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 Post subject: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:50 pm 
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When they hired Nolan, I for one was on board with the move. IMO, the defense was the main reason this team couldn't take it to the next level.

Flashback:

In 2011, the last season before Nolan took over, our main problem was getting off the field on third downs. Opponents converted 44% of the time against us which was good for 29th in the league. We didn't give up a ton of yards, 333 a game good for 12th in the league, but were in the bottom half (18th) of scoring at 21.9 a game. We had 33 sacks, good for 19th.

In 2012, Nolan's first year, Our scoring defense ranked top 5 giving up 18.7 per contest. But as was discussed here, it was timely turnovers in the red zone that prevented scoring. A dangerous way to live and the other stats prove it. Our yards allowed ballooned up to 365 per game which ranked 24th. Sacks were down as well to 29 to rank 28th league wide. We did cut the 3rd down conversion rate down to 40% (cough, cough) good for 26th.

Still I told myself, "Angry, the players need to learn his system, give him another shot".

Fast forward to 2013.

As mentioned before, relying on the timely turnover is a dangerous way to play defense. We've remained stagnant on the sacks.....currently ranked 27th with 7. We are giving up 393 yards a game (60 more than 2011) ranking 25th. The team is still top 10 in scoring at 26 a game, but that's more than a touchdown more per contest than last season. And once again, getting off the field on 3rd down is the big one IMO, we currently rank 31st allowing the chains to be moved a whopping 49% of the time. Only the Giants are worse at 50%.

All this being said, I still like Nolan, but honestly was looking for more improvement than what I'm seeing. You can mask lack of talent with a good scheme sometimes, but.... Am I judging him to early, does Nolan get passes for rookie CB's and injuries? Did anyone else expect......more? Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:57 pm 
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I don't think you can put too much on Nolan at this point when you consider the following:

- Falcons are starting 2 Rookie DB's + McClain with Samuel out.

- Falcons have lost their best LB in Weatherspoon and their best hybrid defensive player DE/LB Biermann.

- Falcons haven't gotten the bump in production from going with the younger Osi vs. the older Abraham.

The defensive line never really got improved over the post season and with our linebackers going down like flies there isn't much help at the second level and we have two rookies getting a lot of field time.

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 Post subject: Re: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:29 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
I don't think you can put too much on Nolan at this point when you consider the following:

- Falcons are starting 2 Rookie DB's + McClain with Samuel out.

- Falcons have lost their best LB in Weatherspoon and their best hybrid defensive player DE/LB Biermann.

- Falcons haven't gotten the bump in production from going with the younger Osi vs. the older Abraham.

The defensive line never really got improved over the post season and with our linebackers going down like flies there isn't much help at the second level and we have two rookies getting a lot of field time.

+1

It's really hard to be critical of Nolan when so many players are either rookies, or backups. Injuries have decimated our defense. We all thought, at the beginning of the year, that we would have some growing pains in the secondary. Now we're starting two rookie FREE AGENTS at linebacker. That's four rookie defensive starters.

But here's the silver lining... For once, we actually have some young talent on the field. There will be growing pains. I've always felt that for players to truly develop, they need game reps. We're starting four rookies. Those four rookies have not looked horribly bad thus far, and they're gaining on the job experience. At the very least, we will have better, experienced depth going forward. On the other hand, if these guys turn out to be good, we'll have a pretty darn good defensive base at the end of the year/next year.


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 Post subject: Re: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Last year was mainly smoke and mirrors.

The Falcons made minimal upgrades on defense. Right now, we can only definitively say that the only upgrade made at the 11 starting spots has been DT because Corey Peters is playing much better than he did last year.

The others remain to be seen, how much and whether or not they are upgrades.

In 2002 in their first year under Wade Phillips, the Falcons defense was a very good bend but don't break defense. They didn't have good 3-4 personnel, but they made it work. Then they made minimal effort to upgrade their defensive personnel. IIRC they basically signed Keith Newman to replace Sam Rogers. And injuries hit in 2003, and a number of veterans (like Ray Buchanan) fell off a cliff, and the Falcons were stuck with a bad defense that year.

Some similarities to now...

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 Post subject: Re: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:04 am 
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Nolan is good if you'll give him anything to work with. I just don't think
he's head coaching material.

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 Post subject: Re: Was I wrong about Mike Nolan?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:20 am 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
I don't think you can put too much on Nolan at this point when you consider the following:

- Falcons are starting 2 Rookie DB's + McClain with Samuel out.

- Falcons have lost their best LB in Weatherspoon and their best hybrid defensive player DE/LB Biermann.

- Falcons haven't gotten the bump in production from going with the younger Osi vs. the older Abraham.

The defensive line never really got improved over the post season and with our linebackers going down like flies there isn't much help at the second level and we have two rookies getting a lot of field time.


Nailed it

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