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Ryan and Quinn need to find their A game for #Falcons to reach #NFLPlayoffs

12 Dec

 

In the roller coaster season for the Atlanta Falcons the only constant has been questionable play of QB Matt Ryan and on field strategy of Head Coach Dan Quinn. These two, with Ryan being the bigger culprit have either cost the Falcons games outright, or made the wins much closer than they should have been. Matt Ryan the MVP of the NFL last year, has regressed. Gone is the maestro orchestrating one of the best offenses in league history. In 2016 -17 he seemed to always make the right throw, at the right time. Ball security was excellent having a 5-1 TD to INT ratio while still throwing enough to have almost 5000 Yards passing.

Dan Quinn was the captain of ship of players after his own heart . Rookies he helped select were making huge contributions on defense.  His hand picked OC Kyle Shanahan went from Atlanta’s most wanted out, to the hottest head coaching prospects and landing the 49er job.

This year there are multiple new coaches including new offensive and defensive coordinators, and QB coach. The defense has improved statistically moving into the top 10 in fewest yards allowed. However the dominant, record setting offense has taken a big step backwards. Quinn also continues to make strange, risky decisions in crucial times, especially clock management.

As for Matt Ryan, all of his key measurables up to this point in 2017 are down in comparison to last year. TD to INT 17/11 vs 38/7. QB rating 92.4 vs 117/1 . 252 yards per game passing vs 309 per in 2016. One of the greatest offenses in NFL history last year has become average and predictable. Scoring per game is down 33% averaging 22 points per game down from 33 per game.

Quinn has been given a pass by most of us in the media due to his upbeat nature and energy. Ryan has been criticized more often, sometimes unfairly especially by fans many who point to him as why the team can’t reach its potential.

The team still has the ability to reach the playoffs in their own hands. Win out, they are definitely in. Take 2 of 3 probably still will make it. The task isn’t easy. All 3 games are against division opponents. New Orleans and Carolina are ahead of them in the standings.

One other thing this years Atlanta Falcons have also been is resilient. If Matt Ryan can play more like the reigning league MVP, and Dan Quinn can make sound Late game decisions this team has the personnel to make some noise in postseason.

But if they don’t at least get there, Ryan and Quinn will face some hard questions this offseason. Explaning why this became such a ‘year of living dangerously ‘m

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#Falcons snatch win from hands of #Saints on #DeionJones end zone INT

9 Dec
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#InBrotherhood

Saints Falcons Football

Debo Time -atlantafalcons.com

The Atlanta Falcons continue their season in the year of living dangerously. Matt Ryan throws 3 interceptions, including 2 in the Red Zone. But in another strange and miraculous finish, the Falcons intercept Drew Brees in the end zone with less than a minute to go to preserve a 20-17 victory in Atlanta.

Falcons star middle linebacker Deion Jones, a Louisiana native, once again stung his home state with a game changing interception. He intercepted a Brees pass 2 years ago in New Orleans in his rookie year to help the Falcons win that game.

The offense was doing what it needed to do…. control the ball to keep it away from Drew Brees and the Saints Offense.  Early on it was the Saints who had  control and held a  2-1 time of possession edge. but it was still a 3-3 tie in the 1st quarter. Atlanta seemed to take charge midway through the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 15 play 90 yard drive lasting  8:17. Austin Hooper had 2 catches to keep the drive alive. Devonta Freeman had 5 carries, 19 yds and caps off long drive with a TD with 4:35 left 2nd quarter.
After score however  it seems like Atlanta’s defense relaxed. First they gave up a big 31 yard kickoff return. Then Brees took Saints on nifty TD drive in just 2:30
When the Falcons get the ball back and the offense moves the ball right back down the field to the Saints 42 yard. Matt Ryan looks at Julio all the way and throws his 1st of 3 interceptions. Saints return it 33 yards and kick FG to take the lead. Or so they thought. Atlanta got it’s first break of the day as a Saints penalty causes a 10 second runoff, negates the field goal, and keeps the game tied at 10.

Ryan threw interception #2 to start the 2nd half, as TE Austin Hooper fumbled the pass right into the hands of the Saints Chris Banjo leading to a short TD drive as New Orleans took the lead 17-10. Atlanta responded by driving to the Saints 5 when Ryan, again staring down Julio Jones throws into triple coverage and interception number three blowing another opportunity to score, and gave the Saints the ball back again.

The Falcons defense was on a mission though and stopped Saints drives twice.  The  second drive stop was highlighted by a key 3rd down sack by Atlanta’s huge interior lineman Dontari Poe. Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s offense then showed they had some resilience and grit.

First with about 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Falcons began a 15 play, 69 yard drive that ended with nifty 8 yard TD pass for Ryan to wide open Mohamad Sanu in the end zone to tie the game at 17. On their next drive they moved from their own 28 to the Saints 34 when the drive stalled. Mr. Reliable Matt Bryant came on nailed a 52 yard FG to give Atlanta a 20-17 lead with 3:49 to play. A lot of time for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees to get something done. Brees did not disappoint. He led the Saints quickly downfield from their 20 to the Falcons 34 in just a minute and a half. The final moments left everyone there buzzing. On 3rd and 1, 2 minutes left in the game, the Saints are charged with offensive holding, a 10 yard penalty. This would make it 3rd and 11 and the ball on the Falcons 35. Not so fast. Atlanta head coach starts the chess match. He declines the 1st down. It’s now 4th and 1. Saints head coach passes on the 42 yard FG and elects to go for it on 1st down. New Orleans gets the 1st down on a Drew Brees QB sneak. Brees fires an 11 yard pass to Ted Ginn for a 1st down. But Ginn is injured on the play forcing New Orleans to take a timeout and the clock is stopped at 1:39. Brees throws again this time for no gain and Atlanta takes their 2nd timeout. The Saints are clearly playing for the win on the road as Brees is throwing, even though they are easy FG range. On the next play the strategy backfires. Brees throws towards Josh Hill in the end zone but middle linebacker Deion Jones jumps about 3-4 feet in the air for a spectacular interception to kill the drive.

There was still some drama left though. After a New Orleans timeout, on 2nd down Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fumbles. Atlanta recovers however, and is able to kneel down twice and hang on for a hard fought, but strange 20-17 win. The victory puts Atlanta just one game behind the Saints with 3 games left to play. All the games remaining are in the division, including a rematch with the Saints in New Orleans on Christmas eve. The Falcons have it all in front of them, and control their own playoff chances.

It should be an interesting finish as the Falcons fight to return to playoffs to defend their NFC Championship and head back to the Super Bowl.

#Falcons miss opportunity to solidify playoff spot in loss to #Vikings

4 Dec
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Photo- Greg C

It was there for the taking The Atlanta had things working in their favor. Star RB Devonta Freeman was back and running with the same violence as always. The offensive line had kept QB Matt Ryan from being sacked. The defense was avoiding big plays in the passing game and held Minnesota to 1 TD in each half.  But Falcons wasn’t able to score a touchdown, and Matt Bryant missed a 45 yard in the 4th quarter as they lost to the Vikings 14-9. The key problem was the Falcons offense was unable to convert on third down. Atlanta was only 1 of 10. Most of the problems came from the fact that the offensive line had negating gains and putting them in third and long situations. That down and distance are difficult for any team to convert. Meanwhile QB Case Keenum was almost perfect connecting on 25 of 30 for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Vikings unlike the Falcons had most of their 3rd down conversions with less than 5 yards needed.

The Birds don’t have long to regroup. They host their arch rivals the NFC South leading  N.O. Saints in just 3 days for a huge Thursday night clash. The Falcon still have their playoff hopes in their own hands. Hope they don’t drop the ball.

#Atlanta loses to Cleveland at home 121-114. Are #Hawks – Loveable or Losers?

1 Dec

Another night of NBA basketball, another tough loss at Philips Arena by the Atlanta Hawks. This time it was to the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-114. (Photos-Hawks.com)

This is a very frustrating team to watch. The team plays well in spurts, but can’t finish and close out games
The Hawks do not have a real clutch shooter, a go to guy
Late in games the team short arms shots and make costly mistakes in fundamental play. With bigs Dewayne Dedman,and Mike Muscala The team is even more undersized at Forward and Center. They have no consistent scorer at the wing positions small forward and 2 guard. Point Guard Dennis Schroder is a 20 pt per game type scorer, but often does not hit KEY shots in 4th quarter. Rookie John Collins is good but still a year or two away from being a star. This team is unable so far to play well for a full 48 minutes. Everyone keeps talking about how hard they play but a lot their energy is wasted. On offense mad dashes to the paint often end in missed layups. Players seem to be out of control or unable to find an open teammate to finish plays. Defensively they have active hands,ranking #4 in league with 9 steals per game. However they are a bad defensive team overall hovering near the bottom of the league in most categories They are #26 in opponents shooting percentage, #27 in points allowed, #28 in 3 pointers given up per game.
Players out often are out of position when ball is rotated by their opponents. Their close outs on 3 point are horrible. Defenders arrive late and often leave their feet way too early causing silly looking ‘fly bys’ missing the block, and puts them out of position for the rest of the play. Unfortunately unfocused energy is wasted energy.

It looks a lottery pick is coming sooner rather than later for Atlanta.  #Hawks2020 is still on schedule.

#Falcons vs #Seahawks – No room for error in #NFLPlayoff chase

21 Nov

The 2017 Atlanta Falcons have played their way into a precarious position in their quest to return to the postseason.

Winnable games vs the Bills, Dolphins at home, and Panthers on the road have left them in 3rd place in the NFC South. Even after a big home win against a depleted Cowboys team, Atlanta needs to win 5 or 6 of their last 7 games to get back in the playoffs. The good news is all but 2 of those games are against teams that are ahead of them in the standings. The bad news is those teams are playing well.

The Falcons offense looked the best it has since the opening game vs Green Bay. 6 different players caught at least 2 passes from Matt Ryan who looked loose and confident even when forced out of the pocket. Atlanta even ran some hurry up offense a few times (finally)

Once again the Falcons opponent will be missing key players from their roster. All Pro defenders Cam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Cliff Averil are all out due to injury.  The Falcons offense should be able to move the ball against Seattle IF they have the cohesiveness and execution of last Sunday.

On defense for the 3rd week in a row Atlanta has the challenge of stopping a dual threat QB. Against the Panthers the D had huge problems stopping Cam Newton. They fared much better against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys sacking him 8 times.  With Russell Wilson they face their stiffest challenge yet. Not only is he elusive but his ability to make big plays of a scramble is amazing

If the Falcons can contain Wilson and maintain their offensive efficiency from last week. Atlanta will have the same record they had after 10 games last year, 6-4.  They also will find themselves right back in the middle of the playoff hunt.

GA Tech loses program game changer opportunity in loss to Tenn

6 Sep

Tech misses… Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

It was there for the taking. On center stage at the Chick Fil A Kickoff at Mercedes Benz Stadium, everything went the way Tech dreamed it could go.

Lose your best RB, (a preseason All ACC pick) because of disciplinary issues? No problem. His replacement KirVonte Benson rushes for 124  yards and a TD. Lose the best QB you have had since Hall of Famer Joe Hamilton to graduation and the NFL? No problem his replacement TaQuan Marshall accounts for over 350 of  offense by himself.  It was a game Tech dominated for most of the time. But in the end the Yellow Jackets found themselves stunned as Tenn came back from a 14 pt deficit in the 4th quarter to tie the game and win in 2 OT 42-41.

This was a game that could have gone a long way in changing the narrative of college football in GA and even nationwide. All the talk would have been on how exciting Tech new playmakers Marshall and Benson were. Paul Johnson’s offense which is often mocked being called boring and archaic, would be lauded as exciting and entertaining. Recruits in the talent rich Southeast and elsewhere would begin to put Ga Tech on it’s short list of schools to attend.

Instead Tech fans were left with a bitter defeat and thoughts of what could have been. The good news for Jacket fans is:

  • It’s the 1st game of the season
  • Tenn is a non conference opponent
  • Benson and Marshall appear to be breakout stars

It will once again take great coaching and team leadership to rebound from this brutal loss. But like last year when it looked the season was not going to end well Tech fans must remember the season has just begun and it’s still all in front of you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#YellowJackets QB play and speed key for a #CFAKickoff win

4 Sep

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Georgia Tech finds themselves on their biggest stage since the 2014 Orange Bowl. In that game they also were up against a ranked SEC opponent. The Jackets were led by mercurial quarterback Justin Thomas. Thomas had one his best games a Tech uniform. He garnered MVP as he accounted for 4 TDs en route to a 49-34 Tech win.

This year there was no clear starter at QB even though Matthew Jordan was Thomas backup last year.  But after Jordan was injured the best option is last years 3rd stringer TaQuan Marshall, at 5’10 185 he is built and runs more like the elusive Thomas. Jordan at 6’2 and over 200 lbs was the better straight ahead runner, but look for Marshall to get some explosive plays before the night is done.

The other spot where Jackets have speed lurking is at running back.  As noted in the GT Football website local product  B-Back KirVonte Benson has outstanding speed. Qua Searcy at the A-back spot is always a threat on the jet sweep and dangerous as a receiver as well.

The Vols defense gave up over 200 yards per game rushing in 2016. Tech has averaged almost 260 yards and 5.5 per carry. If the Jackets can do that tonight thet ay have their 4th straight win over an SEC opponent. And we know how much Coach Paul Johnson would like that.

First game at #MBStadium – The Virtual reality tour

27 Aug

When you first walk into the stadium from the front landing with the massive Falcon sculpture you are overwhelmed by the visuals. Halo board, lower field electronic scoreboards, and colors so vivid and bright  it all seems surreal.

It’s as if you’re a character in the movie #Tron, or have donned a set of VR glasses. Being inside the stadium is like you have been dropped inside a giant video game.

Everything has taken to a new level. Fans enjoyed a Field Level Club area that allowed them to walk from inside a stylish restaurant/lounge, to a porch right behind the team bench on the field.

As for the game itself, the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals 24-14. Matt Ryan was was not as sharp as 1st 2 games. Julio played a little as did Takk McKinley.

The Falcons  performance will raise some questions about the team, especially since they have not won a game this preseason. But that is for another story. Mercedes Benz stadium was the story tonight. There is more work remaining before it is totally finished. But early reviews from the fans are 5 star rated for excitement and entertainment.

#Falcons final 2 practices at Flowery Branch before 1st game at MB Stadium

23 Aug

Dan Quinn Falcons Head Coach

The Falcons are back to the norm except for one change. Their Friday walk through will be at their brand new home – Mercedes Benz Stadium.

This season is unique as the Falcons are defending NFC for only the 2nd time AND heading into a brand new stadium that is a technological marvel.

How important is it to have this walk through on Saturday and 2 home games at the new stadium before playing regular season game there?

It will also give coaches the opportunity to evaluate players under pressure of not only making the team, but the excitement of a new stadium and a real regular season feel

Coach Dan Quinn in his daily press conference gave the media some key points to consider:

  • Linebackers look good. Rookie Due Riley’s initial impact may be biggest on special teams. Quinn loves the way he flies around.
  • De’Vondre Campbell has looked good at the Sam LB spot
  • DE Jack Crawford has quickness unusual for a man that size.
  • Coach Bryant Young has the ability to coach the D-Line with a hands on approach befitting a recently retired player

Running back, lineman, and defensive backs are areas that still have the most competition remaining in terms of the 53 man roster. Coach Quinn still deciding whether to have coordinators and ass’t coaches calling plays form on the field or in the press box.

Click Here for the VIDEO of the press conference.

Is @AtlantaFalcons Matt Ryan a future Hall of Famer?

22 Aug

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Is Matt Ryan QB of the Atlanta Falcons a future Hall of Fame player? Many people both in and out of Atlanta are either #SMH or #ROTFL after reading this statement. But is it that far fetched? One Super Bowl winning season would make him a candidate at the very least. Here’s why.

  1. Impact on the teams you played on. Did you make them better and/or were an invaluable part of your teams overall success.-  For Ryan the answer is an overwhelming yes. When Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta as the #3 overall pick in 2007 the franchise was in disarray after the Mike Vick situations. He stepped in as the starter won and led the Falcons to the playoffs. He then became the first Falcons QB to lead Atlanta to back to back winning seasons. He also has been durable missing only 2 games thus far
  2. Post season appearances -He has led Atlanta to the postseason 5 of his 1st 9 years, including 4 times in 5 years from 2008-2012. In his 2 NFC Championship games he has thrown for almost 400 yards in each one (392 in ’12, 396 in ’17)
  3. Personal awards –  Pro Bowl 4X, All Pro – 1X, NFL MVP – 1X,  2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year
  4. Overall Stats and Performance rank vs his peers – Top 5 among active QBs in Avg yards per game, Avg, Comp % per year. He is in the Top 10 in virtually every other measurable passing statistic among active players

A franchise changing career, league MVP, Super Bowl winner, and ranked  among the best statistically at his position during his playing days. Sounds like a pretty worthy resume…if the Super Bowl ring is won.

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