Falcons, Dogs, Jackets each have questions to answer

mattryanCC

Ryan goes on road for first time since playoff loss.

It says right here that the Falcons, Georgia and Georgia Tech all have a good chance to win this week. Wait. What am I saying? I’ve already guaranteed all three are going to win in this week’s financial (though occasionally jammed) locks!

But I have questions. You have questions. Each team has questions.

In the interest of keeping this to another short-attention span blog, I’ve narrowed it down to one question each.

Falcons (2-0): Can they win on the road?

They’ve played two solid home games, defeating Miami and Carolina. The offense is improving — Matt Ryan was off the charts last week, save an interception — and the defense has been better than expected. But this week they go to New England. The Patriots are struggling but they still have an offense that starts with Tom Brady and Randy Moss. The rebuilt Falcons went 4-4 on the road last season. Three of those wins (Green Bay, San Diego, Minnesota) came over quality opponents (the other came over a sidewalk chalk outline, Oakland). But they did not play well in the playoff game at Arizona. It’s a younger team this season. Winning over a veteran bunch like the Patriots, while fighting a loud crowd in Foxborough, will not come easy. Ryan and the offense can handle it. The defense? Not so sure.

Bulldogs (2-1): Can they stop anybody?

Yes, it all sounds great in theory.

Yes, it all sounds great in theory.

It’s not that Willie Martinez is unpopular. He was unpopular at least three or four touchdowns ago. The problem is he’s advanced to arch villain. Martinez is “coordinator” of a defense that ranks 97th in the country in yards allowed (406.3) and 112th against the pass (285.33). Georgia also is 108th in scoring defense (34.0). Now, I realize these stats can be skewed by the fact the Bulldogs have played a tougher schedule than a lot of other teams.  But it says something when the only 12 teams in the country behind you are (ready for this?) Washington State, Nevada, Utah State, Maryland, New Mexico, San Jose State, Western Kentucky, Toledo, Florida Atlantic, Tulane, Miami (Ohio) and Rice. Mark Richt has made a big issue of turnovers and penalties, and justifiably so. But even with quarterback Joe Cox now shredding defenses, the Bulldogs’ season will remain an average team if Martinez can’t fix the other side of the ball.

Yellow Jackets (2-1): Is this the best option?

dwyerJC

Even non-Heisman candidates shouldn't do this.

Georgia Tech has its own problems on defense. But of greatest concern — or at least surprise — is the offense. Jonathan Dwyer doesn’t have to look like a Heisman Trophy candidate. He just can’t be mediocre. He ranks third on the team in rushing with 168 yards in three games, behind quarterback Josh Nesbitt (213) and running back Anthony Allen (190). That’s not even the worst news. Dwyer had a 74-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the season against Jacksonville State. Since then, he has 29 carries for 94 yards (3.2 per carry). He was five for seven in the loss to Miami. Five for seven would be great if this was baseball. All we’ve heard is how the Paul Johnson option offense gets better in year two. But the word “flow” doesn’t come to mind, so far. This week’s opponent, North Carolina, handled Tech better than anybody last season. The Tar Heels won last year’s meeting in Chapel Hill, 28-7. They’ve allowed less than 200 yards per game this season in wins over The Citadel, Connecticut and East Carolina. Not a good week to try to step up.

50 comments Add your comment

MightyQuinn

September 25th, 2009
3:05 pm

Could it be that I’m……

MightyQuinn

September 25th, 2009
3:07 pm

First! Wooohooo!

Brad in Jasper

September 25th, 2009
3:10 pm

I have a strange feeling that the Dogs D will be okay this year. Not to the tune of winning out, but I just get this feeling that Willie will do just enough to still be around next year (gulp). We’ve been here before.

Innocent Bystander

September 25th, 2009
3:11 pm

The Falcons should be able to pick up the victory if they’re for real…

The dawgs should rack up enough points on ASU, and their D may not look too bad this week…

The Jackets, however, MUST show up and rack up some big time points early on, or else their season might be over before every really beginning…

MightyQuinn

September 25th, 2009
3:11 pm

OK, I’m over it. The Falcons may win this weekend, but it will have to be a shootout, something in the 38-35 range, methinks. Tech’s offense looks lost. UGA’s defense looks lost. So it goes. And how long til Bad News raises his Spock on Acid version of logic here?

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

Let’s just hope that Samuel will hold on to the frikkin Ball… That bothers me as much as the defense.

Well… ok.. Almost as much

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 25th, 2009
3:15 pm

The Falcons can win, I think, if they can pressure Brady like the Jets did.

I don’t really follow college ball but should Mark Richt be complaining about penalties? Isn’t that a lack of discipline that is his job to enforce?

Joey

September 25th, 2009
3:15 pm

Who would have thought a DC, for any school, could average a defensive ranking of over 100, and keep his job? It seems Mark Richt is the only one defending Willie at this point …..

Vick Is GOD

September 25th, 2009
3:35 pm

Tech loses, UGA/Falcons win.

misterwax

September 25th, 2009
3:36 pm

could be some real soggy muddy turf tomorrow and Tech had better hold onto the ball…this will be a watershed game, no pun intended.

Ron Mexico

September 25th, 2009
3:36 pm

I gets to play dis Sunday. Ha Ha ATLiens…you got nuffin on me. I’s playin football no matta what I’s did befoe. Suckas.

Oh Yeah, I is smart and this Valtrex scrip is keepin my herps in check. You’re welcome chickenheads.

ugajersey.com

September 25th, 2009
3:41 pm

If you’re a true Georgia fan you need to go to http://www.UgaJersey.com and buy your dog a replica Uga VII jersey. If you’re not a UGA fan, then don’t worry, I’m sure you’re still a good person.

leland

September 25th, 2009
3:52 pm

Congrats, MightyQuinn. I want to reassure you–there are important ways you never get over it. I mean, next week you might be doing something ordinary like looking for the BBQ sauce in Walmart, and the memory of being first will, unbidden, pop back into your mind, and the joy and sense of completeness will be as strong even in those busy corridors as it was today in the first moments of realization. Enjoy it, I say. They can never take it away from you.

F-105 Thunderchief

September 25th, 2009
3:53 pm

All three can win, and Tech will have the toughest time. It’s put up time for the Jackets, or it could be a long season. Miami’s really good, but Tech has to find out if it is.

Yeller is the color of PI$$!!!!!

September 25th, 2009
3:53 pm

UNC over GT. Gonna be bad weather, and the ball is gonna be fumblin, bumblin, stumblin. ‘Course, I would pull for the Taliban over GT.

Yeller is the color of PI$$!!!!!

September 25th, 2009
3:54 pm

I wish the Yeller Jackets would get rid of that silly Veer.

Hercule Poirot

September 25th, 2009
3:54 pm

The barbecue sauce, she is next to the pickles. Aisle 4 or 5, I believe.

Yeller is the color of PI$$!!!!!

September 25th, 2009
3:55 pm

The Veer is what we run in our local High School, and it still does better than GT has done so far.

zino

September 25th, 2009
3:56 pm

Are the jerseys also available for Cats?

Then I could say “That cats a Dawg, man.”

Dr. Marti Hernandez Rojas

September 25th, 2009
3:57 pm

Drinking beer second hand causes the type of hysterics displayed by Yeller.

Nobody Beats our 'Cocks!!!!!!!!!

September 25th, 2009
3:58 pm

We have stunned the WORLD!! We just busted a Nutt last night!! Say it loud, say it proud…..Nobody Beats Our ‘Cocks!!!!!!!!!!

leland

September 25th, 2009
4:03 pm

M. Poirot! Where have you been? Have you heard of the low down, snake-in-the-grass trick that some addle-brained blogger has been pulling? Using my name in his blogs? Can you and Miss Marple help ferret out this miserable reptile? If so, I would forever be in your debt.

collegeballfan

September 25th, 2009
4:03 pm

Tech has problems on the OL. The offense being run is not the problem. This OL would not be blocking any better in a pro-set. The QB now starting would be starting in a pro set. If the OL does not block NC Tech will lose.

The DL has problems. Losing Hall hurts. I thought he was playing the run well. Two new starters in the DL this week. Cross suddenly growing up would be a big bonus. Taylor out at safety. But everyone has injuries.

The team that blocks & tackles the best wins this game.

Hercule Poirot

September 25th, 2009
4:11 pm

Alas, mon ami, the imposter was me. I felt an uncontrollable urge to strike out at you in a non-violent way for your insult of my Belgian heritage. Remember calling me a Belgian quack? Why did you have to go there? We Belgians are a proud people. My apologies. You have my promise not to do it again.

matt r

September 25th, 2009
4:14 pm

Jeff, I don’t understand what’s financial about your recreational, purely for fun, picks/locks column.

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 25th, 2009
4:15 pm

ugajersey.com
Thanks but my hound prefers to cavort around in the nude as God intended dogs to do.

As a long ago grocery store worker, BBQ sauce is generally kept on the glass aisle. Other glass aisle items include mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, etc.

Don’t remember if I was ever first on Jeff’s blog or not but I was once first on Mark’s blog and he even personally congratulated me for being “numero uno”. It was my 15 seconds I guess.

Carl Miller

September 25th, 2009
4:18 pm

I’m rooting for Tech, but I have a feeling they will be the lone loser this week. The Dogs will win big and the Falcons will squeek by the Pats.

Schultzie the Great…Do you think any current or prior college football team could actually beat any current or prior NFL team? Say USC a few years ago versus the Detriot Lions of last year. I’ve always been curious about those odds. An interesting blog some day… Sorry to get off the current subject.

Big B CH 99

September 25th, 2009
4:26 pm

The problem w/ Tech’s Offense is not the scheme, but lack of EXECUTION! The OL has been atrocious, even worse than last yrs which was bad, it doesn’t matter what type offense U run, when your line gets pushed back every play, your not going anywhere. A QB can’t throw from his butt, & a runner can’t get any yards when they’re getting hit in the backfield before they can even cross the line of scrimmage.

Dr. Warren

September 25th, 2009
4:29 pm

Has anyone noticed how popular the Falcons’ ‘66 throwbacks have been with the fans and even the national media? I have to admit classic beats trendy every time.

Rice Alum '89

September 25th, 2009
4:33 pm

Dang if Jeff didn’t go and mention Rice again, even if it was for being last in defense (someone has to make WM look good)! We’ll take the mentions as people outside of Texas rarely know that Rice exists.

LOOK ALIVE There are buzzards overhead

September 25th, 2009
4:47 pm

UGA’S DEFENSE CAN BE UPGRADED IMMEDIATELY BY GOING TO A 5 MAN LINE WITH 2 MIDDLE LINEBACKERS’ POSITION THE DE OUTSIDE THE OT {NOT HEADS UP} AND THEY WILL GET A MUCH BETTER PASS RUSH AND STILL DEFEND AGAINST THE RUN. ON 3RD AND 4TH AND LONG BLITZ AND DON’T GIVE THE QB TIME TO THROW A 15 OR 20 YARD PASS. SO SIMPLE A CAVEMAN CAN DO IT HOW ABOUT YOU WILLIE?

SimpleDawg

September 25th, 2009
4:48 pm

Those little desert dwellers actually think they’re going to win Saturday’s game….they’re even talkin’ smack.

Dawgs roll as the Devils melt in the rain.

Falcons should win, but the “awe” factor may get them.

The Bugs have a bad day as the Tar Holes step on them….in their own crib.

leland

September 25th, 2009
4:49 pm

M. Poirot, I have nothing but the greatest respect for the Belgian people, and my esteem for them is unsurpassed. It is a great relief to know that the imposter was you, and I accept your apology and promise. As for my calling you a Belgian quack, I did it in a rit of fealous jage because I thought you were cavorting with Miss Marple and I had lost her. But let’s move ahead now, on the eve of this glorious upcoming weekend.

On a lighter note, it is aisle four, and olives come between the BBQ sauce and pickles. Also, a tip of the hat to Mr. Hillbilly Deluxe for his thoughtful note: he is right, of course. I bow to his expertise.

It is a new day adawning.

winthrop09

September 25th, 2009
4:49 pm

lance berkman played at rice…..hows that for someone else mentioning rice that doesnt live in texas

Hercule Poirot

September 25th, 2009
4:54 pm

Bon soir, mon ami. A new day indeed!

Jeff Schultz

September 25th, 2009
6:03 pm

Mighty Quinn — I’m so proud of you.Sunrise, sunset, sunrise ….

Matt R– Oh yeah. That’s what I meant to say. Recreational. Right.

Rice Alum — nothing personal. You must be used to it by now.

Laurnezo

September 25th, 2009
6:07 pm

Thank goodness Bad News or Saint Simons hasn’t responded yet.

Paddy

September 25th, 2009
6:08 pm

Dr Warren, I am with you on the Falcons throw back uniforms. They look great and now they look like a real ole timey football team that Coach Smith wants to have. Looking the part has always been important to players, regardless of the sport.

The Other St. Simons

September 25th, 2009
6:11 pm

Did someone call me? No I am T.O.S.S.. I make it my bidness to mess with the Jackets when the first St. Simons shows up.

Those tech guys aren’t too bad…just delusional.

reebok

September 25th, 2009
6:33 pm

Non-delusional Tech fan here. W/ an extra 2 days to prepare, I think my guys will be fine against NC. I don’t know if the rain hurts or helps, frankly. Georgia will roll over Azzy State…as for the Falcons…I don’t know…ready for the Pats? In New England? I don’t see it, but I’ll be pulling for them.

SimpleDawg

September 25th, 2009
7:22 pm

and another thing…those little Sundevil mens have the cutest butts!!

Pi$$onaDawg

September 25th, 2009
9:47 pm

I just heard Tony BlowmeHART says Auburn is #1 and UGA is #3 behind BAMA. TONY tells us what You know you stupid F.”I am not that FAT”TV adds 50 pounds to my dumb Posterior. I am Tony THE GOD BLOWHART. People know nothing about college football. Kneel at my feet I am god. JEFF you need to bow to my GUT and know you are just an….. when talking college football. I am TONY BLOWTOOHARD I know everything. Hey guys, who do you think is No. 1 this week?

Pi$$onaDawg

September 25th, 2009
9:51 pm

TOSS I will bet you $200.00 on the 7th across the marsh. What do you say? I t may be the 9th hole but I think it is the 7th that has the dogleg around the Marsh edge.

Pi$$onaDawg

September 25th, 2009
9:54 pm

My name is TONY BLOWHART! Know ME. I amd not the DARTH VISOR of Atlanta MEDIA. I am the the GOD of the AJC’s SPORT’S PAGE. BOW bit88es, Bow.

45ACP

September 25th, 2009
10:23 pm

POAD – Did TB pi$$off a jacket or what?

Hms

September 25th, 2009
10:46 pm

Huh, it appears Vick is not a great fit for the Eagles after all. Here he is on CBS saying he thought he would be a starter by now and Coach Reid is saying something else altogether. Bad relationship from the get go. He would have been better off in Seattle with Mora.

Whopper Dawg

September 25th, 2009
11:42 pm

Falcons, God love’em, will be beaten by 7 – 14 poiints, there offensive strengths and weakness match up perfectly with our D’s strengths and weaknesses.

Dawgs win by the same, 1/4 Willie gives up upper 20s to 30s, but the spread of victory is so much, that the continued bad performance is dismissed.

Tech – Who cares.

Note that a great point of reference as far as 1/4 Willie goes, is how many points the Petrino ultimate offense hangs on BAMA – not many, me thinks.

Real Big Nuttz

September 26th, 2009
1:51 pm

Shiltchz, is there a chance we can get Michael Vick back here? How do you think that wold impact the city if he were to help atlanta and come back here?

MICHAEL VICK WE MISS YOU!

Falconater

September 27th, 2009
12:37 am

When Matt Ryan attended Boston College, he used to spend his Sundays watching Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Now he’ll get to do it again — this time from the opposite sideline. To date — and there’s no way he could have thought this possible when he played at Boston College — Ryan has been better than Brady. Ryan has thrown for 449 yards, five touchdowns and one interception — a 108.5 rating. Brady has thrown for 594 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — a 76.8 rating.

[+] EnlargeTodd Kirkland/Icon SMI
So far, Matt Ryan has outplayed his opponent this Sunday — Tom Brady.
“Ryan’s very accurate, makes good decisions, knows where to go with the ball and can put it on the money [with] his accuracy,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “[He] has a lot of down throws, too. It’s not like he’s throwing a lot of screen passes and checkdowns. He can get it down the field. He puts it right on the money, very accurate, good technique player, good throwing mechanics, good ball-handling, good ball location and placement, accuracy. He knows when to fire it, knows when to put a touch on it. He’s really impressive.”

This is a game with big ramifications. If New England were to lose at home and fall to 1-2, with its only victory being the come-from-behind one against the Bills, the skeptics would surface. Some already have. This is New England’s chance to quiet them, against a quarterback who used to root for the Patriots.

Samoys

October 3rd, 2009
1:29 pm

lot about you