Atlanta Falcons: Birds Embarrassed by Panthers

One of Worst Losses in Smith Era

Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams (34) runs for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The Panthers won 30-20. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

No Falcon in Sight (Chuck Burton)

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It’s hard to know where to start on this one. To be blunt, this was one of the worst losses in the entire time that Mike Smith has been head coach. This team has serious problems and they just proved to all the doubters and skeptics that they may be right after all. The Falcons may not always win while under Smith’s reign, but they usually always play hard and fight until the end. Well, that appeared not to happen on Sunday in Charlotte. The Falcons were not only beaten, but flat out embarrassed. Fans likely started getting that same sick feeling in the back of their throats the way they did the last two years in the playoffs, because that’s how bad they looked. A look at the horror show that was:

Offense Just Pitiful

Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) leaps into the end zone past Carolina Panthers' Haruki Nakamura (43) for a touchdown as Falcons' Harry Douglas (83) watches during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

One Bright Spot (Chuck Burton)

15 yards in the first quarter. 40 total yards in the first half. Michael Turner 2 carries for 3 yards. Do those stats strike you as a team ready to make waves in the postseason? Sure, they turned it on when they decided to start playing, but by that point it was entirely too late. When they were well behind, they decided to start playing a little offense and looked pretty good in the no-huddle which bogged back down when they needed points. The running game was non-existent, the line was horrible, and Matt Ryan was off yet again. Most of us tried to chalk up the poor offensive game vs. the Saints as just a blip, but they actually looked worse against the Panthers.

Rodgers Should Get Bulk of Carries

That’s putting it nicely. The fact has long been that Jacquizz Rodgers has shown way more upside and the ability to carry the bulk of carries in the backfield. All Falcons fans appreciate what Michael Turner has done for this franchise and he’ll likely have a banner hung in his name when it’s all said and done, but he’s just not getting it done. It’s hard to part with players who have meant so much to the franchise, but the time has come. Mike Smith obviously hasn’t got that memo. The entire offense played terrible so it’s unfair to scapegoat just one player, but Jacquizz Rodgers is just better and the facts don’t lie. Rodgers had 21 yards on 4 carries and Michael Turner carried the ball 7 times for 14 yards.

Just a Blip or Playoff Preview?

Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams (34) leaps high as he is hit by Atlanta Falcons' Stephen Nicholas (54) and Dunta Robinson (23) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Yuck (Chuck Burton)

This game had trap written all over it. The Falcons clinched the NFC South and were playing a 3-9 team with the Giants coming up next week. Fans are trying their best to chalk it up as just a blip, but there’s a growing fear that we’re starting to see an eerily similar storyline. In 2010, the Falcons won a lot of close games en route to a 13-3 season and the NFC #1 seed. The rest, of course, is history seeing the Birds have a complete meltdown catastrophe vs. the Packers. Being completely objective, the Falcons are still 11-2, have already won their division, and are still leading the NFC, but the nightmare scenarios are getting worse and not better with the Falcons seemingly playing their best football at the beginning of the season and playing their worst football closer to the playoffs. There’s still 3 games left and all 3 teams will be good tests for the playoffs. This one can be chalked up to a trap game, but we’ll know everything we need to about this team the next three weeks, starting with the Giants at home in a one week.

Ryan is Trending Downward

Yes, he threw for 325 yards and one touchdown, but he also does not look the same quarterback that he did in the first half of the season. He missed throws, looked jittery in the pocket, and just didn’t seem to be in a good rhythm. Maybe it’s playing behind a weak offensive line, maybe he’s suffering from a weak running game, or maybe his coordinator is not helping him at all. Who knows why, but the results say that Ryan is going in the opposite direction. He looks the most comfortable in an open, no-huddle type offense, but for whatever reason, the coaching staff seems to avoid it except when they are 23 points down. Here’s to hoping Ryan gets it figured out and quickly.

Defensive Line Must Improve

It’s been common knowledge that John Abraham has been the Falcons only pass rush for a long time. Problem is, when he’s not completely on his game, the Falcons have nothing else. Biermann has great hustle, but is more of a linebacker playing as a defensive end. No one has taken advantage of Ray Edwards absence whatsoever. In particular, the defensive tackle position appears particularly weak. Peria Jerry has never turned that mythical corner, Corey Peters is likely not 100%, Vance Walker is a good rotational player, and Jonathan Babineaux is playing more defensive end and on the downside of his career. The Falcons were gashed by the run yet again and it allowed Cam Newton be precise in his passing. All considering, the defense did pretty decent since the offense didn’t help whatsoever until entirely too late.

Where’s the No-Huddle?

Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) hands the ball off to Michael Turner (33) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

This is Done (Chuck Burton)

Matt Ryan always does best in an open, no-huddle type of offense. If you think about some of Ryan’s best games, they have come from those type of gameplans going all the way back to the Ravens game in 2010. This offense is more in sync, has more rhythm, and it masks some of the weaknesses on the offensive line. The Falcons were at their best early in the season with many of the no-huddle type of looks and yet they are going away from it with diminishing results. Even the run game seems more productive in the no-huddle. Do they have to stay in all the time? No, but why not go with what works best. They only implemented it when they were down 23 points and, sure enough, they went right down the field. The great mystery remains.

Bad Calls

This may come off as sour grapes and ultimately it likely didn’t matter with how poor the Falcons played, but there were several questionable calls at a very critical juncture in the game. The first was one of the worst calls of the entire season. The Falcons scored a touchdown and converted a two point conversion. Even the line judge ruled the 2 point conversion good and was evidently overruled. The ref said that Roddy White bobbled the ball, but the replay clearly showed he never bobbled the ball whatsoever. It was only two points, but it seemed to cut down some of the Falcons building momentum. Another play showed a critical catch by a Panthers receiver who appeared to drop the ball, the play was ruled incomplete, but the refs overturned that call. Finally, Dunta Robinson was called for holding a play where the defense seemed to get a stop. He was holding and it was the right call, but there were tons of times when Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and John Abraham were being held to no avail.

Tackling Still an Issue

Carolina Panthers' Mike Tolbert (35) runs as Atlanta Falcons' Chris Owens (21), Stephen Nicholas (54), and Thomas DeCoud (28) defend during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Weak Tackling (Chuck Burton)

This is an issue that was supposed to get fixed earlier in the season, but the Falcons are still having issues bringing down their opponents. Corey Peters couldn’t bring down Cam Newton for a sack (but also got no help at all either) and there were several other instances where the Panthers running back or quarterback got extra yards after the first hit. At best, they’re simply inconsistent. Some weeks they’ll tackle well and others, they won’t. If they don’t get it fixed in a hurry, they won’t be going far in the playoffs.

Bird Cage Painkillers Turn

1) Simple missed tackle – how awful was this game?

2) Does this rank as one of the worst under Smith?

3) Is it panic time with the offense?

4) What’s most to blame on offense (besides the OL)?

5) When will the Turner Era end? Should it end?

6) Was this just a blip or playoff preview?

7) What is wrong with Matt Ryan?

8.) Which is worse: offensive or defensive line?

9) Why do the coaches refuse to run no-huddle, open attack?

10) Bad calls or sour grapes?

11) Will tackling ever get consistent?

12) Are you terrified of upcoming Giants game?

1,438 comments Add your comment

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:30 pm

Wings (11:22) – LMAO

JB Falcon

December 11th, 2012
8:31 pm

Another 1 and done is now what I see coming in the playoffs .I just hope I am wrong and we see some improvements Sunday . BM

Come on, man! We’re all in this together. You been readin’ too many “expert” blogs.

John Waynesworld

December 11th, 2012
8:34 pm

JBF, I am also an optimist when it comes to a team that I have seen go to another level in certain games this season. Against Peyton our defense looked like a magnificent blur and in this last Saints game, our D was flying in much the same way. That is the way I see this defense, playing big when it counts.

Last week was a group team fart against a team that was playing a grudge match against a disinterested opponent looking ahead to next week and resting key players. We have risen to the occasion this season and this week being fully focused at home in our Dome we will shine on another big stage in a crucial game and beat those Giants.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:37 pm

SG (1:56) – Can’t disagree, but we do have quite a few veterans on this team. This is a time when the team leaders need to stand up; not necessarily in front of us, but in front of the team. I know TG has stepped up. I can only hope, beyond my prying eyes, others are as well. That is my hope.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:40 pm

D3 (2:02) – Yes, Smitty deserves another year. But IMHO there might need to be changes forced on him from higher up depending on how this season ends. And, yes, he would then be well and truly on the hot seat.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:47 pm

LRD (3:52) – The only reason I can think of for not letting HD return punts is his potential value to the offense combined with the injury risk. HD has had injury problems. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t seem to have the same chemistry with MR as RW, TG and JJ do. We must not be as deep at WR as I thought we were. I hope MR is doing some side work with HD. They need it.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:50 pm

JB Falcon (7:12) – You rock, man. Well said.

JB Falcon

December 11th, 2012
8:53 pm

Time, catch up brother. Nobody goes back to see what you’re referring to.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:53 pm

JWW (8:34) – Good post.

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:56 pm

OK, caught up now. Guess I ought to start copying and pasting what I am responding to. Really, the comments are meant for whoever wrote the original post. Still learning how to blog. I have never done it prior to this year on the Cage. :)

JB Falcon

December 11th, 2012
8:56 pm

Time. I was wrong, I did (had to) go back a page to see what you were talking about. Thanks!

The Time is NOW

December 11th, 2012
8:59 pm

JB Falcon – Does that mean I’m behind the times?

JB Falcon

December 11th, 2012
9:14 pm

Time, you’re cool. Just keep up, imo :)

Birdman

December 11th, 2012
9:19 pm

JB Falcon

To be honest I have not heard are seen much of nothing at all but the scores of Sunday and Monday . Man I have not heard what the so called experts say this week. I have been too busy at work until tonight.Have not even checked my e-mail till today.
What I do know is how flat the team has been with the Cards the Saints and the loss to the Panthers. And I have seen teams like the Giants take for instants beat down teams like they did the Saints . And my friend it don’t take a rocket scientist to see that there is something major wrong here.
I just hope its just a game or two tho and we will see some big changes this Sunday brother.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!

Wabe

December 11th, 2012
9:27 pm

This weekend will determine the arrow/direction this team is headed going into the playoffs…

I wouldn’t say it’s a must win. But, if these guys don’t come out and show that they’ve learned a few lessons after their miserable performances the past month or so, I’ll be happy.

It’s all about the offense. Been sayin’ it for years now. They’ll go as far as the offense takes them. And this year, this offense goes as far as Matt Ryan takes them. He’s been slumping, and it ain’t all his fault. But, at some point, he needs to make it known to take charge and let Smitty know what his deal is [we'll never know whether it's already happened or not]. I want him to be more vocal. I want something more than the political correct interviewer we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. I’m not asking him to throw people under the bus. But, I would hope he’d react similar to how Tony G. reacted after our recent debacle. Be mad. Be upset. Let it be known. And ultimately, let Mike Smith know if something he’s doing ain’t cutting it.

This is his team [not Mike Smith's]. Matt Ryan is the franchise. So now, you command the troops. If there’s something within the gameplan that needs tweaking, get Smitty on the phone and let him know, because no way Smitty survives denying the franchise guy what he wants.

Birdman

December 11th, 2012
9:27 pm

But thick are thin I also will stick by the Falcons and root for this team.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Birdman

December 11th, 2012
9:31 pm

Wabe

good point and words

JB Falcon

December 11th, 2012
9:46 pm

We’re going to find out Sunday if we have anything to offer. We’re in the playoffs, one way or the other. If we get our ass kicked Sunday, we’re still in. Sunday’s results will have a big effect on a lot fan’s attitude. I’ll change mine when the last whistle blows.

Greg Mendel

December 11th, 2012
11:32 pm

Regarding experts, or anybody else:

“Seeing is believing” is an age-old measure of proof. But it has an opposite: “Believing is seeing.” That’s when you get an idea stuck in your head, and you only see and accept things that support it.

Big Ray

December 12th, 2012
12:27 am

Well it didn’t take long for Smitty’s lawyer to come around, I see.

Big Ray

December 12th, 2012
12:32 am

I heard Colin Cowherd say today that he didn’t trust the Falcons. Then he said they have shown that they can be pushed around. That’s the first I’ve thought of us not being a physical team…

But I can’t disagree. Our OL and DL often disapear. I hat eto admit it, but I think I agree with Colin for once.

Can’t disagree with this at all.

Herein lies the issue – we draft guys to “get more physical.” We even signed a FA guy for the same reason on the OL.

Result – The two draftees get sent to the bench in favor of the incumbents, same happens to the supposed former heir to the Center position, and the FA gets cut.

So the short version is this – did TD screw all that up, or did the CS? Say what you want, but with the exception of the forced situation where Reynolds incurred injury, that would be Hawley (former supposed heir), Konz, Holmes (ok, so he was injured to start with) and Manuwai supposedly making us more physical and not coming anywhere close to getting the shot at this.

On the defensive side of the line, no attempts whatsoever were made to become more physical. None. The BS line trotted out to us was that Jerry would be healthy and suddenly a force to be reckoned with. That’s about it. Instead, Peters ends up injured, Babs is showing his age, Abe is once more by himself out there, Jerry continues to be the bust he always was, and…well that’s it.

Big Ray

December 12th, 2012
12:36 am

Greg Mendel

There’s some truth to that.

But are you really paranoid if they really ARE out to get you?

I would like to believe that what I’m seeing is a figment of my own imagination and a faux manifestation of my fears. But we shall see if the monsters are real or not. Either way, they gonna eat some lead…

Big Ray

December 12th, 2012
12:45 am

I see some conversation about Brady and Ryan involving pass protection.

First of all, we’re talking about Brady facing the damn Texans…one of the League’s best defenses with a fearsome pass rush. In Ryan’s case, we’re talking about every other week if not damn near every week, regardless of what kind of pass rush ranking.

Duress is not defined by mere edge rusher and guys who push the pocket. Not defined by mere sacks and QB hits.

It also includes busted routes, WRs not getting separation, guys not running where they should and where the ball is supposed to go.

The QB orchestrates the offense, but what Maestro could ever “make” any player in the orchestra play the right note? If Welker runs a bad route (which he rarely does), what does Brady do about that throw? It goes down as an incomplete pass (if he’s lucky it’s not an INT), and fans debate whose fault it was.

Show me where our offense is so well known and understood and repeatedly executed to success by those who are a part of it and I’ll show you how we’ll go as far as Ryan takes us. Until this happens, there is no depending on Ryan as the implied lone factor.

We don’t run the no huddle enough to judge him thusly. The no huddle is all about Ryan calling whatever plays he wants at the times he judges them proper to call them. That is what Brady does most of the time. Even when Brady is going according to a script it’s a genius-level script (enter Belichick). Mike Smith’s formula isn’t about scoring points like Belichick’s is. It’s about scoring enough to get a lead and then managing the clock until the game is over, winning the war of attrition.

Big, Fat, Ginormous difference.

Brady vs. Ryan = retarded argument until all else is equal around both players.

Belichick vs. Smith = retarded comparison for reasons that should be obvious. Belichick dominates one side of the ball with the knowledge and capability he has. Smith has yet to show me he can dominate or specialize with either side. He clearly does not know offense, and he ended up having to bring in somebody that knows defense better than he does with the personnel he himself brought in.

Slant Pattern

December 12th, 2012
1:11 am

“Screen Pass I think SG has the new name for you – Training Wheels. I laughed when I read it and it really fits the situation. It covers everything.” – Wings

I wouldn’t have to change my name while Smitty was here for sure :) . I still like Smitty as a “facetime” coach and he has respect forever for going after that dbag Meangelo on the sidelines. I thought he might be on a learning curve but after what I’ve seen so far this year he is what is and will not change. There is no desire as much or more as there is no ability.

Big Lou

December 12th, 2012
1:55 am

http://m.nfl.com/news/0ap1000000109628/

Difficult to read, but a lot of truth to it.

D3

December 12th, 2012
8:31 am

Hard to argue with this too awful much until proven otherwise………

He called the Falcons ‘Super Bowl Frauds, contended that Russell Wilson rookie was better than Matt Ryan, that Mike Smith can’t coach, the defense stinks and they don’t have any confidence.

Here’s want he wrote about the Falcons:

I credit corner Dunta Robinson for telling us on the SiriusXM Blitz that he understood the skepticism and the doubters. The Falcons knows they need to win in January to silence the haters. I just don’t think they are capable. The Carolina Panthers debacle was alarming. A game like that was a long time coming. San Francisco, Green Bay, and the Giants would suffocate Atlanta in the postseason. I think the Seattle Seahawks, with their great defense, power run game and wise-beyond-his-years quarterback, also could win in the Georgia Dome. No matter who they play in the playoffs, the Falcons will fall short in key matchup areas of quarterback play, defense, head coach and confidence.

The truth hurts, and I’m going back to SHUT UP AND SHOW ME! the same way I was in the off-season. Stop talking about it and PROVE IT! Love my Birds and always will, but that Panthers game unleashed all the negative feelings I’ve had since the Debacle in the Dome and the Meltdown in the Meadowlands. And it mainly points to one person………….HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH!

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
9:34 am

D3, I think many of us know this team does not have all the pieces to compete with the teams with strong OLs/DLs. I said it earlier this year that I was surprised how well we were doing considering that we don’t have a real OL or DL. Until they fix these lines we will never know if most of the playcalling on the offensive side would work, because we know how easily Ryan gets rattled with guys in his face. In my mind, the remaining games are to evaluate our weaknesses against the better built teams–which most of us already know. If they win great…they continue to overachieve. If they lose, that’s what we expected with the make up of the team.

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
9:36 am

Also, Smitty IS conservative, but I blame TD more for not getting the pieces in place to fix the line issues. Arthur mandated it get fixed last year and it’s still not fixed. It wouldn’t surprise me that TD goes before Smitty.

John Waynesworld

December 12th, 2012
9:42 am

D3, I’m not ready to completely throw blame on Smitty. I still have a concerned eye on our offensive line’s pass protection. Ryan has been comfortable most of the season behind his line but it is evident in our losses that if Ryan isn’t comfortable, he plays poorly and we lose. I am laying this at the OC’s feet (mostly because we can’t borrow some other team’s O line) and Koetter needs to step it up. I believe the running and screen-passing game needs to be used more to offset the opposing defense’s pass rush and give Ryan more time in the pocket. The play-calling needs to be much more creative against the Giants as well in the playoffs if we are going to succeed.

On the other side of the ball, I am not as concerned about our defense, as they have shown in games against Denver and New Orleans that when they bring the passion, they play on a completely different level. I am confident in our defense as a unit. Unlike the short-memoried media, we here in the Cage remember that our defense (with mostly the same personnel) kept us in last year’s playoff game on the road against the Giants A LOT longer than we deserved to be, considering our offense was like a MMoose in headlights throughout the game.

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
9:54 am

JW, agreed Koetter can do a lot of things to negate the OL weaknesses in the interim.

Paddy O

December 12th, 2012
10:01 am

Mike SMith has the press rope a dope down to a science. I do fear Smiths penchant for statistical analysis and “trends” sucks the life out of the offense – at least the passion and innovation. Our offense looks like a scripted hollywood play – which that script has only so many options. Our offense against Carolina was so awful, it would prompt me to consider terminating Welcome Back – there is absolutley NO EXCUSE., after a long layoff, to come out that horribly flat. It appears Smoetter does NOT detect opponents weaknesses very well. Thus, we don’t exploit those weaknesses. This year is ton like 2010 – but, as most folks here now know, we will not be stunned when we fall flat on our face in the playoffs like 2010 and 2011. To me, Smith is actually tempting TD & AB to fire him. He has not made any substantial changes – so, if we crash and burn in the playoffs FOR THE FOURTH TIME (a DISTINCT TREND – i’d even say an established MO) – it is ENTIRELY on Mike Smith. If we do crash and burn, I’d love to see either Cowher or Gruden – or even Bill Parcells – hired as our head coach. We have the talent. We just don’t have the managers to utilize them. Again, it is a lot like Abe Lincoln and McClellan. McClellan trained a great Army, but was afraid to use it.

Wings

December 12th, 2012
10:09 am

Chop Buster I believe HC Smith was forced by FO to “get rid” of MM and BVG. Two “underlings” that need to go in any organization just don’t up and have new jobs, and both had been told prior to Giants game. Otherwise, HC Smith would have recognized the problems after the GB playoff game as the Cage did.

We are seeing that Nolan and Koetter cannot fully implement and “carry out” the strategy of HC Smith because it doesn’t work with the same cogs in place. It may not work at all, and I think the NY Giants game again will be a good barometer. Look at the Ray Edwards situation where the reports said Blank and TD were the ones who relieved him of his duty. To my knowledge from the articles, HC Smith was never mentioned.

Yesterday, I was listening to sports talk radio, and the comments were about taking some of the pressure off Ryan by using a moving pocket to the right or left. I think Dan Reeves mentioned this too. I don’t remember ever seeing a moving pocket with this regime. I said once before several weeks ago that Chris Chandler with the Super Bowl team often used a moving pocket to change things up. We never see innovation from the Falcons offense. It is always the same line up and use force (and it hasn’t worked) to hold the defensive players of the other team at bay.

For some reason, I have a strange but good feeling that M Turner will not start Sunday. I hope it it true.

Wings

December 12th, 2012
10:18 am

Paddy O – “Welcome Back – there is absolutley NO EXCUSE.”

I don’t think we know what Koetter can do. Remember after the NO game in an interview, Matt Ryan told the NFL Network guys that HC Smith said the game plan was to run the ball against NO. When the HC determines ahead of time what the plan is regardless of the awful Saints secondary, you take away a lot of options for the OC.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

December 12th, 2012
10:18 am

The Panthers called us out, said they were the better team, talked trash all week before the game, beat us…and backed up everything they said they would do. The Panthers beat us from start to finish in the first meeting in the dome, we were LUCKY to get the W.

Serious question, are they better? I know some of you will say it’s all about how they match up with us, even so, if they match up, could they beat us in a playoff game? would that make them better?

When a team can shoot off at the mouth, talk about yo momma, etc…and cash the check they wrote, you have to wonder if nothing else. If they (Falcons) couldn’t get motivated from the panthers trash talk, go out and break their foot off in their azz, how the hell can they win in the post season?

WHAT IS IT GONNA TAKE FOR THIS TEAM TO GET MOTIVATED?!?!

Wings

December 12th, 2012
10:20 am

WHAT IS IT GONNA TAKE FOR THIS TEAM TO GET MOTIVATED?!?!

Amen!!

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
10:24 am

Wings – “Chop Buster I believe HC Smith was forced by FO to “get rid” of MM and BVG. Two “underlings” that need to go in any organization just don’t up and have new jobs, and both had been told prior to Giants game. Otherwise, HC Smith would have recognized the problems after the GB playoff game as the Cage did.”

I don’t disagree with this at all. I’m just saying TD doesn’t get a pass on any of this as well. Carolina, TB even built t-go…we still haven’t fixed ours.

“We are seeing that Nolan and Koetter cannot fully implement and “carry out” the strategy of HC Smith because it doesn’t work with the same cogs in place.” Dimitroff again.

“Yesterday, I was listening to sports talk radio, and the comments were about taking some of the pressure off Ryan by using a moving pocket to the right or left.” I’ve been saying this for a while now. It’s the OC’s responsibility to counter pressure on the QB. Maybe Mularkey’s playbook doesn’t have a play in it to do that–since Smitty made him use the same playbook upon arrival. I don’t know if I would have accepted a job where my hands were tied prior to starting the job.

D3

December 12th, 2012
10:24 am

Paddy O / Chop / JWW — Paddy described it perfectly my sentiments. I love the guy, I really do, but I just get a bad feeling we’re looking at another playoff collapse………….

He has not made any substantial changes – so, if we crash and burn in the playoffs FOR THE FOURTH TIME (a DISTINCT TREND – i’d even say an established MO) – it is ENTIRELY on Mike Smith — Paddy O

I completely get the idea of a “disconnect” that I’ve been arguing against SW the last 10-12 months. Blank is obsessed with the new stadium, TD wants to go to a more aerial attack (where you only need mobile type OL, not road graders), and Smitty is stuck in 1950’s football philosophy. Paul Boudreau, Mike Malarkey, Emmitt Thomas, and BVG are all gone……………….who remains?

We are seeing the EXACT same thing going on that we’ve seen the last many years. If we’re able to compete against the Giants and especially win the first playoff game, than I’ll gladly stand up and eat my side of crow with Texas Pete hot sauce, but I’m afraid that won’t be happening. The next month or so will define Smitty’s legacy / future career in Atlanta.

How are you going to get people to fill a new stadium with more expensive seats with possibly PSL’s when their team continually chokes in the playoffs and also plays a hyper-conservative brand of football? (BTW, Blank has just now been able to consistently fill the Dome after 5 years of perennial winning regular season football).

Geo

December 12th, 2012
10:28 am

Re: MT33. During a radio interview this week, Roddy White was asked about JR32, and he said the usual things about him being a playmaker, but interestingly, he also said that the offense just seems to flow better when he’s in there.

NFL network talking heads have said the same repeatedly and as recently as this week. Literally everybody knows it, except HC Mike Smith. Does he really have so much power that no one in the organization can get through to him that he is f*cking up?

Wings

December 12th, 2012
10:31 am

D3, it will take more than the Giants game. HC Smith changes a little and then goes backwards a little later. He always reverts to his basic philosphy.

Chop Buster, I agree with you re TD. He does keep quiet too much.

Matty Bicep

December 12th, 2012
10:32 am

Since have been comparing NE to the Falcons, lets analyze them since Smitty game into the league:

Regular season records are very similar. The Pats missed playoffs on 08, and were one and done in 09 and 10, then went to the Superbowl. However, they lost in the SB to the exact same team we lost to in round 1.

Just facts.

Wings

December 12th, 2012
10:33 am

Geo maybe Mike Smith is an output device only.

D3

December 12th, 2012
10:33 am

Wings — 10:09 AM and 10:18 AM……HERE, HERE! Great posts. You may very well be right. Many of us said back when everyone except Smitty was fired / let go (arguably the 3 most important positions outside of the HC, than who’s next?). I can’t imagine them letting him go if we have another playoff collapse, but I can’t entirely rule out either. Just think how bad it’s been this year with the media, can you imagine Blank and Co. having to go through an entire 365 more days of that, just waiting until playoff time? Good Lord, that makes MY stomach hurt. I’ve given Smitty every benefit of the doubt over the last 5 years, but he’s fading quickly if things turn out like I think they will. I had a nightmare last night that we’d get beat 48-28 by the Giants on Sunday. When I woke up, I thought, “yeah, that could easily happen, but at least we scored on offense.”

Smitty plays scared and not to lose coupled with an outright refusal to change due to his stubborn nature

And if Koetter really is that bad, than he should be fired…………….better yet, HE SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN HIRED!

LRD

December 12th, 2012
10:38 am

Honestly. I think we are going to surprise even ourselves with a decisive win on Sunday. We are in Our House, we have a payback game, we were just humiliated in Carolina, Willie Moe is back, and I betcha Asante makes an appearance too.
Gotta good feeling about this one.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

December 12th, 2012
10:40 am

IF we don’t win in the post season, A. Blank, IMO, will call TD in his office for immediate answers. A. Blank has made most of his money as an CEO, he’s prone to get his answers from his top level executives before he even considers meeting with the mid-level (Smith). Now, at some point, TD and Smith will have a heart to heart…and soon after meet with A. Blank. IMHO, Smith will not be on the “hot seat” until TD finds his job security slipping. IMO.

The Time is NOW

December 12th, 2012
10:47 am

Somebody – Very plausible scenario, IMHO.

Arno

December 12th, 2012
10:58 am

In honor or our offense, I hear we’re going to the throwback cheerleader unis this Sunday.
http://www.footballbabble.com/images/steelers-cheerleaders.jpg
(I hope it’s a false rumor!!!)

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
11:02 am

I have a question for anyone that might know the answer. Where do the playbooks come from when new HCs are hired? Do they bring their own? Does the NFL issue them one with the basic plays ran in the league and then they tailor it to suit their own needs? I know Smitty didn’t want the plays to change probably because he didn’t want the team learning an entirely new playbook–or maybe he just wanted to keep the plays he likes running.

BobbyDawg

December 12th, 2012
11:14 am

Chop — I’ve often wondered the same thing, since he was strictly a D coach for the last five years or so before he came here. If you go back and look at the type of plays the Jags were running when he left you may find your answer. I wish somebody would help him out with a lttle imagination and creativity. I thought Koetter may be the man to do that but I’m losing faith fast.

Chop Buster

December 12th, 2012
11:25 am

BobbyDawg, all I can say is I hope we run 20% of the playbook Koetter created from here on out instead of the 80% Smitty kept.

Unca' Bob

December 12th, 2012
11:28 am

Cage,

D3’s link has been added to the blog list again. Thanks LRD, and others.