Tag Archives: Sports

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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#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.

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.

@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.

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

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Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

#AtlHawks blow last minute lead, lose to #Pacers at home

6 Mar

The #AtlHawks looked like they were on their way to a hard fought victory over the Indiana Pacers. They had a 96-90 lead with less the 2 minutes to go, a 96-94 lead AND the ball with about 30 seconds. But it was all for nought as the Pacers Glenn Robinson III hit a 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give them a stunning 97-96 victory over the Hawks.

This game marked the return of former Hawks PG Jeff Teaugue  for the first time since he had been traded to the Pacers for a second round pick after the 2016 season.

Atlanta took an early 30-19 lead, then Indiana’s All Star G Paul George took over. George scored 24 of his game high 34 in the 1st half to help the Pacers take the lead before Atlanta came back to tie the game at 50 to end the 1st half.

The Hawks continued to have problems with George until they placed Paul Millsap on him in 3rd quarter. He did not score after that. By that time however they had forged a 7 point lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks defense, and the offensive punch by Tim Hardaway, Jr (THJ) finally allowed Atlanta to overtake the Pacers and take a 6 point lead in the clising minutes. That’s when things went horribly wrong.

Paul Millsap has been the Hawks best offensive player all year and over the last 2 months Tim Hardaway Jr has been right behind him. Last night was no different. Millsap had 24 to lead all Hawks, and THJ scored 10 of his 23 in the final period. But when the Hawks looked to seal the win late, both men came up short. AMillsap missed shot, then turnover on consecutive possesion allowed the Pacers to cut the lead to 96-94. Then an ill advised 3 pt attempt by Hardaway set the stage for Robinson’s game winner. (Click here to see video)

This has been a recurring theme for this team. An inability to get consistent clutch baskets/plays from their best players. Until this changes the Atlanta Hawks and their fans will continue to deal with more frustrating losses.

 

Despite loss, #ATLUTD and Arthur Blank big winners in epic opening night

6 Mar

The final score from the pitch at Bobby Dodd stadium on the Ga Tech campus was NY Red Bull 2 Atlanta 1. But in every other way the Atlanta United Football Club (@ATLUTD) inaugural game was a huge success.

The game was a sellout. ‘Fan Village’ set up in front of historic Bobby Stadium was filled with a diverse group of fans in full party mode. Some fans waited as long as an hour to buy their official ATLUTD garb at the store in Atlantic Station. Is that the hum of the money machine we  hear?

Once again the genius of ‘Uncle Arthur’ Blank was displayed in another successful sports business endeavor. Hats off to him and ATLUTD for their smashing debut

(Goal by Yasef Asad pic above – AccessWDUN )

 

GT Mens Basketball starts Pastner era in ACC with upset of No.5 #UNC

1 Jan

@GTMBB stuns 9th ranked #UNC 75-63 to start the @GTJoshPastner era with huge #ACC win.

Josh Pastner arrived on the Ga Tech campus in Atlanta to mixed reviews. Some who followed his career at Memphis felt his teams under performed while he was there. Many here in Atlanta however felt the young former Arizona star would bring the energy and youth needed to help revitalize the once storied basketball program.

If the first half of the season is an indicator, the Yellow Jackets may have found their man.  The GT men are 9-4, 1-0 in the ACC after their New Year’s Eve victory over the Tar Heels.  Josh Okogie lead the way with 26 points, and bruising big man Ben Lammers posted a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.  Josh Heath and Quentin Jackson also were in double figures with 15 and 11 points respectively.

Click here for Josh Pastner press conference highlight on the Ga Tech page on our website

 

#Hawks continue up and down season with 92-84 loss to Timberwolves

22 Dec

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The Hawks season overall was seen in the way this game played out tonight. They scored a total of 51 points in the 1st and 3rd quarters. In the those quarters the ball movement, good decision making and shooting were there.

In the 2nd, and the critical 4th quarter. Atlanta scored 16 and 15 respectively.  Their 3 pt shooting woes also continued this game. once again less than 30 % (7-26 = 26.9%)

Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points/18 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins led the T-Wolves with 19. For the Hawks Dennis Schroder had 21 points to lead all scorers. He also dished out 7 assists. Paul Millsap had another double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds

Dwight Howard missed his 2nd game with a back sprain. He is schedule to return shortly, but it is a worrisome sign for a player whose skill sets have been diminished due to back problems.

Even when Dwight returns, this team has to look itself in the eye and determine what type of team it is. Are they willing to play hard and fast the entire game? Consistently make the extra pass? Dive for the loose balls on the floor?

This season is only about 1/3 in so the Hawks have time to right the ship But not much time. They currently are 14-15 in 10th place but just 3 games out 4th place in the Eastern Division. Stay tuned!

Click HERE for our post game video  Check out more Sports coverage at www.realtalksports.net

#Freebird approach needed for #AtlantaFalcons ‘D’ to improve

1 Dec

The #AtlantaFalcons defense needs to be cut loose to flourish. The #Falcons statistically have gone backwards from 2015 when they were 16th overall to 27th. In 2016, Atlanta allows opponents on average almost 400 yards and 28 points per game. The numbers in 2015 were 348 yards and 22 points per game.

The irony is as a fan this years Falcons ‘D’ is much more fun to watch. Sacks are up. They already have 24 vs 19 all of last year. 12 forced fumbles equaling what they had in all of 2015. This team plays best when it is in attack mode. That fits the skills of the players you have.

The Falcons are team that features speed at linebacker, big hitting at defensive back and youth, starting 4 rookies. Those attributes in the primary scheme they run also is the reason why they have problems stopping anybody. Players are at times out of position and seem confused as plays develop.

Coach Dan Quinn and his defensive coaches need to adjust their game plan to take better advantage of the personnel they put in place. Get the DBs up a little closer to line of scrimmage to eliminate some of the short to mid range passes. The defensive backs have enough closing speed if a receiver gets a step on them.  Beasley, Campbell, and Jones are one of the fastest group of linebackers in the NFL. Use more blitzes and stunts to utilize that speed.

During this year’s summer camp the Falcons invited the press to take part in film sessions and hear a little from the coaches regarding the thought concept behind of the defensive scheme. It seemed simple limit explosive plays, decrease yards after contact through sure initial tackling, and force plays to middle of the field. A ‘strike zone’ where hard hits and strip techniques could create turnovers. Seems as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Find the ball and who has it
  2. Attack the area where it is
  3. Deliver a clean blow with greatest force possible

‘Freebird’ was a hit song in the 70’s by Southern Rock band Lynard Skynard.  The song starts as mournful ballad but midway ramps up and turns loose one of the best rock guitar jams ever.

If the Falcons can do a bit better job of putting their players in a position to succeed, the Falcons ‘D’ may be more like the dominant Seahawks defense he led in Seattle. And that would make the Dirty Birds a Super Bowl contender. Turn ’em loose and let them be Freebirds of prey on the NFL.

By Jonathan Simmons

 

 

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