By Danny Cox
The Atlanta Falcons have truly done what has needed to be done on the field this season, and that is evident by their number one playoff seed in the NFC. They’ve gone out onto the field week in and week out, and continued to bring the goods when they needed to be brought. Now is the time though…that they don’t let their mouths get ahead of them.
In the world of the NFL, and football in general, there are a lot of superstitions. One of the biggest things is not being too cocky and definitely not guaranteeing a win or anything like that. Doing something to that effect is just asking for a disaster because either karma is going to come back to bite you or the opposing team is going to do everything in their power to prevent the “guarantee” from happening.
Allow me to introduce Falcons’ wide receiver, Roddy White.
White has a tendency to spout off whatever comes to his mind without really thinking. Not that there is anything wrong with being confident, but he doesn’t always help with some of the things he says and that just puts added pressure where it doesn’t need to be.
Let’s rewind to the playoffs last year when the New Orleans Saints clashed with the San Francisco 49ers. Early in the game, New Orleans was moving down the field with a great looking drive before running back Pierre Thomas fumbled the ball and San Francisco recovered.
Taking a closer look at the play, Thomas fumbled the ball because he was knocked out when 49ers safety Donte Whitner delivered a hit that changed the entire momentum of the game. Well, Roddy White remembers that hit from Whitner and has a message for him and the rest of the 49ers.
“Those guys do come downhill and they try to knock you out, and anytime you do that, if you miss, there’s going to be consequences,” White told USA Today this week. “It’s going to lead to explosive gains on offense. We’re looking forward to that.
“We’ve got big strong guys who are used to contact after catching and used to getting after people. As long as we can catch the ball and get our pads turned downfield, we’ll break tackles.”
This isn’t the first time that White has opened his mouth to say something about an opponent, and it won’t be the last either. Earlier this season, after the Saints defeated the Falcons, White said that Atlanta simply “gave” New Orleans the game.
The good thing is that he was able to help back up his words later in the season when Atlanta got revenge and defeated the Saints in the second match-up of the season. Still, White needs be a little careful about adding fuel to the fire of the already feisty 49ers.
Especially after Atlanta lost a 20-point lead to the Seattle Seahawks last week, and came within just mere seconds of losing the game and getting booted from the playoffs.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having confidence, just don’t be cocky about it. Falcons‘ quarterback knows that his team has talent and he’s going to let the world know it, but he’s going to do it with a bit more subtlety than White.
“We have extremely talented wide receivers and tight ends, guys who can go up and win one-on-one matchups,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Regardless of who we’re going against, we feel like we have to take those chances.
“Our guys have done a great job all year, when I’ve given them a shot, they’ve gone up and made a lot of plays for us.”
He’s right though. The Falcons have a lot of talent and they have enough to go as far as they want to go, and that includes the Super Bowl in New Orleans and winning the whole thing. They’ve just got to make sure that they don’t get over-confident, and never let off of the gas pedal.
If they learned even one lesson from last week’s close call, it is to stay full throttle for a full 60 minutes. No matter how many “explosive gains” you get on offense, Roddy White; the 49ers are going to be fighting whether they are in the lead or trailing by 20 points.
Let your mouth run during the week, but let your talent speak for itself on Sunday.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.