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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 45 “Something’s Gotta Give”

November 1st, 2013 Comments off

Allen and I recap the Falcons disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, considering it one of the most disheartening losses for the Falcons in years. We also discuss the sense of complacency that seems to surround the Falcons franchise over the years, and this current regime in particular. Other topics: Steven Jackson and the historically bad Falcons running game; Sam Baker vs. Duane Brown; Darius Johnson’s future; Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford headline a stronger 2013 draft class. We then switch focus to the Falcons upcoming matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 9 and look at: the formidable matchup between the Falcons offensive line and the Panthers front seven; break down Cam Newton’s strengths and weaknesses; and whether the Falcons need to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball to get the win.

Ep. 45: Something’s Gotta Give [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 4 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Moneyball 2013 – Week 8 Review

October 30th, 2013 Comments off
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan had his worst performance of 2013 in Week 8

Overall, a very disappointing performance for the Atlanta Falcons were they got thoroughly outplayed by the Arizona Cardinals on both sides of the ball for four quarters.

Offensively, I’m going to blame the team’s lack of a deep threat and their inability to get much push on the ground for the main causes of their problems. I counted only one instance in the first half of the game where the Falcons took a measured shot and threw a pass beyond 15 yards. That occurred on an 18-yard throw by Matt Ryan to Drew Davis on a deep in on their second possession of the game. Remember the Falcons had 27 drop backs in the first half. They took more shots downfield in the second half, but that was mainly because they were trying to get back into the game. Ryan did not have the best game and had a few opportunities in the second half to get the big strike. On their first play of the third quarter, Darius Johnson was streaking down field and had a step on the defender, but for whatever reason Ryan chose to check the ball down to Patrick DiMarco for a 2-yard gain. It wasn’t a matter of not seeing him nor having protection, just that Ryan chose to check it down. Then in the fourth quarter, when Ryan hit Harry Douglas on a 25-play on an out and up, if Ryan had put a bit more air under the ball, Douglas could have ran under it and scored a touchdown. That would have given the Falcons six points with roughly 8 minutes left in the game. Instead they ultimately went down the field and scored on that drive, but four additional minutes bled off the clock.

Ryan threw four interceptions, and the first and third one were solely on him. He didn’t see Daryl Washington in the throwing lane on the first pick. On the third one, he tried to throw to a very well-covered Davis, forcing a throw. He then threw a bad ball, and Tyrann Mathieu had an easy pick. The second and fourth interceptions could be blamed on pressure preventing Ryan from stepping into his throws, and hanging up a ball for easy picks by Rashad Johnson. Both times, the Cardinals were able to get a free rusher to Ryan (Marcus Benard on the second pick and Karlos Dansby on the fourth one).

Overall, I thought the pass protection was serviceable. Granted, the standard has fallen sharply in Atlanta over the years. And I would say the line gave Ryan enough protection to make throws if not for the emphasis on short and intermediate throws. Frankly, the Falcons receivers aren’t good enough, and I liked that Dirk Koetter resorted to a lot of pick plays and complementary routes to help his receivers. But it’s clear that this group of receivers is not capable of carrying the load, especially when a team has to drop back 65 times in game. Especially when the no-huddle isn’t part of the equation.

That’s where the offensive line really gets the blame with their poor run blocking. Steven Jackson had really no space to get going, with maybe a yard before he would run into a wall. Granted, part of it was the fact that Jackson didn’t look sharp. And if this is all the push the Falcons can muster, they are better served using Jacquizz Rodgers as their primary rusher. Rodgers isn’t as consistent, but his quickness means he’s much more capable of creating beyond his blocking. The Falcons utilized a lot of traps and pulls in their man blocking, and frankly players like Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett were eating, chewing, and spitting out their blocks like sunflower seeds. I might need a second set of hands to count how many times the Falcons tried to double-team Campbell and he’d still clog the lane or make the tackle. I remember one instance vividly where Justin Blalock pushed Campbell downfield one-on-one, and then Reynolds was supposed to pull into the hole, but it was clogged by another defender and Jackson was stopped for a two-yard gain. Lamar Holmes struggled, but I should note his struggles came largely when he was blocking Campbell or John Abraham one-on-one. That has been the issue throughout this season, where there has been a significant gap in abilities when our blockers face opposing team’s good defensive linemen and/or linebackers. Blalock has been the only player that has shown that he can actually compete with premier opponents this year.  Unfortunately for the Falcons, they face a lot of good defensive linemen and linebackers the rest of the season. So unless the Falcons make a move sooner rather than later, that’s an issue that isn’t going to be solved until the offseason.

PLAYERS
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$5$3$0$0$0$0$8.00
Drew Davis$0$0$7$1$0$0$7.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$5$0$0$0$5.00
Darius Johnson$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$1$1$1$0$0$3.00
Kevin Cone$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Antone Smith$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0-$2$0.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$2-$1$0-$1$0.00
Steven Jackson$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Peter Konz$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Lamar Holmes$0$0$0-$1$0-$2-$3.00
Jeremy Trueblood$0$0$0-$2$0-$1-$3.00

Read more…

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 44 “Tampa Bay is a Dumpster Fire”

October 25th, 2013 Comments off

Allen and I are joined once again by Rashad James, making his second consecutive appearance on the podcast to discuss the Atlanta Falcons win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7. We discuss some of the standout players from the game including William Moore, Malliciah Goodman, Harry Douglas, and Desmond Trufant. We also take a look at the play of the Falcons young linebackers and whether or not they have what it takes to turn into good NFL linebackers. In their preview of Week 8, we discuss how much impact a healthy Steven Jackson can bring, whether or not there needs to be changes made at punt returner, how the Falcons left tackle matches up with John Abraham, and whether the Falcons defense can take advantage of Arizona’s lackluster offensive attack.

Ep. 44: Tampa Bay is a Dumpster Fire [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 1 minute

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Rashad can be found on twitter: @SaucedUp_Boss

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Moneyball 2013 – Week 7 Review

October 22nd, 2013 Comments off

It was a solid win for the Atlanta Falcons over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons really needed to come out strong after their bye week to get their season back on track.

But after watching the tape, I’m not as impressed with this win as I was initially on Sunday. It’s clear that the Bucs are simply a bad team, and while the Falcons are better, I certainly won’t say that they are a good team. The Bucs really hurt themselves with a bunch of penalties and missed opportunities. While it didn’t reach as bad as their infamous performance in Week 17 of 2011 under Radio Raheem, it’s inching closer to that point. While the Falcons controlled this game from start to finish, the Bucs never took advantage of the numerous opportunities they had to get back into this game. In the end, the Falcons won a game that they should have won, but it doesn’t inspire me with a ton of confidence going forward that the team is going to play significantly better in the coming weeks as they did before the bye.

Despite excellent numbers, Matt Ryan was more solid than spectacular. He made several very good throws, but it seemed like the Falcons had a fairly conservative gameplan in the early going. The Bucs had a couple of breakdowns in the secondary that led to some big plays early such as the two to Harry Douglas in the second quarter. While Douglas gets credit for making the plays, it really was a terrible play on the ball by Leonard Johnson on the 54-yard pass and a blown assignment on Mark Barron on the 37-yard touchdown that are more responsible for those plays more than anything Douglas did in particular.

The key for Ryan was that he got good pass protection throughout the game. While the Falcons weren’t spotless up front, the fact that they allowed no sacks, one pressure, and only four hurries the entire game made all the difference. Lamar Holmes looked his best thus far this year, but then again any decent NFL starter should look fairly good going up against Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Trevor Scott, and Adrian Clayborn. The Falcons did a solid job keeping Gerald McCoy in relative check, as he only had one pressure (vs. Holmes), one hit (vs. Blalock), and one hurry (vs. Reynolds). The Bucs tried to dial up some blitzes, and the Falcons did a fairly solid job picking it up. With time to throw, Ryan was able to locate receivers, particularly Douglas. But so much of the Falcons offense seemed to be devoted to underneath throws to Douglas and Jacquizz Rodgers, with five screens to the latter including the one for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The running game was very ineffectual, although that was because the blocking was poor up front as nobody really got any push against the Bucs front. Lavonte David was a force against the run, and accounted for both of Peter Konz’s missed blocks in the first quarter.

I noticed the Falcons barely used Levine Toilolo throughout the game, and he got no snaps in the red zone. That was very disappointing given how effective he’s been there the past three games. I’m not sure there’s a good reason why Brian Robiskie and Drew Davis are getting snaps in the red zone, and Toilolo is not.

I know I sound negative, but truthfully the Falcons did what they needed to do, nothing more. The backup receivers in Darius Johnson and Davis, each made nice plays, but considering how many snaps they got, the fact that they really only had 2 catches isn’t very promising. Considering the low expectations however, I can’t complain too much. I’ll just say that I’m very much looking forward to the day that Roddy White is back in the lineup.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
ST
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$13$0$0$0$0-$1$12.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$9$1$0$0$12.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$9$0$0-$1$8.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Jason Snelling$0$3$0$0$0$0$3.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Jeremy Trueblood$0$0$0$2$0-$1$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Drew Davis$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Darius Johnson$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Antone Smith$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Lamar Holmes$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Peter Konz$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00

Read more…

Moneyball 2013 – Week 5 Review

October 16th, 2013 Comments off

Sorry for this being over a week late as I just got busy with the day job and an epidemic of procrastination. To be honest, much of this game has faded from my memory at least in terms of specific instances and plays that I would normally point out. And rightly so, considering this was probably the most disappointing loss of the season for the Falcons.

In their second “must-win” game the Falcons failed to pull out the victory. And this game was worse because the Falcons had been thoroughly outplayed for much of the game, but turned it on at the end to seemingly steal the win. That is your typical Mike Smith-led Falcons team, that manage to win these types of ball games even when they aren’t the better team on that particularly Sunday. But then the defense had a major letdown (more on that later) and the Falcons had another loss on their hands.

Offensively, I don’t think the Falcons were bad by any means. They were able to convert in the red zone, a stark change from previous games. But it is concerning how many plays the Falcons had to run in several of those instances to get points. Their first red zone trip had a total of six plays inside the 20, their second had nine, and the final one had eight. An offense that is clicking should be able to score within three or four plays inside the red zone, as the Falcons did on two of their red zone trips. But the Falcons seemed to inch along inside the red zone, and got help with penalties on the Jets that helped keep them rolling. While the end result may look positive as far as the Falcons red zone woes, what you actually saw on the field is by no means promising.

At least as far as the red zone goes, I really wanted to see the Falcons try some fade patterns. I know the Jets were bracketing Julio Jones with safety help, and doubling Tony Gonzalez at times, but I still believe if Koetter had been more creative with how he lined guys up, there were plenty of instances where he could have gotten either player one on one in a favorable matchup. I did like the fact that the Falcons now seem to be regularly employing Levine Toilolo in the red zone, with three straight games where he has seen a target in the end zone. Obviously now, the Falcons don’t have Jones anymore. But I’m thinking in terms of trying to avoid these long, drawn out red zone trips, the Falcons should just go for the fade to Gonzalez (and now Toilolo instead of Jones) on first down. Gonzalez is money in traffic, and Toilolo with his size and athleticism is going to out-jump any defender in the league. And you should be confident that Matt Ryan has the touch to throw a catchable pass in the end zone, so I would like to see the Falcons going straight for the throat in these instances rather than plodding along in the red zone.

I thought the Falcons did a nice job trying to stay balanced, even though their running game wasn’t overly effective. That was mainly because the interior of the Falcons offensive line got pushed around by the likes of players like Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Kenrick Ellis, and Damon Harrison in the middle. Joe Hawley, serving as the extra tackle was credited with the missed block on the goal line run by Rodgers at the end of the first half. A positive is that the Falcons pass rush held up okay relative to some recent performances with two sacks, 1 pressure, and 5 hurries allowed on 47 dropbacks.

While the Falcons got no contribution from Harry Douglas in the passing game, Kevin Cone made a key catch to extend a drive. And both he and Davis also contributed as blockers on Rodgers’ 19-yard touchdown run.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
ST
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$19$0$0$0$0-$2$17.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$9$0$0$0$0$9.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$7$1$0$0$8.00
Jason Snelling$0$2$4$0$0$0$6.00
Julio Jones$0$0$5$0$0-$1$4.00
Levine Toilolo$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Kevin Cone$0$0$1$1$0$0$2.00
Lamar Holmes$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Drew Davis$0$0$0$1$1$0$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Patrick DiMarco$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Antone Smith$0$1$0$0$0$0$1.00
Roddy White$0$0$2$0$0-$2$0.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Jeremy Trueblood$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Peter Konz$0$0$0-$1$0-$1-$2.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00

Defensively, the Falcons struggled in this game. Obviously they gave up the scoring drive at the very end that lost the game for the team. The Jets really had no issues moving the ball the 55 yards necessarily to get into field goal range for the game-winning kick. Massaquoi had his lone pressure on Geno Smith on that drive, but didn’t have what it takes to finish the play. That has been a problem with Massaquoi all year. He has a decent first step, but doesn’t play with great balance to keep his feet and finish plays, constantly stumbling when he gets off the block. The pass rush in general was very lackluster. While they were able to dial up a bit more pressure in the second half, thanks to blitzing, the lack of pressure in the first half was key to the Jets getting out to their early lead. Smith had all time to throw, and the Falcons back-seven paid for it. Joplo Bartu had a tough day, looking overmatched by Jeff Cumberland in coverage too many times and missed a few too many tackles. He also got credited with blowing the coverage on the Kellen Winslow touchdown catch, as I think he was sucked up by the run action (Smith scrambling) and blew his assignment, which allowed Winslow to sneak to the back of the end zone.

The run defense started strong, as the Jets were successful on only 1 of their 8 running back runs in the first half. But they managed to be successful on 6 of 11 in the second half. The Falcons missed a bunch of tackles in this game as well.

It’s hard to point out players that played well, although I would point to Babineaux, Worrilow, and Trufant probably being the best. But none had strong performances, which is often the case when the Falcons lose.

On special teams, Shann Schillinger missed the block that led to the blocked punt. Thomas DeCoud missed the tackle on the 36-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.

PLAYER
DEF
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Corey Peters$2$0$0$2.00
Desmond Trufant$2$0$0$2.00
Osi Umenyiora$1.5$0$0$1.50
Jonathan Babineaux$1$0$0$1.00
Jonathan Massaquoi$1$0$0$1.00
Paul Worrilow$1$0$0$1.00
Robert Alford$0$1$0$1.00
Stephen Nicholas$0.5$0$0$0.50
Matt Bosher$0$2-$2$0.00
Asante Samuel$0$0$0$0.00
Thomas DeCoud-$1$0$0-$1.00
Omar Gaither-$1$0$0-$1.00
Robert McClain-$1$0$0-$1.00
William Moore-$1$0$0-$1.00
Joplo Bartu-$6$0$0-$6.00

Advanced Stats from Week 5:

Poor Throws (4): Ryan
Drops (1): Jones
Key Blocks (5): Blalock, Cone, Davis, Gonzalez, Reynolds
Sacks Allowed (2): Reynolds, Trueblood
Pressures Allowed (1): Konz (0.5), Rodgers (0.5)
Hurries Allowed (5): Holmes (2), Konz (1), Snelling (1), Trueblood (1)
Missed Blocks (8): Reynolds (3), Blalock (2), Konz (2), Hawley (1)

Tackles for Loss (1): Bartu
QB Sacks (3): Umenyiora (2), Peters (1)
QB Pressures (2): Babineaux, Massaquoi
QB Hits (1): DeCoud
QB Hurries (0)
Passes Defended (2): Peters, Trufant
Blown Coverages (5): Bartu (3), DeCoud (1), Trufant (1)
Missed Tackles (8): Bartu (2), Babineaux (1), DeCoud (1), McClain (1), Moore (1), Worrilow (1), Umenyiora (1)
Key Blocked (2): Gaither, Worrilow
Stops (6): Worrilow (2), Babineaux (1), McClain (1), Trufant (1), Nicholas (0.5), Umenyiora (0.5)

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 42 “The Mayans Were Wrong”

October 12th, 2013 Comments off

Allen and I are back and more sullen than ever as they recap the Atlanta Falcons Monday Night Football loss to the New York Jets. Things we discuss: How the Falcons defense made Geno Smith look extremely poised; The offensive line’s struggles and problems that will likely continue the rest of the season; Matt Ryan and Jacquizz Rodgers being two of few bright spots on offense; Concerns over the defense and special teams; Whether Levine Toilolo is the only hope among the Falcons non-star receivers; Whether Robert McClain has played well enough to keep his job; Red Zone Efficiency; I apologize to Osi Umenyiora… Finally we discuss the impact of Julio Jones’ injury and whether trading for a player such as Josh Gordon would be a good move; Trading Tony; How the Falcons can turn their season around; Corey Peters and whether he’s earned a new contract; What happened to Stephen Nicholas?; and finish up with some around the league stuff, where I find a way to call out Drew Davis.

Ep. 42: The Mayans Were Wrong [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 41 “Anonymous Osi”

October 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Allen and I are back with guest star Tom Melton to discuss the Falcons Week 4 loss to the New England Patriots. The questions we wish to answer this week are: 1) Are the Falcons approaching must-win territory in the coming weeks? 2) Will the Falcons youth movement in the wake of injuries is going to cost them this year? 3) Do the Falcons have enough balance on offense and can they turn things around in the red zone? 4) Just how awesome is Tony Gonzalez really? 5) How effective is the Falcons pass rush and whether the Osi Umenyiora signing is working out? 6) Was Mike Smith’s gutsy 4th down call the right move? 7) Did Mike Nolan’s scheme cost the Falcons the game? … We give our thoughts on the upcoming matchup against the New York Jets, as well as assess the play of the offensive line, receivers, young tight ends, and also look around the league at Josh Freeman’s situation in Tampa Bay.

Ep. 41: Anonymous Osi [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Tom Melton can be found on twitter: @TMeltonScouting, and also writes for his own draft blog and contributes to Draft Headquarters.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Moneyball 2013 – First Quarter Stats

October 2nd, 2013 Comments off

As usual, I post the stats for Falcons players based off my Moneyball reviews. If you’re unfamiliar with the rules that I am using to review games, you can click this thread in the forums to learn more. If you need a glossary to understand what the abbreviations in this table are, you can click here.

Here are the cumulative stats for the first four weeks:

PASSING
1stD
3rdC
20+
40+
TD
PT
INT
Skd
TOTALS
Matt Ryan351412481431$67.00
RUSHING
5+
10+
1stD
3rdC
YAC(5+)
TD
MH
TOTALS
Jacquizz Rodgers10151201$19.00
Jason Snelling6220010$14.00
Steven Jackson2110200$7.00
Matt Ryan0100000$2.00
Julio Jones0010000$1.00
RECEIVING
1stD
3rdC
20+
40+
RAC(10+)
TD
Drop
TOTALS
Julio Jones10352722$31.00
Tony Gonzalez9430230$24.00
Harry Douglas5322401$17.00
Jason Snelling1220312$8.00
Jacquizz Rodgers3000400$7.00
Steven Jackson2000311$6.00
Bradie Ewing2000200$4.00
Roddy White3200002$3.00
Levine Toilolo0000011$1.00

Read more…

Categories: Features Tags: , ,

Moneyball 2013 – Week 4 Review

October 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Atlanta’s inability to score in the red zone really cost them this game. Only once did they score a touchdown in six trips inside the red zone, settling for a trio of field goals and two missed throws on fourth down. Typically the best offenses will score touchdowns on about two-thirds of their red zone trips, while a good one on half. Meaning that with six red zone trips, the Falcons should have scored three or four touchdowns. And presumably will kick field goals on the remaining. That means that the Falcons should have scored at least 30 points on their six red zone trips (3 touchdowns + 3 field goals). Instead, they wound up with just 16 points. And now it should be fairly obvious how that affected the outcome of the game.

The Falcons played relatively well down the stretch, and I give them credit for not quitting on this game when I certainly did. Once Blount scored that touchdown, I knew then that the Falcons were going to lose. Frankly, once they gave up that big completion on the preceding play on 3rd-and-19, I knew they were going to lose. Those two consecutive plays made it clear that it wasn’t their night. But they clawed their way back into it, and almost made an improbable comeback. It would have been among the biggest chokes we could or would have seen in a long time, and from the Patriots it just would have been unheard of. As far as finishing games, no team really has been better over the past several years than Belichick’s Patriots.

I criticized Matt Ryan last week for some mistakes he made in the red zone and I’ll do the same this week. Because I’ve heard it said multiple times from other quarterbacks, and I tend to believe it, the responsibility of scoring in the red zone falls on the shoulders of the quarterback. However, I will say this about Dirk Koetter in that the offense was far too one-dimensional on the entire night, but especially in the red zone. The Falcons had only one called run in the red zone on 17 total plays from scrimmage. Seven of those passes came in the first half, so the Falcons cannot completely blame that they were throwing to catch up or stop the clock at the end.

But when I look at the five red zone trips that ended in failure and look at nine key plays that were critical as to why they ended in failure, Ryan’s name pops up in being at fault on six of them. Most of them are instances where Ryan is making difficult throws that don’t connect. So it’s hard to definitively say that Ryan is messing up because the degree of difficulty on many of the throws is fairly high, but this is why we put so much on the quarterback because at the end of the day it’s his ultimate responsibility that these plays are made. Other instances include Ryan taking a sack, or Ryan looking for the touchdown where it may have been smarter to check it down, or others where Reynolds missed a block on the lone run play called, or drops by Roddy or Toilolo.

There is no blame per se as to who’s fault it is that the Falcons aren’t getting the job done in the red zone. But all parties: Ryan, Koetter, the receivers, backs, and offensive line have to play better particularly in the red zone if the Falcons are going to start turning these close losses into wins.

As for the rest of the offense, Tony Gonzalez was excellent and made plays throughout the night despite drawing double teams. And on that note, I think not having a healthy Roddy White really impacts the offense negatively to take advantage of all the double teams that Gonzalez and Julio are drawing. This is where the problem of the Falcons not having a good fourth option after the Big Three comes to bite them. Ryan isn’t even looking at Douglas or Davis and an injured Roddy half the time. Ryan doesn’t have another option that he trusts, because an injured Roddy really isn’t that much more effective than Douglas. But at least in the case of Douglas, he made several plays late and thus I can’t be too critical. But if the Falcons had an actual fourth receiver that was good instead of Davis, they could actually sit Roddy and allow him to get healthy over the past month rather than relying on him to limp along at 70 or 80-percent.

Up front, Trueblood struggled against Rob Ninkovich, who tallied four hurries against him. He just looked stiff and really struggled to adjust in space, and it also shows in his run blocking. Reynolds also did not have a great game as Tommy Kelly gave him some problems with a pair of hurries. But he did a pretty nice job run blocking on the limited opportunities he had on the night, minus that lone mistake in the red zone. Holmes held up pretty well once he came into the game in the second quarter, so I have to give credit where credit is due. He did get beat once by Michael Buchanan on a speed rush where he did a poor job punching, but for the most part handled Chandler Jones and his side of the line well. Blalock gets credit for a good game as he really made no mistakes.

I also have to give credit to Aqib Talib. He basically shut down Vincent Jackson last week, and shut down Julio Jones for most of this game. Talib’s play these past two weeks probably made him a ton of money next off-season as he took two of the most difficult matchups in the league out of their respective teams’ game plans.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
ST
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$19$0$0$0$0$0$19.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$13$0$0$0$13.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$4$4$0$0$0$8.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$6$0$0$0$6.00
Julio Jones$0$0$6$0$0$0$6.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Lamar Holmes$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Jeremy Trueblood$0$0$0$1.5$0$0$1.50
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Jason Snelling$0$3-$2$0$0$0$1.00
Roddy White$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$0.5$0$0$0.50
Peter Konz$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Levine Toilolo$0$0-$1$0$0$0-$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$0$0-$3-$3.00

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Inside the Game: Week 3 at Miami Dolphins

September 28th, 2013 Comments off

This game was literally a case of snatching defeat away from the jaws of victory.  The coaches came out this week and said that execution is the problem right now and I have to agree.  Pass and run blocking hasn’t been consistent, defensive assignments and techniques have been poor or missed at times and Matt Ryan had a few missed opportunities in this game (which is rare and hard to blame given the unpredictable pass blocking).  Fans have been quick to say that the coaches fail to adjust at halftime and that causes a lull in the 3rd quarter.  It’s simply not true.  Adjustments are made but they are subtle.  In this game alone there were a few offensive formations used that were not used in the first half (one in particular I think may be helpful in the future) and  Worrilow was  used in the place of Dent in the nickel packages that were pure pass situations.  Also, press man coverage was called for and worked some but also wasn’t executed very well at times and by that I mean not disrupting the receiver’s route at the line.  Other problems are that while the Falcons got five sacks there were calls made that were not going to end well unless the blitz worked.  Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t.  In this week’s review, I’ll continue with the same play by play breakdown and highlight the plays referenced above.

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