Bradley’s Buzz: A kudo-worthy offseason for the Falcons

Two summers ago it was possible to characterize the Falcons as having had the worst offseason in NFL annals, and that would subsequently lead into what I decided was the worst single season in the history of professional sports. But look now.

Writing for SI.com, Ross Tucker lists the three NFL clubs that have had the best offseasons. Two of them are organizations of proven worth (New England, Philadelphia). The third is headquartered in Flowery Branch.

Writes Tucker, speaking of Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith: “The moves they did make were solid if not spectacular and the intensity of the offseason practices indicated this is not a franchise interested in resting on last season’s achievements.”

Tucker calls Tony Gonzalez “still an elite talent at tight end” and labels rookie safety William Moore “a physical phenom.” Tucker also hauls out his favorite Tucker-ism, referring to No. 1 pick Peria Jerry as “a rolling bucket of butcher knives.” (I ask again: Shouldn’t that be a rolling ball of butcher knives?) And he wonders if the loss of Domonique Foxworth will hurt the secondary.

Me, I’m just wondering if the team that had such a great offseason can finally surmount the barrier that, 43 years on, still blocks the Falcons — never having consecutive winning seasons. I’m thinking they’ll get there this time. But I thought that back in 2005, when they were coming off the NFC title game and started 6-2. Then Jim Mora started to coach.

100 comments Add your comment

The Real Fan

July 7th, 2009
7:12 am

tHAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

The Real Fan

July 7th, 2009
7:12 am

Oh yeah. First

Jay

July 7th, 2009
7:33 am

Our beloved team appears to be moving in an upward direction. Perhaps, a few seasons from now, they will be talked about consistently amongst the biggies…New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Giants, etc. A few more good football seasons should do the trick. Mr. Bradley, thank you kind sir for the football blog. Go Falcons!

Reid Adair

July 7th, 2009
8:46 am

Mark, I was also optimistic that 2005 was going to be the end of this horrible “streak.” It wasn’t meant to be – primarily for the very reason you mentioned.

Now, heading into 2009, I again think the streak will end and the Falcons will post consecutive winning seasons. After going through what had to be one of the worst possible experiences emotionally and mentally, Arthur Blank seems to be putting together all the right pieces to get things headed firmly in the right direction.

I can’t remember when I was ever this excited for a Falcons’ football season.

gdg73

July 7th, 2009
9:10 am

We should have hired T.D. and Smith back in 2004. We could’ve been the team sitting with 2 Super Bowls in the past 4 years and not Pittsburgh. Oh well, I guess the time is now to start the run.

PMC

July 7th, 2009
9:30 am

I also wonder if losing Foxworth will hurt the secondary. My guess is they are counting on Von Hutchinson to come back strong and the money Baltimore threw at Fox was more than he is really worth to the Falcons. The big difference with this group is that the Falcons are paying guys essentially thier value. There are no real albatross contracts on the team any more. If they need to add another veteran corner closer to the season they can do that. They will definately give up a lot of underneath stuff in the air on defense this year but they should be better against the run and more opportunistic (because of speed and quickness) It will be bend don’t break… but Van Gorder teams seems to excel in that role. With this offense, if they can grind it out and manage to get off the field with a few well timed turnovers… I think they will be a playoff team again.

PMC

July 7th, 2009
9:32 am

They have never had more going for them in 43 years… I can say that with confidence.

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2009
9:34 am

They do look good. They do seem smarter than they’ve ever been. But still … 43 years.

woody

July 7th, 2009
9:37 am

I am excited for the Falcons this year…and Im a Steelers fan. Thanks god you got rid of the old crap and started FRESH. Good Luck to you this year.

I'm back...

July 7th, 2009
9:42 am

12-4!!! GO FALCONS!!!!

matt r

July 7th, 2009
9:43 am

It’s definitely time for our minds to wander toward football after another Braves loss

sidslid

July 7th, 2009
9:55 am

After the Thrasher’s offseason moves, is it possible the Braves are the worst professional sports organization in Atlanta? They may wind up with the worst won-loss record over the next twelve months of the four teams, and organizationally, they seem more hamstrung vs. the competition than even the Atlanta Spirit at this point.

Zoomie

July 7th, 2009
9:56 am

Mark, yes — 43 years.

THE BEST Falcons Offseason Ever

July 7th, 2009
9:57 am

In addition to acquiring the magnificent Tony Gonzalez, FALCONS NATION got rid of that undereducated, drug-using, dog-raping, criminal, sub-par QB and top-shelf buffoon Mike Vick and his legion of inarticulate “Supporters.” No more FreakNik at the Georgia Dome on Sundays, just FOOTBALL, Baby!

GO, FALCONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Josh

July 7th, 2009
10:18 am

It might be just me, but all I’m hoping for is a winning season. With that schedule I’ll be happy if Matt Ryan doesn’t suffer from a sophomore slump and Turner lasts the whole season. I think history has taught me to be skeptical after a great season. I don’t want to be skeptical, but I find myself holding back.

I'm back...

July 7th, 2009
10:19 am

THE BEST Falcons Offseason Ever……..I agree with you!!

chc4

July 7th, 2009
10:32 am

Uh, what is sidslid talking about? The Thrashers are a laughing stock despite their recent signings and the Braves? Well, they are virtually unwatchable. I’d say the Falcons are the only hope for big things in 2009.

JB

July 7th, 2009
10:38 am

Mike Smith is the real deal…..a good football man who has seen what works and he is installing that with the Falcons. He’s no BS, his office walls are not lined with mirrors and he’s not looking for a camera. He knows what he’s doing…….We may lose 6-7 games this year, but it won’t be because this team quit. slackers and losers and rappers will not stay on this roster. That’s the difference……..

Lazy Dawg

July 7th, 2009
10:45 am

It’s going to be tough to cure 43 years of a curse but with the leadership in place from the top to the bottom I feel we may have our best chance to change things.God willing..

ATL. HAWKS 101

July 7th, 2009
10:48 am

THE BEST FALCONS Offseason Ever. I also, agree with you. I can not wait until the season starts! GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Hamad Meander

July 7th, 2009
10:51 am

It is possible that the Falcons had the best offseason they’ve ever had, however, Dimitroff did take some risks in not re-signing Brooking, Foxworth, and Boley. Granted, each of those players would have cost more than they were worth to the Falcons. Let’s hope their replacements play to fill these positions with as much talent as just left.

Nimoy

July 7th, 2009
10:52 am

Now that Michael Vick is out of the NFL and his football career is over, maybe he could get a job in politics.

From what I have read and heard from many Washington insiders, it sounds Obama would really enjoy having a young lad like Vick on his STAFF.

Mac

July 7th, 2009
10:55 am

Having been a fan for the past 32 years of the curse, I’ll withhold judgment. My hope is strong, but It’s a powerful curse.

And, who is Von Hutchinson?

Beautiful Monte

July 7th, 2009
11:01 am

Some of these comments are liable to upset Mr. Bradley, who, as many of you may recall, continues to have “great affection” for the conVICKted felon who used to wear No. 7 for the Falcons.

Mr. Obvious

July 7th, 2009
11:01 am

The only reason the Falcons sold out the Dome during the woeful Vick Years was because of people buying tickets to “Freak-nik in the Fall,” not an NFL Football game.

The Falcons may no longer sell out consistently, but at least people are now buy Falcons tickets for the right reason –> Football.

Todd

July 7th, 2009
11:11 am

I have read that about our current “President” as well. If you were married to someone as unsightly as Michelle, could # 7 really be that much worse? Falcons Fans deserve better, and we have it with # 2.

AP

July 7th, 2009
11:13 am

Seriously.. can we just talk football? Good article MB, we all want back to back winning seasons, and are finally excited to have a great staff in place that are making the right decisions. The defense is young, so hopefully that moves in the draft play off..

David

July 7th, 2009
11:14 am

Don’t just assume the Falcons will make the playoffs year. I’m as big a fan as anybody, but they a.) have a very tough schedule and b.) won a lot of really close games last year (I guess in the NFL almost all games are close, but you see what I’m saying).

Beyond that, last year we had a rookie quarterback that was great, but that great rookie quarterback looked questionable at times during his last three or four outings (when we beat Tampa he looked terrible, and against Arizona he looked a bit rough; granted, some of that was because they were jumping offsides on every snap, but it wasn’t his best game).

Michael Turner can’t handle the work-load he did last year. Jerious Norwood, who’s been a wonder to me since he entered the league, is going to have to start living up to his billing. He carries the ball, he looks great, yet three coaches constantly have him on the sidelines. I’ve heard his work ethic is questionable, and that’s about the only reason I can think of why he doesn’t get more playing time than he gets. Mark — you know anything about that? I was always baffled that Mora didn’t play him more when we had an older Warrick Dunn. Then I was baffled at why Petrino didn’t play him more… now I’m baffled at why Smith doesn’t play him more. I guess there’s truth in every rumor, but didn’t know if you’d ever heard anything.

Anyway, I hope the season goes well. Last year’s loss to Arizona was a heart breaker, because I think we did play better than them, and it especially hurt when you saw them in the Super Bowl (though I still think we would’ve been steamrolled by Carolina up there — we didn’t have the pass rush to force Delhomme into 6 turnovers).

Go Falcons! My hopeful prediction: 11-5. My fearful prediction: 9-7.

observor

July 7th, 2009
11:21 am

I like how the moronic losers that always post ‘First’ are never actually first. If you post ‘first’ on a blog, you are a complete unoriginal dip$hit.

Sage of Bluesland

July 7th, 2009
11:23 am

Finally giving our precious Hometown Hero (Brooking) the boot after so many fraudulent years of “leadership” is a step in the right direction: Call it ‘addition-by-subtraction’, if you will.

I’m hopeful as it appears there is FINALLY accountability in Falconsland…After all, if you’re paid as an elite LB, you should produce more than ankle-grabs and soft pushes-out-of-bounds ten yards downfield…but, he sure did appeal to a large segment of the fanbase, didn’t he?!

Now, thank goodness, it’s more about bringing it on the field and, you know, helping the team actually win games (as opposed to pre- and post-game bluster with the media)…No more propaganda…No more emotional decisions which hurt the team but thrill the stupid sheep…Just solid football…

GT Falcon

July 7th, 2009
11:26 am

MB,
“But I thought that back in 2005, when they were coming off the NFC title game and started 6-2. Then Jim Mora started to coach.”

HA HA. Great ending.

azcat225

July 7th, 2009
11:28 am

David, with either record the curse would be broken. Their schedule is looking semi-brutal at this point in time. Just nice to have a competitive, well-coached professional team in town now. None of the others can claim all of those characteristics.

The Grinch

July 7th, 2009
11:36 am

The schedule is brutal but, barring injuries, we should at least go 9-7.

Perhaps the reason Norwood doesn’t get more carries is because the Falcons prefer a consistent, “bruising” rush attack. Norwood gets sick yards if he has a huge hole to run through or gets around the corner, but if someone even GRAZES him with an attempted arm tackle he drops as if he’d been shot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a RB get tackled that easily; it’s a product of being so high-cut and the reason he made it to the third round despite 4.3 speed.

Scrap Iron

July 7th, 2009
11:37 am

Well duh, losing Foxworth will hurt – that part is pretty obvious, but he would not have been worth the 4 year-27.2 million the Ravens paid him or otherwise that $7 million cap hit would have prevented other moves we’ve made.

That is what it takes that has joyously been going on the past couple years. Focus on making the TEAM better – which doesn’t always come about by overpaying for players you might want!

Mike Jay

July 7th, 2009
12:01 pm

David,

You gotta think Ryan will be improved this year. Winning close games is a sign of a quality team with good coaching, that hasn’t gone away.
Why do you think Turner the Burner can not handle that load again this year? It couldn’t be from the wear and tear of those years in San Diego. The man is a beast, he will be fine. From my understanding Norwood is terrible at pass blocking and not durable enough (have you seen those chicken legs?) to be the main man. He did get more touches last year than he ever has so I would look for around the same. best one two punch in the league but i am biased :) .

I thought the offseason was terrific. I have never felt better about the Falcons from top to bottom, they are quickly becoming the new model in the NFL.

p.s. Can Mr. Blank please buy the Braves.

Northside Falcon with Good Credit

July 7th, 2009
12:03 pm

Southside Falcon –

Shouldn’t you be backing your Escalade into 2 or 3 parking spots at KFC right about now to spend some of your “government assistance” funds on some high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium noontime vittles?

Boy, you do not know anything about football!

If you take a remedial English class or something, it might make you inane posts a bit easier for the rest of us to read.

Quantavious

July 7th, 2009
12:09 pm

SOUTHSIDE FALCON! Go be a Panthers fan. We do not need your anger or profanity on here.

I am so excited about the 2009 FALCONS!! This is our year!!

1standGOAL

July 7th, 2009
12:10 pm

The difference last year was that the Falcon’s found ways to win whereas in years past they found ways to lose. As spectacular as the offense and special teams were, the defense almost mailed it in last year (remember how Detroit almost came back?). So hopefully management has indeed made the choices that will keep other teams offenses off the field so that the Falcons can truly be the complete team that can compete for championships now and in the future.

Ken Strickland

July 7th, 2009
12:25 pm

PMC-I don’t think VHutchins will be that much of a factor in earning a starting slot. At first I thought he was signed as a FA to be the starter next to CHouston. Then I discovered he’s considered more of a cover 2 CB, but he was also considered an excellent nickle back. He has more starting experience, and overall experience and isn’t likely to become a whole lot better. I believe COwens, BGrimes, CJackson and RMiddleton are the actual frontrunners for the starting CB position.

It’s always an advantage to have an experienced veteran CB like DFoxworth. However, having more speed and quickness, along with a pass rush, will more than compensate for his loss. Despite all of the question marks some might have about DT’s PJerry, TLewis or VWalker, one thing is obvious. THEY ARE ALL CAPABLE OF PROVIDING A SUPERIOR PASS RUSH THAN LAST YRS STARTING DT GJACKSON. That means teams will not automatically have an advantage when they pass on 1st and 2nd downs, like they did last yr when Big Grady was in the gm.

Remember, we only need one out of our 3 new DT’s to stand out and become a starter. The same holds true for our CB’s and safeties. I find it hard to believe that all of our other candidates for starting positions are going to fall flat on their faces after an entire training camp of intense competition. This isn’t like last yr when we drafted players that were automatically projected to be starters and expected to perform from day one, like QB MRyan, LT SBaker and MLB CLofton.

This yr, there won’t be a single draftee projected as an immediate starter. Each draftee will have to earn the position he gets, and that’s a testament to the level of talent they’ll be competing against that’s already on the roster, like DT TLewis, CB’s CJackson, DIrons, VHutchins and BGrimes, SS/FS AHarris, TDeCoud and JFudge, DE’s KBiermann and CDavis and LB’s RJames and SNicholas.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

D.B. Cooper

July 7th, 2009
12:44 pm

ONE GAME AT A TIME, BROS.

CJW80

July 7th, 2009
12:59 pm

Northside Falcon you make all us white fans look like White robe wearing racist, go back to sleeping with your sister or what ever you do when not insulting minorities and leave this site for real football fans. Great off season Go Falcons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wxwax

July 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

That streak is an embarrassment and when it’s finally dead and buried, no-one should celebrate. It should never have gotten this bad in the first place.

Injuries. That’s my concern. Tough schedule, but if they stay healthy they should be over .500.

But only the lucky stay healthy all year. Last season the Falcons were lucky. Hope that doesn’t mean their number comes up this year.

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2009
1:38 pm

Thanks, GT. I kind of liked that ending myself.

Reggie

July 7th, 2009
1:49 pm

To: The best falcon off season ever, I’am Back, North side falcon fan w/good credit.

You can never let it go can you? Why must you introduct that racist, red neck dribble here on a football blog. Vick is gone. But you are still a racist azz.

Your folks in Alabama want you to come back home now!!

I'm back...

July 7th, 2009
2:00 pm

One game at a time to a 12-4 record!!

I'm back...

July 7th, 2009
2:06 pm

Reggie you dumb jerk! The only thing I’m a racist against is runningbacks trying to play quarterback!!

I don’t like and never will like a man making 130 million giving me, a fan, the bird!! I helped finance the jerk and he throws it back in my face!!

GLAD HE’S DONE IN ATLANTA AND IN THE NFL!!

observor

July 7th, 2009
2:26 pm

I’m back – Don’t worry about ignorant idiots like Reggie. Brain dead morons like him don’t even know the proper definition or context of the term racism. That fool couldn’t even tell you the basic difference between racism, bigotism, or prejudice. Just ignore idiots, all they do is drag you down to their level.

kirkinga

July 7th, 2009
2:27 pm

Though I was happy to see the Falcons make the playoffs, it was nothing I hadn’t seen them do before. I’ve seen them go from bad to the playoffs. I’ve seen them win Division Championships, I’ve seen them go to the Conference Final, and even to a Super Bowl.

All of those wee great things and things I wish to see again. But the one thing that I have not seen is the one thing holding me back from being “impressed” by any player or coach, or executive. I need to see consecutive winning seasons.

Now if the Falcons can do that, do something they’ve never done before, that will be impressive. Unless and until they do that, I haven’t been impressed.

Mj

July 7th, 2009
2:28 pm

Judging by this http://sports.excite.com/news/07072009/v8455.html looks like the Falcons definitely made 1 right move this offseason. TD and Smitty do know their stuff!!

MUDFISH

July 7th, 2009
2:57 pm

Vegas over/under is 8 wins. They know their stuff. Don’t get too fired up over the Falcons. Bad sked, and sophomore qb= ugh. It’s fixing to be 44 years.