Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not
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Falcons can survive without Baker, not others

  • 10:25 am Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Julio Jones is one player Falcons can't afford to lose. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

There have been two general reactions from Falcons’ fans since Sam Baker was lost for the season: 1) OMG, we lost our starting left tackle; or 2) That’s OK, we only loss Sam Baker.

Both are understandable. The left tackle protects the quarterback’s blind side. Kind of important. But Baker widely has been considered a bust since the Falcons traded up to draft him late in the first round in 2008, and part of the reason is he’s been injured so often.

He played only eight games (five starts) in his rookie season. He started only six games in 2011 and four [More]

FSU 1, Georgia 12 in poll of insignificance

  • 2:59 pm Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Georgia's hopes of flying this season hinge partly on Todd Gurley. (AP photo)

Florida State is No. 1 , Georgia is No. 12 and eight SEC teams are in the top 25 of the Associated Press’s preseason poll. Well, that certainly means . . . nothing.

Preseason college football polls are great for stimulating debate. But they invariably mean little by the end of the season, and their significance has been diminished even more by the four-team playoff beginning this season. Polls are great for feeding perceptions about how good or bad a team may be but those perceptions last only until a highly ranked team loses or a non-ranked team keeps winning.

This was [More]

With Braves six back, is ‘fat lady’ singing?

  • 8:39 am Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
BravesfatLadyJeff

So is it over?

The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Thursday. If you missed the almost-too-perfect inglorious ending, here’s a free link to my column on the game.

In brief, Justin Upton had to leave the game with a strained hamstring. His lesser brother B.J., who had been benched from the starting lineup because he’s hitting .209, was sent in as a pinch runner. He stayed in the game, and, of course, wound up being the key at-bat in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third base, B.J., batting in Justin’s spot, struck out.

The strikeout numbers [More]

Braves’ crowds reflect lack of confidence

  • 9:00 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dodgers at Braves

As the Braves begin to slide out of the playoff race — or at least show no sign of having interest in it — they also are sliding off the radar in Atlanta.

Crowds for the first two games of the weekend series against Washington last week drew over 30,000 but the Sunday night game saw only 18,191 in the stadium. I realize it was the night before the first day of school for many kids, but for a late-summer weekend series against the Nationals with first place on the line, the numbers were disappointing. It also was stunning that the [More]

Poll: Who’s most to blame for Braves’ fall?

  • 9:19 am Thursday, August 7th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Atlanta Braves v Seattle Mariners

The Braves are back home after an eight-game road trip. There will be no parade today.

They lost all eight games — swept in consecutive series in Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle. It’s the first time something like that has happened since the 1949 Boston Braves went 0-8 on a trip. That’s so long ago that, as historian David O’Brien noted, Warren Spahn was in the starting rotation.

More miserable numbers: The Braves scored only 18 runs in the eight games (three of which went extra innings) for an average of 2.25 runs per game. They also are 6-13 since [More]

Roddy White meets winner of big Twitter bet

  • 7:39 pm Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dylan Hoyt (bet winner) mets Roddy White (bet loser) Wednesday at Falcons' training camp. (Jeff Schultz, AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — In the Twitterverse, where too often the silly becomes serious and the serious turns silly, Roddy White says he learned a valuable lesson.

“Never bet anything unless you’re willing to pay up,” the Falcons’ wide receiver said Wednesday.

White actually more than paid up for what in reality was a goof bet with a fan last March. He told a follower on Twitter before the first-round NCAA tournament game between Duke and Mercer that if the 14th seeded Bears from Macon upset the heavily favored Blue Devils, he would buy the man Falcons season tickets.

Oops.

Mercer won. White paid off … [More]

Dan Uggla rejects demotion, out of job again

  • 1:04 pm Monday, August 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Dan Uggla looked under control with San Francisco in this snapshot but he wasn't. (AP)

I understand this probably isn’t going to elicit much sympathy, given that Dan Uggla still has about another $18 million coming his way (and unless he has been using stacks of hundreds for kindling in the winter, he doesn’t need another $18 million).

But seriously: What happened to him?

It’s rare that the bottom falls out of a player’s career as dramatically as we’ve seen with the former Braves’ second baseman. Having been signed by San Francisco two weeks ago following his release in Atlanta, Uggla is out of a job again. The Giants designated him for assignment and there are [More]

Trade deadline day … and it’s quiet here (update: minor trade)

  • 9:01 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Trying to picture David Price in a Braves' uniform? Don't waste your time. (AP)

UPDATE: As you probably know by now, the Braves made a minor trade, dealing catching prospect Victor Caratini to the Chicago Cubs for utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell. It was exactly the kind of deal that general manager Frank Wren was expected to make, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to get the Braves to the postseason because of fundamental flaws on the roster and in the clubhouse. I wrote a full column on this topic over at MyAJC.com. Here’s a free link. Thanks, J

Good morning. The major league trade deadline is at [More]

Urban Meyer gets it wrong on Tim Tebow

  • 8:17 pm Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Urban Meyer should know there's a reason Tim Tebow is wearing a suit, not a uniform. (AP)

It was never my intention to write another blog about Tim Tebow or why he’s not cut out to be an NFL quarterback (still). But then Urban Meyer told the assembled media at Big Ten Media Days, “I still don’t get that part of it. He’s the second-most efficient passer ever to play college football.” And that sound was me slapping my forehead.

If you ever wondered whether Meyer could work in the personnel department — or coach — in the NFL, there’s your answer: no.

Tebow obviously was a great college quarterback at Florida and remains one of the greatest [More]

Poll: Falcons open camp, what’s your pick?

  • 9:59 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
061114 falcons CC21

FLOWERY BRANCH — I usually get a feeling how good or bad I think a football team will be. That doesn’t mean I’m right, but something about the previous season and the offseason at least gives me some sense of direction.

But about the 2014 Falcons: I have no idea what’s going to happen.

If you missed it, I have a column posted on MyAJC.com on the start of training camp later today. Here’s a free link to it.

I’ve posted a simple poll because I’m curious what you think. Rather than guess how many games this team will win, let’s focus [More]

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