Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons are starting their season 0-1. It’s not wonderful, but There was a lot of good to come from the game. I’m not quite as upset with it as I am simply puzzled by it. If Atlanta walked away from that game with a loss because Drew Brees had too much success picking apart a young secondary, or because whoever Holmes was blocking ended up getting four sacks, I’d understand the loss a lot better.
Neither of those were the case. The offensive line as a whole did not perform very well. Three sacks from three different players. One of those players was Sam Baker, who I might add is enjoying a hefty contract extension. And the offense just didn’t seem to click very well.
The two weaknesses that Atlanta was preseieved to have weren’t really very big. In fact, the way that Trufant, Alford, and McClain played without Asante Samuel would indicate that Atlanta’s secondary is actually a pretty decent strength. Lamar Holmes was able to stand up to pressure for the majority of the game. Consistency will be his problem throughout the season, but he didn’t do a terrible job, which is a good thing compared to what I’ve seen in the last few preseason games.
No, what lost it seemed to be offense. In general, they didn’t work on all cylinders, but looked good in the process. That’s what makes this loss so frustrating. Matt Ryan was on target most of the time. Julio Jones was catching the passes. Steven Jackson looked wonderful and youthful. Hell, even Harry Douglas was finally looking great in the slot. If Harry plays like that every game, forget pick your poison between three guys, it’ll be simply impossible to defend this team.
It seemed like the entire offense was only slightly out of alignment. Matt Ryan was under pressure too much, but they couldn’t get that one first down, that one extra block, or that one touchdown grab. That is usually the thing Atlanta excels at.
Luckily, that’s not something that will take the Falcons very long to correct. Steven Jackson showed us that he has a lot left in the tank. What he can bring to this offense is ridiculous. Harry Douglas may be on the verge of finally being a talented slot receiver. Once the gears match up, once the motor starts running, When all the weapons are functioning (I’m looking at you, Roddy) this team’s offense will be outlandish. With an improved secondary, an existing pass rush, and what looked like a pretty good run defense, I have a hard time finding someone in the league that will be able to beat these guys.