Short takes: Falcons’ offense goes belly up

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent a lot of time in this position Sunday. (AP photo)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent a lot of time in this position Sunday. (AP photo)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent a lot of time in this position Sunday. (AP photo)

I’ll be back shortly with a full column to wrap up some of the ugliness associated with the Falcons’ 29-7 loss to Baltimore. Until then, here are my three “Short Takes.”

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column.

1. So where’s the explosive offense? The Falcons were expected to struggle defensively this season. But nobody could have anticipated the offense would border on anemic at this stage of the season, even with injuries to the offensive line. They had only 61 yards in offense at halftime and until the final minutes botched what few chances they had. It was five minutes into the third quarter before they converted a third-down attempt. Julio Jones wasn’t a factor. It appeared the Falcons were on the way to being shut out for the first time since 2004 (27-0 at Tampa Bay) but Matt Ryan hit Roddy White for a four-yard touchdown pass with 7:12 left after the Ravens had built a 20-0 lead.  It was only their fourth touchdown in the last 13 quarters. Little reason to celebrate.

2. Pass protection is non-existent: Ryan is getting an increasing amount of criticism for not doing more to get the Falcons’ offense going. Some of the criticism is justified, especially given he’s the team’s highest profile player and has a $103.75 million contract. But this doesn’t all fall on him. Ryan was sacked five times (the last resulting in a safety), hit often, rushed to throw often and generally beat up by the Ravens’ defense. When a quarterback doesn’t have time to throw, it takes out a good chunk of the playbook, particularly the deep pass. The Falcons’ pass protection was awful. Center Peter Konz (knee) was lost early in the game, guard Justin Blalock appears to be struggling because of a bad back, rookie left tackle Jake Matthews has been overwhelmed and, at his best, right tackle Gabe Carimi plays like a decent backup. Right guard Jon Asamoah has been OK.

3. No reason to think it gets better: The Falcons are 2-5. If that’s not bad enough, there’s nothing about this team or the schedule that would lead you to believe things are going to get better. They travel to London to play Detroit next week and it’s easy to visualize Matthew Stafford carving up the Atlanta secondary. The rest of the schedule breaks down like this: home games against Cleveland, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Carolina. Road games at Tampa Bay, Carolina, Green Bay and New Orleans. Where are the obvious wins there? Maybe at Tampa Bay? Is there another? Maybe home against Cleveland. That would give the Falcons a 4-12 record — same as last year.

Digital Jukebox
— AJC: LIVE: Falcons try for something new — a win
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech continues to stomp on hope
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s loss
— AJC: LIVE: Georgia Tech hopes to rebound
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs win, Falcons lose, Jameis enabled
— AJC: Georgia dealing with reality, FSU avoiding it
— MyAJC: Does NCAA care that public sentiment favors Gurley, athletes?
— MyAJC: Georgia’s response heard loud and clear
— MyAJC: NCAA needs to realize amateurism is dead
— AJC:  LIVE: Georgia ready to give it a go minus Gurley
— AJC: Minus Gurley, Dogs must overcome flaws
— AJC: With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done?
— MyAJC: If Gurley broke rules, that’s on him
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding
— AJC: Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you?
— MyAJC: Arthur Blank won’t give Falcons’ mandates, speculate on future
— AJC: Falcons have turned this week into a must-win game
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech’s season may be turning into something special
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over Miami, starting with … defense?
— AJC: Tech has a chance to take charge in ACC Coastal
— AJC: Braves should have left Gonzalez decision to new GM
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Tech, UGA win, Falcons continue kindness
— AJC: Are Braves waiting for Dayton Moore?
— MyAJC: Hawks are still playing wrong game off the court
— MyAJC: Falcons’ losses like this are on Mike Smith
— AJC: Falcons: No defense, no line, no chance
— MyAJC: John Hart says Braves ‘lethargic,’ need changes

Reader Comments 0

244 comments
reckingball
reckingball

It's the OLine, and it is the DLine. Has been that way for years.

REMCLEMORE
REMCLEMORE

A creative Offensive Coordinator could get more out of this offense.  With all the explosive threats the Falcons have (Julio, Hester, Antoine Smith, Freeman, Rogers), short passes and end around will slow the rush, and fakes will get the QB more time for deeper passes.  Every time I see the Falcons trotting Stephen Jackson out before we are inside the 10 yard line I know we are going to fail.  This coaching staff is so tuned into a grind it out style of game with out the Oline necessary for that type of offense that it is very predictable and will always lose. 

Boeingdawg
Boeingdawg

Uhmm...you know the O line is now all backups and a rookie, right? And therefore you'd expect exactly what, Schultzie?

keendaddy
keendaddy

The present state of Falcon's football, is a reflection of its GM & HC. Last year was an unbelievable fall from grace. This year, is simple confirmation of management, not being able to fix the problems. Not many of you brave enough to defend TD, but some of you seem to give Mike Smith a complete pass. This is mind boggling, and naive. You should be as loyal to the team, as you are to a failing HC.

Let's get someone in here, that will bring a fierce Defense, to Atlanta. Someone who understands the need of a SOUND OL/DL.

The last two games were embarrassing for the team, and I don't think it's going to get much better, but I will continue to be a Falcon fan. I just refuse to watch it deteriorate, right before my eyes, without saying what's on my mind...

ccrider27
ccrider27

This is what happens every time a manager says: "We gotta do more with less."


Falcons have 2nd most room UNDER the cap.


Pardon me Blank worshippers, but he doesn't want to spend the money on the OL. So we had a couple of injuries and BOOM!


Ask Steve Bartkowski, a really great quarterback, what it feels like. His career would have been 5 years longer if he only had an OL.


Don't blame Smitty. He's the winningest Falcons coach by a country mile.


Those of you who advocate his departure are setting the Falcons up for another Bobby Petrino.


Football games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Period.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ccrider27: "Don't blame Smitty. He's the winningest Falcons coach by a country mile."

______________________

That's hardly holding him to much of a standard.

And how many of those wins have come when the games really matter; you know--in the PLAYOFFS?

We're waiting.


keendaddy
keendaddy

Jeffrey,

please let me get an answer or two, before you kill this page...

Inquiring minds need to Know!

keendaddy
keendaddy

I need some feedback....

Okay, sooooooooo I called Smitty a liar for telling the Atlanta fans, that the Offensive line will be "fine"! He started saying that, two years ago, starting with the second preseason game, in 2013! We all know how bad the Oline was last year, right? Welllllllll, he continued the lie this year.....

Sooooooo, tell me, am I wrong for pointing this out? One person on this page, seems to think that I don't know what the word "lie"means.........

"Friends, fans, Countrymen, lend me your honest opinions! "! Am I wrong, or does this other poster, have a problem discerning facts?

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Good thing we paid all that money on the offensive side of the ball, because as Matty Slush said, they can score with anyone in the league !


We need a new GM who will continue to trade away our draft picks for ONE player, since the depth chart is off the chart !

Mandingo
Mandingo

Matt Ryan better pull his skirt up and start moving around in the pocket more. Ndamukong Suh  and company play hard.

DawginCO
DawginCO

This what happens when you have no offensive line.  There is no running game and the league has figured out how to get to Ryan fast enough to limit any downfield plays.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Falcons offense is fine.  We're  studying what they've been doing at Jacksonville so we can figure it out!  That's where the smart people and top players in this league come from and Mike Smith knows it well.  That's why we only take castoffs and coaches pretty much from that team!

Mandingo
Mandingo

Matt Ryan should take some of that $ 103, 000, 000  million dollar contract  and buy him some lineman. The Falcons can't afford any unless he restructures his deal.

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

@Mandingo Flacco gets paid 9 figures and his team just laid the smack down on the Falcons. If you want to say Flacco is better than Ryan, that is a different argument, but the idea that the QB's salary prevents the team from surrounding him with talent can be easily debunked by looking around the league. Pointing to Ryan's salary just lets Dimitroff off the hook for his blunders.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

@Mandingo I'd give Matt Ryan more if I could.  He's the only good player on this team.  Give him half the team's payroll and tell the players if they play more like him, maybe they can share in some of that cashish!

Pirl
Pirl

Bring back the days when they would Blackout Falcons game and we get to watch two teams worthy of competing. This team is doing nothing to earn the local fans support. And they wonder why the dome has so many opposing fans at home games?

Ruffski
Ruffski

@Pirl The next home game on 11/23 vs. Browns will be ugly. Lot's of Ohio peeps in ATL, and they will bring some strong numbers and lots of noise. Maybe Falcon fans should wear paper bags over their heads so we can tell the difference. 

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@Pirl They still blackout the games, except in most cases, either the team or a local tv network buys the remaining tickets to avoid the blackout.  That means Arthur Blank can buy those extra tickets, but he needs to beg the city for money to build his new stadium.

hardheadnsure
hardheadnsure

It's not the coach.  It's the QB.  He doesn't move.  He stands there and then gets knocked down.  He's playing horribly.  The line may be hurting but Ryan could move and help the team.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@hardheadnsure So when the QB gets knocked down, the O-Line (and the person who constructed it) doesn't take the blame?  Falcons fans are awesome.  You've got a tight end playing at right tackle blocking a DE, and it's the quarterback's fault when the DE wins.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@goblue86 @hardheadnsure The Good Sense youre talking is wasted here. The season is toast and they will bash Ryan until kingdom come. 

mdet
mdet

@hardheadnsure There is a lot of blame to go around but its the General Manager by a mile. He is one of the 4 worst GM's in the NFL

goblue86
goblue86

@hardheadnsure Learn something.  I've seen Ryan move around in the pocket much more this year to buy time (and NO, he does NOT have the kind of ability running that some other QB's have).  Yesterday?  There was NOWHERE to go and no time to get there anyway.  They were on him so quick it was ridiculous.  It's fine if you don't like Ryan for some reason, but don't sit there and blame him for the offensive line's woes.


TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Give matty time to throw the ball and we are in the playoffs. right now we are in the playoffs section DD204 in the upper level.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

I here people keep saying Mike Smith should keep his job, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Okay lets check Mike Smith


1. Team look good in first half, second half become non existence, it that team problem or a coaching problem, HMMMMMMMMM


2. 7years as head coach you still have one of the worst defense in the league.


3, Antone Smith is the most explosive player on the team but touches the ball on a AVG of 5times game ? who decision is that HMMMMMMMMMM at the end of the day regardless of the OC he still the head coach.


4. Like I have said before his career coaching record could easily be turn around, Falcons have never been a dominated team.


5. If the Falcons have back back loosing season is the GM fault or Head Coach, at the end of the day he still the Head Coach.


FIRE MIKE SMITH


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mdet
mdet

@devounknown1000 Hey, get off Smith's back. Everybody knows it takes a coach 4 and half years to figure out how to work an explosive player into the game plan!

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

@devounknown1000 2. 7years as head coach you still have one of the worst defense in the league.

Great Point..... BUT you have to Understand the Falcon's Philosophy. Offense wins Championships !

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@mdet @devounknown1000  Antone looked like road kill out there yesterday. Oh, he looks REAL good when they get him the ball in space and he doesn't get hit. Nice piece, but NOT the answer.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@devounknown1000: "Falcons have never been a dominated team."

______________________

Quite the contrary, they've almost always been a dominated team.


TnDawg
TnDawg

They aren't just losing. They are getting crushed. They aren't even competitive. We O Line hasn't been good for 3 years now.

Like all Falcons' fans, I hope they can pull it together.

CreamofBuckwheat
CreamofBuckwheat

Alot of sports talk radio gurus keep talking about what the Falcons have to do to make the playoffs. Really?

This team is one the worst in the league again because of many factors but primarily due to the line of scrimmage. Better have a good scouting report on these positions come draft time.

keendaddy
keendaddy

How many people here, go and buy the cheapest product you can buy, and are surprised when it tears up? I mean besides TD...

keendaddy
keendaddy

If your business loses money, is that still a tax write-off? If it is, Blank is due for a huge refund, lol!

Ruffski
Ruffski

Wonder if the $10 per seat season ticket sale (from 1993?) will come back?? Maybe Arthur can then collect a 10% PSL at that rate.


SaintsREAM
SaintsREAM

What a horrific division!! Saints will win the division at 9-7! Nothing to brag about though.

How's the Falcons toughness campaign going?? LMAO.

STAY TUNED.....next week Detroits d-line vs. the " tough" O-line

zuzu331
zuzu331

@SaintsREAM Yeah,your team sucks,your stinky town sucks,and you suck. Fu*k right off now,y'heah?

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@SaintsREAM


Hey stupid, here is a a little info for you...you stinking Aints blew a 13 point lead in 3 minutes.  Shut up and crawl back in your sewer! Your team is worse than ours!


#EarlyseasonpicksforSuperBowl..goBUST!

MarktheShark
MarktheShark

We had a few good years where a Super Bowl was possible and we blew it in the playoffs each year.  Now we are back to having our normal sub-par team  Too bad for us (again). 

GT71
GT71

An offense cannot be even decent w/o a good O-line.  Stupid to expect differently and to even write about the 'why'  - there it is.  Next - the receivers are scared sh$tless going over the middle and stone hands  are the result.  Next - RBs.  Why in the world anyone thought a has-been, last-era, big-bull, slow-accelerating back could be effective is just plain dumb.  Look at the RBs today - all small, strong, quick.  What do the Falcons start?  Big, bumbling, slow, old.  Thanks D&S!

The Defense?  Doesn' exist in any form for today's offenses.  Small backs, slow LBs, no pass rush, no run tackling.

Horrible team.

Why anyone would pay to watch this bunch is a real mystery.

GoFalcons
GoFalcons

No blocking, no running yards, no passing yards and no defense leads to a disaster. 


Nothing to be surprised about.


Time to show TD and Smitty the door and get on with it.


No assistant coach and no college coach disasters again Mr. Blank. Didn’t work.

Goldrusher
Goldrusher

How did things get so bad? Need a shake up at the top, start with Dimi and Smith.

cloudodust
cloudodust

Hey, we had a great 2 week run. Congrats to Peyton Manning 

drew56
drew56

Glad I didn't waste a glorious day watching these clowns.  Apparently this IS the same team as last year!  And that's on management.  Clean house now!  Trade Matt Ryan for draft picks.  By the time this team is a contender again he'll be past his prime (or permanently disabled from playing behind that line!).  Time to go to rebuild mode...and Dimitroff and Smith need to go.  Dimitroff has no eye for talent, and Mike "Vanilla" Smith ain't taking anybody to a super bowl.

HowdyJune
HowdyJune

This injuries excuse is getting old.  Why do the Falcons have so many injuries?  Why does this occur season after season?  Don't other teams have injuries?  If not, why is that?


Sooner or later, we have to get beyond the excuses and face the fact that the coaching may not be that good and/or the players may not be that good.  Anyway, both are way overpaid for the performance we are seeing.