Ryan, Falcons Knock Out Vick, Eagles

An Amazing Signature Win

Ryan Over Vick (J.Getz/AJC)

No, it wasn’t the Super Bowl or the NFC Championship game, but this one will go down as one of the Falcons, Coach Mike Smith, and, particularly Matt Ryan’s best franchise wins. All the ingredients were there for steamroll by the Eagles, but the Falcons showed that gritty moxie that has come to characterize the Falcons under Mike Smith and Matt Ryan. There’s nothing really more to say than it was just a fantastic, awesome, and amazing win in so many ways. To the huge victory………

1) Matt Ryan’s House

Some will still question Matt Ryan as the right guy for quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, but it has to be an insanely small majority after last night. The leader of the team who won Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl in his first 3 years has had his share of ups and downs, but he proved once and for all that he truly is unquestioned leader of this franchise.

When things looked hopeless, Ryan put the team on his back, called his own plays, picked field turf out of his teeth, and willed this team to win. After both quarterbacks got smashed pretty good, only one stayed in the game and willed his team to win. That would be the same guy who owns a 21-2 record in the Georgia Dome. Sure, he’ll have his down spots, but can anyone honestly say that this guy isn’t the face of the franchise who gives this team the best chance to win the Lombardi Trophy? The long shadow that Vick cast over him is completely gone.

2) Confidence Restored

Samuel L. and Falcons Rose Up (C.Compton/AJC)

It may not have been the prettiest of games, but it reminded us fans what a Falcons team under Coach Smith has come to represent: gritty, tough, and refuse to lose. After a shaky last couple of games have left the fan base less than thrilled, this one reminded us all why we love our Falcons so much under Coach Mike Smith. They willed themselves and found a way to win the game.

3) The Jerry We’ve Waited On

A few years have passed since Peria Jerry was taken as the Falcons first round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and injuries and question marks have plagued his time as a Bird. After a promising start as a rookie, he quickly tore his ACL and was lost for a year. Then he came back last year injury free, but whispers started about his potential possibly being lost.

Jerry had one helluva a game on Sunday night and reminded fans why this coaching staff has been so high on him. He was in the backfield harassing and hitting Vick all night long, and the QB sack that forced a fumble which Ray Edwards scooped up may have been the play of the game. If the Eagles score right there, it’s a much longer way back. It appears that the real Jerry we’ve been waiting on has finally arrived.

4) Turner, Gonzalez Got Plenty Left

Turner the Man (C.Compton/AJC)

Some rumblings and recent showings had some believing that the best days might be behind Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez as they hit the peak and twilight of their careers, respectively. Boy, were many of us wrong on that one. Turner helped pave the way for the Falcons rushing attack and helped keep the Eagles offense on the sidelines, even after being stymied for large parts of the game. There were flashes of the old Burner lighting up linebackers and turning on the nitro boost in the defensive backfield. When Turner runs like he did Sunday (even in spite of predictable playcalling), than the Falcons can hang with and beat anyone.

Gonzalez looked like he was 25 years old out there. Gonzo was running his usual crisp routes, being a 3rd down conversion machine, and making spectacular catches in the end zone. He was quoted as saying that he could play for several more years with the new practice rules. Let’s all hope so.

5) Terrible Night for Dunta

Even though it was an enormous victory by no means was it a perfect game in the win against the Eagles. In fact, there were swaths where it was downright sloppy. One of the worst performances came from CB Dunta Robinson. He looked off pretty much all night, although the Van Gorder 20 yard cushions help no one.

Robinson was most known for the flagrant helmet-to-helmet personal foul (although some of us don’t think it was that egregious), but he showed plenty of bad the rest of the way as well. There was one time when he had Lesean McCoy in the backfield, only to look insanely silly when he jumped and hugged air as McCoy zoomed past. Then there was the deep post thrown by backup Mike Kafka where Robinson was beat and he started pointing, as if looking for an excuse, before the ball had even dropped in. He must get better if the Falcons want to go far.

6) DeCoud Benched

One of the big shockers was looking in the defensive backfield and seeing #36 starting instead of the usual #28 that belonged to Thomas DeCoud. James Sanders got the outright start of over DeCoud where many fans have been clamoring for DeCoud to take a seat with his recent play. It appears the coaches noticed as well. Whether it was a legitimate change of the guard or just a ploy to light a fire under FS, time will only tell.

7) Very Good DL, LB Play

Ray Already Making an Impact (J.Getz/AJC)

The defensive line had an excellent night, disrupting Vick and the entire backfield. Abraham, Edwards, and Biermann all did a great job of knocking Vick down and creating pressure. Peria Jerry had a great night, as did Corey Peters and Vance Walker.

The LB corps looked as good as it has looked in a long time Sunday night and finally came through on the expectations many have had of this group. Weatherspoon had one his best nights as a Falcon both in sure tackling and in coverage. Nicholas was equally good in coverage and came up with some big plays. Lofton missed a few potential interceptions, but was his normal self in tackling.

8.) Hayden and Sanders Make an Impact

No, they weren’t perfect and the Eagles still scored 31 points, but an immediate impact was felt by James Sanders and Kelvin Hayden. Sanders provided very good pressure in the backfield and seemed to have a better feel for coverage than DeCoud has had recently.

Hayden came up with a huge interception and looked as good or better than anyone playing nickel back since Brian Williams a year ago. The sky’s the limit if they can build on the game they had against the Eagles and provide some much needed help in a leaky secondary.

9) Still Coordinator Issues

It’s hard to get too mad at coaches, specifically the coordinators, when your team has such a huge victory as it did against the Eagles. But there are serious issues that remain. On offense, it was extremely sporadic and too often delved back into the same old predictable pattern of run, run, throw. Jacquizz Rodgers would come in and have a good run only to not be seen again. The receiver routes were unimaginative and the Eagles started shutting them down full-tilt until Matt Ryan ran the no-huddle, spread offense and willed the team back. Too much talent on offense to bog down as much as this offense does.

On defense, they were very hit and miss. They would get pressure and create a turnover and then come back with their soft cheese, weak zone where the closest defender was miles away. The blitzing seemed to be a little better, but the secondary coverage is still an issue. Simply put, the Falcons have yielded 61 points in two games and currently rank 27th in total defense, 27th in passing defense, 18th in rushing defense, and whopping NEXT TO LAST in points scored. Same as offense: too much talent to be performing this low. The defense almost let a 3rd string quarterback march down the field and steal the game away. That says way too much in and of itself.

10) Bosher Has Bad Game

OL's Got Some Serious Work to Do (C.Compton/AJC)

The rookie punter experiment isn’t going so hot to date. Matt Bosher did finally boom one through the end zone on a kickoff towards the end and gave good hang time on the last punt of the game, but other than that he’s off to a really rough start. Almost every single kickoff against us by our opponents has gone through the end zone and Bosher got his first one of all preseason and first two games on Sunday night. Even worse, he had like a 20 yard punt at a terrible time in the game that gave the Eagles great field position. He’s a rookie, so this is to be expected, but he better improve in a hurry.

11) Offensive Line is a Major Issue

The Falcons have faced two of the tougher defensive lines it will face all year, but if these first two are any indication, than Matt Ryan better wearing a sumo suit. Sam Baker in particular was beaten like a red-headed stepchild and Chris Collinsworth must’ve said so at least a dozen times. The rest of the line wasn’t much better. Clabo got beat several times, as did Joe Hawley and Garrett Reynolds. The lone bright spot was Justin Blalock. Even though he improved last year, it looks as though the Baker LT experiment may be coming to an end. Dimitroff will probably need to invest in some better talent either in the draft or free agency if the O-Line play continues.

12) Still Lacking a Killer Instinct

There was a second when you thought that just maybe the Falcons could start pulling away from the Eagles a little bit, and then we remembered that a killer instinct to put teams away just isn’t in this coaching staff or teams DNA. Yes, the Eagles are a very good-to-great team, but the Falcons hit their usual 2nd or 3rd quarter lull as they always do and let their opponent come roaring back.

Having your opponent score and make some good plays when you’re up is one thing, but letting them storm back, take all the momentum away, and take control is completely another. The last two Super Bowl Champions had a major killer instinct and put opponents away at the soonest possible moment. The Falcons must at least get some of one, or they’ll easily drop games like the ones on Sunday night.

13) Weak Calls

Overall, the game was called pretty fair for the most part, considering that the refs were dropping their flags every 2 seconds on both teams. But there were quite a few really weak calls and no-calls against the Falcons. In particular, the “nudge” that Abraham did on QB Mike Kafka was one of the worst calls in a long time. He barely touched the QB with his helmet, almost like a kiss with his helmet on a failed third down and they called it, extending the Eagles drive. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan gets horse-collared, near decapitated, and hit late by Jason Babin only to see nothing.

One of the other big ones that many may not have noticed was pass interference on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Julio Jones. He never even turned his head and interfered with Jones on a ball that would’ve been easily caught. There were also several times that Kroy Biermann was being obviously held only to get nothing. Honestly, it probably evened out, but it appears there were more bad calls or no-call on the side of the Falcons than Eagles.

Your Turn

  1. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy this Win and Talk All About the Big Wi
  2. What was left out
  3. Agree/Disagree with points above?

626 comments Add your comment


September 20th, 2011
10:27 pm

OK, there’s some issues going on with our offensive dichotomy, playcalling, and dynamics……..from Yahoo…….

Ryan got word on the sidelines that the team was going no-huddle.

“It came from upstairs, [Coach] Mike Smith’s call,” Ryan said. “You gotta love Smitty. Yeah, for sure, I was [happy].”

So was 35-year-old tight end Tony Gonzalez(notes), whose terrific game included seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a spectacular, one-handed grab in the back on the end zone.

“Matt is probably at his best when he is in that no-huddle,” Gonzalez said as he headed to the parking lot long after the game. “I don’t know why. All I can do is speculate, but really, I don’t know what it is. He sees the matchups, and he feels very comfortable in that situation. All of us do.

Look at Gonzo’s quote about “I can only speculate” and the fact that Mike Smith was the one that called for the no-huddle, essentially taking Mularkey out of the game. If we were to read this in a vacuum, this would point to Mularkey and Mularkey alone, even though its probably not that simple.

Ken Strickland

September 20th, 2011
10:29 pm

It’s very hard to disagree with you D3. You left out the disturbing trend that involves WR/K/P returner EWeems. His judgement, when it comes to deciding when to fair catch a punt and when to let it go, has been a joke. His poor decisions in fielding punts have gotten us pinned on the goal line 3 times.


September 20th, 2011
10:36 pm

Good job, D3.
Agree, with most all of the points presented.
That said, I am not has hard on Robinson.
It was Sanders who was supposed to roll over with deep help on that long pass.
Take that out of the equation and the fact he did make other good plays.
I would rate his performance a bit higher.

On the bashing of our OC and DC.
Can they do a better job with the personnel in both game planning and play calling?
No doubt about it but you also have to consider the fact, there are some weakness on both sides of the ball in personnel that are handcuffing the coordinators.

On Matt Ryan, a near awesome performance.
He misfired of a few passes but made up for it with sheer will and toughness.
The type of leader/QB a team can rally around.

Just me but the Philly game is in the rear view and a new challenge is just ahead in Tampa.


September 20th, 2011
10:53 pm

Looking ahead, the Falcons secondary can expect an easier set of WR`s to deal with in RJ stadium but the front seven will need to tighten their chin straps up a notch in stopping the Bucs running game.
The Bucs run a similar defense to the Bears in their cover two scheme but not quite as good.

Day One Fan

September 20th, 2011
10:54 pm

Nuff said D3 (Stan Lee reference). Absolutely the best piece you’ve ever written. I very rarely comment but, I read them all. Excellent work. Couldn’t agree more.

Ken Strickland

September 20th, 2011
10:57 pm

D3-Isn’t it blatantly obvious that MRyan is more intuned to what goes on in a gm offensively than OC MMularkey? The no huddle isn’t what makes the biggest difference, it’s Ryan’s superior awareness and subsequent improved play calling that makes the biggest difference. I also think the players feel more confident and inspired when Ryan is calling the plays.

Even as a rookie, our coaching staff showed extreme confidence in MRyan’s ability to run the no huddle OFF and call his own plays. Why not let him do it with the benefit of a huddle? Then he can get input from his teammates and decide how to best deal with certain situations.
In the no huddle, a WR can’t tell him how he’s being played, or how he thinks the ball should be thrown, or what special move he wants to make to get open etc.

Defensively, BVanGorder is a joke, plain and simple. No other NFL caliber DC is dumb enough to make playing his CB’s 8-10yds off the receiver standard procedure, especially when it’s led to so many successful WR screens, slants, and quick outs. With VanGorder’s zone obsessed approach, and our continued problem of consistently giving up long pass plays, it’s like the team is always playing a PREVENT DEF.

Last yr, VanGorder’s bend but don’t break philosophy work to perfection, as we finished near the top of the league in fewest pts allowed. But this yr, teams have adjusted to what we did so successfully last yr. As a result, his bend but don’t break philosophy has resulted in us giving up 61pts in 2 gms.


September 20th, 2011
11:00 pm

I am totally down with Matt calling the plays.
Let Smitty and MM set the game play but give Matt Ryan the keys to the car, to drive it has he see`s fit with MM and Smitty only having veto power.

opie taylor

September 20th, 2011
11:12 pm

Great Article! Well written, accurate, and informative analysis.


September 20th, 2011
11:14 pm

Ken, we all understand what you have been saying in regards to the cover scheme but it`s not that simple when you only have two guys back there in the secondary (in Grimes and Moore) that have been playing at anything close to a consistent high level.
I know bend and break is a form of slow death but it at least gives the D more opportunity to force turnovers in allowing 10 play drives instead of getting rung up for 6 in 3 plays.

opie taylor

September 20th, 2011
11:23 pm

Ken, you are correct about Mike Smith’s Scheme. It does not work for ATL or the team he bought it from Jacksonville. The sad part about it, when Delrio is fired, after this season, his buddy Mike Smith will bring him to ATL as favor for Delrio hiring him. They will continue to use this bend but dont break scheme! Ken, this is Mike Smith’s Scheme. BVG is doing what is asked of him. He never used this scheme at University of Georgia, his defensives were aggressive and top five in the country. Place the blame where is lies, Mike Smith!

I personally think Dimitroff should have hired Rex Ryan. His defenses have been top five over a decade. Two AFC Championship Title games with an average offense, and a game manager quarterback. Matt Ryan is a game manager, but that is okay. Trent Differ won a superbowl for GOD’s sake and Ryan is much better than him.


September 20th, 2011
11:37 pm

opie taylor-
Good points about Smitty and BVG.
It`s all true except the part about bringing in JDR .
That`s not gonna happen and what`s TD to do?
Fire Smitty?

Big Ray

September 21st, 2011
12:08 am

D3 ,

Good stuff as always, and even better catch on that snippet from Yahoo. We can’t read that stuff in a vaccum. We have that, plus the comments from Roddy White.

Now, I could seem like Chicken Little here, but…

Big Ray

September 21st, 2011
12:13 am

opie ,

Not sure I buy that. You’re betting Van Gorder’s college defensive resume vs. Mike Smith’s NFL defensive resume. I think Vegas would take those odds…

Last I looked, people were talking about how Del Rio’s defense in Jacksonville has gone south since Smitty left.

At the same time, I kinda agree with you. Sound confusing? It shouldn’t. I don’t blame Smitty for the scheme. But since he’s the HC, he’s allowing it.

And no, I don’t have anything against Van Gorder personally. I just feel that it’s very hard to go from coaching certain things on the college level, to brining those things to the NFL level.

If you don’t think that bucket holds water, then go take a look at Pete Carroll, who has been a far more successful college coach than Van Gorder could dream of being.


September 21st, 2011
12:38 am

Big Ray,
The Falcons are running the exact same scheme as the one Smitty ran in Jacksonville.
That`s a fact and BVG did not run that scheme at UGA.
Those two facts do not equate into BVG being a good NFL coordinator but you can`t argue he is not running Smitty`s scheme, nor is anyone trying to compare him to Pete Carrol, who is HC.


September 21st, 2011
12:46 am

All this is secondary anyway because if the Falcons don`t achieve what they want to achieve, it won`t be because of defense.
It will be because of the offense not being prolific enough to keep up against GB, Det, Philly and NO.

Eric C.

September 21st, 2011
12:54 am

D3, thanks for the great analyses. As crazy as it sounds for the second game of the season, I really believe this win saved any chance the Falcons still have to reach the SB this year…HUGE win. Rodgers is going to be a great back and fun to watch…can’t wait til he gets fully utilized!

Btw, Grimes made a great play right before the Vick fumble in the first half…he fought off the block and forced Vick out of bounds. I really believe Vick would have scored if Brent didn’t fight so hard, and then we never would have gotten the great play by Jerry and Edwards…atta boy Grimes.

I’ll give Bosher some slack on the short punt…very tough punting from the 2 yd line against the Eagles, but it is no surprise we are missing Koenen now. It made my stomach turn when I saw him head for the Bucs.

Speaking of the Bucs, Falcons need to shake this victory off and get back to business…gonna be tough to play a good game after such an emotional victory.

Great Falconi

September 21st, 2011
1:28 am

We’ve gotta be over .500 heading into the bye. As long as we do that, we’ll have a shot to do what we want to do.

El Bravo

September 21st, 2011
6:18 am

BT, Big Ray, actually, the Jaguars ran a 3-4 in Jacksonville during the Smitty days and I they still do today. It was inherited from the Ravens back when he and JDR coached there. If anything, Smitty has allowed BVG to run his own schemas, not forcing a 3-4 on this team (part of that is because of personnel but still).


September 21st, 2011
6:54 am

OH YEAH!!! Got the win we needed!! However, at times, it looked as if I was watching the dawgs play. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the play calling D3. We seemed to protect Ryan a little better and got some great holes for Turner to run through. My school is having an NFL football friday, all of my students will be wearing Red and Black. We will have the Falcons flags flyin high!!! LET”S GO FALCONS!!! Great job D3, keep it up!! Come on DAWGS we GOTTA WIN Saturday!!


September 21st, 2011
6:58 am

I want to see Matt Ryan become the play-calling general Peyton Manning became. It is too obvious how much more efficient we become offensively when Matty Ice is running the show


September 21st, 2011
7:34 am

El Bravo..
The Jaguars do NOT run a 3/4 defense now, nor did they when Smitty coached there.
He had Marcus Stroud and John Henderson at DT position then.
Two pro bowl type DT`s is a strong indicator of a team running the 4/3.
Just saying…

OC/DC Dinosaurs

September 21st, 2011
7:38 am

D3, Exactly right on all points. Matt Ryan was one tough QB; it reminded me of the old days when Joe Namath would be knocked around and then stand up to throw down field with the Jets. I would add the awful TIME MANAGEMENT at the end of the game as a big indication the coaching staff doesn’t have a KILLER INSTINCT. Which coach made this decision?

BT, I am with you the offense with Mularkey is the one thing that will hold this team back. It MUST change. It happens as a whole, game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter and play-to-play. He always reverts back to his worst habits. Why did HC Smith have to make the no-huddle decision Sunday? And, why did it take him so long to make it?

Here is a little snippet ESPN had about Detroit Lions yesterday. I want to see the Atlanta Falcons accused of running up the score. The Falcons need SWAGGER and STYLE. We have a few players that have it. The coaching staff needs to instill it.

Aggressiveness in Detroit: The Lions have demonstrated swagger and style along with significant substance en route to their 2-0 start. Two plays in particular stood out in Sunday’s 48-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The first was quarterback Matthew Stafford’s decision to fire downfield on a third-and-24 play in the second quarter, hitting rookie receiver Titus Young for 43 yards to ultimately set up a field goal. The second came in the third quarter as the Lions faced a fourth-and-goal at the Chiefs’ 1-yard line. The Lions were holding a comfortable 20-3 lead late in the third quarter, but coach Jim Schwartz elected to put the game further out of reach. Turning down an easy field goal, Schwartz left Stafford on the field to throw a touchdown pass to receiver Calvin Johnson. Some have interpreted that decision as a desire to run up the score. I saw it as Schwartz teaching his team how to put opponents away.


September 21st, 2011
7:56 am

I think Matt said, he didn’t want the responsibility of play calling all the time. Being that said Mularky needs to get out of his own way. He lacks creativity and there’s no trick plays in his play calling. Dunta Robinson is an enforcer, but he’s not a ball hawk. We simply paid too much for him. We can’t forget that the Ravens steamed rolled the Pittsburg Steelers only to lose to the lowly Tennesse Titans. We have to go out Sunday and establish early on that Tampa is not in our league. NO LET DOWNS GO FALCONS!

Bill M

September 21st, 2011
7:59 am

Our offense would be great if we could give Matt Ryan more time to throw the ball! Now Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but do you see how time he has to throw the ball, A lot of times there are nobody around him for 3 yards. Improve the pass blocking and you will see this offense light it up.


September 21st, 2011
8:00 am

The Detroit Loins appear to be scary good right now.
Something can be said for being awful for a good number of years then, not squandering the draft picks and applying good coaching.
Talk about loaded!

Michael M.

September 21st, 2011
8:12 am

Really the Birds schedule isn’t as tough as once claimed, the only teams that could actually light up the scoreboard on them is The Saints which they play twice and the Pac they play once in regular Season and theres The Lions but think they just coming out with some luck so far this year.
The Eagles game was the early true test for them and since they defeated them the Birds should grow up quickly and be better in the Games ahead.
Bucs, Seahawks, Packers(Home), Panthers(Home), Lions, Colts, Saints(Home), Titans(home), Vikings(Home), Texans, Panthers, Jags(Home), Saints, Bucs(Home)

Michael M.

September 21st, 2011
8:26 am

Looking at next six games, the only true dangerous Team for them is The Pac which I am sure they going to go after them with revenge for knocking them off in the Playoffs and they have them in the Dome so thats an advantage in its self. They could be 7- 1 at the halfway mark with some luck and if they can get going and on a roll before they have to play the Saints.
Hard to figure cause with Football you never know what you will see one week to the next !

Michael M.

September 21st, 2011
8:41 am

Second half of Season, the Dangerous Teams look like the Saints, who they play twice and the Texans who look good so if they split games with the Saints and win one of them and take a loss to the Texans they could wind up with a 13-3 Season this year too but then again , they could go 3-13 Ha ! Ha !
awwww, some of the other Teams probably knock em off too, thats Football and they are not The Patriots, as of yet anyways !

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
9:35 am

Excellent! This win buries last years loss – our coaching staff, despite their in-game short comings, sufficiently stuffed the Eagles gadget plays to such an extent that they had to rely on old fashion, standard football. You can say what you want, but the hit by Chris Owens was key, as was the hit Dunta laid on Maclin I believe – Maclin was hearing footsteps on that last dropped pass, and that is a good impact by the D. I highly suspected either HC MS or TD demanded we go into the no-huddle/muddle huddle. I reallly would prefer Ryan to call his own plays the entire game – with the coaching staff giving trends after each possession – at this point, Ryan MUST know at least 80% of the playbook (possibly 100%), and due to the utter failure to give Baker help, and the pounding he took from that side the entire game, Ryan MUST realize MM is asleep at the wheel after the game starts. I am not as hard as D3 on Dunta, and after Collinsworth cried so long about the hard hit by Dunta, really started to doubt if it was really illegal – how many steps did Maclin take after the catch, 4? Receivers want to pretend they can gain 25 yards without getting hit, then repeat that scenario all game long. One drawback to small smurf receivers – sometimes they take a licking and don’t keep ticking. Great come back, orchestrated by Ryan – I would NOT be surprised to learn that Ryan came to HCMS and stated the play calling is killing us – I can move the team better than this!

darrell starks

September 21st, 2011
9:40 am

The Falcons only won because there was a change at OC, im say this D3, Mike Mularkey and Brian Vangorder have regress this team with a none lackluster play calling with a centerfold aggressive approach, only Mike Smith can make a change and get this team on track.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Strickland

September 21st, 2011
9:40 am

BT-We’ve seen so many instances where players, even Probowl caliber players, have played poorly when forced to function within an ill fitting scheme or system. I remember when DT AHainesworth was one of the NFLs most dominant DTs until he went to Washington and they tried to force him to play in a 3-4 DEF. The identical situation happened to All American DT GDorsey, who was definitely the best DT in his draft.

Let me ask you a question. Do you think CBs Revis and Asumogha, who are considered the NFLs 2 best CBs, would be as effective if they played in VanGorder’s scheme, and were forced to play 8-10yds off the WR, the way VanGorder forces his CBs to play? Like BIG RAY said, you can’t expect what was successfully in college to be successful in the pros. That’s common knowledge.

VanGorder’s problems have been caused by his stubborn refusal to accept that adjustments have been made and his scheme and approach have been figured out and is being disected. The last 3 regular season teams we’ve played, the Packers, Bears and Eagles, all scored 30 or more pts against us by using identical plays that consistently got identical results.

Everyone has made adjustments but VanGorder. Within the past 2yrs TD and Smitty have added DE REdwards, CB DRobinson, SS WMoore, OLB SWeatherspoon, DT’s COwens and PJerry to the starting lineup. And with all of this infusion of talent, our DEF still has the same secondary and pass DEF issues.

Why, because VanGorder has maintained the same schemes and approach, which forces players to function within a system that’s not suited for their talents. He continues to insist on forcing that SQUARE PEG INTO THAT ROUND HOLE.

darrell starks

September 21st, 2011
10:06 am

The Falcons won but there are some changes need to be made if there going make this team a contender.

1. The punter must go, if the Falcons keep Bosher atleast 3 games will be lost on his behalf.

2. Mike Mularkey is doing to much thinking instead of letting the ICE MAN go full throttle on no huddle offense, it’s going on four years now so time for keys to handed over to Matt.

3. Vangorder have regress as a DC, why is Dunta playing cover 2 and 15 yards away from the ball, he should be jamming the WR at point of attack and playing towards his strenght, cover 2 should be played on Grimes side not Dunta.

4. Sam Baker is the weakest link on the line, he have been a disaster at LT, Mike Smith must make a change at LT and play Mike Johnson there, at least give it a try and see what we have.

5. The no huddle should be in full affect from here on out, it’s going on 4 years now so time is up and let him get this team where it should be and that’s on top in NFL.

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

OC/DC Dinosaurs

September 21st, 2011
10:06 am

For some reason, I feel confident about the Tampa Bay game this Sunday. I think the defense will have confidence and will play at a high level because of the defensive success and the win against the Eagles. We will enjoy watching this game.

The offense is on what appears to be its normal UPSWING for a few or several games. We are seeing the UPSWING because the coaching staff has RELENTED and taken off a FEW of the CHAINS holding the offense back. HC Smith solidified the UPSWING this time when he evidently ORDERED the N0-HUDDLE Sunday as D3 picked up from Yahoo. I am glad we have HC Smith.

I worry about what happens with OC Mularkey after some success OCCURS. And, HC Smith seems to let or doesn’t see this happening because it is so subtle. Gradually, Mularkey REVERTS back to the over-controlling, very conservative, run-run-pass, never take a chance, never make a statement, no-identity, don’t use all the talents of the players offense and play calling. The CHAINS are slowly added until the team is pretty much tied down again. It affects the defense too.

With the CHAINS, the team struggles to win games that should be easy, and we LOOSE games that are the most important. When the loss occurs, the entire cycle starts over again. We in the cage express outrage too. The loss against Green Bay last year took preseason, the Chicago loss, a battered quarterback, and almost three fourths of the Eagles game to start the UPSWING. Maybe the explosive plays will appear using White, Douglas, and Jones..

We need to play closer to the capabilities demonstrated at the TOP of the UPSWING. I really believe OC Mularkey is RESPONSIBLE for the tepid play of the offense. The CHAINS should be removed almost totally by letting MRyan call the plays, or HC Smith should take action. MRyan said “no, no, no” when asked but it sounded like Brer Rabbit saying “don’t throw me into the briar patch” to me. Matt Ryan knows he is safer calling his own plays.

What do you think guys?


September 21st, 2011
10:33 am

Ken, there is no argument about some inherent scheme flaws, play calls, on both sides of the ball.
The question now is, why and who is ultimately responsible?
It`s my bet, Smitty is heavily involved in game planning with both MM and BVG with it being his stamp of approval for the plans each and every week.
Actual play calling, might be a different story.
At least in this last game, might to give some credit for them sticking to their game plan, most teams would have abandoned the run at the start of the 4th quarter but as it turned out, Turners big runs in the 4th quarter were a huge factor in the outcome.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
10:36 am

I think Darrells idea is pretty good – play to the players’ strength – let Dunta play man?bump & run, Grimes soft zone. Also, on 3rd & long, I think we need to quit the soft zone, and have our DB’s play up tight on the WR – that we we should prevent the conversion. I wonder how long before others see the need for this wise adjustment? Opposition WR must be pumped to play us – they don’t get hit (can’t hit after 5 yards, and we have no DB that close) – and can pretty much run their route unimpeded – this seems really moronic to me.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
10:37 am

I thought Turner, provided Cole did not latch onto him in the backfield, was might effective. His TD run, while short, did include shedding the linebacker with a quickness!

OC/DC Dinosaurs

September 21st, 2011
10:43 am

D3 our much maligned offensive tackle agrees Matt Ryan calling plays is the answer. I found this quote from him in AJC article. I think he played better too. They all need and respect Ryan’s leadership.

“Going to the no-huddle really helped us get a rhythm, throwing the ball and running the ball,” left tackle Sam Baker said. “That definitely helped down the stretch.”

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
11:37 am

draft options update: Kerrigan picked up a sack; Jonathan Baldwin (WR), got into a fight with the Chiefs RB at practice, and is currently out. More to follows. We know Randall Cobb has done pretty well so far.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
11:42 am

leonard hankerson is NOT playing for the skins.

Ken Strickland

September 21st, 2011
11:44 am

OC/DC-What you just described with Mularkey is exactly what the Hawks experienced with former HC MWoodson. He want the team to be a conservative, predictable half court jumpshooting team, but it was geared to run and attack. When the OFF got bogged down and we started losing, he turn them loose and allowed them to run.

As soon as they started winning consistently, Woodson would use MBibby to slow things down and we’d end up reverting back to his preferred style of OFF. It’s like the gm last yr against the Ravens. They were prepared to defend our run 1st and often style of OFF, but we caught them totally off guard by throwing the ball 1st and often. After that convincing win, we reverting back to our run 1st and often approach.

The fact is, the only time we’ve attempted used the approach since was against the Steelers during preseason. We didn’t us it against the Bears because Mularkey was intimidated by their DEF and refused to take any chances. The (S)AINTS OFF guru’s weren’t in the least bit intimidated by their DEF, so they took chances and attacked it, and we all saw the results.

Talent wise, we have 2 Farrari’s(OFF/DEF), with two 4 cylinder engines under the hood(Mularkey/VanGorder). If we don’t upgrade those engines, we’ll always have 2 under performing cars that were designed to be quick, fast, athletic, and loaded with potential that will never be realized.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
12:15 pm

luckily, we have a first class mechanic at QB – who can pull our fat out of the fryer b4 it gets cooked too badly. TD has given us a team with a ton of talented, hardworking, decent human being football players. I’d roll with MR2 running the show from the 1st snap to the last.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
12:16 pm

demarco murray not doing too much with the Pokes.

Paddy O

September 21st, 2011
12:16 pm

titus young is playing well. AJ looks like the genuine article. Wonder why the Bulldogs don’t tap the full potential of their players?


September 21st, 2011
12:35 pm

Watching the reply last night w/Smitty mic’d for the Turner TD run. ANd Smitty on the sideline wondering if Ryan will audible, and when he does, Smitty states what he should run, and then Ryan runs it. It was kinda interesting as the first thought in my mind is Smitty TRUSTS Ryan to run this team and to run it how Ryan wants to run it ( and in many aspects how Smitty would run it.

I guess the point I am trying to make is the point everyone else is making and MM is holding us back.

On D: Tampa is a turning point for our D. Lots of articles and comments on how lack of extended camps has been detriment on D’s as they ahve not had a chance to jell with the new players, and not always sure someone has your back. I think Tampa is the game where things really start to come togther for our D. Especially with the shake up in our DB’s

here is a question to ponder. Owens played better without DeCoud on the field…. coincedence?


September 21st, 2011
1:00 pm

What’s up Cage.

Going to get this out of the way right now. I am a man who will step up and admit his mistakes. And it is HIGH TIME that I give some love where it is deserved.

As most Cagers know, I was not a fan of the drafting of Peria Jerry. I lobbied hard for my man, Ziggy Hood, who is currently second on the depth chart with the Steelers. I cited the well documented injury history of Hip Hip as my rationale and the need for a solid DT presence in ATL. For the past year plus, I have come back time and time again, beating up on the guy with relentless swings of my bat. Hip Hip, Peria, Mr. Jerry, I owe you an apology.

From the friend confines of section 209, row one, I closely watched as Peria Jerry had, by far, HIS BEST game yet, as a Falcon. I saw tenacity, I saw aggressive play, I saw continuous effort. The stat line will not reflect a ton of tackles or even a sack, but Mr. Jerry was a disruptive in there as Babs has been. He faced double teams, willed his way into the play, and put one of the most mobile QBs the league has ever seen on notice that it was going to be a rough night to stay home in the pocket.

Great job, Mr. Jerry. Your upside is there and I like what I saw this past Sunday. I will from this point on only wish you the very best. You proved me wrong. God speed, stay healthy, and keep it up!!


September 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

OL worries. For those that are in a state of panic about the offensive line issues, I would simply suggest that over time (and I am not talking week to week), both of the defensive fronts that the Falcons have faced have been outstanding and among the leagues’ best. With TWO rookies in the mix for the first time, the Falcons did what they did best….they EXCELLED in the rushing game when the coaching staff remained committed to the run.

Sam Baker has gotten his @$$ handed to him by Julius Peppers each time he has faced him. That is no surprise to anyone. And Trent Cole is a beast of a defensive end as well, each year a solid presence among the league’s best at the position. So are we really surprised that he got CRUSHED on Sunday night. Could ANY Falcon OT have done any better? No.

Reynolds and Hawley are being baptized by fire. They are being beat down at times but they are fighting hard, staying active, and making progress. I know it comes at a risk to the safety and security of MR2 but MR2 also has to get that damned ball out quicker at times. Those that are in love with Mike Johnson, forget about it; Dude can not stay healthy enough to stay on the field. The other president on the OL, Andrew Jackson, will probably end up holding that slot down in the long term.

Work remains. But the OL is doing what it is built to do. Keep things tight and secure early and then pound s DL into submission as the game winds down. Whether you like it or not, that is the way this Falcon team wins games. You can ride the passing game to a certain degree BUT you check it and see. The Falcons of Mike Smith are at their BEST when they are working the rock with Michael Turner. Two games, two one hundred yard plus efforts. It’s plain, its simple, it’s the real deal.

Coach B will keep working with his young lions. Hawley and Reynolds will get better. Get used to them being there because they are anchors, along with Clabo and Blalock for at least the next five to seven. Baker’s seat is the hotter one of them; I see a close look at the Mountain West and/or the WAC coming as we look for a solution at left tackle.

joe white

September 21st, 2011
1:27 pm

Great win for us, our oline will be fine, we missing todd and we young too, we will jell, baker did get beat,but for the most party he is a stud

joe white

September 21st, 2011
1:31 pm

Great game, our oline will be okay we missing todd for sure, but they young and weill grow. Baker played against a good trent cole, but for the most part he does not get handled like that for the most part. Falcons showed heart and didnt give up way to go team.


September 21st, 2011
1:32 pm

Going to take a step out into the fringes of space here. But before you assassinate me, you would be wise to pause and take a look at the forest for the trees.

I have said it before and I will continue to say it. This team is still VERY young. This team is still growing together as a unit. Yes, there are those moments when the machine looks great and all is joyous in the nation. But when those growing pains show up, we all, this fan included, want to break out the whipping boards. That is not going to change I am sure but let me offer some things that we all need to re-think.

First, this team does lack an identity as it is well known. One week, we seek to be “explosive”. The next week, we desire to be “aggressive”. The third week of the month, we are in love with being “solid”, and the fourth and final week of the month, we return to the “Process”. I have an idea, Smitty, Mad Mike, and BVG. Can the three of you simply just be CONSISTENT?

Second, this team is about to undergo a real transition. The FA period of 2012 has the potential to RADICALLY change the make up of this team. QB depth will be an issue behind Ryan as both Redman and JP Wilson are FAs in 2012. Abe, Snelling, Lofton, and Douglas, critical assets thus far in this young season, are FAs next season. Our best cornerback, Brent Grimes, is a FA next year after signing his tender this past season. TG88, old man river himself, is in the last year of his deal.
Curtis Lofton, the man in the middle, is a FA next year.

And that does not even start to consider the potential changes that will be sure to come on the staff if we “underachieve” this season yet again. Under achieve….how do we define that? Well, it is clear that anything short of a NFC title game appearance OR greater, any record less than 12 wins, a failure to repeast as NFC South champs – all these are the standards that will serve as individual measures of “underachievement”. A wild card playoff appearance, THE MOST LIKELY way we will get to the playoffs, (just being real), will be a TREMENDOUS challenge this season. Last year we saw several 10 win teams on the sideline. It may hit closer to home this season. Just being real here.


September 21st, 2011
1:41 pm

Contiuning with the change theme. If Mad Mike is released, do we promote within and elevate either coachs Robiskie or Bratkowski to the offensive coordinator position. On the defensive side, do we play the same old love song with BVG and Tim Lewis, or do we look to look to replace and start new on that side. Most people are looking at the potential for Smitty to give a “professional renaissance” to old friend, Jack Del Rio. Hell, if we are going with retread tires, why not call up his brother in law, Brian Billick, to run the offense. Oh yeah, that’s right…Billick has not called a play in FIVE years.

Oh, if you think that things are muddled now, I’m just giving you some things to ponder going ahead.