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The Atlanta Falcons are drifting, and the Dallas Cowboys are hanging out

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Suspension

It’s hard to know exactly what to make for the 4-6 Atlanta Falcons–or to understand why they’ve kept trying backbridge for longer.

If the end game is when the ways finally part With longtime General Manager Tomas Dimitrovthen franchise icons Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, they were to go from a complete afterthought to a middling patent, well, they got the job done. But if the task is, in fact, to rearrange the franchise to be competitive again, to identify the quarterback of the future and start playing attractive, modern football, they seem to be wasting time rather than catching up.

America could see what a volatile product this Falcons offense had last Thursday night in its brutal outing against Carolina, and it seems as good a time as any to start ramping up rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder to see what impact, if any, it can have. . Some executives, including several of their teams who have recently made the transition to a rookie quarterback, are baffled by what lies ahead for Atlanta, with Mariota’s decision-making and playmaking ability limited, averaging just 23 pass attempts to play the pedestrian. Whatever poor hopes they had for the season were dashed by a 4-2 slide, as they fell short of 17 points four times.

More terrifying than their 1-3 record in score, average yards per game (ranked 17th), their fearsome pass output (30 yards per game) or in terms of sack rate (third worst in football) is the fact that the two potential offensive weapons the team has invested in Outstanding trial capitalists in receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts became afterthoughts or bit parts in limited offense. This is a franchise that hired a head coach last year, Arthur Smith, who made a name for himself by expanding the Titans’ off-field offense and unlocking the potential of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, the Falcons continue with a placeholder in Mariota, whose career as a starter was derailed by the rise of Tannehill in the Tennessee offense?

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“I don’t get it,” said one of the general managers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to discuss other teams’ talent and schemes. “What do you gain by going from Matt Ryan to Mariota to run an offense where you don’t really throw the football, anyway? I think they’re going to Ridder soon. I can’t tell what they’re waiting for.”

The Falcons selected Ridder in the third round, and resisted investing the largest draft stock in a quarterback throughout Ryan’s decline. But they continued to be heavily scouted for the 2023 QB draft, and Reeder showed some talent in the preseason. One would think they’d like to give him a good look at it before heading into another pivotal season – if not this week, they’ll be out of extra rest from Thursday night, then maybe from their Week 14 bye. However, Smith continues to insist that change is not coming.

“There is no attitude. There was no attitude at all. Never,” said this week. The trainer called the subject “low-hanging fruit,” And he said “We’re playing with the guys who were playing. … If we want to make a change, I’ll tell you.”

Uncertainty in Arizona and Denver

I heard a lot of rumblings around the league over the weekend about how messy things are in Arizona – and how hard it will be even for those who doubled in the Kliff Kingsbury / Kyler Murray experience Don’t realize it doesn’t work.

Several executives said they continue to hear that the relationship between the coach and the quarterback is not good. With the College President’s training course about to reach its full strength, and Kingsbury’s previous experience all at this level, there is growing chatter about the possibility of this heading into (a) Panthers/Matt Rawle ending Sooner rather than later. After winning Sunday’s game with the Rams to go 4-6, nothing is in the offing, but the situation has become closely watched around the NFL, as the Cardinals have been unable to maintain even league success in a watered-down conference.

“From what I’ve heard, I don’t think it makes it to the end of the season,” predicted one general manager, who is not allowed to speculate publicly about NFL firings.

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The status of Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett also remains a hot topic, with some peers of general manager George Button advising that he would be in the best position to stay in the job himself by acting proactively with any coaching move, especially With the team under new ownership. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, who lost to new coach Jeff on Saturday, got a vote of confidence from owner Mark Davis in his first season in Las Vegas, but then again, Jim Irsay has done the same thing with Frank Reich before. Sabbath temptation to replace it.

and signs of trouble in dallas

The biggest benefit from the Cowboys’ 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Sunday Packers may not have been the sudden emergence of offense by Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay. It may be that Dallas has a problem with the Cowboys defense that has been quietly eroding in the past month or so; Some evaluators who have observed them think midfielder Micah Parsons is restricted due to his shoulder and groin injuries, and the defensive front may be a bit weak. Lest we forget, it was that side of the ball – and its rise – that made it possible for Jerry Jones to open with a breeze About the versatility of quarterback Cooper Rush And that faux controversy earlier this season.

The Cowboys are down to 29th in the NFL against running backs, allowing over 143 yards per game, and the breakdown over the past four weeks is particularly noteworthy. Dallas allowed 4.41 yards per carry during Weeks 6-17 in the NFL — but has been producing 5.27 per carry since (29). They only allowed 5.22 yards per pass in the first six weeks, third best in the NFL, but have bleed 7.63 yards per pass since (26), despite facing previously woeful Lions, Bears and Packers games in That period.

Opposing quarterbacks have only had a cumulative passer rating of 78.1 (sixth lowest) over the first six weeks, but only Houston has allowed a higher passer rating since Dallas (113.3) since week six (everything is bigger in Texas, I suppose). Their pressure rates as a team are still elite – although that wasn’t the case in Lambo’s second half. But Parsons averaged more than five pressures per game in his first seven games, and had only four pressures in the last two games.

The Cowboys’ malaise at the bottom of the field will continue to grab all the headlines, with outsider Odell Beckham Jr. set to recruit more this week than I gather. But the big-name free agent he should be chasing is Ndamukong Suh. Because don’t be fooled: If it’s not a first defense, this team isn’t a Super Bowl contender, and even a peak OBJ can’t fix that.

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