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 Post subject: I'm going to say it...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:10 pm 
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I am going to say it, because I have been thinking it for a while. OUR RUNNING GAME IS OVERRATED.

It is slightly better than average, but that's it. It can easily be stopped by an above average defense. Sure we will run all over below average defenses, but we can't do anything against anyone good.

Also, the rushing yards are scewed because Vick picks up 50 yards per game. Our offensive line simply can't do anything against good teams.

We won't be able to run it against Chicago, Tampa, or New Orleans. We are going to have to pass our way to victory in those games.

We need to improve our O-line in the offseason. We also need to improve our run defense in the off-season.

Brady Smith needs to get his butt back on the field. We need him badly, and we need our safeties to play much better.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:33 pm 
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jayfalcon wrote:
I am going to say it, because I have been thinking it for a while. OUR RUNNING GAME IS OVERRATED.


The o-line is overated some. Dunn has over achieved and duckett is being under used by the coaching staff IMO. On paper we come off as the number one rushing team in the league, but the bulk of that is Vick's scrammbling yards. Take his stats out of the equation and we are average, I agree.

jayfalcon wrote:
We won't be able to run it against Chicago, Tampa, or New Orleans. We are going to have to pass our way to victory in those games.


Chicago will be tough for sure, but Tampa can be run on and New Orleans? C'mon now....

jayfalcon wrote:
We need to improve our O-line in the offseason.


I agree and have said that for a few years now....



jayfalcon wrote:
We also need to improve our run defense in the off-season.


We lost Hartwell early and have had other various injuries up front all year. I will cut the Falcons some slack here until next season when we get healthy....


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:10 am 
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Overrated...maybe in the sense that it is not consistently dominating. But not overrated in the sense that it is not effective. Even the teams with the best RBs and best OLs don't slash teams for 150 yards each and every week. There are games where they dominate and rack up 230 yards on the ground, and there are games that they struggle to get to 80 or 90.

I feel we can run on any team. Does that mean we can rack up 150 yards on the ground on all 32 NFL teams? No. But I think we can effectively move the football through our running game and put this offense in the redzone on numerous occasions to put points ont he board. We've seen quite a bit of games where the running game wasn't on point in the 1st half. But just as we did this past week, we came out in the 2nd half and were able to move the ball. But sometimes we haven't been able to finish drives. We'll have 1st down on their 18, but we'll wind up settling for a field goal.

I think you guys may be being a bit too negative after this loss. We got beat by a very good football team. Let's not forget that a lot of experts (dare I say the majority?) picked the Panthers to be the NFC's rep in the Super Bowl. In fact, I myself back in July & August picked the Panthers to win the Super Bowl over the Colts, and despite the success of Indy over in the AFC, I haven't seen much that would dissuade me from my initial prediction.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 4:06 am 
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(This is based on the numbers before the Carolina game)

Take out Vick's rushing numbers and we have the 4th best rushing attack in the NFL. I wouldn't call our rushing game overrated. I'd go with what Pudge said.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:55 am 
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I'll go with what I've said for quite a while: We need a new center... :D


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:59 pm 
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Capologist wrote:
I'll go with what I've said for quite a while: We need a new center... :D


No more McClure! No more McClure! No more McClure!

What the hell I'll get on the bandwagon with Cappy :). Speaking of which you need to update the McClure-O-Meter. I honestly never thought i'd see the day that Kynan "Watch Out!" Forney became our best offensive lineman. What the hell does that tell us about our offensive line????

If we were desperate we could move Lehr over center and let Claxton take snaps at LG.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:51 pm 
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Angry Johnny-
I meant to say we won't be able to run on Chicago, Tampa, or Carolina. I didn't mean to say New Orleans, I meant Carolina.

To the rest-
I'm not saying our running attack is garbage. It is a little above average. We have a tendency to run very well over bad teams, but we don't run effectively.....I don't mean well.......I mean just effectively to set up the pass against good teams. What's the point of this great running game when it doesn't do a damn thing when we need it to.

I am looking forward, though, to seeing our passing game get a lot better when Vick comes back next season with Roddy White and Jenkins. I still wouldnt' mind going after a veteran in the offseason, bu honestly we have bigger needs.

We need to make a couple changes on the O-line. We to change up the safeties. I think our linebackers will be a lot better next year when healthy.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:11 pm 
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I agree. The reason Dunn's numbers have looked good this year is because he pops off a big run almost every game. That is obviously a good thing & a factor, but there are too many teams that will stuff Dunn 3 out of 4 runs for us to keep running him as a feature back. I have the utmost respect for Dunn & what he has done for this franchise, but we have way too many 3 & outs to believe our running game is truly dominant.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:19 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
Capologist wrote:
I'll go with what I've said for quite a while: We need a new center... :D


No more McClure! No more McClure! No more McClure!

What the hell I'll get on the bandwagon with Cappy :). Speaking of which you need to update the McClure-O-Meter. I honestly never thought i'd see the day that Kynan "Watch Out!" Forney became our best offensive lineman. What the hell does that tell us about our offensive line????

If we were desperate we could move Lehr over center and let Claxton take snaps at LG.


The game is in the process of being edited and reviewed... :x


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:44 am 
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The Incomparable wrote:
The reason Dunn's numbers have looked good this year is because he pops off a big run almost every game. That is obviously a good thing & a factor, but there are too many teams that will stuff Dunn 3 out of 4 runs for us to keep running him as a feature back.


Here's some stats I think you want to consider. Dunn's rankings in the league in various rushing categories (DUckett's and Vick's if they qualify):

6th in % stuffs per carry (Duckett = 1st)
3rd in % 1st downs on 3rd & Short (less than 3)
7th in rushing yards on 1st & 10
8th in 1st downs per carry (Vick = 1st)
4th in big play rushes (over 10 yards)
8th in % 1st downs on all 3rd downs (Vick = 9th)
8th in yards/carry on first 10 carries (Vick = 2nd, Duckett = 14th)
1st in yards/carry on carries 11-20

Stuffs per carry = % of times the players is stopped for a loss when he carries the ball.

I bolded the ones I thought were really important to note. These 8 categories are not the only ones that matter for a RB, but I think few could argue that they are 8 of probably the most important areas for a truly solid RB to excel in.

I think the first stat clearly shows that when Dunn or Duckett is "stuffed" they tend to always get positive yardage, whether it may only be 1 or 2 yards, it's still better than -1 or -2.

I think these stats clearly show that saying our running game is overrated is really off base. To deflect praise for that from Dunn and/or the O-line is really an injustice.

Would Duckett be the most "successful" RB in the league (in terms of gaining positive yardage) behind any other line? No. LT doesn't even rank in the Top 20, neither does Tiki Barber or Shaun Alexander, 3 players that are considered top backs running behind awesome OLs. Would we have 2 players in the Top 10 of 3 major "success" categories?:

Stuffs per carry (success of gaining positive yardage each time you touch the ball)
1st downs per carry (success of moving the chains each time you touch the ball)
1st downs on 3rd downs (success of moving the chains each time you touch the ball on 3rd down)

I mean you guys are callling our running game overrated when we put up 120 yards on the ground against the #2 rushing defense in the league. Only the Bears (122) and Jets (137) had more.

I think people are throwing the team under the bus after a loss. Besides maybe New England, the Bucs and Panthers are the toughest teams on teh schedule. Sure, the Falcons have been disappointing in both games, but that doesn't mean that is their usual playing level. They are division games, the Bucs and Panthers happened to come out stronger, faster, and better THIS time around. It's not going to be the same next time.

Vs. Carolina, on there were 6 possessions where we had the ball for 4 plays or less (not counting the one at the end of the 1st half). Dunn's #s on those possessions were 4 carries for 11 yards (2.8 avg). His numbers the rest of the game? 12 carries for 69 yards (5.8 avg). What were Vick's numbers on those 6 possessions:

1 for 10 (10%) for 8 yards, 1 INT, and sacked 3 times.

Vick's numbers the rest of the game:

16 for 25 (64%) for 163 yards, 1 INT, and sacked 2 times.

We were effective for some of the game, we just couldn't finish drives.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:50 pm 
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Get em' Pudge!

The fact that anyone would call the #1 rushing game (4th if you factor out Vick's numbers) in the NFL overrated simply defies logic. Especially given the facts and figures that Pudge just put out there.

Are we more explosive then plodding as a team? Sure we are. But just because we have a lot of 20+ yard runs doesn't mean we are overrated. Hell if anything it means we are really THAT good. It means not only do we block well enough to spring our backs but we also block down field.

Some of the hardest yards to gain are 3rd or 4th and short. The defense knows your going to run and brings everyone to the line. We aren't always going to convert those even if we are the best running team in the league.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:16 pm 
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Good stats Pudge. My point was that our running game has a tendency to stall for periods of time. Obviously, leading the league in getting stuffed on run plays is a big part of that, but that number could be skewed because we run more than most teams. That is another reason our numbers look so great running is the amount of attempts. It's like saying the Eagles had a deadly passing game before McNabb went down, when in fact they threw the ball some 50-60 time per game. The big difference is the Eagles O-line is so much better than the Falcons', and they can pretty much do whatever they want when everyone is healthy.

I just really think we need to get some beef up front, and think about starting the game with Duckett to wear the other team's D down, in order to take this O to the next level.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:17 pm 
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I'm going to break down my thoughts on the OL:

1. I don't think run blocking is a problem. I think our #1 ranks the past 2 years proves that. I think Gibbs has brought the type of success here that mirrors Denvers in that if we did happen to let both Dunn & Duckett go next year, we could bring in almost any player and they would have success. Would they be as good as Dunn/Duckett? Proabbly not. But I think we'd still be in the Top 10 in the league.

2. I think the problem with the OL has consistently been protecting the QB. And I think the root of that problems is our guys aren't athletic enough. We have athletic guys, but not nearly athletic enoguh IMO to consistently take on the Freeneys, Peppers, WIll Smiths, John Abrahams of the league. I also want to point out I don't think it's merely a coincidence that some of the D-lines we struggle with are in our division.

3. But at the same time, I've seen strides and improvement from this unit in comparison to last year. And I think assuming we can retain the same 5 starters into 2006, you'll see more improvement. I remember back during the Reeves days when people were constantly complaining about his continual neglect of the OL, one Falcon fan came to his defense by saying things along the lines that improvement would come with added experience and continuity. I don't think it was true then, because coaching wasn't as good as it is now under Gibbs, and besides Whitfield and McClure we really had no continuity up front with starters under Reeves. But I think it is true now. If we can enter training camp with the same 5 starters ready to go, that's a good thing.

4. Now that doesn't mean that I think this unit as is, is ever going to be an elite pass blocking one. They won't be the Colts or Patriots lines in pass blocking. Part of those units success is of course that Brady & Manning get rid of the ball before they take a hit, and the other part of that is that of their OL's blocking. Now with Vick under center and our current line, I think us allowing 12 sacks for an entire year (that is what the current projections for the Colts are) is as close to impossible as you can probably get. Right now, we rank 26th in sacks allowed per pass attempt (which is the true measure of sacks allowed). But this year's numbers are a 30% improvement on last year's. If this unit improved another 18-20%, we'd be at the league average, which is average, but I think would be considered "good" for this unit based on their overall talent level and our QB's playing style.

5. I'm not saying we should settle for mediocre, but then again I'm not saying we need to build a unit that is in the Top 10 to have a high level of success. The Patriots and Eagles ranked 6th and 12th respectively last year in sacks allowed (we were 31st BTW). What is significant is that the Eagles 12th ranking only indicates that they were slightly above average. I think our current unit is in reach (via that 15-20% increase) of becoming average by itself next year. So we don't have to do a whole bunch to get our unit to that above average/Super Bowl caliber unit.

6. Therefore, I don't think it's necessary or even prudent for this team to go out into this upcoming off-season and fork up $25-40 million for a guy like Huthcinson or Bentley. IMO, it would be a smarter move, save a lot of cash and sign someone like Trey Teague. Is Teague as good as those guys? No. Is Teague going to upgrade the line as much as they would? Maybe, but probably not. But is Teague a much better value? Definitely yes. Why pay tons of money to a guy that doesn't fit your scheme (which is what Bentley is and to a degree Hutchinson is), when you can get a guy that is a perfect fit for half the price or less? At best, Teague can come in and start and his extensive experience at being a leader is going to diffuse through the rest of the unit and not only mean he upgraded his own position, but the other players step their games up as well. At the very least, his ability to play all 5 line spots makes him the best utility backup in the league. And since you're not spending $30 million on him, you're not really wasting money. Is that the only move I'd make? No. If Rich McKay called me up tomorrow and asked me my advice on building the O-line, I'd mention Trey Teague, but I'd also talk about Dan Neil, who if he's 100% recovered from his neck injury would be a great signing. I'd definitely mention Vince Manuwai and probably throw Tom Ashworth's name as well at him. And that's just in free agency, then in the draft I'd tell him to try to walk away from the first 4 rounds of the draft with at least 1 OL pick that you think can start as soon as 2007. That may be a G, T, or C, but someone who you think can come in and contribute early and also has the potential to excel in our scheme, with a bit more athleticism than our current guys.

So, don't sell these guys short. They aren't great, but they are capable. I think we have a unit good enough to get this team to the playoffs. Getting them beyond that is the question mark.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:19 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I think we have a unit good enough to get this team to the playoffs. Getting them beyond that is the question mark.


That is exactly what we're talking about. Everytime we've played a winning team this year we have lost. The 2 main reasons are lack of run defense and the O-line. The Bucs, Panthers, Dolphins, and others have made our O-line look terrible. The worst thing is that we are more than willing to shell out money for unproven WR's or LB's, but the surest FA signing is an O-lineman & we won't do it. I understand Gibbs has his way of doing things, but this is not 1994 and our linemen are going to want obscene amounts of money compared to their actual worth because they're "the #1 run blocking line in the NFL".

Also, I would like for us to get better pass blocking. I would sacrifice some run blocking to increase our pass blocking potential, because our run does get stuffed in big games over & over. And when our run is getting stuffed, the pass-blocking seems to not be there either. We have a similar problem with our D-line in that it is not one or the other, it is one or neither. Either we rush the passer or we do nothing.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:21 pm 
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Current playoff teams and their record against teams better than .500.

Indy vs. Winning Teams: 4-0 (JAX, NE, PIT, CIN)
Seattle vs. Winning Teams: 3-1 (ATL, JAX, DAL, NY)
Chicago vs. Winning Teams: 3-1 (CIN, CAR, TB, MIN)
Cincinnati vs. Winning Teams: 3-3 (PIT, JAX, IND, CHI, MIN)
Denver vs. Winning Teams: 5-2 (KC, SD, JAX, NE, NY, DAL)
Carolina vs. Winning Teams: 4-1 (TB, ATL, MIN, NE, CHI)
Jacksonville vs. Winning Teams: 3-2 (DEN, IND, SEA, PIT, CIN)
San Diego vs. Winning Teams: 3-3 (DAL, DEN, NE, PIT, KC)
Kansas City vs. Winning Teams: 2-2 (DEN, SD, NE)
NY Giants vs. Winning Teams: 2-4 (SD, DAL, DEN, MIN, SEA)
Minnesota vs. Winning Teams: 1-5 (TB, CAR, CIN, ATL, CHI, NY)
New England vs. Winning Teams: 2-5 (CAR, PIT, IND, SD, DEN, KC)
Dallas vs. Winning Teams: 2-3 (NY, SD, SEA, DEN)
Atlanta vs. Winning Teams: 1-4 (TB, CAR, NE, SEA)
Pittsburgh vs. Winning Teams: 2-4 (CIN, IND, JAX, SD, NE)

Soooo...
Worst Performing Teams
#1 Minnesota: .166 (1-5)
#2 Atlanta: .200 (1-4)
#3 NY Giants & Pittsburgh: .333 (2-4)
#4 Dallas: .400 (2-3)
#5 San Diego, Cincy: .500 (3-3)

Best Performing Teams
#1 Indy: 1.00 (4-0)
#2 Carolina: .800 (4-1)
#3 Seattle & Chicago: .750 (3-1)
#4 Denver: .714 (5-2)
#5 Jacksonville: .600 (3-2)

Toughest Schedule Thus Far
#1 New England & Denver (7 Games)
#2 San Diego, NY Giants, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Cincy (6 Games)
#3 Carolina, Jacksonville, Dallas Atlanta (5 Games)
#4 Indy, Seattle, Kansas City, Chicago (4 Games)

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