Dan Reeves to giddy ex-Bulldog: “It’s hard to change Detroit”

They’ve golfed together enough to develop a strong bond. In fact, although Dan Reeves preferred that Matthew Stafford remain at Georgia for his senior season, the former Falcons coach keeps praising the maturity level and the gifted ways of the former Bulldogs quarterback along the way to this weekend’s NFL draft.

“He’s a great person,” said Reeves, owner of a famously honest tongue.

Speaking of which, Reeves is correct to suggest that Stafford has lost his mind. He actually wants to play for the Detroit Lions, the worst pro football team of the past 50 years. The Lions are close to granting Stafford’s wish by selecting him with the first pick in the whole draft.

So why is this brutal?

“It’s hard to change Detroit,” said Reeves, without the hint of a chuckle.

“You can change coaches. You can change owners. I mean, there’s so little difference in winning and losing in the NFL, and one of the big things that teams that I’ve coached have had in Dallas, Denver, Atlanta — and even more so New York — is that people want to live there.

“Nobody wants to live in Detroit.”

I laughed, but Reeves didn’t, and the owner of the famously honest tongue added, “I’m serious. It’s a fact that nobody wants to live there. I mean, there are so many things that go into it. The economy, the weather. What makes a good football team is their ability to work together in the offseason, and that’s not going to happen in Detroit.”

In contrast, much is happening in Atlanta with Reeves’ old franchise that used NFL rookies at general manager, coach and quarterback last season to win 11 games after the Falcons managed only four during the previous season.

That general manager, Thomas Dimitroff, was so efficient that 10 of his 11 picks made the roster and three became starters. He also acquired splendid running back Michael Turner, and Dimitroff’s streak of enlightenment continues. He just traded for star tight end Tony Gonzalez, which is enough to make Reeves’ surgically repaired heart flutter with joy.

“I don’t think you can pass up tight ends, because they’re hard to find,” said Reeves, 65, who expressed his tight-end obsession often during his seven years with the Falcons that included a Super Bowl trip and the Miracle at Green Bay and lasted through the 2003 season. “Reggie Kelly, Alge Crumpler [both tight ends on Reeves' Falcons]. They’re kind of an offensive lineman and a receiver, and that’s a tough combination.

“If I got back into coaching, I’d definitely have me a couple of good tight ends.”

For now, Reeves just talks about tight ends as an NFL analyst on radio. He still lives in Atlanta, where he’ll golf Saturday before he returns home to see what the Falcons do with their 24th and 55th picks overall.

What should they do?

“I really haven’t looked at film and studied guys [like I used to],” said Reeves, who deferred to Dimitroff’s judgment. “Yeah, he has done a great job.”

He’s not in Motown, for instance. Reeves didn’t say that, but he could have.

64 comments Add your comment

WILLSTER

April 25th, 2009
4:21 am

THE FALCONS WILL GET RAY M FROM USC IS THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR THEM AND MATT RYAN, AND I KEEP TELLING YOU IDIOTS OF ATLANTA IF THEY DONT GET 2GOOD CORNERBACKS,IN THIS DRAFT THEY HAVE TO FACE TOM BRADY IN A FEW MONTHS ,WOW I CANT WAIT TO BET THAT GAME, WITH THE FALCONS DEFENSE A PATRIOT BLOWOUT.

WILLSTER

April 25th, 2009
4:17 am

MATT RYAN HAS ENOUGH MONEY NOW IF HE GETS HURT HE CAN HEAL HIS WOUNDS WITH HIS MILLIONS.

misterwax

April 25th, 2009
3:54 am

Go Braves speak a very deep truth, a painful truth, but truth none the less….. Sho ’nuff!!!

stendec

April 25th, 2009
3:26 am

Lions and desperate fans (Yankee scum every one) expect Stafford to produce like Ryan and that other rookie QB did in 2008. Will not happen! Stafford does not possess leadership qualities or physical/mental toughness required. If he starts he will not last out the season without an injury. Rushed passes will be off target while perfect aerials will be dropped. Why? Because Lions are anti-Red Wings. Always have been. Always will be. The Falcons have sucked for decades but, thankfully, never pitched an oh-fer (winless season). A dubious mark which CAN ONLY be matched NEVER surpassed (if that is correct word). Complete failure is its own reward. Much like revenge being a dish best served cold.

stomach turned.

April 25th, 2009
1:04 am

you fools are insufferable assh*les. you make it miserable to try and read about my hometown sports teams. ‘preciate ya.

Mike

April 25th, 2009
12:54 am

This will turn out to be one of the most famous of all famous flops in Detroit draft history. Stafford has a great arm, and certainly can throw a pass with skill, but nothing much else. You think he got rattled and made poor decisions at GA? Just wait…

Greg

April 25th, 2009
12:18 am

this guy never won anything at GA…what a joke…he will get killed in the NFL….

Brian Hunt

April 24th, 2009
11:02 pm

Dan Reeves’ offense was based around two TE sets, so of course he always wanted a couple of good TEs. It made sense for the system.

Jeffer

April 24th, 2009
10:57 pm

Wolv do you still live in detriot

falcon21

April 24th, 2009
10:54 pm

Wolverine, he said the city, he did’nt say a darn thing about the state. You’re an idiot. Move along.