Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
|Otto Greule / Getty Images|
For the last 3 years the Falcons’ offense looked virtually the same, except for a lot of window dressing which created a bit of confusion for the teams that weren’t very good. They ran the ball on a consistent basis and that was the backbone of this offense; the Falcons go as Michael Turner goes. On several occasions, Atlanta put out 4 and 5 receiver sets and the ball was thrown to the same 2 guys: Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. I think they are becoming too predictable and their offensive scheme doesn’t pose problems to opposing teams. The Falcons were successful this year because: they were the least penalized team in the league – they are disciplined, they were in the top 3 on 3rd down conversions, they didn’t turn the ball over and they are well coached. Their success is not related to their talent level as much as their effort and work ethic. The Falcons have a long way to go in the personnel department and I am sure Thomas Dimitroff is working on that very thing. Because of the players available, the coaches have to create a game plan that plays to the strengths of those players and conceals the weaknesses of the team. Coach Smith wants to run the ball, control the clock and keep the defense on the side lines because he knows what personnel he is working with. They were exposed in the last game with Green Bay and it became very clear why some of the strategies we saw during the season were in place. In this coming Draft the Falcons have a lot of needs to fill and if they want to be successful next year the organization has to be active in free agency. If Atlanta wants to be successful next year, needs Mike Mularkey to open up the back half of the playbook and mix it up a little. It all leads back to the O-line needs and we can talk all we want about changes, but until the right personnel is in place the coaches can’t do anything. They can’t change who they are on offense until the defense is fixed. If the Falcons want post-season success in the next year or two, they need to be aggressive in free agency and hit big on their first 3 selections in the Draft. The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl and bring to Atlanta the Lombardi trophy; the window of opportunity for this team started to open and they have to move diligently in creating that Super Bowl contender. Success in this league is hard to achieve, but to sustain that success year in and year out is incredibly difficult, just ask the Saints and the last few Super Bowl winning teams. The Falcons are on the right track and I am sure if they persevere with consistency and effort they will succeed.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
|Bill Musgrave, Matt Ryan / Getty Images|
It is January and the coaching carousel is in full swing. Multiple sources are reporting that Bill Musgrave, the Falcons assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach, is scheduled to interview with the Browns and the Vikings for the Offensive Coordinator position. The Rams have also asked permission to talk to Musgrave about their OC opening. I look at this news and I wonder if he will leave if offered the job in Cleveland, Minnesota or St. Louis; it will be a small step up the ladder and maybe an increase in pay but my question would be: Is it worth it? You would be going from a franchise that is on its way up, a franchise with a stable foundation that has a bright future to a rebuilding program. In order to succeed in the NFL you need a good QB and a good supporting cast. When I look at Cleveland and Minnesota I don’t see a QB that can help them be a contender next year or in the future. You would say the Rams have a good young QB and I wouldn’t disagree with you, but are you willing to go to a program where you will have growing pains and help a 2nd year QB grow? or will you stay in Atlanta and rip the benefits of the growing pains you endured the last 3 years? These are questions only Bill Musgrave can answer. If I were to guess, I would say he either stays in Atlanta or he takes the Rams job if offered. I do not think the other two jobs are very appealing. If the money is the biggest issue I am sure Mr. Blank will take care of him so he can stay with the Falcons and keep the staff intact.
|GA Dome / Jimmy Cribb|
Before I start talking about the defense I need to get something of my chest: I am sick and tired of listening to clueless Atlanta fans calling the local sports talk radio programs and whining about their hearts being broken by the Falcons. They had such high hopes for this team, they saw them in the Super Bowl, this team was ready to break through, and so on and so on……COME ON MAN!!!!! For goodness sake people! Please put down the Pom Poms, take a step back, look at what’s in front of you and then if you still feel that way open your mouth and talk. The first time the Falcons played the Packers the Falcons played a very very good game (Matt Ryan was great – only had 4 or 5 incompletions and zero interceptions, Michael Turner played great – he had 110 rushing yards, the Defense was better than last Saturday), the Packers didn’t have a great game and with all that said Atlanta escaped with a victory courtesy of a last minute field goal. I am a football fan first and a Falcons’ fan second and I knew it would take a special effort by the Falcons coupled with some mistakes by Green Bay in order for Atlanta to move on to the NFC Championship. Now that I unloaded that burden, let’s take a look at the Defense and see where we need to improve so we won’t get bounced in the first round next year.
n The Falcons need to upgrade the D-line, especially the DE position. The Predator #55 is getting long in the tooth and when teams game plan for him the Falcons don’t seem to get much pressure on the QB with just a 4 man front. Atlanta better find an impact player at the DE position in the Draft or through free agency or next year it will be more of the same. I am sure JA #55 can play a couple more years and be productive if he has a limited snap count and he is always fresh. During that time, he can mentor the young DEs we have on the roster and teach them the tricks of the trade.
n As far as the line backers go we have to be a little patient and see what we have in Sean Weatherspoon next year and go forward from there. I understand this position needs to be upgraded as well (LB) but there are more pressing needs in the Secondary.
n Atlanta tried to improve the Secondary by bringing in Daunta Robinson from the Texans and yes he is an upgrade over Chris Houston but for the money he makes he should be an impact player on the defense. I don’t know if it’s all that time he missed in training camp or because it’s his first year in this system but he is not producing the way the fans and I am pretty sure the management expected. He only had one interception the whole season and that came in garbage time, the last game of the regular season with the Panthers. On the other side we have Brent Grimes, the best athlete on the team, who plays much bigger than his size. If he were at least 6 feet tall he would be one of the best cover corners in the league. Christopher Owens -- poor him; he was hugging the Green Bay receivers in the End Zone repeatedly, in one instance even when the safety was not more than 5 feet away from him. As Deion Sander says: “Know your coverage!” The Falcons need to bring in an impact corner and then some; it’s a pass happy league nowadays and you need to be able to match well with the 4 and 5 receiver looks. I know Thomas Dimitroff likes to build through the Draft but in this case he might want to take a closer look at Nnamdi Asomugha and see if he can bring him to Atlanta. The safety positions are by no means rock solid but like I said with the LBs, we need to have a little patience and hope William Moore will come into his own because he has shown some flashes from time to time.I would love to hear your opinions on the matter and as we get closer to the Draft we will look at players that could fit the system and improve the team.