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Let The Great Atlanta Falcon Kicker Debate Begin

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Coaches in the NFL don't like to spell things out. Mike Smith, for the rakish tilt of his headset and all his other admirable traits, is no different in that regard.

That's why a simple, straightforward question from the Official Site on Monday about Matt Bryant's future with the team was answered by Smith in a manner that was also easy to understand....if you come from the planet Zoobular, where "straightforward" means "shrouded in secrecy."

"Matt Bryant is under contract for next season. When we signed Matt at the end of the season, we also signed him for next season. We also have Steve Hauschka under contract as well."

It's January. I'm cognizant of the fact that the team is months and months away from making any kind of decision about their kicker. Still, this is not a vote of confidence for Bryant, an indication that he may retire, a slam on his abilities or anything else. It's just...Matt Bryant is under contract. So's Steve Hauschka. Do with this what you will. I'm taking my helicopter to my volcanic lair in the Galapagos. Nothing else to see here.

So with nothing to go on and kicker proving to be an important position after Jason Elam's unfortunate season, let's debate this. My feelings on the position next year have been made clear time and time again, as I'd like to see the team go with a young kicker they can mold into a long-term option, though I certainly wouldn't mind one more year of Bryant with the way he kicked in 2009. After all, his 70% field goal conversion ratio is very, very close to Hauschka's 69.2% rate. It's not a strong feeling at this point, but I'd still go with Hauschka.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am. It's the off-season, after all.