Atlanta Falcons NFL

Falcons Stare Into Dark Hole

#dirtybirds, #Atlantafalcons, #ATL

They say when someone’s backs are against the wall, you find out what they are made of. You tug at their fabric, analyzing it under a microscope, hoping to see if it’s laced with the ingredients that make up the heart of a champion. Unfortunately, sometimes you discover cracks that allow pressure to burst pipes.

After blowing a twenty-point lead against the Dallas Cowboys and participating in perhaps the worst play in football an onside kick, they allowed to roll ten yards instead of falling on it, resulting in another embarrassing loss. We are destined to learn, which will describe the Atlanta Falcons.

Matching last year’s poor performance, they find themselves in the same fox hole staring down the dark barrel of 0-3 record.  Fans are growing increasingly sick and tired of being sick and tired of watching one of the most talented teams in the NFL lose. Should they stink it up against the Chicago Bears this Sunday inside of an empty Mercedes Benz Stadium, the entire city of Atlanta is going to revolt?

On whether it’s frustrating to put up good numbers and be 0-2:
“It’s not necessarily about the numbers. I think it’s always disappointing when you’re 0-2 regardless of how you’ve played. We’re in this for one reason. We’re in this to win ball games. So, that point is disappointing, but I’ve also learned that if you stay consistent, you keep hammering away at your own craft and trying to do it the best you can, good things are going to happen.

So, we’ve got a long way to go. While we’re disappointed to be 0-2, there’s a lot of football to be played, and there are a lot of positives to draw from. That’s what you have to take moving forward. You can’t let this disappointment or frustration overwhelm you. You have to focus on the things that are going to help us win this week. I think there have been a lot of positives that we can draw from across the board. We need to harp on those and focus on those as we move forward.”

In the NBA Playoffs, they say an elimination game is the most difficult to win because the other team is fighting for their lives. Unfortunately, the Falcons are facing a closeout, and they are fighting for their season and perhaps their Head Coach Dan Quinns’ job, who seem to have seven lives. Again he is sitting on the hot seat. My mom had a saying “son, it’s time to _____ or get off the pot.” I can only imagine the response on social media.

The question was put squarely on Dan Quinn: How do you move past a loss beyond just saying we have to move on?

“Easier said than done, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ or ‘let it pass.’ I think what you want to do is recognize the emotion. Yeah, you’re pissed. Then, you have to put it into another space and move on from it. It is important to acknowledge why you’re so pissed, and then there’s a call to action to make sure the accountability is right, the responsibility is right, and then the energy is right for the next moment, the next thing.

That’s the life of a competitor. It’s hard. You have to get past mad, and you have to get past frustrated if you want to have the type of season that you want. Yeah, to say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ it’s not that way at all. It’s definitely recognizing it, bring on the emotion, and then move on from it. Take the lessons that you have to from it, and, like I said earlier, I think some of the transformational moments happen through the hard things, not some of the good things. I certainly expect that to be the case with our team.

There are some scars, and they’re there to remind you. That’s the difference between a wound and a scar. You know what it is, and you want to make sure you learn from it. So, easier said than done, but definitely an important part of being a real competitor.”

With all of the uncertainty surrounding this season related to the Covid-19 Pandemic that forced virtual preseason, limited physical practices, and had all of us wondering if there would be any games. It would be one helluva decision to fire the head coach after three games.

To add gas on the fire, their humbled superstar wide receiver Julio Jones is questionable, likely a game-time decision due to a strained hamstring. With so much on the line, my gut says he will be there if his leg is still attached. However, he is not the only one banged up.

S Ricardo Allen (elbow), DE Dante Fowler (ankle), S Damontae Kazee (hip), T Jake Matthews (knee), T Kaleb McGary (knee), DE Takkarist McKinley (groin), LB Foyesade Oluokun (hamstring), CB Kendall Sheffield (foot).

My eyes focused on the three defensive backs, which sparks major concerns in defending the passing game. Then they blinked when I saw two offensive linemen as I thought of the Chicago Bears defense featuring perhaps the most feared pass rusher in football linebacker Khalil Mack.

Dan Quinn on whether the first thing to do when preparing for Chicago is finding where LB Khalil Mack is on the field:

“No question. I think really in the front seven, (Akiem) Hicks, the size that he has – he’s just a unique guy for how big he is – he’s got good pass rush moves to him. Then, like you said, Mack and Quinn off the edges and Roquan (Smith) on the inside. I think those combination of people, big guy Hicks, speed off the edge and speed at linebacker, you better have a real understanding of where those players are and how they can impact the game because those are the ones that have the ability to change it just like that.”

Another concern is Tarik Cohen, the speedster running back from North Carolina A&T. The last time he played in the Benz, he ran for 295 yards on 22 carries and scored 3 touchdowns earning MVP of the Celebration Bowl. His fancy shoes and that turf seem to go together.

Let’s hope he doesn’t run away with the Falcons Season.

In the position of head coach, you have to answer tough questions, Dan Quinn faced the big one.

How to assure Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank that the season won’t fall apart after Sunday’s loss:
“Number one, I spend my time thinking about the team and our execution and how we’re going to go play. My focus, my attention, my time is on our team, the locker room, and the players. Really that’s where I keep my focus and moving ahead here to Chicago. We talk regularly, mostly about the game and the players just like that. That’s usually where our conversations are going toward. I don’t have anything else to share with you on that.”

On how he processes the noise around his status and around the team, given that he’s human, and whether it’s harder than he would let the outside world believe:

“I would say, one, I recognize your question, I know where you’re headed. The second piece, I would say, is it’s a tremendous honor to do it. But, for me to spend too much time thinking about what-ifs or anything past that, I felt like it would be a real disservice to the players and to the team and everybody who’s busting their ass to get it right.

Yeah, I’m human, and we all have that side, but I do have a space where I can clear it out and get on to the next thing quickly. I think in coaching, that’s an important one – I’m not going to say it’s a short-term memory – but if you let everything jam you up and you can get in your own head, it can affect how you coach, how you live. I know what the team needs from me. That’s straight accountability, honesty, energy from me.

So, I try to make sure that I can deliver that to them on a regular and constant basis and be the same guy that shows up on the best days at work and days like yesterday, on the worst days at work. I want to make sure that they’re seeing that kind of consistency from me knowing that I’m going to be there and deliver, 10 toes down and standing strong. That’s what the team needs from me.”

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