At times like these, patience is the key.
Sure, we've lost three out of our four major unrestricted free agents. Domonique Foxworth was a quality player last season, Michael Boley was great until last year and Keith Brooking was a little bit past his prime. They were all pieces of the team and Foxworth was very much a key piece, but they're still only three guys. Not one superstar in that group.
I think that gets at the heart of the way Thomas Dimitroff is building this defense. In New England, management cobbled together a defense with perhaps one big name guy (Richard Seymour) and a bunch of guys with little-to-no name recognition nationally. Paired with a high octane offense, the D was good enough to keep the Patriots in games and occasionally shut down an opponent entirely. It's becoming clear that the good Comrade believes in that philosophy.
Is it scary to watch guys who have been good players and team leaders leaving for gobs of money? You bet your mostly sedentary butt it is. Watching Foxworth and Boley leave bothered me to no end, and I find it hard to believe that Boley won't turn his career back around elsewhere. But it's not going to be the nature of the Falcons in the years ahead to dole out huge contracts to guys like Albert Haynesworth, and I think we better get used to that now. If we don't, I'm going to be 24 going on 54, which is basically what I felt like all last off-season. The draft aged me at least ten years.
That doesn't mean that there aren't guys out there that the Falcons could and should pick up. D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a short list with some useful names, which many of you have already championed for. Safety Sean Jones would be an excellent fit and give Mike Smith a chance to shuffle around Erik Coleman and Thomas DeCoud, while defensive end Paul Spicer would ably replace Chauncey Davis if he becomes the fourth free agent to escape Atlanta on a rocketship.
We're going to completely ignore the cornerback Dre Bly and safety Mike Brown talk in that article.
My general point is that we're alive and well. Whether the L.J. Smith rumor ever comes to anything or not, the Falcons are going to make some signings. The only thing we can do right now is react, but let's keep the idea of a long-term plan firmly in the back of our minds. After the minor miracle he pulled off last season, Thomas Dimitroff deserves at least that much.