The Falcons are the same team as last year, without the early season success.
The team shuffled their roster and spent aggressively in the offseason. They handed out nearly $80 million in offensive contracts and the results today were the same. No run game, bad red zone play calling, an egregiously poor third down offense, and a refusal to go uptempo. The defense was the target of multiple draft picks, but still struggle to tackle, pressure the quarterback, and create turnovers (minus you, Desmond Trufant). Both sides of the ball played sloppy and Atlanta had seven (!) penalties. It is tough to come out more uninspired than Dan Quinn did today. We may be in for a long season.
Fans are running out of patience early.
The Falcons have gone through three lousy-to-mediocre seasons in a row, which meant that the average fan was already feeling a little eager to see something better and more compelling from this Atlanta team. It’s too early to deliver big, sweeping judgement of this team, but we’re all frustrated to see missed tackles, no pass rush, poor blocking, and so many penalties after watching the team struggle with those issues for the last couple of years. The Falcons need to show some sign of getting on track, or they’re going to lose the fanbase pretty quickly.
Same garbage, different year.
The Falcons still can’t sack the quarterback, they still can’t tackle and they still can’t block. They’ll be on the road for four of the next five games, and that one home game is against the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons could very well be 0-6 by the time they host the San Diego Chargers in Week 7. Brace yourselves for a bumpy, bumpy ride, folks.
Offensive line needs to step up.
Tampa Bay doesn’t exactly have an imposing line on either side of the ball. The offensive line lost their leader Logan Mankins in March. The defensive line has potential, but doesn’t feature any surefire assets besides Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers. This should have been a good matchup for the Falcons.
Instead, the offensive line struggled to contain McCoy and Ayers. Chris Chester was frequently pushed around, while Jake Matthews had one of the worst first halves in his career. Unlike the defensive line, the offensive line came into this season with high expectations. By not opening up many holes in the running game and forcing Ryan to make quick decisions, it was a very disappointing performance. Carolina, Denver, and Seattle aren’t far away.
Where’s the pass rush?
I’m not ready to write-off Vic Beasley yet, as it’s just too early to label a young player like him a “bust” this early in his career. However, this Falcons team is just completely incapable of generating pressure against the QB, and someone - anyone - needs to step up. I don’t care if it’s Shelby or Clayborn or Beasley or “old man” Freeney, I just need one of these guys to begin terrorizing QBs. If coaching is the issue - I’m looking at you Bryan Cox - then something needs to be done about that as well. I believe we have some potentially good - maybe great - players on our defense, but it will mean nothing if we can’t affect the quarterback. Whatever, however, whoever - please just fix this pass rush.
Same ol’ Falcons.
I don’t like saying it, but there isn’t a thing I saw on Sunday that suggests this team took any steps forward from 2015. Not just 2015...the bad part of it.