- I expected the Falcons to go 15-1 in the regular season and win at least one playoff game. I need to re-adjust my expectations for the 2012 Falcons. There are a lot of flaws on this team and there are a lot of really good teams in the NFC. 12 to 13 wins in the regular season is more likely, and a one-n-done in the playoffs is a distinct possibility. That said, there aren’t any prohibitive favorites either – the superbowl dream isn’t dead. Not yet.
- I am not expecting any real changes in the run game during the rest of the season. We will run it at least 20-25 times a game - Matt Ryan is already on pace (632 attempts) to throw it far more than he ever has. That kind of workload can take its toll as the season goes on. The OL will not change – McClure offers advantages in terms of recognition and organization in pass protection plus there is always a significant risk of messing up O-line chemistry by switching up in the middle of the season especially at a position as important as the center.
- On the bright side, I am hopeful Turner’s role in the running game will decrease. They put Snelling in specifically for a short yardage down. I also think Spoon’s return will help with run defense in terms of setting the edge and not letting runners get into the second level. Unfortunately I don’t think the tackling in the secondary is going to improve and it is quite likely going to kill us in the playoffs.
- Matt Ryan has never trailed by more than 10 points in the 4th quarter and gone on to win the game. I suspect that will have to change for the Falcons to succeed in the playoffs this year.
- In 2008, the Falcons had two above average players (Abraham, Babineux) on the Dline and not much else. 5 years later, they have used two high round picks and two low round picks to create a serviceable rotation at DT and 3 mid round picks and a low round pick to create a below average rotation opposite Abraham. We are still not getting enough of a pass rush and run defense is worse than ever. I expected problems at DE and don’t blame the comrade for the Ray Edwards fiasco but the fact that our DT rotation looks like it needs help is a serious concern.
- From 2008-10, we had a good but not great offensive line with the greatest inconsistency coming from LT Sam Baker. From 2009 onwards we have used 4 picks (Round 2,3,4,5) for the interior O-line and our interior O-line is a mess. Admittedly, O-lines take time to come together. Unfortunately, our Center is about to retire after this year which means the situation is not likely to improve for at least one more year (even if we already have the talent on our roster).
- At midseason I looked at the team needs - they were DE, TE, RB, and depth at LB and CB. Now I’m beginning to wonder if DT and OL need to be on there also. The deterioration of our O-line and the non-improvement of our d-line is a serious problem. I am going to be judging the Falcons FO quite severely at the end of this year. Specifically their ability to draft players on both lines. There seems to be a problem either identifying talent or in coaching them up.
- I enjoyed the 2010 Season. The playoff loss was heartbreaking but the season itself was immensely fun and I don’t regret wasting my time being a Falcoholic despite how it ended. Most people, however, seem to focus on the "embarrassing/humiliating" exit and the fact that we didn’t dominate teams. I guess they hope that we become a Juggernaut or a dynasty like the Patriots or Bama. Not me. I don’t like rooting for juggernauts or dynasties. I prefer rooting for underdogs. In fact I’m pretty sure if the Falcons did become a dynasty, I’d get bored. It’s what I call the "Barcelona paradox"(Disclaimer: Soccer like substance may be present).Plus, I love close games, especially close games that my team wins. That’s the best part of watching sports. That and watching an underdog win. So even if this season ends up like 2010, I think I’m still going to enjoy the experience.
And a thought about the game just to mix it up - that wide receiver screen is becoming awfully common. I wouldn't be surprised to see a CB intercept it and take it to the house if the Falcons aren't careful.