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 Post subject: Opinion: Fiasco sets back Falcons for years
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:38 pm 
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As prison likely awaits Vick, Blank is left holding bag for starless club
OPINION
By Ray Glier
Updated: 11:59 a.m. ET Aug. 21, 2007

ATLANTA -

Jim Mora, the former Indianapolis Colts coach, got it only one-third right when he said Michael Vick was a coach killer.

Now the quarterback is an admitted dog killer. Soon, he will be looked upon as a franchise killer.

The Falcons are about to spin into the ground. The NFL is a forgiving league because the brand is so dominant, parity is so engrained, and the draft provides instant help, but this franchise is looking at a two- or three-year cave in, or longer.

The Falcons have built around Vick, and he is off to prison and won’t be back.

Atlanta was iffy as a playoff team this season, anyway. It was looking at 8-8 with so much reconstruction on defense and the lack of depth on offense. They really needed Vick just to get to .500, or maybe creep to 9-7, because of other, serious issues.

All-Pro running back Warrick Dunn underwent back surgery before training camp. Somebody called it a minor procedure. Since when is somebody cutting into your back minor?

Dunn insists he will back by the end of the month, but I don’t know about that. I hope somebody is not pushing him just so he can save his job with the emergence of speedy second-year man Jerious Norwood.

The other star of the offense the past few seasons, All-Pro tight end Alge Crumpler, is running bone-on-bone on the knees. Is there cartilage still in there? Let me hear you walk, Alge? Crunch, crunch, crunch.

But even if those guys had been out, Vick, operating in new coach Bobby Petrino’s scheme, could have spread things around to the players left over. There could have been flips outside to get Norwood out in space for big gains. There could have been some special moments for the aging vet Joe Horn.

The offense might have been more kind to Michael Jenkins and Roddy White, first-round picks as receivers, who were starving in the run-first offense under Jim Mora.

Now what? Now where? Who is the go-to guy? The NFL is still waiting on quarterback Joey Harrington. The poor guy was drafted by the rotten Lions and has been taken off the slag heap by the sinking Falcons.

Vick was a subpar passer, but at least there was some intrigue with Petrino coaching him up. There was a reason to buy a ticket.

I wanted to know, “Is this the year Michael Vick gets it?”

Now the franchise wobbles with spare parts on offense. There isn’t a player to put up on the marquee and rally around.

As suspect as Vick was with the passing game, no quarterback in the history of the game affected the run game like he did. He scared the bejeezus out of defense with escapes out the backside.

Vick was a thrill and worth a few bucks on Sunday, even if the Falcons couldn’t catch the ball. Now he’s gone. The Falcons might have to sell space to a flea market to get fans in the upper deck.

Do they borrow the tarps the Jacksonville Jaguars used to cover empty seats at Alltel Stadium? Can the NFL make sure the TV cameras stay at eye level in the full lower bowl and not show empty seats and devalue the product?

The franchise is crippled because there will be disgruntled fans who wondered about paying full price for a product that lacks its superstar. You can probably go down to the ticket window this morning and get a season ticket.

It’s too bad because ever since Arthur Blank bought the team in 2001 the Falcons have worked furiously to build the brand. The excitement level has increased tenfold; the Falcons were a show.

Blank made money and he pumped a lot of it back into community projects. The worst thing that could happen with the franchise’s stumble over Vick is that the club’s community initiatives are overshadowed.

The good news is there are no expectations. Teams can rally and bunch together wins and there could be a parade of new heroes.

There are other stars out there. Dunn could pick himself back up from injury and be an All-Pro again. Others can tie in to him and the franchise could merely wobble, not collapse. Dunn should have been the face of this franchise all along with his good deeds and work ethic. Now even he isn’t around ... and the starless Falcons are left to spin.

Ray Glier writes regularly for MSNBC.com and is a freelance writer.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:32 pm 
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You know what annoys me about all these writers that say losing Vick means this team can't do anything? It's that they write about Vick like he is a top-tier passer. Vick up to this point of his career has been bottom-shelf passer and a top-tier escape artist. I doubt Petrino could solve the Vick puzzle and it would have been another season of 2,700 yards passing with 20 TD's and 15 or 16 INT's and 1,000+ rushing yards.

Vick was not going to spread the ball around... He NEVER passes to his running back even as a bail out. He always fond Crumpler or Finneran.

The only difference between Harrington and Vick is that Vick would have been exciting with 20+ yard runs every game.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:39 pm 
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this writer basically saw an opening and took it. the dark end of the spectrum, the doom and gloom angle, the worst case scenario. chalk this up to some writer taking up the pessimism mantle and running with it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:40 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
You know what annoys me about all these writers that say losing Vick means this team can't do anything? It's that they write about Vick like he is a top-tier passer. Vick up to this point of his career has been bottom-shelf passer and a top-tier escape artist. I doubt Petrino could solve the Vick puzzle and it would have been another season of 2,700 yards passing with 20 TD's and 15 or 16 INT's and 1,000+ rushing yards.

Vick was not going to spread the ball around... He NEVER passes to his running back even as a bail out. He always fond Crumpler or Finneran.

The only difference between Harrington and Vick is that Vick would have been exciting with 20+ yard runs every game.


Add to that the exciting ill timed fumble. We may substitute a INT for the fumble, however.

W


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:04 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
You know what annoys me about all these writers that say losing Vick means this team can't do anything? It's that they write about Vick like he is a top-tier passer. Vick up to this point of his career has been bottom-shelf passer and a top-tier escape artist. I doubt Petrino could solve the Vick puzzle and it would have been another season of 2,700 yards passing with 20 TD's and 15 or 16 INT's and 1,000+ rushing yards.

Vick was not going to spread the ball around... He NEVER passes to his running back even as a bail out. He always fond Crumpler or Finneran.

The only difference between Harrington and Vick is that Vick would have been exciting with 20+ yard runs every game.


Dude, did you read the article? He states clearly that Vick was a "subpar passer." You know what annoys me? That Vick has to be viewed as either the greatest player in NFL history or the greatest fraud in NFL history like there is no middle ground. Vick may have never lived up to the hype. Jesus Christ himself couldn't have done that. But he was a decent QB and one hell of an attraction for the franchise. How many MNF games did we have before his arrival?

I'm not trying to single you out or to swing from Mike's nuts here. His stupidity and selfishness have wiped out a lot of hard work by a lot of people for the Falcons. Though he could have had no idea how it would turn out when he said it BB has often said drafting MV set us back 10 years. Add the three the above article suggests and the math is about right. However, if going to an NFCCG for only the third time in our history and at least having a shot at post season is what passes for setting us back I hope Joey is able to set us back similarly. It's going to be real popular to try to demonize everything Vick in the coming months but that's just being reactionary.

His rise and fall are an incredible story and though it may sound crazy I am glad to have been around to see it as opposed to our more typical mediocrity or worse. BTW, I'm a Warrick Dunn fan but good public works are not what make a player the face of a franchise. He is an admirable guy and pound for pound one of the best players in the league but I think his best days are behind him and if you think Vick didn't fit Petrino's offense how does Warrick?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:05 pm 
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I also am sick of all the doom and gloom forcasts. Michael Vick was not the only player on the team. We have a lot of talented guys. I'm hoping the reporters will be eating a lot of crow at the end of the season.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:25 pm 
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Yeah, that'd be cool Go Falcons. You know what would really make this whole Vick story really cool? If he stopped in a local 7-11 back home, bought a lotto ticket and won $30 million. I don't know why it occurred to me today but I think that would be icing on the cake of absurdity. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:30 am 
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Come on BnB. Ever since the NFCCG this franchise has been doing nothing but going backwards. Similarly Vick has made no progression as a decision maker or a passer and in kinda the franchise seems to have been going the same way.

Dog fighting or no this was Vick's last chance to prove he could be a QB with the bonus of speed and running capabilities. He already had 1 foot out of the door with horrible decision making off and on the field not including the dog fighting thing.

No Vick could not live up to the hype but is it so much to ask him to be a marignally better passer than John Kitna or Trent Dilfer? I don't think so and Vick's ability to progress as a passer has set this franchise back. We are now pigeon holed into an offense fit for a once in a life time running back who happens to throw a good deep ball that never developed and is now going to spend the next 1 to 3 years in a jail cell.

It was a combination of poor decision making by Blank, McKay and Vick that has lead this franchise to where it is today.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:01 am 
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I'm with BnB on this one. Nice post.


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