Excess, – An amount that is more than usual. If it be on the positive than how wonderful. If it sides with the negative how destructive. The Atlanta Falcons have been dissected and faults pinned to the disappointing season we are in the middle of being with the offensive line, the youth aplenty, the sluggish rushing game, the sack less pass rush, the injuries, the bad luck, a red zone abyss and did I mention the injuries?
But every football team experiences problems and obstacles throughout the season.
For the Birds, it is the excess of these that are restricting their flight. A hole or two can be patched or cleverly hidden, but multiple holes, weaknesses or problems, in excess are an obstacle a talented team and smart coaching staff cannot overcome. The total of all that had not gone sour over the Smith / Ryan era has all at once surfaced in just eight games. In the Carolina loss, it is evident the sum is too great to turn around.
Mike Smith and staff don’t quit. They are a steadfast crew that stay a course that has been more successful than any in franchise history. But it was evident that the youthful defense had his emotions near the point where he might have ran on the field to take down Greg Olsen on the fourth down and one yard touchdown in the second quarter. Then there was the lack of Julio and Roddy again where, timing and route running have to be off if Ryan is sacked only once and there is only one completion for more than twenty yards.
A red zone penalty negating a tying touchdown, so un-bird like. Stephen Jackson with a total of 140 yards rushing for the season and super sub Jaquizz only a hundred yards better at the halfway point sheds light on a enormous dark hole. The lack of muscle in the trenches has the Falcons of course last in rushing offense, no balanced attack and on the other side of the ball ranked twenty fourth in sacks and twenty fifth in points allowed a game. The fourth quarter strip of Lafell by Asante and the perfect bounce back to him is just the writing on the wall. If there were a simple fix to this season it would have been executed but the abundance of problems has got to be maddening to all involved. So what now ?
I see the team that Blank and Smith have molded as one that will keep fighting, learning and being competitive. The play of Trufant, Worrilow, Alford, Bartu, and Massaquoi is promising. More from Goodnman, Toilolo and Maponga probably can be expected. I wonder to what extent does the team expose Ryan and why not some playing time for Dom Davis the final quarter of the season? He may be valuable in the off season as Schaub was some years ago. The fans that thought trading Tony G to K.C a week ago for a good pick must be happy with the fact that if the season ended now Atlanta would have around the number sixth pick in the 2014 draft. I also see no reason to rush Roddy or Spoon back now.
The Falcons could mathematically finish with a record of 10 – 6, but that is not realistic even if we had the team we opened with in the Superdome in what seems so long ago.
Everyone was ecstatic with the excess of weapons and talented youth we left August Camp with but nobody saw or expected the other side of excess coming when Mike Johnson went down. The Atlanta Falcons and Bird nation must move forward because that is where success lies and we should never shift that flight path.