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3 key takeaways from Falcons vs. Bucs

Can this season be over yet?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I came into this game with the feeling that the Falcons could bounce back - that they would right the ship. The defense had been playing well, and I truly felt that the offense would figure things out. As it turns out, the team found a new way to lose, giving up head-scratching plays on defense, and continuing to disappoint on offense. It was another disheartening loss, and any optimism fans may have had may finally have died in Tampa.

The entire offense is stumbling

Game day emotions can be pretty strong, and yesterday was no exception. As usual, the criticism for Matt Ryan was at a fever pitch, and his game-ending interception was certainly awful. However, the entire offense is stumbling right now - it's not just one person. The offensive line is failing to pick up stunts consistently, and allowing interior pressure. Receivers are dropping balls in critical situations. Even Julio contributed with a couple of drops of his own.

I understand that the QB of any team is going to get a large portion of the blame, and I'm not trying to absolve Ryan of any blame here. It's important, however, to point out that multiple players are not playing up to par - because the fix for the issue is not going to be to replace one player. It's just not that simple. Sadly, that means fixing the offense is not going to be easy and will not likely happen this season.

The entire team just looks flat

The offense is getting a ton of criticism, and rightfully so, but the defense had some terrible moments in yesterday's game as well. No play represented the game more than the series of botched tackles in the fourth quarter where Jameis Winston was able to scramble for the first down. That drive ended up being the go-ahead drive for the Bucs - and it never should have happened.

The truth is this team is looking flat. They have looked uninspired and lethargic in their play. Given that, it's hard to see how a team playing this passively is going to turn it around this year.

Lack of talent is standing out now

If fans are looking for someone to "blame" for the current mess, the reality is that person may not even be on the field. After the release of OT Lamar Holmes last week, the Falcons now have just 2 players left from the 2011 and 2012 draft classes. I've always contended that it takes 3 years to know what you have in a player. Well, the results are in and the evidence is damning. While I love Julio and what he means to our team, if you're going to trade away a wealth of picks for a player, you HAVE to nail it with the picks you do have remaining. That clearly didn't happen.

Thomas Dimitroff was a key part of the turnaround of this franchise in 2008, and his early draft classes were pretty solid overall. But the massive failure in the 2011 and 2012 drafts helped to deplete this current roster of quality depth. The team has failed to find suitable replacements for Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, and it's become a major issue this year. The offensive line looks ok at tackle, but the interior 3 is a mishmash that is not a long-term solution. While the defense has some nice pieces in Desmond Trufant and Vic Beasley, the linebacking corps is bad and the Falcons are still trying to build a respectable pass rush. Heck, ANY pass rush would be nice.

While coaching can improve player evaluation and player usage, you still have to have talent to win in the NFL. The misses in 2011 and 2012 have arguably lead to where we are today, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of the GM.

What are your takeaways from the latest debacle?