Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Shoves at the combine: The Falcons are at it again


I wish I could tell you I'm convinced the Atlanta Falcons know what they're doing. Alas, I'm not. They keep doing things that make me go, "Huh?" Maybe that means I'm not clever enough to divine the team's Master Plan. Or maybe it means the team itself is ... well, not all that clever.

1. Falcons assistant coach Bryan Cox had to apologize at the NFL combine in Indianapolis for shoving a Cardinals scout .

2. The same Bryan Cox shoved defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman during a 38-0 loss to Carolina in December.

3. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said at the combine the team hadn't decided whether to keep or shed Roddy Whitethe team's career receiving leader.

4. Quinn said this after lauding White to lavish lengths in a January conference call with reporters. This prompted one journalist to ask if Quinn's gushing meant the Falcons had decided to keep the receiver. Quinn's backpedaling quote: "He's under contract now, and he's one of the guys that I feel strongly on in terms of the competitor and the leader and the teammate (he is). I haven't confirmed anything on that. He remains under contract, and I love all the stuff that he stands for as a player."

5. That conference call was held so Quinn could explain his thinking in moving Raheem Morris, a career defensive assistant, to offense .

6. For the second consecutive offseason, the Falcons declined to fire general manager Thomas Dimitroff . Instead they rearranged their scouting department and added two more former GMs to the streamlined org chart, which meant the Falcons were employing six men who had been NFL general managers. (That number has shrunk to a mere five. Billy Devaney left last week to serve as personnel director for Nebraska, which at last check was a college team.)

7. That draft for which the Falcons are studiously preparing when they're not shoving employees of other teams includes no fifth- and sixth-round selections. The Round 6 pick was sent to Tennessee for guard Andy Levitre, who led the Falcons in penalties and tied for 10th in the NFL . The Round 5 pick was forfeited as a penalty for pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome in 2014.

8. The stadium set to replace the Georgia Dome next season is three months behind its construction schedule and has reset the operational target date to June 1, 2017 . (Problems with the retractable roof , don't you know.) The NFL exhibition season commences in August.

Other than that, everything's copacetic. The Falcons haven't had a winning season since 2012 but lead the world in GMs and shoves. And the spiffy new stadium will be ready one of these days.

Further Falcons reading:

Yikes. The Falcons' 2016 schedule is the NFL's toughest.

The Falcons cut Durant after one year, and I say, "Hmmm."

A defensive coach to offense? The Falcons again stump the band.

Value bet to win the next Super Bowl? ESPN's Tuley says the Falcons.

The Falcons retain Dimitroff, so I guess it's still all Smitty's fault.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.