The Atlanta Falcons were defeated by the New Orleans Saints 31-21 on Thursday night. Coming into this game the Atlanta Falcons had a perfect record of 5-0. Everyone thought this game was going to be a cakewalk for the Atlanta Falcons as the Saints were coming into this game with an abysmal 1-4 record. The Saints brought their "A" game and the Falcons' ultimately did not. The New Orleans Saints were able to expose almost each and every flaw within the Atlanta Falcons secondary. The biggest weakness of the cover three scheme is that without an athletic middle linebacker the middle of the field is constantly exposed.
This writer's three takeaways from week six:
Starting with the blocked punt, the Falcons managed to turn the ball over at least three times. Running back Tevin Coleman managed to fumble when the Falcons were just starting to get in a groove. Shortly after that, center James Stone performed what could be the first offensive lineman butt fumble. The Atlanta Falcons were unable to sustain any offense unless it came from halfback Devonta Freeman. The only way the Falcons can improve offensively is if they find other targets other than Julio Jones and Freeman.
2. Inconsistency at Wide Receiver
Outside of Julio Jones, the NFL has nothing to fear about the Atlanta Falcons receiving corps. During the game it seemed that the only receiver that was able to get open was none other than Julio Jones. Whenever Leonard Hankerson was targeted he proceeded to drop the ball. Roddy White isn't the same player he was a few years ago but he appears to have a lot left in the tank. White caught every pass that was thrown to him and even hauled in his first touchdown of the season. Many like to believe that he is not getting open but that simply is not the case. Roddy White is open it's just that quarterback Matt Ryan is eyeballing Jones each and every down. The Falcons drafted Justin Hardy in the third round of this years draft but he has yet to be active on game day. The Atlanta Falcons need to explore each option they have outside of Julio Jones to succeed.
3. The Offensive Line
The offensive line played horribly throughout the entire game. New addition Chris Chester was often seen getting manhandled by the treacherous Saints defense. Right tackle Ryan Scraeder was often beat on the edge which led to many sacks. The Atlanta Falcons tend to lose more games when Matt Ryan isn't at least a little comfortable in the pocket. Through the first five games of the season, Matt Ryan has had a clean pocket which led to him finding his read a lot quicker than expected of him. The season is still young but if the offensive line continues to play like this, Matt Ryan will finish the season on injured reserve