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Petrino's Offense Must Continue To Prove Itself

Hey, it's Mark Bradley again, kids! Let's see what he has to say:

The Falcons amassed 442 yards against Carolina, and those were real yards. (As opposed to what Jim Mora called "empty yards," meaning the kind run up when a team is two touchdowns behind and the opponent is arrayed in a soft zone.) Joey Harrington passed for 361 yards, which is more than Michael Vick -- speaking of whom, can you believe he couldn't go his first month as a convicted felon without messing up? -- ever managed in an NFL game. Harrington, as has been noted, isn't the greatest quarterback in the world. If Petrino's scheme can make him look good, imagine what it might do for Matt Ryan or Andre Woodson or Brian Brohm.

When Mark Bradley is subscribing to your newsletter, that's a sign that you've done something impressive. No one here can really deny that Joey Harrington played as if he were possessed by the spirit of Tangmar, fire devil of the 5th Dimension, and that by itself would've been enough to raise some eyebrows. If not for D-Hall's shit--and rest assured, if he doesn't take his punishment in stride he's going to sit longer than a quarter--this game might've been in the Falcons grasp. But will it work long term?

Let's start with the basics. For all the talk about a power running game, the Falcons have actually done nothing at all on the ground. I believe Petrino should be getting Norwood more involved and trying to make short yardage work with Mughelli and Pinner. Until our coach has confidence in his running game, this team is a little too one dimensional for my tastes. That being said, Falcons fans everywhere got a good look at what Petrino's offense will look like if it's firing on all cylinders. The Falcons have a good mix of bigger and faster wide receivers and an elite tight end to throw to, enough to get things rolling with a good quarterback. If Joey Harrington has all day to listen to "Tiptoe through the Tulips" on his iPod while he's throwing, the Falcons have a legitimate shot to put up big passing numbers week after week. With a power running back and one more receiver producing (get off your ass, Joe Horn!), Petrino's schemes could work and work well.

The key is the offensive line. Harrington went from being sacked 13 times in the first two games to being sacked only once by Carolina. Just as importantly, the blocking held well enough to give Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo enough time to make his reads. No quarterback in the NFL just passes for 361 yards by accident, and it's no coincidence that this happened after the line clamped down. As far as I'm concerned, Petrino's offense both will and does work. He just has to have a line that can give the passing game time to work and the running game a couple of long runs to encourage our land-fearing coach. The next few weeks will be absolutely critical for getting a read on this. If the line keeps going and the offense suddenly sputters, then I'll have to re-examine my stance. I suspect that won't happen.

Thoughts?