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Early Bird Report: What the Falcons need to focus on with five games left to play

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes where the Falcons’ focus should lie with five games left to play.

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At 4-7, the Falcons have the slimmest of chances to reach the postseason. With the playoffs a long shot at this point, what should Atlanta focus on in its final games of the season?

D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a list of five things to pre-occupy the Falcons down the stretch. First on his list: getting the run game going.

“After rushing for 154 yards in a win over Washington on Nov. 11, the Falcons have been held to 178 rushing yards in the three losses to Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans,” Ledbetter writes.

The run game was a topic of conversation during Dan Quinn’s conference call the day after the Falcons’ loss to the Saints.

“So it was well below the line,” Quinn said. “Obviously, when you have a run game performance like we did, there's a lot to look at and a lot that needs our attention and our work because that was considerably below the line.”

To read the rest of Ledbetter’s areas for the Falcons to focus, click here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

ESPN: Falcons need to start looking ahead to next season

While Ledbetter provides five things for the Falcons to lean into over the last five games, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure believes it’s time to look past 2018, altogether.

“The final five games of 2018, beginning with next week's home contest with the Baltimore Ravens, should be used as an evaluation for coaches and players alike,” McClure writes. “Despite the 4-7 record, Quinn doesn't appear to be on the hot seat with a three-year extension in hand through 2022. But like Ryan said about the players, Quinn will have to look at himself in the mirror, too, to see where he can coach better …

“In other words, there are a lot of problems the Falcons need to fix. Not being in the playoff field will give them a jump on resolving those issues.”

To check out the rest of McClure’s piece, click here.

ESPN: Falcons owner Arthur Blank supports Dan Quinn

Although this season has not lived up to the Falcons’ lofty expectations coming into the fall, owner Arthur Blank firmly believes the system is in place for future success. Per McClure, Blank expressed his belief in Quinn following the team’s loss on Thanksgiving.

"Absolutely. We love our coach," Blank told ESPN. "Our coach is not the problem."

Blank told ESPN that he believes the six starters lost for much of the season due to injuries was a reason for the lack of success on the field but not an excuse. To read the rest of he had to say, click here.

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