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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Falcons’

Roddy White is A Subtle Beast

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The word “beast” in relation to sports, especially football, is quite the compliment. It usually means “powerful” or “can’t be stopped,” and in relation to Roddy White, the word “beast,” qualified with the world “subtle” is a perfect description. White is a beast because anyone that puts up these numbers against a defense like Baltimore’s is a true beast: 12 catches (none bigger than his last one), 138 yards and two touchdowns.

There isn’t a wide receiver in the NFL who wouldn’t want those numbers, nor a coach or quarterback who wouldn’t want that kind of production.

More after the jump >>

Miles Austin Is A Freak

Miles Austin Eyes
H/t to KSK for the pic

See what I’m saying about Miles Austin? He such a freakazoid, he has mouths for eyes. If that’s not freaky enough, take a look at his output in the last two games for the Cowboys: 16 catches, 421 yards, 4 touchdowns. Again, in two games. That, friends, comprises a season for some receivers, if not a career. With Austin, however, you get the feeling that he’s just getting started on what could be a very lucrative, explosive stay in the NFL — especially if defensive secondaries don’t start doing a better job of at least trying to cover him. While his game against the Atlanta Falcons wasn’t quite as eye-popping as his game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Austin was still the best receiver on the field.

No offense to Roddy White, either.

Here’s one of Austin’s two touchdown catches against the Falcons:

After the jump >>

The Falcons Offense Just Got Even Better

Tony Gonzalez

After a nice bounce-back-from-Mike-Vick season, the Atlanta Falcons are not content to simply stay the course. Yes, Matt Ryan revitalized the team, and their offense was quite productive. Now, thanks to acquiring Tony Gonzalez (for a second-round pick in 2010) from the determined-to-rebuild Kansas City Chiefs, it could very well move from “productive” to “awfully explosive.” Anytime you add a tight end of Tony Gonzalez’ caliber, your good offense could easily move to the great category, especially if he has the type of season he had during his last year with the offensively-challenged Chiefs: 96 catches, 1058 yards, 10 touchdowns.

Keep in mind, Gonzalez’ Pro-Bowl level production was done on the 24th-ranked offense in the league. Can a player like Matt Ryan add a couple of seasons worth of life and production to Gonzalez’ career, one that will go down as one of the best careers by a tight end, perhaps ever? Gonzalez indicates that’s certainly a possibility, and if his production stays at the high level we’re used to seeing, it could/should be longer.

Conversely, will Gonzalez be enough for the Falcons to go from a “nice, up-and-coming” team into a Super Bowl contender? Considering the NFC, and the fact a team like the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals can make the Big Game, don’t be surprised if the Falcons are fighting for the same designation — that is, NFC Super Bowl representative — in December.

Needless to say, not all Kansas City Chiefs fans are not happy with the decision, although, the numbers are not quite as high as I would expect. Perhaps Chiefs fans have become more accepting of their rebuilding fate. On the other hand, the following tweet from a Chiefs fan I know says something different — well, the ending hash tag does, anyway:

“…and the chiefs trade tony gonzalez http://kl.am/3mc #asshats

NFL Preview – A Quick Look at the NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Jeremy Shockey

Outlook
After taking the NFL by storm and making the NFC Conference finals two seasons ago, the Saints had a little bit of a fall back to earth in 2007, finishing 7-9. Injuries and a lack of defense played a big part in the disappointing end but because of a good draft and guarded optimism concerning injured players — not to mention the trade for ex-Giant Jeremy Shockey — 2008 looks like a bounce-back year for the Saints.

The keys are this: a return to form for Reggie Bush, something that should be aided by the return of Deuce McAllister who represents another key for the Saints; improvement on defense, a situation they tried to address in the Draft when they selected Sedrick Ellis; continued greatness from Drew Brees; and avoidance of the omnipresent injury bug.

The addition of Shockey, Ellis and the return of McAllister improves the outlook for the Saints a great deal. McAllister’s presence makes Reggie Bush a weapon again, instead of a 3.7-yard-a-game back who fumbled seven times. If Sean Payton utilizes Shockey correctly — and signs are he will — New Orleans should once again be an offensive juggernaut and could potentially hide a lot of defensive shortcomings.

10-6 and the NFC South championship.

Hottest Saints Cheerleader
The sad thing about NFL websites are for every San Diego cheerleader page, there’s one like the Saintsations. If San Diego and Dallas are the Facebook of cheerleader pages, the Saintsations must be Angelfire or GeoCities. To wit, they have no full images of the team members and the design looks very Frontpage-ish, especially when it comes to resizing images. Nevertheless, I did stumble upon Samantha and her nice smile.

Romessica

After dealing with that site, I wish Roger Goodell would implement some kind of web standards for these team sites.

More NFC South after the jump >>

PETA To Mike Vick: Merry Christmas

To say PETA isn’t a fan of fallen Atlanta Falcons quarterback Mike Vick is a lot like saying Michael Jordan isn’t a Duke supporter. While those statements represent the facts, they don’t quite capture the spirit of and the depth of the emotions being discussed. Now, I’m not saying PETA hates Michael Vick, but they certainly won’t let an opportunity to poke some fun at the NFL’s newest fallen angel pass them by.

To celebrate the Christmas holidays and Vick’s recent sentencing hearing, the folks at PETA have developed a Michael Vick snow globe—in Flash, of course—that depicts him walking around the prison yard as armed guards and guard dogs look on. Joining the animated scenario is a bluesy soundtrack, dogs barking and the sounds of football commentator calling the action as it occurs.

Bonus: the globe can be shaken up, bouncing Vick around the yard as the crowd roars its approval. All-in-all, a rare comical moment in PETA’s history, who, before these globes were launched, were best known for their “I’d Rather Go Naked” campaign targeting the fur industry (thank you so much for the Eva Mendes version).

Here’s a pic of PETA’s holiday spirit, come to life:

Snow Globe

PETA also has snow globes celebrating the Olsen Twins, Colonel Sanders, Dick Cheney, Kate Moss and Anna Wintour.

Hat-tip to CowboyJoe for pointing this out at Yardbarker.

NFL Doesn’t Want Falcons To Free Mike Vick

I think I can say with some certainty that we are coming the end of the Mike Vick fallout, well, at least until the Falcons are on the clock next summer.  But the situation refuses to just up and leave with saying goodbye.  Last Monday while playing the Saints, a number of Falcons players decided to support their fallen comrade in various outgoing manners during the game and guess what?

The NFL is not too happy about the means they used to convey their support and has decided to fine the offending players a total of $47,500.

The “guilty parties” were DeAngelo Hall, who used a poster of Vick to express his feelings; Roddy White, for wearing a “Free Mike Vick” t-shirt under his jersey, a shirt he displayed when he got into the end zone; Alge Crumpler, for wearing “MV-7″ on his eye-black patch (Hall wore one too); Joe Horn, who assisted White in displaying the Free Vick shirt; and Chris Houston.

Free Mike Vick

Hall, Crumpler, Houston and White each received $10,000 fines while Horn was hit with a $7,500 penalty.  Houston’s violation is unclear at this time.

One of the questions stemming from these punishments is–besides what did Chris Houston do–was the NFL being hypocritical in their handling of the Falcons players?   As pointed out by Sportaphile, Clinton Portis wore something similar to Roddy White’s under-shirt a couple of weeks ago to memorialize teammate Sean Taylor and he wasn’t fined (rightfully so).

Is there a double-standard for the NFL when it comes to uniform fines or should Roger Goodell and company be able to pick and choose which players the are going to fine?  Should either scenario even warrant a fine or does the NFL want to distance themselves from Vick so badly they’ll hit players who visibly support him where it hurts the most:  the wallet?

Petrino Update: Much Love From the Falcons

When Bobby Petrino abruptly left the Atlanta Falcons for the vacant Arkansas Razorbacks head coaching position, to say he burned some bridges to the NFL is now an understatement. While waiting for the Mitchell Report to come out, ESPN made sure they reminded Petrino about what he did and how it affected the players he left behind.

Once the mics were put in there faces, the Falcons players were not shy about letting their former head coach know how they feel. The coverage started by showing the letter Petrino wrote to the Falcons, announcing his decision and explaining why he did so. Safety Lawyer Milloy added something to the letter, demonstrating how he really felt about the Razorbacks’ new man:

Unhappy Campers

ESPN also has an embeddable video of the players’ reactions. Needless to say, they weren’t very impressed with Petrino’s decision, so much so that Milloy even questioned his ex-coach’s manhood. Nicely done everybody. Thanks for all of the post fodder. ;)

Petrino To Arkansas Generates Lots of Responses

As many of you heard, Bobby Petrino, previous coach of the Louisville Cardinals and now the Atlanta Falcons, decided to resign from his Falcons position—13 games into his first year—to become the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Petrino’s abrupt decision came less than 24 hours after he coached the Falcons to a double-digit loss against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football; a move that left the beleaguered Arthur Blank grasping at straws.

Welcome to Arkansas

Because of Petrino’s timing—his decision was effective immediately—and his nomadic history, reactions to the news ran the gamut from bliss (Arkansas fans) to surprise and truthfully, a lot of distaste (just about everyone else BESIDES Arkansas fans). Just about every major sports-related site had something up about the coaching change and besides the Razorbacks fans, user reaction was pretty negative.

We’ve compiled some of these reactions, good and bad, for your reading enjoyment:

Once word broke, ESPN ran with the news, televising Petrino’s press conference from Fayetteville, followed by as much player and analyst reaction as they could muster. ESPN senior write Pat Forde, previously of the Louisville Courier-Journal, offered a pretty scathing account of how Petrino will handle the Razorback fanbase. Of course, some of Forde’s displeasure could stem from when Petrino left Forde’s Louisville Cardinals for the Falcons job.

The disingenuous drifter doesn’t love you or any other fan base. He doesn’t love any school or any NFL franchise. He loves himself, his playbook and his bank account.

That’s it. Don’t expect it to change.

Bobby Petrino will return your embrace, Hog fans. But while he’s hugging you he’ll be looking over your shoulder, scanning the terrain for his next hook-up.

As expected, Forde’s vitriol did not fall on deaf ears. Over at the Arkansas portion of Rivals.com, Razorback message board denizens responded in kind. In thread titled, “Pat Forde is one ignorant SOB!!! He is obviously too lazy…” Hawg fans were not shy about calling Forde on his reaction, saying it stemmed from the bitterness he felt from Petrino leaving UofL. From poster Hogeye Pierce:

Pat Forde is from Louisville and was a beat writer for the U of L. He obviously has some very bitter feelings toward Petrino. That is the main focus of the bombast he unloaded in his article. Hope he feels better now, but I doubt it.

Followed by Boar Borygmus‘:

In the article, Forde tells how he was one of the reporters who caught Petrino in a lie about pursuing a job. He probably thought ‘I’ve done it, I’ve achieved a sports reporter’s dream of taking down a big-time coach.’ The public shrugged and Petrino kept living a charmed life and now Forde is bitter and angry.

Not to be outdone, fans of Petrino’s last jilted bride, the aforementioned Louisville Cardinals, had plenty to say as well (link goes to the Louisville Football Rivals message board). Over at the Card Chronicles blog, Mike simply offered:

Are you kidding me Bob? You couldn’t have waited just one more year? Unbelievable.

However, one of my favorite discussions came from the Inside The ‘Ville message board. Earlier during the day yesterday, an Arkansas fan wandered over and asked about Petrino as a coach and wondered what Card fans thought of him. This poster was greeted with responses like, “Never gonna happen” and “There is zero chance that CBP is going to coach Arkansas.” Of course, once the news got out, these reactions quickly changed, with some Cardinal fans adopting Forde’s seemingly jealous stance (masquerading as a warning).

The Atlanta media, especially at the AJC, ripped Petrino for what they described as abandoning a sinking ship, while pointing out the media’s negative reaction. Terence Moore chalked the decision—after accounts Petrino would stay with the Falcons—up to world of lies sports has become. Over at the Falcons blog, Falcoholic, they didn’t seem to take the news too hard, but they did agree with DeAngelo Hall, while offering these thoughts:

Ignoring the obvious hypocrisy here, D-Hall has summed up my feelings about as perfectly as anyone could. I’m well aware that I’ve gone from supporting Petrino and excoriating D-Hall to the other way around, and I also don’t really care. If D-Hall is more inclined to come back because Petrino’s gone, there’s another good reason to say good riddance.

It appears as if this is becoming a case of, “alls well that ends well.” With that in mind, I’ll leave you with some words from The Hog Blogger, the leading blog for all things Arkansas sports:

For the second time in 2007, a coaching search that appeared to be dead in the water gave way to a hire that will pay dividends for years to come. This hire does a couple huge things:

1) It puts Arkansas football back in the national limelight… 2) To say it unites the fanbase is an understatement.

He also has some thoughts for all those experiencing negative reactions.

Now, to the jealous detractors warning Hog fans of Petrino’s indiscretions:

We. Do. Not. Care. Sure, Petrino may leave in 3-4 years. We have reasons to believe he won’t. Regardless, for the last few years it’s been very difficult to be 100% behind a program whose leader we couldn’t support. Now, that isn’t a problem. Going to games just got a whole lot more enjoyable. The offense is (eventually) going to be exciting, balanced, high-scoring, and a lot more fun to watch. That’s something we can get behind.

Well, that’s a pretty long look at the reactions to Bobby Petrino taking the Arkansas job. Aren’t coaching changes just about the greatest fodder in the world for sports fans? Congrats to the Razorbacks. I can only hope they are satisfied with this hire and will be for a few years to come… although, with Petrino, you never know how long his tenure will last.

Just ask Arthur Blank.

Update:

Over at EDSBS, they have a brilliant take on how this whole thing went down.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this was note-for-note accurate.  ;)