Falcons simply can’t lose this opener

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston breaks through the Falcons defense last season in Tampa. (Getty Images)

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston breaks through the Falcons defense last season in Tampa. (Getty Images)

It is only one game. Only 1/16th of the pie. A sliver. A mere 6.2 percent of a NFL schedule.

There, we got all the sane, sensible sentiments out of the way.

Now, proceed to hyperventilating over Sunday’s Falcons opener against Tampa Bay.

A must-win season opener? This is as close as it gets to such an impatient proposition.

Just consider the opportunity presented Sunday at the Georgia Dome to correct the impression of last season’s pair of narrow losses to a division rival considered up and coming.

“When you first get the schedule you look at that, you have an appreciation for (the importance of this opening),” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday.

“We know that teams that play well within the division usually have extra bonuses that take place at the end. A division game off the bat, we’re thrilled with that. For us to have opportunity to play that game here with our group and our crowd makes it extra special,” he said.

The importance of setting a tone early in Year Two of Quinn can’t be overblown, no matter how hard we will try.

The coach has queued up the loop again about playing with speed and effort, but it remains for this team to give the words substance, to provide them with meaning. Now.

Plus, as you may have heard, the Falcons schedule turns absolutely draconian after this one – with a pair of road games and then a gauntlet against a trio of Super Bowl candidates: Carolina, Denver and Seattle. To lose a game of equals before entering such a sausage grinder would dishearten to the max.

And may we suggest one key to this required victory would be something the Falcons have shown little aptitude for: Knocking down the other quarterback.

You may recall Jameis Winston’s outlandish break-out near the close of December’s game against the Bucs: Bouncing off and through a half dozen would-be Falcons tacklers on the way to a 20-yard gain on third-and-19 that led to the winning score.

In case you have forgotten, here’s the unpleasant flashback.

Certainly that’s an episode the Falcons defense has relived plenty in preparation for Sunday.

“We’ve shown a lot of tackling. They’ve definitely seen some plays that are uncomfortable,” Quinn said.

Like that play in particular, Quinn was asked.

“That was uncomfortable,” he said.

And there is no comfort short of winning Sunday.

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
Ackshun
Ackshun

They gave them two games last year.  Gift wrapped with a bunch of mistakes.  I wouldn't worry Dirk Koetter is no Lovie Smith and if there is one thing Mike Smith knows how to do....it's lose in the Georgia Dome.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

It's all about how Matt's protection holds up especially up the middle. If they can establish a running game, I think the play action can burn the Bucs. There's talent on the Falcons defense and in my opinion they will be scrappy come Sunday.

TonyMaraco
TonyMaraco

Relax--tampa is terrible--ATL wins this game easy---lay the points and bet the house.

DawgNole
DawgNole

"Falcons simply can’t lose this opener"

_____________________

Sorry, Humm, but they most certainly can--as we know all too well.

BobDawg
BobDawg

Here is the problem with the Falcons and it goes back to the Green Bay Playoff game.... They blitzed us and TD decided we had to get "explosive"... We drafted Julio and gave up all our draft picks.. jettisoned the running game and identity we had and here we are now with a mediocre team and no playoff chances... 

When Smitty came here he said we will: "Stop the Run and Run the ball".... Period... We did that and won 12-13 games a year... You can't ditch your identity just because you lose a playoff game... But we did.... 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@BobDawg I think you have to put into the equation that none of the 2012 draft is on the team. Plus other than John Abraham the last regime never could coach up or draft a good pass rusher.

BobDawg
BobDawg

WHO CARES! THEY ARE THE FALCONS!  

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

Lets not leave out the prospect of losing to our discarded coaches with our new coaches. What better way to demonstrate  that the problem is Shannahan and has always been Dimitroff

TideDawg
TideDawg

Ryan is trying to convince everyone that the offense is OK. I don't think he believes that himself. Instead of developing a system that suits the talent, Shannahan is force feeding his offense to players that don't eat that kind of crap. If they lose 2-3 games those players will start going through the motion to finish the season.

UGA76
UGA76

I really hope Quinn uses this experience to learn not to surround himself with incompetent people.  Quinn might have the coaching ability to win a Super Bowl but he won't break even here with Dimitroff and Shanahan.  Dimitroff can't evaluate players and Shanahan doesn't run an offense conducive to Matt Ryan's talent.  Both these guys should be gone and Quinn saved the job of Dimitroff and hired Shanahan.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@UGA76 Couldn't agree more. Take the Bucs and the 3 points. TD got Smitty fired.....Quinn is next.

TG88
TG88

You guys (TD and Quinn) are losing time and maybe your jobsl.You better get out there and get us some real pass rushers.


. 9 of the 10 teams with the most sacks made the playoffs last season..

TG88
TG88

That should read 8 of the 10 teams with the most sacks made the playoffs last season. Also Denver was #1 with 52 sacks the Falcons were last with 19 sacks. Quinn wants turnovers the easiest way to get turnovers is to pressure the QB into a bad pass.