Falcons Edge Dolphins
Hey, a win’s a win, especially when the Falcons had so few of them last year. It was nice to get a W, even if it was just preseason. In fact this was the first time they’d won a preseason game in the last 5 attempts in preseason, going 0-4 last year and losing the last game of 2012 to the Jaguars. Mike Smith says that he doesn’t care about winning in preseason, but that 0-4 mark last year led straight into the plane crash of 2013. As usual in preseason, the Falcons had some good signs and definitely looked bad in others. To the game that was…………………
Ryan, Roddy, Offense on Point sans Julio
The offense looked great. Roddy was back in his groove and it was cool hearing him talking about being a “Falcons for Life.” Matt Ryan looked particularly sharp in his debut and all this is without stud Julio. The Falcons really do have a lot of weapons to use in 2014, and the hope is that OC Dirk Koetter uses them to the best of their ability. Frankly, that’s the only way the Falcons have a chance judging from the perennially terrible defense.
What is this 4-2-5 Crap?
This is where Falcons fans become outright infuriated with head coach Mike Smith. Mike Nolan has run a 3-4 defense for his entire career before Atlanta with very good results, they go out and sign a true 1 technique nose tackle in Paul Soliai, sign a 5 technique in Tyson Jackson, and seemingly have a few stand up edge rushers in Jonathan Massaquoi, Biermann, Osi Umenyiora, and Stansly Maponga. So………..Mike Smith and Mike Nolan decide to go with a: 4-2-5 defense? This is just standard Mike Smith. Almost a feeling of cutting your nose off to spite your face. To be frank: what the hell? Josh Wilson is going to be a starter? It just reeks of old Smittyball and doing things that make no sense. Many fans believe that Smith is trying to fool people and his opponents. Dawg, you’ve had one of the worst defenses in the NFL over 6 years. It might be time to give up that strategy.
Zero Pass Rush………..Surprising, Right?
This has taken a life all on it’s own and maybe it will be better and it’s only one game, but anyone hoping to see a pass rush from a Mike Smith defense should go talk to George Strait about some ocean front property in Arizona. Massaquoi showed some promise, as did rookie Prince Shembo, but having Biermann put his hand in the dirt is a joke. It’s obvious that this team will win with Ryan, Roddy, and the offense. But the defense at least has to make life uncomfortable for the opposing quarterbacks. Brees x 2, sCam x 2, Stafford, Cutler, Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer will be more deadly than Tannehill. Mike Smith has a pass rush defect.
Start Antone Smith or Stop Coaching
Anyone following the Falcons knows it. He continues to prove it almost every time he touches the ball. 5 carries, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns. That was last year. Game one, Smith had a 76 yard TD called back and another huge reception as well. This kid should absolutely be the Atlanta Falcons starting running back………period. Antone Smith has done a magnificent job of pushing the critical mass over the edge with his head coach. No longer can Coach Smith give bullshit reasons on why he doesn’t get the ball. Devonta Freeman looked good too, but Antone Smith should be the Day 1 starter vs. the Saints, regardless of whether or not Steven Jackson is healthy or not. If not, Coach Smith should tell Arthur Blank that he’d prefer to switch to the Atlanta MLS soccer team in 2017.
Should SJax Take Away Carries Upon Return?
No. This is where Smitty’s beloved fetish for veterans will be put to the test. Both Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman have shown that they should be in good hands at running back. And that’s not to mention that Jacquizz Rodgers and Josh Vaughn showed plenty of excellent depth at that position. Smith loves his veterans and that has been an issue with fans going forward. Everyone loves SJax the person and team leader, but it’s time to give these younger guys the bulk of the carries.
Free Safety an Alarming Concern
It’s only one preseason game, but as every fan knew ahead of time, free safety has been one of the few positions that have been poorly addressed. Dimitroff and Co. did a good job of addressing most positions, but the one that really bugged fans was the failure to add in a free safety. They decided to cut Thomas DeCoud (who was mostly awful), but he had made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2012. The saying goes that you shouldn’t make a rash decision unless you have a readymade backup plan in place. They cut DeCoud and…………. didn’t do anything. Dez Southward seems to be a reach, Dwight Lowery was an injury risk (which has reared it’s ugly head already), Zeke Motta looks to be out for the year, and Kemal Ishmael very much underwhelmed in his debut. There were a plethora of safeties on the market in free agency and they didn’t seem interested at all. This reeks of the right boat-sink mess that ravaged right guard after Harvey Dahl left. Hey, we’ll see, but right now
Was Devin Hester Worth It?
The short answer is NO. Huge contract of a player that is only a special team player for a lot of money. It’s only one preseason game so we really shouldn’t make rash judgements, but if Hester doesn’t produce in the return game and he doesn’t factor in to the receiving game, than that’s a whole lot of money for a niche type of player. And especially when tight end and free safety have seemingly gaping holes. With the money they spent Hester, they could have easily shored up free safety with a grizzled veteran.
Field Goal Falcons
If Mike Smith “doesn’t care about preseason wins” then why not go for wins and show your toughness in getting into the endzone Yes, we won the game, but for Falcons fans this smacks of the Smittyball BS on never trying to put the foot on the opponents neck and finish the game; How many times have the Falcons allowed the opposition to come back in the last minute? Expect a lot of close fought games in 2014, as is Smitty’s fetish of hyper-conservatism.
Hang your Hat on Mass
With all due respect to Biermann, the Falcons will most likely get a pass rush from the Troy product Jonathan Massaquoi. He’s entering his 3rd year and it’s time for him to assume the role of pass rusher. He looked really good on Friday night both rushing the passer and shedding blocks. The Falcons are starved for pass rushers and Mass looks to be the main Falcon to be able to get after the QB.
Put Reedy Over Hester as WR
The beauty of training camp is the drama of of guys just trying to either make the roster or even get a place on the practice squad, but Bernard Reedy is really making a case to get meaningful snaps at this point. This guy has come in and done everything possible to be a legitimate option for the Falcons outside of just making the team. He’s impressed in camp, at Friday Night Lights, and done well in his first preseason game. In fact, he’s done more to show he’s worthy of more snaps than specialty player Devin Hester. It’s hard to believe Reedy not only makes the team, but may see some real action in 2014. The idea of Julio, Roddy, HD, and now Reedy is mouth-watering to fans.
Great Defensive Depth
This may be the best defensive depth that the Falcons have fielded in the Coach Smith era. Prince Shembo, Ricardo Allen, Ra’Shede Hageman and even newly signed Tyrell Johnson showed that they have what it takes to not just make the roster, but maybe vie for actual snaps in the real season. Smith, Nolan, and Dimitroff deserve some major credit for getting this defensive depth in order after the boatsink of 2013.