Jeff Schultz blog 

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

LIVE: Falcons try for something new — a win

  • 11:40 am Sunday, October 19th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Mike Smith needs to figure out a way to end his team's losing streak. (AP photo)

BALTIMORE – Good morning. I just arrived in Baltimore after covering last night’s Georgia Tech game in Chapel Hill, N.C., where I watched a former 5-0 football team continue to stomp on hope with its second straight unexpected lost.

If the Falcons also lose today, at least it won’t be unexpected. I know, Mr. Nattering Nabob of Negativism, right? (Credit: Spiro Agnew. Kids, Google.) But consider the backdrop to today’s game against the Baltimore Ravens:

– The Falcons have lost three straight and four out of five since a season-opening, 37-34 win over New Orleans.

– They are have lost 10 of [More]

Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you?

  • 12:18 pm Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons owner Arthur Blank is standing by Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

All together now: The Falcons are 2-3. The Falcons can’t win on the road. The Falcons are weak on the defensive front and can’t sustain a pass rush. The Falcons aren’t using Antone Smith enough.

That about cover it for now?

So here’s another voice on the subject — the most important voice.

I spoke to Falcons owner Arthur Blank on the subject of his struggling team. He said some things that I expected. He maintained confidence in coach Mike Smith and his staff and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. But I found it noteworthy that he chose not to issue public mandates like, [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 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]

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]

Falcons may see tougher Mike Smith in ’14

  • 8:01 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons coach Mike Smith was candid about the team's weaknesses. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

I’ve posted a column on on my Tuesday conversation with Falcons coach Mike Smith. Having spoken to the man a few hundred times since his hiring in 2008, I can attest he was as candid as he has ever been. (Going 4-12 last season after a string of winning seasons might left him believing there was little reason to hold back.)

Smith didn’t talk about specific players. But he admitted he saw warning signs about the team’s offensive and defensive lines as far back as training camp in July and August, particularly when the Falcons held practices against the [More]