If we can have threads on the Panthers and Redskins, we can have one on the other team that is reasonably close to Durham and where a ton of Duke fans reside, Atlanta.
Here is what I have to say about the Falcons so far...
Matt Ryan is really good, like top 5 or so QBs in the NFL good.
The receivers are really good, like perhaps the best WR/TE unit in the league.
The D is opportunistic and better than expected.
This could be a very fun season.
-Jason "that is all for now" Evans
Thanks for starting this, Jason. I'm not a Falcons fan, but I have two sons in Atlanta that are. It is nice to have some info on the Falcons, so I can aggravate them on occasion. Not really, but they sure have been giving me some grief over the Redskins in recent years. I'd love to accrue some payback. Family gatherings are more fun during the baseball season, since we are all Braves fans, including #3 son in Durham. So, I appreciate getting to know the Falcons.
Thrashing and utterly dismantling a pretty good Chargers team... on the road... in a cross-country game (the hardest kind to win). The Falcons D is a revelation, making Phillip Rivers look even worse this week than Peyton Manning looked last week. I mean, that may have been the worst game of Rivers' career. Wow!
Of, and the offense is a thing of beauty to watch. I thought they were a bit off their game today, but they still put up 27 points and seemed to move the ball with ease when it really mattered. Matt Ryan is the league MVP through 3 games, isn't he? He just seems completely in control of the game right now.
The announcers calling the game today said, "who beats this team?" I think it is a little early to get crazy and start talking that way, but it seems pretty clear that the Falcons are very much in the conversation as the best team in football right now. So, uhh, yeah... I'm excited at the moment
-Jason "with the Saints in free-fall, the Falcons are likely to be favored in every single remaining game on the sked the way it looks right now" Evans
A road win is a good win in the NFL, so I will take this week's good but certainly not great performance against Washington. The Skins are an ok NFL team, not a playoff contender, IMO, but not the bottom of the heap. Their D did a good "bend but don't break" impression for much of the game against the Falcons. I was really impressed with the Falcons D which really kept RG III under control and finally knocked him out of the game with a hard hit in the 3rd quarter. The Falcon D has stepped up several notches this season and is clearly among the top 10 or so defenses in the league right now.
Also worth noting, the Falcons won a game where they did not dominate the turnover battle. In fact, until they picked off 2 late desperation passes from the Skins rookie backup QB, the Falcons were at minus-2 in the turnover column. This team had won its first few games by getting ridiculous numbers of turnovers. I am thrilled to see them winning when they don't go +2 or +3 in the TO column. It is easy to win when you are +2 in turnovers. Winning a game when you are minus-2 (for the first 57 minutes of the game) is a bigger deal in my mind.
Finally, while I am sure we all enjoyed Jimmy Graham and Gronk pretending like they were redefining what it meant to play TE last season, I am pleased to report that the top TE in all of football is again 36-year-old Tony Gonzalez. He is just a freak. He has 39 receptions (most in the NFL, 14 more than any other TE), 388 yards (15th most in the NFL, 64 more than any other TE), and 4 TDs (2nd most in NFL, best among TEs) in the first 5 games of the season. That projects to 125 catches, 1242 yards, and 13 TDs... a pretty decent year, I think
--Jason "Tony really wants to make a deep playoff run... but I hope he does not retire if the Falcons give him what he wants!" Evans
1. Hate to break the bad news to you, but with the defense taking a HUGE step back with the injuries of Orakpo and Carriker and RGIII out, the Skins are pretty much the bottom of the heap. If you wanted to beat an okay team, your guys shouldn't have knocked out the QB.
2. The Falcons didn't contain RGIII, Kyle Shanahan did with his play calling. RGIII only ran twice, and got injured on the second one. They were running AM to the tune of 12 carries for 85 yards in the first half. I honestly don't think Atlanta wins that one w/o the injury. RG just doesn't throw the bad passes Captain Kirk did. He eats prevent defenses for breakfast.
LET'S GO DUKE!
He has 4 TDs in 5 games. The league leader has 5 so he is one of the best scoring receivers in the league. He has 313 yards receiving, good for one of the top 25 WRs in the league, but could be better. According to Yahoo he has the 12th most fantasy points among WRs in the league. I am not sure what you expected out of him, but it is hard to call the 12th best WR "lackluster."
Now, his consistency needs some work. He posted big games in weeks 1, 3, and 5 but sub-par ones in weeks 2 and 4. Not surprisingly, Roddy White had ok, but not great games in weeks 1, 3, and 5 while posting big numbers in weeks 2 and 4. The most consistent receiver for the Falcons has been Tony Gonzalez. I suppose the game will come where he is struggling and I suspect that will be the week that both Roddy and Julio go off. This team has 3 ridiculously good options to throw the ball and trying to contain them is a defensive coordinator's nightmare.
Bottom line -- Julio has been doing just fine so far this year.
-Jason "Julio's nickname is Waffle House... any of you know why that is his nickname?" Evans
Yawn... another week, another win. This time it wasn't even interesting.
I know this team is due for an off-week where they don't find a way to eek out the victory at the gun, but this has been a heck of a ride so far.
Serious question -- where does Matty Ice rank among NFL QBs right now? Top 10 for sure. Top 5? Top 3?
-Jason "250 pass yards, 150 rush yards... deal with that opposing teams!" Evans
"With seven national titles and 20 Final Fours in the 64-team NCAA Tournament era, Duke and UNC have had more playoff success than any other CONFERENCE." - Al Featherston
If there is a flaw on offense ... its definitely the running game. I'm not sure if the offensive line is not run-blocking well or if Turner is just slower than he used to be (or a combination thereof), but it seems like he gets hit in the back field every time he touches the ball. He just isn't hitting the holes ike he used to ... he seems to be dancing in the backfield more.
I wonder if the Falcons pick up a little on what the Pats used to do and use the short check down receiving game in lieu of a running game.
My Quick Smells Like French Toast.
8 and oh baby!!!!
I was at the game. Had sideline passes. My sons got to hang out with Roger Goodell. My younger son said it was just a couple notched below meeting the President. I told him he wasn't giving Goodell his proper due
-Jason "Boys with Goodell.jpg" Evans