Another Lost Season…

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

PRELUDE: Part One.

2015 is yet another lost Atlanta Falcons football season. I had this feeling all year but I tried to have faith. I took my seat on the “Show Me Express” and really hoped for the best. I felt in my heart that 8-8 was the best we would do this year.

Earlier today, shortly after 4pm as I left Raymond James Stadium, all my thoughts were solidified. If you expected me to talk about the Bucs, Winston, Martin, and the rest of that team, sorry. There is something more serious to deal with.

What I had to endure on my quick flight back to the Peach State was a soul search. I knew that there would be time aplenty to assess what I would write once I arrived home. But in what was the strangest irony of all, I found myself at complete peace. I was not angry. Let me repeat myself; I was not angry. I TRULY expected this.

PRELUDE: Part Two.

As I sat in the stadium, it became clear that Tampa WANTED to win this game. I would go as far as to say Tampa was DETERMINED to win this game. Tampa was more physical, executed a true game plan, and made differences when they mattered. I am not going to spend a lot of time re-analyzing what you saw or what you can review.

Instead, I am going to try and explain to you how the Disconnect STILL plagues this team. I am going to try and explain to you that the finger-pointing that is ongoing in Atlanta, the SAME that will only intensify in coming weeks, is a farce and yet another attempt to distract you from the real truth and issues. And I am going to attempt to explain to you that the Atlanta Falcons are not likely to improve this year OR next.

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THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH:

The Atlanta team is a mess. We have always known that the defense was a damn travesty and that has not changed. But what was once a considerable strength has now become a significant liability at times. How did this come to be? This has happened for reasons that are not consistent with what most Falcons fans would want to believe.

The REAL issue in Atlanta has been and continues to be an inept front office and an owner that is now settling for mediocrity.

See most fans and the media want to identify the primary targets of their frustration as our new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and our three time Pro Bowl quarterback, Matt Ryan. Hell, some are even beginning to question the coach, Dan Quinn. Save your breath, fans.

Friends, your anger is pointed in the wrong direction.

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The REAL issue in Atlanta has been and continues to be an inept front office and owner that are now settling for mediocrity. I said it and I mean it. This regime has run out of scapegoats. And for many of us, it has also run out of time to believe in them.

This organization as a whole lacks balance AND effective leadership. In every facet of its operation, it has failed to show it is capable of sustaining an element of promise long term. From poor drafting, failed free agency, cost overruns on the new stadium, and failure to find quality coaching, there has been one constant over the history of this franchise; a lack of strategic vision.

The primary reason (whether it is offense, defense, or special teams) that the Atlanta Falcons REMAIN a failure to achieve any degree of constant success is due to a fundamental lack of player development, talent integration, solid depth, and yes, LEADERSHIP at all levels. Time and tens of millions, some of which come from you and I, have been wasted.

But for this forum, I will remain with the offense. I am going to defend Kyle and Matt. Sure, it is so damned easy to blame new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and three time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan for this. I recall that it was just as convenient for both fans and the front office to do the same with “Mad” Mike Mularkey or “Dysfunctional” Dirk Koetter.

But who was it that changed the former CFA’s philosophy from a power to finesse? Who was it that signed off on the change from our effective “TRIAD” in which they were a legit threat in all offensive facets; rushing, passing, and receiving? Take a look at the window from 2010 through 2013.

First, even with an offensive line that was suspect at times, the Falcons, EACH year, was able to show balance in rushing, receiving, and passing. Check out the statistical analysis. Call my bluff!! Look at the way that the CFA and his staff complimented things while trying to build on the weakness of this team, the defense.

Then along came a day that would alter the trajectory of the Falcons; a date that we have still yet to recover from. January 15, 2011. The day Green Bay kicked our ass at home by a score of 48-21. The day the balance left Atlanta for good.

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Secondly, even in 2012, with Turner showing signs of decline and over-use, the machine kept on rolling as we attempted to use the “newly upgraded” Triad to intensify our offensive power. Our young acquisition, Julio Jones, was taking the league by storm, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez were playing the perfect complimentary roles, and Matt Ryan had his best year to date. All seemed well. However……

Third, along came 2013 and the magnitude of how inept our front office was. Releasing Michael Turner, they decided to go with an aging, injury prone free agent to offset his presence. Steven Jackson was on his last leg and everyone knew it. Added to that fact Julio Jones was lost to injury, the defense became a shame, and the offensive line surrendered 44 sacks.

Fourth, this dysfunction would expand in 2014 as both the rushing attack and the tight end position would become even weaker components of a now diminishing TRIAD. With limitations clearly in evidence, the offensive philosophy, or the lack thereof, became to “force feed” through Julio Jones with White and Douglas as compliments. Again, with issues on the offensive line and defensive failures aplenty, the team failed to achieve even an winning season. Regime change came again.

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Fifth, in the drafts of 2014 and 2015, when it was clear that we needed to address depth in all facets of our offensive line, the front office and the owner failed once again. Instead, they went on a defensive spending spree in free agency, the draft, and neglected the weakening posture of the offensive unit.

Congrats Tampa on your win. As far as Atlanta goes, it’s not going to change anytime soon.

So…..it’s time for your thoughts, friends. Let the soul searching begin.

 

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490 thoughts on “Another Lost Season…

    1. dawsondevitt Post author

      When does Blank fire everyone in the entire organization………… There’s simply no way he can do nothing. This is one of the worst Falcons teams I’ve EVER seen. Marion Campbell days included.

      Reply
    1. dawsondevitt Post author

      Just told my wife that at least we get first dibs on all events that come through the Stadium (concerts, Final 4, etc) because this is looking like one of the worst decisions of my life.

      Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      D3 – One example I remember was when the great Vikings HC, Bud Grant, had to come back from retirement when they hired that clown who managed to screw up every good thing Grant already had in place!

      Reply
  1. JB Falcon

    This is my first post since before the game started. I have not refreshed the screen to see what others have said during the first half. I sat in my recliner and gritted my teeth while I endured this total embarrassment. I did not agree with DQ’s statement I posted prior to the game and he has really, really proven that he is dead set on proving his belief in Sham’s scheme at the expense of the team and the fans. I think that is totally disgusting for an NFL coach.
    Quinn said, prior to hiring Sham, “He is the most difficult OC I have coached against.” Yeah, but you still kicked his team’s azz, right? Sham’s scheme might be difficult to coach against but it is not a proven winning scheme. I believe in having a plan and working your plan but if your plan is ill conceived in the first place and has not been proven then you’re going down the wrong road!
    I sincerely hope DQ proves me wrong. If so, how long should I give this team to amount to a formidable opponent?

    Reply
  2. Greg Mendel

    Don’t despair, gang. They’ll run the “glow-in-the-dark cat hat” commercial again before too long. Meanwhile, we can watch the Fum Bowl.

    Reply
  3. F14

    I guess they wanted to hire a new HC who would be very different from to Mike Smith. And they succeeded! Now we have tons of stupid penalties and turnovers.

    Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      I was hoping Cox would punch Hageman in the mouth. He’s big and good for nothing. Saw him too many times on his back–just manhandled. What we would call “Big Sorry” (Big & Sorry as in pitiful).

      Reply
    1. dawsondevitt Post author

      Agreed. I know it would be shocking. But I wouldn’t be opposed to a full and clean sweep of everyone in entire organization. There’s no way in hell that Blank can do nothing.

      Get rid of Shanahan and Dimwitroff and entire personnel dept. You know it’s bad when John Lynch, announcing, says how piss poor this team is personnel wise.

      Reply
      1. gman

        The only way they DON”T clean house is if Matt is actually injured and they’re keeping it quiet and everyone knew it was going to be a rough season.

        Reply
      2. Grits Blitz

        Reporter: Mr. Blank, what’s your take on any needed changes after the Panthers game?
        Arthur: (Big yawn.) Well, Thomas and I agreed we did not see too many concerns that can’t be fixed with scant little effort so let’s talk about my new
        “monument” being built next door. I am impressive, er, IT is impressive, is it not? You know I’m going to bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta when
        the fans are through paying for it!
        Reporter: Believe you’ve summed up all your priorities. May I quote you?

        Reply
      1. gman

        I’m sorry but if I’m the owner of this team I clean house TONIGHT! Starting with the FO, THEN Cox and Sham, then I start figuring out which players will not be coming back.

        Reply
  4. SG

    Ok, yes I heard Lynch comment on how when Shula became the Panthers OC, he sat down to learn the best way for he and Cam to build out the playbook.

    Reply
  5. Wabe

    I will reiterate this again, this isn’t a case of one or the other. In other words, yeah they lack talent, but don’t be fooled into believing coaching has nothing to do with how this team has fallen off the face of the earth.

    Lack of talent isn’t the only thing plaguing this team. They are very poorly coached, and there are deep issues here. Whether you think it’s Shanahan’s fault or not, it doesn’t matter. The way these games are playing out, it’s evident to EVERYBODY that this offense is not effective, and Matt Ryan has taken a step back. Whether you believe Shanahan would be considered a scape goat or not, I don’t care. He has to go. I don’t care if people think he’s being wrongly blamed. Bottom line, this offense is now a problem. It never was before. And the only new element that’s been introduced to the mix is Shanahan.

    If you were asked before this season began which side of the ball would hold us back from winning a handful of our games, would you have said offense or defense? Well, it’s been the offense, which is surprising considering defense has always been this team’s problem. We brought Dan Quinn into this mix to get the defense to match the play of the offense. We all believed if we could get a defense to match the play of Ryan and the offense, this team could be a threat. Well, we’re about to go into the 2nd offseason for Dan Quinn and his staff, and we are now as equally unsure about the offense as we were about the defense prior to Quinn’s arrival. That’s a major concern.

    You can keep Quinn another year if you want. Shanahan should be gone, period.

    Reply
  6. JB Falcon

    Some think it is the players instead of the scheme they are being forced to play. Let me explain my thinking on that. If a player has been successful for seven years, and playing the way he feels comfortable doing it, is demanded to change his style and do things that he’s not good at doing, or comfortable doing, he will do it because he is told to. He will, however, come to resent losing and being forced to lose and, intentionally or not, he will lose his desire to put forth the extra effort to excel at a losing cause. Even a dog. as much as he wants to please his master, will quit fetching a stick if the stick burns his mouth every time he picks it up.

    Reply
  7. JB Falcon

    I’m waiting to hear DQ’s excuse for this sorry performance. “We didn’t get the results we wanted.” WELL! No Sh!t Sherlock!

    Reply
  8. Greg Mendel

    Weeks ago, I thought it would take the Falcons three or four games to learn the new schemes. Once they learned the schemes, they started losing. Now that they’ve mastered the playbook, they can’t even score.

    Reply
  9. F14

    Yes, we have a mediocre roster, but not that absolute garbage we see on the field under our new HC. He obviously knows how to motivate players by repeating his BS. Even with a new GM our future is not bright.

    Reply
  10. Wings

    The main problem is the entire coaching staff.

    We have a head coach who does not know how to coach. The wrong man was hired.

    Teams just don’t play this bad unless there is BAD coaching. Words about the BALL accomplish NOTHING!

    The media people are talking about the offense and OC as the Cage discussed several weeks ago. Soon, the media people will catch up with the Cage regarding DQ.

    Arno, CRASH the bus!

    Reply
  11. F14

    Remember how DQ was hired? He and TD found themselves on the same page. I can see that. First promising start and then delusional incompetence supported by the owner.

    Reply
    1. ajarnbangkapi

      F14 – Remember, Shamahahaha was hired by TD BEFORE Quinn was hired.

      Nothing Quinn said he wanted is happening on O. Simplified, play faster, basics, play to player strengths—

      Maybe SW’s disconnect at play here???

      Reply
  12. ajarnbangkapi

    Wow. that trip to a Carolina woodshed was — painful.

    Just can’t get over that we get WORSE as the season matures – with our new coaching staff shouldn’t we be getting BETTER???

    We turned an effective, explosive Offense (with problems along the O-line, sure) into a toothless turnover punchingbag.

    What happened to identifying player strengths and emphasizing them?

    SILVER LINING OF THE DAY – I didn’t see a fumbled snap today.But I stopped paying attention somewhere in the 1st quarter.
    That’s it, but I am sure some spinmeisters will tell us this was some positive step towards a brighter future.

    Many games deserve a toast with the beverage of your choice.
    If that is true, then pass the pepto!!! Make mine a double.

    Reply
  13. Dewey

    The entire front office needs to go, I don’t know any of the underlings, but there’s no point holding onto anyone who’s had anything to do with this front office philosophy.

    Some serious questions need to be asked regarding personnel. For instance, Matt Ryan. We are not 1 or 2 players away with this team. We’re not even 5-6 players away. We are 12-15 players away. In other words, by the time all of the other pieces are in place, Ryan won’t be as good a player as he is now. So why hold on to him? This may be the best opportunity to salvage something for him. We’re going to need to look at making some very tough decisions if we want to improve, especially if Quinn stays with all his Shanahanigans.

    Reply
  14. falcon21

    Well said Dewey, this teams talent level is pitiful, if anyone believes different, just watch the game again. We have struggled against every team we played this year except one. It’s the HC’s job to fix it, problem is he has nothing to fix it with. Poor O-line, poor D-line, LB’s can’t cover, we are talent poor in too many ways! I’m not a fan of Shan, never have been and never will be but we need to get the ball down field more but with this O-line it is damn near impossible.

    Reply
    1. Greg Mendel

      I agree. Other Cagers see more than I do. What I see is a 5 to 10-yard passing game with little time to pass, and that’s what I think opposing coaches see. I think that’s why receivers are nailed as soon as the ball gets to them — complete or not. YAC is simply impossible for any Falcon. Opponents know almost exactly where the ball is going. On the rare throws way downfield, the receiver doesn’t have time to get to his spot because Ryan has to get rid of it too soon. IMO, this explains the uncharacteristic interceptions.

      We may never, ever have a pass rush, so let’s just forget that. Use the entire draft and FA to start building a real O-line. It will make Matt more effective before he retires and be a blessing for his successor. Without a competent O-line we continue to waste the talent and careers of Ryan and Jones.

      Reply
  15. SG

    A) 86 the entire Confederacy Of Idiots in the FO
    B) Replace the GM position w/ Eric DeCosta current Ass’t GM of Ravens (SW has cited earlier)
    C) 86 another 35-45% of the current players at all costs, i.e. Hester, Reed, you name ’em, cut the losses and move the MF on.
    D) Focus draft and FA solely on both sides of the trenches
    E) Draft / acquire a Real backup QB
    F) If MR2 and Shanny are incompatible, cut losses and cut the most appropriate of them in the HC’s eyes. Tired of the BS.
    Somebody has to grow up and earn their pay not just to WIN, but to show a LOVE and passion for the game.

    Cam didn’t make us look like chumps. We did that, single-handedly, again, by ourselves.

    Reply
  16. Greg Mendel

    As a brand new, first-time head coach, Dan Quinn deserves another season. Don’t give him one, Mr. Blank. Fire Quinn, Shanahan, Dimitroff, Pioli, and the whole lot after the last 2015 game. It’ll be painful, expensive, embarrassing and unmannerly, but do it!

    Don’t fire the players. Get a new coach. Maybe a has-been. Pick one out of the phone book. Doesn’t matter. There’s almost nobody out there capable of taking a generally talented team that started a season 5-0 — and running it into the ground. Apologize to Smitty and rehire him if you have to. Smittyball is better than Stupidball.

    You’ve conned the city into helping you build a pointless new stadium to showcase this perpetual pile of steaming sh!t. Sell the team to a used car dealer in Des Moines and get it the hell out of town. Atlanta hasn’t had a professional football team — ever. And never will.

    Season over, Falcons over for me.

    Reply

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