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T Emory
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CJ!!!!!!!!!!

SEA......!!!

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Birds of Prey.

Well, Hawk Nation looks like we've turned the proverbial corner. Truth be told we've become a second half (of the season that is) team under the tutelage of PC and this season is no exception. The win in Foxboro (Foxborough?) was a nationally televised and very highly rated statement win that told the rest of the NFL and its pundits that this team is still elite. Tomorrow the Eagles visit The C-Link and nothing says 'trap game' like one against a jekyll-and-hyde group that wins convincingly at home while struggling outside of Philly (well, there was the win in Chicago but...). Much has been said about the Eagle defensive front and even though our OL has been jelling of late (wow-seriously, a power forward for a LT?) and DangeRuss getting healthier emphasis will be put on varying our offensive looks to continue extending drives and keeping our D off the field. The much-publicized return of Train Rawls will no doubt help to complement the versatility outside the tackles that is C.J. Prosise. Look for a return to the bread-and-butter read option that keeps Fletcher Cox and co. guessing. On the defensive side of the ball the LOB is healthy and firing on all cylinders--the return of Bam-Bam last weekend provided the huge boost that everybody anticipated, and it will be no different against the likes of Celek and Ertz. This contest has the potential of being very low scoring (think game 1 vs. Miami) but count on a much more battle-hardened group coming out on top vs. the other 'Birds of Prey'.

My prediction: 'Hawks 20-12.

So what will be the big story coming out of this one, 12's?

#LOUDER
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LOB picks off Wentz >= 3x
DangeRuss >= 3 TDs (rushing and passing)
Dougie, Graham or Lockett > 100 yds
Other (please comment)
100%
Hawk's D keeps Eagles out of end zone
0%
LOB picks off Wentz >= 3x
0%
DangeRuss >= 3 TDs (rushing and passing)
0%
Dougie, Graham or Lockett > 100 yds
0%
Other (please comment)

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Loving my Hawks for 30+ years now. Very disappointed though that we didn't make a move for a LT yesterday...smh.

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Well, fellow 12's we've kinda hit the proverbial wall here. No, it wasn't a bad loss and truth be told we did a great job keeping Brees and company out of the end zone (only 2 TD's in six trips to the red zone). We had some very questionable calls and no-calls (go get 'em Pete!) as well that extended critical drives and had us burning TO's before the two minute warning. For any that watched the game--well, you know what I mean. For several games our OL has been statistically keeping Russell upright; this of course doesn't count how much he's been under duress. This game was no exception. We really were supposed to set our offense free in this contest against a Saints D that has been much maligned during this season. 20 points and only 1 offensive TD isn't going to get it done. In fact, that 1 TD stands out in 23 offensive series. Our defense (minus Mike Bennett and Bam-Bam) was sucking wind yet again because we couldn't extend our own drives. Yes, DangeRuss is playing hurt but I think if our line can keep him in the pocket for a reasonable amount of time he won't need to count on misdirection constantly to keep the chains moving. We spend less money (by far actually) on our OL than the rest of the NFL. Our offensive numbers (much less our run game) will continue to suffer if adjustments aren't made. This contest was about as maddening on offense when you consider the competition as the game in Glendale. Granted, Jimmy Graham could've been targeted a bit more (especially the last play!!) but hard to leverage that when you're running for your life.

OK, rant over. We're a good football team. We've had injuries galore this year and end a tough road stretch with the Bills at the C-Link. Look for a recommitment to the run with C-Mike and C.J. healthy folks.

Alright Hawk Nation, what was the biggest contributor to our loss in the Big Uneasy?

#LOUDER
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O-Line falling apart
Missing key players (Bam-Bam, Bennett)
Graham underutilized
Other (please comment below)
52%
Bad penalties/no-calls
22%
O-Line falling apart
12%
Missing key players (Bam-Bam, Bennett)
7%
Graham underutilized
7%
Other (please comment below)

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Happy Blue Friday Hawk Nation!

OK so I know I've been posting polls ad nauseam but here's one more prior to gameday:

Two scores tell it all. 105-34 and 35-11. Those are the total and average points for and against over the past three years we’ve gone to Glendale to meet and defeat the rival Cardinals. Granted, it’s been give-and-take with this team (they’ve beaten us at home two out of those three years) and truth be told Arizona has been built to model our success by some solid head coaching in Bruce Arians and an infusion of defensive as well as offensive talent. The seemingly ageless (and it stands to be said, Lombardi-less) talents of Palmer, Fitzgerald and Campbell are still plugging away and gaining some momentum after a slow start. The Jet contest wasn’t really a barometer; NY is in free-fall and couldn’t stop the prowess of David Johnson. Hopefully the Cards weren’t simply looking past the Jets —also hope that the bar’s been set low and that they won’t be completely prepared for the Sunday night battle on national TV. Controlling the line of scrimmage will be key, as they will most likely try to establish the run to open up passing lanes. Historically the X-Factor has been Michael Floyd, who’s burned us a couple of times (e.g., 2013 at the C-Link). The middle should be well covered deep (ET v. John Brown) and we know that Sherm will be shadowing Fitz, whom he has a deep and well-deserved respect for. Getting in Palmer’s face, much like we did with Matt Ryan in the 1st half of last week’s game, will be key in disrupting any rhythm with Floyd, etc. #3 has had trouble with our pass rush in previous encounters and I believe this one will be no different. Just varying our defensive looks to avoid a third-quarter collapse like last week should keep this group out of the end-zone. Matthieu and Peterson will try to lock down Dougie, Ty and Kearse but not really have any answer for Graham. Look for our TE to come up big in this one.

So what do you think, 12's? Given Monday night's game what do you foresee as the primary reason for our next win?
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Continued success with Graham
Russell, C-Mike and Co. run game
Dougie and Tyler take off
Front 7 in the Card backfield constantly
10%
Injuries to Palmer, J. Brown and Bethel
65%
Continued success with Graham
11%
Russell, C-Mike and Co. run game
10%
Dougie and Tyler take off
5%
Front 7 in the Card backfield constantly

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Well this one turned out to be a thriller—but not without some stressful moments for us Hawks fans. There were teeth-clenching moments galore: 3 unanswered TD’s by the Falcons, a missed FG and PAT. Ultimately the skill and persistence paid off. This game reminded me quite a bit of the contest against the Texans in 2013—the year we won it all. Another Matt—Shaub had his way with us in the second quarter connecting consistently with Andre Johnson—not at all unlike the 3rd quarter yesterday. Regardless of whether it was just simply a matter of blown assignments the LOB was resilient and delivered with a critical INT and some pass defenses at the end of the game to seal the win. Some may point to a blown PI call at the end as the deciding factor but truth be told our Hawks delivered a defensive work of art in the 1st half and when our offense started to stall a bit on 3rd down they began to right the proverbial ship and kept Atlanta out of the end zone when it mattered. Many aspects of this season are shaping up to parallel those from 2013—but with a stronger passing game. Jimmy Graham is partying like a rock star and exploiting mismatches consistently. Russell’s efficiency is off the charts; at least four of his incompletions yesterday were drops. And the O-line...even with some miscues with run-blocking our keeping Russell upright has been great. Going into the contest in Glendale we can hope that Bam-Bam, F-Clark and Mike Bennett are healthy and ready to roll. Fortunately the Cardinal TE’s don’t pose a serious threat. Still, reproducing the QB unfriendly environment of the 1st half yesterday will be essential, as the Cards appear to be getting their feet under them.

So what do you think is the biggest factor for us in the Cardinal contest given how we played yesterday?

GO HAWKS!
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Can the LOB manage Fitz and co.
Can our RB's find and exploit daylight
Will Dougie and T-Lock be set free
16%
Can our front four constantly blitz #3
41%
Can the LOB manage Fitz and co.
24%
Can our RB's find and exploit daylight
19%
Will Dougie and T-Lock be set free

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Battle of the Birds

Last time we fought the Falcons it was the year we won the Super Bowl. This of course is a very different team from the one that we beat 30-10 in the Georgia Dome. Dan Quinn, one of the architects of our elite defensive unit that year, has patiently built that team into an offensive juggernaut in pretty short order. On paper this contest should look very similar to the one where we faced the Steelers last year, although this time Sherman and the LOB will face Julio ‘300’ Jones and a cast of many offensive weapons. #25 held Antonio Brown to a pedestrian 60-ish yards but the other d-backs wound up flustered by other pass-catching weapons-not unlike what this Atlanta team boasts. Opposing TE’s, which have posed problems historically are not really a consideration however- Falcon RB’s have been a BIG part of their offensive plan. Safety/OLB play and QB pressure will be even more key than the obvious Sherman-Jones matchup. Our contest with Pittsburgh last year started the offensive tear of Wilson-Baldwin, and both are very much in sync (and healthier) coming out of a bye. We know that Quinn’s going to try to exploit a defensive unit that looks almost identical to the one he coached by testing the downfield waters while knowing that Russell may not be as mobile as he is known for. This will be the biggest test for our ‘Hawks thus far.

What will be the big story coming out of this Sunday afternoon battle?

#CRANKITUPTO12
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Matty Ice picked off >= 3x.
Russell passes for 300+ yards.
Barnburner. Hawks win with > 35pts
Defensive battle.< 14 pts wins.
27%
LOB shuts down Julio. ATL scores < 10.
4%
Matty Ice picked off >= 3x.
47%
Russell passes for 300+ yards.
11%
Barnburner. Hawks win with > 35pts
12%
Defensive battle.< 14 pts wins.

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Saying 'bye' to the first quarter of the season..

What a difference. First two contests: 7.5 ppg average. Next two: 32 ppg. Appears that the adversity that DangeRuss has experienced actually helped propel this offense into the stratosphere. Several series' saw big pass plays result from exploiting mismatches (Graham-who's finally found a groove and McEvoy, who helped me to understand that his place on the team wasn't just due to his special teams contributions) and showed the league and the pundits that our offensive tear last season wasn't a fluke.

The defense? Yes, there was some bending-but-not-breaking but we took advantage of 'bad-Fitz' to the tune of 3 picks...2 for Sherm, who responded in true lockdown fashion (as the rest of the LOB did) to Brandon Marshall's early successes. 10 points (last 7 were a strange fumble recovery) to a prolific offense on the road is still on par with the league's best defensive unit. Add to that the < 10 ppg for the other games and you have a similar picture.

Dougie Fresh was at his eloquent best when peppered with questions that all seemed to be RWIII-centric. He responded about the TEAM as opposed to individual contributors. And THAT folks is why our momentum is so great going into the bye week--one that will see its share of healing and hopefully, continued focus.

So outside of addressing injuries, what would you as the member of the coaching staff want to address most during the week off? Atlanta looked pretty sick this week, and they're coming to the C-Link on the 16th for Coach Quinn's return.

#LOUDER
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Minimizing big plays
Finding ways to improve run game
Finding ways to get ball out to other TE
Other (please comment)
61%
Controlling number of penalties
9%
Minimizing big plays
16%
Finding ways to improve run game
9%
Finding ways to get ball out to other TE
5%
Other (please comment)

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Just what the doctor ordered.

Like last year's game three we had our way with the opponent at the C-Link both offensively and defensively after a couple of rough games. Dougie Fresh continued to show the league he belongs in the Antonio Brown conversation. C-Mike made the 'I'm the real deal' statement we were looking for with 2 TD's and 100+ yards on the ground. Bam-Bam brought his style of play back to the table with several vicious hits. Insta-Graham also showed up to the party--to the tune of 100 yards and a TD. And Russell just threw for 230 yards...in the first half.

A great time for the cylinders to start firing across the board. We do however have a really tough contest coming up (at 10 am, no doubt) right before a much-needed bye week. Whether we get the Jets team that carved up the Bills on national TV or the one that just laid an 8-turnover egg in Arrowhead --I don't think it's too early to start thinking strategy...especially given that RWIII at best won't be 100 percent.

So what aspect of our game from today will give us the best chance to go 1-0 next Sunday?

#LOUDER
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C-Mike and co. grinding it out
LOB v. Ryan Fitzpatrick
Wideouts going vertical
Other (please comment)
23%
TE involvement (catches and blocking)
17%
C-Mike and co. grinding it out
53%
LOB v. Ryan Fitzpatrick
4%
Wideouts going vertical
2%
Other (please comment)

Appreciate the invite, +Tajel Daedalist ... I do love Seattle, man!
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