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 Post subject: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:38 am 
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One highlight I noticed from an excellent defensive performance was Asante Samuel. I'm aware that he let a few underneath catches for decent gains but this guy was all over the field. For all the people that were calling him soft (hey Pudge how ya doing), Samuel was flying making tackles yesterday. Then the hit on Eric Decker summed it all up. It wasn't a complete shut down game by Asante but he really impressed me a lot. Other than the touchdown allowed, Dunta also played a pretty good game. You don't hear that very often but Dunta was pretty solid out there yesterday.

Overall I'm very happy with the win especially considering that the offense didn't look its best. One of the major bright spots was Sam Baker really handling himself against Dumervil. After all the heat Baker has got over the years, he really played the game of his life. Let's not forget it was only one year ago when he got absolutely manhandled by Trent Cole in Week 2 on primetime. This year it was a different story and this could be the beginning of having a true left tackle. I know Clabo allowed another sack and had his moments where he was getting bullied, but he played a solid game against Von "the next big thing" Miller.

Julio may have had his drops but I'm not concerned about him. Last night he was the perfect decoy which freed up Roddy White. Defenses will have to pick their poison and last night, they picked to double Julio which didn't end up well. Teams will eventually have to scheme to stop Roddy more because he was getting open just about all night. Gonzalez was also freed up and once again had another solid game.

Last but not least, the defense might have some growing stars. Stephen Nicholas continues to fly around the field and forced a huge fumble on Moreno. Nicholas was always a great run stopper but he's really starting to do better in coverage. William Moore was easily player of the game defensively for the Falcons other than Mike Nolan of course. If Moore can stay healthy, he could seriously cause a lot of havoc. I think Nolan is letting him attack more than BVG did and it's paying off so far. I'm still worried about the nickel back situation because Franks still looked below average but hopefully Owens come back. Also who knows maybe McClain can step in!? That was just crazy, I was telling Giant fans at the bar that's how a 5th string cornerback plays :up: Some people may be alarmed by the run defense but Denver ran a perfect scheme and really caught the Falcons off guard a lot. i'm sure not many teams will be doing that anymore with the delays.

Other than that, great team win and I thank everyone on the team...except Michael Turner and Ray Edwards. I'm hoping Edwards gets suspended a game for his actions. How he wasn't ejected will never know.

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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
For all the people that were calling him soft (hey Pudge how ya doing), Samuel was flying making tackles yesterday.

Yep, Samuel played tougher than normal. But he is still somewhat soft, as he can be tentative at the point of attack at times. There was a catch made by Decker at one point in the game, and Samuel was in position to try and bring him down, but he sorta backpedaled to avoid a collision. If he can line up a guy and lower the shoulder to deliver a hit, he's been much more willing to do that this year. But he's still a piss-poor tackler (never wraps, never sees what he's hitting) that tends to be "perfunctory" when it comes to run support. But it does seem like he's trying much harder so far for the Falcons than he was last year with the Eagles.

Emmitt wrote:
Overall I'm very happy with the win especially considering that the offense didn't look its best. One of the major bright spots was Sam Baker really handling himself against Dumervil. After all the heat Baker has got over the years, he really played the game of his life. Let's not forget it was only one year ago when he got absolutely manhandled by Trent Cole in Week 2 on primetime. This year it was a different story and this could be the beginning of having a true left tackle. I know Clabo allowed another sack and had his moments where he was getting bullied, but he played a solid game against Von "the next big thing" Miller.

I'd have to re-watch the game, but my initial observations was that they were using Garrett Reynolds a ton to chip Von Miller because he was too much for Clabo to handle. Baker did play well. I'm not ready to proclaim him a fixture at LT. I still need to see significant improvement as a run blocker and consistency over the course of the season as far as pass protection goes. But I do think he's inspired at least enough confidence that I'm not going to be too worried about him until he faces Ware and Cole later this season. Thankfully for Baker, Orakpo is now off the slate.

Emmitt wrote:
Julio may have had his drops but I'm not concerned about him.

I'll have to wait until the All-22 comes out, but I want to key on how the Broncos were so effective at containing Julio. This could be worrisome in the future if other teams are able to mimic this. I know the perception is that it's fine because it allows guys like Roddy and Gonzo to step up and make plays, but there may come a day where there is a team out there that doesn't mind leaving one of their corners on an island against Roddy and/or Gonzo and that effectively contain him.

Due to the lack of a running game, the Falcons cannot afford for any one of their Big 3 to be effectively neutralized.

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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Having one of the big 3 neutralized is fine, provided people aren't dropping passes. Keep in mind that Julio neutralized himself as much as Denver neutralized him. 2 or 3 drops last night for Julio, including a perfectly thrown long TD.

Also, having Polite and Turner out there for a bunch of plays kind of limits our options. Not to mention lining up Reynolds as a TE. <sigh>

I will say that Koetter is the improvement I've been looking for. But Smitty is the HC, and I think that it's obvious that he continues to hold this offense back. Hopefully someone has a talk with him about the 4th quarter last night.


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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:39 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
Having one of the big 3 neutralized is fine, provided people aren't dropping passes. Keep in mind that Julio neutralized himself as much as Denver neutralized him. 2 or 3 drops last night for Julio, including a perfectly thrown long TD.

Disagree. The Falcons cannot afford for Jones to be neutralized, because he is the playmaker of the group. If one of the Big 3 you can afford to be neutralized, it's Gonzo because he's not a big play threat.

Because this team is going to be a very one-dimensional offense this year, they are going to have to find ways to get the ball into their playmakers hands this year, and that is especially true for Julio Jones. IMHO, it's comparable to the Giants last year, where the Giants had Cruz, Nicks, and Manningham. Cruz and Nicks were the Top 2 of their 3 weapons, and they needed to be able to consistently get them the ball because they were their most dynamic.

If opponents can neutralize Julio, then the dynamism of their offense reduces by like 50%, because essentially Julio is 50% of their dynamic plays.

According to Advanced NFL Stats, thru 2 games, Jones and Gonzo both have 16 targets. 6 (or 37.5%) of those targets for Jones were downfield (15+ yard throws). 0, I repeat zero have been downfield for Gonzo.

Without Jones ability to generate big plays, the Falcons offense is essentially the same boring offense that Mularkey ran for years that couldn't make big plays. This is evidenced by the fact that the offense basically only generated 14 points against the Broncos. 13 points off turnovers, but in terms of being able to generate points themselves, the offense only put up 14 points. That's not going to cut it most weeks. And in games where the Falcons don't go +4 on the TO ratio, that is concerning...

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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:59 pm 
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The Falcons simply played conservative ball last night. And again, Jones had his opportunities, but he dropped the ball. I'm not particularly happy that we went conservative last night, but everyone probably knows that already.


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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Sorry Robert, but I disagree. What opportunities? Sure, the dropped TD pass. But what other opportunities?

And he dropped another on the sideline, but was like a short throw. Jones had 8 targets last night. The dropped TD, and the deep ball where Tony Carter was flagged for PI (which technically doesn't count on the stat sheets because of the penalty), were the only "legit: opportunities. The other 6 were all short throws that were basically thrown 0-5 yards downfield. That's not an opportunity, that's an overwhelming win for the defense, basically suggesting that Julio Jones CANNOT get open when he's more than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Julio Jones can't be reduced to 2 opportunities per game. In a bad week, he needs 5 or 6 legit opportunities. In an average week, that number needs to be pushing double digits.

Last night's performance was exactly the performance we saw too often with Jones last year where he was a non-entity. When this season is over, we need to be looking back and saying this is by far the worst game of Jones this year. If you cannot get Jones more chances than that, then how is it even possible that this offense is better than it was a year ago?

The running game is worse, Douglas isn't doing anything more than he did a year ago, and basically your offense turns into Ryan to Roddy or Gonzo, which is a downgrade of any offense you've ran the past 3 years because now you don't have Turner to feed either. And so then what was the point of giving up all of those picks to get Jones, when you're now in a worse situation. The whole point of the Jones trade was so that what happened against Denver NEVER HAPPENS again.

I'm not saying the sky is falling, but just that the Falcons can't be COMPLACENT and be unconcerned with last night's development. Yours and my stance on the whole Jones trade being potentially worth it, this is the complete opposite of that.

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 Post subject: Re: 7th Round Pick? Baker Has A Future?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:26 am 
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Oh, I'm aware. But again, I don't necessarily attribute that to Jones not being able to get open. I'm thinking it's more along the lines of us not taking shots his way. Ryan seemed to be keyed in on Gonzo and White last night. I'm thinking that was by design... Perhaps to give teams something to think about other than Jones. I mean, on the dropped TD pass, Jones had beaten his guy pretty well. I have a hard time believing that he couldn't do that for the rest of the game.

But again, we were pretty conservative all night long. Way too much Turner, for instance.


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