Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White isn't the star he once was. At this point, Roddy is just an above-average second option in the receiving game. That's a not a knock on him as a player, just an observation about where he is in his career. Roddy can still be incredibly effective, even if he's lost a step or two. But in any case, he's a respected leader, and his swagger/toughness combination are unmatched. When Roddy talks, you listen.
Flowery Branch was a depressing place when the Falcons lost to the Panthers in week 17 last Fall. Their season, while never hopeful, would at least include a playoff game. But even before that possibility became a non-possibility, the writing was on the wall for embattled head coach Mike Smith. Smitty helped the team emerge from the ashes in a post-Michael Vick era. He is the winningest coach in Falcons history, and for that, I'll always remember him fondly. But that doesn't mean the players were shocked or even disappointed when the hammer came down. Sure, it was disappointing that his tenure came to an end. But this is a business, and it was what it was.
The talented Jeanna Thomas penned a fantastic read Sunday discussing Roddy's excitement to be playing in a new offensive scheme. Give it a read, if you haven't already. But here are some particularly telling quotes Jeanna got:
"You're going in meetings and actually paying attention now," White said. "Going through the same system for seven years, you're just kind of like going back and forth. You know, every OTA we just go back over the little things, but now, it's new learning, so you're somewhat tentative and just going out there and just learning."
"I just don't think we're going to go out there and throw it 30, 40 times a game like we did in the past," White said. "I'm not saying that we didn't like that, but it's going to be different. We have to get back to our old (style) where we run the football. Play-action passes and convert on third downs."
I tend to read into press conference quotes way more than I ought to, but when you read comments like these, it gives you pause. By the end of Smitty's tenure, the players were uninspired. They weren't being challenged and the coaching staff wasn't pushing the limits or adapting. They were resorting to the same, tired approach, over and over. That couldn't be farther from the truth now.