Firstly, I am delighted with our season thus far.
I was one of those cautiously optimistic guys during the off season, very happy with our additions and our retentions.
I never expected playoffs this year, but the fact we are fighting for them is a welcome surprise. We may look at our division and see some down right horrible teams, and maybe expect to be the best of this bunch, but we MUST remember what we were last season. 1-15. I'm sorry to remind you guys (and gals), but we were not a good football team last season. To already be sitting with 4 times the number of wins we had last year shows how much of a great job our staff and our players have done. (a little round of applause here)
I believe we have the ability to have a massive upset this upcoming sunday. The Falcons are a very good football team, however, at the EJD we've shown some great grit and absolute defensive dominance. We start off strong and as the season has progressed we've learnt from a few of our 2nd half stutters, showing a marked improvement come crunch time. Coupling these positives I don't see why we should admit defeat before a snap has been played. Our players never resign to defeat before a snap and I don't see why we shouldn't either.
Despite this I am not EXPECTING a win, and this is key in my eyes. Expectations can lead to disappointment, and there is no need to be disappointed with ANYTHING this season. As fans we tend to let our emotions get the better of us, and on gameday, it is understandable and we have full license to do so, but to let gameday emotion spill into our overview of the big picture is where issues arise.
Every loss this season has hurt, but they have not tarnished the magnificent improvement I have seen this season. call me overly optimistic, but I feel this mentality may be healthier and beneficial in the long run ;)
The loss vs the 49ers could be blamed on a lot of things, however I take exception to the blaming of individual players on our team, such as Brandon Gibson. He has done a very good job this season, firstly staying healthy, and secondly consistently contributing. He and Amendola have been our ONLY two consistent receiving threats and to malign him for trying to make a play is absurd. Yes, he should have dived for the first on both occassions. Him not doing that does not make him a poor player or immediately expendable. I feel that most of the time his ability to gain YAC has won us or kept us in position to win games and the fact it did not work vs the 9ers at crucial moments does not negate all the positives he has done for our team.
I was irate at the PI call, more so than I was at our defense for the 3rd and 32 and 4th and 18 series and Gibson for his lack of YAC or Fells for the drop. We are a developing team, young and talented, and prone to making mistakes while we learn. Officials should not make those sorts of mistakes, especially considering how good they were through most of the game, to blow a game changing call like that is unforgivable and I'd like to reserve a nice big resounding FUCK YOU to the official who called that.
The loss to Tampa was frustrating, however, Freeman has done the same thing to arguably 'better' and 'more talented' teams than us, so it is something I can live with, and hope you can too.
The wins against Washington, Seattle and San Diego stick out for how much of a statement they were, and although they were nervy at points they were tremendously assured performances for such a young, changing and 'less talented' team. Spags has really put some fire in these guys' bellies and to see it come through like it did in these games shows tremendous potential for our future.
Now this is where I'll probably make less sense.
I personally feel it is too early to talk about the draft with any conviction, however, the draft chatter is infectious, and I'd like to state my beliefs.
I personally think that in Round 1, should we not get an FA WR (Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson), we should go for AJ Green. A lot of people say that he will not fall to us, and I agree, however, I believe that we should move up for him.
Normally I'd say you shouldn't bet the farm on an unproven talent like Green, but this kid is the best WR since Megatron coming out in my eyes, and would be the PERFECT compliment to Sam Bradford.
I really do not accept settling for Julio Jones in round 1. For me, it's AJ Green in round 1, or Baldwin or Floyd in round 2.
People have been saying that as our defense is ranked 1 in sacks that our need for young talent on the D Line is diminishing in comparison to secondary help and Linebacker help. I disagree. you can never have too many talented D Linemen, and Selvie may become the next big thing opposite Long, but I don't see why we should draft another cornerback when Bartell is playing at a pro bowl level, has a big contract, is in his prime and we have the very young and talented Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy. Let these guys develop, and the only scenario I can imagine drafting a CB is if Peterson were to somehow fall to us, in which case there is no denying the selection.
Getting a stud D Lineman would ease the pressure on Long, Robbins and Laurinaitus, and mean that we would be getting better talent instead of reaching for Julio Jones in Round 1.
I do believe Jones is an incredibly talented WR, but I don't see the upside in him I see in Green and Baldwin. Jones and Floyd look like elite #2 WRs, but not necessarily the #1 we desire.
Julio Jones reminds me of Michael Jenkins, but with a linebackers' body lol
Getting the #1 4-3 OLB, highest rated D Lineman or Petersen ranks over our need for Julio Jones.
I will stop now before I go into some non sensical rant about my own beliefs on this draft, but I hope you see where I'm coming from with this post, and that you guys will have more patience with this team. We aren't world beaters yet, and while I wouldn't be upset if we won a SuperBowl or made a run for it, there is no way I expect our team to be doing so. I'm just enjoying the ride and looking forward to what comes at the end.
Next Season however, dependent on our off season and draft, I fully expect to see some drastic improvements and a serious challenge for the division, especially seeing as how we are already doing so, without several key players and an 'incomplete' roster.