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Posts tagged with "Atlanta Falcons"

Falcons fans sound off about the offense, empty seats and wonder what’s causing the injuries

Editor’s note: Today’s edition will be updated later on this afternoon with more questions, so please check back.

Good morning and welcome to Straight from the ’Beek! We’re into the Falcons’ bye week and you’ve got questions. Just remember that all opinions you see in this space are mine, unless otherwise noted.

And we’re off.

Larry from Hampton, GA

If you had success running the football and it’s fourth-and-1, isn’t it a no-brainer to run the football and get the first down? You say that you have to rely or trust the coach’s decision. As you see it didn’t work out in the Super Bowl as well as this game. Still trusting the coach’s decision?

Matt: Yes, I am, Larry. You can’t judge a coach on one play.

Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Hey Matt, love your column and your insights. Thanks for doing this. I do have a question, but first I have a comment. I knew someone was going to come on here on Monday and talk about Julio Jones always being hurt. My Steelers fan friends tell me that’s why Antonio Brown is better than Julio Jones, but he’s not. No. 11 is the best WR in the NFL. Injuries, especially to wide receivers, happen. The Falcons didn’t lose that game because 11 got hurt. Which leads me to my question. Besides turnovers, what else do you think the Falcons need to do better when they come back after their bye to get better? A 3-1 record is good but they could easily be 1-3 or 2-2 right now. They have to start playing better.

Matt: Julian, they have to get healthy. By the end of Sunday’s game, a total of eight players were out because of various injuries. Aside from turning the ball over and creating more turnovers, the Falcons need to start tackling better, too. There were a lot of missed tackles. You might as well throw in catching the ball, too. For whatever reasons, there have been a lot of tipped and deflected balls by the receivers – and some of those have led to turnovers. The good news is that everything I just mentioned is correctable. And the bye week could not be coming at a better time.

Jerry from Cuthbert, GA

Did you notice that Duke Riley is looking confused and missing a lot of tackles? Looks like he’s in over his head. Thanks for the ear.

Matt: Hey, Jerry. You’ve got to remember Duke Riley is a first-year player and every game is on-the-job training for him. The good news is that he has lots of speed, plays fast and puts himself in position to make plays more times than not. Yes, he’s missed some tackles, but like I noted above, that’s correctable – and he’ll only get better in time.

Hayse from Nashville, TN

Hey Beek, I’ve been a fan all my life and a season ticket holder since Vick’s rookie year. I drive down from Nashville for the games and, for years, I flew in from Utah. I say this to establish some fan credibility before I ask this question. So, my question is, what do we have to do to A) Get our fans to the games? B) Get to their seats on time? I’ve never consistently seen so many empty seats over the years and it seems like it takes an NFC championship to get the house packed. It’s just frustrating to me to see the support that Atlanta United is getting and the Falcons (and Braves) games barely seem half full. It’s embarrassing and needs to stop!

Matt: Thanks for the question and the Falcons are lucky to have to loyal fans like you. I’ll be very honest here – I have no idea what’s going on with the fans – and I find it surprising, especially coming into Sunday’s game with a 3-0 mark. But one reader (below) offers at least one reason why, Hayse.

Rob from Canton, GA

I have been following the Falcons for many years, watching players such as Jeff Van Note, Steve Bartkowski, etc., In watching the Falcons I have never noticed a killer instinct with them, like other teams. For example, the Super Bowl last year, it looked like the team and coaches thought to themselves that we had it wrapped up. New England wanted it worse than us. What is it going to take to get this Falcons team with a never-let-down attitude? Also, I can give you one reason why the seats are empty. People like me who had season tickets for over 50 years never saw our Falcons win a Super Bowl, and I will not get season tickets again until they really want to play and never quit, for both the team and coaches. They all need to look at themselves and ask the simple question, am I really playing or coaching to the best of my ability? Just an old man venting!

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Mike and Cory are back to break down the Falcons’ first loss of 2017 (well, second, technically…).

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The ailing Atlanta Falcons laid a goose egg in their second home stand of 2017 against the resurgent Buffalo Bills, and Mike Aprile and Cory Woodroof of Rise Up Reader are here to talk about it.

The fourth installment of The Falcoholic Postgame Podcast deals with this unfortunate blot on the otherwise-promising first four games of the Falcons season. Mike and Cory discuss what went right, what went wrong and how indicative this is (or … hint, hint … isn’t) of the team’s future fortunes.

On the roster for today’s podcast:

  • How the team continued to fare on offense despite sustaining key injuries
  • How Tevin Coleman and Wes Schweitzer were positives on offense from the loss
  • Why the defense isn’t doing half bad (even on an off day)
  • How Ricardo Allen’s loss was felt in the secondary
  • Why it’s not time to worry about the 2017 season (yes, seriously, we had to go there)

You can listen through the SoundCloud player below:

For more, you can find The Falcoholic podcast on iTunes, the Google Play store and Stitcher. You can find an RSS feed here.

You can also follow Mike on Twitter at @RiseUpReader and Cory on Twitter at @CoryWoodroof47.

Programming note: Mike and Cory will be taking a bye week along with the Falcons — look for The Falcoholic Postgame Podcast to be back after the team takes on the Miami Dolphins.

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The Falcons dealt with this the whole offseason, and you saw it, because it was impossible to miss it—28–3, 28–3, 28–3. And riding shotgun to all the taunting was the idea that the mother of all Super Bowl hangovers was coming as a result of the mother of all Super Bowl collapses.

Two weeks in, not so much. And the Falcons have handled all of this so well, because they haven’t run from it. As recently as last week, players—all the way up the chain to Matt Ryan—were speaking freely about overcoming the past. There wasn’t a ceremonial burial of a football, or an embargo on talking about 2016. Instead, the players and coaches have hit what they had coming right between the eyes.

And the reason why is simple. They did what few NFL teams have the stomach to when things go sideways—behind the GM they’ve stuck with for a decade and a head coach they’ve invested in, they believed in their course and stuck to it.

You can start, too, with one thing that actually changed. Atlanta handled its biggest offseason defection—Kyle Shanahan leaving to coach the Niners—by asking every candidate they interviewed, “can you run his offense?” In essence, screaming to the players, stay the course. The man Quinn found, Steve Sarkisian, has background with Pete Carroll, another sign of how Atlanta was building on the program, not tearing it down. So while the pilot was different, the script wasn’t and, at least on Sunday, neither was the result. Matt Ryan and company rolled up 257 yards and 24 points in the first half alone against Green Bay.

If they looked unaffected by all the noise, that makes sense too, because it had been impressed on the players that they’d been through a smaller version of this before. During Dan Quinn’s first season with the Falcons, the team saw a 6–1 start evaporate into an 8–8 finish—and that loomed over the 2016 offseason. The same way 28–3 will come up this year every time Atlanta has a lead, the 2–7 meltdown served as a caveat to every early-season win they had last year. And the Falcons were able to plow through all of that on their way to the Super Bowl.

And then, finally, there’s Quinn himself, a coach who was the king of the 2015 coaching carousel in large part because of his ability to reach players and lead, qualities that equipped him for the aftermath of the letdowns of both the ’15 season, and Super Bowl LI.

We don’t know yet whether or not the Falcons are going to be where they were last year, with a shot to win the franchise’s first world title. But what we should’ve known all along was simple—they most certainly were equipped to handle all that was coming their way.

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The Falcons have played two exhibition games at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will host the Packers tonight in their first regular-season home game. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC)

Remember when the Falcons faced the Saints in the final game at the Georgia Dome in January, but then there was another game?

And then another?

Well, Sunday’s Falcons-Packers game will be the ‘second’ home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it appears the franchise saved the best for last.

A sellout crowd, national TV audience and the NFL commissioner are among the highlights of the first regular-season NFL game in the $1.5 billion facility – and it just happens to feature the teams that met in the ‘final’ Georgia Dome finale.

The Falcons played two exhibition games at MBS in August, the ‘first’ home opener against the Cardinals Aug. 26 and the Jaguars on Aug. 31.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re going to the game, what to expect once you get there and of course the game itself:

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“All Gas, No Brakes.”

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Facons excel at coming up with new ways to motivate themselves under Dan Quinn, and one of the ways they’ve done so is multiple slogans, mantras, and inspirational sayings that help to rally the team together. Personally, I’m a fan of the latest one.

The “All Gas, No Brakes” slogan neatly wraps up Dan Quinn’s entire philosophy, but it actually originated with linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. The Falcons are a team that wants to fly around the field, never stop running, and maybe play right up to the whistle and juuuuust a little beyond. Ricardo Allen lends us some more context below.

Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen talks about the team’s latest slogan of “All Gas, No Brakes” going into Sunday… 

 coach Dan Quinn breaks down the “All Gas, No breaks” slogan the team has embraced. LB LaRoy Reynolds came up with it.

After a little bit of a sluggish effort against the Bears, especially on the offensive side of the ball, this particular motto is a good one to embrace against an aggressive, attacking Packers team. Green Bay put up 21 points in the NFC Conference Championship Game (against 44 points for Atlanta!) and just 17 points against the Seahawks in Week 1, so speedy, effective play on both sides of the ball could make this one easier than expected.

Just, you know, don’t drive like that.

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Fact: Brian Hill can clap with his eyes closed

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Brian Hill has faded into the background since April’s draft. That has some fans writing him off. Meanwhile, it’s no secret, I’m a big fan of Hill. I believe he can and will adopt a prominent role in the offense once Tevin Coleman bolts in free agency. That means Hill has until the end of the 2018 season to get up to speed.

I had some bullish takes on Hill when I wrote about him in July. I still stand by said hot takes. And now is an ideal time to discuss Hill because he started practicing again this week. To be sure, Hill is technically listed as “questionable” for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. That doesn’t mean much, because he’s likely to be inactive no matter how his ankle feels. There’s just no need to rush his recovery.

For the Falcons, HIll is a long-term solution to a potential problem. Put differently, barring injury, the Falcons don’t need him … yet. If the Falcons did need him to play a meaningful role in 2017, he’d have the starting offensive line blocking for him, a luxury he wasn’t afforded during the preseason.

So what I’m saying is this: Hill’s best is yet to come. He suffered an unfortunate ankle injury in the preseason. He arguably didn’t make the most of his opportunities in preseason games, but his supporting case wasn’t ideal. He doesn’t need to redeem himself, but he will.

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The 2016 Atlanta Falcons were damn near unstoppable offensively. They gained more yards than all but 12 teams in NFL history and scored more points than all but seven. They gained more yards on a per-play basis than all but three teams in the history of football and they actually scored more points per drive than the record-breaking 2013 Broncos (2.90 to 2.83). Along with the 2007 Patriots and the 2011 Saints, they were one of just three teams since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002 to score a touchdown or field goal on more than half of their offensive drives.

It should come as no surprise, then, that in two games against a Green Bay Packersdefense that was largely below average for much of the season, the Falcons lit up the scoreboard but good. Atlanta scored 33 points in a last-minute comeback victory in Week 8, then racked up 44 in the NFC Championship Game on the way to clinching a Super Bowl berth. Considering the Falcons averaged 36 points per game in the Georgia Dome, where both of those games were played, again, it was not all that surprising that they hit 38.5 per game against Green Bay.

What was surprising about the two performances is that the Falcons tore up Green Bay’s defense — specifically, their pass defense — in drastically different ways.

Winning by going short

In Week 8, the Falcons attacked almost entirely via the short pass. Matt Ryan threw 35 passes during the game; 27 of them were intended for receivers within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and six of those 27 were screens thrown behind the line, per tracking data from Pro Football Focus.

Pro Football Focus

Many of those passes were thrown to receivers that ran quick-breaking routes after Ryan motioned a running back out of the backfield, leaving the Falcons in an empty set. Doing so forced the defense to declare its coverage, allowing Ryan to identify the man that would come open before the snap of the ball, and then get it to him quickly afterward. He completed all six of his pass attempts when the Falcons motioned into an empty set, gaining 52 yards.

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The NFL is back, baby! The Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons meet in Week 1 of the NFL season. Finding an NFL live stream can be difficult, but Decider is here to help! Here’s how you can locate a Fox Sports live stream.

The Bears are coming off of a disappointing 3-13 season, while the Atlanta Falcons look to return to the Super Bowl. Who will leave today’s game with a victory? Let’s find out!

If you’re looking to stream NFL games, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s where you can locate a Chicago Bears vs Atlanta Falcons live stream for free!


The Falcons and Bears matchup is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff. Keep reading to find out how you can locate an NFL live stream.

Photo: Getty Images


Looking for a Chicago Bears live stream? Today’s Falcons/Bears game will air on FOX. If you have a cable subscription, and (this is important) you are receiving the broadcast in your area, you’re all set: you can live stream Bears vs Falcons for free via the Fox Sports Go app, available on iTunesRokuAmazon Fire StickAndroid, and more. The FOX Sports Go app can be accessed on computers, tablets and connected TV devices.

If you’re a Verizon customer, you can also stream in-market NFL games airing on CBS, FOX, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football on the NFL Mobile app, which is available to download for free via iTunes and Google Play. Read on to discover more ways to find a Atlanta Falcons live stream for free.

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The anticipated Week 1 of the NFL season finally has arrived. Here are the High five things to watch on this week’s schedule:

Hangover to watch

How the Falcons, who open the season Sunday in Chicago, react to their Super Bowl runner-up, having blown that 25-point lead to the Patriots, will be a compelling topic all season.

Will they rebound with a vengeance, determined to take what they believed was theirs a year ago? Or will they suffer from a hangover affect lingering from that loss?

The Falcons should take a hard look at their division opponents, the Panthers — who went 6-10 last season after going 15-1 in 2015, advancing to Super Bowl 50 only to lose to the Broncos.

Atlanta remains one of the most talented teams in the league, particularly on offense, where they’re led by quarterback Matt Ryan and a stable of terrific receivers, including Julio Jones. But, as many teams have learned the hard way, talent alone is not nearly enough to prosper in the NFL.

And, Ryan will play on now without his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, who was hired as the 49ers head coach, replaced in Atlanta by Steve Sarkisian.

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Matt Ryan and the Falcons figure to fly out of the gates. But then … (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Every year we see a team light September on fire only to fade down the stretch. Last year the Eagles and Vikings appeared to be Super Bowl contenders before both faltered over the second half of the season and failed to even make the playoffs. The 2017 season will be no different. A franchise will climb toward the top of everyone’s power rankings by Week 5 only to be on the outside looking in at the playoff race by Week 17

The most likely contender for that title this season is none other than the Atlanta Falcons, a team that’s been the hot starter/slow finisher as recently as 2015 when they came out the gates 5-0 before finishing 3-8 over their next 11 games. The biggest reason why is simply the difficulty of the second half of their season. From Weeks 9 to 17 the Falcons have to play all six of their division games as well as face the Cowboys, Seahawks and Vikings – three teams with a combined record of 31-16-1 last year. Let’s break it down further though to get a picture of how the Falcons season could play out.

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