Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 22 Atlanta Falcons
By Vaughn McClure
A weekly examination of the Falcons' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 4 | Last Week: 16 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
The problems run across the board for the Falcons as they continue their descent, falling six notches to No. 22 in the Power Rankings.
Coach Mike Smith will be criticized all week -- and maybe for the remainder of the season -- for not going for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1 at the end of the first half Monday night. It came back to bite the Falcons in a two-point loss to the New York Jets. The Falcons were a much-improved 4-for-5 in terms of red zone efficiency, but their one failure before the half was a difference-maker.
The defense continues to look like a sieve in the crunch. Like safety William Moore said, the Falcons made Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith look like a 10-year veteran. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is sure to get his share of the blame along with Smith, but there is no quick fix for the 1-4 Falcons. Yes, this week's bye might allow them to get healthier, but they're already in a big enough hole with games still remaining against New Orleans (5-0), Seattle (4-1), San Francisco (3-2) and Green Bay (2-2).
Speaking of health, the Falcons continue to get banged up. Receiver Roddy White, already battling a high-ankle sprain, exited Monday's game with a hamstring injury and didn't return, while running back Jason Snelling was knocked out with a concussion. A hamstring injury has sidelined running back Steve Jackson since Week 2, so you have to wonder what White's status might be moving forward.
Whatever the case, the Falcons have an uphill climb the remainder of the season. But tight end Tony Gonzalez firmly believes his team can salvage this season.