Defensive Letdown in Giants Stadium

Falcons Now in Tough Position

Familar Image: Defense Chasing (AP)

The Falcons playoffs hopes are fading fast after a gritty loss in New York on Sunday. The Birds played tough and showed an unbelievable spirit of fight in coming back from two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Falcons started off strong on defense on the first series with an interception, and proceeded on a complete collapse from that point on. The offense started slow again, but did great things in the second half in clawing their way back in the game that looked to be a blowout heading into the fourth quarter. Jason Snelling did a magnificent job filling in for the injured Michael Turner (and Jerious Norwood….again) and Matt Ryan got back on track, looking like the cool and collected quarterback most fans came to expect from last year. The defense, however, was a complete train wreck. The defensive line got little to no pressure on Eli Manning, the linebackers seem to be lost in coverage, and the cornerbacks are beyond pathetic. Everyone knew this year’s defense would be young and inexperienced, but when wide receivers are completely wide open throughout the game, than something’s wrong. The Atlanta Falcons played tough and never quit, which is a good omen moving forward with a very young team, but moral victories certainly don’t exist when it comes to making the playoffs. There’s no shame in losing to the Giants in New York in overtime, but after losing a game that should have been won last week in Charlotte, this one puts the Falcons in tight window to make the postseason for a second year in a row.

Storylines from the Loss in New York

 

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

What is the Falcons defensive identity? They supposedly are a “bend-but-don’t-break”defense, but it should be renamed “throw-it-whenever-and-wherever-you-want” defense. After 10 games, not sure that anyone can answer that question. Brian Van Gorder and Coach Smith built their reputations on tough and aggressive defenses, but save a few spots, this is anything but that. The linebackers are the corps of the D, the defensive line have played surprisingly well against the run this year, but there is no pressure on any quarterbacks from the defensive ends and the cornerbacks are really atrocious. Yes, there has been injuries to Brian Williams and Peria Jerry, but the inability of the Falcons defense to stop simple pitch and catch plays is embarrassing. It is very true that the Falcons defense is still extremely starved of talent, but something’s got to give concerning opposing teams and their quarterbacks (check out DOL’s new blog where he gives some great solutions the Falcons could have made @ CB). Any team with a halfway decent quarterback will have a record day against the Falcons. Did the organization switch Willie Martinez for Brian Van Gorder in secret? Blame deserves to go wide and far with the ineptness of the defense. Sure, they stopped the 49ers, Redskins, Dolphins, and did “pretty” good against Drew Brees and the Saints, but other than that the defense gets torched. Be a problem with philosophy, coaching, players, or whatever, many in the Falcons franchise should take responsibility.

Refusal to Address Issues

Maybe no one more so than Thomas Dimitroff. Yes he has turned this franchise around in a very short period of time and deserves all the credit he gets, but sitting on his hands knowing the cornerback situation the way it was is fairly inexcusable. He did nothing until the preseason showed how bad the situation was. Then he signed Brian Williams, which was a good move, but a completely reactive one. Many other teams went out signed a corner to help them on defense including the Saints, Patriots, and Cardinals to name a few. He also took a huge risk in letting 5 starters walk into free agency. It was likely the right move for the long-term, but they’re paying the price in the short term. Can we as fans really expect to make the playoffs with the defense we have?

Speaking of Corners………

Made Manningham Look Like Rice (AP)

All fans understand that football is a team game and that when a quarterback completes a pass on a cornerback that it is combination of many things such as the pressure from the defensive line, the coverage from the safeties and linebackers, and schemes brought out by the offensive coordinator and the respective defensive coordinator, but most of the passes on Sunday lies solely at the cornerbacks feet. The defensive line can’t physically get to the quarterback in plays designed to take one step and throw the football up in the air, knowing the Falcons cornerbacks can’t play ANY man-to-man coverage. They either can’t or don’t understand the idea of playing the ball in the air, because they make the offense look like they’re playing backyard football. How many third and shorts did Eli Manning simply take one step back and throw the ball up to his receivers in man-to-man coverage and have huge success? The receiver times it out and jumps to catch the ball with little to no resistance. Fans know that Chris Houston is no #1 corner, but is he even a second? The guy is the epitome of inconsistency and has no concept of playing the ball in the air. Brent Grimes has amazing ability and great toughness, but is a legitimate starting cornerback in the NFL? It may be safe to say that Chevis Jackson has regressed from last year, and the Tye Hill experiment had success in one game. Still no sighting of rookie Chris Owens, which begs the question: can he be any worse? Blame doesn’t escape the coaches either. If there is no cover skills from your corner they have to find other ways to defend against the pass. The loss of Brian Williams was devastating, but he wasn’t in the original plans anyway. Pass defense was pretty poor last year, but playing one of the easiest schedules didn’t lead them to being completely exposed as they have been this year. Fans wonder whether the off-season will see cornerbacks acquired through free agency or the draft. Can they do both?

Snelling’s Big Day

No Turner, Not Too Much of a Problem (AP)

Jason Snelling made the most of his opportunity with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood both being injured against the Giants on Sunday. Snelling had 76 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, as well as chipping in 3 receptions for 13 yards. Jason Snelling has come a long way from fighting for a roster spot two years in a row to figuring permanently into the Falcons future. Jerious Norwood was again a late scratch and that put the entire burden on #44 going against an aggressive Giants defense with a week to rest. Snelling ran hard and tough and willed himself to get many third downs. The coaches had enough faith in him to give him the ball on 4th and short all the way in the backfield, and he delivered. He may not have the speed of Turner, but he is shifty and is always going forward when he is hit in the running game. The lone running back also provided a nice dump off option when Ryan was pressured or could find no where to go with the ball. Those passes weren’t spectacular, but they at least netted positive yardage instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball out of bounds. Snelling and Turner are obviously the future in the Falcons backfield, but that brings up another question: do the Falcons even attempt to resign Jerious Norwood in the off-season or do they elect to draft their own speedster in the draft? Norwood has certainly been hurt, but he’s been a complete non-factor this year. Many, including the author, wondered if this would be Norwood’s last season in red and black because he would move on to another team’s feature back, but the possibility now exists if doesn’t come back for an entirely different reason?

Ryan Finds His Groove Again

One of the positives that the Falcons can take away from the Giants loss is the offense found its mojo again, and in particular, Matt Ryan looked like his old self from last year. He was pressured in the first half and was coasting on the same issues he’d had before of not setting his feet, seeming rattled, and not commanding the field with authority. The coaching effort did seem to make a concerted effort to allow Ryan to get into a rhythm early and often, electing to take some easy and quick throws instead of the long play-action or rollout plays that had been getting him trouble as of late. His completion wasn’t off the charts (56%), but he had no interceptions, over 260 yards passing, and two touchdowns. Also consider the fact that he should have had 3 touchdowns if Michael Jenkins doesn’t drop an easy floating TD pass with no one around him in the end zone. More importantly than stats, Ryan regained the composure and confidence he showed so often last year. The last drive, in particular, Ryan looked extremely sharp and poised with his throws knowing the game was on the line. The awesome strike to Tony Gonzalez with 35 seconds left sealed the deal and officially (hopefully) assured Ryan that he can be the ice cool quarterback of last year.

What’s the Deal with Jenkins?

Michael Jenkins definitely redeemed himself throughout the game with some big catches and finished with 6 receptions for 76 yards, but the game against the Giants continues the trend of Jenkins dropping balls in really bad moments. With 3rd and 7 on the Giants 7 yard line, the G-Men sold out on an all-out blitz and Ryan read it appropriately and barely got the ball off. The pass was floated a little bit, but Jenkins was all by himself in the endzone due to the blitz. The ball hit #12 directly in his hands and he simply dropped it. You could even see Roddy White’s frustration when he realized Jenkins had dropped the ball. The Falcons did conserve a field goal, but the score would’ve been Giants 24 to Falcons 21, instead of 24-17. Combine that with Elam’s missed FG and there’s a total of 7 points left on the field. With Finneran’s injury, non-production from veteran Marty Booker, and Harry Douglas returning from major injury, the Falcons should look hard at some receivers in February through April. The teams with the best passing attacks (Saints, Colts, Patriots) take chances on receivers every single draft.

Master of the Obvious: Elam is Hurting this Team

Elam is costing the Falcons an average of 3 points a game with his missed field goals, and the last two weeks a made field goal could have made the difference in the win. The theory would be an easy one that this will be Elam’s last year in red and black at the age of 39 and having such a hard time making easy field goals, but the Falcons signed the kicker to a 4 year, 9 million dollar contract in which he was guaranteed 3.3 million. Hard to believe the Falcons won’t start exploring more options in the off-season.

Can the Falcons Dome Field Advantage Bring Playoff Magic?

Can Gonzo and Birds Get on a Run? (AP)

The Birds have endured one of the most difficult schedules this year in the NFL, particularly with their road games in New England, Dallas, New Orleans, and New York, but they put themselves in a really difficult position by losing a game they should have won in Carolina. Theory goes that 10-6 would likely put them in a favorable position to make the wild card, but they realistically can only lose one more game in the final stretch. The bad news is that they must beat Philadelphia to have a chance and have to beat the Bucs twice, who have greatly improved through the season, and the Jets late December in New York. Add to that the fact that the Giants, Packers, and Eagles all currently have a better record than the Falcons right now. The Giants have a tie-breaker and the Packers have a really easy schedule down the stretch. The good news is that the Falcons play 4 of their last 6 at home, where they are perfect this year and are 11-1 under Coach Mike Smith. Signs are certainly good from the offensive perspective, but if the defense can’t get their house in order, than it will all be for naught.

Game Ball – Jason Snelling; Filling in for injuried running backs Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, Snelling scored two touchdowns and ran for almost 80 yards against a tough Giants defense.

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

Your Turn

-Are the Falcons playoff chances fading fast?

-Can the Birds get on a serious run and make the wild-card?

-Who’s the most to blame for the cornerback meltdown: players, coaches, or GM?

-Looking forward, should the Falcons tweak the corners or blow it up and start over?

-Is Abraham hurt or just on the twilight of his career?

-Please fix the defense!

-Is Ryan back or just one good game?

-Should Falcons look for running back AND receiver in the draft?

-Lay out the scenario for us to make the playoffs.

255 comments Add your comment

sportaree

November 23rd, 2009
7:34 pm

JJ

November 23rd, 2009
7:36 pm

AHHHHHHH, so close yet so far…

JJ

November 23rd, 2009
7:45 pm

D3, great post buddy. My treat at the Derby, and if I say I’ll be there…’nuff said. Kinda miffed that you got stood up but thats for others to grovel in their excuses. You know the saying…fool me once… Anyway, glad to hear WR mom is doing better and Unca’Bob has been MIA the last few days. Lil;Dave, good game I’ll take 2 pitchers and a order of teriyaki-hot wings, hold the celery!!!
Hope everyone is doing well before the holidays, falcons will be fine in “the process, only yr 2:.

BT

November 23rd, 2009
8:07 pm

D3- GOOD JOB!

I don`t think this team can win five of their last six games and I doubt if they can win four of the last six.
I see the being favored against the Buc`s (at home) and against the Bills.
The games against the Jets and Bucs (on the road) will be about even odds.
The games against the Saints and Eagles they will be big home under dogs.

Looks like about a split over the last six and with some luck and decent play, they might win four and come away with a nine and seven record?
Don`t bet on it though.

The facts remain:
Poor D-line pass rush.
Only average (at best) at stopping the run defense.
A simply horrible secondary.
Inconsistent QB play.
Inconsistent O-line play.
Any body that`s not named Roddy White or Gonzales on the receiver corps rarely gets open and drops the ball as often as not.
Booker is a waste of roster space and Jenkins is not too much better.
The main RB has been banged up and overused (when he`s healthy) and his backup has been out most of the season.
An OC that makes boneheaded play calls at crucial times in the game.
A field goal kicker that can`t be counted on to make a thirty yard chip shot and BTW why is that guy still on the team after being a major factor in two key defeats?

Sorry folks, that`s just my current take on the state of the team.
They are a ways away from being a legitimate playoff team and way far away from being the elite team than many had thought at the start of the `09 campaign.

sportaree

November 23rd, 2009
8:24 pm

D 3, Thanks for the time and effort that you put into the Bird Cage. Wish you and yours and everyone at the Cage a happy Thanksgiving.

Birdman

November 23rd, 2009
8:25 pm

Great post D3
Hate that you got stood up man . Wish I could have been there but work and other things prohibit me from those things . I think Ryan just had a good game I don’t think he is there yet maybe next year but he is still green.I personally blame the D coaching for the way the D is playing . Something wrong there and I think Smith will once again step in to solve some of the problems . I don’t see us making the play offs but I could be wrong ,hope I am, time to get real .
I think a fast WR is a must for next year and if Norwood gets better we should be OK with the run game with Snelling and Turner but if we pick some one up cheap but
effective then that would be OK to. Our biggest need is the CB’s for next year that and the D line coaching needs improving in my eyes very badly . Maybe its just a learning process there also . Also the Birds have got to invest in a field goal Kicker some how some way but Elam is washed up I think . Games like the Eagles and Saints may depend on a 3 point win if we get that close and I don’t like our odds this year with Elam . So next year that could be an issue .
Thats my 2 cents worth man
Ya’ll Keep It Coming Cage …..GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LRD

November 23rd, 2009
9:13 pm

D3. Thanks for the posts! My 02 Snelling is the freaking man but we need Norwood back for that extra boost of speed out of the backfield, and we need Turner back for the Eagles game…. Ryan did a good job (in the 2nd half) of shouldering the load and stepping up. No more deer in headlights, and his composure was good. As you all have been saying, it is a process and we have to let the process work.
Defense, my question.. what happened to our D that played against the Saints? Where o where have they gone? And if they do not come back soon we may have a tough time for the back to back.
Jenkins: IF he would have caught that TD, it would have been his best game this year. Just like to know where his mind has been wandering this year. Aint giving up on him yet. But as stated by others, we need to find another receiver as who knows how well Douglas will be next year. Maybe having a real #2 receiver on the team will give Jenkins that well need kick in the butt to get his head back on straight. Nothing like some fear to motivate occassionally.

Scenario for the playoffs…. cant lose another game , and was it Coop or Wabe said on yesterdays posts, … prayer.. we will need many prayers.

Happy Turkey Day to everyone..safe travels and enjoyable times with family and friends.

tell it like it is

November 23rd, 2009
9:17 pm

Get abraham off his butt and that will fix a lot when it comes to the defence.no i don’t think the falcons make the playoffs. the wild card teams for the NFC will come out of the east as i have said many times before.to late for falcons this year it all started with loss to Dallas.

CBrass

November 23rd, 2009
9:36 pm

D3,

Excellent post. Houston a number #2? Man hell naw…ROFL I’ll put it this way if he was on another team he would be fighting week-in and week-out just to keep his roster spot!!! If only Grimes was about 3 inches taller!! I love his heart and effort and most importantly he gets his head turned around and locate the ball. Oh yea the guy can jump out of the stadium!!!

As for Jenkins I really do not know. Didn’t his guy just get a contract extension last season? If so he’s really should think about returning some of AB’s money!!

D3 you’re right the game ball does go to Snelling. He should be used more so that Turner will not be over used. Turner is starting to age in dog years and he’s going to get burned out if they keep using him at this rate. He’s taking to much of a pounding and Snelling is more then capable of running the ball. For example during a game that we have a huge lead coming out at the half use Snelling instead of Turner. Even if his numbers aren’t great just save some wear and tear on his body.

Singletary

November 23rd, 2009
9:39 pm

Is the coaching staff fighting so many fires they have let the Elam fiasco fester for multiple games? I count him “but for” responsible for Giants, Panthers & NOLA. Professionals practice until they get it right or they find a fix/workaround. And you wonder why the rest of the team looks at kickers funny? Did you notice Smitty used him kicking as the last option after exhausting a 4th down QB sneak with Gonzalez pushing him forward.

Singletary

November 23rd, 2009
9:52 pm

Spouse claims that it isn’t Elam, that two of the three games I mentioned above were with the new long snapper. I don’t care. Coach Hamilton: FIX THIS. I don’t care if Pittman stops counting 1-Mississippi after seeing Koenan’s signal, but FG failure is at best a rally killer and at worst a game loser. Respectfully submitted, A Fan.

thunderbull56

November 23rd, 2009
10:07 pm

Fire Elam,Fire Jenkins,fire Gonzalez,fire the secondary.Unlike many who would dog on Roddy.I contend the problem lies with the PETA/Gonzalez pressure.Jenk’s yeah,should’ve been a star long before now.BUT,Face it,the offence could be better w/o the HOF pressure.Falcons go 7-9,in effort to please every one but the Fans and Tight Ends on the other team.

JJ

November 23rd, 2009
10:14 pm

BT, glass half full buddy, not half empty, but if you must…cut across the veins. The rest of us falcon fans will continue to root, cheer, and cry over our birds, We’ve already come along way since ‘07.

Great Falconi

November 23rd, 2009
10:34 pm

It’s hard to defend passes if you never have your eyes on the ball. Somebody should go back to yesterday’s game and count how many times Eli Manning completed a pass against a defender who had his back turned to the ball. Is that just poor technique? Is it the result of a poor scheme? Is it rank stupidity? I don’t know, but it sure as hell doesn’t make any sense to me.

I went to Wal-Mart tonight. It’s always wonderful to go to Wal-Mart, especially at this time of year. Anyway, one of the employees there saw my Falcons cap and sweatshirt and said, “Seeing that cap makes me want to cry.” He then went on a rant about Chris Houston. If Wal-Mart Guy can’t stand Houston’s putrescence, the Falcons really must not have any better options right now. That’s on Dimitroff, although I suspected that our defense was going to get burnt to a crisp all season.

Our offense was supposed to be our saving grace this season, but it just hasn’t been good enough to overpower most of our opponents. If Ryan truly turned the corner in the second half of the Giants game, we should be more productive from now on. Otherwise, we’re probably looking at 8-8. At least the two high-octane offenses we have left to face (Eagles and Saints) are playing us at the Dome. That gives us a fighting chance.

Wabe

November 23rd, 2009
10:37 pm

Someone write it down and see me in 6 weeks.

The Falcons take 5 of 6 here down the stretch.

vs Tampa (W)
vs Philly (W)
vs Saints (L)
at Jets (W)
vs Bills (W)
at Tampa (W)

It’s way too early to be throwing in the towel, especially considering that only 2 of the 6 remaining opponents the Falcons play are above .500 (Saints and Eagles). Both of those games will be tough, but I like the Falcons a bit more simply because we get them at home. I think it’s a manageable split…

The game against the Jets isn’t a “gimme”, but, we just played the Giants tough in NY – and I personally feel that they’re the better team in NY. The Jets won’t shred the Falcons secondary like Eli did because Sanchez isn’t at that point in his career. If we send heat and pressure him, we’ll have success against their offense.

I absolutely don’t believe that the Falcons will let one slip up against the Bucs. They play them this week, and they know it’s a must win. No room for slip up. They then see them again in week 17, and at that point, it’ll be too big a game for the Falcons to screw around. They’ll take care of business.

It’s still early. Keep your head up and have some faith guys. We’ll have a much better idea of what the playoff picture looks like 3 weeks from now.

Wabe

November 23rd, 2009
10:43 pm

Mike Smith said in his weekly game recap interview that they’re “evaluating both players and schemes on defense”. I hope he takes a hard look at that scheme and makes some changes.

I think you’ll see some changes implemented this week. You don’t lose 4 out of 5 and continue to field the same players and implement the same scheme.

Changes will come here as we go down the stretch.

At least I hope.

tell it like it is

November 23rd, 2009
10:49 pm

The falcons will have a winning season but no playoffs so who cares.This orginazation has put yet another team on the field that underacheves and is not very good.

Wabe

November 23rd, 2009
11:03 pm

Packers remaining schedule:

at Detroit
vs Baltimore (MNF)
at Chicago
at Pittsburg
vs Seattle
at Arizona

Eagles remaining schedule:

vs Redskins
at Atlanta
at Giants
vs 49ers
vs Denver
at Dallas

Giants remaining schedule:

at Denver
vs Dallas
vs Philly
at Washington
vs Carolina
at Vikings

Just in case anybody’s interested, here’s the schedule for a couple wildcard teams in the hunt. I’d think of all the wildcard teams in the hunt, we’ve got the easiest remaining schedule.

tell it like it is

November 23rd, 2009
11:10 pm

We have the easiest remaining schedule but the worst team in the race.are you blind wabe?

E43

November 23rd, 2009
11:11 pm

tell you what… 3-4 base deffense has to be considered. i mean were going to blitz any way so why not just put an extra linebacker out there? nose tackle would be an issue but im pretty sure the extra backer would be an upgrade to the type of pressure were producing now. then on third down we can dime or nickel it up with 4linemen including one of whom is fresh.
in my opinion the cb lineup should be tye-houston-grimes-jackson-owens. i hate seing the falcons pull a starter in a game and never bring him back into the game. i think houston is a good number two, i put tye at the 1 because the falcons do not have an answer whatsoever. right now houstons confidence is dropping and chances are after this offseason he will probably play the 2 anyway

falcon21

November 23rd, 2009
11:12 pm

Thank you JJ, a fan is a fan. We are fans and will stand by this team!!!

6 - 10

November 23rd, 2009
11:20 pm

I’m really missing Matt Schaub right now. I knew he was going to be good. Arm strength, accuracy & poise……something we don’t have. :(

6 - 10

November 23rd, 2009
11:23 pm

Wabe -

We may win two (Bucs & Bills)….maybe. No way we win 5 of 6 though, not THIS team.

Two wins vs. the Bucs? Doubtful, even as bad as they suck.

Shawty

November 23rd, 2009
11:45 pm

The Blind Side is really good and your girls will like it too.

Shawty

November 23rd, 2009
11:47 pm

We will get back to back winning seasons, maybe not playoffs, but I hope so with all my heart.

Box

November 24th, 2009
12:09 am

If we attain that, it is a milestone for the organization.

Wabe

November 24th, 2009
12:11 am

Alright guys, call me blind. I said 10 wins before the season began, and I’m gonna stand by my prediction. I say 10 wins. Get at me in 6 weeks.

I’m not saying we’re superbowl contenders here, just trying to say some of you guys are throwing in the towel way too early. We’re 5-5 with plenty of football left.

Say what you want to say. If Ryan plays well down the stretch and you get guys like Turner and Norwood back – which bolsters the run game – we’re not that bad…

The DEF must play better, but we’re not playing 6 high-octane offenses in this upcoming stretch. We lost to the Saints 35-27 in N.O., a game that we could’ve won if we minimized the mistakes – so why could we not win that game here at home?

4 of 6 at home. We’re 11-1 at home under Mike Smith…

It’s not as far-fetched as some of you are portraying it to be. LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE!

Box

November 24th, 2009
12:20 am

Wabe and Shawty,
I agree. Let’s play the rest of the schedule and see what happens. If any of us on this blog knew the actual outcome on all of our games for this season, they’d be in Vegas making serious green. I’m critical as hell about our shortcomings on this team, but still am a Falcons fan. I’m used to losing, so what the hell.

Wabe

November 24th, 2009
12:35 am

Oh yeah, and 6-10, Matt Schaub stands in the exact same position as 2nd year QB Matt Ryan at this point.

5-5.

The guy has been playing QB in Houston far longer than Matt Ryan has been playing here, and the guy is yet to get that team to the playoffs.

Common man, show some faith in what we’ve got down here.

mockmoney

November 24th, 2009
12:46 am

The falcons should have kept Dominique Foxworthy and it is trulu showing,they should start the rookie #21 OWENS AT LEAST HE HAS HEIGHT and couldnt do any worst than Grimes or Houston.

Box

November 24th, 2009
1:54 am

I’m all for a little shake up in the DB group, but is there a reason coaching staff haven’t?

Debbie

November 24th, 2009
5:33 am

Blaming the schedule is soooooooooo weak.

Birdman

November 24th, 2009
7:16 am

Shawty
I went and seen the blind side last week at Atlantic Station . Very good movie I would go pay to see it again. Anybody who likes Football must see this movie but as you know Shawty the movie goes way beyond the game of Football very very good movie .
Back to our team .I don’t blame the schedule I blame the coaching bottom line poor coaching on both sides of the game but especially on the D . Of-course we have problems with the secondary ,CB, WR and kicking . But this team should be further along with this young D than it is . So something is missing up top. Don’t get me wrong I think we landed a great couch in Smith for years to come but he also is green at this point in his career . Our main concern is on the D side . Well work calls gota go.
God bless all.

An Observation

November 24th, 2009
8:50 am

Great Post as usual!!! I totally agree that the CBs are awful++++. It is so frustrating but this is only year 2 under Smith. Injuries have played a major role this year and we did not have as many injuries last year in key positions. All 53 roster spots are suppose to be filled by professionals but it’s obvious that we lack strong back-up impact players.

Elam’s excuse about there being a new long snapper rings hollow with me because he was missing FGs earlier in the season too before the long snapper change. It’s time for him to go and bring in a younger kicker that can kick 50 yd field goals consistently.

I guess we are stuck with the CBs that we have this year, but it sure is painful to watch them get burned on third and long week after week.

I still don’t understand why we don’t run short quick slants across the middle on short yardage plays????? Hit the running back or tight end in stride???

Eman

November 24th, 2009
9:10 am

People, most DBs are between 5′ 9 and 5′ 11!!! That’s not the reason for our problems!!!! Brent Grimes most be like 5′ 8 or under, but that is not his problem; His problem is that he has short arms and legs. If he has longer arms with his jumping ability; he would be a really good DB. Look at Darrell Green, Antoine Winfield, and Both eagle CBs. Chris Owens is short but he has longer arms and is a very good cover guy. I just don’t understand why he has not been given a chance. Chris Houston has all the making physical of a good CB, but his technique is horrible.That’s coaching people!!! How many times can you tell a guy to get your head around and look for the ball. Sit him and he will have a better view from the sidelines. Sicking with these players, will cause the falcons to have another losing season. All in all, the blame goes on the GM for forming this defence and not signing some free agents in the secondary.

stendec

November 24th, 2009
9:19 am

Drag Morten Anderson out of retirement! Force Jason Elam into retirement. The Falcons HAVE a secondary? Fooled me! A breakeven record is not worth a damn. Matt Ryan choking big time. Looks like Joey Harrington! Nothing to look forward to or get excited about from here on out. Except, of course, keeping streak intact. Believe these untalented heartless quitters will! To Hell with them. Happy Thanksiving! ++STENDEC++

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
9:55 am

D3, your stellar work continues my brother. Hope all is well with the little one as his recovery continues. Now on to the matters at hand:

Playoff chances: Slim but they are still there. I honestly think that we may run out of gas before the end of the season. There is at least ONE more major defensive meltdown left for us to endure. The Saints and Eagles games are winnable but will require the best defensive games of the year. Trust me, Shawn Payton and Andy Reid will definately put the ball in the air, knowing that the Falcons have a great homefield advantage. What is the best way to kill that advantage…score quick, score often, score early.

Serious run and wild card: 9-7 is the best I can see the Falcons finishing this season. And my heart, a heart that has loved this team for nearly 40 years, just does not see a playoff appearance in the making. History will be made in back to back winning season and the PROCESS, yes, the ongoing PROCESS moves forward.

The cornerback meltdown: Blame is first and foremost on the players. You have got to want to be the best. But we see the same garbage week after week. Mighty Mouse (aka Brent Grimes) has the heart of a warrior and hustles well. He will make plays but is simply too small for anything other than a situational DB and special teams ace. But note this. Contrary to popular opinion, GRIMES is the best CB we have on our roster…period!! Chris Houston…I will not waste my time on that piece of work out of respect for the fact that he IS someone’s son. CUT him as soon as the season is over. The same with JA98…neither Arkansas product has done nothing to impress me and they never will. What in the hell did Rich McKay see in them?

Sad part is that the CB class this upcoming draft is not very impressive overall. We may be in serious trouble unless for a while at this position. FA potential does not look over-impressive and you can not overpay for the unknown. Develop the talent in your own garden I guess. Which means it is time to see what Owens can do. Or how about a move of DeCoud over to CB. He has some time at that position in the past. What do we lose. Can’t get any damned worse for sure.

You also have to look at the chemistry between BVG, Alvin Reynolds (DB coach), and Emmit Thomas, secondary coach. Are they on the same page?

The defense for the Falcons is simply pathetic. First, the defensive line is a major disappointment. While there has been a lot of focus on the CBs, the DL has been just as bad. Too many times this season, there have been games where the linemen have not totaled at least FOUR tackles each in a game. Sacks have been far and in-between, with Abe, Babs, and Biermann getting the bulk of the sacks they have in individual games. Our LB corps is suspect as well. Petersen is a band aid for the moment. Why not see what Adkins can do? Lofton, while a beast in the run game, is a liability in pass coverage. Nicholas is still discovering himself at SLB. The latter two will get better but WLB needs to be addressed.

To be continued….

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:03 am

Ryan is going to be fine at the QB position. This kid gets it. All those that were looking for a mad bomber at QB are looking in the wrong place. Given this his second year, the young man is making great progress. I said it before and I will say it again. When all is said and done, Ryan will be the second greatest Falcons QB in history…only behind Stevey B.

The Falcons have a dynamic one-two punch now in Turner and Snelling. I would look for a versatile, bigger back in the middle to late rounds of the draft in order to add depth. We should go back to what worked so well with us last season…running the rock, pounding the middle and outside runs, and play action passing. That is what MR is best at. That is where he excels. A receiver that can get yards after the catch would be nice but is NOT worth a high draft pick to acquire. There are far more pressing needs.

Deep breath now…Again, great post D3; just my take on a few of the great points you brought to light.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:06 am

Eman, Houston’s technique has not changed since he left Arkansas. He was lucky then and that luck has not followed him to the NFL. Rich McKay wasted, wasted I say a quality second round pick on that dude. He has had more than enough time to work with his coaches or to seek out a source to improve his game. Send him packing!!

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:20 am

FYI…This same Rich McKay chose Jamaal Anderson in the same 2007 draft. This so-called guru OVERLOOKED the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2006 Butkis Award winner from Ole Miss in favor of a one-hit wonder in Jamaal Amderson. Patrick Willis was passed over for Jamaal Anderson. How has that worked out Rich?

Houston was selected over Michigan LB David Harris (Jets) and Michigan’s Lamaar Woodley (Steelers). How has that worked out Rich. The 3-4 could be in full effect here in ATL people.

In TD’s defense, this past “09 draft has produced little from the so-called defensive stars that we taken in the first rounds. Matthews, Cushing, and Curry are having descent first years but they would not have been available to the Falcons at our pick. Hood is learning the game behind one of the best in the Steel City, Casey Hampton. And English is seeing time in the 3-4 of the Chargers.

Some bits to nibble on.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:25 am

TD inherited the travesty that is the Falcon defense. He has moved aggressively to fix it. It just has not worked this season. Jerry and Moore were injury risks from the start. We took a chance and lost. Will we ger value back next season….TBD.

The lack of attention on the defensive side of the ball was the direct result of an outdated philosophy of Rich McKay. Star power, not players committed to the long term, were what we had here in ATL. MeAngelo, Brooking and his declining skills, etc…we got by too long with nothing.

Leadership committed to changing a culture was key. We had not had that since we lost Dan Reeves. Smitty and TD are changing that. Rome was not built in a day and a culture of losing and bad decisions will not change in a day either. Let the Process run its course.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:35 am

Here is where I find my solice. TD is a product of the Patriot Way. The Patriot Way does not panic. They carefully and skillfully fill the need when it comes. They sell the concept of the team and a common goal. The goal this season is still the same. Smitty has not change his battle cry; PROCESS, PROCESS, PROCESS.

In New England, it was about the Process. TD is not going to change who he is or who he does his business. In time, yes TIME, this team will be a consistent threat to win it all each year. That time is coming. It may be still a year or so away but it is coming. I’ve waited for 40 years. It took the Braves a long damned time to deliver as well. The Hawks seem to have gotten in right now and look to be for real, growing and maturing each year over the last three.

TD and Smitty know what is at stake. They ARE the men best suited for this mission. Do not go uot and bring in some relic from the past in a panic move OR change course with some unproven “hot” coach at this time or ANYTIME in the next two-three years. Let this thing play out. If we do that, I am VERY confident that within 5 years, we will have our parade on Peachtree.

If I can wait 40 years, I can damned sure wait 5 more, God willing. I will rant, I will rave, I will criticize. But in the end, I still love my Falcons. And in AB, TD, and Smitty, I trust.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:47 am

Michael Jenkins may become a more consistent receiver if he saw his number called a little more often. And Roddy White has not reason to call anyone out for drops. It took a while for him to be pretty good at his craft; Mike Jenkins is a valued asset on this team, especially with the impending loss of Brian Finneran to injury or cap release next season. Douglas is recovering well but it takes a year or so to get completely back from those knee injuries.

A receiver should not be a high priority draft or FA move for the Falcons. We have more pressing needs (OL solidification, DL recontruction, and secondary overhaul yet again).

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:48 am

Whew…damned I did not realize I was so long winded this morning. Sorry Cage fam. Going to take a break and rest my fingers. Laters…God bless!! Go Falcons.

CBrass

November 24th, 2009
10:49 am

SW,

I haven’t read all of our post but one statement stuck out to me:

“What in the hell did Rich McKay see in them?”

Both players benefited from a weak SEC west which caused them to post major stats and I know for sure that JA98 was a combine warriors. Not sure why some GM’s get so caught up in the combine it’s a waste if you ask me.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
10:50 am

Amen..CB. Well stated. Rich surely got caught up in that one for sure.

CBrass

November 24th, 2009
11:11 am

SW,

I just read all of your post and what you stated is very true. I’ll say again many are criticizing BVG but once he get’s his type of players in here things will be different. Houston is just horrible. I do not understand why it’ so hard to get your head around to locate the ball. Grimes does it and guess what he have the INTs to prove it. You are right Grimes, IMO, is the best CB we have. He’s just to short and that is not his fault. I agree with everyone else. Give Owens a shot he couldn’t do any worse.

I have one question. Ok Tye Hill was benched during the Carolina game. Why in the hell haven’t Houston been benched. He repeatably get his a$$ handed to him but he still on the field!!!! I just hope they haven’t given up on Hill. He simply needs reps. For God sakes he hasn’t done any worse than Houston!!

I do

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
11:25 am

CB, we share the same feelings about Hill and Owens. We will never know until we see what they can do in extended stretches. No one, I mean know one in our secondary has given up more big plays (20 yards +) that Houston. And why is is not sitting is beyond reasonable thought.

Injuries did Hill in in STL. I saw him play for Clemson against some very good FSU receivers in the day. He can’t be that damned bad. He simply can’t be. Otherwise, TD would not have wasted the pick; we could have used it for OL/DL depth or something.

D3

November 24th, 2009
11:44 am

Great Holiday Week Cagers! :smile: Something special about Thanksgiving week: good food, football, being with the ones you love and care for……and taking bets on how many points Georgia Tech will score on a Willie Martinez led GA defense >>> 40 pts, 50 pts….100 pts:?:

JJ – Thanks my man. I will certainly take you up on that when I get a free chance. Back in my single days, I would come out and close the place down :twisted: but have to throttle back a bit these days. Is it the one over on Spalding Dr.? Thank you for reminding us that this is only year 2 of rebuilding a really disfunctional team.

BT – Good points on the issues we’ve had this year. We still have many problems that we didn’t have last year as you pointed out and still have a major starvation of talent, especially on the D side of the ball. We look to have at least 9 draft picks, and really need more. Due to injury (Jerry, Moore) and who knows (Owens, Sidbury)we’ve have ZERO :mad: help from this draft class. We need mucho draft picks and a FA Cornerback.

sportaree – Thanks my brother. Getting ready to enjoy the first Thanksgiving with my little buddy, which now it takes on a whole new meaning. Best wishes to you and yours! :grin:

Birdman – I agree that the coaches deserve blame, but I think the the blame goes wide and deep, including the players and Dimitroff. The Brian Williams signing was a good one, but the issue I had was that it wasn’t in his original plans and didn’t make the move until they were exposed in preseason BTW, the exact same problems we’ve been having in the passing attack (one step-drop throws towards the sidelines) have been happening since the Chargers preseason game and have continued since. :shock:

LRD – Good analysis. Love that Snelling will be our feature 3rd down back for a long time now. The question I really want to know is whether we try to sign Norwood in the off-season. On one hand, we likely could get a big discount with his injury issues this year, but on the other hand he’s been really injury-prone the last couple of years and it sure would be nice to pick up a speedster from the draft with our estimated 9 draft picks.

tell it – Very true that the Dallas loss was a really crappy one and could have made a big difference if we pick up that game, confidence wise if nothing else.

CBrass – Hilarious on Houston :lol: ! Yeah, I pretty much agree. I could see him as #2 much more than a #1, which is what he’s been since he’s been drafted. He’s shown really no improvement since being in the NFL. He still does the same things he did as a rookie. A lot of this is on TD. He could have signed Jabari Greer, Leigh Bodden, Bryant McFadden, or even Chris McAlister (who the Saints just picked up). I understand not wanting to spend a lot of money in the FA market, but he had no problem doing it with Turner in his first year. Somethings gotta give. Drafting a corner early is not guarantee either. I still say we should draft another corner and pick up a FA one. Keep Chris Owens, Brent Grimes, maybe Chevis Jackson or Tye Hill, new FA CB, and a drafted one. Got to have a veteran CB in the mix.

More later…………

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2009
12:11 pm

D3, treasure those special moments with the little man. You think you have the time in the world at your disposal and then, BAM!! They are adults. Jsut wait until you are watching old videos of him in middle school and high school games…..ahhhhhhh, memories. The days of innocence. LOL.

As far as the draft goes, we have a firm six picks (no second round pick this year – TG trade) and I am thinking that we should get at least 2-3 comp picks.