Atlanta Falcons: Birds Crush Chargers

Falcons Roll on West Coast

Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud celebrates an interception against the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game in San Diego, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Happy Times in the ATL (Gregory Bull)

The Atlanta Falcons are 3-0 and it feels so good as fans to see our team playing so darn well. Some in the media and others around the league tried to downplay the significance of the Falcons good start by saying the Chiefs win was way overrated after their week 2 performance and that the Birds big Monday Night win was more of a product of Peyton Manning’s errors than the Falcons fine play. Well, it’s hard to keep that line going when they are only one of 3 remaning teams that are unbeaten and they traveled out to the west coast and utterly dominated another of the only remaining undefeated teams. Yes, it’s early, but the Falcons are looking as good as they ever have and must be considered one of the best teams, at least for now. A look at the big road win……….

Thomas DeCoud is a Beast

Last week it was William Moore’s turn for a huge night and this week it was Thomas DeCoud’s turn. Some fans wondered if DeCoud would even be re-signed as he was set to become a free agent this past offseason as he’d floundered somewhat after a great start in 2009. Those worries are no more. Many wanted to see him in a more aggressive system with a more experienced coordinator and the dividends are paying big time right about now. DeCoud was all over the field, pulling down two interceptions (one being an amazingly acrobatic pick) and recovering a fumble. Some thought 2010 would be the year DeCoud was primed for a Pro Bowl season, but it turns out that this may it if he keeps up his pick parade.

Better Running Balance

Michael Turner notched 80 yards, a touchdown, and looked much, much better overall. Maybe the offensive line was blocking better, maybe he was running harder, maybe the passing game opened up him some holes, but it was also a very nice mix and balance of carries in the RB backfield. Turner still got most of the carries at 14, but Jacquizz Rodgers also got 10 carries as well. The Falcons coaching staff said they planned on cutting back Turner’s workload, while also giving younger guys like Rodgers more chances. It’s a win-win across the board. The running game is less predictable and you truly get more of a complementary rushing attack. Rodgers numbers weren’t eye-popping, but it does offer a more diverse running scheme and also gives Turner a chance to rest more. Combined, the two went well over 100 yards rushing, with 150 total yards when you throw in Rodger’s receiving yards. One of the questions posed in the offseason here in The Cage was what percentage do you foresee the running back touches being? In perhaps the Falcons most impressive win to date, the breakdown was Turner 58% and Rodgers 42%. Not bad.

Matt Ryan is Surgical

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Matty Surgeon (Denis Poroy)

It’s already been covered many times this year so far, going all the way back to preseason, but Matt Ryan is taking that next step right before our eyes. He’s currently ranked as the highest rated QB in the NFL according to quarterback rating. He’s passed for almost 800 yards, 8 touchdowns, 1 interception, completed 72% of all his passes, and has even rushed for almost 50 yards and 1 TD. Beyond all the numbers, Ryan is sharp, accurate, and above all, supremely confident in his play this year. He is directing drives with ease, keeping plays alive, and simply getting it done. Some are even throwing around some MVP talk. It’s way too early, but that’s not out of the realm if he keeps up his torrid pace.

LB Corps is Outstanding

Everyone expected Spoon to be fantastic as he is of course, but the big surprise this year has been Stephen Nicholas and the overall excellence of the linebacking corps. Weatherspoon and Nicholas have been outstanding in coverage, rushing the passer, forcing fumbles, and making sure tackles. Akeem Dent hasn’t been included very much in Nolan’s nickel-heavy scheme, but he’s been a good run stopper and is progressing in pass coverage. One thing that always seemed to lack in past Falcons defenses was making plays from the LB position. That’s a problem no longer. Nicholas has 27 tackles, 2 passes defensed, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Spoon’s got 22 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defensed, and 1 sack. Even though it’s a touch on the thin side relating to depth, this linebacker corps is looking like one of the best.

Takeaway Defense

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, top, and strong safety William Moore celebrate after a call was reversed and Moore was given a fumble recovery after San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd lost the ball in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

This Defense is Storming (Gregory Bull)

This Falcons defense is looking spectacular so far this season and has fans as excited as they’ve ever been. Mike Nolan has inspired this defense to be one of the most opportunistic in the NFL so far. Even though it’s still very early, the Falcons are ranked 1st in the NFL in interceptions and tied for second in forced fumbles. It’s not surprise the Falcons are 3-0 with a takeaway margin of +10 (11 takeaways, 1 interception). The Birds aren’t the highest in sacks right now, but the pressure has been there and that’s a main reason for many of the turnovers, not to mention they’ve played two of the best quarterbacks in the league in back-to-back weeks. The Falcons probably won’t or can’t keep up this pace, but it’s safe to say there’s a dramatic difference from the last few years on defense.

Turner Redeems, Runs Hard

It was a tough week for Turner. It’s been a slow start for the Pro Bowl running back and of course the news only got worse when he got a DUI only a few short hours after the Monday Night Football game. Many (including this author on many occasions) have called for Turner to see his workload cut down and regardless of the reasons or excuses, the facts were that he simply wasn’t producing. Whether it be the lack of OL blocking, him not hitting the hole as hard, defenses keying in on him more, or him just slowing down hitting the 30 year old wall, Turner just hasn’t been effective to date. That changed a little on Sunday vs. his old team. The former Charger ran tough and hard and made some decisive runs, including a nice touchdown run. Even though many have called for Turner’s workload to decrease, very few feel that he doesn’t have some role in this offense and getting a 60-40% split with either Rodgers or Snelling will only help him in terms of endurance through the long season and doing what he does best.

Spreading the Targets

Fans are finally seeing all the Falcons weapons utilized pretty close to full capability. The idea was always that it would be next to impossible to stop all the offensive talent the Falcons possess. Dirk Koetter and Matt Ryan are doing a great job of spreading the targets around. Ryan threw to 8 different receivers on Sunday, including 3 wide receivers, 2 tight ends, and 3 running backs. Everyone’s getting involved in the offensive explosion and there’s even more talent if they want including Kevin Cone, Drew Davis, and Antone Smith. It’s a great feeling as a Falcon fan finally seeing the offensive distribution come to fruition.

Kudos to the “Smitty Gas Pedal”

The debate has raged this week in The Cage over the idea and philosophy known as “SmittyBall.” It’s been a constant worry in the back of fans heads that even with all the talent for an aggressive team at his disposal, Head Coach Mike Smith may decide to go back more in the direction of Mike Mularkey’s slow and methodical ball-control type of offense (there’s no hint to conservatism to the new defense). Some felt that Smith came close to costing the Birds the game against the Broncos when they went hyper-conservative after building a big lead. Others had no problem with the pulling back of the reigns when you’ve got a good lead heading into the 4th quarter. They have an argument because Smith was 33-1 (now 34-1) when he has a lead heading into the fourth quarter.

San Diego Chargers strong safety Atari Bigby, left, pushes Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez out of bounds during the second half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Gonzo the 3rd Down Machine (Denis Poroy)

So in terms of all the criticism that’s been heaped on Smith and his conservative nature at times, including the SmittyBall references from right here in The Cage and this author, he gets enormous credit not only for his outstanding record when getting a late lead, but also for keeping the acceleration on in San Diego. It was 20-3 and the Falcons had just gotten the ball back near the goalline. Many would’ve settled for 3 straight runs and kicking a field goal. A bad play call ensued and Matt Ryan threw his first interception of the season. Some fans were upset at the aggressive nature and others were just upset with the play-call. For all the criticism Smith, here’s a massive amount of praise for the intent of the play-call. Many fans have wanted Smith to show a more aggressive nature and a killer instinct and that’s exactly what he was doing. The defense has been dominating and it’s a chance to end the game. An interception there was as good as a punt and the Falcons defense were never really threatened since the 1st quarter. Sure enough, the defense got the ball back and the Birds marched right back down field to score the TD on the ground. Kudos again for trying to get that long sought killer instinct.

Those Hard Hitting Cornerbacks

The cornerbacks are not only covering well and having an excellent year so far, but they are really bringing the wood. Dunta Robinson has always been known for a hard hitting CB, but now he’s been joined by Asante Samuel who has shown several times he’s still got plenty of pop left. This defense is not just about takeaways, but also about a hard-hitting attitude that has led to excellence on defense.

Fantastic Safety Tandem

The Falcons have one of the best safety tandems in the NFL, at least right now. In consecutive weeks, William Moore and Thomas DeCoud are showing the NFL that they should be considered as one of the best. They are tough, hard-charging, and ball-hawking safeties that are taking full advantage of Mike Nolan’s new system and the sky’s the limit for this young duo.

Your Turn

1) Simple: How happy are you as a Falcons fan right now?

2) Are DeCoud and Moore the best safety tandem in the NFL right now?

3) Your thoughts on the run balance?

4) Is Matt Ryan entering MVP territory?

5) How good is this linebacker corps?

6) Is the Takeaway Defense due for a slowdown?

7) Are Koetter and Ryan taking full advantage of the offensive arsenal?

8.) Are you worried about a trap coming soon?

9) How about that Smitty Gas Pedal?

10) Love or hate the aggressive play-call intent that resulted in interception?

781 comments Add your comment


September 24th, 2012
10:44 pm

First. and Thomas Decoud is Player of the Game, hands down.


September 24th, 2012
10:51 pm

On number 10, keeping on the gas you sometimes hit a bump in the road and as long as it doesn’t cause you to crash and burn, you keep driving.


September 24th, 2012
10:59 pm

1) Very Happy
2) Yes without question. They are clicking and could be best tandem for years to come
3)Finally the run game showed up. Maybe they should have practiced that during the Pre Season after all
4) Of Course. Not another QB as efficient as he has been through 3 weeks.
5) Can’t single out the LBs because they run more nickle than anything and that is more about the secondary, we all know what time it is when Sean gets them spoons out.
6) I hope not but to get that many turnovers every game would be unreal.
7) Yes! Ryan has no favorite target and I think its really affecting the oppositions defense.
8) Nope
9)Push it through the floor SMITTY. FULL THROTTLE
10) Love it… been watching BVG run that muffin defense for years. Finally we can get some real defense. and the those corners are smacking people in the mouth and Philly said Asante wasn’t physical enough. Yeah Right.


September 24th, 2012
11:42 pm

1: Who wouldn’t be happy with 3-0? The Birds are looking more like a championship caliber team every week.
2: Definitely. Decoud and Moore are pulling in INTs like they’re getting paid to do it. Oh, wait…
3: The win on Sunday proves that we don’t need to waste time forcing the run game in the hopes that it will eventually productive. We just need to use it effectively. I hope our run blocking took a step forward, since I think that’s been the main problem all along.
4: If people are going to start MVP talk this early, then you have to consider Matt Ryan. Lots of impressive talent elsewhere, though, so he may not run away with it without an NFC Championship.
5: LBs were on a roll on Sunday. They kept up the pass rush for the whole game.
6: I don’t see these safeties slowing down any time soon. With Cam the Pick Machine coming to town next week, they’ll have a field day.
7: As good as we look on offense, they still haven’t scored as many points as they could have. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect them to score on nearly every drive like in the first week, but when you consider the ease with which dynamic offenses like NO, NE, and GB put up points last year, it seems like we should be doing the same thing. Ryan’s TD passes have mostly been short ones so far; maybe we’ll score more often once he takes the deep shots.
8: Arizona could be the trap if they keep up their performance. I would say the Raiders had an outside shot if they look like they did yesterday, but our defense is performing better than Pittsburgh’s at this point. We should roll through the next three or four games easily.
9: Good to see that we were aggressive to the end in SD. No garbage time touchdowns this week.
10: I think Ryan was in a bit of a hurry on that play. Someone said that HD was wide open in the middle of the field, but he passed in the direction of Gonzalez when the pick occurred. I can’t blame him; Gonzo was catching everything yesterday. At any rate, picks happen. Ryan is still the most efficient QB in the league right now, and is very smart with the ball.

3-0! Let’s get that division title!

Big Ray

September 24th, 2012
11:59 pm

Watching the Green Bay/Seattle game….my God, these replacement refs are absolutely horrible.

Last play of the game. Seattle WR pushes a GB DB in the back (clearly, horribly obviously) and the refs totally blew it. Even then, the GB player came down with the ball, the Seahawks WR did NOT have possession.

Get the real refs back in here, Goodell. If this can happen to the Packers (seriously, they lost the game on this call…and others), it can happen to us. We could lose a game because of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen.

Sorry, but had to say it….if they don’t get the real deal back in here, some wins/losses WILL be determined by this farce of an officiating crew that the NFL is willing to let work.

It was so bad the Packers left the field and wouldn’t stick around for the extra point until they were made to do so.

Something’s gotta be done and I hope our team doesn’t suffer from this before it’s fixed.

By the way, Pete Carroll is a lying, cheating, scamming schmuck and it does not surprise me one bit that he took this one and just ran with it, even to go so far as to act like it was a great play on the part of his team. To hell with that guy….he’s in the NFL and got away with all the crap he did at USC, leaving the university to take the hit…and the incoming players….what a loser.


September 25th, 2012
12:09 am

BR, you’re not the only one who’s worried. I mentioned offhand once that I didn’t want these refs to be a problem when the Falcons were in a position to win big, but after hearing about that Seahawks/Packers finish, and MNF against the Broncos last week, and everything else, this is officially a major concern.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
12:27 am

Ok, back to Falcons football….

1) Heck yes.

2) No. You have to earn that with consistent play all year long, including the postseason. But they are on the right path to earn that perception.

3) The run balance was much better. 14 carries for Turner, 10 for Quizz. It was a tweak that some here said was needed, and they were right. You couldn’t ask for a better balance of different style runners.

4) It’s never good to talk MVP in week 3. But like our safety tandem, Ryan is on the path. His 8 TDs are tied with Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Fitzpatrick atop the League. Only Roethlisberger matches his lone INT with that many TDs thrown. Ryan is still atop the League in rating at 114.0

5) This LB corps is about as good as it gets in a 4-3 base defense. Only 3-4 lineups can really boast better groups, and even those are few. This group has some serious speed and “in the backfield” playmaking ability. Just wait until Dent gets better…can you imagine this group being better ?

6) The defense isn’t due for a slowdown, it will be subject to the same thing that happens to all defenses – a day where either the opposing offense simply cannot be stopped, or they are just having a bad day. Be warned – this can happen two or three times in a season for even the best defenses. What separates them is how they learn from it. Nolan is the right kind of coach to bring a good defense through those kinds of days. Van Gorder wasn’t and never will be.

7) Koetter and Ryan can probably do more. But this isn’t just up to them. Guys have to make plays. There have been some dropped balls, and this year’s biggest offender so far in that area is Julio. Folks do forget he is a 2nd year WR in the League after playing for a run-dominated offense in college. Translation – he has room to improve. And he will. That said, this offense has room to grow. Koetter, Ryan, and the rest of the guys will work their way through it. They’re doing pretty darn well for a group that has only been with their current OC’s system for a single offseason and 3 weeks of regular season play.

8 ) No. This is the responsibility of the CS. A focused CS prepares the team each and every week, keeps them focused. If you continue to proceed thusly, then there is no trap.

9) What about it? Smitty is showing so far that he can learn. He is still a “young” head coach after all. As long as he continues to learn, the famed gas pedal will fade into myth and legend. Of course, it helps that he now has two Coordinators that he can trust to prepare effective gameplans. He needed that. Now he has it, it seems. In a way, can’t blame him for being a bit slow to do this at first…after all, you’re talking about trusting two “new” guys with your job…when either one could be your replacement.

10) I have no problems with the play call. The call did not lead to the INT. I have a problem with the way the ball was thrown by Ryan, or with the miscommunication between WR and QB. It really could have been either one…but it was NOT about the play call. Seems to me that Ryan put too much air under the ball…or he thought the WR was going to do something that he didn’t do. Or perhaps the WR was supposed to do something, and didn’t. Either way, it’s not the play call.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
12:28 am

snacktastic ,

I recall you saying so. And you’re dead on….it’s a BIG problem.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
12:48 am

Makes perfect sense. We are operating quite well without a dedicated 3-down MLB. It allows us to cover more receiving targets and our safeties to make more plays someplace besides deep in the backfield.

Pat has one thing wrong, though. The fact that Lofton has participated in every single play for the Saints is NOT necessarily proof that he’s a 3 down LB. It’s proof that they need him that damn badly. As it is, the NO defense is sucking major wind right now and not stopping anybody …as the Chiefs just proved….


September 25th, 2012
12:58 am

D3, thanks for the post as always and the oppurtunity to converse with fellow Falcon fans. Heck yeah I’m excited to be a Falcon fan, this is the best the team has ever looked in my opinion.

Again, the defense is so fun to watch. You can literally see the confidence grow from game to game, and the I also see teamwork and the contagious enthusiasm throughout the Falcon players.

The confidence of Matt Ryan is what jumps out at me more than anything. He is still playing conservative on some plays, but his patience and confidence that he will succeed on the next play is something that is intrinsic to this year. A definite and noticeable change.

As to to the fear of a trap game. One of the great characteristics of this Falcon team is they have a great mix of long time vets, mid term vets, and the youngest are playing their butts off every play just to earn playing time. This Falcon team knows full well a division opponent is headed to town and the Panthers could care less what the Falcons have done thus far this season. I expect the Panthers to play hard and physical and I know the Falcons are expecting the same. In the end, the more talented and experienced Falcon team will overmatch the Panthers, and pull away for a big time division win at home.


September 25th, 2012
1:16 am

1) It’s been a difficult week, but the Falcons have made it seem a bit easier to take. Still can’t turn on Sportscenter or NFL tv and see them, but at least I don’t see the negative stories that would be all the place if we weren’t winning.

2) I said at the beginning that the safeties were going to be key to this defense becoming really special. They are easily performing as well as any other safety tandem in the league right now. And in the NFL, right now is all that matters. You can be a superstar last year, and be one tweaked hammie away from being nicknamed toast this year. DeCoud and WillyMo just need to keep doing what they are doing.
3) If we run 70 offensive plays, 35-40 should be pass, and 30-35 should be runs. Turner and Quizz should be about 60/40, as long as Quizz is getting 15 touches a game in run and pass. Roddy, Julio, and Gonzo should be getting 8-10 targets each, and HD should get the rest. That’s the recipe for consistent success.
4) MR2 aka Matty Ice is already the offensive MVP for the Falcons. I bet there’s not a defensive coordinator in the league that’s looking forward to having to try to stop the Iceman with all the weapons at his disposal.
5) We won’t get two guys into the ProBowl, because we don’t have a big enough national profile. But Spoon and Nick are really stepping it up. They still miss one or two tackles every game, but they are consistent and showing signs of improving. Just like the rest of the defense, they just seem to want it more this year.
6) It’s hard to believe they could continue taking the ball away at this pace, but I think they are going to keep trying, which should translate to great on the field results.
7) I often watch and wonder, how much more creative could they be? We still aren’t seeing many crossing routes with HD or Julio. We still aren’t seeing many screens. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. All that other stuff is there for when defenses think they have us figured out. And BR, Julio was a bit off his game, especially against the Broncos, but I can’t be mad at a kid who looked like he played with a broken right hand for 3 quarters on Sunday, and still was damn near unstoppable.
8.) The Charger game was supposed to be the trap. Short week, long trip. One thing Smitty has done without question is have his guys prepared to play week in and week out. In 4+ seasons I can only recall one or two games where the Falcons came out and just didn’t look ready to play. I’m even more inclined to believe that was all about players not buying into the malarkey and van-disorder. This team looks like it’s on a mission. They may lose, but it won’t be because they didn’t come out ready to play hard.
9) IF he was ever conservative, perhaps we can chalk that up to being increasingly unsure about the aforementioned schematic issues. I’ve got nothing but confidence in the man behind the wheel.
10) If you’re gonna go that heavy, and then get tricky and try to throw the ball, maybe you should get really tricky and throw it to somebody OTHER THAN Tony G? No way he’s getting ignored on that play, especially when we basically ran a similar one that worked against Denver last week. Never gonna be upset that we are aggressive, and with a defense playing lights out, there’s no reason to be scared to make a mistake, because the D can bail out the O now.


September 25th, 2012
1:57 am

I know no one’s gonna boycott games, but if you’re going to games, at least let Goodell know how terrible the dude and his entourage of bums are…

Start up a chant, hold up some signs, whatever man. Baltimore’s fans actually made me laugh yesterday when they were chanting ‘bullsh**”.

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Screen Pass

September 25th, 2012
2:24 am

Mayhem in NFL land, lol. I like the new refs better than the Katrina refs meself, but that is just my opinion. I can see why the Fudge-Packers are angry, but they should be more concerned about giving up 100 sacks in one game instead of a bang-bang rules interpretation play at the end. The fact that game was allowed to be close enough for that outcome to happen pretty much spells a loss either way. It’s late and I’m not up to doing the Q&A atm, will do tommorrow. I will say before bed, I do like that certain teams are having to play by the rules now, even if the new refs are slow and awkward about getting to the calls.

JosephDaKoolest A.K.A (no answer for julio)

September 25th, 2012
4:40 am

1). Absolutely pleased to be a falcons fan right now. Its only week three but as of right this moment this is the best I have seen the falcons play football. And I love the team chemistry we are playing together on offense and defense.
2). Cain’t say that right now too early to tell. I will say this though, they absolutely look like on of the best so far this year. Cam Chanselor and Earl Thomas for Seattle are playing great also. How ever I believe our tandem has the most int’s so far. So if they continue to play like this, they absolutely can be.
3). I like it so far. We are not getting the production we want as far as statistics go, however I am very pleased with the offense as a whole. I would like to see Turner’s carries increase more in the redzone, but I think the quick passes and the screens are an extension of our run game now. We must no forget that since Micheal Turner has been are #1 back and Mike Smith has been our head coach, we have always been top 3 in the league in terms of rushing yards. And let’s remember Michael Turner was the #2 rusher in the league last year and the number 1 rusher last year in the NFC until the last game of the season. Jaquizz has to have some touches during the game. I am fine with the balance as long as we continue to run the football as the season goes on and not get too pass happy.
4). Absolutely leads the league in passer rating. Just threw a pick for the first time in 275 pass attemps. Is the unquestionable leader of this offense and is playing with an unbelievable amount of cofidence. However it is only week 4 and as the season goes on teams will play better on defense against our passing game. But if the MVP was decided after 3 weeks no question. However, we have 13 more weeks to go but if this play continues he will definitely be in the conversation at the end of the regular season.
5). The sky is the limit for these guys. We all knew Sean Wetherspoon would become one of the best linebackers in the league, however I dont think anyone had any idea Nicholas whould be playing at this level. And I was anxious to see what Tatupa had to offer but Dent is playing extremely well for his first start. So execellent job by Mike Nolan this year of changing our style of play on D. Overall they are palying very well but I would like to see more tackles for loss and less missed tackles.
6). Hard to say because I think that we are playing out of our minds on defense. And also I think opposing teams will try to limit their mistakes against us. However I do think that we will stay agrressive and continue to create turovers. And we will get better on D as we become more acclamated to Mike Nolan’s system. So it is very hard to say. If I had to bet I would bet on the D continuing to create turnovers, but maybe not at this pace.
7). Absolutely, there is always room for improvement but let’s not forget we a new offense and a new defense this year. However, the ball is being spread around between our receivers and runningbacks very nicely. Its only one ball and we have a lot of talented guys on the offensive side of the ball. But again absolutely, would like to Harry a tad bit more involed on the passing game. I think as the season goes on he has to be more involed as teams try to limit Roddy Julio and Gonzo.
8). No not at all. I think the falcons are focused more than ever this season. We look great early but the playoff last year still stings and our playoff record speaks for itself. I think Mike Smith and his staff have always done a great job in focusing on one game at a time and being preapred each week. And plus the past few years everyone plays tough even the teams at the bottom of the league in termas of wins play hard every week, therefore we can illafford to be trapped.
9). That has always been my concern since Mike Smith has been here. I love our starts but always felt we needed to develop that killer instinct. So far we have been aggressive on offense and defense with leads. Along with the o line and d line that was one of the areas of concern coming into this season. If the game against the Chargers were a sign of things to come then I am pleased with the “Smitty Gas Pedal”.
10). Absolutely, love the play call. Did not get the result that we wanted but that had nothing to do with the play call. I agree with BR Matt Ryan lofted the ball in the air between 2 defenders and you cannot do that. However that int came when we had a confortable lead on their side of the field, and I have confidence more than ever that our D will make a stop as they did. We definitely need to stay agressive with leads from here on out. As we seen in the Mon night game we needed every min of that game to secure the victory despite the big fourth quarter lead. And week in and week out we see teams get leads and reliquish them for whatever reason. We absolutely have to have that KILLER INSTICT when we have a lead. GO FALCONS!!!!! The Real A Town Got Your Back!!!!!

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Chop Buster

September 25th, 2012
7:17 am

1) Simple: How happy are you as a Falcons fan right now? Loving their new aggressive style of play. I’m trying to enjoy the games more and be less critical of Smitty’s conservative nature.

2) Are DeCoud and Moore the best safety tandem in the NFL right now? I will eat my DeCoud crow now. I thought he was a bust after one good year in 2009 and went AWOL. These guys are banging and all over the field. QBs are confused and don’t know where these guys are on the field. Cam is only in his second year and I can only imagine how they are going to frustrate him this weekend.

3) Your thoughts on the run balance? The running game is necessary and there must be balance to keep opponents off guessing. I would like to see more of Snelling running the ball as well. Hopefully “Magic Mike” got his mojo back and is running harder than usual.

4) Is Matt Ryan entering MVP territory? If he continues to play like he has from preseason through now, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be a top contender for MVP this year. He’s only going to get more comfortable in his role and playcalling as the year goes on.

5) How good is this linebacker corps? These guys are quick to the ball and all over the field covering the pass as well. They too will get better as the season goes on.

6) Is the Takeaway Defense due for a slowdown? I don’t think so. As long as they continue baiting teams they will get the picks; Willie Mo continues punching the ball out and the secondary bring the wood to receivers. Don’t let up…continue to turn it up!

7) Are Koetter and Ryan taking full advantage of the offensive arsenal? As well as we’ve been playing, I don’t think we’ve come near what our full offensive capability is right now. Besides, I don’t know if they want to show everything just yet. We have to save some to open a can of whoop @@@ in the playoffs.

8.) Are you worried about a trap coming soon? I don’t believe there is a trap. What people call a trap is sleeping on a team. I don’t see this coaching staff (Smitty or the coordinators) allowing this team to get off track this year.

9) How about that Smitty Gas Pedal? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is keeping the gas pedal down on teams now. Maybe he wanted to in the past and didn’t have the coordinators in place to be as aggressive as he wanted.

10) Love or hate the aggressive play-call intent that resulted in interception? I’m aggressive by nature and will never fault the coaching staff for being too aggressive. That interception was all on Ryan and he admitted it. It won’t stop us from going after our remaining opponents.


September 25th, 2012
7:47 am

What a difference a day makes.
What a difference a new defensive coordinator makes.
What a difference a new offensive coordinator makes.
What a difference two new coordinators make in the success of the head coach.
What a difference two new coordinators make in the attitude of the players.
What a difference two new coordinators make in the confidence of the Cage.
What a difference two new coordinators make in the possibility of a Super Bowl.


September 25th, 2012
9:54 am

I’m most interested in the answers to question #9 about HCMS. Just like we’re seeing growth and improvement organization-wide, our HC is getting better, too. Smitty looks at things in a broader picture than we fans. His mild-mannered approach is working–not that he can’t get fired up when he needs to(the DHall incident). He’s not creating any additional “tackling fuel” for our opponents by running up the score or running his mouth.
His demeanor toward the replacement officials is paying dividends already. While other coaches are losing it, he’s been the polar opposite. This isn’t lost on the striking refs, either. That’s an awesome approach in the current atmosphere since it helps us whether the strikers settle or not. The striped-shirts impact the outcome of games every week and in the back of their minds they remember….
It’s just another example of the maturation of our HC….

John Waynesworld

September 25th, 2012
10:09 am

Good job, D3, as always…

1) How happy are you as a Falcons fan right now? Very happy. I am not nearly as concerned about various positions as usual. It is a different feel this season, and that’s a good thing.

2) Are DeCoud and Moore the best safety tandem in the NFL right now? Right now? Definitely. Both guys are really bringing it in the first 3 games.

3) Your thoughts on the run balance? Not quite good enough yet, but so far opposing teams have to respect the passing game so the threat of a run is good enough to keep teams guessing. We still need to get in some long runs as well as some short yardage successes. That will feed our O line’s ego for future situations.

4) Is Matt Ryan entering MVP territory? Definitely.

5) How good is this linebacker corps? They are very good but very thin.

6) Is the Takeaway Defense due for a slowdown? I don’t think so as long as our Safeties keep moving around pre-snap. The QBs won’t know which way they are heading unless he can see them at the last second. I see plenty more picks and some Pro Bowl nods based on sheer numbers (versus big market popularity).

7) Are Koetter and Ryan taking full advantage of the offensive arsenal? I would like to see more Snelling, but he really is our insurance against Turner getting hurt, so I am okay with Snelling resting his mystery ailment for as long as he needs. I am surprised Koetter and Ryan can’t get the ball to HD on a slant more often.

8.) Are you worried about a trap coming soon? Maybe the Eagles in Week 8 or the Saints in Week 10, both away, and with these nutty replacement refs anything goes, especially with the increase of phantom pass interference calls (mostly going for the home teams).

9) How about that Smitty Gas Pedal? I don’t know if it is as much the “SGP” as the Falcons’ machine running so smoothly that Smitty hasn’t had a chance to be put on the spot yet. Nothing horribly bad directed at Smith, it is just we have already seen several bad HC calls in this early NFL season. We will wait and see, a decision point for Smitty will come soon enough.

10) Love or hate the aggressive play-call intent that resulted in interception? The play call was fine. Ryan was trying to drop the hammer on the Chargers and he knows he messed it up and should have thrown it away. We won, so there’s no harm done. As long as Ryan is practicing being aggressive in this new offense we will only benefit from it when we get to the playoffs.

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
10:16 am

I actually like what Smitty is doing in the 2nd half. It would really provide us with a big boost if we could get our rushing OFF untracked. It looks like he’s using the 4th quarter, and our 1st half leads, to try and jumpstart our rushing OFF. I also like the idea of attacking the DEF hard and right off the bat at the start of the gm.

That forces DEFs to commit primarily to defending the pass rather than the run, which should open up the run eventually. As long as our OL continues to give MRyan the type of protection he’s been getting, I won’t worry about our rushing OFF at this point. Remember, the Patriots managed to make it to last yrs Superbowl with the NFLs worst DEF and a below average rushing OFF.

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
10:22 am

I’ve tried to post a poem that’s designed to address the problems the AINTS/TAINTS are currently having, and I call it ODE TO A SAINTS FAN, but the Blog Monster filter won’t let it through. I’ll try it just one more time, so here goes.

Who Dat, Who Dat, talking bout my Saints,
Who Dat, Who Dat, make um look like Aints,
Who Dat, Who Dat, bring back our past,
Who Dat, Who Dat, whipping on our A$$,

Who Dat, Who Dat, making me fret,
Who Dat, Who Dat, won’t let me forget,
Who Dat, Who Dat, making life a drag,
Who Dat, Who Dat, make my find by bag

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
10:26 am

D3-I’ve tried several times to post a poem about the plight of the AINTS/TAINTS, and each time it’s been blocked. See if you can release it.

Greg Mendel

September 25th, 2012
10:27 am

To me, the story is the new coordinators. With no dramatic personnel changes from last year, but with some key early injuries, the whole team is performing at a its highest level since Mike Smith took the helm. The most obvious reason is the change of coordinators.

While I think Mularkey and Van Gorder were with the Falcons at least a year beyond their “sell date,” I’ll give them credit for what they established and produced from the rubble left in the wake of the Vick/Petrino implosion. But the change has been dramatic and revealing.

Most apparent to me are schemes and techniques that have allowed existing talent to shine. Previously “invisible” and much-criticized players are making a big impact. Proven veterans are playing more effectively. There’s cohesion, pride and extra effort — and a 3-0 record to show for it.
Odds are we’ll lose a game or two, but I think this Falcons team is capable of beating anybody.

I don’t see any “trap games” causing a stumble. I think we have a trio of coaches that plan, prepare and adjust well enough to keep us in every game.

Falcons Chic

September 25th, 2012
11:01 am

Okay, Smittyball still worries me. Until I am convinced it was 90% Mularky, I just see us coasting sometimes and not going for the jugular during games, e.g. letting Peyton catch up to within a touchdown is insanity and we should have more than 13 points for all those picks. (I don’t want to be Belichick; just effective.)

One thing that hasn’t been brought out us the OL. When did Sam Baker grow up? They are much improved or MR2 is just that much better with no happy feet. Blanking on the name, but I also see positives for the guy they can declare eligible.

DeCoud is beast. I really like how he’s developing. I disagree that Dunta is anything more than a whiff tackler, hair flying no strategic purpose. D-Block is getting better, but already playing at a high level.

Speaking of Californians, Gonzo is beast and this is his last year. It is now or never, people…

Chop Buster

September 25th, 2012
11:14 am

KS 10:22 post: Excellent poem! LMAO


September 25th, 2012
11:56 am

What’s up Cage Fam..

So far, the transition is going very well. The team is looking good and MR2 is on his way to being a legit candidate for league MVP if he keeps this up. The defense is attacking and forcing plays which is a very good sign. So far, so good. But in the words of a classic poem, miles to go before I sleep.

The Turner and Abraham situations are very troubling. When two veterans go out and get into silly trouble when it is CLEAR, CLEAR that they were in the wrong, we need to hold them accountable within the confines of the Branch. No one, no one is larger than the team and the example they are to set.

But have no fear…TeePee Sports has identified replacements for both players in the 2013 draft as both are long in tooth now.

The team is looking good right now; a few things that could still be improved upon. But I love the strong leadership that MR2 is showing and I love the way that DeCoud and Moore are playing under Nolan.


September 25th, 2012
12:38 pm

DeCoud.. I too am eating some crow on that one.. Great to see him and Moore doing so well. Nolan simply must have been the catalyst for those 2 (let alone the rest of the D.. BVG who?)

Ryan: Standing tall in the pocket. No self induced happy feet. Making good dec (cept for the air ball he lofted up for the INT).

D Line: When Peters comes back, I am curious how that scenario is going to play out heading into the 2nd half the schedule.

Panthers coming to town. Cam trying to redeem himself after his mental break down. Steve Smith wanting to show up our new D… and our D allowing runs … could be the dreaded “trap”…. still think we come out this Sunday with 4-0 record

Ken S: On 790 yesterday they were singing :
When the Saints go O and 3
Oh when the Saints go O and 3.
Lord I dont want to be in that city
With the Saints go O and 3.

Paddy O

September 25th, 2012
12:42 pm

the Falcons are in a unique position (key up the music for TD); normally, a team so loaded with passing capacity can’t run the ball. We can. Plus, we’ve got very good RB depth – so if Turner IS slow, Snelling & Quizz can pick him up. Simply remarkable the change on defense. However, I have noticed one “best practices” we don’t seem to employ – when our RB gets stacked up by the defense, I don’t see our O line men giving the pile a shove forward to help us gain an extra yard or two, a bit peculiar.

Paddy O

September 25th, 2012
1:00 pm

A bit ironic from last post, folks who deny the existence of Smitty Ball trying to tell folks who believe it exists what is, and what is not, Smitty ball – reminds of atheists telling Christians where they are not living up to their religion. Smitty ball in and of itself is NOT a problem in the slightest of the running back gaining yards. However, consistently running Mike Turner into a brick wall betweent he tackles – say in more than 1 possession during the game – or through multiple possessesions in a quarter (like banging your head against the wall, or beating a dead horse relentlessly) are telltale signs OF Smitty Ball. Essentially, it requires the USE of Mike Turner in a specific manner that chronically fails, while expecting the passing offense (which by definition since you are implementing Smitty Ball – you don’t trust to execute) to pull your smoking butt out of the fire on a series of 3rd & longs. Using Quizz & Snelling fundamentally disrupts the perception of Smitty Ball as commonly recognized. I think Screen Pass posted a very funny Nazi video satire of folks lamenting the potential rejection and eviction of Smitty Ball; that was a nice summary of quintessential Smitty Ball. If we keep beating opponents by 3 scores, it is a dead issue. Nice season so far. In Nolan, I trust!

Paddy O

September 25th, 2012
1:04 pm

I’ll also freely state that any misgivings I’ve had on the hiring of Welcome Back Koetter have pretty much vanished. Denver & SD are good -most likely playoff – teams. WE outplayed both. And, I don’t see how you detect a pattern in our player on either side of the ball – we have coordinators NOW customize our attack to our opponent – makes us lethal, provided we execute. It appears we actually DID have the talent to excel in a varied and dynamic offense/defense the last few years – just some recently departed professionals were not up to the task of tapping that ability. Reflects on them, not us, IMHO! GO FALCONS!!

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
1:23 pm

In consecutive gms, and on a short week that included a cross country trip, our OL has gone up against 2 of the NFLs best pass rushing DEFs and done an outstanding job of more than holding their own. Can you believe this is the identical OL that last yr had to have 2 starters replaced? What a difference a competent OL coach can make, along with an OC with an actual NFL OFF scheme, approach, and play calling ability.

I know I’ve posted at least 2-3 articles that mentioned how Nolan’s DEF schemes and aggressive approach have historically created some of the NFLs best safeties, like Ed Reed. Is it just me, or does it apprear that our pass rushers are going after the QB with more vigar and aggressiveness than in the past? Even when we fake the blitz and drop everyone back into pass coverage, and rush only 4 DLinemen, we’re still either forcing the QB out of the pocket or causing him to develop happy feet.

The Chargers have always been known for maintaining a prolific scoring OFF. But now they’re having to go back and determine the last time anyone held them to a FG, especially at home. I believe the last time it happened was in 1999. I found it very interesting that the announcer repeatedly commented on ASamuels reputation of not being much of a hitter or contributor in run support. I actually brought that up right after we acquired him this summer, and boy were I wrong.

I just love it when I’m wrong like that.

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
1:31 pm

PADDYO-I’m certain you can remember the knock down drag out battle SCREEN PASS and I had over the hiring of Koetter. I thought it was an outstanding move, and he didn’t think much of it at all based on last yrs lack of success in Jacksonville. I have no doubt he’s very pleased to be wrong on this one, as I would be in the same situation.

It is now blatantly obvious that TD and Smitty placed the entre blame for our OFF and DEF problems of the past squarely in the laps of OC Mularkey, DC VanGorder, OL coach Boudreaux, and not any of the players, except maybe MLB CLofton.

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
1:33 pm

As I said before, I have not problem with Smittyball in the lead, his results speak for itself….

But when we got a few TDs down in the past, I did not like the lack of urgency…But since we have yet to fall behind this year, it is too early how our playcalling well be. My guess is we will not stubbornly stick to a grinding gameplan when we fall behind early.

Also, ref missed the PI call, but it is rarely called on that play…As for the play itself, too inconclusive to change anything….Somebody was going home angry.


September 25th, 2012
1:42 pm

Matty B
good point–usually by this point in the season we’d have faced some serious adversity and disappointment–feels good, though, don’t it?

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
1:53 pm

Absolutely Wayne, Smittys game plan is to come out, get the lead, and grind it out. It is old school, but effective. However, there is a time you have to abandon your game plan, and go to “plan b” if you fall behind early, sometimes you just gotta accept the only way you can win is win a shootout. So, it remains to be seen….I think people are WAY to critical of Smitty…and that is OK, but man up when you are wrong..

I saw where the cage spend a lot of time being critical of Baker, Reynolds, and Smitty for the perception that he is sticking with them becuase he is some old dottering fool scared of change…Now that our Oline is keeping matty upright, some kudos to Baker, Reynolds, and especially Smitty are on order…And for those of you who watched Aaron Rogers get sacked 75 times last night, realize, the NFL aint that easy, no matter how good everyone thinks you are.


September 25th, 2012
1:55 pm

The players are obviously excited on both sides of the ball. It’s like they had hunger pains building up for the past couple of years and are now enjoying a feast. Makes it a bunch of fun to be a fan right now.

Screen Pass

September 25th, 2012
2:16 pm

“I’m certain you can remember the knock down drag out battle SCREEN PASS and I had over the hiring of Koetter. I thought it was an outstanding move, and he didn’t think much of it at all based on last yrs lack of success in Jacksonville. I have no doubt he’s very pleased to be wrong on this one, as I would be in the same situation. ” – KS

The archives are over on the right just so you know. Koetter being an improvement over MM isn’t saying much at all. My concern with Koetter and my battles with you are in that archive, perhaps you should go back and read them, they are pretty funny. I said Turner wouldn’t fit well and so far that has proven mostly true. You said Koetter and his ZBS blocking schemes were the reason for MJD’s success. I haven’t seen us switching to a ZBS yet and Koetters run blocking scheme don’t appear to be successful or fan favorites yet. The biggest concern I have with Koetter is after many years in college and the NFL he hasn’t changed and adapted much at all. He did not or could not change his offense to help out a struggling QB in B. Gabbert and instead of making adustments he simply overused MJD. The Coryell principles Koetter employs are a very talent dependent scheme…he has plenty of that here so the success he is enjoying is not unforeseen nor out of the ordinary. The rest of the NFL will adjust sooner or later and the thing we need to be wary of is whether Koetter can adjust after that happens.

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
2:40 pm

We won’t know until the playoffs of Koetter and Nolan are an improvement…Barring injury, there is NOTHING that happens in week 3 that has any forebearing of what will happen in the playoffs.

How did Green Bay look unbeatable going 18-0 (or whatever), then rather ordinary going 2-4 in their last 6 games? That is what the NFL is all about…Koetter, and even Nolan, have not proven ANYTHING yet, other than they can get us off to a good start…but nothing that MM or BVD could’nt do.

Really, if I were to say what looks different, it is Matty’s skill level…..He completed 70% of his passes in one game last year…He has done that twice this year, and is averaging 72%….BUT his average per completion is DOWN almost 2 yards from him rookie season….but that might be contributed to the type of games we have played.

Regardless, Ryan is looks faster and stronger, and THAT is what is going to push us to the next level, if we get there.

Screen Pass

September 25th, 2012
2:44 pm

“I think Screen Pass posted a very funny Nazi video satire of folks lamenting the potential rejection and eviction of Smitty Ball; that was a nice summary of quintessential Smitty Ball. If we keep beating opponents by 3 scores, it is a dead issue. Nice season so far. In Nolan, I trust!” – Paddy O

I can’t really take credit for that even tho it was hilarious. I don’t often have much nice to say about the troll board but this “Group 2″ video ( ) is great stuff. Our running attack has been pretty dismal even with the supposed “magic Cooter blocking schemes” so I am still not sure if Smitty has turned the corner or he is just waiting for a couple of good runs to go back to his old ways.


September 25th, 2012
2:51 pm

D3 – Great work as alwasy brother1 you continue to be the best in the business… and you aint even in the biz?!?!?!?

Couple quick thoughts:

1. Thrilled ot be 3-0. Keep pinching myself and hoping we don’t falter against the Panthers. But I for the first time in about 20 games, I am confident we can beat anybody and likely will. Last year, I always wondered if we’d play up to potential.

2. Love the killer instinct I see developing on D and O. you make a good point that Smitty has been successful with his conservative nature. So, as I always have done, kudos to him. More importantly, if he can hone this killer instinct, we are likely to take the next step. The team plays with a better confidence and attitude. Regardless, it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable to watch.

3. I have said that I thought DeCoud and Moore could be the best S tandem in the NFL. I started to doubt that last year. I don’t know what Nolan’s telling those guys, but dang!!!! They are both playing awesome!

Psych to be a Falcon fan. Great job guys. Keep up the great work.

BTW, what the hell happened to Abe? Very weird.

Paddy O

September 25th, 2012
2:54 pm

thank SP! “what’s wrong with being 3rd & 8 all game long?”


September 25th, 2012
2:56 pm

1) Very happy. We look great out there and the Chargers game really sealed it for me.

2) Yes. I expected them to improve under Nolan, but they DeCoud and Moore have surpassed my expectations. I look forward to seeing what they are going to do Sunday against Carolina.

3) I’m torn on the run balance mainly because we all know Turner needs to get warmed up before he starts to burn. It seems that, for him to be very effective, he needs more touches. At the same time, I love what Quizz can do when he gets the ball and I can’t wait to see Antone Smith in action.

4) Yessir!!!

5) Our starters are very good. I just pray we have no injuries.

6) I don’t think we’re due for a slowdown mainly because of Nolan’s ability to mix it up and confuse offenses. If the interceptions decrease, the fumbles will increase as we get to the QB more.

7) Yes, as shown by your review – passes to 8 different receivers. That’s awesome in my book.

8.) Not soon, but I can see one coming in the second half of the season – as much as I hate to say it, with one of our division rivals.

9) I hope Smitty keeps the pedal to the metal. I think a lesson was learned against Denver.

10) I love it. See #9.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
3:06 pm

How did Green Bay look unbeatable going 18-0 (or whatever), then rather ordinary going 2-4 in their last 6 games? That is what the NFL is all about…Koetter, and even Nolan, have not proven ANYTHING yet, other than they can get us off to a good start…but nothing that MM or BVD could’nt do.

I disagree.

For one thing, that was a Green Bay team that had won the SB the year before. For another thing, they lost to the hottest team – one that ended up winning the SB.

Koetter and Nolan have proven that they can prepare our guys for games better than the former Coordinators could, that they can get better results out of the existing parts so far, and that they can make adjustments.

Ryan’s success isn’t just about his own work ethic…his work ethic has been there. Read the articles and the quotes. There is a new attitude around Flowery Branch. Ryan has a much better relationship with Koetter than he had with Mularkey, the offense is flowing better than it ever has, and it is NOT depending on the running of Michael Turner. How can that not be obvious? Every player quoted is ecstatic about the new Coordinators. Nolan is getting better play out of our two starting safeties than anybody thought possible, our LB corps is murdering the opposition without using a MLB….

You can keep handing most of the credit to Smitty and I’ll say this – I give him credit for hiring better Coordinators and letting them do what they do. He deserves full credit for learning and changing his style, and improving as a manager. Full credit.

But to discredit the Coordinators…that was the offseason plan and why the team didn’t go out and draft/sign a bunch of different players, instead choosing to keep most of their own. Discrediting the Coordinators for what are clearly very obvious changes is akin to saying that the offseason plan instituted by Dimitroff and Smitty under the oversight of Arthur Blank, was silly.

And I know you don’t want to discredit Smitty on anything, so maybe you’d like to rethink that statement….

I’ll agree nothing is fully proven until the postseason, but you prepare for that in the regular season. Last I looked, having a good enough record in the regular season is what GETS you to the postseason and learning how to beat the good teams during the regular season TEACHES you how to beat the postseason teams….because the only teams making the playoffs are the good ones…..

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
3:27 pm

Regardless, Ryan is looks faster and stronger, and THAT is what is going to push us to the next level, if we get there.

Yes he does. The strength is all about his offseason work in the weight room. But what’s faster about him? How quickly he’s getting the ball out of his hands and to the receiving targets. That would be coaching, play design, etc. You can thank Koetter.

Of course, we can also thank Pat Hill and his gang of hogs that are doing better than they did last season by a long shot. Ryan has at times had several seconds to stand in the pocket and choose a target.

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
3:44 pm

Last I looked, having a good enough record in the regular season is what GETS you to the postseason….Well, yea, and MM or BVG were good enough here.

learning how to beat the good teams during the regular season TEACHES you how to beat the postseason teams…Now see, that is a birdcage made up “fact” to justify the “reasons” for our post season woes. There is nothing to support that statement, on the contrary, The last 2 superbowl winners LOST 7 regular season games, so if they were beating all the “good” teams, who were they losing to?

In 2010 WE BEAT the eventual superbowl champion, the exact team that beat us in the playoffs 3 weeks later, where was the lesson learned there?

Here is the deal, our players grew tired of our old coordinators, who are good football men. BVG just shut down the #1 college team in the nation, and MM is has notched a W, and been competitive with what was the worst starting QB in the league last year. Nor reason to blame them for our past failures.

Nolan and K are off the wizbang starts, but there is a very long, long way to go. And sure, all the players are all smiles, but we won’t know who we respond to adversity until adversity hits. We all saw what happened to MM and BVG when adversity hit, hence, the needed changes. hopefully these two new guys will fare better.

Finally, Ryan looks stronger and faster, maybe his development is due to Koetter and his scheme, or maybe it is the culmination of 5 years of learning and the building blocks of hard work….I am not yet ready to award Koetter honors due to Ice’s development.

I will say this

Paddy O

September 25th, 2012
3:50 pm

matty – if you think we would be 3-0 and with MM & BVG, you may have a serious delusion problem. No way we hold up Denver with the old 2 coordinators.

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
3:52 pm

And while I credit Mr Hill for our line play, the previous OL coach worked miracles in 08-10 with the rag tag bunch he inherited. Last year, baker was hurt, and Reynolds was new at his position. I credit Smitty for taking the heat, not going all kneejerk and bring in a new set of eyes, and know going all kneejerk and putting other linemen in just for the sake of change.

Fact is, we are judging all the previous coaches on their 4 full season of failures, while completely discounting all their success, then we get a could new guy in, and in 3 games, are saying Ah HA told ya so. ….My point, MM and BVG set the bar high, a lot higher than you guys credit, for these new coaches to show improvement. When we get that playoff win, we can all tip our glasses, but they don’t give trophies out in September.

Matty Bicep

September 25th, 2012
3:55 pm

Paddy, you have no proof to make that statement. BVG and MM got us to 13-3….Look, I am not saying we were wrong in getting rid of them, but I am saying 3-0, and looking DAM GOOD doing it does not really mean much in the long term validation of them being “better” coaches.

Again, MM and BVG hit the roadblock and adversity ate them up….Until we hit that obsticle, I don’t know how things will work out with these guys….but I think Ice is just better than he ever was, and that alone might push us to the next level.

JB Falcon

September 25th, 2012
3:55 pm

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