The news can seem awfully grim with this Falcons team, and frankly that’s because silver linings are hard to come by. We may think the Falcons will beat the Cardinals this weekend—and I suspect most of this staff does, at least—but that’s just going to lead into a harder portion of the schedule. And so on.
Still, we’ll keep it going, and along the way we’ll try to pick up those bright baubles of quality performance or hope for 2019 when the Falcons give them to us. On to the links, which are...not completely a bummer!*
*Okay that’s a lie
How do the Falcons and Cardinals stack up?
By the numbers...the Falcons are the superior team. A cursory look at these two rosters would suggest the same thing, but we’re also stuck in the stinking miasma of three straight losses, the point at which every advantage for the Falcons curdles into another failure.
But the Falcons have the superior offense, per Kevin Knight, and both teams have putrid defenses, so in what should be a shootout, Atlanta seems to have the edge. Can they capitalize on it?
The pass rush is not an advantage
If the Falcons want to put up a good fight against Arizona and give their offense a fighting chance of winning this game, it would help to get after Kyler Murray. Unfortunately, Atlanta hasn’t exactly had a ton of success on that front in 2019.
As Matthew Chambers wrote yesterday, the Falcons are tied for dead last in the NFL in sacks, and that number is not belied by some insane number of pressures. Grady Jarrett has been a terror, Vic Beasley has had moments, and Takk McKinley was a monster in the early going before cooling off over the last couple of weeks, but once again the Falcons pass rush is a liability. If it’s going to turn around, it’d be helpful if it was this week, against a quarterback who can run and an offensive line that can’t always block effectively.
Subtle changes ahead
The Falcons have talked about changes, but the changes have been relatively minor. That’s not going to change.
Earlier this week, Dan Quinn said changes would be “subtle,” and specifically mentioned that Kendall Sheffield might get more time. But Quinn has always been big on the men he has at the time digging themselves out of messes, and that includes keeping himself as the defensive coordinator for this football team. In a move that surprises no one, he vowed to stay on and call the defensive plays himself, hoping to fix this mess and keep both his coordinator job and his head coach job.
So yeah, subtle changes. Everyone’s just going to have to get better, I guess.