Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati

  • 4:20 pm Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Matt Ryan struggled behind Falcons' banged up offensive line. (AP photo)

I’ll be back shortly with my column on the Falcons’ ugly 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Until then, here are my three short takes on the game.

UPDATE: HERE’S A LINK TO THE FULL GAME COLUMN.

1. Problems up front: The Falcons’ offensive line was pretty good against New Orleans in Week 1. Not Sunday. Losing starting tackle Jake Matthews (ankle), after already having lost starter Sam Baker in the preseason, was too much. Matt Ryan was sacked only two times but he was forced out of the pocket on several occasions and rushed on throws. Ryan was only 24-for-44 and threw [More]

LIVE: Falcons’ line to get tested by Bengals

  • 12:04 pm Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
This guy look familiar? Falcons face former Georgia star A.J. Green today. (Getty Images)

CINCINNATI – There are a number of ways to gauge how good an NFL team really is, but here are two of them: 1) How well do they play in December; 2) How well do they play on the road.

December is a few months away. But we’ll learn a little more about the Falcons’ level and toughness today when they play their second game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They were impressive in many ways in last week’s 37-34 home win over New Orleans, showing both their strength (Matt Ryan and the offense) and their weaknesses (defense). But today they will [More]

Predictions: Goodell sees alibis, I see Dogs

  • 3:02 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Some of this weekend's rock solid investments. (Photo by W.P. Glamour Shots.)

According to legend, my third favorite source after Netflix and the Google search window, where you can find just about anything except the Ray Rice video, and we know this because Roger Goodell did an exhaustive seven-second search from his Barcalounger before declaring, “Nothing to see here!” and retiring for his afternoon nap, the expression, “The dog ate my homework” predates Goodell by over 100 years.

“There is a lure in power. It can get into a man’s blood, just as gambling and lust for money have been known to do.” – Harry Truman

Last week: 11-2 overall, 7-6 against the line.

Through [More]

Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints

  • 3:29 pm Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
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Before getting to this week’s lox — oh, you thought I meant locks last week? Uh, no – here’s an update from the programming department at HBO. In this week’s episode of, “Jonah From Tonga,” Fobba-lisicious and Kool Kris pick up a triumphant Jonah from prison, just in time to take part in the Feel Da Beat dance competition with their song “Don’t Be A Bully.” While Jonah has been locked up, everything seems to have changed and Jonah is forced to make some real adjustments.

I’m not sure — because the lines between real and unbelievably-stupid-and-scripted-made-for-TV-verbal-undressings-of-characters often seem to get [More]

Michael Sam not being viewed as just player

  • 4:54 pm Monday, September 1st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Michael Sam had three sacks in preseason but no team has signed him to its practice squad. (AP photo)

The NFL, like any sports league, would like you to believe it’s not exclusionary. The problem with that expectation is a league can’t speak or act for individual team builders. That’s why Michael Sam is out of a job today — and for anybody who believes Sam’s sexuality has nothing to do with him being out of work today, keep reading.

The St. Louis Rams released the former Missouri defensive lineman, who became the first athlete in history to disclose publicly before the start of his career that he was homosexual. The Rams don’t deserve criticism for cutting Sam because they [More]

Report: Petrino, Grantham already feuding (updated)

  • 10:20 pm Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
S.I. reports Bobby Petrino and Todd Grantham are already feuding. Surprise!. (AP photo)

When “reformed” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino hired former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, it seemed like a perfect marriage — if one were to assume a petroleum truck parking in a warehouse full of plutonium is a perfect marriage.

So maybe this won’t come as a surprise:

According to SI.com, Petrino has “feuded often” with Grantham since hiring him in January. The relationship between the two is so bad, one unidentified source told S.I., that Petrino would have fired Grantham by now if he had not given him a five-year contract worth nearly $1 million annually (which, by the way, wasn’t [More]

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]

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]

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]

Falcons make wrong call saying yes to ‘Hard Knocks’

  • 2:20 pm Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Make no mistake: "Hard Knocks" is preferred by Arthur Blank, not Mike Smith. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Falcons have decided to be the subject of the annual NFL-HBO voyeuristic enterprise called, “Hard Knocks.”

Well. This isn’t the worst decision they’ve ever made in recent years. There was that one year they hired Bobby Petrino.

So let me understand this: The same organization that fell apart a season ago, and not just because of injuries, has decided to let a cable television show go behind the scenes in training camp and follow players in practices and meetings and areas of Fort Flowery Branch normally off limits to non-team personnel?

Headquarters in Flowery Branch will be a sea of wires, cameras [More]