The Atlanta Falcons Going Forward

A Glance Ahead Amid 2013 Trainwreck

One Positive Play from 2013 (AJC)

The dead horse has been beaten to a pulp on the awfulness that is the 2013 Atlanta Falcons. The collapse, undisciplined play, poor effort, weak coaching, and on and on and on have been analyzed, dissected, complained about, and taken apart for months now. And there probably will be more to come when they play their remaining games in 2013, but most fans need something, anything, to take away from the pain of the 2013 season. In short, it has been an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. In fact, the Falcons have the distinct luxury of being the very first NFL team officially eliminated from the playoffs. Everyone already knew it, but it became official when the 49ers beat the Redskins on Monday Night Football.

DeCoud Toast Again (AJC)

There’s five more games, so there will likely be plenty more teeth gnashing ahead. But to offer something a little different from the gloom and doom of 2013, this post will look at some key issues moving forward after the 2013 campaign comes to it’s merciful end and the 2014 season starts after the Falcons last game at home vs. the Panthers. Most fans are even pessimistic about the 2014 prospects, but there are a few signs of life and positivity going forward. A look at the Atlanta Falcons going forward. An “onward and upward” post if you will……

Smith, Dimitroff Assured for Return

The majority of fans had long ago accepted that there would be no major changes for the 2014 season, namely head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Injuries played a part in it, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Does having injuries mean you should get embarrassed and blown out? Does it mean that your players look as though they’ve just given up and stopped playing hard? Well, it doesn’t really matter at this point, because owner Arthur Blank said that both Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff will get a chance to fix the mess they’ve found themselves in.

Graham Continues to Haunt Falcons (AJC)

In complete objectivity, they have earned it. Unprecedented franchise success including 4 trips to the playoffs, two division titles, and one of the best winning percentages of any franchise over that time. In terms of fans, it’s not the losing (it happens in the parity-driven NFL), but rather how they’ve lost that’s angered fans. Also, with the season essentially being over by week 7 really sucked as well. Realistically, the Falcons could have won a handful of games that were close. They had chances to win all of the following games early on: Saints, Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets. Even if they split those games or just win one of those, they’re looking at being 4-2 or 3-3 instead of 2-4 and feeling of hopelessness. At 2-4, all was not lost, but after four consecutive embarrassing blowouts to the Cardinals, Panthers, Seahawks, and Bucs, the nails were quickly nailed in the 2013 coffin. In summary, Smith and Dimitroff will get their chance, but can they make the most of it?

Can Mike Smith Change?

Since Smith and Dimitroff have been assured of their return, the question now immediately turns to whether or not they can get it fixed, more specifically if they can honestly look at every part of their job, decisions, and actions that led to the collapse. If polled right now, the vast majority of fans would say flatly: NO. However, Smith will know that his job officially will be under the microscope and the seat will quickly get hot if things awry. There’s no denying that Smith will have show growth and change in certain areas. Chief among them will be to stop being hyper-conservative in all aspects of the way the team plays and the way he coaches. The Falcons needlessly live on the edge, allow teams to come back, and can not, by any means put teams away.

Ryan Running as Always (AJC)

Not only has the coaching displayed no killer instinct, aggression, or any sense of dominance, it has also cast a malaise over the players as well. No other series represents this more than the final offensive series against the Saints. Down by 4 points and facing 4th and 15, Smith elected to go for a 50+ field goal and try a miracle to get the ball back from Drew Brees. Yes, the probability is low, but how much higher is it to kick a long field goal, still be losing by 1 point, and try to get the ball back from one of the best QB’s in the game? As mentioned before, it also has affected the players. With a chance to get a touchdown a few yards short of the goal-line, Matt Ryan elects to slide down at the 2 yard line instead of trying for a TD. Much of that is on Ryan, but where does he get the idea of being so conservative and robotic?

There are plenty of other areas as well. The player development has to improve. Some of the mistakes were on Dimitroff for poor draft picks, but not all of it. Unless a player is a 1st round pick, they likely won’t see the field under Smith. He refuses to play young players with talent and try to develop that talent. Another spot to improve is his seeming micro-managing of his coordinators. There’s no proof to this to the common fan, but after two sets of coordinators and the same issues appear, who’s left to blame? Smith also has get this team to be tough. They have become soft and weak under Smith, and some has to be attributed to his lack of hitting and physical practices. Can he objectively evaluate himself, recognize his mistakes, and correct them going forward? Time will soon tell.

Can Thomas Dimitroff Change?

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

Mike Smith may get most of the heat to change in the off-season, but the general manager should get as much or more attention. It’s true that Smith plays a part in the Falcons collapse, but Dimitroff may shoulder more of the blame. It is he who thought the Falcons were perfectly OK on both sides of the ball and has thought that way the past 6 years. He has failed pretty much across the board in drafting offensive and defensive linemen. He has spent a 1st round, 2nd round, 3rd round (two in fact), 4th round, and 5th round draft pick on offensive linemen and not one of them can be counted on going forward. The only OL that seems to have a set lock on consistency is Justin Blalock, and he was drafted by someone else. No GM is perfect and Dimitroff has been instrumental in drafting well enough to have 5 winning seasons and 4 playoff trips, but his failure on both lines has been abysmal.

On the other side, he hasn’t fared much better. The only two defensive linemen that generated any pass rush were Jonathan Babineaux and John Abraham, neither of which he drafted. He missed on Peria Jerry with his 1st round pick and hasn’t done much better elsewhere. He hasn’t generated one defensive end that can rush the passer (although Smith shares much of that fault) with any consistency and defensive tackle can’t much ever push the pocket. Corey Peters seems to be a good pick and perhaps one of the few DL the Falcons can build around, but that’s about it. Lawrence Sidbury, Kroy Biermann, Cliff Matthews, Travian Robertson, Jonathan Massaquoi, Malliciah Goodman, and Stansly Maponga are just a few names who have never developed into a major pass-rusher. Missing on some draft picks happens, but it’s been the refusal on his part to acknowledge and address the lines that is the worst part. He won’t sign any free agents either on the OL or DL that would help and make significant investments in the line, but he gave Dunta Robinson one of the largest contracts for any cornerback in the NFL. He’ll get his shot to rectify it with high draft picks, but we’ll see if he makes the right decision.

Wide Receiver, Linebackers a Strength Going Forward

A Rare Good Play (AJC)

One positive to the injuries has been a chance to see and maturation of the undrafted free agents and look at some strong points for 2014. Julio Jones and Roddy White being injured has led to seeing Harry Douglas, Darius Johnson, and Drew Davis step up in a big way. Douglas finally stepped out of the shadow and shown he can carry the load if need be. Darius Johnson has been one of the best surprises of an otherwise awful year. He had a career game vs. the Saints that was overshadowed by a late fumble. Davis hasn’t blown up like the other two, but he’s shown he can contribute. The Falcons may not have a ton of strengths that don’t have holes, but the return of a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White paired with Douglas, Johnson, and Davis should give the Falcons one of the best and deepest receiving corps in the league, at least on paper. Whether or not the OL can get fixed or Dirk Koetter can utilize them all is another story entirely.

The linebacker corps looks to be on equally strong ground. The injuries to Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon forced both undrafted free agents Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu into action. They haven’t been perfect, but they’ve shown great ability and hope for the future. Worrilow has 80 tackles in only 7 starts, proven he’s a tackling machine and supplanting former 3rd round pick Akeem Dent in the starting lineup (another apparently poor draft pick). Bartu has had some up and downs, but he’s shown an innate ability to cover in space and get after the quarterback, notching 3.5 sacks already. It’s hard to imagine that Worrilow and Bartu haven’t already cemented themselves as starters in 2014 and should only get better with a full NFL off-season.

Put’em in Coach: All of Them

Sums up 2013 pretty well (AJC)

The Falcons season is officially over, at least in terms of playoffs and much of anything else other than pride. There’s five games left and there’s always a chance to make the most out of any difficult situation, if Smith and Dimitroff so choose. As mentioned before, there has been some very pleasant surprises in a terrible season: Worrilow, Bartu, D. Johnson, Massaquoi, Motta, and to a lesser extent Levine Toilolo. Joe Hawley has even breathed new life into his chances going forward (which helps alleviate the pain of seeing Peter Konz’s downward spiral). Now’s the time to use the final games as a job interview for 2014. They should take some chances and get some of the younger guys and even those on the practice squad a chance over the next month. Guys like OT Ryan Schraeder, OG Harland Gunn, RB’s Antone Smith and Josh Vaughan, DT Adam Relopgle, DE’s Goodman and Maponga, and S’s Motta and Kemal Ishmael. It’s understandable that they want to win as many games as possible, but not using this as a chance to truly see what they have would be yet another huge mistake on their collective parts.

Set a Vision and Identity for this Team

One of the biggest complaints and criticisms you hear from fans and, particularly, the media is that this team lacks any sort of identity at all. What are the Falcons about? What do they want to accomplish? What will they hang their hat on week in and week out? These are questions that the Falcons entire organization would find it impossible to answer. The great teams take on an identity, work to play to their strengths, and minimize their weaknesses. Some teams are known for having great defenses and running the football (49ers, Seahawks, Panthers). Other teams are known for their high-flying attacks with opportunistic defenses (Broncos, Patriots, Packers, Saints). Some teams are known for being unpredictable and aggressive, while others run the football with play-action and a good defense can win with a good defense. If forced to come up with any identity of the Falcons, what would it be? That’s a problem.

K-Runch (AJC)

After having one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Sean Payton immediately dictated they were moving to a 3-4 defense upon his return. Contrast that with Smith and he’s cloaked his intentions in secrecy. Early on, Smith wanted to stop the run and run the football and, to a point, they followed that identity. Since the 2010 playoff “Debacle in the Dome,” it seems as though there’s no clue on what the coaches envision for this team. When you don’t know who you are or who you want to be as a team, how can you come close to being effective? Natural thought would think that the Falcons would be more of an up-tempo type of team, similar to the Broncos, Patriots, or Saints. Use their multiple weapons at receiver, pass to set up the run, have offensive linemen that at least can pass-block, and have speed at the running back position. Accept that identity and play accordingly.

Instead, they think they’re a power team that can move the pile and run their running backs up the middle on 1st and 2nd down and being forced to throw long on 3rd down. Also, their running backs of the past (Turner) and present (Jackson) don’t fit that skill set because morespeed would be needed to make defenders miss with lack of good run blocking. And just another sign that something’s amiss is the fact that the no-huddle often works and Smith (or someone) shuts it down. If they go that route, than a defense that was aggressive and opportunistic would make sense. The Falcons have no vision or identity at all and seem to change by the week. Before they can work on getting better through the draft, free agency, or the off-season in general, they must develop a vision and work like hell to implement it.

Your Thoughts Going Forward?

417 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

November 27th, 2013
10:39 am

Enter your comments here

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
10:42 am

you are asking a zebra to change his stripes; it will not happen – even if Mike Smith promises it will. TD shoulders MUCH of the blame for this year – he jettisoned WAY too many vets for the Falcons to honestly think they were going to compete this year. I am still outraged that Lamar Holmes was allowed to come to camp so fat and out of shape – that is franchise/managerial negligence.

J. Drake

November 27th, 2013
10:46 am

Matt Ryan does not have that leader mentality. He is not a risk taker. Therefore, he is not the type of quarterback.the Falcons need. He is stiff and does not bring excitement to the team. Management needs to do whatever it needs to in order to trade Matt Ryan for a more innovative quarterback .

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 27th, 2013
10:57 am

D3 – YES – it’s a mess.

Arno

November 27th, 2013
11:08 am

“The Falcons have no vision or identity at all and seem to change by the week. Before they can work on getting better through the draft, free agency, or the off-season in general, they must develop a vision and work like hell to implement it.” –D3

Inspiring words, D3! But what do we have? ‘We take what the defense gives us.’ Our identity flops from quarter to quarter, from series to series, derailed by less than perfect execution, unable to overcome mistakes, reacting not dictating. Did Belichick go in at the half and tell his team to take what the Broncos give us? I doubt it. He called upon the vision and identity of the team. Look at the results. I think you’ve hit on the imperative next step. Who among the Falcons is capable of articulating a vision?

Wings

November 27th, 2013
11:15 am

Unca’Bob Glad to see you back to normal!

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 27th, 2013
11:30 am

paddy-O (10:42 a.m.) – Amen! On this we agree – getting rid of the vet leadership is a disaster. There was still tread on those tires. My question is “Did they really evaluate what they kept and brought in as being better than what they released or was it a bite the bullet ’cause we have to cut the payroll thing?”

Die Hard Falcon

November 27th, 2013
11:31 am

Great post D3!

I really agree on your points, there just isn’t any identity for this team. Exception is that we’re SOFT and that’s why we’re a constant joke on network TV. If it doesn’t change it won’t matter who we draft or sign, if the schemes and practice and whatever else that leads to it isn’t changed, ie if there’s no culture change, we’ll continue to be soft and get pushed around and never win the BIG games come January to even hope to play in February and get the trophy named after a tough SOB.

All I want for Chanukah is a Lombardi in 2015 b/c we got the #1 pick in 2014 and made the right decisions in the draft and in preparing in practice to be physical and let our light shine and shut these talking heads and Aints fans forever w/ a Lombardi down Peachtree!

Unca' Bob

November 27th, 2013
11:47 am

Wings

November 27th, 2013
11:15 am

That post was for you, buddy. Thanks for your support.

Now, back to being a prep chef. LOL

BillyBob

November 27th, 2013
11:57 am

J. Drake does not bring an intelligent quote to the board. His quotes are not exciting and he takes no chances. Please replace him with a more innovative poster.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
12:13 pm

wishful thinking from a dedicated cynic. I thought we had caught lightening in a bottle with TD & MS; not so much now. Time will tell – but, the fact that the problems under BVG & MM are STILL with us – the cancer is the HC. I think our team has talent – but if you went through all the moves and draft selections, we could have a much better team. It started with letting Lofton & Fineran go. Meier and Dent were drafted to replace these guys. Dent got bumped by a pair of UDFA; Meier never got on the field. BTW, Swopes – who I was super high on – is out of football. So, drafts are dice roll.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
12:15 pm

how long do you beat a dead zebra before you realize the stripes are not coming off? Will JJ be ready for next year? Holmes and the King BS artist (Smitty) – asserting that A Smith was going to get playing time – is the reason we are where we are. 2 wins after 13? Just exactly what happened? Is 2013 our Battle of the Bulging Dead Zebra? Can Patton come rescue us?

woeismesince66

November 27th, 2013
12:23 pm

I will repeat, have tryouts for both offensive and defensive lines. I mean to also allow the present
linemen to tryout. But, hire someone that can evaluate linemen, because the current people doing
the evaluation aren’t up to the task.
As for the folks wanting the Falcons to hire players of shady character, Why not go to prisons
all over the country and see how many criminals can play football. BUT, while you’re interviewing
the criminals, interview the prison guards because they will be needed to keep the inmates in line.
Are these people crazy? Being a criminal doesn’t make a man and answer for any kind of employment. Get people of good character that will dedicate themselves to their job and they
will do that job to the best of their ability.

Jim Purcell

November 27th, 2013
12:28 pm

TD is by far the best GM Falcons have had and the same comment for Mike Smith as head coach. TD has not shown however the drafting ability to make Falcons stay elite. He needs to stop drafting players with history of college injuries who continue to have injuries in pros. (ex. Peria Jerry, William Moore, Sam Baker etc.). Julio Jones now has the same foot injury he had when we drafted him and will this continue to be an ongoing problem ? Sean Weatherspoon is injury prone who has problems tackling and rushing the passer.
Great teams have mainly been drafted on inside 1st and then you draft outside. Falcons are just the opposite. Falcons overall talent other than Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and over 31 year old players is by far the worst in NFL. Can TD become elite in drafting ? 48 year Falcon fan and very frustrated !

Wings

November 27th, 2013
12:32 pm

Jim Purcell the problem with JJ11’s foot was a broken screw.

Hamad Meander

November 27th, 2013
12:48 pm

Wouldn’t it be interesting if we played one of the remaining games in no-huddle the entire game? Without ever looking at the scoreboard. Just line up and try to hurry up score on every single drive. What difference does it make if we win or lose? If we can find some rhythm on offense, at least next season we will be more aware of what our maximum ability is. No huddle could help the offensive line out too, as the defense won’t be able to rotate fresh bodies in on every play.

Let’s give it a try – I would be impressed with our management if I saw that kind of experimentation.

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 27th, 2013
1:22 pm

Draft order according to Drafttek.com (hypitheitcal of course):

#1 Houston – Teddy Bridgewater (QB)
#2 Atlanta – (OL / DL)
#3 Jacksonville – (QB)
#4 Minnesota – (QB)
#5 Tampa Bay – (LB)
#6 St Louis (LB)
#7 Oakland – (WR)
#8 Cleveland – (QB)
#9 N Y Giants (CB / LOT)
#10 Buffalo (OLB / LOT)
#11 St Louis (FS )
Falcons #1 (2nd pick in 1st round) traded for Cleveland’s #1 (8th pick in 1st round in 2014 and 1st round pick in 2015)
Falcons pick #1 Jake Matthews (LOT) 6′5″ 305 lbs.
Falcons pick #2 Gabe Jackson (OG) 6′4″ 335 lbs
Falcons pick #3 Tim Jernigan (DT) 6′3′ 305 lbs.

Jim Purcell

November 27th, 2013
2:24 pm

JJ11’s foot which now has a broken screw is the same foot he injured before Falcons drafted him. Can this be a on-going problem ? 48 year Falcon Fan

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Heading to the airport? Check your [...]

Greg Mendel

November 27th, 2013
3:10 pm

Great post, D3! Thanks for all your time, effort and good insights!

With the 2014 draft in mind, Sunday’s contest is another “must-lose” game. Too bad Dent or DeCoud can’t be replaced by the late, great Shelley Winters. She was great in that a classic drama about another sinking ship. I can just hear her yelling “Rise up! Rise up!,” as the Falcons attempt a 72-yard field goal.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

PoolerSpirit

November 27th, 2013
3:28 pm

Greg Mendel… Thankful for your humor!!! Shelly Winters… let’s try her at LT….

JB Falcon

November 27th, 2013
3:50 pm

Duh, so, it looks like we could trade with the Browns and still get they guy we want. Don’t know what they would give but I don’t see how it could hurt.

Chop Buster

November 27th, 2013
4:00 pm

I agree with Paddy O, you can’t get a zebra to change its stripes. Dimitroff hasn’t drafted or signed FAs well in his tenure; as well as, Smitty being overly conservative and refusing to attack teams on both sides of the ball for 4 quarters. If Dimitroff isn’t the problem with the player selection then the finger points to his Directors of Scouting and Player Personnel. Someone in the front office definitely needs to go and Smitty needs to be given an ultimatum to deliver what he promised–an aggressive style offense and defense.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
5:12 pm

sadly, we could actually win the game against the Bills. I am hoping we bench DeCoud, Osi and Asante – and get our new draftees a LOT of playing time. I would also bench Steven Jackson – and see what A. Smith can really do as the feature back – he is QUICK. If we have Holmes/Blalock/Hawley/Konz and Schraeder play, and that O line does OK, and we win – we have actually accomplished something. IF we win without using any of the young guys we are short term focused, long term morons. I’d like to see something positive regarding our 2013 draftees/signees come out of the buffalo game -after all, relentlessly beating the stripes off a dead zebra gets old – and sort of smelly.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
5:13 pm

If we can, we need to draft the Long kid. I suspect Konz might make a decent RG. Reynolds is crapola, and Johnson is injury prone. The broken screw in JJ’s foot makes ME seriously worried about his long term health/playability. but, I am a worrywart.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
5:14 pm

shelly winters could be confused with a dead bloated zebra if she was attired appropriately.

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
5:16 pm

hope everyone gets to eat delicious green bean casserole – so good due to the fact you can NOT taste the greenbeans – just pretty much the frenches onion rings. or, whatever delicious food your family traditionally serves! a lot of football tomorrow!!

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
5:17 pm

whoops – replace long with Matthews – those 2 dudes have too many bleepin’ kids.

JP48 year Falcon fan

November 27th, 2013
5:20 pm

GM (TD) should be your best evaluator of talent because best scouts get promoted and go to other teams.
Wish Ozzie Newsome, GM of Ravens would come to Falcons as GM. He is the best GM and from Alabama.

Unca' Bob

November 27th, 2013
6:20 pm

A bit off topic, but. Y’all have a great and happy Thanksgiving Holiday. Above all, be safe. They are out there! No, I’m not talking police, I’m talking drunks and idiots. Enjoy!

JB Falcon

November 27th, 2013
6:53 pm

UB, not off topic at all and the same to you and everyone else! We should all count our blessings and look at the things we are thankful for. I know I have been blessed and am thankful everyday when I wake up, let alone the wonderful things my life is filled with, and ya’ll are one of ‘em.

falcon21

November 27th, 2013
7:16 pm

Unca’ Bob and JB, same to both of you and your families. My kids and grandkids will be here early tomorrow so no sleeping late but looking forward to it. Y’all and all Cagers have a great Thanksgiving. UB, I agree about looking out for the drunks and idiots but the Ga. State patrol is out in full force. Glad to see it.

Unca' Bob

November 27th, 2013
8:05 pm

falcon21,

Thank you my friend.

Unca' Bob

November 27th, 2013
8:23 pm

D3,

I felt you did an outstanding job of trying to be fair and objectionable. Simply one more in a huge line of outstanding posts. Thank you.

Once again, I hear my pillow calling my name. Saying, Bob, they don’t understand you like I do. Come to me.

Meh. I’m hooked.

Nytol.

NFL Stats

November 27th, 2013
8:26 pm

D3 — thanks for the post. I’ll have some follow up questions to you and Cage members. First is TD. What do you think he needs to do, or could change in drafting? Do we scout wrong? Does he overemphasize things that mask/hide a college player’s ability to develop in a pro game? What?????

Mike in Minnesota

November 27th, 2013
8:27 pm

D3,

With all respect…you give equal criticism to Dimitroff as you do Smith…and then talk about the pleasant surprises found because of injuries. People that Dimitroff selected or signed.
One would think that when preparing for the draft management (GM/Coach/Owner) discusses where each player is in development,where they are health wise and where they are in regards to finances.What the are the needs of the team not only this year but future. And then I think, if ,it were not for Weatherspoon and Nicholas being injured we still wouldn’t know about Worrilow and Bartu. Like wise with our WR corps…you make a good point about Darius Johnson, and Drew Davis. Would we have seen them if not from injuries ?
So…with being said ( and YES…Dimitroff has made some horrible picks )…Smith may not know the talent that he possess ! Smith may have thought the O-line was coming around and we would be “fine” if it were gutted. He may have said get me Osi , Trufant and Alford and we’re set on Defense ( after all shouldn’t Smith know a little about Defenses ).I don’t think Smith is a good evaluator of talent because of playing favorites and the WPP. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors but I think Dimitroff will be here usher in the next regime.
By the way best piece I think you have written I agree with everything you wrote but who is more “at blame”. That why there’s chocolate , vanilla and strawberry…everybody’s got an opinion.

BOB

November 27th, 2013
8:32 pm

Ryan / Smith/ TD,,have taken this team as far as it will go..I just wish Blank would see it.. Problem in draft will be our trades with other teams,.,We will trade the top pick for another 1 plus a 2,,but will end up drafting more BUSTS,,Ryan has no swagger no confidence. Trade Ryan rebuild!!!

disillusioned falcons fan

November 27th, 2013
8:43 pm

I blame the falcons ‘13 season on the league and salary cap. When young players perform at a high level all nfl teams are going to be willing to pay for that talent. The falcons decided to pay their franchise qb and that meant releasing others that got them to the playoffs. Anybody who thought this was a better team than last year was kidding himself. Highly paid qbs do not win superbowls. You cannot pay 20+ million for one player and expect to win a superbowl. Football is the ultimate team sport and there has to be a balance between all players….offense and defense. The teams that recognize this remain at the top and put themselves in a place to win. I knew this season was going to be bad when they didnt win a preseason game. When the starters went down it was over

falcon21

November 27th, 2013
9:01 pm

Matt Ryan’s contract has nothing to do with this season going bad. You need to dig a lot deeper than that.

PoolerSpirit

November 27th, 2013
9:13 pm

I’ve read several on here complaining about the vets that got released during the offseason, but I don’t remember anyone complaining back when they were cut loose. Those of you who’ve complained about TD cutting them, tell us which ones were released that shouldn’t have been, and why you think we should have held on to them. I can understand wanting to keep some older “wisdom” on the team, but all the guys we let go needed to be cut. The only one I could see keeping was Defensive Tackle Vance Walker. I had no desire to see Clabo, McClure, Robinson, Hope, Peterson, Grimes at the money he was paid last year, not to mention his wife… who else did we cut that you guys thought we should have held on to, and why?

JB Falcon

November 27th, 2013
9:16 pm

Wings, you said it a while back but I guess it didn’t take. The morons that keep bringing up MR’s salary have no idea of how the NFL is run, and even less of an idea of what it takes to build a football team. Some folks are actually “disillusioned”. They walk among us.

D3

November 27th, 2013
9:21 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Eve Cage! — I’ll try to get on tomorrow as well, but a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. Got TONS of snow up here in NE Tennessee, and helped my boys build their very first snowman (not the prettiest, but it’ll hunt).

Thought it would be a nice change of pace to the same old, same old, and I have to give several Cagers credit (especially WR and others).

Before I get to a few other things, wanted to share a few comments that are very appropriate for this regime. Just got a

D3

November 27th, 2013
9:24 pm

Just got a book on Vince Lombardi and I thought they were perfectly appropriate from Smith and Dimitroff…………….

The difference between a great coach and an average coach is knowing what you want, and knowing what the end is supposed to look like. If a coach doesn’t know what the end is supposed to look like, he won’t know it when he sees it. — Lombardi

…………and…………

A team expresses a coach’s personality, and this doesn’t change from week to week. — Lombardi

JB Falcon

November 27th, 2013
9:29 pm

D3, those are words from the master. Send a copy to AB.

D3

November 27th, 2013
9:30 pm

RE: Matt Ryans’ Contract — This is getting tiresome. Someone posted a list of all the top paid QB’s in the league and Romo, Stafford, and Bradford are in that category. And only if the Seahawks, Niners or (gasp) Panthers win the Super Bowl, than will there be a QB not on that list. But guess what folks, guess where they’ll be on their next contract. They were the first QBs to be in on the new contract cap. It’s just the new reality. Is it right? Probably not, but if we didn’t pay him, someone else gladly would have. People blaming Matt Ryan for all the team’s problems is not only ill-informed, but it lacks any sort of pretension of having a serious debate. Let it go, or render your argument a non-starter. Or we could just trade him for Johnny Manziel :oops:

D3

November 27th, 2013
9:39 pm

JB — I mean, me just being a lowly school-teacher, have been blown away from these books I’ve been reading (John Wooden, Nick Saban, and now Lombardi) and it just kills me how someone in such a high profile job like Smith couldn’t just pick up a d@mn book and make a big difference. Or I can just send my copies.

Pooler / Paddy — Very interesting debate going on here regarding letting the vets go as being the reason for our downturn. Was listening to Chuck and Chernoff the other week and they were discussing this. Honestly, they really didn’t miss all that terrible. Abraham was a miss, to be sure. But Clabo, DRob, and Turner were good calls. Grimes is a 50/50. Looked terrible at first, but now not so much. Keeping Grimes could have prevented us from having (or wanting) to draft two CB’s, but it’s not like it was a terrible decision. Vance Walker? Yeah, that was pretty stupid, but taking all of it in, I’d say he was, at a minimum, batting over 50%. In terms of Holmes being overweight, I think you were thinking of Phillipkeith Manley, not Holmes.

JB Falcon

November 27th, 2013
9:47 pm

D3, 9:30 pm, well stated, but as long as this is an open blog we will have to put up with the, can’t think of the proper word, so, people. Have you noticed the handles are not regular cagers?
Yeah, #1) Manziel, #2) Clowney. Hahahahaha.

Arno

November 27th, 2013
9:53 pm

‘knowing what you want, and knowing what the end is supposed to look like…’

Smith has a firm idea, I believe, of what the end is supposed to look like. It’s extremely strange, though, that he hasn’t provided for the beginning. It strains my mental health to think back on the vision he first gave, and still insists for this team, game planning and calling plays like it really exists: strength up front. All the while the skill players, unless they are injured, bail his ‘vision’ out!

paddy O

November 27th, 2013
9:54 pm

I’ve seen Holmes the last couple of games on the field – his gut is HUGE. that is OK for G or NT, but for a LT who needs to move laterally with a quickness, it certainly does not help – we know he came into camp grossly out of shape – that is what REALLY irks me. I go back to Curtis Lofton as a mistaken release. My problem was Grimes and Vance Walker – but Chris Owens turned into a pretty valuable player to me. Is Dunta not costing us dead $$? Contemplate these guys let go and the re-ups for Baker and DeCoud – I’da released DeCoud and moved Dunta to S, if you resign Grimes, then you just need 1 high CB selection – but, we were not drafting LB’s, O line or big butt DT’s last year anyway. We lucked out getting 2 starting LB from the UDFA pool – and Worrilow looks like a playmaker – what happens if TD does not get lucky with the 2 LB’s? Our depth is millimeters. Baker’s resigning was reasonable – but not for anything over 3 years – that is pure “prove my drafting prowess” pays off stubbornness. I don’t give a rats butt about Grimes’ wife – Grimes plays a decent CB – and his jumping ability overcomes his lack of height. I’ve seen Trufant get turned around just a little too comprehensively in his rookie year – rookies for the most part make a ton of mistakes. In our “play to the competition” MO – those mistakes can cost you games. We also know extensively that Mike Smith does not like to play rookies – so what does TD do? Force him to play rookies – and our transition into that – when coupled with the injures – has resulted in our 2 win season thus far.

snacktastic

November 27th, 2013
9:54 pm

@D3: I think you were right to focus on change as the theme. The Falcons’ mistakes aren’t new; rather, they’ve become so egregious as to cause the team to lose more games than they otherwise would. That’s a sign of a systemic problem.

Will MS and TD change? Well, if they didn’t change after five years of relative success, then maybe–MAYBE–they’ll change after one year of unmitigated failure. That, I think, is the best we can hope for.