Archive for the ‘5 reasons’ Category

5 reasons not to panic over the Falcons just yet

1. There are still six wins on the schedule. To enumerate: Two against Tampa Bay, one more against Carolina, home victories over Washington and Buffalo and a road victory over the Jets. That would make 10, and 10 generally gets you into the playoffs. And the Philadelphia game here — maybe you’ve heard some discussion about it — on Dec. 6 is a tossup. That would make 11, which would make the Falcons a postseason lock.

2. There’s room for growth everywhere. This is a polite way of saying the Falcons aren’t tearing it up in any single category. They’re 19th in the NFL in total offense, and they should be in the top 10. They’re 25th in total defense, which is one spot down from last season, which was to be expected with the changes made on D. Given the losses of Peria Jerry and Brian Williams, it will be hard for this defense to improve much this season. But the offense should have some breakout games in it, which would give the Falcons a puncher’s chance against anybody.

3. Jason …

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5 reasons the Hawks will reach the Eastern finals

Jeff Teague: Another addition to a stellar bench. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Jeff Teague: More help off the bench. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

1. They can match depth with any team anywhere. The Hawks didn’t change a starter, but they redid their bench almost completely. Zaza Pachulia and Mo Evans are still around, but Jamal Crawford represents an upgrade over Flip Murray and Jeff Teague seems more NBA-ready than Acie Law was. And even if Joe Smith doesn’t have much left, Jason Collins could be the hidden hinge to the second unit.

2. Mike Woodson has no choice but to deploy his subs. Contrary to popular belief, the coach isn’t a fool. He saw how Joe Johnson wearied at the end of last season, and he concedes he ran his starters too long. But Woody, like most coaches, trusts experience over youth, and that means he’ll give Crawford and Smith and Collins longer looks than he gave Law and Solomon Jones. And Woodson appears to have warmed to Teague already, which never happened with Law. (The feeling was mutual.)

3. Johnson won’t have to play as long or …

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5 things the Falcons must do before they play again

Matty Ice needs to fling a few long snowballs. (AP photo)

Matty Ice needs to fling some longer snowballs. (AP photo)

1. Move Jamaal Anderson to defensive tackle. Again, he has supplied next to nothing in the way of a pass rush. (Except for a roughing call against Tom Brady on Sunday, which was kind of funny when you think about it. Jamaal? Roughing somebody?) But he’s pretty good against the run; if he weren’t, he wouldn’t still have a job. The center of the Falcons’ line was pushed backward in Foxborough, suggesting Thomas Johnson and Trey Lewis aren’t the answer in Peria Jerry’s absence. Could J.A. be?

2. Play Lawrence Sidbury at defensive end. This is a bye week, which means the Falcons’ coaches have time to tinker. Sidbury came hailed as the steal of the draft. Time to put him to work. The defensive line hasn’t had a sack in two games.

3. Find a role for Jerious Norwood. Michael Turner managed only 56 yards against New England and fumbled for the second time in two weeks. He’s still a big-time player, but Norwood can be big-time, …

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5 reasons Georgia needs to demote Willie Martinez ASAP

1. Georgia is 97th among 120 Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense, 108th in scoring defense. The Bulldogs rank last among 12 SEC schools in both categories. Simple question: Do you believe Georgia — with Rennie Curran, Geno Atkins, Jeff Owens, Justin Houston, Kade Weston, Demarcus Dobbs, Darryl Gamble, Bryan Evans, Reshad Jones, Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith — has the worst defensive talent in the SEC?

2. Georgia has one interception, one fumble recovery and four sacks in three games. It ranks 76th (tied) in sacks, 116th in turnover margin. Simple question: Does anyone think the Bulldogs’ personnel ranks in the nation’s lower tier in terms of speed, strength and level of aggression?

3. Over the past nine games, Georgia opponents have averaged — averaged — 33 points. In 42 games under Brian VanGorder, whom Martinez succeeded as defensive coordinator, one opponent scored more than 30 points, and that was the 2003 BCS champion.

4. Georgia opponents have scored 102 points in …

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5 candidates to take over the Braves after Bobby Cox

Earlier today we offered 5 reasons Bobby Cox should step aside. Some of you then asked the logical follow-up: OK, genius, who would you hire to replace him? Here, presented in order of preference, is my short list:

1. Brad Mills, Red Sox bench coach: He has apprenticed beside Terry Francona, who’s  the second-best manager in baseball — Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire is the best — and who was Mills’ college roommate. He’s steeped in the Sox system of  numbers-crunching, which would surely delight the stat geeks on DOB’s blog, and has been known to use the word “sabermetrics” in conversation.

2. Jose Oquendo, Cardinals third base coach: He’s considered the first choice to succeed Tony La Russa in St. Louis, but nobody’s sure when La Russa will leave. Oquendo is a key player liaison, having built an alliance with the taciturn Albert Pujols. (Ah, but you’re asking: Could he get along with Yunel Escobar? Probably.)

3. Dave Duncan, Cardinals pitching coach: There’s a spotty history for …

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5 reasons Bobby Cox needs to hang it up now

He can argue all he wants, but I've come to my conclusion. (AJC photo by Elissa Eubanks)

Bobby Cox can argue all he wants, but I've come to my conclusion: This is the right time for him to step aside. (AJC photo by Elissa Eubanks)

1. He has nothing  to prove. He’s a Hall of Famer. He has won 15 division titles, five pennants and a World Series. He has done it all, and all he’s seeking to do now is repeat after himself. Retire next month and nobody — well, almost nobody — will hold Greg Norton against him.

2. He’s 68 years old. He has money, a large family and the farm in Adairsville. Five years ago he told me what a older friend once told him: “Don’t wait too long to retire, Bobby, because then you can’t do nothin’.” There are a lot of somethings Cox hasn’t yet done. Like go to the Kentucky Derby. Or the Indy 500. Or do anything that happens between February and October and doesn’t involve getting to the ballpark at 11 a.m. for a night game.

3. He’s not quite the manager he once was. This is hard for me to say. As you know, I hold the man in the highest esteem. …

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5 reasons Georgia Tech will win at Miami

The ESPN-fueled zaniness will be on the other side this time. But that's OK. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The nighttime zaniness will be on the other side. But that's OK. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

1. Paul Johnson coaches Georgia Tech. Randy Shannon coaches Miami. Mismatch.

2. Tech just got a crash course in how to handle a Thursday night game. The home team will be pumped and will start fast. The visitor must ride out the first quarter and stay close, which is doubly important if …

3. You’re a running team, which Tech is. The Jackets can’t get too far behind. But they won’t. Indeed, their capacity to control the ball and the clock will help douse Miami’s early fire. Which means …

4. It will come down to execution. That’s a mismatch, too. Miami beat Florida State because FSU is even sloppier than the U. Tech can get sloppy, but not when it matters. And, in case you haven’t noticed …

5. Tech owns Miami. Even Chan Gailey beat the Hurricanes. As Inspector Clouseau would say, “The case, she is sol-ved.”

(Or is it? Coming next: What ESPN.com’s Scouts Inc. thinks of this titanic …

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5 reasons Georgia will – repeat, WILL – win at Arkansas

1. Georgia has played somebody. Two somebodies, actually. Arkansas has played Missouri State.

2. Mark Richt is still King of the Road until proven otherwise. And he has never lost more than one game in an opponent’s stadium in a single season. No, Georgia didn’t win in Stillwater, but it re-learned a lesson there.

3. Orson Charles = Big Time. The best asset an inexperienced quarterback can have is a strong running game, and Georgia hasn’t found that yet. The second-best asset an inexperienced quarterback can have is a first-rate tight end, and this freshman is.

4. The Hogs aren’t quite ready yet. Arkansas is 6-7 under Bobby Petrino, 2-6 in SEC play. Its two conference victories have come by a total of four points. Petrino will get results soon, but not just yet.

5. The game’s at night, and you-know-who likes to slip away under cover of darkness. There’s every chance Petrino could be coaching the Saskatchewan Rough Riders by the time the fourth quarter arrives Saturday. See the …

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5 reasons Georgia might NOT have turned the corner

Bending but not breaking: Bryan Evans broke up this pass. (AJC photo by Brant Sandlerlin)

Bending, not breaking: Bryan Evans foiled this pass. (AJC photo by Brant Sandlerlin)

1. Joe Cox isn’t D.J. Shockley. Cox is a facilitator, not a playmaker. He has playmakers around him — A.J. Green, Richard Samuel, Orson Charles — but we still haven’t seen Cox make the tough throw or the third-down scramble.

2. This isn’t a shutdown defense. Georgia has one takeaway and two sacks in two games.  It held South Carolina without a first down only twice in 13 possessions. The Gamecocks punted twice. They gained 427 yards, or 171 more than they’d mustered in a 7-3 victory over North Carolina State.

3. The offensive line still isn’t road-grading. Granted, Trinton Sturdivant has again been lost to injury, but the running game hasn’t yet coalesced. The Bulldogs have rushed for a total of 202 yards in two games, and 61 of those have come on Branden Smith’s end-around.

4. The penalty monsoon returned at full force. Georgia was flagged 13 times for 108 yards Saturday night. It looked like …

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5 reasons UGA might just have turned the corner

Here's Reason No. 3: A.J. goes airborne. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Here's Reason No. 3: A.J. goes awesomely airborne. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

1. Joe Cox is not Joe Tereshinski III. He gave a passing (no pun intended) performance against South Carolina. He made the necessary, if not necessarily artistic, throws. He kept his team moving against what was billed as a big-time defense. He made one egregious mistake — the Eric Norwood interception — but led his team to a vital field goal afterward. He did his job.

2. The men of Martinez made a stop. Actually, the Georgia defense made several. South Carolina didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the second half, and the difference between touchdowns and field goals — the Gamecocks had five –  was the difference between this being an Alabama-like blowout and a narrow victory.

3. A.J. Green is the greatest Georgia receiver ever. No amplification required.

4. Branden Smith can really run. Fastest Bulldog ever? Faster than Herschel? Faster than Goldberg? (Kidding.) Just get this freshman the …

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