Falcons To Swing For The Fence?

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beers4

Are the Atlanta Falcons going to attempt to replicate the Julio Jones strategy? Do they really believe they're STILL just one player short of a championship? Oh, let us all hope so.

 
Quick Out, April 17, 2013

Pat Y over at Yahoo reports that Peter King reports that the Falcons might be interested in trading up from 30. This is something that Pat himself reported earlier, so I guess he’s taking King’s report as some sort of confirmation…or validation. Whatever. And, of course, it might be true.

But it won’t matter, because Atlanta has shot their bolt. They had their chance last year (just as we had our chance in 2011), and blew it. Against San Francisco (just as we…).

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but the Falcons have been probably the NFL’s luckiest team over the Mike Smith era. Yes, the Saints were lucky, too, in 2009: tremendously lucky. And good. Really, really good. They led the league in total offense. They led the league in total points scored. They were second in net points. They won by an average score of 32-21. And while their defense wasn’t great, it was good enough, and outstanding in some categories such as takeaways and red zone scoring. The Saints went 13-3 that year and won the Super Bowl.

Last year the Falcons went 13-3, and they did it by leading in nothing at all. They were 8th in total offense. They were 24th in defense, but they did it without leading the league, or coming close to it, in any meaningful category. They won by an average score of 26-19. And they had to survive one ignominious collapse in order to collapse ignominiously against the 49ers.

All this two years after they traded up in the draft to acquire the last missing piece of their Super Bowl dynasty: Julio Jones. So they’ve already tried this ploy once, and it came up short—not because Jones isn’t a good player, not even because he’s not as good as they thought he was, but because the team as a whole wasn’t as good as they thought they were.

And they still aren’t.

Pat says that Atlanta is “on the cusp of a Super Bowl,” and that much is true. They were sitting right there on the cusp, watching, as San Francisco went instead. This year, they’ll watch again. But they’ll need to be tremendously lucky to have a close-up view, and that kind of luck doesn’t last forever. It’s my bet that this is the year it runs out. Those fortunate bounces will go the other way. Those close victories will have an unnerving tendency to turn into close defeats. And their attempt to repeat Philadelphia’s “Dream Team” strategy will end the same way it did for Philadelphia. Whether or not they trade up.

So I’m all for it. As I said earlier.

Posted by Himself in 2013 Draft, Quick Out | 9 comments

9 Comments

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  • PhilistineApril 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

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    Pat Y can suck on a goat testicle.

    Just thought I’d mention that.

    Sooner or later, some kind of house-cleaning is in order for any successful team. They can nickle-and-dime their problems and drag things out for awhile like the Patriots (and Saints?) are doing now, but sooner or later a big salary dump (and resulting lost year) has to happen. It’s probably the least painful way of doing things. The Colts are probably the best recent example. Sadly, the person with the biggest cap figure is the QB, and dumping him is painful and fraught with danger. The Colts saw a likely franchise QB coming their way, had a huge contract with Peyton Manning – neck surgeries and all – and decided to make the tough choice. So far, it seems to have worked out for them. The Falcons are in that nickle-and-dime stage, having never made it to The Show. They could still manage it, given the amount of luck that figures in nearly every successful season. However, every year exactly one team out of 32 wins the Super Bowl. That’s some small odds.

    Hey – the good news is that maybe San Francisco will regress too.

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    • HimselfApril 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

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      “And who cares who the 49ers add? Even if they had every pick in the first round, they’re still going to implode this year.”
      —Himself, April 16, 2013

      Something I neglected to mention: once Mattie Ice gets his gargantuan stupendomongous contract, the Falcons are doomed. They’ll be a team on the way down, saddled with a crippling contract for a single player who is never going to be elite except in the minds of the media.

      The Saints are doomed, too…but they have just enough left that they could still pull off two more championships before the train derails.

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      • FriarBobApril 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

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        Which, of course, I STILL blame on Drew’s greed. And worse yet, dishonest greed in which he pretends he’s just doing it to “help others” by blowing out the salary curve. Which is utter and total horse manure.

        If RG3 was worth three first round picks, we should have put Drew on the auction block and seen what we could have gotten for him. AND avoided salary cap hell for the next five+ years.

        I realize that without a superstar QB you really just don’t have a shot in this league. But if I had my choice of the two best QBs in the league — and regardless of what other idiots may say, those two are still Drew and Tom, even if Aaron is breathing down their necks a bit — I think I’d much prefer Brady these days, because at least he realizes that no matter how great he may (or may not) still be, he can’t do jack squat without a solid team around him. Drew either forgot or got too blinded by dollar signs and I consider that the greatest reason why we probably WON’T get lucky again in the near-term future.

        Then again, maybe between having our offensive mastermind back and another new DC who likes to attack and might — just might — be able to paper over our flaws for a year or two, maybe lighting can strike twice after all. But it’s still a great pity that he has to do it with the leftover drips squeezed out of the well-rung dishrag.

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        • HimselfApril 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm

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          You’re upset, aren’t you?

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          • FriarBobApril 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

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            Actually, no. Just annoyed and resigned to that not going away until either A) I’m proven wrong (believe me, I really WOULD like to be, I just don’t think I will be), or B) we draft a new “really good if not quite #1 in the league” QB who doesn’t cripple the team with his salary demands. When either of those comes true, then I’ll finally be “over it”. Until then, I just try to ignore it and forget as much as I can, when I can.

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  • PhilistineApril 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm

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    B) we draft a new “really good if not quite #1 in the league” QB who doesn’t cripple the team with his salary demands.

    Considering the recent Joe Flacco contract, those days are over. Flacco is a “really good if not quite #1 in the league QB,” and he’s getting paid almost the same as Brees. That’s something you’re going to have to get used to, because it isn’t going away.

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    • FriarBobApril 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

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      Not for the first four years we wouldn’t.

      And Flacco’s deal will very likely come back to haunt the Ravens just as much as Drew’s is for us.

      Eventually, the bubble will burst. Something will have to give. Either the rest of the league revolts against the QBs or something happens (TV contracts? we thought they were going to give a big bump… and then so far nothing) to adjust the cap upward in a large jump and relieve the pressure.

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  • HimselfApril 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

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    What we might be facing is this: have a great quarterback, and mediocre talent around him; or have a serviceable quarterback, and great talent around him. You can’t afford both anymore.

    The future winners are going to be the teams that assemble great talent, and are lucky enough to get a really good quarterback who reaches championship level under his rookie contract…because as soon as he gets that salary upgrade, say goodbye to the high-priced talent around him.

    OR…the teams (like the Saints) that are able to find the supporting cast in low draft slots or as undrafted free agents. That’s why I still have hope for us.

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    • FriarBobApril 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

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      I’d love for you to be right. I really would.

      I’m just not going to hold my breath.

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