Atlanta Falcons: Shrugging off skeptics

They loved Matty Ice at Clifton Elementary. (Photo: Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

They loved Matty Ice at Clifton Elementary. (Photo: Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The students and faculty at Clifton Elementary School were uninhibited in their enthusiasm for the Falcons who dropped by Tuesday for a surprise visit.

The exuberance for the team seems to be more measured among NFL watchers.

The Falcons are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history and the only team in the NFC with a perfect record. Their star players get their due, and various media power rankings have them near the top.

Yet there might be nagging skepticism about the Falcons’ staying power, as illustrated during ESPN’s pregame show Sunday. Studio analysts answered the question that probably is on the minds of more than a few Falcons fans.

Can you trust this team?

“Sounds good … smells bad,” Keyshawn Johnson said.

“Unless you win in the playoffs, you’re going to be known as ‘next year’s champions,’” Mike Ditka said.

Johnson and Ditka made their comments before the Falcons defeated the Redskins, but it’s doubtful that the victory changed their views. The proof will come in the playoffs for the Falcons, who have provided plenty of reasons to doubt them after they flopped in three of the past four postseasons.

Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson said the team doesn’t talk much about such skepticism, but called it “a good thing.”

“I would rather be the underdog team or the team that everybody is doubting vs. a team that everybody is pampering and pumping it up,” he said. “Inside that locker room, we know what we have to do.”

The Falcons have to keep winning games to secure their third consecutive playoff berth. Winning the NFC South is a goal, too, because it would assure them at least one postseason game at the Georgia Dome.

Quarterback Matt Ryan said the Falcons’ recent playoffs failures serve to remind them that they can’t be satisfied just because they are winning now.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We have players and guys that have been around for a long time and understand what it is that we need to do. And, at the same time, I think we have guys that feel like we haven’t played our best football yet.”

The contrast between the Falcons’ regular-season success and postseason failures has forged their reputation.

Since Ryan, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008, the Falcons are tied for the second-most victories in the NFL. But in the postseason the Falcons haven’t measured up to the other teams in the top five in victories since then: New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

“I don’t really think about it too much or worry about what the outside perception is,” Ryan said. “For us, as players and being a part of the team, it’s just all about trying to win games and giving ourselves a chance at the end of the year.”

Falcons players and staffers fanned out in the area Tuesday for the annual NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle, a league-wide volunteer program. The Falcons said they had full participation among their players.

At Clifton, Falcons players, cheerleaders and the team mascot participated in a physical-education class with students. Team owner Arthur Blank couldn’t join them as planned because of a scheduling conflict.

294 comments Add your comment

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

Who knew Gosden (12:15P) and Correll (1:55P) were alive and still posting on the AJC Blogs? Just goes to prove that cryogenics might actually work! Minstrel shows for folks stuck in the past, hello to Falcons Blog!

Larry

October 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

RC,

He didn’t have his best game but if Julio catches that first bomb he has a 400+ yard game concluding with a great couple of drives in the 4th Quarter. That’s a great game by any QB! Plus, Washington played back the entire game and this the 52 short passes.

Go check the performances of other elite QB’s this past weekend and tell me how many we’re better?

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

Kaboom!!!!!!!! Wow someone dropped the bomb on someone!
5-0

Esquire

October 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

RC Thielmann
October 10th, 2012
2:30 pm

The most concerned I have been thru these first 5 games was on Sun. when Ryan looked like the deer in headlights (scared) Ryan from previous years.

*****************************************************

I’ve never seen that.

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

Still dont know what JSS is talking about……..
5-0

coleski

October 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

Lets not be counting our chickens before they hatch. Lets play each game as it comes, not get carried away with about 1/3 of the season played. There are tough games ahead. NY Philly Dallas
also two games with the Saints. Then there,s Detroit. And Tampa Bay has given the Falcons a lot of trouble. As I have said about the Falcons many times in the past, one thing you can depend on is
that you can,t depend on the Falcons. I have been let down many times since the Falcons started
in 1966. I think folks need to temper their thinking just a little bit. GO FALCONS!!!

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

Someone=Larry/Someone=JSS
@coleski…..not getting carried away….but we
5-0
we clebrating not losing a game and looking good!

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:46 pm

Larry, you wouldn’t know “positive” unless it was stuck to a test at a Health clinic! You’re scared as you were when you went on your prison rape rant… Sugar coating it hasn’t changed you… Bitter, yeah right, you know all about that word, in deeds and action…

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
2:46 pm

If you don’t feed it, it will die. J S S is the sad old troll we all hate. Just act like he isn’t there. I mean, who the hell cares what he has to say anyway? The blog is for Falcon Fans. I’m lovin the Coons and it’s great to be a real fan right now. I want them to go to the Super Bowl like everyone does, but I love the fact that they are relevent, and find ways to win, and stomp the crap out of some teams, ie @ KC, @ Bolts. Go away J S S, get a life. Please!

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:49 pm

Larry, how does it feel to be like a momma opossum with all of those fleas clinging to you for support?

Esquire

October 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

coleski
October 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

Lets not be counting our chickens before they hatch. Lets play each game as it comes, not get carried away with about 1/3 of the season played. There are tough games ahead. NY Philly Dallas
also two games with the Saints. Then there,s Detroit. And Tampa Bay has given the Falcons a lot of trouble. As I have said about the Falcons many times in the past, one thing you can depend on is
that you can,t depend on the Falcons. I have been let down many times since the Falcons started
in 1966. I think folks need to temper their thinking just a little bit. GO FALCONS!!!
****************************************************
Don’t be pessimistic, just enjoy this team.

Larry

October 10th, 2012
2:50 pm

coleski,

Agreed!

Let’s enjoy the six month (July-January) journey, shall we?

The hopeful conclusion to this journey will be just 60 minutes of football in New Orleans and this will go by like a blur!

May we all live one precious day (game) at a time…tomorrow is not promised!

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

Oh, it is Sybil, how’s the world of multiple user-names today? You still having a problem suppressing that dominate psychotic personality?

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:52 pm

@JSS
in snoops words….
Fizzsize and ozzzzzis
In other words 5-0!

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

Larry

October 10th, 2012
2:53 pm

JSS,

Infinitely better than being universally disliked.

Tell me, what is it that so angers you?

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

Folks relax this ZERO/JSS is part of the AJC system, if not he/she should be —- it’s like selling news papers on this blog, you haven’t figured that out yet, whats up???

Just ask him if likes “Pawn Shops” ;)

Go Falcons —- Yea Boy “Carson Palmer” is coming town

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

ha ha, dude, stick to Pat Boone…

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:55 pm

And I am angry that everyone stole my name for you…..
LITTLE ANGRY MAN
Told you 1000’s of times its not us……its you
5-0!

Esquire

October 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

Answer This
October 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

Still dont know what JSS is talking about……..
***************************************************************
Nobody ever does. If he would just drop down to our level we could communicate.

Buddy Landel

October 10th, 2012
2:57 pm

JSS

October 10th, 2012
2:52 pm
Oh, it is Sybil, how’s the world of multiple user-names today? You still having a problem suppressing that dominate psychotic personality?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dominate, or dominant?

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

@True Falcon Fan
You know I said that before…..my point was a little different
I said it was like wrestling….they plant him on here to be the bad guy!

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
3:00 pm

Here comes the “DOOooUuude —- he loves Grant Park too —- he’s a Grant Park DOOoouuDe dont cha know!

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
3:00 pm

2:58 Could be

Answer This

October 10th, 2012
3:02 pm

They kicking off in the English Blog Professors Angus today….thats you I am talking about JSS…dominate….well you know!

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:02 pm

Look at Francis the Mule and Private Snafu trying to be blog psychologists… Sorry a geographically illiterate and fantasy realm play attachment is your game… As far as the Opossum, your little blog fantasy life carries the whole “universe” now? Ha ha, nothing like a Larry “fantasy” moment to add humor to a day…

Kudos

October 10th, 2012
3:03 pm

Larry, that was a great series of post. I especially like it when JSS loses sel control and starts a blog name calling tantrum. Geez, does he not know how stupid people make him look ?? hahahahahaha

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
3:04 pm

Just ask him how feels about the psychiatrist group known as S&W at “The Pawn Shop” in Canton, Ga — jsu down the street house his mommas house — ;)

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:05 pm

Landell…
Cheyenne Vegas says your check bounced (again)… Blog it like a champion…

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
3:08 pm

Falcon Fans…. Wake Up! According to J S S, 5 – 0 is really bad. You should not be fired up, motivated or excited. We are only going to fail in the end. He is sooo much smarter than we are. You do not have the right to be a fan. A perfect record means nothing. Don’t be stupid. 5-0 is nothing to rally around. There are at least 1 other 5-0 team. It’s NO BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!

DR. FALCON

October 10th, 2012
3:11 pm

YOU HAVE TO CRAWL, BEFORE YOU WALK! IT’S GOOD TO BE 5-0! LET’S ENJOVY THE REGULAR SEASON, AND SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT, BEFORE WORRYING ABOUT THE POSTSEASON! THIS IS A SPECIAL TEAM! MIKE DITKA, SHOULD KNOW BETTER! “ONE GAME AT A TIME”, IS A COACHING STAPLE! SCREW THE NAYSAYERS! I’D RATHER BE 5-0, THAN 1-4, (SEE: THE SAINTS)!

Eric C.

October 10th, 2012
3:11 pm

Funny, of the first 125 comments, a quick find reveals that 40 comments were either from or directed to JSS…and add this one to the list. Dude, are you sure you don’t work for the AJC? Good entertainment.

J S S

October 10th, 2012
3:11 pm

O K, Yo Vince is right. I am a small idiot. Falcons are having the best year in there history. You should be excited. I am weak and sad.

Barry

October 10th, 2012
3:13 pm

Hey Y’all:

ONE GAME AT A TIME. That’s all. We just “KICK BUTT”, ONE GAME AT A TIME. AND HAVE “DAMN FUN” DOING IT!! This week, it’s the Raiders, in “OUR HOUSE!!”. We are not taking any PRISONERS. I am more than confident our FALCONS are PLANNING and SCHEMING in the SLICK and NASTY ways in how they are going to “DISECT” and “DESTROY” these Raiders in “ONE HEARTBEAT!!”. We, “THE FANS” will be there. We will be at the Georgia Dome; in our local SPORTS BARS, and at HOME, cheering and screaming for our FALCONSat the top of our lungs shouting “RISE UP!!” and “ONE HEARTBEAT, BABY!!” while we are “THUMPING” those Raiders in “ONE HEARTBEAT!! THIS IS OUR TEAM!!! THIS OUR CITY!!!. THIS IS OUR STATE!! WE ARE: “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”. AND YOU ARE IN “OUR HOUSE!!” Therefore, “Naysayers”, and you negative talkers, ‘GET OF THE BUS!!’, GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE , FIND YOUR OWN,and WALK HOME. You don’t live here!!!. IT’”S TIME TO WALK YOUR SORRY BUTT HOME IN “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”. This is “OUR HOUSE!!”. and it’s time for our FALCONS to “KICK BUTT!!” WE OWE IT TO ALL THE TEAMS IN THE NFL. “TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!”, especially in “OUR HOUSE!!!!

NOW!! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!???? I DAMN SURE AM!!! I AM READY IN “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”". THUMP!!! Can you hear it??? THUMP!!! It’s GETTING LOUDER!!!! THUMP!!! THUMP!!! …………!!!!,

GO FALCONS!!!

THE “PROCESS” CONTINUES!!!!

“FALCONS, RISE UP!!!” WE “RISE UP!!” IN “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!!!

SSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a FALCON FAN!!! TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!

………………………”ONE HEARTBEAT, BABY!!!!!!!……………………

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:13 pm

Francis the Mule and Answer nothing are the reason people think abstinence is a form of birth control process that works for everyone… But still, they were born anyway…

Eric C.

October 10th, 2012
3:14 pm

You have to think that once Ryan gets a playoff win, the floodgates will open.

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:16 pm

(FAKE) J S S (Check Yo Vince’s multiple IDs and IP address)
October 10th, 2012
3:11 pm
“O K, Yo Vince is right. I am a small idiot. Falcons are having the best year in there history. You should be excited. I am weak and sad.”

Like a leaky heart valve, he’s killing himself again…

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
3:17 pm

JSS — you ever try “STUBS” BBQ sauce, man it’s good one too!

DR. FALCON

October 10th, 2012
3:17 pm

RAIDER NATION, IS IN DEEP TROUBLE! WE WILL TAKE OUR FRUSTRATIONS OUT ON OAKLAND, AT THE DOME! MAYBE, GOING 6-0, WILL PUT THE WORLD ON NOTICE, THAT THIS YEAR’S FALCONS TEAM SHOULD BE REPECTED! FALCONS WILL ROUT OAKLAND!

DR. FALCON

October 10th, 2012
3:22 pm

GREAT COMMENTARY, BARRY! COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF! FALCON FANS WILL “RISE UP”! AS FOR JSS, FIND A HOLE TO CRAWL IN! IN FACT, GET OVER THERE IN A CORNER WITH FELLOW LOSERS: SEENTHISB4, AND HIRAMSAINT!

True Falcon Fan

October 10th, 2012
3:23 pm

Yo Doctor — We will always be earning “RESPECT” until this team wins playoffs/SB!!!!

LOL at The Aints

October 10th, 2012
3:23 pm

Well, i see JSS has his boxers in a bunch,, great job fellas!

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
3:28 pm

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:29 pm

Commando… When yours finally distends, you can lose the panties…

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
3:31 pm

It’s great to see Barrys’ post. That’s what I’m talkin about. Thanks JSS for finally being honest about how small and weak you are. We knew it already

JSS

October 10th, 2012
3:35 pm

“We” like on Sundays… Ha ha, yeah sheep (Vince), baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaa!!!

DC Dirty Bird

October 10th, 2012
3:36 pm

I see the trolls are out ruining a perfectly good football blog. Remember folks….it takes two to argue. ON TO FOOTBALL!

I think its very easy to find holes in our defense. I can remember when it was said that the Packers couldn’t get to the SB because they couldn’t run the ball. I don’t recall the Cardinals having a lock down run stopping defense when they went to the SB. At the end of the day, once you get in the playoffs, its about match-ups. Two years ago, pass defense was our achilles heel and Green Bay ate us up. Can we repeat what the Cardinals did? Will we be matched up with a team that has our number? NYG gave up 150 to SF in the NFC Championship, but somehow won the game.

Our offense is the key to winning our first playoff game under this regime. If we can put points on the board, force teams to pass, we’ll be in perfect position to advance in the tourney.

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
3:41 pm

Wow, that really burns JSS. You are just so witty! If I ever get as sad, small and weak as JSS, would someone please kill me?

Yo Vince

October 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

JSS … I got the small label from your wife. She said it’s weak and sad too!

Eric C.

October 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

Most glaring weakness…Falcons giving up 5.4 YPC thus far.