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.
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
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.