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 Post subject: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:32 pm 
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I know he's benefiting a lot from how much attention Roddy and Julio commands but Gonzalez continues to deliver. He has been terrific once again and really continues to play at a high level. It makes me sad to know that this is last year. Once again another outstanding performance by Ryan, who is playing at an MVP level. Also how about that offensive line keeping Ryan mostly clean. I'm aware of San Diego's below average pass rush but at least they are still keeping Ryan clean along with opening some holes for Turner today.

Speaking of Turner, do you think San Diego quit when Turner broke off some big runs. That one counter run made me think of old 2008-2010 Turner with the way he cut back. Let's hope he can maintain this pace and give the Falcons some kind of threat running the ball. The defense is playing with a huge edge and Mike Nolan is already my vote for acquisition of the year. I could go on and on but basically everyone will have the same opinion. Overall it was a perfect performance and Atlanta has to be considered up there with Houston as the best team in football.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:18 pm 
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now where's Pudge to crap on the previous post? wait for it...

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:11 pm 
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I won't crap on it. Turner played well today, from what I saw (only the 2nd half). Ran hard with some burst. I never said he wouldn't ever have a good game again, I just think games like today are going to be sparsed out by 2, 3, or 4 games like we saw the first 2 weeks of the season. And IMHO that is not what you pay a guy $7.5 million to do.

As for Gonzo, I was thinking similar things today about him not retiring. I would love to see this team use a #1 or #2 on a TE next year to find his heir apparent, and then see what this offense could be with a lot of 2-TE looks to go with their 3-WR looks currently.

But one thing I did notice a bit, is how much the offense went through Gonzo with Julio dealing with that hand injury early and being off the field. Talks about the questionable depth we have at WR, where we were essentially playing 10 on 11 (DJ Davis didn't know where to line up on some plays). Thankfully Gonzo seemed to make up for the lack of another player, but I'm not sure we can rely on that if one of our WRs were to go down again for an extended period of time (not just a series)...

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:18 am 
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Emmitt wrote:
I know he's benefiting a lot from how much attention Roddy and Julio commands but Gonzalez continues to deliver. He has been terrific once again and really continues to play at a high level. It makes me sad to know that this is last year. Once again another outstanding performance by Ryan, who is playing at an MVP level. Also how about that offensive line keeping Ryan mostly clean. I'm aware of San Diego's below average pass rush but at least they are still keeping Ryan clean along with opening some holes for Turner today.

Speaking of Turner, do you think San Diego quit when Turner broke off some big runs. That one counter run made me think of old 2008-2010 Turner with the way he cut back. Let's hope he can maintain this pace and give the Falcons some kind of threat running the ball. The defense is playing with a huge edge and Mike Nolan is already my vote for acquisition of the year. I could go on and on but basically everyone will have the same opinion. Overall it was a perfect performance and Atlanta has to be considered up there with Houston as the best team in football.


Absolutely. I have seen how defenses look when they quit for years as a Falcon fan and that is what it looks like. MT was ineffective most of the game. They were beating a dead horse at the end. Snelling and Quizz looked better other than the very end. A minor complaint. Other than the pick and the bad PAT snap the team looked like world beaters. Ryan was awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:39 am 
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backnblack wrote:
Emmitt wrote:
I know he's benefiting a lot from how much attention Roddy and Julio commands but Gonzalez continues to deliver. He has been terrific once again and really continues to play at a high level. It makes me sad to know that this is last year. Once again another outstanding performance by Ryan, who is playing at an MVP level. Also how about that offensive line keeping Ryan mostly clean. I'm aware of San Diego's below average pass rush but at least they are still keeping Ryan clean along with opening some holes for Turner today.

Speaking of Turner, do you think San Diego quit when Turner broke off some big runs. That one counter run made me think of old 2008-2010 Turner with the way he cut back. Let's hope he can maintain this pace and give the Falcons some kind of threat running the ball. The defense is playing with a huge edge and Mike Nolan is already my vote for acquisition of the year. I could go on and on but basically everyone will have the same opinion. Overall it was a perfect performance and Atlanta has to be considered up there with Houston as the best team in football.


Absolutely. I have seen how defenses look when they quit for years as a Falcon fan and that is what it looks like. MT was ineffective most of the game. They were beating a dead horse at the end. Snelling and Quizz looked better other than the very end. A minor complaint. Other than the pick and the bad PAT snap the team looked like world beaters. Ryan was awesome.



yeah I gotta say pleasantly surprised at the way we used Quizz and Snelling + Turner yesterday..That's kind of what I was hoping for: that we spread out the distrubution to get a lead, then use Turner to eat the clock late in the game. Kudos to our coordinators!

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:23 pm 
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It seems the Falcon organization were not as complacent as some suggested all during the off season. Although its only been 3 games; it seems the changing of our Offensive Coordinator & Defensive Coordinator has made an impact.

I think Mike Smith is learning you can control a game and wear a defense out, with the ten and 15 yard pass. As long as we can win with the 25 yard pass being our long ball then we're going to do pretty good.

Without naming everyone it seems we've had some of our 3rd year players and 4th year players really step up as we always hope, but this year it seems we've had about 6-7 players really improve their play.

Its a long season but Mike Smith is doing a pretty good job in just letting them play,
and winning with fairly basic football using the shorter passes early to replace the run, but still having some long drives.

Maybe that Gm. of ours took a different turn, but one that looks like a good one right now. We've started off playing really good!!

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:20 pm 
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I know this will come off much more negative than I intend it to be, but I do think there is a perception that the Falcons are a better team than they are actually are.

They are 3-0. I believe they will extend that to potentially 6-0 by the bye week. Potentially being the last undefeated team left standing, and thus there will be a perception that this team is an elite team. And based off what I'm seeing, if this team maintains its current level of play, that will not be the case.

It's true that the coordinators have been major improvements over their predecessors as far as individuals go. But in terms of collectively assessing the offense and defense, I'm not sure the gap between our units last year and this year are as big as many perceive them to be. Again, I do think there is improvement, and significant improvement, particularly in terms of the offense's ability to generate points early in games. But I think particularly on defense, there is a perception that there is night and day difference from last year to this year, and I don't think that is the case.

I think there are some symptoms that have peaked their heads through the cracks that potentially as the season progresses, you might see the team regress in areas. And I think that could apply to many of the players that have stepped up, and played well early, as attrition and wear and tear accumulates the rest of the way, you might begin to see them "fall back to Earth."

Again, I want to stress I do think the Falcons are improved. They do deserve credit, because (so far) their big off-season additions: Koetter, Nolan, and Samuel are contributing a lot. But it's a marathon, not a sprint. And while the Falcons are pacing the group after the first leg or the race, it doesn't mean they will be there at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Quote:
But in terms of collectively assessing the offense and defense, I'm not sure the gap between our units last year and this year are as big as many perceive them to be. Again, I do think there is improvement, and significant improvement, particularly in terms of the offense's ability to generate points early in games. But I think particularly on defense, there is a perception that there is night and day difference from last year to this year, and I don't think that is the case.


A very quick look at the numbers for the first three games of 2011 vs. the first three games of 2012.

2011 record - 1-2
2012 record - 3-0

2011 Offensive PPG - 20.00
2012 Offensive PPG - 31.30

2011 Defensive PPGA - 25.67
2012 Defensive PPGA - 16.00

Not only that, last year in the early going Matt Ryan was getting killed. This year, the protection is much improved. The defense just "looks" better, faster.

Much can change in the next few weeks, but I have to disagree with your assessment that the gap between last years "teams" and this years is minimal.


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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:27 pm 
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I wasn't comparing this year's first 3 games against the first 3 games of last year. I was comparing this year's first 3 games against all 16 games of last year. All the praise for the D is not because people are comparing them to how the Falcons looked in the first 3 weeks of the season. All of the love is because the perception that the defense is vastly improved from the defense taking the entire 2011 season as a whole.

But here are some stats worth noting, using the first 3 games only from both years:

Defense

Yards Per Play

2011 - 5.6
2012 - 5.3

3rd Down Defense

2011 - 39% converted
2012 - 59% converted

Offense

Yards Per Play

2011 - 5.3
2012 - 5.5

3rd Down Offense

2011 - 38%
2012 - 50%


Like I said before, I think the difference between last year's offense and this year's offense is significant, but I think the difference between last year's defense and this year's, is not too substantial.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:18 pm 
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Pudge Wrote"
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Like I said before, I think the difference between last year's offense and this year's offense is significant, but I think the difference between last year's defense and this year's, is not too substantial.


Yes that's my point. I'm not here going crazy with Super Bowl hopes,(yet) but when you are a playoff team and one unit looks much better than last year, and the other unit looks the same; then you've got a playoff team that looks like its made some good improvement!!

When usually the only way you get to a Qb is with a blitz; that's not good enough to
beat the very best teams. However I still give what seems like an improvement on defense not just for the safeties; but I think Stephen Nicholas looks a lot better at linebacker.

Its seems like their is less confusion with our defense but the ebb and flow of 17 weeks will certainly have an effect on all players if our line can't get to the Qb quicker without a blitz.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:25 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Much can change in the next few weeks, but I have to disagree with your assessment that the gap between last years "teams" and this years is minimal.



I have to agree with AJ51 here. If we had not dominated the Chargers, then I might be on board. BUt there's no way we hold THAT team to 3 points with BVG. No freekin' way. :snooty:

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:31 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Much can change in the next few weeks, but I have to disagree with your assessment that the gap between last years "teams" and this years is minimal.



I have to agree with AJ51 here. If we had not dominated the Chargers, then I might be on board. BUt there's no way we hold THAT team to 3 points with BVG. No freekin' way. :snooty:



Amen to that. With BVG we almost never made good to great qb's look the way Phillip Rivers did. I am not quite drinking the kool aid yet, but the defense looks night and day to me from last year. I do agree with Pudge that the season is a marathon (see last year's Packers), but we look damn good so far. My concern would be that we are still playing the same way come December-January.


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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:16 am 
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I wholeheartedly agree that Nolan is superior DC to BVG. But I think the equation in many minds is that simple: the gap between Nolan and BVG is huge, therefore the gap between Nolan's D and BVG's D is huge.

I agree, the Falcons D under BVG would not have held the Chargers to 3 points. They would not have picked off Peyton Manning 3 times in the 1st quarter. They would have given pretty vanilla looks.

But despite Nolan's superior abilities as a schemer, he's not been successful scheming better ways of getting this team off the field on 3rd downs. And while the Falcons defense under BVG was consistently a Top 10 if not Top 5 run defense, they now rank among the worst in the league this year. Now is that partially (or mostly) due to them playing in the nickel 80+% of the time? Probably. Whether Akeem Dent proves to be an improvement over Curtis Lofton remains to be seen. But the Falcons run defense has certainly not improved with Dominique Franks being the 11th man on the field rather than Lofton.

Now it's still early in the season, and it's going to be interesting to see how this season develops.

Teams are going to begin to adapt their schemes/gameplans. You're going to see teams start to play the Falcons much like we have played other potent offenses in the past. Try to pound the ball, control the clock, and not get into a hole early. I noticed vs. Denver, that Julio Jones did not fare too well when Champ Bailey pressed him. It'll be interesting to see if other teams try to adopt a similar gameplan, and starting rolling coverages back towards Roddy, and hoping they have a good enough corner to jam Julio and be able to match up. The Falcons offense has also not been very successful at generating big plays down the field in the passing game. I think they rank currently in the Bottom 5 in terms of 20+ yard pass plays generated. How will teams adapt to that. Maybe they are not as fearful of the deep ball down the line as they are now, and start leaving their safeties up and taking more chances.

Last year, the Falcons had an opportunistic defense (Top 5 in TO margin) that struggled to rush the QB and get off the field on third downs. This year, I see that the Falcons have an opportunistic defnese (#1 in TO margin) that struggles to rush the QB and get off the field on third downs. Is this year's unit better? Sure. By degrees? Yes. By volumes? No. I just don't see it.

I think what you have here this year is that you have two superior coordinators. Nolan is doing his best to mask a defense that is solid, but is not really able to stop/shut down anyone. Yes I realize that sounds crazy given we just allowed 3 points to the Chargers. But the Chargers had 2 redzone TOs. Defense deserves credit for causing those turnovers, but IMO turnovers aren't necessarily a sign of a stalwart defense. Guess which teams led the league in TO margin and most turnovers caused last year: 1-SF, 2-GB, 3-NE. Falcons were 10th in TOs forced, and tied for 5th in TO margin.

I think there's a perception that these turnovers are a sign of great defense. I think they are a sign of opportunistic defense. Great defense IMO is indicative by teams that can rush the QB consistently, get stops on 3rd downs and in the redzone, and on top of that create turnovers.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:40 am 
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Well I think its really obvious that this years hopefully " playoff team " and last years playoff team seem on different paths.

Yea its a long season, but when defenses take advantage of opportunities early in the season as we have, their can be a collective thinking that "we're suppose" to
get turnovers.(that's a good thing)

Ultimately we want to win a Super Bowl but from the off season what I think I learned was we wanted a team that was considered to have a chance to win a Super Bowl every year!!


Late in preseason I just got scared that we'd never get to any Qb; but our blitzes are
improving and we'll hit a down side, but hopefully we'll not all go postal just as we're not going overboard on this months good play.

Like I said if Thomas D. took a turn in the road most were not expecting; its something the players are buying into and that's a lot more important than if we buy into it. Its kinda cool when the NFL looks like a league with mostly poor teams,
and The Falcons don't seem like one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:19 am 
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Since when did being an opportunistic defense was a bad thing? You have a great offense with an opportunistic defense, you can be the 2009 Saints. Not that I would want my team to be associated with those scumbags but you get the idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
Well I think its really obvious that this years hopefully " playoff team " and last years playoff team seem on different paths.

I agree with that with the caveat that the Falcons continue to develop and expand their passing game.

Offensively, I believe this team has the potential to mirror the New York Giants last year. In the sense that they have a weak running game that will probably be a non-factor, and they will rely on their passing to win most if not all of their games. But this offense needs to develop the threat of the vertical pass, otherwise opponents will adjust and be able to slow this offense down because they will adapt. Defenses always do. The Falcons have basically become under Koetter a team that controls the ball with short/intermediate passing instead of running. And that's not a complaint. Because this type of offense (horizontal spread) is the same style of offense that myself and others have been saying fits Matt Ryan the best, and the proof is in the pudding based on how well he's played and how sharp he's looked through 3 games.

IMO, if they cannot begin to develop the big play aspect of their offense, they are going to be limited. They almost had one of those big plays on the bomb to Roddy, but the flagged negated it. But IMO, if this offense (and thusly team) is going to reach its full potential, plays like that need to be regular sights each and every week.

Emmitt wrote:
Since when did being an opportunistic defense was a bad thing?

I never said it was a bad thing. I just think there is this perception out there that things on defense are night and day, and I don't think they are. They may be in the coach's booth, but on the field (where it counts), they are not. The perception seems to be that this year's defense is great, magnificent, wonderful, brilliant, etc. And if people believe that then fine. But I think whatever superlatives and adjectives you apply to this year's defense, should be applied to last year's defense with the words "slightly less" applied in front of it.

Like I said, I don't think it's night and day. I think it's dusk and day.

This defense is succeeding because mainly the offense's ability to build early leads IMO. And I'm not going to get too caught up in the "opportunistic" aspects of our defense. We've seen this before with Nolan defenses. Think back to the '09 Broncos. They began the season 6-0, in large part due to an opportunistic defense: 12 TOs forced in those games, and +7 on margin, allowing 11 points per game against what were considered top offenses: NE, SD, and DAL.

Then they hit their bye week, and lost the turnover margin their next 4 games (only 2 TOs caused), and their defense stopped stopping people. They lost all 4 games. Then they were able to create turnovers once again down the stretch in the final 6 games (16 TOs forced), but they still managed only a 2-4 finish.

Now I'm not saying this will happen to the Falcons. We have Matt Ryan not Kyle Orton. We have Mike Smith not Josh McDaniels. And I doubt he and Nolan have a falling out akin to what Josh McD and Nolan had that year.

The point I'm trying to illustrate here is that there will definitely be a time this year where the Falcons defense isn't going to be able to create 2, 3, or 4 TOs a game. They are going to generate none. And there are potentially games that the Falcons offense is not going to be able to build 2-score leads 20 minutes into the game. And perhaps those two types of games could coincide.

And IMO, that will be a much better litmus test to indicate how much the Falcons defense has improved under Nolan. Will the defense without a player fumbling at the 7 yard line be able to stop opponents and force FGs? Will they be able to get off the field on 3rd & 9? Will this team be able to get after the QB when it's not facing one of the worst O-lines in the league?

These are questions I want answered before I'm willing to say Nolan has taken us leaps and bounds away from where Van Gorder had us last year...

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 Post subject: Re: Gonzalez Don't Retire & More
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Wow I really can't dispute your statement Pudge. Well said we will just have to play the waiting game which means till November because the rest of the games until bye stinks. I'm just very happy with how the team performed against three teams, which aren't considered pushovers and some are playoff contenders.

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