Pro Football Teams


Atlanta Falcons:

Vick looking to bounce back from his "break"

In 1998, the Atlanta Falcons enjoyed the greatest season of their 38 years in the National Football League. The team finished with an amazing 14-2 record and won their second NFC West title. In the playoffs the Falcons faced off against their divisional foe the San Francisco 49ers and won 20-18. The NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings was so great that four quarters couldn’t even hold the game. The Falcons kicked a field goal in overtime and won the game 30-27. The “Dirty Birds” made their way to Super Bowl XXXIII with a great deal of confidence and a swagger. The Denver Broncos knocked out any kind of swagger that the Falcons might have had coming into the game and defeated them 34-19.

After the ‘98 season the Falcons went into a tailspin due largely in part to injuries and accumulated a 16-32 record over the next three seasons. That’s when their, and the NFL’s, next big thing Michael Vick declared himself eligible for the 2002 draft. Michael Vick is no doubt a once in a generation, if not the only player ever that can do the types of things that he does. Vick is in the same mold of Donavon McNabb and Daunte Culpepper in the sense that he can beat you with his arms and with his legs. There are only a few differences between Vick and the other two quarterbacks, like the fact that he’s faster and has a better arm then both of them. Vick is considered by many to be the fastest and most electrifying player in the NFL. He consistently makes the night's highlight reel and was a huge hit at the falcon box office, increasing Falcons ticket sales immediatly. He is the guy that most NFL General Managers would choose to build a team around. Michael Vick moves around like he’s a 5th grader playing against a bunch of 1st graders. As a rookie Vick led the Falcons to a 9-6-1 record and to the 2002 playoffs for the first time since ’98. In the playoffs Vick faced off against Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers in Green Bay. The Falcons blasted the Packers 27-7 and gave Green Bay its first playoff home loss ever at Lambeau Field. Vick suffered a leg injury in the preseason and missed all but eight games starting only two of them. With a lack of Vick the Falcons only managed a 5-11 record.

In the off-season the Falcons filled in a lot of gaps that they had in their roster. The team brought in Jim Mora Jr. to be the new Head Coach filling the position that Dan Reeves vacated with three games left in the season. They picked up a few high profile free agents in guard Eric Beverly, quarterback Ty Detmer and wide receiver Dez White. Beverly should help out the Falcons in their thin offensive line corps, and Detmer will give the team a serviceable quarterback in case Vick goes down again this season.

In the draft the Falcons made some good pick ups. They picked up Virginia Tech cornerback DeAngelo Hall who is a freak of nature. Hall holds the record for the fastest 40 yard dash time at Virginia Tech, where Vick left for the NFL, with a 4.15 time. They also drafted Ohio State wide receiver Mike Jenkins. Jenkins is expected to fight for the receiver slot that will line up opposite of Peerless Price with veterans Brian Finneran and Dez White.

The offense really suffered without the presence of Vick. The team finished 31st in pass offense and 30th in total offense. With the return of Vick running backs T.J. Duckett and Warrick Dunn shouldn’t see quite as many seven and eight man fronts that they saw in the 2003 campaign.

The defensive side of the ball didn’t seem to be thriving like they did the year before either. They finished 32nd in total defense last year. Standouts defensive end Patrick Kearney and linebacker Keith Brooking are looking to improve the defense next year. At least the defense can’t get any worse then they were in 2003.

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