I love how everyone and their momma now amongst the talking heads are saying that Vick needs to go back to running. It was only 6 or so weeks ago after that Jet game, that everyone was saying the Falcons wouldn't be better until he threw the ball better.
There's no doubt in my mind that Vick was intimidated by the Bears defense. He looked tentative and scared. But I think that's because he was overcompensating for his weak ribs, and not willing to jeopardize his health and possibly the rest of the team's season to go 110% out there. Now, it's up to you to figure out if you think that was right or wrong.
I still believe that the Falcons' ultimate success will come on the arm of Michael Vick. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the playoffs, his running ability is probably not going to be a deciding factor. At that point in the postseason, you are usually facing disciplined and talented defenses that are going to be able to do what the Bears did, what the Bucs do, and what the Eagles have done twice against Vick in that type of setting, and contain Vick's running ability. Those teams are going to have the Jevon Kearses, Alex Browns, Simeon Rices, Mike Ruckers, etc. that are going to be able to contain his left side scrambling, and limit him.
So it's going to come down to his throwing ability, and also the receivers and tight ends abilities to catch the ball. Holding onto the football was a problem once more last night, although a bit understandable due to the conditions.
I don't think small linemen are inherently bad, but I think we need to upgrade ours. We can still stay small, but we just need to get better guys. You can look at many of the teams over the years that have had some of the biggest lines, and they aren't particularly good either (Cardinals, Eagles, and Raiders a few years back had lines that combined for 1600 pounds or more). It's not about size, it's about strength, leverage, technique, and athletic ability. It's the guys that do those 4 things the best that are the best OL in the league. We need to get better guys that upgrade in those areas.
We don't need to go out and get guys that are 320 pounds and stuff. The Broncos line was just as small if not smaller a few years back. And what they did was those 4 areas. They had veterans that knew all the angles, had great technique and such. They had young athletic guys that were learning from these veterans. One might say the Broncos lines of the late 90s wouldn't be as successful today as it was then because linemen have gotten bigger and more athletic. I'd agree with that latter statement, but the degree of difference between the caliber of DL in 1998 as opposed to 2005 is minimal IMO. But if you look at who were the top DTs and pass rushers then as now, it's still the guys that were like Wayne Martin, John Randle, and are like Rod Coleman, and La'Roi Glover, the "undersized" guys between 275-290 pounds. The scope of that position really hasn't changed. Teams tend to fall in love with these 330 pound athletes nowadays, but you're going to find more Gerard Warrens among them than Shaun Rogers. It was the same back then.
You look at the Eagles, whose starting OL weighs about an average of 325, and ours which is about 295. Is the Eagles line more talented than ours? Definitely. But are they playing better than ours? Nope. Do they have the opposite dilemma? Do they say, we need smaller quicker guys? Or do they simply stay, lets go with the big linemen but we'll just need to get better big linemen.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.