John Clayton has officially downed the Atlanta Kool-Aid, as is evident in a recent ESPN.com article. Based on this latest article (and others) by Clayton, I'm pretty sure that ESPN is shifting it's love affair from the Saints to the Falcons. I just hope it pays off as well for Atlanta as it did for N.O.
"General manager Thomas Dimitroff comes from the Bill Belichick school of evaluators and has quickly established himself as one of the league's better personnel minds." Clayton continues, "Mike Smith is the perfect head coach for Atlanta. A brilliant defensive coach, Smith hired a great staff and won over players by being honest and establishing a consistent voice."
Clayton also goes on to list "five things other than Ryan that make the Falcons a winner."
1. "Improving Defense" - HAHA!!! You've got to be kidding, right? Well, I guess to be fair, it would be hard to get much worse. Their "big" pickup for leadership is Mike Peterson...a guy who was benched by Jack Del Rio for insubordination last year in Jacksonville.
2. "This team can really run" - Turner/Norwood will give the Falcons a solid 1-2 punch, sure. They still aren't even the best running duo in the division. I'd much rather have Williams/Stewart on my side.
3. Solid offensive line - Not bad, but I don't see any Pro Bowlers on that roster.
4. "Development of Harry Douglas" - I thought we weren't going to look at Matt Ryan's weaons in this list. Sure, the offense will be alright. Ryan is a capable QB, and that running-back duo is okay too. I don't think Harry Douglas will truly be that big of a factor this year.
5. "Underestimated D-line" - It's hard NOT to underestimate this defensive line. Abraham is supposed to be the stud there, and he's only solid for about 20 snaps a game. Anderson is a joke, and Babineaux is a rotational DT at best. I guess a lot of hope is in the Peria Jerry camp. Good luck there! He's already gotten hurt (since the draft) and he spent a lot of his college career injured.
As a University of Tennessee fan, I'm already programmed to disagree with most of what ESPN has to say. This is another no-brainer for me! I cannot wait to see John Clayton backtrack after his swing-and-miss on this one.
Face it John, "THE FALCONS SUCK!!!"