Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati

  • 4:20 pm Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Matt Ryan struggled behind Falcons' banged up offensive line. (AP photo)

I’ll be back shortly with my column on the Falcons’ ugly 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Until then, here are my three short takes on the game.

UPDATE: HERE’S A LINK TO THE FULL GAME COLUMN.

1. Problems up front: The Falcons’ offensive line was pretty good against New Orleans in Week 1. Not Sunday. Losing starting tackle Jake Matthews (ankle), after already having lost starter Sam Baker in the preseason, was too much. Matt Ryan was sacked only two times but he was forced out of the pocket on several occasions and rushed on throws. Ryan was only 24-for-44 and threw [More]

LIVE: Falcons’ line to get tested by Bengals

  • 12:04 pm Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
This guy look familiar? Falcons face former Georgia star A.J. Green today. (Getty Images)

CINCINNATI – There are a number of ways to gauge how good an NFL team really is, but here are two of them: 1) How well do they play in December; 2) How well do they play on the road.

December is a few months away. But we’ll learn a little more about the Falcons’ level and toughness today when they play their second game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They were impressive in many ways in last week’s 37-34 home win over New Orleans, showing both their strength (Matt Ryan and the offense) and their weaknesses (defense). But today they will [More]

Falcons can survive without Baker, not others

  • 10:25 am Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Julio Jones is one player Falcons can't afford to lose. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

There have been two general reactions from Falcons’ fans since Sam Baker was lost for the season: 1) OMG, we lost our starting left tackle; or 2) That’s OK, we only loss Sam Baker.

Both are understandable. The left tackle protects the quarterback’s blind side. Kind of important. But Baker widely has been considered a bust since the Falcons traded up to draft him late in the first round in 2008, and part of the reason is he’s been injured so often.

He played only eight games (five starts) in his rookie season. He started only six games in 2011 and four [More]

Weatherspoon out (Is this happening again?)

  • 9:49 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Sean Weatherspoon, who had been working his way back from previous injuries, is lost for the 2014 season. (AP photo)

Last September, when the Falcons were in only the early stages of what would become a calamitous string of injuries, I offered my, “Can’t Afford To Lose” top 10 list of players. The list:  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson on offense; Sean Weatherspoon, Osi Umenyiora, William Moore, Jonathan Babineaux and Asante Samuel on defense. (Looking back, I don’t know if I overrated the aging Samuel before last season or he just couldn’t get healthy.)

This year’s list wouldn’t change much, which means the Falcons just took a big hit — and they didn’t even [More]