One Falcon out, another down: Isn’t this where we came in?

Tony Gonzalez says he's not afraid of ghosts. But he's new here. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Tony Gonzalez says he's not afraid of ghosts. He's new around here. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Flowery Branch – If it happened in Latrobe, Pa., you’d shrug and say, “That’s football.” But this is the Branch and these are the Birds, and once again this star-crossed franchise is endeavoring to make history by actually putting one winning season after another. And here’s the scorecard after six days of camp:

A Pro Bowl receiver is still in Alabama because he wants the sort of money Larry Fitzgerald gets, and the No. 3 wideout has been lost for the season with a knee injury.

And now you’re not shrugging. You’re thinking, “Here we go again.”

Coming off an epic NFC title game, the Falcons botched a Super Bowl by having Terance Mathis get miffed exiting the team plane and having Eugene Robinson get himself arrested 21 hours before kickoff. Coming off that Super Bowl, O.J. Santiago fell off a golf cart on Day 1 of camp and Jamal Anderson wrecked his knee in Week 2. Coming off a playoff victory at Lambeau Field, Michael Vick broke his leg in Week 3 of the exhibition season.

Were these the Pittsburgh Steelers, you’d say, “Oh, they’ll handle it.” But these aren’t the Steelers. These are the Falcons, who haven’t consolidated a gain in 43 years of trying.

Tony Gonzalez is new here. Asked Thursday about if he believes a jinx hangs over the Birds, he said: “I hope not. I’m not going to get into that Boston Red Sox type of stuff. We’ve got a good football team. We’ve got good players. It’s sad for Harry, but injuries happen.”

Then this: “One of the most underrated things is football is staying healthy. If we can do that, we’ve got a good shot. We just hope nothing else happens.”

But the Falcons’ track record is that something else always happens. As much as we might believe in the brainpower of Thomas Dimitroff and the basics of Mike Smith, these men still work for the franchise that bears the Bird in its logo. And that Bird hasn’t yet failed to mess up a good thing.

How much does losing Harry Douglas hurt?

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A year ago the Falcons were 11-5 in large measure because they didn’t get hurt. Now Harry Douglas gets hurt just catching a pass on a Wednesday in August. No,  he isn’t among the Falcons’ 10 biggest names, but what if Roddy White doesn’t show before Sept. 13? Can they make do with Michael Jenkins and Brian Finneran and assorted free agents? (Don’t forget: The Falcons traded Laurent Robinson to the Rams in April, and Robinson opened camp as a first-stringer.)

Said Finneran, who tore his ACL on July 30, 2006 and essentially missed two seasons: “A guy getting hurt is bad at any point.”

Said Smith, being pragmatic: “Injuries happen. But as I just told the team after practice, one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. I know that’s harsh to say, and we all feel for Harry, but that’s the way it is.”

And that is the way it is. But because these are the Falcons, any adverse development is seen as the first sign of the apocalypse. Maybe this time will be different. But we’ve been expecting the worst for 43 years now, and at least every other year the great fickle Bird has done its voodoo.

Were I Matt Ryan, I wouldn’t walk under any ladders. Or spill any salt. Or exhale until January.

184 comments Add your comment

JJB

August 6th, 2009
12:48 pm

What is going to be the news about WR’s today?

dooley

August 6th, 2009
12:51 pm

Wow, Mark there has got to be something wrong with this franchise. There is ALWAYS something happening to someone on this team. It is very hard to have this team as the hometown team.

Mark Bradley

August 6th, 2009
12:58 pm

Esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter should have some news for you momentarily.

bigeasy830

August 6th, 2009
12:58 pm

Dooley, there is nothing wrong with the Falcons this year, actually everything is finally getting back to normal, the Falcons suck. They always have and will continue to suck for a long time. 2008 was a Dream season for yo falcon fans the Football Gods smiled on you. The 2008 is in your rearview…….

Falcons, 4-12 in 2009.
“Back To Life, Back To Reality”.

bigeasy830

August 6th, 2009
12:59 pm

I like long walks in the park.

And kittens.

Panties in a wad

August 6th, 2009
1:00 pm

It’s the PETA curse.

Evil Richt 2009 S.E.C. World Tour: "Banned in Columbus"

August 6th, 2009
1:02 pm

A Saints fan trying to talk trash about another franchise’s history?

Jross1981

August 6th, 2009
1:02 pm

bigeasy830

August 6th, 2009
1:03 pm

You know it, you got to be an animal lover in Atlanta or you will get a 23 moth federal prison sentence. And those long walks have really helped, in the last 6 months I went from Big Easy to not so Big Easy. You got to love it. Getting sexy for the ladies…

Panties in a wad

August 6th, 2009
1:04 pm

MB please stay away from the Falcons camp. go visit Carolina.

bigeasy830

August 6th, 2009
1:04 pm

Well one lady, my wifey, the rest will just have to look and wish, including your “old Lady”. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Smitty

August 6th, 2009
1:04 pm

why be so negative? Smith said it best, “misfortune leads to opportunity” . Thats true in every training camp. football is a serious contact sport, ie, violent. Injuries happen every day. Thats why “depth” is so key to consistent winning programs.Use this occurence to measure Smith and Dimitroff on that scale.

Joe Namath

August 6th, 2009
1:06 pm

How is the road beef in Atlanta these days?

Ga Southern Eagle Fan

August 6th, 2009
1:06 pm

Enter your comments here

bigeasy830

August 6th, 2009
1:12 pm

Dimitroff is just like Matt Ryan in the sense that the one good season the team had last year proves nothing. We will see how all his personel moves will pan out sooner than later. I still say it was a huge mistake trading two 2nd round picks to move up to get Sam Baker when he would have been there when the Falcons drafted in the 2nd round anyway. The only pick I liked was Curtis Lofton. The rest, we will see.

Parker

August 6th, 2009
1:12 pm

Yo Bigeasy…dude get a life ..do you seriously have nothing better to do than piss people off. I’m guessing your a 13 yr old spoiled brat kid that lives in SC or NO and lives off his parents money. Better yet your probably a 35yr old grown man that lives with his parents and is worthless.Who do we have to talk to about getting his IP blocked?

fanoffalcons

August 6th, 2009
1:13 pm

What about that draft pick from Clemson, Kelly, Give him a chance!!!!!

dean palaferro

August 6th, 2009
1:14 pm

Isn’t it time to consider an expierenced free agent out there?
Harrison,Porter or another?
The falcs do not have many vets …….bring one aboard!

Mark Bradley

August 6th, 2009
1:14 pm

I believe Aaron Kelly was actually a free agent. But he is from CU.

midnite

August 6th, 2009
1:17 pm

Enough with the negative stuff already! Think positive man!

mountain_jim

August 6th, 2009
1:17 pm

I questioned the Laurent Robinson trade when TD did it (for what, a bucket of footballs?) and I question it even more now. He may not have been much of a blocker but he could get open and had great hands, would have fit right in where HD left. I look forward to seeing how TD handles this test, and Roddy’s situation.

Mark Bradley

August 6th, 2009
1:19 pm

Actually, the Falcons just swapped draft positions with the Rams in Rounds 5 and 6. Didn’t get any extra picks.

dooley

August 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

Even if we get Roddy back, we really need at least 2 more above average wideouts.

bass stringerfish

August 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

Just watch, someone will fall into our laps…the karma for this team has definately changed. It will be fine. And I say Roddy White can kiss all our butts…You signed a contract. The Falcons did not reduce your pay when you sucked at catching the football. You are no where near Larry Fitzgerald. I like this team w/out this money whore.

Sam

August 6th, 2009
1:26 pm

Every team will have injuries. What’s so surprising?

Falcondore

August 6th, 2009
1:33 pm

I don’t question Laurent Robinson’s trade at all. We moved up to take more quality players in the 5th and 6th round. They’re actually just as big a gamble as Robinson, who regardless of people’s thought process, is still a project.

Usain Bolt

August 6th, 2009
1:33 pm

Thomas Dimitroff just called to ask if I can catch a football…

shanet34

August 6th, 2009
1:34 pm

good question jb im curious to see i heard they had marvin harrison coming in for a workout he still has a bit left in his tank hed be good in tha slot we just need roddy to get in camp so we can get ready for another playoff run we got a hell of a team it suckd to lose harry but roddy and jenkins can do it

Potter

August 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

The Robinson trade was for the best. We got Vance Walker out of it and form all the reports I’ve been hearing he is performing very well. We’ll make it work.

MiltonDawg

August 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

Start Bergeron or try to sign Marty Booker, Ike Hilliard, or a few other unsigned WRs asap. Roddy’s issue won’t be resolved anytime soon bc/ little baby will keep crying until he gets his way.

shanet34

August 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

shut tha hell up parker ignerant jackass ur a loser

Potter

August 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

Marvin Harrison refused to return to the Colts for a reduced role and reduced $$$. I highly doubt he’ll come to the Birds.

Pepe Frias

August 6th, 2009
1:39 pm

Who is the hot blonde chatting up Tony in the photo above? Can we get her to write a blog and post pics of herself? In the nude please!

shanet34

August 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

get roddy in camp and put jerious norwood in tha number 3 wr spot hes got a ton of speed

Panties in a wad

August 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

Marvin Harrison likes to shoot people. that kind of grief the Birds dont need.

Panties in a wad

August 6th, 2009
1:42 pm

Yes play Norwood at the #3 WR. He’s got good hands if I recall correctly and we all know he’s a spped demon. He would make a potent downfield threat.

Mike

August 6th, 2009
1:53 pm

Where’s this news about our WRs, MB?

Green Tea

August 6th, 2009
1:55 pm

Big Easy STFU

LFP6

August 6th, 2009
1:56 pm

Panties has a point with Norwood; use him as a WR, and have him on returns as well [and you people DO know that Norwood is good in that area too]. And lets not forget we have a Pro-Bowl TE to make use of…..

Greg

August 6th, 2009
1:59 pm

All you can say is that the Laurent trade—which I could not believe at the time (a third-rounder who had impressed many fans, for a couple move-ups in the 5th & 6th rounds???)—was evidence that the coaches saw something we couldn’t see. Maybe they didn’t like the way his injured hammy was responding/healing. Maybe they questioned his work ethic. But no matter what else it was, it was an admission by the Falcons that they had screwed up with this 3rd round pick.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 6th, 2009
2:08 pm

Mark:

Liked the idea yesterday about repeating the post when you answer it. Makes the blog easier to follow for us skimmers.

tale of woe

August 6th, 2009
2:10 pm

Ike Hillard????? I would like that

Prime Time

August 6th, 2009
2:15 pm

I’ll play wide out. Done it before. Bring me a contract !!

Alan

August 6th, 2009
2:16 pm

Roddy, stay home and play with your backyard team, should go a long way in helping get the rust off and putting money in your pocket, wait a minute, taking money out of your pocket. TRADE HIM!!!! GO FALCONS!!!

Trainwreck

August 6th, 2009
2:22 pm

So umm… hows Troy Bergeron and Aaron Kelly looking?

SimpleDawg

August 6th, 2009
2:22 pm

Ruck Foddy until he comes back to camp. If he’s not back within a week, move on without him.

Jerious at WR? Not a bad idea. Jenkins and Finneran are good receivers, but we will need that down field speed.

Gray Mule

August 6th, 2009
2:26 pm

Hate to lose anyone. Really hate to lose a good reciever and
return man. But, if it had to happen, just happy it happened
early in pre season. Birds still have plenty of time to search
for a replacement.

Just think, if this had happened in the first quarter of the
season opener – - Yep. At least, as bad as this is, Atlanta has
time to look for a replacement.

An opportunity – Either for someone already on the roster or
someone out there that we can sign.

SimpleDawg

August 6th, 2009
2:27 pm

Oh….regarding Big Sleazy 830. It never pays to argue with an idiot, after a while others may become confused as to who’s who.

Skeezix

August 6th, 2009
2:27 pm

For the most part, pro football bores me.

D-bird in Chucktown

August 6th, 2009
2:35 pm

I’ll second Jerious at WR. Especially if Snelling is still in the nest!!!