The Baltimore Ravens have won two straight with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson under center, and the 6-5 Ravens roll into Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons have hit the “Well, let’s just try some things out” portion of their losing season, so we may see a bevy of different personnel receive meaningful snaps — particularly on the offensive line.
A loss on Sunday would guarantee the Falcons a season record of no better than 8-8, but also keep them in the mix for a top ten selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Wins or draft position? Pick your poison, I guess. Here are your Falcoholinks for Wednesday.
Birds of a Feather
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco will always be inextricably linked and compared, as they were the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Flacco, of course, sports a Super Bowl ring, Matt Ryan the loftier stats and an MVP award. I won’t peek my head too far down this argumentative rabbit hole, but it’s worth looking at the historic stats of both as the Falcons and Ravens prepare to meet on Sunday.
It will be a continuous narrative throughout the game, but Atlanta may not even see the likes of Joe Flacco. With the Ravens racking up two straight wins on the arm and legs of Lamar Jackson, there’s a strong chance that he starts once again.
A Rookie Reunion
Should Lamar Jackson helm the Ravens’ offense against the Falcons, it will be a reunion of sorts of two promising young players. Calvin Ridley and Lamar Jackson are both very familiar with one another’s skill sets, having grown up playing football together in South Florida. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure details the two players’ longstanding relationship and Sunday’s reunion in his latest piece.
The time Lamar Jackson and Calvin Ridley used to run circles around the competition as a dynamic duo. https://t.co/sfIykrl6rS— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) November 27, 2018
Vic Beasley deserves his share of blame for the Falcons’ anemic pass rush, but failure to adequately prepare shouldn’t be a part of it. Beasley simply isn’t the football player the Falcons thought that he was when they drafted him, and his inability to grow as an edge defender is a talent issue, not a commitment or motivation issue.
The Falcoholic’s Matt Chambers is out with a new piece that adeptly argues that very point. Vic’s failure to take the next step has nothing to do with pass rushing camps or clinics — at this point it’s an intrinsic skill deficiency.
Dan Quinn & Elusive Equilibrium
Since taking over coaching duties in 2015, Dan Quinn’s tenure has mostly been defined by success. He’s 33-26 through that span, which of course includes a Super Bowl appearance in 2016. But if crafting the Falcons into a legitimate contender is one of the prevailing narratives of Quinn’s time in Atlanta, so too is a shifting roster and coaching staff.
The Falcoholic’s DW lays out the year-by-year challenges this team has faced under Quinn’s leadership, and looks forward to 2019.
Is this the week?
Deion Jones was again left inactive last week, but his “excellent” practice on Monday indicates he could be primed to return against the Baltimore Ravens. The Falcons have to weigh the cost-benefit of Deion’s long-term health against his impact on the field in a lost season. We’d all of course like to see him out there making plays, but not at the expense of his recovery from foot surgery.