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Archive for September, 2011

Falcons Highlight of the Week

September 29th, 2011 Comments off

Despite a mediocre at best offensive effort for the Falcons in Week 3, that side of the ball still dominates the highlights of last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The winning highlight goes to Julio Jones, for his 49-yard grab that set up the Falcons only touchdown of the game. Falcon fans finally got a chance to see the big play potential that caused the Falcons to give up so much in this year’s and next year’s draft to get him.

Jones big catch

Honorable Mentions:

Tony Gonzalez’s TD grab

Roddy White’s 30-yard catch and run

Thomas DeCoud’s redzone interception

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 3 Review

September 27th, 2011 Comments off

The tale of this game is the failure of the Falcons offensive line. The Bucs pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage with their front four. Brian Price was a monster, and Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy each made their shares of plays. Garrett Reynolds was the only positive earner mainly because I don’t deduct for multiple pressures given up, as he gave up three. I don’t know if the Falcons have ever had a game where basically all five of their blockers should have been in the red. Justin Blalock struggled against Price, after being far and away our best blocker in the first two outings. I gave him credit for a half-sack on Mason Foster’s sack in the third quarter, where McClure botched the snap. I gave McClure the other half credit because of that botched snap.

The ground game was non-existent mainly because the Falcons struggled to get any real push, but because of how sluggish a runner that Michael Turner looked in this game. Turner looked his age in this one, and if he’s going to continue to play as slow as he has this year, the Falcons are going to have to resort to new ways of manufacturing rushing yards, such as a lot of dink and dunk throws to Harry Douglas, Julio Jones, and Roddy White and try to get those guys in space. The team might also want to try and mix in Jacquizz Rodgers a lot more.

Matt Ryan put up some numbers thanks to some earnings when the Falcons went into no-huddle or the two-minute drill, but he did not have a good game. Ball security seems to be an issue in the pocket. If you’re wondering why he went to Jacquizz Rodgers instead of an open Tony Gonzalez on that fourth down play at the goalline that was broken up by Corey Lynch, it was because Gonzo was covered by Ronde Barber who had broken up two passes already on that drive, and had an outstanding game overall, Pro Bowl caliber. The Falcons receivers had good games with Roddy White and Julio Jones both doing some good things after the catch. I don’t know the exact number, but I think Jones had around 40 or more yards after the catch. Roddy’s 3 drops are a little disturbing, although I think fatigue had a lot to do with the last one where he was wide open near the goalline.

I think the Falcons could have done a better job on their play-call on 3rd & 15 just before they opted to kick the field goal down 6 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They could have had a play that had a better checkdown for Ryan over the middle that would have allowed them to still get 7-8 yards to make it a much more manageable 4th down if they decided to go for it, instead of practically sending all 3 of their receivers into the endzone.

And what the heck has happened to Ovie Mughelli? Besides that TD grab vs. the Eagles (which was about as mundane as TD grabs get), he has been very very quiet this year.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$11$2$0$0$0-$4$9.00
Julio Jones$0$0$8$0$0$0$8.00
Roddy White$0$0$7$0$0$0$7.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$2$0$0-$1$3.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Michael Turner$0$1$0$0$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0-$0.5$0$0-$0.50
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Antone Smith$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0-$1-$1$0$0-$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0-$1.5$0-$2-$3.50

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Why is the Falcons Offense Struggling?

September 26th, 2011 Comments off
Icon SMI

Ryan is sacked

Through the first three games of the 2011 season, the Falcons offense has been a disappointment. Things that the Falcons did very well in 2010, they have not done very well in 2011. Last year, the Falcons were 3rd in the league when it came to converting third downs. This year, they are currently tied for 13th. A year ago they were 2nd in the league in time of possession, this year they are 27th. They were the least penalized team in the league in 2010, and now they are the 9th most penalized team. The Falcons were last in the league in generating explosive pass plays, and now have made a minimal improvement to 27th ranked in that regards.

The Falcons seem to have only had success scoring points when they are operating in their no huddle attack. That has caused many fans to levy blame upon offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for the team’s struggles when he’s calling plays. And rightfully so, but it should not be forgotten that one of the reasons why the no huddle is so effective for the Falcons and other NFL teams is because it forces defenses to play vanilla against you. It’s much easier to execute an offense when you don’t have to worry about exotic blitzes, very basic coverages, and the defense playing on its heels and out of breath.

Of course Matt Ryan seems at his best in the no huddle. Any quarterback worth his salt should be.

But what has gone wrong in Atlanta? Are we witnessing a sluggish start for the Falcons, or is this essentially what we’re going to see the rest of the way?

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Buccaneers sink Falcons to 1-2 record

September 25th, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images from Yahoo! Sports

White gets tackled

The Falcons had a tough loss to their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 16-13. The Falcons offense struggled early in the game, but started to make headway late to mount a comeback down 13 points in the fourth quarter. But it proved to not be enough as the Bucs were able to hold on for the win.

Matt Ryan completed 26 of 47 attempts for 330 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Falcons did little on the ground with Michael Turner rushing for 20 yards on 11 carries. Roddy White had 9 catches for 140 yards, while Julio Jones added 6 for 115 yards. Tony Gonzalez caught Ryan’s lone touchdown pass and finished the day with 2 grabs for 18 yards. Harry Douglas added 5 catches for 35 yards. Three first half turnovers led to the Falcons being down early. Matt Bryant connected on his two field goal tries of 26 and 33 yards. Matt Bosher averaged 31.3 yards on 3 punts with one placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems had a pair of punt returns for 16 yards and averaged 19.3 yards on 3 kickoff returns.

Defensively, the Falcons were able to make some stops. They held the Buccaneers to 295 total yards and forced 2 turnovers on interceptions. Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton tied for the team lead with 11 tackles each. Weatherspoon also added a pair of tackles for loss, while Lofton had one stop behind the line of scrimmage of his own. Thomas DeCoud (9 tackles, 1 interception), Ray Edwards (3 tackles), Brent Grimes (5 tackles), Peria Jerry (3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss), William Moore (4 tackles, 1 interception), Mike Peterson (5 tackles), Dunta Robinson (6 tackles), and Vance Walker (3 tackles) had noteworthy games.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 7 “F***aneers”

September 23rd, 2011 Comments off

Ryan and I get together to recap the Falcons magnificent triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, as well as talk about their upcoming matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We get into some discussion over Matt Bosher’s kicking, joy over the injury the Falcons defense inflicted upon Michael Vick, and our usual Peria Jerry discussion. As we preview the Bucs game, Ryan shows little concern over our NFC South rival, while I worry about the Falcons suffering from a post-Eagles game hangover. But we both feel that this could be a breakout game for both Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers. We also debate whether the Falcons should be more aggressive on defense and whether their historically sluggish starts on the road are a thing of the past. We get into some fan questions which include discussion on just how high a ceiling Matt Ryan has and whether or not the no huddle offense is the key to unlocking his potential. And finally we end the podcast with discussing how to properly pregame for the pregame.

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Forbes calls Robinson overpaid

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

Tom Van Riper of Forbes.com lists Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson as the second most overpaid player in the league, behind New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Atlanta Falcons’ cornerback Dunta Robinson, whose $5.5 million salary places him in the top ten at his position despite the fact that he’s never made All Pro and who is ranked by ESPN as the NFL’s 19th best corner.

I wonder if Van Riper factored in the $40,000 hit that Robinson’s salary took this week?

Is Robinson overpaid? Yes. The Falcons paid him to be a premiere No. 1 corner, and he is not, nor is he ever going to be. That ship sailed a long time ago. But Robinson does contribute to this team despite a less than stellar performance last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Part of the problem is that Robinson probably won’t ever reach his full potential in the Falcons defensive scheme. Robinson shined as a press man corner with the Houston Texans, but the Falcons seem to like to put him in a lot more zone and off coverage.

But even if the Falcons did play a lot more press man, that still wouldn’t change the fact that Robinson is making more money than he’s worth. But the truth is the Falcons weren’t paying Robinson based on his ability, they were paying him based on stability. While Robinson certainly isn’t a Top 10 No. 1 corner like he’s being paid like, he is one of the better No. 2 corners around the league. And with Brent Grimes on the other side, who definitely has performed like a Top 10 No. 1 corner at various points during the past year or so, it gives the Falcons a very good pair of starting corners.

Now if only the Falcons can stabilize their nickel cornerback situation, things will be looking very good for them in the secondary. Kelvin Hayden definitely gave them reason for optimism last week.

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Falcons Highlight of the Week

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

Unlike last week, the Falcons had many good plays against the Eagles that would merit being the highlight of the week. But it has to go to Tony Gonzalez for his one-handed grab in the back of the endzone to give the Falcons the lead headed into halftime.

Gonzalez’s acrobatic TD catch

Honorable Mentions:

Turner’s 61-yard run

Ray Edwards’ fumble recovery

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Jerry ascending in absence of Babineaux

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

I’m the first person to criticize how disappointing Peria Jerry’s Falcons career has been so far, but he has stepped up so far this season and is making an impact on the Falcons interior. Especially with Jonathan Babineaux out.

Now Jerry’s performance still doesn’t hold a candle to Babineaux, at least the Babineaux that Falcons fans have regularly seen over the past three seasons. But Jerry has shown improvement in this critical third year of his career. That is about the amount of time it takes for most defensive tackles to develop.

While Jerry still has a ways to go before he can live up to his draft status, he at least is showing himself to be a competent starter through the first two weeks of this season. The Falcons will need that arrow to continue to point up as Babineaux will still be out for at least a few more weeks with his knee injury.

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 2 Review

September 20th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons did not have their most stellar performance against the Eagles, but they made plays at critical points in the game to pull out the victory.

Offensively, Matt Ryan did not really get going until the fourth quarter, where he earned $7 of his $9.50 passing the ball. Michael Turner had a good start with $7 in the first half, but went quiet until his big runs late in the game. Tony Gonzalez was money in this game with his two touchdown grabs and ability to move the chains. Roddy White and Julio Jones were fairly quiet for most of the game, although they had some key catches at certain points in the game. But at least from the Eagles perspective, they should feel happy about their two highly paid corners containing both White and Jones pretty much the entire night.

Up front, the blocking was hit and miss just like last week. Sam Baker really struggled going against Trent Cole, which was the same issue he had a year ago. Reynolds gave up an early sack but had a fairly solid game the rest of the way. Clabo also struggled on the outside getting beat by Jason Babin several times. Blalock was the best up front, and Hawley had his really good moments as well as his share of mental errors and mistakes. If and when McClure returns, the Falcons can iron out many of the inconsistencies.

The Falcons inability to move the ball on the ground in the third quarter was a big reason why the Eagles were able to get back into the game and take a 10-point lead then.

Ryan saw a lot of pressure throughout the game from the edges, but some of it was on him getting happy feet in the pocket after he took a couple of early hits.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Michael Turner$0$9$2$0$0$0$11.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$9$1.5$0$0$10.50
Matt Ryan$9.5$1$0$0$0-$1$9.50
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$3$0$0$0$0$3.00
Roddy White$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Julio Jones$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Reggie Kelly$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$1.5$0$0-$1.50
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$0$0-$2-$2.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$2.5$0$0-$2.50

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Robinson hit with $40K fine

September 19th, 2011 Comments off
AP/Yahoo! Sports

Robinson strikes Maclin

The NFL fined Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson $40,000 for his illegal hit on Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on Sunday night, according to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora. Robinson was flagged for a 15-yard penalty in the third quarter when he met Maclin over the middle, leading with his helmet and striking Maclin with his shoulder.

Robinson had a similar hit against Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson a year ago. That hit however knocked both players out of the game with concussions. Maclin on Sunday night was able to return to the game. Initially Robinson received a $50,000 on the league’s then infamous crackdown on such hits during the season, although that fine was eventually reduced to only $25,000.

Because Robinson is labeled a repeat offender, there was potential he could face a suspension.

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