I love Cam so much
Chud's playcalling has been a lot better over the past two weeks. He's doing a better job of finding advantageous opportunities to run read option plays instead of leaning on them to fuel the running game. I almost feel like previously he was experimenting with how much he could run the read option, and it failed miserably as a staple play. I also feel like we play better when we let one RB get into a rhythm. When Stewart gets back, we need to give both RBs like 2-3 dedicated series at a time where they don't come off the field until they're absolutely winded.
I'm extremely confused with my feelings towards the coaching staff. Threeish weeks ago I was ready to crucify all of them, but based on how things are going right now I don't know who should go and who should stay. I'm sure the GM will be the one to make the decision regardless, but I'm so confused haha.
I'd hate to see all of the coaches be retained then see the same story unfold next season, but I also would hate to see the entire team take another step back from learning new systems.
I say if Rivera finishes 6-10 and doesn't screw up drastically over the last three games he'll have a chance to stay coach.
McDermott is still a better coach than Chud. No way you can criticize his lack of blitzes either, considering how much he blitzed the Falcons yesterday. The guy can coach up a defense, but he can't help the piss poor talent he's been left with at some positions.
I think it will take a 6-10 or better finish AND finishing 3-3 in the division for the coaching staff to stay. And if they pull that off, I think they should be retained. This is a young team and a young coaching staff. If you didn't expect growing pains, you were kidding yourself. I mean, keep in my what they've really achieved.
2011: Rookie head coach, rookie QB, (almost) entirely new coaching staff, weak draft class (Newton and Pilares the exceptions), lots of injuries, 6-10 record
2012: Second year together as a team in this system, tons of young starters, lots of injuries, 4-9 record so far
One illustration of why Rivera might not be as bad a coach as we think: second- and third-string players are STEPPING UP to the occasion when called upon. Guys like Greg Hardy, who many fans had written off, have STEPPED UP and grown as players. He's getting results from Kuechly, Silatolu, Alexander, Norman, and Nortman, and even Adams and Campbell are playing now. It's not perfect, but these guys are playing well above where I could have expected them to be playing at this point.
This team is really starting to come together. Sure, we thought we saw it last year, but who did we really beat last year? Houston had a great defense, but were on their third-string rookie QB. I think expectations coming into this year were overstated. I admittedly did not think so during the preseason, but if you look at how young this team is, I can't say I'm surprised that things are just coming together now.
You can try to downplay it, but beating the Saints earlier this year, even if they were in turmoil, and beating the Falcons on Sunday were two huge wins. You can claim that Atlanta had nothing to play for, but they were playing their starters and do you really think they were okay with being embarrassed by division rivals? We could have come out and played down to the Falcons' level like we did against the Chiefs, but we didn't; we came out and played a solid game of football, elevating our own play.
Things haven't been anywhere near good, let alone perfect, but I wouldn't be surprised if this win gives us the confidence and momentum to go on another late-season run.
As for the RB situation when both guys are healthy, I think you're absolutely right about getting them into a rhythm. I'm not sure whether that rhythm has to mutually exclusive or not, as they did a great job splitting carries a few years ago. I think they just need to have the right play calls for each of them.
The reason I don't like McDermott is how he drops to a soft-zone defense once we have any sign of winning the game. Once we went to playing that kind of defense the Falcons got their first score. If it weren't for TD getting that pick the Falcons might've came back. I was truly expecting us to lose that game once ATL pulled within 10 (and IMO that 2-point conversion should've been ruled in).
Honestly, if we win out the season, I'll have no problem with the current staff staying, as long as they realize they're on a short leash. If they finished with a second 6-10 record that would put them a 12-4 season away from being even just three years removed from 2-14.
But the coaching staff needs to look flawless in these last three games for that to happen. I'd like to at least see Rivera in position to lose a game, but win it. I'd also like to see Chud call good plays during that span, and McDermott play a non-prevent defense with a lead.