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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Falcons: Time to Sign Leftwich

Came across a column in the AJC today which highlighted the need for the Atlanta Falcons to sign cut QB Byron Leftwich.

Joey Harrington is 23-44 as an NFL starter. There's a quarterback available who's 24-20. If I'm the Falcons, I sign Byron Leftwich today. So: Why not Leftwich? He has been a starter. He has thrown more NFL touchdown passes (51) than interceptions (36). He can deliver the deep ball. He can't run, but neither can Harrington. At worst, he'd be a more viable backup than Redman. At best, he might be able to win a couple of games for a team that won't win many.

Certainly, it would seem that of the available QB's on the Falcons' roster, Leftwich would provide an improvement. Even if just nominal.

More importantly and beyond the possible on field upgrade Leftwich might provide, giving him the reigns to the offense and making him the face of the franchise would be the right thing to do.

The Falcons abandonment of Michael Vick, though understandable due to the poor publicity attached to the type of charges brought against Vick, sent a negative message to the Negro community in Atlanta. And that message resonated throughout America.

Once it became clear that Vick was more than likely involved in the sordid mess, owner Arthur Blank seemed to distance himself from Vick. Sending a clear message that the Falcons could not be counted on for support.

The organization's choice to use words like "disappointed in" or "despicable acts" sent a message to the Negro community that the team was not willing to support the QB in the face of adversity. It sent a message to the Negro community that, despite the incredible return the team had made thus far on their investment in Vick, they were not on his side.

Never once did we hear Blank mention race. Never once did we hear Blank bring up Vick's upbringing.

And, in possibly the most overt sign of ill will, the team sent a clear message of rejection to the Negro community:

Not once did Blank consider calling Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to Atlanta to weigh in on the situation. Not once.

So, for weeks and weeks negative shrapnel from the media cut at Vick's veins. And no voices of dissension came from the organization or were invited by the organization to speak on Vick's behalf.

The notion that Vick's eventually guilty plea absolves the team from having not stood by him or having not brought in the esteemed protectors of civil rights is a fallacy. The outcome is of little importance. The knowledge of the facts at the time are of little importance. Protection of civil rights, at least the type provided by Jackson and Sharpton, does not require an agreeable outcome. So, let's put the notion that Vick's guilt is any sort of indicator that the Falcons acted fairly or correctly to rest

The Atlanta Falcons owe the Negro community of Atlanta another Negro QB. That is the only fair and correct outcome of this situation.

Byron Leftwich was mistreated and cut by Jacksonville.

Now, it's time for the Falcons to make amends.

Any decision short of signing and quickly starting Leftwich is an open indicator that the Falcons hold nothing but contempt for the Negro community of Atlanta.

The Falcons had the chance months ago to play the race card and at least attempt to divert the outcome in the Vick fiasco.

They chose not to do so.

Now, we demand the race card play them!


lgf said...

I hope now people realize how good of a QB Vick really was. It is hard to throw a ball in the NFL with absolutely no defense. The mere threat of Vicks' evasive abilities consistently camouflaged the Falcons' major defensive deficiencies. Sunday after Sunday, the mere fact that Vick was able to release the ball, albeit on the run from defenses strolling though the offensive line, was a miracle. The only thing left for him to contend with were receivers who simply refuse to catch the ball. It might not be a bad idea to have two bodies to share beating.

Gabby's World said...

Great piece....and you're right...many Negroes in Atlanta are upset at the organization's impotence in rallying in support of MV. We saw other teams do it for players in trouble....we saw how the Ravens did it, saw how the Lakers did it, and even saw it right here 3 years ago with the Thrashers...The Falcons turned their back on the only reason 30,000 people came to the game. That was just as stupid as what Vick did.

Andrew said...

Agreed. Byron Leftwich would navigate the Petrino offense with style and aplomb.

lgf said...

"So, for weeks and weeks negative shrapnel from the media cut at Vick's veins. And no voices of dissension came from the organization or were invited by the organization to speak on Vick's behalf."

I think its important to note that it was negative attention from the media, and not the public in general. A seldom reported fact is that there were more demonstrators supporting Vick than there were against him. Whats even more surprising is that this fact was admitted to by none of than ESPN-- the biggest purveyor of anti-Vick propaganda in journalism. Additionally, there were some notable voices contending the trumped up charges against Vick. One Hank Aaron, who is on the board of the Atlanta Falcons. The same Hank Aaron who the media recently decided to prop up on its hypocritical shoulders but only to further advance its heinous agenda against Barry Bonds. Unsurprisingly, his comments we swept under the rug.

Jay said...

Excellent post, sirs.

And while we are at it (if a bit off topic),

Career records:

Dennis Green: 113-94
Art Shell: 56-52

Norv Turner: 59-82-1
Bobby Petrino: 0-0-0

I have full confidence that San Diego and Atlanta management evaluated all available candidates to fill their positions.

Terry Robiskie was also available.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but you are all forgetting that Byron Leftwich played college football at Marshall. That school, sirs, is MY Duke.

Doug said...

Why would they take another black QB. They spent 20M+ on Vick and now he's useless to them.

I'd be gun shy as well, the next one may be running a baby fighting ring.

lgf said...

"Why would they take another black QB. They spent 20M+ on Vick and now he's useless to them."

Mike Vick has already served his duty and beyond to the Atlanta Falcons (and Virginia Tech for that matter). Both organizations would be about as acclaimed as the Houston Texans.

Ryno said...

Good post.

Two points you made that I would disagree with:

1. The Negro Community of Atlanta doesn't need a black QB to rally around the team, but it does need a black "superstar." The Falcons best seasons (African American support wise) were when the franchise started black superstars. I'll reference the pre-Vick seasons of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Deon Sanders and Jamal Anderson as proof. Many thought DeAngelo Hall would be the next but he's turned out to be pretty mild mannered (off the field) and just an above average talent (on gameday). this could change if the just let him return f*&^%(*& punts!

2. With all due respect, since when have Rev's Sharpton or Jackson ever needed an invitation to speak out? They've made careers against speaking out against injustice no matter where it appeared. Both have full time operations in the city (and Jackson has a home in Dunwoody, if I'm not mistaken). If they sensed wrong doing, they'd have been out in front and leading the charge in support of Vick. These men don't duck controversy (ever) but they are wise on picking and choosing which battles they fight. I'm of the opinion they wanted no part of a potential animal cruelty trial, guilty verdict or otherwise. Additionally, both have been burned in the past by liars and frauds: Sharpton (Brawley, Tawana aka Maryam Muhammad) and Jackson (Magnum, Crystal Gail). This might have made them a tad gun shy.

Financially, it might be more prudent for the Falcons to sign Byron in the off season after they recover some of Vick's bonus money.

The year is scrapped anyway. Why not let Harrington play out the year, draft on a franchise OT to protect Leftwich and then spend both 2nd round picks on DT's or LB's to help the team. Although, waiting till the end of the year could/will invite competition from the free agency market.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is this; Vick betrayed himself first and foremost, as well as his family, teammates, and the entire league. He was entrusted with a position to make himself and his peers better people, but his cowardice led his friends and himself down a road of criminal activist. Right or wrong, he thought being a "street credible nigga" was more important than $130 million bucks. What a dumbass. Absolute moron.

Gabby's World said...

Great points lgf. Totally agree.

Kevin Hayward said...

I think Byron Leftwich could be a very good fit in Atlanta, and I tend to think that he could be had for a bargain at this point.

But I really disagree about your assessment of the racial dynamics at work in the Michael Vick situation. What he did was egregious, and I think the Falcons felt the need to distance themselves from him for fear of being ostricized by the local and national community. "Standing by" Michael Vick may have sent the message that they did not disapprove of what he did.

I honestly believe that their reaction would have been no different if Vick's crimes had been committed by a white person of his stature. I could be mistaken, but there's no way of knowing otherwise, and I think it's wrong to automatically assume in a situation like this that race is the prevailing factor in the owners' decision making.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"That school, sirs, is MY Duke."

Sir, really?


nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"I'd be gun shy as well, the next one may be running a baby fighting ring."

Sir, over the last few decades the Falcons have spent easily that much on white coaches with poor results...and they keep going back to the well without a second thought..

Jack Brown said...

Jacksonville has a football team? Wow.

Sportsbruh said...

Nobody cares about Vick anymore. Why you still writing about him? It's all about N.E., and their cheating ways. LET THE FALCONS ROT IN THEIR GRAVE IN PEACE.

Gabby's World said...

Guess who leads the NFL in sacks allowed? guessed it. 13 sacks in 2 games...looks like the Falcons are going for the record.

the unbeliever said...

the falcons were all about vick. they have a mediocre o-line, and receivers who got open because defenses had to concentrate on vick. even with vick and all of his talent they were a middle of the road team and you think the answer is byron leftwich? stop smoking that stuff! the falcons will need to rebuild over the next couple of years through the draft and free agency because the team has been built around vick, with players tu complement him. they now need players who complement each other.

as far as support from the team and the nfl mike's biggest mistake was not dog fighting. it was lying in the begining. if he would've come clean to the commish and his owner they would've found a way to spin the whole thing. vick would've got suspended a few games and fined and that would have been the end of it