After preseason games, I like to look around the internet and see how other Falcons fans react to the games. A lot of times they seem to take things way too seriously. I can understand the cynicism coming from a large amount of heartbreaking losses. We tend to see a tough loss and only see the negatives. We look at problems as our future undoing.
Last night’s game was no different. There are many fans that are looking at the Falcons’ two major problems as season-concluding troubles: Pass blocking and coverage.
The offensive line didn’t look very good at all against a mediocre pass rush. Any time your star $100 million quarterback is taking five sacks is not a good time. Lamar Holmes was responsible for 3 sacks on the night. But let’s keep some things in mind here: The Falcons have set up a pass-blocking O line. They have the guys they have because they are better at pass blocking which is more important to a team like Atlanta. Pass blocking is a strength of the line. After saying that it might sound scary, but just keep in mind that units have bad games some times. Matt Ryan is a clear-cut top 5 quarterback. He still had a five-interception game and dropped a fumble in the NFC championship.
What fans should be thinking is how good the run blocking is looking. The O-line is going to give up a sack here and there, but last year they couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Now and for the last couple games, they look very good. They’ll get their form back in pass protection (before this game the starters gave up no sacks to considerably better pass rushes)
The rookie corners didn’t impress. Robert Alford gave up three touchdowns and Desmond Trufant tackled his own guy on punt return. Fans are worried about giving up big plays to a lot of good quarterbacks this season. Trufant wasn’t anything special, but Alford seemed horrendous. Another thing to keep in mind is that rookies usually improve as the season goes on. It’s very difficult to be on pace coming from college and going to the pros. It may take a few games, but he’s shown the athleticism and the skill, Desmond Trufant will become the first round talent Atlanta drafted. Robert Alford is a bigger development.
Drafted in the second round and coming from a small school, it’ll take longer to get up to speed. We can obviously see some major athleticism from this guy as well. He’s shown brilliance and will be a good addition. This year may not be the year though. He’s not starting this season. Asante Samuel will be taking the reins for the majority of the defensive snaps. Alford will come in in some packages and whenever Asante needs a break, but he’s not a huge factor this season. He’ll learn and be a lot better later in the season and even next season.
These things that are bothersome to many fans are probably short-term problems. A swift kick in the nuts from Mike Smith will more than likely iron these wrinkles out.