Can the Falcons Learn from the Super Bowl Champs?

Football’s Officially Over…………for Now

 The dark clouds have taken their place once again, and the collective groan you heard around 10 pm Sunday night was the realization that football is no more for a while. For many of us football junkies, this can be a time to become melancholy and even despondent for some: no more high school football, no more college football Saturdays, no more NFL, and not even any more fantasy football. It’s in the books for another year, and won’t re-emerge until September (215 days to be exact, but hey, no one’s counting). Even though the clouds of No Football have hovered in, it is also a time of renewal on a new season. After the parade on Bourbon Street passes and the ticker tape is swept up, all 32 teams are officially back in the hunt once more. Don’t fret football addicts, the Scouting Combine is only 2 weeks away, Free Agency soon follows, and the Draft is a mere 2 months in the future.

Congrats to the Super Bowl Champion Saints

The Saints-Colts Super Bowl was everything many thought it would be and New Orleans finished off a miraculous and impressive run, made even more remarkable due to the fact that they finished dead last in their own division and were below .500 the last two years. Even though it may be hard to root for the Saints since their the Falcons oldest rival, it has to be acknowledged if nothing else, how far they came in such a short amount of time. The Saints blazed through the regular season, lost a little mojo for a couple games, but used their hard earned home-field advantage to a great strength. Upon reaching the Big Game, they played inspired football and came back against a great team to win the Lombardi Trophy. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, their coaches, players, and fans on a job well-done.

What Can the Falcons Learn from the Champs?

A Very Creative Passing Offense Can Take You Far

Sean Payton deserves obviously deserves much of the credit for winning the Super Bowl, but even more so since he was the main play-caller for the Saints record-breaking offense. Payton was intent on providing a plethora of weapons for Drew Brees to work with, and that game-plan couldn’t have worked out any better. The Saints offense disproved many theories commonly held about having to win in the NFL, chief among them that you have to run first and often to win big. Granted, the Saints still were ranked as the 6th best rushing offense, but they put the rest that you must always run first and establish the run to set up the pass, instead of the other way around. The head coach had enough confidence in his quarterback to fling the ball around early and often.

Payton may not can be matched in his inventiveness in the passing game, but the Saints showed that a creative passing attack can eat the clock just as good as a tough running game can. Even though they mastered the short and intermediate passing game in the Super Bowl, the Saints would usually find ways of getting the ball down the field. Compared to the Falcons and Mularkey’s fairly predictable play-action passing attack, the Birds can certainly learn a lot from the Saints and their very creative and unpredictable passing game. Matt Ryan surely is no Drew Brees, but comparing him to where Brees was at year two, Ryan deserves the chance to sling the ball around as well (thanks to WR and BT, among others).

Superb Depth of Offensive Talent

Perhaps the biggest strength of the Saints offense was its amazing depth of offensive talent and Payton’s decree of including almost all of that depth. On the Saints winning drive, Brees hit 8 different receivers/running backs to march down the field. The Saints offensive distribution was well-known throughout the year with the Saints using any number of the following without any tells Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Reggie Bush, Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas, Lynell Hamilton, Jeremy Shockey, and David Thomas. Its likely that the Saints won’t be able to keep their entire roster together, but they’ll probably scout and draft some talent to take their place. Compare the options just listed above to the ones the Falcons found consistent during the year Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and………? Harry Douglas and Brian Finneran were both injured, but can the Falcons arsenal legitimately be compared to the Saints? Time to significantly upgrade the offensive attack, particularly the receiving corps, through free agency and the draft.

Be Bold….

The onside kick in the Super Bowl will be the play that gets the most attention in changing the momentum of the game, but that play-call was simply the product of Payton’s aggressive style that is high risk, but also high reward. Many of the plays that Payton may have called didn’t pan out (fake field goal in Atlanta comes to mind), but the idea that the coach is fearless translated to his players in not fearing any opponent or being scared to make any play. Without the onside kick, the game likely would have had a different outcome with Manning being able to drive down the field, control the clock, and put the game somewhat out of reach. Coach Smith certainly made some overly cautious decisions (failure to go on 4th downs late in the game) that may or may not have worked out for the better, but the Birds surely came out flat and looked to lack confidence at times.

That aggressive mentality transferred to the front office as well. GM Mickey Loomis and the Saints front office deserve as much credit for assembling the team that won hoisted the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night. They weren’t afraid to pull the trigger on giving up draft picks for two high profile players in Jonathan Vilma and Jeremy Shockey. They were masterful in their scouting department, able to find talent in the most uncommon places: Marques Colston (7th round), Pierre Thomas (undrafted free agent), Lynell Hamilton (undrafted free agent), Mike Bell (undrafted free agent and released from Broncos), Bobby McCray (undrafted free agent and released from Jaguars), Remi Ayodele (undrafted free agent), and Garrett Hartley (undrafted free agent). The Saints were in year four of their “process” and it all came together perfectly in their championship run. In all likelihood, Thomas Dimitroff appears to be on that track, but as the Saints showed, significantly revamping the roster or adding major tweaks can be a good thing.

Your Input

As we are now officially in off-season mode, please submit any suggestions, ideas, or thoughts on what you’d like to see in the off-season. Any and all suggestions are encouraged and welcome. We certainly have time.

Enjoy………………

 

What Can the Falcons Learn Most from the Saints?

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214 comments Add your comment

JJ

February 8th, 2010
9:09 pm

D3, all of the above.

BT

February 8th, 2010
9:38 pm

D3,
Good job.
All of the above but mostly more weapons.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
9:46 pm

Matt Ryan will be in his third season. Turn the man loose and see what he can do. He runs one hell of a no huddle.

BT

February 8th, 2010
9:48 pm

D3,
With the draft being over two months away.
The FA sighing period comes first.
What potential FA`s would everyone like to see the team pursue.
I read somewhere that the team is working out several kickers.
One guy is the best kicker from the CFL.
Ink that guy, and do it quick, IMO.
How about DE`s, RB`s or WR`s?
Any names come to mind?

FalconFanWhoWantsATitle

February 8th, 2010
9:52 pm

Comparing the Falcons to the 2 teams in the SB I don’t think they’re close imo. I don’t think we have championship caliber coordinators, DLine, OLine, WR’s, LB’s or CB’s. Our passing game looks like one of a Pop Warner squad and don’t even get me started on the defense. We’re thin at WR, our OLine has turned to turnstiles overnight, our DLine couldn’t pressure with my grandma blocking, our LB’s (the only one I like is Lofton btw) get eaten alive in coverage and our CB’s are still walking around with smoke coming out of their rear ends.

For the Falcons to be able to go toe 2 toe with the top teams in the league and WIN there must be some drastic changes. We can’t run our offense around Michael Turner, the hand cuffs must be taken off Matt Ryan and we must access the ENTIRE field not 20 yards of it.

Better route designs for our WR’s must be drawn up. I’m sick and tired of seeing a LB or a CB draped over our WR every single time they catch the ball. Attack the field, STRETCH the FIELD stop dinking and dunking all over the place. Our offense is so predictable that it’s almost sickening.

What the Falcons need are playmakers! Guys that are going to create mismatches on the field, guys that lay the wood, guys that takeaway the ball. Matt Ryan needs weapons, not just a WR and a TE. A TE btw is going to end up a 2 year rental when all is said and done because I believe he’ll retire next year. John Abraham needs help, I don’t know if Julius Peppers is the answer and if he’s not get Aaron Kampman, Ray Edwards or Osi Umenyiora here.

Years of bad drafting and turmoil has really done this team in and set us back badly and while TD is doing an admirable job I feel as though we’re still 2 years away from constantly having success in the NFL.

BT

February 8th, 2010
10:03 pm

FFWWAT,
Nice Blog,
Concur, with what your saying about the more weapons and stretching the field, play calling and the need for better O-line protection.
Across the board the D might be a little better off than what you think?
Overall, the Falcons are not as far off as you think.
Trust me,
I am not a guy strolling around here with rosey colored glasses.
I Like you style of spitting it out though.

Box

February 8th, 2010
10:08 pm

D3,
Nice first of the week post. I agree with JJ, F21, and BT on their comments.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
10:08 pm

BT, I agree on the kicker, DE, RB but grab a WR in the draft. I’m not real worried at RB at this point. Kicker can be found in FA. Get DE or O-Lineman early or middle round in the draft if no one with ability is available in FA. TD will find a WR in the draft.

BT

February 8th, 2010
10:17 pm

f21,
Just throwing some stuff out there.
There are some, DE`s, RB`s and CB `s available in FA.
That kicker situation cost us dearly last season.
Gotta get that crap squared away, IMO.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
10:18 pm

100% agreed BT.

BT

February 8th, 2010
10:22 pm

One item that went largely un-noticed from last nights game is, how clutch the Saints kicker has been in the post season.
He has been huge.
Easy to take for granted, until your kicks don`t go through.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
10:33 pm

Yeah we have always had pretty good kickers until the last two seasons. Remember Tim M. the bartender, can’t spell his last name, Mick Luckhurst and Mort. With Mort 45 and under was a done deal late in his career.

BT

February 8th, 2010
10:41 pm

Speaking of ST signings.
The Falcons need to re-sign their long snapper.
Plus, I would like seeing an upgrade in their kick return game.
If, Weems is going to make the team, he needs to do it because he made it as the 5th reciever?
Not because he can also return a few kicks.
He`s already on the bubble, IMO.

Box

February 8th, 2010
10:43 pm

Tim Mazzetti.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
10:49 pm

BT, Bergeron is in the same boat, if he had a little ability we would have seen alot more of him during the season. I kept hearing how good he was but for some reason I never seen him in the action of a game.

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
10:51 pm

That’s it Box. I could not spell it. Thank you!

BT

February 8th, 2010
10:58 pm

F21,
I was thinking about Bergeron today while contemplating WR`s blog from this morning.
Is this guy a weapon they refuse to use ( i.e stupid coaching) or is he simply not good enough to beat out the garbage we have at the WR position?
Probablly a little bit of both.

Sarah B

February 8th, 2010
11:01 pm

Waaaaaaaah, Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah no more football games till August!!!!!!

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
11:05 pm

BT, I go with simply not good enough. I think our coaches are better than that but I’ve been wrong before.

Box

February 8th, 2010
11:11 pm

BT,
In regards to Bergeron, I wonder about our coaches allowing players on the field before they think that they are ready. I mean, the offensive scheme can be picked up by the entire Cage population and their spouses, how hard can it be to put a player in who is taught one or two specialized plays? Tye Hill was on the roster for more than seven weeks before he saw the field. Just convo fodder…

BT

February 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

Hey, Sarah B.
Good luck with that 2nd interview.
There is always the NFL Network replays, combine and the draft to look foward to.
The season never ends, unless there is a 2011 lockout?

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

Have a good night BT, Box and Sarah B.

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BT

February 8th, 2010
11:25 pm

Box,
If, I am not mistaken?
Bergeron bounced back a forth from no where, the practice squad and the active roster for two years!
I guess, he has lived out of a suitcase for the duration?
IMO, there are only so many pass routes with the associated reads a guy can run and execute.
I`m quite sure he understood the assignments.
I know he runs crisp routes and catches everything.
He must be too just to slow to gain consistent seperation at the NFL level?

Sarah B

February 8th, 2010
11:26 pm

BT I seriously do not think the NFL will let their cash cow shut down at the peek of their money making era.

Box

February 8th, 2010
11:28 pm

BT,
I thought that it was only the one year. My error.

BT

February 8th, 2010
11:42 pm

Sarah B.,
Nobody wants a lockout but don`t think it can`t happen.
It`s happened before.
In`87 there was a strike shortened year and the NHL and MBL have had their seasons either lost or shortened.
Already the no cap year is a near certainty.
The only thing after that is a lockout for 2011.

Marcus

February 8th, 2010
11:44 pm

I say 1 more offensive weapon at RB or WR (breakaway threat) and load up on D like we did in ‘09.

Sarah B

February 8th, 2010
11:45 pm

BT just think about the ratings they saw last night… you think they would let that go for any amount of time???

BT

February 8th, 2010
11:54 pm

Sarah B
When you say, they.
Who are you talking about, the players union or the owners?
The TWO sides are far apart on several key issues.

bird 36

February 9th, 2010
12:06 am

saints r not all that the ball just bounced the right way. they got lucky didnt lose anybody to injuries. it wont happen 2 years in a row.

Sarah B

February 9th, 2010
12:08 am

Both have waaaaay to much to lose… but especially the the owners and the whole NFL. I would think it starts with a rookie salary cap.

BT

February 9th, 2010
12:12 am

Sarah B,
The rookie pay schedule is a given.
Bigger issues are revenue sharing and FA structure.

Sarah B

February 9th, 2010
12:23 am

Revenue sharing will not change. FA structure may. I just think rookie salary will come into play. It’s much more risky.

geno

February 9th, 2010
12:26 am

finally looks like most falcon fans are getting it: offence rules the NFL…..lets get some weapons and go after those saints next year.

BT

February 9th, 2010
12:34 am

The bottom line:
Owners conceded too much to the Union with the last agreement (in their collective minds) and they want to reel that back into prior arrangements or better.
The Union appears dead set against going back in time, letting go of FA status after four years or having a reduced cut of the revenue pie.

There are other smaller issues at stake but above are the real stumbling blocks.

Sarah B

February 9th, 2010
12:55 am

I love you BT!!!!

Sarah B

February 9th, 2010
12:56 am

In other words I can’t argue anymore,

Sarah B

February 9th, 2010
1:02 am

Ed

February 9th, 2010
2:18 am

Great read D3, and yes there is much to learn. Payton’s aggressiveness and his will to play to win as opposed to playing not to lose. Love a coach that goes for as he did at the end of the first half even though it didn’t work at the time.
We also learn the value of depth plus playmakers on offense, and the variety of ways to obtain them. When it comes to the road graders, they need to come in the first or second round. You can’t go cheap on OL and expect to win and ours isn’t where it needs to be.

Ed

February 9th, 2010
2:50 am

As far as there being a lockout, you can just about count on it. The league defiinitely wants the players to take a significant cut in revenue sharing (up to 18%). The players want the teams to open their books and the league is adamant about not doing so. DeMaurice Smith, the union head, said on a scale of 1 – 10 the chances of their being a lockout is a 14. Regardless of the good spin the leauge may put on this, they will definitely shut it down if there’s no agreement in place next year by March.

[...] Read the original here: What Can the Falcons Learn from the Super Bowl Saints? | The Bird Cage [...]

RomeDawg

February 9th, 2010
6:50 am

Was it a fluke a team built like this won? I am “old school” but I still think establishing the run, playing great defense and passing to open up the run seems to win more than 40 passes a game. Or, have times changed and the skill set of players better lends itself to this type of “wide open” passing attack. If you look back through the history of the NFL I still think a running game and defense is what you work on, with a QB smart enough to read a defense when needed.

Unca' Bob

February 9th, 2010
7:10 am

“The union has said management wants players to reduce their share to 41 percent of applied revenues from about 59 percent. Goodell counters that of the $3.6 billion in incremental revenues since 2006, players received $2.6 billion.”

Everyone that believes the money is going to the players, please raise your hand.

D3- I agree with JJ, BT, etc. All the above. The third facet of the game is ST, which has been touched upon, but not expounded on. I’ll leave that for another post. As great as the NO offense is, they only scored 14 points. Two touchdowns and a two point conversion. Special teams put up eleven points. Three FG’s and two extra points.And, yes, I know someone had to put them into position to even attempt a fieldgoal. The D had a pick-six for a total of thirty-one points. All three phases of our team need to be addressed, IMO, with none having any more value than the other. As long as it gets done, I’m happy.

tell it like it is

February 9th, 2010
10:15 am

Get ready for the shut down its coming.the oners want budge an inch.

vafalconfan

February 9th, 2010
10:51 am

Start by getting a new offensive coordinator. We will NEVER win a championship with this scheme and pedestrian playcalling! Ryan’s potential will be never be realized with Mularkey.

LRD

February 9th, 2010
11:25 am

D3, thanks yet again for wonderful write up.

Let Ryan loose.. 2 min drill the opposition into costly mistakes of having wrong personel on field, or just darn wear them out. But to do so, we need Turner/Norwood healthy, and we should be rotating Snelling in with Turner this coming season to keep them both fresh and just wear down the DLine… and TD please get us that slot rcvr and #2/3 we so desperately need… hopefully Douglass is 100%

That being said: The Saints Offensive keys to the game
1) Their O line allowed 1 sack, one. Brees had tons of time to pick apart their D with short to intermediate passes that ate of chunks of turf.
2) Kept the ball out of Peyton’s hands, and did not rely on the D the entire game.

Now think of our Falcons we need to keep Ryan on his feet, stepping up into the pocket (first you have one eh?) and looking for those short passes to people other than Gonzo to eat up chunks of turf. Where is Norwood out of the backfield into the flats? Where is Jenkins with his size cutting over the middle? Where is the mix up on O play calls?
And can we rely on a D that plays too safe with a lead? That prevent stuff drives us nuts.

I still think last year was a great growth year and not just because of back 2 back, but our team showed heart and desire, didnt quit and played through the injuries.
The future is a couple drafts and FA’s away.. in my not so educate opinion

darrell starks

February 9th, 2010
11:30 am

What we learn yeah the falcons need defense.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Eman

February 9th, 2010
11:48 am

The Colts are the Atlanta braves of this era. One championship and tons of division wins!!

Unca' Bob

February 9th, 2010
1:45 pm