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Blank should go get Cowher


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Blank should go get Cowher

By Mark Bradley | Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 09:13 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Arthur Blank seemed in an awfully good mood for someone who d spent Monday night talking about his imprisoned quarterback and watching his team lose its 10th game. He was kidding the AJC s Steve Wyche about the writer s shirt-and-tie ensemble It s beginning to grow on me, Blank said and he d just seen the guy he d identified as his team s CEO hold an angered and aborted media briefing. And then the rich man walked with his wife and his security chief toward the Georgia Dome s exit, surely believing the worst had passed.

Eighteen hours later, the CEO cut and ran.

Eighteen hours later, the worst got worse.

The franchise quarterback is in prison. The coach/CEO is bound for Arkansas. Once again, the rich man has been caught unawares by the true nature of one of his employees. Once again, the long-suffering Falcons are left to wonder if anything will ever go their way again.

What makes coach Bobby Petrino s exit even more galling is that Blank had come to trust him. If the owner ever referred to Jim Mora as the CEO, I missed it. Indeed, Blank in conversation almost always paired Mora with Rich McKay, and speaking with writers before Monday s game Blank mentioned the GM only when asked about the details of Vick s contract. In Blank s eyes, Petrino had become the man with vision, the man with the plan. (I should confess that I also held Petrino in high esteem and am stunned that he took a hike.)

The CEO takes a salary cut to become a Hog. What does that tell us about the state of the Falcons?

It might be funny if it weren t so sad. Say what you will about Blank, but he has poured body and soul into this franchise, and today he looks like just another rich guy with more money than sense. I wouldn t blame him if he sold the team to the lowest bidder would the last man in Flowery Branch turn out the lights? but I believe he s in it for the long haul. Alas, the haul keeps getting longer.

For the second time in 11-1/2 months, the Falcons need a coach. At this late date, they should try anything and everything. They could round up the usual suspects, Steve Mariucci chief among them. Or they could try to lure Jimmy Johnson away from Fox. Or they could pursue Rick Neuheisel, the wild card in Georgia Tech s search. Or they could do what makes the most sense: They could hire Bill Cowher.

Question is, would Cowher, having worked for one of the best organizations in Pittsburgh, want anything to do with the franchise now seen as the absolute worst? That s where Blank would have to be brave. He d have to spend big, sure, but he d also have to be willing to let his coach become the focal point. He seemed to be moving toward that with Petrino, who didn t stick around long enough for anything to take hold.

The Falcons are no longer Vick s team and they never quite were Petrino s, and the Blank Method coddling and cajoling and empowering has stopped working. No, the owner didn t make Vick develop a thirst for dogfights or make Petrino turn tail, but it s the owner who must clean up after them. Blank spoke Monday of the need to move forward, and 18 hours later his coach moved out.

The next coach needs to be made of stronger stuff. The next coach needs to be tough enough to ride out the losses and bend the organization to his will. The next coach needs to come equipped with an ego and a persona as outsized as the owner s. Half-measures won t rescue a franchise that has become a full-blown mess.

Petrino was a bold choice that didn t work out. Having hit what surely must be bottom, there s no cause to get timid now. Go bigger. Get bolder. Get Bill Cowher.

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Bill Cowher can flat out coach. He was the only constant in Pittsburgh. They changed coordinators, they changed quarterbacks, they let every high priced player go.

But Cowher was there, and they just kept winning.

I think he'll take the job if Arthur shows him some serious love.

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ghoticov (12/11/2007)
There is no doubt that Cowher would be an incredible hire.

The problem is that Cowher actually would have to WANT to come here. And with the state of this team, why would he? Why on earth would he subject himself to it?

He won't, period.

I bet he would for the right financial package and power in the organization.

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ghoticov (12/11/2007)
There is no doubt that Cowher would be an incredible hire.

The problem is that Cowher actually would have to WANT to come here. And with the state of this team, why would he? Why on earth would he subject himself to it?

He won't, period.

Stop putting your opinion forward as if it were a fact. No one knows if Cowher would be interested or not, but to flat out say he wouldn't is ridiculous.

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rev_hal (12/11/2007)
There is no human on the planet that could energize the fan base as much as Cowher.

Agreed, and there is no one -- NO ONE -- coming out of this draft who will come close. McFadden is about as close a chance as we have, and he can't energize this city by himself.

Cowher is the right hire, if he'll take the job. He will get the fans back behind the team because they will believe in him. He's been there, and he's done that, year in and year out. He will be the face of the franchise, and the coach SHOULD be the face of the franchise.

And this franchise badly needs a face.

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People keep talking about the "state of the team" making this an undesirable job for Cowher.

That doesn't make any sense to me. The head coach is largely responsible for determining the "state of the team." Hire Bill Cowher and the "state of the team" changes in an instant.

There is young talent here, and the Falcons are going to get a lot more of it in the draft. It's not a bad job to pursue, despite this unfortunate season.

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Mark Bradley needs to stick to writing articles and leave coaching recommendations to those qualified to evaluate HCs. Then again, he's probably more qualified than the idiot we have as GM making these personnel decisions. Bill Cowher is NOT the answer and we do not have another 10 plus years to wait for him to win another Superbowl. No thanks!

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rev_hal (12/11/2007)
ghoticov (12/11/2007)
There is no doubt that Cowher would be an incredible hire.

The problem is that Cowher actually would have to WANT to come here. And with the state of this team, why would he? Why on earth would he subject himself to it?

He won't, period.

I bet he would for the right financial package and power in the organization.

Well, that is your opinion. I disagree.

Cowher has stated he wanted to let his daughter finish school. I do not think he would uproot the family to come to an organization in chaos.

I would LOVE it, but I do not think it has a remote chance to happen.

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Yeah, I would love to see us get Cowher. We've got to stop gambling on unproven coaches. Petrino never proved that he could coach a team to win in the NFL. Mora only showed that he could blow his stack as good as his old man. We need a coach with NFL experience. Hopefully, someone out there will emerge to lead this team from the depths that it has sunk into. We need help.

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Cowher should be our priority. He is the best out there. If we could sign him I think players would want to come to Atlanta to play for him and the fans would support him. If he is not interested, I say we go after Jason Garrett. He has a great offensive mind and it looks like he will be gaining some great experience deep in the playoffs this year. I also think it is imperative that we keep Zimmer as DC. I think he is doing a fine job and will continue to improve our defense.

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