It’s over. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The end has come to the Atlanta Falcons trainwreck-boatsink-planecrash-disaster-of-a-season, and most fans couldn’t be happier. There will be a time when the angst and deep-seated pain will wash away and some bright light will shine in…..maybe. Considering no major changes will be made, than maybe not. But this post will serve as a cathartic chance to rid yourself of any and all negative and bad feelings about, arguably at least, one of the worst Falcons teams in recent memory. In fact, fans always reference the 2007 season as one of the worst with the whole Michael Vick federal dogfighting ring and Bobby Prictrino sneaking out in the middle of the night episode. Guess how many wins that team had? And the QB was a mix of Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman. Now that should give pause to anyone who says there should be fundamental, deep, and major changes to this organization. Oh well, is it 2015 yet?
The assumption is that no major changes will be made in the next few weeks and months. There will be plenty of scapegoats to come. Towel washers, team chef, helmet logo appliers, and a few position coaches. But the main cogs of the worst collapse in the NFL in 2013 will remain in place. The general manager is set to return. The head coach is coming back, and it’s likely both coordinators are as well (might as well, because new coordinators wouldn’t make any difference). lt would be one thing if fans thought that some pending changes would make a difference, but it’s the same problems that have been occurring in year 1 and continue in year 6.
They’ll get an easier schedule and will have less injuries, but if you’re betting that Mike Smith will lead this team to a Super Bowl after so many golden chances, you might be better off predicting that one of the Falcons current offensive linemen will make the Pro Bowl in 2014. It’s fine if you want to go on past regular season success and keep the status quo place. But you might want to prepare for more games that feature more opposing fans, season ticket holders that literally can’t give away tickets, and tailgating lots being as empty as the Falcons pass-rushing ability. Hey, at least the game in London means there’s one less home game.
The Falcons are playing pretty good early on in the first half (as they usually do before their impending 2nd half doom), they nurse a 10 point lead until a pick six makes it 10-7, and the true Smitty comes out. The Falcons take it down to the Panthers 40 yard line with a handful of minutes left in the game. They come to a 4th and short and he elects to punt the ball. You’re season is over at this point. Your defense has kept their rivals scoreless (7 points came off pick 6). You are 4-11 and literally have nothing to lose. As well, your opponent gets the ball back in the 2nd half as they always do, because the Falcons under you elect to take the ball first. With a chance to potentially get the first down and possibly increase your score to 17-7 or 13-7 at a minimum, you elect to punt on your opponents 40 yard line. Just playing the odds with no emotional drive or attachment with it, correct? Sure. The Panthers conduct a 99 yard touchdown drive that puts them ahead 14-10 and ultimately makes the difference in the game. Why in the hell would anyone believe that anything would change when things are on the line after timidity and fear dominate in a meaningless game at the end of a miserable season. No wonder this team plays scared to lose.
A short answer would be NO after watching this game. 9 sacks, almost 20 QB hurries, and……..you know what, forget the stats: this is the worst offensive line in the entire NFL. Good luck arguing against that statement. Just really, really bad. The defensive line is about as bad. After an early good showing, they predictably fall apart as the game wears on. No pass rush whatsoever. SCam Newton can tie his shoes, dust off his arrogant and egotistical superman shirt, and plan his next event where he charges for his signatures, before he has to make dtouchdown throw. If one were so inclined it would be a great analysis to see where these two lines stack up against the rest of the NFL. Good luck getting out of the gutter on that one.
To be serious, there’s not to much to get excited about. Peter Konz was a 2nd round pick, the consensus best center in the draft, and many scouts were surprised he dropped as far as he did. He now looks as he would be lucky to make an NFL practice squad. Lamar Holmes was always a reach, and he’s proving as much to date. Joe Hawley was a 4th round pick, but he couldn’t crack the starting lineup until everyone else was injured on the worst offensive line in the NFL. Garrett Reynolds was always a right tackle, since his days in high school. Yet, Smith and their Mensa self thought that Reynolds at 6’7 would make a good guard. Not once, twice, but three times.
Mike Johnson was a guard for one of the greatest college football coaches of all-time, including being an All-American, clearing the way for a Heisman Trophy winner, and winning the National Championship, but Mike Smith and Co. think he’d do a better job at tackle. And then there’s good ol’ Mr. Reliable Sam Baker. At best, he could be a serviceable left tackle for a passing quarterback, but that’s when he’s healthy. Of the 6 years he’s been a Falcons, he’s spent two of them on the injured reserve and had another one completely engulfed in multiple injuries. Natural logic says you reward someone with that dependability with a 6 year / $40+ million dollar contract. If you take a peek at the draft class, you’ll see an abundance of potential franchise left tackles. Go ahead and expect that the Falcons GM will find a way, any way, to pass on them because the Falcons OL is bursting with unrealized talent.
Rest of Post to Come Soon…………