How Do You Solve a Problem Like The Falcons?

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like The Falcons?

Before you avoid this column entirely because you think I’m only going to talk about the Falcons hold up just one second.  I’m sitting in front of the TV in my living room, laptop in hand, the family is napping, and the 2nd half of this week’s Falcons/Panthers game (in which I picked the Falcons because the Panthers suck) is about to start, Daryl Johnston and Kenny Albert are calling the game, and the Falcons need a wake-up call (as do other teams in the league.)

Apparently, Michael Turner is out and Jason Snelling is the new option coming out of the backfield and the Falcons are losing 21-10.  I think it is safe to say that no one would have picked the Panthers to beat the Falcons today, but why?  Why am I so down on the Panthers when the Falcons have franchise history that indicates they can improve on 5-3 after they had a winning season last year (in case you didn’t know the Falcons have NEVER had back-to-back winning seasons.)

Essentially, what I did was totally discount Julius Peppers (who obviously doesn’t want to be in Carolina, but is still a great player), then I discounted the Carolina run game, and I (rightly) discounted Jake Delhomme.  I’m not sure why, but I figured that someone in this division is always down one year after being up and they haven’t had the same team win this division in consecutive seasons since the Depression so I figured it was safe to say Carolina sucked after they started off sucking.  Probably not very smart of me, huh?

Now, the Falcons have run right down the field and though they failed to put one in the end zone they walked away with a field goal.  This is not anything like what the Falcons were showing in the 1st Half and though that is good and they could win this game and move to 6-3 we have to ask ourselves…can you lose future games in the 1st Half?

Think about it.  Let’s say you’re the Steelers (who are tied with the Bengals 9-9 right now) and you rely so much on the run (granted they pass much more in the Steel City than they ever have) but you rely heavily on the run.  If you spend the entire 1st Half figuring out what to do while trailing or staying tied with your opponent and you don’t make any adjustments til the 2nd Half you have just told your next opponent how to beat you and you “lost your next game in the 1st Half of your current game.”  All your next opponent has to do is exactly what they saw happen to you in the 1st Half of this week’s game and they’ll know exactly how to mess with you.  If you keep it up and continually spend the 1st Half of every game “getting your bearings” then you’ll either lose every game in the 1st Half or you’ll be so far behind that if you do catch up (or even win) you’ll be so gassed by the end of the game that you’ll feel like you need an extra day-off the next week.

This is what’s happening to the Falcons.  They just let the Panthers come down the field and into their territory to about the 35.  They stopped them on a stupid “over the top” pass from Delhomme where he clearly had miscommunicated with Steve Smith and then they capped off the defensive stand by blocking the field goal attempt by the Panthers.  I’ll bet you anything that the Falcons comeback and win this game, but not without having to struggle in the 2nd Half to get it done.  Is this why they’ve never had back-to-back winning seasons?  They can’t keep it close enough to the vest in year #2 to prevent teams from just doing all the things they SHOULD HAVE done the year before?  I think I might have figured it out!

If you’re the Bengals you’re in the same predicament.  Remember when the Bengals went 8-8 in 2004 and then 11-5 in 2005 and made the playoffs and everyone was just floored at how well they played?  Do you know what their records were after that?

2006 – 8-8

2007 – 7-9

2008 – 4-11-1

That’s a steady decline over the past 3 seasons after making the playoffs.  They couldn’t do anything other than what they did in 2005 and so every other team in the league slowly figured out what they were doing.  It wasn’t until this season (2009) that they changed everything up and started beating people up like they were in 2005.  Is this a coincidence?  I think not!

What about a team like the Colts or the Patriots?  How come they can be consistently good year after year?  Well, if you think about it they are constantly in the process of tweaking their team, trying to get better, and adding things to their offense and defense.  Look at how the Colts won a Super Bowl a few years ago.  They spent years outscoring everyone, but not having a great defense.  Over the course of a few years they made key drafts and pick-ups in the defense that put Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders at the helm of a very good defense that helped bring a Championship to Indianapolis.  Oh, and in the meantime they went from “Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison” to “Manning to Harrison and Reggie Wayne” to “Manning to Harrison and Wayne and Dallas Clark” and so on and so on.  Basically, these teams celebrate accomplishments for like 5 seconds after they happen and then they move on.  Ever wonder why the NFC South has a new division winner every season?  Because the teams in this division celebrate too much AND they’re lazy.

Their laziness is showcased in the fact that they can’t succeed from season to season.

Now, you can talk to me all day long about how these guys aren’t lazy and blah, blah, blah, but let’s face it.  People who make that much money tend to be more lazy than proactive and that’s why there are only a few stalwart teams in the entirety of professional sports.

Patriots, Colts, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Lakers, Jazz, Spurs.
 

That’s pretty much it.  Those are the only really stable franchises in sports.  If we wanted to name all of the really crappy teams in pro sports it would be alot easier…wouldn’t it?  Go ahead, take a minute to name them to yourself. … … … … … … … … …

See how easy that was?

Now, how do we remedy these problems in out cities when we get tired of seeing a great season, being super-pumped for the next one, and then being massively disappointed the next season and having to wait a few years for another good season?  It’s pretty simple…save your money!  If your team drives you THAT crazy you need to stop going to games so your beloved franchise will learn that they have to put something better on the field.  Since sports is all about money, the second their wallets start hurting the owners in the league will start listening (except for Jerry Jones…he’s just stupid…oh, and Al Davis, but he has Alzheimer’s or something so you can’t really blame him.)  However, think about how long it took the faithful in Detroit to get Matt Millen fired.  I mean, it took them years to get this done and they’re by far the best fans in sports.  So, if you’re thinking about speaking with your wallet or with a picket-line get started now before it’s too late!

{You ever wonder if Al Davis is actually being controlled by his evil nurse that takes care of him at home and she’s really in charge.  The only excuse for the Raiders being this bad is that Al Davis’ evil nurse’s brother was killed in a “Raider Nation” riot and she’ll do anything to get back at Al and the “Raider Nation” so she’s screwing up the team one year at a time until she gets caught.  Come on, you know this isn’t too far-fetched…)

Back to the Game…

The Falcons ran down the field and scored a TD on 4th Down, missed on a 2-point conversion, stopped the Panthers, missed a field goal attempt, stopped the Panthers again, then just threw an INT to the Panthers.  (Do we see my “lazy ass professional sports theory” at work?  They’re trying to do the exact same crap they surprised everyone with last season and it’s backfiring.  If it weren’t for some incredible tackling by the Falcons defense this game might already be over because DeAngelo Williams almost ran one to the house.

Then Johnathan Stewart just ran one to the house and with about 2 minute left the Falcons are going to be down 9 points and in an insurmountable hole.  From where I’m standing this pretty much solidified my “lazy ass professional sports theory”.  So, if I begin a column with a question I have to answer that question by the end of the column…

“How do you solve a problem like the Falcons?”

Tell the Falcons to stop being lazy!  {and the Bengals, and the Titans, and the Eagles, and the Seahawks, and the Redskins, and the…)

You get the idea.
 

BTW – The Falcons lost the game just now and I tell you that I can bring up this “laziness theory” up every week and apply to another inconsistent team and you won’t be able to argue with it.  Do you think I should get Diddy to sponsor my theory?  I mean, really, he’s got a better name for it anyways…he calls it “bitchassness”.

Check out another side to the NFL madness after the jump!…

So, the Patriots went for it on 4th Down deep in their own end, didn’t make it, gave the ball back to the Colts who summarily scored and won the game.  Now, let me ask you something, do you believe Bill Belichick when he says that that was his team’s best chance to win?  Really?  Explain to me how that makes sense?  You figure the 4th Down Conversion percentage isn’t that good (especially since most people don’t go for it all that often.)  Well, some supercomputer figured out that the chance of the Patriots winning the game was like 77% going for it and 75% punting it.  Ok, since the Patriots cheat (and they’re an NFL team) they have endless resources.  You know that SOMEONE knew the odds and was responsible for reporting that to Bill Belichick (which they do every time because if they don’t they are probably guillotined.)  So, someone tells Coach the odds and he disregards them thinking that the 2% isn’t worth it.  Well, it is when you’re talking about the psyche of your team.

Now the defense thinks you don’t trust them.  How many times have coaches just said “Oh hell, just the punt the ball and we’ll stop ‘em!”?  It happens all the time and why wouldn’t you just go for it?  Was he inspired to go for it after watching Georgia Tech beat Wake Forest in a similar fashion?  Nope, he probably doesn’t have time to watch College Football and even if he heard about it he wouldn’t have seen it and probably not wanted to try to recreate something he didn’t see.  Nope, that’s not it.  He straight up does NOT believe his defense can do it.  Period.  Point blank.

The funniest part of this was that they have Tedy Bruschi on the ESPN “Countdown” broadcasts now and I saw Tedy Brushci say on Monday [approximately] “You’re missing guys like Harrison, Seymour, and Bruschi who have made big plays in these situations before and maybe you don’t feel comfortable with what you have but you have to give these new guys a chance to succeed.”

Ok, I agree with Tedy.  You have to throw these guys out there and say “Do it or die!” What troubles me is the names he mentioned.  Not Harrison or Seymour.  Nope, he mentioned himself.  He didn’t even say “me” he said his last name like he was just non-chalantly making a list of guys off the top of his head.  Now, I know Tedy Bruschi was clutch a couple times, but are your serious?

Who has the audacity to flaunt his own accomplishments on national TV when he’s talking about how his old team just lost a game because, basically, he wasn’t on the field.  What a jerk!  {Yet another reason for me to hate the Patriots AND not respect them.}

Then we have the realization that not only did Dick Jauron get fired in Buffalo, but that Doofgini might be next.  Listen, if they fire your buddy you brought over to be your “rubber stamp man” then you figure you’re probably next.  However, as stupid as I think Doofgini is, how can the Browns be dumb enough to pay this guy to go away so they can say, in essence, “We screwed up!”?  Then you have to ask yourself…who wants that job now?  The Browns are just another place like the Raiders where this may be your only chance to get a Head Coaching job and so you take but you know you’re going to hate it so you spend the whole time waiting to fired (or hoping to get fired.)  How frikkin’ depressing is that?  Wouldn’t it be much more enjoyable to go somewhere where you WANT to work?  I guess the funniest part about the Browns is Jon Gruden jacking on the Ravens on Monday Night about how “if they wore their throwback jerseys they’d be the Browns.”  Come on, that’s funny!