No, you’re not imagining things. It is pretty sweltering in here. Someone’s hot seat is in flames. That is what occurs when a team full of talent is winless after the first quarter of the season. After disappointing losses to Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, and Green Bay, the Atlanta Falcons find themselves 0-4 and are eye-to-eye with a possible reclamation project that may effect the entire franchise from top to bottom.
The team is broken currently
Mentally, emotionally, physically and any other aspect you can think of. The Falcons, from the front office to the coaching staff to the players, are battered and bruised. It shows up in coaching, which has been incredibly inconsistent and at times mind-bogglingly incompetent. It appears in the execution of plays. It showcases itself in the amount of injuries that are piling up at an alarming rate.
What makes things even more worse is that the season is only four weeks old. Remaining on the schedule are two matchups apiece with the Buccaneers and the Saints, and even a road contest against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs towards the end of the season. But after the four week trek so far, the Falcons are a team that is defeated in more ways than one.
Getting to the quarterback is STILL a major issue
It seems to be a weekly trend for me to include this deficiency in my takeaways from their games. Granted, they went up against a Green Bay offensive line that has improved dramatically from last season. But by game’s end, the Falcons registered one sack, one quarterback hit, and one quarterback pressure, with Charles Harris doing the heavy lifting on the stat sheet.
That’s unacceptable for a team out of the Sun Belt conference, let alone a professional team. It also appears as if this has been a point of emphasis every offseason yet the element has been dreadfully lacking Averaging a lackluster 1.8 sacks per game is simply not going to get the job done when there are considerable issues on the back end of the defense, and without at least consistent pressure, quarterbacks are able to carve up this team.
Young players stepping up
Lost in the midst of the defeat on Monday night was the play of some young players who had to step up as a result of major injuries. Second-year wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus led the team in targets (nine), receptions (eight) and receiving yards (86). His ability to still produce while stud receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley combine for four receptions for 32 yards was definitely noteworthy.
Rookie safety Jaylinn Hawkins was another player who popped off the screen. His stat line was not necessarily sterling (five total tackles, three solo) and he did leave the game early with an injury but once he was able to catch a groove, Hawkins’ aggressiveness was spotted a time or two. Of course he still needs reps and he will likely see plenty with the amount of injuries at the safety position, but his assertiveness at times during the game was very promising for his future in Atlanta.
Speaking of injuries
As if the team was not a walking medical ward already, the Falcons watched safety Damontae Kazee go down in a non-contact fashion and eventually be diagnosed with a torn Achilles. Which of course, ends his season. The Falcons are already missing Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen. Along with Takk McKinley, Darqueze Dennard, A.J. Terrell, and a hobbled Julio Jones. Maybe not a smorgasbord of names to some but each one of those players are relied upon HEAVILY. Their absences are beyond overwhelming at this point for a team that looks overwhelmed overall.