Friday, November 25, 2005

A Totally Forgettable Thanksgiving Game

Normally, after watching a Falcons game from start to finish, I have all sorts of pithy, "look at how smart I am!" observations on the team, but nothing really jumps out at me after a humdrum beating of the hapless Detroit Lions. The game was the equivalent of your average Georgia-Directional School game; the team looked very good, but how much can you really tell against an opponent as bad as Detroit? Vick played very well, but his season will be judged by how he performs against the better defenses remaining on the schedule, namely Carolina (2x) and Chicago. The running game looked good, but I got the sense that Detroit's defense gave up at some point in the second quarter when they realized that their passing game was completely hapless against a beatable secondary. The defensive line got pressure regularly, which was also nice to see.

And why does Detroit suck? It's fun to point at Joey Harrington and say "there's the bad guy," but his receivers really struck me as the major problem. I've never seen a game where a team surrenders two interceptions where the receivers break off routes short and the quarterback hoofs the ball deep. I'm guess that that's on the receivers. The Detroit wide-outs dropped passes on a regular basis, thus killing their team's efforts to string together long drives. The West Coast Offense requires good receivers because it emphasizes catching short passes and then turning those short passes into long gains. If the receivers are running the wrong routes and dropping the ball, then a WCO team is never going to be able to sustain drives. Also, the Lions have spent so much in terms of draft picks and cap space on their receivers that they ought to be a strength, rather than a weakness. I thought that Rogers and the Williams twins were all good draft picks, so maybe inept coaching is keeping them down, but right now, they look like the Three Amigos of Bustville.

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