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Friday, January 9, 2009

Looking Back

Well the season is over, and I have finally come to grips with giving up a first down on 3rd and 16 with the game on the line. Now it's time for the fun part: looking back at my predictions at the beginning of the season and seeing how I did. I know you're excited, so here we go!

On offense, I believe the biggest question mark will not be Ryan, but rather our offensive line.
I believe, however, if they are able to make some holes for Turner and Norwood, and if they are able to keep Matt Ryan in one piece, then the Falcons offense could surprise some people.


Well I was right that Ryan wouldn't be that big of a question mark, but I was way off on the offensive line. They only allowed 17 sacks of Ryan in 17 games, and they paved the way for a total of 2,443 rushing yards including 1,699 from Turner.

I believe that Matt Ryan will have an average statistical year, but he will make leaps and bounds in becoming an NFL QB and, more importantly, he will further solidify his status as a leader of the offense. He's already got his receivers pointing at him after they catch scores.

Wow, pretty dead on with that. Ryan's stat line reads 265-434 for 3,440 yards, 61.1 completion percentage, 16 tds and 11 ints for a passer rating of 87.7. Nothing special for your average QB, but great for a rookie. Also I think it's pretty obvious Ryan is the unquestioned leader of the offense.

I believe that the combo of Turner and Norwood will gash defenses for close to 2,000 yards, and Turner especially will take a ton of pressure off of Ryan.

True, except for the fact that Turner and Norwood combined for OVER 2,000 yards for a total of 2,188 yards. Turner was especially able to let Ryan grow without too much pressure over the first few games of the season.

I believe that our receivers will continue to mature, led by Roddy White who will be noted more for his stats this year rather than his choice of uniform accessories.

True for Roddy White. He finished with 88 receptions, 1382 yards, a pro bowl selection, and, more importantly, got attention for his skill rather than his uniform. Jenkins started to round into shape, but still has plenty of work to do. Unfortunately Laurent Robinson was hurt most of the year. However, this is the first offseason where WR isn't a need position.

I believe that no one in our secondary could start for any other team.

Probably too harsh. Chris Houston improved a lot as the season went on, and I was a fan Foxworth. The promise Grimes showed in the offseason fizzled a bit, and I think Chevis Jackson shows promise. He at least knows how to go to house when he gets a pick. Erik Coleman was a surprise at safety and hopefully will continue to develop. On the other hand Milloy continues to slide. I love his leadership and his run support, but he's a bit of a liability in coverage. Rumors are flying that he might get cut in the offseason.

On that note, I believe that our secondary will give up a ton a big passing plays, but they will improve as the year goes on.

Off on that one. Forgot that Mike Smith loves to play the zone. So while teams could dink and dunk us, we didn't get burnt by the deep ball much.

I believe that we could get a good pass rush from DEs Anderson and Abraham if Abraham stays healthy for 16 games.

Well we got a good pass rush from Abraham. However when he's hurting or getting double-teamed, we didn't get much pass rush from anyone else. Takes Grady too long to get to the QB. Either Anderson has to realize his potential or we need to find some other solution.

I believe Abraham will get hurt.

Held up pretty well. Smith's plan to give him more plays off worked well and even Abraham bought into it, which is rare for a star player.

I believe our linebacking core is deep and talented, and that Boley and Brooking will be able to protect whichever middle linebacker plays between Taylor and Lofton.

Maybe not so much. Boley underperformed against the rush to the point that Coy Wire came in on first and second down. I love Brooking's leadership, but in terms of football ability he needs to play a smaller role or get cut. Lofton was great and looks to be a stalward in the middle for years to come.

I believe resigning Grady "Fat" Jackson (note: not his real nickname) was one of the smartest offseason moves for the Falcons.

Maybe not the smartest considering how well some of our other signings did this year, but Fat definitely plugged a big hole in the middle of our D-line. I would hate to be a QB getting sacked by him.

I believe that signing Jason Elam was another great move this offseason as he will win 2-3 games for a Falcons team that will grind out every game and every possession they have.

True. See picture above.

I believe the Eagles (if McNabb is healthy) and the Chargers are the only teams that scare me on the Falcons schedule.

I was more right than I thought considering the Eagles weren't that great when we faced them, and the Chargers took till week 14 to put everything together. I don't think anyone predicted, however, just how good the NFC south was, especially at home. (Damn you Saints for the one home loss within the division!)

I believe the Falcons will win 6 games.

Way off and couldn't be happier.

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