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Did the #Patriots follow #Falcons mistake of just being happy to be in the #SuperBowl ?

8 Feb

Now that the game is in the books the Sports pundits (ourselves included) now offer perceived reasons to why the Eagles won, or why the Patriots lost. For this writer the seeds of a Patriot loss was evident in the days leading up to the game.

Usually New England and their fans reserved their talking and celebrating until they had the Lombardi Trophy firmly in their grasp. This year it was different. First the clear jubilation by Bill Belichick after the win over Jacksonville. Belichick normally saves that type of emotion for Super Bowl wins.  Next, the huge sendoff for the team before heading to Minnesota. Now maybe they always do this, but it was the first time I remember seeing it.  It reminded me of the festivities in Atlanta before the Falcons left for SB 51 last year. The city and local stations had multiple pep rallies and celebration for a team that had NOT won the big game yet. This seemed to be too much of just being happy to be there. A sense of OK we made it. That’s the vibe I felt watching the Patriots rally.

The ‘we’re not finished yet message’ wasn’t as prominent. It appeared that the 5 time champions had lost sight of the goal of winning the Super Bowl. Now we should smell the roses along the way and enjoy the journey. But like the Falcons the year before it felt like everybody was a little too festive before the game had even been played.

And unfortunately like the Falcons, the Patriots go back home empty-handed and frustrated wondering what could have been. I say save the big celebrations until AFTER the Super Bowl win. The parties will be bigger, better and best of all you will have a trophy to admire long after the parties are over

 

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#Falcons fans not interested in #SB52 Still haunted by collapse in #SB51

4 Feb

By Jonathan Simmons

This time last year I found myself in Houston the host city of Super Bowl 51. Who knew I would be there to witness the highs and lows of that unforgettable OT loss to the NE Patriots.

The excitement surrounding the Falcons before SB51  reached unprecedented heights. Multiple pep rallies around Metro Atlanta. Huge send off with over 15,000 people. A 25 point lead in the big game itself. All for nothing. Washed away by a mind numbing,  record setting comeback by Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Then this year they once again ended the season in heartbreaking fashion. The lost to the NFC champs the Eagles in the final minute blowing a chance to win with a series of poor plays near Philly’s goal line.

Frustrating ways to end a season 2 years in a row. I think it has left most Atlanta football and this writer a little numb and not really interested in the big game this year.

Plus time for rest and ready ourselves for Super Bowl 53. That game will be in Atlanta for the first time in almost 20 years. It would the ultimate coming full circle in the Falcons become the 1st team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Hopefully this time next year Falcons fans will have something to cheer about and not home considering another lost opportunity.

 

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

#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.

#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.

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.

@MBStadium – #Falcons and #ATLUTD new home a Temple of Sports Entertainment

17 Aug

From the outside it looms proudly over the Westside landscape. A menacing 50 ft high Falcon (the largest steel sculpture in the Unite States) greets you at the main entrance. At night the huge Mercedes Benz logo illuminates the sky like a beacon. It lets all who approach know that they are in the conundrum of Sports in the South and possibly the US.

The inside is so surreal it’s as if you are walking into a giant video game. From veteran sportscasters to rookie reporters fresh on the job, all the media was amazed by what we saw. It’s going to be the talk of the town, and the Sports world for years to come.

Click on the video above for a little peek.

Are the Atlanta Falcons turning into Linebacker U ?

12 May

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The Atlanta Falcons drafted another LB in this years draft. This comes after drafting Vic Beasley in 2015, DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones the 4th and 2nd rounds in 2016.

Former LSU LB joins Duke Riley is picked 75th overall in the 3rd round.  He is the prototype Q guy. Speed, quickness and a sure tackler. Coach Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff are seeking to add depth to a defense that came on late in the season, but withered under a relentless Patriot offensive attack in the final part of Super 51.

If Riley can give you 75% of what his former LSU teammate Deion Jones did last year the Falcons will have one the steals of the draft.  We got a chance to see a glimpse of him in the rookie camp.

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