BGN - This year, Mike Vick became the first QB to rush for over a 1,000 yards. Is this a good thing or bad thing?
The Falcoholic - Depends entirely on how you look at it. From a financial standpoint, a prestige standpoint, and a "hey, that's impressive as hell" perspective, it's pretty awesome. Vick is making the team a ton of money as the face of the franchise. However, if he was having a 25 TD/8 INT season with 3,000 passing yards, he never would even come close to 1,000 yards rushing. It's more of a sign of his lack of development as a passer and the lack of competent playcalling from the offensive coaching staff. So it's a mixed blessing, at best.
BGN - The Falcons have hung around and been a threat in the NFC for several years now. What has prevented them from getting over that final hurdle? Also, is this roster/coaching staff even capable of getting over it?
The Falcoholic - I think the common public perception is that Vick is what has prevented them from clearing the jump. I don't think it's that simple. Vick has been a problem with his inconsistency, but the coaching staff has been downright inept at times. Worse, the very talented defense often plays far below the level it's capable of playing at. When all three of these things are combined with the human trainwreck that is our receiving corps, it's not hard to understand why we keep losing. We're a new coaching staff, an elite receiver, and some defensive tweakings away from being a very dangerous team. If Vick still can't get us going at that point, it's time to blame him.
BGN - It's been a year of bad news for the Falcons. There was the Jim Mora "joke", there was Jim Mora's dad's "coach killer" comment, there was Vick's double middle finger to the home crowd, there was all the injuries.... Was this season just bad luck with all this stuff coming to a head, or does there need to be changes in the culture of the team?
The Falcoholic - This season was kind of the culture of losing coming to a head. The Falcons have been a historically bad team, and heightened hopes these last couple years have led to frustration and disappointment. I think everyone involved with this team is tired of this crap; Alge Crumpler's my favorite Falcon and even he's been noticeably more agitated this season. Whether the change needs to be to the entire culture of the team is up for debate, but I honestly think that it's less players not caring and more caring too much. This team would probably be fine if they were 10-5 or even 9-6 going into this last week, but a second straight 8-8 season is frustrating, and it's hard to play for a coach who I imagine some people think isn't really interested in seeing them win. Tough call all around, really.
BGN - The Falcons have not won in Philly since 1988 and it's safe to say they've had their struggles the past few years late in the year in Philadelphia. Are the Falcons one of those done teams that struggle outdoors late in the year or are there other reasons for their struggles late in the year?
The Falcoholic - I think the player who was most affected by the dome was Jay Feely, and he's a Giant now. I think you could always argue that, but I see much more evidence that they simply get tired or just seem to pick the second half of the year to struggle. They certainly have spent the last two years collapsing badly in the second half of the season, but it's difficult to figure out exactly why. The team as currently constructed might just be made up of fast starters and slow finishers, though I don't think cold weather is exactly helpful. I would like them to stop doing it, though.
BGN - What do you do with Matt Schaub? Clearly, the league seems to be in love with the guy and the Falcons could likely get a first round pick in return for him. Is it time to make decision about what to do with guy? If you were the GM and your choices were trade him, start him, or keep him as a backup what would you do?
The Falcoholic - We have a young QB I like in DJ Shockley now, so if given those three options, I'd trade him. The league is pretty well enamored with him for whatever reason, and if we could get even a second round pick for him I'd be pretty thrilled. It's nice to have a really good backup, but the fact of the matter is that no one really knows how good he is. He could be another AJ
Feeley, the backup who looked fantastic and promptly bombed out of his starting chances. The idea would be to get good value for him if possible, and if not, keep him to provide solid insurance for Vick. I really think he won't be with the Falcons before long, though.
Best of luck Sunday!
Thanks to Dave and be sure to check out The Falcoholic for his thoughts on the game and my answers to his 5 questions.