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The Falcons Are Not The Worst Team In The NFL

I'm going to jack the text directly from Bleeding Green Nation's BGN Jason, who was kind enough to post it in a diary:

Pro Football Talk thinks so. They've ranked the Falcons #32 in their preseason power rankings.

We struggled with our selection of the worst team in the NFL as we embark on a new NFL season.  It would have been too easy to drop the Raiders to the bottom of the barrel.  Sure, they were terrible last season, but that was seven months ago.  Since then, there has been cause for optimism.  Okay, not a lot of optimism, but enough to lift them out of the bottom of the NFL barrel.

Based on the events of the offseason, and specifically the occurrences of the past three weeks, we think it's easy to spot the weakest member of the strongest sports league in America.

The Atlanta Falcons.

The Mike Vick indictment plunged the franchise into disarray.  Joey Harrington is the starting quarterback, for crying out loud.

Think about that -- as of January 1, the team had Mike Vick and Matt Schaub.  Now, they have Harrington.  Ugh.

Along the way, a fairly successful head coach (Jim Mora) was thrown out the door, due in large part to his ill-advised musings about his desire to return to Seattle as the head coach of the local college team.  In his place is the latest overhyped college coach who'll within a few years will be the latest former NFL coach hoping to find a situation reasonably similar to the sweetheart deal he gave up for a crack at the big boys.

This franchise is headed for a very bad 2007, and an even worse 2008.

I would agree that this certainly does not look a superbowl team by any means, but I find it hard to believe that even a Vick-less Falcons team will be the worst team in the NFL.


I don't even know where to start on this one. Wait, yes I do. Let's start by mentioning that Jim Mora was such a great head coach. He was so amazing, in fact, that he immediately got a new gig when he was fired. As the secondary coach for the Seahawks.  I always said I didn't think Mora was a bad head coach, but his staff was pretty cringeworthy and clearly the team had to fire all of them. Mora already seemed unhappy with his job, and Greg Krapp and Ed Donatell were such awful playcallers that it hurt me inside. Pet Rhino could be the next hotshot coach who fails in the NFL, but at least he's a high risk, high reward gamble. I don't think there's really any chance that Petrino's staff is so much worse than Mora's that is costs us a few games in the standings. Next point.

In order to defend this team, I also have to defend Harrington. I may cough up blood on the keyboard while I'm doing this, so bear with me. I'm not super familiar with PFT's stance on Mike Vick, so I'm going to generalize here. Why are the same people who are so eager to bury Vick for being an awful QB suddenly saying the Falcons are going to suck even worse without him? Did I miss something here? Granted, Joey Harrington is not what most people would call a viable starting quarterback, and after I've spent the last two months hating on him I'm in no position to change my mind. But Vick made a lot of the same dumb throws Harrington's so famous for; in reality, the Falcons are just losing his mobility and potential to deliver the big play. Is that enough to spike the Falcons into the basement of the entire league? I say no way. Realistically, I think this team could finish with anywhere between 6 and 9 wins, and if that's good enough for the league's worst record then somebody sucks at math. I also didn't see the Falcons lose Norwood or Dunn, and I'm pretty sure they signed Joe Horn and drafted another receiver. Call me crazy, but I think they might've also drafted very well on defense. My memory's a little foggy.

So how in the name of Ovie Mughelli's giant contract is this the worst team in the league? Excepting the loss of Vick and possibly Kerney, this is a team that I honestly believe has gotten better in the offseason. If you take a hard look around the league, you'll notice that there's been some teams who have probably gone backwards. Here I am thinking of the Bucs (released Simeon Rice and have the QB merry-go-round from hell), the Dolphins (an aging Trent Green and one of the worst offensive lines in football), the Raiders (who still suck), and the Chiefs (who still have a weak defense, might have a weaker line, have no receivers, are watching Larry Johnson hold out, and are starting either Damon Huard or Brodie Croyle at QB).

Call me a handsome but foolish optimist if you must, but I can't see this team bombing the entire season to the tune of 3-4 wins. James from FalcFans actually thinks we might have a 10 win season in us, though I'm a little skeptical about that. I just can't make myself believe that the Falcons are actually that weak after all their additions. It seems to me like PFT has put way too much stock into the departures of Jim Mora and Mike Vick, two guys who essentially dug their own graves over the last year. If they're right and the Falcons turn out to be horrendous this year, I'll glady admit it because by then I'll probably be furious with the team anyways. Even if they're in the bottom ten, I still say there's no way this team is the worst in the league.