Tag Archive: Mike Nolan

As I sat down to watch the Falcons on Sunday night versus the Cowboys I got an instant feeling of Déjà Vu.  No, I didn’t see a black cat go by twice nor was I expecting Agent Smith and the crew to bust in (I will give a dollar to the first person to get the reference).  I just felt like I had been here or felt this way before about a team.  After another Falcons win,I left and hopped in my Delorean, and went back to the year 2009.

There I was,  sitting around and Hating, “I don’t believe in the Saints, they haven’t played anybody, the defense can’t stop people they just rely on turnovers, you won’t be able to beat better teams playing like that.” And the list went on, how naïve I was.  That year the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl, Dem Saints showed me.  We all know a foolish man doesn’t learn from his mistakes and after I looked at the Falcons they could be this years 2009 Saints.

Some early similarities, both had never won a Super Bowl, both used to be in the NFC West.  Both started out 8-0 (Saints actually got up to 13-0 before losing). In 2009 the Saints changed Offensive (Doug Marrone to Pete Carmichael) and Defensive (Gary Gibbs to Greg “Bounty Gate aka you don’t want to see Kyle Williams’ dad in the streets” Williams) Coordinators.  This year the Falcons hired Dirk “new Norv Turner” Koetter to handle the offense and Mike Nolan to run the Defense.  Also both teams picked up key secondary pieces in the off season, the Saints got Darren Sharper, and the Falcons traded for Asante Samuels.  I know all that is window dressing but look at the similar numbers in the first 8 games.

2012 Falcons Categories 2009 Saints
46.6% 3rd % 44.7%
68.7% Pass Competition % 68.3%
17/6 TD/INT 17/7
15 Sacks Allowed 12
Eagles Marquee Win Eagles
  Defensive Numbers  
19 Sacks 19
24 Tackles for Loss 23
10 Int 16
10 Forced Fumbles 9
  4th quarter -/+ 7pts  
3 Int 4
2 Forced Fumbles 3
28 Average return yds 27
43 Net punt Distance 38
10 Punts inside 20 5
Peyton Manning ??? (TBD) MVP Peyton Manning
Matt Ryan TBD Runner up MVP Drew Brees

The 2009 Saints had a killer running game that year, where the Falcons if they have an offensive weakness it’s the run game.  Though the 2012 Falcons are way better special teams wise, Matt Bryant has only missed one kick this year, where as the Saints missed numerous kicks.  Both teams struggled against stopping the run and give up a ton of yards, but as you see from the numbers they create turnovers.

I looked at the Saints first 7 victories and the combined record was 25-24, the Falcons first 7 victories and the combined record was 18-31, so you can see why the Falcons do get a bit of disrespect about not playing anybody, but the Dirty Birds didn’t make their schedule.

So does this information make you a believer? Are you starting to come around to the thought of Falcons vs Denver Broncos Super Bowl so the Falcons can get revenge and beat Peyton Manning like Drew Brees did?  Are you willing to March in like dem Saints, Falcon fans?  Unlike Sam Jackson I’m not ready to jump on the on the Dirty Bird swag bandwagon, but Atlanta does have a legitimate reason to Rise UP!! That could land them in the Super Bowl at the Super Dome, the home of WHO DAT NATION, coincidence? I think not.



For a few years now, well specifically after the 2007 Monday Night Football game, Cardinals vs 49ers, I made a bet saying if Alex Smith led us back to win this game I would never call him a bum, or insult him playfully again.  Well the unlikely became likely and Alex Smith did it.   Ever since then I started calling Alex Smith “The New Hope,”  being a huge Star Wars fan I thought it was a funny reference, but when I started to look at it; it was telling.  So here is the Alex Smith story told through Star Wars.  Queue the Music.

Episode I:  New Hope, sorry I mean Episode IV

     A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…  The West Coast.  Alex Smith “Luke Skywalker” went to Utah which it might as well be Tatooine.  Urban Meyer -“Old Ben Kenobi” – was Alex Smith’s college coach in Utah.  As an Ute, Smith showed immense promise with The Force – his Junior year he posted 67% completion, 2952 yards passing, 32 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 631 rushing yards, and 10 rushing touchdowns.  Meyer taught him the beginnings of The Force and he learned enough to warrant a 1st overall pick in the 2005 draft to the Rebel Alliance aka the San Francisco 49ers.

Commander Mike Nolan drafted Smith over Aaron Rodgers. He thought Smith to be a cerebral, introspective, and non-confrontational, while he felt Rodgers attitude wouldn’t mesh with Nolan’s.  Smith’s rookie year was a wash 1 touchdown to 11 interceptions.  In 2006 San Francisco gave Luke his Han Solo and Chewbecca, in the form of Frank Gore (the team leader, and anybody coming out of Miami can only be as badass and cool as Han Solo) and Vernon Davis (yeah partly because he had corn rolls and dreads – all that fur).

     Also, lets give Norv Turner a piece of the Obi-Wan Kenobi title.  Under Turner Smith had a 16 touchdown and 16 interception season, but that year Smith had a few Death Star moments. He threw 3 touchdowns versus the Oakland Raiders (hell, there fans wear Darth Vader Mask).  He also had comeback victories against Minnesota, Seattle, and Denver that year.  He started to build his legend and 49er fans loved it.  Until…  Obi-Wan got handled and took a job in San Diego.

Episode II, sorry Episode V (I will get this right I promise) Empire Strikes Back.

      From 2007-2010 we should just name the Empire the bad organization of the 49ers, because they gave him four different Offensive Coordinators in those 4 years.  Forget “Luke I am your father” and how about “Luke we will give you no consistency, terrible supporting cast outside of Gore and Davis”, (remember these Wide Recievers? Ashley Lelie, Darrell Jackson, Iaasc Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Josh Morgan, Arnaz Battle, and the list goes on). He did get his Princess Lela in Michael Crabtree, look at his professional career so far, from holdouts to toe injuries in preseason, and other dainty princess issues.

It got as bad as Mike Nolan questioning his heart and toughness while he was dealing with a grade three separated shoulder. In 2008 Smith missed the entire season because of another shoulder injury, once he got back Nolan was fired, but he had a new threat.  He had to fight through the pants dropping antics of Jabba The Hut aka Mike Singletary.  The greatest insult was Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl in 2010, the same Rodgers that was picked 23 picks after Alex Smith.  How about “Luke you’re a failure and your city wants you out.”

           Episode VI:  Return of the Jedi (told you I would get it)

     Now I know all the geek purist are saying, “How could you talk about Empire and leave out Yoda,” (in my best geek voice ever).  Obviously I couldn’t figure a way to weave Yoda into the story (even George Lucas had a bad timeline in the prequels and he is a pro) because we all know who Yoda is, none other than Jim “Lil Crazy Walsh” Harbaugh.  He basically got the best out of Alex Smith, and yes he is a game manager, but we act like Luke didn’t need help from a team to be successful and Luke MANAGED to get Vader to turn on the Emperor to save the galaxy.  With a 13-3 season the 49ers returned to being thought of as a dominant Force in the league.  This chapter is not done being written – we still have a galaxy to save by hoisting the Lombardi.  So Alex let The Force be with you!




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