Last weekend was awful. But…

Now there’s no denying that it was just plain awful in Minnesota for the Atlanta Falcons. After drubbing the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, the injury bug ripped the Falcons offensive line apart and the defense decided gave a rookie quarterback all the time in the world.

We were all in some level of rage, I personally ran out of beer. Samuel L. Jackson took to Twitter and didn’t hold back whatsoever. Here’s just one example of his expletive laden torrent.

It really doesn’t look great, and there’s more that may make you see that glass half empty. Changes afoot…

Firstly our hand is forced, and Mike Smith had to make some roster moves this week with both Joe Hawley (better known as Brawley) and slowly improving (I know, generous) Lamar Holmes being put onto season-ending IR. Along with that, William Moore has been put onto short term IR. Justin Blalock is battling a back injury that kept him out of a chunk of the game last Sunday, and will test it in practice today to see if he can go this week.

First, Smitty raided the practice squad for Harland Gunn (offensive guard) and Sean Baker (safety).

Neither are starters and are roster numbers for now, but I have no problem with these moves. Gunn is a project, but an intriguing one that could pan out. Sean Baker hits hard, and he could show some flashes in run support which is something the Falcons dearly need. However if he starts playing regularly, despite his positive performance against Miami in preseason, we could see why he was just on the practice squad.

The next move was a free agent signing. Cameron Bradfield, a tackle who was last a Jaguar. They chose to release him. That doesn’t sit well with me and I hope we never see him on anything but special teams.

The other change that Smitty needs to make isn’t in personnel. It’s in defensive scheme. It’s time to let Mike Nolan, the defensive coordinator, get truly creative and go for broke.

Mike Nolan and Mike Smith

Let Nolan get creative…

There’s clearly no high end talent on the roster when it comes to developing any sort of pass rush. As much as it’s been nice to see Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga have increased roles, they’re not the answer to our pass rush prayers. Kroy Biermann continues to disappoint while Osi Umenyiora is non-existent in the rotation at times, although probably for good reason.

Thomas Dimitroff could look for personnel on the free agent market, but it’s unlikely to yield any success. The only other option is to trade away 2015 Draft Picks for a player now, something I doubt any Atlanta fan would want to see, and if you look at Trent Richardson last season, I doubt we’ll see that turn the Falcons fortunes around either.

So here’s the but…

This isn’t a team to give up on quite yet despite all of the above.

While Samuel L. Jackson was exactly right about last Sunday, I don’t think the rest of the NFC South have noticed our issues. We may have got away with it.

After Week 4, we’re 2-2, as are the Carolina Panthers. The New Orleans Saints are 1-3, as are the Buccaneers. We have two divisional wins out of two. We’re lucky to be in the position we are, but we still have the talent to take advantage and have whats deemed to be a successful season.

So Falcons fans I plead with you, take each game as it comes, have faith in our offense, have hope for our defense… a winning season and even playoffs are still well within reach.


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