Last week we took a visit to the French Quarter and visited with one of our rival blogs on the Bloguin Network, The Saints Nation. We learned that the Saints really hate us..."I definitely despise the Falcons with a burning passion as a Saints fan. Always have." But we also learned that they respect us..."as far as a regular season opponent, it's definitely the game I most look forward to and there's definitely a realization that it will be a very tough game." This week we decided to head down to sunny Florida and make a pit stop in Tampa Bay. We reached out to Nick Houllis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers based blog BucStop.com to get his thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons and the Bucs/Falcons rivalry.
Grits Blitz: What are your overall thoughts on the Falcons?
BucStop.com: It would be really easy for me to predict the fall of the Atlanta Falcons based on history. For all of the Franchise, Atlanta has never had back to back winning seasons, until recent history. Now with two consecutive one and done playoff appearances, and playoff annihilation to the NY Giants last season. Add to that the last season draft pick losses for your new WR, and the fact Coach Smith is now going into his 5th season, and perhaps the team may now tune him out because of the playoff losses after good seasons. BUT....Mike Smith is a damn good coach, and it would surprise me more if he cannot get the team over last years finish. Falcons have veteran team leadership, something the Bucs are lacking. So its probably wishful thinking for NFC South participants fans.
Last year I felt the Bucs had to struggle to get one win, and turns out they did, and got one. Had no clue that ridiculousness was going to happen in game 16. I feel going into next year, New Orleans is still the team to beat, with Carolina being the biggest question mark. I think the Bucs should split with Atlanta.
Grits Blitz: What do you think of the off-season coaching changes that the Falcons made this season (new OC and DC)?
BucStop.com: Mularkey was a very good OC for Atlanta, and anytime you change that you run risks. Mike Nolan is a Better DC for you I think, and Spagnola in New Orleans is really going to shake things up in the NFC South.
Grits Blitz: If you could take one offensive player and one defensive player from the Falcons team and put them on the Bucs who would it be?
BucStop.com: Brent Grimes, and hopefully that will actually happen this year!! On offense, I wish we would have gotten Turner, imagine him with Blount!
Grits Blitz: What lasting memory do you have of the Falcons/Bucs rivalry?
BucStop.com: Well I love the 2005 ATL at TB game that went to overtime but spurlock fumbled the KO return and the game was over, but your kicker missed it, then OURS missed it...... but I love an old school ATL game, Falcons at Bucs 1981...it was back and forth, and Doug Williams hit Kevin house for a bomb with like 7 min left in the game. 24 to 23!
Grits Blitz: Which (All-time) Atlanta Falcons player do you have the most respect for (and why)?
BucStop.com: all time? Chris Chandler. No, kidding! Neon Deion Sanders.....so many people dont know he was a Falcon, and for several years!
Editor Note: I just want to give a big thanks to Nick for taking the time to talk about the Falcons and their rivalry with the Bucs. They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer so visit his website to check up on the Bucs and you can follow him on Twitter @BucStopcom.