Atlanta Falcons Look Bad, Sloppy in Titans Loss

Team Gives Fans a Reason to Pause the Optimism

This Sums it Up Pretty Well (AJC)

It’s only preseason. As fellow Cager Big Ray said, “say it out loud, listen to yourself very carefully, and repeat several times.” After all, the Patriots just got destroyed by the Lions 40-9. Mike Smith and Co. intentionally used vanilla gameplans to not show anything to our future opponents. OK, so now that we’ve gotten the rationalization out of the way, let’s look at the ugly fact: the Falcons stunk in almost every facet of the all-important 3rd game. The offensive line was atrocious, the offense was terrible in the redzone, the defense made Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick look like Brady and Manning, and the young rookie corners were officially baptized to the NFL in a pretty ugly manner. Mike Smith and the Falcons obviously get the benefit of the doubt due to their immense record and winning records since he’s been coach, but that was one ugly display after the first quarter or so and fans now hitting the pause button, at least momentarily, on the hype that’s surrounded this team since the off-season. A look at the ugliness that was……….

Mentally Checked Out after 1st Quarter

This Too (AJC)

The Falcons got off to a pretty hot start in Nashville on both sides of the ball. They established a running game with Steven Jackson early on and moved the ball pretty much as at will against a Titans team who seemed to be imploding early on with multiple penalties and seeming ineptness on offense and defense alike. The men from Flowery Branch moved down the field until they choked themselves in the redzone, but overall the offense looked decently good. The defense made a few stops out of the gate and even forced a fumble they recovered to hopefully set up a quick touchdown that could put them ahead quickly.

After three stalled drives in a row in the redzone, resulting in 2 out of 3 field goals and only 6 points, the wheels came flying off and as fellow Cager Greg Mendel appropriately said, “it appeared the Falcons heads just weren’t in the game.” The offense looked as anemic as they ever have. The offensive line couldn’t block a JV player and the defense opened looked as if they weren’t even there, allowing both Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick to drive and score at will. Maybe it was just execution, but it absolutely appeared as though the entire team checked out mentally after their initial good start. Penalties, blown coverages, failure to block anyone, and poor tackling were just a few of the crappy things on display the rest of the way. In fact, as fellow Cager JB Falcon mentioned, “the second string almost looked better than the first string for awhile.” If they come out like that in New Orleans, ugly won’t even come close.

Atrocious Offensive Line

Peters one of Few Good (AJC)

The easiest target will of course be Lamar Holmes, due to both him essentially being a 2nd year rookie and of where he was taken in the draft, but the entire Falcons offensive line was beyond horrible Saturday night. After initially clearing holes for Steven Jackson and protecting Matt Ryan fairly well, they turned into paper tigers across the board. The aforementioned Holmes did get beat by pretty pedestrian pass rushers, but so did everyone else. Garrett Reynolds missed assignments and got beat. Sam Baker accrued penalties and got beat and there was plenty of pressure up the middle to signal Konz had issues as well, even if it wasn’t as obvious. But the worst of the night likely goes to the eldest vet in Justin Blalock. The longtime left guard was continually seen getting whipped by defensive tackles, defensive ends, and even linebackers. Again, everyone had a bad night, but Blalock seemed to be the culprit more than anyone.

Some of the pressure came from heavy blitz designs that the OL couldn’t pick up, but Matt Ryan couldn’t rid of the ball either, some of it being his fault and some of it being the Falcons receivers failing to get open. It’s possibly unfair to single out any single player because the entire offense seemed to have completely checked out of preseason after the 1st quarter, but the offensive line brought all those fears of the past 5+ years roaring back to the surface with the awful play. Here’s hoping they got their clunker out of the way, but they looked pretty bad against the Bengals as well. Most fans wouldn’t be upset if Thomas Dimitroff brought in some emergency reinforcements on the OL just in case.

Anemic Pass Rush

Oh the pass rush (AJC)

Stop if you’ve heard this one before: the Falcons have some issues with creating a pass rush. It’s world shattering news for sure, but the men in the white jerseys couldn’t get any pressure hardly at all on the Titans. The only times they got to the QB was when the coverage was so good that the Titans offense simply ran out of options. Biermann had an overall good night, but as mentioned before, he’s no prototypical DE. Osi Umenyiora wasn’t seen very much and the younger DE’s didn’t see action until after halftime. Malliciah Goodman and Jonathan Massaquoi generated some pass rush, but nothing to write home about. Corey Peters was the only linemen that had much of a good night, even though Biermann ended up with an overall impressive night (7-8 tackles, 2 sacks), but fans want to see that in the real games before getting too amped.

Some fans, such as this author, have done anything in their power to rationalize and justify the Falcons failure to being anything but a failure to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines, but seeing a performance like last night makes that stance virtually indefensible. Whether it be draft picks, undrafted players, free agents, or anything else, it appears the Falcons just can not, and sometimes seems, and will not ever generate a pass rush. The men from Flowery Branch has their strength in their secondary, but with no pressure it doesn’t matter how talented the secondary is constructed. Most fans are praying that Dimitroff’s design (building outside-in) isn’t the fatal flaw and construct going forward. Amazing how more things change, the more they stay the same.

Welcome to the NFL Rooks!

Johnson Looks like a Natural (AJC)

Two young men were given a lesson in the rough and tumble rigors of the National Football League, especially as a rookie cornerback. Asante Samuel came out early with a minor thigh injury and Robert Alford joined Desmond Trufant as the starting cornerback duo. It was not pretty at all, particularly for Alford. They were picked on, taken to school, and generally torched up and down the field. Alford was targeted even more than Trufant and he gave up some TD passes, committed pass interference penalties, and some deep passes. Trufant wasn’t without fault either and got his bitter taste of bullying.

It should be noted, at least, that the corners got absolutely ZERO help from their safeties who, as our longtime Cager Seminole Warrior noted, “evidently went to the concession stands during the game.” Thomas Dimitroff was interviewed during the 3rd quarter and said that it was good for them and they had to go through it and it should be said that both Trufant and Alford stayed with it and kept battling. Alford even got a pick later in the game. It happens to all rookies, chiefly to cornerbacks, and it can be a great learning experience. Better for it to happen now in preseason than in Week 1, Week 5, or Week 15. Unfortunatetly, we can have it both ways in wanting to get younger and develop our own players while also not tolerating any growing pains. Trufant and Alford will get there, but it will take some time.

Bartu, Worrilow, Johnson = Keepers

Alford with a Rough Night (AJC)

They may be undrafted free agents and aren’t “supposed” to make an NFL roster, especially this many in one season on a Super Bowl hopeful team, but if fans and coaches are truly objective as they say they are, these 3 guys must make the roster. Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow have lit this linebacker competition on fire. Worrilow was definitely the game MVP of the first preseason game vs. the Bengals and had a darn fine follow-up in Baltimore. Bartu also had some good games in that span, but he really took another step on Saturday night. Bartu was a man possesed last night making huge tackles and looking superb in coverage. He quickly was inserted with the first team, possibly even on the first drive. There’s should be no question in keeping Bartu. At times, he even looked better than Sean Weatherspoon.

Worrilow didn’t have quite as good of a night as he did the last two, but he still showed great versatility and an unbelievable nose for the football. There’s not a whole lot more that Worrilow needs to do to show he should be kept and honestly, along with Bartu, it’s going to start getting harder and harder to even keep the two off the field. The final UDFA that has proved his worth is receiver Darius Johnson. He has caught almost everything thrown to him during preseason, but saved his best for the all-important 3rd game. With the Falcons withering away and getting a beatdown from the Titans, Johnson stepped up with a truly beautiful play. He caught about a 15-20 yard pass or so and was amazing the rest of the way. He juked two defenders, easily switched ball hands and raced another 25 yards or so for a touchdown.

Just U-G-L-Y (AJC)

The playmaking ability he showed on that one play has been what Falcons fans have been craving from any receiver not name Roddy or Julio. The quickness and overall hands should give him the nod for the 5th receiver spot. All credit due to Kevin Cone, but as mentioned before training camp started, if the guys are even, you have to go with the younger and seemingly more gifted talent.

The Red Zone Abyss

Even counting the good showing from the Falcons in the first quarter, they still were beyond terrible in the red zone. They found themselves in the redzone on the edge of the endzone 3 times early on and only came away with 6 points. Kicker Jeremy Shelley came on 3 times and made 2 of them. Smith’s team could have easily been up 21-0, pulled all the starters, and been as happy as could be if the Falcons converted their chances, or at least any of them. They looked amazing between the 20 yard lines, but froze when they got close to scoring a TD. There was pressure on Ryan, but as fellow Cager tyler mentioned, there were chances to be had. Harry Douglas was wide open on a 3rd and short, as was Julio Jones on another. The play-calling seemed to be abysmal in the redzone as well. A fade in the endzone to Harry Douglas instead of Julio Jones or Tony Gonzalez? And wasn’t the 6’8 tight end that was taken fairly early in the draft supposed to make his presence felt in the redzone? That’s not to mention having Steven Jackson’s insane versatility out of the backfield. Yes, it’s preseason, but even in their “positive parts,” the redzone was ugly and that comes off the back of ranking 6th in the NFC in that area in 2013, which is pretty weak.

The Turk Makes his First Sweep

Good to See Gonzo Back (AJC)

The less painful of the cuts came down on Sunday and there weren’t any real surprises. Tight end Tim Biere, fullback Devonte Campbell, linebacker Nick Clancy, tight end Colin Cloherty, quarterback Seth Doege, defensive end Cam Henderson, tackle Jeff Nady, running back Donald Russell, safety Troy Sanders, center Matt Smith, WR Rashad Evans, WR Marcus Jackson, and WR Marcus Sales and defensive end Brandon Thurmond were all waived. It’s always tough letting guys go who came in and worked their tails off trying to at least earn a practice squad spot, but it’s a business and since they were cut in the first wave, that likely means that even a shot at the practice squad is highly unlikely.

Most of the players were major longshots even to make the practice squad, much less the final 53 man roster. Nick Clancy and Matt Smith maybe had the best shot of making the practice squad due to their high productivity at a bigger school (Boston College and Kentucky, respectively) and them being at a position of very thin depth (LB, OL), Although it’s not a surprise, Marcus Jackson probably officially ends his time as a Falcon after being on the practice squad for a year. This wasn’t the difficult one. Some may describe it “low hanging fruit,” but the next will force some tough decisions as the Falcons must cut another 22 players (not including what they can get back or keep on the practice squad).

The Falcons Cage Podcast

(Hit the links to listen to the bi-weekly podcast from our very own Cage Members. Click on the “Open a New Window” Tab or “Play in Default Player.”You can listen live or download it and listen on your favorite device: i-tunes, i-pod, i-pad, tablet, or android

Episode #11 — Falcons-Titans 3rd Preseason Review — 8/25/13

Episode #10 – Preseason Review: Debate-Style Format – 8/21/13

Episode #9 – Falcons-Raven 2nd Preseason Review – 8/18/13
Episode #8 – Review from Falcons-Bengals – 8/11/13
Episode #7 – A look at Training Camp so Far – 8/4/13
Episode #6 – Cage Members’ Questions Pt. 2 – 7/31/13
Episode #5 – Cage Members’ Questions Pt. 1 – 7/28/13
Episode #4 – Training Camp Preview – 7/24/13
Episode #3 – Look back at Falcons 2013 Draft – 7/21/13
Episode #2 – Defensive Tackle – 7/14/13
Episode #1 – Linebackers – 7/10/13

582 comments Add your comment

tyler

August 27th, 2013
11:10 pm

I got to repeat that Matt Ryan is responsible for the Red Zone letdowns. That is easily fixed, thankfully.

tyler

August 27th, 2013
11:12 pm

D3, that fade to HD had to be a play where Ryan was just seeing what would happen. I highly doubt he makes that throw in the regular season.

tyler

August 27th, 2013
11:23 pm

I still want to give a shout-out to Malliciah Goodman. That dude dominated his man the entire 2cnd half. He is big, strong, and quick. Goodman’s gonna be a keeper, whose only going to get better. While Goodman probably will not start in 2013, I’m hoping for some situational impact plays from Goodman this year.

tyler

August 27th, 2013
11:31 pm

Dang, tough room tonight, great write-up D3, I’m looking forward to the roster competition. Guess I’ll see if it’s not to late to wake the wife up. HeHeHe

D3

August 27th, 2013
11:33 pm

tyler — all good man. Everyone’s asleep. Pop back in around 7 or 8 am once everyone’s had their coffee. I added you and your credit on calling the red zone, by the way. You called it first and well done! Love the s–ttalk you’re giving JJ too. Offense is the best defense with the mouth of the south :grin:

DHunt

August 28th, 2013
12:09 am

I wonder if Nolan intentionally put the rookie corners on an island all night just to let them know how it felt? Still think Alford expected and didn’t get safety help on both those touchdowns. Like Smitty said, just because he’s the closest guy to the ball doesn’t mean he’s the guy that missed his assignment.

I think the regular season will see a significant improvement in all the areas of concern that were listed. When this team is dialed in and has the whole playbook to work with, they will be much better on both sides of the ball. Scheme can cover up a lot of pass blocking weakness, and I maintain that this will turn out to be a road grading run blocking OL, Bradie Ewing even looks like a thumper if he can just stay healthy. Not one pass to Toilolo in the endzone all pre-season. That’s how close to the vest they are keeping this juggernaut waiting to happen offense.

The defense is obviously a bit more of a concern. But really, the Falcons should be at least as good as last year. The emergence of Peters, Bartu, and somebody playing DE other than Osi, could lead to a much better defense. They have shown flashes of dominance over a quarter in Games 1 and 3 and a half in game 2. This defense needs some playmakers in the front seven. Somebody (or better yet, some bodies) needs to rise up and be consistently dominant. Nolan’s team defense concepts are good, but it would be nice to have two playmakers at each level of the defense. I think we have the personnel in place, but there is still a question as to whether they will live up to their potential.

stendec

August 28th, 2013
12:39 am

Hi Dawson. I am back. Hope you have been well friend. Practice games no big deal? Maybe. An 0-3 record still does not sit well with me. This deals with first team only. Secondary appears as bad as ever. AS IN EVER! May be hope for pass rush. Can only hope. Know major concern? See no killer instinct in offense. Zilch. Zero. Spare me the preseason analogies! No killer instinct or hunger. Steve Bartkowski moved the Falcons from 20 to 20 as well as anybody. Same as Matthew Ryan. Great quarterbacks close deal. Also rans settle for field goals! I place old Ice Boy in latter category. Will have to do plenty for not throwing winning TD pass to wide open Tony Gonzalez against 49ers. I have seen tapes repeatedly. Ryan looked directly AT TG! Threw instead to racist choker Roddy White instead who was not open. In cases like that RW more often than not drops the ball anyway. Always comes up short of first down at crunch time. That is a gimme! New running back a bust. Tip Toe Turner gone for this? Falcon management fail! Ram that has done absolutely nothing his entire career except fumble! Coaches? Killer instinct cannot be taught or coached. Only TG and Kroy Biermann seen to possess it. Oh well. Best. Be back soon. L)

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
1:43 am

Good stuff as always D3 .

I say again – there is a difference between what the CS schemes up (or doesn’t scheme up) and what the players do on the field. The entire OL made plenty of mistakes, but the ones coming from the left side bothered me most.

Execution is on the players.

Yes, I know coaches are responsible for firing these guys up and correcting mistakes. Guess what? That is still predicated on what players do. If the players don’t make a pile of mistakes (which ours did on both sides of the ball), then the coaches merely have to put guys in place to succeed.

Well, there’s putting guys in place to succeed, and then there’s the guys doing what they need to do when in place.

You can bring a horse to water…..

And right there you have it. Smitty talked about the Safety or leverage help sometimes getting there and sometimes not. How many times have we seen this? We’ve seen WillyMo blow it, but not nearly as often as we have Decoud (at leat in my estimation). We used to get it all the time from Dunta Robinson at CB. There’s a reason Chris Hope is no longer with the team and just got cut by another one, in fact.

On the OL – Pat Hill is the man….but how do you explain Blalock and Baker fouling things up? Again – this is not something I expect to see in a couple weeks, let alone a couple months. They need to quit hanging their hands and acting indifferent. Somebody needs to be fired up on that line. Seems to me that Holmes and possibly Konz (who is too busy holding his own, not fumbling the snap and handling DTs). Reynolds is as incumbent as the other two.

Where’s the freakin’ FIRE??!!!! I’ll tell you where it is – it left with the nasty Harvey Dahl and the steady-as-she-goes Todd McClure. We need another high level OL draft pick and it better be a nasty one in 2014. Book it. I want somebody with a black and red Falcon painted on his face, and an expression of perpetual anger or insanity, take your pick. EFF this “well, we gotta play better” stuff.

In the meantime, look for Konz and Holmes to grow through the school of hard knocks and overtake their senior partners, who aren’t up to the guidance/mentorship that is needed.

Elsewhere – due to sometimes erratic Safety play, we’ll need those young CBs to grow up as well. Why? Individual talent will have to win out and let us play more one-on-one in the future. Probably won’t be this year, but will have to come sooner or later. To Hades with this Cover 2 FAIL that we like to play.

And if we can’t stop the run? Go with more 3-4 sets and get both Worrilow and Bartu in there in spots. Let ‘em earn it, but both seem a hell of a lot hungrier than some I could name.

In regard to the young CBs – TD was interviewed during the 3rd quarter of the game against the Titans. He flat out said that Alford (and Trufant) NEEDED to get schooled out there. He’s right. Until you get burnt, you won’t know what kind of mistakes you are making and what can get you torched in big games. These guys are gonna have to play in the postseason, folks. Better to start the learning now .

I’ll say the same applies to Holmes. Give up the sacks and get mad at yourself NOW…not LATER. It’s a tough road. Holmes is getting shock therapy when at first he was getting the slow as molasses Apprenticeship Program treatment. Cutting Clabo made his time get closer, but the injury to Mike Johnson forced all hands to be on deck.

Guess what? You play this game, you must know the risk. The WPP days are over, this is what happens when preparation is taken too slowly and drafting hogs takes a back seat to drafting skill positions and other, lighter areas.

Holmes and Konz will be fine. But his so-called senior partners need to get their dang heads in the game.

I think the base of our defense will be fine if Peters and Babineaux continue their current performance and get some outside help from Osi and Massaquoi, who seems to have been saved for regular season games after impressing in the first two games.

This will be interesting, but game 1 will tell us a few things….but not ALL things.

I expect the offense to be fine. New Orleans does not know how badly SJax is going to beat them up, and their 3-4 defense, particularly lacking 3-4 personnel and Will Smith, will struggle mightily once all cylinders are burning and pumping in this big block V8.

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
1:43 am

Who the hell let Stendec back in? Smells worse than a Chinese food fart…..

stendec

August 28th, 2013
1:52 am

Steven Jackson has lost 11 of 18 fumbles over the last five seasons. His rushing totals as a Ram over the last three campaigns were 1528, 1046 and 673. Does anyone have contact number for Tip Toe Turner? :(

stendec

August 28th, 2013
1:56 am

See your knowledge of football has not changed Little Ray. Still completely clueless! :)

Mitch (the one in Rome)

August 28th, 2013
5:32 am

The only thing important about preseason is evaluating talent and keeping the starters as healthy as possible.There is NO value in winning a game that does not count by playing your total scheme on either side of the ball.
It was clear the D was NOT doing everything. It was also clear the O was not doing everything. Why would they? Others teams watch film too. Particularly week one opponents.
Everyone needs relax. Birds are ok.
Come on man!

SeminoleWarrior

August 28th, 2013
5:57 am

Quick Hit…

D3, great write up. Will get back as soon as I can to comment. See you tonight on the Pod Cast!!

Otherwise, what a week!! Mind you it is a short week too!!

Syria. This week, too much of the attention of myself and my team is on Syria and the middle east region. Hope we do not do it. But it seems that we will.

But praying for peace MUCH sooner than later over there. This could get UGLY in ways that most of America does not want.

And if you do not think it matters to you, you are making a potentially BIG mistake.

Back to regularly scheduled programming.

Birdman

August 28th, 2013
7:10 am

Morning Cage

D3 great write up my friend

Some say that it’s Ryan fault for not scoring a TD . Was it really I mean he was getting pressure and the team was without RW . To me it looked as if Tony G although he looked good was just put in in what little and few times he worked just to get the bugs out of his play not a big showing really by him .

And maybe Smith is holding back until the real season starts. As far as that first QT goes it takes 4 QT to win a game I think that most front lines look better when they first come on the field but good lines perform all through the game and don’t let defenses correct .

I still think there is hope and things will be better on the 8th but the Titans game was sloppy at the most .

waynester

August 28th, 2013
7:15 am

stendec is right about one thing–the lack of willingness to take the killshot. We fade down the stretch consistently and see our momentum drain away routinely….I don’t think it’s conditioning, either. It’s mental. That’s a coaching issue.
SW
For those who study the Word–Syria is a very serious situation–as in Armageddon-level serious. Pray for Peace, indeed….

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
8:40 am

Pray for peace, but expect war. Thus has it often been.

I hear Armageddon, but I haven’t heard about something that preceeds that, Waynester . Peace, or the illusion thereof will prove to be far more fearful. And I’ll leave it at that, for this is not a forum for such things and I’ll respect the wishes of those who don’t want to discuss them here.

That, and I’m not interested in any online theological debates. Funny how those are often the reasons for war throughout history, whether they are truly the source of discord or merely a façade from which to operate behind.

Anyway, back to football and what not….

JJ

August 28th, 2013
8:41 am

waynester, We call that smittyball. Hope SJ will help move the chains in the 2nd half when smitty orders prevent O and D. Its not nice to run up the score! :(

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
8:50 am

Steven Jackson has lost 11 of 18 fumbles over the last five seasons. His rushing totals as a Ram over the last three campaigns were 1528, 1046 and 673.

There are lies, statistics, and then….the words of an utter fool.

Jackson’s yardage the last three years and fumble totals for each year:

(2012) 1,042 – 0
(2011) 1,145 – 1 (and he didn’t lose it)
(2010) 1.241 – 1 (he lost that one)

Meanwhile, Michael Turner:

(2012) 800 – 3 (he lost one of them)
(2011) 1,340 – 3 (he lost two of them)
(2010) 1,371 -2 (he lost both)

You’d have been better off comparing TDs, you jack leg….

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
8:50 am

JJ ,

Exactly….

Matty Bicep

August 28th, 2013
8:58 am

Good or bad, you just can’t read much into playoff games. If they have a HOF for pre season head coaches, Jerry Glanville would have a bust.

On another note, the one thing I see is Ryan looks like Ryan, and that has been enough to get us into the playoffs. Will he be good enough to get us a trophy? I say as good a chance as anyone, and better than most.

I will say this, the team that wins the NFC championship game will win the 2nd half turnover battle. Like I said, Smitty’s teams have an absurdly good record of holding 4th quarter leads, but his strategy is predicated on NOT turning the ball over.

Am I unfair to Ryan? It aint Smitty making 100 million dollars. I like Ryan, I think he’s good enough, but he, like Smitty, has to prove it.

JJ

August 28th, 2013
9:14 am

***FFL***
I see the WW pantry is getting raided this am.
Tyler, good thing u picked up Palmer before our qb hoe did! lol

Wings

August 28th, 2013
10:28 am

Big Ray – “There are lies, statistics, and then….the words of an utter fool.”

LOL!!

BR, you need to give us “thought of the day” everyday. We need more humor.

LRD

August 28th, 2013
10:29 am

Pat Y over at ESPN has picked the Birds to win the South, The NFC and beat Denver in the Superbowl….

**FFL***
Sitting here waiting… waiting for the season. Since I have only been in the league a short time, I need to know who has won the league every year since it started… JJ, D3, SW etc.. do you remember all the winners

JJ

August 28th, 2013
11:14 am

FFL,
LRD, go to league then click history. And no, SW has never one it but hes got a nice team this yr!

stendec

August 28th, 2013
11:25 am

Little Ray is correct about Steven Jackson. I read from bottom to top instead of in reverse order.

Stats on Falcon official page here:

http://www.nfl.com/player/stevenjackson/2505936/profile

My apologies to all especially LR.

Man that hurt!

:(

D3

August 28th, 2013
11:43 am

Great Hump Day Cage! — Was going to post the final remaining battles but was just too tired last night.

stendec — Hey man, we appreciate you being here. We really do. You obviously have some allegiance to the Falcons, but let’s try to keep it constructive as possible. We have all have issues with the birds at times, that’s for sure. Let’s try to keep it civil, that’s all.

Arno

August 28th, 2013
11:52 am

June Jones called Darius Johnson the best WR he’d ever worked with. Given the Falcons’ preference for big WRs, let’s hope they make an exception now.

Paddy O

August 28th, 2013
11:57 am

MR2 used to got to Brian Finneran for 3rd downs & TD’s in the redzone – we never replaced him; although Meier was supposed to fill that role – probably one of the most underdeveloped guys we had, plus the injuries.

Hamad Meander

August 28th, 2013
12:05 pm

I wish I could sit here and analyze the preseason games, but I have better things to do than watch these games. I used to enjoy going to the preseason games and watch the 2nd/3rd stringers compete for jobs. Now, the preseason just puts more doubts in my head about how the season is going to go, so I’d rather not watch.

Tyler – good to head that Goodman was impressive. I really hope he becomes a starter sooner than later.

I also liked the idea that Nolan put the DBs out on an island to see what they could do – how else to evaluate their coverage skills and correct mistakes?

The S. Jackson vs. M. Turner debate – hilarious. Not even close. Jackson’s numbers might not exceed Turner’s greatly, but he will affect this offense much more. No longer will the RB being in the game telegraph what kind of play we will be running. Jackson’s receiving skills makes Koettner’s screen game much more potent. I think he will also be our red zone monster.

Paddy O

August 28th, 2013
12:09 pm

Alford did get some very good practical experience – as did Holmes. I hope HC MS assumes RT will need help and provide TE chipping assistance – instead of waiting 3 games into the season and realize MR2 is spending the end of too many plays on his back. The NO game could be pretty tough; we need to solve our TE coverage problems and our gaping hole in the middle of the field post initial pass rush problem. With Jackson, Tony G, JJ, RW 84 we should have plenty of spread attack. I’m losing quite a bit of confidence in HD – the trip in the SF game was a killer.

Bangkapi Ajarn

August 28th, 2013
12:32 pm

Missed a few huindred posts, but my take is:

1) Smitty never seems to care about exhibition games (revert to original game moniker here for Smitty’s benefit – preseason has a better ring, so can charge more).

2) I truly believe that Smitty and TD are paranoid about providing opponents film to break down, as well as releasing personnel at the 53 man cut down that can provide strategy intel to opponents – look at how many Falcons players the Saints reel in. Rookies are putting skills on film against live competition in an era with limited padded practice, no more I suspect.

3) Not putting blinders on here, though. I am troubled at how many times Ryan was hit, and the learning curve for our new DB. I am also concerned with special teams, where the rookies at key positions will make the team or not (WR, LB, S in particular).

4) Still fear the Falcons will lose a shootout in NO, recalling the way they were beaten when the Saints returned to the Dome.
BUT–, and I have a big BUT here (much like the glutimus maximus some observed at Twains a few weeks ago)

the lack of a D scheme, even displaying holes for the world to see, may be Nolan and Smitty providing some deceptive tape for Peyton in an attempt to coach out a steal road win against a key conference foe,- recalling that cluster D they used against manning last year

Die Hard Falcon

August 28th, 2013
1:12 pm

Afternoon Cage fam –

I am getting nervously excited about the season coming up. I really am putting a lot on the 1st game, this year more than maybe any in recent years. I feel it could be such a boost to be the Aints in the sewer city and really make a statement. A statement that the “mastermind” coming back doesn’t mean ANYTHING! I am sick of hearing about the Aints and there constant “comebacks” from adversity and they are the media darlings every other year since Katrina.

I just remember how bad 2011 was after getting the beatdown in Chicago opening weekend, we barely stumbled into the playoffs that year and ended up scoring 2 points in our playoff game, I don’t want to revert, we were so close last year and I really feel like this should be our year.

This may be the 1st year that, from the jump, I feel like we CAN and SHOULD win the Lombardi at the beginning of the seasson. I’ve always wanted it and at times during the season (like last year) felt we could, but this year, I EXPECT to win.

Go Falcons!!!

Die Hard Falcon

August 28th, 2013
1:13 pm

Should be “beat” the Aints, not be them, G-d forbid!

JB Falcon

August 28th, 2013
3:21 pm

Wings

August 28th, 2013
3:45 pm

That was a sensible article JB Falcon. I like it too. I have one exception as I think it is time to keep the rookie field goal kicker from Alabama.

JJ

August 28th, 2013
5:58 pm

The inmates kicked out the warden tonight so Coop, BR, SW and JJ will be running the podcast tonight…starts in 33 min…plz call in!
We will be talkin about last game of course and 53 man roster cuts.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Emory university to settle medicare and medicaid [...]

WR

August 28th, 2013
6:25 pm

Evening cage, again I won’t dismiss the bad performance by the team in this last preseason game, but consider this. Offensively the red zone misses, and the play of the OL were the biggest issues. Both of these issues can be and will be fixed once real playcalling starts. Might sound crazy, so consider how much the Falcons very good screen passes will effect pass rushes. Then also consider when scheming the Falcons will know where and when to have maximum protection, quick hit plays and so on. I can’t even name all the ways that the red zone issues and the OL protection can and will be fixed, why, because there so many of them. Also consider this in the Falcons 1st preseason game most thought the line would probably hold up well in pass blocking but would be awful in run blocking, two preseason games later, and that theory has been reversed, which says to me that the ability is there to do both. We will have to go through some struggles as fans, and the Falcons will as a team, there young along the OL, I believe they will be okay, defensively not so sure, that analysis will follow.

SeminoleWarrior

August 28th, 2013
6:30 pm

Show time……Join us if you can.

SeminoleWarrior

August 28th, 2013
6:38 pm

D3 / BR

For some reason, some technical glitch kicked me out of the show.

SeminoleWarrior

August 28th, 2013
6:41 pm

*****BROADCAST ALERT****

For those that were seeking to listen to the Pod Cast, a technical glitch resulted in an unscheduled termination of the show. We will attempt to reschedule for another time.

Sorry…..

D3

August 28th, 2013
6:43 pm

No cast tonight folks. All on board and were cut off.

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
6:43 pm

Shortest podcast ever, LOL

JJ

August 28th, 2013
6:48 pm

LOSER is moi,I followed the directions…sorry cagers!!!

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
6:49 pm

Stendec ,

Sorry, but after reading your stats and having a mild panic, I knew something was wrong.

It’s all good. Turner has a lot more TDs than SJax, but then look which team has been the better team between the two in the last 5 years.

Either way, I seriously doubt we’ve seen what Jackson can do yet. There’s no way Smitty runs his prize bell cow RB hard in the preseason. But you can bet he’ll get no less than 20 carries against New Orleans. This guy tore the 49ers up just about every time the Rams played them. Imagine what he’ll do to a putrid Saints 3-4 defense….

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
6:50 pm

WR

August 28th, 2013
6:50 pm

Defensively, might just be me but I have been waiting since this new regime took over for a good defense. Sadly and again might just be me, but the best D this regime had was with inherited players. The 1st year of this regime, the D was actually pretty good, give or take the breakdowns in the playoffs. Come the following year they quickly jettisoned most of that core group for youth and we have been waiting for some results every since. As a matter of fact, I’m not the biggest UGA fan so it was easy to jump on the blame BVG bus, but BVG was hired by what was supposedly defensive minded HC and quickly got threw under the bus because of the team’s shortcomings. Then in one year they hire one Mr. Mike Nolan who actually was able to get something respectable out of an otherwise non-respectable bunch. SO, what was Smitty doing all this time, yes as an HC he can’t spend all his time with one unit, and not to compare, but Sean Peyton was known as an offensive guru, seen how that offense preforms. I’m not dismissing Smitty at all, but one has to wonder where is his stamp on the team. Specifically

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
6:51 pm

We’re missing Screen Pass , thus the lack of humor.

That and Greg Mendel doesn’t post enough…and a few other regulars are also no here. But bring on game 1 and the Cage will be rockin’ as usual, this I swear!

Big Ray

August 28th, 2013
6:52 pm

WR ,

If you were a sniper, I’d say your last post was a 1,000 yard bullseye…..

SeminoleWarrior

August 28th, 2013
6:54 pm

Some may appreciate that, BR….LOL. But we shall return, right? LOL