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Dirty Bird Takebusters: Are the Falcons Back?

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The Falcoholic’s resident takebuster is here to tackle that lingering hot take dancing around in your noggin.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

“When you take a week, to rest your weary feet, who you gonna call?” Cory to yell at him!

“So, the Falcons beat the Jets, and you’re still a wreck, who you gonna call?” Takebusters!

*melodious 80s riff* I ain’t afraid of no takes (except for the ones after the New England Patriots game – dear me that was horrifying).

Ok – Cory’s back here after the phone lines at Dirty Bird Takebusters HQ were logjammed with calls about whatever in the world happened at Foxboro. The hot takes were so dangerous to examine, they had to be taken to a facility to observed by top men – TOP MEN. No one could take bust that calamity.

So, we’re back this week to look at a Falcons win! An actual win! Fly the “W!”

Atlanta withstood the torrential downpour in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets and nabbed their fourth victory of the season, and we’re here to bust the takes surrounding this soaked spectacle.

HOT TAKE

WE’RE BACK BABY THE FALCONS ARE BAAAAACK SUPER BOWL IS HERE LET’S GO

HOT TAKE TRANSLATION

The Atlanta Falcons’ win against NYJ showed a team that has returned to form, and the grand march back to Super Bowl 52 has now begun. The three-game slide was an anomaly – the Falcons are back, and they’re here to stay.

HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 40%

Yes, yes, I know the first thing you thought of when you first read this – what brave soul is bold enough to have this hot take? And where is he hiding?

If you’re on Twitter, or any other corner of the internet, you’ve seen – not of a lot of this – but I do think this is a hot take simmering in the back of many a Falcons fans heads. When the team walked off the field victoriously, it’s tempting to feel that, you know, at least privately, maybe, just maybe, the Falcons are getting back to themselves.

It was an ugly duckling win – they fumbled the football four times, let the Jets score 20 points (which, yes, I know they’re having a decent season, but come on) and failed to convert touchdowns on a handful of red zone trips. That alone should indicate that they are not back to their full form.

But, you know, it is tempting to feel that the team might have just needed to get through a bizarre scheduling of four-straight out-of-conference games to really be able to come into their own with all the transitions that they made in the offseason. That might be the reality.

The cynical part of my brain says, “No, Cory, no, the Falcons just aren’t back yet – and might not be in 2017 because of all the changed and the schedule.” But the hopeful part of my brain says, “Hey, they needed a win to shake off the funk, they’re going to get it on track this week in Carolina.”

The truth lies somewhere in the middle – none of us have a doggone clue.

The Falcons might be a middling team in the midst of coordinator changes and continuous ebb-and-flow play from their younger players. They could crack it right back to 2016 in 2018 with everyone more comfortable in their roles and an offseason to learn from whatever didn’t work in 2017 (they’ll also be more than a year removed from you know what).

They might be on the way back, with the screws tightening quicker behind the scenes than we realize with OC Steve Sarkisian and the young players on defense. Matt Ryan might get back to his 2016 form permanently after this week, Sark could get more comfortable behind the wheel, and the defense could catch fire as November dwells on.

They don’t just plum suck. 2016 wasn’t a mirage – there is a bevy of talent on this roster that remains exciting. The coaching has taken a dive, but the players are still producing as best they can.

So, this week: one grand hot take busted – no, the Falcons are not back – not just yet.

There are still questions on offense – if this team cannot be as productive in the red zone – the trickiest part of the field to scheme for – this could be a more spaced out 2015 campaign. The defense also has to start playing more consistently – that starts in the secondary, where guys like Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, who are great players and not bad players like the stupid stupids say – do need to elevate their games. The pass rush also needs to turn it up a notch or two, particularly if January football is on the Falcons calendar.

The team also has got to start playing better on special teams – a lot of that falls on Keith Armstrong to firm up his unit, and on returner Andre Roberts to know when to make a run of it, and know when to take the end zone yards.

And, while we’re being honest, Dan Quinn has got to figure out if he’s the guy that needs to be calling this defense. Marquand Manuel has been pretty good in his defensive coordinator stint, but pretty good might not be good enough for upper management. Also consider Manuel might not be long for this team – he could be a popular head coaching candidate in 2018 or 2019, so Quinn may want to adapt his CEO mentality if his defenses are to be as strong as they can be. This might be more of a 2018 decision, but that defense looked much better in 2016 when DQ was the brain behind it.

The Falcons are chock full of talent – but they’re not living up to their potential. Their win Sunday could indicate better days are to come, but it wasn’t enough to confirm that.

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