Welcome to Straight from the Beek! The Falcons are 1-3 and looking to end a two-game skid this Sunday in Houston against the Texans (2-2). My inbox is flooded with lots of questions and comments, so let's get to them now. Just remember that all opinions here are mine unless otherwise noted.
And we're off.
Leo from Burlington, Ontario
Big time fan since 1979. For a team as truly talented as the Falcons, what we're witnessing on the field is an embarrassment and it has to start with the head coach. They have failed to show up in the first half of games, take boneheaded penalties again and again, failure to execute a game plan on both sides of the ball, miss tackles and play incredibly soft defense. And Ito Smith over Devonta Freeman! Thoughts on DQ?
Matt: I think as long as Dan Quinn keeps that locker room together, the Falcons will string some wins together and be right in this thing. A team divided against itself can break down at any time. Even the least bit of pressure or adversity will tear it apart. I am a little surprised at how quickly some fans are ready to make wholesale changes just four games into the season. When has that ever worked out, by the way?
Charles from North Carolina
Beek, I don't know what is going on with our defense. It seems like they play better the second half of the game after they get into a big deficit in the first half. I know we are riddled by injuries again this year just like last year, but I don't know if it's the play-calling for if they're trying to preserve themselves for the end of the game like they should have in the Super Bowl. Your opinion?
Matt: The problem is what you noted: the big deficits. The Falcons have dug themselves into big holes in three of the four games this season – I wrote about it following the Titans loss. It's no coincidence that they've lost all three, either. Dan Quinn said it's a problem and they must get it fixed. They're definitely not playing to "preserve" anything, as you put it. They simply must start games quicker and start creating turnovers. They're minus-5 right now four games into the season.
Stu from Las Vegas, NV
I watched the game and asked, where is the fire and passion? Where's the defense? Where is the passion and desire to win? Because I'm not seeing it. Dan Quinn said he's p-o'ed. OK, Quinn you are ... really, 'cause your team certainly isn't playing like it. There's no brotherhood. It's BS at this point. And the answer to that is coaching. How good does Kyle Shanahan look? Quinn's gotta go.
Matt: There is winning and there is misery. I get it, no one's happy because the Falcons aren't winning. Based on the fact that the Kyle Shanahan finished 6-10 and 4-12 the last two seasons and you're calling for him now tells me that if the Falcons string some wins together, you'll be just fine, Stu.
Rick from Eatonton, GA
SMH. To borrow a saying – R-E-L-A-X. The players will correct the issues. It's up to them, not the coaches. Please quit calling for the QB's head! O-line is the issue, not Matt Ryan.
Matt: While there's plenty of football left to be played, the Falcons do need to start stacking some wins together. They're 1-3 and currently sitting last in their division. As Bill Parcells says, you are what your record says you are. The only ones who can change that are the players on the field on Sunday. Thanks for writing in, Rick.
Jack from Duluth, GA
Beek, what do you think are the biggest problems with this team right now and will they get it fixed in time to still have a great year? Asking for a friend.
Matt: I'll give you five things the Falcons must address and, if they do, I think they'll be just fine. 1) The offensive line must protect Matt Ryan better. Ryan was sacked four times in the opener and five times against the Titans on Sunday. The Titans also hit him 12 times. That's not going to cut it long term. 2) Start quicker. The Falcons need to stop digging themselves into big holes early and playing from behind. That's takes you out of your game plan, and that's not ideal. 3) Force more turnovers. The Falcons are at minus-5 through four games. They must get the ball back into the offense's hands more. 4) Sack the quarterback. The Falcons have just five sacks through four games, including two by Grady Jarrett. 5) Tackle better. The Falcons are not bringing guys down at the point of impact – short gains are turning into large chunk plays as a result. If they improve in those areas, Jack, they will certainly be in position to make some noise and contend in the NFC. And please note: ALL OF THOSE ARE FIXABLE.
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!