Sometimes we just have to sit back and admit when we are wrong. It is a hard, yet noble task that requires a great deal of introspective thought. Last week was a very reflective one in which I had to stop, listen, and learn. We have a great deal of different personalities at Sports Radio 92.9 The Game and with each segment they seemed to have about our hometown Atlanta Falcons, it caused me to pause on just how much we could actually take from a preseason game.
In last weeks’ game versus Washington which was a 23-17 win, our 1st Team Offense was less than stellar. I know that being backed up on your own half-yard line is not ideal but there seemed to be no continuity in the offense and Quarterback Matt Ryan looked very uncomfortable, going 0-4 passing. Backup QB Matt Schaub came in and facilitated scoring drives and quite frankly looked more comfortable in the offense, thus starting the frenzy of “Fire Matt Ryan” talk. I must admit I could understand the frustration and those that had comprehensive points I actually could understand their pain.
However in letting everything “marinate” for the next six days and listening to the good, bad, and ugly that ensued, I came to realize that maybe we were all a little overboard. Mark Zinno, from A to Z, 7-11 weeknights made an excellent point that I really could not argue with. That point was in this season, we as a fan base may want more Alex Smith, Quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, than a 5,000 yard passer. The point in that is a balanced Kyle Shanahan Offense in which the pass-run ratio is favorable for time consumption, scoring, and keeping the offense and defense fresh, puts you in a more favorable situation to win, not just pad stats.
Considering what the offensive structure is, we then have to consider what we’re looking for in the preseason games. I got into a Twitter discussion with several colleagues about the way we review and critique these contests. I drew the conclusion, especially in the 1st game that while the offense did look pedestrian, that because of its structure the analysis should also change. Although aesthetically bad, there is no way you could definitively draw a conclusion about the offense at this point.
The Falcons have travelled to Cleveland to take on the Browns and you can hear them as always on Sports Radio 92.9 The Game, starting with the pregame at 6:00, kickoff is at 8:00 PM. Here are three things to look for in this contest.
1. OFFENSIVE CONTINUITY. Although I have changed the way I viewed the Washington game, I will be looking for growth from the 1st game. Hopefully drives will start with favorable field position so that the weapons on offense can be maximized.
2. THE FALCONS DEFENSE AGAINST A MOBILE QUARTERBACK. Because we are in the division with Cam Newton and Jameus Winston, being able to defend QB’s that can run in imperative. The Winston run in last year’s game that essentially cost them really left a “sour” taste in people’s mouths. RGIII is plenty mobile so this will be a good test.
3. KEANU NEAL. Due to injury, Neal did not play in the 1st preseason game. He has been much “ballyhooed” in training camp for his intelligence and hard-hitting ability. I want him to make me more of a believer!!
Jamie Walker is a Producer and Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21 or through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.