The Atlanta Falcons are in the middle of a very long stretch between Thursday night and Monday night games, basically working as a mini-bye week. Next Monday, they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team currently struggling to do anything effectively. They are the 2014 Falcons in so many aspects.
After beating up Tampa just a few weeks ago, the Falcons get another shot with Tampa likely missing their best defensive lineman.
#Bucs DT Gerald McCoy believes he has torn his biceps, sources say, which would almost certainly end his season. It’s an injury he’s had twice before.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 11, 2017
McCoy is a huge loss for that defense, and, well, we know how well defensive coordinator can replace an impact player (not at all). It feels like literally yesterday we covered growing tensions between quarterback Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter. Winston is reportedly blaming unimaginative play-calling for the offensive problems, but Winston has also been turning over the football a lot.
As we saw through Smith’s tenure in Atlanta, as well as Julio’s 253 yard, two touchdown game, the Tampa defense is very bad. It starts with a lack of pressure from the defensive line, and includes a lot of questionable decisions, like leaving Julio in single coverage the first half. Then despite ample evidence you should send over some safety help, keep Julio in single coverage like he is any other wide receiver in the league.
The pressure won’t improve with McCoy out, as the tackle produced 5 of Tampa’s 17 sacks. For reference, the Falcons have literally twice as many sacks as Tampa this year. Consider this a big improvement for Matt Ryan’s already good chances, especially with Ben Garland potentially filling in again for an injured Andy Levitre.