I'd like to tout my "take the Cowboys on Saturday night as long as the spread is less than seven" pick from last week, but then I remember that I'm supposed to like the Falcons and the franchise is not looking good right now on a number of different levels. (Incidentally, I will mention that I got a good chuckle out of the Mayhem in the AM hosts repeatedly stating that they viewed the game as a toss-up. They illustrated everything I have ever said about human beings and recency...but I'm not getting sucked back into the Florida/Michigan thing again...but I'm so tempted to take a shot...but the title of this blog...but I'm still feeling stabby about it...there, it passed.) Let's examine how the game was an indictment of the management of the franchise right now:
Arthur Blank - I've been out of town for the past couple days, so I haven't heard the full extent of the local reaction to Jim Mora's plea for the Yoo-Dub job, but does anyone else get the sense that Mora actually wants to be fired? Initially, I thought that Mora had again demonstrated that he has a lack of self-control, which is in itself an indictment of his coaching. But then, I thought that his statements were over the top even for a Mora. No one actively states that they covet another job...unless they want to give their current boss a reason to fire them. Take Mora's statement alongside his father's statement that Mike Vick is a coach-killer (and I always thought that that statement was more calculated than Daddy let on) and you have a lot of smoke for the "Mora wants out of Atlanta" fire. What I can't figure out is why Mora would need to force Arthur Blank's hand as opposed to simply resigning at the end of the year? Contractual reasons relating to the cause of termination, perhaps?
And why would Mora want out of Atlanta? It wouldn't have anything to do with having an owner who insists on talking to him during fourth quarters, even when the game is close, would it? That seems to be the most likely culprit, with the second being that Mora is totally wedded to Greg Knapp and has recognized that his quarterback is an ill-fit for Knapp's offense. 2a would be that Mora believes that Vick is a conundrum because he's likely to get injured in the offense that is best-suited to his talents: the Texas/West Virginia read-option system.
Rich McKay - Let's look at how the big ticket performers on the Falcons' defense played on Saturday night as the Cowboys shredded Atlanta for 31 points, including a soul-crushing 11-play, 80-yard march in the fourth quarter to salt the contest away.
Edgerton Hartwell - Notable only for the number of occasions that Marion Barber II ran right through him. Life's not so grand without Ray Lewis next to you. He's turning out to be the Peerless Price of the defense, with Eric Moulds replacing Lewis in the last sentence for Price.
DeAngelo Hall - Yes, that was the Falcons' top ten pick getting roasted by Terrell Owens on Saturday night. I'll say two exculpatory things about Hall, at least as pertaining to the decision to draft him. First, Hall was quite capable of handling Terrell Owens in the 2005 opener against Philly, so he might have regressed this year, which is on the coach rather than the GM. Check that, Hall has absolutely regressed this year. Second, it probably isn't a good idea to judge Hall based on a game in which he was covering one of the best receivers in the NFL (when he's not dropping the ball) with minimal safety help. I'm not sure if the Falcons' safeties were preoccupied with preventing the festival of points that would have been Allen Rossum covering Terry Glenn without assistance or if they were blowing their assignments. And speaking of Rossum, McKay has done a positively lousy job of stocking the cornerback position. I know that Rossum was supposed to be a dime corner, but does anyone think that Jason Webster was going to do any better against Glenn?
John Abraham - Did he play on Saturday night? I can't recall.
Rod Coleman - The one Falcon defender who acquitted himself well on Saturday night, although I would want to re-watch his performance on that final drive to see if the Cowboys were gashing his spot. Dick Vermeil was all over Coleman's good play in the first half. Why is it that Vermeil knows more about football than any of the schlubs calling college or pro games and yet he's relegated to the back-up spot on NFL Network? The Danielson-Vermeil-Jaworski crew that called the San Diego-Oakland game to start the year was outstanding, so naturally, we haven't heard from any of them again.
Jim Mora - If you have indeed decided that you want to leave and used your interview with your college roommate as a platform to make that escape come true, could you have maybe done so at a time other than the Thursday before the biggest game of the year? And could you be any more bush league to openly state your affection for a job that's currently filled? Are you taking advice from Glen Mason? Schmuck.
Greg Knapp - If your offense gets thwarted running the ball on third and one, don't you think that a pass is a pretty obvious call on fourth down? And don't you think that rolling Mike Vick out to the left is even more obvious? Just asking.
I can't wait for the Falcons to beat the dead man walking that is Carolina to get to 8-7 and then promptly lay an egg in the finale in Philadelphia. That is unless the team has a collective mutiny because the coach obviously wants to be elsewhere and the Falcons-Panthers game turns into the WhoWantsItLess.com Bowl.