Atlanta Falcons: Birds Rip Chiefs

Falcons Roll in Kansas City

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) celebrates his touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Gonzo Returns in Style (AP)

The Atlanta Falcons started the 2012 NFL season in excellent fashion as they rolled over and through the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, only a last second, meaningless touchdown by the Chiefs made it seem much closer than it actually was. It was a struggle in the first half, but the Falcons took advantage of some of the turnovers to pull away in the second half. In particular, the offense looked superb as they racked up 40 points in the first three quarters and not even having to punt until late in the game. The defense looked pretty bad in the first half, especially on those dreaded 3rd and longs. To their credit, though, they tightened up in the second half, created 3 turnovers, and shut them out in the second half, excluding the gimme TD with only seconds remaining. Overall, a fantastic start to the season. Not perfect, but a superb start to the season. A look at the big win…………

An Offensive Explosion

Coach Smith said that may have been the best game he’s seen Matt Ryan play, throwing for 299 yards, 3 TDs, running for another one, and nabbing a 136 QB rating. Julio Jones had over 100 yards receiving with two touchdowns in barely over two quarters. Roddy White had a good day and got his touches. Tony Gonzalez had a sweet homecoming with a TD and subsequent field goal dunk. Harry Douglas got in the mix as well and (gasp) we even saw a few screen passes, one going for a touchdown. Dirk Koetter called a fantastic game and didn’t even have to punt until about 3 minutes left in the game. Sure, there were a few missed opportunities and the ground game didn’t look fantastic, but overall it was an amazing game for our offense. Yes, it won’t always be like this, but it’s something Falcons fans have been dreaming of for a long time. What a game!

Falcons Air it Out

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass while covered by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Jacques Reeves (35) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Is that Pretty or What? (AP)

A nice and welcome sight to fans was the opening up of the passing attack on offense. Matt Ryan was efficient and threw some great balls and the receivers made some fantastic catches. The Falcons didn’t turn into the Packers or Eagles, throwing 50+ times or anything, but there was definitely more of a propensity to throw the ball instead of forcing the run, even when it’s not working. Koetter called plenty of runs, but they just didn’t produce. It was refreshing to see a coordinator not be so rigid in his beliefs and go with what works instead of dogmatically sticking with a philosophy. The running game will have to improve at some point, but the running back-by-committee approach gained almost 100 yards total rushing, just enough to keep the Chiefs honest.

Those Darn 3rd and Longs

Fans no longer have Brian Van Gorder to blame for this because the Falcons looked every bit as bad on several 3rd and longs with hailed defensive coordinator Mike Nolan at the helm. There were several instances of the exact same calls being made by Nolan, such as dropping defensive ends John Abraham and Kroy Biermann into coverage while only rushing three (to no effect) and having their DB’s drop 10-15 yards off the ball. In the first half, it was literally deja-vu all over again seeing a quarterback who, does have potential but surely is not elite, finding time in the pocket and finding receivers wide open. At halftime, most fans felt it may be whoever gets the ball last would win since the defense couldn’t find any way to stop the Chiefs. Luckily, and to Nolan’s immense credit, the Falcons defense made adjustments and buckled down to essentially shut out Kansas City in the second half. The concern is that there’s a ton of quarterbacks who are better than Matt Cassel left on the schedule, and one of the greatest of all time is coming to town next week.

Brent Grimes Out for the Season

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Tough News on Grimes (AP)

This is a really tough one to swallow. Arguably the Falcons best cornerback the last few years, the Birds secondary quickly goes from one of the biggest strengths (boasting 3 Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks on one roster) to a potentially major weakness. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, but one that almost no team can escape. Thankfully, Thomas Dimitroff traded for Asante Samuel, s0 the Falcons aren’t in complete dire straits just yet. The issue now becomes who fills in for Dunta Robinson in the nickel position and whether or not Mike Nolan can lean as heavily on his “big nickel” as a base formation as he had planned before this injury (Coach Smith said they only ran 11 plays out of their base 4-3 defense). The lead candidate is of course Chris Owens, but images of a Green Bay torch-fest are still seared into fans memory. To his credit, Owens did look pretty darn good on the outside in the few starts he got in 2009 to end the season, so maybe DRob can move inside when they go to nickel. Other than that, it’s either roster shocker Robert McClain or Dominique Franks, who only came back to the Falcons after Tim Toone got injured. It’s not something to worry about just yet considering Nolan’s excellent resume, but it’s a little concerning to say the least. The fact is that the best teams find a way to win in spite of injuries. Both the Packers and Giants proved that in their Super Bowl runs and subsequent wins.

Great Second Half Adjustments on D

As bad as the Falcons defense looked in the first half, they more than made up for it in the second half. One of the biggest complaints that fans had the past four years on defense was the inability of the defensive coordinator (and offensive coordinator for that matter) to make halftime adjustments that could prove the difference in the second half. The defense came out in the second half exactly they way they started and would end up getting beat by better coaching changes (Green Bay last year at home comes to mind). Well, Mike Nolan obviously made some adjustments because the Falcons got pressure, caused one fumble deep in the Chiefs territory, forced two interceptions, and generally shut down the Chiefs offense to a screeching halt. In fact, the only points Kansas City scored came on a late game gimme TD with only a few second remaining. The offense kept the Falcons in the game and the defense delivered after halftime, which is a wonderful sign. Maybe the D won’t have to wait so long next time.

Turner Regardless?

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Great Game Smitty (AP)

This isn’t a criticism on Michael Turner from the Chiefs game because no running back did much of anything on Sunday. Turner got 11 carries for 32 yards, but Jacquizz Rogers didn’t fare any better gaining 22 yards with 7 touches. This issue was brought up in the off-season and in preseason about Turner seemingly not fitting in the new, more open offensive setup. This is more referring to the quote about Coach Smith saying, “he wants to see Turner get more production” (paraphrasing). This is not an indictment saying the Falcons are going back to SmittyBall or anything, but it is concerning that there’s a possibility that Smith will go with Turner regardless of whether he’s being productive or not. No reason to send arrows this way, just a slight cause for concern when backs like Rodgers, Snelling, and Antone Smith may fit better and deserve more looks.

Love that 3 Wide Receiver Set

Pat Yasinskas at ESPN’s NFC South blog noted a very interesting number from Sunday. He noted that Matt Ryan was 18 for 21 passing, with 208 yards, and 3 touchdowns when the Falcons were in the 3 receiver set. Fans have been clamoring and howling for the offense to take advantage of one of their biggest strengths at the same time: Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez. It always made too much sense because there was so much talent and it was such a complementary receiving corps with White being the all-around, Julio being the deep threat, and Harry Douglas and Gonzalez working the middle. This also seems to fit Ryan’s modus operandi at Boston College. Throw in a running back that run and catch out of the backfield and it seems almost unstoppable.

Great Things to Come or “First Week Overreaction?”

It’s only one game out of 16 and that doesn’t even include playoffs or is it? Most fans will fall somewhere in the middle, both being very happy and excited about the future may hold, but also being weary of putting too much stock into a first week win, especially against a defense missing several starters. Super Bowls aren’t won in week one, but it sure was a great start. What are your thoughts on the importance of the week 1 victory?

Falcons Chances Against Peyton the Great

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Harry Douglas (83) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Air Attack Should be Here to Stay (AP)

If any fans felt that Peyton Manning would have too much rust to be effective or give the Falcons a true test on Monday Night Football, those fantasies were washed away in 60 minutes of the former Tennessee quarterback dissecting one of the best defenses in the NFL in the Steelers, at least traditionally. After a big week opening win for both the Falcons and the Broncos, it’s hard to guess who’ll be favored, but we know what the MTV Sports machine NFL media will be gushing over nonstop. How should the Falcons go about stopping the great Peyton Manning? Should they sit back in zone a la Brian Van Gorder and let him pick them apart methodically? Should they go after him and risk getting torched in an instant? Or should they pick up the ol’ Smitty/Mularkey ball hat and just try to keep him off the sidelines? Pick your poison you’d guess.

The Cage Brothers Turn

1) Leadoff: Overall thoughts on the Falcons big win?

2) What’s your thoughts on the Falcons big offensive explosion?

3) Is the new aerial attack here to stay or just adjusting to Chiefs secondary?

4) Do the Falcons have a 3rd and long curse?

5) How big of an impact is losing Brent Grimes for the year?

6) Great second half adjustments or 1st half weakness?

7) Are you fearful of Smith forcing Michael Turner regardless of production?

8.) Is the 3 WR the offense’s new base set? Should it be?

9) How much stock do you put into week 1?

10) How should the Falcons go about defending Peyton the Great?

1,029 comments Add your comment

optimistic Falcon Fan

September 11th, 2012
10:10 pm

HMMM, I think I am supposed to say something special here, some sort of ritual –
Lets see, rhymes with
Burst (Like JJ separating from a hapless CB)
Or
Curst (Like he Saints Season, synonymous with Karma – which ain’t your friend Mr. Peyton)
Or
Nursed (like what is happening to Corey Peters gnarled body)
Or
Pursed (like what happens to Grimes check when he goes home to the Mrs.)
Or
Reversed (like a few doomsayers predictions about the Falcons doomed season).

Rhymes with one of those, I think 

Big Ray

September 11th, 2012
10:17 pm

D3 ,

I really do think we are going to move to a 3-4, maybe it’s my wishful thinking taking over, but….we’ll see.

I am not in a panic mode, but the CB situation is not certain. DRob is not a top player right now, he’s not going to be in a year or two. Samuel is on the way down, or else the Eagles wouldn’t have let him go…although he’s not “bad” at all. What I’m saying is, I don’t think we have two years.

Owens, Franks, and yeah…McClain. All will have to step up. Or we’ll be combing the FA market AND delving in the draft. Again, not panicky but thinking about the future. Our backfield isn’t ancient, but with Grimes down (and I think gone after this season), there is a tad bit of age in the CB playing rotation. That won’t do in Nolan’s defense.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2012
10:20 pm

LOL…. F6 you are NUTs….hilarious.

optimistic Falcon Fan

September 11th, 2012
10:24 pm

Impressive article D3, nice adjustment for the injuury to Grimes. I know this must have taken a lot of time to produce.

1) Leadoff: Overall thoughts on the Falcons big win?

Ringing optimism about the offense and special teams, some concern with the D (especially with the injury of our 10 million dollar whirlpool whippersnapper).

2) What’s your thoughts on the Falcons big offensive explosion?

About time we actually USED those weapons before they rust (like Burner, perhaps)

3) Is the new aerial attack here to stay or just adjusting to Chiefs secondary?

Hopefully, to stay. If you have an UZI and a very sharp pocket knife, which o you use when going into a battle? JJ=Uzi, Burner= pocketknife that is now mostly suitable for spreading butter

4) Do the Falcons have a 3rd and long curse?

Self Imposed.

5) How big of an impact is losing Brent Grimes for the year?

Big, it will affect our ability to defend 5 Receiver sets against premier QB’s. We will be forced into more base D sets.

6) Great second half adjustments or 1st half weakness?

Yes

7) Are you fearful of Smith forcing Michael Turner regardless of production?

Yes

8.) Is the 3 WR the offense’s new base set? Should it be?

No, yes.

9) How much stock do you put into week 1?
J
ust rolling out the weapons, good teams will study the tape intently.

10) How should the Falcons go about defending Peyton the Great?

Lots of pressure (SID and Mass should be active, rotate them in and out to keep rushers fresh), let Samuels loose, he is an interception machine when allowed, shadow Marino, he is a dangerous runner but sucks as a pass blocker.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2012
10:30 pm

Also, I don’t see the “Turner or else” argument.

Anybody who reads the article will notice what Smith specifically said. He was talking about the blocking in our run game. And he’s right.

Quizz got the ball in garbage time, where there is all running, no passing. That accounts for 5 of his 7 carries. He had 11 yards on his first two carries.

Turner didn’t get anything done except on one play, where the OL opened up a huge hole. Beyond that….nothing.

It’s the blocking, and Smitty knows it. So do we. But when it comes to mediocre blocking, almost anybody but Turner is a better choice at RB. That means Quizz…or Snelling, who hits the hole quicker. Turner has problems turning quickly to the outside or making folks miss. It’s not his game, at least not anymore. He was better at it 2 years ago.

The blocking does have to improve, but giving Quizz the ball more will also help. And that means doing it in the first half. What I saw Sunday was very little committment to the run game, and Smitty even said it was NOT their first priority.

Much as I have gotten on Smitty, I think he did and said mostly all the right stuff.

F6

September 11th, 2012
10:31 pm

Big Ray – Thanks :-) .

Using another comp, so the long F6 nick is on the other one, you reminded me to change this one.

Thought I should have some fun with the whole idea of being first (do we get extra green stamps for that, I wonder ;-) ), in my small opinion blogs should be fun, not serious stress inducing hate filled diatribes by fans that feel the need to compensate for something lacking in their version of reality.

BTW, really enjoying your comments and the others. I really like seeing different insights, viewpoints, etc. presented logically and factually with good humor, without the hate.

snacktastic

September 11th, 2012
11:32 pm

Good post. Here’s what I think:

1) The best way to start off a season is with a convincing win. We didn’t barely scrape by like the Eagles, or get embarrassed by a rebuilding team with a rookie QB like the Saints. We went on the road and rocked the Chiefs.

2) The look of the offense makes me think it will be solely responsible for one or two wins. I expect the defense and the offense to be more balanced later on in the season, but it’s good to know we have an offense that’s more effective at putting up points. Red zone efficiency still needs work, though.

3) After last week’s performance, and with our receivers, I doubt the air attack is going anywhere soon. If we come up against a team that can beat it, we won’t get rid of it–we’ll just change it up.

4) 3rd and long only becomes a problem when we waste the first two downs on run plays with poor blocking. If the O-line (which deserves kudos for keeping Ryan upright most of the game) can’t give Turner or Rodgers room to run, and we insist on starting every drive with runs, then you have a self-inflicted 3rd and long curse. This is completely a solvable problem.

5) Jeff Schultz put it best: If losing Grimes was going to derail our season, then we weren’t going anywhere anyway. This is either a chance for a backup to hone their skills and prove their worth, or a chance for the offense to become even more explosive to make up for defensive deficiencies. Grimes is valuable, but we won’t fall apart without him.

6) Both. The defense was definitely weak in the first half, but its ability to adjust in the second half means that not only are they capable of adjusting when they need to, but that will they be better equipped to start strong in the future.

7) Smith watches Turner far more often than we do. He’ll notice whether Turner is less productive than usual, and he’ll figure out what can be done about it. Whether he’ll change what Turner or the OL does or use someone else is more difficult to predict. I still think we should have Rodgers or Snelling get most of the carries for two weeks to determine whether Turner is the problem.

8) If 3 WR sets can be used without Ryan quickly developing patterns and habits that the defense can exploit, then they should be used more often, but not so often that Ryan has to throw an excessive number of passes a game. Balance is important, both in overall play selection and the number of receivers on the field.

9) Week 1 is for seeing what’s possible, and we saw a lot of good things on Sunday. But expectations must be tempered until a few games have been played. As Smitty said last season, good teams don’t win one game, lose the next, and then win the one after that–good teams go on streaks. Seeing this team put a win streak together with its challenging schedule would put all doubts to rest.

10) Seeing how the Broncos performed on Sunday, I wish we had a few more tune-up games against weaker opponents before we deal with them. I think coverage will be critical, given how quickly Manning can get rid of the ball, and how often we left receivers open against the Chiefs. Home-field advantage and better first-half defense (plus second-half adjustments, if necessary) will give the Falcons the win next week.

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Birds Rip Chiefs The Atlanta Falcons started the 2012 NFL season in excellent fashion as they rolled over and through the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, only a last second, meaningless touchdown by the Chiefs made it seem much closer than it actually was. It was a … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Big Ray

September 12th, 2012
12:36 am

F6,

Agreed…

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

knievel

September 12th, 2012
7:22 am

Well, that was a great weekend of football !! Both the Dawgs and Falcons win in Missouri!!! I was extremely impressed by the Falcons in the second half. It seemed they got into a groove and marched on. The defense for both, Dawgs and Falcons, were the big winners this weekend. But you have to give it to the offense on both teams for scoring after the turnovers. Brent Grimes will be greatly missed, I hope the defense can keep the pressure without him. I know if the Dawgs lost Jarvis Jones it would be AWFUL!! I am excited for this season, but I am also keeping it real with both teams. They have let me down sooo much in the past.
I am worried about the Falcons with Smith wanting Turner to get the ball more. THe offense did a tremendously great job throwing the ball. I like Turner, but he just doesn’t move down field like he used to. thanks for all you do D3. We will miss watching the Tenn. / Florida game with you Saturday. It’s great to be a GATOR HATOR!! Let’s GO FALCONS!!!! Oh by the way, The Falcons cheerleaders are coming to our school today!! Our gifted teacher won Heroes in the Classroom, she gets 2 sideline tickets to the Carolina game an autographed jersey and 1000.00 for her classroom. GOOOOO FALCONS!! And of course I would not be me without this GOOOO DA_ M DAWGS!! Sic Em!!!

Wings

September 12th, 2012
8:29 am

D3 you have posted a great article.

And from ESPN power rankings with Atlanta listed #6 the comment reads:
“Looks like the formerly run-oriented Falcons are officially Matt Ryan’s team. (Sando)”
http://espn.go.com/nfl/powerrankings/_/year/2012/week/2

Wings

September 12th, 2012
8:32 am

tyler

September 12th, 2012
8:34 am

Hey cage, D3 thanks for the write up as always, first and foremost I have got to give it up for our man Matt Ryan. What a game, what else can you really say. The confidence and poise he showed Sunday was that of elite status. The arm strength, the touch passes, the SPIKE after his rushing TD, handing TG the ball to dunk over the goal post, all the big and little things that demonstrated this was his team and he is out to prove it.

Gotta shout out to Nichalaus again, the guy is really playing great and enthusiastic football. Combined with Spoon, those two guys are playmakers, it is just so much fun watching them get after the ball. I thought the safeties played well, Moore looked great on some blitzes, he rushed throws from Cassel a couple times. Decoud made some great one on one tackles and the whole Defense really swarmed to the ball. McCluster hurt us on the underneath routes and Bowe caught a few balls downfeild, but this is the NFL, and those are talented guys. Its gonna happen.

Perai Jerry played inspired even though he was double teamed quite a bit, he did not get discouraged and fought every play. Abraham finally beat his guy to the outside and as he does so often, made it count when he got there. I give Beirman credit for staying with that play and eventually recovering the fumble, but that was about it for him. I’m not envisioning a lot of sacks coming from Beirman and would be open to Sidbury being active next week and giving him a couple oppurtunities to get after the QB.

On the run game, unfortunately Polite was not impressive, he looked terrible when the Falcons had 3rd and short early and could’nt convert. I thought that failure was directly on his shoulders. What can we say about Baker, he played good. Clabo got embarresed on his sack and I was a little dissapointed with his game overall.

But just to reiterate D3, overall, fantastic. Yes the Broncos will be tough and they will score some points, but I feel very confident that the Falcons have the weapons to overcome whatever Peyton and the Broncos will be able to acheive. I’m loving this team, I really think this could be the year!

SG

September 12th, 2012
10:01 am

Great to have the season underway and nice post D3.

Thoughts on the win?
The second half D brought an attitude that needs to be there all the time.

Thoughts on the offensive explosion?
All I can gladly say is “Finally”

Is the new aerial attack here to stay?
Here to stay. It was polished from the start which says they’ve spent a lot of time shaping it.

Do the Falcons have a 3rd and long curse?
It’s sure become an expectation hasn’t it?

How big of an impact is losing Brent Grimes?
It’s not insurmountable but it is big. I’ve always liked the over-the-top effort of the “Little Big Man”. As much as we’ll miss his play, we’ll miss the inspiration he brings. But I will say that the D (at least the second half D), played more like an aggressive and cohesive “team” as opposed to what I previously felt was a “group of individuals” who just happened to show up on the field at the same time – so like all fans, I’m hoping that whatever adjustments are made will maintain that intensity.

Great second half adjustments or 1st half weakness?
Well executed adjustments.

Fearful of Smith forcing Michael Turner regardless?
Not at all. I think as the year unfolds we’re going to see the emergence not just of Rogers, but also the overdue rise of Antone Smith. (In addition to the 3rd and long issue, what was puzzling about Sunday was the non-existent running game against KC’s very hampered defense.)

Is the 3 WR the new base set? Should it be?
Not sure it’s going to be the base because w/ all the weapons I think they’re going to keep mixing things up.

How much stock do you put into week 1?
Winning the opener on the road is huge – but it is just one game. What I believe will carry over though is a) the swagger MR2 has found, b) the O arsenal is armed and can be deployed in the wide array we’ve been hoping for, c) the aggressive character that the D seems to be shaping.

How should the Falcons defend Peyton?
As I don’t see the Falcons planning to get into a shootout, this will be a true test for Nolan + Co. Aside from keeping him off the field 5 minutes longer than Pittsburgh did, (requires the running game), I think we’ll see more blitz packages than we’ve ever even dreamed of.

JB Falcon

September 12th, 2012
10:53 am

Wabe

September 12th, 2012
11:09 am

I hope we don’t go into this game showing too much respect for Peyton and the Broncos offense, so much so that it alters how we play our game.

We need to quit adjusting and adapting to the way other teams play. We have an identity, stick to it, and force others to adjust to the way we play.

I don’t want to come out and see a 50/50 or 60/40 run to pass ratio just because we’re playing a supposedely high octane offense. Do what we do, force them into adjustments. My main point, don’t allow other teams to dictate our style of play. That’s something I’ve been complaining about since our old coordinators were around.

D3

September 12th, 2012
11:24 am

Great Humpday Cage Fam! — What a win vs. the Chiefs and I’m glad that Peyton showed out against a good team instead of maybe not doing so great and then blowing us up. We can’t say we didn’t know.

I’m not nearly as worried as some about the Grimes injury. Maybe it’s just the fact that injuries are just part of the game and, even though losing a starting CB is really high up there, it’s not your LT or QB. I know many will say that I’m saying it after the fact, but I didn’t think Grimes looked his normal self in preseason anyway. If you watched Hard Knocks, they did a double-take of that fullback trucking Grimes and making him look silly. Same thing happened in the opener against Peyton Hillis I think. It’s not great, mind you, but I think we’ll be OK going forward. If Brian Van SoftServe were still coach, than yes, I’d be panicking.

Looking forward just a little bit to the 2013 draft, I’ve had some changes on what I think should be at the top of the board. Tight End is no longer a need I think is deserving of a 1st or even a 2nd rounder. If you asked me a few months ago, I’d have told you the exact opposite, but there are plenty of tight ends that can develop into studs taken in the 3rd rounds and later. Also, Michael Palmer may not be the next Jimmy Graham, but he does exactly what this offense asks of him: sure-handed, good route runner, good blocker, and chain-mover, which should remind you of someone wearing #88 currently.

Right now, cornerback, running back, and defensive tackle vault to the top. Cornerback should be obvious. We have to get younger at corner and I can’t see us bringing Grimes back at 29 years old coming off an achilles injury, only unless he comes pretty reasonable (which Miko will have none of). It’s time to let Nolan draft a defensive back. Van Gorder got a chance to draft a ton of guys at the top defensively (Spoon, Jerry, Moore, Chris Owens, Lofton, etc).

Not sure if we’ll hold onto Babs after this year, even though he’s seemed fit and on form so far this year. I really do think that a Jerry, Peters, Walker, and Travian Robertson rotation is good and solid going forward (but you now have two of them with injury histories: Peters, Jerry). I definitely wouldn’t say 1st or even 2nd round, but maybe 3rd or 4th.

That leaves running back. It’s time to part with Turner after this year. Anything less is unacceptable. He’s been a great Falcon, possibly even Ring of Honor material, but it’s time to move on. I think we have 3 keepers in Quizz, Snelling, and Antone Smith. Add a 2nd round stud running back to that mix and we’re set for years at running back.

Be back later. Keep the convo’s rolling………………..

Whynot Us

September 12th, 2012
11:30 am

1. Great start! Now we need to find a way to win the home opener.

2. Extremely pleased with the offense. Realistically, there will be at least one game where it is not hitting on all cylinders. When that comes, either the D steps up or we get an L.

3. This is Ryan’s team now and we have playmakers in the passing game. It is here to stay! But we also will strive for at least some balance with the running game. This team will not be one that almost exclusively throws the ball every game. There may even be games when Ryan is off, and then it will be up to the running game to pick up the slack. I hope for a balanced offense that makes good use of its playmakers.

4. The Falcons are not cursed, but this is an area that needs improvement. It is also a stated area of focus for the coaching staff, so I look for eventual improvement here.

5. Agree with Snack and Schultz.

6. See F6 and Snack. It all started with Spoon making a play, then Abe. But no doubt the adjustments contributed.

7. Turner will be given a fair opportunity by this coaching staff. He has earned that based on his past performance. I expect him to get his shot (in games) before they try other options to see if the problem is the RB or the OL. However, as I have stated before, this coaching staff wants to win now and if Turner does not produce they will find someone who does.

8. Too early to call. We need some form of running game to keep them honest. With the screen game, etc. it may not be necessary to have a FB in the backfield. I think Koetter will feel this out over the next few games before finalizing the base set.

9. It’s a good start, especially because it came on the road, but one week does not a season make.

10. As many others have noted, Peyton will get his yards and scores. We probably need to mix it up to give him the opportunity to miss something, but I generally prefer the high risk, high reward approach to someone as accomplished as Manning. IMHO, we are getting him at a good time. Studying tape is good, but picking things up in live action is something that he may struggle with now more than he will later in the season because of the year off. He did miss a LB camping out in the middle that should have been an INT against PIT. Peyton is good and will not miss much, but one or two turnovers could be the difference in the game if our O is able to roll.

LRD

September 12th, 2012
11:49 am

Grimes; kicking the horse a bit more, but I would say most fans fears about losing him, is how much we were torched last year, and remember the post season game where he didnt play. The reinforced in many minds(mine included) that w/out grimes our DB’s are sub par.
So losing him immediately wants me to think we are screwed.. but then when I think about it, that was the old BVG thinking. Of the non aggressive D we had in the past. I am hoping Owens really steps up.. .but with Dunta moved out to full time CB instead ot he nickel, and Owens now filling that nickel spot we should be ok.

Ryan… heck of a FFL pick for the week. 31 pts from him alone… so not too shabby.
And as was stated here and elsewhere, Ryan looked comfortable back there in the pocket. No happy feet as of yet, but with Elvis and Von Miller are going to test our Oline along with our old nemesis Porter back there at CB …
I cannot wait to hear that dome rocking on Monday night. My ears are ringing already.

LRD

September 12th, 2012
12:23 pm

Oh, what is the over / under on Brooking flapping his wings in the Dome Sun?

LRD

September 12th, 2012
12:29 pm

and y’all know I mean MONDAY not sunday… too much cough medicine

DJ Sniper

September 12th, 2012
1:14 pm

Here’s something else that I really liked: The offense didn’t take their foot off the gas when we took a big lead. How many times did we see the offense ease up after a big lead under Mularkey. Great start from Koetter.

Paddy O

September 12th, 2012
1:31 pm

If we play well against the Broncos and match them score for score in a shoot out, I think we can consider the 2012 Falcons genuine competitors.

Coop

September 12th, 2012
1:51 pm

D3 – on draft, I think DE is more important than DT. I like (not love), but I like our DT rotation. CB is a must though. Agree with that and RB in first 3 rounds.

Coop

September 12th, 2012
1:54 pm

Best thing for me about game one was how different it was from ud last two years. In the past the offense looked bad in preseason and then sucked in week one. This year, strong in the preseason and awesome in week one.

Keep the thottle open this week.

Big Lou

September 12th, 2012
2:36 pm

I agree, Coop.

More passing. I don’t want to see running the ball to often to keep Peyton on the sidelines. Let them play to our tempo.

The advantage is that Matt Ryan does wonderful at home, and so does Turner. Let’s hope the trend continues.

Ken Strickland

September 12th, 2012
2:50 pm

As far as our rushing OFF is concerned, we must take into account the loss of FB OMughelli, which is exactly when we started having our problems with rushing the ball. It might take some time for Turner and his FB to get on the same page. Polite will be his 3rd FB in the last 18gms.

Whynot Us

September 12th, 2012
3:02 pm

DJ Sniper – agree wholeheartedly!

Big Lou – you are so right. PIT kept Peyton on the sidelines for almost the entire 3rd qtr. and still got beat.

Paddy O

September 12th, 2012
3:38 pm

on the fantasy segment of NFL network, we had 2 of the top 10 points receivers; Ryan was #4 or 5 QB. Nice start.

Screen Pass

September 12th, 2012
5:43 pm

Nice post as always. I got out of the habit of doing these but since the new people to the boards seem to like them I’ll give a go again;

1. We unleashed the beast finally. The best part is that wasn’t even full throttle. The defense performance will hopefully give Nolan some insights on how to improve it.

2. Been waiting quite awhile to fully use our weapons, nice to see it finally happening.

3. The return of Smittyball will be a constant fear for awhile but every game we let the beast feast will ease that. There is actually alot of room for refinement and experimentation in our new offense.

4. If not having a dominant front 4 that can get pressure while we stack the back end is a curse then yes. Gonna let the year progress a bit before making a determination on how to handle the defense going forward.

5. Little to none. Grimes should have been let go anyways and it is not like we have had a great pass defense with him here. He is good but replacing his style play with a bigger more physical CB may pay dividends down the road.

6. Both.

7. Wary more than fearful. There will be times and teams where a ground and pound game plan is sensible. If Smitty likes his job he will leave the beast unleashed as much as possible.

8. Too soon to tell. Depends on many factors but the short answer is yes. There are other formations that should be showcased quite a bit but the 3WRTERB is a better base for us than power running formations for sure.

9. It is only one of 16…my broker does have the buy signal from me currently.

10. I would use the “Longest Yard” strategy…it is already halfway there :) .

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Greg Mendel

September 12th, 2012
8:35 pm

Maybe this is a stupid question, but I’ll ask it. Having seen comments here and elsewhere that the defense adjusted in the second half — just how did it adjust? I watched the game, and the defense was better in the second half (best in the 4th quarter), but what were the adjustments you eagle-eyes saw? All I saw was was a KC team that seemed to know it was whipped.

This is a serious question.

WR

September 12th, 2012
9:00 pm

Loved the way the Falcons looked in the 1st game. One, because they actually looked like they were playing this century’s style of football, sorry, but even without Jones I wondered why it always seemed like teams had players running wide open all the time, and it was up to the QB to find them, and the OL to give the QB enough time to find them, whereas the Falcons rarely ever had anyone open, Ryan had to throw precise passes on 10 to 12 yard outs or curls, and occasionally hope to catch the D guessing when throwing deep. Might just be me, but finally I looked at the Falcons and WRs were open all over the place, whether Ryan found them or not, if you want to blame it on playing the Chiefs, sorry, but the passing game design was actually creative, this team hasn’t had that in quite a while.

Lastly, most importantly, love the fact that it felt like the Falcons actually made half-time adjustments, I’m not in their locker room, maybe they were making them before, but as a fan it felt like that wasn’t happening. It actually felt, it actually seemed like you could see, that half time adjustments had been made, sure its only wk 1, but in my assessment, that seemed huge.

Arno

September 12th, 2012
9:06 pm

10) Interested in what our vets bring to the Peyton the Great problem. The last time Asante faced Peyton Manning was in 2007 when he played for the Patriots. Patriots won that one 24-20. He faced Peyton three previous times, the Pats giving up 38, 40, and 24 points. Dunta last faced Peyton in 2009, the Texans winning that one 27-24. The previous meetings Dunta’s Texans lost them all, giving up 43, 31, 23, and 49 points.

Ken Strickland

September 12th, 2012
11:01 pm

I got to see a replay of the Denver/Steelers gm, before I was interrupted. What I saw was Denver’s DEF doing as much, if not more, to win that gm than PManning. Peyton did have a good gm, but he wasn’t anywhere close to being dominant. Several of his scores were set by DEF turnovers, and the DEF even scored a TD.

If we can bottle up their rushing OFF, and get in his face consistently, we can control their OFF and win the gm. We defintely have 2 WRs that commands a double team most of the time, and a TE that can’t be ignored. Add HDoulas to that mix, and Denver’s DEF will have to utilize both safeties and maybe a LB to protect their secondary.

Whynot Us

September 12th, 2012
11:10 pm

Greg Mendel – Not a stupid question at all. I do not qualify as an eagle-eye. Nonethless the adjustments Nolan made at the half were focused on ways to increase the pressure on KC. They ran more blitzes and varied the defensive play calls to try to confuse the offense on where the pressure was coming from. This resulted in more penetration into the backfield which in turn led to more negative plays, incompletions and turnovers. Hope this helps.

Big Ray

September 13th, 2012
1:18 am

Whynotus ,

You called it correctly. Adjustments should be seen in results, and should not be easily identifiable to the naked, average eye. Our defense was much better in the second half, got pressure on Cassel, began to make plays behind the line of scrimmmage. It was obvious….in results.

Big Ray

September 13th, 2012
1:28 am

So the articles keep rolling on our “lack of running game.”

Some quotes from D. Ledd’s pieces on the issue –

“We didn’t run the ball very well,” right tackle Tyson Clabo said. “We had a couple of good runs, but overall I don’t think that we did what we need to do to go where we want to go.”

Yeah, well I wasn’t very impressed with Mr. Clabo during any facet of the game. He has to get some credit for the solid-to-good pass protection last Sunday, but he is also credited with giving up the one sack that Ryan took. Didn’t see him do anything good on running plays.

The second part of his statement was said in jest, but Turner is serious about the need for an effective rushing attack. The Falcons ran 55 offensive plays against the Chiefs, with 31 passes. Turner said there were several issues in the run game, including blocking schemes, sustaining and finishing blocks and backs making better runs and reads of blocks.

Turner is right…about the physical part of the blocking and the backs making better runs and reads of blocks. That’s all him on that second part. But to mention blocking schemes? What’s that mean, precisely? Haven’t the schemes changed at all since Mularkey and Boudreaux left town? He might be better served by bouncing it to the outside a couple times when the middle is clogged. I saw that two or three times against the Chiefs, only he trudged/dove right forward…hence the less than 3 yards per carry stat. Just sayin’…..

Clabo said he believes the mentality of the Falcons is still to be a run-first team. However, they are going to take what a defense gives. The Chiefs’ two-gap defense, run out of the 3-4 scheme, is designed to stop the run. It’s a defense that Clabo said has given the Falcons fits for years. He said in the past the team might “keep hitting our head against the wall” grinding a defense down until it broke a long run.

“I think we are happy with the results of the game,” Clabo said. “Obviously we’d like to run the ball better. I think probably there are going to be games where the opposite happens, where we have to lean on the run. That’s what good offenses can do. I think we can potentially be a very good offense.”

Sometimes Clabo confuses me. Like he’s intelligent but at the same time he just doesn’t “get it.” He thinks the team still has a run-first mentality?

“It’s important to eat up the clock, but we’ve got the offense that can score, so go ahead and get seven [points],” center Todd McClure said. “The key to playing against a guy like [Manning] is that you always want to be up two scores. You don’t ever want to leave the ball in his hands at the end of the game. You’ve got to try to get up two scores and stay that way.”

Now that’s more like it. The “old man” at center gets it. And it’s all straight talk with him.

JJ

September 13th, 2012
6:02 am

FFL
Ahh the morning rush, reminds me of some friends at Auburn back in the 80’s running threw the cow pastures at 5am. lol

Wings

September 13th, 2012
7:11 am

Big Ray – “Sometimes Clabo confuses me. Like he’s intelligent but at the same time he just doesn’t “get it.” He thinks the team still has a run-first mentality? ”

Maybe he is trying to stay on the good side of the head coach. I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that HC Smith gave the offense a lecture on the run game; it could be akin to “meddling”.

Big Ray

September 13th, 2012
7:59 am

Wings,

I hear you. But I really think Smitty was talking about getting more out of the runs they did attempt rather than attempting more runs. Have to admit, the running game was underwhelming. Of course, I side with Smitty on the blocking….I can only recall a couple of really good holes opened up. Then again, I have said that Turner’s vision and reactions have lacked (or maybe he sees where he should go, but doesn’t get there because he’s SLOWED DOWN).

Solution: give Quizz the ball a few more times…if HE is getting stuffed on every play, then you KNOW it’s the blocking…

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

September 13th, 2012
8:03 am

Hello Cagers!

@Greg Mendel 8:35pm Post

To answer your question: as much as we would like to think adjustments were made, they weren’t. For those of you that think it was obvious adjusts were made to the defense in the second half, I gotta unicorn to sell ya.

John Abraham, in an interview on Monday, was asked the same question, he responded…and I’m Paraphrasing, ‘It wasn’t that we made adjustments so to speak, we came out sluggish, we seemed to gel better in the second half…everyone did there job’ I believe Abe, he’s in the locker room.

snacktastic

September 13th, 2012
9:13 am

Looks like the Cage is pretty slow after a solid road win. Ryan’s even getting respect from that four-letter network for blowing the doors off KC.

Do I dare imagine going through this season without wanting to pull my hair out?

snacktastic

September 13th, 2012
9:19 am

@Big Ray, 7:59 am: EXACTLY what I’ve been saying. They have to either isolate poor blocking as the problem, or isolate poor running as the problem. I’m inclined to think it’s blocking; Quizz picks up an extra yard just by being quicker, but he and Turner both look like they’re running into walls on almost every run play.

Ken Strickland

September 13th, 2012
10:03 am

CAGERS-it’s going to take some time for our OLinemen and RBs to come together and become instinctively accustomed to our new run blocking schemes and approaches after 4 yrs of doing everything one very limited way. In addition to seeing us utilize various screens, it was very refreshing to see us actually run a pitchout and sweep.

Augustabred

September 13th, 2012
10:10 am

This is a little off subject but i was watching the replay on the Auburn/MissSt. game. Aren’t we glad Vanny is not running our D!!!! They looked horrible. That soft coverage was exposed on the same exact play for two scores! Nicholas and Spood look great together at the LB spot. Finally someone knows how to use Nicholas strenghts. But i still don’t like our rush D-ends dropping back in coverage. Did you guys see Abe covering McCluster on one play? WTF was that?! We are going to have our hands full Sunday. We will know where we stand after this game!!!!

Paddy O

September 13th, 2012
10:10 am

Big Ray – I suspect Clabo is pushing the party line. The run first comment may be fairly insightful of the lingering affection our HC has for SMITTY BALL. Personally, if we score 40 points passing for every score, I don’t care if our rushing attack nets zero yards. personally, the adjustments I saw was better tackling against the running game, and more QB pressure – I suspect folks remember Cassel throwing the ball at Abe’s feet – one of the oddest things I’ve seen from an NFL QB, but also demonstrated how frustrated Cassel was – a very good accomplishment by a defense. I also remembe tackling charles in the back field a time or 2. The blown FG gave the Falcons the momentum; the turn overs pretty much sealed the Chiefs fate. Our D played better in the 2nd half. I thought the Chiefs came out trying to establish the run – Chief SMITTY BALL – and we stuffed it, that caused a domino affect for the Chiefs offense. Games can get away from a team pretty quick, and that happened to the Chiefs. If they win this week, it is a good indicator of our team. But, we need to be highly competitive in the Denver game. I disagree with Ken S – Peyton delivered when needed – he played very well. If we DON’T get QB pressure, we are screwed and will definatley be in a shootout. A good test, either way.

Whynot Us

September 13th, 2012
11:13 am

As far as whether real defensive adjustments were made, it might be enlightening to look at what the coach told the press.

Here is what the head coach had to say in the post game press conference which can be found at:
http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/article-1/Transcripts-Falcons-at-Chiefs/98932f29-8829-4dd0-90c6-ee269f9478bb

Head coach Mike Smith

Opening Remarks:
“It’s always nice to get a win on your first game of the season and to have played the way we played. We came out very quickly, strongly, on offense. I think it took us a while to get going on defense. I thought we made some very good adjustments on the defensive side of the ball at halftime. It took us awhile to get gelling. It was a nice job.”

And from the Monday press conference with MS, which can be found at:
http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/article-1/Transcript-Mike-Smith-Monday-News-Conference/8532f8cb-a26d-4ecb-a6a8-f0e0e4e6f3ba

“Defensively, I like the way we made adjustments. We did not like the way we started. Not the type of stuff you want to put out on tape, but I thought we did a good job making adjustments.”

On getting turnovers in the second half:
“We made some adjustments schematically, but we actually came out and performed much better in terms of our intensity. We tackled better. We had the line of scrimmage won for the most part in the second half. I think there were seven minus yardage plays in the run game after the explosive run on the first play of the second half. I think we really calmed down.”

Hamad Meander

September 13th, 2012
11:37 am

Again – I am very happy with the Falcons first game. They looked fresh, aggressive, and capable. I am very worried about the Denver game. I don’t want to go into the game pessimistic, however, Denver’s pass rush and passing game is going to give us fits. We’ll need to score 24+ to win.