Falcons Outlast Titans

A Much Needed Victory

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez catches a touchdown pass in front of Tennessee Titans safety Jordan Babineaux for a 7-0 Falcons lead with the PAT during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011.

A Win's a Win's a Win (C.Compton/AJC)

It may not have been the prettiest game in the world, but the Falcons did what they had to do to get back on track after a deflating overtime loss to the Saints. The Birds came out strong and appeared to be on the verge of putting the game away early on, but lapsed once again into a lull where they allowed a rookie quarterback to look like a superstar and make the game much closer than it should’ve been. All that being said, though, the Falcons did what it took to get a needed win over a decent opponent and put themselves back in the hunt for a playoff position. A look back at the game that was………

1) A Resilient Group

Sure, the Falcons didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they showed some serious backbone by getting this much needed win after a tough home loss. Yes, they were the better and more talented team and should have won, but lesser Falcons teams would lose games like this and essentially wreck the season.

They were up 20-3 and appeared to cruise to an easy win, when they let the foot off the gas yet again. They allowed the Titans to storm back and make the game very close with a rookie quarterback. They had plenty of mistakes in the 2nd half, but figured out a way to get the win. Credit to Coach Smith and the team for getting back on track, even if it wasn’t the best of games.

2) Red Zone Woes

Good Day for Ryan, Gonzalez (C.Compton/AJC)

The Falcons started off the year doing fairly well when they got into the red zone, but have hit a proverbial wall for some reason. The Falcons are kicking way too many field goals when they get close to the endzone.

One of the reasons seems to be that they revert back to their same old predictable philosophy once they there. They go back to their old predictable run-heavy scheme that just doesn’t appear to be working. Often times, the Falcons are just too predictable when they drive down to score.

3) Stout Run D

The Birds continued their excellence in shutting down the opponents running game. An argument could be made on why opposing teams would try to run when they can pass with ease, but that’s for another argument. The defense does an excellent job in shutting down the running game and held super-explosive Chris Johnson to 13 yards on 12 carries a week after holding the Saints to 41 yards total rushing. The Falcons defensive players and coaching staff deserve major kudos for their excellence in defending the run, regardless of who the running back and opponent are.

4) 1st Down and Predictable

This has been discussed ad nauseam, but the Falcons are downright pathetic and predictable on 1st down. The running joke in the Dome is for fans to wager how different amounts on calling what’s coming on first down. It involves Matt Ryan taking the snap and handing the football off to Michael Turner where he runs directly into the middle of the line and either loses a few yards, barely gets back to the line of scrimmage, or manages to gain a measly yard.

1st and Turner (C.Compton/AJC)

The Falcons basically seem to just give up a play and like to challenge themselves to see how many times they can get a first down and continue drives while being at 2nd and 10 or worse. Maybe they don’t run that ultra-predictable play on first down ALL the time, but it sure feels like it. Would it kill Mularkey and Co. to try to mix it up just a little on 1st down?

5) Have the Falcons Drafted Poorly in the Secondary?

Thomas Dimitroff has done an amazing job of revamping this roster and filling it with talent in his very short time as Atlanta’s general manager. One area that hasn’t had the best of hits has been the secondary. Several of Dimitroff’s secondary draft picks never made the roster (Wilrey Fontenot, William Middleton), are no longer with the team (Chevis Jackson), or have definitely performed very poorly on the whole (Chris Owens). These have been well-documented, but now questions are arising about Dimitroff’s other selections.

Once thought to be a potential future star, free safety Thomas DeCoud is starting to show major cracks in his game and questions are arising about his future as an Atlanta Falcon. DeCoud seems to get torched at least once a game for a big play or touchdown and even his tackling has become sub-par, allowing a Titan receiver to juke he and Chris Owens to the ground en route to a long touchdown play that put them right back in the game.

One of the seeming surefire picks in the secondary was CB Dominique Franks, who was thought of as a major steal in the 5th round. After a good preseason, Franks still can’t crack the lineup. Maybe its simply a product of a really terrible soft-zone scheme that would make any player look awful, but the secondary are running out of excuses. It says something that two new free agents (James Sanders and Kelvin Hayden) are two of the most consistent players in the secondary.

6) “Classic Bend But Don’t Break”

Nice Pick by Dunta (C.Compton/AJC)

Those are the words of CBS announcer Dan Fouts describing the Falcons defense when they were playing rookie quarterback Jake Locker. This has been mentioned many times before, but the Falcons have an uncanny ability of making any type of quarterback look really good, whether it be a rookie who’s never played (Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker), an also ran backup (Tavaris Jackson), or one of the many superstar QB’s they play. Sure, the players probably deserve some of the blame, but the scheme makes fans want to scream.

The Birds showed their good old issues of allowing 3rd down conversions, including very long yardage. They are one of the lowest teams in terms of getting pressure on opposing QB’s and sacks and don’t seem that upset about it. Coach Smith has said that he doesn’t qualify success on defense in terms of sacks, but rather about “moving the QB off their spot.” Newsflash: good quarterbacks find a way to get rid of the ball if they are not on the ground. A title from the previous post was “talented and underachieving” and that seems to fit pretty well.

7) Offensive Play-calling

It was revealed that Matt Ryan called 45 of 50 plays out of the no-huddle attack and it obviously worked very well, resulting in 316 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and a 106 QB Rating. If this isn’t a disapproval of Mike Mularkey’s offensive play-calling, than its hard to imagine what is. Is this the writing on the wall for Mularkey in Atlanta?

8.) What Does Future Hold for Falcons?

Back to Good for Roddy (C.Compton/AJC)

Is this the first step for the Falcons going on a run to enter the playoff picture, or is this team simply too inconsistent to be considered for the playoffs? As of right now, the Falcons are right on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs. They are behind the Bears and Lions for the two wild card spots and tied with the Giants at 6-4 as the next best team. The schedule does set up favorably, but as mentioned before they don’t completely control their own destiny and have left themselves very little room for error.

Your Turn

-Take a shot an analyzing the Falcons victory over the Titans

409 comments Add your comment

D3

November 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

Kind of a neat deal here @ ESPN. It has a playoff machine that predicts playoffs. Basically, as we all thought, we will have to go 5-1 in these last 6 games to get the last playoff spot, including beating either the Texans or Saints. Either scenario on us winning the other 4 games (Car, TB, Jax, Min) and beating either Texans or Saints has us getting the 6th seed and playing the Saints in the wild card. Great reward. Even if we go 6-0, it has us hosting the Saints in the first round of the wild card. At some point, we have to beat them if we want to be considered on their level. Until then, we’re just not legit.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

really d3? only the secondary? how about the defensive line? what talent has he drafted or signed on the d-line? how about the offensive line?

ATLJBO

November 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

Thats my only big criticism dealing with TD drafting… Most of his DB’s are not panning out (The funny thing is the same can be said about his old stomping grounds.. The Patriots) …. His biggest problem with the CB position is that we mainly that we wait until the 3rd round and back to draft a CB… I

ATLJBO

November 22nd, 2011
11:42 am

( Except Chevis Jackson) We need to draft a CB earlier …. CB’s are very valuable now with all of this spread offense.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
11:57 am

Michael Turner ran with authority on Sunday, but 7 of 13 carries on first down resulted in gains of
-3, -1, -1, -1, 0, -1, 0 yards throughout the game when we should have taken complete control of the game. This summary does not include the first play of the game which was an incomplete pass to Michael Turner. We need to be more productive on first downs and the coaching staff needs to recognize almost every team can stop most of our first down plays.

Although Matt Ryan ran the no-huddle 45 of 50 plays, I don’t believe he called all 45 plays. Some of them were sent in from the sideline and had the name of MM all over them.

The Falcons seem to be measured by EFFORT when it comes to accessing performance. Time of possession, long drive, methodical ball control, etc. I would like to see more emphasis on ACCOMPLISHMENT meaning scoring touchdowns in the fastest way possible. We don’t have to take 4-5 plays to score once we are in the red zone. The pass plays in the red zone on third down that don’t make a first down or score a touchdown are a waste, especially the plays that take the receiver out of bounds.

Die Hard Falcon

November 22nd, 2011
11:59 am

Well I believe in this team. We have been a few plays away, and really if we could’ve found a way to win any of the games we lost, we’d be in the drivers seat. As it stands, we need help to get in and 5-1 should lock up a spot, b/c the Bears hold the tiebreaker against us and so do the Cowgirls right now based on the fact that all of our losses have been conference losses. I was hoping so bad that the Redskins would’ve beat them Sunday, but we need to control what’s ours and besides the obvious Texans/Saints games, the one that scares me is Carolina. They played us very well until the 4th qtr and scam Newton was lighting us up, fortunately we made some key picks and they couldn’t overcome the turnovers. I don’t want to rely on that, I think the answer for the Falcons is full throttle, just like we did this week, except of course we need TD’s not FG’s, that cost us the win last week and is the only reason that this game was close. I think getting a health Julio will help in the redzone, between him, Roddy and Gonzalez, that’s 3 legitimate redzone threats, they can all jump and are all big, physical players who can fight for the ball in the endzone.
If we start running that same formation we ran Sunday 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, w/ Julio and put HD in the slot, I think that can be explosive for us.
GO FALCONS!!

Die Hard Falcon

November 22nd, 2011
12:07 pm

I would also direct many of the fair-weathered fans to the article about the “energy vampires”, we don’t need all this negativity!

I would really like to see the Falcons get the 6th seed, and beat the aints, then take out the packers in lambeau. That would be the most satisfying route to a SB we could have, we can hang w/ the aints, last 2 years every game comes down to 3 pts, we can beat them. I think we’d play the pack better in lambeau, they’re soft and we can power over them if the cold and snow shut down the high-flying passing game. We just need 4 solid qtrs, it’s quite achievable.

Falcons first SB through the power of positivity!

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Honest Abe ,

i don’t think that the offense is necessarily better off without JJ, but for a ball control offense that likes to pound the ball it has been a challenge to integrate 3 receiver sets. i think they’ll eventually get more efficient at spreading the ball around but it’s a major change that needs time.

I could not agree more. And we saw this in the tumultous beginning of the season.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
12:47 pm

Ray, 9:39. No, the regular season stops after the regular season, and that is when the majority of games are played. So luck, injuries, etc kind of evens out. You get a much more honest view of what your football team is.

In the playoffs, sometimes you just don’t have immediate success and you just have to keep knocking on the door, especially with an inexperienced coach and QB . Just because happened to draw a team on what is turning out to be a historic roll, does not mean you need to forget about what even got you there the #1 seed.

Saying we can’t beat good teams is like saying Ryan can’t throw a deep ball. All you geniuses are right, until, well, Ryan throws a deep ball, then you start making excuses.

Another example, last year we beat Tampa twice, had we lost those games, they would have been in the playoffs. Then you guys would be including them in the “elite” team category of teams that beat us. However, since we beat them, they did not make the playoffs, and hence, don’t count as “elite” See how it works?

Even last week, we beat a winning team that had everything to play for, but by us beating them, we hurt their playoff hopes, they are no longer a winning team, so they go in the category of loser teams we beat and will just be a footnote of “bad” teams we beat. Just imagine if they miss the playoffs by a game? As Green Bay what can happen if you barely squeak in.

Finally, had TD forseen HD coming back and playing at the level he is, I don’t think he makes the trade. JJ and Ryan have not really found the groove, and Julio missing time does not help matters. I would say the Jury is still out, but the blockbuster trade of high draft picks for one guy does not have a good track record.

And finally, we are 2-2 against Green Bay with Rogers at QB. So to say we “can’t” beat them is just wrong. Did they just become “elite” when they started beating us?

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
12:52 pm

Ryan and Rogers became starting QBs in 2008
Both teams have qualified for the playoffs twice since
Both teams lost to the Cards in their 1st playoff appearance
Their had to head matchup is 2-2

Mike McCarthy has been a head coach in the NFL for 5 years, Rogers, a QB for 6.
Smitty and Ryan have been in their respective positions for 3 seasons.

Now, review the history of the Atlanta franchise….Do you really thing it is time to start thinking about blowing things up and starting over?

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
12:53 pm

Mr. Charlie ,

What’s up with all the “you guys” talk? Last I looked, there was a variety of opinions here. Some hate the coaches, others love the coaches, some only hate/love SOME of the coaches. Same goes for the players, and even the GM.

As for calling teams “elite”, I’ve never really gotten into that myself. I was reading Brian Billick’s power rankings this morning and the one team that stood out to me as being ranked ahead of us is a team that I think is definitely NOT elite, and may even be an actual pretender.

The Detroit Lions. Why rank them 9th? They beat two teams worth mentioning early in the season (Chicago and Dallas) when both were struggling mightily. Then Chicago, getting into a groove, came back and WHIPPED them. They beat Tampa, but Tampa is a losing team this season. So who have the Lions beaten to be a top 10 team, much less an elite “contender”? Denver? Kansas City? Carolina? Minnesota? Man, please….the Lions are a team with a half-decent schedule and some offensive firepower. They are the Panthers with less of a running game and more of a defense (and fewer interceptions).

The Packers are elite because they’ve proven themselves. The won the SB, and now teams have yet to figure out how to beat them in the regular season. It is what it is.

Teams aren’t elite because we haven’t beaten them, or haven’t beaten them when it counted. They are elite (or not) because of where they’ve been and what they’ve done. Teams that get into the playoffs every year and get some wins? Yeah, I’d say they qualify. We’re talking teams that threaten to contend from year to year, from decade to decade. The Steelers. The Patriots. Saints, much as I can’t stand them, now are becoming that type of team, a team that can threaten even if they make the playoffs as a wild card.

I think we’re getting there. We just have to keep making the playoffs, keep finding ways to improve, keep being tough and getting double digit wins in the regular season. Hard to make the playoffs without that kind of regular season performance. Not very many 9-7 teams like the Cardinals of 2008.

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
12:55 pm

And for the record, I’m a big Matt Ryan fan.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
1:05 pm

I am in agreement with your last paragraph. I really think getting the the playoffs is the harder part. Once the playoff starts, a lot of times the hot team wins, exhibit 1, 2010 Green Bay. Exhibit 2, 2008 Cardinals.

Is it coaching? Players? Dumb Luck? A little of everything.

I just think people read way way too much into playoff games.

John Waynesworld

November 22nd, 2011
1:08 pm

Thanks, D3…

I thought it was a solid game by the defense until they ran into a mobile QB and then the cheese hit the whiz. Our D line does not seem to grasp pressure with contain on an evasive quarterback like Locker was and sacking just isn’t in this team’s DNA. I can’t even comment right now on DeCoud and Owens as I just ate and the thought of those guys in a nickel against a real QB makes me queasy.

I’m not sure if I agree with you, D3, about losing MM just because Ryan has his no huddle going good. After all, the audibles Ryan calls are Mularkey’s plays and when we go on defense, MM is giving Ryan a whole new set of plays to call to offset what the opposing defense is doing. That is the OCs job. It seems to me that when given time to call a play, MM seems to over think the situation and ends up calling the obvious play, if that makes any sense. At least it seems that way when I watch the offense move (and not move).

The Red Zone is a perfect example of where MM should not call plays. We should do the no-huddle down there! Have the defense fidgeting and yelling coverage while we are at the line of scrimmage and ready to go and they will leave one of our guys wide open more often than if they have time to regroup.

Very well thought out article, D3. Complimentary with necessary criticisms. Speaking of criticism, I think Congress (since they’re not doing anything) needs to make a law that forbids Mike Smith from being INTERVIEWED. Every time I read a Q&A with him, I read the question and then I start to read Coach’s answer and find out that IT IS THE SAME ANSWER THAT HE GAVE FOR THE LAST ANSWER AND THE ONE BEFORE THAT AND THE ONE BEFORE THAT!!! It is like butting your own head against a wall to think that Coach will EVER give an answer that isn’t as vague as a winter cloud. But I keep reading!! (”Uh, Jay, we are evaluating that this week, and…”) Ugghh.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
1:13 pm

I am a Smitty/TD fan too. I just cannot dismiss where this program was. If they went 7-9, 9-7 13-3 and people would be ecstatic, but since they exceeded expectations in 08 and got to the playoffs and lost, we have this “playoff” monkey that is really unfair. I swear it is started by “fans” to try and discredit all they have accomplished due to a particular agenda.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
1:18 pm

That said, did not like the JJ trade, if for now other reason, history says it is a bad trade. I don’t like the odds, and having JJ miss games does cause me to raise and eyebrow. It is early, and receivers take a few years to reach potential, but you cannot say it is off to a great start.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
1:19 pm

Mr. Charlie,
The issue is NOT that the Falcons got into the playoffs and lost in 2008 or 2010. The issue is how badly we were defeated by the Green Bay Packers. It was an embarrassment going 13-3 and then play like it was a preseason game.

Arno

November 22nd, 2011
1:21 pm

I don’t see the “negativity” on this blog. Even Smith allows the 24 hour rule, which allows a hard look at failures. We all want to move on. But after converting a third and long, we are all so sure that Turner will be handed the ball for no gain, that we may as well take a game break and go snack on a Little Debbie.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
1:23 pm

Mr. Charlie,
The bottom line is the Falcons team including the coaching staff own the loss to the Green Bay Packers last year. The fans did not have any players on the sidelines. The TEAM has to learn from that loss and improve or get worse. Improve is the best option.

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
1:23 pm

Finally, had TD forseen HD coming back and playing at the level he is, I don’t think he makes the trade. JJ and Ryan have not really found the groove, and Julio missing time does not help matters. I would say the Jury is still out, but the blockbuster trade of high draft picks for one guy does not have a good track record.

A few thoughts on that, and they are just what they are – opinions:

1) I don’t agree that HD’s health makes the JJ trade a no-deal. Reasons why? HD works best out of the slot. If we needed a slot guy, we’d have waited and taken Young or Cobb. For another thing, HD can work out of the #2 slot, but it’s hardly ideal. He’s not the kind of guy you can trot out there against double coverage, which is something that both Julio and Roddy get to deal with all the time. He doesn’t have that combination of size/strength/speed/leaping ability that you need from that position if you’re going to go deep or for the jump ball. Look how many times we’ve tried to go long with HD. He’s always well-covered and always overthrown. Albeit, some of that is Ryan….but I’d rather him overthrow a slot guy on a deep route in double coverage than throw it in such a way that one of the two DBs covering him can make a play on the ball. I think TD expected HD to come back to full health. But he wanted more for this offense.

2) I agree….Julio missing time doesn’t help with the chemistry between him and Ryan. But then, neither does a lockout-shortened offseason, which also affected this team’s ability to add to it’s passing attack. We don’t even have the wrinkles, plays, and routes firmly in place to correctly/smoothly/efficiently utilize our new weapons.

3) I don’t think that Julio was traded for/drafted as a one man solution to this team making it to the next level. I think he was drafted as a guy who could, given the proper preparation, make this offense dangerous to the point of being nearly unstoppable. A couple of games wherein we managed to get HD involved is not enough for me to start wanting to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. What that tells me is that we’ve improved how we use HD, and his health is all the way back.

At the same time, the Colts game didn’t make me think “okay, Julio is without a doubt a super duper star.” I thought he would be, but that it might take a bit of time to get there. And yet….Julio not completely healthy against the Colts was more explosive than Roddy against the Titans or HD against anybody. Sorry, but it is what it is. The young man is a unique talent. I think TD still makes that trade, with only one exception – if he can get AJ Green instead, he’d probably have done that….all in the name of trying to make this offense unstoppable.

And let’s not forget the idea that if you can get a dynamic talent like that to add to your offense and eventually replace your #1 guy, you’re not picking a #1 WR later on down the line. Adding Julio takes pressure off of Roddy so that he eventually tapers off to a 70-80 catch guy or has an off year, you don’t lose a TOP receiving threat.

And until I see HD putting up numbers AT LEAST like Michael Jenkins had (50+ catches), I’m not buying that he’s an everyday #2 WR. And that’s no knock on the guy. I just think he’s built for the slot and excels there.

4) Blockbuster trades like this never have a good track record. But that isn’t why you make them. It’s a gamble, but when you see what you want and feel that it has the potential to be a major piece to your ultimate goal down the road, you go for it.

It’s never going to look right, especially giving up the picks. But we can play the “what if” crystal ball game all day long and never get anywhere with it. I could plug in any number of names that would make you want to give the picks up right now, and so could you.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
1:35 pm

yes i have an agenda. i wants td’s job. heh

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
1:38 pm

Having said that, JJ missing games does bother most of us (myself included), partly because of the nature of the trade, and partly because we’ve been through other injuries.

Sam Baker – never did get right

Jerious Norwood – ditto

Peria Jerry – you never know when it might happen again, and he just ain’t the same…whatever “the same” ever was

Harry Douglas – we finally get to see what his potential truly is…but could still be handcuffed by the limits of what we decide to do in games.

That said, I’m not going to worry about it. I don’t think JJ is a perpetually injury prone person. But I can’t guarantee that he’s not going to be. I just don’t think he will, and I’m sure TD and Co. think the same way (but with far more extensive research data to support such a decision).

And to be honest, that is the only reason why I don’t fuss about that trade. TD is a major proponent of researching and doing background work in every facet of a player. He does nothing lightly, does nothing without due dilligence and homework. Of course, Julio, like any NFL player, could be one injury away from the whole thing being blown.

But how can you predict that?

Die Hard Falcon

November 22nd, 2011
1:46 pm

I believe we can’t really evaluate this trade for 2 or 3 years, but from what I’ve seen in limited action, I have to say I’m happy to have Julio in the fold. Especially knowing that the rookie salary cap is in effect, bargain in terms of salary.
I do worry about resigning our free agents next year though, too many to count, Abe, Gonzalez, Lofton, HD, DeCoud, Hayden, Sanders,Grimes, Weems, Biermann,etc. We have some of the least amount of cap room in the league this year, and most of these guys are on mid round rookie salaries, I don’t know how we’ll look next year and I’m sure that TD has a plan, but w/o picks next year, we have to find a way to make more cap room. Some of these guys are expendable or might be towards the end of their careers, but I really hope that we find a way to make the right choices and either maintain or upgrade these positions, I’d be curious to know more about the “fat” that could be trimmed. Who is being overpaid…Dunta for sure, but who else is playing beneath their cap #? Hopefully, the majority of Dunta’s guaranteed money is done after this year and maybe we can find a cheaper alternative, it’s all about the bargain price, getting what we’re paying for. I am thinking Owens should go as well, but who will be available as an upgrade, I really felt that Carlos Rogers would have been a good economical pick up for us. Go Falcons!!!

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
1:46 pm

BIg Ray, I agree with you re JJ. We have a player that can’t be put on the practice squad. He can’t be lost on the bench at the whim of the coaches. He can’t be ignored as a receiver as Meier has been. If we had used those picks for 3-4 other players who knows where they would be.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
1:50 pm

Like you said, it is a gamble, and injuries are part of the downside risk of the trade. Hopefully he will heal up, and be there for the push to the playoffs.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
1:58 pm

all this talk of meier around these parts and one might think he’s a future pro-bowler. give me a break! like he’s some kind of hidden gem. my god man if he was worth a salt he’d get more pt than sorry a** eric weems. back to reality people. meier isn’t the savior you’re hoping he is. he’s no jordan shipley, wes welker or jordy nelson! shoot he’s not even julian edelmen. so give it a break. he sucks donkey balls and needs to be cut.

BigLou

November 22nd, 2011
2:24 pm

“One of the reasons seems to be that they revert back to their same old predictable philosophy once they there. They go back to their old predictable run-heavy scheme that just doesn’t appear to be working. Often times, the Falcons are just too predictable when they drive down to score.”

Uh, this game was actually pretty diverse. Matt Ryan threw on first down on almost half of the plays, and the offense didn’t even have a three and out; most drives were killed by lack of execution or penalties. The problem in the redzone isn’t predictability. It’s, again, execution. I mean, Roddy White dropped a touchdown pass through his hands that would have made it 30-10, but instead he dropped it and it lead to a Micheal Turner fumble. Tony Gonzalez dropped a third down pass that would have lead to a field goal or more.

This game was made close by simple mistakes, not by the coaching or conservative philosophy.

Wabe

November 22nd, 2011
2:27 pm

Regarding the secondary, is it the selections? Or the coaches?

Again, I’m just having a hard time understanding how every one of these guys comes into this system and just looks as bad as they do. Name after name, they just don’t play well in this system. Guys like Owens and Chevis Jackson both showed promise in their rookie seasons, as did DeCoud, and then they just fall off the map.

It’s a mystery to me.

Wabe

November 22nd, 2011
2:30 pm

One more point.

Matt Ryan has been playing well the past couple of weeks. I’ll be looking to see if he can sustain this level of play, maybe even turn it up a notch.

Once again, IMO, in the postseason (if we’re to get there), this team will go as far as Matt Ryan will take them.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
3:03 pm

h_a, I don’t think the issue is Meier per say. He is a symbol of how a player just disappears or is put into the “coach’s” dog house and never gets any plays even at the end of a game such as the Colts game. It has been JRogers. It has been HDouglas. For example, consider Matt Bosher who played below par at the beginning of the year. He has improved considerable probably through experience of playing. The question is how are any of the young players going to improve if they are never allowed to play.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:13 pm

oc: valid points. i just don’t think meier is the guy that some of you think he is. he’s slow. he hasn’t done anything when given a chance. whether it’s regular season or preseason. i think i read one blurb where he had a good training camp practice. he’s got good hands but i don’t know if he’s starting wr material. i feel that the coaching staff would prefer to use meier over weems if he was better and let weems concentrate on special teams. but meier just isnt’ that good. plain and simple.

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

I don’t know what the deal is with Meier, other than it does take a long time to truly heal all the way from leg injuries like his.

Just ask Harry Douglas.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

BigLou
Just as you can say Roddy White’s dropped pass then led to a Turner fumble, I can say 7 runs on first down by Turner that gained -3 yards, -1 yard, -1 yard, -1 yard, 0 yards, -1 yards , 0 yards was a waste of plays on first down and could have been used more productively. Those plays are exactly the kinds of plays that D3 was talking about when the opponent knows your tendencies. Also, exactly like the play in overtime against the Saints. Let’s be stupid and continue to run Turner into a stacked line. At some point in time, experience tells you to do something else, but not with this OC.

Unca' Bob

November 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

OC Dinosaur

You said he ran 13 plays. What were the yardages on the other 6?

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

h_a I don’t have any idea if Meier any any good.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

ray: the difference between HD and KM is that HD when given an opportunity has shined. meier is nobody who had one decent year in college in a passing offense. the guy averaged like 2 yards a catch exaggeration but you get my point. he’s a “possession” reciever albeit not a very good one with a very limited ceiling.

OC Dinosaur

November 22nd, 2011
3:24 pm

Here are all of the first down plays:
1st Quarter
0 pass, 4 noplay, -3, 9, 9
2nd Quarter
6, -1
3rd Quarter
3, -1, 9 pass, 16, -1
4th Quarter
0, -1, 0, 27

Big Ray

November 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

honest abe ,

There are a multitude of differences between HD and Meier. I only highlighted one similarity – injury to a leg.

You don’t even draft these guys with the same type of impact in mind. Most folks around here that I’ve seen have seen him as another Brian Finneran. That’s hardly a savior or anything special, just a solid guy who has some size and can be a possession WR, just as you said.

And we’re talking about him playing over Weems…hardly a subject of much adoration or hype. Last I looked, Weems didn’t play much. As for being given opportunities to shine, appearing once or twice in maybe 4-5 games when the ball isn’t even thrown at you (I can recall two times he was targeted, and no more), or the play isn’t designed for you hardly qualifies.

I’m not going to argue Meier’s talent with you, I haven’t watched him enough to do that. What I do know is for somebody who you say sucks that badly….he made the team. CS must be a bunch of dummies for keeping a guy who can’t play. Oh wait, I know what it was….Dimitroff made them do it…just because he signed the kid.

:lol:

Wabe

November 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

And honest_abe,

You should know better than anybody else, seeing that you follow the Hawks, that coaches often times leave guys in the doghouse even though they’re plenty deserving of seeing PT…

Remember? Free Jeff Teague?

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:38 pm

ray: ha! spin me circles. no sir he made the team because he’s a 5th round pick who got injured last year. so yes the pick was a mistake but to cut him now would be an admittal to failure which just isn’t going to happen.

wabe: 1 solid year at kansas. 1. he caught a lot of ball in a pass happy offense. teague blew the acc up. i didn’t know if his scoring could tranlate to the pros but his talent level/ physical ability wasn’t ever in question.

Paddy O

November 22nd, 2011
3:44 pm

After MS used a QB sneak to get 1 of the 4th down plays, the other a penalty; it seems Mr. Smith is essentially admitting he screwed up by going with Turner vs. the QB sneak. I don’t like sneaks all that much, as it exposed the QB; but, the way Ryan did it with the long count & player adjustments was pretty fine example of QB’ing. I dont’ know how you say meier is NO good, how many passes had he dropped? I always thought we were going to use him as a slot guy, ala Fin. No dice so far. Franks? No play time. Remember Reynolds & Johnson never getting play time? It seems to have caught up with us earlier in the year – either Reynolds was utterly unprepared, or he just can’t cut it.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:44 pm

the last time we drafted someone who had one good year playing in a new position was a certain DE with the initials J.A. and we all know how that turned out.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

there’s a simple reason paddyo they aren’t nearly as good as you think they are.

Paddy O

November 22nd, 2011
3:46 pm

some folks are as predictable as our offense.

Paddy O

November 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

abe – you make exactly how much from any NFL team? about the same as you do running your overly self impressed mouth? It usually degenerates like this, so . . . . .

JJ

November 22nd, 2011
3:51 pm

“He sucks donkey balls and needs to be cut” – wow, and how do you know this? Pretty strong statement from some blogger named honest. Guess you derived this knowledge from all the games hes played in. Your football IQ is astonishing, oh thats right TD drafted him. Fool!!!

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:54 pm

i’m just a hungry guy with a little too much caffeine in his system. i make exactly nothing from any nfl team which blows my mind because they’re missing out on so much. my amazing scouting abilities would be such a asset to any organization. but i digress.

ease up paddyo it’s almost thanksgiving and just because you dont’ know the difference between a legitimate nfl player and a bum it’s ok the earth will continue to revolve around the sun.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
3:58 pm

jj – sometimes words just flow from brain so eloquently it makes me wonder why they aren’t published somewhere.

“Your football IQ is astonishing, oh thats right TD drafted him. Fool!!!”

you’re catching on grasshopper. i’m proud of you.

Mr Charlie

November 22nd, 2011
4:01 pm

Turner is 5th in the league rushing the ball with a very respectable 4.4 average. Nothing wrong there.

honest_abe

November 22nd, 2011
4:03 pm

“some folks are as predictable as our offense.”

cmon! we all say the same crap every other day. occasionally we happen to word it differently but i haven’t seen anything “new” or “dynamic” in quite some time. go falcons! have a great thanksgiving all and i’ll be back sometime next week to break you off some more knowledge.

jal jee nae yo.