Since the actual Falcons only make the playoffs about twice a decade (sadly, they’ve already used their allotment for the ’00s), it’s a fond past-time here in Losersville to watch guys who once donned a Falcons uniform stride majestically on the Elysian Fields that are post-season football.
Okay, there’s not much majestic to speak of when referring to former-Birds like Lincoln Kennedy and Grady Jackson, but you get the idea.
For brevity’s sake, I’ll leave out those who I can’t really verify do anything but currently take up a uniform number (I’m looking at you, Brian Kozlowski and Matt Lehr), and focus on the guys that actually step on the field after warm-ups.
With that criteria in mind, it was a great weekend for the ex-Falcons! Playing in 3 more games than any current Falcons, they went 2-1.
A brief review of a triumphant ex-Falcons weekend:
Patrick Kerney, Seattle Seahawks – This move has haunted the Falcons all-season. A fan favorite – cut because he was too expensive, and, apparently too old at 30 – Kerney led the NFC with 14.5 sacks this season. Granted, he got to play the O-Lines of Arizona, San Francisco, and St. Louis 6 times, but his numbers definitely show that he has a few good years left in him. Also – he had exactly 14.5 sacks more than Jamaal “Goose Egg” Anderson, who was drafted to replace him.
Kerney’s performance in Saturday’s 35-14 victory over Washington definitely showed that he’s the kind of guy the ex-Falcons will need to reach Super Bowl XLII. Per ESPN’s Matt Mosley:
Patrick Kerney was brilliant Saturday. His ability to bring pressure from his left defensive end spot is what set up the Seahawks linebackers for a huge day. The Redskins had to plan around Kerney, and he blew that game plan up with his relentless effort.
Sigh. This isn’t to mention either that Kerney was usually the one Falcon you could see out amongst the people on your average Saturday night, dogfighting throwdowns not included. Even on the day he was released by Atlanta, I personally witnessed him finding time to kick back a few drinks at Kramer’s and say his farewells to the friends he had made in his 8 seasons in Atlanta.
Gracious to the fans? Unconvicted? Piling up sacks left and right? Yeah – we didn’t need a guy like that this year. Whatever he would’ve cost, it would have been worth it.
Grady Jackson, Jacksonville Jaguars – Always hard to judge a Defensive Tackle based on statistics, but the Falcons questionable release of Jackson in October has been a Godsend to a depleted Jags line, which has endured a struggling, injured, John Henderson, and a 4-game suspension to Marcus Stroud.
A few stats from Saturday’s game can tell the story pretty well, though. The Steelers running game (more potent than your average ground attack, even without Willie Parker), was held to 43 yards on 26 carries. Add that to a 3 INT performance by Ben Roethlisberger…one of which was caused by direct pressure from Jackson…and it’s plain to see the Morbidly Obese One was blowing up the middle of the Steelers line with regularity. It was close, and some questionable decisions were made by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, but the Jags prevailed 31-29.
If you’ll remember, former Falcons Coach Bobby Petrino cited a movement towards youth when he released Jackson. He then took his desire for youth in the Falcons organization to the next level by resigning to make way for what will likely be a younger coach. That’s dedication to a plan.
Allen Rossum, Pittsburgh Steelers – Didn’t play due to a hamstring injury. I don’t begrudge the Falcons for dumping an aging kick returner. He couldn’t have done much to turn the Falcons season around anyway, regardless of the abundance of opportunities. Still – Steelers fans have to wonder if Rossum the ex-Falcon could have done what Rossum the Falcon did to St. Louis in the 2005 playoffs.
We’ll continue to monitor the progress of the ex-Falcons next week, as we welcome the Godfather of ex-Falcons, Brett Favre, to the fray.