As the dislike between Saints and Falcons fans ramps up this week in anticipation of the long-awaited season opener next Sunday in Atlanta, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at some of the bold predictions of success that Falcons fans have convinced themselves of heading into the 2014 regular season. It’s not exactly a secret that this already hasn’t been the greatest off-season for the Dirty Birds out at their perch in suburban Flowery Branch; after a series of unfortunate (in their eyes, anyway) injuries. Factor in the undeniable fact that the Saints have owned this series (the Saints have a 13-3 record against Atlanta since 2006, or a 9-3 record since Falcons head coach Mike Smith entered the picture), and one has to wonder what Falcons fans possibly could even be thinking about. The good folks that read my work here at Who Dat Dish are all too familiar with what I think about the GARBAGE put out by the Falcons franchise and their foolish fans, and so the thought occurred to me that in honor of Falcons Hate Week across Who Dat Nation — it’s time to take out the trash.
The definition of GARBAGE: 1) Waste or refuse ; 2) something considered worthless; or 3) the Atlanta Falcons and their fans @whodatdish
— Barry Hirstius (@HarahanWhoDat) August 30, 2014
The first bit of trash that is destined for removal is this crazy idea among Falcons fans that their team is going to be good this year. REALLY??? Is this not the same team that went from 10 yards away to going to the Super Bowl one year; to one of the League’s most snake bitten teams the next? With the recent events that have unfolded for them just within the last few weeks, it’s hard to imagine what it is that they must be thinking to reach such a conclusion. Sure, the return of All-Pro WR Julio Jones makes them dangerous. But is Julio going to play offensive line and the nickel spot in the defensive backfield, too?
Let’s make no mistake about it: the Falcons are LOADED at the offensive skill positions. Matty Ice is a good QB; not great, mind you; but certainly good enough to have led their team to a 10-yard play away from the Super Bowl. Julio Jones by far and away is one of the very best WR’s in the game today, and I can’t even begin to dispute that. Rookie RB Devonta Freeman out of Florida State looks to have been an absolute steal for the Falcons in the Draft, and I fully expect that he’ll replace the dinosaur that is the current Falcons starting RB Steven Jackson — whom almost seems to have been active for most of my adult life (and I’m in my late 40’s). These guys can and will score alot of points; though they actually will have to provide Matt Ryan with enough time to even get them the ball, first.
Their offensive line is now suddenly patch-work at best, exacerbated further by the devastating loss for the season of LT Sam Baker to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. Baker of course was the vaunted protector of QB Matt Ryan’s “blind side”; and the Falcons were forced to switch rookie right tackle Jake Mattews over to Baker’s old spot. Matthews will be on the side opposite of right tackle Lamar Holmes, the Falcons’ poster child for the horrific O-Line play they’ll have to look forward to this season.
Last season, Holmes played 13 games at either right or left tackle and he was an absolute disaster — allowing Matt Ryan to be hurried, hit or sacked a combined 76 times which was the second-most in the league. Holmes also managed to contribute 12 penalties which made him tied for the second-most in the NFL last season (Pro Football Focus actually has him rated him 75th among 76 offensive tackles).
Not watching the Falcons currently, but how (bad) is Lamar Holmes doing? — Alex Welch (@alexmwelch) August 28, 2014
Unequivocally, and WITHOUT QUESTION, the Falcons’ biggest weakness on its 2014 football team will be on the defense side of the ball. These guys look as if they couldn’t stop a Pee Wee League offense from scoring points on them. The loss of their best linebacker (and arguably their best defensive player period) in All-Pro LB Sean Weatherspoon, was a huge blow to their front seven.
They’ll be playing with a new safety and two starting 2nd year CB’s who although are promising, are all inexperienced in a secondary that struggled mightily in 2013. Atlanta finished 21st in the NFL in pass defense last season, allowing 243.6 yards per contest, and things were even worse with regards to their efficiency (or lack thereof), as opposing offenses completed 66.6% of their passes against the Falcons in 2013 — which ranked 28th out of 32 in the league.
The Falcons’ biggest and easly the most glaring weakness on defense is their defensive line; much to the chagrin of Falcons Defensive Line coach (and former All-Pro LB) Bryan Cox. After ranking 29th in sacks last season, the Falcons still lack difference-makers off the edge. Kroy Biermann is coming off an Achilles injury; while Jonathan Babineaux and Osi Umenyiora are unquestionably way past their primes.
It’s interesting to note that Atlanta’s first official depth chart showed a nickel alignment with just two linebackers on the field (oh boy….). Admittedly however, I will say that rookie DE Ra’Shede Hageman out of the University of Minnesota (and the Falcons’ 2nd Round pick with the #37th selection overall) is one of the outstanding young defensive line talents to enter the League this year, along with St. Louis Rams DT Aaron Donald.
— Knox Bardeen (@KnoxonFox) August 25, 2014
In free-agency, D-Line was where the Falcons were forced to concentrate their efforts. They signed NOLA native and former LSU DE Tyson Jackson away from the Chiefs; along with the “Samoan Savage”; 6’4 , 340 lb. behemoth DT Paul Soliai from the Dolphins. Their signings were looked upon as helping the Falcons to improve their deficient pass rush and run defense; but in every preseason game to date the starting defense has looked no better than last season (they actually looked good in their Pre-Season finale against Jacksonville, but it was Jacksonville). Teams in the Pre-Season looked to be able to still run the ball on them at will — meaning the Falcons will have to outgun teams to win every Sunday.
The bottom line on this Atlanta Falcons football team from my perspective is that this team is thin where it is strong (the offensive skill positions) and most desperately still needs a defense. The most likely scenario is seeing them finish somewhere between a 7-9 and 9-7 record ; with fantasy football fans winning their leagues with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but with fans that live in a world of both honesty and reality understanding that this is a team going nowhere in January.
Now that I’ve spent more than enough time elaborating on the complete mess that is the Falcons football team themselves, allow me to get on down to the business of discarding the waste that is the Falcons fan-base. The catch phrase “Rise Up” is certainly a contradiction in terms for my fowl-feathered friends from the “ATL”, since the only thing they’ll be looking to do next Sunday is to “rise up” right out of their seats and head to the exits after they get embarrassed by the Saints. Of course, I’m saying that only to get a “rise up” out of their self-righteous indignation at my suggestion that they suck so horribly.
It was my article at the beginning of the month (“Blood Feud: Why I Hate the Atlanta Falcons“) that began this entire episode of unintelligent banter back and forth with the Ditrty Bird Nation in the first place; and their incredulous responses to that article inspired my sequel (“Wise Up: Atlanta Falcons and Their Fans Need a Reality Check“) two weeks later. It’s probably not fair then to refer to this as Part 3 / the third part of a trilogy (although essentially it is), since I had already planned on writing an article just like this one in honor of the Who Dat Nation’s recognition of #FalconsHateWeek / “Falcons Hate Week” anyway.
As if watching the Braves lose another game at Turner Field, the Georgia Bulldogs choke their way through another SEC schedule, or egging people at Hartsfield International Airport wasn’t enough to occupy Falcons fans’ free-time, they’ve chosen to aim their vitriol at me in these last few weeks — because I dared to offend their sensibilities by implying that they are tantamount to a pile of steaming garbage, which of course they ARE. Even our sister site at the Fansided NFL network, the Falcons’ “Blogging Dirty” site, has seen fit to jump into the fray recently (good-naturedly, of course; or maybe not?), even going so far as to write “response” articles directed at me.
The bottom line is that there’s a reason why Saints fans on a national social media network such as Twitter would go to great lengths to have a designated observation of abhorrence such as a “Falcons Hate Week”. It’s simply because Falcons fans have to be (and are) the absolute worst fans in all of professional sports. I can guarantee you that if this 2014 Falcons team falls flat on its face just like it did last year, their supposed so-called loyal fans will abandon ship faster than the Titanic. Surely, Falcons fans are feeling pretty good about themselves (as does every NFL team at this moment) because their record stands at (0-0) heading into next Sunday’s season opener at home in the Garbage — woops, I mean — Georgia Dome against the Saints.
Considering how the Saints have pretty much owned them though in these most recent of years at both the Georgia Dome and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, you’d think Falcons fans would try to keep the smack talk to a minimum. However, this is a hated and bitter rivalry after all; and as they say: all’s fair in love and war. So as these next few days slow to a crawl and drive both fan-bases crazy with nail-biting anticipation; there’ll be a need for a clean-up crew to be dispersed throughout all of Fulton County, ready to tidy things up a bit.
That’s because after the Saints are victorious (and in convincing fashion) on Sunday evening, they’ll be GARBAGE strewn everywhere. Garbage as in Atlanta Falcons fans throughout the entire stadium distraught and overcome with excruciating grief. It will be at that exact moment then when everyone will finally realize — it’s time to take out the trash……………………..