What if the Falcons had hired Singletary?

DIRTY BIRDLAND – Made it through the bye week!!!

San Francisco coach Michael Singletary.

San Francisco coach Michael Singletary.

Got to see the end of the Patriots win over Baltimore. Was running to the garage to listen to the end of the Browns vs. Bengals on Sirrus radio in the car. The Denver vs. Dallas game was boring. Doesn’t look like the Cowboys are going anywhere with Tony Romo as the QB. In the night game, the Super Bowl champs had a tough time finishing off the Chargers.

Now, it’s back to the Falcons. We can dig in for the long haul, starting with this San Francisco game.

The 49ers are 3-1 and coming off a 35-0 pasting of the woeful St. Louis Rams. The offense, defense and special teams all scored against the Rams.  It’s their best start since 2002, the last year they made the playoffs.

The biggest question about this game is what would have happened if Falcons owner Arthur Blank had hired Michael Singletary instead of Bobby Petrino back in 2007?

How many yards will Falcons running back Michael Turner rush for against San Francisco?

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One thing is certain, we would not have had this classic footage from last season when Singletary talked about being from the “old school” and wanting players who put the team first. Maybe he would have went off on DeAngelo Hall after his melt down in the Carolina game in 2007.

Singletary was a candidate after Petrino bolted for Arkansas, but the Falcons never called. Blank went in another direction and hired Thomas Dimitroff as the general manager and then Mike Smith as the head coach.

You couldn’t find a good “football reason” why Singletary would not make a good head coach. He played for Iron Mike Ditka. He was the anchor of those strong Chicago Bear defenses of the 1980s. His “old-school”  approach to the game is what a lot of these young players need.

About the only thing circulating in the media was that he had a large family and that didn’t allow him to spend 36 hours a day at the office. That sleeping on the couch stuff might be  overrated.  If you have excellent organizational skills and a talented staff, there shouldn’t be a need to spend the night in the building.

Singletary was a fierce player.

Singletary was a fierce player.

It was just a matter of time before Singletary got one of the NFL’s 32 jobs.

Seven games into last season, Singletary, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, took over in San Francisco. His motivational talks have been a part of the 49ers’ turnaround.

If Singletary had landed the Falcons job, he would have been the one dealing with the Michael Vick dog fighting case. He’d probably would have had the same disastrous season that was waiting for Petrino. He likely, wouldn’t have left for Arkansas.

Where things would have taken a different path would have been over that offseason. Singletary may have had the swing vote in the Glenn Dorsey vs. Matt Ryan draft day drama.

It’s reasonable to conclude that former linebacker would have gone defense and Ryan would be the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs right now. Oakland, had taken JaMarcus Russell earlier and probably still would have picked Darren McFadden in 2008.

But history took a different path and things appear to be working out for both franchises.

What do you think would have happened if the Falcons had hired Singletary? Would he have pulled his pants down and said the team was getting their butts kick in 2007? Would the Falcons have gone to the playoffs last season?

97 comments Add your comment

Rex D

October 5th, 2009
8:08 am

Matty Ice was not a sure bet #1 or even top 3 . . . So you are right, the coach/organization would have had the discretion to go with their choice . . . I think he would have taken Dorsey . . . So given Ryan’s impact and future, I think it worked out that we went the direction we did . . . That said, obviously Singletary has done wonders since he became the 49ers head coach

Scott

October 5th, 2009
8:08 am

I think he would have hired Mularkey. I think we would have still drafted Ryan and moved to a 3-4. With Grady Jackson and Trey Lewis rotating at NT, Jamaal Anderson and Chauncey Davis at DE’s, Brooking and Lofton at ILB and with Abraham and Boley as the OLB’s. We would have gone to the playoffs with the same offense, but maybe the defense would have been better. We also would have actually been aggresive on D.

FalconUGAFan

October 5th, 2009
8:18 am

I suspect he would draft Ryan or Flacco too. We needed a new field general. With that said, I have a huge amount of respect for Singletary. Not sure why he wasn’t seriously considered, but it worked out for both clubs. I’m real excited to see the game.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 5th, 2009
8:39 am

Good start RexD, Scott and FalconUGAFan. You all stayed with the topic. Today, I’ll moderate heavily to make sure we stay on topic. It will be a tough day for a folks who can’t color inside of the lines.

Have to drive out the Branch and will check back in before the 11:10 a.m. practice.

Blue Fender

October 5th, 2009
8:49 am

We shouldn’t ask “What could have been” and should focus on what will be. We’re going in the right direction as an organization. Let’s focus on winning and kick the Niner’s butts. GO FALCONS!

mountain_jim

October 5th, 2009
8:59 am

Congrats to Singletary, and we will see who is the better coach and staff for at least this week later this week.

I want to see Ryan throwing more long and deep routes like last year, and Roddy needs to hold on to the ball.If we can’t do better to stop the run, a winning season may still be difficult with this schedule. Hated losing Jerry. I hope coach Smith learned his lesson, punting on 4th and 6 from around their 40 to a great offense down 2 scores and not seeing the ball again. That was his worst decision as our coach, in my opinion. Our DE’s can’t seem to overcome all the newly-allowed offensive holding this year, Abe is getting held every play but no call.
The officials helped New England again this week, spotting the ball to kill a go-for-4th first down they gave up. Baltimore should have challenged the spot if possible.

Eman

October 5th, 2009
9:00 am

We probably have a coach that is aggressive and a great defence no matter youth!!!

siskel_god

October 5th, 2009
9:07 am

I definitely think Ryan would have still been the pick because Arthur wanted to move on and have no lingering questions about the qb spot. It’s tough to say how we would have faired because Smitty and TD seem to work great together, would TD be the GM now or would McKay get another crack at it? If the personnel were the same I think the results would be the same because Smitty and Mike seem to be similar. Both guys may just be a flash in the pan or maybe both will end up being the next greats, but if I had to guess I would put my money on Mike Singletary because he really seems to be winning with less talent and is commited to running the ball and defense/special teams where the Falcons are getting a little to cute right now on offense and seem to be more interested in being the Colts when they need to be like the Steelers.

dl

October 5th, 2009
9:18 am

Hey D-You deleted my comment (although It was wasn’t racially divisive or offensive) Having said that, i hope you keep the same vigilance towards the “usual suspects” and you know who they are. As far as your column, like I stated earlier, why stir the pot!

dl

October 5th, 2009
9:21 am

Bill Heller

October 5th, 2009
9:31 am

I don’t see a huge difference between what Singletary and Smith stress to their players – but look at the Saints! They look like the team we thought the Falcons would be.

Glenn

October 5th, 2009
9:46 am

The Petrino hire was all about hiring someone that could maximize Vicks talents . Mike Singletary is winning with Shaun Hill . We probably would have drafted Glen Dorsey & Joey Harrington or Chris Redman would be our starting qb . We probably would be winning as well . I really like Mike Singletary but lets not go overboard . The season is only a quarter over & this is his first full season . The Rams might not win a game this year .

midnite

October 5th, 2009
9:59 am

I’m reasonably sure Singletary interviewed with the Falcons when little Jimmy Mora was hired. What might have been? Maybe Singletary could have saved Mike Vick from himself.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 5th, 2009
9:59 am

What if the Falcons hired Lovie Smith instead of Jim Moron?

Singletary Admirer

October 5th, 2009
10:20 am

If the Falcons had hired a top-notch guy like Singletary to such a high-profile position as Head Coach, the Dome would go back to being overrun with thugz, freeloaders, jive talkers, hoodlums and scumbags just like it was in the days of “The Dog Killer.”

If Mr. Singletary actually coached the Falcons AND lived here in Atlanta, his home would be overrrun with thugz, degenerates, hangers-on, losers, freeloaders, jive talkers, hoodlums and deadbeats claiming to be his “cousin.”

Don’t believe it? Just ask Chris Tucker.

Be glad you are NOT coaching here, Mr. Singletary.

TheManMike

October 5th, 2009
10:23 am

I think we came out on top with the Smith/Dimitroff pick. The long haul is their vision.

I saw the 49ers game yesterday and was less than impressed by the “motivational” speech Sing gave the team at halftime, as shown on TV. Maybe it was a dumb-down version since he knew he was on TV, but it was way less then special and far from motivational. Smth has that FIRE.

Go Falcons

tom shoupe

October 5th, 2009
10:28 am

Enter your comments here this debate/discussion is for those who have nothing better to do with their time!

Confused and Curious

October 5th, 2009
10:37 am

If we had a head coach that was leading us nowhere, I would understand this point. At the time, I wanted Singletary over Mora or Petrino. I really never wanted Petrino in the first place, I have always liked defensive head coaches. But, we have a very skilled coach who is a football man and who is leading us to what I think will be great things. I just don’t understand why we are asking what ifs about the good stuff. If you really want to do what ifs, talk about who the Falcons could have gotten at #8 in 2007 instead.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 5th, 2009
10:46 am

dl: you went off topic. We’ll stay on topic today.

It was a pivotal point for the franchise under Blank (who was burning through coaches.. Worthy of discussing. We’ll get back to football after we talk to the players today during open locker room.

It’s raining lightly up here in the Branch. They might practice in the Georgia Force barn today.

Tale of Woe

October 5th, 2009
11:12 am

He reminds me of Mora. He can win for a season on emotion…Lets see him do it over a couple of seasons.

please...

October 5th, 2009
11:31 am

Simply stated, we would be sitting here with a pedestrian Glenn Dorsey and the Go-Dawg fanatics calling for the rise of DJ Shockley.

Pete

October 5th, 2009
11:54 am

Mike Smith spent his ENTIRE football life……..college and Pro on Defense also so he and Singletary have the same pedigree. Dimitroff was the key in landing Ryan, I believe.
As a coach I like both Smith and Singletary. Smith is much more laid back and less likely to over react. Singletary can motivate players better I’m sure.
A toss up.

Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
12:01 pm

“What if we had hired Singletary”?

We shall find out this Sunday when that defense rips Matty Ice a new one!

James

October 5th, 2009
12:02 pm

Singletary as falcons head coach means possible a good defense,team playing hard,taking chances to win,confidence and I think Superbowl bound instantly.Singletary will bring the best out of his players and this why I think on Sunday the 49ers big over the falcons.49ers 34 to 17 over falcons.Now if the falcons head coach and staff have balls this weekend then falcons will take the 49ers.This game will boil down to which team coaches the best and which defense is more aggressive.

PoliticalMan

October 5th, 2009
12:06 pm

Petrino was hired because he was supposedly an offensive smart guy. What he really did was rankle all of his players. Singletary would have done better regardless of the Vick situation. I wonder who made the final decision to hire Petrino. That person(s) was looking at all the wrong things.

Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
12:11 pm

Who has the best chance of winning their division?

Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
12:13 pm

If you can’t run against the Patriots, you really think you will have much success on the road in San Fran?

Ask Adrian Peterson and he’s the best back in the league.

FalconsFan

October 5th, 2009
12:15 pm

Reality Check, no defense to date has ripped Ryan a new one. But good try at knocking the Falcons. lol

Steve C

October 5th, 2009
12:32 pm

I love all of the 20/15 hindsight and foresight of all of the posters here. I was sitting in Stats downtown during the draft when we drafted Ryan isntead of Dorsey, and the place was all boo birds. However, I think that the crystal clear hindsight will tell us that we made the right pick. There are very few defensive tackles that make a significant impact in their first couple of years; look at Mario Williams and even Albert Haynesworth, they each had only 1 sack their first full year. If we had taken Dorsey instead of Ryan and Miami had taken Ryan, we would have the SAME people on here criticizing the Falcons for NOT taking Ryan. Matt is the right guy at the right time to kick start this team and this town.

With that being said, I have a deep seated loathing for San Fran after watching Montana/Young/Rice/Craig kick out tails all over the field back in the 80’s. I hope we takie it to them and punch them in the mouth early and keep our foot on the gas the whole game.

Rodster

October 5th, 2009
12:45 pm

if Singletary had gotten the job instead of Petrino we’d of been rid of that dumba$$ DeAngelo Hall one year sooner.

Rodster

October 5th, 2009
12:47 pm

But I also add I’m glad it worked out like it did. We’re better off now. Get behind the team and be real fans for a change.

Top Dawg

October 5th, 2009
12:48 pm

I would have been more than fine with them hiring Mike Singletary. However, in hindsight, I am glad they did not. You simply cannot beat the Dmitroff/Smith tandem. Plus, anything that would have swayed us away from picking Matt Ryan is obviously num-skullish (with the benefit of hindsight, of course).

F-105 Thunderchief

October 5th, 2009
1:00 pm

I think both will be fine head coaches. I think the Falcons finally got it right after Mora and Putrido.

Bam! Zap! Ka-powie!

Bubba

October 5th, 2009
1:12 pm

I don’t think Blank was mature enough to hire an old-schooler like Singletary. Mora, Vick et. al. were more style than substance. Blank was looking for a new ringleader for the circus. I think Blank had to have some stupid knocked out him in order to see that gimmicks don’t make good football teams. Of course, Arthur would have known that had he studied more in depth the Glanville Era, but I digress. Arthur naturally is interested in putting fannies in the seats, and he fed the masses with style but no substance. Singletary wouldn’t play that. Petrino showed Arthur what you get when you put style over substance.

No, Arthur needed to get smart first. Singletary was a year too early.

WyoJacket

October 5th, 2009
1:24 pm

Singletary woulda been a hell of a pick but without a doubt Whisenhunt would have been the best pick. Oh well, it’s too bad Petrino was such an abortion but at least that lead to Smitty and Dimitrof and they are dong a helluva job, couldn’t be happier with the direction they are taking the Falcons.

Joe

October 5th, 2009
1:29 pm

I think the team would be in the same position it is in now if we had Coach Singletary. I would take either one Coach Smith or Coach Singletary you really can’t go wrong either way.

eazy

October 5th, 2009
1:40 pm

Enter your comments here MATTY GARBAGE

Huge Falcon Fan

October 5th, 2009
1:42 pm

I would have been in favor of hiring Singletary at the time, but I believe things have worked out fine with the Smith hiring. It may be early to compare the two coaches, but I think we are definitely headed in the right direction. I hope with a defensive background that Smitty has, he will build a strong defense here and he probably will. Grown men usually respond better when you treat them like men which Smitty does. The motivational talks can probably only go so far…time will tell who will build the better team.

Stu

October 5th, 2009
1:59 pm

What if Spiderman joined the Fantastic 4? What if that QB didn’t drink himself to death? What if Jammal Anderson’s thighs weren’t too big for his knees? What if Cris Miller hadn’t of thrown the ball into the ground so he could protect himself as he fell blowing the fourth down play? . . . . . What if the government didn’t’ create an unsustainable empire and make political promises it can’t keep?

what if….?

Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
1:59 pm

Let’s see……

The Saints have the division wrapped up……….

There are too many good teams to win the wild card………..

The Niners are in 1st place………….

I think I rather be a niner…………….

Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
2:04 pm

Falcons headed in the right direction……..hmmmmm

Lets take a look at that way of thinking…………..

—Haven’t won a playoff game since 2004

—Saints will win the division running away

—Either the Giants, Eagles, Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, San Francisco, Arizona or Seattle will get the wild cards

—Another season of no playoffs or wins

If you like failure, then yes this team is looking great for the future!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

The Falcons practiced outdoors in the light rain. It was a very San Franciso-like day, weather-wise. Open locker room was productive and team was in good spirits coming off the bye.

HERBIE

October 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

REALITY CHECK YOU ARE A MORON, IDIOT AND A LOSER!!!!!

ron mexico

October 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

san franscisco has always been my second favorite team. i think the falcons would have taken a step in the right direction with him, and they have taken a good step hiring smith. i would take either one of those guys.

tanker

October 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

what does the Oakland Raiders have to do with this story? You are a joke!!!!! You are a football writer and you don’t even have NFL package on Directv, you have to listen to games on the radio in your car? LOSER!!!!!!

Reality Check for Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

The Saints have the division wrapped up? Wow…4 weeks in…this man must be a prophet. Hard to ‘wrap up’ any division when you’ve yet to face a division opponent. wait…who HAVE they faced? Lets see…Detroit (no comment), a McNabb-less Eagles, Buffalo (again, no comment), and an over-hyped Jets team with a rookie QB overdue for a wake-up call on the road. I’m gonna go ahead and say – I’m not impressed. LOOONG way to go yet. Lets talk on Nov 2nd.

tanker

October 5th, 2009
2:22 pm

Mr. Ledbetter you look andsound like you should be at a black panther rally

Singletary

October 5th, 2009
2:28 pm

I was always a (wish he was my cousin) Singletary fan. I also ask myself the question “what if we’d hired GA-native Whisenhunt.” NOT COMPLAINING about where we are, but not going through 13 games with Pig-Suey (’trino) would not have been the worst thing in the world.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 5th, 2009
2:35 pm

Thank you Mr. Ledbetter for not deleting my entire post, but only editing out the portion that was mildly critical of you.

Reality Check for Reality Check

October 5th, 2009
2:41 pm

I must be stupid, because The Jets beat the Patriots who beat the crap out of us :)