Atlanta Falcons: Birds Dominate Eagles

Falcons Crush Eagles in Philly

Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

BOOM! (Michael Perez)

Everyone in the world has seemingly questioned their record and asked whether they are “for real” or not. Any unbiased and logical person has their answer from Sunday in Philadelphia. The Atlanta Falcons dominated the Eagles, a great source of anguish the last few years, on the road in Philly. The Birds excelled from the opening whistle and only let up a touch when the game was essentially out of reach. Matt Ryan and the offense got back to their old ways and lit up the scoreboard, not even needing Matt Bosher’s punting until the fourth quarter. The defense shut down a “hungry” Eagles offense ready to explode with all their talent. Special teams took care of their business in a hostile environment with less-than-ideal conditions. Simply put, yes this team is for real and anyone who says they aren’t after Sunday shows their true biased opinion. This is not to say that the Falcons won’t have their bad days, but they are every bit deserving of their undefeated record. A look at the huge win……….

Ryan, Offense Back to Awesome

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) and fullback Jason Snelling (44) react after Ryan threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Snelling during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Ryan and Co. Rolling Again (Mel Evans)

After the blowing the doors off their opponents offensively the first three weeks, the Falcons looked rather pedestrian the following three. With a particularly weak performance against the Oakland Raiders at home. Many hoped the bye week would provide some help and answers. It certainly did. Matt Ryan was back to his surgical self at QB, slicing and dicing the Eagles defense, completing 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. All the while, Ryan spread the ball around to 7 different receivers in the process. Major kudos to Dirk Koetter for calling an excellent game, complete with many screens that kept the Eagles pass rush in check. Julio Jones had a huge day. Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Jason Snelling piled on 146 yards rushing and the offensive line looked as good as it has all season. Here’s to hoping the Falcons offense keeps on rolling along.

Running Game Split Looked Great

Michael Turner may not be the happiest player in the world now that he’s had his touches and carries cut back, but the Falcons rushing attack finally had a big day. Turner still got almost 50% of the carries, but the Birds gave both Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling plenty of touches in the game and it paid off. A trend in the NFL has developed to using a two back, or even three back, system that doesn’t depend solely on one feature back to carry the entire load. A question was posed back in the off-season on what kind of split would be best for the Falcons in 2012 and the games against the Eagles may have provided the best blueprint to date.

Credit to the Offensive Line, Konz

No position has been beat up more than the Falcons offensive line. Some thought an imminent collapse was coming with the Falcons and their problems on the OL. Well, they put some doubters to rest in Philadelphia on Sunday. They were much better in run blocking, protected Matt Ryan as good as they have all season, and overall had an excellent game. Many had been clamoring for the Falcons to inject something new into the OL in order to give it a much needed boost. Peter Konz shouldn’t get all the credit the improved play, but he looked pretty darn good in his first start in the NFL. He got overpowered one time that led to Ryan’s only sack, but otherwise he added a nice boost to the offensive line, perhaps in visual imagery alone. Tyson Clabo and Sam Baker both held up well against the Eagles talented pass rushers and Justin Blalock was his normal solid self. Todd McClure gets much of the credit for leading this OL through dark times and, hopefully, to brighter days. It was only one game, but it sure was a sight for sore Falcons fans eyes. An improved rushing attack coupled with many screens also helped out the OL.

Can’t Throw the Deep Ball, eh?

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek, center, is tackled by Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud (28) and defensive end Kroy Biermann (71) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Here Comes the Bier Truck! (Mel Evans)

Noodle arm. Weak arm. Can’t throw the deep ball. Has no deep game. These have been many trolls favorite garbage excuses when trying to denigrate Matt Ryan. It’s true he didn’t have a cannon like Jeff George or Matthew Stafford, but he could always throw the ball plenty far enough. Can those ridiculous attack lines finally be put to rest already? He’s thrown plenty of deep balls throughout his career, but after putting in a ton of work over the off-season, Ryan has a new comfort in the deep game and it shows. Look no further than his last minute bomb to Roddy White against the Carolina Panthers, from his own endzone nonetheless. But the cherry on top was the beautifully thrown ball to Julio Jones on a 63 yard touchdown strike zooming by supposedly one of the very best cornerbacks in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha.

Biermann Shouldn’t Come Off the Field

Some scoffed at the price the Falcons paid Kroy Biermann to come back to Atlanta, saying it was way too much to pay a “backup.” Some thought that Biermann may very well be the biggest beneficiary of Mike Nolan’s new defense, and sure enough, he’s right up there. His stats won’t blow you away (30 total tackles, 2 sacks), but he’s been all over the field the entire season. Biermann has played with his hand in the dirt rushing the QB, but he’s also been playing as a standup LB where he has plenty of freedom to roam around the outside or move to the inside. His hustle and tenacity was on full display against the Eagles. With Philadelphia in desperation mode towards the end of the game, Biermann turned one of the best plays of the game. He rushed Vick from the outside and beat not one, but two-to-three defenders and chased him down for a sack. With all due respect to Ray Edwards, Biermann should be on the field all the time. His toughness and versatility is one of the Falcons best strengths.

Robert McClain’s a Keeper

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

OL Looked Fantastic (Mel Evans)

It was one of the bigger surprises when roster cut day came down. Robert McClain, a rarely known cornerback from Connecticut who had bounced around the NFL for several years, had won one of the coveted 53 man roster spots. Not too many gave much thought to it since the Falcons boasted Asante Samuel, Brent Grimes, and Dunta Robinson. But when Brent Grimes was lost for the season in the opener and Chris Owens suffered a concussion against the Broncos, McClain was forced into action as the nickel back. His first play only resulted in a Peyton Manning interception. McClain has taken advantage ever since. McClain is quick, tough, and always seems to be in the right position. He had good coverage and some nice hits, with his most important one coming when he forced Michael Vick out of bounds right before the 1st down marker. He already has 3 passes defensed on the year. McClain is moving out of “roster backup” territory and into possibly having a future as a potential starter. For a team searching so long for youthful talent at cornerback, the Falcons may have finally found one.

Love that 3 DT Front

Not only was it fantastic to see Corey Peters back in action, it was also great to see Mike Nolan mix it up on a defensive front. Instead of having the traditional 2 defensive tackles and 2 defensive ends, Nolan put a 3 defensive tackle front on the line, mostly with Peters, Jonathan Babineaux, and Vance Walker. It paid dividends and held one of the league’s most dynamic backs, Lesean McCoy, pretty well in check. Many wondered early on whether or not Babineaux was athletic enough to hold the end in a 3-4 type look and the early returns are promising. Above all, it was nice to see Nolan mixing it up on defense after having 4 years of standard deployment week in and week out.

Drew Davis Takes Advantage

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, center right, reacts with wide receiver Drew Davis, center, after the two connected for a 15-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Drew Davis Earning a Role (Michael Perez)

Like McClain, Drew Davis has earned his chance the hard way. A former Oregon standout, Davis worked on the Falcons practice squad all year last season. He was thought to be in a two way battle with Kevin Cone for the 5th and final spot. At the time, most thought spots 1 through 4 were taken, with Kerry Meier being penciled in at the #4 wide receiver position. Funny thing was that Meier ended up getting cut, Kevin Cone made the roster, but late signee Tim Toone grabbed the 5th and final spot. Davis was relegated to practice squad duty again only to get called up soon after with Toone getting injured. To make a long story short, Davis put in his time, finally got his chance when Harry Douglas was injured, and made the absolute most of it. He only caught two passes, but one of them was a thing of beauty hauling in a touchdown and tapping the sidelines. The Falcons have always been set at receiver with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Harry Douglas, but it turns out it may be even more talented than some thought.

Falcons Need to Lock Up Vance Walker

Perhaps the most underrated Falcon on the roster outside of Justin Blalock, Vance Walker is steadily turning into one of the most solid players on the defense and the overall team. A 7th round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, Walker has always been excellent role player, but he may be growing out of that role and into a more prominent one. He already has 12 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble on the season. He’s listed as 6’2, 304, but he certainly looks bigger than that. In his last year of a restricted free agent contract, the former Yellow Jacket will be set to hit the free agent market in 2013. Walker seems like a perfect candidate to bring back and develop alongside Corey Peters, Peria Jerry, and maybe Travian Robertson. The Falcons may not have that enormous beast at nose tackle that some defenses do, but collectively, it’s looking like a very strong group and Walker is one of the main reasons.

The Media-Talking-Heads-Elite “Excuse Rolodex”

Atlanta Falcons fullback Jason Snelling, right, gestures as teammate Drew Davis (19) reacts after Snelling scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan, not pictured, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Snelling's Got it Right Regarding the "Media Elite" (Mel Evans)

For the most part, Falcons fans have accepted and come to peace with the Media-Talking-Heads-Elite seeming bias against Atlanta both in the past and this current edition. It seems to be moving goalpost or that they have an “excuse rolodex” where the Falcons shoot down one of their biased opinions, they simply insert another one. First it was a soft schedule the Falcons played. Then it was Peyton Manning throwing those interceptions all on his own. Then it was the Falcons can’t run the ball. Then it was the Falcons can’t stop the run. Then it was the Falcons should be ashamed for having to come back to beat the lowly Panthers. Then it was Robert Griffin III getting injured and then the Falcons eeking out wins and possibly being the worst early undefeated team in history. With a great road test against a quality opponent, the Falcons dominated in every aspect of the game. And what was the story line after the game? The Eagles “collapsing, Vick possibly getting benched, and Andy Reid’s job security.” Did the Falcons even play in that game?

Of course when all else fails, just go to the fail-safe “they haven’t won in the playoffs” standard attack line. Or if that’s not your cup of tea, just ignore, ignore, ignore. The day after the game (Monday) a check of NFL.com had not one snippett, headline, buzz feed, article, opinion, nothing on the Falcons, but had all you can eat of the drama with the Jets, Cowboys, and Eagles. Maybe wins don’t matter that much anymore, but rather soap-opera style stories. Perhaps the NFL can merge their network with SoapNet and it would be a fantastic coup for everyone. Fact is, most Falcons fans find it humourous and don’t really get that bothered by it anymore. As Todd McClure said referring to the “media elite”: “I hope it stays that way,” McClure said. “I’m sure it will come to a point where they’ll start talking about us. The only time we really want them talking about us is in February.” Hopefully, it’s at least providing the players some motivation this season.

The Bird Cage Brethren’s Turn

1) Simple quick draw: how big was this win?

2) Is the offense back to normal……for good?

3) How did you like the RB split? Should it change more?

4) Happy with the offensive line? Thoughts on Konz?

5) Matt Ryan can’t throw the deep ball, right?

6) Should Biermann play an even more prominent role?

7) Does Robert McClain have a future as a starter?

8.) Thoughts on the 3 DT front?

9) Has Drew Davis cemented a role even when HD comes back?

10) Should the Falcons bring back Walker to a multi-year deal?Y

11) How do you like the Media-Talking-Head-Elite’s “Excuse Rolodex?” Gotta hate those Falcons, right?

747 comments Add your comment

phil

October 29th, 2012
10:05 pm

First troll…..lol

Well done, birds!

phil

October 29th, 2012
10:16 pm

Great piece…..well done. Thanks.

I’ll be in a minority, no doubt but……

Thing is, we haven’t won a playoff game. That does matter ultimately. Maybe this is the year. I’m trying like heck to believe it is.

D3

October 29th, 2012
10:23 pm

Finally, a good and objective article on our Falcons. Took some serious searching……..

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/nfl-rapidreports/20738395/falcons-address-deficiencies-prove-they-are-the-nfls-best

The potential narrative on the Falcons is that the Eagles are reeling, Michael Vick and Andy Reid’s jobs are both in turmoil, and Philadelphia’s newly installed defensive coordinator didn’t know what hit him. But that’s not it.

The Falcons are good. In fact, they’re the standard and by this point, people should start accepting it.

Almost identical to what I just wrote.

phil — I think we all agree with that, but there’s not a d@mn thing we can do about that right now except what we’re doing……….winning. I never really understand the obsession with “winning in the playoffs” crap anyway if you don’t win the whole thing. Mark Sanchez won a lot in the playoffs. Joe Flacco has won a lot in the playoffs. Hell, even Tebow and Tony Romo won in the playoffs. How’s that working out for them right about now?

snacktastic

October 29th, 2012
10:36 pm

Good post as always, D3.

I think I’ll sit back and read what the rest of the Cage has to say. The Falcons must be salivating at the thought of the Cowboys at home next week.

falcon21

October 29th, 2012
10:43 pm

#7, it’s too early to tell, I did pick up on a few mistakes he made yesterday but he is a rook. Overall he had a good game. I think he is a keeper but we will see. I do like him a hell of a lot better than I do Franks.

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Big O

October 29th, 2012
10:48 pm

Yes, Biermann should play every snap. Replace Dent with him. Dent appears to be too easily blocked and seldom at the center of the action. DLED, tell us why Sidbury is no longer playing. Is he out of favor with Nolan. Sidbury has lots of athleticism and he has LB/Safety speed. I think Nolan should experiment with him and see how he looks at other positions like they’re doing with Biermann.

Wabe

October 29th, 2012
11:11 pm

Good post on the other blog about the Bears BR.

I think the Bears are a good team. I don’t think folks are only behind them now because of what they’ve shown this season, but how they got hot last season before Cutler/Forte got hurt.

Regardless, they haven’t proven they can beat the Packers, which is something that’s gotta be troubling considering:
a) they’re in your division
b) they’re a team you’ll potentially see in the postseason

Matter of fact, they haven’t proven they can beat a good team yet.

Let the haters hate man. The more they hate, the more it means we’re winning.

Wabe

October 29th, 2012
11:13 pm

And D3, not surprised to see it was another cbssports article that you’ve posted. Their contributors have actually given us some love today. I’ve seen 2 to 3 articles now about the Falcons being legit.

BSPN on the other hand…that’s a different story.

I heard Colin Cowherd today say that the Falcons aren’t even a top 5 team in his eyes LMAO! Shock value sells I guess.

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Elizabeth

October 29th, 2012
11:27 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this article. so true!

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Coop

October 29th, 2012
11:45 pm

Great read D3!

Coop

October 29th, 2012
11:51 pm

I’ve been singing Walker’s praises. Agree, play him more. I’m not down on Jerry or high on Peters, but Walker is an anchor. He isn’t quite Grady, but he’s the big body I’ve been begging for. I is crucial to the 4-3.

Love McClain. First, he wears my favorite number. But he is always in the play and goes hard. Definitely better than Owens and Franks… Maybe Grimes. On Grimes, can we all agree not to waste any more money on that douche?

Love getting Drew involved. Do like the Packers and scare the s out of teams with all your receivers. Put in Cone for an end around.

Robert

October 30th, 2012
12:07 am

Fantastic Article Go Falcons!!

Coop

October 30th, 2012
12:08 am

Sending hate mail to ESPN, Mike and Mike, and Cowherd! Feel better!

atlfalconsfan0125

October 30th, 2012
12:31 am

Can we not talk about the playoffs, until playoff time? We cant win a playoff game in Oct, whats the point of talking about it? And if we had won any one of the playoff games that we lost and got out the the next round, would things be different right now?

What good are playoff wins if you dont get a ring? The 90s Bills won many playoff games, are they thumping their chest now? nope. Its all about the rings people. Winning playoff games dont mean a damn thing, unless you get rings.

Slant Pattern

October 30th, 2012
12:46 am

“Screw all that. The Eagles didn’t just quit. We MADE them quit by b!tch-slapping them in the face, and they didn’t want no more o’ that. Plain and simple.” – BR

Agree fully. I am actually getting great comedic relief listening to the media fktards spinning their silly tales. I am happy to stay under the radar and let the other teams underrate us. It makes them cry more and their tears sweeter to collect after we stomp em’.

Today has been my “savor” the win day for a bit because the past few games made me more mad than happy at first. Think I got some bad tacos so I don’t feel like big props or discussing flaws atm. Hopefully this passes and I’ll feel like it tommorrow. Good post D3 as always.

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phil

October 30th, 2012
6:36 am

To be perfectly clear….

I want to win a super bowl. Mere playoff wins, no thanks. But we do have to start with a couple!

Ray

October 30th, 2012
6:56 am

In the early morning I’m going to say this.

With what we have going on I’m not going to assume Superbowl yet, but so far into this season we should be at least coming home with playoff victories in all seriousness.

When the season began I doubted Nolan, and Koetter very bad. In fact I remember being upset when we didn’t get Mario Williams, but after this 7-0 start I now know my place.

Cause we all try to be armchair managers, but yet never fully knows what ails this team. Still though 7-0 for the first time ever has to feel great at some point damn it lol.

What will make this even sweeter than beating Vick and the Eagles is being Tony Homo and the Cowgirls here at home lol.

waynester

October 30th, 2012
7:33 am

I believe we SHOULD beat the Cowboys handily but anyone who watched the 2nd half of the Giants game knows that Dallas is capable of hanging with anybody when they’re not committing stupid turnovers. Smitty said basically the same thing in his Monday presser. I expect us to win but don’t expect the ‘Girls to give us as many freebies as they gave Coughlin & Co. The team’s confidence level is understandably high and the star-hats understandably low so we should take full advantage of them while they’re down. This is Garrett’s last chance to turn his team around and save his job, so we’d best be ready for their best shot…..

Wabe

October 30th, 2012
7:44 am

Quick thought…

I actually wanna give Koetter props on his gameplan. It’s obvious in our self-scouting week, Smitty/Koetter realized the vast difference in production for Ryan and this offense when the O-Line protects vs. doesn’t. The first 3 weeks, Ryan stayed relatively clean, he was at like 11 TD’s vs. 2 INT’s. The following weeks, teams got to him. And as a result, the INT’s went up, and production of the offense in general slid a bit.

So, what does Koetter do? Well, we had plenty of screens designed to get the Iggles to think twice about sending heat and even to get their D-line thinking bout it. And these screens actually looked pretty creative in design. Fake a screen to the RB one way and set up Julio on a WR screen. I like the design of that. I really do hope they continue to find intricate ways to keep the screen game relevant, and continue to work on some wrinkles with it. Will say though, it would be nice to work on the execution of our screens to the RB’s. Those were somewhat effective, but not all that effective. The timing/blocking just didn’t seem to be there.

But, overall, gotta credit Koetter here for seeing the need to adjust, and actually adjusting somewhat. I know it may also have had something to do with the firing of Castillo and the thought that Bowles might get after us. But, in general, it was a good gameplan to have after watching the abuse Ryan’s been taking over the past 2-3 weeks.

Zoomie

October 30th, 2012
7:51 am

“1) Simple quick draw: how big was this win?” Big. The most impressive thing about it was how business-like the Falcons looked as they methodically countered every move the Eagles made. This is one of the most impressive games I’ve seen yet under CMS.

“2) Is the offense back to normal……for good?” Don’t know. MR2 was in control in this one. Let’s see how he responds as the stakes get raised. He got confused by the Panthers sitting on the WR routes and flustered by the pressure from Oakland. Be nice to know he’s hit his “Zen,” but let’ see how the O responds when someone seriously and consistently strikes back.

“3) How did you like the RB split? Should it change more?” Absolutely loved what they did with the running game in this one!

“4) Happy with the offensive line? Thoughts on Konz?” O-line gets an A grade across the board.

“5) Matt Ryan can’t throw the deep ball, right?” MR2 has all the physical skills necessary to be an elite QB in the NFL.

“6) Should Biermann play an even more prominent role?” Biermann is all over the field as it is, involved in nearly every defensive play. Don’t change a thing!

“7) Does Robert McClain have a future as a starter?” Possibly. He certainly stepped up and got noticed in this game.

“8.) Thoughts on the 3 DT front?” Loved it! Have to commit more beef to protection to counter it. This is some of the “hybrid” look kinda stuff we expected to see from Nolan. Man, I’m glad we hooked Nolan instead of Spags!

“9) Has Drew Davis cemented a role even when HD comes back?” Big, fast, tough guy. I think this kind of diverse weaponry is right in Koetter’s wheelhouse. There’s just too much to defend; opposition is forced to pick their poison. I believe we’ll see continued situational use of Davis when HD comes back.

“10) Should the Falcons bring back Walker to a multi-year deal?” Would like to see more out of Walker before deciding this one ay or the other.

“11) How do you like the Media-Talking-Head-Elite’s “Excuse Rolodex?” Gotta hate those Falcons, right?” Couldn’t care less. The Falcons are my team; don’t care what the has-beens and never-weres have to say about it. If they get their hearts broke because some team from the south comes up and spoils the season of their favorite “storied franchises,” that’s their problem, not mine. Hopefully, it won’t have a long-lasting, deleterious affect on their health.

But, even if it does,I don’t care . . .

J85

October 30th, 2012
8:11 am

1) Simple quick draw: how big was this win?
Pretty big.
Offense was great, simple as that.
defense was very good, especially keeping mccoy in check and vick out of his comfort zone

2) Is the offense back to normal……for good?
I don’t think they’re back to normal “for good”.
The way I see it, we’ll see more ugly games with perhaps some ugly losses, but I do not care at all.
There should be no way we lose our division to any other team, so playoffs are in reach. I do not care whether we’re 1st or 6th seed, but I do care whether we’ve got some playcalling magic up our sleeve, for come playoff time.
My proposition is: keep calling the plays with the looks from the previous games, that’ll win you enough games, although it will make us look uglier than we are as the opponents can prep for that.

3) How did you like the RB split? Should it change more?
I don’t think it changed much from past weeks. The only thing is, opposed to previous weeks, quizz hitted the hole when he could, rushing the football for one very big gain.

4) Happy with the offensive line? Thoughts on Konz?
Yes, happy with the line and happy that Konz got his chance. I think he had a solid game, but will need more tape to evaluate him better.

5) Matt Ryan can’t throw the deep ball, right?
Yes he can this year, like he showed in earlier games.

6) Should Biermann play an even more prominent role?
No, I even think some things are overdone (such as putting him in deep coverages on several looks). That does not take away he’s a very good mixup on our defense, keeping the offense guessing to what’s coming.

7) Does Robert McClain have a future as a starter?
I like him a lot. Especially his open field formtackle on Cam Newton was a piece of art. does that make him a starter? Yes for this year, not for next year, unless Grimey stays put and doesn’t understand he can’t have all that money, then McClain should start.

8.) Thoughts on the 3 DT front?
I think it can only work if the OLB covers up the outside on the “strong” DT side, so inside holes should be covered well, but it did show a lot of promise.

9) Has Drew Davis cemented a role even when HD comes back?
Not cemented, but he can give additional looks against defenses that aren’t deep at DB.

10) Should the Falcons bring back Walker to a multi-year deal?Y
Yes, absolutely.

11) How do you like the Media-Talking-Head-Elite’s “Excuse Rolodex?” Gotta hate those Falcons, right?
Let them be, we’ll talk again once they turn the Bias page.
Hello CBS :)

Wings

October 30th, 2012
8:30 am

D3 you have given us another great article. I know it must take a lot of your time to do this blog, and I know it is not easy to put together a 2-4 page article that communicates and holds interest. The fact that the same cage members are here every day to read and post is really an appreciation of your dedication. Thanks!

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Hamad Meander

October 30th, 2012
9:15 am

I loved the (3) DT front as well. It’s so refreshing to see innovation on both sides of the ball. I even like it when they try something weird and it doesn’t work (i.e. Hawley as a TE). This team is really exciting and tickets will be harder and harder to get this season.

Grey cloud in the silver lining – if this team wins the Superbowl, how fast does that new stadium get pushed through? Seat licenses anyone?

Fan since 66

October 30th, 2012
9:26 am

D3, Great article…I appreciate D’Led and his passion for the ‘Birds, but I’m starting a letter writing campaign to the AJC to get you a prominent place in the rag. Your musings are greatly anticipated each week. Great Job!
@ 7:44 (Wabe) I agree completely with u. Koetter shoulda received the game ball this week. He and Nolan are undoubtedly the best moves the Falcons made this offseason. Wonderful to be surprised by our own play calling each week! (e.g., inside shuttle pass to Snelling for 6)
I did enjoy yesterday watching the national media holding the wake in honor of the Eagles collapsing for us. I’m glad they gave us the game since we’re not really good enough to be a 7-0 team! That’s ok though…under the radar is a good thing.
Go Falcons!

Geo

October 30th, 2012
9:53 am

“Let’s have some fun out here! This game’s fun, OK? Fun goddamnit.” — Crash Davis, Bull Durham

Earlier in the year, in one of the Falcons’ State Farm Film Session videos, Todd McClure said in an offhand manner, “this year’s going to be fun.”

That’s not cockiness, that’s confidence. The team knows they have something special. They’ve been a very good regular season team for a number of years, but they know they have to take it up one more level.

And this is where the fun part comes in — they know they *can* take it up a notch. Why?

New coordinators. Both offense and defense were hamstrung by the same vanilla schemes and playcalling week after week, year after year. It was getting frustrating and boring, if not demoralizing, knowing your coaches don’t have an answer. The only time things got interesting for the offense was when Ryan was calling the plays. And that saved quite a few games.

Ryan. The Falcons’ QB has raised his game. The new offensive braintrust no doubt came in and thought, “why does the offense go through Turner? You’ve got an elite franchise QB. Act like it!” Yes, you have to run the ball, but the pass can set up the run. And if you give Ryan time, the pass can stab your opponent through the heart.

More skill on defense than we thought. New defensive coordinator comes in, Thomas Decoud has a pro bowl season. These things are related. Dunta is playing better. Moore was always a force. But again, it’s like they’ve been give permission to play.

Young players looking sharp. How many times have you watched a SF or Green Bay and been envious of the rookies and relative rookies playing and looking impressive? Why can’t our Falcons do that? Oh wait, it’s the 2012 season. Konz, McClain, Drew Davis, Quizz, superior play from all of them last Sunday.

Locker room chemistry. I don’t think this is new to this season. It seems like the Falcons have been a team-first type of crew for several seasons, but it’s at a different level now. Now they are *playing* the game instead of struggling with a stale approach, and that just brings them closer as they realize everyone is going to get their chance to contribute and put in a position to succeed.

Nobody wants a boring job, and no fan wants to watch a boring team, at least when it gets outcoached and outplayed. But the Falcons have turned the page. It’s the 2012 season. Good times.

D3

October 30th, 2012
10:03 am

Wings — Thanks man. I really do appreciate it. I’ve kind of finally got a system down and just do one good and long post a week. I figured out that any more than that wasn’t really worth it because the true excellence is in you guys and the debate and dialogue. Thanks again.

DHunt

October 30th, 2012
10:10 am

D3, I concur on the platitudes and gratitudes for this latest entry. One of your best, which is only fitting because the Falcons turned in one of their best this week.

You asked, so…
1) I’m going to pull a Smitty and say this win was no bigger than any other. We are in uncharted waters now ladies and gents. Almost every win, especially undefeated wins, will be some sort of Falcons record, milemarker, superlative, etc. Trying not to get too high, so we won’t have to go back to getting too low, if/when we don’t have a dominant game or we drop a game.

2) The offense was never “not Normal”. There’s different adversity you have to deal with each week. How we deal with it is all that matters. Thus far we’ve dealt with it to the tune of outscoring our opponents on 7 consecutive occasions. I’ll take that all day. I’m of the opinion that this offense is capable of far more than we saw against Philly, and I don’t think the Falcons are ready to settle for what they did Sunday. I think they feel that hunger to be better each week, and I think we have a lot of great moments ahead of us.

3) Wonderful, masterful job by Dirk Koetter with the scheme and the personnel. He deserves at least one week free of Monday morning coordinating. I honestly don’t know if there’s is anything at all to bitch about regarding this win.

4) The O-line got credited with 2 sacks. Both of them were CLEARLY not the fault of the O-line. Konz did the next man up thing as well as could have been done. Again, I honestly don’t know if there is anything at all to bitch about regarding this weeks O-line play. I will be perfectly content with this level of play for the rest of the year.

5)I’ve been saying for over a year, that once MR2 learns to let that ball go the moment his receiver is even with the defender, and throw it in bounds so the receiver can make a play, we will have lightning in a bottle anytime someone has the nerve to single cover Julio or Roddy on a go route. It’s never been about anything other than that. It’s actually open far more than we throw it, but I give credit to Ryan for not being greedy and playing a very smart game of grinding down defenses. I don’t need the flash each and every play. That would put the defense in the position of having to stay on the field.

6) Possibly Bierman’s best game of his career. Should have had 3 sacks but MV7 is some kind of magician when it comes to getting back to the line of scrimmage. Bierman’s key attribute is his high motor. Now why would we want to put him in the game even more, and run the risk of him getting too tired to capitalize on his best attribute? Further, there are a lot of good/very good/great players on our defensive roster, and they all have something to contribute. As was the case with Koetter, Mike Nolan’s game plan was FLAWLESS and the team executed it to near perfection. No need to Monday Morning Coordinate him either.

7) I’m loving some Robert McClain right about now. Weren’t there some major concerns about our GM and coaching staff’s ability to locate and develop talent? Is that another thing we can finally lay to rest? The depth at what was considered our weakest link last year is truly amazing. And even Chris Owens is playing well, which may mean that it wasn’t ever a personnel issue to begin with. Nolan has these guys performing at a high level.

8.) Let’s give Nolan AND Smitty a lot of credit for that 3 DT front. In fact, let’s also give some credit to Thomas Dimitroff for putting the personnel in place to make that a viable possibility. It’s been said repeatedly that this new wrinkle was instrumental in stopping the Eagles run game, and it may have had some effect, but the bigger thing was tackling. I actually like that rotation for pass rush as well because we have some very athletic Defensive Tackles. This kind of flexibility in personnel can only be a good thing as we progress through the season.

9) I think we are going to continue to see a progression of offensive plays and personnel packages as we go through the remainder of this season. Keep in mind Koetter hasn’t has a full year to implement all of the things he could possible do with all of the talent he has at his disposal. What we saw yesterday was a creative coaching mind, and I think no matter who was in the position Davis occupied yesterday, the results would have been the same. Davis gets credit for saving MR2 from a slightly overthrown back of the endzone pass with some nifty hand and footwork. His performance yesterday will definitely go a long way in giving the coaches confidence in putting him on the field and Matt confidence in looking for him and giving him chances to make plays.

10) Walker’s multi-year deal, Grimes continued employment, and possibly several other key personnel decisions are coming up. One thing is for sure, this is the Not For Long, and there will be players who get a chance to go elsewhere for more money. But I get the impression that it’s damn good to be an Atlanta Falcon right about now. Players want to be a part of something special, and on more than one occasion we’ve heard about guys wanting to come play in Atlanta. I bet Lofton is kicking himself every night about that decision he made to jump ship. Suffice it to say that in TD we trust. The Falcons front office has also earned a little decision making leeway, and I’m confident they will put the best possible team on the field.

11) I can’t stop laughing every time I think of how the Falcons are KILLING Keyshawn Johnson’s record on the BSPN weekly pickem challenge! Every week he is taking that L!! When will he learn that picking against the Birds is a bad proposition for him? Well we can be pretty sure that it won’t be this week. I’ll almost guarantee he picks the Cowboys to “upset” the Falcons. As for the rest, I’m seeing more reluctance to bad mouth the Birds, and more of the talking heads just pretending we don’t exist, so they don’t look like fools for continuing to doubt us. The story this week will be whatever will the Falcons do if our best defender isn’t on the field? If Spoon isn’t 100%, I say sit him. Next man up has been working really well for us and I have confidence that the team can and will compensate for a temporary loss, even one that critical. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the talking heads will eventually catch on the fact that this ain’t your granddaddy’s Falcons. It’s not even last year’s Falcons.

Can you say 8-0?!?!

snacktastic

October 30th, 2012
10:11 am

Heard some Dallas radio guy on 790 this morning…according to him, the Cowboys have lost their last seven appearances on Sunday Night Football.

I cannot WAIT for the beatdown we’re about to put on this team.

Paddy O

October 30th, 2012
10:13 am

If you watched the game intently, you saw Biertruck just miss two excellent tackles – he had the right form – tackling the guy on the leg as he was pulling away, but the elusive runner slipped out of his grasp – both would have been nice plays. Ken S should be pounding on the “i told you so” about mitigating a rush with screen passes and spreading the defense out – amazing how different the Eagles D line played this year, compared to the pounding when we beat them last year. Also, there was MUCH discussion of a transition from 4-3 to 3-4 – Nolan kind of slipped the whole transition in – telling folks he would really use a 3-3-5 alignment – but with Babs at DE – guess what? We are playing a 3-4 – and, last year – we talked about Babs as a DE pretty substantially – plus, as others have posted – Bierman is a force as a roamer/hybrid DE/LB. In NOLAN I TRUST!

Wabe

October 30th, 2012
10:20 am

The Dallas game makes me somewhat nervous. Despite their record, they’re still talented. It’s just too much of a jeckle & hyde effect going on down there. They play poorly, but still nearly win games. They made mistakes against the Giants and Ravens, but nearly won both of those contest. Their defense has been consistently good. It’s the offense’s incapability to play fundamentally sound football that’s killing them.

I’m not saying we’re not up to it. But, I don’t consider this a ‘gimme’ game just because it’s the Cowboys. I expect their secondary to test our receivers outside. Probably the best secondary we’ve played all season. Defensively, it’ll be interesting to see how we get after Romo. Not 100% sure yet whether Murray’s gonna be back. But, if he’s out, it makes our job a bit easier.

Paddy O

October 30th, 2012
10:27 am

It appears to me that Nolan adjusts his D considering the opposition – a tough opponent, he uses unique wrinkles NOT previously seen on film – that causes the opposition game plan serious angst. This was an excellent game. And remember – we all were griping about Bosher – but he’s turned out to be an excellent late round pick up. With BVG & MM gone, I’m starting to see Smitty Ball disappear – except when we sit on leads – which is still prone to creating anxiety. I agree with another poster – the coaches looked at the first 3 games -with great QB protection, as opposed to the second 3 where we appeared to try to rush block and ended up doing neither very good – we are NOT good running between the tackles – but, how often do we ever call a draw? I still hope to see our base package as being Snelling and Quizz. Why not run both Davis and HD, plus Tony G and JJ / RW 84 packages? I see NO WAY that is defensible – but, if we can keep winning without it – hoo, ah – lightfighter.

Chop Buster

October 30th, 2012
10:38 am

How big was this win? It was a good confidence builder for the team. But in the scheme of things, it’s still just another regular season win. I’m happy that we can finally shut folks up about Andy Reid’s winning streak after the bye week. Well Mike’s Smith’s only bye loss is to the Eagles and now Reid’s only bye loss is to the Falcons. We owed em’ one.

Is the offense back to normal……for good? I think they will be in more of an attack mode now that they know they have a few more offensive weapons beside Roddy, Tony & Julio. We need to keep Drew’s speed in the game, because it’s another thing our opponents have to contend with. Who to stop. Great position to be in.

How did you like the RB split? Liked it. Keeps teams off balance. Should it change more? Yep. I’d throw Antone Smith into the mix as well. At least we used all of our RBs this past weekend.

Happy with the offensive line? Yes. They’ll never be perfect, but they allowed Ryan time to pick a part the Eagles. Thoughts on Konz? He did well for his first start. Only more playing time will get him better.

Matt Ryan can’t throw the deep ball, right? That ball was on the money (in stride) to Julio–who smoked Aso. LOL It was great!

Should Biermann play an even more prominent role? Most definitely. He’s a baller and can play all over the field. He’s faster and can get after players more than Ray (Who?) Edwards

Does Robert McClain have a future as a starter? Sure does. He’s going to take someone’s job down the line if he continues approving through the season. He also had a nice blitz on Vick where he blew him up.

Thoughts on the 3 DT front? This is what I’m talking about…being creative. This is a coach that knows what he’s doing. He new Vance had been performing well while Peters was out, so why not keep them both in along with Babs…great change up.

Has Drew Davis cemented a role even when HD comes back? He should definitely be in the mix. Harry seems to have been off lately for some reason. One more thing I’ve noticed about HD is he’s the only one that always runs a route shorter than the first down marker. Anyone else notice that? It drives me crazy.

Should the Falcons bring back Walker to a multi-year deal? It’s all about competition and putting the best player on the field. With that said, I’d like to see what we can bring in this off season on the DL and LB was to compete with our existing players. Who knows, Nolan might find a really dominant guy on the line. But Walker should be given an opportunity since he’s done well.

How do you like the Media-Talking-Head-Elite’s “Excuse Rolodex?” I’ve chalked it up to they just don’t like the Falcons. There’s no other way around it. Talk about lame excuses. Do they continue to talk about any other teams failures from past years? It doesn’t even make sense, We haven’t even gotten to the playoffs yet and they keep using that lame excuse not to credit our wins. They’re good in the regular season, but we know they can’t win a playoff game. At least they’re saying we can win in the regular season now. LOL Gotta hate those Falcons, right? I think the team has the right mindset…just keep winning one game at a time and we’ll show them who’s the best in the end.

Chop Buster

October 30th, 2012
10:43 am

One more thing I see these bastards doing now, asking which game will be the Falcons first loss. I don’t ever remember them asking these questions when the Patriots or Green Bay was running the table. The Falcons have the talent and coaching now to beat all our remaining teams if they continue to play smart football. Game by game that old Falcons doubting seems to be wearing off. This team has and is proving themselves that they are the best in the league right now. The media continues to talk about us as though Mularkey and BVG are our coordinators. Let em keep thinking we’re the same team.

Chop Buster

October 30th, 2012
10:53 am

DHunt, enjoyed your 10:10 post.

RobbE33

October 30th, 2012
10:56 am

Great read but I’m with Todd. Let the Falcons fly under the radar for as long as possible. They’re not sexy nor is there any controversy. As long as the birds take one W at a time and remain focused, we’re fine with that. We don’t need a circus to entertain us. Been there; done that.
What a difference coordinators make!

Chop Buster

October 30th, 2012
11:03 am

Oh and D3, nice write up. You’re on point with this one.

Chop Buster

October 30th, 2012
11:03 am

Not to say your past write ups weren’t on point. LOL

Coop

October 30th, 2012
11:05 am

On the Drew David vs. HD… I say play them both. Our 5 WR sets are usually RW, JJ, HD, then TG and JR. Why not replace Quizz with Davis. I like what the Saints and Pack do when they flood the field with 4 WRs and a talented TE. Too much to cover. You can cover Quiz and maybe TG with LBs. But you can cover Davis wihta LB, so you commit to a Dime D or pull a S to cover Davis. Anyway you look at it, that’s a lot to ask from the opposing D.

Can’t stay in the 5 WR set the whole game, but no need for Davis to take HD’s spot. Use them both.

Geo

October 30th, 2012
11:07 am

Blog monster ate my post. It’s almost like being accepted into the club.

Paddy O

October 30th, 2012
11:56 am

Imagine our front 5 O line guys providing MR2 with a nice cone of protection pocket – without needing chipping – then, our 5 receiver sets would be sweet – especially since 2 guys – on each side – could provide hot read outlets – where even a successful penetration blitz would fail AND we’d pick up 8-15 yards. TD is now working on this. MR2 should be here another decade. We shall see how high his peak it about 7 years from now I’m hoping.

DHunt

October 30th, 2012
12:22 pm

Colin Cowpile is now the face of haterade at BSPN. Has the Falcons ranked 6 or 7 and the Giants ranked #1. Had the nerve to pretend like the Giants scoring 23 points off SIX(6) TURNOVERS was somehow a good thing?! Maybe that’s something to be proud of if you’re playing the top ranked defense in the league, which the Cowboys aren’t. If you take away the 7 points on the pick 6, the Giants only scored 16 points off 5 turnovers. That’s only getting a field goal. So how are you going to look at that stat and then proceed to slobber all over Eli’s gonads? The Giants offense was pretty putrid, and they only won the game because of a misplaced pinkie. Yet the Falcons are garbage because Oakland came into our house, after a bye week, and played their best game of the season, and the Falcons still managed to win.

I could rant all day, but the simple fact is that slowly but surely everyone is starting to realize that The Falcons coaching changes are paying huge dividends. Koetter got most of the credit this week, but Nolan’s squad has come out and played well every week. Yeah we gave up a big run every week, but those rarely turned into touchdowns, and that was an issue with several ways to fix it, which we saw on display this week.

Any one of the top 10 tens in the league is capable of beating any of the others on any given Sunday. It’s nitpicking to even try to say who is “the best”. But there is only one UNDEFEATED team in the league. To pretend like that doesn’t matter in today’s NFL is nothing but pure haterism and unabashed bias towards the northeast teams that feed the monster that is sports media.

“I never really understand the obsession with “winning in the playoffs” crap anyway if you don’t win the whole thing. Mark Sanchez won a lot in the playoffs. Joe Flacco has won a lot in the playoffs. Hell, even Tebow and Tony Romo won in the playoffs. How’s that working out for them right about now?” – D3

PREACH ON IT D3!!! Who in here will be happy with one playoff win? Who in here wouldn’t think that we squandered a golden opportunity if we don’t go all the way? That’s the standard. Period. You get props for winning the Big One. Anything else would be… Uncivilized. And any coach will tell you that you can’t come back out the next year and think you are bulletproof just because you won the big one last year. That’s not how it works.

Coop

October 30th, 2012
12:30 pm

I mentioned on the last blog that letting Lofton go was a mistake, but thatI’m eating some crow. Dent isn’t as good as Lofton, but he is sheaper. Losing Lofton DID affect our run D, but it seems Nolan is altering schemes and packages to make up for the loss.

D3 – Great article. Absolute crime that you don’t get paid.

DHunt – Nice read. I have one point of contention. This was the best game we’ve played in quite some time, but it doesn’t mean everything we saw wrong in the previous 3 weeks is permanently fixed. I want to see this performance consistently. HOWEVER, the staff did a lot of what the Negative Nancy’s have been asking for (player shake ups, more creative route combinations, most disguised D coverages, etc.). I hope they recognize how successful that was and continue the rest of the season. If we lose playing like we did Sunday, at least I’ll believe we employ all the tools at our disposal. Had we lost to Oakland, I could not have said that.

So, great game, but until we see it consistently, I’m ready to “lay certain things to rest yet”.

Coop

October 30th, 2012
12:40 pm

PREACH ON IT D3!!! Who in here will be happy with one playoff win? Who in here wouldn’t think that we squandered a golden opportunity if we don’t go all the way? That’s the standard. Period. You get props for winning the Big One. Anything else would be… Uncivilized. And any coach will tell you that you can’t come back out the next year and think you are bulletproof just because you won the big one last year. That’s not how it works. – DHunt

Amen! It is Super Bowl or not good enough anymore. 5 years into the process is time to put banners on the walls and rings on fingers. These windows are too short to assume we’ll be 7-0 next year. And as Stone Cold Steve Austin once said, if you aint in this business to be the World Champion, you got no business being here. This is my problem with Richt, he’s about a good bowl or MAKING it to the SEC title game. I want National Titles!

I believe this team has it’s goals set on a Super Bowl. They sure as hell better, cause anything less is not acceptable. And I’m not calling names or trying to put anyone down, but if you’ll be satisfied with a playoff win and wait for next year, I suggest there is something wrong with that attitude! Demand excellence! Demand championships! Rebuke mediocrity!

Slant Pattern

October 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

“I have one point of contention. This was the best game we’ve played in quite some time, but it doesn’t mean everything we saw wrong in the previous 3 weeks is permanently fixed.” – Coop

Agree but I didn’t want to get into it yesterday. There is much to praise Koetter for from Sunday but nobody has mentioned that the Eagles made a huge mistake by trying to play us straight up on Sunday. They were one of only a couple teams with the talent in their backfield to have a realstic shot
at it and we ripped right thru them. The teams that gave us trouble for the 3 game stint all employed that cover 2 passive BVG type scheme which Koetter has still not shown he can handle unfortunately. He came out with a great creative gameplan against the wide 9 front by using the shotgun formation with screens and shovel passes. That alone is clearly an upgrade over MM who rarely gameplanned (worth a damn at least ) and almost never made in game adjustments. If Koetter can get the cover 2 figured out this team will be very hard to beat for ANYONE.