Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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Weatherspoon out (Is this happening again?)

  • 9:49 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Sean Weatherspoon, who had been working his way back from previous injuries, is lost for the 2014 season. (AP photo)

Last September, when the Falcons were in only the early stages of what would become a calamitous string of injuries, I offered my, “Can’t Afford To Lose” top 10 list of players. The list:  Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson on offense; Sean Weatherspoon, Osi Umenyiora, William Moore, Jonathan Babineaux and Asante Samuel on defense. (Looking back, I don’t know if I overrated the aging Samuel before last season or he just couldn’t get healthy.)

This year’s list wouldn’t change much, which means the Falcons just took a big hit — and they didn’t even [More]

Braves are golden…or doomed (you decide)

  • 9:13 am Monday, June 9th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
After losing a weekend series to last-place Arizona, the Braves have dropped into a three-way tie for first place.

Good morning.

The Braves have lost three of their last four series (eight of 12 games) to drop into a three-way tie for first place in the National League East with Washington and Miami, neither of which have been very good, either.

This usually is when everybody picks a side in the world of sports’ debate extremes. It’s either: “The Braves are doomed because they stink, and I said so!” Or, “The Braves are golden because they’ve managed to hang in there with slumping players and … well, you just wait!”

I’ve never made it a secret that the Braves’ roster construction and [More]

Lawsuit shows NCAA still in fantasyland

  • 10:57 am Thursday, June 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
EA sports was sued for using likenesses of NCAA players without their permission.

One would think that with all of the punches the NCAA is being hit with these days, it would become a better loser. Instead, it continues to provide more fodder for criticism.

Latest example: There’s a proposed $40 million settlement for class-action lawsuits filed by 200,000 to 300,000 former NCAA football and basketball players, whose likenesses were used by video game manufacturer EA Sports without their permission. This is just one of several lawsuits and issues the NCAA is dealing with, all circling around the fallacy of amateur athletics that it’s trying to perpetuate.
Anyway, this was the NCAA’s official response Wednesday [More]

Richt, Pruitt justified in making changes

  • 8:51 am Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jeremy Pruitt has been given free rein to fix Georgia's defense. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

There are two absolutes when a college athlete is dismissed from a team: 1) The player did something wrong (probably more than once); 2) The coach did something right.

Given Georgia coach Mark Richt has dismissed safety Tray Matthews for unspecified reasons, the third high-profile exit from his team’s defense this offseason. This should confirm that the let’s-give-him-one-more-chance mentality that used to exist in Athens is officially dead and buried.

Richt’s statement on Matthews’ exit was brief but said enough: “We are trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”

UPDATE: Matthews addresses his dismissal: He admits he caused [More]

Hawks’ assistant Snyder may get Utah job

  • 10:28 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Quin Snyder's last head coaching job came with Missouri. (AP photo)

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff did one of the better coaching jobs in the NBA this season. The ripple effect of that might be him losing one of his assistant coaches.

Quin Snyder, a long-time pro assistant and a former head coach at Missouri and in the NBA’s D-League, has emerged as a leading candidate for the head coaching job of the Utah Jazz.

When asked about Snyder’s candidacy Tuesday, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry responded via email, “They asked for permission to talk with him and he is a part of Utah’s continued process to fill the job there.”

Snyder [More]

SEC coaches don’t want rules skirted (wait, what?) (updated)

  • 11:27 am Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Penn State's James Franklin is ruffling the feathers of SEC coaches. (AP photo)

James Franklin, the former Vanderbilt coach now of Penn State, will be appearing at football camps next month at Georgia State and Stetson University, and SEC coaches don’t like. Why? Because it circumvents an NCAA rule.

Sorry. Need a minute. I can’t stop laughing.

So here’s the background: The NCAA has a rule that precludes NCAA coaches from holding football camps out of state more than 50 miles from their campus. The idea of this rule is to prevent Alabama’s Nick Saban from holding a camp in Athens and Georgia’s Mark Richt from going to Gainesville, Fla., and  Kentucky’s Mark Stoops going [More]

Braves’ move shouldn’t mean Uggla’s out — yet (updated)

  • 2:01 pm Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dan Uggla's time as a Brave could be nearing an end.

The Braves have recalled second baseman Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Gwinnett, and I know what you’re thinking: Did they slip release papers and a plane ticket under Dan Uggla’s hotel room door in Boston.

No. Nor should they just yet.

The team has yet to announce what roster move will be made to open a spot for La Stella, who was hitting .293 with a .384 on-base percentage in Gwinnett. But there’s a good chance Uggla, who has lost his starting job, will not be released for now. Options include putting shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the disabled list (if that’s deemed [More]

Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?

  • 12:01 pm Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
The Braves' B.J. Upton is reaching base more and striking out less. Honest. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Good morning. This is the day to celebrate our true heroes. Memorial Day began as a day to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War but now serves to recognize all Americans who died while in the military. This isn’t a day for politics. To borrow from Mark Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

And now, on the backside of this barbecue weekend, a six-pack of thoughts on a six-pack of teams:

1. Braves: Keep an eye on Washington

The Braves are showing signs of coming out of their offensive rut, [More]

Michigan botches recruiting pitch

  • 12:03 pm Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Can you spot the typo in this recruiting pitch?

There are two subjects I generally try to stay away from: Recruiting (because it nauseates me) and mocking somebody else’s spelling mistakes (because, well, you know).

But this item brings the worst of both worlds together, so . . .

College football coaches are going to greater lengths than ever to get the attention of recruits. Tennessee coach Butch Jones sent a player’s recruit a Mother’s Day card. Notre Dame photo-shopped the image of coveted high school quarterback Blake Barnett on a poster of the school’s seven Heisman Trophy winners, with the question, “Are you next?”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke also tried [More]

Atlanta will get Super Bowl despite weather

  • 10:32 am Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Pay no attention to this memory, football fans. (David Tullis)

The Falcons decided to hold an “historic” (quoting from a news release) ground-breaking for their new stadium Monday night, complete with fireworks. It was a curiously timed event in that the team has already bulldozed the first of two churches to make room for the stadium and has been plowing land for several weeks.

But NFL owners were in town for spring meetings so actually it makes perfect sense. This was all for show. It was for Falcons owner Arthur Blank to try to change the talking points in Atlanta for residents who still may be unhappy about public money being [More]

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