The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Atlanta is Rising Again

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Having written the Atlanta chapter of Pro Football Prospectus 2008, I did a fair amount of research into the whys and wherefores of the Falcons' disastrous 2007 season and their attempted rebuild. I was under the impression that with a team owner susceptible to somewhat suspect decision-making, a rookie general manager, a rookie head coach, and a rookie quarterback, this team would be years away from putting a competitive product in their field.

4-2 after six games? You have got to be kidding me.

First, kudos must be given to Arthur Blank, the much-maligned owner. He has, at least publicly, stayed out of the way and let the football people make the football decisions. Much credit also goes to GM Thomas Dimitroff, whose excellent draft is already paying dividends (though I maintain that with this class of rookie running backs, he still overpaid for Michael Turner). Matt Ryan, Sam Baker, and Curtis Lofton are making big differences on the field already, and that's a great haul for a rebuilding draft.

Then, there's coaching lifer Mike Smith, the man who has his first chance in the spotlight and has proven to be the Anti-Petrino in the way he holds things together and motivates his team. And finally, there's Matt Ryan, the rookie quarterback from Boston, whose arm, poise in the pocket and work ethic have him set to be the next great quarterback.

This Falcons team isn't yet a playoff contender - there are still a lot of question marks on defense, and it's a young, penalty-prone nucleus - but any fan of a habitually horrible team can take solace in this story. It is possible, if you make all the right moves, to pull your franchise out of the cellar in one year. These is no bigger surprise, and no better story, in the NFL this year.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 13, 2008; 1:32 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Ryan Tops the List | Next: Don't Count Them Out

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MR. FARRAR,the Chicago Bears are infact a playoff team.Sundays problem,was the Bears gave away a gift for the last time this year.

Posted by: LElias | October 13, 2008 9:55 PM

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