Falcons staying the course despite rumors


The Falcons sit at 2-6 as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week after their bye week. The rumors that Mike Smith’s days as head coach could be numbered are starting to swirl around this team.

CBSSports.Com’s Jason La Canfora came out with a report last weekend that pointed to the possibility that team owner Arthur Blank is getting increasingly displeased with the direction of the team at the moment and he could be after a big named coach at the end of the season.

Fuel was added to the fire, after the most recent loss to the Detroit Lions in London. It was the way the Falcons lost that game, giving up a 21 point lead in the second half to fall 22-21. After the game, that precipitated the “you’re up 21-0, there’s no way you lose that game” quote from Blank.

The Falcons have had a week to “self-scout” themselves to prepare for the final eight games of the season. Players like quarterback Matt Ryan are trying to keep their eyes on the rest of the season and not in the newspapers or listening to sports talk radio.

“I think everybody understands the nature of our business,” Ryan said. “(running back) Steven Jackson, a veteran guy who has been around here a couple of years, but been in the league a long time. Says it all the time, ‘we rent the lockers, we don’t own them. You’ve got to work every day to make sure that you still have that space.’ You can’t worry about it; you can’t worry about all the things that are being said outside this building. You can’t worry about next week or two weeks from now. You’ve got to focus on this week. I think guys have bought into that and I think Smitty (Mike Smith) has done a great job of getting that message across.”

Ryan is not the only player who is saying the same things inside the Falcons locker room. Many others are feeling the same way about their situation and the possibilities surrounding their head coach. Outside linebacker Kroy Biermann has played his entire career with the Falcons and has been here for the trips to the playoffs and now the past couple of seasons at 6-18. He says the group isn’t getting down on themselves.

“I think that’s being mentally tough,” Biermann said. “I think we have mentally tough guys here. You’ve got to internally motivate yourself and continue to press forward with the guys next to you, because we’re all going through it together and we’re going to pull out of it together.”

Even though the first half of the season didn’t go according to plan, the Falcons are still in good position to win the NFC South. As crazy as it sounds, the New Orleans Saints are only two games in front of Atlanta for the division lead. Wide Receiver Julio Jones isn’t getting caught up in the negatives of the season to this point. He’s focused on the positives.

“We’re going to go out here and try to win all of these games,” Jones said. “All eight games we have left, we’re going to try to go win. Yes it’s two games (division lead), but we’re taking it one game at a time. Our mindset is to win all eight.”

With that being the case, we’ve heard before that the Falcons woes might have been caused by players trying to do too much on the field. We heard the same thing this week from Georgia head coach Mark Richt about his players on defense against the Florida Gators.

So, could this prohibit the Falcons from winning games in the second half? How do you guard against that? Wide receiver Harry Douglas has an idea.

“You can’t look ahead,” Douglas said. “You’ve got to get one (win), before you get two. If you don’t get one, it’s impossible to get two in a row. So, we’re focused on Tampa and what we’ve got to do to beat Tampa and getting that win first.”

On the remaining schedule for the Falcons this season, they have an even split of four road/four home games. In these final eight games, there are four division games remaining. This includes their first meeting of the season with the defending AFC South champion Carolina Panthers. The Falcons also have games against the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, and Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Plus, they have to go on the road to face the Green Bay Packers on a Monday night.

As you can see, it’s impossible that this team could go on a hot streak and make it to the postseason. Let’s just say that this schedule looks like it’s going to make that a really hard possibility.

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply