Thoughts On The Atlanta Falcons At The Quarter Mark

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons are 3-1 at the quarter mark. How have they performed thus far? How will they finish the season? Will they return to the Super Bowl?

Yes, the Atlanta Falcons are 3 – 1, but they’re lucky to be there.

The Chicago Bears gave them more trouble than anybody expected. The Green Bay Packers made what should’ve been a blowout interesting. The win over Detroit came down to a correct officiating call in the final seconds.

The loss to Buffalo happened because of a horrible officiating call that gave the Bills points they never should have had and two bad plays calls at the end of the game.

Speaking of those two bad play calls, I thought Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was supposed to be a more run-oriented offensive coordinator?

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t playing at the level he did last year – which honestly wasn’t a reasonable expectation, in my opinion – but I don’t think he’s as bad as people are currently claiming he is.

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Falcons offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo may not be a world-beater, but I’m certainly glad we got him.

I can only imagine how bad things would’ve been at right tackle if we’d stuck with one of the undrafted free agents we had in camp.

Atlanta guard Wes Schweitzer appears to be rounding in to shape nicely as the season progresses.

I thought Falcons tight end Austin Hooper was supposed to have a breakout year? Is this on him, or the nature of the offense?

Wide receiver depth appears to be an issue, doesn’t it?

Atlanta receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu go down and… ugh. Granted, I bet any team would struggle with it’s top two receivers out, but clearly Falcons receiver Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy (for the record, I always thought Atlanta should have held on to Harry Douglas and therefore never would’ve had to draft Hardy), Andre Roberts, and Nick Williams are role-players, not “next man up” kind of guys.

Injuries in general are hurting (pardon the pun) right now.

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Jones and Sanu and Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder should all be back for Week Six.

On defense, the Falcons should also get safety Ricardo Allen, defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw, and maybe even linebacker Vic Beasley back.

It’s a shame about losing defensive lineman Jack Crawford, though. Best-case scenario is he’s back by December, but apparently it’s more likely he’s out for the year.

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As if the loss of defensive lineman Ra-Shede Hageman hadn’t been bad enough, right? I don’t want Week Six to turn in to a trap game, but could there be a better opponent to face to get off the schnide? Really, Miami (Dolphins)? You got shut out by the Saints?

Can somebody please, PLEASE teach Falcons linebacker Duke Riley how to tackle?!

I know many people out there are going to argue with me, especially in light of Falcons defensive back Jalen Collins‘ issues, but I really wish we hadn’t signed defensive back Robert Alford to that extension.

Yes, he can make plays that help you, most notably pass breakups. However, it seems like for every good play he makes he screws up at least once. He gets beat deep. He gets flagged for defensive holding or pass interference trying to not get beat deep. He gets flagged on special teams. I’d just rather have somebody who was less up-and-down.

The Falcons offense is 6th in points per game, 4th in yards per game, 9th in passing yards per game, 10th in rushing yards per game, and 11th in sacks allowed. The defense is 18th in points allowed per game, 13th in yards allowed per game, 18th in passing yards allowed per game, 12th in rushing yards allowed per game, and 3rd in sacks.

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I still think this team wins 10 – 13 games and wins the division. I still think it gets at least one home game in the playoffs. I still think it has a legitimate shot at going back to the Super Bowl.