Falcons: New uniforms, same Dirk Koetter & other takeaways

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Sunday didn’t go as many Falcons fans had hoped or expected. The offense, once again coached by Dirk Koetter, was lazy, unimaginative, vanilla, and predictable. Atlanta showed a few good looks early on, and they were competing in the first half. The pass rush looked good, the offense was moving the ball in spurts, but the poor play-calling eventually became too much to overcome.

Lackluster officiating didn’t help the Falcons either, but the fact of the matter is the team stalled when Koetter was forced to make adjustments. Matt Ryan was crushed before he had time to progress through his reads. Predictable play-calling on 1st down led to too many obvious passing situations. Todd Gurley started hot but eventually disappeared as the Seahawks stretched their lead. Dan Quinn chose to ride with Dirk Koetter, and he may have sunk his own ship.

It’s just frustrating to see issues from 2019 still so prominent. Koetter at least attempted to establish the run in the beginning, but when Seattle started shutting Todd Gurley down, he panicked and reverted to his old self. The play-action went out of the window, and the run was abandoned.

Gurley only finished with 14 carries, and four failed fourth-down conversions played a substantial role in that. When Seattle had a short field, they capitalized. The Falcons successfully converted a fake punt on 4th down, but in classic Atlanta fashion, Sharrod Neasman fumbled after passing the yard to gain.

However, possibly the most maddening development from yesterday was the complete lack of preparation for Jamal Adams. Matt Ryan & the coaching staff said they “weren’t expecting” Seattle to use him as they did. That’s absolutely insane. Adams is a game wrecker. They didn’t give up two first-round picks to have him play center field. The disregard for him is just alarming to me.

I don’t really credit Dirk Koetter for this, but it was nice to see the ball spread around. I would like to have seen Hurst get a little more involved, but he did see a fair share of targets. Julio, Ridley, and Gage all went for over 100 yards.

Outside of that, there weren’t many positives to take from this game, but this was the big one. Takk McKinley looked solid. The pass rush had an edge they didn’t have last season (probably because Vic Beasley wasn’t out there walking around). Whenever Seattle countered the rush with screens, Raheem Morris made adjustments. The defense wasn’t perfect, but Koetter’s offense wasn’t doing them any favors. The Falcons forced a handful of three-and-outs, and they looked improved compared to the start of last season.

Another positive was when the team went down by 20, they didn’t just roll over and die. The onside kick GOAT tried to save Atlanta. Matt Ryan had a chance of cutting the lead to one score with less than a minute left, but it was too little, too late. The 2016 NFL MVP had his misses, but there were moments where he completely commanded the offense and marched down the field at will.

I know there wasn’t a preseason, but it sure as hell felt like the same song and dance with this Falcons team. That’s especially discouraging when this offseason was viewed as do or die for the entire organization. Some bad calls didn’t go the Falcons way, but it doesn’t invalidate that it was the same old same old for Dirk Koetter, the coaching staff, and this team.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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