'Sugar and Salt'- Week VIII

Oct 28, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Each week for my post game analysis, I will give one offensive and defensive Falcon player a little “sugar” for his “sweet” playing on the field. I will also give one player on the Falcons a little ”salt” for his salty, lackluster play for the week. Please feel free to leave comments and provide your own “Sugar and Salt” for the week. You can also tweet me at @ianborders7 or all of us at @bloggingdirty to provide input for your picks each week.

Sugar (offense)- Matt Ryan’s first half- Matt Ryan opened this “must win” game for the Eagles on fire. It may have just been me, but there was no doubt in my mind that Ryan was going to lead the offense down the field to open the game, and the second possession for me was no different. I used to only have full confidence in the signal caller when there was 2 minutes left in a half, but now he has learned how to turn it on any time he wants. Part of it may be the un-guardable weapons he has at every skill position, but part of it is also having the accuracy and knowledge about the game to know where the coverage will be and who will be open. The game is starting to slow down for Ryan, and if the offensive line can protect him as well as they did this game, it will feel like slow motion for him. This new “scoring offense” according to Mike Smith has a sniper as the trigger man, and it is a glorious thing to watch.

Sugar (defense)- Mike Nolan- In an off-season when I was very salty that the Falcons didn’t go tackle Steve Spagnola (current Saints DC) to coach up the defense, I can honestly say I’m still oh so very wrong. As the Saints continue to flounder on defense, the Falcons have progressively changed up their defensive style and coverages game to game to shut down the opponent at hand. Nolan continuously used three defensive tackle fronts against the Eagles that kept former Falcon Michael Vick guessing all day. Even in a day when Vick didn’t turn the ball over (which has been rare this season), the offense was stagnant and stationary. Usually moving the ball is not Vick’s problem, it is losing the ball. The Falcons only forced one fumble the entire game and still locked down the Eagles sometimes explosive offensive threats. Cheers to you Mike Nolan. I hope we get the pleasure of keeping you for a very very long time!

Salt- Michael Turner (again)-  I am ready and willing to take any and every blame for Michael Turner’s struggles as of late. The issue this game didn’t seem to be the number of carries, as he ran the ball 24 times for only 58 yards. The issue also didn’t seem to be the offense not having the ball enough, because there were many long drives for our Falcons in this game. Yes, I think it is true, I have cursed Michael Turner by wearing his jersey just way too much. Yes the jersey has a couple holes in it now. Yes I’m refusing to buy a new one because I’m not sure how much longer he will be here (I made that mistake with Lofton and now that’s a waste…salty), so I believe the curse is on him/me. I’m willing to do one thing though. Next week I’m going to wear my Curtis Lofton jersey and see how Turner does. If he blows up, and Lofton eats the crapper on Monday night vs. the Eagles, I pledge to rock that Lofton jersey with pride until the end of the season. Until then, hang in there Turner, I’m here for you buddy. 7-0….what a beautiful thing.

October 28, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles free safety Kurt Coleman (42) and outside linebacker Akeem Jordan (56) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

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