Falcons: No defense, no line, no chance

Teddy Bridgewater celebrates after his 13-yard touchdown run. (AP photo)

Teddy Bridgewater celebrates after his 13-yard touchdown run. (AP photo)

Teddy Bridgewater celebrates after his 13-yard touchdown run. (AP photo)

MINNEAPOLIS — I’ll be back shortly with a column on the Falcons’ 41-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Until then, here are my three “Short Takes” on the game.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the column.

1. DEFENSE! (NOT); DEFENSE! (NOT): Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was making his first NFL start. He had tougher days at Louisville. He threw for 317 yards before leaving with an ankle injury. The Vikings drove 73, 53, 61, 80, 84 and 43 yards on their first six possessions for three touchdowns, two field goals and a missed field goal, as well as having one TD called back. They finished with over 500 yards in offense. The Falcons’ defense struggled to cover crossing routes. After recording three sacks against Tampa Bay, it also reverted to not being able to put any pressure on the quarterback and the line got punctured for big running plays over the middle. Summation: Disaster.

2. WHERE’S THE BEEF? The pass rush was expected to be a problem this season but the run defense was supposed to be significantly improved after the acquisitions of Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai. But Vikings rookie Jerick McKinnon, who’s from Sprayberry and Georgia Southern, broke open for a 55-yard run, Bridgewater had a 13-yard TD run. The Falcons allowed 154 rushing yards in the first half alone and over 200 in the game. Imagine if Minnesota had, you know, Adrian Peterson?

3. O-LINE ISSUES REVISITED: Matt Ryan often ran for his life behind an offensive line that lost somewhat-able bodies at every turn. Three starters were lost during the game: left guard Justin Blalock (back), center Joe Hawley (knee, carted off and looked to be season-threatening) and right tackle Lamar Holmes (foot). With tackle Baker lost for the year in the preseason, the Falcons were left with a starting line of (left to right) Jake Matthews, Gabe Carimi, Peter Konz, Jon Asamoah and Levine Toilolo (a tight end playing right tackle). For a team that is going to need to out-wow opposing offenses to win games this season, this is the worst possible news for Ryan and the offense.

Reader Comments 0

281 comments
kraci
kraci

If the casual man can see, with naked eye, the flaws in this defense- what must be in the mind of the pursuer- who smells weakness and devours them whole who possess it.  - Random Alamo General

kraci
kraci

What does Minnesota's loss last night say about Pittsburgh?  Who lost to Tampa, who lost to Atlanta, whom Minnesota beat soundly last week?  If Atlanta beats NYG and Seattle loses, I believe that this entire season in 5 of 6 divisions will come down to week 16 games.

Armydawg
Armydawg

They looked worse than Georgia's defense.

midwaycva41
midwaycva41

As was obvious before the draft and is even now more obvious, the Falcons need linemen.  OL and DL.  We have extra CBs, extra LBs, extra RBs.  As was stated appropriately by Shakespeare, "A horse, my kingdom for a horse."  Just don't have enough horses on the OL and DL.

MarkPringle
MarkPringle

The single worst defensive effort during the Mike Smith era. 

GeorgeJuarez
GeorgeJuarez

And the Falcons are worried about a new stadium, the way they're playing they would have trouble filling it out a High School stadium

Blasingame
Blasingame

Wow! It sure is a good thing we got Julio instead of 5 quality players in the trenches.  He sure looks good flying down the field while the offensive line is collapsing.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Blasingame


Hate to point this out but if we did not have Julio the argument would be we don't have anyone for Matt Ryan to throw to.  Let it go; the JJ acquisition was the right thing to do! 

Big Wally
Big Wally

Charlie Weiss is now available.  As long as Arthur Blank is making a habit of hiring Bill Belichick's lackey's let's keep it going with the twice fired Weiss.  He ought to fit in well with this staff.

39Concepts
39Concepts

@TheBigWally weis would eat the entire postgame buffet---arthur would have to keep him away from the food somehow with armed guards

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

I hear that Dumitroff has a whole new list of fat guys he wants to bring in. Just told The Fool to get his checkbook out. Peria's gonna show em all the 'cue joints.

farberboy
farberboy

Imagine if the Vikes had Chad Greenway on defense and AP on offense.  Would have been a bloodbath.

GoBigOrGoHome
GoBigOrGoHome

I wish Harry Douglas hadn't 'stumbled' when running in for the winning TD in the NFC Championship game.

GoBigOrGoHome
GoBigOrGoHome

Lots of defensive guys collecting pay checks.  

39Concepts
39Concepts

no worries---in the offseason, thomas will trade 5 draft picks to get another good wide receiver!  he knows his stuff---he used to be in new england

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Kroy Bierman.............Special Team player at best...gosh he stinks and he gets killed off the line weekly! What in the heck was he doing covering Greg Jennings in space?  Sad!

2nd year corners.........Digressing before our eyes.

Safeties......................Amazingly this group is playing pretty good....now Willie Mo is hurt...o well.

Osi.............................He wears black every Tuesday and sneaks in through the back door! And Kroy props it open for him! (Tuesday I believe are the days NFL players get paid).

Paul Worrilow...........yea we have a new Keith Brooking! After 9 tackles 8 yards down field they want to keep given this guy credit week after week! For what being a pile jumper?  Tackle somebody behind the yard of scrimmage once in a while! 

______________(fill in blank here) stinks also!


28 points on the road, against a rookie QB and rookie RB should be more than enough to win. Know why we cant?


1. Mike Smith....only Coach in history (besides Fredi Gonzalez) that has instant points on the bench, gives him ball three times 9 one for a 40 yard touchdown) and then he gets benched again.  Please get the chin on line one.  He would love to coach this team!

2. Mike Smith

3. Mike Smith

4. Thomas "I cant find talent in the dictionary" Dimitroff.  His name I gave him says it all.

5. Mike Smith. 


And now we go to Giants stadium and have to play against a beast of a TE....better score 35 and hold on! 

keendaddy
keendaddy

Where are all the kool-aid drinkers, that want to defend Arthur Blank, Hair boy and Mike (the liar) Smith? We shouldn't lay the blame for the dismal Defense, on the players, they played hard. It's the one's evaluating the talent, and the one's putting out the scheme. You scheme around your player's strengths and weaknesses! Hair boy, must go and unless our Defensive minded (insert sarcasm here) Head Coach, can figure out how to stop anybody, Smitty needs to go too!

Mr . Blank, as much as I have respected and supported you, I now question your wisdom, for standing idly by, and watching your team implode without so much as a buttchewing evident. Atlanta fans deserve your best too. Please sell the team, or light a fire underneath this team, this city, this State! Demand better than what we experienced Sunday, in Minnesota. I know you can do this, but I'm not sure you care anymore....

Mikemcintosh
Mikemcintosh

@keendaddy Implode......were 2-2 and tied for 1st in division. You don't think other teams in our division have issues...Car, N, TB.

JackClemens
JackClemens

It's loooong past time to upgrade the personnel on the defensive line and linebacking corps. How long is a bad defense going to be acceptable?

Chill
Chill

Last year the Scapegoats were the D Line and O line coaches. I wonder who will be the scapegoats this year???

UGA76
UGA76

I said this right after the draft and if a couch potato like me can figure it out why is Mr. Blanks paying Fantasy Football Dimitroff (FFD) big bucks to destroy this team?The way to win in the current NFL is to protect your QB and to harass the other teams QG.PERIOD.FFD refuses to understand that darn near any QB that can stand back in the pocket with no pressure will light up a defense even if they had a secondary of all pro players.No QB no matter how great can execute a true vertical passing game while running for his life.Also FFD refuses to learn from his mistakes.History has a habit of repeating itself.Injury prone players will continue to get injured and they can't be counted on.

FFD, ask yourself what Perry, Weatherspoon, Baker and Johnson all have in common.FFD didn't prepare for those two OTs to get hurt again and thus Atlanta will be lucky if Ryan makes it thru the season without getting hurt.Holmes has been a bust and now he is also hurt.Hawley is too weak to play C and now he’s hurt. We will be lucky to not be 4-12 or so.At least we will have a high draft pick to draft an OLB that can rush the passer and then a RT in the top of the 2nd round.We also need to draft a C and another DE/OLB that can rush the passer with our 3rd and 4th round picks.Thank goodness Mr. Blanks wouldn’t let FFD trade a bunch of picks for Clowney.Our depth is a joke thanks to his previous trade up draft pick giveaways.

I don’t think we can fairly evaluate Head Coach Smith (HCS) and his coaches until they have better players.I feel the same way about Matt Ryan.All should sue FFD for non-support.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

28 points on the road against a team being lead by a rookie QB...you supposed to win.  This defense is beyond approach! 

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

So Schutzie, what time is the press conference for the firing of Fredo?? 

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

For those of y'all blaming coaching for the defensive struggles, I'd like y'all to point out how many above average healthy players you see on the defensive side of the ball. There ain't many. 


This team's problems stem from personnel, not coaching. The guy getting paid to bring good players in here, via the draft or free agency, hasn't done his job well. 

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

You got it Jeff. Blank has been too focused on getting a deal from Atlanta for his new stadium. Maybe he should have been focused on the quality of talent trend under the current regime. It's obvious, no coach can win a championship with these players. We've got Matt, Roddy, Julio and some other skill players but not much in the way of top rank talent on either line. It's interesting to watch Hester come in and see what excitement someone like him brings to the game.  We've got our very talented skill players but Hester was a throw-a-way from Chicago. Imagine that.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Here's the problem.  Falcons are currently spending 59% of total cap on offense, 36.5% on defense, and 4.5% on special teams.  Below are the top 10 players under the Falcons 2014 cap which collectively account for nearly 60% of the total cap.  You can draw your own conclusions from here.


1. Matt Ryan- $17.5M (16.2% of total 2014 active team cap)

2. Blalock- $7.6M (7%)

3. Roddy- $6.2M (5.7%)

4. Soliai- $5.4M (5%)

5. W Moore- $5.1M (4.7%)

6. Julio- $5.1M (4.7%)

7. Osi- $4.75M (4.4%)

8. S Jackson- $4.1M (3.8%)

9. Biermann- $4M (3.7%)

10. H Douglas- $3.6M (3.3%)

Oracle
Oracle

Good points but you forgot to add the signing bonuses to matts salary ...that's puts it at $21 -22 million this year

keendaddy
keendaddy

I feel like The Falcons may be on the ropes. They took too many blows, and now they are having trouble staying on their feet. Our injuries along the Oline, have put our ability to score in question. We were already thin there. Now, we are critical there. What happens when Ryan gets hurt? Do you think Yates can make a difference without time to throw?

How about a total collapse of the Defense yesterday? Can Nolan pressure any QB? I haven't seen it yet. You think this doesn't frustrate our Secondary???

You think that one other team will have sympathy for us? More than likely, they're licking their chops, waiting to repeat what Minnesota, just did.

Could be, we're screwed!

Ruffski
Ruffski

@keendaddy We're certainly on the ropes right now - especially with the next 4 games before the bye week. I'd like to see a significant change on DEF scheming, rolling the dice to somehow get some pressure on the QB. The game plan vs. the Vikes (with a (good) rookie QB and no AP, UGH) is not going to cut it. 

BirdBeak
BirdBeak

@keendaddy I'm thinking this season is done, well I know it is done but there maybe a few game that will be exciting within the division. We just watch and post. Nothing to be done about it. Since I live in Dallas and they are playing better, (because they have 3 First Round Linemen) I'll watch them with my Cowboy friends. After 30 years a fan I'm realistic and have another life other than football.

MikeS777
MikeS777

just a side question, why do I have to sign in for every individual section of AJC?  It used to be if I signed in to comment here, I could comment on Bradley's blog, etc.  Now I have to sign in every where I go.

keendaddy
keendaddy

So do I, it's not stopping trolling, if that's why they did it...

MikeS777
MikeS777

The Falcons can't spell defense right now.  At least people on here aren't blaming Ryan and the offense.  Not like they clueless UGA fans who have an equally bad defense, yet Mike Bobo is taking all the heat for some reason.

The Falcons spent years stacking offense at the expense of defense, and this is the result.  Last year's offseason was an exercise in utter ignorance.  Letting Grimes, Robinson, and Abraham go was mind numbingly absurd.  Grimes and Robinson with Samuel made a secondary that could cover long enough to make up for the pass rush.  Without them, it's been a disaster.  Also if you want to improve a pass rush, you bring in Umenyiora to HELP Abraham, not replace him.  How did that work out?

This after wasting all that money on the DE from Minnesota too.

DutchDogg
DutchDogg

Fire Thomas Dimitroff.  Simple fix.  He is the worst personnel selector ever.  He won't mind getting fired either.  He can go bike with Lance Armstrong.

Jmonty
Jmonty

Fire Mike Nolan...  Simple fix...  He is awful. 

keendaddy
keendaddy

Good to see you, my friend! Our lack of a tangible Defense yesterday, made me shout at the TV. My dog moved to Sally's side of the room, lol!

keendaddy
keendaddy

I love our players, but I feel bad that management doesn't give them the tools to succeed. You want to make excuses for failure, go ahead. We fell hard people. We went from really good, to really bad, overnight. I guess it's no one's fault, huh? You keep supporting the clowns that let this happen, and you are just as responsible for this team looking like losers.

You say our Offense can score, but our Defense sucks, well now, we have no Offensive line to protect Ryan, and our Defense still sucks. Go ahead and make excuses for Smitty & TD. They destroyed a pretty good team..

YYY

Nova-PC
Nova-PC

I am not blaming the players...I am blaming management (coaches and executives). The players played hard. I am afraid Matt Ryan is going to get hurt. He is a class quarterback and a top elite quarterback. Imagine what he could do if he had some decent guys up front????


Shame on Mike Smith, Dimitrov and Blank making excuses!!

Nova-PC
Nova-PC

Oh, by-the-way, I should mention that money doesn't necessarily buy great players. You have to have people that know how to spot talent!!! Apparently that is a lesson the Falcons haven't been able to learn yet!

Bordertownbound
Bordertownbound

Well, if Matt Ryan or any of the other team members read this blog, I just want you to know, at least from this fan, that I watched the game and saw that you guys, despite the circumstances, played a hard fought game. I appreciate the attempt to come back and take the lead. I know you guys tried your hardest and will continue. Rise Up!!!!!

keendaddy
keendaddy

Now that's some tale-kissing, if I've ever seen it. All lovey dovey, lol! Attaboy...

BirdBeak
BirdBeak

@Bordertownbound  You can bet your very last dollar that players don't read any of this crap we post. They play the game, make the money and have lives you can't imagine. Our posts don't mean crap to anyone, anyone, anyone, anyone, anyone! Grow up!

Nova-PC
Nova-PC

I am so disgusted with the Falcons Management and that included Arthur Blank. I recall Mr. Blank talking about having to get quality players on the OL and the DL. NO pass rush on the DL and the opponents will continue to kill the Falcons. Mr. Blank, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. Maybe it is time to clean house from top to bottom.

Bordertownbound
Bordertownbound

Oh and by the way, you guys that want the Falcons to draft some magical Unicorn player who comes out and changes the entire teams winning record all by himself......Keep waiting for that one LOL.

keendaddy
keendaddy

You mean like Teddy Bridgewater??? LOL!