Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Behind Enemy Lines: Week 7 Dolphins vs Falcons

Welcome to the next instalment of Behind Enemy Lines: Atlanta Falcons Edition.

Each week I talk with fans from the teams lining up against the Dolphins that week. What a week to be a Dolphins fan eh? London Games were the cause of much excitement for UK based Fins Fans, including myself. Despite the result it was a privilege to watch our boys in Aqua and White snap the football and make plays. Granted it would have been better to see us win, but to see them play, to see Tua throw 300+ yards and 2 TDs to exciting rookie Jaylon Waddle was still an experience I am greatful for.

That said, there was a result. A really bad one. While the score line and looks close by losing to a last second kick, losing to the winless Jags was a really bad look for Brian Flores, his staff and his roster. If anything, Tua was a bright spark, he put up a solid stat line and nearly did enough to win us the game. But he didn’t. Against a beatable opponent he was good, but not good enough to win us the game. I know myself that is harsh, he was not the problem in a game littered with underperformance, Tua was the bright spark. But still, the fact remains, it is a loss on his record.

This followed up by reputable people in Houston ‘breaking’ news of an imminent Deshaun Watson trade alongside separate Tua Tagovailoa trade rumours to Washington or the Broncos. The source of these speculations meant that a lot of people listened and believed and that created a hell of a lot of noise. With the trade deadline approaching and Miami looking like spiralling out of control, anything is possible, no matter how much I personally don’t want any part of this.

And this week we go against the Falcons. Had we beaten the Jags, this could have been a chance to get consecutive wins and start to rebuild momentum back the other way. However now, with the negativity and uncertainty flying around, we see a Falcons team who WON in London, who won well and who have had a week of rest to get over their travels as they come off their bye week. I’ve been speaking to Callum from @ATLFalconsUK to get the view from a fellow UK NFL fan, and from the Falcons fanbase.

Afternoon mate, thank you so much for giving me some of your time to discuss our match up. You boys are active all over the Falcons social media scene so I thought there’d be no-one better to give us an insight into the fanbase this week. But for fans out there who don’t know who you are, give us the low down…

Myself (Callum) and Danny run the @ATLFalconsUK account on twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. This is our third season of being Falcons fans!

Bit of an odd one! I watched the SB between Rams v Pats and I think Danny woke up with alot of messages from myself about getting into American football. Weeks from that we read into the nfl, all it’s teams, did online quizzes and the same team kept occurring which was of course the Falcons. We chose them and haven’t looked back.. (have been close to)

Three seasons deep and we loving the sport and the team even if the results haven’t been there yet!

So a relative newbie to the NFL scene then, which makes your social media impact even more impressive. Especially for a UK based fan, and what a month for UK fans eh? Two post covid NFL games on our shores and for us, a chance to see our beloved franchises in action. How did that win in London change your view on the season so far, and Falcons football in general?

Coming in 1 – 3 to London and which should of been 2 – 2 for me but getting the wind in London was unreal. Seeing your own team win live is incredible. I feel like we can push on against the Dolphins and Panthers next who are both in bad form, but both equal games for me so could go either way. The season so far is okay. Slow start but we are seeing a new scheme, management, coaches come in and make their mark.

Past few weeks we are seeing more of it and I’m sure we will see more and more throughout the season. We didn’t expect alot from this season but progress and so far we are getting progress. Playoffs I think is a step to far but being a competitive team and improvement throughout with the new scheme is what us fans want to see.

Ah man, that sounds like a dream to me right now. We had hopes of playoff football earlier this year, and now we’re 1-5. Now a couple of those games have been real close and could have gone in other directions, but a couple were blow outs too while Tua sat out injured. How fairly does YOUR record reflect on your start to the season?

Like I said I think we could be 3 – 2 now. But 2 – 3 is also fair. The Washington game went against us but easily could of been a win, so overall its probably a fair record we have.

London was a bit like that for us, a couple of plays go our way at crucial moments and we would have won, same against the Raiders, but yet here we are 1-5. That said, there’s some hope in our younger players, Waddle had a great appearance in London, Jaelen Phillips is starting to look dangerous and Jeavon Holland has quietly been putting up numbers.

For yourself, Kyle Pitts introduced himself to the London crowd in a BIG way, he looked the real deal. It must be exciting to have a player like that, was London his breakout, or has he been playing like that all year?

What a game he had in London and for us to see it live was incredible. He’s had a slow start but that’s no fault of his own, everytime he’s got the ball you can see the strides he makes, he looks an absolute animal when he has the ball. In London they targeted the most especially with Ridley being injured. He will start to flourish throughout the season and what a player he’s going to become.

Oh absolutely, he looks like he could be elite for a long time, I just hope the rookies I listed above for ourselves bring similar levels consistently too. We are similar in that respect and in that both franchises are performing below fan expectations. What is the Falcon view on Miami Dolphins football after recent weeks?

I I never thought coming into this game you lot would be 1 – 5. Especially after the season you had last year and only just missing the playoffs even with 10 wins was incredible. I thought you would of pushed on this year with TUA in charge. TUA had taken alot of criticism and some of its fair but some of its definitely unfair from my perspective. He’s you’re QB and you’ve got a trust him as he’s basically still a rookie. I thought the game in london was the game where you would of won and gone on from there even with the injuries. This weekends going to be another close game as it mostly is with us.

It certainly looks to be heading that way, another close game and man, if we lose another one like that then I wouldn’t be surprised if some heads roll. You are more than capable of beating us and we will need to make improvements if we are going to make changes to our current form. Who do you think we should be looking out for? Obviously we have discussed Pitts, but who else on your roster is going to cause is problems this weekend?

We all know everyone is talking about Pitts, Patterson and Ryan. Everyone also talks about Ridley but with him having a slow start and a couple of poorer games and he missed the London game due to personal reasons, I can see him maybe being undervalued by you lot as we seen what Pitts and Patterson did in London and the games before.

I would be surprised if we undervalued him, our corner back group is one of the best groups we have and they love coming hard to wide receivers. When we get blown out, WRs tend to feast, but I am hopeful that Ridley will be in for a tough game this week. I just hope your run game falters, Patterson in this form could make life real difficult for us. What about our team? Do we have anyone right now who worries you?

Gesicki on the offense without a doubt. Over 100 yards against London and easily the most targeted player. Lack of TDs but gets the yardage. Our secondary has been poor at times this year so I can if you take advantage of that, it will be an incredibly close game.

Ah man, yeah he is a threat. But there’s a common misconception, Gesicki is criminally underused. You mentioned his lack of TDs, he often comes out in redzone plays or is used a s a distraction. Jaylon Waddle is Tua’s favourite target so far and I am certain he will see a lot of the ball again on Sunday, I think he gets another Dolphins Touchdown too. And speaking of Tua, I have to ask, what is the Atlanta Falcons view on our guy? I love him and I hate the Watson news that circles every few weeks, it is so disrespectful to a guy who could lead this franchise, do you see him the same way?

As stated before he’s taken alot of criticism and some rightly but you’ve definitely gotta give him more time. He was in and out of the team last year, already an injury this year. He shows alot of potential but keeping fit is one of the main things he’s gotta do. There always seems to be a mistake in him, but he’s also very quick on his feet which will work for you as our DL isn’t the quickest at getting to the QB.

I can see you sticking with him for the year and next year and see overall how’s he’s done after that. I don’t think the record this year as helped as last year you only lost 6 games and already lost 5 this year. So the pressure is truly on.

The pressure is on is an understatement! The man has been under pressure since his first snap. He has handled himself like a pro and I am sure he will continue to grow and develop. I hope he gets time at the Dolphins and I hope he proves people wrong, obviously I hope that continues this weekend too! So how do you see this weekend going? Do you have a prediction for us?

Without a doubt a close game and with you lot not having a bye week after London and few More injuries going into the game, I will go with a Falcons win. 30-24. But a close game throughout! Another Pitts and Patterson TD!
Wow, I feel 54 total points between these two rosters is asking A LOT haha! For me, I am hoping for a Dolphins win, but could easily see a loss too, I think it will be close, maybe 24-17. I am going to say Dolphins win, and that it is another Jaylon Waddle touchdown that secures the win for us, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that scoreline going in the Falcons favour either.

So that’s the end of another Behind Enemy Lines, the guys at Atlanta Falcons UK were certainly worth their weight in passion and knowledge, they gave good insight and have a lot of belief and hope for this Falcons team and the journey they are on longer term. Their view on their team feels like the way we should be feeling about ours, we have players to be excited about and we should be sat here excited about our future.

But right now our staff and roster need to start proving themselves, start putting drives together that bring us wins and start giving us evidence that those exciting elements can in fact be an exciting future, because right now it’s tough to be a Dolphins fan, and its been a while since our franchise felt THIS detached from the fanbase. Here’s hoping Sunday is the start of the rebound.

Fins Up!

For more like this, you can visit our opinion section. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news, views, competitions, and much more.

Dolphins massive risk on Tua’s $200m deal?

The Dolphins still haven't got their contract extension done with franchise QB Tua Tagovailoa and the price continues to rise. With a deal in the offing...

Dolphins GM Chris Grier 100% worries me, here’s why

As the Dolphins embark on their most pivotal offseason in a generation GM Chris Grier is the main protagonist in an intriguing story that has...

Tua Tagovailoa still without ’24 extension

Tua Tagovailoa has still not been extended by the Dolphins brass, but says he will definitely be at OTA's. “I’m letting my agent deal with that,...

Dolphins 2024 draft more important than ever?

The Dolphins had arguably a great 2023 regular season. Yes it may not have ended the way we all wanted, with another late season swoon...