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 Post subject: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:52 am 
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everyone loves a winner! But after some reflection, I gotta say WTF?

Just a couple head scratchers.

4th down on the Tennesse One Yard Line, you dont go for it? You;ve been holding them on D ( and until Locker comes in and Hayden goes out, that was the whole game) , you are up by 7. THAT is where I dont settle for three. Fine dont get it, they have to drive the field to cause damage, They are starting at thier 1yl. 2nd Qtr. But we get the 'safe three'.

So then we spend the rest of the day having trouble in the red zone. You get that TD, they are getting the ball back down by 2TD's with 10 minutes left in the first half. You force Tenn to change thier scheme, because now they have to dig out. You jump on them early and demoralize them. I would have gone for it there.

Also, I noticed Gonzo was in protection on quite a bit of 3rd and shorts, and there was more then one time I was wondering why we were using Snelling in short yardage situations when they could have used Turner.

Aside from TdC and Owens, and some ticky tack penalties, the players did thier job yesterday. Did the coaches? And how much of the game did Mularkey actually call? 35-40%?

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:19 pm 
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How about Turner? This guy totally confuses me, but man he's been running hard the past few weeks and knocking the 'stuff' out of the defense assuming he doesn't run into a pile. Feast or Famine with him that usually translates into 100 yard, 1 TD, games with a 4+ ypc average but I guess I'll take it an be happy.

Oh, and thank you to Cortland Finnegan for single-handily helping the Falcons to victory.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:48 pm 
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According to Mike SMith, were ran no huddle on about 50 plays yesterday.

The Falcons 4th down decision making has been pretty terrible. Taking the 19 yard FG in the 1st quarter made sense because points matter early on, but pretty much every 4th down decision from that point on was questionable, except the 1 time we sneaked and the other time we drew them offsides.

My thoughts on Turner are that he is getting way too many carries. The Falcons need to do a better job of picking or choosing the reps and plays that they give to Turner, Snelling, and Rodgers.

Running that counter play with Turner is a complete waste of time. While if you run it with Rodgers, it is much more likely to have success.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:12 pm 
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I continue to second guess the calls on 4th down. I agree that we should have gone for it with the ball on the 1.

However, in the 2nd half, in the waning minutes, with a 13 point lead... KICK THE FIELD GOAL. You make it a 3 score game. What are you afraid of, a rookie QB getting 3 scores in like 6 minutes? Kick the field goal. End the game there. Instead, we get the first down, then turn the ball over. Then, they march it down the field and make it a 6 point game. That's a 10 point turnaround!

Smith has no clue when to play it safe and when to go for it. I have lost all confidence in him as a decision maker.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:29 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I continue to second guess the calls on 4th down. I agree that we should have gone for it with the ball on the 1.

However, in the 2nd half, in the waning minutes, with a 13 point lead... KICK THE FIELD GOAL. You make it a 3 score game. What are you afraid of, a rookie QB getting 3 scores in like 6 minutes? Kick the field goal. End the game there. Instead, we get the first down, then turn the ball over. Then, they march it down the field and make it a 6 point game. That's a 10 point turnaround!

Smith has no clue when to play it safe and when to go for it. I have lost all confidence in him as a decision maker.



Pretty sure on that last one...they were just trying to draw them offsides. If they didn't, I don't think they would have snapped the ball. If they truly were going out there to run a play, then it was stupid.

Earlier, on a 4th and 2 or 3 at the 40, they should have gone for it, but Smitty took such a beating in the press last week, I think it made him take the conservative angle. Anytime it's 4th and makeable in no man's land...go for it.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:48 pm 
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Robert is right!! Kick that field goal and you just won the game!! Their is no benefit of not putting the game away!!

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Actually, Smitty's 4th quarter 4th down call IMO was the right one. You don't win the game by going up 16 with 7 minutes left in the game. Because if Tennessee drives down the field and scores in 3.5 minutes and makes the 2-point conversion, you're in the same exact spot as we were, up a score.

That call only looks bad in hindsight because of Turner's fumble.

Taking a 16-point lead at that point in the game doesn't "ice" anything. Sure, it makes it harder for them to win. But the degree of difficulty you're adding to the game by taking the points at that point is 2 two-point conversions.

Now, if you convert the 4th down and go in for a touchdown, then the game is truly iced.

Maybe taking the points was the right call, but if it was, it was by a negligible margin, small enough that I don't think you can fault someone for making a different call.

I can look back at last week's OT call, and understand that going for it in that instance is probably not the smartest thing since the risk/reward is out of whack. But to me, I don't think what is really at issue is whether or not you decide to go for it on 4th down. I think what is more important, is the actual play-call in those instance. Do you sneak it? Do you run it up the middle? Do you pitch it on the edge? Do you pass it?

And with a sneak, I think it's the right call the majority of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:34 pm 
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I dont agree about last week. We had to go for it. We should have sneaked, but we did not. But, there are a handful of QB's you do not give the ball back to if you can avoid it. Brees in one of those. It doesnt really matter if you give him the ball at the 40 or the 20. You sneak, and keep the ball out of his hands.

'if's and ''buts'. This is what perplexes me about Smith. Reminds me a little bit of Mora. He doesnt go for the throat in the 2nd on a goalline, but gets jumpy later in the game. And when he does get aggressive, he 'allows' the execution of plays that everyone can see coming. :doh:

So he doesnt do a hard count and a sneak last weekend, and this weekend he does, after a week of being criticized.

It's like he pays attention to the press too much. I may be imagining it, but I doubt it. The coach should be calling the play with the best risk/reward in these 4th down circumstances, and I just dont see it. :beef:

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:22 pm 
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I disagree with a 4th down call here or there (more this week) and I disagree with some of the playcalls/schemes in general, but I think Smith has the best idea of when to go for it on 4th down of any Falcons coach, and all but 2 or 3 coaches in the NFL.

He normally goes for it in no man's land (about the 40 yard line) if it's makeable. He goes for it in scoring territory if it's to ice the game. Last week he went for it on a 55/45 call (in the Falcon's favor) from his own 30.

I think since he actually makes the right call so often, his mistakes are glaring in this issue. But, in general, I believe the Falcons go for it on 4th far more than other teams...especially if you take out the blowout/last 2 minutes desperation times to go for it.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:00 pm 
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I agree takeitdown, SMitty usually does a good job with his 4th down calls. Especially last year. This year, not so much. The last two weeks have been especially iffy.

My general mindset is to go for it on almost all 4th & 1s, and if you're in favorable territory almost all 4th & shorts.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:13 pm 
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I really felt like the Falcons, and thus Smitty, learned something from the Saints 4th down. This week the Titans really had not shot at stopping those 4th and shorts with all the movement, hard counting, and actual snap of the ball. The first 4th the Titans held their ground against the hard count and they got owned on the sneak. The second 4th they jumped because they now knew they needed a head of steam to stop the sneak. It was mean to watch, and I loved every second of it.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:35 pm 
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MarylandFalcon1 wrote:
I really felt like the Falcons, and thus Smitty, learned something from the Saints 4th down. This week the Titans really had not shot at stopping those 4th and shorts with all the movement, hard counting, and actual snap of the ball. The first 4th the Titans held their ground against the hard count and they got owned on the sneak. The second 4th they jumped because they now knew they needed a head of steam to stop the sneak. It was mean to watch, and I loved every second of it.

MF1



And I think therein lies my concern.

The idea that Smith is still 'learning on the job' is troubling. Like I said, this reminds me of Mora Jr. He had the same 'passionate, in the moment' way of doing things. Call it projection, but Smitty is too inconsistent. The flag comes out too quick sometimes when he should be talking to upstairs. The running in of packages and confusion at the line when Ryan is not in control. And he second guesses his 4th down critical decision making.

I'm probably imagining the whole scene, but it seems like 'authority by committee'. I think this is an offspring of the disatrous Petrino meltdown and subsequent cleanup. Well, it is 'cleaned up' now and what is needed is a direct, hands on coach whose coordionators answer to. What I am seeing is a 'dont rock the boat, it could be worse' type of management. This goes from TD and Blank, but ultimately it all falls on Smith.

At this point in, with all this other crap going on, Mike Smith should have a rock solid plan on dealing with 4th down playcalling and not veering wildly between questionable calls because ESPN has had you on thier sh&t list for 5 days.

I just cant understand not going for it on the one yard line AT HOME where you are 22-4 and dominating, but pulling it out later. Sorry, that stinks. :naughty:

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:00 am 
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fun gus wrote:
MarylandFalcon1 wrote:
I really felt like the Falcons, and thus Smitty, learned something from the Saints 4th down. This week the Titans really had not shot at stopping those 4th and shorts with all the movement, hard counting, and actual snap of the ball. The first 4th the Titans held their ground against the hard count and they got owned on the sneak. The second 4th they jumped because they now knew they needed a head of steam to stop the sneak. It was mean to watch, and I loved every second of it.
MF1

And I think therein lies my concern.

The idea that Smith is still 'learning on the job' is troubling. Like I said, this reminds me of Mora Jr. He had the same 'passionate, in the moment' way of doing things. Call it projection, but Smitty is too inconsistent. The flag comes out too quick sometimes when he should be talking to upstairs. The running in of packages and confusion at the line when Ryan is not in control. And he second guesses his 4th down critical decision making.

I'm probably imagining the whole scene, but it seems like 'authority by committee'. I think this is an offspring of the disatrous Petrino meltdown and subsequent cleanup. Well, it is 'cleaned up' now and what is needed is a direct, hands on coach whose coordionators answer to. What I am seeing is a 'dont rock the boat, it could be worse' type of management. This goes from TD and Blank, but ultimately it all falls on Smith.

At this point in, with all this other crap going on, Mike Smith should have a rock solid plan on dealing with 4th down playcalling and not veering wildly between questionable calls because ESPN has had you on thier sh&t list for 5 days.

I just cant understand not going for it on the one yard line AT HOME where you are 22-4 and dominating, but pulling it out later. Sorry, that stinks. :naughty:

It sounds like you don't think Mike Smith is quite always what he's cracked up to be.

Hmmm, there's a word for that. I think it starts with an "O." :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:16 am 
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Coach Smith wins with less talent than others, and he keeps his teams together during the season.... Our Biggest losing streak is 2 games and that's only happened once.(I haven't looked it up but heard it on a talk show.) Once in 4 years.

I understand all the X & O's and I thought he should have kicked the field goal, but as was, and is as pointed out; its all in hindsight......

This keeping you team on a certain level and creating an atmosphere where you have "24" hours to bitch about a loss then its on to the next team is great Head Coaching..... I realize the best teams can do it, but at 6-4 with the stretch coming up; this season could still be a very good one.

Coach Smith was asked on Tv after the game and he said that they go over most all situations " and that last weeks calls will never influence this weeks calls." Of course he has to say that; but we're winning with a line that can't put pressure on a QB, and we've really
adjusted to protect Ryan and can't pass block very long....

I haven't talked about it much but I do think game day "adjustments" are probably Coach Smith's biggest flaw, but that keeping the team
together is a huge asset that few coach's have.....I think he works the team to be ready, and once again for the fourth year is a row; we're
ready to go into December with our future in our own hands....... I don't think Coach Smith is close to overrated;he's underrated; all he does is win over the course of 5 months.... Most here call him into question before Month two??

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:48 am 
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Agree with Cyril (again) here. The cork sniffery regarding HCs coming from Falcon fans is laughable. Look at our track record. Remember how a coupel years back soem of us were wondering if the Cards hadn't made the better hire with Whisenhunt? He is looking a little less genius-like since K. Warner retired and, in all fairness, a lot of Smith's success is thanks to #2 but that is a reciprocal situation. Both flacco and Ryan were at the spear point of a trend of throwing rookie QBs into the mix but look what the sitrep was for Flacco relative to Ryan. Smith and TD have turned the ultimate s*** sandwich into a perenial contender albeit arguably a second tier contender.

As to in game adjustments, you hear all sorts of dif things but I recall once a vet player--who was not a Falcon--saying he only recalled once in his career did he recall a coach making a significant halftime adjustment and the coach was (drum roll) Dan Reeves. Now I know they go in the locker room and tweak at the very least and I'm not sure what he meant by "halftime adjustment" but that was a surprising comment. I think what he was saying was that at HT there is really only so much you can do after you've practiced all week and installed your game plan. I suspect that a grinding ground game and constant viewing of the home team have a lot to do with our perception that the staff doesn't make adjusments. Adjustments can be something as minuscule as the spacing between offensive linemen and very few of us pick up on that sort of thing. It's been said before--sometimes as a criticism and sometimes as praise--but Smith's managerial style reminds me of Bobby Cox a little. His players really like him because he protects them and is a straight shooter and he takes a long view approach--month to month and year to year. I think holding JJ out is an indicator of this approach. He generally errs on the side of caution. If Blank were to run him off--and I don't think he will--we'd be sorry....again.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Smith reminds me of Bobby Cox as well. While Bobby Cox is a great coach at getting a team through a season, when the postseason gets here, he's going to go 1 for 11. His coaching style ensures that you will consistently get there, but once there, the coaching style does not get the job done.

Here's the problem with that, you're still left with a sense of failure at the end of the season. If you're ok with that, fine. I would prefer to find a coach who's going to not only get us to the postseason, but will also get us to the superbowl and win it. I don't know if Smith can be that guy. I am pretty convinced that Mularkey is not going to get our offense there.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:31 pm 
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Like Fredi Gonzalez....oh, wait a minute. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:31 am 
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Again its coming from your point of view (or anyone's ) If your watching Tv and have direct Tv; you can say screw the Falcons this week, Ny is winning, or whatever....


Planning or spending 35 season's for the Falcons; I don't feel empty if we lose a playoff game.
(well I do if we haven't won one). Sure it hurts but I keep in perspective that
only 1 team had that special feeling of a Super Bowl!! Tomorrow I know we have a chance to go 7-4.... That's a huge game while others are putting it in the win column; I know better...... Then the next week we could go to 8-4, its BIGGER than the week before.

What I'm saying is all of these games for me are now playoff games!! I'll feel bad if we lose tomorrow, or the following week, but this is my
hobby and I can't let it be my life..... I want to win a Super Bowl and the one chance we had I did everything I could to go and enjoy the win,
but the feeling was not like I'd lost anything, it was I had gained an experience....

What Bobby Cox does and Mike Smith does can not be compared in my opinion...... You got to win a hell of a lot of baseball playoff games to win a World Series.....Bobby Cox will be in the Hall of Fame, we can only hope Mike Smith will be there too.

You're left with a sense of failure if we don't win a Super Bowl? I'm left with a since of accomplishment that we went as far as we could
while 25 teams didn't come close..... I've said this before and really hope some of the younger crew would take it to heart. Don't set your life up for failure; or disappointment!! You'll get your share anyway, but the joy of a football season and being in contention is not a right
or a privilege....Its earned from sticking to your team even in the bad times; and folks these are not bad times....!!

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:26 am 
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I agree with pretty much your entire sentiment, Cyril...but it requires something.

It requires that the you believe the team can win once it gets on that big stage. There are certain teams that are able to consistently get to the postseason (in various sports) but clearly can't win on that stage. Schottenheimer teams are notable. Conversely, there are teams that make it 1/2 the time, but are scary when they make it there...because everyone knows they could go all the way.

So, some people feel like the Falcons aren't doing what it takes to become a team that can win in the postseason. For them, just getting there isn't that helpful.

Some people feel that getting there puts everyone on equal footing...so, in that case, yeah, it's all great.

My take would be, I think the Falcons can win if they get there...but they're longshots. Rather than having the team have a guaranteed winning season for the next 10 yrs, but be a plodding, methodical, can't make mistakes or you'll lose team...I'd rather take a step back to take two steps forward and have a more dominating, aggressive team that has a very good shot of winning it each time they make it to the postseason.

Sometimes you have to get rid of mediocre to good parts to become great, discard pretty good schemes to become better...and some want that in order to feel getting there has a chance of going all the way.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:02 am 
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I agree!! Julio maybe helped in that direction, perhaps not?

I guess I was saying we get so wrapped up with our teams that we "sometimes forget" that their is not one thing any of us can do
to help. I don't think 4 years is enough time to get there, and my stance is when you get to the playoffs the Best Qb usually wins....

Then again you need a great pass rush and we don't have it, and I sincerely understand your point and everyone's on the fact we don't seem Superbowl bound this year.

I'm saying even though I know its not true; I think I'm going to a playoff game tomorrow. Should we win I'll be feeling like the next game is a bigger playoff game......Every game from here on in will be a playoff game for me......I mean the steaks are huge tomorrow. We can't
lose..... We can't lose again to be the South Champs again this year... Its more than possible!! I see people counting wins and loses that
haven't happened and I just don't understand....

I do understand what people wish for..... Those teams in Washington, & Dallas were good till their was a salary cap.....

I'm just saying everybody's going to lose but one. Yes we all want a better team; but their is hope..... Ryan is getting more options,
perhaps even will go to the 4 receiver set...... As Ryan gets better we'll get better and he's starting to look sharp except in the darn red zone. That "little extra" people wish for may never come; or we may be seeing it in the last few games this year....

That's why its a great sport; its not rigged and loses hurt, but the journey through the season; as in life; does have ups and downs;
and we have no guarantee's except death & taxes and Arthur wearing suits to the games (:

I'm saying we're in the wildcard hunt right now; and folks should appreciate it....BnB and I have seen us mathematically out of the hunt
by mid October; (and many of you have too,) so Count Your Blessings; and please don't decide what will happen until it happens!!

Superbowl or bust in a bad spot to be in when you have no control; as is every other hope..... I want that little extra too, but my experiences
have shown me you can get to the Super Bowl if you get hot at the right time. Its like we're at a restaurant and are just prying the cooks
and managers and servers are all on cue. I get it, but regardless if your young or old; it doesn't happen on our time table; and I'm just
sharing how I get excited about it right now!!

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:09 pm 
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I appreciate your excitement, Cyril.

I get excited too. I just want the team to be powerful enough that IF they get on a roll, that's enough to win. I think they're getting there.


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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:06 pm 
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Great posts, CF. I esp liked the line about not setting one's life up for dissappointment as you'll get enough of those anyway. Have fun with it. Laugh at the corny promotions and at yourself for being suckered in. This team is titilating and, as you say, I recall years where we were out of it before the season was even started up good. We're never going to be a Green Bay. Never. There's too much history but we could one day be another NE. Really. I remember when they absolutely sucked and when they came to town were one of the few teams I knew we'd beat. If the Saints can become a power anyone can.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:07 am 
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backnblack wrote:
. We're never going to be a Green Bay. Never..


not with that attitude :wink:

Part of the reason the Braves went 1-12 in the nineties wasnt because of lack of talent or execution. The team had dominating pitching and one of the finest regular season managers in place.

But the sad fact is that Bobby Cox would always,always,godd@mned ALWAYS leave in a player who was struggling in a key position ( pitching,slugging, etc) in the game too long and the other teams would take advantage of it. There were guys on the bench that could have come in. There were postseason adjustments other managers would make, but friend o-da-player Cox would ride and die with his guys:too many times to the detriment of the team. And that team had a decade long embarassment in the eighties so when we were perennially at the dance in the nineties that was the refrain we heard "dont you remember what this team was like BEFORE Cox got here? Just be grateful were here AT ALL".

Well, BNB you have told how getting to the postseason and flaming out so often just deadened you to the Braves. It did not have to be that way, and guys who criticised Saint Cox were called 'ungrateful'. Horshsh&t. :P

Everyone can see that Ryan calling audibles results in greater positive results then when Mularkey is driving. Everyone. Everyone except: Mike Smith.

But, Smitty is going to 'ride and die' with Mularkey just like Bobby Cox. Cox was overrated. I dont care if he is the 'winningest manager' or if he 'got to the postseason' or any of that shinola. Walks like a duck, its a duck. I am not ready to label the big 'O' the jury is out. Now, if we get to the playoffs and flame out, or miss the postseason:and next year were doing the same thing....THEN I have to say Mike Smith IS overrated.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:55 am 
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I don't recall having said that about the Braves, FG. More accuaretly, I think we all got spoiled by their making the post season year after year. I'd have to say that my interest has waned a bit because I quit playing softball and my son was no longer in Little League so it just wasn't quite as much a part of our daily lives. I've never been nor ever will be a Cox basher. Should he have won a couple more WS? Maybe. But I put that on players and not him and they did all get there in the first place. The biggest organizational mistakes they made, IMO, were Deion over Otis and, more importantly, trading Grissom and Justice for K. Lofton, etc. Was Marv Levy a bad coach? I don't think so. As to MM, I see the complaints but I also think he is working with the constraints of the talent he has. Of course, he and Smith and Dimitrof designed the team so if you want to criticize that I guess you could. I think the whole thing is evolving somewhat. Similar to the Justice trade, I think the JJ move was a bit of a blink.

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 Post subject: Re: The curious case of playcalling yesterday
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:23 pm 
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1 in 14 ( and the only 'one' ring was after a short strike season in the glory days of 'Roids) is pathetic. If it was 1 in 5, that's different. One in 14?!

Bobby Cox was terrible as a manager in post season. He sucked. He had the players, and the $$, and 'Roids.

The damned Rays in 97 knocked us out. Awful.

Bobby Cox might have been an animal lover. He might even sh*t roses. But one thing Bobby Cox was not was a 'good postseason' manager.

And Bobby Cox had more input with Schuerholtz and he provided Cox with weapons. Fred McGriff. K Lighnenbug.Estrada. And the Baby Braves:McCann Franceour, etc.

But because he won 14 pennants, he is beond reproach. I like Bobby, but he is what he was: a very overrated manager that couldnt get it done.

Now if this team evolves into 'well, we can make the playoffs every year and get bounced, or at least be in the mix' and everyone's happy because of how awful 2007 was, that smacks alot of 'well the Braves were awful when Ted owned 'em, look at how far Bobby took the team!'.

We will see how much more rope Ryan will get this week. It seemed like we used less no huddle yesterday but alot of that had to be TOP.

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