The Falcons are hoping the timing of the Nolan and Koetter hires pay off
We've all heard the great argument in the NFL, and other sports..."It's all about winning". Balderdash! Colin Cowherd of ESPN argued that it's nowhere near all about winning when it comes to your players, and who is on your team. His contention is that "it's all about discernment and patience when it comes to talent." I would agree with that statement, but beyond being able to evaluate talent, and knowing how to handle it, I'd say it's even more about timing.
Timing, to me, is the most underestimated factor in all of sports, particularly in a sport like football where it's more of a team sport than any other. Chemistry in a football locker room can make or break a season more than individual achievements and records can. And, great players who are not "team players" rarely make a true impact on a team enough to carry them to a championship. The timing of when a player is drafted or traded for, of when they are placed into a starting role, and especially in the case of a quarterback...when they take over as the leader of a team, should never be overlooked.
Timing can make or break a player or group of players. I mean, who's to say that Ryan Leaf couldn't have been one of the best quarterbacks ever had he been drafted a few years before - or after - he was taken by the Chargers? Sometimes you get the right guy, but at the wrong time. A player could be surrounded by the wrong supporting cast, or have the wrong coach or coaches.
I've looked at several NFL teams that have come very close to being champions, and sometimes they were just one small puzzle piece away from having the right formula. The Broncos may have solved that puzzle this year with the addition of Peyton Manning.
So where does that leave the Falcons? When Matt Ryan and Mike Smith began their careers in Atlanta, the timing couldn't have been better. The franchise was in a shambles from the likes of Bobby Petrino, Michael Vick, and Deangelo Hall. The Falcons needed stability and direction. Smith and Ryan gave us both. But as these Falcons have grown, it seems as though the chain has begun to slip from the sprocket.
The timing of moves like the Julio Jones deal, and overvaluing some of this year's free-agents seem to have stalled the Falcons to a degree. The organizations apparent plan is to go with consistency and familiarity. Some of this plan is by choice, and some of it was forced by financial issues. The gamble by GM Thomas Dimitroff seems to be that we have had the right pieces in place, but the wrong people coaching some of them.
Now two new coordinators - Dirk Koetter on offense, and Mike Nolan on defense - are going to try to push this team over the hump without making any real changes to the personnel. It's a risky move, and it will either pay huge dividends, or crush this team's hopes of getting to the next level.
For now, I'm going to buy into the timing of this move. The Falcons, particularly on defense, have a lot of young players. Mike Nolan still has a good chance of developing some of them to live up to the expectations that were placed on them when they were drafted. If guys like Dominique Franks, William Moore, and Christopher Owens can be coached up and really become impact players, then Dimitroff will look like a genius. Dirk Koetter has the task of taking a lot of talented and exciting pieces on offense, and molding them into a unit that functions like clockwork.
The question is, was the timing of this move too late? What if these guys had been in place during 2010 or 2011? Would the Falcons be getting ready to have a ring ceremony in a few months? Did we miss our window of opportunity? That's the thing about timing, you don't usually know that you got it wrong until you've looked back and said, "Darn...I missed it"
The timing is two years late and we have to overpay veterans because of the Jones trade.
Yes Jones is great but he was not what we needed last season. This was very apparent in our off season when we didnt have anyone in our ranks to fill the holes by the veterans we ended up resigning at higher rates. Couple that with signing Ray Edwards without doing a thorough examination of his knee is amazing!
Why does it seem that all Atlanta sports teams are mired in bud management and bad decisions?
@Liberty Media blows I would agree with you on some points, but the timing of the Julio Jones deal has yet to really show if it was bad or just right. He's going to have to make huge contributions for that move to pay off, and he may well do that. As for Ray Edwards, people are making too much of his knee. I think you'll see a completely different Ray Edwards this year. The reports I've gotten are that his knee is healthier than ever, and he's going at top speed. I think last year was more of a recovery year for him, and he's still a reasonably young player. The Falcons were smart to grab him up, and you'll probably see why this season. If at the end of this season we have regressed once again, it will be safe to say that the timing was completely off on all counts.
@GaSportsCraze @Liberty Media blows I agree on Ga's point of Edward's knee. Any good player who suffers an injury in the knees needs at least 2 years to recover i.e Harry Douglas/Kerry Meier/Peria Jerry/Ray Edwards(who all had knee or ACL issues). That is the realization of a serious knee injury.
Because of those bad breaks, it did hurt the master plan of the Falcons franchise. In retrospect, the Falcons are way better than they used to be and I like it this way (as a longtime Falcons fan.) As for timing, No one expected that Tony G. had a lot in the tank 2 years ago or Matt Ryan threw for 4000+ yards last season, also they never expected to be shutdown in NY like they did.
For the Falcons, the kid gloves has to come off week 1.
The ultimate test for Atlanta is to beat the Saints and Tampa, objective win 1 of 2 games vs NO (and Curtis Lofton) and go 4-2 or better in division play. And also to win #1 in playoff wins for Coach Smith. It's time to end the dubious streak of teams winning vs Atlanta and ending at the Super Bowl.