- 12:58 pm Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
London — Flew overnight into Heathrow. Took the train to Paddington Station. Took a cab to the hotel, not wanting to drag three bags through these narrow streets. Lucked into a cab driver who liked football (their kind) and gave me a detailed report on Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Only then did I feel I was in England.
There’d been hints. We took the lift to the Heathrow Express, not the elevator. We were advised on exiting at Paddington to “mind the gap,” meaning don’t fall through the space between the train and the platform. My driver [More]
- 8:23 am Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
After a month like this, you’d think about fleeing the country, too. The Atlanta Falcons have lost four consecutive games by the aggregate score of 127-68. (Not-so-fun fact: The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 56-14 in September and have still been outscored by opponents by 28 points on the season.) They’re 2-5. Not one of their losses has been by single digits.
We started off thinking (for good reason) that their defense was lousy. Now their offense is, too. They’ve scored 40 points and four touchdowns in three games. The lowest three-game output for the 2013 Falcons — who finished 4-12, you’ll [More]
- 9:05 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Little Rock, Ark. – These short takes off Georgia-Arkansas are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 45-32.
1. Nick Chubb is almost as great as the great Todd Gurley, and that’s saying something. The freshman from Cedartown followed his 143-yards-on-38-carries showing against Missouri with an even more spectacular display. He rushed 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns. (Gurley’s biggest day, FYI, was 208 yards against Tennessee last month.) “He’s built for it,” coach Mark Richt said of the workload, saying also that Cedartown High “played tough and coached tough.” [More]
- 3:02 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Little Rock, Ark. – Bret Bielema coaches Arkansas. Jen Bielema is his wife. Apparently she’s kind of famous over here. (This isn’t without Arkansas precedent: The airport is named after Bill and Hillary Clinton.) She and I rode the same elevator at War Memorial Stadium — she and her crew were headed to the suites; I was bound for the seat I currently occupy in the bare-bones press box — and she, being neighborly, said, “Hello.”
True confession: I didn’t know who she was. After she exited, I asked an Arkansas media type as to her identity. “That’s the coach’s wife,” [More]
- 11:59 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
News, as relayed by esteemed colleague Chip Towers, that Todd Gurley didn’t board Georgia’s buses leaving Athens and thus won’t make the trip to Little Rock will come as a disappointment to Bulldogs fans. (Unrelated thought: Does Mark Richt still speak to his men of “The Energy Bus,” a business concept that became the theme of the 2011 bounceback season?) But it shouldn’t. I don’t think anybody who works in Butts-Mehre seriously believed Gurley would return this week.
This ball, as it were, is apparently still in Georgia’s court. For Gurley’s status to be clarified, the athletic department must first [More]
- 6:57 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
If the Atlanta Falcons’ record — they’re 2-4, the four losses having come by 10-plus points — didn’t tell you that there’s trouble afoot in Flowery Branch, these numbers will. Pro Football Focus grades the Falcons’ offensive line as the league’s 28th-best, which is actually an upgrade over last season, when it ranked 30th. Advanced Football Analytics assesses the Falcons’ defensive efficiency as the 32nd-best — there are 32 NFL teams — and the team as the league’s fifth-worst despite the presence of the 10th-most efficient offense.
FiveThirtyEight’s rankings have the Falcons as the seventh-worst team, and Nate Silver’s [More]
- 8:31 am Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that John Hart has declined the Atlanta Braves’ offer to remain their permanent-if-only-for-a-while general manager. (Hart is already the interim GM.) If this is indeed true — team president John Schuerholz told esteemed colleague David O’Brien the report is “not accurate” — it would be a mild surprise but no shock. Hart is 66, and it has been unclear whether he wants to return to baseball on a full-time basis.
Assuming Passan’s report is accurate, we need to ask how it affects the Braves’ search. Not much, I’d suggest. Passan identifies the two leading [More]
- 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
If any team was equipped to lose its best player, Georgia is that team. And not because the the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb to emulate Todd Gurley — this isn’t about personnel. This is about temperament.
Not to go all Phil Jackson Zen Master on you, but something is a distraction only if you allow yourself to be distracted. Even in a perfect storm, Mark Richt is the ideal skipper. (Now I’m taking the nautical route. Somebody stop me before I indulge in any more imagery.) Richt never gets rattled. He never punches walls or lockers. He is what you see [More]
- 9:06 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
These short takes off Falcons-Bears are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. The Falcons came within 15 points of winning, if you hadn’t heard.
1. It’s hard to believe now, but the Falcons were favored. By a field goal, which is the standard home-field allowance. They lost 27-13. They scored one touchdown. They yielded 478 yards. There were long moments when it seemed the Bears could name the score, and they essentially did. There have been more lopsided losses under Mike Smith, but there has never been one in which the Falcons appeared [More]
- 3:46 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Not to belabor the blatantly obvious, but the Atlanta Falcons need to win today. They’ve lost two in a row. This will be their last home game until Nov. 23 against Cleveland. (Unless we count the London date with Detroit as a “home” game, which the NFL does but I’m sure Mike Smith does not.)
Lose today and the Falcons could go a while longer without winning. Next up are the Ravens in Baltimore, and then the Lions at Wembley, and then Tampa Bay and Carolina on the road. Lose today and the wondering about Smitty’s job — and Thomas [More]