019

-2019 cap charge-$43,300,000

-2020 cap charge-$35,900,000

OK, so there’s no way that Matt Ryan is going anywhere. Even if the Falcons decided to move on from the best QB the franchise has ever had, Matt’s new contract extension makes it impossible. But I will use these numbers to illustrate how I will be showing pertinent contract numbers with the players and positions that follow here and in upcoming posts.

You see Matt’s current cap charge for 2019 is $22,800,000. If he’s cut/traded, his cap charge balloons to $79,200,000 for 2019.

Matt’s cap charges for 2019/2020 are $22,800,000 and $31,800,000 respectively. While cutting/trading Matt post June 1st spreads out the cap hit over 2 years, it still balloons to $43,300,000 and $35,900,000 respectively. Releasing/trading Matt Ryan at any time next year will cause increases in his cap charge both seasons. Not a fiscally responsible move for a team that is cash strapped and needing to add quite a few players.

Also, you’ll see that I’ve removed the pesky “dead cap” designation. While the dead cap is necessary for a team’s bookkeeper, it’s not necessary for our purposes here. All a dead cap number is, is money you can’t spend on any other player. It has already been paid. Well, essentially, that’s what a player’s salary is…money you can’t spend on anyone else. I find a lot of folks get confused when you start talking dead cap vs cap savings. I’m probably not explaining this correctly, so here’s an easier example.

cap

The pesky dead cap.

Player A has a cap charge of $10. That’s $10 you can’t spend anywhere else. Regardless of salary, signing bonus, etc., his cap charge is $10. Now say you release player A, causing $6 dead money but realizing $4 cap savings. That’s freeing up $4 to spend elsewhere, but $6 you can’t spend. So, in essence, even though player A is no longer on the team, he still carries a cap charge of $6. Money you can’t spend on anyone else.

So, moving forward, I won’t be using the confusing terms of dead money and cap savings, rather I will condense it into 1 cap charge, even if the player is no longer with the team.

Confused enough? Alright, let’s get on with it.

Also, I will be listing most player’s 2019 and 2020 cap charges, so we can look at ramifications of pre and post June 1st player movements in an attempt to overturn every stone we can to right this ship. Moving on…

Matt Schaub

2019-free agent

There’s nothing to look at here financially. Schaub’s contract is up.

Kurt Benkert

2019-free agent

Once again, nothing to be done. But we will delve into this a bit more in the overview.

OVERVIEW

While we are set at QB1 with Matt Ryan, who’s not going anywhere because of performance and financial reasons, he is currently the only QB under contract for next season.

WHAT WILL THE FALCONS DO?

While this part will be purely speculation, we need to make some guesses. Benkert will be signed to a “futures contract”. For those unaware, anyone can be signed to a futures contract who was not on the active 53 man roster week 17 of the season. These are typically 3 year, league minimum contracts based on a player’s tenure with the league. Of course, the player has to agree to the salary, which is why typically only fringe players are signed to these. The contracts are non-guaranteed and can be signed as soon as the current season concludes without counting against the current season’s salary cap. They will not go into effect until the next season’s financial calendar has started.

fringe

Fringe players.

They will also need to sign a seasoned veteran and might need to bring in another undrafted rookie or they might spend a late round (6th or 7th round pick), on a young QB.

WHAT WOULD DEWEY DO?

Ah, I know this is the part you’ve all been waiting for. First, I would sign Benkert to a “futures contract”. This is a no risk, possible reward contract. While I would have liked to see Benkert get some real game time against real NFL players, I understand the risk. Promote him, and you can’t sign him to a futures contract. Or promote him, release him before week #17 and hope he doesn’t sign elsewhere before you can sign him. For Benkert, the league minimum salary for 2019 would be $570,000.

For a vet backup, I’m looking for someone who will come in on the vet minimum. And I want a vet with at least 4 years experience. And here’s why. If you sign a vet with at least 4 years of experience to a 1 year, league minimum contract, that player qualifies for the “veteran cap hit benefit”, as long as there are no bonuses, guarantees, etc. exceeding $90,000. Even though they are signed to a bigger salary, their cap hit is only the same as the league minimum for a 2 year player. So in this instance, I offer Matt Schaub a 1 year vet minimum contract. For 2019, that would be $1,030,000. I can guarantee him $90,000 signing bonus, but his cap hit would be for just $645,000. With our cap crunch, every dollar counts. I am not wasting a draft pick in any round on a player that I’m hoping won’t play a single snap over the next 3 seasons.

real

Real NFL players.

DEWEY’S RUNNING CAP TOTAL

Matt Ryan-$22,800,000

Kurt Benkert-$570,000

1-unnamed 4 year vet QB-$645,000

Either Benkert or the 4 year vet won’t make the final 53. In this case, let’s look at most expensive scenario, just to give ourselves the best picture possible.

Total cap charges 2019-$23,445,000.

What’s Next? Running backs and fullbacks. I promise, now that we have all the explanations out of the way, the next one will be mostly numbers and speculation, not so much words.

What Now ??!!!

d06

Another three Ls in a row: Browns, Cowboys, Saints.

by Dewey

I was going to wait to write something until after the Falcons had been mathematically eliminated, but let’s face it, at 4-7 the season is over. When you only win 4 out of 11 games, the chances of winning 5 in a row are pretty much non-existent. So, what now?

The problems the Falcons have had in 2018 go way beyond this season. Sure, everyone will point to the injuries. Deion, Keeanu, Ricardo, Fusco, Levitre, Freeman, etc., etc., etc. But I submit to you that injuries were NOT the problem of 2018, but they magnified a bigger problem that has been around since the Quinn era began.

Dan Quinn is in over is head as a head NFL football coach. Whenever a young coach starts out, there’s going to be bumps in the road. But the best learn, and learn quickly, from their mistakes. Quinn is making the same mistakes here in year #4 than he was making in year #1. And some might say he has regressed.

I’ve re-written this part of the narrative a few times now. Why do I keep re-writing it? It gets really long winded listing all the ways Quinn has failed, and continues to fail as a head coach. Clock Management for example. I mention it, then go on for 2 paragraphs explaining how poorly Quinn uses the clock, timeouts, etc. not just at the end of halves, but throughout the course of the game. You are all fans, you’ve seen it with your own eyes. I don’t need to site example after example after example after…well you get the point. From clock management to game management to philosophy with personnel and tactics all the way to the coin toss, there’s a lot Quinn still needs to learn. My fear is that if he hasn’t learned it by now, he never will.

All coaches have their own brand and style of football they would like their teams to play. But the best learn to bend their philosophies, adapt and tweak game planning drive to drive, quarter by quarter, game to game. It can’t just be, “If we win the toss, we’ll defer. We’re gonna run a zone defense, keep everything in front of us and hope the other team screws up somehow”. Sometimes you need the ball first. Make a statement.” We’re gonna march right down this field and score, and we’re gonna do it all day, so you better get ready!” Sometimes, you need to “pressure” the other team into making mistakes. Not a token blitz every now and then just so the other team knows you know how to do it.

d02

Adapt and Tweak

Had to cut that one off too. There were about 30 more lines ranting about in game strategies. But like I’ve said before, you’re all fans, you’ve seen the games, you’ve seen us face teams with 3 backup offensive linemen on the field and lay back in the zone rather than attacking them and forcing the issue. You know what I’m talking about.

Quinn is a system coach. He has a system he likes and believes in. And there’s no wavering from that system now. But it’s a bit funny. In 2016, when Desmond Trufant was injured, Quinn did tweak his philosophy. And we rode that wave all the way to the Super Bowl. Does Quinn now believe that tweaking is what caused our collapse in that game? Who knows. Was just a random thought that popped into my head just now. Anyway, back to Quinn being a system coach. If he has all the players he wants, at all the positions he needs, he can be successful. Newsflash, most coaches can win with their system if they have all the pieces, but the NFL doesn’t work like that. It did for the Falcons for most of the 2016 season. And look where we ended up. But that was a blip on the radar. And Quinn needs to realize that most seasons he won’t have “all hands on deck”.

Enough of that, like I said, I could go on and on about Quinn’s undying belief in his “process”, which I’m sure he’ll preach about getting back to in his “tell the truth Monday”. But back to the topic of this article…”What Now!”

Usually, when your season has officially been ruled a disaster, you start getting a look at players who don’t normally get a lot of playing time. Problem is, most of our young guys have had to play quite a bit because of injuries. What would I do? Glad you asked.

d04

New Horizon Now

First, dump backup QB Matt Schaub. What? He’s had nothing to do with this season. True. But we have a young QB on the practice squad named Kurt Benkert, who didn’t show much in the pre-season playing with mostly players who are no longer in the league. Promote him to the 53. Let him get in a few series with the starters, maybe even give him a start somewhere in these last 5 games. What will this do? Schaub’s contract is up after this season. We will need a new backup QB in 2019, when Schaub will be 40 years old. It would be nice to know we have a backup already (and a cheap one at that) or if we need to spend some dough on a vet backup.

Second, if Deion comes back and plays this season, I would move him to the outside, just to see how he does. With or without Deion, we are soft up the middle when it comes to bigger backs and short yardage situations. I personally would like to see how Deion performs from the outside. With that blazing speed he has, I bet he would be awesome blitzing.

Eric Saubert, TE. We’ve heard about his tremendous athleticism, but have rarely seen it. Now’s the time to let him play, and play a lot, not just certain situations. Sink or swim, I would rather know now than go through this all again in the spring.

Put K Matt Bryant back on IR for the rest of the season. Probably the greatest kicker in the history of the Falcons. Mr. Clutch has been everything you’d hope for in a kicker, but he is 43, has had some lingering problems with pulled muscles and we have a K under contract, Giorgio Tavecchio, who hasn’t missed a kick for us. Time to give him a long tryout. Let him kick the rest of the season. Bryant is good, but expensive. A cheaper version could help down the road. Besides, maybe having a less reliable kicker would put a little more pressure on the offense, rather then letting them relax once they get inside the opponents 35 yard line.

Get RB Brian Hill involved in the offense. Time to see what he can do. We’ve had him on the roster twice now. Maybe he’s a game player. There are plenty of players in this league who play better than they practice, maybe he’s one of them.

d03

“I’ll show YOU some clock management!”

On the subject of RB’s, I would keep Tevin around just for emergencies and give Ito Smith and Brian Hill the bulk of the workload. A true #2 RB can be your #1 if needed. Time to see if Ito can do that. Besides, it doesn’t look financially feasible to keep Tevin around next season, might as well see what we have in case the inevitable happens.

More Russell Gage at WR. A lot of players make their way in the NFL starting off as special teamers. It’s time to see if he can be more. While we’re at it, Marvin Hall needs a bigger role for these last 5 games as well.

Matt Gono at RT. Guy has been on the 53 all season and I’m not sure if he’s dressed out for 1 game yet. Rather than end up starting the season with another Schweitzer experiment, why don’t we see if he’s got what it takes now.

Let Jake Mathews get some work at G and C. Would be good to get a look at him across the board just in case a better option comes along at LT.

More Brian Oliver at CB. Move him into the starting lineup. Get him as much work as possible. Nothing like a little on the job training.

d05

Shape the 2019 roster.

Deadrin Senat, when finally healthy enough, needs to be playing 65% of the snaps. See what he’s got available for the long haul. Because, just like Tevin Coleman, Grady Jarrett’s contract might be out of our reach. Even if we can sign Grady, it would be nice to see what Deadrin can offer on a more full-time basis.

Everybody who wants a crack at returning punts, line up. We need at least 5 people, with 5 games left, everyone will get a shot.

That’s it. After a very frustrating loss to the Saints on Thanksgiving, I’m ready to blow the whole team up and start over again. Coaching staff and all. But since that’s not going to happen, I believe these steps will help shaping our 2019 roster.

As for Quinn. I don’t know if you can change the mind of a man who’s trying to prove himself. It’s all up to him. Can he learn better clock management? I don’t know. But maybe hire someone to follow him up and down the sidelines to tell him what he should be thinking in certain situations. As far as philosophies that need to be changed? That should be easy. Look at what you’ve been doing…now do the opposite.

That’s it for “What Now?”

“What Next?” Well that starts about 5 weeks from now.

d01


 

FALCONS SEASON PREDICTION 2018

BEASTLY

I apologize that I am getting to this so late.  As many of you know, I left the Alamo city for Germany this summer.  The move has been epic and learning a new country and culture have been time consuming to say the least.  After 2 months, our furniture finally arrived.  So, working through the mountain of boxes seems never-ending.  Further, watching the games has been a serious challenge.  So, I admit up front, I have seen maybe 20 snaps of the preseason… though, it doesn’t look like I missed much to provide hope.  This is my 6th annual attempt to predict the season. Hopefully, it will be entertaining and if nothing else, give everyone a target.   – Coop

TAKK & JARRETT

 

Breaking it DOWN!

Let’s look at some interesting facts about the schedule.

  1. The Falcons play 3 nationally televised games this year. Last year we played 5 games, the beat down of the Packers to open our new stadium, the torturous loss to the Patriots to remind us about the Superbowl, the thrilling win in Seattle, then back-to-back wins against the Saints and the Bucs to propel us to the playoffs.  We didn’t make the show last year, but we avoided the normal Superbowl hangover.  For as disappointing as our offense was last year, at least the team showed grit.  This year, we start the season with the champs (in Philly) who ended our season on TNF.  Our only MNF appearance is at home against the Giants on Oct 22nd, and our 3rd prime time game is in the big easy against our arch rivals on Nov 22nd.
  2. Last year was interesting in that we had 2 runs of multiple home games and 2 runs of multiple away games.  We had a 3-game road trip and a 3-game home stand… both unique.  This year we have a 3-week home stand and a 2-week home stand.  We also have back-to-back road games twice.
  3. The Birds only have one short week this season, which is great news.  The bad news it’s against New Orleans on a Thursday after playing Dallas at home.
  4. Travel is pretty good this year.  The furthest west is New Orleans, so that is fantastic.  We do head north to Philly, Pitt, Cleveland, Washington, and Green Bay.  The only real chance for cold weather is Green Bay in Dec, but it is early December.  We do get a visit from Arizona for a 1 pm kick off, so we may also benefit from the West teams traveling East.
  5. The Falcons will again play a total of 9 games inside (I have no idea how to predict when our stadium will be open or closed, but I assume it will be closed in bad weather, so I chose to assume we are inside at home or at least in good conditions).  We play the Eagles, Panthers, Steelers, Bucs, Browns, Skins and Packers outside for sure.

BENZ OVER

Path to the Playoffs

Next, let’s examine how the games are arrayed in terms of trying to map a way to the playoffs.  Though recent history has shown that you can make the playoffs with 9 or even 8 wins, most hold to the belief that 10 wins pretty much guarantees you a spot and 11 or 12 should lock up the division.  Of the 16 games, the Falcons play 6 in their own division (2 each against the Saints, Panthers, and Bucs).  If you win all 6, you can take the division to the bank.  At a minimum, you better win 3 and more likely 4 to have decent playoff hopes.

The Falcons have a total of 12 conference games in the NFC.  The 6 we just talked about plus 4 from the NFC East (Giants, Redskins, Cowboys, and Eagles). If you can win 3 of 4 here, to go with 4 of 6 from above, you have 7 of the 10 wins you need.  I think we win 3 and maybe sweep if we beat the Eagles.

The NFC South also matches up with the AFC North this year.  So, we all get to play the Steelers, Bengals, Browns, and Ravens.  Win 3 of these 4 (specifically Bengals, Browns, and Ravens) and you now have 10 wins.

So that brings you to the last two games to make up the 12 from the NFC.  These are the only games that will differ on our rival’s schedules.  We get the Packers and the Cardinals while the Saints drew the Vikings and Rams.  The Bucs got the Niners and the Bears while the Panthers drew the Seahawks and the Lions.  At first glance, I think we have the third easiest two games.  The Saints drew two power houses and the Hawks and Lions will be tough for the Kittens.  Our Birds have a real chance to take both these games.  Green Bay is tough, but we have owned them the last few times we’ve played.

The point I leave you with is this: winning 4 of 6 in the division is a must.  If the Falcons can grab 3 of 4 from the NFC East and 3 of 4 from the AFC North, then sweep the Packers and Cardinals, you not only have 12 wins, you likely have a first-round bye.  Now… with these birds, things rarely go as planned.  I pick us to lose to Green Bay and Seattle and we win.  But then we found ways to lose to Buffalo and Miami which should have been easy wins.  Right now I think the Bengals, Cards, Skins, Giants, Ravens, and Browns should be 6 easy wins… I bet we lose at least 2.

Of special note, we often debate in the Cage about “this game is huge” vs. others who say, “It’s just a game, they all count the same”.  Actually, they don’t all count the same.  Without going through every procedure (http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures), the basic order for tie-breakers is head-to-head, games within the division, games in common, and games within the conference.  So in terms of tiebreakers, all the games within the conference are more important than the AFC games.  In other words, if I can go 12-4 let me win all NFC games at the cost of the AFC games.

STAR TREK BRAIN GUY

                                                                                                                         Predictions!

  1. 2Thursday, Sep 6th@ Philadelphia 8:20 pm: Unlike the Dawgs, the Birds don’t get a cupcake out of the gate.  Yep, for the second straight year we get to play the defending world champs in their house.  Ugh, I’m sick already.  I still can’t believe Julio didn’t catch that ball.  I thought for sure we had that won.  We know that Wentz is not ready to open the season, but we get Foles who we couldn’t beat last year.  But I really think this is to our advantage.  It was the Eagles D and our inept O that beat us in the playoffs.  So, Foles and the Eagles attack doesn’t scare me.  Their D and the atmosphere do.  That city will be on tilt Thursday night.  And their fans are famous for their antics and vitriol.  Yeah, no cupcake here.  Couple that with us playing like garbage in the preseason and this has asswhoopin’ written all over it.  This will be a tough game, but we will stay calm and focused while the champs can’t channel their emotions.  I suspect some late hits and personal fouls against their D to swing the game in our favor.  Falcons 20 – Eagles 17 (1-0)
  2. Sunday, Sep 16th Carolina 1:00 pm: Unlike last year, we get a division foe early in the season.  In fact, we begin this 3-game homestand against the Panthers and Saints.  So, after our hard-fought win and sending notice to the league, we will have to control our emotion against two rivals.  I’ve made it clear that of these two, the Panthers are the inferior team.  They have a better defense, but the way to beat them is actually fairly simple.  They cannot defend a good passing attack and if you hit Cam… he falls apart.  What I really liked about our team last years was the growth of the D.  I expect that to be better this year.  Moving Beasley back to pass rushing and the growth of Tak to go with Deion Jones makes this a fearsome front 7.  Cam can’t throw for crap anyway, but our DBs are underrated.  So, keeping him from beating us with his feet is the key.  I predict we hit Cam a lot.  I see 4 sacks and a pick as the Birds win this easily.    Falcons 24 – Panthers 10 (2-0)
  3. Sunday, Sep 23rd New Orleans 1:00 pm:  I keep waiting for Drew Brees to retire or even regress. He is still elite though.  I hate to admit it, but a HOFer for sure and a pain in our backside.  While the formula to beating the Panthers is easy, the Saints pose a real problem.  Like us, they possess so many weapons.  But, their D is terrible.  My question is whether Sark has figured out this offense and can get it to live to its potential.  If so, we win a track meet.  If not… the Saints are just too much for our D to stop.  Our D will win us the first two games, but our O will be the reason this is our first loss.  Saints 31 – Falcons 27 (2-1)
  4. Sunday, Sep 30th Cincinnati 1:00pm:   Who plays for this team? AJ Green, Geno Atkins, and… let’s see… anyone else from Athens?  Definitely a struggling franchise who can’t seem a way to fire their coach.  This has easy win written all over it… Looking back, I picked us to beat the Bills in week 4 last year 31 – 6.  We lost that game.  This is one of those 6 easy wins that really makes me nervous.  The Bengals are not in our league offensively or defensively.  But why does it seem every year that we just blow some no brainers?  I fear this game will be way more difficult than it should be and we will all be wondering what happened to the world beaters that started the season 2-0, but I am gonna predict a win anyway.  I believe (based on nothing but pure homerism) that this team is on a mission.  This game will actually show us whether they are ready to go back to the Superbowl more than New Orleans or Philly.  The Falcons do that as they dominate an inferior team.  I predicted 31 – 6 last year and we lost.  Not this time my friends.    Falcons 31 – Bengals 6 (3-1)
  5. Sunday, Oct 7th @ Pittsburgh 1:00 pm: I wonder if Le’veon Bell will sit out the whole year?  Some reports have him coming to practice this week.  I understand this is the only pressure players have and I know they can be cut so they feel they have the right to renegotiate contracts… but I’m not a fan.  Julio’s holdout really bothered me.  I didn’t care for Devonta’s money issues last year.  I don’t have a solution, but I always think it affects chemistry.  Doesn’t feel too much like a “Brotherhood”.  Anyway, the Steelers… these guys are just tough all the time.  We’ve had some epics wins against them, but not lately.  I keep waiting for Ben to retire, but he must need the money for legal fees.  This game is our second trip to Pennsylvania, but to a much better city.  I suspect Bell to some back, but I also think that, like Jamaal Anderson, holdouts have a way of biting you in the ACL.  So, I don’t think he plays in this game.  I also think that while Ben can still sling it, he isn’t as mobile as he used to be and we knock him around like we did Cam.  On this day, it will be Atlanta’s rushing attack that carries the day.  Falcons 24 – Steelers 21 (4-1)
  6. Sunday, Oct 14th Tampa Bay 1:00 pm: Winston is the only thing this team has. They can play a little D and they tried to upgrade that to hang with us and the Saints, but their D is simply not enough to shut down Ryan and the fellas.  Jameis has talent, but like Cam he’s not mentally tough.  If you can show him different looks, you can confuse and frustrate him.  That leads to him forcing the issue.  The key is keeping ol’ crab legs from beating you with his feet or having early success in the passing game.  The Bucs aren’t good without Winston, and you can make them play without him even while he’s on the field. Falcons 35 – Bucs 13 (5-1)
  7. Monday, Oct 22nd New York Giants 8:15 pm:  Is Eli the most debated QB in the history of the NFL? The talking heads love to debate if this guy is any good, will he go the HOF, blah, blah, blah.  And speaking of holdouts, OBJ is another prima donna that brings disfunction to his team.  So, other than being from NY and the memories of the Yankees owning our Braves, does anything about this game worry you?  Saquon?  He may be a very good RB, and by the time we get here, we’ll know if he a ROY candidate.  If he is, then it will really help Eli who has talent at WR but needs a better running game.  So, this could be tough, but I don’t see the Giants challenging us on MNF in our house.  Plus, we have a little payback to deliver after that playoff debacle a few years back.    Falcons 28 – Giants 10 (6-1)
  8. BYE – Perfect timing.
  9. Sunday, Nov 4th @ Washington 1:00 pmThe BYE comes at a great time and is in between to easy NFC East opponents. The Birds are running away with the NFC and you guys all have us at 4-3 or 5-2 right now and think I’m delusional.  I am not.  I am hopeful.  I am optimistic.  But I am also 6 hours ahead of all of you, so remember I can see the future.  Oh, and the German beer is everything you’ve heard.  Truly amazing beer.  Back to the schedule, we get the Skins next.  This team was 7-9 last year, so not that far away from being a contender.  But they finally cut ties with the highest paid QB (annually) and got themselves Alex Smith (YOU LIKE THAT!).  Smith is and interesting QB and I keep trying to tell myself he isn’t that good, but he beat us a few years back in KC.  To be honest, I don’t know that he is much of an upgrade over the last guy.  The Redskins also lost Guice, though they signed AP and he is a freak.  The guy I worry about the most is Daron Payne eating up our RG.  But this lost will mainly be due to a loss of focus.  We have not played well coming off the BYE recently either.  That will continue, and Matt will have a rough day.   Redskins 17 – Falcons 13 (6-2)
  10. Sunday, Nov 11th @ Cleveland 1:00 pm:  Remember when everyone said it was harder to go 0-16 than 16-0? Now we have seen the Lions and the Browns do it.  As bad as the Saints and Falcons used to be when I was a kid, we never did that.  But, the Browns did have a lot of picks in the draft this year.  But it is way to early for them.  This is a 3-year rebuild with a rookie QB.  The Browns roster had a 59% turnover from last year.  They likely have beter players, but man that is a lot of new faces.  And the QB… Baker (I’m an ass) Mayfield.  The kid has fire, that’s for sure.  But like Winston, I’m not sure he manages his emotion.  He is also small.  Personally, I think the Browns drafted another Mansell.  Baker won’t give them problems off the field, but he isn’t good enough to do in the NFL what he did at Oklahoma.  I would say that the Birds will look sloppy here, but after losing at Washington, they will get their house in order.  Falcons 38 – Browns 13 (7-2)
  11. Sunday, Nov 18th Dallas 1:00 pm I actually miss living in Texas and listening to Cowboys talk radio. It is delicious when they lose.  We caught a break last year when we played them as they were without their RB, Elliot.  You remember that amazing 6 sack day from Clayborn.  We basically keyed on the passing game and had a dominating defensive performance.  The Cowboys will have Elliot this time, and that world class offensive line to block for him.  This will mean a world of difference for their offense.  Get ya’ popcorn, cause this one is gonna be a track meet.  We have the better QB and WRs, but they have the better OL.  It will come down to who can make that last crucial defensive stand.  It will hurt for a week, but it will be the Boys and not the Birds who do that.   Cowboys 33 – Falcons 31 (7-3)
  12. Thursday, Nov 22nd @ New Orleans 8:20 pmAh, our annual trip to worst city on the planet. The ENTIRE planet.  I have been to Haiti, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Baghdad, and Bagram.  I have even been to Cleveland, Philly, and Little Havana.  There are a lot of terrible places in the world, but New Orleans is the worst.  Combined with the worst people, ugh… I get sick just thinking about going there.  They should turn it into a nuclear test site.  God knows this and tried to destroy the city, you remember Katrina, but them folks are likely cock roaches and even God can’t kill them.  I hate the Saints, but so does our team.  We always play them tough and we will on this Thursday night.  Falcons 27 – Saints 24 (8-3)
  13. Sunday, Dec 2nd Baltimore 1:00 pmHello Flacco. I know, I know.  Don’t remind me that I wanted us to draft Dorsey and then Flacco.  What can I say, I really blew that one.  Thankfully we go the better QB.  Unfortunately, Flacco got a great D and played his ass off for one glorious playoff run.  So, for now, he has that one on us.  But he no longer has the impenetrable defense to rely on.  The Ravens are average at best and no match for the offensive juggernaut the Falcons will be rounding into at this point.  The Birds will win with relative ease and we will all wonder if Matt ever matched Joes in rings.   Falcons 27 – Ravens 17 (9-3)
  14. Sunday, Dec 9th @ Green Bay 1:00 pm:  The frozen tundra in December. Yikes!  Though, I don’t recall a lot of snow in early December.  So while it will be cold, unless some freak global warming rebound snow storm occurs, we should be ok.  So the only thing to fear here is Rodgers.  Yes, we have shellacked the Pack the last few years and really embarrassed them on the way to the Superbowl, but ol’ discount double douchebag is one hell of a QB.  The Birds aren’t the Patriots and won’t win 13 or 14 games.  They drop this one to A-A-Ron.   Packers 27 – Falcons 24 (9-4)
  15. Sunday, Dec 16th Arizona 1:00 pm The Cardinals bring some bird on bird hate crimes to Atlanta. I am always torn when we play them because I am a Jonesboro Cardinal and while I see Cardinals all the time, I’ve never seen a Falcon in person.  Though I imagine that would be terrifying.  Our Birds need a win.  With 2 division games on the road, we can’t afford to end the season on a 4-game losing streak.  9 wins might not get us in the tournament, so this will be a must win.  The Cardinals will have to fight the jetlag, but it won’t matter if they came in a week early, our Birds of prey will devour the Cards and lock up another playoff spot.  Falcons 31 – Cardinals 13 (10-4)
  16. Sunday, Dec 23rd @ Carolina 1:00 pm: I usually predict us splitting with Saints (we win there and they win here) sweeping either the Bucs or Panthers and then splitting with the last choice. Unlike past years, we don’t play the Saints very late in the season.  And by now either the Panthers’ or Bucs’ (or both) season is over.  Neither one of these teams plays with heart when their season is over.  Their only motivation is knocking us out of the playoffs.  But 2 days before Christmas, we will have already locked up a spot and will punish both rivals to earn the 2 seed.  Prepare yourselves as the Falcons end the season like the did in 2017 and get ready to feel that same excitement as they look like an unstoppable offensive force.  Falcons 38 – Panthers 10 (11-4)
  17. Sunday, Dec 30th @ Tampa Bay 1:00 pm: See 16. Winston is a mental midget and he won’t have anything but tears.   Falcons 31 – Bucs 7 (12-4)

 

BAD ASS KICKER

    What’s your Predictions???

 

Falcons Jags : The Cage Take

fail1

It’s only preseason.

In an interview before the Falcons Jaguars game Dan Quinn asserted that there are no rehearsals, that every game is the real thing. Still, wink wink, all NFL followers know that the preseason record really doesn’t matter. So things like dropped balls and tepid red zone offense ain’t nothing to worry about. Last preseason game the Falcons won was back on September 1, 2016– and since then, they’re the only NFC team to make the playoffs both years. So you could almost embrace “Rise Up / Preseason Doesn’t Matter,” as a Falcons slogan. Almost.


Game Commentary – As it Happened

SG
Not sure where Coy got his communication’s creds, but damn, cut back on the Red Bull. Back to 92.9 for audio.

medallion
ROFL.

SG
Love the play / personnel mix so far.

The Time is NOW
Catchable ball. Good protection. FG anyway.

John Waynesworld
Need a replay but it looked like Ridley was body catching that ball. Could be wrong.

Dewey
1st drive started like 2016, ended like 2017.

The Time is NOW
Good kickoff coverage by the Birds.

JB Falcon
“Cept Gage had him but missed. Gage doesn’t need any negatives at this time.

The Time is NOW
Good call, JB.

falcon21
With the Jacksonville RB’s being pretty good, this game should tell us if we need a little more beef on our D-line or not.

The Time is NOW
I noticed Grady, McClain, Shelby, and Crawford in that series. Shelby may have been DE. Might have missed somebody…

The Time is NOW
Nice tip by Alford!

John Waynesworld
Got to keep an eye on Oluakun’s injury. If he is out there will be a ton of snaps for Riley and Ellerbee or Smith?

The Time is NOW
Davis was open. Ice was short.

Dewey
Ball looked like it might have slipped coming out of his hand…way off target.

Dewey
Question:Who’s most important to the Falcons Ryan, Julio or Devonta?

The Time is NOW
Ryan!!!

The Time is NOW
I don’t like it!

John Waynesworld
1st sighting of a BS penalty call. Forgettaboutit.Downhill if they call these penalties in REAL games.

falcon21
Someone please explain to me how that was a penalty. How in the hell can he make a tackle without doing what he did? Sure he lowered his head but he hit him with his shoulder.

The Time is NOW
Bingo!

Dewey
Hoping during the regular season a play like that particular one won’t get called. Really wasn’t much more Kazee could do except go high and probably get run over.

The Time is NOW
Kazee will get some meaningful snaps this year…

John Waynesworld
These new penalty calls are ripe for corruption in gambling. Referees will be heavily influencing scores this season, killing some drives while extending others. I will be watching the big markets to see how penalties help versus hurt. We may also need to follow all these referees in their personal lives just to make sure they aren’t talking to Vinnie the Fixer. 😎

SG
Excellent point.

The Time is NOW
Near pick by… Kazee.

The Time is NOW
There’s a little pass rush!

The Time is NOW
LOL

Dewey
Ryan needs to throw the dam ball and let his receivers make a play.

The Time is NOW
Bethel downed the great Bosher punt.

JB Falcon
MR’s protection is not there.

falcon21
As Time NOW said, BINGO!!!

The Time is NOW
Oliver burned again. Rare missed open field tackle by Poole.

The Time is NOW
Way too many missed tackles on that drive…

JB Falcon
98 yard drive made easy by the defense. This ain’t purty at all!

The Time is NOW
Is it time for the annual third preseason game panic to set in yet?

falcon21
Not just yet, the Jag’s are a good team, we are still hanging in and missing many weapons.

SG
No

The Time is NOW
Nice tackle by Oluokun.

The Time is NOW
Nice lane for TeCo.

JB Falcon
Preseason is not the time to panic or get excited. It’s like going shopping with your wife. There is no “let’s do this and go”. No! It’s l-o-o-o-o-k-i-n-g at everything in the store!

The Time is NOW
Tough drop by Sanu. Ridley had one earlier. Get em out of your system now guys.

SG
Love the pass call on 3rd and one. Of course Free’s not playing but Sanu should’ve had.

JB Falcon
Well! I’ll be dipped is sh!t and rolled on the barber shop floor!! 4th and one and we are still calling stupid plays!

SG
Disagree😁

JB Falcon
That’s why I like you!

SG
Honored, my friend 😎

SG
Any thoughts why D looks taxed so early?

falcon21
Training camp ain’t what it used to be.

SG
Yes F21, I agree. But that would apply to the Jags as well.
I know we love our rotational schemes and we’re not using all the players that would normally be there, ie, Tru, Jones, etc., but we’re getting smoked. #justafannotworriedyet

falcon21
Anyone see Parker tonight? I know in the first preseason game he sit back and hoped someone else would make the tackle.

medallion
Any info on that? I’ve been wondering about Parker since last week’s preseason game. One non-official report of defensive snaps for that game indicated he played only one defensive snap.

falcon21
Don’t know Med, i will try to find something on him.

falcon21
He must not have been on the field tonight. There is nothing in the tackling department, his name wasn’t even listed.

The Time is NOW
Didn’t notice him, but I was trying to focus on the trenches…

SG
>>>Off Topic<<<
While we knew it was eminent, Senator John McCain has passed.

The Time is NOW
A man who lived his life in service to his country. He will be missed.

SG
There will be accolades coming in from every corner of the political sphere for political reasons.
McCain was, generally, above that hubris.
Personally, I thought he gave us all a pretty clear vision of how our government operates.
Not always pretty.

Bangkapi Ajarn
One of a dying breed – willig to put country ahead of party. Respect.

Arno
All I have is radio here. Seems the difference in the game is dropped balls by Ridley, Hooper, and Sanu?

SG
That would be a big part of it Mr. Chicago😎

The Time is NOW
They’ve looked better in the trenches. Score wise the drops probably made a difference. Zero 3rd down conversions for us…

The Time is NOW
Their ones (O)vs our twos (D) to start the second half…

The Time is NOW
A Saubert sighting!

The Time is NOW
Schaub has played well this preseason…

The Time is NOW
So Armstrong likes Gage as a gunner. Sounds like he is on the roster…

falcon21
Welcome to Ryan’s world Schaub.

falcon21
That works.

The Time is NOW
There’s a break on the second Ridley drop.

The Time is NOW
DT Garrison Smith has shown me nothing this series…

The Time is NOW
Zimmer showed out on his second snap.

The Time is NOW
The good: we moved the LOS into the backfield.
The bad: they scored anyway.
The ugly: they scored because of the confusion following a bad snap.
Almost a good goal line stand…

JB Falcon
I have accepted the first two preseason losses and will live with this one if they don’t pull it out. However, I have NOT seen enough of the first team to make me have a lot of confidence in this season. The stats so far in this game proves that Jax is the better team UNLESS DQ & Co are going out of their way to lead us to believe that this is all we have. ?

The Time is NOW
Reggie Davis- good ST tackle, even as 48 whiffed and almost knocked Davis off the returner (48 not listed on Falcons website).

The Time is NOW
Zimmer has been better than G. Smith.

Dewey
I asked this question earlier, but on my tablet it was last comment on previous page, so some might have missed it…Time answered, but here it is again…
Who’s more important for the Falcons, Ryan, Julio or Devonta?
I ask this because the Falcons are treating Julio and Devonta like China dolls, not wanting them to even get scratched before the season starts, yet they trot Ryan out there every week.
I’d be much more worried about Ryan getting injured than Julio or Devonta. All I can say is those 2 better ball out all season…no excuses.

JB Falcon
JJ and Free are both good players in positions that require toughness,… Neither one of the have it. Free leads with his head and JJ’s body is not in the physical shape it should be in. MR’s position requires less toughness however he more durable than either of them.

falcon21
Lol, look for hamstring injuries early in the season for both. Practice speed and game speed are different. When the adrenaline kicks in in a real game your body tries to do a little extra and the muscles just aren’t quite ready for it yet. As for your question, other than the O-line, Ryan is the heart of this team.

SG
Ryan is the key.

Bangkapi Ajarn
Dewey – Ryan by a lot. Consistent. Leader.Not replaceable.

Bangkapi Ajarn
First impressions as this thing winds down – Mehhhh
One week from Thursday the Falcons hot the spotlight worldwide, Thursday night football against the reigning Superbowl champs, first “real” game of the season, and I am thinking
A) The Eagles better suck under their returning QB or this could get ugly.
B) Falcons D is looking good in spots, (Kazee) weak in others (Oliver)but the run D seems to be paying the price for letting two key cogs for the D line walk over the offseason.
The O? I see nothing that tells me Sark will be able to get the O back to 30+ points/game. Red zone O is weak, O-line isn’t really opening run lanes for whoever, still having passes dropped in key situations, etc.
Feels like we are planting corn seeds and expecting to see Apple trees waiving majestically in the breeze next week. Just can’t see the team that went to the superbowl.

The Time is NOW
I haven’t noticed Cunningham tonight. Did anyone else?

John Waynesworld
I haven’t seen DT Cunningham take one defensive snap, unless it was ST and I missed it.

The Time is NOW
Thanks, JWW

The Time is NOW
Byrd may have a shot at the PS. That’s the second time I noticed him in a favorable way.

The Time is NOW
Benkert has potential. Hope we can get him to the PS. I think we should be able to…

JB Falcon
Well, I’m fixin’ to watch something besides after-game excuses. Bottom line is, from what I’ve seen this season, the Falcons been poorly prepared to face a decent competitor this year. I’ve had a bad case or “sick-as-sh!t-itis and they ain’t making me feel any better.

SG
Not worried.
Unless of course, we look as weird when all the first teamers return, as opposed to tonight’s cast of characters.


fail2

In three games. Twenty points. Total. 

Comment of the Game Award

“Preseason is not the time to panic or get excited. It’s like going shopping with your wife.” –JB Falcon


 

Falcons Chiefs: The Cage Take

HALVES

A tale of the Half and the Half Not

Opening drive, third and long, and Ryan-to-Hooper rescues the O from repeating last week’s opening dud. Falcons’ first half stiletto action rekindles our confidence for 2018. Ridley looks sharp, and with Julio honing the rookie’s instincts on the sidelines, the rest of the NFC South is duly warned. Alas, the second half – but first DQ must review the tape! No doubt he’ll take a very hard look. He’s jacked and pumped and ready to battle: Flowery Branch will feel the heat!


Game Commentary — As it Happened

The Time is NOW – There’s a little excitement!

JJ – Ridley, 35 yrd ko return, nice!

JJ – Not doing play by play but i will comment occasionally!

JJ – Hooper, nice 28yrd gain!

The Time is NOW – Fusco starting at RG.
Hooper showed up!

JJ – Damn, Coleman looks good for 15yds

The Time is NOW – Saubert on field with the ones.

The Time is NOW – Ryan to Hooper may be big this year.

JB Falcon – That’s the way you do it!

JJ – HOPPER TD!!! may have to look at him in ff, te2.

JJ – better playcalling with just a few plays but it’s better!

Falcon21 – It’s amazing what an offence can do when the o-line can block just a little.

John Waynesworld – Great drive kept alive by Ryan’s escapability and a Tight End sighting! Good stuff with Coleman too.

Mightymouse48 – Now that was a nice play call: Ryan fakes handoff and rolls left in the red zone – MR to Hooper (TE) all alone = TD! No shutout this week. No penalties on Falcons so far. Let’s see how the Falcons’ interior DL holds up vs Kareem Hunt (RB)

Falcon21 – Well i got my wish, O with a TD on first drive and D with a 3 and out.

The Time is NOW – Hardy tried to answer Ridley. Too bad about the penalty on Ito (who got a snap in the red zone).

Mightymouse48 – Never mind. Ito Smith (RB) draws 1st Falcons’ penalty with a block in the back. Poor Ito got fined $27,000 for lowering his head last week – though I didn’t see it as a flagrant foul.

The Time is NOW – At least 3 tight ends have gotten snaps in the first two drives.
Good protection, great throw and catch by Ridley.

Mightymouse48 – How ’bout that… a long ball and great catch by Calvin Ridley (WR). He took a shot there on the ground at the end of the play.

Falcon21 – Great catch? If it hits your hands you catch it.

Mightymouse48 – You still have to get to the ball – right?

Falcon21 – Ahh yeah, i reckon that is what a receiver is supposed to do.

The Time is NOW – Fusco’s man made the 3rd down tackle.

JB Falcon – I don’t understand why they went for the fourth and two. Take the three, 10-0

The Time is NOW – How many times can you simulate that kind of pressure in practice?

Mightymouse48 – Wasn’t to proud of that 4th and 2 play call….. difficult throw to Ridley under pressure. Ball goes over to Chiefs.

John Waynesworld – The KC defense bowed up a bit. Our offense looks a bit confused but our confusion appears to be confusing them at times.

The Time is NOW – Aw Tak!

JB Falcon – D better step up!

The Time is NOW – Riley took the wrong angle.
D line getting good pressure.

Arno – Does DQ has refs in practice calling these helmet shots?

Mightymouse48 – No one covering Hunt there …. will be a long night for Falcons’ LB’s on passes to the Chiefs’ RB’s/TE’s without Deion Jones out there.

Mightymouse48 – TD Chiefs to Hunt- but wait-illegal formation Chiefs. Play called back. Looks like the Falcons last week.

The Time is NOW – Good goal line stand by the twos.

The Time is NOW – There were some starters out there…

The Time is NOW – Sambrailo playing this week.

Mightymouse48 – Schaub takes over after Chiefs FG: 7-3 Birds. MR certainly looked better – OL did too.

The Time is NOW – Nice catch by Gage.

The Time is NOW – Hardy can’t afford many drops…

Mightymouse48 – Nice play to 6th Rd pick Russell Gage (WR). Got some springs in those legs- skied for that one.

The Time is NOW – Ridley made a nice seal block on the second impressive Ito run.

JB Falcon – Gage is going to be an asset.

Mightymouse48 – Falcons OL lookin’ good over all. Ito getting some room to take it inside. Schaubs got a nice drive working so far. I like that rookie Gage in the red zone. Hope they give him a shot there.

The Time is NOW – I like to see Julio talking to Ridley after Ridley’s 1st down catch!

Falcon21 – Yeah he said keep making catches and you can hold out like i did in a few years and stay on the side lines in pre-season. Lol, just kidding Time NOW

Mightymouse48 – Naw – he said “Are you trying to get my job rook?”

Mightymouse48 – Unlike last week the Falcons OL is dominating so far. Wish they would try something beside going up the middle on 1st down in the red zone. Reggie Davis (WR) 1st down. Nice blocking there.

The Time is NOW – I saw Jamil Douglas on the field in the red zone.

Mightymouse48 – Nice observation Time.

Falcon21 – Agree on the O-Line, much better than week.

Falcon21 – Last

The Time is NOW – Schaub is spreading the ball around.

The Time is NOW – Gotta love it Cage!

Falcon21 – Hardy better step up or Hardy won’t be a Falcon.

Mightymouse48 – Calvin Ridley (WR) gets a TD in the red zone. 14-3 Birds dominating. No JJ – no problem.

JB Falcon – My beer is starting to taste better after every play.

Mightymouse48 – Where’s mine J?

JB Falcon – I mailed it.

The Time is NOW – Kazee playing the robber…

JB Falcon – This play calling is really dull.

The Time is NOW – There’s Saubert!

Mightymouse48 – Kazee looks like starting material to me. The light has gone on for him and he’s playing smart and fast.

The Time is NOW – Ito has good hands, even if he couldn’t get both feet down.
Mightymouse48 – Saubert looking like a different player out there. Could beat out Hooper at some point.

The Time is NOW – Got beat at the line of scrimmage on 4th down.

JB Falcon – Somebody didn’t perform their block on that 4th and one.

Mightymouse48 – 4th and short = 0 for 2 so far. Two scoring drives that netted zero points.

The Time is NOW – Good open field tackle by Riley.

The Time is NOW – Outrageous

John Waynesworld – That wouldn’t have happened with our starters, at least not that uncoordinated. Lessons learned in high school though. DC fail, imo.

Mightymouse48 – Yo that was double ugly…Falcons call time out for whatever reason with 28 seconds remaining. The DL takes a play off and Mahomes gets off a bomb on a route that takes about a week to execute to the fastest guy on the field- TD to Tyreek Hill (from where I live, Douglas, Ga.) Ain’t nobody in the NFL going to stay with him that far downfield. When you snooze you lose. 14-10 Birds at the half.

Falcon21 – Who was 32? He never looked back at the ball, it could have easily been batted down. I understand on a short pass but that ball was in the air a long time.

Mightymouse48 – Think #32 is Tyson Graham UDFA (S) but I’m not blaming this on him. Mahomes had to much time.

Falcon21 – Gotcha but you should never let him get over the top.

SG – Overall, much improved.
Love bringing the TEs into the scope of things – now keep ‘em there.
Yeh, I’m still a big Hooper fan. Thinking Saubert may be an actual diamond in the rough.
Hopefully, Sark’s creativity will rise to every occasion, w/ every personnel package in every quarter of every game, pre, reg, post season game this year.

SG – Nice IV w/ Sanu. Good man.

The Time is NOW – Oliver has not impressed me thus far…

SG – Yeh, waiting.

JB Falcon – He just FU’ed bad.

SG – Henne will not be a HOF QB but he’s always had a nice touch coupled w/ decent field vision.

The Time is NOW – Ito will not be the return man…

SG – Would love to see Benkert w/ team 1 receivers

The Time is NOW – Benkert looked like a UDFA. I’m glad that tape is out there. Better chance to sneak him onto the PS.

SG – He’s got a lot to prove, Time. But I like his poise, arm strength, scrambling – tho all against second teamers, something I like so far.

Mightymouse48 – Falcons still need what they needed before the draft – a dominating interior presence on OL/DL. Maybe next year…think I said that last year.

The Time is NOW – Nice open field tackle by Chris Lammons.

JB Falcon – Yeah, I had to look his number up.

Mightymouse48 – How come we haven’t seen the great Julio Jones?

Falcon21 – Your last 4 words is the answer.

Mightymouse48 – Thee are some holes to run through but the RB’s aren’t hitting them. Keep your head up and your eyes open!

The Time is NOW – The special teams looked good until now. According to DQ there are about 6 roster slots that have yet to be decided.

JB Falcon – Ho Hum, back to solitaire. Hope no one on the first team gets hurt.

Mightymouse48 – Well I thought Calvin Ridley (WR) showed he’s a starter and the answer as kick returner – though I doubt they use him there. Falcons have appeared to shut it down for the evening. Pass rush pretty much extinct. End of 3rd. Anyone seen Beasley tonight? Better than last week I suppose. To early to get concerned.

The Time is NOW – I didn’t notice Beasley. I did notice that the first team D played well…

Mightymouse48 – Question – Is Vic Beasley 1st team?

The Time is NOW – He probably won’t play many first downs, but he’ll be on the field on 3rd down passing situations.

JB Falcon – Beasley is first team. He’ll be there when they need him.

JB Falcon – No concern here. Kicked butt when we had too and now it’s time for the rookies to try to earn a spot. It’s called preseason.

JB Falcon – That automatic first down rule sucks. 2nd and 20, incomplete pass so we get a five yard penalty and give them a first down?

Mightymouse48 – FG for KC: 20-14 Chiefs. We can still pull this out….. no more two yards and a cloud of dust-bombs away! I want to see Garrett Grayson.

The Time is NOW – That was on Benkert. Maybe we will be able to get him through to the PS.

Mightymouse48 – I think we were a bit premature on anointing Bankert. Boy that was smelly.

The Time is NOW – Surprisingly, I find myself unconcerned at the moment. A feel good preseason loss?

JB Falcon – Agree.

Mightymouse48 – Blank looks like a sad bloodhound that ate a sour ball.

JB Falcon – Still no worries. We’ll be there when it counts.

Mightymouse48 – Just finish with no major injuries and get serious next week.

The Time is NOW – Good ST tackle by Oliver.

JB Falcon – Oliver makes a good play and backs it up with a bad one. We’ll see.

Falcon21 – Well I’ve seen about 15 players that could easily be cut tonight and I’m being nice. All in all I’m good with a much better showing in the first half.

JB Falcon – You and and me both.

Mightymouse48 – Think I will call it an evening guys… yawn. Better than last week at least.

The Time is NOW – Nice open field tackle by Celestin. I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the PS.

JB Falcon – He’s a keeper for sure.

The Time is NOW – Nytol


half

Comment of the Game Award

” It’s amazing what an offence can do when the o-line can block just a little.” –falcon21