Monday, January 08, 2007

Bobby Petrino - Atlanta Falcon's New Head Coach

ESPN reports that Louisville coach Bobby Petrino has accepted a five-year, $24 million offer from the Atlanta Falcons to become their new coach. Petrino met with his Louisville players Sunday night to let them know he was going to Atlanta. The Falcons scheduled a formal announcement for Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

Petrino said he was leaving for what "I truly feel is the best job in the National Football League."

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank moved quickly to replace Jim Mora, who was fired after 3 seasons as the head coach. Mora's first year was spectacular with the Falcons making it to the NFC Championship game, but the last two seasons have been lackluster with the Falcons unable to make it the playoffs. The production of the offense and Michael Vick (this year, he topped 1,000 yards rushing - a record for the quarterback position in the NFL) was spotty and lacked any consistency. Last year the team started out 6-2 and fell to 8-8 before missing the playoffs. This season, the team started out 5-2 before falling to 7-9 and missing the playoffs.

plez sez: I guessed that Jim Mora would be biting the bullet after such a dismal season (well, dismal for a team that had so much talent and promise). The jury is still out as to whether this coach will be able to nurture and exploit the considerable talents of Michael Vick, who is easily the most exciting quarterback in the NFL!

In addition, this team is going to have to find some more talented offensive lineman who are able to protect Vick. For the past two seasons, he's been getting slaughtered while trying to hang out in the pocket with such an inept group in front of him: the group could not pick up a blitz if their lives depended on it, Vick rarely had more than 2 seconds to drop back and throw a pass, and the run support for Warrick Dunn simply disappeared late in the season.

It appeared that Jim Mora tried to be friends with the guys on the team. As such, I couldn't see evidence of him being in control of the team or laying down the law when it came time for them to produce. A football coach needs to be a strict disciplinarian; if Bobby Petrino cannot separate himself from being a member of "the team," then a similar fate awaits him!

Lastly, there have been a slew of good college coaches who couldn't cut it in the NFL and high tailed it back to college after a couple years: Steve Spurrier (Redskins), Pete Carrol (Jets?), Chan Gailey (Cowboys), Nick Saban (Dolphins)... and even Jim Mora (Falcons) got in hot water a few weeks ago for joking about wanting to go back and coach at his alma mater!


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