Atlanta Falcons Embarrassed in Arizona

Falcons Faceplant to Cardinals

There was a little hope in all Falcons fans that the unexpected could somehow happen. The Falcons would find a way to resurrect a season that has crashed into the side of the mountain. They won last week and many felt that if they could find a way to win the next two, starting with the Arizona Cardinals, that they would have a shot. WRONG.

Pretty Good Summary (AP)

Even though there’s been worse butt-whippings in the Mike Smith Era in terms of scores (Falcons 16, Saints 45 in 2011 comes to mind), this was easily one of the most embarrassing losses in the last four years. It thoroughly was a must-win in every sense of the word. The Falcons could ill-afford another loss and keep any hopes alive of making the postseason. Not only that, their schedule gets much, much harder as the season goes on.

The nail might as well be placed and ready to be driven into the Falcons “Super Bowl or Bust” season. Fans will of course stick with their team, but much of it will now turn to “what now?” Assuming the Falcons season continues as it has started, Arthur Blank will have some major decisions to make. Most of us wouldn’t want the job of defending the status quo going forward. A look at the horror show that was:

Field Goal Falcons Again

This one is the gift that keeps on giving. The Falcons finding a way, ANY WAY, to settle for a field goal when a touchdown is warranted and needed. Example number comes after Asante Samuel nabs an interception to set the Falcons perfectly in the red zone. No touchdown. After falling behind 14-3 and desperately needing a TD to claw back in the game, they came up short once again. In fact, they were only able to score a touchdown because of a controversial defensive pass interference on the Cardinals when the game was already well over.

27 Yards Rushing

Picture Tells a Story, Don't It (AP)

Matt Ryan had a really terrible day. Specifically, one of the worst of his career. Some of his decisions were pretty bad and that’s not even mentioning the Falcons awful OL. However, there’s not too many quarterbacks that would do very well with a whopping 27 yards rushing. Not in one quarter, but the entire game. The problem in running the football goes wide and deep. The play calls are ridiculously predictable (no idea what’s coming with extra OL in there). The running backs are anything but dynamic. But most importantly, the supremely terrible. The lack of running game is definitely taking it’s toll on Ryan and the offense as a whole. Is any offense good when their QB has to throw the ball 61 times? The commentators mentioned that the Falcons were on pace for a franchise low amount of rushing yards for the season. Let that sink in for a second thinking about the Falcons less-than-stellar franchise history. Oh yeah, and 13 of those rushing yards were from Matt Ryan.

Year 6 Defense Officially Worse than Year 1 Defense

How is it possible that an organization gets 6 drafts, many free agents, two defensive coordinators, and several other defensive coaches that a defense is actually worse than when they first started. They literally make any team, their QB, and any rookies look destined for the Hall of Fame in Canton. Drew Brees is one thing, but seeing the Falcons let Sam Bradford have a career day, Ryan Tannehill look like Dan Marino, rookie Geno Smith resemble Broadway Joe Namath, Carson Palmer look 10 years younger, and even Mike Glennon look OK as a rookie, it’s gone from sad to embarrassing.

D.Davis Stepping Up (AP)

Now it’s not only limited to quarterbacks, but also rookie running backs as well. Former Clemson RB Andre Ellington ripped off over 150 yard rushing, including an 80 yard jolt. There are no answers and no excuses. Everyone deserves blame, especially Smith and Dimitroff who have built this defense (or not built it should be more accurate). Mike Nolan has been a very successful defensive coordinator everywhere he’s gone. Why not here? Early guesses see Nolan being a convenient scapegoat for this year’s collapse. Didn’t we see the same story back in 2011?

Repulsive Offensive Line

There’s nothing left to say and this really should have a standing spot on each post for the remainder of the season. All 5 offensive linemen looked terrible. There were no bright spots at all. Every player on the OL got abused by a stout defense, built around a tough and physical defensive line. Not only that, but the OL had a heap of flags. It got so bad that Lamar Holmes and Justin Blalock actually got a false start penalty at the same time. Luckily for the Falcons you can’t get double penalties. They got a total of 5 false start penalties for the entire game. One of the most depressing parts about it is looking forward. Who can the Falcons build around? Maybe Lamar Holmes, but that learning curve is getting deeper and larger by the game.

Justin Blalock is on the wrong side of 30 and getting a huge contract. Konz still is thought to look forward as the future at center, but days like today throw a huge question mark into that line of thinking. How long will the tackle-playing-guard experiment last with Garrett Reynolds? He may be OK going forward, but not at guard. Jeremy Trueblood is on wrong side of 30 and just an injury replacement. After a fluke decent year (during a contract season), Sam Baker seems to be back to normal. Even if they wanted to, the Falcons couldn’t repair this OL in one off-season, probably two to be honest. The past, current, and future looks really bleak on this offensive line.

A Few Bright Spots

Not Good Smith (AP)

Even though not many, there were a few bright spots from the really terrible loss vs. the Cardinals. As fans we may not have gotten a look at some younger players without the injuries, but there’s some nice surprises. In particular, the Falcons have finally see Harry Douglas step up and out of the shadows of Roddy White and Julio Jones. HD has shown he can carry the weight if need be. Drew Davis and undrafted free agent Darius Johnson have also displayed the ability to round a young and athletic wide receiving corps moving forward. Matt Bosher is really awesome at doing onside kicks and making tackles on special teams when no one else can. And the Falcons may have finally found an answer at punt returner in Robert McClain. He showed an ability not seen since Eric Weems left town. The new punt returner also showed a fire and tenacity sorely lacking with the rest of the team when he de-cleated an unprepared Cardinal on special teams. Joplo Bartu and Paul Worrilow are seeing their share of issues, but they at least should finally be a lock for the Falcons woefully inadequate linebacker corps moving forward.

More to come very soon………..

Who Can Falcons Build Around Moving Forward?

Can’t Blame Injuries

Is Matt Ryan Regressing?

The Schedule Gets Worse

Out of Playoffs by Week 8

708 comments Add your comment

Falconssince70

October 27th, 2013
11:48 pm

Good Post D3. Well said. BTW, the predictability on offense was particularly noticeable today. I was barely paying attention because I was reading, but I could tell what was coming on 90% of the plays. And I’m no rocket scientist when it comes to football.

BK37

October 28th, 2013
12:28 am

We all thought that Mike Mularkey and Brian Van Gorder were the reasons that the play calling on both sides of the ball was so predictable, but here we are in year 2 of Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan and we have the same issue. The common denominator is Mike Smith. Something tells me that Smitty really isn’t letting either of his coordinators do their jobs to the full extent. We all know Smitty’s conservative nature, so this scenario isn’t far fetched at all.

Conventional wisdom says that you don’t fire the all time winningest coach in franchise history, but on the other hand, I feel that we’ve gone as far as we can with Smitty. We need someone with a more aggressive approach.

As for the roster, Thomas Dimitroff definitely deserves some blame for not putting adequate resources into either of our lines. Those 2 areas should be our main focus in free agency and the draft. When it comes to the D-line, no more of these undersized DT’s that get pushed around. Get some space eating 320 lb plus monsters to occupy the middle.

78dawg

October 28th, 2013
12:48 am

I hate the thought of going into another off season with same coach and GM. TD was brought in to make us the next Patriots. That’s proved to be a huge failure. We have a Jax cast-off as coach, How bad is that. Every team has injured players, but we collapse when we get them. Players that are marginal at best are not being coached up. We have one great coach and that’s Robiske.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2013
1:29 am

It doesn’t taste like veal and fine wine, that’s for sure. I would gladly suffer the humiliation of crow feast if we didn’t suck so bad. The really bad part is that it wasn’t exactly rocket science or Nostradamus visionary skill to see this coming. It is because of that and that alone, that this trainwreck should have been spotted from a distance that I think heads need to roll.

- Screen Pass

OH, I agree. I just can’t hold my breath because I fear that SW is right – and for the very reasons he has stated.

Eric C.

October 28th, 2013
1:30 am

This team will fall as far as the OL will let it. A healthy Julio and Roddy help to mask the OL deficiencies to an extent…but without those two in the lineup, there is no chance against a decent defense. On defense, the losses of Biermann and Weatherspoon are getting magnified more with each defeat. The defense is mediocre with them, and abysmal without them…there is just no depth. Until the team loses 7 games, I’ll always keep some hope, but any hope is just burning embers right now. My biggest hope now is that Ryan can get through this year without a major injury.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2013
1:58 am

I can’t recall seeing an OL this bad. Seriously. How do they sleep at night?

If we can’t fire Smitty and see him ably replaced, then there’s only one alternative:

Sell out in FA money and draft picks on the OL and DL lines. No, really. Why?

We’ve seen in 7 games so far that our QB is now at the level where he can get some things done without star players. If we are able to improve just TWO spots on the OL, we’d be leaps and bounds beyond what this sorry azz rag tag pretender unit has done so far.

I know they won’t give up on Konz this early. That young man needs to do some serious soul searching in a secluded weight room somewhere with a sadistic trainer named “Boris.”

Blalock is okay if he’s playing around guys who are okay. He isn’t good enough to make others better, but he won’t make anybody worse.

Holmes – I don’t know what to say. Buy a treadmill for your house. Visit the weight room as well. Take some kind of pill that will unbalance your azz, because you are not “gettin’” it, though the stat geeks say you’re improving from game to game. You have to come back next season no less than 75% better than you were, because you’re stinking up the joint.

Sam Baker – it’s unfortunate, but we’re going to be seeing him in black and red next season because SOMEBODY was effin’ stupid enough to give him a brand spankin’ new contract. I’d personally rather pay him to stay on the bench, he sucks that bad. I don’t want to hear about his health – he can’t seem to manage that outside of a contract year. Oh, the irony.

Trueblood – Goodbye. I’d give one of the UDFAs a try before going this route again. He’s penalty-prone and useless in pass protection.

Reynolds – another one who will stick on the roster because he hasn’t been as bad as some others. That, and he’s not committing penalties lately (that I recall). That’s good enough for Smitty.

We need new blood. Give me a high pick (first or second round) and a decently paid veteran to start with on the OL.

On the DL, give me a high pick (whichever – 1st or 2nd rd) at DT. Don’t need a DE. We can continue to give Goodman and Massaquoi plenty of work while trying out Maponga. We’ve invested enough picks at the position for now.

As for what’s on the roster – Babs needs to be cut. He’s past it. The only way he stays is if we go to a 3-4 and use him as a DE…. in spot duty . One reason why he’s out there missing tackles in some games is because he’s tired and beat up. If we’re going to roll with a 4-3 yet again, he needs to go. He’s effective next to a big DT…which we don’t have.

Peters is the new Babs. He’s got chops, he’s not special, but he’s plenty solid.

Jerry – Finally producing a smidgen. His production through 6 games is greater than anything he’s done to date. That’s insane, but it’s true. He’ll probably stay now, though his draft status vs. his production is still a major black eye on the face of one spikey-haired Russian.

Travian Robertson – either he’s too dumb, or lacks motivation. He’s bigger than anybody else on the DL, but he doesn’t get snaps and when he does…I just don’t see anything.

Adam Replogle – No clue if this guy can play in real game. Probably will never know. We could have had a player in the draft, but we infatuated ourselves with other positions around the edges, as usual.

Cliff Matthews – we wasted him. If we go to a 3-4, maybe he can play in the DE rotation. I don’t care that we had him gain some weight – he’s not an NFL DT, plain and simple. Lighter than the rest of them, and no stronger…what did we expect? The guy doesn’t get to play, has been overtaken by newer rookies. Time to cut bait.

Osi – he’s another version of Abe. Nothing else need be said. Disappeared against the Cardinals though, and that makes him Abe Lite.

Massaquoi – the guy has talent. Let him do some work next to a better DT corps and you’ll see it even more.

Goodman – he’ll work in a 3-4 or a 4-3. Needs more snaps. We simply don’t expose him enough to the fires of the NFL. Do so and quit this WPP shizz, and he’ll come right along. Drive him hard, and I think he’ll actually shine. But I can’t prove it. Only playing time can.

Maponga – he’ll be given time to develop (that is, if we actually develop him). But that time needs to be ramped up. If we drive these guys harder and coach them up, we can cut Osi and keep right on moving. Won’t happen next offseason, but it can after that. Still not convinced that Maponga looks like a good draft choice down the road, however. Just not convinced.

I’d draft two DTs. One in 1st/2nd round, one no later than the 5th round.

No skill positions besides RB and WR, and only one each (well, maybe take a shot at another guy late in the draft).

Nothing but Lines and maybe a LB. (I’d take one of those, too).

Maybe better pick up a Safety. I have a sneaking suspicion Smitty was building his ST crew with Motta and Ishamel, rather than finding an able replacement for DeWhiff.

Because of that ST fetish, Motta may turn out to be nothing more than Schillinger II, and Ishamel is just somebody who tackles better than Charles Mitchell did. Sad, but true. Smitty values his ST corps.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2013
1:59 am

DAMN BLOG MONSTER . I’m not typing all that again.

stendec

October 28th, 2013
3:13 am

Worse effort than first year Falcon team.

That bunch had little talent but heart galore.

No heart in this bunch except for Tony Gonzalez.

Who I would love see traded west to Denver Broncos.

Falcons are slowly sinking Titanic of professional football.

When did CVhris Miller sneak back into Falcon backfield?

Know it is him saince fraud there definitely NOT an elite QB!

91falconscurrent

October 28th, 2013
3:21 am

falcons season is over this year. I don’t want to hear about who is hurt and who is not playing. last time I check green bay.sf. . and the list can go on, all have top players hurt. the oline has become a drive thru anybody is welcome to come and hit matt ryan.. are defense same story for the last four years cant get off the field on third down. so lets see, decide to bring back off and on sam baker the same guy who couldn’t stay on the field the previous years. not to mention jake long was out there as a fee agent this past summer. yes Thomas d.you brought in osi but you didnt bring in another pass rusher who can bring heat on the other side. and please don’t say kory b. was going to be that man opposite of osi. he couldn’t do it when john was there. look at osi stats he all ways had another pass rusher on the other side who can bring heat straham j.pp Justin tuck that’s why he was so effective. lets hope Thomas d. gets it right this offseason I know he brought in matt ryan juilo jones , but lets not forget he pass up on clay mattews for 94 perry. who cant break inthe starting lineup. m.nolan should be let go after this year . and replace by lovie smith if he can t find a head coaching job.iam just saying look what he did to that bears defense . allways rank in the top 5. give him the players and he will make it happen. its crazy how you go from one play away to the super bowl to 9 games away to getting a top 5 draft pick

Mike from London

October 28th, 2013
3:32 am

Bad result last night cage, not to many postives to draw from the game, at least we have seen what we have in our backup wideouts but I think that was about it. Poor play calling (like no one in the league knows that on 1st and 10 we are going to run it up the middle for no gain) lack of basic speed at the running back position. Someone said that having Roddy, Julio and Tony masked how bad our pass protection/O Line really is and its all to evident now, our drafting/free agency strategy surely has to be to improve the O line and DE/DT. I dont know if anyone else saw this but I saw Sam Baker on the sidelines having a laugh and a joke, not really what you expect to see from a guy who’s team is getting beat and an organization thats in dissaray, he clearly couldn’t care less. If you saw Dez Bryant after the Coyboys lost you would say that’s a guy that cares (even thought it probably wasn’t the right way to go about it)this needs to be his last season with the falcons as that sort of attitude spreads within teams.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← R.I.P. Lou Reed [...]

trademark

October 28th, 2013
6:34 am

Been kinda quiet this week because my vibes had not been too good about this game….I heard lots of discussion about “winning streaks” and “playoff shots”, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Last year, the Cardinal’s coaches designed a game plan to confuse and frustrate Matt Ryan and forced 5 INTs. Not sure what they saw, but they saw it, implemented it, and got him to turn into a turnover machine.

So, our brilliant coaching staff saw what the Cardinal’s did, ADJUSTED their game plan accordingly, and avoided the same traps….

…uh…

…ummm…

…well, no. Of COURSE they didn’t. The Cardinal’s ran the same looks, COUNTING on the FACT that the Falcon’s coaches wouldn’t adjust, and got 4 INTs.

And we see the same failures from the team year after year after year, and keep debating and asking WHEN are they going to ADJUST?

Well, they won’t. Never. Ever. ESPECIALLY after a win, because then the HC (who I will not even address by name right now) is all proud of his system and will just go deeper into his little notebook.

So, same story:

-Not addressing the O-Line and D-Line problems in the offseason because they convinced themselves they were OK there: FAIL.

-Not changing game plans to adjust to opponents and what they know about us: FAIL.

-Strength and conditioning: FAIL

-Super Bowl or bust: FAIL

I mean really. I hate to beat a dead horse, but they didn’t see LAST YEAR’S FILM on the Cardinal blitzes and fake zones??!! They just ran the same game plan…minus the run game….

Stubbornness to the point of stupidity.

Mike

October 28th, 2013
6:45 am

I think the look on Blanks face yesterday on the field pretty much sums up the feelings of this fan base. I understand there have been injuries, but seeing the display we have seen from the offensive and defensive line is beyond injuries. Blank time to start filling out some pink slips …starting with TD. TD needs to go sooner than later, and try to have someone in place by the offseason to make any necessary coaching moves. I would keep Robiske, it is obvious the receivers are being developed. I think Nolan is a good defensive coordinator despite what this years product looks like. The rest need to go.

troupdawg

October 28th, 2013
7:28 am

This is just a bad team….

Wings

October 28th, 2013
7:32 am

I have noticed in the last two games, HC Smith has kept his little book in his pocket most of the time. He has replaced it with what looks like an offensive play card.

During the second quarter yesterday, Atlanta had a first down on the Arizona 19 yard line. Quizz ran for six yards. As the camera showed Quizz returning to the sidelines, you could clearly see the offensive play card covering HC Smith’s mouth, and he was talking. The next play was SJax up the middle for no gain. I would bet money that HC Smith called that play. HC Smith went into the game yesterday thinking that SJax was going to make a difference. It was a false belief that proved to be the basic strategy of the game. The team was not prepared.

A paragraph in Yahoo Sports this morning:
Anyone could see Mendenhall (3.1-yard average) was hindering the offense and Ellington was better. But it took Mendenhall’s injury to force the Cardinals coaches to give the better back more carries. So how did Ellington respond against Atlanta with Mendenhall out? He rushed for 153 yards on 15 carries.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, NFL coaches can be oblivious to something that even the common fan can see.

Wings

October 28th, 2013
7:35 am

I read this morning that SJax signed a three year contract. I previously thought it was a one year deal. This is not good news that we have an over 30 running back for two more years.

trademark

October 28th, 2013
7:58 am

@Wings, yep, it’s a 3 year deal.

The ONLY good thing about it, is that if he continues to be injured (or unproductive, the “escalator” clauses in the deal will not kick in, making it very salary-cap friendly for the Falcons.

Of course, if our Offensive line learns to block…oh wait..nah, better stop there….

AlanFalcon

October 28th, 2013
8:04 am

It’s getting hard to even watch the games, the complete team and coaching staff stinks and reminds me of the first years, however back then you expected it.
My guess is it will take no less than two drafts and a coule of years to get back to where they should be.
So much for this season, I have no further expectations unless Arthur turns into Jerry Jones and for sure he couldn’t be any worse.

alex

October 28th, 2013
8:14 am

GM evaluated OL, running backs and failed badly. Defense has had too many injuries and replacements are not NFL caliber. GM needs to go….OL is Ga. Tech level.

alex

October 28th, 2013
8:20 am

Is Jerry Glanville still alive?……

O'Brien

October 28th, 2013
8:42 am

Heard an interesting point on the radio this morning. There have been alot of scapegoats the last 5 years.

Keith Brooking getting beat in the playoffs on 3rd and 16 in AZ – He’s gone.
Ray Edwards – he’s gone
Michael Turner – he’s gone
Curtis Lofton – He’s gone
Mularkey and BVG – They’re gone
The old OL coach – he’s gone.

But are the results any better? So at what point does Mr Blank start looking at TD and Smitty?

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 28th, 2013
8:45 am

This season doesn’t surprise me much. So many close wins in 2012 with a so so OL & DL.

*** Some of you suggested that an OL could be drafted in the 4th round on – Maybe you should reconsider.

Super Bowl winners are strong up front….. well at least the Falcons won’t have to trade away their picks to move up next time. 1st, 2nd 3rd round – OL OL OL

snacktastic

October 28th, 2013
8:47 am

O-line, O-line, O-line. HD, Drew Davis, and Darius Johnson showed that they’re all capable of making plays when Ryan gets them the ball. But much of the time, he (and, lest we forget, Steven Jackson) never even got the chance. Even more proof that missing Pro Bowl wide receivers is the least of this team’s problems, contrary to what your typical Fox announcer would have you believe.

The only reason we won last year is because the Cards didn’t have a QB that could take advantage of the extra possessions from turnovers. That you can add an allegedly washed-up Carson Palmer and get this result shows you how little our defense has progressed.

Individual players will have their moments (Ryan, Samuel, HD, Babs, and so on), but as a whole, this team is unlikely to improve fast enough to give us a shot this year. Our remaining opponents are trending up as well.

Anything can happen, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 28th, 2013
8:48 am

YOU can have the greatest coaches in the world but if they don’t have talent to coach they won’t win. There is close to ZERO talent on the OL. Holmes was a reach when he was drafted…… he just doesn’t have it.

jkj300

October 28th, 2013
8:52 am

Mike Smith is the modern day Jim Mora Sr. Stuck in the football of 20 years ago. Wedded to a running game that doesn’t exist and short ’safe’ passes that minimize risk. In this wide open era where the better teams score 35+ points a game, it is a recipe for failure. Even if the Falcons had a top defense (which they certainly do not), they would still lose, by treating (Mora Sr. style) a 7 point 4th quarter league like a kings ransom, throttling back the offense and putting it on the defense to lose.

Last year was a serious flash in the pan. Saints were off given Payton’s suspension. Bucs had a first year head coach. The panthers were the panthers. And they played a weak AFC West (which admittedly is much better this year). So no opponent of substance during the regular season. And we know what happened in the post season (again).

I fear given the age of the team, the serious salary cap issues, the significant issues on both lines, this is a 3-4 year rebuilding effort. Effort there should yield a team we can watch just a few years after we spend $500M on a new stadium.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 28th, 2013
8:53 am

Falcons need someone that can evaluate talent. To many blown draft picks.
Million dollar backfield and Wal-Mart OL won’t cut it. Just won’t work.

fairweather fans

October 28th, 2013
8:57 am

It’s hilarious how last week we were praising matt ryan and how he’s great and the next week we bash him. He is by far the best qb Atlanta has ever had. Yes he made some bad decisions Sunday, but there’s not a qb in the league who could’ve won that game when that defense gets you so far behind, and the o-line gives you literally no time to throw too no-name receivers. There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed, but qb is not one of them.

grong55

October 28th, 2013
8:57 am

TD is the failure here. MS and Nolan didn’t suddenly become bad coaches. This offensive line was evaluated by the GM and IS NOT NFL grade. This is why Belicheck said he wouldn’t do the Julio trade. Jerry has been a basic bust. Edwards was a big free agent signing and he isn’t even on the team. Huge misses. He has never drafted players between the trenches. Jackson is always hurt and the wrong side of 30. Let’s face it-this team lacks talent

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 28th, 2013
8:58 am

Unfortunately – as I argued and was repeatedly chastised for it – Ryan was paid too much. A QB can’t win by himself….. unreasonable to pay ONE player $100,000,000 plus with the salary cap. Offer him $50,000,000 and if he is to greedy to accept trade him!

gary32

October 28th, 2013
8:58 am

While I know Nolan does not have much to work with I saw one 3rd down and 5 play (as did Palmer) where Ellington was lined out with Worrilow. Needless to say it was completed for a first down…I am not a coach but even I know you don’t line up a slow linebacker on one of their fastest players. Seems this kind of crap has been going on all year…also how do you down on the goal line drop 8 men in coverage in the end zone and then let their best receiver get wide open in the middle of the end zone..this boggles the mind!!!!!!

MG3

October 28th, 2013
9:00 am

Mike from London – AMEN on Baker!

I almost posted the same comment last night but was so disgusted about the game I had to just get away from it. I too saw Baker laughing it up on the sideline while we get our A$$ kicked. I’m not sure who gets more blame, TD or Smitty. We’ve seen too many of our discarded players go to other teams and be successful so IMO TD may get a pass for now.

It’s Smith’s job to coach this team up and install the right attitude and he has been a miserable failure in that regard. Successful yes, the last 5 years can’t be denied, however, this team has no killer instinct. Also appears to have zero sense of urgency. I appreciate what was done to resurrect us from the ashes of ‘07, but this team needs swift change and I hope that look on AB’s face yesterday says it’s coming.

trademark

October 28th, 2013
9:01 am

@O’Brien: You left one out:

Jeff Fish, Strength and Conditioning Coach. Gone. For “philosophical differences”.

Quote:”When the Falcons released strength and conditioning coach Jeff Fish, D. Orlando Ledbetter expressed shock at the move. Ledbetter wrote,”The move is surprising because several players credited Fish with improving their strength, speed and agility.”

Throughout 2012, the Falcons did indeed flash strength, speed and agility. Sometimes for a quarter. Sometimes for a half. Yet, the Falcons rarely kept a high tempo for four quarters. There is something very telling missing from those qualities: endurance.”

So, what did they do? They replaced him with his 2nd in command, who was ALSO THERE for the last few years.

So, how’s that move working out for us?

STILL NO change in the Falcons’ stall-outs, plus the extra added bonus of our Lines getting manhandled and our skill players injured.

The HC and TD got “their” man in place, I’m going to say a “yes” man who follows orders to the letter and tows the corporate line.

Whatever, he’s a sh!t trainer.

trademark

October 28th, 2013
9:32 am

BLOG MONSTER. Grrr.

Coffee...wake up and smell it

October 28th, 2013
9:47 am

Well, this proves what I was thinking. The Falcons are in a dismal transition from almost there to also ran. Decisions made by TD and Smith not to do anything about the OL and DL are coming home to roost. Asking your skill players to do too much…coming home to roost. Believing a SJAX was the answer to your problems with the running game….coming home to roost. SJAX can’t make his own holes folks.

What a despicable display of what is supposed to be an NFL team playing football. Where’s the beef? It aint on the lines! Fire Smith and bring in somebody who isn’t so pig-headed stubborn that he is unwilling to change when what is obvious is staring all of us right in the face!

Power run up the middle. That’s brilliant Smitty/Koetter. That was all you could think of? Smith deserves to be fired “right now” and Koetter should be right behind him if that’s all he’s got; and if he doesn’t have the balls to standup to Smith and tell him what he wants to do won’t work.

The defense is just a mess. They are playing “Rookie Ball” because that is what they are. Who has Worrilow covering the speedy back in a passing formation? Dumb Azz. Even I know better than that. Were they just NOT paying attention? What, were they on coffee break? Or, are they just ignorant?

I have given up on this team and this season. I will still watch, but no longer do I have any expectation that this team is anything other than 1) Poorly coached, 2) Poorly run, 3) Clueless.
Same old Falcons…thanks TD and Smith.

No depth whatsoever. Exposed. A joke. So sad….

Coffee...wake up and smell it

October 28th, 2013
9:54 am

what’s up with this blog and the “blog monster”?

This is the only site that has this problem. What quality.

Greg Mendel

October 28th, 2013
10:22 am

I haven’t been one to jump on the “Fire Smitty!” bandwagon, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it may be “time for a change” simply because it may be time for a change.

Smitty may be an awful coach, but I’m not buying that. Instead, — as others have suggested — Smitty may have been exactly the right coach at the right time. But that “right” time may have passed.

More often than not, change just for the sake of change is a bad idea. In this case, however, a new leader with a different point-of-view, different philosophy, and different approach may be exactly what the Falcons need.

Trouble is, the “getting rid of” part is easy. Finding and choosing a replacement — the right replacement — is hard. Very hard. (Just ask Philly fans.) Arthur Blank can consider the veteran NFL head coaches available. He can consider promising NFL assistants and college coaches. Sky’s the limit, but nobody comes with a guarantee. Smitty may be the wrong man, but there’s no shortage of candidates who could be worse.

The one thing we know we have is Matt Ryan. That fact is basic to any changes.

John Waynesworld

October 28th, 2013
10:26 am

Fine article, D3. A very thoughtful and objective piece, considering the extreme disappointment of this game.

Rule #1 in the NFL…A team’s offensive line must protect the Quarterback.
Rule #2 in the NFL…A team’s offensive line must be able to run block.

Shameful failure on both rules, and all because of one area of the team…The offensive line.

Nothing short of an OVERHAUL of this offensive line will make this a winning team again.

Mark my words…Smith and TD will pay for the offensive line debacle with their jobs.

Paddy O

October 28th, 2013
10:33 am

I hate to say – but I’ve got to convince SW that Welcome Back Koetter absolutely sucks. Jackson sure does look like old, fat Mike Turner, don’t he? Obviously, our line can not run block – so, why try to run between the tackles? Have we NEVER heard of a pitch out? this was probably the most embarrassing our offensive scheme has looked since 2007. Anybody see the stat? 22 times the opposition has gotten into the redzone, 22 times have scored. Our defense at this point is lousy. but, that goes back to an inept offense. I don’t know if we’ll win 5 games.

SOMEBOBY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

October 28th, 2013
10:36 am

For those that say Blanks will not 86 Smith, he’ll still be around in 2014…I can’t argue that, because Blanks, IMO is blinded by the success we’ve (Smith) had the last 5 years. But, I’ve witnessed coaches being let go for far less reasons than the insurmountable ones that’s accumulating against Smith.

Tony Dungy comes to mind, took the Buc’s to a NFC Champion Game, 4 playoff appearances…and built what is known by many, tampa 2 defense, but, he was fired. Tony, One coach that I’ve always admired, built the team, but arguably couldn’t get done…take them to the promise land, so what happens? Owners made a decision, they knew that hellacious defense had a shelf life…they wanted, and did make a decision to make a change before the window of opportunity closed. We all know how that story ended.

Lovie Smith, fired after a 10-6 season, took the Bears to the Superbowl during his tenure, but now he sits on the coaching unemployment line???

Mike Smith, can’t argue the regular season record (success), but get real cagers, looking over the last 5 years, we’ve competed against some lack-luster talent (teams). Been lucky enough to pull of some last second, heroic wins against said teams, we’ve never been as good as we thought we were, just lucky…and a mediocre strength schedule.

Within last 3 years, 2 of which we’ve had homefield throughout the playoffs, Mike Smith couldn’t (can’t) get it done, with the addition of this debacle we call a team this year, and Blank will still retain Smiths services for atleast one more season?!?! It boggles the mind…

Arthur, a good man, has shown he’s always willing to open the wallet to the GM, get whatever players he (TD) choses in ATL…but still hadn’t made a difference. I’m laying the ground-work to say TD has to go as well…

Say what you will about the Kansas City Chiefs, and their recent success, Scott Pioli built that team, that team is his. Even with a dismal season last year, they sent what? 6 players to the probowl?

Scott built a helluva team…just didn’t have head coach, or a serviceable QB to steer the masterpiece he built.

So, in my summation, Arthur Blanks will sacrifice the betterment of the team for a season or two, To avoid what he thinks will be a bad PR move by firing Smith.

Really Mr. Blanks???

SMH…..

Wings

October 28th, 2013
10:36 am

Paddy O we have an offensive tackle who was cast off by the lowly Tampa team and others. Surely, there is a better option.

Paddy O

October 28th, 2013
10:40 am

who here watched our last series of the first half and wondered what effing moron is calling these plays? then, smitty starts calling time outs as though his offense was efficient. our key problem is MIKE SMITH. If they do not fire him, we are screwed. Perhaps our window has closed?

Paddy O

October 28th, 2013
10:41 am

what do we say when at the end of the year we are 5-11 and the NY Giants are 10-6 and in the playoffs? I have confidence in NY; not the Falcons. I really loath Mike Smith.

Paddy O

October 28th, 2013
10:42 am

it is interesting – last year we thought the Chiefs should be good; they were not, fired their HC; hired a new guy – and now? Of course, they also got a better QB.

rocki polaski

October 28th, 2013
10:55 am

This was officially the last game I am going to watch of the Falcons this year. They looked so terrible, so unmotivated, so untalented that they reminded me of the 1st year Tampa Bay expansion team. I feel sorry for Arthur Blank who thought he was just ten yards away from a Superbowl. This will be another 2-3 rebuilding project.

Coop

October 28th, 2013
11:16 am

I agree with all those who say our OL is inept. I add that our DL is as well. We have good to great edge players, but as I’ve said for 4 years now, you build teams from the inside out and from front to back. So, to me, that is all on TD and while I’d love to say it was someone else, I cannot argue that he should go.

Now, I will argue that there is still enough talent on this team to win with this inept OL and inept DL. This is where I blame Mike Smith. We all know the OL sucks, so why would anyone run up the middle? I get the calls for being balanced, but your scheme isn’t working, you have to be willing to make changes. The reason this stuff works in practice is because you have two crappy lines playing each other. But once you play a team with talent you get exposed. Mike Smith calls that player execution because he sees it in practice but not on Sundays.

That is the definition of moronic. I would bet my house that I (or any number of fans) could stand on the sideline and manage a game better than Smith. It is simply pathetic to see him wasting year after year because he insists on punding a square peg into a round hole.

You have to draft players to match your scheme. We didn’t, so you need to change your scheme to match your player’s strength. Mike Smith is incapable of that thought process. In my opinion it is unfrogiveable and he should be terminated immediately (two years ago actually).

This team could win now, but it never will improve under Smith. If he is still the coach in 2014, I will be calling for a new owner as I boycott this franchise.

Coop

October 28th, 2013
11:18 am

For now, as much as it pains me, I will root for my Birds to lose every game in the hopes that Mike Smith will be replaced. I will pray that Matt Ryan doesn’t get killed in the process.

Wings

October 28th, 2013
11:20 am

For anyone who wants to keep HC Mike Smith:

What he did in the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 has no bearing on what he is doing in 2013. This team is going in the wrong direction with him. The players are not playing.

Arno

October 28th, 2013
11:35 am

More convinced this week that Ryan’s had success with Roddy, Julio, and Gonzo because of athleticism and ball placement alone. Obvious yesterday that the pass routes were just as predictable as the running plays. Shows up worse in the red zone. Cardinals sat on the routes like pigeons on a wire. The sacks on Ryan were noticeably coverage sacks. It is rare that creativity shows up in the pass routes– like HDouglas’ TD against Tampa. I’m happy for the development of our receivers– DJohnson looked sharp– but ‘executing’ the current scheme is not progress, and will simply get more players injured.

SG

October 28th, 2013
11:39 am

Truth:
No way Smitty will be back unless he wins a couple of playoff games >>>> which would of course mean the Saints and Panthers would have to have complete melt downs; our entire O-Line signed a deal w/ the devil in exchange for average competency; enroute to ATL the Seahawks plane gets hijacked to Cuba forcing them to forfeit; unseasonably warm 106 degree temperatures hit Green Bay Dec 6 causing heat strokes among most of the Packers, rendering them unfit to play – they forfeit… my point is it’s not going to happen.

I think we’ll see shots of TD cozying up more to McKay now, not Smith. AB’s patient, but not foolish. He has his stadium deal but he wants the SB ring too. It’s obvious Smitty can’t get it done on the field. While I agree w/ you TD has had more than his share of whiffs, he MAY get a pass this time around.

Lovie just may be the answer – my reservation there is that he brought in Mike Tice to coach the O-line which practically got Cutler killed – then made him OC when Martz bolted. Couldn’t figure that one.

As for Pioli and KC, yes he’s done a good job up there. There’s no way that team should’ve been 2-14 last year. On the other hand though that record led to this year’s soft schedule.

SG

October 28th, 2013
11:42 am

Wings 11:20 Agree 100%. He’s lost this team.