If there’s someone mad, about the game to be had, who you gonna call? Takebusters!
If there’s a Tweet so bad, it makes your timeline sad, who you gonna call? Takebusters!
*familiar 80s melodious riff* I ain’t afraid of no takes.
Welcome back to Dirty Bird Takebusters, the weekly feature here on The Falcoholic that will break down the most steaming of hot takes of takes circulating throughout Falcons fandom after each and every game.
This week, I’ll once again strap on my hold-on pack, hop in the HECKNO-1 and bust the overexcitement about the Falcons’ performance against the Packers and quell your worries about Vic Beasley’s short-term absence.
THE FALCONS ARE GOING TO GO 16-0 DID YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID TO RODGERS WE’RE PERFECT MAN
HOT TAKE TRANSLATION
The Atlanta Falcons overcame their Week One offensive and defensive issues to overwhelm a respected Packers team led by Aaron Rodgers. The offense is fully over its hiccups, and the defense is finally completely to where Quinn wants it. This team will waltz through the regular season with no problems.
HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 40%
Well, they did look pretty darn good – it’s not a hot take to surmise that the 2017 Atlanta Falcons are really starting to come into their own on both sides of the ball after a decent-enough first week out. The Falcons offense put together some strong series, showcasing a savvy balance of run and pass calls from Steve Sarkisian (told you). The offensive line looked more complete and was able to weather an absence from Ryan Schraeder, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman picked it up in the run game and Matt Ryan and the passing game looked to pick right up where they left off last week in the Windy City. They put 27 points on the Packers defense, and could have put on more if not for a more situational set of calls to close the game.
But, they’re still warming up, and there were a few more miscues and stalled drives than we’re used to seeing from the post-2016 Falcons offense. There were a few moments where the camera would catch a guy making a confused face or expressing frustration for a mental error (or on one play, Alex Mack literally threw his hands up in confusion when Coleman got stuffed on a goal line play). The offense is still trying to mesh with the wrinkles Sarkisian has likely put into Kyle Shanahan’s 2016 scheme. So, y’know, they’re not there *yet.* It’s not a hot take to think this Falcons team could be as good on offense this year as they were last season – in fact, Sunday night’s performance was pretty encouraging to fuel those flames. Though, give yourself a little pause before declaring this offense fully arrived – they made it pretty clear Sunday night there is still some dust to blow off.
On defense, rather bluntly, there is still work to be done, though this unit has plenty to be excited for. Indeed, the defensive line kept Rodgers on ice for most of the evening, though that’s one of the guys who traditionally does pretty well for himself outside of the pocket. The pass rush and run defense looks markedly more agile and consistent, and the secondary is ascending to new heights. But, you can still score on Atlanta. They are not an intimidating unit – right now, a solid one at best and not a liability at the worst. Stopping Rodgers is not something that’s easy, and no one should expect to hold the QB out of the end zone for four quarters. However, Atlanta did struggle against the intermediate passing game, with the slant passes to Davante Adams and, early on, the runs to Ty Montgomery giving the middle of the field fits. When an opposing team goes up-tempo, guys are still prone to letting big plays slip by. A top-ten unit so far, this is not, but they’re getting far-more three-and-outs than we’re used to seeing – holding Rodgers to 10 points before garbage time set in, even if he was missing his top two tackles – is not something to take likely. It’s all coming together, but the journey is not over for making Atlanta’s defense one of the best in the NFL. There’s still a long path to walk, Mr. Frodo.
And, look, the Packers were missing key guys like Jordy Nelson, Mike Daniels, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga for most, if not all, of the game. That had an impact, however small or large, in why Atlanta’s win was as commanding as it was.
So, be excited about Sunday night. Go for it. I’ll bring the streamers and sparkling grape juice. But, this is not a 16-0 team, and yes, they’re probably going to lose at some point this season. Nobody’s perfect.
VIC BEASLEY IS DONE FOR THE YEAR WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WE’RE SUNK WHY OH WHY
HOT TAKE TRANSLATION
My skepticism of media medical reports and my general disdain for rational thinking has led me to believe Vic Beasley won’t be coming back this season. Thankfully, I am a rare breed, and my fellow worry-warts fear that Beasley’s upcoming moth-long absence with a slight hamstring tear will sink Atlanta’s rising pass rush.
HOT TAKE VALIDITY: 25%
Seeing Vic Beasley go down with an injury is a sentence that on one wants to read. But, we’ve got to read it. Reports say Beasley will miss a month of action at least with a slight hamstring tear, though the team classifies it as a strain that will only keep him out in this upcoming Detroit game. It’s difficult to really gauge how long Beasley’s absence will be due to the trickiness of hamstring injuries and the point in the season. It’s not paramount for Beasley to be on the field with any ailment at the moment – this is the softer part of Atlanta’s schedule now that Chicago and Green Bay are out of the way, and the team still get pressure on the quarterback if Beasley is not on the field. There’s no reason whatsoever to rush Beasley back if he’s not 100% — if he aggravates the tear, and it becomes worse, you won’t be spouting off hot takes about what it’ll mean for Atlanta’s defense long-term.
It’s plausible to consider a scenario where the team lets Beasley heal up to the first division game against Carolina in November – that would be a six-week absence, which would not be ideal for the team to that point, but they need Beasley fully healthy and ready to roll going into the last two months of the season – by far the thickest part of the schedule. If he heals quickly, though, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think he returns for the Sunday night Super Bowl rematch with New England, or maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins game after the bye week (a game ahead of schedule). It’ll be what’s best of Beasley’s health, and really, the team has the personnel to sustain the position while the 2016 sack leader is away.
The Falcons have stocked their edge depth well, with DEs Adrian Clayborn, Takk McKinley, Derrick Shelby, Brooks Reed and Jack Crawford capable of rushing at the tackles. The team can also use strongside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to help in pressure, as well as their stable of corner and linebacker blitzes (Desmond Trufant, Brian Poole and Deion Jones have all gotten in on these in the past). Dan Quinn is as creative a defensive play caller in the league as there is, and if anyone can help mask Beasley’s absence, it’s him. This time could also be very beneficial for McKinley in particular, who will get added reps to improve himself and become a more valuable rotational piece once Bealsey returns.
Don’t be mistaken – losing Beasley for any period of time is a detriment to the defense, and makes them a weaker pass rushing team. But, at the same time, this is as good a moment as ever to lose the prolific rusher with it being so early, and as long as the team properly lets Beasley heal, he should be fine and ready to go when the team enters its roughest patch of games.
Man, bustin’ does really make me feel good. You should try it sometime.