Here comes Vick — and timing couldn’t be better for Falcons

Vick....

Matt Ryan had a tough opener against Chicago.

Vick...

Michael Vick had 285 yards, two TDs in win

After an ugly season opener in Chicago, I’m guessing the last thing most Falcons’ fans want to see right now are the Philadelphia Eagles in general and Michael Vick in particular.

One might be a Super Bowl team. The other remains an open wound for some and, to make matters worse, Vick has turned into a real quarterback and looked solid in the Eagles’ 31-13 win over St. Louis to open the season. But this actually is good timing. We’re about to find out something about the Falcons.

What's your prediction for Falcons vs. Eagles?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Coming off  an embarrassing performance in a 30-12 loss to the Bears, this will be a major test for players (who looked beat physically in the game and made several mental mistakes on defense) and coaches (who were outcoached by the Chicago staff and took a passive approach to the game plan).

A poor performance in a loss wouldn’t necessarily wreck the season — 0-2 in as 12-game season at Georgia is much worse than 0-2 in a 16-game season — but it would set up serious questions about this team. So we might as well find out now what they’re made of.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez said after the loss to the Bears than anybody who starts thinking the Falcons were over “overhyped … They’re full of it.” But if a team can’t bounce back and show resiliency and toughness in difficult situations, it’s can’t survive in the postseason either. The Falcons didn’t survive last year.

The Sunday night game against Philadelphia will be the third meeting between the teams since Vick signed with Philadelphia. The first two were Atlanta nightmares. In 2009, the Eagles won 34-7 at the Georgia Dome and Vick,  as a backup to Donovan McNabb, ran for a five-yard touchdown, threw a five-yard touchdown and completed a 43-yard pass to Reggie Brown. Matt Ryan was injured and did not play. Philly won again last season 31-17. This time, Vick was injured. But Kevin Kolb throw for 326 yards and three touchdowns and three touchdowns, the Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and it was over.

This will be the first Ryan vs. Vick match-up.

The 2009 game defined the Falcons’ relative mess of a season (it came late in a 2-6 stretch that submarined playoff hopes). Last year’s defeat meant little in the big picture (they finished 13-3, won the NFC South and earned a first-round playoff bye, though lost).

Somehow, I think what we see Sunday night will say a lot about 2011 Falcons.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

415 comments Add your comment

Rob Thomas

September 13th, 2011
8:21 am

Ryan’s gotta learn how to open up the offense. It’s all there for him.

Alex

September 13th, 2011
8:21 am

Rabunbill

September 13th, 2011
8:27 am

What I saw Sunday told me all I needed to know…

Alex

September 13th, 2011
8:28 am

It will be interesting to see how this team will play Sunday night against one of the best teams in the NFC. Hopefully we can play better against the Eagles than we have in the past. I personally do not have a good feeling about this game.

AtlantaDude

September 13th, 2011
8:29 am

Vick may have run for 98 yards, but he was just 14 for 32 in the passing game. I believe he has changed tremendously as a man, but it doesn’t appear he has changed much as a quarterback.

Furman Bitcher

September 13th, 2011
8:30 am

Its going to be ugly. I said 8-8 when the season started. I stick by that.

Herschel Talker

September 13th, 2011
8:30 am

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
8:32 am

Simon says Disaster bout to unfold on them low down Dirty Birds in a Nationally Televised game..

Hey Chipper, talk about a melt down???? Braves have Lost 9 of 12? Wow

JJ

September 13th, 2011
8:33 am

Matt Ryan and the offense had a bad day Sunday. That will happen every now and then, but Ryan and the offense have far more good games than they do bad ones. That trend should continue. No worries with the offense.

That said, this Falcons defense rarely has good games. Even when Atlanta wins, the opposition piles up massive yardage (especially through the air.)

The problem with this team – past, present and future – is defense. That is all there is to it. Until we develop a more aggressive scheme and upgrade the personnel pretty significantly, the results for this franchise will continue to be the same.

Starrman

September 13th, 2011
8:34 am

Anyone who thought Ray Edwards was the only plug we needed to stop this sinking ship is a fool.We have a boring OC and a blind DC and a simple HC

ROD

September 13th, 2011
8:36 am

I hope it’s a great game, and I hope the Falcons will come to play. We need to move on from the past, and enjoy the game. Mike is doing well in Philly, and the Falcons are trying to get better each and every day. I hope our cornerbacks are ready, and a good gameplan is in place to put a wall around VICK. I still enjoy seeing him play, but this is the time for the FALCONS to make a statement to Mike, and to the rest of the world. In season past, when the FALCONS played on National TV, they were blown out. I hope this is not the case this time. If they are calling themselves a SUPERBOWL team, then let us see this SUPERBOWL team on Sunday night. This will let all the other teams know that the FALCONS are for real. I hope the ATL fans come out loud and proud for the FALCONS!!!! We need the DOME to be ROCKING!!!!!!!! Don’t let MIKE leave the dome like Deion did years ago saying, THIS IS MY HOUSE!!!! I’m glad he’s back, but LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!! If the FALCONS play like they are capable of playing, this game will come down to a field goal, and the FALCONS win. If they play the way the played against CHICAGO, it will be a long, long night. Watch out for the bomb first play of the game, DUNTA, AND BRENT. They do this every game. I hope it’s not a blow out by the EAGLES, then I have to turn off the TV. If Matt Ryan want to make this his team, he needs to make a statement on Sunday, otherwise, is will still be MIKE VICK team and city. GO FALCONS!!!!!!

JSS

September 13th, 2011
8:37 am

And thus it begins, a week of pure hype!

clark kent

September 13th, 2011
8:39 am

As long as the defense continues to give up long pass plays, especially (and most frustrating) on third and long situations, then even the most average quarterbacks (see Dennis Dixon, Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, etc.) will look like superstars and we’re in for a very long year.

Don Ron

September 13th, 2011
8:41 am

Vick will dissect the Falcons. There will be many questions asked, and hopefully actions taken. Ideas: New QB, OC, and DC as well. There should be some accountability for the big $$ they make. Mr. Blank, time to do some serious house cleaning!

Mike

September 13th, 2011
8:45 am

@AtlantaDude … yeah … how many points did we score with matt ryan’s completion percentages and 300+ yards?

JSS

September 13th, 2011
8:47 am

“Last year’s defeat meant little in the big picture (they finished 13-3, won the NFC South and earned a first-round playoff bye, though lost).”

Oh to the contrary, that game meant a lot to the OCs of the elite teams across league. They saw wideouts running wild between the safeties like Chipper in a Hooters in 1997. You don’t get to see Jimmy Claussen twice this year, no more Derek Anderson, or Colt McCoy’s with a one legged Peyton Hillis!

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
8:47 am

Can u spell another BLOWOUT COMING ON NATIONAL TV?

Eagles 27 Falcants 6 @ the Half….

cb795

September 13th, 2011
8:48 am

Since Coach Smith has been in Atlanta certain trends were exposed about his teams in preseason, with very little correction made when games counted. Poor tackling, missed assignments from defensive backs and a boring offense. I am not sure if his coaches work on any of these things since they are traits of his teams. We always get excited about sports in Atlanta and wishing those teams will become champions some day. I think the defense will stay on life support this weekend and Coach Smith will continue to support his under qualiflied assistants and we will continue hoping and wishing about our sports teams in Atlanta.

buckhead benny

September 13th, 2011
8:50 am

They need to play jaquizz on every third down- he provides mismatches for those linebackers and will keep other opponents defensive line in check with rushing matt ryan i.e. they will be worried about screen passes and quick passes to him. I mean that Chicago defensive line just pinned their ears back every down and were not worried about the robot turner or slow as a snail snelling hurting them if caught out of position.

I mean how many catches did Turner and Snelling drop last game? too many.

that change alone would change a lot about the dynamics of that offense-

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
8:52 am

Eagles should pile up 550-700 positive yardage against this Swiss cheese Falcant D!

It will look like a preseason game that doesn’t count but this one does COACH Deer in head lights…Yea whatever…..

mountain_jim

September 13th, 2011
8:52 am

I have to agree with Starrman:

“We have a boring OC and a blind DC and a simple HC”

Last year the difference in coaching, schemes, and play-calling between Philly and Atlanta was night and day. After all that talk about revamping the offense and shoring up the defense during the off-season, the OC and DCs again laid the same sorry eggs as in the GB game.

They appear to have learned nothing about how to confuse and surprise the other teams. I hope they show us something new this week but I am not holding my breath.

biz

September 13th, 2011
8:53 am

Oh the anxiety. Somebody get me some meds.

I’m nervous but I’m right there with you Shultz. Its a perfect opportunity to get this thing righted and get to the rolling. Another meek showing will not bode well.

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
8:56 am

This may go down as the worse loss in Fal-con HISTORY? On National TV to boot?

Records will be set! Ugly……..

mountain_jim

September 13th, 2011
8:57 am

Coach Smith should remember what happened to Jim Mora after he stayed loyal to his pityful OC – “Take a Knapp” and kept him on far too long. The game appears to have passed Mularkey by. His passing scheme is so rudamentary that it’s a joke. Where is the screen game? The draws? Philly showed last year what a good screen game does for a team. We have yet to put one in, using jaquizz and HD.

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
9:00 am

Mcfoolery(Mularkey) is caught in a Star Trek time Warp continuum……

rollo lawson

September 13th, 2011
9:00 am

No one wants to talk about the pink elephant in the room, which is Matt Ryan. When it was time to make a play Sunday, he never stepped up and made one. He dinked and dunked his way to a 300 yard passing day and committed two huge turnovers. I thought Joey Harrington was the undisputed “5-yard checkdown king”, but it seems Matty Ice wants to wear that crown. We better get the running game going early, because I don’t think he will make a living throwing against Nnamdi, Samuels, and DRC.

Also to Mike Smith. You better seriously consider getting rid of Mularkey and Van Gorder. Don’t let them become the albatross around your neck, a la Dontell and Knapp with Jim Mora. I get tired of seeming this coaching staff get outcoached. Lastly, stop being so conservative and go for it on 4th and short when inside the 30. Field goals will not win you the game on Sunday Night. Trust me!!

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
9:05 am

13-3 was fools gold and only a few of us knew the deal?

When 9 of 13 wins are against scrubs, it is what it is……Overrated..False Hype… Smoke…Rise Up? .lol

dean

September 13th, 2011
9:08 am

Not watching this week. I’ll find out Monday morning what happened.

Buckeye

September 13th, 2011
9:08 am

I’ve always been a Vick ( the football player) fan and am happy to see his resurgence. Look foreward to watching him all year.

That said, I am a Falcons fan and a Matt Ryan Fan. I hope I feel compelled to stay up until midnight on Sunday.

The O’line is a HUGE issue. Is McClure playing this week? If no McClure, we’re in for another long night…………

J.T.Ellenwood

September 13th, 2011
9:11 am

I agree with Furman Falcons will finish 7-9

dean

September 13th, 2011
9:12 am

Buckeye, you left out “If no Sam Baker we’re in for another long night.” Wait. I’m wrong. He WAS on the field Sunday. I think he’s still chasing his assignment down Michigan Ave.

james schroeder

September 13th, 2011
9:14 am

This will probably be the first time in my life I have pulled for a non atlanta team.
I love watching vick play. I don’t care what the man did, I just love watching him play, and honestly, I would rather have him that Matt Ryan.
Watching the falcons pathetic short range passing attack, and up the middle running attack is like watching Tim Duncan play basketball. BORING

f*** farweather fans

September 13th, 2011
9:20 am

No wonder Atlanta is ranked the worst sports town. All off season i read about how everyone was hyped up for the Falcons and Dawgs. Then after 1 game everyone wants to jump of the bandwagon and throw the team under the bus. i love my teams and will support them even after an ugly loss. This team has major potential and a chance to do something special. F*** all you sh***y fans go bass another team. Sunay I’ll be at the game screaming for the Falcons no matter the outcome. You should do the same if your an Atlanta fan.

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
9:20 am

I guess dogs are more valuable than women. How many women did Big Ben allegedly force himself into in South Georgia and beyond? Oh thats right hush money was paid out and the tapes were destroyed by the bad ole boys..So the big guy would not have to do 30 in the pen…arse backwards….

This system is on crack?

dean

September 13th, 2011
9:21 am

In my humble opinion, a 4-0 or 3-1 start to the season is not in any way shape or form mean a team is great or even very good.

But an 0-4 or 1-3 start, the team is probably is as bad as its record.

Pauls Johnson

September 13th, 2011
9:24 am

This is gonna be ugly,,, The Falcons are soft as baby doo

Chandler going Deep....

September 13th, 2011
9:24 am

Crickets^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yawn…….

@farweather fans

dean

September 13th, 2011
9:25 am

Hey fair weather,

When you’ve been watching for 45 years, check back in. Some of us are beginning to tire of great expectations being reduced to ridicule. Or as Norm Van Brocklin said, “The whhhores were telling the players how good they were. And they believed it.” Look it up.

goodgod

September 13th, 2011
9:26 am

the falcon exposive offense didn’t score a single touchdown against chicago…..with throw short pass ryan at the helm, the game will be over by half time. melty ice ryan will pannick and turnover the ball and the falcon will lose.

JSS

September 13th, 2011
9:29 am

f*** farweather fans
September 13th, 2011
9:20 am
“F*** all you sh***y fans go bass another team. Sunay I’ll be at the game screaming for the Falcons no matter the outcome. You should do the same if your an Atlanta fan.”

All of that implied cursing and the simple fact remains, the Falcons got waxed on Sunday and inspired absolutely no faith from the people that you are having a tantrum at… At least I’ll know who the nut is when they flash to the camera to the empty seats during mop up time…

Fish Bisch

September 13th, 2011
9:30 am

Chalk this up as another loss. Andy Reid and his coaching staff will out coach our little rag tag group of so called coaches. Mularkey needs to go.

JSS

September 13th, 2011
9:33 am

Does that “bass” come pan seared?

PMC

September 13th, 2011
9:34 am

I’m hoping Kelvin Haden is ready to play this week. If he understands the defense I know he’s vastly better than what we’ve had of late. This Falcons team always plays well in the dome. I expect a cleaner better executed game I’m just not confident that they can score enough to win Sunday night.

falcon fan

September 13th, 2011
9:35 am

You can hope all you want but you know the falcons will be 0-2 when sunday is over, This is not the Mike Vick show this is the Andy Reid and the Eagles show, get caught up on trying to embarrass or stop Vick and you will lose by 50, this is a team with more weapons on the ground and in the air than the falcons will see until GB comes to town. If you think Matty slush is going to be able to pass on the Eagles you have lost your mind. Kevin Kolb embarrassed you, remember that. Keep thinking it is about Vick what a dumb thought .

Misty from Macon

September 13th, 2011
9:35 am

The game appears to have passed Mularkey by. His passing scheme is so rudamentary that it’s a joke. Where is the screen game? The draws?

Best comment of the post. I’m a big Atlanta Fan, but the birds have got to wake up their offense, protect their QB better, and try to confuse the defense. The same plays from last year are not getting us anywhere, it’s time to rethink our offense.

And the DEFENSE!! OMG…… — since i refuse to say anything bad about the Birds, I won’t say a word about our defense. I’ll just ask for all of us true fans to pray that they can start making a few tackles BEFORE the other guy catches the ball in the end zone.

PMC

September 13th, 2011
9:35 am

Haven’t heard the status of Ovie Mughelli yet either.

JSS

September 13th, 2011
9:36 am

I couldn’t stand Van Brocklin, but he had a way with words!

True Falcon Fan

September 13th, 2011
9:37 am

MR2 vs MV7 – couldn’t be a better 2nd week spotlight for NFL national TV audience to watch, Jeff you are right-on, perfect timing.

Let the world see, if the Falcons can close a chapter and open a new one Sunday night?

Coach Smitty, you are on – the spotlight will be shining directly at you!

Yes 33-16 record is not a bad,

“This game could be a Coach Killer”

“As Jim Mora Sr put it and he was right-on – “Vick is a Coach Killer”

@ Matt Ryan, son this is the game for you to put all the “NO Sayers in their place”

Let’s get it done!!!!

Go Falcons

Pauls Johnson

September 13th, 2011
9:37 am

As one who has been a Falcons fan most of those 45 years i fully expect the trend of one step forward two steps back to continue,,, its what we do…. I will continue to support my home team though,,, insane,, perhaps…

Blindog

September 13th, 2011
9:40 am

HERSCHEL TALKER……SHUT UP AND NEVER,EVER SAY YOU ARE A UGA FAN,YOU ARE A MORON!!!