Friday, February 15, 2008

Falcons Release Players In Rebuilding Broken Team

The Atlanta Falcons released four-time Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler and six other players today. The Falcons also cut quarterback Byron Leftwich, defensive tackle Rod Coleman, offensive tackle Wayne Gandy, cornerback Lewis Sanders, wide receiver Jamin Elliott, and linebacker Marcus Wilkins. Many of these cuts were made to open up funds that the Falcons believe could be better spent on new, fresh players. All of these cuts were made after a failure of a season by Atlanta, who finished 4-12. The largest single reason for the Falcons' failure and their current personel upheavel can be said in one word: dogfighting. Yes, Michael Vick, the Falcons' ex-most prominent player, pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges and received a prison sentence of nearly two years last year. This loss severely hurt the Falcons' offense, which never recovered during the season. To hurt Atlanta even more, a federal judge ruled this month that the team couldn't recover $16.5 million in bonuses from Vick and other dropped players. This places more strain on the Falcons' salary cap, preventing them from picking up desperately needed players. This pressure on Atlanta's salary cap is fueling the personel cuts that are now roiling the team. From all indications, the shake up isn't over yet. Other players such as veterans Warrick Dunn and Lawyer Milloy could be released due to the salary cap. All this is bad news for Atlanta. One wonders how they are going to replace such key and important players. What are they going to do? Fill the roster with rookies and free agents? With all these changes going on, it seems as if that's all there will be in Atlanta. Rookies. Not such a bad thing, but veterans are needed to show these green players the ropes. The Falcons should definately reconsider the massive renovations they are currently undertaking. Cleaning out the team's closet of all seasoned, skilled, veterans is like destroying the cornerstone or foundation of a towering building. Just like the foundationless building, a team of rookies will collapse without any solid veteran guidance or support. Next season will be a bad one for Atlanta.

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