The Falcons are red hot and all of Dirty Bird Nation is buckled in for this wild ride. With the best season start in franchise history, hopes are high that this will translate into the best post-season performance Atlanta has seen in quite some time. We are going to focus in on a few key areas of improvement for the Falcons to continue to stay in the top ranks of the league and continue to push the franchise to new heights.
1) Stopping the Run and obliterate blown coverage:
The Falcons currently are weak against the run offense and will face many more run oriented teams in the coming weeks. They have got to get a hold on their coverage. Akeem Dent has been struggling in the at the middle linebacker position and therefore this ripple effect has begun where its putting pressure and chaos in the exterior layers of the defensive line as they try to recover, close the open pockets, and make sure all necessary coverage is accounted for. The Falcons are ranked 7th against the pass offense but are (lower voice and whisper) 27th against the run offense. This will pose an issue for the Falcons if they do not get all of their defensive
ducks falcons in a row. Babineaux, Jerry, and Walker are something to brag about against the pass defense but have been average at best against the run.
2) Players Need to Play THEIR Position
This one may bring the most frustration as it is an obvious and easy fix but yet it happened multiple times in Sunday’s game against the Redskins. Offensive linemen were playing receiving positions…WTF?! Come on Falcons; let the holy trinity of Julio, White, and Gonzo take care of the receiving and let our centers/OG men stick to blocking. Hawley, love ya bud but you should not be trying to be the hero nor should your fellow OG’s be playing the extra TE positions either. Stay in your position or we are going to have errors, miss first down opportunities, and thus hand the ball back to the opponent’s offense.
3) Complete the Catch
Gonna have to hit Hawley with the one two punch here but not only was he playing out of position, he dropped not one but two passes. Rodgers dropped an easy one, and Julio had a deep drop that could have translated into a lengthy touchdown pass. The Falcons are coming up with ways to win even when they are not playing their best but these dropped passes are going to begin to build more of a deficit as the steaks get higher. Errors add up and Atlanta needs to clean up if they want to progress down the field and into the post season.
I am excited to see what the Falcons work on moving into week six because while the come-from-behind victories have been exciting the past two weeks, its safe to say the team was a little concerned about how shaky their performance was for almost the entire first three quarters. It was a wake up call that could not have come at a better time. They got the win but they needed the reminder that they must get a handle on their play and get back in sync moving into the weeks ahead. I expect a refreshed and re-focused team against the Raiders.