The extremely anticipated opener at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was anything but a stellar performance. While Matt Ryan produced, others failed to even let us know they were on the field. On the bright side, there were some positives we can take from this. Here are 5 things we learned from Sunday’s game.
- Lamar Holmes has improved: Yes, a few weeks ago I was crucifying Holmes for his horrible game against the Tennessee Titans. Since then, Holmes has DRASTICALLY improved in pass and run blocking. Fatigue did set in late in the 3rd quarter, but that’s expected when he hasn’t ever played a full 4 quarters in his professional career. While he did allow a sack and a few hurries, he is showing a quick adaptation to the speed of the NFL.
- Sam Baker showed regression: This offseason, Sam Baker signed a six-year, $41.5 million dollar contract after his solid play in 2012. I was pleased that Baker was resigned, but in no way was I a fan of the contract Atlanta’s front office gave him. Yesterday evening we saw pre-2012 Sam Baker, and that is an ugly image. We know Baker is capable of good play, and I believe he will eventually return to that form.
- Roddy White is hurt more than we know: Roddy was held to 2 receptions for 19 yards Sunday, and as we all know, he was injured in the preseason with a high ankle sprain. The organization played it off like it was minuscule, which was probably done to throw off the Aints. In the end, it didn’t help us win, and now we know he will still be limited for a few more weeks. Roddy’s presence on the field does help out Julio and Tony, but do we really want to risk further injury? St. Louis and Miami are next on the schedule, so if Roddy decides to take the next 2 weeks off, I’m pretty comfortable with it.
- Matt Ryan is still great without protection: 25/38 for 304 yards 2 TD/1 INT is a pretty good start for any quarterback. Interestingly, Ryan put up those stats with close to no pass protection. Once this line rights it wrongs, Matt Ryan will be knocking on the door for MVP recognition. Oh yeah, and a Lombardi Trophy.
- Offseason additions came to play: I was worried about Asante’s absence, but Robert Alford held is own and actually picked off Drew Brees. Desmond Trufant didn’t make much noise, which is a good sign seeing as how no huge plays happened on his watch. Osi found the backfield frequently, and Steven Jackson had a great game at 77 yards rushing and 45 yards receiving. If he had only caught that pass on 3rd down, we wouldn’t be eating crow this week. Regardless, he will win more for us than lose.
If there is anything that stood out to you, please leave a comment below. Next week we RISE UP!