Image Credited to Jessica Brown of Barrow Journal
Okay, Falcons fans, I need everyone to take a deep breath. I need you to stop banging your head on that wall; you’ll give yourself a concussion. I need you to put the gun away; no one wants to get hurt here. Don’t worry, the hair will grow back. I can see the panic button has already been pressed, so I won’t tell you to not press it, I’ll just give you a deep neck massage and tell you to back away calmly from those hostages you took. The ship is not sinking, it just has a somewhat sizable hole and the boat is filling up with water. Nothing some plywood and empty buckets can’t fix.
I have rewritten this post many times because every time I’m about to post something, another bit of disastrous news breaks from Flowery Branch. Bradie Ewing is out. Kroy Biermann is out. Sean Weatherspoon is out. Steven Jackson is out. The injury hit Atlanta with unfathomable force on Sunday. Now Let’s go down these injuries and I’ll explain to you why the Falcons are not up the figurative brown murky creek.
Bradie Ewing was a very interesting piece. I was about to write a post about him being an underrated powerhouse. Not only can he block well, he catches well and brings an even deeper passing attack. I feel bad for him since he has been on injury reserve practically his entire career and is actually a pretty good player. But Atlanta spent the season without him last year and will do it again. Guess who else is a good blocker and a good pass catcher. Jason Snelling. It’s predicted that Patrick DiMarco was brought up from the practice squad, But I’d bet on Snelling getting a lot of reps at fullback. If he has done anything, it’s prove that he can absolutely contribute all over the field.
Kroy Biermann was not the next John Abraham or Patrick Kerney. He’s not a masterful pass rusher. What he was, however, was an extremely versatile player. It hurts to lose a guy like that for the entire season. However, there is someone who can replace his productions: Jonathan Massaquoi. I have been expecting big things from him this season. Now, most likely, instead of filling in for Osi Umenyiora when he takes a breather, Massaquoi will be the starting defensive end on the left side. He looked very good in the preseason and I expect big things from him.
Sean Weatherspoon is the leader of the defense. His injury hurts the most. Luckily, he’ll be back in time for some of the really tough games late in the season although he will probably miss the Seattle game. A big name surfaced throughout the offseason and preseason. His name is Joplo Bartu. He led the team in tackles yesterday after he passed Stephen Nicholas in the depth chart. Akeem Dent was getting looks as a competent outside linebacker and although he was accused of bad coverage, but that may have been a scheme problem. Either way, Joplo Bartu is stepping up big time. He breaks up passes, he stuffs runs, and he can even rush the passer. The only question is who is taking over the other side. There are already guys who have proven to be able to do so.
Steven Jackson is out with a deep bruised leg. I got one of those when I wrestled in high school and let me tell you this: It’s a lot worse than just a bruise. It basically feels like a torn muscle and you can’t put hardly any weight on it. It’s a big deal. He’ll be back after the BYE week, but until then, Jacquizz Rodgers and Snelling are going to have to take the running game into their hands. Quizz didn’t look very good on paper, but watching the game over you’ll find that almost every time he was in there was almost no blocking on the line. There was literally nowhere to go after he got the ball. When they did, he looked like good-old-fashioned Quizz with powerful lefts and good pass catching ability. As long as the line can block to some degree, He’ll do just fine.
Finally, the most optimistic point to make is the schedule going forward. The Dolphins are no push-over, but Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should be able to win with a good passing game. The Patriots have a history of greatness, but Brady has no weapons. Gronk and Amendola will be back, but if it comes to a shootout, Atlanta will win that one as well. That will be followed by a Monday Night game against the Jets which, (let’s be honest) I don’t think many of us are actually very worried about. A BYE week ends with a home game against a slow –looking Buccaneers team. Even with these problems, I don’t see Atlanta making it to Arizona with a record of any worse than 4-2.
Atlanta is still a very powerful team and that doesn’t change. Just take a deep breath and think about how talented this team actually is.