‘Play-offs? Are you kiddin’ me? Play-offs?’
No one is talking play-offs as the Falcons meet the Bucs
By Stan Washington | 11/17/2013, 9:15 a.m.
You know all hopes of any play-off appearance by your team is over when people starting analyzing their draft pick strategy. Such is the case with the Atlanta Falcons, a team that seemed destined at the start of the season to win the NFC South again and possibly to win the NFC title.
When a solemn Falcons head coach Mike Smith was asked a question about the play-offs during after last week’s beat down from the Seattle Seahawks, you also most expected him to respond like former Indianapolis Head Coach Jim Mora with, “Play-offs? Are you kidding me? Play-offs? I just hope we can win another game.”
But instead of having his comments go viral, Smith calmly responded: “We can’t worry about the play-offs. All we can worry about is the next game. We have to take it day by day until we can get this thing turned around. We aren’t playing the type of football we are capable of playing across the board.”
So is it time to shake things up from top to bottom?
Quarterback Matt Ryan who has spent most of this season without his primary receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones (out of the season) doesn’t think so. He thinks the Falcons can work through their issues without making any radical changes. “I don’t think it’s time to reboot,” Ryan said.
But Smith felt differently. “Nothing is out of the question. We have not been as competitive as we need to be over the past few ballgames,” he said.
That last performance against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome was embarrassing for a quality team like the Falcons, so it would be understandable if Smith started going into his bag of tricks to change the attitude of this team
The philosophy of the Falcons has been since Smith has been the coach is to take the opening drive, take it down the field and score. That didn’t happen against Seattle as they went 3-and-out their first three possessions. That is not the way you play a good team, Ryan said.
“We have to do a better job on third down and extending the drive,” he said. “We didn’t do a good job of that in the first half and consequentially it put us behind. You have to be more productive on first and second downs in order to be in those third downs and two or three which everyone likes to be in.”
The rushing game was no better. It’s been MIA all season. Four players rush for a grand total of 64 years. Stephen Jackson who was going to give the Falcons that ground attack that they had been seeking finished behind Ryan in rushing with a 11 yards on the ground. And that was against a defense that is ranked 20th in the league against the run.
The Falcons will be going for their third win of the season ( 1 p.m. in Tampa. FOX TV) against the hapless Tampa Bay Bucs who won their first game of the season against the “bullying” Miami Dolphins.
The Falcons got their second win of the season when the Bucs came to town, 31-23, but now that Tampa has a little taste of winning, that second victory is not so sure any more.
WR Roddy White came back last week but only had one catch for 20 yards. This week it appears that Tony Gonzalez will miss only his third game of his career with a toe injury. Also out will be RB Jason Snelling who got busted for having marijuana in his vehicle after a traffic stop. He will rejoin the team on Monday.
“I just hope Tampa Bay doesn’t embarrass the Falcons tomorrow,” said a long-time Falcons fan.
That just sums it up on how disappointing this season has been when you are worried about being embarrassed by a team that’s only won one game.