NFLN analyst Mike Mayock talks some football gospel

 

Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The regulars, who stop by the blog, know that my man NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is a favorite in this spot.

(He was on the money during the Matt Ryan draft and we’ve been sticking with him every since.)

Mayock speaks the football gospel.

He’s been out here the last couple of days watching practice. He’ll be your color analyst when the Falcons (8-5) play the Jaguars (4-9) at 8:20 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

Also, quarterback Matt Ryan will sit down with Deion Sanders during the pre-game show at 6 p.m. on the NFL Network.

In addition to being televised on NFL Network, folks without cable and see it locally on WATL.

Here are some of the highlights of our little football chat:

MAYOCK ON THE NFC PLAYOFF RACE: I think if you’re in Atlanta you’ve got to be pretty happy because you control your own destiny. I think what happened last week worked out to their benefit. I think the bottom line for Atlanta is that they control their own destiny.

 

The Falcons' defense slowed down Green Bay and New Orleans this season, but they need to get cornerback Brent Grimes back, according to Mayock.  Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons' defense slowed down Green Bay and New Orleans this season, but they need to get cornerback Brent Grimes back, according to Mayock. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

ON THE FALCON’S INCONSISTENT PLAY: It’s kind of a funky year. It’s hard to figure out a bunch of these teams. After you get past Green Bay and everybody wants to anoint them, but after get past Green Bay, the Saints are playing extremely well. And it’s kind of interesting to me because I thought Atlanta’s defense played pretty darn competitively against both New Orleans and Green Bay earlier this season. If I remember correctly they only gave up 25 and 26. I think it was 25-14 [against Green Bay] and they loss to New Orleans 26-23. If you look at both of those teams as two of the better teams in the NFC, two teams you may have to get past, the fact that you could hold them to mid-20s [is encouraging.] Now, the offense has got to play better. You have to score more than 14 points to beat Green Bay.

ON THE OFFENSE’S ISSUES: I think the lost of the fullback is hurting them more than people know. [Ovie] Mughelli was one of the top fullbacks in the league over the last several years. I think Michael Turner trusted him explicitly. The [Mike] Cox kid is playing OK. I’m not taking a shot at him. I’m just saying that Mughelli is special.

I think what the Falcons are trying to do is work in the two young kids, Jacquizz Rodgers at tailback and Julio Jones out wide. Julio is trying to figure this league out and it’s kind of an interesting case last Sunday because Julio made two big plays for touchdowns and I loved the throwback to Jacquizz Rodgers out of the backfield. I think they are looking for ways to get these kids more touches. It’s hard for rookies to make a significant impact.

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards returns a Philadelphia Eagles fumble by quarterback Michael Vick as Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) pursues. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards returns a Philadelphia Eagles fumble by quarterback Michael Vick as Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) pursues. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

ON THE NO-HUDDLE: They are going more and more to the tempo no-huddle offense. I like that. I’ve got no problem at all with letting Matt Ryan get to the line of scrimmage and call the plays. Now, it looks to me when they up-tempo no-huddle they are a little bit of a different football team and I like it.

ON THE CAROLINA GAME: They looked like two different teams last week. That first half was awful. I thought they tackled poorly. I thought they played about as badly as they could on both sides of the ball. In the second half, they looked like someone who could compete for a Super Bowl.

ON JACKSONVILLE QB BLAINE GABBERT: He’s had a tough year. I thought his best game was last week. He threw a seam pass to Marcedes Lewis. He looked off one way and then came back and threw for 62-yard gain. He looked like, to me, out of all the rookie quarterbacks, and I was really high on him coming out of college, I think he’s struggled the most.

I think you have to understand what this kid is going through. Not only has his head coach been fired. But his quarterbacks coach has moved to wide receivers coach and the wide receivers coach got fired. There is more stuff going on that meets the eye and I think because of all of that you’ve got to give this kid an opportunity to develop. His wide receiver corps is probably the one of the least productive groups in the

Atlanta Falcons' Jacquizz Rodgers (22) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers with teammate Joe Hawley (61) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. AP

Atlanta Falcons' Jacquizz Rodgers (22) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers with teammate Joe Hawley (61) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. AP

league.

If you draft two wide receivers in the first round and they both become busts — Reggie Williams and Matt Jones — then that sets you back in a big way. That whole team is paying for those misses right now.

CAN THE FALCONS GET HOT AND GET ON ROLL GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?: Absolutely! Would you rather have the first or second seed at home? Maybe? But, the bottom line is to at least get in the tournament. This is a good enough team. They were 13-3 last year and were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl Champion. The whole key is just getting in the tournament. I think you’ve got to get [cornerback Brent] Grimes back healthy. I think he’s a big piece of it. Once you get into the tournament because the Falcons have a quarterback who can play and there are some explosive pieces there, anybody has got a chance at that point.

ON DEFENSIVE END RAY EDWARDS: I think you have to understand what he is and what your levels of expectations for him are. He’s a really solid NFL defensive end. At Minnesota he happened to be on one of the best four-man rushes in the league. You had Jared Allen on one side and the two Williams (Kevin and Pat) inside. So he was always singled up. I think what he is, he’s a good solid player. He’s not an elite sack guy. That’s just not who he is. I would suggest that you look at what you’re getting from the three-man rotation of him, [Kroy] Biermann and [John] Abraham.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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45 comments Add your comment

Mike Jay

December 15th, 2011
5:29 am

Good stuff as always. Agree 100% on missing Ovie.

waynester

December 15th, 2011
6:30 am

Back to that last paragraph regarding Ray Edwards: Mayock says look at our rotation at DE. No frakkin’ kidding! We’ve BEEN looking at this problem for several years and have yet to resolve it. Nobody around here thought Edwards ALONE would be the answer–just a stopgap. A larger looming problem is with John Abraham. His contract and age make it difficult to see us re-signing Abe–but–our still-desperate need at RDE make it much more likely. Mayock couldn’t use the word “elite” with Ray Edwards but that’s exactly what we need at DE. With the lack of cap space and and draft picks something will have to give. After 4 years under TDimitroff this gaping hole remains unsettled (like OLT) and must be addressed….AGAIN!

SeenThisB4

December 15th, 2011
7:07 am

Revisionist! Everybody around here thought Edwards was the “missing piece”. G E A U X J A G U A R S ! ! !

just sayin'

December 15th, 2011
7:29 am

now who is mayok is related to on this team…gushing praise…and ‘up tempo’ no huddle…take a look at the play clock, mayok…it may be a no-huddle, but it surely isn’t up tempo…

corner help

December 15th, 2011
7:36 am

The real key is to get solid play from the Nickel position. You are only as god as your weakest link. I thinkFranks or Hayden have to be healthy and ready to go. Owens is a disaster. If we do that, we can beat anybody – especially if Ryan and the receiving corp get hot.

Blue Fender

December 15th, 2011
7:51 am

Everyone had written off Green Bay last year for “inconsistent” play in November, but they got it together in December. That’s all it takes to make an impact in the playoffs–GET HOT LATE!

Let’s keep it up. GO FALCONS!

jay

December 15th, 2011
7:56 am

Mayock knows his stuff.

bigslow

December 15th, 2011
8:22 am

lets see more of #22 J Rodgers

bigslow

December 15th, 2011
8:25 am

good to have the hammer back, William Moore

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2011
8:39 am

I don’t think he’s been watching the same team as I have…….

Falcons should beat the Jaguars……pretty handley.

Lost draft picks will kill us in the draft.

Edwards has been a waste of money.

Die Hard Falcon

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

I think Mayock is right on the money, I think he’s one of my top favorite analysts, he doesn’t jump on bandwagons and usually has studied and knows what he’s talking about. Falcons are obviously not media darlings and generally don’t get much love in the media, but Mayock is a straight shooter, not right all the time, but who is.

Go Falcons!

PMC

December 15th, 2011
9:41 am

I really like Mike Mayock too. The NFLN football broadcast went from slightly worse commentary than the View to Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler.

It’s unbelivable how much better the NFLN broadcast is now.

PMC

December 15th, 2011
9:47 am

The Falcons are paying for the miss at 8 on Anderson now.

Depth is decent but look at say the Giants, they hit it out of the park with JPP, they have Osi and Tuck etc. The Giants are in the discussion every year because they continuously draft quality linemen.

The Falcons HAVE to get better on the edges of both lines and they really desperately need to shore up the middle of the offensive line.

Say what

December 15th, 2011
9:47 am

Mayock is THE football guru, as far as I’m concerned. He would be a great coach. I’m looking forward to his commentary tonight.

monty

December 15th, 2011
10:27 am

Get Jaquizz in space and let him do his thing.

mark

December 15th, 2011
10:44 am

I believe we really need to address the inconsistently prolific offense…mainly our receivers’ “inability?” to catch the ball! If they catch 25% more passes, then we’re easily 11-2.

rollo lawson

December 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Mike Mayock also said Blaine Gabbert was his top QB in last years draft. Ahead of Cam Newton.

Derrick

December 15th, 2011
11:01 am

It time for the falcons to risde up. also the offensive coordinator needs to ealize matty ice is better in a no huddle setting

Derrick

December 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Enter your comments here

Super Bowl Shuffle

December 15th, 2011
11:12 am

You win or lose football games in the trenches. Solid offensive and defensive line play is always the difference.

realitycheck

December 15th, 2011
11:14 am

Two wins against teams with winning records doesn’t justify reason for any optimism. Ryan and Julio looked great against the Colts and Panthers and their combined 4-22 record. Falcons always beat the teams they should beat, but rarely beat a real good team. No draft next year and no salary cap space to be able to do anything with are simply killers. Carolina’s future is brighter than that of the Falcons. After beating Jax tonight, we will hear the SB talk from the dreamers for a while until the season ends sometime in early to mid January and then the focus will shift to April’s draft to see who all the Browns select with all of those stolen Falcon picks.

Die Hard Falcon

December 15th, 2011
11:33 am

I think that most “experts” had Gabbert ahead of Newton. There are very few people that thought Cam was going to do what he’s done this year. Mayock is right much more often than he’s wrong, but everyone misses something, he scouts hundreds of people and it’s difficult to have that many people to study and to get the right report on all of them. Overall, I think he’s smart and knows his stuff.

Jimmy Crack

December 15th, 2011
11:33 am

Mayock’s a positive, rah rah guy. He wouldn’t come right out and say that Edwards is a stiff, but Mayock came close to saying that Edwards got all his sacks last year because he played next to 3 Pro Bowlers, and got rich in Atlanta because of it. It is unspoken common knowledge. In retrospect, we should have grabbed Andre Carter for a bag of footballs back in April and we would have had our 10-sack guy (and Arthur could have kept his $30 Million).

Hardy Falcon

December 15th, 2011
11:55 am

Edwards is a waste of good money TD and VG Don’t know how to pick defensive players. If we go one and out again this year, then we should fire the whole bunch!!!!

Falconatic

December 15th, 2011
12:05 pm

All you people banging on Ray Edwards only look for splash plays. They shut down Carolina in the run game except for one play. On that 70+ yard run Kroy was in for Ray and couldn’t set the edge against a pulling gaurd and got rolled. Ray is valuable in other ways besides sacking the QB.

Jimmy Crack

December 15th, 2011
12:45 pm

Falconatic, what ways? It’s not sacks (#95) or tackles (#347). Pressures? No, because our D line hasn’t been doing a very good job of chasing QBs around in the pocket either. It can’t be anything concerning run defense because JA98 was very productive at that, he just couldn’t sack anybody (which is why we got Ray). Maybe containment?

Jarrett

December 15th, 2011
12:47 pm

…and if you think TD can’t pick defensive players. Tell that to Weatherspoon, Grimes, and Lofton.

Jarrett

December 15th, 2011
12:48 pm

Not every freaking draft pick is going to be a superstar. We aren’t the first team to get busts. Look at the raiders on offense.

todd

December 15th, 2011
1:21 pm

You guys whining about draft picks don’t get it. You got an ELITE WR in Julio Jones. He’s still developing but you’re set at that position for the next 10 years. Falcons have not had a receiver with that kind of ability ever. You weren’t going to get that picking 25-30. Look at what Belichik has done with all the extra picks he gathered by trading down. They have holes all over the defense. Ray Edwards is a solid end. Theres only a handful of elite sack guys otherwise everyone would have one.

todd

December 15th, 2011
1:25 pm

PMC I like the Giants but they are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. Don’t make them your role model.

terrell

December 15th, 2011
1:35 pm

“Folks without cable”? Wow! Talking bout a nightmare. lol

terrell

December 15th, 2011
1:43 pm

Um Jarrett, TD didnt pick Grimes.

terrell

December 15th, 2011
1:45 pm

Jarrett, you shoulda said Cory Peters. Good 3rd rd pick there.

terrell

December 15th, 2011
2:02 pm

TD ’s good picks
Ryan(no brainer)Didnt have a qb.
Lofton in the 2nd
Peters in the 3rd
Weatherspoon in the 1st
Julio??
William Moore
Quizz??
Thats about it.

TD’s bad picks
Baker in the 1st(traded up for this clown)
Jerry in the 1st(26 yr old with bad knees)
Owens in the 3rd(no comment)
Chevis Jackson in the 3rd(no comment)
Decoud(still not sold on this kid)
Biermann(1 yr wonder)
Reynolds
Hawley??
Sidbury??
William Middleton(lol)
Shillinger??
Akeem Dent??
FA’s
Edwards(slight upgrade over JA98)
Dunte(iffy)

Angelo

December 15th, 2011
2:14 pm

Lets go Falcons 7-0 from this point on.

2 > 7

December 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

todd, I tend to agree, mostly, but I would also like to point to the Pats record as exhibit A. They’re doing just fine, defensive holes or no.

GregKennesaw

December 15th, 2011
3:47 pm

terrell,

You left off Turner FA, Ovi FA, TG trade, and Svitek

GregKennesaw

December 15th, 2011
3:55 pm

giving up a second rounder for TG is looking like it was a pretty good move

I think TD worst pick was Peria Jerry, Baker I understand, it was a weak draft for LT, he had a rookie QB, badly needed a LT. But in my mind our biggest bust has been Jerry.

best pick so far on defense is Lofton, soon to be passed by ’spoon’

realitycheck

December 15th, 2011
4:35 pm

Angelo…….Would love to have some of whatever you are on after that statement.

mark

December 15th, 2011
4:46 pm

we sure miss ovie,jacquiz getting some time in the offense is looking sweet he remindes me a little bit of brian westbrook good speed good hands good extra weapon, and why the offense looks better on the no huddle because, MM isnt calling the plays!!!!

mark

December 15th, 2011
4:49 pm

GregKennesaw

100% agree with you damn that was a bigggg bust! the worst pick since D came to town we could grab clay matthews on that draft instead he choose an injury prone DT bad bad pick! even we could pick vontae davis any guy is better than jerry

mark

December 15th, 2011
4:53 pm

terrell

im with you on those picks more busts than hits! he needs to step up that scouting!

Cornell Sims

December 15th, 2011
7:35 pm

I think one way we could imporove is by Michael Turner running harder. He needs to run like he is a 240 pound back and not be scared to get hit. White and Julio needs to start catching the ball more consistently. Matty Ice needs to start connecting more consistently on his deep throws. I cant count how many times he has over thrown a receiver. I think they need to use Rogers and snelling more. Last but not least about the offense “WE NEED TO GET RID OF MURLARKEY AND FIND A MORE CREATIVE AND AGGRESSIVE PLAY CALLER/OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR”. I think our defense has been playing good especially since brent grimes and kalvin hayden got hurt. Dominique Franks has played really well since feeling in. Our biggest problem on defense has been the same since playing Green Bay in the playoffs. If and when we get to the QB we cant seem to bring him down and get the sack. What do yall think about this?

vesaversa

December 15th, 2011
11:36 pm

If the Falcons get into the playoffs and get beyond the first game no one will remember how inconsistent they’er first half of season were . Jacksonville were no match for them tonight

what,what,what??

December 16th, 2011
6:07 am

all i have to say,being a fan since 1966,is how many winning seasons in a row have the current regime had in a row?? HUH??? there is a reason the people that run the falcons,run the falcons,and there is a reason most of you fantasy clowns are where you are. get a life, dumbasses !!!!