Dimitroff is playing a dangerous game

In the past two weeks, the Falcons have politely folded up Keith Brooking, Lawyer Milloy, Grady Jackson, Michael Boley and Domonique Foxworth and left them on the front porch like used sweaters for the Salvation Army.

That’s the thing about having one great season: Nobody is going to say general manager Thomas Dimitroff has goofed because his transcripts are still Harvard-grade. His team just orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. His benefit of the doubt isn’t anywhere close to expiring.

But at the very least, Dimitroff is playing a dangerous game.

Locker-room chemistry and leadership are important commodities in any sport but particularly the NFL, where a hard salary cap limits depth and the number of veterans a team can carry. Say what you want about how little we expected from the Falcons last season, even after Dimitroff’s first veteran bloodletting (Warrick Dunn, Alge Crumpler, Rod Coleman, et. al): Keeping Milloy and Brooking at least ensured some veteran stability on the defensive side of the ball.

The Falcons have failed to re-sign five veteran free agents. What do you think they should have done?

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But look at what this latest sweep has created. Five defensive regulars are gone, and the one returning starter whom everybody suddenly seems to be counting on to lead the masses is linebacker Curtis Lofton.

Kind of seems like a lot to put on a 22-year-old coming off his rookie season, doesn’t it?

“I texted Curtis and told him he’s the guy on defense now,” Brooking said Wednesday during a farewell news conference at owner Arthur Blank’s home office.

Dimitroff will rely heavily on the draft. That tends to be the smart course of action in the NFL. Owners who operate their team like they’re in a fantasy league tend to implode. (Unfortunately, Brooking just signed with one of them: Dallas.) But Dimitroff also must know that New England, the model organization he came from, makes a point annually to dot its roster with veterans.

 

Many question what Keith Brooking has left physically, but nobody can doubt his passion or leadership.

Many question what Keith Brooking has left physically, but nobody can doubt his passion or leadership.

A lot of things went right for the Falcons last season. Logic dictates they aren’t likely to live such a charmed existence next season. Matt Ryan threw a touchdown pass on the first play of 2008. That set the tone for what became four months of nirvana.

But often after such magical seasons, reality sets in. Schedules get more difficult. Opponents approach you differently. Game plans spontaneously combust.

 

Ask New Orleans. Ask Seattle. Ask, well, the Falcons.

Individually, losing Brooking, Milloy, Jackson, Boley or Foxworth probably isn’t that big of a deal. Collectively, they leave a black hole. Dimitroff is counting on too many things going right. John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux are nice players. But guys who will jump on a table and take charge if things start to go south? Not likely.

 

Lawyer Milloy led a young secondary last season, but he is likely to sign with Seattle.

Lawyer Milloy led the Falcons' young secondary last season, but he is expected to sign with Seattle soon.

Brooking acknowledges the obvious: He’s not the same player physically he was as a rookie in 1998. But he said he still brings the Cowboys “the ability to be a leader by example, vocally if I have to. I can pull the young guys to the side and teach them what it takes to be successful in the NFL.”

He called the Falcons’ decision to part with five veterans “significant.” But he believes in Lofton and in the leadership of coach Mike Smith

Maybe he really believes they’ll be OK. Then again, it’s not exactly in his nature to publicly second-guess anybody, particularly an organization whose owner just hosted his goodbye press conference

But come September, a number of guys in the Falcons’ locker room are going to be looking at each other, waiting to see who jumps on a table — and a few of the candidates were left on the porch.

166 comments Add your comment

Sage of Bluesland

March 4th, 2009
8:10 pm

Give me a break, Jeff–you’re dead wrong on our precious Hometown Hero being any sort of “leader”. Funny, when DeAngelo was imploding for all to see in 2007 against the Panthers at home, where was our local-boy-done-good then? It was Alge Crumpler–off the bench–who was trying to calm the idiotic corner down. Brooking was nowhere to be seen.

Brooking sits alone on the bench, too. Have you SEEN it?

But, he sure does give a ‘rah-rah’ pre- and post-game speech to the news media, doesn’t he?

Keith Brooking is such a joke–and he always has been. I just don’t know what this team will do without him…Stop foisting this fraud down our throats. It’s offensive.

When the Cowboys–and their fans–realize what an ankle-grabbing, pile-jumping, instinctless oaf of a linebacker on their team, will you write about how wrong you were? I beg of you: Please stop with the emotional pity-party over Keith Brooking. It’s over.

Ole Man Bourbon

March 4th, 2009
8:16 pm

Dmitroff is making difficult decisions to win rather than the easy decisions to please. Have to admire that, whether it works or not. It’s idling and hoping things stay the same that kills NFL teams.

Not to mention, the Atlanta D has been neither particularly spectacular nor spry, lately.

There were personnel moves that still needed to be made with the team. Can’t say I’m disappointed to see them being made through a combination of attrition and the draft.

MattyB

March 4th, 2009
8:21 pm

Well said, Jeff. Like it or not, it seems that regardless of last season’s success, this franchise is truly building itself for the long-haul and not instant gratification.

Dan

March 4th, 2009
8:23 pm

But Jeff – not only did the Falcons go 11 – 5, Dimitroff worked for the Patriots, where Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick invented the NFL.

Just ask Mark Bradley if you need to know the obvious – “He’s the smartest general manager the Falcons have ever had…. Dimitroff would be the smartest GM a lot of teams have ever had. After 14 months and an 11-5 season, he has earned the ultimate affirmation: If this team makes a move, we see it as a shrewd one. Because it’s a Dimitroff move.”

Ask Mark for some Kool-Aid and get on message.

Will

March 4th, 2009
8:33 pm

“In Dimitroff we trust.”

Seems to me that Dimitroff is letting go people who are either just past their prime or who are thinly disguised malcontents.It was obvious that Mike Smith and Van Gorder acheived a lot last year with smoke and mirrors on the defense. To be sure, the Falcons and Smitty achieved a lot last year…but the defense was not as stout as it should have been at season’s end and in Arizona. I still think that with even a little bit better defense, the Falcons would have won that game. Even if we have to take a step backwards next season (2009) in order to get experience for 2010 and beyond, I with them. Go get’em Thomas Dimitroff, go get ‘em.

JWS

March 4th, 2009
8:45 pm

Those great leaders of our defense last year lead us to the 24th ranked defense. Thanks, but no thanks.

I’ll say this though, Keith is a good person and this was a nice thing they did today. Best of luck to him…

falcon21

March 4th, 2009
9:01 pm

Well said Sage of Bluesland, I’m glad you see KB as a player and leader as I do. The man gave his all but this is the NFL and that was not enough. Time to reload and TD seems to be the man to do it.

Arff

March 4th, 2009
9:10 pm

Very funny Dan!! My sentiments exactly. The drinking of the Kool-Aid has begun. 7-9 here they go!

BugKiller

March 4th, 2009
9:15 pm

Let me show you the difference in two men.

Thomas Dimitroff and Mark Richt.

Thomas Dimitroff proved last year and this year that he is willing to make the hard decisions, to cull those who aren’t pulling their weight from the team in order to produce a better product on the field.

Dimitroff doesn’t shy away from the hard decisions. Neither do guys like Les Miles, Nick Saban, and unfortunately, Urban Meyer.

Now on the other hand you have Mark Richt, who absolutely refuses to make the tough choices in cutting his dead weight to make his team better. Instead of acknowledging a problem, he makes excuses and retains the problems.

Exhibit 1: John Eason and his 8 years of incompetence as the Bulldogs wide receivers coach.

Exhibit 2: Willie Martinez and his 4 years of incompetence and diminishing returns, not to mention rampant on-field undiscipline and severe lack of fundamentals as BVG’s boys have moved on.

Les Miles, bless him, refuses to except average coaches, let alone mediocre coaches like Eason and Martinez. He fired just about his whole defensive staff after ONE BAD YEAR. With Eason we had 8 years of maddeningly inconsistent wideout play, and with Martinez, our defense has gotten statistically worse EVERY YEAR he’s been the DC, not just this last injury-prone year, and yet, Richt even saw fit to give Martinez a raise, when the Miami Hurricanes, Martinez’s Alma Mater, said thanks but no thanks to him, basically, Richt gave the man whom no one wants, not even his own school, a raise.

So, Thomas Dimitroff and Mark Richt.

I’ll put money on the table RIGHT NOW, with anyone who believes that Richt, the man too decent to make the truly difficult decisions, to make his team elite, to bring a championship to Athens, will actually win a MNC before Thomas Dimitroff brings a Super Bowl victory to Atlanta.

Thomas Dimitroff WILL bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta before Richt brings one, if ever, to Athens.

Because Dimitroff doesn’t refuse to make the hard decisions, he relishes making them.

Schultz, you’re full of it this time. You sure Moore didn’t ghost-write this column?

falcon21

March 4th, 2009
9:26 pm

I cannot argue the facts BugKiller, hard but true. MR is a good coach but may have too big of a heart.

Michael

March 4th, 2009
9:28 pm

I don’t really think any of those guys were really PTPers (sorry, Dick) for the Falcons, but yes, collectively that’s a lot of experience. Grady Jackson will probably be re-signed again during training camp just like he always is. Brooking is hard to see go due to leadership and effort, but he’s not the most physically gifted linebacker around anymore.

I would say the Falcons will need a veteran to fill one of those spots, but they can probably get away with rookies to fill the rest of the gaps.

Stephen

March 4th, 2009
9:30 pm

Jeff you must be running out of stuff to write about the Falcons to come up with this one. Have you noticed that the other NFL teams have also been cutting lots of players too because it is a business not a frat house. The players are suppose to be professionals in their approach with any team that hires them. The league is set up to create parity among the teams so the “playing a dangerous game” analogy is a little too overly dramatic to me since the draft hasn’t even happened yet.

turkey

March 4th, 2009
9:31 pm

Bugkiller, you are dead on.

Jay

March 4th, 2009
9:34 pm

If I was in Dimitroff’s shoes, I would have made the same decisions. I don’t see how Keith Brooking has made it this long. He will struggle in the Cowboys 3-4 scheme. He is too slow. The only player I would have resigned was Dominique Foxworth.

willie

March 4th, 2009
9:38 pm

TD is doing exactly the right thing. Let that initial run of overpaying go by. There are still plenty of FA’s available that are as good as the guys we have let go, and many of them are younger. Don’t just think about next season…think about the next 5. I am loving the way TD is handling this. Without a doubt, he brings in a safety and another FA or 2 (maybe a TE). There is plenty of time still this season to sign guys to keep us competitive next year. The key is building through the draft, which includes the compensatory picks for 2010 that we will get for the guys we let go this year.

Top Cat

March 4th, 2009
9:40 pm

The pace of change is a little scary, but as noted, we were “fortunate” on D this season…Next year will probably be rough (8-8 maybe), but things could really be rockin in 2010-2011. Hopefully, the roster produces 2-3 new starters, and FA/draft the same….Buckle your seatbelts guys…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

D3

March 4th, 2009
9:42 pm

Agree with you Bourbon & Will. There will be some growing pains next year with many new starters on D next year, but there were times when the “leaders” got burnt all over the field. God bless them and we appreciate their time and commitment to our team, particularly KB, but its time to move on, get younger, take our lumps, and get set to win for yearS, not one year. Brooking, Milloy, & Jackson over their prime, Boley was either a one hit wonder or had problems with coaching staff, and Foxworth probably should’ve been signed, but he was a little pricey.

It looks as though we’re not going after a veteran SS, like Jones or Phillips, which I truly wish we would to add experience in our secondary. We’ll definitely take our lumps next year, but Smith and Van Gorder did wonders last year with smoke and mirrors, so maybe they can do it again. Remember, Brent Grimes, Coy Wire, Kindal Moorehead, Jamal Fudge, and Chauncey Davis all made starts at some point last year.

Can’t decide on the latest news of LJ Smith. Playing fantasy all these recent years I remember Smith being a touchdown machine when he was healthy, but that was a HUGE IF!

GoodRiddance

March 4th, 2009
9:47 pm

Brooking never and I mean NEVER impressed me! He is a ten-yards down the field tackler, whips on big hits/sacks, and talks about it to the media after. I can not recall seeing Brooking hit anybody with FORCE in my life. Now, granted I am a late 80s baby but I have been a fan since Tuggle dawned a uniform. Now he was a beast and I have not seen any hits of his caliber leveled by a Falcons player since he retired. How many years was (isn’t great to say was???) Brooking here since then???

I am glad he joined the worst group of winers/losers and underperformers in the league!

Now let’s focus on what we have on the field in Lofton and Wire (though I think Boley could have contributed…we just could not bench Brooking because we wanted him to leave this year and needed the clause in his contract to not be depicted as harsh. Couldn’t cut the hometown hero. Now it is just a price tag issue). Maybe we get Cushing or another USC linebacker?

And Jeff, any updates on trading Vick?

BugKiller

March 4th, 2009
9:49 pm

Remember in Belichik and Pioli’s first year in New England, they went 5-11.

Then they won the Super Bowl in their second year.

Then in their third year, they missed the playoffs.

The Falcons are a year ahead, and if it wasn’t for the dead-weight “leaders” that Schultz loves so, it may have been the Falcons in the Super Bowl, not the Cardinals.

I fully expect the Falcons to miss the playoffs this year, and go anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7.

The schedule is brutal and the team will be young.

But this is how you build a real winner in years 3, 4, and on and on.

But what do I know? I trust Smith and Dimitroff and their coaches. The Falcons may surprise me and win the whole damn thing, or at least the division.

But I would not be disappointed with missing the playoffs this year. Not at all.

Chris Broe

March 4th, 2009
9:54 pm

Is today’s poll about the five free agents a JS an IQ test? Can your IQ be measured properly depending on whether or not you swung at that ridiculous poll he baited his blog with today? Come on. That poll is like asking what cases the the guy who said “Deal” would have picked if he had said, “No Deal”.

What if a guy took the very first offer and there were still two dozen cases to open? It would take an hour to get through the “What case would you have picked if you said “No Deal” to that offer? Then that offer? What cases now? Then if you decline that offer, then what? Who cares, Howie.

Something’s up. Probably a market rally, but something in the middle east is about to break. Cant you feel it?

I’m sorry. I have to say the word moron often. I just do. there’s so many morons exposed everyday, and I also feel strongly that life is a game of “Find the Idiot”.

Always know who the idiots are.

The eagle is the national bird, not the turkey, so it’s Ironic that Rush Limbaugh is the national emoticon.

Falcons Fan

March 4th, 2009
10:01 pm

When you gonna retire Jeff. Man you a poor writer!

foxdog

March 4th, 2009
10:12 pm

Can an article can be written in this paper that does not receive a response from some idiot taking a shot at Mark Richt? If the Falcons can have a winning percentage of 79% over the next 8 years (that’s 12 wins a year) then come back and compare their record to Coach Richt’s record!

David C

March 4th, 2009
10:17 pm

I just want to stop a 3rd and 16. Whoever can do it. Not much to ask.

Kurt

March 4th, 2009
10:19 pm

What Falcons fans lack in intelligence, they make up for in enthusiasm.

Jeff didn’t say keep everyone, idiots. He didn’t even say Dimitroff was wrong. He said it was a dangerous strategy. The smoke and mirrors was helped along by the veteran’s on defense. If you don’t think veteran leadership matters, you don’t know anything about football. Brooking was a mentor to Lofton.

Sad that he’s going to leave and all this ungrateful fan base is going to remember about him is his last play. Dude stuck around through some terrible seasons and turmoil and helped Lofton along, and he has led the team in tackles for years, so he’s obviously not terrible. But what does anyone care? Thanks for the memories, Keith. Good luck.

falcon21

March 4th, 2009
10:21 pm

I can’t see TD letting this team drop to 7 and 9 or 8 and 8. I think he has a plan to keep this team in the playoffs. I hope I am not wrong but as someone said earlier, buckle your seat belts, we are in for a ride.

Joe

March 4th, 2009
10:21 pm

Bugkiller,
As a sports fan it’s hard to see your team go from 11-5 to a rebuilding year/years. TD Is playing a dangerous game letting all the vets go (some needed to go). I’m sure he’s got a plan but for right now there is too many holes to fill via the draft.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2009
10:21 pm

Hello night-readers. I’m checking in once before I check out for the night. First thing I noticed is the early results of the poll, with a relative dead-heat between re-sign none (33 percent), re-sign two (32 percent) and re-sign one (28 percent). Interesting how divided people are on this.
## Sage: I thought I was pretty careful to not say: “Falcons should have re-signed Keith Brooking.” I’ve never written that. I am writing that they are taking a risk by not re-signing ANY of the five guys, and, yes, I thought they would keep either Milloy OR Brooking.
## Dan: Thomas Dimitroff is absolutely the best general manager the Falcons have ever had – for one season. How’s that?
## Bug-killer: You’re comparing the difficult decisions of an NFL GM and a college coach? I wasn’t aware Mark Richt had to cut players and deal with a salary cap.
## A guy named “Turkey” agrees with a guy named “Bug Killer.” Is this a great country or what!
## Jay: I’m with you on Foxworth. Not sure he’s worth the whopper deal he got in Baltimore but he definitely was a keeper.
## D-3: I’m not a big L.J. Smith fan, but I guess it would be hard for the Falcons to take a step back at tight end.
## Falcons Fan: I will retire later than I had hoped, given the health of my 401K these days. But I do appreciate your interest in my future. Catch you one at Denny’s.

Great Falconi

March 4th, 2009
10:23 pm

Brooking, Jackson, Boley, and Milloy couldn’t stop the run. What is the point of bringing those players back if they can’t stop the run? As far as Foxworth goes, did you see how much money the Ravens paid him, Jeff? The Falcons were already working Boley out of the rotation last season. He got a big deal from the Giants.

Hey. It may backfire on Dimitroff, but the defense was not good enough to justify keeping older players or guys who did not fit the system. I think Dimitroff’s goal is to build a team of leaders. He doesn’t want a bunch of followers out there. I know Mike Smith wants that (look for “Ravens, Baltimore” on his resume). The Falcons’ draft is likely to be heavy on the defensive side. This was well-known during the season. I can drink the Kool-Aid for the plan. It makes sense.

Great Falconi

March 4th, 2009
10:23 pm

And you basically rendered my comment irrelevant. That’s cool, man.

Hope you didn’t get the herpes from the beer pong.

chuck

March 4th, 2009
10:25 pm

Foxdog, that is a retarded comparison. The Falcons don’t get to play Georgia Southern, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, etc.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2009
10:26 pm

## Foxdog: The answer to your question is no. It’s like expecting nobody to bring up Michael Vick. Oh jeez. Now I’ve done it. DUCK!
## David: I agree. Not too much to ask.
## Kurt: You articulated things very well. And no you can’t have my job.

foxdog

March 4th, 2009
10:39 pm

They played Detroit…

Whopper Dawg

March 4th, 2009
10:50 pm

They all needed to go except the corner, which as Jeff said, was too expensive. Piece by piece, he is building. Last year it was the offense, with the exception of DHall the destroyer (can you believe the contract he got from the Skins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Last year the offense got redone, this year the defense is the focus. Expect the three of the first four picks to go defense with maybe a tight end in the mix somewhere (hopefully not #1). Go TD, clean ‘er up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Second year in the system for everyone, Matty a vet now, coaching up again, cleaning up again – but TOUGHER SCHEDULE – I think 10 and 6 and we sneak in as a wild card.

Best wishes and good luck to Keith Brooking, I think he played his rear end off for the Falcons and I respect him for that.

The Whopper

Kevin

March 4th, 2009
10:51 pm

“In Dimitroff We Trust”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 4th, 2009
11:10 pm

“USED sweaters for the Salvation Army.” Now were these the cool “Bill Cosby” type sweaters. Or just the Wal-Mart or Target variety? Just trying to figure out if I need to get over to the Salvation Army or not!!!

Ted Striker

March 4th, 2009
11:14 pm

## Jeff: You raise some good points, Grasshopper. (You’d darn well better…there are ZERO/ZILCH/NULL/NADA/NO pics of hot babes in this article!?!). Still, my take – as if you actually asked: The greatest risk to wrecking team chemistry comes when a GM adds toxic players(s). Departing players jeopardize the status quo, but in terms of dangerous games — it’s not as bad as “The Hounds of Zaroff.” (Least not till week 11 when the Bucs and Panthers are both on fire & Michael Turner is nursing a sore ankle)
## Sage of Bluesland: You can claim Brooking was overrated as a team leader but unless we hear that refrain coming from someone inside the Falcons locker room, you know, someone who actually knows….
## Dan, ## Arrf: It ain’t the Kool-Aid that causes hallucinations — it’s what folks put in it. (That said, I’ll be darn glad when the words “kool-aid,” “thug,” “retarded” & “scholly” eventually lose popularity with folks posting on sports blogs)
## Bugkiller: Jiminy Crickits and Haysuess Christ Almighty Buddha!!! — What in the Wide Wide world of sports do Willie Martinez & John Eason have to do with the Falcons and free agency?
## Chris Broe: I have no frickin’ clue what you’re trying to say but — I’ll have some of whatever it is you’re having. Just email me the instructions as to whether I should sip it, slam it, shoot it, inhale it, snort it, or simply tie it to the hamster’s tail.
## Ledbetter: C’mon, we know you only shop at Nordstroms or Saks.

Tim Parker

March 4th, 2009
11:33 pm

I thought this was an insightful and considerate article, Jeff. I agree that the moves Dimitroff is making are dangerous; however, without risk, there is no reward.

Foxworth was the one player for which I knew there would be a bidding war, and one that despite all my hopes and dreams, I knew the Falcons probably not resign due to his asking price.

Brooking is a little past his prime and has lost a couple of steps. He was a great player for the Falcons (despite baseless, unsubstantiated claims of biased knuckleheads). RILB in a 3-4 defense is probably the best position for Brooking at this stage in his career.

Milloy is a gladiator. Unfortunately, he is past his prime and struggled to stay healthy this season. Age is catching up with the wiley veteran, and his storied NFL career is in its final chapter. We will all miss his vocal leadership and work ethic.

You have to love a guy like Grady Jackson. He was an anchor on the defensive line and out of all of the players lost this season, he could potentially be our greatest loss. If Trey Lewis can stay healthy and regain the form he had before his injuries, his loss will be minimized. Too bad we could not keep him around as a backup NT.

Boley = Wife Beater…Good riddens.

I have faith in Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff. They are a good team. Both are excellent evaluators of talent and character. Trust me, they will use the draft and free agency to fill the holes.

Tyger

March 4th, 2009
11:44 pm

**Falcoons Easy Button 2009**

The Falcoons have better depth than most think. Its time for Chauncey Davis and Stephen Nichols to step up, just like Roddy White and Mike Jenkins. Third years are significant.

The Falcoons have DeCoud, Irons, Trey Lewis, Houston all young talents that have been in the system for a few years now. Good pickups in Peele, Jefferson, Wire. Homeruns on Dahl and Tyson Clabo. You avoid the older, overpaid, slower, injury prone guys without legs.

The Falcoons have demonstrated that they can “coach up” a young, fast, talented, hungry team. I was very impressed with the coaching staffs game preparation each week. They kept it simple enough for the guys so they could focus on making plays. And thats important for a young team.

All that said, there will always be a place for a Wayne Gandy, etc. but not at speed positions.

I expect the Falcoons to reload in the secondary, LB, TE, OL, DL positions: 1. Sean Smith, 2. William Moore, 3. Nic Harris, 4. Brandon Williams, 5. Dominique Johnson, 5. Fenuki Tupuo, 6. Jackie Butler

ET

March 5th, 2009
12:36 am

Speaking of Mike Vick, now that you mention it, I guess the usual suspects will be lining up to sign him to run their offenses. I bet on the Raiders to win the Vick derby. I think with the time off to contemplate what he threw away, he will come back in pretty good shape and with an attitude and take them to the playoffs…only to lose in the first round like he ususally does.

I don’t want him back, but he will be a “throw on the run” sensation for a few more years…just not here. I hope he can run from PETA as fast as he does the players after him on the field.

WILLSTER

March 5th, 2009
4:13 am

allyou idiots,most of you typing,must not remember 1982,FALCONS WERE ON GAME FROM SUPER BOWL,WANTED TO GET YOUNGER,RELEASED,ALOT OF VETERANS,INCLUDING LEEMAN BENNETT,LOOK WHAT HAPPENED,THIS IS STUPID,THISD TEAM WILL NOT WIN 7 GAMES THIS YEAR,IGUARANTEE IT,IAM SO GLAD THERE ARE RED EYE FLIGHTS TO VEGAS CHEAP ,YOU PEOPLE,NEW ENGLAND WON WITH VETERANS,AND THEY HAD,A QB NAMED BRADY,THE FALCONS WERE LUCKY LAST YEAR,ALL YOU BELIEVERS,GO LOOK AT THERE SCHEDULE,IN2009,AND THEY WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE VICK DEBAUCKLE THIS YEAR,5-11 IWILL BET ON IT,AND I WILL WIN, AND PEOPLE WILL SAY WHAT HAPPENED?championships are won in the OFFSEASON,this is why the falcons have never won one,they cant wipe there a right,this is why there is NO SUPER BOWL TROPHY IN ATLANTA,IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN,HAVE A NICE DAY.

BravesFan79

March 5th, 2009
5:38 am

I believe letting Brooking, Foxworth, and Grady Jackson go was a mistake and will make us weaker next year. Not to many guys like Grady that are that massive and can pretty much shut down the run game alone. We will miss Brookings leadership.

The Cowboys might actually be worth cheering for again as they cut crap like Pacman and TO and signed someone with the intelligence/leadership of a Brooking.

Someone can have all the “athleticism” in the world, but if they have NO Brains, Morals, or leadership ability (see M Vick, Pacman, Travis Henry, OJ, Lastings Millidge, Elijah Dukes, etc…) then whats the point? We see where it got the cowboys last year!

Yea some might call me a racist for speaking such truths, but if you were a “realist” instead of a apologist, you’d admit the same thing.

Micah

March 5th, 2009
7:28 am

Someone can have all the “athleticism” in the world, but if they have NO Brains, Morals, or leadership ability (see M Vick, Pacman, Travis Henry, OJ, Lastings Millidge, Elijah Dukes, etc…) then whats the point? We see where it got the cowboys last year!
========================================================================
BravesFan79, I won’t call you racist because I don’t know you, but it’s funny how you point things out like this. If Vick or Pacman of Henry had won a Super Bowl you wouldn’t be saying this at all. Tom Brady has moral issues: He gets married in his ex-girlfriend’s church with the girl he cheated on her with, but he’s a leader. Brett Farve, yeah he displays leadership: He doesn’t want to go through the offseason workouts but he wants to play in every game. How about Barrett Robins (center for the Raiders when they went to the Super Bowl) getting intoxicated. You’re a “realist?” Ok, I guess we see how low the bar has been set.

Cool Hand Luke

March 5th, 2009
7:42 am

A releasing of some of the old guard within a company will usually make folks nervous, regardless of the industry. The current offense will put up some points next season, and will probably be improved through the draft. The Falcons still have some vets on defense (Abraham, Davis, Babineaux, Coleman, etc.). Thomas D. is proving that he knows how to draft talent. Smitty and VanGorder are not going to let their defense weaken. Let’s remember that VanGorder is also a catalyst (Anyone who’s watched them practice will know.). I believe in this team. I think the naysayers will eat their own words come next season. By the way, Jeff, where is the pic of a hot babe?

CWE

March 5th, 2009
7:55 am

Good article…says what most intelligent people think,is it better to have leadership and less skill?I hope that TD can continue making the right decisions on the draft and free agency,but when going gets tough,who will the young guys look for leadership…I think 9-7 is a realistic outlook for next year(2 winning seasons in a row,maybe)and to all you Keith Brooking haters,learn something about football before casting such idiotic statements about a truly class athelete…you don’t lead the team in tackles that many years,without playing hardnose football.Thanks Keith

Observer

March 5th, 2009
8:08 am

Jeff – did any of the so-called “jumping on a table and taking charge when things go south” from these guys do ANYTHING for us in 2007? I didn’t think so. As a matter of fact, I remember “leadership” being a major complaint of the ‘07 bunch, which included all of the players you are talking about. Rah-rah is good, but the bottom line is you need players that perform on the field.

Mac

March 5th, 2009
8:19 am

Grady’s in Detroit, dude up above. Maybe Von Hutchins will help filll the leadership gap? Don’t know a lot about him. Would have like to see Foxworth stay, for both his play and possibly leadership, too.

marko

March 5th, 2009
8:58 am

Dimitroff does’nt take things one season a time. The seeds for this season were planted last year. Jackson and Decoud were’nt after thoughts. Did anybody notice that they play the positions of a couple of guys seeking employment elsewhere. For the life of me I can’t think of anything more questionable that starting a rookie quarterback and a rookie left tackle. Last year we got a pretty good idea of the kind of offense we were gong to build, rookies leading the way. This year we’ll get a better grasp of what our defense is going to be about. I’m thinking we’ve seen the last of that bend but don’t break crap.

Jeff Schultz

March 5th, 2009
9:05 am

## D-Led: I think either kind of sweater would be an improvement for your wardrobe.
## Striker: You’re right about the toxic player thing – why is why Dimitroff would rather drive off a cliff than sign Terrell Owens.
## Tim P.: I addition to those “off field” issues of Boley’s that you referred to, there’s this: He wasn’t very good last season and the Falcons were VERY disappointed in his play (as evident by the fact he lost his starting job). It will be interesting to see how the Giants use him and whether he turns it around.
## Willster: There’s a button on the left where you can unclick that CAPS LOCK function. Just FYI. Peace out.
## Cool Hand Luke: Hot babes once a week. Sorry. That is all.
## Observer: I agree. And I also think that, yes, a guy like Milloy can still perform, even if not as an every-down guy.

tryanx

March 5th, 2009
9:10 am

What a waste of my time and the blogs space. You said nothing about the article; in fact you said nothing at all. The fact that you used 195 words to do that shows a moronic persistence to watch your own words hit the screen. Your ramblings were a enept attempt at self proclaimed Guenis but the fact of the matter is that you are a legened in your mind.

Now that my tie raid is over I will remark on the article.

I have faith that Td knows what he is doing and I have seen it pointed out that teams like New England and Pitsburgh do not sign the big name flashy players and they have recent super bowl rings while Daniel Schnyder makes flashy moves every year and has not even sniffed the playoffs. We still have time and it appears that teams are not beating down the door to sign Jermaine or Sean. We are ok. Our schedule is pecievably stronger but the reality is that Dallas is in shambles and so is Washington. The Bills are not threat nor are the Jets. In our own conference Tampa Bay is much worse and the Saints minus that Drew Breeze passing attack, are no real threat.

Please quit this doom and gloom attitude because we let some people go and haven’t gone after the big names. For those of you who think we should have signed Foxworth, think of this, he was paid just about the same contract that turner got last year. Would that have been a good move. Let the second year guys have a chance to shine. That is were stars in this league come from, not perception.

tryanx

March 5th, 2009
9:11 am

sorry meant to proof read.