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 Post subject: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:27 am 
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Atlanta Falcons: The Cage
Are Drastic Changes Needed on Atlanta Falcons Defense?

9:11 pm February 10, 2013, by Dawson Devitt (D3)
The Defensive Process has Hit a Wall

Only Part of the Issue on D (AJC)

To be nice, the Atlanta Falcons defense has not lived up to expectations in a long time. To be blunt, the Falcons defense has been downright atrocious pretty much for the entirety of the Smith and Dimitroff regime. Faults lie vast and wide in a defense that doesn’t look much different from the one in 2008. Some has been coaching. Some has been drafting. Other parts has been scheme, while still other parts has been development. But all involved are to blame. 2010 saw a defense that finished top 5 in points allowed in the NFL, only to completely collapse vs. Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in the second half.

2012 saw the Falcons defense do pretty good overall against the pass and do a very good job at creating turnovers, but were horrid vs. the run and even worse against tight ends in the playoffs. After nearly blowing one lead up 27-7 vs. Seattle, the Falcons did fall apart against the Niners and lose after being up 17-0 and later 24-14. It appeared as though once the defense or scheme was figured out, that was it, and the onslaught couldn’t be stopped. The playoffs were just the icing on the cake on the downright pitiful nature of the Falcons defense the last four years. It’s hard to argue against completely imploding most of this defense in some form or fashion. Whether it be personnel, scheme, development, drafting, or all of the above.
No Lack of Resources

The Falcons under Thomas Dimtiroff have invested heavily on the defensive side of the ball with little to no avail. 1st round draft picks have included DT Peria Jerry and LB Sean Weatherspoon. William Moore was drafted in the second round, along with recently departed Curtis Lofton. They have used plenty of lower round picks on defensive players as well, including Thomas DeCoud, Kroy Biermann, Lawrence Sidbury, Chris Owens, Dominique Franks, Vance Walker, Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi, Travian Robertson, Charles Mitchell, Akeem Dent, and Robert James, all of which either start or are on the team as depth. They drafted a handful of other defensive players that are no longer with the team including Spencer Adkins, William Middleton, Wilrey Fontenot among a handful of others. Julio Jones and Matt Ryan may be the most notable draft picks, but plenty have been used for defense as well.

The Sidbury Mystery (AJC)

Not only has TD & Co. used a bunch of picks on defensive players, they’ve also spent in free agency or acquired players via trade as well. The most obvious is Dunta Robinson who got an eye-poppingly enormous contract in 2009. They signed Mike Peterson to a decent contract. They re-upped Biermann, Stephen Nicholas, Jonathan Babineaux, and John Abraham. They signed Ray Edwards to help the pass rush and that will go easily go down as Dimitroff’s biggest free agent bust. He also traded for All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel. So where has this defense gone so wrong? It depends how long you have to listen. In all seriousness, this post is meant to look at the past errors and look to the future.
A Few Really Bad Picks

The most obvious one that comes to mind is one DT Peria Jerry, easily Dimitroff’s worst pick. He seemingly reached for a player that fell just because the Falcons had a need at DT. Jerry was slotted to go high in the first round and he started to sink fast, likely due to his major injury history. He got hurt in the first game played and just has never gotten back his collegiate form. Clay Matthews was picked one spot later. It still smarts to have to type those words.

Posing for a Picture (AJC)

Even worse of a decision was the idea to draft Jamaal Anderson out of Arkansas with the #8 overall pick. One Patrick Willis was picked just a few spots later. Not only did Rich McKay miss on all-world LB Willis, but there were 9 more players selected in the first round that went on to become a Pro Bowler (Darelle Revis, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Griffin, Joe Staley, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Meriweather, Jon Beason, Anthony Spencer, and Ben Grubbs). There’s a saying that when you miss very poorly on a 1st round draft pick (especially an early one) that it will set your franchise back almost 5 years. How long has this defense been struggling again?
Poor Development

This was mentioned in a previous post about the wide indictment on the lack of pass rush, seemingly forever. The Falcons have drafted plenty of “talented projects” that, if developed correctly, could conceivably become a starter or at the very least contribute on a regular basis. There’s many examples to choose from over the last five years, but a few stick out: Lawrence Sidbury and Chris Owens.

Sidbury was a beast at the combine and in college with his amazing pass-rushing skills. He was one of the fastest defensive ends to come out in the draft that year and just seemed to have a knack for getting after the quarterback. He came on late in 2009 and notched a sack, fumble, and a defensive touchdown vs. Buffalo. The future was bright. The next year either saw him get injured or captured by a gang of soccer hooligans, because he only made appearances in 6 games. Many just scratched him up as a good talent that couldn’t convert to the NFL.

Then the 2011 season came. It’s unsure of exactly how many limited snaps he got, but it was enough to set career highs in tackles (9) and sacks (4). Fans expecting a huge breakout with the addition of Mike Nolan and his use of edge rushers were in for extreme disappointment and bewilderment. He was only active for 10 games and notched a whopping 1 tackle on the season. When Ray Edwards was cut out, Sidbury was leapfrogged by both Cliff Matthews and rookie Jonathan Massaquoi. It’s one of the most frustrating mysteries ever involving the Atlanta Falcons. Sidbury is a free agent and there’s fear that he will go on to another team and blow up.

Nolan Needs Some Weapons (AJC)

Another example is Chris Owens. The former San Jose State cornerback shocked almost all Falcons fans when he was drafted in the 3rd round and everyone went “who?” Owens wasn’t the most highly rated, but he came on to start at the end of the year for the Atlanta Falcons, needing three straight victories to rid themselves of the “never-winning-back-to-back” curse, two of which were on the road. Owens held his own and did very well. Thomas Dimitroff goes out and gets Dunta Robinson in free agency and it seems Owens has regressed ever since, (even though he seemed to do much, much better in Mike Nolan’s scheme). It’s one thing for fans to speculate on potential that’s never actualized, but it’s quite another to see it with their own eyes either during the preseason or regular season, only either to regress or never be heard from again. Along with being one of the most frustrating things to fans, it’s also hindered production in not having younger prospects ready to take over for aging or unproductive veterans.
Time for a Move to the 3-4

Some believe that the Falcons don’t have the personnel to convert to a 3-4 and would need a ton of infusion to make it work, from a big-bodied DT to 5-techniques DEs, and even inside linebackers. The counter argument is, can the Falcons afford to NOT convert to the 3-4? The Falcons have a ton of players that just don’t seem to fit in Smith’s preferred 4-3 alignment. Kroy Biermann, Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi, and several others seem more likely to flourish as outside linebackers in a 3-4, rather than true defensive ends in a 4-3. Stephen Nicholas looked pretty bad in his role as a 4-3 OLB trying to cover Vernon Davis and Zach Miller. Akeem Dent played in a 3-4 in college under Todd Grantham. Nolan even moved Jonathan Babineaux to defensive end to try and assist to stop the run.

Owens Better Under Nolan (AJC)

Not only does Nolan prefer the 3-4, but there’s also an argument that it’s much more conducive to find players that are suitable for the 3-4, as opposed to true defensive ends in the 4-3. In fact, almost all the best defenses in the NFL run the 3-4. The Falcons have obviously shown they can not develop their own effective defensive ends in the 4-3 (see Jamaal Anderson) or even pick them out in free agency (see Ray Edwards). And that leads into the next argument.

Regardless of schemes, personnel, or players, the best reason to move to a 3-4 is that the 4-3 under Mike Smith is just not working. The 4-3 worked for Smith in Jacksonville, but it helped to have two behemoths at defensive tackle in John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. For whatever reason, the Falcons front office have seemed almost averse to getting bigger defensive tackles, which has resulted in the no pass rush and recently weak vs. the run. Above all, five years of draft picks, free agents, and even a change in coordinators has resulted in a defense that just isn’t good and nowhere near dominant. In fact, this defense looks indistingiushable from the 2008 defense that both Smith and Dimitroff vowed to fix. That’s the most damning statement of all.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:23 pm 
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I've been doing a bit of reading on the AFMB. A lot of folks are stepping forward and saying that Smith is the reason for our defensive problems. One of the things people have talked about is how Smith treats his players between plays. For instance, against the Saints, Asante Samuel got a pick against Brees early in the game, and Asante got a penalty for too much celebration. (which a lot of people felt was a bogus call anyway) Smith got in Samuel's face, and there was a big fight over the penalty. Smith took the wind out of the sails of the defense.

Folks often say that this team doesn't have an identity, and that it doesn't have any fire. When crap like the above happens, I can see why we don't. We are the least penalized team in the NFL, and though there is something to be said for that, there's also something to be said for not having any fire. ALL of this falls back to Smith. Smith is a defensive coach. Yet, in his tenure, our defense has taken a back seat to our offense, and it's not because we have used less resources on the defense.

After the two playoff performances, I have to wonder, does Smith's half-time pep talk consist of reading out the names of the people who did bad things in the first half? Is his way of getting people fired up to tell them, "ok, let's do our best to not make any more mistakes in the 2nd half." Smith, himself, has had plenty of fire in the past. But he doesn't seem to tolerate it in his players. I don't get it.


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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:21 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I've been doing a bit of reading on the AFMB. A lot of folks are stepping forward and saying that Smith is the reason for our defensive problems. One of the things people have talked about is how Smith treats his players between plays. For instance, against the Saints, Asante Samuel got a pick against Brees early in the game, and Asante got a penalty for too much celebration. (which a lot of people felt was a bogus call anyway) Smith got in Samuel's face, and there was a big fight over the penalty. Smith took the wind out of the sails of the defense.

Folks often say that this team doesn't have an identity, and that it doesn't have any fire. When crap like the above happens, I can see why we don't. We are the least penalized team in the NFL, and though there is something to be said for that, there's also something to be said for not having any fire. ALL of this falls back to Smith. Smith is a defensive coach. Yet, in his tenure, our defense has taken a back seat to our offense, and it's not because we have used less resources on the defense.

After the two playoff performances, I have to wonder, does Smith's half-time pep talk consist of reading out the names of the people who did bad things in the first half? Is his way of getting people fired up to tell them, "ok, let's do our best to not make any more mistakes in the 2nd half." Smith, himself, has had plenty of fire in the past. But he doesn't seem to tolerate it in his players. I don't get it.


Ryan, offense. Baker, offense. Jones, 2 1st rounders, a 2nd and a 4th, offense.

Jerry, bust. I don't think you can say we've spent equally on both sides of the ball.

Your single example of him not showing fire is yelling at Samuel for getting a 15-yard penalty. Want to go back and count the number of times he's congratulated players on their work on the field? Watch the 'Skins game again.

Have you heard one of his halftime speeches? No? Then that's a bit of a guess.

How good would the D have been with a full year from Grimes and Moore?

Look, I think we all get that you aren't happy with Smith. You've had your say on it following the playoff game, and you raised some good points.

These aren't good points.


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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Smitty is def not a fire and brimstone coach. The falcons are--possibly as a result--not a fire and brimstone team. Ryan, Smitty, etc., tend towards the cerebral kind of analytical approach. I personally think it work sout better in the long run. The flame that burnest the brightest burns the shortest. Smitty > Rex Ryan. We'll see how Jim Harbaugh's act holds up. There is always a bit of disconnect between staff and players but as a rule players seem to enjoy playing for Smith.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:56 pm 
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And the article?

1. Poor grammar immediately damns it; no, I'm not being a grammar nazi. I'm fine if you cannot (or don't care to) figure out how a semicolon works. I'm not fine if you cannot nail basic subject-verb agreement consistently.

2. It blames Smith and Dimitroff, and then goes back to JA, a pick before either of them.

3. Sidbury's impressive stats from '09 all came on one play against the Bills, who were melting down and starting Brian Brohm. He performed well in spots the next year, but who's to say what happened over the summer?

4. Owens is not very good. He's OK at times as a wide CB, but he cannot do the job they needed him to: play the nickle. It is ludicrous to state that Owens and Sidbury have massive amounts of untapped potential. It is not ludicrous to say say that development has not been a forte of this front office/coaching group.

5. ATL doesn't have the personnel or the repetitions to switch to a base 3-4: They certainly aren't flush at LB (and the 3-4 negates their best one) and the DL's strengths (Abe, Babs) are 4-3 guys. A 3-4 OLB isn't defined as "an undersized 4-3 end that cannot play the run" as this seems to suggest. Pass rush specialist? maybe, but we haven't seen any of that from any of the guys listed there.


Last edited by samedi on Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:59 pm 
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I agree BnB but had we a repeat of last year's playoffs I would have been lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks...I dont want to say these are 'bad' points, IMO. There may be 'some' validity to a portion of this.

A guy like Matt Ryan who came here from college and was coached to 'play safe' and 'not make mistakes' is an indicator of the HC. BUt after 4-5 years, it is time to change it up. I remarked last year that Ryan seemed to 'give up' and had no 'fire'. This season, I saw a definite change. It's like Smith took off the chains. And, it seemed to work: except in the crunchiest of crunch-times, Ryan misread an open TE and fumbled a snap. I can't blame Smith for that. I 'asked' for it, he took off the chains, and sh*t happens.

But besides scheme, I didn't see a massive change in our D. I think we all have to admit that since the Green Bay Beatdown(tm) our D has come out and been pretty awful in the 2nd half of any playoff game. We changed coordinators, but the problem remains. I have to put some of this on Smitty. When the same thing keeps happening again and again, and you keep doing the same things and expecting a different result, there is a name for that. All season long the only game we put the boot on the neck was the Giants game.

So there is something to be said for 'lack of fire' and not having a 'killer instinct'.

just my 2 nonsense :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:25 pm 
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In TD and Smith's tenure, we've used 3 first round, 1 second, and 2 third round picks on offense. In addition, we brought in Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez.

On defense, we've used 2 first round, 2 second round, and 5 third round picks on defense. In addition, we brought in Dunta Robinson, Ray Edwards, and Asante Samuel.

Even if you include the extra 1st and 2nd that Julio cost us, (and there's no telling if those picks would have gone to offense or defense) We've still used more picks on defense in the first 3 rounds than on offense. Couple in the free agent signings, and it's pretty obvious that we have tried just as hard to address the defense as we have the offense. In fact, we felt so comfortable with the talent that we had acquired on defense that we gave up a ton of picks to add a complementary player on offense.


Last edited by RobertAP on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:40 am 
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I don't get this. The Falcons defense lacks fire? How and why?

Because Asante got yelled at for getting one of the most idiotic penalties ever? And Smitty was wrong for that? Well guess what all those people at the AFMB that came to this conclusion may want to remember that the penalty cost the Falcons. Instead of starting the ensuing drive at the Saints 12-yard line, they were pushed back to the 27-yard line. The offense generated exactly 8 yards before having to settle for a FG, to extend their lead to 10-0. But guess what, had the Falcons started their drive at the 12, they would have had a 54% chance of scoring a touchdown. But by taking the 15-yard penalty, that dropped to 40%. Maybe that deserves an intervention.

http://wp.advancednflstats.com/winprobcalc1.php

Why can't we say that the Ravens and 49ers defenses also lack fire and a killer instinct? Basically everybody lacks fire and a killer instinct right, if we're going to play by these rules.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:05 am 
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Well hell everyone's right!! I do think the article goes a long way to try to make some things on defense seem unexplainable. Look where we drafted Sid, if he's the most mysterious person that ever came to the Falcons then I don't know what to say.

I've always felt the organization has tried first to help Ryan as much as possible,
and that's not a bad thing when he is our franchise quarterback.

When a team seems to start out a game strong, leading 7-0, 21-7, or even 17-0, I don't know exactly what you change, until things stop working. Its easy to say you had the easiest schedule when your team beat 13 other teams; and helped some to start losing streaks.

We're saying our defense sucks as compared to 5 years ago, but most of those seasons
were double digit win seasons; so someone must answer how did we become a "first seed" and beat Seattle and put up a respectable game against Frisco with a lousy horrible defense??

First there's nothing wrong with Coach Smith's temperament. He had the hassle with
D. Hall, he got excited and grabbed his assistant coach, these aren't positive things but good grief, I've seen him jump in someone's s***; then in a few seconds go back
and he was saying " but it was hell of a play" based on the players smile or reaction.

So we just went to the Championship Game for the second time in our history, but if you had to actually find fault its with Thomas D. He's just made more mistakes on defense. I think Jerry was bad luck with such a terrible injury, but you've got to overcome that!!

Thomas D's free agents have sucked more on defense verses offense. The Turner free
agent pick-up and the Tony G. (for second round pick ) were game changers as was the #3 pick Ryan. We've not had any new game change players on defense while
Julio, is too..... I kind of consider Roddy and Abe both great leftovers!!

The Falcons do have an identity!! Their the most prepared first half team in the NFL.
If Thomas D. made as many great defensive moves as he had offensive; we'd have won the Super Bowl and still be contending.......

I agree our defense kinda sucks but as long as we score Touchdowns and keep having winning time of possession, we'll keep winning some while we hopefully rebuild
our defense. BTW our defense not only got turnovers but consistently made huge plays on 4th downs around the goal line, or the cries would be louder!!

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:28 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I don't get this. The Falcons defense lacks fire? How and why?.



please tell me your kidding, Pudge. :snooty:

when a defense REGULARLY clocks out in the third qtr, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

point A: the Falcons won 7 games this season 'from behind'. With Matt Ryan's clutch execution. right?
point B: outside of 2008, our D shuts down for the last half of any playoff game. Green Bay, did not force a PUNT. The Giant Fiasco(tm)? The D played well until the half, then they shut down. Our 2 playoff games this season? SAME STORY. Really?

Now, last season, we were told 'it was the coordinators'. Cant use that BS excuse any more, right?

If this only happened once or twice, then yeah, I don't hold Smitty responsible. But when it keeps happening over and over, then some of that has got to go on the coach.

The sad fact is, something happens to our D in the 2nd half of games, period. I will not 'argue' this point, because this is so glaringly obvious it does not merit 'discussion'. :naughty:

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:20 pm 
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Yes, something does happen to our D. Opposing Coaches make adjustments on their defense, our offense gets stopped unlike the first half and our defense stays on the field most of the third quarter.... That momentum needs to be stopped and the offense needs to comes back in the fourth quarter.

What changes would you make at halftime when most everything worked to some degree in the first half. Lets look at time of possession in the third quarter and I believe
you'll find our offense stopped pretty much cold in the third quarters.

Its the offense that sputters in the third quarter, putting our tender defense at risk.
Now I'll look up some facts to see if this is a possibility??

I know our offense is better than our defense (and I think everyone else does too); but
when we start hot and have long drives their offenses can't get on track.

Its not a debate that our defense gives up a lot in the second half; but its finding out
why? Our defense is not that good, so the question is WHY is it so exposed in the second half!!

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
Our defense is not that good, so the question is WHY is it so exposed in the second half!!


and there is the million dollar question, Cyril.

one problem could have been with strength and conditioning, but that guy got fired.

another problem ( at least this season ) was improper gambling and use of Abe, who could have made a difference if he was even 90% healthy.

or, could be the scheme. The article claims we tend to shy away from big, dominant NT and we also tend to shy away from guys with 'character issues'. Meanwhile, Big Slay Ray just won a Superbowl.

but whatever the case, the sad fact is our D shuts down in the second half. this is no secret, and it's on Smith, IMO.

I believe part of the problem is the team quits. I dont want a Ryan or a Harbaugh, but thier defenses do not quit on them. Our does. ALOT.

It's great that Smith doesn't 'nut up' all the time, and that our team is chock full of 'Captain's', but I think if were going to make it to that next level ( on D ) maybe we need to rethink passing on guys who may have 'issues' but can contribute and wont quit? :?:

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:57 pm 
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I can't find things in Time of Possession of first half vs second. (I don't have time to keep searching right now.)

I think its just as obvious that our strength (offense) stops in the third quarter and our
weakness (defense) gets exposed the longer its on the field in the second half. Also seems Ryan makes most of his mistakes in the second half?

Since it happened all season I agree its on the Coaches or QB. Yes I'll agree we just need better players on defense. Hell if they contribute and don't quit, I don't see any issues?

I don't believe our team quits. I believe its to much to ask for a perfect game, and if our
current defensive players are out there, we'll continue to be scored on!!

I blame the offense more than the defense, just because they have so much more talent, and their the ones who may start to coast if either does.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:09 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
please tell me your kidding, Pudge.

when a defense REGULARLY clocks out in the third qtr, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

You mean the defense that is the 5th best scoring defense in the 3rd quarter last year?

Here are how the Falcons offense and defense rank league-wide by points scored and allowed by quarter.

OFFENSE

1st qtr. - 91 points, ranked 13th
2nd qtr. - 131 points, ranked 6th
3rd qtr. - 68 points, ranked 23rd
4th qtr. - 129 points, ranked 7th

DEFENSE

1st qtr. - 59 points, ranked 6th
2nd qtr. - 101 points, tied for 12th
3rd qtr. - 55 points, ranked 5th
4th qtr. - 89 points, ranked 9th


http://pfref.com/tiny/tCtJe

Go ahead and look at other teams around the league.

This is a bullshit argument.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
fun gus wrote:
please tell me your kidding, Pudge.

when a defense REGULARLY clocks out in the third qtr, you do not get the benefit of the doubt.

You mean the defense that is the 5th best scoring defense in the 3rd quarter last year?

Here are how the Falcons offense and defense rank league-wide by points scored and allowed by quarter.

OFFENSE

1st qtr. - 91 points, ranked 13th
2nd qtr. - 131 points, ranked 6th
3rd qtr. - 68 points, ranked 23rd
4th qtr. - 129 points, ranked 7th

DEFENSE

1st qtr. - 59 points, ranked 6th
2nd qtr. - 101 points, tied for 12th
3rd qtr. - 55 points, ranked 5th
4th qtr. - 89 points, ranked 9th


http://pfref.com/tiny/tCtJe

Go ahead and look at other teams around the league.

This is a bullshit argument.



yea, Pudge THAT defense. Scoring Defense? Scoring? C'mon man. You are way better then this.

What part of my post is wrong? Did we not win 7 games from behind this year?

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/p ... r=RyanMa00


are these stats 'cute enough'? :roll:

so what does that tell us, Pudge? Does that tell us that our 'scoring defense' does not give up or give outin the 2nd half of games? Really?

Did we NOT have 4 playoff appearances where not only did WE no make adjustments at halftime, but allowed other teams to close the gap or bury us?

I must not be watching the same games. :lol:

Coach Smith still coaches 'not to lose'. He gave Ryan some free reign, and look what happened. It stinks that RYan made a couple missteps, but I can accept that.

What I can't accept is our D consistantly either letting other teams back in, which not only happens in the regular season, but in the playoffs as well.

THAT is BS :ninja:

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:47 pm 
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I don't understand why this is so taboo... We all acknowledge that we've had a good run for the past several years. However, we also all acknowledge that there are issues with the team. That this team started out DOMINANT in both of their playoff games, and then gave up big leads in the 2nd half suggests that there's something wrong in the roost. It's not that our players aren't good enough. You don't build those huge leads in consecutive playoff games with a lack of talent. I believe that the problem is the same problem that many of the players have spoken about throughout the year, complacency.

With Mike Smith at the helm, the team gets complacent. There's no fire. No urgency to BURY the opposition. We come out with something to prove, and by halftime, we're hoping that the game will be over already. This is an attitude problem, it's not a talent problem. Yes, there are some obvious talent issues with our team, but there are obvious talent issues with every team. I don't know what the problems are with every team, but I'm sure that if you consult with a team's fans, they will tell you.

Perhaps Mike Smith is our Andy Reid. Some folks will be content with that. I'm just not. In my book, when your team blows huge leads in back to back playoff games, the coaching is going to be at the top of my list of things that need to be addressed.


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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:37 pm 
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I believe you can build those leads when one side of the ball has more talent than another. We are given the ball to open (usually) and kick-off to start the third quarter.

Look I'm to stupid to believe all the stats. If there was one I'd pay attention to its only
5 teams in the NFL had less sacks than us. We all know in our case their is no pressure
either.

In other words if we're playing one of the top 6 NFL teams; and we're so much worse
at rushing the passer than 80% of the league, I'd call that a talent problem, that's asking for big comebacks (since we have taken leads early ).....

Is anyone saying our offense plays as good in the third Quarter as the rest of the game?? A poor defensive line is the easiest way to lose football games.....

There's a lot of emotion at the start of the games, so what does Smith do right to get us these leads? I think today our Defensive line needs at least about 3 new starters!!

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:00 am 
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Do you guys not watch other professional football games? Did you not see the Super Bowl, where the Ravens gave up a big lead late in the game? Did you not see the 49ers give up early leads to the Patriots and Rams late in the year?

There were 11 games this past year where a team had a 10+ point lead at halftime and lost, and the Falcons were involved in only 1 of those (the 49ers playoff game). In Week 2 this year, the Ravens lost to the Eagles. The Colts lost to the Jaguars in Week 3 on a 80-yard bomb to Cecil Shorts in the final minute. The Packers blew a 21-3 halftime lead in the first ChuckStrong game in Week 5. San Diego was up 24-0 against Denver in Week 6, and infamously lost that game. Then 6 weeks later, they did it again to Baltimore, giving up 10 points in the final 8 minutes to ultimately lose the game in OT.

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New England, Baltimore, New Orleans, Seattle and the Giants all lost games this year where they held a TD or more lead going into the 4th quarter. Did the Falcons? No.

In fact, the ONLY game all year long that the Falcons lost where they had a 4th quarter lead was against the 49ers.

fun gus wrote:
What part of my post is wrong? Did we not win 7 games from behind this year?

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/p ... r=RyanMa00

No, we did not. Those are 4th quarter comebacks (and only 5 of them), which means at some point in the 4th quarter, whether it's with 14:00 minutes left in the game, or 0:59 left in the game.

But pay attention to those specific games...

The Carolina game? That was a closely contested game that went back and forth. The Falcons made the final play. Same goes for the Redskins and Raiders game. The Falcons didn't trail vs. Dallas and it was never really in doubt whether they would win that game. The Falcons turned the ball over 5 times vs. Arizona, that's why they needed a comeback to win that game. Tampa Bay was another back and forth game. And Seattle was a team that most people believed to be one of the best teams in the league and outside the city limits of Atlanta, 90% of America would have said they were the better team.

Here's something worth considering fun gus. Maybe, just maybe the Falcons problems don't stem from any coaching issues they have, but maybe they just aren't that good a team. And that's the root cause of their problems.

Perhaps the reason why we had all those close games against inferior opponents is because we aren't especially better than those teams. Here's some interesting stats...

Looking at the 8 teams that have won 50 or more games over the past 5 years (including playoffs): Patriots & Ravens (both with 63), Packers & Steelers (both with 58), Falcons (57), Saints (56), Giants (52), and Colts (51). Now of course what should be notable is that the Falcons are the only one of those 8 teams that have not made a Super Bowl appearance in the past 5 years.

Here are those teams records in close games (decided by 8 points or less):

1. Falcons (30-14) .682
2. Colts (31-15) .674
3. Giants (23-13) .639
4. Steelers (31-21) .596
5. Ravens (27-20) .574
6. Patriots (20-16) .556
7. Saints (22-19) .537
8. Packers (21-22) .488

That doesn't look like the stat I'd expect from a team that lacks a killer instinct or fire.

What's also interesting is when you factor in how many of those teams wins over the past 5 years have been close ones:

1. Colts - 60.8%
2. Steelers - 53.4%
3. Falcons - 52.6%
4. Giants - 44.2%
5. Ravens - 42.9%
6. Saints - 39.3%
7. Packers - 36.2%
8. Patriots - 31.7%

Now I know RobertAP would conclude looking at that last stat to say that the reason why we have many more close wins than the others is because of how conservative Mike Smith. But the other factor that might be worth considering is that the Falcons just aren't significantly better than the average NFL team.

My theory on the Colts has largely been that they did not put a great team around Peyton Manning (as evidenced in the 2011 season), and they won largely because of Manning. But when they got to the playoffs against superior competition, he couldn't win single-handedly as he often did vs. average competition in the regular season.

Maybe the reason that Matt Ryan has more 4th quarter comebacks than any QB in NFL history in the first 5 years of his career is for similar reasons. That the Falcons aren't that good a football teams.

Maybe at their core, the Falcons are no better a football team than the Chicago Bears or Dallas Cowboys, teams that are routinely .500 and miss the playoffs more often than not, but for whatever reason Ryan & Smith possess some sort of "special" quality that somehow manages to make us just a cut above.


Worth pondering over...

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:00 am 
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I just don't know how you can get on here and say that we don't have the talent. Offensively, we have more talent on the field than any other team that I can think of. Defensively, we have some glaring issues in our front 7. But again, it's not like we haven't tried to address those issues. We have thrown a lot of resources into trying to fix our DL, and the players either haven't developed, or they outright regressed. This is supposed to be Mike Smith's area of expertise, or have we all forgotten that? Take your pick, TD or Smith. One of the two of them is screwing up.


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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:19 am 
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Pudge Wrote
Quote:

Maybe at their core, the Falcons are no better a football team than the Chicago Bears or Dallas Cowboys, teams that are routinely .500 and miss the playoffs more often than not, but for whatever reason Ryan & Smith possess some sort of "special" quality that somehow manages to make us just a cut above.


Smith does have that quality because he keeps his teams together while most go on losing streaks. What Smith doesn't have is what this article started out saying or not saying, our defense is a below .500 defense and our offense is in the top 20%.

T.D. has put more or some game changing players on our offense; while like I said above needing to blitz to get pressure, won't work against the best teams.....
Quote:
When your pass rush is the lower 80% of all teams you will give up a lot of leads!!


When you have 3 receivers and almost all 3 average 3,000 yards together; your not going to be a .500 team, not when your Qb plays a good first, second, and fourth quarter!!

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:27 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
I just don't know how you can get on here and say that we don't have the talent. Offensively, we have more talent on the field than any other team that I can think of. Defensively, we have some glaring issues in our front 7. But again, it's not like we haven't tried to address those issues. We have thrown a lot of resources into trying to fix our DL, and the players either haven't developed, or they outright regressed. This is supposed to be Mike Smith's area of expertise, or have we all forgotten that? Take your pick, TD or Smith. One of the two of them is screwing up.


this.


Pudge "Did you not see the Super Bowl, where the Ravens gave up a big lead late in the game?"

Did the Ravens do this in their last 4 playoff appearances? If not, that's what we call 'apples and oranges'.

So the reason our D regularly shuts down in the 2nd half is because 'they are just not that good'? And coaching has nothing to do with this? I'll think about it, but I am not sure I can buy into that. I think a more reasonable explanation is out there. Maybe, our D gets gassed in the 4th qtr, and that is a result of poor 'S and C'? I think that's probably more reasonable.

As a matter of fact, I think's it's a combination of things. Poor conditioning, poor adjustments by coaches, lack of focus and fire, and dumb luck. I think when you create an environment where you play 'penalty free football' and play 'not to lose' instead of throwing down, there is something to be said for that. I mean the Asante thing where Smitty and him had words doesn't concern me as much as the positive effect Asante had on the rest of the secondary. He brought fire and swagger with him and I believe his influence brought the level of play up around him. I think his play and advice definitely helped McClain. But we couldn't get that out of our coordinators, not with BVG or Nolan, and isn't that thier job?

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Fun Gus Wrote
Quote:

As a matter of fact, I think's it's a combination of things. Poor conditioning, poor adjustments by coaches, lack of focus and fire, and dumb luck. I think when you create an environment where you play 'penalty free football' and play 'not to lose' instead of throwing down, there is something to be said for that. I mean the Asante thing where Smitty and him had words doesn't concern me as much as the positive effect Asante had on the rest of the secondary. He brought fire and swagger with him and I believe his influence brought the level of play up around him. I think his play and advice definitely helped McClain. But we couldn't get that out of our coordinators, not with BVG or Nolan, and isn't that thier job?


No the right personality on the field will help a Coordinator much more than the Coordinator can do. All the " ballhawks " on defenses the E. Reeds will inspire others to
make plays like he does, go after it like he does......

It seems what we're saying is that although we won 13 regular game season games and one playoff game, some don't like the way we're winning but it can't be talent on defense when across our line their is no pass rush. Never one game with consistent pressure and many with no pressure at all!!

My Question is then how do we win when we have in the bottom 80% of a pass rush.?

I don't think we've spent all that much on the defensive line except Jerry and his injury was a very severe one, and we just whiffed on Edwards. I said in another thread I think the doctors screwed this one because a guy who has consecutive 5 sacks seasons for years then an 8 sack season; you just wouldn't think he's finished.
Not at 27--- He's one of those head cases we want to get more of? (he had a back problem and brought out a special chair to sit in)

Ok -I'm talked through all I can. The defense has a glaring weakness but you guys won't address how important pressure on the QB is. I'll say again if you must have a villain its Thomas D. & Matt Ryan.

If you really feel the need for a villian from the post season its our Qb. Just look at his performance in the regular season and the post season. Ryan makes many more mistakes in post season. His rediculas fumble (no contact) cost us the game, and Thomas D. doesn't have us the talent for a pass rush.

Flacco did what Ryan couldn't do. But I'd rather say the team fell short; mostly from a non -Super Bowl Defensive Line.

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:30 pm 
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http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fa ... s-defense/

Defensive End

The lack of pass rush other than John Abraham has been beaten to a pulp by fans and critics alike for years and years, and rightly so. This defense has been downright pitiful in getting to the quarterback. Sure, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but the failure to develop ANY pass rush from the defensive ends spot, or any defensive end prospect for that matter over a 5 year period is just criminal. They tried to move Kroy Biermann to a full-time DE in the 4-3, even though he was unanimously projected as an OLB at the next level. They re-signed Chauncey Davis to a starter level contract and he did absolutely nothing. They signed Ray Edwards and we all know how that turned out. Lawrence Sidbury must have kicked Mike Smith’s dog, because he’s nowhere to be found, even though he earned 4 sacks in very limited chances in 2011. Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi showed some potential, but they didn’t see the field until Ray Edwards got himself cut.


Time for these fellas to produce (AJC)

This position, like several others, needs a complete overhaul. Will they be able to go out and get an elite defensive end? No, and they shouldn’t even try. First of all, they’re going to have to make some very painful decisions to build this defense for the long haul, not even mentioning that they will have to clear cap space somehow. Abraham might be on the block to get cut since he’ll be 35 in May and has shown signs of slowing. As mentioned before, a move to the 3-4 seems to be the best way to go. The move would allow the Falcons to try Biermann, Massaquoi, Matthews, Sidbury (if they keep him), and maybe even Nicholas to a standup outside linebacker, for none of them seem ready to lift off at DE in the 4-3.

Even if Abraham is somehow kept, he could prolong his career by standing up as OLB, not having to take a beating every single play with his hand in the dirt. Given all the resources over a span of 5 years, it’s time to overhaul this position and it’s best described by Albert Einstein’s famous quote: “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” Assessment — Implosion

Defensive Tackle


Major Changes @ DT (AJC)

This position has been one of the most underperforming since Smith and Dimitroff took over. It’s not even out of the realm to say that the Falcons did better with the likes of Rod Coleman and big Grady Jackson. Jonathan Babineaux has been the only consistency at defensive tackle and, like Abraham, he hasn’t had much of any help on the other side. Corey Peters was a nice surprise, but his injury limited his production in 2012. Vance Walker is excellent as a rotation tackle. Who knows about Travian Robertson because he was placed firmly in Smith’s “Witness Protection Program.” Peria Jerry is without a doubt Dimitroff’s worst pick and really is not worth keeping around at this point, regardless of how little he costs towards the salary cap. Micanor Regis is on the practice squad and is extremely athletic for someone his size (6’3, 307) and could make the leap if he continues to progress.

It may not make any sense to clean house to an extent, but if you keep going back to the fact that what’s been done previously just has not worked in hardly any capacity, than it’s easier to remember that changes are needed. As mentioned before, Jerry’s time has come and gone and cutting him wouldn’t alter very much going forward and would even save $1 million towards the cap. If they move to a 3-4, Walker, Peters, and Robertson could move to a 5-technique defensive end, and Peters could backup at Nose Tackle in a pinch. That would clear two spots for the draft, where they could double dip at nose tackle, or take a nose tackle and a player for 5 technique. If they can figure out a way to keep Jonathan Babineaux, it will be fantastic. But the consummate Falcon is one of the few candidates that could save the Falcons major money towards the cap and wouldn’t create any dead money, almost $5 million. No fan wants to lose any player that’s been so productive and so loyal for so long, but it’s a business and it may be an unfortunate reality. Going back to the underlying point, the past hasn’t worked and it’s time for a change, especially at defensive tackle. Assessment — Implosion

Linebackers


Big Changes @ LB? (AJC)

Once a group with so much promise, the Atlanta Falcons LB corps wasn’t the strength many thought it may be in 2012. The position got off to a bad start when Lofa Tatupu was injured in the weight room during his comeback attempt before the season even started. He may not have won the starting job anyway, but at least he would have provided competition and may could have helped in coverage. Akeem Dent didn’t see the field much, but had major issues in the beginning, particularly in coverage, but did show some improvement towards the end of the season. His future as a long-time starter is still in doubt, though.

Stephen Nicholas was thought to possibly blossom after getting a fairly large contract and being placed in Mike Nolan’s more aggressive scheme. He maybe didn’t have a “terrible” year, notching almost 100 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. But he looked particularly poor in the playoffs trying to cover in space. Some think that Nicholas could be on the dock to be cut, but his he’s owed $3 million in signing bonus money and it doesn’t make any sense. Mike Peterson has been a stalwart in the locker room for his leadership and toughness, but it’s time to move on. Robert James has had plenty of chances to make a move after 5 years, so it’s time to give someone else a chance. Pat Schiller is hanging around the practice squad and showed some major promise, so perhaps he could make the jump.


Is Dent a Full-Time Starter? (AJC)

After a very good start, even Sean Weatherspoon wasn’t the same after his injury. A move to the 3-4 would obviously change the complexion of the position, and Biermann should get consideration of a move to outside linebacker regardless of what scheme they run. They obviously won’t be looking to add any linebackers in free agency, mainly because they don’t have any money to do so, but also due to the fact that there’s not much there anyway. Linebacker should get a long look as an early pick in this year’s draft. Considering that both backup spots should be open and that Spoon is really the only true linebacker to build around, this needs a big change as well. Assessment – Dynamite, bordering on Implosion

Cornerbacks

One of the few bright spots for the Falcons on defense this year. Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson formed a good and solid duo, if not dominant. This is also considering that they planned on rolling with 3 starting caliber corners, choosing to give $10+ million on Brent Grimes and losing him in the first game of the season. Robert McClain was a nice surprise and played extremely well in the nickel role. The former practice squad player even played well on the outside when called upon. Chris Owens showed the form he had back as a rookie and he looks to be kept in free agency for depth and continued development. Dominique Franks appears to be on his way out again after only getting the nod after Brent Grimes was put on IR and offering absolutely nothing as a punt returner.


Should he stay or should he go? (AJC)

Some think that Dunta Robinson might be on the cap casualty block. But his contract seems to be that the Falcons would have to pay around $3 million just to cut him, which would create yet another hole to fill on an already weak defense. Others think that the Falcons will cut Robinson and keep Grimes. It’s surely a possibility, but a major risk with Grimes coming off a major Achilles heel injury. The secondary wasn’t the problem nearly as much as the front seven, and really played quite well considering the pitiful pass rush.

Robert McClain looks set solid as the nickel back after doing a fantastic job this past season. He will definitely be kept and could maybe even be groomed to take over full-time after Robinson or Samuel either retire or decline. Chris Owens is a free agent this season, but should also be kept. After a few years of seeming regression, he seemed to have somewhat of a small rebirth under Nolan and his new defense. Injuries plagued him late in the year, but overall he provides excellent depth as the #4 cornerback and has experience of starting as well. Dominique Franks is technically under contract for 2013, but looks to likely be on his way out. Franks either has regressed from his initial potential or just isn’t suited for Nolan’s defense. A few young cornerbacks in the draft might be a good spot for a #5 CB to groom and develop. Assessment — Firecrackers

Safeties


Stable @ Safety (AJC)

This is one of the few strengths of the defense and both safeties, Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, were promoted to the Pro Bowl when the 49ers duo went to the Super Bowl. They aren’t perfect and must work on their consistency from week to week, but at times they look like the best safety tandem in the league. DeCoud is mostly good on coverage skills, but the image of trying to arm tackle Vernon Davis in the NFC Championship Game will long linger. William Moore is set to become a free agent, but it’s hard to imagine Dimitroff not doing everything he can to keep Moore a Falcon. There was a recent report that Moore wants to test the free agent market, but it’s not the best year for him to do it. Superb safeties Jarius Byrd, Kenny Phillips, and Dashon Goldson are also set to become free agents and Moore missing extensive time due to injury doesn’t help his case either. Expect Dimitroff to keep one of his young stars in red and black, but if not, there are other free agent options available.

Charles Mitchell seems to have a future as not only a backup safety, but could eventually work himself into something more. The backup positions have essentially been turnstiles since Dimitroff took over, whether being low draft picks that eventually lose their job such as Shann Schillinger, undrafted free agents, or journeymen who never stick. Dimitroff usually reserves the other spot for a good veteran safety that can come in and perform well in case injuries are an issue, mainly William Moore. James Sanders filled that role last year and Chris Hope did a very good job this year. Assuming Hope doesn’t ask for the moon, it’s very reasonable to see him sticking around for another year. If the Falcons can keep Moore, this is the most stable of positions not only on defense, but also on the entire team. Assessment — Firecrackers.

Punt Returner


Someone, Anyone (AJC)

Nothing too much to elaborate here, but is there anything bigger than an implosion? Franks showed a tiny glimpse in preseason only to use fair catches the entire season. The punt return game literally added no threat or offensive help whatsoever. Harry Douglas got a late season chance at returner, but couldn’t get it together or find his groove either. The Falcons need to add a major infusion of talent and competition both at punt returner and relieve Jacquizz Rodgers on kick return. Assessment — Massive Implosion

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:41 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I just don't know how you can get on here and say that we don't have the talent. Offensively, we have more talent on the field than any other team that I can think of.

You have the fantasy mindset when it comes to this. Sure, Ryan, Jones, Roddy, and Tony are specail. But the rest of the Falcosn roster is average at best. But when you focus on the skill positions, it's easy to get enamored. But guess what, the Falcons had one of the worst running games in the league. Their starting RB was essentially the Blaine Gabbert of starting RBs. Their offensive line was average at best, as it was routinely whooped by average defensive lines throughout the regular season. The defense is average. The pass rush was mediocre at best. The run defense was one of the weakest in the league. Asante Samuel is a really good corner, but Dunta Robinson is one of the weaker starters in the league. Decoud & Moore made the Pro Bowl, but DeCoud is still the same above average player he always was, and Moore is pretty good but not special, similar to Kerry Rhodes or Kenny Phillips.

Once you go beyond the QB, WR, and TE the rest of the talent on the team brings it down by a significant degree. It's the same thing with the Manning-led Colts. They had a great skill positions players, Saturday, Freeney, Mathis, and Sanders. But essentially the rest of the roster was full of bums. Outside Mike Peterson, Ryan Lilja, and David Thornton, during the Polian Era, I'm not sure there was a single free agent player that left Indianapolis to go onto have success with another NFL team.

You look at the talent of the Falcons vs. a team like say the Titans, who probably most would consider to be an average football team, and you're not going to see a whole lot of difference. The real difference between the Titans and Falcons is basically the difference between Matt Ryan and Jake Locker, where Ryan is a Top 7 QB and Locker is a Bottom 7 QB.

The Falcons have strength where it counts, which is mainly QB. But when you have the fantasy mindset you have this notion that it's about accumulating talent. But the real secret to building a good team in the NFL is finding talent that complements each other. It's why a team like Green Bay, who from a traditional sense don't have great talent besides Rodgers. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Finley, Cobb, etc. as individuals aren't in the same zip code as Roddy, Tony, & Julio are in terms of talent, but they are extremely complementary of each other, which allows the Packers to get MORE than the SUM of their individual parts.

This has been a problem in Atlanta. Evidenced by the fact that despite all of their talent at the skill positions on offense, this was one of the least explosive passing attacks in the league (29th). They were LESS explosive passing the ball than the Rams this past year, who featured Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, and Lance Kendricks.

Sure, the Falcons were highly ranked in most other passing categories. But what is interesting to me is that this year's Super Bowl teams, the Ravens (5th) and 49ers (1st) as well as last year's Patriots (7th) and Giants (9th) were highly ranked in that category. I know that generating big plays in the air isn't highly correlated to winning football games, but it does seem to make a difference in the playoffs as the more explosive teams seem to get further in January than those that aren't explosive.

That's the difference between the Falcons and the 2011 Giants and 2010 Packers, two teams that also were lackluster running teams. Those teams were far more explosive.

Cyril wrote:
If you really feel the need for a villian from the post season its our Qb. Just look at his performance in the regular season and the post season. Ryan makes many more mistakes in post season. His rediculas fumble (no contact) cost us the game, and Thomas D. doesn't have us the talent for a pass rush.

Flacco did what Ryan couldn't do.

You're better than that Cyril.

Remember there is a difference between "couldn't do it," and "didn't do it."

fun gus wrote:
Did the Ravens do this in their last 4 playoff appearances? If not, that's what we call 'apples and oranges'.

So the reason our D regularly shuts down in the 2nd half is because 'they are just not that good'? And coaching has nothing to do with this? I'll think about it, but I am not sure I can buy into that. I think a more reasonable explanation is out there. Maybe, our D gets gassed in the 4th qtr, and that is a result of poor 'S and C'? I think that's probably more reasonable.

Let's talk about the Ravens and Falcons for a moment. I agree to a degree it is an apples and oranges argument.

Well, first off I hope you're not considering what they did vs. Denver and New England as part of your 4 appearances? Because they did not build leads in those games. They played from behind vs. Denver and outlasted them. And against the Patriots, they were down 13-7 at halftime, and thanks to 2 2nd half turnovers were able to hold the Patriots to 0 points.

They did build an early lead against the Colts in Round 1 and held it. But let's not act like the Colts are on the same level as the Seahawks and 49ers, offensively. I know the Colts have made a number of comebacks this year, but I believe all of them came at home. It's a little different when you have a rookie QB playing in his first playoff game, on the road. Gee, that sounds familiar.

So if we're really talking about the Ravens and their ability to hold leads in past playoff performances, we have to go back to past years. Well, then we probably wouldn't be considering the 2011 AFC Championship Game vs. NE, because again NE held the lead for most of that game. Baltimore didn't take their first lead until the final minute of the 3rd quarter, going up 20-16. Then within 5 minutes the Patriots retook the lead 23-20. And of course the Ravens had their opportunity to tie it and send it into OT at the end, but they got "Cundiff-ed."

Now the Texans game the week before would qualify as they got off to a 17-3 1st quarter lead. Texans got back into the game, cutting their lead to 17-13 with a rookie QB by halftime. But the Ravens D held strong in the 2nd half and the Texans scored no more points, and were 0 for 6 on 3rd downs during that half.

Yep, there's a team that has the so-called fire to finish games. But guess what you'd be interested to discover? The Ravens had the 3rd ranked scoring defense and 3rd ranked total defense in 2011. One of 4 teams that year that finished in the Top 5 in both categories (along side SF, PIT, and HOU). Certainly helps when you have a top defense like that. The Falcons had the 5th ranked scoring defense this year, which is good, but they were the 24th ranked total defense.

And if you were to go back further to 2008, 2009, and 2010 postseasons, you would continue to see an elite/near-elite Ravens defense, coupled with a top-level ground attack. And I don't have to tell you how much easier it is to hold a 2nd half lead when you have a top running game and a top defense.

Can we say the same about the Falcons? Certainly apples and oranges.

Then I would ask you this, because your premise seems to suggest that coaching is an issue with the Falcons. So on that same point, that would mean the success of the Ravens D would then be due to coaching. So that means if we apply the same "logic" you have with the Falcons to the Ravens, then John Harbaugh would deserve most of the credit for the Ravens strong defensive performances leading up to this year in the playoffs, correct?

That would make sense except for the fact that John Harbaugh has never been a defensive coordinator in his coaching career. And it would also make sense that Harbaugh is a difference maker if the Ravens didn't have a Top 10 defense in 7 of the previous 10 years prior to his arrival.

Now it's interesting that the Ravens defense was one of the best in the league in 2011. That year, Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs (DEfensive MVP BTW), and Lardarius Webb were among the best players at their positions int hat year and we know the results as previously mentioned.

Interesting then that they had the drop on defense this year. They were 12th in scoring defense this year and 17th ranked in total defense. Interesting that Ray Lewis, Webb missed most of the year. Suggs is coming off an Achilles tear and might as well not been playing for most of the year. Interesting that Reed started to look old this year, and Ngata wasn't the dominant presence up front that we have grown accustomed to over the past 5 years (despite this he managed to earn a Pro Bowl bid).

Lewis then comes back for the playoffs, and we see a much improved and tougher Ravens defense. But of course according to your "logic" that credit for that boost should be given to John Harbaugh, the head coach.

The point I'm building here is that your "logic" doesn't apply to any other teams. You are doing what so many do, and you're judging the Falcons in a vacuum. And when you do that, you tend to find inferior conclusions.

When looking at the Ravens, the right conclusion is that their ability to hold leads has to do with good defensive play. And that good defensive play doesn't have much of anything to do with coaching, but has everything to do with talent. When they had talent for 14 years, they had a great defense. Then all of a sudden their talent disappeared in 2012, and suddenly their defense became fairly average.

This isn't rocket science. Stop looking at fire and killer instinct. The reason why the Falcons couldn't hold a second half lead vs. the Seahawks and 49ers this year, is because their defense IS NOT GOOD. That goes back to their past playoff appearances as well. Same applies to their offense. The most explosive offense they've fielded (2008) was helmed by a rookie QB in his first playoff game on the road back when the Falcons were an average road team. Their 2010 team was the least explosive team in the league and got behind vs. GB at halftime, and the game was over. In 2011, they had what was the 18th most explosive offense (i.e. average) and a bad running team, and decided to built their offensive game plan off their bad running game.

And it has little to do with the coaching, it has everything to do with the simple fact that the Falcons haven't been good enough. That's really it. This whole issue of killer instinct, fire, confidence, etc. is such BS.

It's so laughable to say that a team that has a QB that has more 4th quarter comebacks and game-winning drives in his first 5 years THAN ANY OTHER QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY lacks a killer instinct, or confidence, or drive, or any of that nonsense people are spewing.

PLEASE STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME. Just accept your favorite team was not good enough this year and move on. Maybe they are good enough next year, maybe the year after, or maybe they never are. If so, then so be it.

I'm not saying coaching has nothing to do with it. I questioned their coaching last year. But then when I watched the team this year, I can't really blame their coaching.

They can't run the ball, they can't rush the QB, and they can't stop the run. Those are 3 of the 5 fundamental aspects of playing football, the other two being throwing the ball and playing special teams. What I just described is a HIGHLY FLAWED team.

And so when I consider THAT and then think about how close they were to winning it all this year, I can't really blame coaching. Considering all of those flaws and deficiencies, they made it to where they were, so I have to conclude that they are one of the most well-coached teams in the league.

Because you look at another team that struggled to run the ball, didn't have much of a pass rush, and didn't do a great job stopping the run this year, you'd see the San Diego Chargers. Now the Chargers pass attack wasn't nearly as good as the Falcons, although they were 26th ranked in big plays. The Chargers were 7-9 this year and lost a bunch of close games (2-5 in 1-score games), and blew more 2nd half leads than any other team in the league this year. In the 2 years prior, the Chargers were a combined 6-10 in 1-score games as well. And what's the big differences between the Falcons and Chargers. One is Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers, although we know that Ryan isn't any more talented than Rivers. The other key difference is between Mike Smith and Norv Turner. Turner certainly would qualify as a poor/deficient coach.

If you want to sit here and point fingers at Mike Smith then by all means go ahead. He's far from perfect. He made a number of notable mistakes this year. But understand this, every team besides the Ravens right now are pointing similar fingers at their head coaches. Many believe Jim Harbaugh blew it at the end of the Super Bowl, and many believe Belichick screwed the pooch with his play-calling on 4th down in the AFC Championship. Most consider those guys to be the 2 best coaches in the game today. So go ahead and criticize Mike Smith, but pump the brakes a little before you start calling for his head. Because if you did the same "analysis" with all 32 teams, then 31 of them would need to fire their coaches this off-season.

Sorry for the extreme length but sometimes you get carried away up on the pulpit. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: most damning statement of all
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:51 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
It's so laughable to say that a team that has a QB that has more 4th quarter comebacks and game-winning drives in his first 5 years THAN ANY OTHER QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY lacks a killer instinct, or confidence, or drive, or any of that nonsense people are spewing.

PLEASE STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME.-)



who is blaming the QB, Pudge? Who is blaming the OFFENSE? Clearly, the blame lies in the DEFENSE.

QUIT PLAYING THE CHANGE THE GOALPOSTS GAME. were talking about the Falcon's DEFENSE. Were 5 seasons, two coordinators, and how many moves to 'improve' it now? We suck in the 2nd half of any playoff games, 4 times.. Stat's be damned. Your argument, as I see it, is John HB didn't 'f*ck up' what he inheirited when he took over the Ravens. Really?

I do not buy the 'were not good enough' screed. Sorry, Pudge, no can do. :snooty:

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