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 Post subject: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:29 pm 
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I know I said I was done after the loss to Green Bay, but I came back. Admittedly I was much less fanatical (although I did get NFL Rewind last year:)).

Anyway, I am kind of nervous going into these last four games. I can see Mike Smith playing his starters full time for the next three weeks then resting them in the final game. I think that is HUGE mistake. If they beat Carolina this weekend, then I would rather see them treat the games against NY and/or Det like the third preseason game. Then go all in against Tampa.

Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:53 pm 
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Disagree. The Falcons need to push down the stretch. Their postseason success will be highly dependent on their offense clicking consistently, which requires repetition.

Under Dungy with the Colts, they rested their starters 5 years for the final game, and in 3 of those years they were 1 and done. They sported a 3-5 playoff record in those years.

In the 4 years where Manning started and played the season finale, they were 6-3 in the playoffs and were 1 & done in 2 of those 4 years.

The Colts had a bye in 3 of their playoff years under Dungy. In all 3 years, they rested their starters for the final games, including 2005 and 2009 where they rested them for the final two games. In 2005, they were 1 & done, losing to the Steelers. In 2007, they got the bye, rested their starters in Week 16, and then lost to the Chargers in their opening playoff game. In 2009, they rested for Weeks 15 & 16, got the bye, beat the Ravens and Jets, and then lost in the Super Bowl to the Saints.

If you're getting a bye, you don't rest your starters. The Packers did it last year, and they were 1 & done.

Especially when the strength of your team is your offense. They need reps. If guys get hurt, then they get hurt.

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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:01 pm 
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I would treat the last game like the last preseason game. But let the starters play a half, then it's time to give guys like TRob and Davis some real NFL game time experience.

:up:

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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:16 pm 
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Whatever they did the 13-3 year, don't expect it again.


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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:43 pm 
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I think you have to determine things game by game, to explain further...

If you're up 14 points with 11 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, you probably want to rotate some of your starters out of the game (as opposed to pulling them completely). But considering I think that might have been the case for maybe 3 or 4 games this year, it doesn't seem likely that will be the case but for maybe 1 of these final 4 games.

Generally I say, you do nothing different than you would do for any game. You treat every game the same. Telling your players that it's OK to take their foot off the gas, IMO in general is an inferior strategy. IMO, this one (of several) explanations of why the Patriots under Brady have had more postseason success than the Colts did under Manning. It doesn't always work out as the Patriots have had their fair share of early/unexpected playoff exits, but I think over time it is much more conducive to winning in January.

This isn't like basketball. This isn't the San Antonio Spurs, or the Celtics of the Big 3 Era, or the Lakers of the late 90s, where you can take your foot off the gas, and then turn it on when you need to. Those were teams with championship pedigree before they adopted these strategies. The Falcons essentially have "anti-championship" pedigree as a team that notoriously disappoints in the playoffs. You wouldn't want the Carmelo-led Knicks or LeBron-led Heat (prior to this past year) to basically coast, and hope that when things counted, they would rise to the occasion.

That has been the fatal flaw of this team in the previous 4 years, a certain air of entitlement.

So as a coaching staff, I would do everything I could to "exorcise" that sort of mentality from the locker room. And basically treating regular season games like preseason games is probably the worst thing to do if that is your goal.

Again, if the Falcons are up 30-13 late in the early 4th, then you probably want to pull/rest your key players more. Run the ball a bit more as to not expose Ryan to hits, get Gonzo, Roddy, & Julio less reps by playing more snaps with Palmer, Davis, and HD. Put Babs, Abe, Samuel, and Spoon on the bench with Robertson, Sidbury/Matthews, McClain/Owens, and Dent more reps in that situation.

But if it's 14-13 with 11 minutes to go in the game, then you bet if I'm Mike Smith & the Falcons, that Ryan & Co. are going to play the rest of the game. If someone gets nicked up, then maybe you cut their reps. But if guys can play, they should play. If a guy is 70% then you rest him. If he's 80% then he should play, but maybe with reduced reps. If he's 90% or more, then he should play his full/regular workload.

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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:33 pm 
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I agree with you for the most part. i think attitude is the hardest thing to flip back on. It is not the physical play but the intensity and drive that slacks when you take time off. (that is also why players tend to need a couple games to come back from injury).

If I was Smith, I would rest my starters some (if we have a big lead like you said) without telling them that i am resting them.

For example: If Abe generally plays 37 plays per game, then he should play 30 Plays per game. He will take less pounding but be involved in the game and be focused on the game. This will keep his intensity up and drive up without beating on his body as much.

But if I feel like any starter is loafing, then I light them up!!! Do not accept lack of intensity.


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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:36 pm 
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Now on an additional note: I believe we should use these weeks to get in sync.

I would purposely put in plays that we believe are our bread and butter against situations that may not be ideal to see that we can get them right in tough situations.

For example, if we see the defense is dropping 5, try some deep routes or plays that precision is necessary to get separation. It also will keep focus.


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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
I think you have to determine things game by game, to explain further..


No you don't. We haven't won a playoff game since Smith as gotten here, and every time the Falcons are mentioned on the national scene, you'll hear some derivative of "They're 0-3 in the playoffs".

We need to play the starters all the way through and let them work their crap out so their hitting on all cylinders come playoff time, and get their rest the first week of the playoffs.

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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:39 pm 
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I sincerely hope that we loosen the ropes and see what this team can do. We have to win one, perhaps two games to lock up home field for the playoffs. Take the gloves off of Koetter and Ryan and let's see what this offense can do when we put the pedal to the metal.

I don't expect to see it, but I sure would like to see the effort made. If we can get our offense clicking for the playoffs, it will be our year.


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 Post subject: Re: How should the Falcon's approach the final four games?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:17 am 
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Use this time to work out kinks in the offense. Try things you haven't, work situations, and try to get on a roll going into the postseason. That's the only way we're going to win there. This should give them the freedom to be MORE aggressive, not less.


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