In this series of posts, I seek to find the answer to questions that are brought up around here or around the various sports conversation sites. I use a realistic, low-stat opinion to generate discussion about these topics, but I also encourage the use of stats in an argument.
In grand fashion, our beloved Falcons laid a Road Game Egg once again. While the reaction was less depressing than the Pittsburgh game, there certainly is no joy in Mudville.....or Atlanta, for that matter.
There is no joy in Atlanta right now, and rightfully so. For the second year in a row, the Philadelphia game has been an embarrassment. I've had a feeling for a while that we were due for a let-down game, but you never really want to see them happen. They always bring out the worst in us.
Today, I bring you my opinion on several topics. The state of the Falcons, the reality of our 4-2 record, and the Boom Headshots that plagued several games on Sunday are on the board for this fine Thursday.
Could it be time to press the panic button? Follow me after the jump and let's talk about it!
First and foremost, I'm going to try to be the voice of reason today. Once I calmed down a bit on Sunday, I realized that the sky was not falling.
That being said, I do think the Falcons could be in trouble if something doesn't happen very, very soon. I had the unfortunate pleasure of being able to watch the game, and I still believe that Turner is being misused. Thankfully, being an OC isn't my profession, else we might actually be winning. (Ouch, Mularkey. Ouch.)
All jokes aside, this week is our statement game. We're injured on defense (DR, Spoon, Granddad Abe) and we've got a bad vacuum hose on offense (pile running, pile running, those short passes on 3rd and 8)
If you asked me what I felt like the state of the Falcons would be, I would have to tell you "underwhelming".
Truthfully, this team should not be struggling. With each passing week, I feel like we're all seeing flaws in the team that either should not exist or are so crippling, we don't want to believe that they exist. I liken it to a really, really hot girl you've been dating for long enough to where all the happy aura has worn off, and you know that she's a really flawed individual, but you don't want to believe it because she's smoking hot.
Yes, our Falcons are currently like that hot girl. The defense has carried the Falcons. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating it is as a fan to have the former weak link of the team carrying what should be the strong link.
From the outside looking in, this team should be fantastic. We have a solid QB, a potentially dangerous RB tandem, and one of the best WR in the league. Even the defense has played above expectations. However, we're still struggling. Some people will say it's simply a matter of "Any given Sunday..." as we've seen teams like the Rams, Chiefs, Vikings, Cowboys, and 49ers all have years unlike any would have expected.
When you have the talent, the big plays should be there. The lack of offensive success despite our talent has been infuriating, to say the least. It might be safe (or justified) to blame the coaches. However, even when the talent is there, sometimes there are other misleading factors that we as fans do not know about, as evidenced by this story.
I do believe that whoever is game planning for us should be kicked in the mouth. The defensive game plan against the Eagles was supposedly to not let the WR get behind the safeties, yet it happened on several plays.
Who's to blame? Is it the coach's fault for calling in the wrong scheme? Is it the safety's fault for either having terrible vision or getting caught up in something he shouldn't have? We've seen DeCoud and Moore play. Both of those men can play ball, that is certain, but how do you honestly know whose fault it really is?
Understanding the difficulty of correcting all of these mistakes and realizing just who is at fault is what many armchair GMs fail to understand.
I'll now turn my attention to another topic. We just got embarrassed on the road, and we could easily have a great start turn into a terrible first half by the time the bye week rolls around.
Now, I'm going to tell you all not to panic and to calm down. You might be asking why I would say such a thing. Well, here's why:
First of all, we're 4-2. Our two losses have been on the road in two of the most hateful places in the whole continent, Philly and Pittsburgh.
No matter who is at QB, Philadelphia is a perennial playoff contender and should be thought of as such. Even though it was against us, it is safe to say that Kolb isn't quite the failure many had claimed he was.
It goes without saying that Pittsburgh is a perennial Super Bowl contender, let alone playoff contender, and yet we almost beat them in their house on an opening day game that showcased the absolute worst our offense could be.
Yes, we were all flipping out about Dennis Dixon, but remember how well Chris Redman played at times last year? He certainly is no Matt Ryan, but the same situation could be applied for the Steelers. Regardless of who was playing QB for them, all that was asked of the QB was simply not to give the game away, which they didn't.
Say what you want about the Saints win, but they were all healthy when we flapped our wings into their house and put them to shame. Some may call it luck, some may call it a miracle, but whatever you call it, you can't deny that it was legitimate.
Then we have three wins against cupcakes who many people will try to use as excuses as to why we are vastly overrated. However, the Cardinals beat the Saints and the 49ers nearly beat the Eagles. We've played some tougher competition than most will admit.
I can think of many times when the Patriots won some very important games because of a kick at the end of the game, so don't fret if the Falcons happen to win one in the same fashion.
Also, as bad as the Eagles loss might have been, it was only 14 points. Dave's wishful 28-24 really is closer to what the game should have been, but then we don't play by the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" rules, do we?
We do have flaws, but so does every other team out there. I'm not ready to hit the panic button just yet.
I'd now like to very briefly cover the helmet-to-helmet issue that has been going on around the league.
(Sneak preview link about Dunta's condition here.)
I understand that, as a Falcons fan, I am biased towards the Falcons, so my defense of Dunta's hit may not carry as much weight as someone of no bias towards either the Falcons or the Eagles.
I have watched all of the major hits that occurred on Friday, most notably the three fine-drawing hits. I'll let you youtube them. They're everywhere.
First and foremost, Meriweather's hit was the dirtiest, most inexcusable thing I have watched in a long time. Not only was the pass from Flacco to Heap uncatchable, but Meriweather noticeably made a head thrust in the direction of Heap. That's uncalled for, and unfortunately the NFL has yet to take any action against Meriweather. It's a real shame, because he should be benched immediately. I would not have that garbage on my team for one second.
Next, I move to the loony-bin James Harrison. His hit on Mohamed Massoquoi was nearly as dirty. MoMass caught the ball over the middle, noticed an approaching Harrison, and started to defend himself. However, Harrison nearly took Massaquoi's head completely off, and from some angles it almost looked like Harrison tried to club Massaquoi's head as he went careening into it. That is just as unacceptable, and I'd be completely happy if Harrison took his ways out of the NFL. The league would be much better without his type, especially after the absurd comments he made afterwards.
Finally, I move to Dunta's hit on D-Jax. Yes, I watched the video. After watching it several times, I noticed something peculiar. Watch the slight body language on Dunta just before impact. It almost seems like Dunta realizes what is about to happen, but since this is a violent, high speed game, he can't avoid it and collides with D-Jax, instead of just hitting through him. Yes, Dunta's helmet hit D-Jax's upper chest, but it was most definitely not a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Also, I'd like to quickly draw attention to the fact that Dunta was the only defender who was also injured on the major collisions of the game. I don't know about you, but if I was trying to injure somebody, I'd sure as heck make sure I hurt only them and not me, wouldn't you think? Plus, Dunta made no effort whatsoever to aim for D-Jax's head. Say what you want, it was just a nasty collision, folks.
Should Dunta have been fined? I don't think so. Should the other two have been fined? Absolutely. I would have suspended them both, too. I'm all for hard hits, don't get me wrong, but I refuse to give credit to someone who goes headhunting. I love the game of football, and I don't want one play to ruin a player's career because someone gets a hard-on from knocking people out. It's pretty obvious just from watching the three plays what the intentions were of each player.
Regardless, I wish a speedy recovery to all players involved. Nobody ever wants to see guys get knocked unconscious from collisions, especially those who have experienced it themselves.
So, what do you all think? Is it time to hit the panic button on the Falcons? Are we a legitimate 4-2? Do you think hard-hitting football will change in spite of the NFL's warnings? I look forward to discussing this with you all!!