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Mark Bradley columns

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Why Mike Smith, a stand-up guy, still needs to fall
Mike Smith reacts to a play against the Browns during the first half of Sunday’s game. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Updated: 5:14 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

Writing that a coach should be fired never brings any pleasure. Even if the guy’s the worst coach in the world, he’s still a guy trying to do a difficult job and provide for his family. That I’ve come to believe that Mike Smith should be fired is doubly sobering, ...
The Falcons were given the game, and still they lost
Yet again, the Falcons watch an opponent celebrate a game-winning field goal. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

6:25 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

This is how bad it has gotten: The Falcons cannot win a game even when the opponent hands it to them on a silver tray bearing a card that reads, “From the Browns, courtesy of Brian Hoyer. Enjoy!” The team that once had no peer at inventing ways to win ...
With much on its mind, UGA says it’ll be ready for Tech
Against Charleston Southern, Hutson Mason had himself another precise day. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

5:06 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Only once have Georgia and Georgia Tech met when both had, as Tech coach Paul Johnson put it in 2009, bigger fish to fry. That was the 2012 installment of Clean Old-Fashioned Hate, which bore a peculiar set of dynamics. Georgia was 10-1 and ranked No. 3 in the BCS ...
Assessing playoff chances for UGA and Tech
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson surveys the proceedings during his team’s loss to Duke. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

1:02 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

We all wrote Georgia off after the unaccountable loss to Florida. Georgia Tech has won nine games and clinched a share of first place in the ACC Coastal Division, but we’ve never actually written the Yellow Jackets into the College Football Playoff discussion. But look now. Each is included in ...
Trading Heyward brings a glimpse of cold Braves’ reality
Jason Heyward makes a leaping catch against the Cubs. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

4:16 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

It’s a trade that’s easy to understand but impossible to like, a trade fueled not by dreams of glory but by a glimpse of cold reality. With or without Jason Heyward, the 2015 Braves weren’t going to win the National League East. With what he brought in trade, they might ...
After a difficult week, a feel-better game for UGA
Here’s how this one started: Isaiah McKenzie returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown. (David Stephenson/AP photo)

5:26 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014

This didn’t erase what happened in Jackonsville. For Georgia fans, that loss will long remain a splatter on what might have been a museum piece of a season. But Saturday’s destruction of Kentucky stands as a reminder that a flawed year needn’t become a lost year. “We wanted to get ...
Amid the furor, six ways of viewing UGA’s Richt
Georgia coach Mark Richt walks off the field with his son, Zach, after the Bulldog’s 38-20 loss to Florida. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

12:47 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014

The coach whose Georgia Bulldogs were, in December 2012, five yards from the BCS title game is again a flashpoint. If you criticize Mark Richt, you’re an opponent of decency. If you defend him, you’ve subsidized failure. The rhetoric has become so overheated that Richt’s post-Florida smile, directed toward his ...
If Smith is fired, where do Blank’s Falcons turn?
He has a vested interest in filling that new stadium. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Updated: 12:28 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, 2014

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday that Falcons owner Arthur Blank is apt to fire Mike Smith and will seek to replace him with “a big-name head coach.” This wouldn’t clash with my reading of the climate in Flowery Branch — when your employer says of a game ...
No guarantee UGA would win more under another coach
Mark Richt yells at an official during the fourth quarter against Florida. Richt wanted a review of a two-point conversion. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

3:14 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014

Nobody can deny that Mark Richt has, in the main, been a splendid coach for Georgia. Over 13 2/3 seasons, he has averaged 9.7 victories. He should go no worse than 9-3 in this one. He has taken the Bulldogs to two SEC titles and five conference championship games.Now for ...
Same verse, new year: Richt outcoached, UGA outplayed
Florida running back Matt Jones, who rushed for 192 yards, dives for the pylon. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

8:29 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

Mark Richt has brought better Georgia teams here and lost — the 2002 Bulldogs, his best bunch, failed in this stadium — but never had he lost to a lesser Florida team. And never had he been outcoached by Will Muschamp, who has spent more than three seasons proving he ...
Will Muschamp: A lousy coach or a heroic UGA mole?
Will Muschamp was a walk-on at Georgia who earned a spot in the defensive backfield in 1991.

12:07 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

If football programs had counterintelligence desks — Nick Saban is surely planning for his — this installment of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party would have Georgia’s operatives working round-the-clock discussing permutations and ramifications. “If we do this and they do that, in the grand scheme will we be better ...
Bradley: ‘This team is broken’
Head Coach Mike Smith of Atlanta Falcons looks on during the NFL match between Detroit Lions and  Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium on October 26, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

12:41 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, 2014

The season began with the Falcons insisting what happened in 2013 wasn’t really them, and they had a case. From 2008 through 2012, they’d been 56-24, second-best to New England over that span. In 2013 they were 4-12, a regression coach Mike Smith termed “an anomaly.”Today they’re 2-6. They had ...
On a global stage, one of the worst-ever Falcons losses
Mike Smith and the Falcons watch the winning field goal. Julio Jones glares. (Matt Dunham/AP photo)

3:17 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

It should have been one of the proudest days in Falcons annals — a poised and powerful showing on the international stage coupled with a rousing victory at a significant moment. It will sit instead on the shelf of all-time worst losses in the history of a team that has ...
An NFL team based in London? Not happening, I say
The Falcons check a play during a practice at the Arsenal training ground. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

4:25 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

At the many media sessions held this week, the question most asked involved London as a permanent home for an NFL franchise. Will it happen? Should it happen? What will happen if it does happen? Most Falcons and Lions sought to give anodyne answers, so as not to offend their ...
A touring American learns that we aren’t the world
Chelsea runs rampant in the UEFA Champions League, which is closer to a World Series than our baseball version. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

8:55 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

I am an American, Kentucky-born. (Yes, those words are, ahem, borrowed from the first sentence of Saul Bellow’s “The Adventures of Augie March,” one of the great American novels.) I grew up following the sports Americans follow, and since 1978 I’ve tracked them as a vocation. October 2014 finds me ...
Matthew Stafford: From wild flinger to game manager?
Matthew Stafford answers questions at a news conference at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot, England. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Updated: 12:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

For five years Matthew Stafford was the NFL equivalent of the wild point guard who kept both teams in the game. He could throw the ball, as the old saying goes, through a speeding locomotive; he could also throw it to the other team.He’d been the No. 1 overall pick ...
The Falcons in England: A Must Win in a strange land
A day in the English countryside: The Falcons practice at Arsenal’s training complex Wednesday. (Tim Ireland/AP photo)

12:44 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Julio Jones awoke at 2 a.m. Tuesday and conceded Wednesday that he’s still not acclimated to local time. “It’s been rough on me,” he said. As for local transportation … Jones and some fellow receivers ventured downtown Tuesday, the Falcons’ off-day here, from their posh hotel, which is 40 minutes ...
Is this World Series a sign that Small Ball is back?
The Giants celebrate their third National League pennant in five seasons after closing out St. Louis. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

4:05 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

If you hated the the 2014 Braves, you might love the 2014 World Series. The Braves drove us to distraction and brought “termination” to Frank Wren, the general manager who built them, by swinging big, missing big and spitting the bit in September. The World Series matches teams that are ...
No longer a one-man team, UGA is one very good team
Nick Chubb outruns many Razorbacks. (David Quinn/AP photo)

8:41 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014

This makes no sense, but here it is: Without Todd Gurley, the best player in the land, Georgia has become one of the best teams in the land. This makes no sense, except that maybe — if you hold the Missouri and Arkansas games up to the light and squint ...
6 thoughts on Gurley, including this: He’ll be back
Todd Gurley celebrates Georgia’s victory over Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Updated: 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

Mark Richt has a boilerplate response to any/all Todd Gurley questions. “I can’t answer that,” he says, and if Georgia’s coach can’t, who among us can? Ummm … me? What follows shouldn’t be construed as, ahem, knowledge. If anyone really knows anything regarding Gurley’s status, he/she isn’t talking. These are ...
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