2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons coach Smith still looking for solutions

By GEORGE HENRY - Associated Press
    2013-11-22 18:27

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Coach Mike Smith keeps searching for answers to fix the Atlanta Falcons.

That's been nearly impossible to accomplish during a five-game losing streak.

With a 2-9 record that's worst in the NFC, Smith can only hope a few days off will give his players a fresh perspective when they return to practice on Tuesday.

Almost nothing has gone right for a team that last season finished 10 yards shy of the Super Bowl.

In a 17-13 home loss Thursday to New Orleans, the Falcons kept the score close, but still had too many breakdowns pass protection and missed too many tackles to win.

''We didn't play very good football in some phases last night, and didn't get the outcome that we wanted,'' Smith said. ''But like with all games, I think there were some positives that took place.''

Unfortunately for the Falcons, those positives were few.

Steven Jackson, a major offseason acquisition, finally ran for his first Atlanta touchdown, and the offense committed no turnovers.

And a bright spot for the defense was holding New Orleans to one third-down conversion in five second-half attempts.

Otherwise, many of the same problems that have dogged the team since Week 1 flared up again.

Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked five times and hit 10 times, due in large part to faulty play on the offensive line and right guard Garrett Reynolds.

The defense missed 14 tackles, gave up an average of 12 yards per catch and showed why it began the night ranked 30th against the run, 29th in scoring and 22nd against the pass.

Strong safety William Moore suffered one of the night's most embarrassing mistakes.

Trying to defend Jimmy Graham on a deep route early in the second quarter, Moore bit on the tight end's double move and gave up a 44-yard touchdown.

Moore, a Pro Bowl alternative pick last year who signed a lucrative new contract in the offseason, suffered the indignity of getting carried the final 3 yards on Graham's back.

Moore could only watch on the big Georgia Dome screen as Graham, borrowing a post-TD celebration popularized by Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, jumped and dunked the ball over the crossbar.

''On one hand, I think we did a pretty good just surrendering 17 points to an explosive offense,'' Moore said. ''We just didn't make enough plays as a whole to pull out the victory. We will keep working to get better and find a way to win ballgames.''

Gonzalez, who put off retirement in March to return for his final NFL season, at least felt as if the whole team was collectively trying hard to win.

That was hardly the case in lopsided defeats the previous three games against Arizona, Carolina, Seattle and Tampa Bay.

''It was a total change of attitude from the last three weeks,'' said Gonzalez, the NFL's No. 2 career-leading receiver. ''We've been kind of getting blown out. Going up against a good football team like this, I'm proud of the way the guys played. We just got to make those plays.''

Ryan was harassed in the pocket most of the night.

The two-time Pro Bowl QB avoided interceptions after beginning the game with nine picks over the previous four weeks, but many times he didn't have time to set his feet. And often when he did, receivers were covered, and he had nowhere to go.

Smith and his staff still haven't found a solution at right guard.

Reynolds, the lineman most directly responsible for Ryan's problems, was mauled so much by defensive end Akiem Hicks that the coaching staff pulled him early in the third quarter and restarted the proverbial carousel.

Before last week's loss at Tampa Bay, Reynolds was benched and Konz was moved from center to right guard, but Konz played so poorly that Reynolds replaced him.

This time, Reynolds started but was done for the night by the second series of the third quarter when Konz took his place. Joe Hawley has started the last two games at center.

''We gave up some sacks in the second half,'' Smith said. ''I think we were OK with our protection in the first half. In the second half, way too many sacks, way too many hits.''

Ryan, like Gonzalez, tried to look ahead in hopes that the Falcons are getting better, even if just slightly.

''We had a couple of different drives stall for different reasons, but it's just part of the deal,'' Ryan said. ''We have to find ways to extend more drives and to score more points, and I think that has to be the focus for us.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow George Henry on www.twitter.com/georgehenryAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

Joique BellJul 29 07:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (undisclosed) was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, July 29, as he recovers from offseason surgery. It is unclear what the [ More ]

James WrightJul 29 06:43p

Free-agent WR James Wright (Bengals) was placed on Reserve/Injured Wednesday, July 29.

Jordan ReedJul 29 05:43p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (knee) has been cleared for full participation in training camp, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Chase CoffmanJul 29 04:53p

Free-agent TE Chase Coffman (Titans) re-signed with the Tennessee Titans Wednesday, July 29, according to a source.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) can be placed on the Non-Football Injury list if/when he signs his franchise tender. Owner John Mara said the team would like [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:23p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) is receiving his own medical treatment and rehabilitation at his home. There is currently no timetable for his return. Pierre-Paul, however, could [ More ]

Roddy WhiteJul 29 03:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) had his left knee drained before minicamp, and he could have it drained again before the season ends. White isn't concerned about it, [ More ]

Ryan KerriganJul 29 01:43p

Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday, July 29, worth $11.5 million per season, according to a source. The deal includes a $16 million signing bonus.

Cyrus GrayJul 29 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray was released Wednesday, July 29.

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group