Well, I really wish I was writing this in February but that was just not the case this time as the year ended on a bad note following the terrible loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional round game. With a final of 48 to 21, I’d say the Falcons nation’s eyes were quite wide. We were not just defeated. We were destroyed by a team that was better in almost every facet of the game (giving props to Eric Weems and special teams here). The Packers deserved the win and Aaron Rodgers played one of the most perfect games I’ve seen in playoff history in recent memory.
What Went Wrong?
The typical fan of the Atlanta birds might just say we suck or the Atlanta curse continues. I don’t see it that way. As I stated earlier in the season, we were/are a good team, not a great team. Throughout the season, we found ways to win games that past Falcons’ teams would not have. We played our ball: Penalties low, Turnovers low, Balanced attack. What happened on Saturday evening’s game? Penalties high, Turnovers high (and costly), Departure of Balanced Attack (due to score). Besides those issues, the defense was unable to dirty Aaron Rodger’s uniform. We had opportunities to do so, but were still unable to capitalize. When you don’t capitalize, someone like Rodgers will pick you apart. Again, props go to the Packers though I still don’t agree with the final field goal that much (there was only 1:56 left on the clock). Here’s hoping the Packers pull it out on the road to the Superbowl win as I do believe they are one of the more complete teams remaining.
Well, after that final game, many will believe a complete overhaul is needed. Glaring holes were present but I believe in what Coach Smith and GM TD are doing. They’ve put together 3 back-to-back winning seasons and no one else has ever done that in Atlanta before with the Falcons. The team is still young and has plenty of potential for the next several years. However, changes will need to be made and I’d start of course on the defensive side. The year started with questions at defensive end, but Abraham showed that he still has something left in him as he recorded 13 sacks, but the remainder of the front line couldn’t put up anything as impressive. Abraham is aging poorly (injuries) and some new blood might be right around the corner.
Speaking of corner, the addition of Dunta Robinson was to improve the secondary and front line by giving the front line more time to get in the backfield and pick up coverage sacks. However, when you can’t get to the quarterback, then the coverage will break down because you can’t cover forever. On the other side of the field, I’ve heard the complaints about Brent Grimes. “He’s too small.” “Why is he even out there?” Really? Yeah, one of the touchdown’s Saturday night was over the top of him, but you could not have asked for any better coverage as he was in the perfect position to make the play. The receiver just made one heck of a grab.
My real pain in the secondary was due to a late season injury to Brian Williams, the nickelback. With him going out for the remainder of the season, Christopher Owens was asked to fill the role. The Packers knew this and they picked on him for a majority of the first half. He was unable to cover his man and either gave up big plays or blatant penalties.
The Draft and Free Agency
With that being said, the next steps are preparing for the draft and free agency. The front office of the Falcons believes in at least one major free agent signing a year and the remainder of the holes being filled in the draft. I’ll need to do more research on available free agents but possibilities could be DE, CB (less likely due to last year’s signing), or WR (stretch the field).
As far as the draft goes, I’ll write up a full preview as we get closer (possible selections, position breakdown), but here’s my quick thoughts as we sit with the 27th overall pick in the 2011 draft:
- Defensive End – It was an area of interest last year and is still an area of interest
- Center – How much longer can Todd McClure last? Let’s plan for the future now.
- RB – Yes, I know we have Turner and, my favorite, Jason Snelling, but we are still missing a speed back. Norwood will more than likely not be returning.
- LT – Sam Baker is just not becoming the franchise left tackle we thought he could be to protect Matt Ryan’s blind side.
Even with my disappointment in the final act of the season, I still say a very big congratulations to the 2010 Atlanta Falcons. You gave me some of the most thrilling games (see Saints Week 3, Ravens Week 9, and Green Bay Week 11) over the past five years and I look forward to many more. As a season ticket holder, I will gladly place my order for another year of cheering on my Falcons. Let’s Rise Up again but this time bigger and better than ever before!
Thanks again for everything.Posted under Sports |