Chris Padgett. 26th August, 2005 - 1:51 pm
Forget midseason form. The Atlanta Falcons are in Super Bowl form. Well their defense appears to be. The offense is in another world. Everything revolves around Michael Vick there. Is he a Quarterback? This question may not be answered anytime soon. As Coach Jim Mora would put it "he's good at what he does". Or is it really the production from the quarterback position?
Wouldn't Priest Holmes put up production if he was the Chiefs Quarterback? Vick and his supporters may have to continue to fight for his ranks, with the Quarterback Elites.
No questions on the defense though. Well maybe one. Are they the best in the NFL? They are certainly looking better on paper than last year's bunch. That bunch shut down teams as good as anybody else did. Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers was the top defense last year. All signs look like they are in line to do that once again. They say defense wins championships. If that is true, we might can pencil in the Steelers and Falcons for that game. You know, the one that is played in late January.
Before this group can be talked in the same breath as the Boys from Steel Town. They might need to play their first game as a unit first. The names and possibilites are all there. It's just a matter if they can all stay healthy, and gel as a team.
Newly acquired Edgerton Hartwell will be centering this talented group. A 4th round pick in the 2001 draft by the Ravens, has moved South for the Winter. Also, Ike Reese has came in from the North and looks to add some spunk to this defense. These guys can both talk a good game. They don't only hit you hard, they tell you how hard they hit you too. These two may not be winning any "quiet games" anytime soon, but should win over the hearts of their teammates and fans.
Hartwell has made a imprint on the league already. That's an achievement right there. After all, he did play under one of the biggest Shadows in sports (Ray Lewis). Even hard for Ray to shadow a guy that has had over 300 tackles in the last 3 years. This former Western Illinois Linebacker will be a focal point to opposing teams. Pro Bowl Linebacker Keith Brooking won't be singled out so easily this year. These two linebackers for the Falcons are going to give teams trouble, as they try to plan against them.
Then you look at the line and see there are two guys there that can make an impact. Patrick Kearney and a welcomed addition last year, Rod Coleman. Both of these guys had double digit sack numbers last year. No reason to believe that they can't do it again this year. A good group of veterans look poised to make a statement this year.
Then you have the young guys. Free Safety Bryan Scott led the team in solo tackles last year, and was only 5 behind Keith Brooking in total tackles. He is a fomer Nittny Lion. I don't know what a Nittny Lion is, but if it is a lion that is around all the action, then it fits Scott's Game perfectly. You usually never see him too far from the ball. Even in the backfield he is known to make an appearance every now and then. The Falcons Scheme is disguised well, and you never know who might be in on the pass rush. This 2nd round pick excels in this defense, but has the all around talent to excel in any defense.
Last year's 8th overall pick DeAngelo Hall and Chad Lavalais, a 5th round selection, will have a chance to shine too. Both guys appear ready to step up, and have a impact on this team. Lavalais will be supplying the musle, while Hall brings the speed. OH! Did someone say speed? Are we talking about the Atlanta Falcons Draft last year? There is another guy that came out of that draft, and yes he does have a little bit of speed. It was the 4th round selection out of Nebraska, Demorrio Williams. All I am allowed to say about him is "secret weapon".
Rookies Jonathan Babineaux and Chauncey Davis may get a little playing time thrown their way as well. Babineaux has been showing a pattern of blowing up plays in the backfield, this preseason. While Davis is displaying nice pass rushing skills. He will have two great players in Coleman and Kearney to show him the ropes. The future looks bright, and it might be this year when it shines the brightest.
So the Falcons may or may not get to display, their strong defense, in the Super Bowl this year. That isn't guaranteed. What is guaranteed, is that they will get to play both of the teams that played on the big stage last year. The Falcons will start the year on Monday Night Football against the Eagles. A rematch of last year's NFC Title Game. This time the Falcons will have the homefield advantage. They keep that homefield advantage when they play the Champs on October 9th. The Falcons Organization, and the Fans will get to see just how well they might have fared against the Patriots, if they could have advanced last year. For fans staying at home and watching this game on the tube. You might not get the full homefield advantage, as CBS (AFC Affiliate) will be covering the game.
Is the Falcons Defense a Super Bowl One? It shouldn't take 16 games and the playoffs to determine this. After the New England Game (5th Game), all the results should be in. This group will have to stay healthy. Depth on defense could become a concern, if they start dropping like flies. It should be interesting to see how they stack up against last year's Super Bowl Teams.