Spanky Ham wrote:
Honestly though do you think after five years and four postseasons that this team will ever get to the SB in its current configuration (Smith/Ryan)?
One of the problems is that people think about the Falcons in a vacuum. When you start to factor in multiple teams into your minds, you start to put things into context.
Think about this...the Saints.
In Payton's first year (2006) there they won their division at 11-5 and got a 1st round bye. They beat the Eagles in Round 2 in a hard-fought game that went down to the wire. Then they played the Bears, the top seed in the conf. championship and got smacked around. They turned it over a bunch and lost by 23 points. The following year, Deuce McAllister went down with injury early on, they dumped Joe Horn among others and with one of the league's worst defenses they limped their way to a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs. They had little to no running game that year.
in 2008, they were an 8-8 team with the league's most potent passing attack despite the fact that Bush, Shockey, and Lance Moore were their top 3 targets (Colston was injured for much of hte year), they had a running game split between Pierre Thomas, Deuce, and Bush that was still one of the weakest in the league. And their defense was still one of the leakiest in the league.
Then in 2009, Brees has one of the best seasons a modern QB has had in NFL history. Their running game is one of the most efficient in the league, and their D becomes the opportunistic unit under 1st yr DC Gregg Williams that propels them to the SB and to ultimately win it.
And the question/point I'm building towards, is what if anything did Sean Payton show between 2006-08 that suggested he was capable of leading the Saints to the Super Bowl. What did Brees show up til then?
I'd bet money we can go back to the archives of this forum or another Falcon one from 2007 and 2008 where Falcons fans are saying negative things about Payton/Brees ability to win big games.
So what happened in 2009 that suddenly changed for them? The answer is NOTHING. Brees/Payton didn't suddenly become better QB or coaches. They are and always have been the same player/coach they've always been since 2006. What happened in 2009 for the Saints was the rest of the team stepped up.
You look at the Saints postseason success post 2009, it doesn't differ too much from their postseason success pre-2009. In 2010, they get embarrassed by the Seahawks and Beast Mode. 2011, they roll over Detroit, but then turn the ball over 5 times in the 1st half vs. SF, including a pair of Brees INTs and 2 fumbles on ST.
Look, I can't predict the future. But I do believe we have the right coach and the right QB. My problem with the team is that the other areas of the roster/team are deficient.
Not to throw TD under the bus, but his drafting has been unspectacular over the past 4 years. Besides Spoon & Moore, what assets has he added since 2008? Most of his big-time FA signings over the past 3 years have busted out. Not since trading for Tony Gonzalez and signing Peterson in 2009, has this team made a calculated off-season move to acquire another team's player that has worked out. Dunta Robinson, Ray Edwards, Vince Manuwai, Reggie Kelly, Matt Giordano, Lofa Tatupu, etc.
When Robert McClain is the best FA signing you've had over the past 3 off-seasons, that's not great. So if you're trying to figure out who in this Triumvirate is Octavian, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus is, I think it's fairly easy to guess who is filling the role of Lepidus.
Look I think it's going to take multiple years to fix all of the other problems on this team. That's why I said in November, that this year was the Falcons best shot at winning the big one because their best players were playing at the highest levels we've seen them play.
My hope is that the Falcons fan base and particularly their ownership, can now be patient understanding that this whole thing is a process.