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Dirty Bird Takebusters: Ryan, Rash of Injuries, Really Underachieving?

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It’s time to bust the myriad of concerns flailing about after Atlanta’s first loss of the season.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When your team takes an L, and it’s hot as, well…, who you gonna call? Takebusters!

When it’s seems so bleak, with all of those who Tweet, who you gonna call? Takebusters!

*familiar 80s melodious riff* I ain’t afraid of no takes.

Welcome to our first “post-loss” edition of Dirty Bird Takebusters, where a dystopian future of fire awaits you. The streets are empty, the carnage has taken its toll and the Atlanta Falcons have lost a football game. For some unknown reason, some have already waved the white flag.

We’ve got our work cut out for us, but have no fear. We’re here to bust the hot takes (or “hot takes,” if you will), and get you excited for a 3-1 football team in a weaker conference (are you people seri…ok, breathe, Woodroof).

This week, I’ll, as always, strap on my hold-on pack, hop in the HECKNO-1 and bust the concerns about Matt Ryan’s “slump” (if you can even call it that), the heebie-jeebies surrounding the injury bug and look at if the team is really destined to be an underachieving program after four performances.

HOT TAKE

OH NO HELP MATT RYAN SUCKS NOW FOR REAL HE WAS THE WORST EVER THE FALCONS ARE DOOMED

HOT TAKE TRANSLATION

My inadequate understanding for football persists, and I assume that Matt Ryan’s two generally-agreed “not best trips to the office” indicate a stinging lack of talent and a sharp decline in his play. He is a bust, a charlatan, an emperor in his new clothes, and the Atlanta Falcons need to trade or cut him. Not even this week’s Hot Take Translation will attempt to justify the reason behind this hot take.

HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 0%

REALITY CHECK

We don’t deserve Matt Ryan.

He’s one of the league’s most consistent quarterbacks, has had two not-so-great weeks with a banged-up offense under a new coordinator against two pretty great defenses, still put 30 points in one of those weeks, and some are…I’m sorry….questioning if he’s…not good anymore?

*stares into the void, unafraid of what’s to come*

Whew. I don’t know? I don’t know. I just do not know! Lol. Why? Do we do stats? Do we break down film? Write something witty? Do we…I don’t know, call Tony Gonzalez to calm you down? Matt’s okay! Seriously! But, we live in an environment where some people (fiendish fans) simply don’t want things to be okay, because it’s more interesting to talk about things not being okay, which is the case here, where a QB doesn’t even play all that bad, but you’ve been salivating under your troll’s bridge for months, waiting to jump out and once again coronate Ryan the King of Calamity and call for his head. Because you don’t watch football to enjoy it like a normal person, you watch it in order to find something to criticize, because that’s fun for you. Last year you soaked in all the excitement, but you secretly missed being so pessimistic…until 28-3. A buffet of bad vibes! How great for you! We finally get a great football team in Atlanta, they post up a 3-1 record, and just because Matt Ryan hasn’t thrown elevendy-hundred touchdowns and he’s had an inordinate amount of tipped balls turn into picks, he is now a bust and deserves to be cast into the deep for X draft pick.

We don’t deserve any of this – you don’t deserve any of this.

If you’re not worried about Matt Ryan and can accept that all good quarterbacks have a tough week here and there when there are times of transition buffeted with injury, congratulations, you’re a good fan. If you are worried, you’re either woefully misinformed, a trolliest of trolls or, I don’t know, maybe you have the flu, and things are a little wobbly right now. Feel better soon.

HOT TAKE

OH NO MR. INJURY BUG IS HERE TO WRECK HAVOC ON OUR SEASON WE’RE DOOMED I TELL YOU DOOMED

HOT TAKE TRANSLATION

The Falcons seem to have gotten unlucky with injuries this season, leading to key bang-ups on both sides of the ball. This unfortunate trend seems to plague any chance at success this year.

HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 20%

REALITY CHECK

Yes, indeed, the formidable Mr. Injury Bug has tipped his hat the Falcons’ direction this season, and it stinks like three-day-old brussels sprout stew.

Since the start of the offseason, we’ve seen the likes of Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Ryan Schraeder, Vic Beasley, Ricardo Allen, Taylor Gabriel, Courtney Upshaw, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Brian Hill and Jordan Tripp have all experienced bang-ups, missed plays, missed games and trips to the medical room this season. That’s a startling amount of boo-boos.

Desmond Trufant and Austin Pasztor have been recuperating from injuries, and poor Jack Crawford has been lost for the year to a bicep tear (LB LaRoy Reynolds’ season status is in flux as he also sits on IR). Thank goodness Alex Mack and Derrick Shelby have healed up from their problems last season.

So, no this is not ideal. Right now, Jones, Sanu, Schraeder, Allen, Beasley and Upshaw are the names in question of missing time.

But, injuries have this neat way of, y’know, healing.

Our guess-timated timetable for when guys who are out get back after Sunday’s bye:

MIAMI: Julio Jones, Ryan Schraeder, Ricardo Allen, Courtney Upshaw

NEW ENGLAND: Mohamed Sanu, Vic Beasley

So, that’s…in the next two weeks or so. *knocks on wood* Barring any other injuries, they’ll actually be pretty healthy by the New England game.

That’s the thing about Mr. Injury Bug…he doesn’t tend stick around for too long.

HOT TAKE

THE FALCONS ARE UNDERACHEIVING AFTER FOUR WEEKS AND THEY ARE BAD OH NO HELP ME

HOT TAKE TRANSLATION

The Atlanta Falcons, through four weeks, aren’t quite the team I was expecting. They’re not bad, per se, but they don’t quite light up the scoreboard like they did last season, and obviously, the turnover margin and penchant for flags are a bit concerning to start out. This team is a less-good version of the 2016 squad, and will underachieve as the season goes on.

HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 15%

REALITY CHECK

Indeed – the Atlanta Falcons offense has not been as explosive this season. The 2016 squad had posted 152 point on the season in comparison to the 104 points Atlanta has notched this season. But look at the defenses – in 2016, they started out against Tampa Bay, then had the smorgasbord of Oakland, New Orleans and the lackluster Carolina one on the plate. Those are four not-super-great defenses in 2016. In 2017? Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit, Buffalo – Buffalo has arguably the league’s best defense right now, Chicago has one of its best front-sevens and Detroit has a rising unit that’s one of the top scoring defenses right now. Green Bay’s is also pretty stout against the run – and the team hung 34 on them (missing Mike Daniels, one should note).

They’re also acclimating to a wave of injuries and a new coordinator in Steve Sarkisian. But, as they showed in the first drive against Green Bay (with Mike Daniels in tow), they can look as good as any offense in the league. They’re technically, also a top-5 unit this season, so take that for what you will.

The defense? Marginally better, even if Sunday’s Bills game didn’t indicate so. They’re more agile, getting more pressure on the QB, getting more three-and-outs and aren’t allowing nearly as many points as they did last season. Over the last few weeks, the defense has only allowed 76 points, in comparison to the 2016 squad, which had allowed 117 at this point in the year. That’s improvement, no matter which way you slice it.

So, the team is a top-five offense so far, and a top-15 defense, and they’re 3-1. What’s underachieving about that?

STOP WORRYING EVERYTHING IS OK GOODNESS YOU PEOPLE BREATHE

Alrighty, partners, see you next time for some more bustin’.

Cory is an editor of fellow Falcons site Rise Up Reader, where you can find more Falcons coverage. He is a cohost of the Falcoholic game-recap podcast that airs weekly.