RANDOM THOUGHTS For Jan. 17 – Football Edition

RANDOM THOUGHTS For Jan. 17 – Football Edition
Atlanta Falcons head coachDan Quinn. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

TWO STEPS BACK

The Falcons didn’t get back to the Super Bowl, not even back to the Championship Game. The drop to the 6th seed is being brushed off as not that bad or pretty good by others. Considering how the NFC broke this year, taking two steps back is actually worse.
You had the top seed, young inexperienced team, lose their starting QB in their 13th game and you had a chance to beat them with their backup. The number two seed Vikings are a team that is very stout, but also playing with a backup QB. The Rams as a 3 seed were another over achieving inexperienced team.
Your path back to the title game was supposed to be clear. I don’t hear much outrage from fans. Maybe the disappointment is just wearing off. This wasn’t a good year. In retrospect this should be seen as a huge miss.
THIRD PLACE SCHEDULE DOESN’T LOOK EASY TO ME
The NFL always rewards you the next season with an easier path depending on how poorly that you finish. The 3rd place schedule is supposed to be easier. It doesn’t look that way to me, especially on the road!
HOME – Saints, Panthers, Bucs, Cowboys, Giants, Cardinals, Ravens, Bengals
AWAY – Saints, Panthers, Bucs, Eagles, Redskins, Packers, Steelers, Browns
On the road you face teams led by Rodgers, Wentz, Brees, Roethlisberger, Newton.
The 3rd place schedule advantage turns out to not be reality. I think this schedule looks tougher than last years.
POSITIVE VIBES FROM NEW SENIORS 
Great to see Georgia get two returning leaders. Neither Terry Godwin or Deandre Baker were projected as impact draft guys, they certainly paid big dividends for the 2016 SEC Champions. Can these guys bring the same level of leadership and continue the trend started in 2016?
Godwin will only get better with Fromm and the defense can benefit from a guy like Baker sticking around. Fantastic news to keep the momentum rolling. 
 
Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan warming up. Philadelphia won 15-10. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Silver lining to a disappointing finish?
The Falcons might be bummed to not be playing on Title Game weekend, but a certain stat says you might see them playing there next year.

This is the first time that the 4 teams playing on Championship weekend are all in the Top 5 scoring defenses. (MINN-1, JAX-2, PHL-4, NE-5)
The Falcons improved to 8th this past season and if this year was any indication, going from 27th to 8th in scoring defense, maybe next year is the next step forward. If we assume that and a slight improvement on defense, the window remains open.
Matt Ryan is going to get paid again
If one of the Falcons off-season priorities is getting Matt Ryan signed to another extension, the troubling fact of no 20M cap hit QB ever winning a Super Bowl rears it’s ugly head. First of all, that seems impossible to believe. How has Tom Brady never been a 20M cap hit? If Brady has never been, what case can be made for ANY other QB being worthy of one? Why set your roster back? Can you ask your QB to follow the Brady model and do whatever it takes for the team cap to be workable?
Best emergence of 2017? Takk has a very high ceiling
Talk about another silver lining? I feel much better about Takk than I did Vic Beasley after year one. The Falcons maneuvered to get him and the payoff might end up being huge. I think he is one of the best things about this team looking forward.

 

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