Tag Archives: mike smith

Coach Mike Smith in a Dress-Shirt?

Smell the earth, my friend.
Stand with your arms out-stretched,
your back against the sun
that pelts you when you dance
around the stampede
of bodies in formation
to knock you out of contention -
glory, glory have a sandwich
drizzled with savory spices,
as you lie dreaming in the hammock.

It’s time to start thinking about that time of year again!
Grown men in shoulder pads, tight pants, and bodies part touching very closely and often.

I was on AJC.com earlier and they promoted this training camp event.  The teaser image was of Falcons head coach Mike Smith wearing what looks like a dress-shirt.  It’s so big it merges with his shorts!  Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

NFL 2009: Saints absolve the Falcons

Before I begin with the post-proper, I have to share something that I saw this morning while I was on my Starbux run.  I was driving down the street and saw a fifteen or sixteen-year old guy walking on the sidewalk on the same side of the road I was driving but in the opposite direction (we were facing each other).  I was possibly eight car-lenghths away from him when I noticed a small sedan drive by and splash him.  The youth turned around and patted the back of his head and neck.  I checked my rearview mirror and saw that no cars were behind me, so I approached very slowly.  Had I had a towel in my car, I probably would’ve rolled down the window when I got to where he was standing and asked, “Hey, I saw that … would you like a towel for your head?”

But, I didn’t have a towel.  Moreover, I wouldn’t have wanted to startle him just by saying that I saw what happened and if he was okay.  Of course he was okay…just a bit wet.  I did what any considerate, courteous driver would do, I drove very slowly over that puddle.  The youth was still looking in the direction that the splasher was headed; in my rearview mirror, I observed the boy putting his hand up in acknowledgement.  He probably realized that I had seen him get splashed and did my best not to do the same thing.

All right.  The New Orleans Saints crossed over into east coast time in an effort to maintain their all-win season this afternoon at the Georgia Dome.  The Atlanta Falcons, once more without quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner, didn’t perform — haven’t performed as well as they know they can, and we know they can.  Whatever the explanations, elaborations, and legitimate excuses, would the Falcons be able to muster and channel energy and confidence sufficiently to interrupt the Saints’ perfect season?

Broadcast on Fox, with commentary provided by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the first quarter started with the Falcons on offense.  Chris Redman reprised his role as QB; Sam Baker was back in the game today.  Running back Jason Snelling made a solid impression early in the drive with a thirty-eight yard run.  The Falcons put up the first score with a thirty-six yard Matt Bryant field goal.  Atlanta 3 and New Orleans 0.  One needn’t wonder what the Saints would do in reaction.  Shall we say red zone pronto? But no to touchdown, yes to field goal.  The Falcons made another field goal at the end of their second possession.  Atlanta 6 and New Orleans 3.

The second quarter banged out with the Saints in the red zone following a stellar pass between quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Robert Meachem.  Two plays later, running back Reggie Bush sliced through the front, right corner of the end zone for a TD.  New Orleans 10 and Atlanta 6.  With roughly seventy seconds left in the first half, wide receiver Marques Colston made a TD catch. The extra point was no good.  New Orleans 16 and Falcons 6.  The Falcons would’ve wanted to get a TD too going into halftime but they took a FG instead.  New Orleans 16 and Falcons 9.

The third quarter sprang out with the Saints on an energetic, and eventful, offense.  They got into the red zone, the officials called defensive pass interference on Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, Falcons head coach Mike Smith fumed and sent his headset crashing to the turf, the Falcons broke up a Saints TD catch and nearly recovered a Reggie Bush fumble.  The Bush ran the ball in for a TD on the next play, though.  New Orleans 23 and Atlanta 9.  The Falcons didn’t lose momentum.  They came back with a fifty-yard TD catch and run by wide receiver Michael Jenkins (who had missed a similar set-up in the second quarter).  New Orleans 23 and Atlanta 16.

I assert that the Falcons played much better against the Saints today than they did against the Eagles last week (the Ch’i from last week was all off).  Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez made an excellent run, which preceded a Jason Snelling plane-breaking TD.  The Falcons tied the game in the top of the quarter 23 to 23.  The Falcons’ defense stayed the course as well, holding the Saints to an FG rather than another end zone visit with four minutes left to play.  New Orleans 26 and Atlanta 23.  Oh Lourdes.  After losing twelve yards, Chris Redman threw an interception…Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma snatched the ball.  With just about two minutes left, the Saints faked a field goal attempt but Mark Brunell’s pass to tight end Darnell Dinkins was incomplete.  Alas.  New Orleans 26 and Atlanta 23.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Joe Buck and Troy Aikman looked like Ken dolls.   Joe wore a navy jacket, a white button-down shirt, and a shimmery light blue tie.  Troy wore a light gray jacket, a white button-down shirt, and a shimmery dark burgundy/purple tie.  It’s like Prom Ken and CEO Ken.

2.  Hmmm…the producers decided to air the feed from a camera that was taking in a high-angle close-up of Brent Grimes with a hand and an arm waving about while lining up for a snap.

3.  “That’s just good NFC South football right there: banging heads, knocking around…” Joe Buck remarked of the impromptu mosh pit that formed in the final second of the first quarter after the Saints returned a kickoff.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Pre-S 09: the Ravens suddenly appear upside the Falcons

Detour:

Falcons defensive end John Abraham was the guest of this week’s Falcons Face t0 Face with Fred Kalil.   Abraham is incredibly witty; and he can speak in analogy.  He was discussing the contrast between the 2007 and the 2008 seasons.  He likened the change from feeling not so wonderful to feeling great to the way in which a woman’s husband can cheer her up after having a bad day at work.

Retour:

Oh.  Yes.  The Baltimore Ravens rang around the GA Dome’s rosy tonight against the Atlanta Falcons in the final pre-season game of 2009.  Televised by NBC and narrated by Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger, the first quarter purred down to about two minutes before anyone put any numbers on the board.  It would be a touchdown setup by Ravens quarterback John Beck and caught by fullback Jason Cook.  Baltimore 7 and Atlanta 0.   John Parker Wilson relieved Matt Ryan of quarterbacking duties in the bottom of the quarter.  The second quarter very nearly ended with a Falcons TD between Parker Wilson and wide receiver Robert Ferguson.  It would’ve been a beauty of a catch, if it remained a catch.   Jason Elam then sent a forty-five yard field goal through the uprights.  Baltimore 7 and Atlanta 3.

After a predominantly lackluster first half, the third quarter foxtrotted to about 9.5 minutes when Falcons tight end Keith Zinger made a nice catch.  Running back Thomas Brown then made a twenty-five yard run.  After a few more solid plays, Jason Elam missed a thirty-five yard field goal.  The camera cut almost immediately to a slight high-angle, medium shot of him unstrapping his helmet and walking towards the sidelines.  He looked as displeased as the rest of us Falcons fans.  DJ Shockley went in as QB in the bottom of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter increased the Ravens’ lead with a thirty-three yard Steve Hauschka field goal.  Ravens wide receiver Eron Riley made a TD catch a few minutes later.  Baltimore 17 and Atlanta 3.  Hauschka’s kicked it again with under two minutes left on the clock.  Baltimore 20 and Atlanta 3.  Final score.

Lookin’ forward to NFL 2009 proper on September 13 when the Falcons serve up some Dolphins.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger nearly wore the same outfit–dark navy suit, white button-down long-sleeved shirt (on Waters, Baldinger’s was light blue), and a square-patterned yellow tie (Waters’s tie was more yellow, Baldinger’s was more pastelish).

2.  Sam Crenshaw interviewed Falcons head coach Mike Smith before the game started.  Coach looked like he lost about twelve pounds since the last game.  Thomas Dimitroff and Arthur Blank were seen walking across (from screen right to left).

3.  The Ravens’ uniforms looked very nice.  White bottoms with a blackish/dark purple stripe on the outer thigh; white jerseys.

4.  There was a shot of Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes sitting, sans helmet,  on the bench not long after Baltimore scored in the bottom of the first quarter.  He looked so young and so cute.  He’s only two years younger than I am.

5.  Randy Waters confessed just past the middle of the second quarter that he doesn’t own an iPod.  Neither do I, Randy! High-five.

6.  Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry’s favorite food is macaroni and cheese.  His favorite movie is Life.  Directed by Ted Demme, the film was released theatrically in April of 1999.  I was a high school senior itching to graduate.  Probably studying for or taking AP exams.  I was eighteen years-old; Jerry was fourteen.  I wonder if he saw it in theatres or waited until it was released on DVD.

7.  Falcons safety Erik Coleman is a year younger than I am.  The folks at 11alive had put mics on Coleman and wide receiver Michael Jenkins during a practice this week.  What fine human specimens.  Jenkins is a year younger than I too!

8.  Thomas Dimitroff stopped by the press box to speak with Waters and Baldinger in the top half of the third quarter.  Ben Hartsock, Von Hutchins, and Willie Evans are no longer FalconsTye Hill (of the Rams) is now a Falcon.

9.  Perhaps I should not have praised the Ravens’ uniforms.  Middle of the fourth quarter and the Falcons’ numbers were limited, confined to a field goal.  Baltimore saw a loftier passing game. Pun absolutely intended. I realize that pre-season games function more like call-back auditions for rookies and staging, full wardrobe-and-makeup rehearsals for the veterans.  And, since the scores don’t contribute officially to team and individual stats, why not play for something other than scoreboard numbers?  Why not play for a charitable cause?

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

~!~

Dogs and infants are very much alike.  Wolves cannot be fooled.   So says an NPR broadcast.

Pre-S 09: the Falcons moon-dust the Chargers

The boys of the Pacific, the San Diego Chargers, drifted eastward to Atlanta to shake the chandelier with the Falcons.  Broadcast on CBS, commentary was provided by Greg Gumbel and Dan Fouts.

The first score of the game occurred in the first half of the first quarter.  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chucked the ball to running back Darren Sproles.   San Diego 7 and Atlanta 0.   The Falcons answered that TD with one of their own.  With Matt Ryan quarterbacking, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a twelve-yard catch in the end zone (or rather a catch and a few steps into the end zone).   An amazing Roddy White reception preceded this TD by a couple of plays.  Atlanta 7 and San Diego 7.

The second quarter ticked halfway through and Chargers running back Michael Bennett jetted off forty-eight yards for a TD.   San Diego 14 and Atlanta 7.   Jason Elam put up a forty yard field goal for the Falcons in the bottom of the second.  San Diego 14 and Atlanta 10.  Billy Volek then stepped in as QB for the Chargers.  With under a minute left in the quarter, Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd broke the plane with his right hand (and as soon as the ball hit the turf, the ball came out of his grip).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 10.  Jason Elam stepped onto the field with seconds left on the clock.  He sent the ball thirty-nine yards through the uprights.  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 13.

The third quarter featured Charlie Whitehurst as quarterback for the Chargers.  Chris Redman then went in as QB for the Falcons.  The fourth quarter said hello to a Falcons TD, which Redman ran in himself (twenty-two yards).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 20.  The Chargers increased the gap with a Nate Kaeding field goal in the bottom of the quarter.  San Diego 24 and Atlanta 20.  With fewer than twenty seconds to play, Chris Redman connects with wide receiver Eric Weems for a TD.  Atlanta 27 and San Diego 24.

Observations  & Miscellania:

1.  Did Dan Fouts say of Matt Ryan, “he is smart, he is tall” in the expository broadcast pre-kickoff chat?

2.  Compared to last year, Matt Ryan has definitely grown up in the way he carries himself.  At the same time, though, a few extreme close-ups (before snaps) in the first quarter revealed such a youthful exuberance and eagerness.

3.  After returning from commercial break (that followed Michael Bennett’s TD in the second quarter), the camera was focused on the Falcons bench.  Mike Smith, filmed in high angle medium long shot, was speaking and gesturing passionately about what his players could no longer permit the other guy to do on the field.

4.  How sweet.  In the middle of the third quarter, Chargers fullback Jacob Hester was walking towards the huddle and trying to put his left shoulder pad back under his uniform.  He was having trouble doing it and his teammate wide receiver Legedu Naanee gave him a hand.  Love it.  I love moments like this one.

5.  Greg Gumbel noted in the third quarter that Charlie Whitehurst went to Chattahoochee High School.

6.  Matt Ryan spoke to the commentators via headset in the fourth quarter.  His irises were so dark and filled up so much of his eyes.  Oooo! he licked his lips right before he took off the headset!

7.  Great job Chris Redman!

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Sweet Ambrosia, the men in helmets are Coming

That’s right.

Savory nector of the the gods, the pre-season of NFL 2009 is just around the river bend.   The Atlanta Falcons’ first pre-season is in Detroit against the Lions on August 15th at 4pm.  Atlantans can watch the game on NBC (WXIA).  Click here for the rest of the pre and regular season schedule.

What’s the best way to unwind after a long day’s worth of copying-and-pasting text and adjusting image size and brightness/contrast?  Watching NFL Films’ Run for the Championship: 2008 Season in Review!!!

The opening montage includes Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s first official throw as an NFL player (against the Lions)–he produced a sixty-two yard TD pass.   There’s also a shot of a lone player (from the back) walking down the tunnel onto the field.  There are close-ups of players and coaches with their grrr-argh faces as well as Falcons head coach Mike Smith’s yippy! jump down the sidelines.  Right after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis asks his teammates, “Who came to play football today?,” there is a quasi-slow-motion long stho of three Ravens (safety Ed Reed, cornerback Rolle Samari, and Lewis) running screen-left to screen-right, from the twenty-yard line to the end zone.  Two players from the Miami Dolphins (wide receiver Brandon Landon and guard Ndukwe Ikechuku) are chasing them.   During those few seconds, the three Ravens ….. it was like watching mustangs run into the sunset.  Awesome.

As for the rest of the DVD, more or less in order of appearance:

– Tom Brady out after the first game of the season (oh, but look, he’s returned).

– The Lions 0-16.

– The Dolphins and their Wildcat Formation.

Chad Pennington, the Dolphins’ franchise QB.

– The Panthers, running backs DeAngelo Williams and  Jonathan Stewart, and wide recevier Steve Smith.

– The Cardinals, quarterback Kurt Warner and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

– The Chargers, who apparently lost seven games last season, and of those seven, four could’ve been won if the other team didn’t score in the final thirty seconds of the game.

Ed Hochuli’s bad call in the bottom of the game between the San Diego and Denver.

– The Broncos.

John Harbaugh, head coach of the Ravens.   The aforementioned play (with Reed, Samari, and Lewis) was from the AFC Wildcard playoff game against the Dolphins.  Ed Reed intercepted Pennington’s pass at the forty-yard line.  Wow.

–Mike Smith and the Falcons.   Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner.   Falcons @ Cardinals NFC Wildcard.

Peyton Manning.

– The Giants.  Plaxico Burress weapons possession charge.

– The Cowboys and chaos.

– The Eagles.  Quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched in one game, but his team managed to make it all the way to NFC Divisional and won against the Giants.

– The Titans’ quarterback Vince Young hurt his left leg during the season.  Kerry Collins stepped in the role.

– The Steelers.

– The NFC (Cardinals vs. Eagles) and AFC (Steelers vs. Ravens) Championship games–so intense.

Super Bowl XVIII.

~!~

Observations & Miscellania:

1. There’s not too much cutting to the crowd.  There isn’t any “interview” footage.  The 2008 Season in Review is comprised of highlights and sounds from the sidelines.   During the Falcons’ moment, there’s about thirty or so seconds of Eagles linebacker Omar Gaither saying to Matt Ryan (probably during commercial break), “Hey, number 2, throw me one.  I got $100 for you.  Throw me one.  You hear me?  $200.” Hilarious.

2.  Approximately seventeen minutes into the DVD, the narrator, Robb Webb, remarks the following: “Football can break your heart.  And the more you love it, the harder you fall.”

3.  As I had observed when I was watching telecasts in grad school, the same running play filmed from the end zone (in high-angle or on-field long shot) compresses the speed at which the player is traveling.  An on-field sideline shot, however, brings out that speed.

4.  The game-winning pass and catch in Super Bowl XLIII — oh my gondola.  That was amazing.

5.  Slow-motion of players colliding is watching a pride of lions hunting.

6.  If you watch a lot of NFL Network or ESPN, then perhaps this DVD wouldn’t seem that mind-blowing.  Alas, NFL Films does it again, for me, at least.  One of the interludes in Chuck Klosterman’s book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is about whether or not you would rather watch a critically acclaimed documentary about your life or a loosely adapted piece of narrative fiction that the public loves.  If I ever get a biopic, I’d want NFL Films to make it.