Three Bright Spots on a Bad Defense
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is the only Atlanta Falcons defender with a grade in the 90s. His 90.2 grade ranks number four among interior defensive linemen. Middle linebacker Deion Jones is the only other Falcon to rank the top ten in his position. He is the seventh highest-graded linebacker with a grade of 85.8.
Defensive tackle Tyler Davison is the only other Atlanta Falcons defender with a grade of 70 or better. He is one of the team’s few solid offseason signings. No other player on the unit is among the top 35 at his respective position.
Offensive Players Grading Lower than Usual
Offensively the rankings are nearly as bad. Matt Ryan is having a down year, grading as the fourteenth best signal-caller. Jake Matthews is down as well, ranking number 35. Alex Mack who typically grades as a top-five center is slotted at number 23, the highest among all Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman.
Even the lauded Dirty Birds wide receivers are grading below normal, with Julio Jones ranked number 22, Calvin Ridley number 53 and Mohamed Sanu number 66.
Devonta Freeman sits at number 65 among running backs. Only Austin Hooper grades in the top 10 at his offensive position, coming in as the number eight tight end.
The Atlanta Falcons Painful Penalties
More than just bad play and poor scheming, penalties are also hurting the Atlanta Falcons chances to win exponentially. The Birds have committed more penalties than any other football team, with 49 according to The Football Database.
The team has surrendered nearly 400 yards in penalties to opponents. That doesn’t include the yardage lost on offensive plays that have been called back. Penalties are putting the offense behind the chains early and often. Defensively, penalties have helped sustain numbers drives for opponents, by gifting them first downs that they did not have to work for.
No Light at the End of This Tunnel
The Atlanta Falcons have played undisciplined and uninspired this season. They lack innovation on both sides of the football and the execution of the simple schemes that they are tasked to carry out.
A battle of the birds will take place this Sunday, as the Falcons will visit the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is a bad football team themselves, with a record of 1-3-1.
However, the Cardinals are feeling more confident, after a win over the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. They also present the problem of Atlanta facing a mobile quarterback, for the fourth consecutive game, by starting rookie number one overall pick Kyler Murray under center.
Should the Atlanta Falcons drop a fourth consecutive game this Sunday, they could find themselves with Mike Mularkey or Dirk Koetter as the interim head coach on Monday. If that happens then so be it. The catchphrases of Sargent Slogan have gotten old. This team badly needs a new voice and a new identity.
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