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Official Hick'ry Stick Award Thread, 2011 Quarter 1


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Tony has been the only consistent player on this team through 4 weeks, so he gets my vote.

I'm a little disappointed that DeCoud doesn't make the voting though. Yes he played awful in week 1 & was relegated to backup for week 2. But he responded strongly from that & in both weeks 3 & 4 put out fires with INTs in the endzone along with other high level play in the last 2 weeks of the quarter. Not that it really matters since none of these guys would have won; but, JMO he should have been in there over JA55 & Biermann who have done nothing since week 1.

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I’ve been on amusement park rides with fewer twists than this first quarter! A bitter beginning, a primetime joust, a stinging divisional meeting, and a heart-thumping visit to the West Coast. Amidst the dizzying ride to date, we’ve perched ourselves even at 2-2, and I for one am rejecting the notion that the verdict on our next quarter has already been handed down. That elusive complete game is lurking somewhere, maddening and tantalizing, and in this thread, we can celebrate exactly the spirit that such a game would hold.

The nominations for this quarter were a bit of a head-scratcher. The mini-polls delivered no clear consensus on the final nominees, as each week witnessed a different cast of stars. Abe and the Beer Man wowed us in the land of deep dish pizza, disrupting Cutler at every juncture ... sacks, forced fumbles, and a rumbling pick-6 for Kroy to prove that last year’s was no fluke! Turner’s explosive runs against the Bears and Eagles caught everyone’s attention, reminding us that even an offense thus far skewed toward the pass cannot eclipse the Burner’s gains. Grimes and Spoon were lauded for holding down the defensive fort in Chicago and Tampa. All five earned their inclusion in the poll with outstanding efforts in particular games. And then there are another five, whose numbers you have called in repeated polls:

Tony Gonzalez: You know he heard them ... the whispers, the mumblings, over the off-season. “Tony G.’s gettin’ old. Slowin’ down. Maybe it’s time to hang it up and wait for the Hall of Fame to come knocking.” For a guy who certain pundits said didn’t have much left in the tank, he sure is proving to be our igniting force and spark plug this season. Defenders routinely drape themselves on him like a pair of hideous curtains yet are made to look like nothing more than rag dolls. The endzone grab against the Eagles? The fingertip snare against the Seahawks? Dude doesn’t even seem to need both hands anymore to work his brand of magic.

William Moore: Blank should flip open the pocketbook for the fines that our hard-hitter is sure to wrack up in an increasingly over-sensitive league. =) This kid embodies the essence of the Hick’ry. Swinging Vick, pro-wrestling style, into his own man, derailing the media-touted homecoming in a single swoop. Cautioning Freeman to stay in the pocket. Bulldozing to the ground a SeaChicken who looked like he ate a fellow offensive player for lunch. An INT in Tampa for good measure. Let the NFL keep comin’ with their misplaced fines. Willy Mo is executing brilliantly in my book.

Matt Bryant: It’s a testament to this steely player that if HE were the one marching out for a 61-yard attempt to seal an improbable comeback, I would truthfully be able to say I like our chances. Since nothing I write about Bryant this quarter could rival the words of the great Jay Adams, I will simply quote: “Prior to Sunday’s game ... Bryant was interrupted as the Seahawks Sea Gals (cheerleaders) began marching toward him during a dance routine that pretty much took up most of the field. Whether Bryant got all his kicks in with the delay is unclear, but almost being trampled by 40 women clad in hot pink didn’t faze him - as nothing usually does.” Whether it’s a determined defender or a sultry Sea Gal just doesn’t seem to matter: if Matty Ice 2.0 takes the field, a ball through the uprights is practically a foregone conclusion.

Julio Jones: When you take the equivalent of a second mortgage for a kid, you expect something pretty d*mn near spectacular. When you see that kid’s first pre-season catch turn into a huge first down, courtesy of the speed of a cheetah, you start to get antsy for the regular season. And when the rookie breaks the 100-yard mark in consecutive weeks, well, now you know the fun is just getting started. Julio is all over the field, introducing himself to defenders, syncing himself with Ryan (when it clicks completely, the NFL needs to be put on notice), catching those explosive plays we pined for during an agonizingly protracted lock-out. The endzone isn’t on the resume just yet, but it will come. In spades, would be my bet.

Matt Ryan: What’s that old cliche about the licking and still ticking? It seems to apply here. An AFMB member gently noted that we should offer Ryan the HSA because he requires it to beat off the defenders, and alas, there’s some wisdom in that. This quarter, the nominations for Ryan have had less to do with the 4th-quarter heroics we’ve come to expect and everything to do with his persistent, galling-to-those-opposing-him ability to pop right back up after the most bone-crunching hits. That he was twisted into a position that would make even a veteran contortionist cringe did not stop a career-high TD performance against the Eagles. That we have looked a little too turn-stile for anyone’s taste has not halted flashes of what this offense has the potential to become. A grassy stain or two on the uniform ... just chalk ‘em up to a day’s work. They don’t faze our signal-caller.

And there you have it. An all-time high 10 nominees. A testament to the contributions coming in from all angles. A testament to our ability to steady a wobbly start and launch into the sprint we all signed up to enjoy.

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