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April 21, 2006

AJC: Falcons Should Stop Ignoring Dawgs

Terrence Moore and I agree.

Today, Terence Moore called the Falcons on the carpet for their 40 year history of ignoring the Georgia Bulldogs on Draft Day. It's a great article. The highlight:
Jake Scott. Ray Donaldson. Kevin Butler. Champ Bailey. Terrell Davis. Bill Stanfill. Garrison Hearst. John Kasay. Mo Lewis. Bobby Walden. Clarence Kay. Richard Seymour. Rodney Hampton. Winford Hood. Guy McIntyre. Marcus Stroud. Len Hauss. Herschel Walker. Jermaine Wiggins. Patrick Pass. Kendrell Bell. Oh, and did I mention Hines Ward? All he did was become the most valuable player of this year’s Super Bowl after leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a world championship.

None played for the Falcons, by the way, and it gets worse: The Falcons have drafted just five (that’s right, five) Georgia players ever, and they all were obscure — unless you’re among those with an Allan Leavitt throwback jersey.
Here's the thing....unlike many Dawg fans, I never felt that the Falcons "hated" the Bulldogs. It was more stupidity than hate. You can't look at the legacy of the Rankin Smith family and not see that they were incompetent owners.

Also in defense of Falcons GM Rich McKay, he's only had 2-3 drafts to fix this. When at Tampa Bay, the Bucs made a living drafting kids from Miami, UF and FSU. And the last two years, the Falcons didn't have a Dawg on the board when their position of need came up.

He should be wearing a Falcons uniform.

The same can't be said for Rankin Smith and crew. Drafting Boussard over Hampton, German over Hines and never making an attempt to bring the aging Walker home to ATL were the sort of moves that gave the people of this state cause for throwing things. But, it wasn't a matter of spite...just stupidity.

As Moore states, this draft synchs up incredibly well with the Falcons needs...which are plentiful. They need a 2nd Round CB with good size and speed -- like Demario Minter. They could use an athletic long armed OT like Roland to provide depth. And, they need a high motor kid like Golston at DT would be a value late round pick to provide depth along a depleted DL.

It'll be interesting to see what the Falcons do with their picks.



Dan said...

I'll be flat honest in that I think DJ Shockley would be a great pick-up for the Falcons with a middle to later round pick. I like the kid. It's not his fault he picked the wrong school.

I also agreed about Gilles being a good fit, but definitely doubt he'll still be around for the Falcons first pick unless the weight concerns hurt him more than expected.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Your post prompted me to do some hunting around to find whatever happened to Terrence Edwards, who got picked up by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2003. (Apparently he suffered a groin injury at some point and got cut by the Falcons, which was a shame -- I'd really been hoping the Atlanta gig would work out for him.)

Apparently he headed north and played a season with the Toronto Argonauts, and is now with -- wait for it -- the Montreal Alouettes. We all know that's where Quincy Carter ended up, but guess which other former Bulldog is playing in Montreal? Terrence's big brother Robert.

So now you know. No, no, no need to thank me.

Anonymous said...

gotta be honest Paul, I don't see why it matters. What possible loyalty should the Falcons have to UGA?? why not GT? or Auburn (pleny of their grads in ATL).

Bottom line, you go after the best player available, if it happens to be a dawg, great, if not, oh well.

Does any sane Falcon fan hate the fact that Vick is from VaTech or Brooking is from GT??

Sorry, man, just don't see what one has to do with the other. Sometimes you gotta put down the red and black glasses.

Dawgnoxious said...

Anonymous: could you be a bigger pinhead? First, the Falcons have an abysmal record of drafting the "best player available" so there's that.

Second, for most of the franchise's forty year history attendance has been a joke. There's no question Atlanta is a college football town. I have never purchased a Falcons ticket, and don't plan to unless I can go watch a former UGA player.

I don't hate Keith Brooking because he went to GT (ok, I do). But mostly I hate him because he is totally overrated. I can't even remember seeing a Keith Brooking highlight on the evening news since he's been on the team. I'm indifferent to the next breath he draws.

I remember when they drafted Keith, the Falcons said they hoped it would put fans in the seats. I laughed out loud--Tech fans don't even go to their OWN games, so why would they go to a Falcon game? Tech has the pitiful distinction of taking chronically unused seats OUT of their stadium, but an hour east the spring football game outdraws 5 of 6 Tech home games.

If part of the logic of a draft choice is reaching out to fans who are indifferent to their product but willing to watch a player affiliated with their alma mater, they why WOULDN'T you draft a Dawg? Hell, drafting a Tiger/War Eagle/Plainsman makes more sense from a ticket sales perspective than a half-assed Techster.

It speaks to the total cluelessness that has characterized the franchise, rather than some insidious conspiracy.

I think I'm pretty representative of a very large segment of Dawg fans. I don't care about the Falcons and probably never will, but I'd watch a former UGA All-American play Scrabble.

Anonymous said...

Anon - I don't expect loyalty to the Dawgs. I expect common sense and an eye for Talent.

The Steelers won a Super Bowl with 4 or 5 Dawgs on the roster. The Patriots won several Super Bowls with as many as 4 Dawgs on the roster.

The Broncos have faired well with Dawg heavy rosters having won 2 Super Bowls with them.

It makes you wonder how much time do they spend in Athens even scouting our kids?

Did you know that the Steelers, Browns and Patriots have Georgia on a short watch list of schools to spend *extra* time recruiting? It's because of the work ethic and overall talent level of our players.

As Marvin Lewis said (paraphrase)...."we started watching Greg Blue last year while we were scouting Odell and Pollack. The talent there is off the charts. Why wouldn't we spend extra time there?"

You hear no such comments from the Falcons.

Why draft a future pro bowl WR from Georgia when you can draft a DB from Nebraska who hasn't seen 100 forward passes in his entire career in the Big 12.

It's lunacy and incompetence.


Anonymous said...

Dawgnoxious, I think you're pretty representative of a very large segment of Dawg fans that gave up on the Falcons a long time ago and fail to see that the franchise is completely different from back then - new coaches, new managers, new owner, etc. It's similar to the shift in the Braves when John Schuerholz and Cox teamed up. And your also representative of a very large segment of Dawg fans that are missing out on some very good football.

The Falcons have a pretty good record (so far it seems) of drafting the best player since McKay has been calling the shots on draft day. I don't think he as interested in filling seats with people who just want to see former college players as he is in drafting players who he thinks are best for his team. Especially since he has no trouble filling seats now anyway.

And I'm having trouble of thinking of one Dawg that he passed over for a lesser talented player since he's been drafting (not that it'd beaccurate to speculate so soon).

Trey said...

Things are different in the South. That's just the way it is. Look at the Atlanta Braves. The attention paid to the "Baby Braves" is three-fold what it would have been if McCann and Francouer and Kyle Davies had been from Hill of Beans, Montana. I think the Falcons are missing out on this opportunity...for now. I would expect them to tap into the "support the local kids" niche that the South offers that places like New York and California do not.

Hell, even Houston was considering drafting Vince Young #1 only because of the support he would garner from playing in his hometown. While I support drafting the best player available that fills a need, sometimes you must weigh whether drafting another linebacker from an obscure college in California will benefit the club on the field and financially as much as drafting a local star.

Anonymous said...

he passed Reggie Brown for Roddy White.

That said, it was a good deal for Reggie b/c he needed to get out of GA.

But I'm not convinced that he got the best guy.

Anonymous said...

pinhead?? lol.

accusing the Falcons of making poor draft decisions is fine, heck, I agree 100% but the logical conclusion isn't "well if they woulda picked Dawgs it would have been better" 95% of the great players in the NFL were never bulldogs so I just don't see how it matters.

Putting butts in seats is not a problem, the Falcons sell out every game. That has to do with putting a better product on the field (VaTech, UVA and FSU players are a big reason) and a team that wins.

You could put the entire UGA team on the Falcons but if they don't win, NO ONE is coming to watch.

As for Houston, much different situation. An expansion team looking for a quick way to fill seats. And trust me, unless they think Vince Young is the answer, this decision will backfire bigtime. He loses enough and even the biggest homers will booo him off the field.

That's reality. Oh well, can't wait to see the next 'you're a pinhead' remark.

(fwiw - love the site PWD)

Anonymous said...

oh, and Dawgnoxious, "kma"

Anonymous said...

Hey I just want it known that while I sometimes get on here and post a comment as "anonymous", I am not the dufus anonymous who started this. My glasses have red and black lenses, and I see fine with them, btw. They look cool, too.

Anonymous said...

Anon, can you honestly look at the Ga Dome on most Sundays and say that it is a sellout? Did you see 03 when Vick went down, it was a sellout crowd of 3,000. I think the point being made is that by drafting GA players of high quality, cross-appeal from fan bases will develop. And its not just GA players, its any player from the local region, whether that be Auburn, NATS, or even GA Southern. Its all about marketing the franchise to increase the fanbase and revenue. How many UGA fans would buy a Hines Ward Falcons jersey? How many GA Southern fans would buy an Adrian Peterson Falcons Jersey? For a team that has openly said that it's benchmark for marketing is the UGA Bulldogs, it would make sense to draft some Dawgs.

Dan said...

The jersey point is a good one. Every Tech fan I know that is also a Falcons season ticket holder has a Keith Brooking jersey. I think some of them even had Dez White jerseys while those were still available and were willing to wear them without the least hint of irony.

I could only imagine how well a Hines Ward jersey would have sold in Atlanta. If they pick-up and keep Shockely, it wouldn't surprise me that a bunch of those would sell as well.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

I think Dan's on to something -- I can't speak for every Dawg fan, but as far as me personally, if the Falcons drafted Shockley and starting selling his jersey, I would be elbowing small children out of the way at the Georgia Dome to buy one.

(Of course, if the Redskins drafted him, I would immediately take a leave of absence from my job and drive up to Washington so that I could elbow kids out of the way up there to get one.)

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the Falcons? When is MC Hammer gonna have another hit? Glanville ruined their uniforms. Atlanta is a toilet. How 'Bout Em!

Anonymous said...

Kyle King, nice diatribe, but you pretty much prove my point. In fact, I don't see why you think you strongly disagree with me.
You come right out and say that you in fact gave up on the Falcons a long time ago. The Falcons are in fact completely different (in ownership, coaches, ...) than 10 years ago. That may be a laughable statement, but certainly not mistaken, and I'm sure you'd agree. And by it being laughable, you must imply that no matter how many times the Falcons change, they will never be good. That is laughable to me. Didn't the Falcons used to share a stadium with a perennial loser that somehow turned it all around and became one of the best in sports?

So you gave up on the Falcons long ago, root for NFL teams based on who our players play for, and aknowlege that the Falcons are different than before (in ownership, coaches, ...). We certainly can (and do) disagree about what will happen to the Falcons in the future with these changes, but you are in fact who I'm talking about.

Dawgnoxious said...

The ownership may be new, the players may be new, and the arena may be somewhat new, but the results are remarkably familiar. Given all the parity in the NFL, putting up back-to-back winning seasons wouldn't seem like much of a organizational success story. Yet, it's the same mediocre product that I've grown up with.

There is a finite amount of emotional investment I can give to a sports team. Prior to the baseball strike, the Braves had a small portion, but these days its 100% Dawgs. I can spill some of my emotional investment in the Dawgs into the NFL by watching former Dawgs, but otherwise I can't see myself really caring about the fortunes of the Falcons. My goal for them is to not embarrass the city of Atlanta, and they struggle to achieve it.

shliknik said...

Someone mentioned how us Dawg fans forget that Keith Brooking went to GTech and now we root for him since he's a Falcon. Actually count me a Dawg fan that boos him everytime I see him on the screen! It's tough to root FOR the Falcons but against one of their players, but I can't forget those three years when I was at UGA and we lost to GATech.
The NFL is cute but count me a college football and loyal Dawg fan all the way.

Screw you Brooking

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