Falcons’ implosion may have just begun

Matt Ryan figures to be under duress even more after losing two (or three) more offensive linemen. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan figures to be under duress even more after losing two (or three) more offensive linemen. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan figures to be under duress even more after losing two (or three) more offensive linemen. (AP photo)

Well, look at it this way: The Falcons are still tied for first place.

A season that has the potential of spinning out of control quickly — and we reference last season as Exhibit A — took a bad turn Tuesday when the Falcons confirmed they’ve lost at least two more starters for the season. Center Joe Hawley (knee) and tackle Lamar Holmes (foot) were placed on season-ending injured reserve after injuries suffered in Sunday’s 41-28 loss in Minnesota. Safety William Moore was placed on designated for return-IR with a shoulder injury, which means he is not allowed to practice for six weeks and can’t play for at least eight.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are still OK. If the Falcons were in a two-on-two street league and running pass routes to the Chevy, they would be awesome.

The Falcons are 2-2, somehow good enough to be tied for first place with Carolina (one game ahead of New Orleans and Tampa Bay). But they already have lost three-fifths of their starting offense line (Hawley, Holmes and left tackle Sam Baker) and the status of guard Justin Blalock (back) is unknown. Two defensive starters, Moore and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, with a torn Achilles, also are gone for the year.

They’re going to struggle to protect Matt Ryan. Run blocking figures to be problematic. The defense was expected to be a problem even before injuries, as evidenced in the Vikings game (41 points and 558 yards allowed to a Minnesota team missing running back Adrian Peterson and starting a rookie, Teddy Bridgewater, at quarterback).

The Falcons are 2-0 at the Georgia Dome. But they gave up a home game against to Detroit to play in London Oct. 26 — forget winning; it’s about branding, you know — and are in a stretch where they play only one of seven games in Atlanta (at Minnesota, at New York, home vs. Chicago, at Baltimore, in London vs. Detroit, at Tampa Bay, at Carolina).

If they survive this stretch, it will be remarkable. We may know before Thanksgiving whether this is a playoff team.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff made some minor moves, promoting safety Sean Baker, tackle Cameron Bradfield and guard Harland Gunn from the practice squad and signing safety Kimario McFadden and guard Adam Replogle to the practice squad. But the reality is that the remains of the original 53 players who they broke camp with are the ones will have to get it done.

That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Reader Comments 0

92 comments
WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Blank has 4 GMs (current and 3 former) on staff and they still can't get it right. 


I smell a Swamp Fox coming. Remember when they fired Henning, couldn't find a coach, and hired Campbell then dcoordinator. TD gets jettisoned (Please!!) and maybe Smith and Pioli rides in on the white horse from down the hall.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Brian Billick..."Falcons have the worst defensive talent in the NFL" Question....has another city ever had two more inept GMs operating at the same time as Dumitroff and Wrenched? Surely this is some kind of record for overall FAIL

gfw
gfw

I understand all those who say Dimitroff is the problem, and of course he IS the proximate cause of the Falcons' woes.  But the ultimate cause is Blank himself.  Looking for a GM, would YOU have been so impressed with this young guy, whose only experience was evaluating college talent for the Patriots?  Anyone who can read people at all, who has heard Dimitroff speak for 30 seconds, can see he's about 95% a PR guy.  He's essentially a salesman.  There's not much substance there.  Blank must have been sick, high, or in love to have given him the job.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

And the best sales job he did was selling himself to The Fool. You know a certain home store has a reputation of dumping a very good brand because a crappier brand offered them a better deal thru a slick salesman. I could picture Dumitroff in his shades pushing some watered down paint product on The Fool.

tmc
tmc

unfortunately, the Falcons are not going to get healthier. And sadly it appears the wheels are about to come off and get as ugly as last year... The only positive might be that we get rid of Coach Smith as the head coach and get someone who knows what they are doing. (not a fan of smith's style)

Big Wally
Big Wally

Dimitroff simply doesn't know what he is doing.  Blank, you should be evaluating potential GM candidates this very second. 

HockeyFan99
HockeyFan99

This falls squarely on the GM. In this league, 1st and 2nd rounders (that are not QB's) are supposed to be sure fire quality starters. Look at all the flops of Dummytroff: P Jerry (1st), Brady Ewing (2nd...I mean who drafts a fullback in the second round these days?), Peter Konz (2nd), Sam Baker (1st, and yes....he is a flop, an overpaid one at that).

Those are 4 first rate starters we should but don't have. Dummytroff is not a boy genius....just a boy

FlexD16
FlexD16

@HockeyFan99 If you're going to bash him, at least get your facts correct. Ewing was a 5th round draft pick. 

Oracle
Oracle

Jeff Schultz is one of the few realistic local media commentators who covers the falcons ....that's partly because other comprised media personalitys don't dare critique the owners greed , the GM ' s eggs all in one offensive basket ways , The yearly assistant coach firing smoke screen ,our pampered Qb with his Unwarranted high salary or even the way we lucked into many of those regular season wins a few years ago ...other media outlets will collectively punish any sportswriter who strays from the falcons company line ...this carnival barking has been strictly enforced by the media clowns ...otherwise you may lose team access ,advertising , and eventually your job ...Schultz tip toes gingerly towards the truth the best he can without gettin hammered by the carnival barking clowns ...read between his lines sometimes....I have for a few years now ...Schultz is not anti Atlanta falcons ,but he ain't drinking the kool aide with two straws either

zuzu331
zuzu331

@Oracle "tiptoes gingerly toward the truth the best he can"?  Really?

96JB
96JB

The office chatter here at my office is already talking about who the new Falcons coach will be. 8-8, 7-9 won't bring Smitty back, and that's where this team is headed.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Dimitroff - problem number 1.    Anyone remember that catchy little phrase he kept saying when he was hired about drafting "system specific" players?     Translation: "I don't really know what I'm doing, but I like to throw out words that make me sound smart".

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

@TheBigWally


That's just nerd-speak for I don't have a clue, so I will consult my metric tables.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

When Matt doesn't get decent protection, he's not the same QB.  Does anybody in Flowery Branch have Ritchie Incognito's phone number?

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

JJ was no where to be seen last week. And ryan was off on several passes and looked very similar to last season. This was before they lost the players too. But they sure looked good against tb! I'm sure that game had nothing to do with tb not showing up or caring at all

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I wouldn't say the  season is over and the Falcons will spiral downward. But I will admit that the coaching staff has it's work cut out. Out of all the coaches, I think Mike Tice will find a way to get it done. I think Smitty and Nolan need to brainstorm and improve that defense. Every team has injuries-- if the Falcons can over-come and win some games on the road, it would be huge from a mental standpoint. Rise-up!

buztech
buztech

I think it's safe to say the Falcons are not a road team.  Methinks Stafford and Megatron will light them up like a candle in London. 

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

I say they evaluate how these next 3 weeks goes. If the team isn't able to win then they begin preparing for draft position. The skill players are there. Load up on needs in the draft/free agency and build for the next several years 

Wilbo
Wilbo

Good grief, Schultz, you are such an incredible ninny. Saying that the Falcons implosion is beginning now is about like figuring out your niece Sweetpea probably isn't a virgin anymore when her 2nd kid gets sent off to Juvenile Hall! 


The Falcons implosion began January 15, 2011 when the Packers rung 'em up 48-21. The second verse of that tune was sung by Eli & Co. 24 to freaking 2, January 8, 2012.


Confirmation of the burgeoning Implosion Syndrome was being chiseled in stone Jan 20, 2013 but was briefly delayed by the freaky lucky re-comeback from the comeback that Matt Bryan pulled out his booboo against the Seahawks. 1 week later The Imploding Falcons left no doubt, falling completely apart and letting an already beaten 9er team come all the way back and move on to the SuperBowl.


If imploding to the bone might be seen as a big fat cake, last year's unseason was a dump truck load of gooey, way too sugary icing.


You're a little bit behind in your analysis, sonny boy, you might benefit by taking off the patchouly scented rose colored homer glasses and paying a little closer attention!

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Falcons were never as good as some thought in their NFC Championship game run. As you noted, they barely beat Seattle and then fell completely apart against the 49ers in the 2nd half of the championship game (which Ryan still couldn't win with the ball and 2 mins left in 4th qtr). Falcons front office had their heads in the clouds thinking all they needed to do was resign Tony G and the SB would be theirs. Somehow they forgot or failed to acknowledge the porous D that blew 2nd half leads in both playoff games. The most disconcerting thing to me is that the D has only gotten worse since that time and is currently ranked last among NFL teams. To improve from here this organization needs a total housecleaning from McKay (who is still involved in these poor decisions) to Dimitroff to Smitty. They have collectively held the organization back from becoming a perennial threat in the NFL versus the paper tiger they are and continue to be. If they hadn't had full commitment financially from ownership I'd consider cutting them some slack but these guys have had the red carpet treatment of support and resources to build a championship team but failed. Time's ticking on the new stadium and PSLs are going to be a challenge at best to sell if fans lack confidence about the team's direction.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

And the owners want to extend the season . . .

DawgNole
DawgNole

JS: "General manager Thomas Dimitroff made some minor moves . . . ."

____________________________

Not sure if that's good or bad. His major moves sure as hell haven't paid off.

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

The Falcons were barely a playoff team before all of the injuries. They have no chance now. The inability to develop lower round draft picks have come back to haunt us. As has been stated before this is a team of stars and scrubs. Most of the stars are injured. Don't blame the Julio trade. Those picks had they not been spent to move up to get Julio would have been wasted just like all the rest were anyway.

seminoleking
seminoleking

and i wish they get rid of them ugly patchwork uniforms. i rather they go back to their original uniforms of either the black or red.............

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Maybe we can tell Dimitroff that the London game is actually in N. Korea and put a bible in his suitcase. 

Mike2112
Mike2112

Why are we always getting Jaguar rejects constantly ???? Cheap airfare ? quick drive to Atlanta? Last time I checked , they were 0-4.

Mike2112
Mike2112

Incognito, Winston and Nicholas are all available, but the "Good 'Ol Boys Club" are afraid of players with attitude. How's that working for you now? Hopefully on the unemployment line for Smith and especially Dimitroff. Ditch Dimitroff and give the job to Pioli, just look at KC and contact a coach with a resume who's not afraid to get in a players face and push them.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff is the reason there is a problem to begin with.


His entire team aside from his 1st round picks would not even start for any other team not named Jacksonville.


His draft classes aside from his 1st round draft choices and even some of those are a complete joke.


The falcons are in trouble because there is no talent, the defense looks like a Mr. Mgoo rerun.


He is clearly over his head and he needs to jump on that bike of his to cycle right out of town.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@bennyhayes


He has only 4 "real" games under his belt.  Give him time.  Don't throw the baby out with the bath water just yet. 

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

@AnsweredTHIS @bennyhayes 


And after all he does have 1 tackle and 1 assist in 4 games. Extrapolating out that will be 4 tackles and 4 assists in a season, so that is better than Jerry. So, TD is actually improving.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

Falcons are toast. You can blame Dimitroff, the fantasy football wunderkind. He thinks all you need is WRs and QBs to win.

MattlantaNative
MattlantaNative

@LakeDawg Yep, Dim-Wit-itroff LOVES his skill, finesse players, while at the same time he has NO SKILL whatsoever at drafting (and drafting for depth) and building a team from the inside-out.  Arthur should've fired clueless "Tommy Boy" last year and offered him a bottle of hair gel as a parting gift...
TD does have a future, though, if he decides to use his severely overpaid salary to open a chain of hair salons...

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

One thing working in the Falcons' favor: the division appears very weak. The Saints looked horrible on Sunday, the Panthers' D is falling apart and Cam Newton seems injured, and the Bucs lost to the Falcons by 7 touchdowns. All three of those teams have subpar defenses and injury issues. 8-8 might take this division the way things look right now.

BSNBC
BSNBC

The curse of the Julio trade is just starting to show!

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

@BSNBC I don't blame the Julio trade. Had this team ever shown that they could develop lower round draft picks you might have a point but they never have. So what good would it have done us to draft more players that would not have been developed? 

seminoleking
seminoleking

the falcons were toast even if they had a full compliment on the offensive line, because the defense is garbage..............dummytroff and smith got to go and bring in a real general manager and head coach...

Ackshun
Ackshun

@SeenThatB4 You really need to be more concerned about you boys from bayou country. You know the guys still trying to scrub Demarco Murray's footprints off their unforms. With an opportunity to come into a tie for first place in the Division, they completely choked and WTH was with that stupid fake punt.... If the Falcons are bad.. the Saints are worse.


BTW: How's that rookee corner back working out for you

DazzyG
DazzyG

@SeenThatB4 You are like a whack-a-mole.  Pop up, look stupid, get beat in the head and then disappear! LOL!!!! 1-3