By Matthew Asher
After five regular season games, the 2013 season has not be kind to the Atlanta Falcons. Just 1-4 with every game decided by a touchdown or less, Atlanta has been in every contest, but unlike last season, they have been unable to do the little extra that results in a victory.
With the Falcons having their Bye Week in Week 6, it’s time to go back and see which players have been able to do well and which ones have under-performed. With the amount of injuries to the Falcons early in the season, if any player has been out more than two games, he’s not considered in this list.
Wide Receiver – Julio Jones: It’s unfortunate that the Week 5 loss will be his last week of the season on the playing roster. Through the first five weeks of the season, Jones led the NFL in receptions with 41 and Jones’ 580 receiving yards were second only to New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham’s 593. The shocking statistic it that Jones doesn’t lead his team in touchdown receptions, that belongs to Tony Gonzalez who has three.
Tight End – Tony Gonzalez: For the past two weeks especially, opposing defenses have been double-covering Gonzalez on the majority of the passing plays. Even with the extra pressure, Tony has caught 22 passes for nearly 250 yards and two of his team-leading three touchdown receptions in the past two games alone.
Quarterback – Matt Ryan: Say what you will about Matty Ice being unable to win these close games, but if strictly going by statistics, he’s had a great season. With Steven Jackson injured since Week 2, Ryan has been having to throw the ball a lot more. Each game he averages about 330 passing yards and two touchdowns. He’s currently on pace to throw for a career-high, 5,277 yards, 32 touchdowns (tying his career high from 2012) and just 10 interceptions (career lowest was 9 in 2010) with a quarterback rating of 100.9.
Wide Receiver – Roddy White: Part of this one has to do with the training staff of the Falcons being unable to help Roddy White deal with his nagging injuries. At best this season White has occasionally been a decent decoy, but with everyone knowing how banged up he’s been, defenses have been willing to risk doubling Gonzalez and leaving White covered one on one.
Through five games White has caught only 14 passes for 129 yards and no touchdowns. He’s on pace to record just 45 catches for 413 yards which averages to less than 30 yards per game and fewer than 10 yards per reception. Through the first five games last season, White already caught 31 passes for 481 yards and three touchdowns.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.