NFL

Falcons in Search of Consistency

Defensive Signal Caller Jeff Ulbrich teaching technique at Falcons practice

It all came together last week in a stunning 26-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints. It was a fascinating show of the team’s potential; now that the sample size has been put out there questions shall arise. Is that the standard? Certainly, it’s the expectation. Most are wondering where this has been all season? They moved some coaches around and played like the team the football world thought they were. The coaching staff is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They did something that worked. Now they are faced with the question if all you did was move some coaches around, why didn’t you do this sooner?

The direct question was put to Jeff Ulbrich

What switch did you see flip during the bye week? I mean, what was the change? “In all honesty, there were some coaching changes. But it’s more like the players embraced the fact that this is a brand new season. We are starting over. Everything that we want is still ahead of us, at the end of the day, it’s setting up an opportunity to create a story that people are going to listen to. A unique one, where we missed the mark in a lot of ways early, but we turned it around before it was too late. We came together as a team; hopefully, this can spark some momentum and confidence so that we can do something special.”

It’s not the win, its the way they beat the Saints down; it was total domination in all phases of the game. Defensively, they sacked Drew Brees six times and hit him eleven more while allowing a total of 54 rushing yards. Newly acquired homegrown {Georgia Southern University} kicker Younghoe Koo, made a splash in his debut, earning the award special teams player of the week. He nailed four field goals.

Head coach, Dan Quinns’ face, said it all when he sent the 48-yard kick right down the center. Both of his hands flew up as if though he was throwing the kicking burden off his back.

The newly anointed defensive signal-caller was asked, how does that conversation go with Dan Quinn when he is giving you the play-calling duties, and how did you feel in that role? “Obviously, you feel good about the fact that one of the brightest defensive minds around allows you to have a part of that, so it was exciting from that standpoint.

I think there is a big deal being made, but really nothing is there. He is still a big part of it. He is in meetings. He is still a big part of it on game day with suggestions. He’s on the headpiece talking. It’s not the plays, especially in the defensive system; in my opinion, makes the difference; it’s the players, the communication, and execution, that was on point. The players deserve the credit for what occurred last week.

The sun, moon, and the stars all lined up against that one team they had to beat, the Aint’s. If they don’t win another game, the fan base will at least have some satisfaction. But don’t forget the rematch is scheduled for Thanksgiving night, surely, the Saints are going to try to replace the turkey with Falcons to be feasted upon for dinner. Drew Brees and Sean Payton have already started mixing some special sauce.

All football fans are acutely aware of the NFL season; each team will put together one special performance, and no matter how great the team, they are going to lay an egg, it’s just the nature of team sports, it happens to the best of them. The major question is, was this just that lucky outing, or can they do it for the rest of the season?

We will see, if it was that game that created the term Any Given Sunday or if it can be sustained.

Next up are the Carolina Panthers featuring MVP Candidate, Christian McCaffery, one of the best running backs in all of football. And you know the Falcons defensive woes, or should we forget them and focus on the new season dubbed the back eight.

McCaffery garners respect

“He is a world-class player. He is an excellent receiver. He’s as good as any receiver out there. At the same time, he is just a really good runner too. It’s not just the physical skill set. His football IQ is just so high. He has such a good understanding of setting up blocks and when to press.

He has an understanding of where the gap is going to be, where the softness is in the defense, and then exploiting it. Ultimately he has the speed to finish the run. He is very dangerous in a lot of ways,” said Ulbrich.

Think of the Irony; the Atlanta Falcons bye week came directly in the middle of the season, which allows for the two-season analogy. All they have to do is erase the first half, and reset for the second half what a story that would be.

Area of Concern

The Panthers defensive line is the best in the league when it comes to sacks (36). The Falcons have given up 22 sacks and allowed 65 quarterback hits. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan has a gimpy ankle.

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