Well, ladies and gentlemen, I feel worse about this game then I did last year after Green Bay. We were utterly embarrassed on all 3 sides of the ball. An offense that kept settling for FGs, couldn't capitalize on turnovers, and no longer has a feared running game. On defense, we couldn't stop a ford model T with a sledgehammer. If this were a playoff game (which the atmosphere was) I could only hope we would be saying goodbye to the likes of MM and BVG (among others).
Offense: Let's face it, this unit is getting old in key places, is utilized incorrectly, and just doesn't perform to what was expected of them. We need a new OC and some new players to breathe life into this unit.
Matt Ryan - Has finally eclipsed 4000 yards in a season, and this time only needed 15 games. Is 1 TD away from a personal best for the season, and has thrown for 300 yards in a game this season, than the last 3 combined if I recall correctly. Ryan is the heart and soul of this team, and we really need to get him some more help. Because Roddy and Julio aren't enough to compete with the Saints and Green Bay.
Stats lie, because if they didn't we wouldn't be losing all of our games when he throws 40+ times. We are not a full on passing team because we don't have 4 true receiver threats to score at any time like other teams. We only pass 40+ times a game because we are losing badly in the second half, and have no running game.
As I said last night, I don't have faith in Turner anymore. He has done so much for this team the last 4 years, that I really feel awful writing this (and he's not the only person I will say that about). I realize we were down early in this game and couldn't get him into a rhythm, but a 3.9 yap against the Saints just isn't going to cut it. We have 2 other capable backs who have fresher legs to wear down defenses for Turner, but we never use them. Turner is playing injured, he's had near the top of the league in carries over the last 4 seasons, and just does not run like he used to in 2008 and 09. He has another year on his contract, and I think it's time to let Snell and Quizz start taking more carries.
Julio and Roddy played and excellent game, but they can't carry an entire offense. Especially against the Saints. Whether HD is just not good enough, or the offense isn't designed well enough to get him involved, something is wrong. Personally I am leaning more towards our offensive design, because the games he is in without Roddy or Julio, he explodes. Tony G is a legend, a team player, and a GREAT person. But I can't see him being the feature TE of our offense next year (another one of those guys who I feel bad saying this about). I believe his stats are better this year because of the lockout (more rest) and Julio drawing more attention. We need a younger more explosive TE to take the lead, and I think Tony can provide us with a few more years (that's right, if he stays, years) in a complimentary role.
More and more I love the Julio pick, but I just think it was the wrong time. To give away so many picks and now "suddenly" have so many glaring holes, really shows a lack of planning and preparation from our front office. I hope they learned their lesson. No more mortgaging the draft for 1 guy!
This unit is a mess. The once unheralded UDFA and "reaches" are coming apart at the seems. They simply are being outplayed. They cannot consistently handle a 1 on 1 assignment against anyone. We will have to go out this year and possibly miss out on a rising skill position player in FA because we just can't draft enough high round guys to fill the holes. And we also risk having to give up another draft pick to trade for one. I don't think this is a matter of coaching, but of actual player skill.
I really, truly believe the talent is here in this group. We have an exceptionally athletic front 7, and 2 great DBs (Willy Mo and Grimes). We have a man who was once thought to be an exceptional man to man corner playing zone defense and looking lost half the time. Yo just don't regress that much for no reason at all. Look at Asomugha, he was regarded as the best cover corner in the NFL, and has struggled massively at times in a defense that isn't suited to his skills. So generally speaking, I think we need some fresh blood in the coaching staff to pump some life into this unit. Look at what Wade Phillips did for Houston. While they aren't the best and show lapses, they have greatly improved what once was the worst defense in the league. IMagine what our defense could become with the right coach.
The only group I want to single out today is the line. Because I just don't know what is wrong. We have gotten better on an individual level, but regressed as a unit. Whatever they are doing, isn't working.
I really hope we just destroy Tampa next week, because anything less than a blowout in the dome, would leave us limping into the playoffs. And that is a receipt for being done after the first round.