ATLANTA, GA- After losing to the Carolina Panthers (5-3), the Atlanta Falcons (2-6) now extend their losing streak to two games.
When I was a child I remember all too well the feelings I experienced whenever I wet the bed. I was sad and scared, but mostly ashamed. I knew what had to be done but not quite sure how to do it. The longer I waited the worse it got, the sheets were soaked and the urine was quickly seeping into the mattress and making a permanent stain.
After a few failed attempts, I finally had to knock on that big door with my head hung low, heavy from the shame that weighed upon it.
“Umm dad, I had an accident,” I said, or something to that effect. He couldn’t exactly make everything return to the status quo, but he made the sleeping arrangement manageable.
Mike Smith has been the toddler trying to remedy the situation this season by stating, “You’ve got to make the corrections and you’ve got to move on,” he starts, “and you hope that there is no lingering effects, positive or negative, from the previous week or previous weeks.”
Smith has been playing with the hand that has been dealt. Each week he has been trying to plug the same offense and defense that has created success for this team for five years. Unfortunately, without the proper personnel it seems that the puzzle pieces don’t quite fit. For the fans and critics that are confused about the personality or attitude of the team, just look towards Matt Ryan.
The coaches designed this team to be a pass first team that takes shots down the field when they need to. The run game is there to keep the defense honest and possibly snag a couple of first downs on third and short. It’s very clear that this is how things are always going to be and that there is no backup plan. Coach Smith, whether win or lose, seems to repeat his speech on executing and consistency.
Let me clarify that I do believe in Mike Smith and his judgments. He’s taken a city on the heels of a nasty parting with their coach Bobby Petrino after he left Atlanta high and dry with a 3-10 record. By 2009, the team basically hooked an IV into Ryan’s arm; all the blame and fame would seemingly live and die with his ability to spread the football around and orchestrate game winning drives.
After this week’s loss it’s clear that the Falcons would have to run the table in order to even have a chance at the wildcard. Even then, the Panthers look like they might finish with a better record than 10-6. For those that were on the fence or holding out hope since last week, lay down your arms, the chance for the playoffs has passed.
There is still an entire half of the season left to play. What the dirty birds need to do now is start working on a solid crisis plan. What I mean by that is what are they going to do if this happens next year?
For starters, the rookies the team has now will have had invaluable experience by the time this season reaches its conclusion, which is great because the team will need them next year.
The real problem is when are the Falcons going to create some new wrinkles in the offense. Of course there are new plays every season but for the most part Ryan is still dropping back and making most of the plays. I remember when I was stoked that the veteran Steven Jackson was acquired by the Falcons.
I thought some crazy flea flicker, wide receiver to running back end-around, wildcat formation plays were going to be drawn up specially for this guy. So far as I’ve seen the team might as well have kept Michael Turner, but this could be because of Jackson’s injury.
Currently the development of the players on the roster is the only thing Mike Smith can do.
“It doesn’t matter who is out there playing, who is not out there playing you’ve got to go out there and compete.”
This year the team has to finish the drill; but by this offseason Mike Smith is eventually going to have to look reality in the face and knock on that big door.
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