Reporting Jamie Walker
Hey Falcons fans. For the past few years, especially under the Mike Smith regime, the majority of players have been “status quo” when it comes to how they address issues with the team, how they are perceived in the community, and how they address media. There have only been a few instances of subpar behavior like the Michael Turner DUI arrest and the John Abraham’s obstruction of justice charge in 2012, but for the most part the team has steered clear of trouble and have not done too much to embarrass the franchise. However, one member of the team has never been afraid to express his opinion, Wide Receiver Roddy White, good ol’ number 84.
Roddy White, has never been afraid to express his opinion either through the traditional route in print and television or social media, especially Twitter. I have learned a great deal from Roddy, from his study of New Orleans Cuisine to Victor Cruz not playing “big boy football” from the receiver position. No matter the situation White is always good for a “one-liner”. In his recent visit to ESPN’s First Take with Cari Champion, Stephen A. Smith, and Skip Bayless, White decided to address a few issues about the Falcons and it was as advertised, never short of controversy. He addressed the addition of Steven Jackson stating that, “I think Jackson’s is an upgrade because he’s a three down back.” In addressing the rankings of the incoming 2013 teams, he named the Atlanta Falcons #1, despite losing the NFC Title Game to San Francisco. He even addressed the last significant offensive play for the Falcons in that same game when 49ers Linebacker NaVorro Bowman “broke up” a Matt Ryan pass intended for White that would have likely been a 1st down saying that, “we got outcoached on that one play.”, Now for some it may seem that he was throwing his coaching staff “under the bus” but this was not the most intriguing statement that Roddy White made. He went on to say, “We’re ready to take that next step. We know how good our football team is and the players we got so it’s either SuperBowl or nothing for us right now.” Wow.
That statement is profound because there has always been an undertone in Atlanta and maybe even nationally that the Falcons were happy with being mediocre or just happy to be in the discussion. Every team states the expectation of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the NFL season, however only a few have a realistic opportunity. White just put a major target on his teams’ back but it speaks to the confidence they now have with getting over the 1st playoff win milestone. The stakes are high this year and the expectation has been set by the vocal leader of the Falcons. I hope this team is ready to cash the check that White has written for them.
Walker is a Producer/Blogger for 92.9 The Game and can be followed on Twitter @coachjdub21 or reached by email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com