published Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

5-at-10: Falcons knockout blow, good NFL QBs overrated, shaking away from postgame handshakes and the 80s Brat pack

Gang, we're already to the midpoint of the week. Man, the fall days disappear, don't they?

OK, we open the floor for a slew of topics today, and we got up a little early and felt a little motivated. Hope you enjoy. Tomorrow, we'll try to be funny. Maybe Les Miles will stop by, who knows.

Before we get moving, happy belated birthday to Chevy Chase, who turned 70 on Tuesday. Wow. Seventy. Chase has been a stud duck for decades, and while he's mixed in some world-class stinkers, too, he delivered this generation its Christmas classic in Christmas Vacation. Three Amigos is severely underrated. Ty Webb may be on the Rushmore of the most quoted characters by the 5-at-10. So happy birthday, Chevy. And reading about his career on Tuesday, there were a slew of great roles that Chase turned down, including Otter in Animal House and Forrest Gump.

From the "Talks too much" studios, don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch.

Bye Falcons

  • photo
    New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland (87) catches the ball for a touchdown against Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Joplo Bartu (59) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Atlanta Falcons enter a bye week, and the team's once lofty goals and hopes enter a good-bye week.

Julio Jones, the team's best player, is seeking a second opinion, but all reports have the gifted wide out likely to miss the rest of the season.

Injuries have derailed these Falcons, who are nine months removed from being a play away from the Super Bowl.

But those injuries and the aging of several players and the questions across the lines of scrimmage and the unknown of the future other than the fact that the Falcons have signed a top-12 NFL quarterback to top-three money, what does the future hold for this franchise?

The defense is hollow — seriously, someone can't make a play to confuse a rookie quarterback in his fifth start on a game-winning drive on the road in the final minute? — and the offensive line is questionable at best.

The Falcons were built around an array of weapons that by design should be difficult to stop. That's the theory at least, but look deeper than the injuries that have completely erased that plan.

Atlanta started 8-0 last year and five of those games were decided on the final possession, all of them obviously wins. This year, the ebbs and flows of the league have evened, Atlanta losing four games on the final possession in its 1-4 start.

So it goes, and this season was certainly hampered by the injuries to Roddy White, Steven Jackson and now Jones.

Side note: Want a strange comma splice, look how this sentence changes: Every talented offensive player other than Vad Lee and Aaron Murray in the state of Georgia was injured this weekend. Now, try this: Every talented, offensive player... Robbie Alomar and Andrew "Dice" Clay aside, you can be talented without being offensive.

———

Quarterback worth

  • photo
    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Let's discuss this moving forward.

Matt Ryan has been good for the Atlanta Falcons. Good, but not great, considering the shiny new toys he's been allowed to enjoy.

We have long said this is a quarterback-driven league. If you have an elite guy — a P. Manning, a Brady, a Brees, a Rodgers — it is still a quarterback-driven league.

But let's discuss this angle: If you do not have an elite QB, let's say you have a guy you believe is good — and a guy that is better than half the league, per se, a Cutler or a Stafford or even a Cam Newton or maybe a Matt Ryan — and you give that guy a nine-figure deal like Ryan or Joe Flacco have received recently, can you win in this league considering that will consume a large chunk of your salary cap? The Falcons defense will have a hard time rebuilding in any other method besides the draft because of the coin tied into Ryan and eventually Julio Jones.

So, is having an overpaid above-average-to-good QB better or worse than not having a clear quarterback solution? Who's situation is better this year and moving forward: The Atlanta Falcons or the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that recycled Alex Smith in a situation that features talented pieces around him?

Look at the Seattle Seahawks. They built a foundation of a stout defense and an offense highlighted by Marshawn Lynch, and then Seattle struck gold with Russell Wilson in the third round. (Side note: Jacksonville drafted a punter five picks before the Seahawks landed a potential franchise QB. And yes, the Jags still have Blaine Whoshishelmet at quarterback.)

Has the salary cap actually magnified the value of the elite quarterbacks while devaluing the merely good quarterbacks?

Discuss.

————

How did we get here?

According to CBS sports, Kentucky's high school sports governing body has done away with postgame handshakes because more than 20 postgame fights in various sports in recent years.

So, because of bad sportsmanship, the attempts at promoting good sportsmanship have been quashed.

That makes perfect sense. On Uranus.

This is where we have landed, where we regulate and legislate to prevent the outlier and close the loophole or possibility of something bad potentially happening at the expense of all else.

What about these: You start a postgame fight, you lose your right to participate in Kentucky high school sports. You start a fight after the game, your team forfeits that game and/or the next game. You start a postgame fight you get kicked out of school or get arrested.

We have a super, Super, SUPER competitive 6-year-old who hates to lose more than Sen. McCarthy hated communism. After every game we play — basketball, races, Candy Land, whatever — whether he wins or loses he has to shake hands and say "Good game." It can be a chore after a loss, because dude is 6 and is learning to handle it as best he can.

That's the life lessons of sports, especially at the high school level.

You learn to win and to lose, and it's one of the reasons you can learn just as much in the locker room as you do in the classroom growing up.

Because learning how to win and lose — how to handle success and failure — will serve every one of those kids as much later in life than knowing how to conjugate a verb or when the state constitution was ratified. More so more than likely.

Now, because there are a few uncontrollable scenarios or difficult situations, we're going to bag postgame handshakes.

Wow.

————

This and that

— Did you see the hubbub created by the Braves boycotting Chipper Jones' first pitch of the playoff series because Chipper picked the Dodgers in 4? So Chipper tosses the first pitch to the mascot rather than longtime teammate Brian McCann or Tim Hudson? Unless Chief Noc-a-Homa came out of retirement that seems like a rather bush league move, especially for a guy like McCann, who has made himself the "old-school" baseball sheriff of late. If you think you're Crash Davis on the field against Carlos Gomez, quit acting like Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh off it. Seems completely petty to treat a franchise icon like that for making a pick that turned out to be completely correct. You want to show up Chipper, beat the Dodgers, then ask him to throw out the first pitch for the NLCS and ask him about his pick.

  • photo
    South Carolina Gamecocks's Jadeveon Clowney (7) tries to beat East Carolina Pirates's Jordan Davis (78) during a NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. South Carolina defeated East Carolina 56-37. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

— Postseason baseball has been excellent, and here's a tip of the cap to StuckinKent for his rant about using your shutdown reliever in shutdown situations, as he prescribed with the Braves leaving their best pitcher in the bullpen in the season-ending loss Monday night. Case in point: With the season on the line, the Tigers turned to ace Max Scherzer for two innings of relief. Tigers win; Braves pack the gear.

— Kudos to Spy's Red Sox, who topped the Rays and head to the ALCS. After last year's disaster, and the flipped script to the ALCS, is it fair to say that Booby Valentine had the single worst season in coaching history? Discuss.

— Jadeveon Clowney and Steve Spurrier have said there was some miscommunication last Saturday dealing with Clowney's injured rib and his decision not to play. You think so doctor? And gang, this issue is starting to be wrapped into jersey sales and paying players. Stop it. This issue is about when college football players can enter the draft. Period.

————

Today's question(s)

Hey, gang, remember the mailbag. Yes, that's not a question, but still.

OK, since we can't go a complete show without talking college football, let's ask three college football questions:

We are at the halfway point for the Tennessee Vols? Grade them to this point at 3-3.

For Mocs fans, five games in and at 3-2, have your expectations changed?

For the Bulldogs, how worried are you about Saturday's trip from Missouri?

Discuss.

For the non-football fans out there, JMC has given us the thumbs up about James Spader's new show "The Blacklist" and we concur. So, how's this, of all the actors that were part of the Brat Pack — and Spader was a fringe guy at best — who has had the best career? Discuss/

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

So the gummint shutdown's getting between me and my craft beers. Now it's getting serious. I may be reduced to drinking that thin swill Jay guzzles.

With Julio down by the schoolyard, you can stick a fork into The Falcs.

Does the Bruce and Kim breakup count as sports news?

Don't understand the new rule in Kentucky high schools banning post-game handshakes.

And Chipper shouldn't have had to pitch to the team mascot.

Sports has gotten surly.

Your punctuation point is good, but that's not a comma splice. You can look it up.

The Vols earn a B- for effort and promise. A cold look at how they stack up against the big dogs and what they used to be suggests the grade is D. They are #64 in cbssports.com's 126 team poll.

The Gawga Dawgs are sweating bullets and carrying rabbit's feet in their pockets. And horseshoes.

The Mocs are like a box of chocolates.

Can we please enjoy a whole column without Uranus?

October 9, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
jomo11 said...

there are 4 NFL elite QBs Brady, Manning, Brees and Rogers the rest are classic up and downers

I tought at first of year Mocs would go 8-4 and win conference. Thought would lose at Ga Sou, Bama, at Appy. didnt think would lose vs. UT Martin, so need to steal a win somewhere to make up for it. . . .

October 9, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Vols midterm report: Overall, I have more faith in the Orange Nation then in years past. Like with little brother blue and gold 90 miles down from I-75, they are winning the games they are suppose to be winning but coming up short against bohemith programs (I'm looking at you Nike U. and your pukie-colored Tennessee Road Help Truck colors). After Saturday's near upset against the second coming of Peyton and his red and black armada between the hedges, it's clear this team is becoming more battle-hardened with each game they play.

However, the next three games on their schedule are certified bears: South Carolina, Alabama, and Missouri. Realistically, I see this series being 1-3, if they go 2-1, that's more respect in the JVF camp. If they go 1-3 with the scores being as close as TN-GA was, it will still be loses but will at least gives credit to Butch & Co. for basically an overnight turnaround given the hot mess left behind by Kiffin, Dooley, and the defensive plays from the dreaded Book of Sal.

Score: B-

Mocs Midterm Report: Switching gears to Moc-land. Frierson's quotes from Huesman at the coaches teleconference pretty much nails the state of the SoCon: It's anybodys ballgame (Unless you're WCU). I agree with Huesman that we need to take each game one at a time but Wofford and Samford are the ones who are stepping up to fill the void left in Statesboro and Boone. While it would have been nice to shove the football up the Eagle's you-know-whats for all the score-wedges we received, they are not in the running for the conference title or the playoffs. In "Carl-logic", that would count as 1-0 for conference play. I haven't lost hope, but I'm not about to either throw in the towel or thump my chest as the second coming of Fargo.

Score: C+

October 9, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Regarding Brat-Pack follow-up, I don't really see anyone having come out on top as far as Tom Hanks-like success if that makes any sense. I know for a while both Charlie Sheen and little bro Emilio were top dawgs before Charlie see-sawed between fall from grace to comeback kid. Molly Ringwald (no joke) performed this year at the State Fair (and has a very popular 80's tribute band named after her here in the Texas-Louisiana area [again, no joke])

However, Spader landed the mother of all home-run roles to date. Not to compare his character with Tom Hiddleston's Loki (more in reference to the first Thor movie then the Avengers), but like Loki, you get the sense of you don't know what direction he's going in.

Either way, he has me hooked and proof NBC is willing to step up their game in order to compete with the Breaking Bads and Boardwalk Empires of premium cable.

October 9, 2013 at 11:46 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Tigers with Scherzer. Exactly. Could have used Verlander too. Remember Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in the 2001 World Series and how they came on in relief to slam the door? I'm all for it. The Braves don't have that kind of SP, so bringing Kimbrel in was the right answer.

I'm still dejected about it. But it is what it is. Move on to next year.

October 9, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.
chas9 said...

Seems a New York middle school is farther gone than Kentucky schools. They're banning games of tag and all games using balls. What does that leave? Video games and tea parties? No game, no post-game handshake.

October 9, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.
Stewwie said...

I don't understand the logic in banning postgame handshakes over a few fights. Agreed on your response to this bad decision by the KY powers that be.

I predicted the Mocs to go 8-4 and am sticking to it. App is beatable this year, but I'm not sure we will beat both Samford and Wofford. A loss to one of those plus a loss to Bama will end us at 8-4, but should still be enough to get us into the expanded playoffs even without a conference title. However, if the Mocs do worse than 8-4 and miss the playoffs this year, I think it will be fair to put Huesman on the hot seat.

The toilet bowl to end all toilet bowls is this Saturday between UMass and Miami (OH). Both teams average in the single digits on offense. Should be an awesome game. Not.

October 9, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Stewwie-

Wofford I feel is still beatable; the jury is out regarding Samford on the account their QB is supposedly Murray 2.0. But then again, we might have softened GSU enough to allow them Baptist-Thump'n Bulldogs to rack up all them number stats.

October 9, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Best career of a Brat Packer? Hmm ... boy, that Andrew McCarthy has really capitalized on Weekend at Bernie's? Has he been in witness protection since?

Emilio was probably going to have the best career, then got overtaken by Rob Lowe (who with TV and Wayne's World and a few other gems has done quite nicely). Charlie is now Carlos Estevez but deep down inside, isn't he just still fun-lovin' Charlie? He's had the best notoriety and he probably made the most money. He also probably spent the most money. Hookers and blow will do that.

Maybe Chipper's relationship with the other guys in the clubhouse wasn't all that great to start with, and his picking the Dodgers just rubbed salt in a wound. I've heard Larry Jones Jr. isn't the nicest guy in the world.

Naturally, said Chipper snub makes for great sports talk radio fodder. More fools who know nothing (except for a couple) acting as if they think they know something in order to generate calls so they can get listeners, drive up ratings, charge more for ads, etc.

I still think Missouri is a Paper Tiger but don't you think it's time, Georgia fans, for Todd Grantham to earn his keep as a high-paid DC. Frankly, I hope they get boatraced Saturday. But that's just me.

October 9, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

That's awful about the NYC decisions. Virtual schools, virtual games. In the end, we will all be in bubbles telecommuting.

And what's wrong with Uranus? Wait, that did sound right.

Jomo —

We of course had higher hopes for the Mocs, but as Stewwie said, 8-4 should be playoff worthy. A 7-5 mark, though will cause some sleepless nights for some folks we know.

JMC —

Fair breakdown on the Mocs and Vols.

We think Demi Moore likely has had the most success of that group, and amazingly, it appears Rob Lowe is the most normal adult out of the pack. Who knew?

And if Samford thumps UTC, well, Stewwie's right, hot seats for everyone.

Stewwie —

Miami (the other one) averages a crisp 7 points; UMass is averaging a touch more than 8. Something's gotta give.

Heck the Mocs would be favored by 10 over each of those groups.

October 9, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

The folks at the Kentucky High School Sports Association are back-pedaling away from the handshake ban. The official statement read something like, "We didn't say what we said." Handshakes must now be strictly observed by responsible adults who realize you can't just go around punching people in the face and can emphasize that point to the youth of America. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. The big issue now is this: high school boys are notorious for driving too fast and doing peel-outs and donuts in the parking lot behind the cafeteria. This begs the question of should drivers-ed be terminated.

I don't have a clue what is going on at South Carolina with the Jadeveon Clowney situation. That being said, Spurrier's performance at the press conference yesterday looked like one of those videotaped interviews released during a hostage situation. When has the ol' ball coach ever needed notecards during an interview? It's none of my business, but something weird is going on in the land of the fightin' chickens.

The Falcons have every offensive star, with the exception of the quarterback, banged up right now. The defense is unable to make any key stops in critical situations. It seems as though a Peach State pattern is developing.

And the Braves are mad at Chipper for correctly picking the winner. I feel like such a fool. Here I was blaming a fortune teller and Bobby the Book down at the barber shop. Come to find out, it was all Chipper's fault.

October 9, 2013 at 3:18 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

"That's awful about the NYC decisions. Virtual schools, virtual games. In the end, we will all be in bubbles telecommuting."

One word, two syllables Jay: WALL-E!

October 9, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

JMC,

Samford's pretty good. But Georgia Southern's defense is awful. That was the second most total yards allowed since football restarted in Los Boros. Not Florida State, not Georgia, not Miami, not East Carolina. Samford.

Join the journey.

October 9, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
chas9 said...

Friday question: How much do you love the draft. Will the top five QB's drafted be (in this order) 1) Teddy; 2) Tajh; 3) Murray; 4) A. J.; 5) Mettenberger ? If not, why not? I hear UCLA and Oregon have some talent, too. Oh, and A&M.

October 9, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay-saw the movie Undefeated recently. It's a documentary about Manassas HS football program in inner city Memphis. The volunteer coach for Manassas said something that I thought was absolutely right. Paraphrasing...high school sports don't build character, high school sports reveal character. I complement you for instilling good sportsmanship in the Little Fiver (you can't win em all), so that when he gets to high school, he can lead by example. If you haven't seen the film, it's worth a watch.

October 9, 2013 at 8:37 p.m.
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