Archive

Archive for December, 2008

Ryan wins Offensive Rookie of the Year

December 30th, 2008 Comments off

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that Matt Ryan has won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, an annual award given out by the Associated Press.

Ryan finished the season starting all 16 games for the Falcons and passed for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns, and completed 61.1% of his 484 passing attempts. He was arguably the key catalyst for the Falcons improbable turnaround from 4-12 in 2007 to 11-5 and in the playoffs in 2008.

Ryan is the first Falcon ever to win the AP’s offensive honors, however three Falcon players have won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors: Claude Humphrey (1968), Al Richardson and Buddy Curry (co-winners in 1980). He is also only the fourth quarterback to win the award since the Associated Press annually began giving it out since 1967, following Dennis Shaw (1970), Ben Roethlisberger (2004), and Vince Young (2006).

Categories: News Tags: ,

Norwood carries Falcons over Rams

December 28th, 2008 Comments off

Getty Images/D.BencThe Falcons had all they could handle against the St. Louis Rams, winning a 31-27 game that came down to the wire. The Rams led the game 27-24 until Jerious Norwood scored on a 45-yard run with less than 4 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. The Rams would get the ball back and drive down to the Falcons 37-yard line before giving it up on a turnover on downs with 1:09 to go. The Falcons finish a remarkable season 11-5 and get their first playoff berth since 2004 under rookie head coach Mike Smith.

Matt Ryan led the team, completing 10 of 21 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. It was a subpar performance for Ryan. However the Falcons ground attack was able to pick up the slack. Michael Turner had 208 yards on 25 carries and a score. Norwood had 56 yards on 3 carries and 2 scores. Michael Jenkins led receivers with 4 catches for 72 yards and Roddy White had 3 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the struggling Rams offense gave the Falcons defense all they could handle. They gave up 202 rushing yards and the Rams offense held the ball for 35 minutes, 11 more minutes than the Falcons. Michael Boley led defenders with 12 tackles. Kroy Biermann (4 tackles, 1 sack), Keith Brooking (9 tackles), Erik Coleman (8 tackles), Chauncey Davis (3 tackles, 1 sack), Domonique Foxworth (6 tackles), Jamaal Fudge (10 tackles), and Stephen Nicholas (1 tackle, 1 sack) had noteworthy games. Fudge started in place of Lawyer Milloy.

On special teams, Jason Elam connected on his lone field goal of 39 yards. Michael Koenen averaged 36.8 yards on 4 punts. Jerioius Norwood averaged 38.4 yards on 5 kickoff returns, including a 92-yard run to end the first half. He capped off that drive with an 8-yard rushing scamper a few plays later. Harry Douglas had only 3 yards on 2 punt returns.

With their 11-5 finish, the Falcons will go on the road and face the Arizona Cardinals in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs next week.

Categories: News Tags:

Game #15 AT Minnesota Vikings Game Review

December 28th, 2008 Comments off

This one wasn’t pretty but resulted in a 24-17 win and a clinched playoff spot thanks to some key turnovers by the Vikings and some smart plays by our defense. At 10-5, the sights are now set on the division title should the Panthers lose.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (19/70, 1 TD), Norwood (6/10), Snelling (3/12), Douglas (1/4) and Ryan (3/2) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,9; Douglas, 1; Norwood, 1; Snelling, 2 and Ryan, 1.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 13/24, 134 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 6 Bad passes, 2 Drops, 1 pass defended and 3 thrown away.

Drops (2): White and Norwood

YTD Drops (36):

White – 16
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 2
Peele – 2
Norwood – 2
Jennings – 1
Snelling – 1

Receiving: Jenkins had 4 catches for 61 yards to lead the team in both categories.

Run blocking: Was very good early but faded fast.

Pass blocking: Way too much pressure on Ryan allowed. 2 sacks, 4 pressures and plenty of hits.

Sack responsibility (2): First was on Clabo getting run over by Edwards. Last sack was on Ryan scrambling off right end by Edwards.

YTD Sacks (15):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 2.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 6.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Limited Peterson to only 76, unfortunately, never spied Jackson and allowed 76 to him as well. Very mixed review.

Pass Defense: If Shiancoe would have been covered then the pass defense wouldn’t grade out negatively but 136 yards and 2 TD’s to the tight end shows what a sore spot this is.

Sacks (3): Moorehead got the first resulting in a turnover as well. Davis and Abraham also picked up sacks.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns (1 touchback):1-from the 1, 25 yards. 2-from the 3, 35 yards. 3-from the 2, 20 yards.

Douglas had 2 punt returns: 1. from the 45, 4 yard return 2. from the 17, 13 yards nullified by 12 men on field penalty.

Koenen had 6 punts: 1-34 yards to the 22, muffed and recovered by ATL. 2-48 yards to the 10, 7 yard return. 3-50 yards to the endzone, touchback. 4-36 yards to the 44, no return. 5-37 yards to the 18, no return. 6-48 yards to the 33, no return. Not his best but decent.

Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1-to the goal line, 10 yard return. 2-to the 3, 19 yard return. 3-squib to the 29, 11 yard return. 4-to the endzone, touchback. 5-to the endzone, touchback. Very good day on kickoffs.

Field Goals: 1/1 Good from 22.

Special Teams coverage: Excellent coverage.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends and Running Backs). This is going to kill us one day.
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions/big plays by opposition.
3. Spy running QBs.

Offensive MVP: Michael Jenkins (4 catches, 61 yards-made some really big catches)

Defensive MVP: John Abraham (1 sack, 4 tackles, 4 pressures, 1 fumble forced)

Special Teams MVP: Eric Weems (1 forced fumble)

Goat of the Week: Brian Van Gorder (for not putting a spy on Jackson and not calling more attention to Shiancoe in coverage)

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS St. Louis Rams, December 28th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Game #14 VS Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game Review

December 28th, 2008 Comments off

For all the criticisms of the defense, it really stepped up in this game in combination with Tampa’ mountain of penalties. Despite a couple of misfirings by Ryan, a fumble at the goal line by Rader and a special teams gaffe by Wire, the defense refused to break and picked up the slack to carry the team to a 13-10 overtime win over their division rivals. The huge win moved the birds to 9-5 and firmly entrenched in the playoff race with division title hopes still alive.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (32/152, 1 TD), Norwood (4/-7), Douglas (1/11) and Ryan (6/19) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,12 and Ryan, 3.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 15/23, 206 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 7 Bad passes and 1 thrown away. Both INT’s happened in Tampa territory. Along with a fumble, these miscues could have cost us the game.

Drops (0): None

YTD Drops (34):

White – 15
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 2
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1
Snelling – 1

Receiving: White had 4 catches for 61 yards to lead the team in both categories.

Run blocking: Was very good amassing 175 yards at 4.1 a play.

Pass blocking: Not as much pressure as Tampa normally gets.

Sack responsibility (1): Came on safety blitz that was unblocked. Ryan was stepping up in the pocket and got stripped.

YTD Sacks (13):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 5.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Allowed 99 yards with an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Gave up some yardage late but was overall very good. Coy Wire made a noticeable difference in place of Boley.

Pass Defense: 269 yards allowed, which isn’t terrible, but there were a couple of big plays at crucial times that hurt. Bryant really abused Houston towards the end of the first half but was quieted when Foxworth manned up on him.

Sacks (4): Grady Jackson got 1 sack and Abraham got the other 3.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns:1-from the 9, 16 yards. 2-from the 6, 20 yards. 3-from the 5, 20 yards. I’m convinced something isn’t right with Norwood.

Douglas had 5 punt returns: 1. from the 47 TB, 13 yard return 2. from the 21, 7 yards. 3. from the 20, 17 yards. 4. from the 13, 10 yards nullified by Foxworth holding penalty. 5. from the 29, fair catch. Douglas did well when he had an opportunity. (Finneran had a fair catch, there was 1 touchback and 2 punts out of bounds as well)

Koenen had punts: 1-44 yards to the 23, fair catch (aided by unncessary roughness penalty). 2-48 yards to the 45, 12 yard return partially nullified by illegal block penalty. 3-52 yards to the 6,4 yard return. 4-34 yards to the 11, no return. 5-47 yards to the 32, 6 yard return. 6-Blocked with Tampa recovering and returning to the 22. Resulted due to Coy Wire’s missed block.

Koenen had 4 kickoffs: 1-to the 8, 17 yard return. 2-to the 5, 17 yard return nullified by illegal block penalty. 3-to the -1, 24 yard return. 4-to the goal line, 21 yards nullified by holding penalty. 2 of the kicks weren’t as deep as normal.

Field Goals: 2/2 Good from 26 and 34 (including the game winner).

Special Teams coverage: The blocked punt almost cost us the game.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends and Running Backs). Not sure why this hasn’t received more attention
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions/big plays by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Michael Turner (152 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, 1 TD)

Defensive MVP: Domonique Foxworth (3 tackles, 1 INT, and 3 passes defended)

Special Teams MVP: Jason Elam (game-winning field goal)

Goat of the Week: Matt Ryan (2 INT’s and a fumble)

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT Minnesota Vikings, December 21st!

Categories: Features Tags:

Game #13 AT New Orleans Saints Game Review

December 27th, 2008 Comments off

This was a game that could have been won but the defense wilted at the wrong time, the run defense wasn’t there all day and big plays were allowed late in the game. The result was a 29-25 loss that drops the Falcons to 8-5 and dimmed the hopes of a division title.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (18/161, 1 TD), Norwood (5/18), Mughelli (1/2), Snelling (2/5) and Ryan (4/13, 1 TD) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,7 ; Norwood, 1 and Ryan, 1.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 24/33, 315 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Bad passes, 3 Drops , 1 pass defended and 1 thrown away. The interception happened on the first drive in scoring range.

Drops (3): White, 1 ; Turner, 1 and Snelling, 1.

YTD Drops (34):

White – 15
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 2
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1
Snelling – 1

Receiving: White had the big day with 10 catches and 164 yards and Finneran had a TD catch.

Run blocking: Was okay but not as good as usual.

Pass blocking: 3 hurries and no sacks, another good performance.

Sack responsibility (0): None.

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 4.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Allowed 184 yards with an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Also, could not stop Thomas on last drive of the game.

Pass Defense: 230 yards allowed, which is good, but there were a couple of big plays at crucial times that hurt. RB’s being uncovered continues to be a problem. Also, no pressure was on Brees as there were no hurries.

Sacks (0): None.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 6 kickoff returns:1-from the 2, 20 yards. 2-from the -2, 28 yards. 3-from the 3, 20 yards. 4-from the 10, 20 yards. 5-from the -4, 31 yards. 6-from the -3, 23 yards. Norwood still looks a bit slowed (maybe injured?)

Douglas had 3 punt return opportunities: 1. from the 20, 2 yard return 2. punted out of bounds at the 2. 3. from the 26, no gain. Pakulak did a very good job of limiting Douglas’ running room with great hang time and angling.

Koenen had 4 punts: 1-39 yards to the 33, return nullified by holding penalty. 2-51 yards to the 29, no return. 3-48 yards to the 23, return nullified by holding penalty. 4-52 yards to the 13, no return. 3 out of 4 kicks were fantastic.

Koenen had 6 kickoffs: 1-to the 7, 20 yard return. 2-to the goal line, 23 yard return. 3-to the 3, 20 yard return. 4-to the end zone, touchback. 5-to the -3, 16 yard return. 6-to the -4, 88 yard return. Koenen did his part kicking deep.

Field Goals: 1/1 Good from 23.

Special Teams coverage: Allowed the big return to Thomas at the worst time in the 4th quarter that led to the game-winning TD.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends and Running Backs). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Roddy White (10 catches, 164 yards)

Defensive MVP: Chris Houston (6 tackles, 3 passes defended-very aggressive)

Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen (very good punting day and deep kickoffs)

Goat of the Week: Run defense.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS Tampa Bay Buccaneers, December 14th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Game #12 AT San Diego Chargers Game Review

December 24th, 2008 Comments off

While it’s good to get a road win and move to 8-4, this game was very frustrating in that the score was a lot closer than it ever should have been. Some of that was the Falcons doing and there were a couple of very questionable calls resulting in turnovers that didn’t help matters. Fortunately, the team overcame all that and pulled this one out but missing a wide open Jenkins, White dropping an easy TD pass and the 4th and 1 at the end of the 1st half that wasn’t converted, that’s just far too many points to leave on the field.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (31/120), Norwood (4/18), Mughelli (3/5), Snelling (1/1) and Ryan (4/-3) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,12 and Norwood, 2.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 17/23, 207 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 2 Bad passes, 2 Drops and 2 thrown away. Only real mistake was missing a wide open Jenkins on the first drive.

Drops (2): White, 1 and Jenkins, 1.

YTD Drops (31):

White – 14
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 1
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1

Receiving: White had the big day with 6 catches and 112 yards while Peelle and Douglas had TD catches.

Run blocking: Was fine except in short yardage/goal line situations

Pass blocking: Only two hurries and no sacks. The line continues to do it’s job and Ryan is getting rid of the ball quickly.

Sack responsibility (0): None.

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 4.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Only allowed 42 (the other 28 was on a fake punt) rushing yards. Great job.

Pass Defense: Very good day only allowing 149 yards. Only criticism would be that the RB and TE was often uncovered but that’s pretty standard for the Falcons.

Sacks (3): Biermann got his first sack (congrats!) and Babineaux got the second as well as splitting the third with Abraham.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns:1-from the 5, 16 yards. 2-from the 6, 23 yards. 3-from the 4, 15 yards. Norwood didn’t seem to have his burst on returns today.

Weems had 1 return for 19 yards on a short kickoff.

Douglas had 3 punt return opportunities: 1. from the 18, muffed and recovered by SD 2. from the 22, 32 yards. 3. from the 28, fair catch. The muffed punt really hurt as it led to a TD and helped make the game closer than it should have ever been.

Koenen had 2 punts: 1-51 yards to the 11, no return. 2-55 yards to the 17, 12 yard return nullified by illegal block penalty. Outstanding punts.

Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1-to the 1, 21 yard return. 2-to the endzone, touchback. 3-to the goal line, 21 yard return. 4-to the 1, net 7 yard return. 5-to the -8, 26 yard return. Excellent kicks.

Field Goals: 2/2 Good from 35 and 40.

Special Teams coverage: Fantastic job limiting Sproles to very little return yardage.

Things that really need improvement (no change):

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan (207 yards, 2 TDs)

Defensive MVP: Jonathan Babineaux (2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hurries and 1 pass defended)

Special Teams MVP: Jamaal Anderson (blocked field goal)

Goat of the Week: Offense for missing scoring opportunities.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT New Orleans Saints, December 7th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Smith leads Falcons to playoff spot

December 21st, 2008 Comments off

APThe Falcons were able to clinch a playoff spot with a hard-fought road win over the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 24-17. The Falcons did not play an exceptionally good game, but were able to capitalize on four Viking turnovers. Mike Smith and the Falcons now move to a stunning 10-5 record.

Matt Ryan led the team, completing 13 of 24 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Ryan also scrambled for 4 yards, fumbling into the endzone which was recovered by Justin Blalock. Michael Turner had 19 carries for 70 yards and a score on the ground. Michael Jenkins led receivers with 4 catches for 61 yards. Roddy White had 3 catches for 24 yards. Jerious Norwood had 2 catches for 11 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons offense totaled only 222 yards, their lowest output of the entire season, but were able to produce 10 points off Vikings turnovers.

Defensively, the Falcons had difficulty slowing the Vikings offense which gained 350 total yards and converted all 4 third down attempts in the first half. It was really only slowed by the Vikings own errors as they fumbled the ball 7 times, losing it four times. Three of the Fumbles were forced by Falcon defenders. Lawyer Milloy, Coy Wire, and Keith Brooking led the team each with 7 tackles. Milloy also forced a fumble. John Abraham (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble), Jonathan Babineaux (1 tackle), Michael Boley (4 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Erik Coleman (6 tackles), Chauncey Davis (1 tackle, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries), Domonique Foxworth (5 tackles), Chris Houston (3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Chevis Jackson (2 tackles), Jason Jefferson (2 tackles), Curtis Lofton (5 tackles), and Kindal Moorehead (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) all had noteworthy games.

Jason Elam connected on his lone field goal attempt of 22 yards. Michael Koenen had 6 punts for an average of 42.2 yards with 2 inside the 20-yard line. Harry Douglas had 1 punt return for 4 yards, while Jerious Norwood averaged 26.7 yards on 3 kickoff returns. Boley’s fumble recovery came off a muffed punt by Bernard Berrian.

Next week the Falcons return home for the season finale against the St. Louis Rams. The Falcons lost their last matchup with the Rams in a 28-16 loss last season. But had won their previous two, including a playoff victory in 2004. Prior to that the Falcons had lost 7 straight to the Rams going back their shared days in the NFC West. The Falcons are 6-1 at home while the Rams are 1-6 on the road this year.

Categories: News Tags:

Game #11 VS Carolina Panthers Game Review

December 20th, 2008 Comments off

This one ran the gambit of football emotions. I have to equate it to a classic heavyweight title fight where one fighter gets off to a fast start only to get answered back with it turning into a slugfest in the middle of the ring until one of the fighters finally lands the blow that puts his opponent on the canvas for good. The Falcons got off to a very fast start but Carolina owned the third quarter to pull within 4. When Harry Douglas ripped off a 57 yard punt return, the game was officially iced with the Falcons moving to 7-4 and right in the thick of the playoff hunt with the 45-28 win.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (24/117, 4 TD), Norwood (4/11), Ryan (3/2) and Douglas (2/3, 1 TD). Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,11 ; Norwood, 2 and Douglas, 1. A very methodical but consistent and effective rushing attack against a very accomplished defense.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 17/27, 259 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 3 Bad passes, 4 Drops, 1 Pass Defended and 2 thrown away. Ryan played very well.

Drops (4): White, 2, Jenkins, 1 and finneran, 1.

YTD Drops (29):

White – 13
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 4
Finneran – 4
Turner – 1
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1

Receiving: Douglas, White and Jenkins all had 4 catches with Douglas leading the way with 92 yards. Ryan did an excellent job of spreading the ball around finding 7 different receivers.

Run blocking: Really performed well against Carolina’s defense.

Pass blocking: Quite a bit of pressure but only 1 sack.

Sack responsibility (1): Basically a coverage sack which would go on Ryan for not getting rid of the ball.

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 4.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Allowed over 130 yards. Very inconsistent at best.

Pass Defense: Very solid until the second half. (Hate it when I don’t have to change it from previous week)

Sacks (3): Chauncey Davis picked up 2 and Abraham got the other.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns (and 2 touchbacks):1-from the 7, 18 yards. 2-from the 4, 4 yards. (One of the stranger kicks I’ve seen too) 3-from the 1, 25 yards. Really only 1 good return.

Douglas had 4 punt return opportunities: 1. from the 25, downed 2. from the 36, 27 yards. 3. from the 25, 5 yards. 4. from the 39, 61 yards for a touchdown. Excellent return day for Douglas.

Finneran had a 2 yard punt return.

Koenen had 3 punts: 1-48 yards to the 42, no return. 2-43 yards to the 32, no return. 3-38 yards to the 42, no return.

Koenen had 8 kickoffs: 1-to the 0, 16 yard return. 2-to the endzone, touchback. 3-to the 8, 13 yard return. 4-to the 6, 14 yard return. 5-to the -2, 19 yard return. 6-to the endzone, touchback. 7-to the 9, 24 yard return. 8-to the endzone, touchback. Excellent kicks.

Field Goals: 1/1 Good from 23.

Special Teams coverage: Fantastic job

Things that really need improvement (no change):

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Michael Turner (117 yards, 4 TDs)

Defensive MVP: Chauncey Davis (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Special Teams MVP: Harry Douglas (93 return yards and a TD and also would get overall MVP as well)

Goat of the Week: Pass defense in the third quarter.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT San Diego Chargers, November 30th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Bye Bye Boley part 2

December 19th, 2008 Comments off

Pro Football Weekly writes about the situation of Michael Boley and expresses their doubt that Boley will be returning to Atlanta next year.

In a past entry I pointed out that I was disappointed in Boley’s play through the first half of the season. And his play has not picked up since then. He may have hit rock-bottom when he essentially became a nickel linebacker while journeyman Coy Wire got most of the reps on running downs last week. Wire played well (minus his half-hearted attempt on the blocked punt) finishing the game with 13 tackles.

PFW proposes that Boley’s drop-off in play has been because of the scheme and/or the fact that he may have never bought into Mike Smith’s new regime altogether. If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense for the Falcons not to bring Boley back next year.

However one possibility the Falcons may think about exploring is moving Boley to weakside linebacker next year. Keith Brooking has a voidable year in his contract, meaning he could be a free agent after the season. And it makes little sense for the Falcons to bring Brooking back at this point in his career. If the price is right, then moving Boley to the other spot could potentially solve the issue of marginalization via scheme.

Although I’m not confident that it will work. Boley simply hasn’t been the same player he was last year, regardless of any schematic marginalization. He’s not playing with the same passion or skill from 2007 which may backup up the notion that he “never bought into the Smith program.” He’s just not playing like he really wants to be back in Atlanta. And with him essentially being benched last week, it’s doubtful it will change over these final two weeks.

So once again, bye bye Boley. Wish you luck in your next stop, assuming it’s not Charlotte, New Orleans, or Tampa.

Categories: Features Tags:

Game #10 VS Denver Broncos Game Review

December 19th, 2008 Comments off

This one was painful to watch live and even more painful to watch a second time. This was a game that was not only very winnable but given the injuries to the Broncos, should have been a win. I can’t help but wonder if we were caught napping a bit. Unfortunately, this one ended up as a 24-20 loss and dropped the team to 6-4.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (25/81, 2 TD), Norwood (4/18), Ryan (5/18) and Snelling (1/-3). Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner, 7 ; Norwood, 1 and Ryan, 2. Outside of a few select runs, the Broncos really bottled up the running game. With Denver being in the bottom 5 or 6 of rushing defenses, this shouldn’t have happened.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 20/33, 250 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 5 Bad passes, 5 Drops, 1 Pass Defended, 1 bad route and 1 thrown away. Outside of the INT, stat line would have been much better had Roddy had a better receiving game.

Drops (5): White, 4 and Peelle, 1.

YTD Drops (25):

White – 11
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 3
Finneran – 3
Turner – 1
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1

Receiving: White (5/102) led the team in yards and catches. Jenkins also had 5 catches. Unfortunately, Roddy dropped almost as many as he caught.

Run blocking: Had trouble opening up holes for the most part against a banged up Denver defense.

Pass blocking: No sacks and not a ton of pressure on Ryan.

Sack responsibility (0): None

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 3.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Allowed well over 100 yards to a bunch of backups.

Pass Defense: Very solid until the second half.

Sacks (1): The lone sack is credited to Jonathan Babineaux.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 4 kickoff returns:1-from the 0, 20 yards. 2-from the 5, 26 yards. 3-from the endzone, 17 yards. 4-from the 7, 17 yards.

Douglas had 1 kickoff return: 1. from the 1, 22 yards.

Mediocre kickoff return day.

Douglas had 2 punt return opportunities: 1. from the 20, 9 yards; 2. from the 40, fair catch. One fair catch by Finneran.

Koenen had 2 punts: 1-34 yards to the 40, no return. 2-28 yards to the 15, no return.

Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1-to the -1, 20 yard return. 2-to the 4, 58 yard return. 3-to the 1, 40 yard return. 4-to the 2, 21 yard return. 5-to the -3, 20 yard return.

Field Goals: 2/2 Good from 46 and 36.

Special Teams coverage: Outside of 2 kickoff returns it was very good.

Things that really need improvement (no change):

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan (250 yards)

Defensive MVP: Lawyer Milloy (8 tackles)

Special Teams MVP: Curtis Lofton (2 tackles)

Goat of the Week: Roddy White (dropped 4 passes including the game winner)

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS. Carolina Panthers, November 23rd!

Categories: Features Tags: