Atlanta Falcons Trounced in Houston

Falcons Dominated from Start to Finish by Texans

So Very Ugly

They didn’t gameplan. They didn’t play their first string very long. The team didn’t take it serious. They don’t like preseason, as Roddy White said. They want to avoid injuries. Enough with the excuses!!! There is never any excuse to get completely dominated in every facet of the game from start to finish the way the Falcons did on Saturday night. It shouldn’t matter when, where, or what type of game you play, if you’re a team that really has aspirations of going the distance, then you should never get embarrassed like that. Every team loses games, but losing isn’t the same as getting demolished.

Fans will either chalk this one up to preseason or they will use this is a prime example that something’s awry in Flowery Branch. The optimistic fans took a major hit, the realistic fans became more morose, and the pessimistic fans are headed to the roof. The Falcons better come out guns blazing next week, because if they are anywhere near last night’s performance, Arthur Blank will likely be looking at a lot of empty seats this season. To the horror show that was………..

Is Smith’s Seat Getting Warm?

No, because it was a preseason game after all (albeit a really, really terrible one). If the season doesn’t go the way the Falcons and their fans want, stamping the reason for the failure likely won’t start with a preseason blowout. After all, the Texans were embarrassed just last week and came back with a roar vs. our Falcons and eased their own fans fears. There’s a slight difference though: the Texans have a brand new coach, Smith is in year 7.

Clowney & Co. own Offense

His seat isn’t getting warm yet, but the last thing that Smith needed was to give a display like that and bring with it all the bad memories of the 2014 trainwreck that was. In fact, an interesting little tidbit: of the teams with the 10 worst records, Mike Smith was only 1 of 4 coaches that survived. And of those 4, he was the only one that wasn’t a rookie head coach. That tells you all you need to know right there. If this lingers into the regular season, than his seat will get blazing hot.

Defense is a Joke

How else to say it? There’s really not. The Falcons can’t generate any pass rush. They have issues tackling. They look lost in coverage and their communication is still bad in game 2. What was supposed to be a supposed strength in nickel back, looks to be a huge weakness right now. They’ve been torched by two quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick, while good, certainly aren’t elite. Despite a few bright spots here and there (Worrilow, Massaquoi, Trufant, and Alford), this defense seems to be getting worse by the snap. At this point, it almost has a feel of being a lost cause. Perhaps Smith and Nolan should just start running the prevent defense on every play, knowing they will score but at least making the opponent take more time doing so.

Do Not Sit Freeman and A. Smith

Ryan a Rough Night

The Falcons are in good hands at running back, and that includes Steven Jackson remaining on the sidelines, except for specialty situations. Jackson could still contribute, but fans are just waiting for Mike Smith to pull the plug on this promising and extremely talented duo in favor of an RB that is past his prime. Classic Smitty. And with all due respect to Jacquizz Rodgers, Freeman and Smith should get the vast majority of the carries. Both are versatile, quick, and fast. Freeman does a better job of pass blocking, but Antone Smith is too fast and talented to not give touches to throughout the game. Maybe the duo will force Smith’s hand and push it over the edge of critical mass. But even that might not keep them in the starting lineup.

The Matthews Era Begins at Left Tackle

Best wishes to Sam Baker and no one wants to see one of their players get hurt, regardless of how they’ve played in the past. But Falcons fans knew this was likely coming all too well. The fact that Baker has been so injury prone in his career was the biggest argument for drafting Jake Matthews (or best available OT) in the draft. It was a win-win, either they get a stud at right tackle in the best case scenario or they get a future franchise left tackle. That day has come much sooner than anyone had hoped. To be sure, there will be some growing pains and there will be uncertainty at right tackle, but they should be in decent shape going forward. Ryan Schraeder and Lamar Holmes will battle it out for the RT spot, but they already got baptized by fire last year. Even before the injury, Baker was having a bad night, getting beat like a drum by rookie Jadeveon Clowney.

Hageman and Shembo Should Start, Reedy Up the Chart

Pick 6 and Blocked Punt

Jake Matthews appears to be the only rookie currently starting, but that should change. Ra’shede Hageman and Prince Shembo have shown that they are the best option at their respective positions. Both rookies have done extremely well in the limited chances they’ve had. It’s true that their success has come against 2nd and 3rd team units, but they deserve the chance to show their stuff with the starters. Bernard Reedy seems to be moving into a spot on the depth chart, but he should also get looks with the first team. If OC Dirk Koetter truly wants a 4 wide receiver offense, than Reedy would fit perfectly with Julio, Roddy, and HD. Even over Devin Hester.

Tight End, Free Safety are Major Holes

Baker Out for Year

Fans have seen this coming for awhile, but it’s sadly coming to fruition. The Falcons did a pretty good job addressing many needs on the team via free agency and the draft, but two positions they did a poor job of was free safety and tight end. Dwight Lowery got his first action at free safety, but he looked hesitant and that’s understandable with someone who’s had a bunch of concussions. Dezmen Southward and Kemal Ishmael have shown a few bright spots, but they are not NFL ready at this juncture. At tight end, Levine Toilolo is a ghost. He caught two passes for 19 yards in the opener, but didn’t catch one vs. the Texans. Perhaps he’ll get it going, but right now it doesn’t look very promising. Mickey Schuler and Jacob Peterson have had a few moments in the pass game, but overall, this isn’t a very strong unit. Dimitroff should be scouring the waiver wire for help after the cuts come down.

Renfree Surpassing Yates

Yates continues to underwhelm in his pursuit for the backup job behind Matt Ryan. After the Falcons traded Akeem Dent to the Texans for Yates, it seemed an almost lock that Yates would be the number 2, but Sean Renfree has played superior to Yates thus far. His stat reads as follows: 11 for 23, 2 INTs, 0 TDs, and a 42.4 QB rating. Renfree went 7 for 10 last night with a touchdown and looks the better option at this point. He appears in the lead right now.

Stats Corner

TJ Yates – 4 for 12, 63 yards, 2 INTs

Matt Ryan – 3 for 7, 37 yards

Sean Renfree – 7 for 10, 49 yards, 1 TD

Devontae Freeman – 6 carries, 31 yards

Antone Smith – 8 carries, 27 yards

Josh Vaughn – 5 carries, 18 yards

Jacquizz Rodgers – 3 carries, 13 yards

Julian Jones – 1 rec, 29 yards

Julio Jones – 2 rec, 20 yards

Mickey Shuler – 2 rec, 19 yards

Jacob Peterson – 1 rec, 19 yards

Roddy White – 1 rec, 17 yards

Devin Hester – 2 rec, 15 yards, 1 TD

William Moore – 6 tackles

Paul Worrilow – 8 total tackles

Kemal Ishmael – 3 total tackles, 1 INT

Fantasy Impact

A really terrible game to watch if you’re thinking of drafting any Falcons. Matt Ryan had a short and bad night, where the offensive line only looks marginally better and his timing was off with Julio Jones. Speaking of Jones, he’s too talented to pass up, but it may take some time for him to get in his groove. Roddy White looked like his old self in game 1, but only managed one catch in game 2. While Devin Hester got some looks on offense, he isn’t worth drafting for his rapidly diminishing return skills. Devontae Freeman and Antone Smith look very promising, but the concern is that Coach Smith won’t continue to give them carries and starts. William Moore and Paul Worrilow may be good options for IDP leagues, but that’s about it.

392 thoughts on “Atlanta Falcons Trounced in Houston

  1. darrell starks

    Offensive line you must give big props specially Lamar Holmes who look real nice last night, Hawley even showed up and played well.

    Hawley and Lamar play like this the entire season this OL will be solid, no disrespect to Baker and his injury but him getting hurt was the Major transition for the OL that could be what the doctor order, my biggest concern is still at center, so hopefully Hawley can improve every week.

    GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. darrell starks

    Yakes no way he make this team, should be cut come Wednesday, Renfree is very solid should get the backup role.


    GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ken Strickland

    Just had a thought, and yes it does happen occasionally. Signing Weems might be a signal that we intend to lessen DHester’s return duties & increase his WR duties. The Bears had him do both, & it caused him to suffer as a returner & receiver. I didn’t get to see the gm, so I could tell how often Nolan dialed up blitzes. If we got 2 sacks & pressure based on a minimal number of blitz attempts, then we have a definite idea of how he intends to generate an effective pass rush.

    One thing continues to give me hope, and that is, as bad as our pass & run blocking, pass rush & rushing DEF, & short yardage OFF & DEF were last yr, we were within 1-7 pts in 7 of the 12 gms we lost. This yr our OL, RB & WR situations have all improved significantly. Our DL & secondary have also improved. The only questionable position in my mind on DEF is at LB, which should improve with the replacement of Biermann at OLB. He’s just not getting it done in any phase of the gm to this point. Bartu is a much better option. Shembo & Worrilow at ILB with Bartu & Massaquoi at OLB would be our best & most versatile combination of LBs.

  4. darrell starks

    Defense has major issue, Falcons have no pass rusher at all, TD must make a trade or see if he could find a pass rusher of the waiver wire because cap issue, so let see what TD can do come cut day.

    Tyson Jackson have not showed me anything this preseason, would like see Hageman started beside Bab, Soliai, the Bier man might get cut come Wednesday he also have been horrible, Maponga look nice and Massaquoi must step up to plate and do better.

    Free Safety is a major issue also Lowery and Wilson are both horrible, Falcons must move Arenas or Macclain to safety.

    GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. darrell starks











    GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. darrell starks









    GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Unca' Bob

    I have not caught up yet on some previous posts, but, good luck to all with todays draft. Cake and ice cream for all. My auto-draft is set up and ready to go. I’ll check in later to see what I’ve won!

  8. SinIsIn

    As usual, SW, you bring the wisdom 🙂 i doubt they let Bier go, but we easily could if we were truly to committed to talent over experience. If Yates isn’t off this team, I may send some loogie covered hate mail in to The Branch. Dude sucks, in fact, as much as I hated Dent, Texans got the better end of that deal, no contest.

  9. SinIsIn

    *FFL* YAY its draft day! Good luck everybody, I know I’m already getting a stress headache 😉 I mean that in as positive a way as possible, of course!

    Btw, LRD, I still owe you some $. I took a long weekend this week, had vacation time to burn before end of Aug or it was forfeit, so I haven’t picked up my check to deposit yet. I’m back to work tomorrow though, so I’ll get on it! Thanks for being patient, everybody, my season would be a lot emptier without this league to play in!

  10. Seminole Warrior


    JJ, the time draws near. The study is about to be replaced by the process. I certainly hope that “Don” and “Mike” are proud of what we are attempting to do today.

    Favorite Gunny, good luck with the auto picks and again, Happy Birthday to the First Lady from the Tee Pee. Semper Fi!!

    All others, best wishes in your drafting as well. As I said in the league email, the approach is new and the desire is fierce to start a new era for the team owned by Tee Pee Sports.

    LRD, I am assuming no news is good news and that my account has been satisfied. Bank records from the Caymans say so…LOL.

    ***Regular Programming***

    Sinisin, it is high time to cut bait with some of these guy like the Bier Truck and a few other “overpriced” veterans. They bring little to nothing to the roster and are holding back the potential of young studs that, in my opinion, we can not fairly evaluate.

  11. dawsondevitt Post author

    Falcons just trimmed their roster to 75 players……….No real shockers here:

    The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have waived defensive end Theo Agnew, linebacker Brendan Daley, linebacker Darin Drakeford, safety Devonta Glover-Wright, wide receiver Julian Jones, quarterback Jeff Mathews, linebacker Walker May, running back Jerome Smith, wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, and tight end Brian Wozniak. The club also placed offensive lineman Mike Johnson and linebacker Marquis Spruill on injured reserve, in addition to placing wide receiver Drew Davis and safety Zeke Motta on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and released safety Tyrell Johnson.

  12. sinisin


    This may be insanely early, but I have already put up a trading block and am taking offers. Don’t want two TEs w the same bye (durp) and worse, I SOMEHOW confused Arian Foster for Adrian Peterson…no wonder he was still there in the 2nd round. I happen to hate Arian Foster, so he’s also on the block.

    *sorry to the cage members who do not care about my FF problems, wasn’t sure where else to post it 🙂

  13. dawsondevitt Post author

    A little curious they let go of Matthews, hell, they should have gone ahead and cut TJ Yates and gave Matthews some work in the final preseason game.

    And the Mike Johnson experiment is officially OVER!!!!! With Spruill out, it would be nice to have Akeem Dent in tow.

  14. sinisin

    TY for the update D3, I am also surprised (read: annoyed) that they didn’t let Yates go. Dude is a waste of a roster spot in ever sense of the word…

  15. Seminole Warrior

    Dear Duchess

    We can use your logic for Mike Johnson as well. I mean, damned, how many times has this dude been on IR. I think he has a personalized parking spot at Piedmont Hospital by now, right next to Sam Baker’s. Geezz.

  16. sinisin

    SW – ok, that was funny! But don’t folks on IR not count against our roster capacity? I am unsure, but thought that was the case…

  17. Seminole Warrior

    They do not but they seem determined to make Baker and Johnson “Hall of Famers” when in fact they should simply head down I-75 south to Landmark Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep (The Georgia Giant) and apply to sell cars or something.

  18. Greg Mendel

    Ken S.:

    Interesting point you made earlier about the 1-7 point differential in last year’s losses. I’ve thought about that, too, and found it significant. Losing is losing, but lopsided losses (especially among 12 games) would suggest deeper problems and a more challenging rebound. Considering the inarguable factor of key injuries last year, I see no obvious reason to worry too much about 2014 being a disaster. Our hot-shot receivers are back, our running game should improve, and improvements have been made to both lines. I don’t dismiss the Smitty factor, but I simply will not give it more weight than I think it deserves. At the end of the season, I think Smith’s flaws and merits over the entire period of his tenure will be assessed by A. Blank.

  19. Arno

    “A little curious they let go of Matthews, hell, they should have gone ahead and cut TJ Yates and gave Matthews some work in the final preseason game.” –DD

    If fans suspect the FO wants to save face at the expense of developing new players, who can blame us? I guess Yates will get a substantial portion of game 4– but the way he’s playing, it hurts other guys trying to make the squad. He looked tentative, confused, telegraphed his throws, even walked into a sack– depressing to the whole offense.

  20. JJ

    Thanks to all that showed up for our 6th annual SarahB Cage FFL:
    – D3
    – JWW
    – LRD
    – Sinsin
    – SW
    – Unca’ Bob
    – Snacktastic
    – Coop
    – WR

    Thanks for a great draft and incredible NFL experience!!!!

  21. JB Falcon

    The first fifteen cuts were no brainers. Now, we’ve got to waive 22 and keep 10 for the practice squad, two more than last year. So, I may be wrong here, but it seems like we’re going to have to get rid of some regulars in order to keep some of our favorite rookies. I seems like most cagers think we should have waived Yates, and I agree, and kept Matthews, who may end up on the practice squad. Waiving Yates would make the FO look stupid so they will probably keep him, which is a sign of the old school crap we’re used to. I’ve liked Starr from the start and agree with SW, they should keep him and let him play LB. Shembo is a keeper as well as Ishmial plus I think players with Reedy’s speed are hard to find.
    I would like to be a fly on the wall next Saturday when all this takes place at the castle.
    Seems to me that there wasn’t a lot of activity in the cage during the last game, the most important one, and I’m hoping things pick up as the season goes on. I’m still here, trying to drum up business since I’ve done seen this NCIS two times. I realize folks have places to go and people to see and other things to do, so when you get back to the cage, read up and pick the players you think we will keep and who you think will be let go from last year’s 61.

  22. PoolerSpirit

    I agree that we should’ve gone ahead and cut ties with Yates, and kept Mathews and given him some time after Renfree in the last pre-season game… He looked pretty good in the very short time he had in the Dolphins game, and I think he can make the 53, not this year, but maybe next year, certainly by the year after next while gaining experience in the Falcons system during practices.

    Would’ve like to see more of Freeman with the first team OLine vs. the Titans…

    Like’d seeing Shembo with the #1 defense, and thought he had a pretty good game. Believe we’ll see a lot of him this year…

    Also think we can cut the Bier Truck… haven’t seen anything out of him this preseason, and think his roster spot could be better used in developing Maponga, who I think is a better talent.

    Hope Lowery’s over his blown coverages and won’t have many of them in the regular season, or else we need to pick somebody up off the cut pile and plug them in at free safety.

  23. Greg Mendel

    I don’t care who we keep, as long as they agree to a 2-ounce transfusion of blood from Claude Humphrey.

  24. JB Falcon

    Greg, I agree about Humphrey but I think he was a tackle or a guard. We need a free safety for the middle.

  25. ajarnbangkapi

    Not sure what we learned last night, other than the squad DID show some life in what will likely be our last look at the starting day lineup. Bottom line, we still took a loss. Silver linings be dammed, preseason be damned, how about remembering how to win, create that culture that we NEED a W, losing is unsatisfactory. Don’t see it. Inertia helps, lack of inertia hurts.

    How can we stun the world with a win against the sainted ‘Aints in week 1 without that inertia, without that deep, deep knowledge that we WILL win, somehow, someway. We can’t be a freight train crawling out of the station, we need to be a flaming ball of nasty shooting out of a slingshot, a bolo that has been spinning at light speed before release, an arrow aimed at the Black Saint heart that has a bow string pulled almost to the breaking point with tension, straining urgently to turn that potential into kenetic lethality aimed at those who DARE to enter our house with expectations of victory.

    Anyone expecting a speech like that from Smitty? Anyone?

    I am still worried about the first team D, there were flashes last night but consistency was lacking – That team, as they played, won’t be able to stop the Saints.

    Rays of hope – the new O-line, with Holmes/Matthews bookends, seemed to be better at opening run lanes, but Matthews is predictably and understandably, starting a new learning curve on the left two short weeks before the regular season. Nothing on the kid, I have very high hopes, but growing pains are imminent. Run game should improve.

    I join the chorus regarding QB Matthews, but he may still be around for the practice squad. Hold on to Yates as a trade chip if someone gets hurt and they want a seasoned backup to step in for a mid round draft pick.


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