The Atlanta Falcons Have No Right to Be This Bad
By Liam McKeone
The Atlanta Falcons are a very bad football team. They are winless at the quarter mark of the season and two of their four losses came from blowing double-digit leads in the second half. Atlanta was embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football this week. The previous two seasons, the Falcons have gone 7-9. At this point, I would assume everyone in the building would be thrilled with a 7-9 record in 2020.
It's hard to make sense of it all. Dan Quinn is apparently still riding the accomplishments of Atlanta's Super Bowl season in 2016, which ended in spectacularly bad fashion, as we all remember. How he is still allowed to run this team is a mystery to us all.
This is even more confusing because the Falcons should not be a bad team based on the talent they have. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are an elite 1-2 punch at wide receiver. Matt Ryan is not washed up by any means and, statistically speaking, is actually having an above-average season so far. The defense doesn't have the same type of name recognition, but Grady Jarrett is a beast and there are a few high draft picks populating the rest of the unit around him.
Talent is not the issue. Execution apparently is, to the point that it feels ridiculous. No team starting Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should struggle to pick up an important first down to stem the tide of a comeback -- and yet the Falcons did. Several times. Just this season. The offensive line is horrendous despite boasting five former first-round picks.
Without execution, talent goes to waste. A team can start a roster full of practice squad guys and still not leave anybody as open as the Falcons left Aaron Jones on Monday night's first touchdown. Or at least pretend to cover some guy named Robert Tonyan before he catches three completely uncontested touchdowns. There is no shame in getting picked apart by Aaron Rodgers, but you can't make it that easy for him.
I mean, come on, man. What the hell is this?
This kind of stuff happens to the best defenses on rare occasions, because no individual football player is perfect. But this feels like a microcosm of how the Falcons have chosen to defend everybody this season. Great coaches combine scheme and talent to make great teams. Good coaches use good schemes to cover for a lack of talent. Bad coaches use bad schemes to make everybody look worse, regardless of the talent available. That is what's happening in Atlanta right now.
Even as a neutral fan, it's aggravating to watch. It's past time for the Falcons to take a good, long look at what it is they're doing every week. Because right now, it's nothing short of embarrassing.