What Changes are Needed for Atlanta Falcons Offense?

Firecrackers, Dynamite Tosses, or Implosion?

What Changes Needed on O? (AJC)

As the sun sets on the 2012-13 NFL season, most Falcons fans are still grappling with “what could have been” before divulging and immersing into the off-season. For some, it’s therapeutic to jump right back into what the Birds need to fix, but for others a sabbatical from the Falcons and football in general will be needed. Either way, for 31 teams it will be months and months filled with how to reach the ultimate prize, including our Atlanta Falcons. Last off-season provided plenty of excitement with the former coordinators “finding new jobs” and the hiring of Dirk Koetter, Mike Nolan, and Pat Hill. This off-season may not have as many big changes as 2012, but it looks to be the most important one to date since the arrival of Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff. How do you go about changing and fixing a team that was only 10 yards away from the Super Bowl and was even up 17-0 early in the game? So with that in mind, The Cage offers a preview of what may need to occur on every facet of the Atlanta Falcons football franchise, starting with offense first: firecrackers (small), dynamite tosses (medium), or implosion (major):

Quarterback

Gotta Cut Out the Turnovers (AJC)

Obviously, this one is pretty easy to assess. Matt Ryan has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league, had a record setting year, and was likely in the top 3 of MVP candidates in 2012. The Falcons franchise quarterback has taken his game to a new level, won a playoff game, and came within yards of taking his team to the Super Bowl.  He does, however, need to cut down on his turnovers, especially in the playoffs. He had two interceptions vs. Seattle (one was an enormously terrible decision and two turnovers that very well cost the Falcons the game vs. the 49ers. Roddy White slipping wasn’t his fault, but the fumbled snap was just mind-numbing. Ryan is the best chance the Falcons have ever had to win the Super Bowl, but has to cut out the turnovers in the big spots.

The backup QB situation, more specifically how the coaches handle the backup situation, needs an implosion. Dominique Davis looked like the real deal and even a potential starter one day when he was lighting it up in preseason. It was a no-brainer the Falcons would find a way to keep him, but instead of just promoting him to the #2 QB outright, they cut Chris Redman only to bring in washed-up and bounced around journeyman Luke McCown. And why is that exactly? They chose to keep an extra QB on the precious 53 man roster instead of just going with Davis as the backup? A perfect example of the Witness Protection Program that needs to be cast away for eternity. If the kid can play, put him in as the backup…….period. Assessment — Firecrackers

Running Back

Everyone in the world knows it. Does Mike Smith? Michael Turner will go down as arguably the best Falcons running back in franchise history in barely 5 years of service. His value is simply immeasurable in what he’s done for this franchise, the team, and the city. But the NFL is a business and it’s time for the Falcons and Turner to part ways. Some feel that Turner may have even outrun his effectiveness, at least for this new offensive scheme, by a year.

Quizz Must Get More Touches (AJC)

Regardless, the Falcons have to get faster, quicker, and, most importantly, more effective at the running back position in 2013. The offensive line isn’t the best in the league, but they have shown some improvement and can’t be the only culprit in the Falcons lack of a running game. Many feel that Jacquizz Rodgers and, particularly, Jason Snelling were heavily underused last year at the expense of force-feeding Turner in the run game.

It seems the Falcons are set in terms of depth with Snelling and Rodgers, but a new running back needs to be added. There’s not a ton out there worth much in terms of free agent running backs and the needs to look in free agency has been rendered fairly moot with the advent of rookie backs having immediate success. Most think it’s a matter of what round the back will be drafted, but some even feel that Turner might be brought back in some capacity, and if Turner’s on the roster there’s a good chance that Smith will use him. Rodgers and Snelling make this position very stable going forward, but as mentioned earlier, the coaches have to find the best mix to improve the running back position. There are plenty of high impact running backs in the draft and getting one sooner rather than later will likely be more effective. Assessment — Dynamite Toss

Wide Receiver

One of the strongest areas of the Falcons is their receiving force. Julio Jones and Roddy White make up one of the very best receiver tandems in the entire league. They along with Tony Gonzalez have made up an almost unstoppable trio this past year. It will be interesting to what whether Gonzalez will come back or retire and what the Falcons will do if he does retire. Regardless of what happens at the tight end position, Atlanta is set at the top two spots. Roddy will be turning 32 in November, but he’s shown no signs of slowing down.

Is HD the Answer @ Slot? (AJC)

The other spots are less settled. As much as everyone loves and is pulling for the hometown kid Harry Douglas, a question needs to be asked if he is the answer as the slot receiver. He’s a had a few bright spots here and there, but has definitely not been the boom we all thought after his rookie season. He does catch the ball very well, but rarely gets a ton of yardage after the catch and just hasn’t taken off as many thought. Fans will have nightmares for the next many months replaying “the trip,” where Douglas fell down on a perfect play call with a perfect throw that would have likely seen him walk into the endzone and put the Falcons ahead late.

Drew Davis and Kevin Cone have shown very good talent and should start getting more looks next season and it wouldn’t be the worst thing to take a chance on a receiver later in the draft since they look to have several compensatory picks in this year’s draft. Since Julio and Roddy are so dominant at the top, it’s obviously not going to need much work, but this year should decide whether Douglas is really the answer at slot receiver. Assessment — Firecrackers

Tight End

Clearly this one can’t be assessed until Tony Gonzalez decides whether he’s hanging up his cleats or coming back for one more year. It seems that the longer he waits to decide, the more likely it is for him to come back for one more go. If he was going to retire, wouldn’t we probably have heard it by now? If Gonzalez comes back for another year, the Falcons are definitely set and ready to go with Gonzo leading the way and Michael Palmer and Chase Coffman continuing to develop under him. Palmer and Coffman look to be a part of the TE rotation for some time to come. Palmer is a great blocking tight end with reliable hands and a chain mover and Coffman appears to be getting back the potential he had in college as a vertical threat in the passing game. It’s questionable whether either can take over full-time for Gonzalez, but they offer an excellent, complimentary tight end rotation.

Is Coffman Starter Material? (AJC)

The question really centers around what they will do if Gonzalez does in fact retire. There’s a possibility that the Falcons could try and use both Palmer and Coffman to both try and pick up the slack, but it’s hard to conceive that even both of them combined could match Gonzalez’s almost insane production last season. If they go with just Palmer and Coffman, they would need a lot more help from the likes of Harry Douglas, Drew Davis, Kevin Cone, and all of the running backs.

Another option is to use an early pick in the draft on a tight end, but history has shown that you don’t need to use an early pick to get an excellent tight end (Jimmy Graham – 3rd rd; Aaron Hernandez – 4th rd) and that many taken in the first round haven’t necessarily lived up to their pick status (Jermaine Gresham, Brandon Pettigrew to name a few). With so many holes on the defensive side of the ball, tight end shouldn’t be a priority in the first few picks. The final option is to look into free agency. There’s not a ton available in free agency, but one target to keep an eye on is Jared Cook. Cook is from North Gwinnett High School and played well at South Carolina. He had a good year and could really take off with a quarterback like Matt Ryan. Assessment — Gonzalez Comes Back: Firecrackers; Gonzalez retires – Dynamite Toss

Offensive Line

Where Will Konz End Up? (AJC)

The bane of many fans existence managed to pull itself together pretty well towards the end of the season, especially in the playoffs. They got much better in terms of pass protection, but have a ways to go in terms of run blocking. They aren’t the sole culprit for the lack of running game success, but they are a major reason. Much like the defensive line, it’s a knock against both Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff. How can there be issues every single year at virtually every position on the offensive line year in and year out? The only spot that’s been somewhat stable is left guard with Justin Blalock. Tyson Clabo was seemingly set at right tackle, but had a very sub-par year in 2012. Sam Baker was a pleasant surprise at left tackle, having one of his best years there.

Center and right guard are definitely in flux and, like Turner, the Falcons must let McClure ride off into the sunset as he will turn 36 in a few weeks. He may want to come back, but his play has definitely slipped as he’s gotten older and represented one of the weakest areas of the OL. It will be interesting to see what the Falcons do with Peter Konz. He was the best center in the draft, but played admirably at right guard only after Garrett Reynolds got hurt. Many believe that Konz should slide over to his natural position of center, adding both youth and beef in front of Matt Ryan. The biggest name to keep an eye on is Lamar Holmes in 2013. If he’s not starting in some capacity this season, than the pick has to be considered a bust. He showed great flashes in preseason and was predictably never heard from again. A thought that Holmes could either take over for Sam Baker at left tackle and have Baker move to right tackle. Another scenario would have Holmes starting at right tackle and move Tyson Clabo inside to guard, adding some much needed beef, muscle, and strength to an overall underwhelming offensive line.

Will Holmes (#76) Be a Starter? (AJC)

A few final scenarios could see Joe Hawley take over at center, thus keeping Konz at right guard and still another, which is a fan favorite’s of The Cage, is to use one of the early picks on the best available guard and plug him in next to Konz. While the offensive line did show some glimpses and did improve, they won’t be mistaken for the best OL in the league anytime soon. While not needing a completely overhaul, some serious decisions will need to be made in 2013 if the Falcons want to reach their ultimate goals in 2013. Assessment — Dynamite Toss

Offensive Coaching / Philosophy

It’s hard to argue with what the Falcons did this year on offense. Matt Ryan not only set career highs for himself, but also broke a handful of franchise records as well. Roddy White and Julio Jones both went over 1,000 yards receiving and Tony Gonzalez was very close. The running game wasn’t always pretty, but Jacquizz Rodgers showed that he will definitely be a part of the Falcons backfield for some time to come. There’s really not much to complain about overall. The only thing that needs fixing is when the Falcons would just go on major cold streaks on offense, be it quarters or even sometimes entire halfs at a time. They picked a bad time to get cold on offense in the playoffs and it nearly cost them the Seattle game (4th quarter) and did cost them the Niners game (no points in second half). Adding some speed in the backfield and shoring up the offensive line should make this offense even more dangerous. Assessment — Firecrackers

The Cage Brothers Turn

1) Quick Pitch — What’s your overall thoughts on the Falcons offense going forward in 2013?

2) What are the most pressing changes the Falcons need to make on offense?

3) What should Matt Ryan work on this off-season?

4) Your feelings about the backup QB spot: should Davis be #2?

5) Running Back: keep Turner, cut Turner but bring him back in a reduced role, draft a running back, or get one in free agency?

6) What round should the Falcons be looking to draft an RB?

7) Wide Receiver: Is Harry Douglas the answer at slot?

8.) Are Kevin Cone and Drew Davis keepers?

9) Should the Falcons take a WR in the draft?

10) What should Atlanta do if Gonzalez does retire: Coffman/Palmer, draft, or free agency?

11) What should the starting OL look like in 2013?

12) Will Holmes get in the lineup? What about Clabo and Baker? Where should Konz start?

13) Should the Falcons take an OL in the draft, if so when?

14) What changes should be made in terms of offensive scheme and / or philosophy?

603 comments Add your comment

rik warren

February 4th, 2013
11:38 am

Offense, Offense; they need defensive backs who can tackle. They would have been in the Super Bowl if they could.

trademark

February 4th, 2013
12:00 pm

D3…I know, I know, I KNOW that there are no Pat Ya-Suck-As links allowed on this site, but the one he posted after the Super Bowl is just hilarious:

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/44919/power-aside-new-orleans-was-super

Denial much? No WAY the NFL just thinks that was a minor “fluke” or overlooks that HUGE-A$$ embarrassment of a problem just because, and I quote: “New Orleans knows how to throw a party”.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAA!!

He is in total denial-panic mode…is it so wrong to take pleasure in a human-beings pain?

Nah, he don’t qualify!

BigChuck

February 4th, 2013
12:03 pm

Matt Ryan a top three MVP cadidate. HAHAHA Thanks for the morning laugh… You crack me up,

Kevin McLeod

February 4th, 2013
12:11 pm

It was kind of eyeopening to watch the Super Bowl with 2 of the leagues better and more physically punishing defenses give a total of 65 points. I’ve always thought that the Falcons main problem is on defense, but now I wonder if a dominating defense can even exist in this league with so many offensive weapons at teams disposal. It seems like no defense can really shut down a good NFL offense barring turnovers. It seems the best defense is now having an offense that can chew up clock and keep the other teams offense off the field. Ithink you gotta be able to run when you need to and get guys who can makes plays in the open field and mke the first defender miss. Its an offensive league. Unfortunately.

Chop Buster

February 4th, 2013
12:15 pm

1) Quick Pitch — What’s your overall thoughts on the Falcons offense going forward in 2013? I think the offense has some good pieces, but it never hurts to add more weapons to your team. Each year you want to give defenses something to have to contend with.

2) What are the most pressing changes the Falcons need to make on offense? Add another RB and solidify the middle of the OL. I don’t know who McClure’s replacement will be, but the Falcons needs to ensure he is a helluva anchor in the middle where we’ve been weak in the past. Sam Baker has played solid this year, but I’d like to see a bigger, nastier LT challenge him for the spot.

3) What should Matt Ryan work on this off-season? More back shoulder throws, leading the receiver with the ball more, and remaining calm under pressure. He seems to still get a little rattled with pressure in his face.

4) Your feelings about the backup QB spot: should Davis be #2? Should be Davis.

5) Running Back: keep Turner, cut Turner but bring him back in a reduced role, draft a running back, or get one in free agency? Turner is not dedicated to his craft–came in fat. Draft a young running back with these qualities (power, speed, agility and will run you over).

6) What round should the Falcons be looking to draft an RB? Later 4 or 5 depending who’s there.

7) Wide Receiver: Is Harry Douglas the answer at slot? No, I think he’s too light in the azz for the position. Drew or Kevin should be given a shot.

8.) Are Kevin Cone and Drew Davis keepers? Yes. Drew needs to improve his blocking skills big time though. Haven’t seen Cone in too many games got to see how he performs in a game that’s not in the preseason.

9) Should the Falcons take a WR in the draft? If there’s another game changer there.

10) What should Atlanta do if Gonzalez does retire: Coffman/Palmer, draft, or free agency? I’d like to see what Coffman can do in a game with the starters.

11) What should the starting OL look like in 2013? It’s a mix bag in my mind.

12) Will Holmes get in the lineup? Who knows with the WPP being employed. What about Clabo and Baker? Solid backups, but we need some big aggressive, physical guys on the OL. Where should Konz start? Back at RG. I don’t see him as a C the way he got blew off the ball at RG during a couple of games–he’d be getting blocked right into Ryan. We don’t want any of that.

13) Should the Falcons take an OL in the draft, if so when? Yes, LT (depends on what they really think of Holmes) or C.

14) What changes should be made in terms of offensive scheme and / or philosophy? We need the deep ball passing game, but we also need to get back to a physical rushing attack to get yards when we need them. We’ve all be saying this…please, please, please SMITTY stop going into milk the clock mode in the third and fourth quarters. Attack every team like you’re playing from behind until the clock hits zero to end the game.

DaveD

February 4th, 2013
12:16 pm

How about a page for the defense? Because I think we all know that with even modest changes on defense we should be good to go. Can anyone say linebackers?

Chop Buster

February 4th, 2013
12:17 pm

D3, can you help with the blog monster? Thanks

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

February 4th, 2013
12:22 pm

I just hope that the Falcons focus on getting better/larger linemen in the upcoming draft and free agency period.

I’m also tired of seeing other teams utilize their younger less experienced players to their advantage as oppose to the Mike Smith way of putting players in positions that aren’t their natural positions when they were drafted or relegating them to the “FALCON’S WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM”. Cross training is one thing, but totally putting them in another position is “DUMB” and ineffective!!!!! Both the offense and defensive lines are undersized when compared to the teams that we’ll have to play next season.

D3

February 4th, 2013
12:24 pm

trademark — I mean, dude isn’t even trying to hide it anymore. I used to think he was a Panthers or Bucs fan since he used to cover them, but alas, it’s all about the Swamp Trash.

Dave — It’s a LONG off-season brother. Defense is coming next.

Kevin — I believe you’re right. It was crazy seeing the Niners do to the Ravens defense exactly what they did to ours.

Hamad Meander

February 4th, 2013
12:27 pm

Fixing an already proficient offense is easy for the Falcons. Move Konz to center, draft a guard. Resign Baker and go with (from left to right): Baker, Blalock, Konz, New guy, Clabo. OR move Clabo inside and play Holmes at RT. Either way, we should get 40 more lbs on the interior line.

Draft a running back – someone in the 2nd or 3rd rounds like he kid from UNC or Mike Gillislee from Florida. This would be an instant upgrade in our running game and we could save some serious cap space letting Turner go.

Keep Koetter and his offense in place – it was effective and produced. We were 8th in the league in yards and 7th in the league in scoring. Hard to improve much on those statistics…..

Hamad Meander

February 4th, 2013
12:36 pm

Kevin McLeod – you observations about dominating defenses getting dominated by great offenses might be the ticket to what the Falcons need to do to win a Superbowl. It’s hard to be great on both sides on the ball in the NFL with salary cap and other considerations. It is easier to be very good on one side of the ball. We are very close to being elite on offense, so being even better could help the Falcons achieve more. Replacing Tony Gonzalez (which I neglected to address in my last post) is very important as well. Getting him to come back another year would be HUGE.

Just think how much more effective the Falcons could have been with a runner like we saw in the Superbowl. Frank Gore and Ray Rice are very good backs, not elite backs, but they get the yards needed when a first down is critical.

cdog

February 4th, 2013
12:44 pm

plain and simple, get better on defense, bring in a quarterback who will push matt ryan.he thinks he has it made and isn’t trying to get better.thats why he blows up in big games.need a top notch runningback who is tough and explosive to go with jaquizz rodgers.defense wins championships.thats why baltimore are champions this year

Chuck

February 4th, 2013
12:49 pm

The falcons will never win a super bowl with Matt Ryan at quarterback. He’s a good (not great) quarterback in the regular season, but he failsevery time in the playoffs. Not sure what the “it” is for great quarterbacks, but Ryan is missing “it”.

DawgNole

February 4th, 2013
12:57 pm

DEVITT: “The Falcons franchise quarterback has taken his game to a new level, won a playoff game, and came within yards of taking his team to the playoffs.”
_________________________

“. . . won a playoff game, and came within yards of taking his team to the playoffs”?

Hello?

D3

February 4th, 2013
12:57 pm

Wow, looks like our blog has turned into a “Matt Ryan hate session.” What gives?

cdog — You really believe that Matt Ryan is not trying to get better. Is that a joke or are you actually being serious?

Chuck — So Ryan is missing “it” even though you don’t know what “it” is. I guess they said the same thing about John Elway after he lost his first 3 Super Bowls, only to win his last two, back-to-back nonetheless. If you’re a football prophet, can you give me the scores of next year’s opening weekend, so I can become rich?

riggo

February 4th, 2013
1:00 pm

Could it be that our d-line coach is not getting the job done coaching up those young d- linemen Beirmann,Jerry,Sidbury,Matthews, Massaquoi Robertson- all drafted over the last 5 yrs Ray Edwards even went backwards, before he came here he was sacking the qbs.Last yr we fired the o-line coach for not getting the job done with the o-linemen. Also our d-line coach don’t like rookies much….. Decoud can’t tackle me if I was running towards him

D3

February 4th, 2013
1:03 pm

DawgNole — Error fixed. Thanks for the heads-up.

Hamad — Great points. Totally agree. I think if we shore up our OL and get an RB in the draft (Stephan Taylor or Joseph Randle are my guys right now) than we’ll be set. Not feeling Gillislee. Saw him a few times in Florida games and was not overly impressed.

Hamad Meander

February 4th, 2013
1:06 pm

Good lord. Stats tell the story here. Matt Ryan’s QB Efficiency rating this season was better than: Tom Brady (he has won 3 SB), Colin Kaepernick (he lost the SB), Big Ben (he has won 2), Drew Breez (1 SB), Joe Flacco (1 SB), Eli Manning (2 SB), Cam Newton (1 BCS), Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck. His rating was only below Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, RG III, and Russell Wilson.

D3 – set these people straight. Matt Ryan is an elite QB and I think he showed it in the NFC game. One play away……

David

February 4th, 2013
1:11 pm

Pick up Ed Reed, a couple of running backs, and help on d-line.

Arno

February 4th, 2013
1:13 pm

Rice saved Flacco’s butt in that game. Could be relied upon to convert the 3rd and two. Caught 4 of 4 passes in crucial situations. So Ryan can’t take the pressure in the playoffs??? Without Ryan’s ability to handle pressure where would we be??? Come on. If Ryan had a guy like Rice, watch out. When the Ravens’ line got clogged in the center, Rice could bump it outside.

After the Julio trade it may seem extravagant to keep sinking our best draft resources on the O side, especially with so much need on D. So please pardon this analogy: A Ford with four good tires will beat a Ferrari with one flat tire. Flacco is the Ford with four good tires. Ryan is the Ferrari (three good tires in Julio, Roddy, and Gonzo), but not able to put enough weight on his RB tire. Maybe not flat– but the RB tire needs to function with more air pressure. Giving our Ferrari four good tires, will be a HUGE cost benefit.

wayne

February 4th, 2013
1:14 pm

Got to have help at DE, one injury away from not having a pass rush at all. DT also a pressing need. LB must be upgraded. RB must be upgraded with a back that can get those two yards when needed, couldn’t burn any clock when needed, the rookie FB should help if he overcomes the injury, but still must have RB with a bad attitude. QB situation best determined by coaching staff, so much unknown for fan to know.

wayne

February 4th, 2013
1:22 pm

Also the changes I mentioned above can’t be addressed in the draft , at least two of them will have to be addressed in free agency. Drafting at #30 is not going to produce more than 1 or 2 starters.

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
1:22 pm

Good to start looking ahead.

I would say in response to BigChick that Matt Ryan was a top 3 candidate, maybe not in all the writer’s eyes, but certainly in the 1st half of the season he was the favorite, things slowed a bit in the last half to be sure, but he was still having a phenomenal year and did lead his team within 10 yards of a SB bid. I can say that w/o him they wouldn’t have gone anywhere, so he was very valuable to his team.

PapaK

February 4th, 2013
1:35 pm

Falcons need to fix the following: Offensive Guard (either Holmes at guard or draft – 3rd round), Defensive End (1st round draft pick), (Defensive tackle 2nd round pick), Linebacker (4th round pick)

If the Falcons find good draft picks, they can win it all. They have a very good team. Ryan is a very good quarterback. Smith and Dimtroff have done a great job. For all you complainers, if you had experience the 1967-97 years, you would be appreciative of the consistency of the team.

superbowl

February 4th, 2013
1:37 pm

Falcons need that killer attitude to finish off teams and finish the games strong. If Mike Smith can’t change his coaching style or ways to motivate his team, then the Falcons need to change the head coach. Offseason priorities for Falcons draft and free agency are to get some DL’s and LB’s – give Mike Nolan the tools to make this defense better. Falcons have a good enough offense that they don’t need to worry about that side of the ball that much.

D3

February 4th, 2013
1:38 pm

Die Hard — Evidently the Matt Ryan hate parade was unleashed on this blog. I think with the new sign-up, even the other AJC blogs are ridding themselves of trash. about time.

wayne — Good points. I’m just not sure there’s that much out there in terms of what we need, especially what we’d have to pay. Michael Johnson, Osi Umeniyora, and a handful of others at DE, but nothing to break the bank for. I agree that we’ll have to find at least something in the FA market. There’s a few guys out there that might be worth a look. Welcome, by the way.

Arno — I think that’s a very good analogy actually, and their receiver corps may not be as good as ours, but Torrey Smith is no joke. I lobbied hard for him before we traded up for Julio. Same goes for Jacoby Jones speed, as the entire world saw. Pitta and Dickson are very good TE’s. People can whatever they want, but the fact is that their defense is way better than ours, especially the front 7.

riggo — You make a d@mn fine point. If Paul Boudreau was axed due to poor offensive line play, why is Ray Hamilton getting a pass? The defensive line has been pretty abysmal for a long time.

cdog

February 4th, 2013
2:13 pm

no i don’t.hes still making the same dumb nervous foolish mistakes he was making 3 years ago.i call it as i see it.look at the picks he threw against the 49ers, those were picks you expect a rookie or 2nd year qb to make.i’m using my mind and not my heart with ryan.he needs backup a quarterback whos going to give him a run for his money. he thinks he has it made so he doesn’t work on correcting the small mistakes of his game..look at alex smith.with him the 49ers never make it to the superbowl until harbaugh put him in after an injury to smith.i bet when smith plays again, he will be better and not take things for granted as ryan does.another good qb will help him stop making the small mistakes that costs him every year.he should be beyond the nervousness but hes not.so no, hes not trying to get better

D3

February 4th, 2013
2:21 pm

cdog — Fair enough. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and the stupid turnovers are bad. No doubt. But I guess two things are at play here: 1) Do you feel that Ryan has not become a better QB than when he was a rookie and 2) Do you think it’s almost entirely Ryan’s fault that we lost the game to the Niners?

Ken

February 4th, 2013
2:22 pm

Two of the best defenses in the league just got to the Super Bowl and all you can talk about is offense?
How about getting some legit DL’s, some LB’s that can cover a TE and some DB’s that can tackle and not shoulder bump people to the ground.

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
2:23 pm

As far as fixing our O:

I think Ryan just needs to keep doing what he’s doing, I think that D. Davis should be the #2 QB and don’t keep a 3rd on the active roster this season. I also believe that Turner should be let go and we should draft an RB. I really am high on Stepfan Taylor as well, ultimately we need a RB that can catch and pass protect, who’s shifty and a threat.

As for the OL, I am screaming the same as D3: Holmes, Blalock, Konz, Clabo, Baker. That was from left to right.

Go Falcons!!!

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
2:33 pm

As for Harry Douglas, I just cannot figure him out, is it him or his role in the offense that’s holding him back. He’s had so many flashes, certainly in his rookie year and then again last year (2011)in the preseason, I remember him taking a 8 yard crossing pattern to the house against the Jaguars and thinking he’d have a breakout year, then I thought under Koetter, maybe it would change, but it just seems to not ever change, it wouldn’t hurt to pull in some competition for the 3rd WR spot.

Big Ray

February 4th, 2013
2:39 pm

D3 – masterful job of yet another blog.

D3

February 4th, 2013
2:42 pm

Ken — IT IS A LONG OFF-SEASON DUDE! Almost 3 months to the draft and a full 7 months until the first game of 2013. We don’t take a break in here, so we have to space out the topics to keep it interesting during those times. Guess what blogs coming next? If you guessed, “What changes need to be made to the defense,” than……ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding………tell’em what he’s won Wink!

AlanFalcon

February 4th, 2013
2:48 pm

The offense could use a minor tweak but you have really got to do something with the defense, in my opinon they lost the SF game as they had a good margin of victory laid out for them and they could not protect it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AlanFalcon

February 4th, 2013
2:51 pm

cdog- you are one confused and sick boy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RODERICK

February 4th, 2013
3:11 pm

Matt Ryan needs to work on his footwork if he wants to be compared to the likes of Drew Brees, Matt kupccchek, and the like.

Wink

February 4th, 2013
3:13 pm

A chicken dinner!

RODERICK

February 4th, 2013
3:16 pm

Also The Atlanta Falcons MUST GET a Defensive Lineman who can rush the quarterback bacause John Abraham is to old and injury prone.

Dickie

February 4th, 2013
3:19 pm

Simple. We have all the pieces. Need better execution on critical plays. One play on 4th down from being in the Super Bowl. What else can u do???

DIRTY BIRDS

February 4th, 2013
3:35 pm

We need to get a RB ASAP!!!! Either by getting Rashard mendenhal from free agency or Bernard Pierce vie trade or even Bennie wells from Az. We also need to draft a pass rushers in the 1st round this year, Defense should a priority #1 for this upcoming draft. Our offense is good except the RB spot. 2013 is our year.

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
3:38 pm

It’s hard to say if Cone & Davis are keepers or not, haven’t had enough eval time. I think that they should draft a WR in later rounds if someone looks like a steal, especially slot receiver types.
Gonzalez is so huge for our offense, so steady on 3rd down and in the red zone, hopefully he’ll have watched Ray Lewis go out on top and it’ll cause him to come back for one more, but I’m not comfortable just sitting on Palmer/Coffman, I think we should draft a TE but not until rd.3 if there’s a steal to be had, otherwise, I like the idea of Jared Cook, just not sure the Titans won’t keep him.

Go Falcons!!!

cjdatl

February 4th, 2013
3:39 pm

@D3: Thank you for your words. I’ts as you so eloquently put it, a very long off-season.

As for the Matt Ryan hate parade, please tell me the quarterbacks you would rather have than Ryan. I can think of one and one only.

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
3:51 pm

I think in terms of scheme/philosophy, I wouldn’t change much, except to continue to implement and install more of Koetter’s playbook and get rid of more of Mularkey’s. I would say that halftime adjustments as has been the case for us need to be figured out. Also, it would be nice if we could figure out 3rd and less than 3 and how to convert those better.

Big Ray

February 4th, 2013
3:51 pm

1) Watching the Super Bowl made me rethink a lot of my free agency and draft ideas. I was stuck on some. I’m not so stuck anymore.

For one thing, the offense is pretty darn close to where it needs to be. Why would I say that? Well, in the past, scoring was a problem. It wasn’t even close to a problem this year, it was a matter of scoring high, consistently. We put up 30 points on a defense that was supposed to shut us down. The next week, we put up 24 on a defense that was even more “likely” to shut us down.

The issue wasn’t “can’t score” or “can’t move the ball”…it was “scored a bunch, then disappeared.”

Plus, our offense was not two-dimensional this season like it needs to be. So scoring wasn’t an issue IN SPITE of the fact that our offense was one-dimensional. And we did it against two of the best defenses in the entire NFL. That is saying something.

2) RB and OL. Growth through osmosis can account for some of the OL changes. Lamar Holmes needs to show something for sure. We need to decide where Konz is going to be in the starting lineup . Do NOT put him back on the bench…it’s a ruin and a waste.

We also need to get away from the old, well-used security blanket at Center. McClure has done a fine service…but his time is basically up. Move Konz in, move Hawley in, or move a high draft pick in.

There may be some real merit to the idea of moving Clabo around. Reynolds need not be in the starting lineup (he might be okay at RT, though).

We need to let Mike Turner go. Period. Find another, more complete RB in the draft, platoon him with Rodgers unless or until he proves he can handle all the duties (pass protection included, obviously). In the meantime, Rodgers gets more carries, as does Snelling.

3) Ryan needs to work on faking out the secondary…not just with pump fakes, but with his eyes. The issues of “locking in on receivers” and throwing into questionable coverage are debatable.

I just watched Joe Flacco make a number of throws that Ryan has attempted, some of which have resulted in tipped passes or interceptions. One of the differences is that Anquan Boldin goes after the ball with a GREAT deal of aggression…and Flacco knows this. Julio could be better at this than Roddy is now, and the thing to consider is that Roddy is getting older. Ryan must establish this kind of relationship with Julio, but know that he can’t always throw like this to Roddy.

That, and catching the snap instead of looking down the field when the ball isn’t even in his hands yet. You can’t throw it if you don’t have it…

4) Unquestionably…the #2 QB should be Davis.

5) Cut Turner. Go cold turkey or this is a waste of time (and money). He already had a reduced role (metaphorically speaking, of course)…didn’t do well with it. Efficiency with the number of carries is very important these days.

6) Ideally, drafting a RB will happen in the 3rd round. In reality…it may have to occur in the 2nd round. Hopefully not as it would be better to obtain DL and OL in the first two rounds. But it just might not happen that way. The issue is that the Falcons are picking in the bottom of every round. One good run on RBs and suddenly the crop gets thin very quickly.

The thing is, there are a number of viable options, even if the Falcons have to settle for a “platoon” RB who won’t take over as a feature RB. If this happens, then the Falcons need to be shrewd with their selection…even if it means going with a more two-dimensional “speed/pass-catching” or “short yardage/tough running” type to compliment Rodgers. With Snelling in the fold, a speedster who can catch the ball well is a better bet.

Side note: this may mean waiting until the 4th round to select a RB.

7) Douglas can play the slot, but we’ve learned that he is not absolutely essential to success at the position. Drew Davis may be just as good, the jury is out on Kevin Cone.

However, the slot isn’t as much of a concern perhaps as finding a replacement for Roddy White. He looked great this season, but when (and how fast) does he slow down? HD can stay in the slot as an incumbent and it wouldn’t kill us if we can maintain steady TE play and a much healthier running game. But if Roddy goes down or slows down significantly (it’s coming one day, some way or another)…who then steps in to be a solid threat as the 2nd WR?

HD isn’t strong enough, big enough, or plain out physical enough to play as the #1 or #2 WR. That much is obvious. And we have NO clear answer as to who would be. That person may be on the roster already. Or they may not.

8 ) Drew Davis seems to be. Haven’t seen enough of Cone to know anything about him at all.

Side Note – DraftCountdown’s Scott Wright noted that the Falcons scouted Baylor WR Terrence Williams at the Senior Bowl. Terrence Williams is a big (6′2″, 205) WR with deceptive speed.

9) Yes. Nothing wrong with adding another option to the crop of uncertainty. Why? We know what we’ll get out of Julio and Roddy, but Roddy is getting a bit older. We pretty much know the extent of what HD can do. Drew Davis has potential, but can he be consistent? Too many questions, and they need answers. Soon.

Pick up a WR in the later rounds, and there is always UDFAs to consider.

10) A mixture. Go after Jared Cook in FA. Put him in camp with Coffman and Palmer. Palmer shouldn’t have a problem making the roster and seeing adequate PT, especially if Cook isn’t signed. Coffman has some serious pass-catching potential and should get a serious look. And I don’t mean for the practice squad. If Dennis Pitta and Zach Miller can get some burn and make plays, surely Chase Coffman can. His catch in the playoffs was a glimpse of what he could do.

11) Tough one to call. This will depend, in part, on what happens in the draft. If a center/guard (most notably, Barrett Jones or Travis Frederick) is available, then that fella and Konz should be the C/RG combo for the short and longterm future. Blalock is still basically a lock at LG, Baker may be better off staying at LT, and hopefully Lamar Holmes gets the RT spot (or swaps with Baker). There is still the matter of Clabo, who could stay at RT but might fit better at RG, which then puts Konz…again…at Center.

Either way, there should be three starters that we know of – Blalock, Baker, and Konz….with a 4th – most likely Clabo – slotted where he plays best.

12) See answer from #11. Holmes should break into the starting lineup, however. If not, then something didn’t go right. It’s understandable that 3rd round picks may need some time to develop, especially if the consensus is that the pick was a reach in the first place. However, it’s still too high a slot to be expecting some serious action/contribution in year 2. If Holmes isn’t healthy or can’t stay that way, we shouldn’t afford him the same confidence that was given to Baker.

13) First or second round. Solidifying the interior of our OL is very important. Both teams in the SB had pretty strong interior OL play. SF especially exhibited this with a dominant running game, though a good deal of that must also be attributed to RB Frank Gore. Yet, the Ravens were able to handle many short yardage situations due to the push they could get that allowed Ray Rice to squirt forward.

I originally thought DT was an absolute must in the 1st round, followed by perhaps a LB in the 2nd. However, DT could be addressed via FA and with a later draft pick (2nd or possibly even the 3rd round…at the latest). However, if there is a damn good OL player available, can the Falcons really afford to pass on him? Not with the state of this line.

The simple fact is, this OL is one injury away from being horrible again. What if Baker isn’t healthy? We will probably go with Holmes, but we don’t know what his health tendencies are yet either. At the same time, we’d do the same thing if Clabo was out – substitute Baker. I think we can maybe survive a Tackle getting hurt.

Here’s a worse one – imagine Blalock getting hurt. Or Konz. What then? Who plays LG? Who plays RG? Who plays Center?

MUST add early round talent to the position and get the rookie(s) some serious seasoning early on. It has worked with Konz (turned out better than Reynolds).

The other thing is this – both teams in the SB were known for their nasty, dominating defenses. Neither defense was able to stop the other team’s offense. Both teams scored over 30 points.

Even with Mike Nolan around, I don’t think we have the cap space, the coaching and development (yes, I mean that), or enough draft picks to put together a defense that competes for the status the 49ers and Ravens have. And even if we could, we just saw that neither defense is ENOUGH.

The best solution may be to finish building an offense that can’t be stopped. A BALANCED offense.

14) Why you gotta ask so many damn questions? LOL.

The offensive philosophy needs to be tweaked, but some tweaks can’t happen without a change in personnel. Better OL play, better RB play – these are the things that allow scheme/philosophy implementation to occur. Without them, options are limited.

Asking Ryan to sling the ball 40+ times per game every game as a means to win, not as a means to keep the defense on it’s heels is a recipe for eventual disaster (see NFC Championship game).

Ask Tom Brady about all that…

It’s one thing to ask Ryan to put up 350-400 yards of offense and 4 TDs because the opposing defense is worried about stopping our run game and is committed more to that. It’s another thing to have him throwing like that because he’s ripping the opposing defense a new one and they just can’t stop our aerial attack.

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
3:53 pm

D3 — I believe that the blog monster ate my last post, can you help?

Big Ray

February 4th, 2013
3:55 pm

DAMN BLOG MONSTER

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
3:57 pm

@cjdatl — I agree, Matt is a top 5 QB and on the uphill side of his career, w/ a steady constant progression year to year. Just curious as to who you’d take over him, I’d have a tough time b/c in my opinion everyone that I might consider better than him at this point is mostly on the downhill side of their career w/ the exception of Aaron Rodgers, that’s my guess as to who you’re referring to, and I guess I’m showing my “homer-ishness”, but I wouldn’t trade Matt for anyone, but I can see why people would like to get Aaron

Die Hard Falcon

February 4th, 2013
3:59 pm

Okay, now I know I’m not crazy, it ate another post. hungry little bugger

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