The Falcons are home for the next two games before heading into the bye week. First up is a date the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Both teams are looking to get back on track, too. The Falcons (1-5) have lost four straight while the Rams (3-3) have dropped three consecutive games. Meanwhile, you've got plenty of questions – so let's get to them now. Just remember that all opinions here are mine unless otherwise noted.
And we're off.
Barry from Rex, GA
The Falcons stand pat with their defense and the Rams upgrade their secondary with a trade. Rams seemed committed to win now. Falcons front office is complacent. Yes, the Rams paid a heavy future price, but they have a younger core than the Falcons do. Where do you stand?
Matt: The Rams gave up two first-round and one fourth-round pick for cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Tuesday. Ramsey is very good and still young in his career, but that is definitely a steep price to pay. Only time will tell if the trade was worth it, but I'll say this much about the transaction: If a team is all-in on winning now and believes the risk is worth the reward, then go for it. The Rams certainly think so, and they'll either reap the rewards or have to deal with the fallout if Ramsey doesn't flourish. In general, I believe there are times when you have to take chances if you want to achieve something bigger. The higher the risk often means the higher the reward, but you'd better be prepared to face the consequences if it doesn't work out.
Pierre from Atlanta, GA
Hey Beek. It's obvious that a lot of the defensive woes are personnel related. However, the Falcons made those choices and DQ had a large hand in the roster. At this point, the Falcons offense needs extra possessions to win games. Do you think the defense can get some turnovers to help the offense? A pass rush would help.
Matt: Yes, yes, and yes. A pass rush – pressure, hits, sacks, strip sacks, forced fumbles – would absolutely do wonders for this defense and, really, this team. If the defense could force some bad throws resulting in more incompletions and interceptions, that would be fantastic as well. And you nailed it on the head as to why: It puts the ball back into the hands of Matt Ryan and the offense with more opportunities to put points on the board. But that's been one of the biggest problems so far through six games. The Falcons have tallied just five sacks and they are tied with the Dolphins at the bottom of the league in that category. They also have only two interceptions (tied for 26th). Atlanta has managed to force eight fumbles but they've only recovered two of those. But the most important and telling stat is points allowed and the Falcons have given up a league-high 186 points (31.0 points per game). That's why getting more turnovers (taking possessions away while giving the offense more) would be huge for this team.
Thomas from Shingle Springs, CA
Okay, I'm a long-time Falcons fan. What I don't understand is with all the talent Atlanta has on offense and the problem Matt Ryan has with being rushed and sacked, why don't they just start the game out in a no-huddle offense and play smart aggressive football? Look back over these past six weeks and when has Atlanta put up the most points and looked their best was when they rush down the field.
Matt: Thomas, if I was going to nit-pick and start rattling off what's wrong with the Falcons, I wouldn't start with the offensive side of the ball right now – and definitely not Matt Ryan. He's playing as well as any player on that team right now and the offense has averaged 32.5 points over the last two games. I've liked how they've mixed it up with the up-tempo plays at times, too, but I think it's best to use when you're trying to catch the defense off guard or prevent them from making substitutions to take advantage of some matchups.
Daniel from Newnan, GA
Hey Beek, I hope readers are listening to your podcasts. Great insight. Fans really need to check out the recent one with Archer and Shockley. Archer gives great testimony of the Quinn culture and Brotherhood of this team inside the locker room after the Arizona loss. This team is very much Falcon Strong! Where on the Falcon website can I get updates on Lindstrom and others? LET'S ROCK!
Matt: Thanks, Daniel. Appreciate the kind words. There's quite a bit of misinformation and speculation out there, and that's what happens when a team strings some losses together. People want to know why, but they also look for scapegoats. If you pay close attention to this space and read the comments from readers, you can see it. But let's be real here, too. The Falcons are a 1-5 football team and that's not where anyone wants to be. Fans are frustrated and I get it. People are quick to point out how the odds are stacked against them right now, too. They're backed into a corner and they're going to try and fight their way out of this hole. I hope they do, but time will tell. And in case you're trying to find Falcons Audible on different platforms, here you go (please be sure to subscribe and give us 5-star rating while you're there):
Mike from Calgary, Canada
Hi Beek! Love the positive attitude, keep it up for those of us who are ready to pack it in for next year ... Is there any talk of trading some players for picks? At 1 and 5 we are essentially out of the playoffs and are projected to be over the cap sadly. To me that spells full-scale rebuild, which is another waste of two years of Matty and Julio ...
Matt: Well, Mike, you sound like you're packing it in, bud! Look, I get it. A 1-5 record isn't fun to stare at and doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in your favorite team. So don't dwell on it; there's no sense in wasting time with all of the what if scenarios right now because there's nothing you (or me) can do about it. It's amazing how I don't get any game-related questions right now. Can we please talk some Falcons-Rams, please?
Mike from Tidewater, VA
Do you remember the Falcons WIN over the Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 15th? You said that it was up to the fans, what kind of a difference they could make. I had three Eagles fans sitting right behind me and they were very loud! However, that night our Falcons fans were louder. Our team played their hearts out and won. Right now, things look bleak and we are hurting. We used to say, Defend the Dome!
Matt: So go defend Mercedes-Benz Stadium, folks. Make it a homefield advantage for the Falcons. The only way that happens if you – the fans – show up loud and proud, regardless of records. That's your turf. Protect it and make other teams not like coming here.
Chrystian from Canton, GA
Hey Beek, I'm just wondering if the Falcons are ever going to ever pay attention to the defense and draft/sign pass rushers. Year after year they focus on the offensive and ignore the defense. Don't they know defense wins championships? Look at the Saints right now, they are playing with backup QB and their DEFENSE is winning games. Defense wins games period.
Matt: There's no question that the Falcons really need their defense to be more of a factor right now, Chrystian. And I don't disagree with you when it comes to defense in general. When you look at some of the greatest teams in the NFL, they all had strong defenses and some of them were legendary, like the Steel Curtain, Doomsday, the '85 Bears and so on. Personally, I'm one of those guys who loves a good low-scoring defensive struggle, you know those 13-7 games. Good defense and a run game are fine with me.
James from Gainesville, GA
This is not so much a question, but my take on Matt Ryan. For those of you who think Matt is a problem: wrong. For those of you who think Matt is elite: wrong. Matt Ryan is exactly this: an above average Tier 2 NFL QB. He is big and strong and combined with the NFL "no touch" policy, he has had a long and productive career. He has enjoyed the BEST receiver core in the league for most of his career.
Matt: Thanks for writing in, James. Matt Ryan is also the best quarterback this franchise has ever had, and should he win a Super Bowl on day, he'll be a Hall of Famer. I think he's on pace to become a Hall of Famer anyway because I see him playing at least four or more seasons (if I had to guess).
Dan from Tucker, GA
Hey Beek, thank you for giving Falcons fans your insight. Let me first say our loss against Arizona was not on Matt Bryant! He has won us many and things happen like a revolving door of holders. The game was lost when the D gave up scores on five consecutive drives in the first half. What is the answer to poor coverage and no pass rush? Is Q in over his head or have we just overestimated our talent?
Matt: I agree with you on Matt Bryant, Dan. I wish I had the answer regarding how to fix this defense. I don't think Dan Quinn is in over his head though. I think it just comes down to players winning their one-on-one battles – and they're not right now. They've been caught out of position, too, and paid dearly at times. The easy response (and fix) is they need to get to the quarterback more. I thought this defense would be more aggressive and take more chances before the season. Now, because of all the issues they've had on the back end, I think I'd roll the dice and bring even more rushers at times. You live and die with the blitz but it might be worth the risk at this point. That's just my two cents.
Travis from Houston, TX
Beek ... I watched the podcast. The first thing you mentioned ..."Matt Ryan played well yesterday"!!! They are 1-5, lost four straight and the first thing you say is, "Matt Ryan played well yesterday", "Matt Ryan played well yesterday"? He did play well Beek and whoop dee doo. This is not about Matt Ryan. Matt Ryan is doing what a 30 million-dollar quarterback better be doing, but we are still 1-5.
Matt: Right. Matt Ryan and the offense gave the Falcons a chance to win that game, and everyone saw how bad the defense was playing in the first half (it goes without saying, but since you made me …) And the first thing I actually said was that I was not happy to be talking about a fourth straight loss. So if you're going to be that nit-picky, get it right. After that point, the rest of the podcast was about what's not working for this team. C'mon, dude. I get that you guys are frustrated. Everyone is. But if it makes you feel better to go after me, whatever. I appreciate you writing in and voicing your thoughts still. Hang in there.
Do you have a question about the Atlanta Falcons (or anything football-related) you'd like to ask Matthew Tabeek? If so, submit it here. Please remember to include your home state (or country if you live outside the U.S.). Thanks for reading SFTB!