2018 Falcons Year in Review: QB

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Now that the Falcons season is over we can look back and see how each player performed throughout the season by position group.

Before the season, season quarterback Matt Ryan signed a five-year, $150 million contract extension with $100 million guaranteed making him the highest paid quarterback in the league. At the time, needless to say, the pressure was on him to live up to it and he did just that. Ryan had one of his best season passing for nearly 5 thousand yards as he finished with 4924 yards. That was 3rd in the NFL behind Ben Roethlisberger (5129) and Parick Mahomes (5097). The 4924 yards was the the second highest of his career to 2016 when he was named the NFL MVP when had 4944. He also had 35 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.This was Ryan second best year statistically and the Falcons offense finished as the 6th best in the NFL this year. Although, nearly putting up career highs across the  board, the team did not make the playoffs as they finished 7-9. Mainly due to injuries on the defense, running back Devonta Freeman, and the offensive line which caused Ryan to get sacked 42 times. That was the second behind the 2013 season when he was sacked 44 times.

I would give Matt Ryan an A for his season as he nearly had one of his best season statistically, but the Falcons still missed the playoffs as they could not overcome all the injuries.

Now we know Ryan and the Falcons will have new a offensive coordinator because the team has decided to move on from Steve Sarkisian, as he was fired one day after the season ended. The offense at times this season just seemed lost and was just inconsistent.

Dirk Koetter was brought back as the offensive coordinator for the Falcons as he was with the team (2012–2014). Mike Mularkey was also brought back as the TE coach. He also was with the Falcons as a offensive coordinator from (2008–2011). Matt Ryan has familiarity with both so the transition to a new offense should be smooth.

Falcons Season Comes To A Close With Win In Tampa Bay

The Atlanta Falcons season came to an end with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 34-32 on Sunday. Tampa jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and most Falcons fans believed we’d be picking 6th in the draft with the loss. The offense came to life late in the second quarter scoring a 19 yard touchdown to Julio Jones before the half to make it a 17-7 deficit.

The Falcons had the momentum coming out of half and were able to force the pressure on Tampa Bay by scoring on each of their first four drives in the second half, including Matt Ryan catching his first career touchdown! Calvin Ridley and Tevin Coleman each got a touchdown to put Atlanta up by a score of 31-20. The defense got pressure on Winston even though we only had one sack they were able to force bad throws and got him to turn the ball over as well.

Matt Ryan ended the game with another great stat line finishing with 378 passing yards with 3 TDs (2 passing, 1 receiving) and only 1 interception. We also saw Coleman, Hill, and Langford evenly split carries and combine for 100 yards on the ground and 1 touchdown. The Atlanta Falcons had 9 different receivers catch the ball on the Buccaneers defense with Julio, Sanu, and Hooper being the three top targets on the day combining together for 295 of the 378 yards and 1 touchdown.

The Falcons with this win fell to 14th in the draft order but before that they need to address the coordinator situation and make decisions on if they want to keep Sark and/or Manuel for another season. Hopefully we’ll know sooner that later on the two of them so we know what to expect going into next season.

But for Falcons fans we can finally look forward to the 2019 season with players coming back and making our run to win our first superbowl!

Ryan Miller | @_RMiller30

 

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons will be fine. Thanks for asking

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theringer.com

The Atlanta Falcons find themselves 1-2 after a hard fought loss versus division rival the New Orleans Saints. The thing we all need to remember is that this loss happened in overtime which means the Falcons lost a shootout and they just couldn’t finish the deal. Matt Ryan finished with 5 TD’s and 0 INT’s and broke the record for most touchdowns versus the Saints, previously held by 49er’s great Joe Montana.

When it comes to the defense the Falcons will find a way to bring some pressure as the team gels together. Defensive end Takk McKinley hopes to return after missing last weeks game with a groin injury and his return would certainly bolster the pass rush. Vic Beasley registered is first sack when he sacked Drew Brees forcing a 3-and-out. Duke Riley had the best game of his career versus the Saints so that is something to keep an eye on.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals the Atlanta Falcons can right the ship by getting a much needed win. If the Falcons can keep running their high octane offense they should find no problems with beating the Bengals. The question will remain though can the defense step up? After losing Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and now most recently Ricardo Allen, the Falcons need their younger players to show up.

My prediction is that the Atlanta Falcons offense becomes too much too handle against the Cincinnati Bengals and they come away with a win. The defense will play a much better game versus a subpar QB in comparison to Drew Brees in Andy Dalton. Don’t forget that this game is where the Atlanta Falcons will be wearing their 90’s throwbacks. Make sure to show up wearing your throwback gear and let the NFL know that we are here to stay.

Da’Vonte Hughes| @CookieByNature

Could the Falcons Possibly Land Le’veon Bell?

Le’veon Bell (Philly Influencer)

Le’veon Bell could bolster Falcons offense, but at what price?

It could be a long shot for the Atlanta Falcons, but could they possibly be a dark horse to acquire Bell from the Steelers? In Steve Sarkisian’s second year as offensive coordinator, he’s looking to rebound from a shaky first season with the team, and Bell could potentially help his woah’s.

We all know who Le’veon is from his early career. We know he’s an exceptional running back with elite elusiveness, route running, and pass catching ability. We also know he’s got a little bit of a hot head with an ego around him. But that’s understandable right?

The man wants to be paid. He’s been a top three running back in the league the last four seasons, and his numbers show it. Aside from Bell tearing his MCL in 2015, when he still put up over 500 rushing yards in just over 100 attempts, he’s been a very consistent back. He rushed for 1,361 yards in 2014 and over 1,260 yards in both 2016 and 2017. Not to mention is 75+ catches and 7+ touchdowns each of those years. Bell is a stud, he’s the elite runner every team wants. So why won’t the Steelers pay him?

Well that question is unclear. If Bell signed his franchise tender again, it will still make him the highest paid running back in the league at over $14 million. But understandably, Bell wants a long term deal with guaranteed money. He rightfully deserves it. But now the Steelers are listening to trade offers for him because he has shown that he won’t give in and report to the team until he is paid. Plus if you’ve been following the Steelers, especially if you’re a fantasy football player, you might have heard of a guy named James Connor who the Steelers love.

So this brings us to the Falcons now. Should Atlanta peruse Bell in a trade, and what would they give up for him? The Steelers have not come out and stated exactly what they want for him, but you would imagine at least a couple draft picks and some promising players for the elite back would be the minimum Pittsburgh would take. Well, what does Atlanta have to offer the Steelers?

I believe Atlanta will part with either Devontae Freeman or Tevin Coleman either this offseason or next. So right away you can include one of those backs in the deal. Coleman might be the better back for Atlanta to keep, but him and Bell have the same play style. Freeman is more of a pass catch, or run through the tackles type back. Coleman likes to run outside and around the tackles, as does Bell. Him becoming a free agent also in 2019 would allow Pittsburgh to sign Coleman for significantly cheaper than what they would sign Bell.

Vic Beasley is another interesting name to think about. He’s still on his rookie deal, and has only been impressive one season so far when he had 16 sacks in 2016. Again so far this year, he has yet to impress. The fans are tired of seeing it and they want a change. Well why not bolster the offense and keep the defense off the field?

One other guy the Falcons could look at trading would be Justin Bethel. Atlanta acquired him this offseason as a special teams specialist, but also to have depth at cornerback. The Steelers could possibly be interested in him to help improve their secondary that has struggled a bit to start the season. Plus he has a friendly contract making under $2 million.

As far as draft picks go, it’s unlikely the Steelers would be able to get a 1st or 2nd round pick for a running back. Giving running back’s history, most of them don’t last more than 10 years in the league and Bell is already half way there.

However, with Bell’s explosiveness and his play style, he could still be elite for seven more years and relevant five years after that. A 3rd round pick or several late round picks would be more likely to do the trick.

With all this being said my trade offer to the Steelers would be:

Steelers receive: Coleman, Beasley, Bethel, 4th round pick and 7th round pick

Falcons receive: Bell, 6th round pick.

This trade is also within implications the Falcons will be able to sign Bell to at least a 4 year deal, making him by far the highest paid running back in the league. Yes, Atlanta would have to give up a lot of money, but as far as offense goes nobody else on the team is due a big contract for a while. The defensive side of the ball is where Atlanta will have to watch their money.

We want to hear from you Falcons fans! What, if anything, would you give up for Le’veon Bell? And why? Rise up Atlanta!!

Ryan Andrews | @Ry_And1

Atlanta Falcons Look to Overcome Key Injuries

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The “Atlanta curse” continues to haunt the Falcons.

On Sunday the Falcons explosive offense wasn’t enough to hold off the division rival, Saints. As New Orleans came out on top in overtime, 43-37.

However, this wasn’t the most disappointing thing that happened on Sunday.

The Falcons lost another important player on the defensive side, Ricardo Allen. It was announced Monday that the starting safety would miss the remainder of the season with an achilles injury that happened in overtime.

This is the third starter Atlanta has lost this season. Keanu Neal and Andy Levitre were hurt earlier in the season. Falcons are also going to be missing key defender Deion Jones for about six or eight weeks.

It was blatantly obvious in Sunday’s game that the Falcons were missing captains on the defense. Throughout the game against the Saints, it was clear that there was lots of confusion and times where the defense had no idea what was going on, which led to a high-scoring loss.

Drew Brees took advantage of the broken down Atlanta defense and threw for 396 yards and 5 total touchdowns. Hopefully, this wasn’t a preview of what’s to come the remainder of the season.

On Monday, Dan Quinn said that the Falcons aren’t planning on signing or trading for starting defensive players to fill these roles according to Vaughn Mcclure. Atlanta will most likely lean on Damontae Kazee, Jordan Richards and Kemal Ishmael at the safety position. Weeks two and three Duke Riley has filled in for Deion Jones.

The good news is, the Falcons offense has looked great during weeks two and three. After arguably one of his worst games in his career week one, Matt Ryan has been on point the past two weeks slinging it for a combined 646 yards and seven touchdowns. On Sunday, Ryan showed doubters signs of “MVP Matt” with his deep ball finally connecting multiple times.

The entire offense has been involved, however, the star rookie has been the most impressive. Calvin Ridley has made his mark in the NFL quickly. Ridley has four touchdowns and has picked up 210 yards on 11 receptions in the early season.

Julio Jones continues to prove why he is arguably the best wideout in the league, however, he has yet to get a touchdown in the first three games.

The running game has also been fairly good, even with starter Devonta Freeman out. Tevin Coleman has carried must of the load with 40 attempts resulting in 159 yards. Rookie, Ito Smith, has also made some big plays in his limited runs.

The offense has looked good on almost every aspect. The pass blocking has still sometimes been suspect but progression is there. However, the offense is going to be asked to do a lot more every game now with defense being hurt.

The young defense is going to have to learn fast if the Falcons want to still be contenders this year.

Hopefully, the Falcons are able to get over the injury bug and able to show their true potential with the highly talented team.

Daric Clemens | @DClemens_

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Game Recap (9/16/2018)

The Falcons looked stunning Sunday beating the Carolina Panthers 31-24. Matt Ryan looked reminiscent of his MVP form, completing 23 of 28 passes for 272 yards and threw 2 touchdown passes. He remarkably ran for two rushing touchdowns as well, which matches his most rushing touchdowns in a season. In doing so he made a bit of history.
The Falcons’ rushing game was borderline unstoppable, even with the absence of Devonta Freeman. Against a Panthers defense that had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 22 games, Tevin Coleman showed out with 16 carries for 107 yards, making the absence of Devonta Freeman forgotten. Rookie Ito Smith also got his first opportunity to show what he can do, and played phenomenally with 9 carries for 46 yards. Atlanta wound up with 170 rushing yards for the game.
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrates his touchdown with team mates during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Takk McKinley and Brian Poole each got their 2nd sacks of the season and superglue safety Ricardo Allen got his first interception of the season off a tipped ball from CJ Anderson. All in all, the Falcons defense played solidly all things considered.
Atlanta lost safety Domantae Kazee for ejection when he laid down a late, helmet-to-helmet hit on Cam Newton. It is not yet known if he will receive further discipline for what was a dangerous hit. Starting left guard Andy Levitre also left the game with an injury, but Wes Schweitzer stepped in and held his own as the Falcons rushing game did not miss a beat.
Eight different players caught passes for the Falcons, including rookie Calvin Ridley who had 4 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Red zone offense was unexpectedly brilliant as well, scoring touchdowns on all four opportunities.
With this momentum the Falcons should feel good going into a big rivalry game against New Orleans, who nearly lost to the Cleveland Browns yesterday.

In Depth look on why the Falcons were defeated by the Eagles in week one

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thefalcoholic.com

The Atlanta Falcons fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 18-12 in Thursday nights contest. While everyone is harping on Matt Ryan‘s performance, there are many underlying factors that are concerning for the team going forward. Starting with the pass rush as they could not get to the quarterback all night long.

The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football but such little production should not be acceptable. The Falcons have invested to too much into their defensive line to have their best pass rusher be a run stopper (Derrick Shelby) who only won against his match-up 20 percent of the time.

The Falcons offensive line also got their butts handed to them on a silver platter resulting in a poor output from Matt Ryan. Ryan Schraeder gave up more pressures in this game then he has in his entire career as an Atlanta Falcon which just cannot happen.

Matt Ryan was under pressure 63% of the time he was under center. The Falcons have one of the best offensive lines on paper but this performance did them no justice. Let this game be a wake up call as they will have another tough test versus the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.

Ryan finished the game an abysmal 21/43 for 251 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. Part of the blame for how the offense looked should fall on offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

It looked like Julio Jones was the only wide receiver the falcons had because the other players weren’t being schemed open. Also, that wide receiver the Atlanta Falcons drafted this year named Calvin Ridley was an afterthought over the course of that game. For the Falcons to succeed going forward each and every weapon needs to featured in this offense some describe as prolific.

Week 2

The Carolina Panthers will be reeling after losing TE Greg Olsen and RT Daryl Williams to season ending injuries. This week 2 match-up will be a statement game for the Atlanta Falcons because if they can’t get to the quarterback with an injured offensive line it would spell trouble for the rest of the season.

Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley will need to show up and make their presence felt to get into Cam Newtons head. The Panthers new offense under offensive coordinator Norv Turner features Cam Newton as a QB/RB and Christian McCaffery as an all purpose back. With Deion Jones potentially being out for Sundays match-up it will be up to De’Vondre Campbell and Duke Riley to fill his shoes. I predict that the Falcons will win this match-up and hopefully right the ship before the season gets rough.

Prediction

ATL 24| CAR 17 

Da’Vonte Hughes| @CookieByNature