Trip to the Northwest – Falcons @ Seahawks

Can the Falcons Finish the Road Stretch?

Can Birds Finish? (AP)

It’s been a really long time since the Falcons played in the cozy confines of the Home Sweet Georgia Dome and they finish out their grueling 3 week road trip on the other side of the country. Up in the great northwest, the Falcons travel to play the Seattle Seahawks where the Falcons are obviously the favorites being 11-2 and the Seahawks being a game under .500 at 6-7 and getting blown out by the 49ers last week. As always, the Birds will get the ‘Hawks biggest fight because their playoff lives hang in the balance and they get them in one of the hardest places to play in the NFL. Can the Falcons finish off the long road trip and come back home to the warm confines of the Home Sweet Georgia Dome? Six searing questions as the Birds fly northwest………

1) Can the Falcons Beat the Road/Jet Lag?

Any road trip by itself is hard enough in the NFL, let along one that has a team finishing out a 3 week road trip to the northwest corner of the continent. The Falcons will look to beat the jet lag and overall road drowsiness when they suit up against the Seahawks on Sunday in usually dreary and rainy Seattle. The Falcons have taken care of business against their NFC South brethren in Tampa Bay and Charlotte, even if not convincingly. The Falcons absolutely can’t afford to be peeking ahead to the big Monday Night Football game in the Georgia Dome against the defending Super Bowl Champs. The funny thing is, that if they win this game against Seattle, than the Saints game gets a whole lot less meaning since all they would have to do is beat the Panthers in the Georgia Dome to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. None of that matters if they don’t finish strong on the road against the Seahawks. Will the grinding wear of the road and long trip be a factor?

2) Just an Aberration, Right?

Yes, we’re talking in our major hope that the last two weeks have just been an aberration concerning the run defense. The Run D has been one of the best in the league (usually top 6 or so) since Coach Mike Smith and Co. took over in 2008. Sure, there have been lapses here and there, but overall the run defense has been pretty outstanding, especially this year. Some of the best backs in the league found little success against the Falcons on the ground this year (Mendenhall, S. Jackson, Rice, Gore). So fans have been a little concerned about the last two weeks. First getting pounded by a rookie in LeGarrette Blount in Tampa Bay and then getting gashed by Jonathan Stewart last week in Charlotte. Last week was particularly hard to understand since they not only didn’t have Deangelo Williams in the backfield, but also had no other offensive threat at all. The Birds aren’t running up against Adrian Peterson this week, but Marshawn Lynch is yet another big and bruising running back that can do some damage if given the chance. Justin Forsett has also had his moments as well. They won’t get much credit for shutting down the Seahawks running game, but fans will take any reassurances that the sky isn’t falling in the run defense.

3) Could the Hurry-Up Offense Be a Centerpiece?

Roddy Can Stretch the Field (AP)

Fans understand the need to not wear something out or give too much away, but when something works, it works. The hurry-up offense isn’t necessarily something that the Falcons coaching staff would want to do because it goes completely against their conservative, ball-control philosophy, but it does seem to work really well. It’s seemingly only used now as a way to jumpstart a comatose offense. After the Panthers stormed down the field to make it 17-7, the Falcons quickly answered with a scoring drive that took 5 plays and 1 minute 37 to march down the field for the touchdown. For a stretch, the Falcons seemed to be throwing more and using the no-huddle more to open up the run lanes, but they’ve obviously gone back to the run first and play-action deal. The Falcons are getting done on offense and who cares how, but this may be a cure to when the Falcons get happy and lax with their lead and let the lull set in. Throw in a no-huddle after a touchdown of their own or a quick turnover.

4) Is the D-Line Pressure for Real?

Really hard to judge against the worst team in the National Football League and most will say, including fans, that the heavy amount of sacks was simply a product of a rookie quarterback and a weak line that is mired in a terrible season. You won’t find many people disagreeing with that point. Kroy Biermann showed up and notched himself 2 sacks along with John Abraham. Maybe they turned some type of corner, even though it’s hard to believe this late in the year, but you never know. The defensive tackle has been getting good and consistent pressure all season long and the defensive ends haven’t really lived up to their promise. Matt Hasselbeck has 12 TDs on the year compared to his 15 INTs, so the defensive line should get their opportunities, but we all know the real test awaits on December 27th in the Georgia Dome. It would be nice to start seeing a repeat performance from the defensive line on a regular basis.

5) Can the Birds Counter “Carroll’s Magic?”

The famed college coach’s ship jump right before the sanctions came down leave a lot to be desired and was a great source of ridicule and disdain from football fans. Even though he claims no wrongdoing, the whole deal reeks of corruption and he comes out with mud on his shirt. All that being said though, its hard to argue that the guy is one hell of a coach. He’s known extremely well for getting his players up to play the “big” games at USC and delivering when it counts most. His problem was always losing to much inferior teams that usually ended up costing him a chance at various BCS titles. Yes, the Seahawks are 6-7, but they are definitively right in the mix of making the playoffs, being tied with the St. Louis Rams for the NFC West division lead. They beat even beat the Chargers and the Bears this season. Carroll will have the Seahawks revved up and ready to go for this game, so the Falcons better not underestimate this team one bit. As the saying goes, “Any Given Sunday.”

6) Finally Stretch the Field Consistently?

This has certainly been an issue with fans all season: stretching the field and airing the ball out deep. Most fans are rational enough to understand that the Birds aren’t the Saints, Chargers, or Eagles, but they also love to see Coach Smith and Coach Mularkey at least try and stretch the field some. One of the biggest reasons is not necessarily wanting the homerun blast, per se, but rather just for teams to respect the long ball thus opening up the field to what they do best in running the ball and intermediate passing. An encouraging sign last week seeing Harry Douglas get back involved on a beautiful go route that was run great and thrown to perfection by Matt Ryan. The Falcons have the speed in Harry Douglas and Eric Weems, the height in Michael Jenkins and Brian Finneran, and the best receiver in the game Roddy White. The idea that Ryan doesn’t have the arm is ridiculous. He’s more than proven he can launch it deep. We know that Coach Smith and Co. are huge on the turnover battle (rightly so), but some well-planned and low-risk deep balls sure would delight fans to no end.

Bonus Question

-What’s the “real deal” on Spoon: hurt more than let on or just struggling?

-Will the Falcons keep all 5 OL together next year? Should they?

-Will the weather affect the game?

-Should Snelling be suited and playing?

-Can the Falcons actually put a team away….ever?

The Experts Weigh In (Your Turn)

-How’s it gonna be in the Great Northwest?

-Will the Birds suffer from the grueling trip at end of a 3 week road journey?

-Will the Falcons get caught peeking ahead?

-What’s the deal with our suddenly weak Run D? Please explain

-Could the Hurry-Up be a centerpiece of the O instead of an afterthought? Should it be?

-Just a bad opponent or some life from our DL pressure?

-Will the Seahawks be playing out of their minds or “a spade is a spade?”

-What’s your thoughts on good Ol’ Pete Carroll?

-Is Harry Douglas back for real now?

-What’s your thoughts on the deep ball: not nearly enough or just right?

-Take a shot at the bonus questions

767 comments Add your comment

Ueeediot

December 16th, 2010
10:32 pm

Ueeediot

December 16th, 2010
10:36 pm

I sure hope HD is back “for real”! He can cause havoc underneath and really tear things up between him and #88!

As seen tonight, these West division teams are weird. Score 40 points one week, get blown out the next. The Falcons better get off the bus ready to fight.

As far as looking ahead…. There is no looking ahead. The big game is this one. Next week is a bonus game. Look at it simply as the division can be won this week and next week isnt even an issue. The Seahawks have no run defense to speak of and we should be able to consistently turn 1st downs and dominate this game. That said, the way bad teams beat good teams is through turnovers. Lets protect the ball and win.

Sarah B

December 16th, 2010
10:37 pm

-Can the Falcons actually put a team away….ever?

We didn’t put away the Panthers??? Or do you not consider them a ‘Team’ anymore lol…

Ueeediot

December 16th, 2010
10:41 pm

D3, you are very right about the offensive passing game weapons… the run game should open the pass nicely. I notice in point 6, you didnt even get to mention Tony G.
Its good to be deep.
Ive been at the dome for all but one of Matt Ryans games. Ive seen him make every pass on the field. The ball is once in a while late, but it always has the touch or the zip. The man is going to be good for a long time.

Sarah B

December 16th, 2010
10:43 pm

Ueediot – you nailed it – with the NFC West it’s a crap shoot. We need to march into their Qwest whatever and show them how to win more than one game in a row. 31-10. Clinch a playoff berth and march back out.

LRD

December 16th, 2010
11:01 pm

Santa: How about a Falcons win, a saints loss, a chicago loss and eagles loss? IF that happens, I will gladly take some coal in my stocking next week. (and Santa.. play off tickets make great stocking stuffers.. I am just sayin….)

Sarah B

December 16th, 2010
11:04 pm

Chargers seem to be doing ok with a 3 man rush, sometimes 4… mostly 3 though.

Sarah B

December 16th, 2010
11:06 pm

LRD I don’t trust Santa to playoff tickets so I’ll use CHASE VISA.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nathan Faulkner, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: AJC's fan blog: Trip to the Northwest – Falcons @ Seahawks http://bit.ly/esaIja [...]

WR

December 16th, 2010
11:10 pm

Nice post D3, we needed it trust me, I hope the Falcons can finally put a team away, 31-10 over the Panthers sounds good, but they had to fight the whole game for it. Some one asked in an earlier post was it ever in doubt, with the Falcons playing, yes, I too would like to see an end put to that.

As for Pete’s magic, Carroll is just a good coach, with little time he was successful in the NFL, in college he was dominate, some say he paid his players, news flash, its only one team that rarely was the number 1 ranked recruiting team, if he paid them, he also coached the H@ll out of them in order to gain success, he’ll do the same in Seattle, just not this year.

Hopefully the D-Line will show some life, at this point pressure isn’t even the main problem, when teams can push you around in the running game you have a major problem, lets get that fixed first before we even think about pressure issues. We know and have come to expect the Falcons not to be the best or even average at bringing pressure, but being mauled in the running game as of late is scary.

Lastly I like the no-huddle as it is, its expected but unpredictable, sometimes they use it sometimes they don’t, teams can plan for it, but they can’t be ready for it because they never know when it might pop up, or if it will for that matter. As for the deep passing game, I’m no longer concerned as much about it, the Falcons have established that its available when the need arises, with HD getting back into form, no need to show it now, break it out in what is hopefully a deep playoff run. Not to say they shouldn’t take a shot to get it in tune, but it appears to be resurfacing at the right time, no need in giving film on it to perspective playoff opponents.

Deepcover

December 16th, 2010
11:57 pm

I hope the Falcons can prove they’re ready for a serious run at a Super Bowl win by putting a dangerous Seahawk club away convincingly.

If you look at the reality of the situation though, everything is pointing to a loss in this one. Jet lag, sudden loss of ability to stop the run, virtually nonexistent pass rush all year, a miserly eke-it-out offensive philosophy which keeps too many opponents in the game, a home team fighting for its play-off life and a great head coach to inspire them, etc., etc.

Just like the Ravens game, this is yet another “watershed game” for the Falcons, another test that will not only go a long way in deciding the play-off fates of both teams, but will also serve as an excellent measuring stick of the Falcons’ readiness to compete with the Patriots for league supremacy on the greatest stage in professional sports.

Come on, Dirty Birds, take that final, mind-boggling leap into the spotlight. You’ve earned it, boys.

Wabe

December 17th, 2010
1:02 am

I like some of the points Deepcover mentioned.

This is definitely a huge game for both teams.

The Seahawks are fighting for their playoff lives. They need this game more than the Birds in a sense if they want to keep pace with those Rams and try to edge them for the NFC West crown.

We all know the Birds are the better team. But, this weekend, the Birds will be fighting other elements outside of just the Seahawks. A trip out West is never easy, especially when it’s the final game of a 3 game road stretch. Weather will also be a concern. Seattle’s known for their unpredictable weather patterns. Rain/snow/cold, you name it, it should play some factor within the game – or so I think. Finally, Seattle has proven to be a tough place to play. They’ve got some loud fans up there, so the Birds better be ready to fight off the crowd noise.

I’m hoping the Birds do to the Seahawks what they did to the 49ers last season when we traveled out west to San Fransisco, a 45-10 beatdown. We jumped on the Niners in that game, and just pulled away. I’m hoping the Falcons can duplicate something similar to that.

Better yet, doesn’t really matter what the score comes out to be, I just want the W. At this point, this is pretty much a one game season for the Birds. If they can deliver this Sunday and extend that win streak to 8 games, the NFC South and homefield throughout is pretty much a lock. I’m sure that Smitty’s let them know what’s at stake, I just hope they harness that energy and cap what they’ve done all season long.

One win, and the road to Dallas will likely go through the Georgia Dome.

Many might classify this one as a classic trap game, with the Saints game looming. But, the Birds should know better than anybody that if they take care of business this week, then next week’s game is irrelevant. So…

Get it done this weekend.

Wabe

December 17th, 2010
1:06 am

Seattle’s near the bottom of the league in pass defense.

I’m thinking Ryan to RW84 is in full effect this Sunday…

SawThat1nce

December 17th, 2010
1:24 am

Falcons win.

Screen Pass

December 17th, 2010
1:25 am

“everything is pointing to a loss in this one” – DC

This is the Falcons blog not the Saints board. Thanks for playing.

SawThat1nce

December 17th, 2010
1:28 am

The Falcons need to continue, to build up and strengthen the Oline.

Sarah B

December 17th, 2010
2:00 am

SawThat1nce – we all did in 1999 – I think we will see it again, only this time we win.

JManye

December 17th, 2010
2:33 am

Who cares how the falcons are winning. 17-0 at half on the road. Thats about as away as it gets in the NFL. Carolina cut it to 10 but the Falcons came right back and got a touchdown themselves. Kinda like putting the game away. This offense is fine. The defense needs to get more consistent pressure but the D-tackles are almost making up for it. If you keep running the same guys out there, you cant complain when you get the same results. Good in the case of the offense, bad in the case of the D-Ends. Why not give Sidbury a shot. I went to the Bills game last year and he was almost dominant in limited snaps. If spoon is hurt, he needs to take this week off. Get the ball to Roddy this Sunday. Screens. Slants. Deep. Anything. Seattles pass defense is horrible.

Knievel

December 17th, 2010
6:59 am

Here we go.. Last away game.. I have no doubt that Coach Smith and his great group of coach’s can and have developed a gameplan that will attack Seattle’s weaknesses. Falcons have proven themselves to be a dominating team this year. Whether passing or pounding the ball the offense is flyin’. Defense needs to close the line and keep runner’s behind the line or at least for short yardage. Keep Ryan standing Sunday, don’t let D get to him. Utilize all of our weapons, spread the ball to all. Keep the seahawks guessing and on their toes. LET’S GO FALCONS, LET’S GO FALCONS!!!!!!! Great job D3!!

Cane Pole

December 17th, 2010
7:05 am

Morning Cage .

Falcons win this game 27 to 13 . And I think that the panther game was a darn good win . I mean 21 points is a pretty good win .? even to a team as bad as the Panthers who always played its div better. But sometime Sunday night the Falcons will be a 12 win team.

Wabe

December 17th, 2010
9:19 am

Cane Pole,

The Falcons are already at 12 wins…

I doubt the Panthers will give much of an effort that last game of the season. They’re probably geared in to get themselves that #1 pick.

And even if they were to play their best game in that final week, I don’t see the Falcons getting beat at home to a 1-win team in the Dome. They’ve been dominant at home.

So, I say the Falcons have an opportunity to get to 13 wins this Sunday. It may seem premature, but we’re already at 12 wins, even if it is unofficial at this point.

Paddy O

December 17th, 2010
10:26 am

Hey, other article on AJC has BVG essentially saying that Spoon is nursing his knee and not playing with the same impact as earlier in the season. So, hopefully as he recovers he’ll reclaim that effective tenacity he initially showed.

Zoomie

December 17th, 2010
10:31 am

-How’s it gonna be in the Great Northwest? Falcons win by a comfortable margin.
-Will the Birds suffer from the grueling trip at end of a 3 week road journey? Yes, but not enough to break them down. The coaching staff planned well for this road stretch and the Falcons are up to the final challenge.
-Will the Falcons get caught peeking ahead? Not at all.
-What’s the deal with our suddenly weak Run D? Expected the Bucs to come out with a vengeance, so their running success, in the context of a well-balanced attack, wasn’t really alarming. The Panthers’ success was an eye-opener. In the Panthers game, I think the run-D breakdown was an aberration fostered by a bit of complacency. I also believe the Falcons’ D learned their lesson from it and it won’t happen again.
-Could the Hurry-Up be a centerpiece of the O instead of an afterthought? The Falcons are using the hurry-up offense quite effectively by calling it up on a situational basis. I wouldn’t change a thing.
-Just a bad opponent or some life from our DL pressure? Panthers didn’t have the tools to make Atlanta pay for aggressive D-line play. The pass rush didn’t have to be quite as disciplined about playing containment and were pretty much free to go all in on the pass rush. Against the better teams, the Birds have to be much more disciplined in maintaining assigned rush lanes, which results in a drop-off in pocket pressure.
-Will the Seahawks be playing out of their minds or “a spade is a spade?” The Seahawks have no choice but to come out laying it all on the line. If the Falcons weather an initial onslaught and get up on the Seahawks by a few scores early, I don’t think the Seahawks have the team to pull off a comeback (as long as the Falcons keep up the pressure).
-What’s your thoughts on good Ol’ Pete Carroll? Doesn’t quite have the bona fides as an NFL coach yet, but only time will tell. He was handed a mess this year and has done an admirable job, considering. He doesn’t have the tools to outcoach the Falcons’ staff in this match-up. I’m not worried. The only way the Falcons lose this game is if they have a complete breakdown, and I just don’t see it happening – too much on the line.
-Is Harry Douglas back for real now? Roddy White, Tony G (with two really good TEs in Peele and Palmer behind him), Michael Jenkins and Brian Finneran making clutch catches – and that’s after Turner, Mughelli and Snelling have steadily administered their beatdowns. On top of this Ryan and Douglas are starting to get their timing and routes down, adding a very real deep threat — and it couldn’t be happening at a better time in the season. If the Falcons have all these cylinders firing, and get, at least, a good showing by the defense, I don’t think anyone can beat them. If they stop letting other teams hang around, and don’t beat themselves, they’re perfectly capable of winning out from this point forward.
-What’s your thoughts on the deep ball: not nearly enough or just right? Keep working it in, just as they’ve been doing. Take the shots when they’re there and when they’re needed. At this point, the Falcons might be better served to unveil a devastating long-ball attack in the playoffs.

SOMEBODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

December 17th, 2010
10:32 am

Is Spoon hurt, or just struggling? I elaborated on this very subject on the previous blog. IMO, I think
Weatherspoon is more healthy than hurt, he has not been limited in practice, his fall off in productivity is strange to say the least.

I dont now if D3 was aware of this, but this question is also related to the porous run defense. I’ve tried like many here in the cage to diagnos and troubleshoot why we’ve been gashed the past couple of weeks, I was always taught when dianosing or troubleshooting an issue or problem, start with the basics and work up, I know the tackling, or the lack thereof, can be attributed, what has changed in the last couple of weeks, same players, oh wait, Spoon was activated, not questioning his talent, I just think he has hurt us in run D.

Zoomie

December 17th, 2010
10:39 am

Bonus Questions
- What’s the “real deal” on Spoon: hurt more than let on or just struggling? I’m going with hurt. Just don’t see someone with Spoon’s skill set getting consistently handled without an underlying physical cause.
-Will the Falcons keep all 5 OL together next year? Should they? I think Smitty and Thomas D are going to do whatever is necessary to maintain a solid O-line. I think it could be improved with some shrewd personnel changes.
-Will the weather affect the game? No. The Falcons-Seahawks game will probably be played in the same conditions as the Falcons-Panthers game.
-Should Snelling be suited and playing? If he’s healed, I hope so. If he’s still dinged up, I hope he’s kept out of the game.
-Can the Falcons actually put a team away….ever? I think they were quite effective at putting away Carolina. I predict more of the same this week against the Seahawks.

CBrass

December 17th, 2010
11:03 am

Somebody,

I agree. I think Spoon is healthy but mentally he haven’t really gotten his confidence back. Once he get his full confidence back he will be the force that we all, well most of us, think he can be.

Paddy O

December 17th, 2010
11:47 am

At this point in the season, and i hope this is not taken wrong, our team plays the team they are playing – we don’t seem to have the bad habit of “looking past” – although if it were to happen, with the Saint on MNF, this could be the week. I doubt it, but again, I expected us to challenge the Eagles. I still predict, if the D & O line play their typical games, that we should win 35-10 – assuming the weather doesn’t disrupt the passing. GO FALCONS!!!!

Chop Buster

December 17th, 2010
11:50 am

1) Can the Falcons Beat the Road/Jet Lag? I don’t think it will be a problem. Smitty knows how to ease up and let certain players get rested.

2) Just an Aberration, Right? Just an aberration. It’s what I’d consider another lull. The challenge is keeping this team focus so they don’t get bored.

3) Could the Hurry-Up Offense Be a Centerpiece? It should be, but only used as a change up or to keep an aggressive defense on their heels.

4) Is the D-Line Pressure for Real? I sure hope so. We will tell for sure this weekend.

5) Can the Birds Counter “Carroll’s Magic”? I think Smitty and Mularkey has had enough time to come up with a good game plan against “Carroll’s Magic”. So I say yes.

6) Finally Stretch the Field Consistently? I say we need to come out and go deep early (first play of the game) and go deep at least 4-6 plays during the game. Gotta attack that weak Seahawks secondary with Roddy, Harry & Jenkins.

Bonus Question

-What’s the “real deal” on Spoon: hurt more than let on or just struggling? Struggling. He’s still a rook and even though he played well before getting hurt, there were moments he looked lost.

-Will the Falcons keep all 5 OL together next year? Doubt it. Should they? No there’s room to improve.

-Will the weather affect the game? I don’t think so.

-Should Snelling be suited and playing? If he’s not 100% give Gartrell more playing time. Let’s use Snelling’s time out to see what some of the others can do on offense.

-Can the Falcons actually put a team away….ever? If they keep the pedal to the metal they can. It seems we ease up and try to milk the clock. Running has been a very smart part of our game…shoot it’s Smitty’s philosophy…but let’s start attacking some of these teams.

-How’s it gonna be in the Great Northwest? Very noisy from when we’ve played them in the past. We have to get the crowd of the game early by having long scoring drives (occasionally) and getting after Hasselback and maybe force him into a pick for Grimes. I’d like to see Dunta finally get a pick as well.

-Will the Birds suffer from the grueling trip at end of a 3 week road journey? Rest, rest, rest. I think Smitty and team may have already started game planning for the Saints because they know it will be a long trip back.

-Will the Falcons get caught peeking ahead? Smitty won’t let them. Even though the players may be thinking about it, they know how much is riding on winning this game.

-What’s the deal with our suddenly weak Run D? Boredom, complacency. Who knows. I do know that we let blockers get to our second and third levels at times–which is a cause for some of the long runs. I’ve been saying all year that we need a real NT to hold that middle and take on two blockers. Also our LBs have to get more experience in taking out blockers to disrupt the run.

-Could the Hurry-Up be a centerpiece of the O instead of an afterthought? A definite centerpiece the way it has worn defenses down. I remember seeing the Raven’s D panting in the first half of that game. Also with a team full of new players (like Seattle) that might not completely know their defensive scheme–it won’t allow substitutions.

-Just a bad opponent or some life from our DL pressure? Both.

-Will the Seahawks be playing out of their minds or “a spade is a spade?” They will try to come at us with everything they have, but I believe we will weather the storm. And, they will be what we thought they were. LOL

-What’s your thoughts on good Ol’ Pete Carroll? Excellent at the college level, but I’m still unsure of him at the NFL level. Time will tell.

-Is Harry Douglas back for real now? I hope so. Let’s see him in the slot with a few break away runs.

-What’s your thoughts on the deep ball: not nearly enough or just right? Not nearly enough to keep the opponent from putting eight in the box. I kept wondering why we didn’t go at Carolina more when they kept eight in the box. Their LBs and secondary couldn’t hang with our guys; that’s why they were holding and all over them last week.

Paddy O

December 17th, 2010
12:03 pm

ATL crushed AZ as they were supposed to. Somebody said we are already a 12 win team – is somebody in another dimension or time zone than I am?

Paddy O

December 17th, 2010
12:19 pm

Anybody remember Jamie Dukes on the NFL channel saying that there were “whispers” thay MR2 had a noodle arm? Dukes should not spread gossip – really hurts his credibility.

Cane Pole

December 17th, 2010
1:37 pm

Paddy O . I am with you man . Somebody has said we are at 12 wins already being the last game is with the Panthers . But I sure ant the one to just give us a win before the game has even been played . Remember last year the Bucs beat the Saints that last game because they set there starters and even if the Falcons don;t set them . Its not a win until its over and we all no anything can happen in the NFL.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/545228-rookie-report-cards-grades-for-every-2010-nfl-1st-round-pick/page/15

And talking on Weatherspoon………Here you go

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
1:38 pm

Paddy O, he said at 12 wins because he thinks Carolina will not bring much to the table because they don’t want to loss the #1 pick. Seattle and NO still have a lot to play for but Carolina should be a given unless we are at the point that we can rest a bunch of players and I hope that is the case.

Cane Pole

December 17th, 2010
1:39 pm

sit .. sit ..

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
1:41 pm

Sorry Cane Pole, I didn’t see your comment until I hit submit.

Cane Pole

December 17th, 2010
1:46 pm

Its all good falcon 21 . I hope every thing is going well your way. I am just glad to be a part of it all .What a team and what a season…. GO BIRDS..!!!!!

LRD

December 17th, 2010
1:50 pm

Spoon.. this is my take.. it took Turner until this year to get his groove back after injury… Dunta is finally (imho) getting his groove back after his concussion. DeCoud, I think has not exactly recovered from his head injury, Harry D took a year and just stated last week he is back to 100%.
For Spoon, maybe it is not the injury itself lingering, but as others have stated, it is the mental aspect of it all…. either way, time will heal both the physical and the mental.
I think he will be fine.
Plus,we all know, if you get out competed, you lose your job. Ask Coleman in regards to Moore

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
1:51 pm

Good deal Cane Pole, it’s been a fun ride and I hope it keeps going for many, many more weeks

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
2:16 pm

LRD, nice take on Spoon. I hope he picks up his aggression against Seattle, we are going to need him to step it up the rest of the season.

Samuel

December 17th, 2010
3:01 pm

Get’m down and beat’m down, Go northwest and destroy this team. Make them feel early on that they don’t belong…

Wabe

December 17th, 2010
3:07 pm

True Cane Pole.

Like I said, it may seem premature. But, I’ve already got the Falcons at 12 wins. Some may hesitate, but the point would be that if the Birds *need a win in week 17 vs Carolina*, I’m beyond confident they’ll handle the 1-win Panthers.

ymmotretsof

December 17th, 2010
3:58 pm

I was thinking that for all those years we wanted to be rid of the Smiths and we finally got what we wanted. Lo and behold we got ourselves yet another Smith. Lawdy lawdy lawdy ain’t we happy to have him! I don’t know what made them pick him but who would of thought that the little unknown white haired dude would be so good. I hope he stays around for a long time,winning seasons sure feel good.

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
5:40 pm

Tommy, when we hired him my first thought was who the hell is Mike Smith? I figured we just hired another loser. TD must know what he is doing, I’m happy with the hire now. It takes more than just the HC to do the job. If we lose MM I think the asst. HC which I think is the QB coach as well will become the OC. I think his name is Musgrave.. Help me out with that Cagers.

JJ

December 17th, 2010
5:54 pm

F21, that’s right. As much as I hate the playcalling from MM, think his boss MS has alot to do with it. Wonder how much MS is involved in the offensive game plan (as a defensive guy.) We all saw him yell to MM: run it, run it (forgot which game but it was on Sound Off). But I cannot believe the lack of screens and RB passes all on the head coach. Does the GM have the power to tell the coach to unleash the O? Just curious and I’m not a MM fan, he just maybe handicaped more than we all thought earlier this season.

JJ

December 17th, 2010
5:58 pm

Just once I’d like to see this team dominate like the Pats have over the last few weeks. But a win is a win so I’m not complaining AT ALL!

Paddy O

December 17th, 2010
6:05 pm

Heck, in the Pats 17-1 season, I remember the beginning of the year they were just annihilating the opposition, and there was this thread – primarily on ESPN – that what the Pats were doing was unsportsmanlike and they needed to dial it down. It was such a politically correct, jack wagon attitude. I am beginning wonder if Tony Dungy’s replacement is not up to the task – i blamed him for losing the Super Bowl on some bone head kicking strategy and not being prepared for the onside kick – now, this year. BUT, the injuries make you pause.

DHunt

December 17th, 2010
6:13 pm

-How’s it gonna be in the Great Northwest? Falcons win convincingly

-Will the Birds suffer from the grueling trip at end of a 3 week road journey? No sign of any suffering.

-Will the Falcons get caught peeking ahead? No peeking allowed.

-What’s the deal with our suddenly weak Run D? Two guys managed to put together a few good runs. It happens. The ends need to pay just a little more attention to contain responsibilities, but the run defense, with the exception of maybe 8 big runs all year, has been pretty stout.

-Could the Hurry-Up be a centerpiece of the O instead of an afterthought? Should it be? Balance is how we are winning. Stay balanced, just enough of everything, not too much of anything.

-Just a bad opponent or some life from our DL pressure? A little of both.

-Will the Seahawks be playing out of their minds or “a spade is a spade?” Every team comes to win every week. We will get the best game they have to give. Our best game should be better.

-What’s your thoughts on good Ol’ Pete Carroll? Who?

-Is Harry Douglas back for real now? In the words of the best ad campaign ever, HD is about to Rise Up! Like a lot of the team, he is primed for improvement.

-What’s your thoughts on the deep ball: not nearly enough or just right? Balance. We throw them more now, we just haven’t connected yet. Ryan has to be a little more confident but it seems to be getting better.

-What’s the “real deal” on Spoon: hurt more than let on or just struggling? He’ll be fine.

-Will the Falcons keep all 5 OL together next year? Should they? Don’t mess with success. Although an upgrade over our aging veteran center is to be expected. Baker player pretty well lately,

-Will the weather affect the game? Always does, one way or the other.

-Should Snelling be suited and playing? If he can go, he’s got a job to do.

-Can the Falcons actually put a team away….ever? We put 11 of them away so far.

Stop being so skeptical. This team and this franchise is for real. They are going to handle their business however it takes to get that done. Nobody is giving them wins, they are taking them.

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
6:15 pm

JJ, I think MS does have a leash on MM but that is just my thought. The HC should be in command but if it is hurting the team I think the GM should step in. MM is old school, so it’s hard to tell about the play calling. Ground and pound may be his way. As a HC you have to let your coaches do their jobs but sometimes you have to step in and say do it this way. I do remember that on sound off but not sure of the game.

JB FALCON

December 17th, 2010
7:56 pm

21, I think it has already been established that MS has the final word and is responsible for the run, run offense, his specialty. I agree that the the GM should step in, IF the GM has a better idea. So, I have to agree with JJ, 11-2 so who am I to question the process? I, like yourself, am somewhat curious as to what would happen if we realeased the real MM.
I have to believe in the system but I truly would like to see the Falcons, just this one time, kick Seattle’s azz in NE fashion, just to prove to the world that NE should not be the SB favorite. I’m really tired of hearing about Brady and all of the other traditional headliners. We are about to establish some new guidelines for the NFL South. NO last year, Falcons this year. That should shut some mouths.

falcon21

December 17th, 2010
8:25 pm

JB, I as you will not question the process and we do need to put an azz whipping on Seattle Sunday. It will be done and we will be 12 and 2. I too am tired of hearing about the Brady Bunch. I’m still not sure about the MS. MM situation,there are still times when I question the play calling and I’m sure you have too but as you said, we are 11 and 2 so WTH.

Arno

December 17th, 2010
8:37 pm

The stretching the field question is the most interesting. Falcons simply have a coach that believes the ideal game is to control the clock, gain three and a half yards on the ground, and beat a team by four points. Smith treats the no-huddle and the deep ball as frills that are really nice to have, but not primary. He’s not Belichick, and you gotta love him for it.