SI’s Peter King looks at the Falcons and sees mediocrity

Mike Smith reacts to the news that Peter King ranks the Falcons No. 16. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mike Smith reacts to news that his team is the 16th-best. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Perhaps you noted during minicamp that Matt Ryan said to the world’s worst journalist — that’d be me — that he believes the Falcons are “a lot closer to 12 or 13 wins than to eight.” Twelve or 13 wins would make this a really good team. The esteemed Peter King of SI.com, however, regards it differently.

In his newest power rankings, Mr. King ranks the Falcons 16th in a 32-team league, which would be the utter definition of mediocrity. He also sees the Falcons as the third-best team in the four-team NFC South, behind both New Orleans (No. 5) and Carolina (No. 8).

That’s correct. He has the Panthers, who historically are the NFL most’s overrated bunch, eight spots ahead of the Falcons. Mr. King believes dumping Jake Delhomme and will propel Carolina onward and upward, which it might. But still: A team with an unproven quarterback (Matt Moore) and a potential lame duck of a head coach (John Fox) is going to jump above the Falcons, who with all their injuries still finished a game ahead of the Panthers in 2009?

(Oh, yes. One thing more. Julius Peppers no longer plays for Carolina.)

Enough. The point here isn’t to argue with the esteemed PK but to note his reasons for not loving the Falcons. Quoth Mr. King:

The Falcons are healthier, and better. I just think there are two teams in the division better right now — unless Matt Ryan has a Drew Brees-type year. I don’t think he has one of those in him … yet. Not many quarterbacks do.

OK, a bit more quibbling (sorry, can’t resist): The whole point of the Falcons’ offseason — signing Dunta Robinson, drafting Sean Weatherspoon — was to upgrade the defense to the extent the Falcons don’t have to score 30 points a game to win. And I can’t understand how Carolina minus Peppers is a more enticing team than the Falcons plus Robinson.

But reasonable folks can, I submit, disagree reasonably. And I guess that’s what I’m doing here. Because I think the 2010 Falcons will be really, really good. Division-winning good.

226 comments Add your comment

JTK

May 17th, 2010
11:15 am

Peter King is a moron. I stopped reading his articles a while back because they were so ridiculous. I really don’t know why he is so revered as a writer.

mike

May 17th, 2010
11:17 am

peter king is never right.. we have nothing to worry about

Lancer

May 17th, 2010
11:20 am

Screw king. Falcons got what it takes.

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
11:21 am

Pete’s not a moron. He knows his stuff. I just disagree with him on this. (And I’ve known Pete since he was at the Cincinnati Enquirer 30 years ago.)

Dwayne

May 17th, 2010
11:22 am

IceFan

May 17th, 2010
11:22 am

He is incorrect! Simple as that

Dwayne

May 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Dwayne

May 17th, 2010
11:23 am

ok Peters picks are moronic. But he is an OK kinda guy.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: SI's esteemed Peter King looks at the Atlanta Falcons and sees … mediocrity. http://bit.ly/dgOqgS [...]

Dwayne

May 17th, 2010
11:25 am

Wasn’t Peter King the fat guy on Cheers that drank beer all the time with Cliff Claven?

Bubba

May 17th, 2010
11:26 am

Mark, what is the status of Harry Douglas? If he’s healthy, I think he could be a big asset to this offense.

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
11:27 am

Douglas is still rehabbing and wasn’t doing much in minicamp, Bubba. But the Falcons are counting on him.

Montclair Mike

May 17th, 2010
11:28 am

Robinson was a nice pickup, ‘Spoon was an athletic playmaker in the Big XII, but the Falcons still need to generate more pressure on the QB – especially against the Saints!!!
If Abraham/Biermann/Chauncey Davis/Jamaal Anderson can’t get to the QB consistently, Robinson will be alone in coverage against Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colson, Ochocino, A. Boldin, Steve Smith, etc. this season. That’s a scary thought.

Fatty McBuffett

May 17th, 2010
11:28 am

There’s a guy here named Peter King that eats out of the dumpsters behind Kroger. Same Guy?

jimmy

May 17th, 2010
11:29 am

pete need’s retraining

Harry

May 17th, 2010
11:30 am

I don’t agree with Peter King either. I really don’t care how many years of experience he has….but he makes lot of blunders during Pre-Draft & during the season.
His articles is one of the reason I have switched my Subcriptions from SI to ESPN. You are part of journalism and have to be diplomatic but not us as readers.

Gray Mule

May 17th, 2010
11:30 am

I seem to recall that this is not the first time that he has
low rated our Falcons.
He was wrong then and he’s done it again, in my opinion. Atlanta
has improved. Pass defense, which has been almost non existant,
should be improved.
If our defense improves enough, that gives our offense more chances
with the ball. That should lead to more wins. A good formula.

Gray Mule

CAROLINAMAN

May 17th, 2010
11:31 am

I agree with Peter the Falcons haven’t done enough on defense and truly don’t have any game changers on that side of the ball. Abraham’s is declining and Weatherspoon was a reach in the first round.

Sonny Clusters

May 17th, 2010
11:32 am

Being underrated is better than being overrated. When we was playing ball we was most always underrated and that way we could slip up on some people. When we was defending state championship we was never able to slip up on anybody. We was waiting once for a new parfait to be introduced at the Dairy Queen and we was told it was the best parfait yet. When it finally arrived we was so disappointed in it because it had no nuts. That’s right a parfait with no nuts. Overrated.

StayThirstyMyFriends

May 17th, 2010
11:33 am

That white streak in Peter King’s hair is really unattractive…

Brownie

May 17th, 2010
11:34 am

It’s May, and nobody knows who will be better and who will be worse this fall. I can’t recall if I’ve ever agreed with anything Bradley has written ( and I don’t know that the Falcons are “division winning good” considering the Saints don’t appear to have regressed much) but Peter King has no foundation for his opinion.

Consider: The Falcons were better than the Panthers last year with the Falcons 4th ranked toughest schedule and numerous injuries to key personnel. They have drafted well (albeit unspiringly) to fill key holes on both sides of the ball; Ryan has another year of learning this offense; Turner is back healthy and in better shape; Harry Douglas, William Moore and Peria Jerry are all back (like getting “free” free agents); we have a better defensive backs coach; Jason Snelling has finally been given field time to show that he can seriously contribute; Tony G is about to play his final highly-motivated season; and we mercifully don’t have Jason Elam anymore (he literally did cost the Falcons 1-2 games last year).

At this time of the year, every team’s improved, expecting to remain healthy, and looks good in shorts.

I’m guessing that Peter King will not look back on his prediction as being one to boast about.

Birdman

May 17th, 2010
11:35 am

Good point on the fact that even with critical injuries to Ryan and Turner we won more games than them. Throw in the most ridiculous schedule in years (4 teams off bye weeks) and that achievement warrants merit.

Assuming we can avoid criitcal injuries and a softer schedule, this team will improve. An improvement means no less than 10 wins. Is Carolina a 10 win team with Matt Moore at QB? Maybe, but in any case they aren’t the 8th strongest team in the league. And we are much more than the 16th strongest team. His reasoning is not backed up by anything of substance other than a gut feeling, which we all have.

Joey

May 17th, 2010
11:35 am

That Peter King ……. he’s no Mark Bradley!

Matt

May 17th, 2010
11:35 am

It is important to note that King admits that these rankings mean nothing. He picked the Saints to place 24th at the start of last season and the Bears to win it all.

King is a smart reporter and has always given Ryan some good press. I, for one, think the Falcons are going to bust out this year.

Kushion

May 17th, 2010
11:39 am

Peter King can rank the Falcons last if he wants too, we still have to play the games. Guys like this (writers and reporters) get paid to evaluate teams and give their opinions. I don’t care how long he’s been a writer at the end of the day it’s just a writers opinion about football. Take it with a grain of salt and move on. If Peter King was ever consistently correct in his evaluations he would have a different occupation. I for one hope we are able to fly underneath the radar and surprise some people this season on our way to the playoffs.

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
11:40 am

When have I ever been wrong on a prediction?

F-105 Thunderchief

May 17th, 2010
11:40 am

I read that earlier. Carolina? Really, Pete?

SeenThisB4

May 17th, 2010
11:42 am

King is an idiot. How could he be picking the Super Bowl champs at # 5? I can see the #16 pick for Atlanta, but # 5 for Super Bowl Champions? What an idiot. His credibility is completely destroyed with that ranking.

SeenThisB4

May 17th, 2010
11:44 am

Mark: Every time you post one.

Yurtle_the_turtle

May 17th, 2010
11:46 am

This is the same Peter King (SI) who loves Obama and his crappy healthcare garbage. I dismiss King right then and there.

Lethal Weapon 3

May 17th, 2010
11:46 am

The Falcons just need to prove it ont he field. Until then, I think the ranking is spot on. Speculation is one thing, but until they do it on the field, I can honestly say that the Falcons are not an elite team. By suggesting that they are is a joke. The Saints are just flat out better. Coaching, RB’s, WR’s, QB, Defense, (FANS), everything! The Panthers… Well they got rid of their problem…. The absence of the ultimate complainer will mean everything for this team…. The Falcons…Well, let’s see them do it on the field.

NavySealDawg

May 17th, 2010
11:47 am

I heard that Peter King was the President of The Villiage People fan club,

Mike Vick

May 17th, 2010
11:48 am

Peter is right on!…..just que up my oppenturnity to come back to the ATL.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: SI’s Peter King looks at the Falcons and sees mediocrity http://bit.ly/c0WeDf [...]

Birdman

May 17th, 2010
11:50 am

If he admits they mean nothing then why is he paid to write them and why are they reprinted here? Of course they mean nothing as they all do , but his expert opinion is supposed to be worthy of quotation by our always prepared and globally esteemed Mark Bradley, then he better have a more reasonable position of defense on his picks than just gut feeling. Mark I would prefer your complete rankings as a response rather than just pointing out issues with his Falcons ranking. We all know he mailed this one in and did less than half the due diligence we all know you have done. Let’s see the results!

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
11:50 am

Come on, folks. Let’s not rip a guy for having a different opinion. Disagree with the opinion — that’s fine. But enough with the ad hominem attacks.

NavySealDawg

May 17th, 2010
11:50 am

He works for sport Illistrated, who didn’t put Georgia in the Top 25 or included them in teams to be mention.

RomeDawg

May 17th, 2010
11:51 am

Where do you think the Falcons should be ranked right now, Mr. Bradley? Or should I say thee “esteemed” Mark Bradley? I sure hope the “esteemed” Peter King is wrong!

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
11:52 am

Top 10, RomeDawg. And not No. 10 — like No. 7 or 8.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

May 17th, 2010
11:54 am

But when you think about it , it’s kinda nice to be flying under the radar , I know the players are grown men and pros but a little extra motivation never hurts a little locker room bullentin board material.

F-105 Thunderchief

May 17th, 2010
11:54 am

I don’t speak Latin, is an ad hominem attack a personal attack? That’s what context suggests.

ITP Brave

May 17th, 2010
11:55 am

I’m more surprised by him having Carolina at 8 than Atlanta at 16. (I would probably have Atlanta between 10-12.)

Does King really think that Jimmy Claussen or some guy not named Delhome can be a decent QB in this league? I know that they have two tremendous RBs and an all-world WR, but you can’t do much in the NFL if no one respects your QB.

Unless you have a Baltimore Ravens-esque defense, you’re not winning in this league without at least an average QB. And, last time I checked, the Panthers don’t have that kind of defense.

Proffessor

May 17th, 2010
11:57 am

Yes – It certainly is a personal attack. Jolly good show Thundercheif!

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

May 17th, 2010
12:00 pm

i agree not many teams have had a defense like Baltimore that can win a super bowl without a real QB , and with the loss of peppers you would think carolina is going to have quite a few games where the offense is going to have to carry the load. And all the pounding is going to catch up with steve smith also he will slow down it happens to all the greats .

Mark Bradley

May 17th, 2010
12:01 pm

That’s it, Thunderchief. Means, if I recall correctly, “against the man.”

Michael in Dunwoody

May 17th, 2010
12:02 pm

Mark,

Read the Peter King article this morning, and almost felt compelled to write an email. Glad you wrote a blog post so I can respond here instead.

I’m always sure to read Peter’s MMQB articles during the season, and in them it seems he both praises the Falcons in general and Matt Ryan in particular while underrating them (due to injuries, schedule, etc.), and at the same time overrates the Panthers. Over the last five or so weeks of the season Peter had the Panthers in his “Fine Fifteen” consistently while the Falcons barely made the list or missed the cut completely. Both teams experienced resurgences during those last few weeks and the Falcons ended up with a better record.

Now, by the same token, he has the Panthers as a TOP TEN team with the Falcons as 16th! I see faulty logic! If we’re going by the “it’s only May” argument, then the Falcons HAVE to be the better team, don’t they? Injuries obviously don’t apply, so one is forced to look at talent and post-draft analysis alone to make these rankings. On talent alone, the Falcons clearly are the better team; the Panthers LOST their best player in the off-season, while the Falcons upgraded their weak secondary and retained a Pro Bowl RB, a Pro Bowl-caliber QB, and a Hall of Fame TE. Am I missing something?

As far as the draft is concerned, both teams were graded in the B/B+ region by most “experts.” Peter praises Matt Moore as the Panthers’ QB in his article, but excludes the fact that they drafted two QBs last month. Perhaps the Panthers’ front office would disagree with Peter’s confidence? Meanwhile, the Falcons drafted for defense, and drafted well.

I should take these rankings with a grain of salt, but it bothers me that they seem to be more of a continuation of Peter’s rankings of last year without taking into consideration the aforementioned aspects that SHOULD constitute these rankings instead with regard to both the Falcons and Panthers.

For the record, I think Peter King is on of the best writers SI has and is one of the reasons I’m a subscriber. He is one of the best, but I think he’s off the mark (no pun intended) here.

Birdman

May 17th, 2010
12:03 pm

No one faults him for giving his opinion. I like Peter King, he is one who seems to think through his postings. We are giving our opinions (unpaid albeit). But posting them in this format is inviting a response, and it seems the overwhelming response from this forum is that the rankings are not backed by information usually employed in evaluating a team. Most conventional wisdom is that a team with a new and unproven qb takes a step back. So we are not off the reservation in questioning his rankings. Personal attacks are not warranted however.

Dawgs97

May 17th, 2010
12:03 pm

Peter King is definitely a moron. This is why I miss Steve Czaban on Satellite radio :( Czabe would have been all over a fat dolt like King for another stupid analysis.

There’s no way any sane individual can pre season rank the panthers ahead of the Falcons. Look, Matt Ryan could get hurt and the Falcons could win just 5 games and then fine, Carolina does better. But heading into the season, any logical, competent sports writer should have the Falcons #2 in the division and a legit WC contender.

terry

May 17th, 2010
12:04 pm

outta curiosity I checked what king’s picks was last yr, he had atlanta winning the south at 10-6, new orleans at 7-9, new england winning the superbowl over the bears. he’s so wrong he’s just gonna flip flop everything, next yr he’ll have tampa bay on top.

PMC

May 17th, 2010
12:05 pm

That’s fine, they had a rough year last year. PK generally does his ratings based on the known. I can’t explain why he would like a team with Matt Moore at QB and losing the talent of JP (and still no replacement for Steve Smith or Moose better) but that’s his perogative. I guess he thinks a lot of Jimmy Clausen.

It’s a good reminder that the Falcons have a ton of work to do. Remember the national perception was that… they just can’t get the QB..and they didn’t get an end. We have all known since last august in preseason that this team flat out couldn’t cover teams with taller physical receivers and a good QB and that’s why they got Brian Williams to help…and when he and Jerry went down… the defense didn’t have the depth to really do much but slow people down. They couldn’t keep any really effective offensive team from scoring.

If Spoon, Moore, Peters and Jerry can contribute this year I think it will pay big dividends all around.

If HD can make it back to what he was at WR that will help.

There are a lot of ifs with this team but the building blocks are solid. The NFL essentially plays out so that most teams will be around 8-8. How much above or below that depends on injuries, coaching and having the right players for your scheme.

He had the Falcons in there fairly high for a long time last season and they finished just out of his fine 15. I’m not sure 16th is such an off the wall spot for this team to be starting. I’m not with him on Carolina though yet. I like Matt Moore and I like the backs… but I think the Falcons defense will be much improved next year and I think they will get much more out of Ryan.