Will the Real Atlanta Falcons Please Show Up?

Special Guest Writer: Roddy E. Nixon, Jr. AKA Seminole Warrior

Same Old Sad Song

In the heat of the night, I’ve got troubles on the wall.  In the heat of the night – must be an ending to it all.  But hold on; it won’t be long if you be strong – and it’ll be alright. 

In the heat of the night; In the heat of the night.

The fellows at the Branch complex are starting to feel a little heat as the Falcons Nation is in a state of confusion at this point in the season. Sure, we have won two games in the NFC South. Yes, we are only one game out of first place. And certainly, when on message, we have one of the most dangerous offensive units in the National Football League. But for all those warm fuzzies, the faults are just as alarming for this team. We will not spend time on them in this particular forum but rest assured, we will continue to document them and discuss them at a later point in time.

Antone “Just Now” Getting Touches…..Hah

For now, the 2-3 Chicago Bears are heading south to face our 2-3 Atlanta Falcons. This one had the potential to be a “must see” game when the schedule makers published it back in the spring but both teams are significantly underachieved thus far in this season. Both defensive units are equally pathetic while each team features offensive units loaded with talent at each key position. This game is equally important to both squads as they seek to establish a footprint for a middle of the season surge.

PRELUDE

This game is as even matched as it could come. For the Falcons, the natives have come restless and seeking an element of consistency in their team. With this game and two more before the bye week, it would be incumbent for the team to calm some of the restless nerves. 

OFFENSIVE ANALYSIS

If you are looking for explosive offense, both of these teams are equipped to deliver your wishes. The Bears feature strong armed Jay Cutler, an excellent, diverse running back in Matt Forte, two dynamic receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, and an undervalued TE, Martellus Bennett. The Bears also feature a rebuilt offensive line that is improving each week; a line anchored Kyle Long and FA pick up Jermon Bushrod.

Offense Grinds to a Halt

The Falcons counter with the assassin, Matt Ryan, the aging but sometimes effective Steven Jackson, the ATL’s Batman and Robin (Roddy and Julio), and an intermediate game that uses the screen well with Antone Smith, Devonta Freeman, and Devin Hester. Tight end is a slow emerging position for Atlanta and the advantage is clearly in Chicago’s favor at the postion.

Like the Bears, the Falcons are in the midst of an offensive line remake. FA Jon Asamoah and former Bear first rounder Gabe Caramini are anchoring the right side while Jake Matthews and Justin Blalock secure the left side. Peter Konz is in the middle and will have his hands full upfront.

Both teams will rely on the screen game to control the tempo of the game.  Look for both teams to throw the ball some 25-35 times in this game, both QBs in the 280-320 yard range, and at least a pair of touchdowns in order to keep things interesting.

DEFENSIVE ANALYSIS

Friends, there is not much to get excited about here. Mel Tucker and Mike Nolan both have seen better times as defensive coaches/coordinators.  Both are trying establish an element of defensive soundness and consistency.  Both teams features promise in the secondary. But where the Bears have a considerable advantage against Atlanta is in their ability to pressure the quarterback.

Another Rookie Torching Falcons

Otherwise, both sides feature a strong veteran presence along the front (productive advantage goes to the Bears). The Bears also feature a strong veteran presence in the linebacker corps as well as the secondary. But they are aging and not as “dominate” as Bears defenses of old. The Falcons linebackers do not instill fear in anyone or threaten to be difference makers and that may be an issue with the fire power that Chicago can unleash.

WHAT GIVES?

Which Atlanta team shows up on Sunday?  Will they keep their foot on the gas or will the CFA throttle back in his usual conservative way? Which Jay Cutler comes to play; the aggressive, cold blooded passer or the mistake-prone, “Oh screw it” version?  Can the Atlanta linebackers handle the threats that are Bennett and Forte in the passing game?

Will Blalock be Back Soon?

Meanwhile, will Atlanta make greater use of its own screen passing attack, using the speed and elusiveness of Freeman and Smith while saving the power of Jackson for the home stretch when time management could be a valuable asset for Atlanta?

Can Atlanta find any sort of pass rush from somewhere? Will we continue to utilize the dreaded, ineffective 4-2-5 defense, surrendering yard after yard again? If Forte can maintain his 4.2 yards per carry average, it will make for a long day for the defense. Can our CBs, Trufant and Alford, hold court against the big targets the Bears have outside?

Can we get some element of productivity out of someone in the red zone? Yes, I am calling you out, Levine Toilolo.

Can the defensive line find a much needed consistency in term of a pass rush? Chicago’s Willie Young has been outstanding for the Bears this season; he already has FIVE sacks. His numbers ALONE are more than the entire FALCONS team!!  Need I say more?

IS THERE A LEGIT WIN CHANCE HERE?

Will HD and Hester Be a Go?

Yes. The Falcons are certainly capable of winning this contest.  And they should win it. The Dome will be load and the fans are ready to do their part to reverse the fortunes of the past couple of weeks. The rally cry continues to be RISE UP but as I have said time and time again, it is time that this team, the ENTIRE ORGANIZATION, MAN UP.

If focused and disciplined, the Falcons should win this game.

BEWARE OF GATHERING STORM CLOUDS THOUGH

With a tough trip to Baltimore next and then the London game versus Detroit coming up, the Falcons must have this game. Moementum is essential in order to keep the fan base as an ally. Because, trust me, more than this one native is a little restless at what we see on the field too often and what we hear coming from the sidelines, the press conferences, and the front office.

FINAL THOUGHTS….

Will Harland Gunn Take Advantage of this Chance?

Again, there is no reason why the Falcons should lose this game. The Atlanta offense should be able to make enough plays to overcome the defensive advantage of Arizona. The Chicago offense will be equally aggressive so we will need a big play or two from our defensive unit. I certainly hope that our young secondary can take advantage of the erratic nature of Jay Cutler’s game.  Going to hold serve and bring this much needed win home; Atlanta 27, Chicago 20.

So…..it’s time for your thoughts, friends.

What are you looking for from the Falcons in this contest against the Bears?

Will the Bears defense be a problem for Matt Ryan and the Falcons receivers?

Will the Atlanta offense show more balance?

Will the Falcons finish this game with a sack?  

Do you think the CFA STILL has the capital to return next season if the Falcons lose this game to the Bears?

Are you as tired as I am of the 4-2-5 defense?

Are we getting our due value out of our primary free agent signings?  Who would you rate as our “Most Valuable” signing and why?  Our most disappointing signing and why?

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340 thoughts on “Will the Real Atlanta Falcons Please Show Up?

  1. Seminole Warrior

    BA

    Give me until midnight and I will do my best to answer the questions for you. It is a case of all of the above. And the only one that we will keep, the only one we CAN keep, is Arthur Blank.

    Chop

    I agree.

    Reply
  2. Arno

    Got back from the Dome late last night and was too tired – too wrecked – to post anything. I could imagine the indignation flowing on the Cage, and now that I’ve caught up with comments, my imagination was twenty-twenty.

    I won’t comment on X/Os but here’s my observations on the team’s overall state. The D is playing at their level, which is to say that they are trying, but are simply overmatched and bewildered.

    The O is another thing altogether. I was behind the bench and could see the whole sickening thing. There is no motivation, none. Complete lethargy. There were three players who seemed to be maintaining some sort of edge– ASmith, Ryan, and DiMarco. It was truly embarrassing to see Ryan trying to rally guys.

    So I have to reevaluate my perception. Ryan is trying to be the glue between ownership, coaching, and players. He just can’t do it. The disconnect has worked too much damage. He may have looked off at times, but those dropped passes happened right in front of me, and clearly resulted because the Chicago defenders overmatched our receivers’ focus and intensity. The O does not believe in the system.

    I’d thought that Blank would be too risk averse to make big changes. I could see him standing by himself– even his bride off to the side. His glumness perfectly matched his team’s performance. We will be 2-6 at the bye. Blank needs to look out his window, see all that construction going on for the new stadium, and say to himself, “I need to build a new team from the ground up. Starting now.”

    Reply
  3. Greg Mendel

    Thanks, Arno, for a vivid eyewitness observation. It supports my impression of a confused DISorganization. Personally, I feel for Arthur Blank (as much as feel for any multi-billionaire). I think he tries to do the right thing — listen to professionals, have patience, be supportive, avoid meddling — but watches his fortune and aspirations being wasted. Blank is a businessman, but I don’t think the Falcons are all about profit to him. He’s already made a fortune and a reputation. Artists and writers often have pet, personal projects that don’t promise commercial success, but are very personal. I think the Falcons are that to Arthur. He has to be disappointed and frustrated in a way we don’t understand. It’s easy for us fans to say “blow it all up and start over,” but we aren’t paying the bill and taking the heat. Having endured the Smith Family Falcons, I cut Blank a lot of slack.

    Reply
  4. Wabe

    I hope Blank saw Jared Allen and that Bears D-Line revving up the Georgia Dome crowd at the end of the game…

    Even the commentators were questioning whether the game was in Chicago or Atlanta…

    Atlanta’s always had this reputation. But, it’s safe to say that the city is not excited about this 2-4 team, and if Blank cares about keeping the fanbase, he needs to make changes FAST. It was embarrassing to watch, and changes should be made immediately.

    Reply
  5. Arno

    GM, I can identify with what you’re saying about personal projects. In the case of Arthur and the Falcons, though, a major part of his very personal ‘art’ is bound up in marketing it. How will his proceed now, as a major component of his art is in doubt?

    Reply
  6. Arno

    Wabe, the Falcons fans were supportive throughout. The Bears fans were incredible. Ryan had to call a timeout because of their noise. Bears fans were singing and chanting before, during, and after the game. Polite, too. Very impressive.

    Reply
  7. Greg Mendel

    Oh, I agree, Arno. My point is that personal pet projects sometimes aren’t treated as objectively as day-to-day work. For me, anyway, they can absorb too much time, tinkering, and money before I decide to chuck ’em and start over. I think when Arthur gets to a dead end, he’s used to being able to call in experts and innovators, to afford the best. I think he thinks he’s done that, tried to learn from his mistakes, and has gotten burned more than once.

    Kinda reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s account in “The Right Stuff,” about the ego of fighter pilots. The original Mercury astronauts knew they were absolute hotshots in a fighter jet, so they assumed they could drive Corvettes with the same skill — and their wrecked rides were always in the shop.

    Reply
  8. Arno

    “I think when Arthur gets to a dead end, he’s used to being able to call in experts and innovators…” –GM
    You may have nailed it there. Not only was there no evidence that his mandate of toughness had taken the slightest effect (In contrast to the Falcons, and like the Giants, the Bears got tougher as the game went on.), but a player like Hageman, whom Pioli must have approved, has not been able to contribute where desperately needed. Blank appeared lost. Appeared lost– since I don’t know the man, of course he could have been planning his next move.

    Reply
  9. Seminole Warrior

    Arno @ 10:42am

    Amen, Amen, and amen. I felt the same way as I exited the Dome and drove home last evening. The only thing that I considered a highlight from yesterday was the outstanding food and service at Joe’s Crab Shack after the game. It was one of those days for sure.

    Totally agree on Arthur but as you will see, once the Boss releases or edits my draft, I make a few points that he needs to be held accountable on as well.

    Reply
  10. Wings

    I believe a coaching change will be made during the bye week. For public relations, that week would be the best. I doubt if AB would want his team to appear in the UK “leaderless” – LOL.

    Reply
  11. Dewey

    Got to hear Smitty’s presser today on the radio. Pretty much same ole same ole. But there was one statement, and I’ll have to paraphrase, that really got me, mainly because of the follow up question. When asked about Massaquoi getting more snaps and Bierman getting less, Smith responded by saying players who work hard in practice receive more looks in games. Then, in reference to ASmith needing to be involved in offense more, Smitty said we needed to continue to find more ways to get ASmith the ball…..
    I guess what I’m hearing is ASmith is terrible in practice. I really don’t know what else this guy has to do to prove himself.

    Reply
  12. Dewey

    Is it just me, or has our offense looked off ever since Harry Douglas went down. Most of the time, the heart of a team, or in this case, a unit, is not the star player. HD83 might not always put up the stats, but he was the guy that kept the offense on an even keel. The same could be said with Hawley and the o-line. He might not be that great of a center, but I believe he was the presence that kept them working as a unit.

    Reply
  13. Seminole Warrior

    Here is the way a organization should self-assess, self-evaluate, and make a move if they want to sustain the excellence to which they have achieved and/or are committed to. Listen at the content nature of John Harbaugh as he states his case for making this decision and how the decision was a joint effort within the ENTIRE organization. And then once they made the decision, look at the genius of Sensei Ozzie in going out and getting the veteran Steve Smith to give them a nice option to complement Torrey Smith, who is still emerging, yet dealing with some personal things behind the scenes.

    My choice for the HC of the Atlanta Falcons, Gary Kubiak.

    Reply
  14. Dewey

    A good HC should be able to maximize the talent on his team, especially with all of the specialization in today’s NFL. I’m reminded of Don Shula and his Miami Dolphins. For years, they were a running team and strong defensively. Then they came across Dan Marino. Shula was able to adapt his offense into a throw first team. Though they didn’t win a Super Bowl, they were always in the mix. Look at the Dallas Cowboys this year, for 2 seasons plus one game, HC Jason Garrett has tried to ride Romo’s arm to victory. Game number 2 this season they said, what is our teams strength, running the football. So that’s what they’ve done and are now 5-1. You need to be able to adapt, and MS just doesn’t seem to have that ability. We should be filling the sky with Footballs every game, home or away, because that’s our teams strength. Will that translate to more victories? Who knows, our defense is too suspect right now. But we need to stop being so passive aggressive and be the aggressor. Put the pressure on the other team to keep up with us. If they can, hats off to them. But we can’t go through the rest of the season trying the scheme and swap punches with everyone. We need to come out and do what we do best and let the chips fall where they may.

    Reply
  15. Seminole Warrior

    Dewey

    Excellent point @ 3:37pm

    Please allow me to take it one step further. Let’s look at the man in Dallas at the center of all its mess over the years, Jerry Jones. Somehow, some way, over the last three drafts, he has used first round pick on offensive linemen that most thought were “reaches” when he took them. But look at the cohesion that has been established on that line now, giving Garrett and his staff (a staff that is focused on what is does) while Garrett manages the day to day operations of the team. Great move!!

    If you have a solid line, like Dallas had when JJ was in play there in the ’90s, if you have a confident, clean pocket to have your QB work from like Aikman had then, if you have weapons in the running/passing game like then and now for Dallas, you can expect to see a transition to a level of success and better play over time. Dallas is moving, at least at the moment in the right direction.

    Is Atlanta? We could be but somehow, someway, we missed the memo that someone FINALLY got to Jerry.

    Reply
  16. Seminole Warrior

    Another example of taking a chance and making the best of it..

    New Dallas defensive coordinator, Ron Marinelli, YES the same one that lead Detroit to a 16 loss season, has come in and implemented a simple, Tampa two themed scheme in Dallas. It is a bend but do not break approach. And most of all, at least at the moment, it plays to the strengths of his players instead of forcing something that no one understands or is capable of executing consistently.

    Reply
  17. Seminole Warrior

    Currently

    My team stinks, I am losing a “home game” to London, and my owner keeps emailing me about next years’ season tickets and the sew stadium.

    All the time, while the Nest is being built and the city/AB try to put together a Super Bowl Bid for the Nest, this is what the NFL is going to possible require of my owner to sell to us ( along with those PSLs and our struggling team).

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24751002/report-super-bowl-host-team-will-be-required-to-play-home-game-in-london

    Well, I just be damned!!!

    Reply
  18. Paddy O

    we have a serious catch 22. It is OBVIOUS that Mike Smith needs to get fired. His inability to get Antone Smith touches is just the tip of the iceberg of his current ineptitude. We came out – just like the Bengals and Minny, and giants – with a Smitty run first game plan – with slow as molasses Jackson. That leads us to losses.

    Reply
  19. seminole31

    F21

    The storm system that is approaching from the west is weakening but given the nice above normal warmth we had in the last seventy two hours or so, I do think that the threat of damaging winds is there tomorrow and tomorrow night. An isolated tornado is also possible so vigilance is key tomorrow.

    Reply
  20. Birdman

    Keep;looking on the net and here”‘ to hear” those great words I’ve been waiting on . Smith along with Nolan and TD were fired today ………………………………………………………………………. Come on !!!!

    Reply
  21. Dewey

    Wholesale changes need to be made, just to get to 8-8, we would need to go 6-4 the rest of the way, and the way we’ve been playing, it’s hard to imagine that happening. So where to start? My vote has been and continues to be GM Thomas Dimitroff. Getting rid of him now will show the rest of the organization that no one is safe. Everyone is accountable. Releasing TD now will also cause the least amount of turmoil at this point in the season. We have plenty of guys on staff, Pioli, McKay, etc that are more than capable of managing the day to day operations of the Falcons. The next question would be, what do we look for in a replacement? I have been on record as saying I would like Brian Gutekunst from Green Bay, director of college scouting. This seems to be a weakness in not just TD’s past, but for years/decades with the Falcons. SW likes DeCosta from Baltimore, who has been Ozzie Newsome’s right hand man for years. Here’s the problem with someone who has not been a GM before, forever more to be known as the “Dimitroff effect”. TD came from an organization that seemed to have player personnel and roster management down to a science. I, for one, was very excited at the prospects of TD bringing the patriot way to the Deep South. But, one problem with men of passion for their profession, is they always think they know better than their superiors. So while they can tow the line as an underling, when they get their shot at being the man, they usually put their personal twist on the system they came from. This can be good or bad, for us, it was bad, really bad. Our other option is try a proven commodity, which we did once with McKay. The problem with this approach is anyone worth their salt is going to be very difficult to pry loose from their current employer. Either way, we need to make this change now so a new GM is given time to meticulously asses each and every level of the FO, coaching staff, players. Sooner would be much better than later.

    Reply
  22. Grits Blitz

    Arthur, as you know, your team is a disgrace/laughingstock and that’s in polite terms.
    Unless you want to fully earn that same conclusion – “disgrace/laughingstock” – as owner, it looks like you may have 2 options:

    1-Man up, if capable, and get jiggy with the chainsaw and begin real evaluations – for everybody – for 2015 and beyond, or
    2-Sell the team. At least some would respect you in admitting owning a franchise involves decisions and ongoing monitoring which appear NOW to be way over your head. (Your predecessors had the same malaise of lameness, didn’t they?)

    Either you’re going to be “in charge” as a proactive owner and forego perpetuating the dreaded Rankin, Stankin Smithitis inept, clownish ownership model OR are you are going to stay the course, having full faith in your current minions will “fix it”, fans will keep coming, and passively attend games as a rich man’s diversion for a couple of hours on Sundays?

    Reply
  23. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better capsule of the vitally important GM effect on a team and the solid, logical implications it would have on this team to blowtorch TD…NOW. Good word-smithing and keep ’em coming!

    Reply
  24. Dewey

    Grits-thanks for the compliment. I always enjoy reading your posts as well, as you and I seem to see eye to eye on a lot of concepts regarding our Falcons, the good and the bad.

    Reply
  25. Dewey

    Grits-as far as your proposal for ABlank, I believe he will chose option#1(getting jiggy with the chainsaw). I admittedly know far fewer self-made billionaires than I would like, but I do know they don’t like to admit failure or defeat, and selling the team would be admitting both. Therefore, if this season continues to unfold the way it has thus far been laid out, ABlank will rightfully tear down some or all parts of FO/coaching staff and begin anew. But here in lies a new problem. Will ABlank go back to his roots and build a team that will stand tall and proud year after year, much like he did with Home Depot, or will he use his newly adapted billionaire way of thinking, and just throw as much money as it takes to fix a problem. If it were me, I would go for the slow building process, but I am not now, nor will I ever be, a billionaire. But I submit to you, had the current regime spent the last 7 years building a team, rather than fixing a team, we might not have won as many games along the journey but we’d be in much better shape today.

    Reply
  26. Greg Mendel

    Dewey, I may be wrong, but I think AB thought he WAS building a team. The Mike Vick experience probably convinced him to go a more conservative, long-term route, only to be encouraged, then frustrated, since hitting a wall last season.

    Reply
  27. Unca' Bob

    I’m sorry. I’ve skipped a bunch of posts just to intervene. Basic football. Run the football and stop the run. It’s been THE basic concept for winning football from day one and it has never changed. We have done neither with the exception of M Turner early on. Until we do expect no change regardless of whom is calling the shots or the play calling.

    Reply
  28. Unca' Bob

    “Every guy in here is not playing the way we expect him to play,” Falcons WR Roddy White said Monday. “We have to execute better and whatever play is called, we have to go out there and execute it the right way. All 11 guys have to go out there and do their job.”

    Reply
  29. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – totally agree w/ you on Arthur’s “fixing” vs. “building” his team. Arthur, like most owners, has no credentials for “building” a team. But, like any successful owner (i.e. consistently competitive over time), he should have the intelligence to hire and keep PROVEN, INTELLIGENT football minds to “build and improve” his team!
    Indications seem to be he felt the best contribution he could make as owner would be to try and “fix” it, in a general sense only, by…throwing $ at a weakness. (e.g. As I stated long ago, yes, we’ve gotten bigger on the D line, but not better and his return on his investment amount to … wasted $. Hard-earned fan money – NOT just his!)

    Unca Bob – you are absolutely right…success still comes to those teams that can “run the ball and stop the run”.
    But, I submit it’s even more “fundamental” than that. It used to be ALL about… blocking and tackling!
    We know the NFL has manipulated the rules so that their “product” can excite and delight fans with bombs and long runs at the expense of really tough defenses. But, without basic, fundamental blocking and tackling all that’s really left is…arena football – a very poor substitute for “real” football.

    My, my. Can’t you just hear the tough SOGs, INCLUDING QBs, who played the game in the 50s and 60s laughing their behinds off about what passes as “real” football today? Kilts or skirts for the QBs, rampant holding by the O line, catch by receivers is no longer a catch, clearly a fumble is no longer a fumble (never understood the ground CAN’T cause a fumble), and defenses are not allowed to hit but they are allowed to kiss and hug.
    Such are the times we presently reside within…

    Reply

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