Gruden said "You almost can't win in this league with 7 rookies starting and he's right.
Meanwhile the Patriots have been starting 5-6 rookies every game for the past month. And they just beat Baltimore, a potential playoff team on the road by 34 points with 5 rookie starters. Am I to believe there is some magic threshold around plus/minus 6 rookies that explains the Patriots play and the Falcons play?
Look at the Patriots they've had significant injuries to Gronkowski, Amendola, Vollmer, Wilfork, Mayo, Tommy Kelly, Talib, etc. yet players/rookies like Sealver Silogi, Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Michael Buchanan, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Josh Bouce, Josh Kline, Aaron Dobson, and Kenbrell Thompkins have stepped in with varying results, and yet the Patriots always seem to keep their head above water.
So, in your world view it is play calling and team philosophy? Not a team that can't run (they couldn't run last year), can't stop the run (49ers ran over our D like they were the Auburn Tigers and stuck a fork in us yesterday in SF) and cannot stretch the field because--generally speaking--the OL cannot hold point and WRs don't have speed to get deep? The flat world view is that it is all because of one thing when in reality--as with almost all failures in sport or life--it is a collection of things. Lies, damn lies and statistics....freakonomics. Pudge, you are no more right than anyone else.
In the past I used to say its unfair to compare Smitty to Belichick because he wasn't as good and its like the same unfair comparison of Ryan/Brees. But now I think its fair. No, I don't think Smitty should be expected to have this Falcon team 11-4 and in the drivers seat for a 1 or 2 seed. But why can't this Falcon team be half as good? Why are the Pats Top 5 while Falcons are Bottom 5? If Smitty is good and in same area code as Belichick, then shouldn't we be middle of the pack?
Thats the issue, nobody can explain to me why this team has looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL and how that isn't a reflection on the coaching.
But the response is always the injuries. But then other teams like the Pats among others have been worse off in terms of injuries and hardly miss a beat.
Then it's too many rookies. Again like there aren't other teams calling on a half dozen rookies and not getting by.
Then its the "terrible" OL. Well the OL isn't terrible. Thats what I keep arguing. Look at these stats and explain to me why/how our OL is terrible:http://wp.advancednflstats.com/teamOL.php
But when you can't, it's some response like "the stats don't matter, I know a bad OL when I see it." And my response is clearly you don't because you'd recognize that this year's OL and last year's aren't that different so the idea that it's impossible to win with is BS. It'd also be ignoring the half-dozen or more teams with weaker OLs that are doing better.
Then it's a combination of all 3 and other factors that make it impossible to win. OK fine, but you're still missing the point. It's not the winning/losing that concerns me. It's how we win and how we lose that is my issue. If we were a well-coached team, then every game would be like last night's or the games in the first 5 weeks where a loss came because 1 or 2 plays didn't break our way. Not the blowouts we suffered vs. Arizona, TB, Seattle, where we might as well not even shown up. Or the wins like we had vs. Wash, where we are +5 turnovers but still get outplayed at home by a backup QB.
What's the solution? Fire Smitty and all is well?
And don't try and pigeon hole me. There hasn't been a single instance where I've said we should fire Mike Smith. What I have said is that I believe this team may
have peaked under Smitty and maybe
the only way to combat the complacency this organization
is mired in is by cleaning house in order to "shock the system."
Should the falcons clean house? I don't know. Maybe. I need to see this team start to recognize the real primary problems, which isn't the OL play but the conservative nature of the offense and poor defensive play. Those 2 issues are the primary reasons why this team isn't and hasn't been a real championships caliber contender.
The frustration with this season stems from the realization that while a couple of good draft picks could solve a lot of their defensive issues, it will likely take a dramatic sea change to solve the offensive issues. If you think the Falcons offensive woes stem from a bad OL, then you are deluding yourself. It's a philosophical issue, and IMO if that philosophy didn't change this year, then it's likely it never will.