fun gus wrote:
part of the reason we lost the last 2 playoffs games was the coaching staff's inablity to get this team to focus properly on the post season.
I think "focus" had very little to do with it. I think our playoff losses had everything to do with this coaching's formula for success being very, very conservative and easy for good teams to figure out. I think we were focused and motivated to do what they wanted to do. The problem is what they wanted to do wasn't going to work. I think our playoff losses have everything to do with Xs and Os, not focus or lack thereof. It was a flawed plan, and all the focus and motivation in the world wasn't going to make that plan be executed well.
I look at it slightly differently Pudge. Take Bill Cowher or Dungy as an example that I think relates to our situation quite well. They fielded consistently competitive teams and often had a chance to get/win a Superbowl before eventually winning a Superbowl while also earning respect for their franchises in the long term.
Whats being said about Smith are the exact words used to describe those two head coaches.
Than again, theres always a Marty...
Nuccah, comparing Smith to Cowher and Dungy are right on. But it took Cowher 14 years before he won a Super Bowl, and Dungy 11 years. That's exactly what I'm afraid of, thus why I said in my last post the "foreseeable" future. Smith is in year 5, and I'm not expecting them to win right away. But I think this team is in a position today where they can take major steps so that 3-4 years down the road they can win a Super Bowl. But I think with their current methodology and path they are on, we might have to wait another 8 years or whatever before they figure things out.
See, IMHO there is this pervasive and popular myth
out there that says if you're in the playoffs, anybody has a chance. That is because recently, some dark horses like Pittsburgh, Arizona, Green Bay, New York have made runs in recent Januaries and made people believe that everybody in the playoffs has an equal chance. To me there is a commonality between the dark horses that get hot at the right time, and the favorites that manage to live up to expectations. Look at the past 4 or 5 years and the teams that went to the Super Bowl or went to the championship games. Like 90% of them were: A) Really good passing teams, meaning you can throw on pretty much anyone B) Really good defenses, which means you can stop pretty much anyone or C) A combination of both.
Does any of that describe the Falcons? Not passing the ball, because they continue to have Michael Turner be the centerpiece of the offense. And you can't be a top-level defense like you need unless you have impact playmakers, but this team ignores those guys (i.e. Mario Williams), and continues to just collect complementary pieces. Does that mean this will be the case in future years with the Falcons? No, but that is the case today. And there aren't any clear-cut steps leading forward to suggest that is going to change in the very near future. So we'll just have to wait and see, thus my lack of optimism about what the future may
See, I've said in the past that Super Bowls are "magic." Because what Cowher and Dungy have done by winning those Super Bowls is erase the previous 13 and 10 years of their coaching careers, where their formula for success (i.e. being overly conservative) was actually hurting their respective teams.
I've said before that serendipity shined on Dungy basically that he got fired in Tampa Bay and then inherited Peyton Manning. The interesting thing about Cowher is that after years of trying to win with average QBs and conservative run-first offense, he managed to lose enough games to get in position to draft Big Ben, and then in '05, decided to hand the keys of their ground game from a declining Jerome Bettis to a fast-rising Willie Parker. The parallels are interesting don't you think?
Of course I'm also not excited by his replacement, but I have PERSPECTIVE. ie we are better than most and after watching the last few years I don't see any reason we can't do what the Giants, Saints or Packers did.
And I would argue that highlighted portion is where you start to lose perspective. There are very good reasons why we cannot do what the Giants, Saints, or Packers have done in recent years. Because our coaching staff builds their postseason game plans around a decrepit tailback and a lackluster O-line, and think that's going to carry them to success, as seen in our Giants loss.
They think that all they need to make those guys play better is simply motivation. That shuffling the coaching staff is going to suddenly invigorate these guys with talent they don't have.
I wouldn't say there are 23-25 teams, but certainly at least half of the teams in the NFL that would happily trade places with the Falcons. But the analogy I would use to counter your point, is that you're essentially saying that it's OK to be a B student because there are a lot of C and D students out there. But I think the point I'm trying to make is why "settle" for being a B student when being an A student is within your grasp?...
Look, I know that despite my words there is no simple blueprint for success. If winning championships was easy, then everybody would have one. But the point I'm trying to make is that there are certain things you can do that can maximize your opportunities. You can't control everything, but you can do certain things that improve your odds.
For example, using the student analogy. If you want to get an A, then if you go to class, take notes, ask questions, study, do your homework and reading, then you're putting yourself in the best possible position to get the best possible grade you can get. Does that guarantee you an A in that class? No. BUt the odds are more stacked in your favor than if you just slept through class, didn't do you homework or whatever.
And my negativity and pessimism about this team's future is because IMO I don't see them taking these steps. They give away critical resources (i.e. draft picks) in exchange for a player that they aren't really interested in using. They don't jump at rare opportunities to get elite talent on defense that could be a huge step forward to get teh caliber of defense they've always wanted.
It's not to say that teams like the Giants, Packers, Saints or whomever planned what was happening. A lot of luck is involved. But luck is out of your control, but there are a lot of other factors that are within your control, and I think those teams did good jobs in the areas they could control. I'm not seeing the same in Atlanta.