First , the play I can't get out of my head. Final Eagles possesion, 3rd and 8 (i think?)... Kafka see's the corner lined way off of Maclin, jumps excitedly pointing over there and calling the audible. My heart sunk. You think they just forgot about him with the night he was having?!?!? No!!! It was a trap! They baited him into it and the linebacker was all over the play. Poor call by Kafka. The audible was so clearly a quick toss to Maclin. And no I'm not just saying that because it failed, I was literally feeling sick before the play because if I read it, the defense surely did too.... ugh what a frustrating loss, any other call in that situation and maybe things go different... on the bright side, it was my only beef with Kakfa tonight, he woulda been the saviour if Maclin hangs onto that 4th down pass.
Second, I'm wondering if it's time for a shake-up in the defense. We looked really good against the pass, except to the TE, and we looked vulnerable against the run when the runner got past the first level. On that backbreaking Turner run in the 4th Q, Page just didn't have the angle, speed, or athleticism to make the play in the open field. He's a journeyman who showed tonight why we have him starting - because he is a solid tackler and plays with aggression and is a solid 'In-the-box' safety. But when it comes down to it, a more athletic player could've made that play, and what I saw on that run was a guy who couldn't have made the play if given a hundred shots from the same angle. So I'll be the first fool calling for it.... Give Jarrett a shot!!! He's a solid 'in-the-box' safety in the same mould as Page, except younger, faster, and with more upside (particularly down the road.) I'm not hating on Page, he's played admirably and I like him. But why not give Jarret his shot after seeing Page's clear limitations? We started Allen as a rookie. We threw goddam Macho Harris at safety as a rookie, I feel safe saying that Jarrett can hold his own at least at much as Harris, or Considine, or some of the other guys we've tried there...... Don't like the idea of another rookie playing on D? Then my other suggestion for a shakeup is to shake-up the LBers. Look I'm not in 'sky-is-falling-mode' but as I see it, Castillo called a fine game. Gonzalez beat us because of player performance, not Juan's gameplan. We have poor linebackers (I've come to accept it, as much as I like Chaney) and behind them we have a couple Safeties with below-average speed/athleticism. Give Brian Rolle a chance? Clayton? I know the Falcons are a very good offense, so I'm not freaking, but the holes on defense I saw today aren't the result of anything that can be fixed with practice or scheming. They are the result of below average players trying to cover a hall-of-fame TE and tackle a top 5 RB. Just one more really good player on this defense (which I think all three of Jarrett, Rolle, and Clayton have the potential to be) and things could have been so much different.
Other random thoughts:
It's interesting to see us running the ball differently this year, utilizing stretches and other runs brought over with Howard Mudd. I think our running game has looked fantastic so far this year (much credit to the incomparable "Shady" McCoy) .... may favourite run of the night was the fake pitch to McCoy and then sneak the ball to Ronnie Brown who was lined up as a TE. Nifty play that worked because of the threat McCoy poses. Great play call and design
On the final ATL TD run (where Chaney couldn't make the stop) did you see Asante just avoid the contact and let it happen? Acting like he had to leap over Chaney instead of hitting Turner. Soft stuff. I'm over it, and I love Samuel, just letting ya know what I saw. It came as no surprise to me, as I'm sure it wasn't to anyone who has watched his Eagles career.
Can you believe they kicked it to Desean at the end?! I allowed myself to believe 'IT' was going to happen again for just that split second when he went forward.
Reid failed to challenge the Vick INT that would've been overturned, and then on Asante's pick the Falcons had their red hanky out within 10 seconds of the whistle. Why is it so much easier for them? Did you see the stats about Reid and challenges? Fewest in the league during his tenure? You think we'd show at least some progression there! For all the kudos given out to our intelligent FO, there isn't one person smart enough to affect some sort of change in our philosophy on challenges? Let any goddam person but Reid decide when to challenge or not!! Anyone!!! What does this jon Dorenbos cat do beside long-snap? Let him be in charge of the red flag! Anything! Anything!!!!
I don't care what happens the rest of the year, I'm in love with the Wide-9, I am an ardent supporter from here-on-out, and I hope it remains our defensive system moving forward in future years. And not just because Trent Cole was a monster tonight.
Remember last year when Asante would get injured and our secondary would be horrendous? When he left today with a broken finger, rodgers-cromartie looked just fine taking over at RCB. Alot of positives to take away from this close loss. I believe if Vick doesn't get hurt we go on to win. I believe if Maclin grabs that 4th down slant, we go on to score. I believe this team can do great things this year, tough loss but writing about it was very therapeutic! I'd love your thoughts BGN!
Edit** Forgot to throw out my appreciation of the team of Collinsworth and Michaels, they're way better than the Monday Night crew and alot of other hacks in the booth. My favourite? Michaels sees the shot of Vick being tested on the sideline: "he looks like a boxer in the corner!" it was just a quick off-the-cuff remark, but it was exactly what it looked like! He was looking punch-drunk!