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 Post subject: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:59 pm 
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More than just a giddy ride, the Falcons’ 2008 ascent from oblivion constituted a watershed: A franchise that had gotten a zillion things wrong got three major things right. In one offseason, the Falcons had found the right general manager, the right coach and the right quarterback. Could world domination be far behind?

Here it is 2012, and we’ve seen the Falcons fashion four consecutive winning seasons — this from an operation that had never known two in a row — and three playoff appearances. But there has been no Super Bowl surge, not even a postseason victory. And now we ask the chilling question: What if Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and Matt Ryan weren’t the right guys after all?

Touting Thomas: The GM had a bravura beginning, landing Michael Turner in free agency and drafting a starting quarterback (Ryan), a starting left tackle (Sam Baker) and a starting middle linebacker (Curtis Lofton). Also included in that first class: Harry Douglas, the slot receiver; Kroy Biermann, who has started at defensive end, and Thomas DeCoud, now the free safety. In 2009 Dimitroff landed the All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez in a pre-draft deal. In 2010 he snagged linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who’s a rising star, with the 19th overall pick, and in 2011 he traded up 21 spots to land Julio Jones, who’ll be an All-Pro soon, in the draft.

Doubting Thomas: Baker’s effectiveness has waned, and defensive lineman Peria Jerry, taken in Round 1 in 2009, got hurt and has done nothing. The big free-agent signings of 2010 and 2011 — cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end Ray Edwards — haven’t yet panned out. Of the nine Falcons named to Pro Bowl rosters over the past four seasons, only three were Dimitroff acquisitions. The defense, which ranked 24th in the 32-team NFL in 2008 and was summarily gutted, still hasn’t cracked the top 10 (it was 12th last season); the offense, which ranked sixth in 2008, has since finished 16th, 16th and 10th.

Touting Smitty: This coach has won 67.2 percent of his regular-season games, which trumps the winning percentages of Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy. Only in 2009 did Smith’s Falcons lose consecutive games, and not once over four seasons have they lost three in a row. He’s the only coach in Falcons history to post four winning seasons. (Leeman Bennett had three, Dan Reeves two.) Over those four seasons, the Falcons are 34-7 against teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs, which means that in an any-given-Sunday league they’re not given to lapses.

Doubting Smitty: He’s 0-3 in postseason games, and each time the Falcons entered with the better record. Over four regular seasons, Smith’s teams are 9-14 against eventual playoff qualifiers, which means they aren’t nearly as impressive when matched against teams of comparable worth. He’s 2-6 against New Orleans.

Touting Matty Ice: Ryan and Steve Bartkowski are the only quarterbacks to lead the Falcons to the playoffs three times. Over four seasons Ryan has thrown for 14,238 yards with 95 touchdown passes against 46 interceptions. He has presided over 11 fourth-quarter comebacks and led 16 game-winning drives, which beats Aaron Rodgers’ output (three and six) and is comparable to Drew Brees’ (12 and 17) over the past four years.

Doubting Matty Ice: He hasn’t finished higher than eighth in NFL in passer rating, and in yards per attempt – a key indicator — he ranked higher as a rookie (fifth) than as a fourth-year pro (15th). He made six turnovers in his first two playoff losses and couldn’t lead a scoring drive in the third. The Falcons are 3-12 in regular-season games when Ryan throws 40 or more passes, and he hasn’t had even a 200-yard game in the playoffs.

Conclusions (mine, anyway): I remain impressed with Dimitroff – the five-picks-for-Julio draft deal was a big risk that will yield a bigger reward — and see no reason why a coach capable of winning in the regular season won’t find playoff success. But Smith seemed stuck last season between his GM’s desire for a more “explosive” offense and coordinator Mike Mularkey’s more plodding scheme.

It’s the belief here that Mularkey, who left to become Jacksonville’s head coach, drummed the daring out of Ryan, and a championship quarterback cannot be timid. The hires of Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator and Pat Hill as line coach — each of whom should better fit Dimitroff’s vision of “urgency” — offer the chance for a needed offensive reboot.

Dimitroff, Smith and Ryan have done great work to lift the Falcons to a place where it’s possible to be disappointed in a playoff season, and they remain bright and driven men. But the job isn’t finished, and it wouldn’t be wise to let Arthur Blank begin to wonder, as infamously happened with another Falcons owner, if his beloved club has reached a plateau.


http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/ ... e-falcons/

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:56 pm 
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IMO 4 years is just not enough time to turn where we were; to what we want to become!!

I think its hard to plateau in 4 years when it took 2 of those years to break the non back to back winning season's; (think about that
40+ years and never two winning season's in a row)

Now not many rookies put up the numbers Julio put up as a rookie. If we paid too much then we'll have to live with it.
From what I can tell we're a lot better off with our new Coordinators which most don't seem to realize puts 4 new eyes on this
football team; and Mike Smith was so conservative when he had the great Michael Turner, but weather we cut him or not, he's not what he
was; and certainly won't be getting as many carries...

I mean if Thomas D. or Smith had been here 7-9 years then perhaps they'd might have plateaued, but 4 years its rediculas to
even ask that question!! Both Thomas D. & Smith started here with no experience at their new positions; and fans have been very reluctant
to cut either any slack after 4 short years!!

Blank tried to do better with 3 coaches in 7 years and we all know how that worked out!!

When Leaman Bennett was thought to not be carrying us as far as we wanted; when he was fired we won about 20 games the next three or 4 years!!

I think Thomas D is the right guy, I think Mike Smith is the right guy; and I hope Matt Ryan is the right Qb!!

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:03 am 
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Cyril wrote:
When Leaman Bennett was thought to not be carrying us as far as we wanted; when he was fired we won about 20 games the next three or 4 years!!
I think that was also Bradley's point. Like us, he was around way back when to see Bennett fired for an alledged plateau.


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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:21 pm 
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It's not about reaching the destination Cyril, it's about progress. And the Falcons have now lost three straight times int he playoffs to teams with weaker records than them, and each loss has become progressively more embarrassing.

You seem to be of this mindset that everybody that criticizes Mike Smith or Thomas Dimitroff wants them to be fired or taking them to task for not winning a Super Bowl at this point, and I know certainly in my case, and most of the others I have read, it has nothing to do with those things.

Is there a reason why this team has fallen flat on its face in the postseason, and are the actions/decisions/etc. of Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff contributing to that? I've never said that I think either should be fired. But I think Mike Smith has been outcoached all 3 times he's been in the playoffs. And I think if he continues to maintain the status quo and doesn't make reach changes to his philosophies and approaches to the game and this team, that number is only going to grow.

I think TD is a good GM, but I think the job he's done the past 2 or so years is really not much better than what I think your average GM could/would do. And I think he too has to step his game up. And I think a lot of it is complacency, because he has a lot of confidence in the team he's already built because of the past laurels and is less willing to challenge the status quo because of it.

And I really think the lockout hurt this team much more than many, and I think we'll be feeling the ramifications of that going forward.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:48 am 
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Well each team that beat them went on to the Super Bowl.

Yes I do feel that many would just as much have Mike Smith go, and try someone else..... This always comes as our franchise gets better and if they get their wish, the Falcons lose; and the guys who wanted change; then just change to another team.

I mean their are some people who really expect a Super Bowl in 4 years!!

Yes you want to see progress, but with 10 win season's the progress is going to happen in the playoffs. Its when we need our Qb
at his best and we've never gotten that out of Ryan in a playoff game. And plenty of others poor play.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:39 am 
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Cyril wrote:
Well each team that beat them went on to the Super Bowl.

Man, I hate when people say this like it means anything. The Ravens have lost to the last 4 AFC champs too, but unlike the Falcons they have been competitive in their past two, losing to the Steelers because of a 60-yard pass with 2 minutes in the game in 2010, and being right there in the final seconds against the Patriots. The Ravens can look at those two losses and feel like they are on the doorstep.

The Falcons were marginally competitive against the Giants, got blown out by the Packers, and got punked by the Cardinals, which only looks decent in retrospect relative to the other two losses.

Cyril wrote:
Yes I do feel that many would just as much have Mike Smith go, and try someone else.....

Just because you feel it doesn't make it true. And I can't speak for the entire fanbase or other message boards, but I've never seen/heard anybody call for Mike Smith's head on this forum. Some folks have been more outspoken than others that Smith is potentially on a hot seat this year, and are in ultimatum mode, but I don't think anybody is at the point where they believe that Mike Smith isn't this team's best chance going forward.

I'm not going to try and get into another QB vs. coach discussion here. You clearly think the brunt of the Falcons problem rests at Matt Ryan's feet, while I think it starts with Mike SMith and has a trickle-down effect to the rest of the team. Doesn't mean that Mike Smith should go, but IMHO he's holding this team back just as much as any other area of this roster. Again, the status quo is not good enough. If the Falcons think 1 or 2 playmakers added to that 2010 team was all that it was going to take to get over the hump, then the problem this faces has little to do with the players, but more to do with the people on the sidelines and/or front office.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:09 am 
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Pudge wrote:
The Falcons were marginally competitive against the Giants, got blown out by the Packers, and got punked by the Cardinals, which only looks decent in retrospect relative to the other two losses..

:roll: good grief.

where to even start? The Cardinal playoff game was marginally 'competitive'. The Giants game? When you only score 2 points on a safety, that's not even close to 'competitive'. :snooty: Even the Packers home playoff loss was more 'competitive' then the Giants blowout. :doh:

I get your point, but I cannot look at that Giant Fiasco ( tm) and think anything else then complete and utter domination. Yeah,. our D kept us in the game for a half, but the rules say you have to play for 4 qtrs. :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:40 am 
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I say marginally competitive because the Falcons were in that game until about midway through the second quarter, which was right about the time when Brandon Jacobs broke that long run to put the Giants in scoring position to take the 7-2 lead. It looked like a very winnable game up until that point, which means it was competitive for a bit. Despite my desire to do so because of the final score, I can't completely dismiss that the Falcons looked like the better team for roughly the first 16 or 17 minutes of that game.

The Packers game played out almost identically, the difference being the Falcons scored points in that game, and did not vs. the Giants.

Again, the Cardinals game looks good in retrospect because they were at least in the thick of it until the final drive. But similarly to the Texans game from this past year, while the score was close, the Falcons were clearly outclassed on the field, and my recollection is that the Cardinals clearly controlled that game for about 80% of that game.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:26 am 
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Quote:
Cyril wrote:
Well each team that beat them went on to the Super Bowl.

Man, I hate when people say this like it means anything.


The Ravens are just a better team; but the teams that beat the Falcons did go to the Super Bowl and it does mean something....

They've been ousted by the team that went to the Super Bowl From the NFC.

Jeez if I took all your BS. and always said it meant nothing; it would be untrue..... Its BS. (:

Our difference is my BS. is just put right out there; and yours takes forever to realize their's no conclusion; it just keeps coming (:

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:09 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I say marginally competitive because the Falcons were in that game until about midway through the second quarter, which was right about the time when Brandon Jacobs broke that long run to put the Giants in scoring position to take the 7-2 lead. It looked like a very winnable game up until that point, which means it was competitive for a bit. Despite my desire to do so because of the final score, I can't completely dismiss that the Falcons looked like the better team for roughly the first 16 or 17 minutes of that game.

The Packers game played out almost identically, the difference being the Falcons scored points in that game, and did not vs. the Giants.

Again, the Cardinals game looks good in retrospect because they were at least in the thick of it until the final drive. But similarly to the Texans game from this past year, while the score was close, the Falcons were clearly outclassed on the field, and my recollection is that the Cardinals clearly controlled that game for about 80% of that game.



I dont see how you can possibly say that the Falcons looked like the better team for the first 17 minutes. Semantics, my friend. the DEFENSE looked better, but not the OFFENSE. Neither franchise has scored, and our D did get a safety, but then they both mailed it in after our halftime 'adjustments'. IMO that is not close to marginally 'competitive'. If you had stated 'the defense kept us in it for a quarter and a half', I could agree with that. When you cant get 6 in garbage time with the oppsotion playing prevent, or advance far enugh to get a FG, that is in no possible way even close to being 'competitive'. It like saying a starving child is 'food insecure'. One is just a prettier way of describing a horrible event, and in the end it doesnt help the hungry kid feel any better, only the person saying it.

we were not marginally competitive, because when you factor it all in ( the d looked good for awhile, but the offense sucked all game, cant get points, and then cant stop the other team from scoring) that to me looks alot more like 'The Falcons Sucked "...YMMV.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:17 am 
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Not that it matters, but I think you're the one focusing on semanitcs, FG. The teams were in pretty much a deadlock aside form the safety for a quarter or so. That is being competitve. Clearly what should have been the turning point in the game--the safety--wound up being more of an anomaly. We were actually competitve for a half versus GB but it was kind of the other way around, i.e., the O showed up but not the D. It's a team game. If the score is close I'd think that means you are being competitve.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:01 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Not that it matters, but I think you're the one focusing on semanitcs, FG. The teams were in pretty much a deadlock aside form the safety for a quarter or so. That is being competitve. Clearly what should have been the turning point in the game--the safety--wound up being more of an anomaly. We were actually competitve for a half versus GB but it was kind of the other way around, i.e., the O showed up but not the D. It's a team game. If the score is close I'd think that means you are being competitve.



that's what I find so confusing. It may be semantics, but when I think of 'competetive' I think of 4 full qtrs of play. In a playoff game, I could minimize it to 3 qrts ( as a Falcons 'benchmark', so to say) because lots of things can go wrong in the 4th and we have seen that before.

for example, in the Arizona game, in the second qtr we scored 17 points, going into halftime up by 3. We scored 7 points in the 4th and the only score the Cardinals had was a safety. Ryan gets the ball back with 7-8 minutes left and scores to bring it to a one td game. Warner comepletes a game killing drive, we lose.

THAT was 'competitive'.

In the Packers loss, we scored three TD. One in 'garbage time'. With a full qtr left to go, and absolutely no way of winning ( the score was 42-14 at the time) Ryan managed to squeeze out another TD. No one watching had any idea of a 4th qtr game comeback..We were there. That game ended in the 3rd qtr. But, with no way of winning, Ryan DID manage to get one meaningless TD.

That's 'marginally competitive'.

Now, to get shut out in the fashion we did, I just cant even see that as 'marginal'. NO matter if the D kept us in the game for 3 qtrs, being unable to put points on the board in garbage time, that to me is the ultimate example of not being competitive. Let me expound: lets say that our Defense had held Eli to 3 points with a couple minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Then the bottom falls out, and they put 3 on the board quickly. ( a fumble, a pick six and a drive). If the offense doesnt score, we end up losing with only 2 points on the board, THEN I could say the team was 'marginally competitive'.

But as 'good' as our defense played, they checked out before the half. When it became apparent Ryan was having a bad day, they picked up on it and the game was over. It may be semantics, but when I look at the Giants Fiasco (tm) and I also look at the other 2 losses, for me it puts it in perspective. It's just my opinion, but that not marginally competitive. Thats just gets filed under 'sucks' :beef:

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Fun gus, you're letting what happened in the final 43 minutes of the game color what you perceived happened in the first 17. The Giants offense looked just as if not more inept than ours did that entire game for the first 17 minutes. Again, that's why I say we were marginally competitive, because there was a point in that game where the game was close and it could have gone either way. The momentum was in the Falcons favor, and it looked like they were the better team for about 28% of that game.

Probably semantics as you said. A truly competitive game would be more in line with what your'e talking about where, the victor of the game is at least somewhat in doubt until the last 2-8 minutes of the fourth quarter.

But instead of focusing on my wording, you missed the point I was trying to make. Someone like Cyril, who says it means something that the teams that beat us wound up going to the Super Bowl. The implications with that are either: A) The Falcons just happened to play the best teams in the league, so their losses are excusable or B) The Falcons are closer than they appear i.e. "on the cusp."

And with the latter point, that's why I bring up the Ravens. The Ravens were within a final drive of being in the Super Bowl the past two years. They stop Antonio Brown from making that 60 yard bomb, and/or Sterling Moore doesn't break up that pass to Lee Evans, and they are probably in the Super Bowl. That's a team that is "on the cusp" not the Falcons. There is a big difference between how the Falcons played in those playoff losses, than how the Ravens played in their playoff losses.

And Point A isn't true either. Because it implies that there is some sort of destiny factor with those teams that won the Super Bowl. I don't want to get into some metaphysical discussion about whether destiny exists (I don't believe it does). But the point is that all 3 of the teams the Falcons faced were beatable. The Giants game, it looked like it for the first 17 minutes of that game. The Falcons had already beaten the Packers once at home that year. And the Cardinals had finished the season poorly going into that game. Now, I didn't pick the Falcons to beat either the Giants or Packers in their respective games, but that's not an excuse for the team to be as uncompetitive as it was. I thought they would beat the Cardinals.

None of those teams were juggernauts on the day they played the Falcons, and the fact that they wound up winning the Super Bowl doesn't make them juggernauts. And it goes back to the beef I have with the whole "Super Bowls are magic" mystique on a number of different topics. All of those games were winnable, if the Falcons had showed up and played their A game. But the fact that in 3 playoff games, we've gotten B or C-level execution and/or effort from this team, doesn't rest mostly on the shoulders of the QB like some on this forum would like to imply/portray.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
. And it goes back to the beef I have with the whole "Super Bowls are magic" mystique on a number of different topics. All of those games were winnable, if the Falcons had showed up and played their A game. But the fact that in 3 playoff games, we've gotten B or C-level execution and/or effort from this team, doesn't rest mostly on the shoulders of the QB like some on this forum would like to imply/portray.



and this, I believe, is the crux of our disagreements.

IMO, the Arizona game we saw the 'A 'game. WE also saw the 'A' game of Warner, who didnt turn the ball over three times, and had Fitzgerald to throw to. We got beat by a better team. A better QB/WR/TE combo. But for a rookie, and considering the flaming bag of crap waiting for Ryan, he gave it his all.

We didn't make the next postseason, injuries.

In the Packers playoff, we saw the 'B' game.

In the Giants Fiasco we got the 'C'-'D' game. Saved from a total 'F' game by the 28% the defense showed up.

Sense a trend here? Other QB's dont quit. Tim Tebow knew damn well he was not going to beat Brady, but dammit if he didn't keep trying.

Alex Smith does not quit. Matt Ryan has quit. He did not quit in the Packers loss, but he did in New Jersey. He quit.

To say that 'the coaching made Matt Ryan quit' or played scared, or whatever, smacks of defensiveness to me. Matt Ryan is a grown a$$ man, is going to be a 5 year vet who going to get a pantload of $$. To get back to the original intent of this thread, is the addition of 2 new coordinators going to 'turn this ship around'? I dont believe it will. Because my belief is that in order to get Matt Ryan back to where he was, we need a coach that is going to change the philosophy. To make a dramatic change ( and that is what we need now: when your franchise QB 'quits', it's drama time) we need to part ways with Turner, we need to quit these tight formations, we need to allow Ryan to use what skills he has to his best advantage.

They aren't going to do that. Instead, because they cant move Turner, he will stay. Koetter's 'bubble screens' are not going to work with Turner. This is only going to further set Ryan back. Even if Nolan can sh*t fumbles and int's, it aint gonna matter squadoo if you cant SCORE. So to me, I need to see some amazing things to convince me that Mike Smith and TD are even aware of the situation were in.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:59 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
Pudge wrote:
. And it goes back to the beef I have with the whole "Super Bowls are magic" mystique on a number of different topics. All of those games were winnable, if the Falcons had showed up and played their A game. But the fact that in 3 playoff games, we've gotten B or C-level execution and/or effort from this team, doesn't rest mostly on the shoulders of the QB like some on this forum would like to imply/portray.



and this, I believe, is the crux of our disagreements.

IMO, the Arizona game we saw the 'A 'game. WE also saw the 'A' game of Warner, who didnt turn the ball over three times, and had Fitzgerald to throw to. We got beat by a better team. A better QB/WR/TE combo. But for a rookie, and considering the flaming bag of crap waiting for Ryan, he gave it his all.

We didn't make the next postseason, injuries.

In the Packers playoff, we saw the 'B' game.

In the Giants Fiasco we got the 'C'-'D' game. Saved from a total 'F' game by the 28% the defense showed up.

Sense a trend here? Other QB's dont quit. Tim Tebow knew damn well he was not going to beat Brady, but dammit if he didn't keep trying.

Alex Smith does not quit. Matt Ryan has quit. He did not quit in the Packers loss, but he did in New Jersey. He quit.

To say that 'the coaching made Matt Ryan quit' or played scared, or whatever, smacks of defensiveness to me. Matt Ryan is a grown a$$ man, is going to be a 5 year vet who going to get a pantload of $$.

But where the disagreement lies is that you believe Matt Ryan acts independent of coaching. What you say about Matt Ryan isn't untrue per se, about him quitting against the Giants, but you say it as if he was the only one that did so. But unlike you, what I saw against the Giants was an entire team that quit, so again I can't heap most if not all of the blame at the feet of Matt Ryan. If it was just Ryan and a handful of other players that played like pussies against the Giants, then I'd be more in-tune with your viewpoint, but when I see Matt Ryan played like he did, the O-line get punked, Roddy White drop a ton of open throws, Tony Gonzalez being a no-show either by his own lack of effort or poor play-calling, the defensive line doing next to nothing outside John Abraham playing at a high level for 1 quarter, the secondary didn't do a good job in coverage/run support.

And again, I think what's happening here is that you're looking at a small portion of the game and extrapolating it for the entire game, rather than looking at the entire game in its entirety and drawing conclusions from that. In this particular instance the latter part of the game where the Falcons couldn't even score in the garbage minutes, and you're blaming Matt Ryan for that, and then that is overshadowing everything else that went wrong with this team.

The Falcons got beat in SEVERAL phases of the football game, and that to me is an indicator of poor coaching. That's not meant to be a reflection/indicator of what Mike Smith has done for 4 years, nor does it mean he needs to be fired. It's just a reflection that for the most important game of the year, Mike Smith along with a number of other players did not show up.

And that's a trickle-down effect. I cannot expect Matt Ryan to man up and carry this team when Mike Smith can't and/or doesn't give him the tools to do so (i.e. by building a gameplan around him).

fun gus wrote:
To get back to the original intent of this thread, is the addition of 2 new coordinators going to 'turn this ship around'? I dont believe it will. Because my belief is that in order to get Matt Ryan back to where he was, we need a coach that is going to change the philosophy. To make a dramatic change ( and that is what we need now: when your franchise QB 'quits', it's drama time) we need to part ways with Turner, we need to quit these tight formations, we need to allow Ryan to use what skills he has to his best advantage.

They aren't going to do that. Instead, because they cant move Turner, he will stay. Koetter's 'bubble screens' are not going to work with Turner. This is only going to further set Ryan back. Even if Nolan can sh*t fumbles and int's, it aint gonna matter squadoo if you cant SCORE. So to me, I need to see some amazing things to convince me that Mike Smith and TD are even aware of the situation were in.

Now most of those statements I am close to 100% agreement on. Thus my criticisms/beefs with Smitty and TD. I believe they are complacent. They believe that this team's formula for success in 2010 was on the money. That all they needed were 1 or 2 more playmakers, and it would get over the hump (see Ray Edwards & Julio Jones). And now it may be that they believe that changing coaches, but continuing to do what they've done but with some moderate tweaks are going to change their fortunes. And I don't believe it will.

I think the Falcons look back at 2010, and the Packers loss as uncharacteristic. A fly in the ointment, but something that you can just pick out with your fingers and flick away. I think they truly believe this team is a 13-3 team "on the cusp" of doing great things. But I don't agree with them, I think this team is a lot further away than many of my fellow fans, and the powers that be in Atlanta seem to think.

I think that's evidenced by their moves to get players like Julio Jones, their impending decision to stick with Turner along with Gonzo. I think they are desperately hoping that Koetter & Nolan recapture that 2010 "magic" when I think it is virtually uncapturable. This team needs to move on from that year, and instead of trying to travel back to the past needs to plan for the future.

And my being "defensive" towards Matt Ryan, is that these are systemic issues that I think the Falcons have to fix and have nothing to do with Matt Ryan. So this notion that the Falcons can change the QB will change these issues with the team is at best naivete, and at worst stupidity.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
And my being "defensive" towards Matt Ryan, is that these are systemic issues that I think the Falcons have to fix and have nothing to do with Matt Ryan. So this notion that the Falcons can change the QB will change these issues with the team is at best naivete, and at worst stupidity.



But it is not naive or stupid to think that by improving Ryan (which I believe still can be done) the entire team will improve as well. Like it or not, the QB is the most influencial position on the team. The team will 'live and die' as the QB goes...And while there are exceptions to every rule, that has remained as true to day as 50 years ago. Sure every now and then you will get a Dilfer, or a Tebow, etc...But in general, that rule applies.

I think you misunderstand me. Because I lay alot of the blame for the Giant Fiasco(tm) at the feet of Ryan, that doesn't 'absolve' the coaching, the other players, etc. In this respect, there is plenty of blame to go around. I've said this before, and it never really gets addressed. I've used examples of lesser QB's ( Smith,Tebow) as examples of guys who even though they had thier own team and personal 'issues', I never saw them quit. This is a very important thing. Matt Ryan quit and his team quit on him. I saw it. That bell cannot be 'unrung'. When the Packers beat our ass, even then I didn't see Ryan quit in the kind of way I watched during the GF(tm).

Now, you can say 'it's because he was coached that way' or 'well it's not like he had any help', but like I said, it is a familiar refrain. I may be naive, but certainly not stupid. I would like to think that after 4 years of high school ball with honors, 4 years at BC and 4 years in to the NFL where you had 4 winning seasons and 3 playoff appearances there is not a coach in the world that would make you quit on your team. But, it is what it is.

I really am concerned that this is going to haunt us for years. If Koetter cant diagram a way out of this mess, it is going to have a bad effect on Ryan. He's already given up on his team in the playoffs, this could actually make him give up on his coach, and then were right back where we started from.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:22 pm 
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I think we are all underestimating the effect that Mularkey had in these playoff games. He called the plays, and he called them like a scared bitch... We could have had 20 quarters against the gmen and not scored with the crap we were running. Mike always coached scared against good D's, he showed no confidence in his guys. Ryan is an above average qb, not elite. Living in NY alot of Giants fans wanted to replace Eli and Coughlin after last year, ALOT.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:40 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
Like it or not, the QB is the most influencial position on the team. The team will 'live and die' as the QB goes...And while there are exceptions to every rule, that has remained as true to day as 50 years ago. Sure every now and then you will get a Dilfer, or a Tebow, etc...But in general, that rule applies.

I agree with that statement. I don't like it taking it to the extent that many people do that they often substitute the QB for the team as why one team won or lost a football game or a number of football games, but I agree teams overall generally speaking go as its QB does.

fun gus wrote:
Now, you can say 'it's because he was coached that way' or 'well it's not like he had any help'...

Again, I don't want to say he was coached to be scared. But I do think there is some blame that lies at the feet of the coaching in that they aren't doing all that they can to coach him not be scared. But it does appear that I believe coaching has much more influence on the success of QBs than you and others seem to be saying.

Teams can progress or regress over the course of the seasons. Well-coached teams will show progress as the season wears on. And I think if coaches plan accordingly, they can do a lot of little things over the course of the year that are designed to help a team progress so that they are playing their best football down the stretch (i.e. when it matters). And I think a lot of teams that have QBs playing at a high level than the Falcons had, especially in the playoffs showed more of this than we did last year.

I think a big factor in this is designing gameplans centered on your QB. And that way, even with the usual ups and downs of an NFL season, by the time a team reaches Week 14 or Week 18 or whenever late in the year, that QB is going to be much more prepared to shoulder the load than he was in Week 1 or 5. And I don't really think the Falcons did a good job of doing this. It looked like they were doing it after the big wins over Carolina & Jacksonville, but then when we got to New Orleans, I wanted to see this team break out something new, a new wrinkle to show that team and get over the hump and finally beat the Saints. The problem with that game wasn't that they got too conservative. They seemed to put more on Ryan's shoulders and he had a pretty good game. He started to play overly conservative in the 2nd half, and that certainly is a red flag.

But to me the thing that sticks out to me in that loss was that what we've seen as something that has been true over the course of Mike Smith's tenure here is that the Falcons get exposed when things don't go perfectly. A penalty here, a penalty there, and everything goes to crap. When things get sloppy, this team struggles and goes into a shell.

And you can certainly say Matt Ryan personifies this. And you can certainly say that a football team will often mirror the personality of the QB. And I can't really say anything to disagree with that.

So that puts you in a predicament. So you have 1 of 2 options: 1) You can go out and try to find a more brash, starting QB with "moxy." But knowing that, then you have to find that QB. Are you going to find that player with the 55th overall pick in the draft? Probably not. So you're either going to have to find a way to trade up in the draft to find that QB, or wait until next year. And then you might end up having to have to wait another 3-5 years for that QB to develop to a comparable point to where Matt Ryan is today. So you're looking at potentially a 5-year "rebuild" just to get to the same point you are now.

And Option 2) Is do what you have to do to make it work with Matt Ryan. Now, you're not going to snap your fingers and make Matt Ryan change his personality. But the interesting thing to me is that this problem that Matt Ryan has with his personality, another QB by the name of Eli also was often accused of this 4-5 years ago.

And like with Eli in New York, I think you can build this with Matt Ryan going forward. It's not going to happen overnight, but you need a front office and coaching staff committed to making Matt Ryan the best player he can be. And that means scrapping your conservative play-calling, coaching moves, and personnel decisions. It's not simply about surrounding him with talent and weapons, it's about scheme that is designed to maximize that talent and those weapons. That IMO was missing from Mularkey's offense, and I'm hoping Koetter changes that. But it doesn't bode well when as you stated, this team still intends to keep Michael Turner despite him being a bad fit in this offense.

And as you said earlier, teams go as the QB goes. So it's in this teams best interest to do make Matt Ryan into the best QB he can be. And one of my criticisms of Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff, is I'm not convinced they have that mindset. And if they do, I don't think they know how to execute it properly.

Thomas Dimitroff wrote:
Owners and team builders and head coaches need to realize that you can win with very good quarterbacks. They don't have to necessarily be the elite quarterback of the league to be successful as a team.

That is the statement of the decade right?

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:32 pm 
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well, I have been thinking about your post, Pudge, and here is what I came up with...

First, I think comparing Matt Ryan 'now' to Eli Manning 'then' is not a fair analogy. While both QB's have similarities, Eli possessed a couple skillsets that Matt Ryan does not and has not had. No one in NY was saying Eli could not 'stretch the field' or lacked arm strength. He and Ryan do share some qualities, Eli was known to 'go into his shell' and play timid at times, but he at least had the tools to use and chose not to use them at the time. Matt Ryan does 'not' have some of these tools. It took me years to come around, but Ryan cannot throw deep. We all know and admit this, and also know what should be done to address it. Also, Eli coming from genetic football royalty put more of a onus on him to perform in a much more difficult market. Matt Ryan has gotten a 'pass' from the majority of ATL fans due to his great early play and the fact that he stepped into a situation unheard of in the NFL.

So....Knowing this is the case, the smart thing to do is surround Ryan with an OL that can enable him to 5-or 7 step drops to work on his long ball. But what does TD do? Blows all the picks on a deep threat WR. Since TD's Baker pick blew up, it hurt Ryan and he regressed.

Now, you say there are 2 options to dealing with Ryan. #1 go get another QB or #2 'make it work' with Ryan. I agree with #2.

But then they go and do more stupid sh*t, compounding the problem. The 'smart' thing to have done, is go get a new OC that will challenge Ryan. Im sorry, Koetter is not this man. Y'all know the 2 applicants I would have made a move for. There is no way I'm ever going to believe that BVG and Mularkey just packed up and left so fast after the Giants Fiasco(tm.) I know Arthur Blank 'said' he would have had them back, but that is a baldface lie. Blank doesn't want to throw them under the bus like other owners because that doesn work to your advantage in the NFL, and you can say alot of negative things about Blank, but the man aint stupid and he knows business. So I firmly believe after the GF(tm) Blank told the coordinators to beat it and told Smitty 'fix this mess'. Blank has all but secured his new stadium. The council and mayor have already allocated funds, the 1% hotel tax is a done deal, the property has been found ( which is stuff for another thread) and the only thing standing in the way is if his team sh*ts the bed again. So you better believe there is no 'complacency' there. Arthur wont have it, not when he is 'this close' to cementing his vanity project.

So knowing this, what does TD and Smitty do? They go with the 'safe' hire for the OC, and the 'smart' hire for the DC. :doh:

Now, you know I am a 'solution' guy. I wont just bitch about a problem if there is a way to work with it. If the reports I've read are true, we left ALOT of $$ in cap space last season. This offseason, I need to see a HUGE investment in the OL. I think I agree with you that Gaither might be the solution here. I also think we need to jettison Turner for almost anything we can get. If he's still in shape I do think we could get a 5th for him. I would franchise Grimes for his 9-10 million. I would not resign Lofton. Maybe it's time to see if Dent can step in and at least keep the status quo. I would lose Ovie and free up 3 mill in cap space. Mike Cox and Snelling if we 'need' a fullback. I would get another RB in the draft:possible guys that could fall Tyler from USC and Poole from Tenn ( if healthy).

Now, if come April, we are still Turner-centric and we haven't really really addressed the OL then I cant say it's 'complacency', it's 'stupidity'. I think Smith and Dimitroff are fully aware ( due to Artie's stadium deal) that THIS is the year to not 'screw the pooch' so to say.

If, however, they surprise me and do some of the things I mentioned above, Ryan has a chance ( albiet a slim one) to finally get a playoff win ( barring injuries). The other thing is we might consider bringing in a little 'heat' behind Matt Ryan, who is in real danger of 'complacency', because he will still be here if those other two clowns leave. I'd jettison Redman, keep JPW as a hole sh*t stopgap and get someone else nehind Ryan to light a little fire.

That's what I would do.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:16 pm 
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I'll say this on the Ryan throwing the deep ball. THat's an area of his game that he can improve because it's less about arm strength than it is with timing. But the Falcons need to coach him to let it fly, interceptions be damned. This is what I'm somewhat referring to when I say "coaching scared" because I think Mike Smith & Co. have been so scared of interceptions and turnovers (because it doesn't allow them to play perfect as I mentioned earlier).

That is where the Eli Manning comparisons could come in. People always knocked Eli because he threw too many picks. But ELi had that sort of "irrational confidence" that Bill Simmons talks about when it comes to basketball, but it would certainly apply to Eli in terms of his willingness to gamble and take shots downfield. It would bite them in the butt A LOT, but having that sort of confidence means that when your back is against the wall, you don't shirk. We saw that with his throw to Manningham late in the SUper bowl, that's what we call irrational confidence because it's just slinging it downfield to a receiver that isn't open.

I want to see this coaching staff develop that in Ryan. They have to try, otherwise he's too conservative and timid to take those shots himself. But what I don't like is thiss coaching staff tends to enhance that timidity and conservativeness with their play-calling and their own coaching. And what you wind up having IMO is a team that cannot take its game to a new level which is required in the playoffs, and whenever anything goes wrong such as a false start, a dropped pass, you are screwed because your offensive success almost always relies on you staying ahead of schedule. And I also noticed that when we played the Saints. If it was 3rd & 11, it was the same as 1st & 10 for them. They don't go into those situations and think they are in trouble, while this team would be shaking in their little space boots if the situation was reversed. I want to see more of that irrational confidence here in Atlanta.

And as for Koetter, I know you have -600% confidence in him as a play-caller. I'm not going to argue with you about that. I don't know enough about him to sway you the other way or agree with you. My hope is that conceptually he'll be a step in the right direction. One of my beefs with Mularkey was that I think his offense from a conceptual/design perspective in the passing game was very basic and vanilla. My hope that Koetter is a much more complex in that way, which will actually give opposing teams pause and make this offense much more difficult to defend. And that now our WRs will complement each other, thus enhancing their abilities, and now growing our offense.

Now whether that is the case, I don't know. At some point in the coming months (likely after the draft), I'll start to look at some tape and try to learn more about his system.

But that's all I can hold onto at this point. And still I think it is more of a Mike SMith decision than Dirk Koetter decision. And I think Smitty is going to have to take the chains off this offense, and have a general mindset that this offense is not about minimizing your mistakes, but maximizing your successes. That, IMHO separates our offense from the best in the league more so than any perceived differences in our QB. Because IMHO, if Matt Ryan was developed in the latter environment, you would see exponential improvement from him going forward. But in the former, then you're probably not going to get much more out of him than we are currently seeing. And his career and potential is going to wind up being wasted like Carson Palmer's was in Cincinnati.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
And as for Koetter, I know you have -600% confidence in him as a play-caller. I'm not going to argue with you about that. I don't know enough about him to sway you the other way or agree with you. My hope is that conceptually he'll be a step in the right direction. One of my beefs with Mularkey was that I think his offense from a conceptual/design perspective in the passing game was very basic and vanilla. My hope that Koetter is a much more complex in that way, which will actually give opposing teams pause and make this offense much more difficult to defend. And that now our WRs will complement each other, thus enhancing their abilities, and now growing our offense.

Now whether that is the case, I don't know. At some point in the coming months (likely after the draft), I'll start to look at some tape and try to learn more about his system.

But that's all I can hold onto at this point. And still I think it is more of a Mike SMith decision than Dirk Koetter decision. And I think Smitty is going to have to take the chains off this offense, and have a general mindset that this offense is not about minimizing your mistakes, but maximizing your successes. That, IMHO separates our offense from the best in the league more so than any perceived differences in our QB. Because IMHO, if Matt Ryan was developed in the latter environment, you would see exponential improvement from him going forward. But in the former, then you're probably not going to get much more out of him than we are currently seeing. And his career and potential is going to wind up being wasted like Carson Palmer's was in Cincinnati.



I get what your saying Pudge, but where do you get your confidence that Mike Smith is going to 'take off the chains'?

I dont 'see it'. I want you to understand I dont 'dislike' Koetter. I think he is a fine coach. I just dont think he is the 'right guy' to develop Matt Ryan right now. If Smith wants to unchain Ryan, then why go to the familiar well and hire a guy who is Mularkey 2.0? Do you believe that this guy is the guy who is going to instill that 'do or die' "irrational confidence"? I dont.

Remember, I was the guy who believed Mularkey was going to 'suprise me' :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:03 pm 
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I don't have any confidence that Mike Smith is going to take off the chains, which is one of the reasons why I've been so critical of him and this team over the past month. I'll believe it when I see it, but with this team's intention to hold onto Michael Turner, I don't see it. If we were cutting Turner, I would be much more optimistic that maybe Mike Smith "gets it." But since it appears we are not, I don't have much confidence that things are going to get a lot better. But I have to hold out hope that I'm wrong, and that maybe some move we make this off-season will re-inspire me with confidence, otherwise then it makes me just want to eat the proverbial gun as far as Falcon fandom goes.

So my hope has to be that despite us keeping Turner, maybe Koetter will make drastic reductions to his workload, or maybe my assessment that Turner is a big part of the problem with running the ball is wrong, and that it was mostly the O-line, and maybe TD will do a good job beefing up that unit this off-season.

I said last summer, that I was afraid the Jones trade wasn't going to advance the Falcons towards their goal (winning a Super Bowl) to any significant degree over the coming 3 or so years than they were at that point. And nothing that has occurred over the past 8 or 9 months makes me feel that prediction is wrong. And my hope is that in the next 2-3 months, something will occur that makes me change that assessment. But at this point, I have little to no confidence that will happen.

I think this team is in neutral, while the powers that be seem to think they are just cruising along thinking they are making good time, while all the while they haven't moved an inch.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:26 am 
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Quote:
Someone like Cyril, who says it means something that the teams that beat us wound up going to the Super Bowl.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:41 am 
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Pudge Wrote:
But instead of focusing on my wording, you missed the point I was trying to make. Someone like Cyril, who says it means something that the teams that beat us wound up going to the Super Bowl. The implications with that are either: A) The Falcons just happened to play the best teams in the league, so their losses are excusable or B) The Falcons are closer than they appear i.e. "on the cusp."



NO, NO, NO..........It means the teams that beat us got to go to the Championship game!! No hidden meaning, no code words,
nothing except what happened!! I didn't break it down into stats or mesh code..... I was just saying!! No losses not exceptable,
and certainly not that the Falcons are closer than they appear..... Simply pointing out we been ousted 3 times by teams that went to superbowl. They could have all been 50-0 but that's just how it turned out.....

Man you seem paranoid; every sentence doesn't mean something deep. Roddy catches 80 and receives for 1,000 yards and you ask what does it mean against the guy that caught 78. It means Roddy caught two more that year.....Its really not a hard concept.

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 Post subject: Re: is it time yet?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Ok, Cyril I'm paranoid. :roll:

You say this:
Cyril wrote:
but the teams that beat the Falcons did go to the Super Bowl and it does mean something....

And then you say that there is no hidden meaning behind that, it just is what it is.

And so I'm trying to get you to tell me what "it" is. What does "it" mean? If it's simply a statement of fact that those teams eventually went to the Super Bowl, then you're failing to understanding what the concept of "meaning" is. I hate to turn this into some existential/philosophical thing, but you can't say something like "It means something that Barack Obama won the 2008 election." and then come back and say, "Well, it just means he's the new president" rather than the implied notion that it has meaning because of his race, or a reflection of American culture, or some deeper political meaning, etc. That's not how "meaning" works, it just isn't a statement of fact, it just isn't superficial.

I say the team hasn't shown any progress in the playoffs, and then you respond with "Well each team that beat them went on to the Super Bowl." Obviously that makes me crazy/paranoid because I assumed you meant something by that other than making a statement of fact.

So all of a sudden I become paranoid because you're sending mixed messages. And just because you don't intend to or are unaware that you are, doesn't mean you are not.

And so I'm asking you to tell me what that: "each team that beat us went on to the Super Bowl" means to you. And if doesn't mean anything beyond that, then why did you even bring it up? Because otherwise you're saying that it has meaning, but saying it's meaning doesn't go beyond a statement of fact means that it's meaningless.

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