The Atlanta Falcons look cooked after being thrashed by the Houston Texans, and it’s just hard to pinpoint exactly what is ailing this team and if it’s fixable.
All signs point to a revamp coming next season with new personnel in place to get the Falcons where they need to be.
They just look lifeless these days, and there’s not much to take away other than pain and agony.
But we’ll learn our lessons the best we can.
1. The team is not going to make the playoffs at this rate
At 1-4, you just don’t really get all that many opportunities to turn things around.
The Falcons have a 2.7% chance of making the playoffs right now as a Wild Card per Football Outsiders, one of the worst in the NFL.
The team’s schedule is as brutal as you come, with not even this week’s away game against the Arizona Cardinals looking like one that makes you feel good.
Those home stands against the Rams and Seahawks feel like pipe dreams right now, and don’t even get us started on the road game with the Saints and the brutal division slate.
It’s just not going to happen this year, barring a miraculous comeback.
2. Matt Ryan is not the problem
For those that want to blame this season on Ryan, zip your lips.
His 330 yards and three touchdowns largely came when the game was out of reach, but he’s still putting up outrageous numbers, typically not something that indicates its your quarterback that’s causing your problems.
He’s on pace for potentially his first 5,000-yard season right now with 1,655 yards at the moment (he’s averaging 331 yards a game right now), but that absolutely indicates OC Dirk Koetter is getting far-too pass happy due to a moribund ground game.
Ryan could have roughly the same stat line with yards and touchdowns in his MVP season this year (he’s on pace for about 35 touchdowns at this rate, too), but it could come on his worst team to date.
3. The run game is dormant
Koetter’s inability to mount an effective run game has followed him back to Atlanta.
The team’s running back group is far, far too talented to be so underutilized and poorly-schemed for.
Devonta Freeman’s season thus far (187 yards rushing, no TDs, 173 yards, one TD) is inexcusable considering he’s shown he can still be his old self.
Koetter needs to figure this part out, or it’ll be a wasted year for Atlanta’s run game.
4. The defense is a wreck
All you need to know about this defense is that it was the worst performance by any Atlanta Falcons defense in 17 years.
We have no idea why this unit is so bad, though the scheme is being slammed by opponents and a former player right now.
Dan Quinn’s balancing act between being a head coach and defensive coordinator just is not working in any way, and it’s a big reason why this team is in shambles.
5. Where was Julio Jones?
After being a touchdown maven to start the season, Jones has slowed considerably (four catches, 52 yards against Tennessee with no scores, three catches for 42 yards with no scores against Houston).
The team’s best player isn’t getting the run he needs, and it’s noteworthy how much better this offense when the team gets him involved.
They beat Philadelphia when he had 106 yards and two touchdowns, and nearly beat Indianapolis when he had 128 yards and a touchdown.
Make your best player the focal point of your offense, and you have a better chance to win. Kind of funny how that works.