Atlanta Falcons: the long road to recovery

ATLANTA, GA- Sean Weatherspoon, Kroy Biermann, Bradie Ewing, Sean Renfree, and Andrew Szczerba will have company on the injured reserve list as Julio Jones joins them for the rest of the season.

The Atlanta Falcons are only one loss away from having almost no chance to make the postseason at all as they have dropped their last three games in dramatic fashion.

It is my belief that when Tony Gonzalez tried to do a Ray Lewis or Jerome Bettis type of farewell, he invoked Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I had a bad feeling deep in my gut. Every single game this team has been a part of either has been or could have been decided by a last minute score. Now with all of their touted weapons being wiped off the table, both offensively and defensively, the Falcons coaches and staff will be tested in terms of the strength of the teams depth chart.

Emerging talent

As mentioned before, Kevin Cone earned his first NFL reception after three years in the league. This is not surprising, since when healthy, there were truly only four options for this team offensively. Those options were: Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White.

There was barely any wiggle room for guys like Drew Davis or Kevin Cone. However, after Monday night, the roster should be considered an open casting call to fill not only Jones’s spot, but also for White’s spot on the field. The fans can expect many growing pains such as missed assignments, dropped passes, balls sailing out of bounds down the sidelines, and maybe even a few interceptions from Matt Ryan.

Wide receiver Kevin Cone will see an increased workload. (Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/ USA TODAY Sport)

Wide receiver Kevin Cone will see an increased workload. (Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/ USA TODAY Sport)

From this experience the team will be much better for it in the near and distant future. Harry Douglas has been a number three wide receiver with the skills of a number two wide receiver for a few years now.

It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll handle getting the best corners every team has to offer and lining up with them for about sixty to eighty snaps per game. He may be the go to guy because of his familiarity with Ryan and the playbook but I doubt he will be the deep-threat answer they need going forward this season. One thing is for sure, just like Kroy Biermann, the Falcons are going to need two guys to fill the role of Jones. That or five draft picks.

Cone is 6-foot-2 and can run a 4.4; that’s not blazing speed but it’s still pretty darn fast. Football fans also know that what matters is game speed: when the helmet and pads are on, how well you can get to the space where the quarterback throws the ball? The only problem with Cone is catching the ball. Even though he made the big third down catch against the Jets, he struggled with drops in the preseason.

Drew Davis has actually seen some playing time; last year he had four catches for 40 yards. Not much, but compared to Cone he’s considered a grizzled veteran. The problem with Davis is that it seems like he’s never open, or maybe he doesn’t have a good enough relationship with Ryan to warrant the trust when delivering the ball. This is an issue those two men will have to work on behind the scenes.

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The Falcons like to keep it in the family, literally. The Falcons, as of Wednesday, have signed veteran wide receiver Brian Robiskie. His father is Terry Robiskie, the wide receiver coach for the team. According to ESPN, coach Mike Smith stated that, “Brian has … three or four years of experience, knows our offense, knows our verbiage.” Expect to see the newcomer as maybe a punt and kick returner. Even though he’s familiar, he has a long way to go before the coaches will inject him into the starting lineup.

As the Falcons injury list grows, one may think so will their losses. So far nothing has been able to stop that line of thinking when you hear the woes of the average fan. Being from Cleveland, I know for a fact this will develop talent that would have otherwise gone to waste. And heck, if these guys can’t get the job done then at least the fans will be never left to ponder, what if?

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