What the Falcons need: Lots more O, less “Oh, no”

To borrow from those old Overstock.com commercials, it’s all about the O now. If they’re going to make the most of what remains of this season, the Falcons have to score more points.

They’re 12th in the league in scoring this season, averaging 24.6 points. They were 10th last season, averaging 24.4 points. That’s not enough of an upgrade for an offense that kept everyone and added Tony Gonzalez. Judging on total yards, it has been no upgrade at all. The Falcons ranked sixth in the league in yardage last season, averaging 361 yards; they’re 14th now, averaging 343.

The Falcons have scored 30 or more points twice in nine games. They scored 30-plus points five times in 16 games last season, and that was with a rookie quarterback and a new feature back and no Tony Gonzalez.

Sixty percent of the Falcons’ payroll is devoted to offense, which makes sense. Michael Turner, Roddy White and Gonzalez are Pro Bowlers, and Matt Ryan was the 2008 offensive rookie of the year. But Turner was having a lesser season until those big games against New Orleans and Washington, and now he’s hurt. And Ryan, who was 11th in passing efficiency last season, is 20th in 2009.

Given the changes made over the winter, we knew this defense would wobble, and it has. But the D has yielded only 1.3 points more per game it did in 2009, and its rating for total defense has dropped only from 24th to 25th. Put simply, the defense has been what we expected. The offense has not.

Sunday brings a test. The league’s 20th-ranked offense will face the Giants’ top-rated defense. And the game is on the road and outdoors, and Michael Turner might not play. No matter. You can’t pick your spots in the NFL. You have to perform when and where the schedule dictates. And what better place than the Big Apple — or East Rutherford, N.J. — for what seemed a sleek offense to prove it deserves to be called big-time?

110 comments Add your comment

Godfather

November 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Go Falcons!!

VaDawg

November 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Kennesaw Falcon

November 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Heath

November 19th, 2009
1:58 pm

Start Chris Redman!

Kidding, but just sayin’…

F-105 Thunderchief

November 19th, 2009
2:04 pm

The Giants have the top-rated defense after being a sieve for the past month? Huh.

Where can we send sympathy cards for Jerious Norwood? First fatal hip pointer I’ve ever heard of.

big skee

November 19th, 2009
2:05 pm

This game scares me…

SavannahSeer

November 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

We simply have to get a better performance from Michael Jenkins. He has dropped passes when open, run improper routes (depth) and generally not shown any improvement. He is only a “fly” guy who can go deep and nothing more. OK< maybe he's a failry good down the field blocker.

Opposing teams look for White and Gonzolez when they defend. The back out of the backfield has been good at times, but doesn't get more than 7-10 yards underneath coverages, and usually well short of a first down. Jenkins hasn't caught more than a handfull of passes in any game for a reason…he can't get open and can't catch when he does.

Personally, I'd like to see us add a small Welker-like speed guy (maybe Weems) in the slot and put him on a linebacker. Preferrably, I'd like somebody who can catch the freaking ball, not another short-arm, no-hands waste of space like Jenkins. This guy is getting paid to catch the ball. He drops at least 2 passes a game, can't separate from defenders, and kills his teams momentum. Other than that, I'm sure he's a nice guy!

Let's bring back Alfred Jenkins!! At least he could play

FireUga7.net

November 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

The Falcons are going to have to fight just to go 9-7.

Matt

November 19th, 2009
2:14 pm

Mark, since the NFL goes retro with jerseys, I want to see your old column photo reappear. Bring back the hair! haha

Southside Falcon

November 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

The line needs to protect better like their lives depend on it. And Micheal Jenkins needs to run better routes and catch more passes

bali smith

November 19th, 2009
2:17 pm

the falcons schedule this season has been brutal. Big upgrade from last year plus do not think many teams took the falcons seriously last season. still I thought the falcons would fly this season…… maybe they will do it this week in New york and get the party started

PMC

November 19th, 2009
2:20 pm

If Doug E Fresh Johnson can get a win in the Meadowlands…. why not Matty R and Jason Snelling?

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 19th, 2009
2:20 pm

So that’s what the “O” stood for. I thought with that gal on those ads it meant…

F-105 Thunderchief

November 19th, 2009
2:21 pm

That Overstock.com babe was delicious. Sigh.

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 19th, 2009
2:28 pm

More Ovie, less Gonzo. Looooooong clock eating drives after the first possesion. More Snelling on the swing, less check down and out of bounds.

More cowbell.

Overstock.com Babe

November 19th, 2009
2:29 pm

Back atcha, big guy. You busy Friday night?

Nevermind, the Hawks are playing.

Munson

November 19th, 2009
2:30 pm

If they’d get that kid, Verron Haynes more involved in the offense, they’d be kicking the Giants with a hobnail boot and breaking their nose.

leland

November 19th, 2009
2:30 pm

Dear Mr. MB–on another matter, that picture of all the litter left behind by tailgaters was truly impressive. I know some of my fellow Polk Countians were there–they had to be. After all, we won the litter award (on a per capita basis) for a four-county area in west Georgia. Floyd County won the award for total litter, and Bartow for litter quality. Harrelson came out last in everything, which is no surprise. On the other hand, I may be wrong about our contribution last weekend. Most non-student followers of college football went to college, and since most of the denizens of Polk never finished high school, let alone went to college, it’s possible my speculation that we made a significant contribution is just wishful thinking. There’s also another point–the trend here in Polk is to throw out entire garbage bags of litter and not single item discharges such as paper plates, napkins etc., that appeared to be the main deposit on campus. I’m not sure about any of this.

Your pal, Leland

Rockmart and Cedartown

November 19th, 2009
2:33 pm

We hearby disown that Aragon-dwelling dweeb leland, who we suckled in our bosom and who now mocks us.

Cedartown by itself

November 19th, 2009
2:36 pm

U.S. 27 runs north and south and is ready when you are.

Hollywould

November 19th, 2009
2:38 pm

Mark, I can’t remember a screen pass all year. I agree with the poster/ hit the back on a swing pass
once this year. Change it up

Hollyhasbefore Lotsoftimes

November 19th, 2009
2:41 pm

Snelling was hit with a swing pass against Carolina. He caught it and ran with it. Good play. Also, he wears Bubba Bean’s number.

IceFan

November 19th, 2009
2:44 pm

F-105 is absolutely right about the Overstock.com chick from the commercial. Yuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyy!

SavannahSeer

November 19th, 2009
2:47 pm

MB-

What are Jenkins’ stats for the year. Also, what does the weather look like for Giants Stadium. I hope the winds blow and its a day for the running game ONLY. That’s the only way I see us winning.

EW

November 19th, 2009
2:49 pm

MB, the tough early schedule for the Falcons and the injury bug have hurt us. I also think Matt Ryan relies TOO much on Gonzalez, forcing the ball to him even when it’s not there. It’s easy to fall in love with a future hall of fame tight end but the D in the NFL will key on things like that. Overall, the O has lacked explosiveness.

HireMe

November 19th, 2009
2:52 pm

Seriously did this blog need to be written. None of this is the least bit informative. It’s obvious and really doesn’t need to be said. Thanks again MB!

F-105 Thunderchief

November 19th, 2009
3:02 pm

This just in: Jerious “Lazarus” Norwood spotted practicing. Hip pointer apparently not fatal afterall.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

November 19th, 2009
3:08 pm

If it looks like a duck (5 straight games with a pick)

If it walks like a duck (10 picks in last 5 games)

If it smells like a duck (68,66,46,57 QB RATINGS)

If it quacks like a duck (lost 3 of last 4 games)

Then hunters – it must be a duck.

Time for a good ole boy barbeque………… :)

“DUMP THE CHUMP”

Fish Bisch

November 19th, 2009
3:12 pm

I agree. Let’s give Choke the boot.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

November 19th, 2009
3:15 pm

FALLING STOCK:

What this week’s loss means for Wild Card:

- Cowboys (Owns tie breaker)

- Giants (Will own tie breaker)

- Eagles (Will own tie breaker)

- Packers

- Panthers (with win over Dolphins, will own tie breaker)

- Falcons

“DUMP THE CHUMP”

Mark Bradley

November 19th, 2009
3:16 pm

Weather in the 50s and clear, last I checked, for Sunday in New York.

Chokie Chokerton

November 19th, 2009
3:17 pm

I have no life, no love life, no girlfriend, no QB, no team. All I have are these ajc.com blogs and I love Matty Ice. I am the Air Tran punky kid.

Chokie Chokerton

November 19th, 2009
3:19 pm

The NFL should just cancel the rest of the Falcons games, because I have a crystal ball.

Mark Bradley

November 19th, 2009
3:19 pm

The Overstock spokesperson? You mean Sabine Ehrenfeld? (Don’t ask how I know this. I just do.)

FALCONS SORRY

November 19th, 2009
3:20 pm

SORRY ATL FALCONS! THIS TEAM GOT NO O! EXCEPT MAYBE OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SAY CAN YOU SEE MATTY HOPELESS IS ON HIS BACK AGAIN! THAT LIMP WRIST NOODLE ARM QB IS ON HIS BACK MORE OFTEN THAN A 2 DOLLAR YOU KNOW WHAT WEARING CHEAP PERFOOM! THIS WHOLE SORRY FRANCHISE IS GOING FULL SPEED IN HIGH NO WHERE GEAR WITH MATTY HOPELESS BEING THE SO CALL OFFENCIVE LEADER! THE FALCONS DONT NEED TO WASTE ALL THAT MONEY ON MATTY HOPELESS! ALL WE NEED IS SOME BODY WHO CAN HAND THE BALL OFF TO THE REAL KEY TO THE OFFENCE IN THE BACK FEILD! TURNER BURNER! WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE THE MAN! IF ANY BODY CAN SAVE THIS HORRIBLE SEASON FOR THIS SORRY FRANCHISE IT YOU MY MAN! YOU ARE JUST PLAYING HURT RIGHT NOW AND SEEING WHO ALL YOUR HATER ARE AND WHEN THE MOMENT IS RIGHT YOU BITE YOUR LIP AND GRIT YOUR TEEF AND SHOCK THE WHOLE WORLD! EVERBODY CAN SEE WHAT A REAL MAN YOU ARE AND THAT YOU CAN JUST RUB SOME DIRT ON IT OR STEP OUT IN THE SUN SHINE LIKE SUPPER MAN AND BE GOOD AS NEW ALL OVER! LET ALL THAT HATE PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR HEARTS MOTORVATE YOU RIGHT NOW WHILE YOU HEAL DOG! THAT SORRY LEX LUTHER BAD MAN YOU GOT AS AN OWNER CAN NOT KEEP YOU DOWN! YOU ARE YOUR OWN MAN AND NO BODY OWN YOU! NO BODY! FOR JUST ABOUT ANY OTHER NFL PLAYER THE FALCONS FRANCHISE WOULD BE JUST LIKE POSON BUT YOU CAN STAND IT AND TAKE THE PAIN AND STILL BE STANDING AT THE END OF THE DAY! JUST LET THOSE NEW YORK GIANT PLAYER THINK YOUR ARE DEAD BUT THEN YOU SPRING BACK TO LIFE RUN OVER THEM LIKE A MACK TRUCK! YOU EARN EVER CENT YOU GOT THAT SORRY BLANK UNDER PAY YOU BECAUSE HE DONT GIVE YOU WHAT YOU DESERVE! JUST RUB SOME DIRT ON IT KISS YOUR OLD LADY AND GET BACK IN THERE TURNER BURNER!

YOU BETTER LISTEN TO ME NOW!!!!

November 19th, 2009
3:27 pm

F-105 Thunderchief

November 19th, 2009
3:29 pm

Google? Google images is a great thing, too.

Dennis

November 19th, 2009
3:30 pm

in 2002 the falcons went to new york with doug johnson because vick was hurt or somthing, beat the giants and went on a 9 game unbeaten streak. I say unbeaten because they tide Pittsburgh in that stretch. Lets hope for a repeat. Maybe Snelling will have a big day. doug johnson did.

willie martinez

November 19th, 2009
3:34 pm

why would i care about the weather in new york? i’m going to be in lexington this weekend.

Dr. Warren

November 19th, 2009
3:35 pm

Mark, why are they ranked 20th in offense? Is that based on total yards?

willie martinez

November 19th, 2009
3:37 pm

they also need a competent defensive coordinator.

GSU Eagle 91

November 19th, 2009
3:37 pm

Falcons Sorry: you are officially crowned the title of ” Most illiterate blogger ever” as your blog has no point to it. Don’t use large caps except when beginning a sentence or using a proper noun….
Oh, I’m sorry… This is supposed to be about the Falcons…
Falcons 24 NY 20, on Sunday… They can do it!

Mark Bradley

November 19th, 2009
3:39 pm

Yes. Total offense is yardage.

willie martinez

November 19th, 2009
3:42 pm

the game is in lexington, right?

Matt Ryan Patty melt(not Ice)

November 19th, 2009
3:42 pm

The Falcon Drafted Matt Ryan 3Th over all has he given the falcon 3 over all in value 45 million ? NO. He was said to be smart could read defensive can he ? 11 int’s no. Every since you know left the stands are not full Paid for by corporate sponsor to fill seat? yes. The new face of what? Defense should be the top 3 drafts for the for the next three year. Ryan has two pro bowler 2 new first rounds on offense line. This is so close to being a bust. You know who would take this year team deep in the play offs but we have a new Face who is making a ton of money for being so-so! That is just the facts . Matt is only in the top ten in INT’s that all! so mush for the face and two more things . he has a weak arm and he is hearing the foot step now. Patty melt when heat is applied!!

ernisTbass

November 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

When Tony G first came to the Falcons, Ryan met with him and asked how he liked the ball to be thrown, his answer was high so he could leap up and get it. Matt made a point of working with Tony G to accomodate his preference. His problem seems to be that now he is throwing it high to everybody. Perhaps Tony G should have adapted to Ryan instead of the other way around.

willie martinez

November 19th, 2009
3:50 pm

an odd moment in the staff meeting today: richt asked all of us coaches to stand up. then take one step forward if we felt we deserved to be back next year. i was the only one who stepped up. everybody laughed. including UGA.

MIke Bobo

November 19th, 2009
4:08 pm

I took that step forward with you willie. Mark Richt will never fire us! We just beat an incredible Auburn team and are rearing to beat a loaded UK team. I dont know why UK isnt in the BCS championship game talk.

MV33765-183

November 19th, 2009
4:08 pm

Yes, let’s “Dump the Chump” maybe your boy Jamarcus Russel if available, Choke?

Delbert D.

November 19th, 2009
4:17 pm

willie – The game is in the U.K.