Falcons Embarrassed by Saints

An Indefensible Effort

Was this the 3rd and 18 conversion? (AP)

Pulverized, crushed, ripped to shreds, smashed, blown out. Choose any word you like to describe the pathetic display by the Falcons in New Orleans last night, but we’ll just go with completely embarrassed. Making the playoffs is mostly an afterthought for most fans after getting absolutely destroyed by the bitter rival Saints. Some will point to the poor refereeing; others may say that Payton, Brees, and Co. poured it on. The fact is that an effort that poor should be get piled on.

Yes, this organization as a whole has made great strides during the Smith/Dimitroff Era, but anyone who believes this teams is “really close” or “right on the edge” of being great or elite is certifiably delusional. Some readers may think this too harsh a critique and that’s fine. But this anger, disappointment, and hollow feeling inside is pretty representative of most fans. If they wanted a mantra of “us against the world,” than they certainly succeeded in getting that last night.

1) Not Even Close

No, we’re not talking about the score of the actual game, we’re talking about how far away this team is from being considered great, elite, or worthy respect when it comes to postseason play. This team hasn’t earned it. The Falcons are 2-8 in games against the Saints in the Smith Era. Getting close or obtaining moral victories matters for jack squat. The brutal truth is that this team is not anywhere close to being great teams like the Saints, Packers, Steelers, or Patriots. They just aren’t, no matter how you slice it.

Great teams don’t get blown out and embarrassed twice in a calendar year. Great teams don’t play scared. Great teams don’t have coaching staffs who play not to lose as opposed to playing to win. Great teams don’t just gobble up average and poor teams, while folding like cheap tents against good-to-great teams. Thomas Dimitroff and Arthur Blank have some serious soul-searching to do this off-season because if they think they are only a few tweaks away from greatness, they’re dead wrong.

2) Two Huge Games, Aggregate Score = 93 – 37

Just Pitiful (AP)

The two biggest games of 2011 involved playing the Packers in the playoffs AT HOME AS THE #1 NFC SEED and the other was last night’s game against the Saints with a shot at still winning the division title. The aggregate score of those two games is 93 – 37. That’s almost a tripling of the opponents score compared to ours. Despite Coach Smith once again ripping off more excuses about another dreadful and humiliating performance, it is not an aberration when it happens twice in a year on the biggest stages of the NFL.

3) Dimitroff’s Missing Link Strategy a Failed One

Some think that it was Arthur Blank pulling the trigger on drafting Julio Jones, but we’ll just have to go with what was said and done publicly about the trade, which is that Dimitroff was the one behind the deal. This is not a criticism of Jones (even though that fumble was pretty bad), but rather the idea that Dimitroff took on during the off-season. His thought was that the Falcons were oh so close and that all they needed was another player or two to get over the hump…..wrong.

When have you seen teams be successful with that strategy? Another hint that it was the wrong gameplan was the fact that the Falcons didn’t just lose by a field goal or a touchdown, but rather were absolutely destroyed in all facets of the game. If Dimitroff wants to keep much of the goodwill he’s built up, he better consider making some big changes in the off-season, because we know exactly what to look forward to if no changes are made.

Two perfect examples are none other than the Saints and the Packers. The Saints have been without their first round draft pick Mark Ingram most of the season and just obliterated us (a supposedly great team against the run) with running backs that were undrafted (Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory) and a fourth round pick who was signed as a free agent (Darren Sproles). The Packers were able to go on a run and win a Super Bowl after having something like 13 players injured last year and they locked up the NFC #1 seed while having injuries to both starting tackles and losing their best wide receiver (Greg Jennings). The point is that truly elite teams don’t rely on high draft talent or “missing links” to get over an imaginary hump.

4) Blank Needs to Identify What He Really Wants

Arthur Blank has said that he wants a championship caliber team in Atlanta and he has put his money and resources into the Falcons accordingly. This off-season will really tell us fans what he wants. If he is happy with winning seasons and just making the playoffs, than the status quo will do just fine and they only need a few tweaks or maybe a few more “missing links.”

However, if he truly wants to give this city a chance at a Lombardi trophy, he’s going to have to make or force some big changes, namely in terms of both coordinators and do a complete audit of all coaches currently on this staff. This doesn’t mean that Smith’s seat should be warm, but expectations should be given that getting embarrassed and blown out is not acceptable. And neither is never being able to beat quality opponents.

5) Bad Calls, But…………

Yuck (AP)

Yes, the refereeing was particularly bad last night in some parts, but that does not excuse the fact that the Falcons were completely demolished on all fronts. Some of the calls against the Falcons were legit, and some were not. They seemed to never throw flags on the Saints, namely for holding, or doing the exact same thing in terms of hitting that the Falcons did (Curtis Lofton personal foul, but not the spear to the back). Regardless, refereeing had nothing to do with pitiful and pathetic effort on both sides of the ball, but especially from the coaching staff.

6) The Process has Hit the Wall

OK, so maybe that’s a little too harsh, but after four years of asking for patience in “the process,” and you play worse now than in 2008 and get scorched by an aggregate score of 93 – 37 in your two biggest games of 2011, than there’s a problem. Perhaps Dimitroff hasn’t hit on every single draft pick or free agent out there, but in general, he has fielded a pretty talented team. But he’s not a coach. Coach Smith has done great things for this franchise, but he also is one of the main reasons this team seems scared of the great teams and really don’t believe they should even be on the same field. Deciding to kick a field goal when losing by 18 points not once but twice, knowing you have one of the best quarterbacks in the league on the opposing sidelines isn’t just conservative, it’s illogical.

The stale, predictable, hyper-conservative offensive philosophy has finally come to the end of the road. If the Falcons can’t run the ball or Matt Ryan doesn’t have to call his own plays and win the game himself, than they lose. There is no plan B, C, or D. Good and great teams have no problem shutting down Turner and the run game, and they know what’s coming. Several opposing players throughout the years have even come out and said they knew exactly what was coming next. Do they have to become an all-out passing attack? Not necessarily, but they also don’t need to provide a slow and methodical running game to handcuff Matt Ryan.

7) An Indefensible Defense

So they got no help from their offense, but what else is new. But getting 45 points hung on you from your biggest rival only 11 months after getting 48 points hung on you is not an aberration or an exception to the rule….it is the rule. This defense has played like all-stars against inferior opponents, but when they run into a really good team they simply melt. They didn’t even lay so much as a finger on Brees all night and the one time that Vance Walker did sack him, Brees about had a conniption fit. They can’t pressure, they can’t tackle, they sure as the heck can’t cover anyone.

It looked like a practice session for Drew Brees last night. At one point they were 100% on third downs. Conversely, that means that the Falcons were 0% on stopping third downs. It didn’t matter if it was 3rd and 5 or 3rd and 18, they had no problem converting 3rd downs, driving down the field with ease, and putting up touchdowns. Drew Brees had nearly 300 years in THE FIRST HALF ALONE. Many will say that the defense has made enough progress for Van Gorder to get another year, but that’s becoming a more and more challenging, bordering on impossible, point to defend.

8.) Crisis in Confidence for Fanbase

We Can Kick Some Field Goals Now! (AP)

Fans have done their best to rationalize, justify, and defend this 2011 Atlanta Falcons team, but last night’s humiliating destruction likely dried up any remaining goodwill or warm and fuzzy feelings the team built up last year and backing into the playoffs this year. The majority of fans no longer believe this team is capable of beating good to great teams and have any legitimate shot at making waves in the postseason, without some pretty major changes in order.

You can talk all day long about how “talented this team is, how they’re just about to turn the corner, finally hitting their stride, or how it’s just a part of the process,” but when fans witness humiliating defeat after humiliating defeat, feel the team is underachieving, and the fact that you can no longer beat teams with winning records, than how is it the fan’s fault if they no longer believe this team is capable of greatness?

If you can fight back the sick feeling in your gut, than have fun analyzing this one………….

860 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

December 27th, 2011
2:02 pm

Enter your comments here

Atlanta Native

December 27th, 2011
2:03 pm

BobbyDawg

December 27th, 2011
2:04 pm

The worse part for me is how it seems that we just give up when our opponent starts scoring and playing hard nose football. We looked great at the start of the game and on our second drive, then when the aints struck back with authority it seemed like the whole team just went slack and let them have their way with us. And to think we will probably have to go back to NO for the playoffs.

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
2:04 pm

Are you crazy? How can you bad mouth the coaches and the team after that display last night. What do you want the coaches to do? Actually make the players practice before big games and even insert schemes tailored to strike their weaknesses and play to our strengths? Thats crazy talk. :)

Sav Fan

December 27th, 2011
2:05 pm

Well said -I agree in toto

honest_abe

December 27th, 2011
2:10 pm

fair synopsis.

if anyone is looking for something positive to get you through the week it is that there is a slight chance the saints will overlook the falcons when/if they meet in the 1st round of the playoffs.

this falcons d needs pass rushers in order to be effective. it’s safe to say ray edwards is just not that good with a limited ceiling. if he could only get 8 sacks playing opposite jared allen 4 sacks sounds about right while he’s in atlanta.

we saw last night how much of a difference a talented offensive line makes. the falcons need major upgrades at both tackle spots and right guard.

falcons need a new tb and a te they can groom.

the secondary remains a mess.

the passing game shows signs of life but still has problems incorporating everyone into the scheme (no HD sighting last night)

all in all a depressing december day in atlanta.

Atlanta Native

December 27th, 2011
2:14 pm

My mantra this season has been that the only constants on the team in the last 4 years are the coaches. The roster has been rebuilt and does have good athletes.

On defense, the even the announcers were talking about soft zones and predictable schemes that BVG runs. Yet another national TV embarrassment of no pass rush, broken down cover and wide open receivers. The reason why the defense can’t get off the field on third down rests solely on BVG’s shoulder’s. The Birds will not get any better under his “tutelage”.

On offense, 3 field goals and 4 punts (before I turned the game off in disgust) proves the ineptness of MM. There appears to be no direction to the game plan except for “hey, let’s try this play now.” Stats do not win ball games and those seem to be what MM hangs his hat on.

I’ll say this again, the Falcons will not progress any further in the “process” with BVG and MM in their current roles.

Michael

December 27th, 2011
2:15 pm

I almost had a stroke watching this game last night. It would be one thing if our defense was giving up big plays on 1st and 2nd down and not even making them convert a 3rd down. To let an offense consistently convert 3rd and long the way we did last night is unacceptable. Meanwhile, our offense consistently stalled on 3rd and short. Combine that with our inability to finish drives with TDs and you have the recipe for 45-16. I can only hope that our wildcard game against them in two weeks is a day game. Our only hope would be the Saints coming out flat and falling behind. If not, it will be another long offseason in Flowery Branch.

tdawg

December 27th, 2011
2:19 pm

What a horrible display last night from the Falcons! As a season ticket holder, I have no desire to go to the last game or even watch them in the playoffs. What a joke. I will of course watch them, but they really don’t even deserve to be there. All that talent and the coaching staff can’t figure out what to do with it! And Smitty says he was blindsided by their performance? Well, there you go. It just made me feel sick watching that game last night.

falCANS fan

December 27th, 2011
2:21 pm

daunte robinson blew like 12 coverages!!!! Gota get rid of him ASAP!!!! everybody on defense must be replaced except: Babs and Peters on the line, grimes (shut down) and Moore in the secondary, lofton and spoon in the linebacking core!!! TRADE EVERYBODY ON OFFENSE!!!! SMH
but i’ll settle for the OC’s head

E

December 27th, 2011
2:27 pm

Same ole SH*T…. Their an average team that the fans hope win games against the better teams of the league but they cannot. I have learned not to look for too much from them so I want be disappointed.. I have also learned long time ago that all Atlanta’s sport teams SUCKS!!!!!

Peter

December 27th, 2011
2:32 pm

Well all about the coaching…. Yes the Saints are a better team then the Falcon’s……..But the coaching staffs don’t compare.

Mike Smith going for it on 4th and 1 here in the Dome told me all….. Not much common sense.

Plus he can’t see they are getting out schemed each week ?

Turner has lost two steps and looks like Duckett hitting a hole. The lines on both side are not very good.

Peter

December 27th, 2011
2:34 pm

Hey Screen pass….. how many screen passes did Atlanta run compared the the Saints ? How effective were they ?

David

December 27th, 2011
2:43 pm

The coaches are not at fault. What is BVG supposed to do, get on the field and drag Dunta Robinson to the deep part of his zone. When BVG sends a blitz, is it his fault that the blitzers act as if the quarterback isn’t going to move out of the way.

Mike Smith can do many things, but he cannot control penalties. How many 3rd down conversions in the Red Zone were turned into 3rd and longs by stupid penalties.

The Falcons played poorly, but most of their errors are correctible. The players are who we need to look at (Brent Grimes vs. Dunta Robinson), not BVG or Mike Smith.

D3

December 27th, 2011
2:44 pm

I know the easiest and most common thing to do is to say our talent is inferior, particularly the offensive line, but I’ll just have to disagree with that statement. All the responsibility lies at the feet of the coaching staff and their inability to scheme and develop their players. A look at vaunted Saints OL that just hung 45 on us…………

LT — Jermon Bushrod – 4th rd
LG — Carl Nicks – 5th rd
C — Brian de la Puente – Undrafted
RG — Jahri Evans – 4th rd
RT — Zach Strief – 7th rd

Having great lines or superior talent doesn’t mean you have to have 1st and 2nd rounders everywhere, it’s more about how they’re developed and, more importantly, how their talents are analyzed, schemed for, and used.

Chop Buster

December 27th, 2011
2:47 pm

What sums up TD, the coaching staff and this team is incompetence and a lack of accountablity. Dimitroff because he lacked experience to be in the position to begin with and name one draft pick or FA he signed that dominates in any facet of the game. The coachinging staff does NOT know how to gsmeplan to attack a team’s weakness and have no clue how to make an in game adjustment. The players are absolutely atrocious on defense and a few offensive players shouldn’t be on this team. Special teams has been the worst in Falcons history

D3

December 27th, 2011
2:48 pm

David — Welcome to the Cage. We’ll have to agree to disagree because the players are making the same mistakes BECAUSE of the terrible coordinators, not in lieu of them. Not knowing how to tackle, not knowing how to cover, gaping holes in the secondary, not knowing how to blitz, etc. are a direct reflection of coaching. They’ve been running that same ridiculous soft-zone, bend-but-don’t-break scheme for ages now and the true colors have finally shown through this season.

Chop Buster

December 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

Everything D3 said is on spot. This team is mediocre and will never win a championship with this staff or group of players.

David

December 27th, 2011
2:52 pm

I think most of our talent is pretty good. My problem when it comes to our players is execution. Stupid penalties, not sacking the quarterback, not covering your zone properly. Those are things that when it comes down to the game, the players have to execute. The coaches can scheme all night, but the players have to execute (the Falcons had 400 yards of total offense, but they had to settle for field goals because of dumb panalties).

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
2:54 pm

“Hey Screen pass….. how many screen passes did Atlanta run compared the the Saints ? How effective were they ?” – Peter

Hey Peter, not enough. I remember the 1st one went to Turner for a first down 8-12 yard gain. The Saints put on a clinic using the RB core and not just in the screen game. For a “rushing” coordinator like MM to be completely outclassed at his own game by a “passing” coordinator tells me what I need to know. If your actually interested in knowing the “official” stats may have been released but I haven’t checked yet. There was lots of poor officiating last night and the league might change some stats..hard to say.

David

December 27th, 2011
2:55 pm

Sorry, I wrote before I saw the last post, so I’m a little off. Thanks for an excellent place to discuss the Falcons.

darrell starks

December 27th, 2011
2:56 pm

Falcans fan I disagree with you about Dunta, how many times have i said Dunta is not good at zone coverage, he is a man – man cover guy that’s his strenght and this what made him a pro bowler cover type CB, the problem is BVG not playing the players according to there strenght, FOR EXAMPLE SPOON SHOULD BE BLITZING MORE, but BVG for some reason continue play this sorry A$$ bend don’t break defense.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kr

December 27th, 2011
2:57 pm

No guts or pride along with bad coaching!!!! Who wants to keep paying for this?

Chop Buster

December 27th, 2011
2:58 pm

Someone needs to get Jeff Fisher on speed dial in a hurry!

honest_abe

December 27th, 2011
2:59 pm

d3: i agree that you don’t need 1st rounder to fill up the o-line and that alot of the responsiblity lies with the coaches to develop the talent. but the falcons have a very good o-line coach so that isn’t the problem but rather a lack of talent. the talent on the o-line just isn’t that good. period.

honest_abe

December 27th, 2011
3:00 pm

yes how about jeff fisher as head coach, steve spagnuolo as your new d-coordinator and josh mcdaniels as new o-coordinator.

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
3:07 pm

“steve spagnuolo as your new d-coordinator ” – HA

Reports surfacing that he will be announced the Eagles new DC very soon. Seems we missed the bus yet again.

darrell starks

December 27th, 2011
3:07 pm

The Falcons have won 9 games this yea.
The Falcons have beat Only 1 team have winning record wow!!!!!!!!!! now thats crazy.
Detroit is the only team with a winning record Falcons have won against this year.
How fraud is that.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Chop Buster

December 27th, 2011
3:08 pm

How many of these articles has D3 written this year? At least two or three I’ve read. This is no aberration for this team–this is becoming the norm whenever we play a winning team.

Wabe

December 27th, 2011
3:12 pm

I’ve been sayin’ for 3 seasons that Van Gorder needed to go…

You guys called it on Mularkey though.

I’ll reserve my ‘offseason analysis’ for the offseason though. Only a couple of weeks away.

Mr Charlie

December 27th, 2011
3:14 pm

1. 2-6 against Payton, not 2-8.

2. Agreed.

3. I was calling JJ a bust, but that is not really fair. However, the “one play away” philosophy never works. As I said on draft day, name one “blockbuster” all for trade that has ever worked out.

4. As it stands now, I would agree, however, as I said last night, in the grand scheme of things, the game was somewhat meaningless. So, before we decide that coaches need to be fired, I believe they should be evaluated after the playoffs. It we make noise in the playoffs, this game is a footnote if not, this game is a catalyst for change.

5. Bad calls for sure, untimely penalties.

6. That is what they said about Leeman Bennett, and that exact philosophy led us directly to here.

7. Really the crux of our problems.

8. As I said, this win was more needed more for us than anything. But all pretty much gets forgivin and forgotten with a few playoff wins.

In summary, you are never as bad, or as good, as you think you are. However great teams show up for big games, and we have not to date. Fortunately, unlike last year, we do need to wait 9 months to take the field again, hopefully, we will get this taste out of our mouth much sooner. Time to move on, and like everything in life, is it now what happens, but how you respond.

falcon21

December 27th, 2011
3:15 pm

Sure the coaching staff could and should be doing a better job, I agree with that but the o and d-line is what it is, not very good. No coach will beat a good team with that kind of weakness. They may keep it close for a while but with poor talent on both of our lines the more talented team will win more times than not.

D3

December 27th, 2011
3:15 pm

Immediate, knee-jerk changes as soon as we get blown out of the playoffs again……..

1) Cut Ovie Mughelli and Sam Baker (immediately clearing roughly 3 mill in cap space)

2) Cut Kevlin Hayden (good, but injured all year)

3) Fire Van Gorder, Mularkey, Tim Lewis, and Keith Armstrong

4) Hire a DC that will bring an intense 4-3 aggressive scheme

5) Hire an OC that will employ a West Coast Style offense to emphasize and cultivate Ryan’s strengths

6) Hire a special teams coach worth his weight in salt.

7) Cut Eric Weems (freeing 1 million salary)

8) Put Turner on notice that he must catch the ball out of the backfield and be multi-purpose or he will be cut or traded before season starts (last year of his contract anyway).

9) All D players get a mulligan for a year to see what new DC can do with them

10) Use money to re-sign Lofton, HD, Snelling, DeCoud (see point #9), and Biermann

11) Offer Abraham around 6-7 million or let him walk (yes, I said it. He’s no longer worth 8+ million a year. 8.5 sacks on year, where 3.5 came against pitiful Jaguars).

12) If you want to cut DeCoud, than re-sign James Sanders to be starting FS, while they draft and develop new FS.

13) Draft OL, FS, TE in that order (2nd rounder, and two 3rd rounders with compensatory pick).

There you go. I’m sure it’ll change a million times between now and April, but getting rid of BOTH coordinators is a must.

FAN

December 27th, 2011
3:15 pm

We need to switch to the 34 defense. BVG needs to go. So does Dunta, he is very overrated.

Mr Charlie

December 27th, 2011
3:17 pm

Josh McDanials? LOL, you guys smoking something?

Michael

December 27th, 2011
3:18 pm

Mularkey calls plays the way someone does when they are trying to play Madden football for the first time, he just picks whatever looks neat. It seems like everytime I watch this team in a big game I never have the confidence that our offense will score when it needs to and that our defense will get stops when it needs to.

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
3:20 pm

“but getting rid of BOTH coordinators is a must” – D3

Why is the smartest blogger regarding the Falcons the least paid? :) Thanks for the board and congrats.

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
3:22 pm

“We need to switch to the 34 defense” – FAN

I think this needs to be strongly considered this off-season.

stendek

December 27th, 2011
3:22 pm

Bravo Dawson. Well typed my friend. Know what disgusted me more than the final score? Apathy? Unexplainable penalties? Blown coverages? Missed tackles? Inept playcalling? It was the damn carefree I just do not give a F- attitude by the Falcons following the embarrassment. Matty Lice was the first to run over to hug and kiss Drew Brees. Thanks for team loyalty loser! Hell. Midget Bob Berry would have punched the Cajun SOB in the mouth after he ran the score up against the Falcon D. Of course Bob Berry had heart. No height to speak of and marginal talent but plenty of heart. Something the present Falcon QB does not nor will ever possess. Know something else? Teams used to fear the Falcons even though they knew they could beat them. Why? Falcon players had pride and would knock the Hell out of opponents. Teams exited game with W but also black and blue bruises galore. These Falcons are soft. Arm tacklers when they do tackle. Marshmallows. The whole damn D would lose in a brawl against Claude Humphrey and John Zook. Arthur Blank cannot buy heart and desire. Something every Falcon lacks. Except Tony Gonzalez and maybe that FG kicker. A 9-8 finish would be more befitting of these quitters than anything higher. That is the truth my friend. That embarrassed me! Wish it had embarrassed the players too. Oh well. Best. :)

FAN

December 27th, 2011
3:25 pm

All the top defenses in the league are 34 Ds(no pun intended).

LRD

December 27th, 2011
3:27 pm

D3: Cut Ovie or restructure contract? It seems ever since Ovie went down, so did Turners production. So I would say you can’t have one without the other ……(que the Married with children theme)

DeCoud.. dance after making a play then get torched. Let him go
Resign Mr Grimes
Find someone to take Dunta off our hands. I have tried to defend him, and cant any more.
Weems will be gone. Gut feeling.
Mularkey will be gone.

FFL: JJ Again.. congrats man. I owe you a few beers

WR

December 27th, 2011
3:31 pm

Evening cage, shame on you D3 for telling the truth, what awful things to say about the Falcons, if it weren’t for you telling the truth I can’t see how you could live with yourself, LOL.

First off I’m glad D3 jumped right on the potential excuses, OL, DL, DB, or whatever else, no, the units aren’t particularly great and sometimes they may fail to be good, but elite teams get by with fair, and these units have at least been fair. Case in point, Dunta, Dunta, Dunta, no he hasn’t been worth the price tag, but the guy he replaced Chris Houston probably is on his way to the Pro Bowl, what changed, he got away from this coaching staff. Sorry but Dunta doesn’t line up ten yards off the ball against Drew Brees because of his own free will, its a design of his coaches will and that design has failed miserably. Seen or heard of an Atlanta blitz package.

That was only one aspect of the problems the D faces, but know one has all day to discuss it so let’s move on to the O. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Micheal Finley, then there’s Marcus Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meacheam, and Jimmy Graham, or how about Wes Walker, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski, are the Falcons consisting of Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez, really that inferior to these guys. But the Falcons are more of a running team, okay with the weapons I just compared in your arsenal who would you whether have at running back, James Starks, Pierre Thomas, Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis or Micheal Turner. I mean really come on, well Matt Ryan is no Brees, Brady, or Rodgers, nice excuse, but outside of Calvin Johnson, who does Stafford have at his disposal in a high-octane offense, and who’s blocking for him, please stop the excuses. Whether you like it or not sometimes its not the players, sometimes it is the coaches, even when your now consistently winning as opposed to consistently losing, but know one cares about the regular season except Falcons fans because the Falcons are no longer doormats their now coat hangars, whoa the excitement.

On a good note: Congrats to JJ whom just won the first annual Sarah B. FFL trophy, anyone ever seen “Friday” thats my dogg, thats my dogg.

David

December 27th, 2011
3:34 pm

D3: I think Decoud and Baker should go. I wouldn’t threaten to cut Turner (always in the top 5 for rushing). What would you do about cornerback (before cutting Haden)? Robinson has been a weak link. Not as bad as Chris Houston, but not by much.

D3

December 27th, 2011
3:35 pm

Chop Buster — That got me thinking. Not including last year’s Debacle in the Dome, here we go……………

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/09/11/collapse-in-chicago-%E2%80%93-falcons-play-wretched-football/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/09/25/falcons-reel-in-sloppy-loss-to-bucs/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/10/10/falcons-meltdown-to-packers-again/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/11/14/falcons-choke-to-saints/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/11/18/what%E2%80%99s-wrong-with-the-2011-atlanta-falcons/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/12/04/falcons-fall-apart-against-texans/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/12/27/falcons-embarrassed-by-saints/

And here’s a few where it took everything we could to beat crappy teams………….

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/10/02/less-than-stellar-in-seattle-%E2%80%93-falcons-barely-hang-on/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/11/22/falcons-outlast-titans/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/11/27/falcons-edge-past-vikings/

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2011/12/11/falcons-show-guts-in-win-over-panthers/

So here’s our wordplay from the titles of the posts of our losses to good teams:

Collapse, Wretched, Reel, Sloppy, Meltdown, Choke, Fall Apart, Embarrassed

And wordplay from out wins against inferior opponents…..

Edge, Outlast, Guts in a Comeback, Less than Stellar.

Sorry, but for a coaching staff that has no changes in 4 years of the (broken) “process,” these aren’t words, adjectives, and verbs used to describe teams that are legit.

Wabe

December 27th, 2011
3:39 pm

What the heck…

I’ll take a quick knee-jerk stab at it.

I wanna see 2 new coordinators at a minimum, and I don’t want anybody from within the regime. I wanna see an outsider come in and get a shot at this. Why? I wanna be able to see without a shadow of a doubt whether what we’re seeing is 100% on the coordinators or whether Smitty sticks his hand in the cookie jar or not. If we get a pair of new coordinators and we see the same results, you’d have to point the finger at Smitty.

With that said, I’m not ready to do what the Chargers did and prematurely fire Smitty. I’d give him another shot with new guys around him. I’d give him a couple of seasons to make it work. Couple meaning 2. If we don’t see improvement over the course of 2 seasons, he just might not be the guy.

Personnel wise, you gotta re-sign Lofton and Grimes. I’d hold onto HD and Sanders. Decoud, ehhh. He’s decent, haven’t really seen much progression out of him, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him back with anew coordinator. Let Hayden walk, Franks looks like he can man that nickel job. Have no objection to the moves D3’s cited. That’s pretty much where I see it too. I think Weems should go. Let someone else stand back there to watch balls fly out of the endzone. He’s a good special teams player, but that’s all he is. More than replaceable.

Regarding Abe, I don’t even know. I certainly wouldn’t break the bank to bring him back. But, I’m wondering exactly what our line’s gonna look like in the coming years if we’re in a 4-3. All the more reason I think it’d be best for us to look for a BIG NT and try to switch to a 3-4. We’ve got the necessary peices minus the NT. But, I’ll see what TD does on this one.

Screen Pass

December 27th, 2011
3:39 pm

“All the top defenses in the league are 34 Ds(no pun intended).” – FAN

That could be argued altho I won’t. There are good 4-3 schemes and a few DCs that can run them…the right player talent is getting rarer tho. The big onus for us going 3-4 is the diversity of defensive options especially in regards to blitzing that are possible. We are in a division with Cam, Brees, and that Bucs guy which isnt a QB yet but could be with a new coach (the free-one is not worthy of a name mention sorry :) ). Passing defense is a priorty we can no longer put off. The fact certain positions which are not as hard/ expensive to fill as DE are featured means that we might actually be able to get the proper personnel to run a 3-4 alot easier/cheaper has to be factored in as well. I hope the brass in Suwanee are smart enough to consider the options well.

SavDawg

December 27th, 2011
3:42 pm

The idea of a 3-4 defense makes a lot of sense to me. It seems that smart fast LB are easier to find than DE’s or DT’s

WR

December 27th, 2011
3:44 pm

David, like D3 welcome, but pointing the finger at players is useless. For four years now the finger has been pointed at the players, why. Because the Falcons are now showing winning regular seasons their failures as far as sniffing championships has to be the players fault. Can’t be the fault of a coaching staff and front office that has failed to completely grasp the idea of being real contenders in today’s NFL. The Falcons now have at least a chance of making the playoffs every year and thats supposedly is okay. Sorry, not for me, when I see the Falcons play I see a team that appears to be playing 15 on 11 ball, both offensively and defensively, I’m not an NFL coach but I do know that its the job of coaches to put their players in the best position to succeed. Again I’m sorry but Deion Sanders couldn’t cover a receiver when the QB could have coffee and a donut before passing.

DJ Sniper

December 27th, 2011
3:45 pm

We don’t really have the personnel to switch to the 3-4. Our biggest DT is only around 305 or so; not nearly large enough to occupy the necessary gaps. Spoon is probably our best pass rushing LB; outside of that, not too much. The 4-3 can be effective for us; we just need a different, more aggressive scheme.

D3

December 27th, 2011
3:46 pm

My point on Turner is predicated on the move to a West Coast Offensive scheme where the backs must be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. When Turner is in the game, the defense knows what’s NOT coming and that’s a threat of a pass to the running back. I said knee-jerk, but we’re going to be severely limited according to cap space. We’re going to need money to re-sign some of our core guys and right now we have none.

Same goes for Ovie. Love the guy, but moving towards a a WCO scheme gets rid of the need for such a high-priced FB. As Screen Pass said earlier, we (a supposedly heavy running team) just got schooled on the ground by a high-flying passing team. The hyper-conservative, run-heavy philosophy is over…kaput. We can’t beat good teams with it anymore, plain and simple.

Franks has more than proven he’s good enough to play nickel back and Darrin Walls has shown he’s got more than enough talent to take over the 4th spot. Toss-up on Chris Owens. Again, I would be willing to give almost every defensive player a gimme after being in such a piss-poor, conservative, and passive defensive scheme.