Tag Archives: Sports

#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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Ryan silences critics with record 500 yard passing performance

3 Oct

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Matt Ryan has heard the grumbling from fans and the press after last seasons 2nd half collapse. The red zone interceptions. Clear discomfort in Kyle Shanahan’s new offense. The clutch QB play that earned him the nickname ‘Matty Ice’ had been replaced by a hesitant error prone imitation of himself. During his limited work in the 2016 preseason he didn’t look much better.

Ryan stoically handled the criticism as the professional he is and waited to the regular season to unleash the new Matt  Ryan aka  ‘Matticulous’. Ryan has been unstoppable for the 1st quarter of the new season putting up numbers that lead the NFL. He won player of the month for Sept. That was followed up by throwing for a Falcon record 503 yard, 4 TD performance vs the Panthers. He easily won the duel with reigning league MVP Cam Newton who was actually knocked out of the game with a big hit by Deion Jones.

He has been utilizing the many weapons he has at his disposal connecting with 8 or more players in each of the last 2 games. But in yesterday’s game the main thrust of the aerial assault came by ‘Jet’. Julio ‘Jet’ Jones had a career best 300 yards receiving on just 12 receptions. A stunning 25 yards per catch. His last one was a breathtaking  grasp and dash 75 yard TD which sent the Dome into a frenzy. It marked the 1st time in NFL history that a QB threw for 500 or more yards, and a receiver had 300 yards receiving in the same game.

The Falcons offense after 4 games lead the league in scoring, passing yards, and total yards. Ryan also leads QBs in passing, is on a pace to throw for over 5,500 yards and 44 TDs. Of course the season is young, and the NFL unpredictable. But for now Matt Ryan and Falcons can sing to the naysayers – “Turn down for what”

By Minister Jonathan Simmons

Stats from NFL.com

#Bulldogs don’t play #smart in loss to #OleMiss

25 Sep

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Picture from TheBleacherReport.com by Matt Bush USA Today Sports

Different  coach, same results as #Bulldogs lose big in a key #SEC tilt.

It has been heralded as a change in culture. A new attitude, and sharper focus on winning ways under new Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. Smart an assistant under Nick Saban at ‘Bama,  and a former Bulldog player has energized the fan base with his approach to the game.Wins in their 1st 3 games stoked the faithful and pundits into thinking UGA would be an SEC title contender now as they prepared to face Ole Miss in the their first big test of the season. Unfortunately Georgia failed, losing big to the Rebels in Oxford 45-14.

Georgia again looked like a team whose players did not show up for a big game. This was the same story under previous coach Mark Richt. Plenty of credit has to be given to Ole Miss though. QB Chad Kelley threw for 2 TDs and ran 41 yds for another. His unstoppable crew of receivers were led by TE Evan Engram and WR Demarkus Lodge. The 2 combined for 8 catches, 168 yards and 2 TDs

Georgia looked like they weren’t in the same class as the Rebels. Freshman QB Jacob Eason was under pressure all day. Like most of this year, the Bulldog receivers continued to drop passes as if the balls were oiled up. This included two huge drops by Isaiah McKenzie, who had the big catch against Mizzou the week before. And sadly RB Nick Chubb had to leave the game with an ankle injury. At the end of the day we were once again treated to an uninspired performance in a big game by the Georgia football team. Can anyone say ‘Overrated’ again?

By Jonathan Simmons

Stats by ESPN.com

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Are the #Falcons too fragile?

18 Sep

 

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It is tough to write articles that are critical or seem negative.The Real Talk Sports show tries to ‘accentuate the positive’. But life and truth often are harsh and tough to deal with. When we look at this Atlanta Falcons team it seems to always be dealing with injuries to the body and psyche.

Let’s look that physical side. It’s only game 2 and you have several key players already banged up. 2 rookie starters LB DeVondre Campbell and S Keanu Neal out.LB/DE Brooks may be out too.  WRs Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and RB Devonta Frreman have leg injuries. Recently acquired Dwight Freeney only can practice twice per week.And Vic Beasley still doesn’t appear to be 100% either Hopefully a combination of rest and treatment will get all of them back to full speed.

The mental side of things is questionable too. Game 1 had costly procedure penalties, missed assignments, and poor tackling. There still is a disconnect between QB Matt Ryan and OC Kyle Shanahan. Matt had good stats, but timing was off on several throws causing him to throw behind receivers in critical moments. 1st round pick Vic Beasley had NO tackles or sacks. The mild mannered young also seems out of sorts at times and is rumored not to take tough coaching critique well.

Atlanta’s pro sports teams are filled with nice guys. As a licensed minister I believe that’s a good thing in life to be. However, sports especially at the professional level requires passion, intensity and toughness.

At some point the Falcons are going to have to find some guys with “a little dog in ’em” to give this team the confidence and winning edge they need to get them back to playoffs. Just saying.

By-Minister Jonathan Simmons

 

#Irving, Earvin, or Erving – Sound of success in #NBA Finals

14 Jun
Kyrie Irving Klay Thompson

Is Kyrie the best player in the series?  Photo – cavaliers.247sports.com

Although the names are spelled differently they sound the same. So the performance of Kyrie Irving in game looked like the type game Earvin Johnson and Julius Erving had when they were in the finals in the 70’s and 80’s.  A stretch? Not really when you look at the numbers and situation.

In the 1980 Finals Julius Erving avg 27 pts per game and made one the greatest shots in history in game 4. In the 1987 NBA finals Earvin Johnson scored 29 pts and hit the game winning shot in game 4 on the way to winning the series.

Kyrie Irving in the 2016 Finals is avg 28.6 points per game, (35.5 in the last 3) and his 41 points, 6 assists in last night game 5 was sensational. The narrative was about Lebron who also had his own epic 41 pt, 16 reb, 7 a game. But it was Irving who really kept the engine running for the Cavs with a dazzling array of drives, and jumpers from every distance. He was able to score at will with stunning efficiency. His killer crossover helped him shoot an amazing 70% from the floor.

After watching  Kyrie Irving in these 2016 NBA Finals it looks he might be singing to Curry and Lebron. “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better,” A song written by another great Irving (Berlin) one of America’s greatest songwriters

by Minister Jonathan Simmons

Does color or star power determine how the media covers athletes?

23 Jan

After watching an #ESPN E:60 story on the Patriots Rob Gronkowski the question again came to my mind. Is their a difference in how athletes actions are portrayed in the media and viewed by the public based on their race?

Rob Gronkowski is one of the best TE in the NFL right now. If he continues to produce at this rate for a few more years, he will be considered one of the greatest ever. He also is a bit wild off the field with a penchant for partying.

In the E:60 story his antics were often talked about by family and friends as simply those of big goofy kid. One who likes to push the limits placed on him as his dad said. Even his mom talked about him doing the things that any single 20-23 year old would want to do.

Just a guy from a blue collar family that is celebrating his success and enjoying life with those around him.

When I hear stories like this involving a black athlete the terms seem different. Family members and friends are often described  with terms like ‘posse’, ‘entourage’, etc.  Imagine what would be said about that mom if she made similar comments? Many people would talk about her not raising her son right.

What would be the commentary have been about Marshawn Lynch if he had been spotted in the club throwing back a few shots after Seattle lost to New England in the Super Bowl last year? Or if there was video of him playing around with a porn star? How about dancing naked in a video? Based on the heat he got just for not talking to the media one can only imagine.

Why are players Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane who had repeated problems with drinking and partying in his career, or former Atlanta Brave star Chipper Jones who cheated on his 1st wife, and may have on his 2nd seemingly not chastised with the same vehemence?

It is star power? Is it being the face of the franchise? Is it skin color? Or may a combination of them all. Whatever the answer is the debate remains. Do you think there is color or cultural bias in news reporting?

By Minister Jonathan Simmons (@MinisterJSimm)

#Hawks win 3rd straight. Home tonight for #TrailBlazers and #Sliento concert

21 Dec

 

The Atlanta Hawks have been a bit of enigma this year so far. They won 7 of their 1st 8 games to soar to the top of Eastern Division. Since then they have been inconsistent and played under .500. They won back to back games, lost 3 straight and now have won 3 in a row.

In this latest win streak Atlanta showed some of the things that got them 60 wins and into the Conference Finals. Good inside play and scoring  by Paul Milsap, bench contribution led by Dennis Schoeder, and 3pt prowess from Kyle Korver.  They are home tonight vs Portland. Atlanta will also have  another Hip Hop concert featuring  Silento’ (Nene song)  Hawks fans hope the fun is part of Hawks victory celebration.

CelebrationBowl has #Atlanta area High Schools in ‘Battle of the Bands’

18 Dec

Celebration Bowl logo

The Inaugural Celebration Bowl is including local high schools as part of their events around the game.

Here is a quick peek at 2 of the bands taken during halftime of  the Falcons vs Vikings game 11-29-2015. Westlake and Martin Luther King High School Marching bands competed. Both high schools musicians  were selected to perform at the ‘5th Quarter’ Battle of the Bands at the 2015 Celebration Bowl

#Concussion shows tip of the iceberg- Video Interview with Keith McCants

7 Dec

Former NFL players continue to speak out more and more as the movie Concussion begins airing in theaters across the country. We caught up with Keith McCants before the private screening of the film here in Atlanta.

This is part 1 of his brief interview with us. Could this be a crack in the NFL armor? Time will tell

 

#Falcons snatch another defeat from the hands of victory. Lose to #Bucs 23-19 #ATLvsTB

6 Dec

The incredible run of futility continues for Atlanta. The team again found a way to lose a game that was theirs to win. We say TEAM because there were multiple culprits in the Falcons 4 point loss to the Buccaneers.

  1. The Offensive line-The once vaunted ground game sputtered again even with the return of Devonta Freeman totaling just 64 yards. QB Matt Ryan was pressured often, and sacked 3 times
  2. The Run Defense. Clearly the lofty #1 defense ranking was a mirage. Adrian Peterson had 158 last week, and Tampa rushed for 166 this week
  3. Bad tackling. See #2 and click HERE to see the back breaking Jameis Winston 20 yd run on 3rd and 19 in the 4th quarter
  4. Matt Ryan ended an otherwise good day for him with another INT to end Falcons comeback hopes

This team will have to call on ALL of their ‘intestinal fortitude’ to salvage what’s left of the season to at least finish at 8-8. With 2 or the 4 games remaining vs Carolina, the NFL’s best team, the task is daunting.

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