Let's commend Bobby Petrino for being a quick learner, if nothing else. He's already announcing that Jerious Norwood is getting an expanded role in the wake of his superlative but limited effort on Sunday. The Falcons looked so horrendous overall on offense that they need a spark, and you can't define spark much more clearly than one of the fastest running backs in the league.
If the team can get its running game going, that will go a long way toward taking pressure off of poor Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo. I've come around to the point of view that Harrington should really only be criticized for his first interception, which was entirely his fault and was hopefully not a sign of things to come. The six sacks were a worrying indicator that not all is right along our offensive line. It's too soon to say they're having difficulty adjusting to a new scheme and playing at a heavier weight, but...they're having difficulty adjusting to a new scheme and playing at a heavier weight. That will have to improve before anything else, or even Norwood's blazing speed isn't going to save us on a weekly basis.
More to the point, this is a team that can't afford to lose any of its strengths. Bill Simmons picked us as his sleeper for the year, and I can see the potential. There's a lot of unknown pieces with talent and guys like Alge Crumpler and Mike Boley can always be counted on to perform. The problem is that we have so many legitimate weaknesses in the passing game and the secondary that everything else has to be firing on all cylinders. When that doesn't happen, you can be sure we're going to see more gruesome outcomes like Sunday.
But no matter how grim this season gets, let's not forget all the good reasons for optimism. This could well be a rebuilding year, but if we get a good look at some talented young players it might well be worth it. We can still support the Atlanta Falcons no matter how it goes.
And if you really start to despair, you can use my new nickname for our kicker: Mattster Prater.