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 Post subject: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:40 pm 
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5 reasons not to panic over the Falcons just yet, by Mark Bradley


1. There are still six wins on the schedule. To enumerate: Two against Tampa Bay, one more against Carolina, home victories over Washington and Buffalo and a road victory over the Jets. That would make 10, and 10 generally gets you into the playoffs. And the Philadelphia game here — maybe you’ve heard some discussion about it — on Dec. 6 is a tossup. That would make 11, which would make the Falcons a postseason lock.

2. There’s room for growth everywhere. This is a polite way of saying the Falcons aren’t tearing it up in any single category. They’re 19th in the NFL in total offense, and they should be in the top 10. They’re 25th in total defense, which is one spot down from last season, which was to be expected with the changes made on D. Given the losses of Peria Jerry and Brian Williams, it will be hard for this defense to improve much this season. But the offense should have some breakout games in it, which would give the Falcons a puncher’s chance against anybody.

3. Jason Snelling looked good against Dallas. And that’s a major consideration, seeing that Jerious Norwood is still hurting (hip flexor this time) and Michael Turner is beginning to resemble a one-year wonder. Turner is averaging 3.4 yards per carry, down a full yard off last season’s yield. Put simply, that yard is the difference between second-and-four and second-and-five. Either the Burner gets it going or Snelling gets a longer look.

4. This staff is not Jim Mora’s staff. Mora and Co. were fine so long as nothing went wrong but clueless when something inevitably did. There are fine coaches working in Flowery Branch now — Mike Smith, Mike Mularkey, Brian VanGorder, Sugar Bear Hamilton, Paul Boudreau — and they’ll fix as much as coaches possibly can. And then, if that isn’t enough, Thomas Dimitroff will go to work come February 2010.

5. Remember when we kept saying this might be a better team with a worse record? It still might. The aggregate record of the Falcons’ six opponents is 19-18. Their first six opponents last season were 14-20. There haven’t been any Detroits or Kansas Citys on this schedule, but things will get easier in December. The Falcons are going to lose more games — they’ll lose Monday night in the Superdome — but they’ll manage that breakthrough winning season and they’ll make the playoffs. Keep the faith.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:15 pm 
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I'm not overly thrilled that Mr. Bradley is conceding to the Saints twice and Giants and doesn't think we can beat the Eagles.

I'm also not thrilled that he's ready to sharpie in the other 6 games as Ws either.

Point #2 and #4 are his best points.

This team needs to get better on the road.

And I disagree that there isn't room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Yeah, they're not going to turn in the Steelers by year's end, but we have a lot of youth on that side of the ball that may or may not come into their own by year's end.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Well Bradley is no journalist so he gets an opinion too. Its nice to have opinions to agree or disagree with.....

Agreed things don't always go as planned as you play the schedule. Without a defensive lineman stepping up
I don't see much chance for improvement either. Our offense just needs to play better. As with all defenses we do
better making a team go down 80 yards. As you mentioned with our punter, all those three and outs cause us to lose more and more field position.

I thought the loss of Williams was huge. I am really disgusted Norwood got hurt again, this could have been his big
shot this staff just doesn't keep those around long who stay hurt. I actually think Bradley makes some good points for those who are quick to say the season's over. If you keep adding up the winning teams we play this year compared to last year its just a beast of a schedule.

I actually think things could be much worse. I think Jamaal at Tackle has maybe offset the loss of Jerry, and
DeCoud is playing much better than I expected. Our Linebackers have been pretty solid.

On Monday's radio program with Coach Smith he said the team was aware the tough part of the schedule started against New England and they had 4 out of 5 games on the road. He always sounds like he keeps the team informed
its a marathon and not a sprint, and the most important game is the one you have coming up.

He outright said he was willing to make any changes anytime to put the best team on the field, as he
took responsibility for getting beat in all 3 phases of the game against Dallas.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:54 pm 
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I think Norwood might be bluffing his injuries a little bit. Who knows, maybe he wants to get out of Atlanta for a bigger role.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
I think Norwood might be bluffing his injuries a little bit. Who knows, maybe he wants to get out of Atlanta for a bigger role.



Ahhhhh No :roll: :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Well Cyril, I hate to say it, but if anybody thinks the Falcons season is over, they are simply a d-bag and deserves a swift kick in the nuts. And as they lay there groaning in pain, maybe a dog could come by and piss on them.

Who knows what happens the rest of the way, but there are plenty of opportunities for the young guys.

It sounds crazy, but I'm a little bit excited to see what Anderson can do the rest of the way. Excited about Jamaal?

Biermann can continue to develop and get better. Does Abraham get back on track, or is he done? Who knows. I'm not sure we've seen the best from guys like Davis, Johnson, Trey Lewis. And who knows, maybe Sidbury makes a few plays as the season wears on.

There's still room for improvement from guys like Lofton and Nicholas.

And the corners can still get better. Williams injury was huge...a huge opportunity for our young corners to step up...or step out. And DeCoud still can improve as well. It's a shame that Moore won't be able to make contributions.

Again, I don't think we'll go from a Bottom 10 defense (as we are now) to a Top 10 one by year's end. But even if the ranking doesn't increase significantly, this is a defense that can/will be successful if it's opportunistic.

If they get better in the red zone and can consistently create turnovers each week, then it really doesn't matter where they rank, because it means we're going to win a lot of games this year.

A lot of these guys are really playing for their NFL futures: Anderson, Biermann, Nicholas, Houston, Grimes, Jackson, Trey Lewis, Johnson, etc. Because for many of these guys, if they don't make an impression now, they won't get the opportunity again.

And if some of these guys grasp that and take advantage of it, then maybe, just maybe they're going to surprise people like the Cards D did last year in January.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:18 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
A lot of these guys are really playing for their NFL futures: Anderson, Biermann, Nicholas, Houston, Grimes, Jackson, Trey Lewis, Johnson, etc. Because for many of these guys, if they don't make an impression now, they won't get the opportunity again..


I agree with some of those...I know I've been hard on Lewis, but I think he would get another shot in the NFL as well as Biermann....

The question remains: what the hell is wrong with Tye? Last season we had to wait until Grimes got hurt to see Foxworth, and once he got on the field, he proved himself. Why hasn't Tye gotten the chance yet? Is he that bad?

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:22 pm 
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You are the d-bag for jinxing the Falcons the rest of the season. No one said the Falcons season is over. This place is becoming more bizarre by the week. A kick in the balls and a dog peeing on,...mmm mmm mmm. :so:

Bradley is just such a suck up to the Falcons. His only good point is that it's not Mora's staff anymore. And even that was a suck up, although he's right.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
I think Norwood might be bluffing his injuries a little bit. Who knows, maybe he wants to get out of Atlanta for a bigger role.


While I haven't examined him, I doubt that. If you ever had a hip flexor you know what you can do and what you better not do. Hip flexor one day and a agrivated hip flexor and and a groin pull the next day if you rush it.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:01 pm 
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Not sure where I heard this from but the lack of deep speed is a weakness. There are so many components of throwing long starting wirh Ryan able to throw deep. I don't know if he can.A deep threat would clear out room for the other receivers and backs. Team speed on offense is lacking a bit.Without Norwood we don't have a threat to break it all the way.

I know we have so many areas to improve but imagine having a receiver who could get deep and Ryan being able to throw it.It would bring a whole new threat to the offense.

Getting back to the title of the thread this is a chance for alot of questions to be answered or remain question marks.I'd like to see Owens in the game.Here is what I would like to see more of.

1.JAM continuing to pay def tackle and obvious run plays split time at def end.
2.Owens and Hill get more playing time since the corners now are not getting it done.
3.More consistency on the road.
4.Turner regaining form.
5.Norwood quit getting injured.
6.Gonzo gets the ball more
7.Jenkins making more of an impact
8.Pass rush getting better.
9.Coach Smith taking more chances

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:21 pm 
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thescout wrote:
Not sure where I heard this from but the lack of deep speed is a weakness. There are so many components of throwing long starting wirh Ryan able to throw deep. I don't know if he can.A deep threat would clear out room for the other receivers and backs. Team speed on offense is lacking a bit.Without Norwood we don't have a threat to break it all the way.

I know we have so many areas to improve but imagine having a receiver who could get deep and Ryan being able to throw it.It would bring a whole new threat to the offense.

Getting back to the title of the thread this is a chance for alot of questions to be answered or remain question marks.I'd like to see Owens in the game.Here is what I would like to see more of.

1.JAM continuing to pay def tackle and obvious run plays split time at def end.
2.Owens and Hill get more playing time since the corners now are not getting it done.
3.More consistency on the road.
4.Turner regaining form.
5.Norwood quit getting injured.
6.Gonzo gets the ball more
7.Jenkins making more of an impact
8.Pass rush getting better.
9.Coach Smith taking more chances



Scout, do I understand you dont think Ryan is capable of throwing the deep ball, or that it hasn;t been utilized?

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Who said the season was over? I don't think I've heard that anywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:44 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Who said the season was over? I don't think I've heard that anywhere.



Last time, I checked this isn't a Rams/Bucs/Titans/Raiders forum. I forgot one other team the REDSKINS!!

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:29 pm 
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I actually think Bradley makes some good points for those who are quick to say the season's over
***************************************************************
I used it for an example: You know there are the jaded who don't want Atlanta to succeed,
who will say we suck again. Bradley did say Turner's probably a one year wonder, and some on
blogs are acting like Ryan should throw 4 tds every game.

Yea I've been told we're about to tank, but they conveniently say that the week we play perhaps the best team in football. The band wagoners jump off quicker than they get on!!

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:55 pm 
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PB21 wrote:
You are the d-bag for jinxing the Falcons the rest of the season. No one said the Falcons season is over. This place is becoming more bizarre by the week. A kick in the balls and a dog peeing on,...mmm mmm mmm. :so:

Bradley is just such a suck up to the Falcons. His only good point is that it's not Mora's staff anymore. And even that was a suck up, although he's right.

I'm flattered PB that you think I'm so powerful that I can control the fate of the Falcons season. How's the view from my taint?

thescout wrote:
Not sure where I heard this from but the lack of deep speed is a weakness. There are so many components of throwing long starting wirh Ryan able to throw deep. I don't know if he can.A deep threat would clear out room for the other receivers and backs. Team speed on offense is lacking a bit.Without Norwood we don't have a threat to break it all the way.

The deep ball will come. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and take a chill pill about Ryan and his deep ball.

I can't promise that it'll come next week, but it'll come eventually. Ryan actually threw the deep ball fairly well last year, completing 35% of his passes that were 31 or more yards. I'm not sure how that ranks in the league last year, but in looking at the numbers that Tom BRady and Brett Favre have put up over the past few years, that appears to be pretty good. For the record, Brady completed 43% of his 31+ yard passes in 2007, the most of his career. Brett Favre's best year since 2004 was the 37% he completed in 2007, which was arguably his best season. Over the past 6 seasons combined, Brady completed 32.5% of his deep passes and Favre completed 25%.

This year, Ryan has completed 25% of his passes, but has only attempted 4 of 31+ yards. That is only 2.1% of his total pass attempts. Last year, 5.3% of his total pass attempts were of that distance.

So he's not throwing downfield as much. If I had to guess it's not just play-calling, but the team is in the process of giving Ryan the reins of the offense, going down the same road that Peyton Manning has gone down, and thus Ryan is throwing the deep ball less because he is choosing to do so.

It'll come with time, but I stress patience.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:09 am 
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No running game = no deep passing game. That's how we're built. Establish the run, then burn them with a deep ball. We have not been establishing the run, and therefore, no deep ball.

I've also said before that I don't think that our line can hold up for 5 and 7 step drops consistently. That's why we were playing max protect against the Cowboys.


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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:12 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
No running game = no deep passing game. That's how we're built. Establish the run, then burn them with a deep ball. We have not been establishing the run, and therefore, no deep ball.

I've also said before that I don't think that our line can hold up for 5 and 7 step drops consistently. That's why we were playing max protect against the Cowboys.

We were playing max protect against the Cowboys beacuse DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff proved too much for 1 on 1 blocking, which isn't at surprising.

You underrate our pass protection, which outside of the Cowboys and DOlphins games, has been excellent this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:00 pm 
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We are currently 2nd in pass protection.

http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:02 am 
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We are currently 2nd in pass protection... But why? Because our line is awesome, or because Matt Ryan is always taking 3 step drops and getting rid of the ball? Also, consider all of the roll outs with throw-aways. We're not taking a lot of sacks, but that's primarily because we're not giving anyone the time to get there. That's also why we work best in the hurry up offense. Teams have to go vanilla against us when we do that, so there's no elaborate blitz schemes.

I don't think that our linemen are great pass blockers. A couple of them are pretty darn good, but I really think that the middle of the line is a liability. We have a gameplan to offset their "talent level," and our QB has executed that gameplan very well. If Vick were back there, we'd have given up 25+ sacks already.


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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:02 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
We are currently 2nd in pass protection... But why? Because our line is awesome, or because Matt Ryan is always taking 3 step drops and getting rid of the ball? Also, consider all of the roll outs with throw-aways. We're not taking a lot of sacks, but that's primarily because we're not giving anyone the time to get there. That's also why we work best in the hurry up offense. Teams have to go vanilla against us when we do that, so there's no elaborate blitz schemes.

I don't think that our linemen are great pass blockers. A couple of them are pretty darn good, but I really think that the middle of the line is a liability. We have a gameplan to offset their "talent level," and our QB has executed that gameplan very well. If Vick were back there, we'd have given up 25+ sacks already.

Good post. Our OL is definitely not awesome, and as Cyril pointed out, they racked up big numbers rushing last year against some inferior defenses that were a part of our easier schedule. Remember, having the OL perform as well as it did last year was quite a surprise. This year they have faced tougher competition and fallen back to earth a bit.

So our OL is better than it has been under some other coaching staffs, but still not great, and is the worst part of a very talented offense. The question will be: what (if anything) to do about it, given other team needs? As you point out, in the passing game we can cover up for it quite a bit because of smart coaching and QB play. In the running game it's a bit of different story. And an average running game leaves us not being able to score enough points to overcome our bad defense.


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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:58 pm 
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I go back to my saying " Most NFL lines can either run block well or pass block well" but usually not both.
Its seems they have decided to pass block best.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Our O-line isn't awesome. As I suspected going into the season, the run blocking would take a hit because we are facing much tougher fronts than we did last year.

But the pass protection has been outstanding this year. Yes, Ryan's quick release and brain certainly helps that. But it's not like he's been pressured all that much this year. Again, outside the Dolphins and Cowboys games, Ryan has been virtually untouched.

And IMO, to say that the O-line has "very little" to do with that isn't being fair.

I'm not going to put this unit up in the pantheon with recent Giants lines or the Chiefs lines of a few years back by any means, but this is a good unit. I agree with anyone that says there is room for improvement, again all off-season RobertAP, I was right with you about believing that getting a dominant RT could really skyrocket this unit into elite status. But I'd disagree with anyone that is insinuating or outright saying that the line is what is "holding back" our offense.

What is holding back this offense is having a 2nd year QB among other things. There is no bigger Matt Ryan fan in this fanbase than myself, and I can honestly say I believe that to be a fact. But he's still a young QB that is prone to making the mistakes that young QBs tend to make. He makes a lot less of them than most QBs at a comparable point in his career, but only when he reaches his 5th or 6th years am I personally going to be expecting perfection from him.

Can the line improve? Absolutely. IMHO, if the Falcons can find a Steve Hutchinson/Alan Faneca at LG and/or a Kareem McKenzie/Jon Runyan at RT, then the line will probably skyrocket up into the elite units in the league. BUt I disagree with anyone that says this line is untalented. I had that opinion in the off-season.

Sam Baker IMO is a very good pass protector. He hasn't quite cracked Tony Boselli's status yet, but I'm sure I wouldn't get past my 2nd hand when I counted better pass protecting LTs in this league. The problem with Baker is that he's not a good run blocker. He's effective and can get good position, but he's not a guy that can push the pile. And I don't think he'll ever be that, because he wasn't that type of player at USC, and that's primarily why I and many other observers saw him as a borderline 1st round pick.

What he needs to off-set that less than stellar run blocking IMO is to have a really good LG. I don't think Blalock is that player, and IMO he's the weakest link up front. Blalock isn't bad, but I've been disappointed with his progress thus far, and my expectation that he would be a near Pro Bowl guard within 3-4 years in this league doesn't look like it will come true.

Todd McClure is lambasted by folks, IMHO based off ignorance more than anything else. It's no secret that McClure has his issues against good 3-4 nose tackles. But what most people don't understand because I believe them ignorant because they don't watch other teams play, is that most centers in this league have trouble with good 3-4 nose tackles. He had his issues with Vince Wilfork (arguably the best 3-4 nose tackle in the league) and Jay Ratliff (arguably the most underrated 3-4 nose tackle in the league), and that's really about it. But from what I saw, outside 1 or 2 plays vs. the Patriots, McClure did a much better job vs. Wilfork than I think anybody would have expected.

Can the Falcons upgrade over McClure? Absolutely. When asked, I have said this exact same sentiment for a number of years. But do they need to? Not really. Not in the NFC. In the AFC, there is much greater turnover at center because of the prevalence of 3-4 teams and players like Wilfork, so having a big physical 310-pound center that can block on an island is much more important. But in the NFC, it's not that important. Now, if Bill Cowher becomes the head coach of the Panthers next year, then I think it would become more important to try and replace McClure. But until we get a lot more than four 3-4 teams in the NFC, I'm going to be able to sleep at night with Todd McClure as the starter for another year or two.

Harvey Dahl's penalties irk me, but I think he's a good player. He's got more substance than you give him credit RobertAP. He's not the next Chris Snee or Will Shields, but he's better than you give him credit for. He's far from a liability despite questionable play last week. I've gone a complete 180 on Dahl from 6 months ago, because I thought then he was the weakest link, but right now he's no worse than our 3rd best blocker. Yeah, he might be a bit more attitude than substance, but he's arguably got the most attitude in the entire league, that's not really a bad thing.

As for Clabo, he's one of my favorite Falcons, and I think deservedly so. It's not always pretty, but hte guy is consistent and definitely our best two-way blocker. To me, he has stepped very nicely into Todd Weiner's shoes at RT. I know Weiner wasn't our most popular linemen during his tenure here, but I thought the guy was steady and consistent and as they always say, simply gets the job done. When we signed Weiner, I thought he was going to be another Dan Reeves FA bust (like Greg Bishop), but he proved me wrong. And I thought last year when Weiner was asked to play more LT, he was going to struggle, but he proved me wrong, and arguably outplayed Baker last year. Clabo has that same ability, that when you doubt him, he's going to prove you wrong. And throw in the added benefit that he can play any position you ask him (except maybe center), the guy is a rock.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:10 pm 
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Pudge, I think you've used that word ignorant too many times for one post...
(I might start thinking your talking about me) (:
and I know I'm not..... Yes I've been blasting Blalock all season, and I'm not sold on Dahl against the run either.

I also like McClure but only because a guy that can last through 4 different set of coaches doesn't do that by accident.
He's a smart center that uses leverage very well, but one poor guard can almost single handily hurt the run game, make
Dahl the next worst behind Blalock in run blocking, and their goes the center of the field.

I almost think you can break the line up into 3 units.... Center and two guards, then each tackle is a unit.
I do believe that Blalock and Dahl are our weakest against the run. I also agree that Sam Baker is not as good against the run as he is the pass, but overall, Baker is a heck of a lot better than Blalock and Dahl. Yes, it almost seems everyone improved with Pass blocking but the lack of running lanes has been because we've played better teams with
Blalock and Dahl not getting it done on run blocking. Blalock is no doubt the weak link in my eyes.

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 Post subject: Re: Five Great Reason's Not To Panic Over Falcon's Just Yet!!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:02 pm
Posts: 6536
Location: Indianapolis IN
Let me think Blalock drafted by Mckay there's the answer. Another player not living up to the Mckay high pick.I think were saying the same thing in order to beat the good teams more consistently the guard play as to improve and you can put Mclure in there.A tell tale sign is when you have the ball at the 1-3 yard line rather than take the high percentage play and bull your way into the end zone the Falcon's try and pass it way to much.I don't mind a 50-50 play call pass vs run but it doesn't look like the Falcon's are confident vs hard hitting quality defenses on the goal line.

The off line may be better pass blockers than run but what we all should agree on is the run blocking needs to pick up or not only the team is in trouble but replacing the player with a upgrade is needed.I'd like to see Snelling more if Turner can't get his act together.We need someone to crash the hole and blast through instead of tippy toeing through the line.

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