Firstly, This is my first ever fanpost.... I was encouraged by Dave to give it a shot. I decided to start off lightly. But a small intro to myself goes as such: I'm 28 and I've been watching the Falcons since I was 5. I've been a resident my entire life of the Decatur area and I've been an avid follower since 1997. Now I'm the type of person who may come off as a know-it-all.... But truly, when I get interested in something, I actually do my best to try to know everything about it. But in no way will you ever hear me say I am the foremost expert on the subject. I try to keep an open mind because I've learned that a closed mind doesn't get fed. That doesn't mean I have to agree with anybody even if they sound like they talk good game, but it also means that you don't have to agree with me as well. So take my observations and opinions and do with them as you will.
Over the years I've gained a penchant for analyzing games by far beyond what stats can reveal. I try to look for patterns and advantages or holes in other teams psyche and gameplan as well as the Falcons themselves. I get a little abrasive at times when I see something that I think the team is either not noticing, doesn't care to adjust to, or tries to mask through stats, interviews, etc. But which one of us doesn't do that, you know? (Off-Topic) For some reason I feel the need to let you guys know that I am not a fan, and maybe never will be, of Mr. Thomas DeCoud. If you want me to go in depth on why.... I'm sure I can dig up a lot of footage to explain my points in a future post. (sigh of relief) Glad I got that off my chest.....
I have my master's degree in Business administration, so... of course I analyze a lot of things from that perspective as well. From personal experience and a life full of observing and analyzing... somehow I cultivated psychology skills in the process of growing up into an adult. If I hadn't I might have actually lost my mind by now. Anyway..... On to the football.
Like I said, I'm gonna start off lightly. One of the patterns I noticed while watching this current regime of Falcons football is taking the ball first. Around week 4 or 5 of last year I started noticing that every time I turn on the game we're getting the ball kicked off to us first. Now, from Madden gameplay experience.... I've never in my life seen anyone not kick the ball off when they won the toss. I mean it was just smart football to play to score at the end of the half and get the ball right back to start the 3rd quarter. It was like a big slap in the face to the opponent. But against conventional wisdom (or at least what I would call conventional), the Falcons seem to favor receiving the ball first. I watched each week to see if I was just being a conspiracy theorist. But I think every game I saw from that point forward began with us on offense. I knew we couldn't be losing the coin toss every week. So what were they thinking?
It didn't make sense to me that you wouldn't want the ball at the beginning of the third quarter.... fresh out of a team meeting ready to put the other team down 7 more points. I never really did any further research on this to see if this method actually paid out dividends. I believe that a commentator once said that we scored the most 1st drive points in the league last year. And I never counted up how many points we gave up on the opponent's first drive of the 3rd quarter to see how it balanced out. Yet and still, you can still kick the ball off to the other team when you win the toss and still lead the league in points scored on the 1st drive.... AND play the possession game at the end of the half. But from a mental standpoint, setting the tone on defense seems to reap far greater benefits in the intimidation department especially when they think (or know) that that's the weak link of your team..... or maybe I'm just old school. If your offense is just demonic like ours is (or should be)... you should be able to score whenever you please. Now if our defense comes out on fire to start the game off... You've destroyed all their pre-game confidence. Now they have to deal with your monstrous offense.
I posed the question on FB once.... The answer I received was that the Falcons wanted their potent offense to put the team up so that they could dictate to the other team how they played their offense. Meaning that since our secondary was deemed strong... and our pass rush and run defense was weak... we might as well force the other team to pass and play catch up as early as possible.
It's an understandable explanation, but I don't like it for 2 reasons. First of all, I want the ball to start the 2nd half like I said before. I don't wanna have you fresh outta the locker room with your offensive adjustments coming at me full tilt. Second, it shows that you don't really have faith in your defense. And the other team might pick up on that and use it to their advantage somewhere down the line when it comes to pressurized decision making time (on top of their scouting report they've already put together for the week). I feel like you're somewhat offering a scouting report on your own team just by opting to receive the ball first in a football game. You're effectively putting your team weaknesses and strengths on full display from the beginning of the game. Even if this is going too far with my analysis.... It still just doesn't sit well with me on the cerebral side of things. And from what I've heard, 90% of the game is mental... or something like that.
I found this link from an article last year about the subject. Mike Smith was mentioned in it.
How do you guys feel about it? Which one would you rather us do? Anymore reasons for doing it? Pros and Cons?