Goober Pyle

Schultz: Tanking would not be in Falcons’ best interest, despite draft implications

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https://theathletic.com/726917/2018/12/20/schultz-tanking-would-not-be-in-falcons-best-interest-despite-draft-implications/

Schultz: Tanking would not be in Falcons' best interest,...

Jeff Schultz

5-6 minutes

This Falcons’ season has been about next season for several weeks, mathematical improbabilities notwithstanding. So it’s logical that many will arrive at this preferred strategy for the final two games: Lose! Spectacularly! Misery today translates to higher draft picks and sunshine tomorrow!

It’s the Annie Theory of sports management.

But losing is not the best option for the Falcons. It’s certainly not the option Dan Quinn is programmed to exercise. He’s a head coach who’s wired to compete. He’s also a co-team-builder with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, retaining control over the 53-man roster. But when the Falcons can finish anywhere from 5-11 to 7-9, significantly altering their draft position, can Quinn really have it both ways?

“The benefits of playing and the way you compete, that’s at the forefront of our thinking,” Quinn said Thursday. “As a team builder, if you’re going to live that way, you better back it up and say, ‘Every chance we go, we’re going after it in all ways and all phases.’ I recognize the other side of the question, but for the team, everybody has earned that right to go for it as hard as you possibly can.”

Translation: Quinn is not going to tank these final two weeks against Carolina and Tampa Bay. He’s not going to bench Julio Jones. He’s not going to ask Matt Ryan to run the option.

Nor should he.

Playoff hopes are dead. The mindset of fans to lose games intentionally is understandable at this point. After Carolina lost to New Orleans late Monday night, I sent a message on Twitter that the Falcons would win their final two games to finish 7-9, and it would anger fans. It was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but given the number of “likes” and retweets, it seemed to strike a nerve.

But losing might reveal more problems than the Falcons want. Here are some things to consider, while you’re jamming needles in your Matt Ryan voodoo doll.

To lose both games would theoretically give the Falcons a higher pick (depending on how other teams finish). But losing to a Carolina team that’s missing quarterback Cam Newton and a Tampa Bay team that has lost nine of the past 12 would suggest the Falcons have even more serious depth and leadership problems than they already believe.

Despite a 5-9 record, the Falcons will be favorites to win their final two games. There’s already expected to be a significant rebuild of the roster. Imagine if more players spiral in effort or performance in the final two weeks.

“I would be really disappointed if I saw that,” Quinn said. “That would be a clear sign of somebody who … we wouldn’t stand for that. We would make that change right away.”

This is the NFL, not the NBA. To be clear, the Hawks every reason to tank. If they finish with one of the league’s three worst records, they will have the best chance (14 percent) in the draft lottery to secure the No. 1 pick and take a potential franchise-changing player, Duke’s Zion Williamson. The fact that so many NBA teams obviously tank for rebuilds is why the league constantly tweaks rules in an attempt to dissuade front offices from orchestrated faceplants.

But in the NFL, the most plausible franchise-changing player is going to be a quarterback. The Falcons aren’t in the market for that. In the 2018 draft, teams that finished 5-11 drafted fifth to eighth overall; teams that finished 7-9 drafted 12th to 14th. The top three selections are all but locked up by Oakland (3-11), Arizona (3-11) and San Francisco (4-12, with games remaining against Chicago and Los Angeles Rams).

Hypothetically, if the Falcons really wanted a player at fifth to eight, it wouldn’t take much to move up from their spot. But consider this: Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald went only 13th overall in 2014. The Falcons drafted Keanu Neal at 17th in 2016 (and Deion Jones in the second round at 52nd).

This might seem trivial but don’t underestimate aesthetics. Closing the season with three straight wins and a 7-9 record looks far better on the front porch to free agents than 5-11. Granted, free agent signing decisions generally come down to the amount of guaranteed money that’s on the table. But players often have options when the money is relatively equal. They want to play for contenders. It would be an easier sell for Quinn and Dimitroff if they could attribute a 7-9 record to injuries than 5-11.

Losing might seem the better option here. But if you believe the picture of the Falcons looks bad now, two more weeks of misery could make it even worse.

 

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16 minutes ago, Falcanuck said:

If you find solace with the Falcons winning three straight against the worst team in the NFL, Camless panthers and Tampa, then you’re lost. Win or lose this season has been pathetic. At least a high draft pick will be some sort of consolation for this team’s ineptitude. 

I'm getting old enough that I'm starting to worry about the number of victories I have left. Tanking is for young folks LOL.

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Just now, Geneaut said:

I'm getting old enough that I'm starting to worry about the number of victories I have left. Tanking is for young folks LOL.

Well, I can’t argue with that. Mad respect. 

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6 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

The last time I remember arguing about tanking everyone wanted Glen Dorsey. Good players are available all through the draft.

I remember the last time we were talking about tanking Khalil Mack was gone and everyone was *****ing about it. I am sure you would have rather taken mack.

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Just now, osiruz said:

I remember the last time we were talking about tanking Khalil Mack was gone and everyone was *****ing about it. I am sure you would have rather taken mack.

You, sir, have a valid point. Well played.

Osiruz likes this

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That is until the draft and then we are going to wish we would have tanked and get a 3-8 pick, great player. But  DQ will come with his RAH-RAH and we will win IMHO meaningless games, TD and DQ will claim we are on the up swing and we will pick in the teens possibly missing out on the impact player that could help us.

Bigbenright and Osiruz like this

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I’ve become apathetic when it comes the outcome of the Falcons games. I just want to see us perform well, improve, and get out of the games injury free. The worst case scenario isn’t a win for this team. It’s an injury to one of our key players that extends into the 2019 season. 

We can ill afford another Klendathu.

- Starship Troopers

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Why does it seem everyone feels the need to think that only impact players are ONLY in the top 1-5 or 1-10? We have shown in numerous years that that is not always the case.  Look at players drafted just this year in the first after 15....Derwin James, Vandre Esch, Ridley, and Lamar Jackson.  2017 we had Malik Hooker, Jabrill Peppers, TJ Watt, Adoree Jackson and Takk. Now I know that this doesn't prove that these are for sure superstars in any way, and we CAN get better value in the upper picks because it decreases our chances of MISSING on certain players.  But how many here would still want to have a high draft pick if that pick ended up being Kevin White, Ereck Flowers, Dion Jordan, or even Trent Richardson. I believe this is more about finding the ways to study on the players available and ensuring that we are drafting not only who can help this team immediately, but who also is worth wherever we select them.  I also feel that if there is a player they feel the ABSOLUTELY need or want, then they are going to do what they can to go get him.  We did it with Julio, and we've traded one way or another in almost every draft in this era.  I hate the idea of tanking because it shows that when you are on the losing end you pitifully quit and thats pathetic.  I know people don't want to be ok with not winning, and by that I mean the Super Bowl.  But encouraging the team you "follow" to tank so that they can move up in the draft pick order...is pretty much the same as being a bandwagon fan.  When they're winning you're right there cheering them on, when you realize they won't win or don't win, you decide to jump off the wagon and you'll decide to come back when you can see they are no longer a losing team. What a shame! 

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12 minutes ago, federicofalcon2 said:

Why does it seem everyone feels the need to think that only impact players are ONLY in the top 1-5 or 1-10? We have shown in numerous years that that is not always the case.  Look at players drafted just this year in the first after 15....Derwin James, Vandre Esch, Ridley, and Lamar Jackson.  2017 we had Malik Hooker, Jabrill Peppers, TJ Watt, Adoree Jackson and Takk. Now I know that this doesn't prove that these are for sure superstars in any way, and we CAN get better value in the upper picks because it decreases our chances of MISSING on certain players.  But how many here would still want to have a high draft pick if that pick ended up being Kevin White, Ereck Flowers, Dion Jordan, or even Trent Richardson. I believe this is more about finding the ways to study on the players available and ensuring that we are drafting not only who can help this team immediately, but who also is worth wherever we select them.  I also feel that if there is a player they feel the ABSOLUTELY need or want, then they are going to do what they can to go get him.  We did it with Julio, and we've traded one way or another in almost every draft in this era.  I hate the idea of tanking because it shows that when you are on the losing end you pitifully quit and thats pathetic.  I know people don't want to be ok with not winning, and by that I mean the Super Bowl.  But encouraging the team you "follow" to tank so that they can move up in the draft pick order...is pretty much the same as being a bandwagon fan.  When they're winning you're right there cheering them on, when you realize they won't win or don't win, you decide to jump off the wagon and you'll decide to come back when you can see they are no longer a losing team. What a shame! 

I agree.

federicofalcon2 likes this

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Yeah.  Try your best always.  The trouble is that we have significant faults.  I prefer that those faults be exposed and publicly recognized.  

After watching this OL and DL play below par and still come out winning )thanks to some really talented play-makers) I am tired of our FO ignoring reality.  

So, I hope the team tries its best and fails due to crappy play from the OL and DL.  I want Dimitroff to have no choice but to address the issues.  

If that is tanking, then tank away.  

virginiafalcon and vitaman like this

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1 hour ago, osiruz said:

I remember the last time we were talking about tanking Khalil Mack was gone and everyone was *****ing about it. I am sure you would have rather taken mack.

We would have taken Greg Robinson. We were going to take an LT. Winning rather than tanking is how we avoided disaster. 

 

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1 hour ago, Goober Pyle said:

https://theathletic.com/726917/2018/12/20/schultz-tanking-would-not-be-in-falcons-best-interest-despite-draft-implications/

Schultz: Tanking would not be in Falcons' best interest,...

Jeff Schultz

5-6 minutes

This Falcons’ season has been about next season for several weeks, mathematical improbabilities notwithstanding. So it’s logical that many will arrive at this preferred strategy for the final two games: Lose! Spectacularly! Misery today translates to higher draft picks and sunshine tomorrow!

It’s the Annie Theory of sports management.

But losing is not the best option for the Falcons. It’s certainly not the option Dan Quinn is programmed to exercise. He’s a head coach who’s wired to compete. He’s also a co-team-builder with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, retaining control over the 53-man roster. But when the Falcons can finish anywhere from 5-11 to 7-9, significantly altering their draft position, can Quinn really have it both ways?

“The benefits of playing and the way you compete, that’s at the forefront of our thinking,” Quinn said Thursday. “As a team builder, if you’re going to live that way, you better back it up and say, ‘Every chance we go, we’re going after it in all ways and all phases.’ I recognize the other side of the question, but for the team, everybody has earned that right to go for it as hard as you possibly can.”

Translation: Quinn is not going to tank these final two weeks against Carolina and Tampa Bay. He’s not going to bench Julio Jones. He’s not going to ask Matt Ryan to run the option.

Nor should he.

Playoff hopes are dead. The mindset of fans to lose games intentionally is understandable at this point. After Carolina lost to New Orleans late Monday night, I sent a message on Twitter that the Falcons would win their final two games to finish 7-9, and it would anger fans. It was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but given the number of “likes” and retweets, it seemed to strike a nerve.

But losing might reveal more problems than the Falcons want. Here are some things to consider, while you’re jamming needles in your Matt Ryan voodoo doll.

To lose both games would theoretically give the Falcons a higher pick (depending on how other teams finish). But losing to a Carolina team that’s missing quarterback Cam Newton and a Tampa Bay team that has lost nine of the past 12 would suggest the Falcons have even more serious depth and leadership problems than they already believe.

Despite a 5-9 record, the Falcons will be favorites to win their final two games. There’s already expected to be a significant rebuild of the roster. Imagine if more players spiral in effort or performance in the final two weeks.

“I would be really disappointed if I saw that,” Quinn said. “That would be a clear sign of somebody who … we wouldn’t stand for that. We would make that change right away.”

This is the NFL, not the NBA. To be clear, the Hawks every reason to tank. If they finish with one of the league’s three worst records, they will have the best chance (14 percent) in the draft lottery to secure the No. 1 pick and take a potential franchise-changing player, Duke’s Zion Williamson. The fact that so many NBA teams obviously tank for rebuilds is why the league constantly tweaks rules in an attempt to dissuade front offices from orchestrated faceplants.

But in the NFL, the most plausible franchise-changing player is going to be a quarterback. The Falcons aren’t in the market for that. In the 2018 draft, teams that finished 5-11 drafted fifth to eighth overall; teams that finished 7-9 drafted 12th to 14th. The top three selections are all but locked up by Oakland (3-11), Arizona (3-11) and San Francisco (4-12, with games remaining against Chicago and Los Angeles Rams).

Hypothetically, if the Falcons really wanted a player at fifth to eight, it wouldn’t take much to move up from their spot. But consider this: Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald went only 13th overall in 2014. The Falcons drafted Keanu Neal at 17th in 2016 (and Deion Jones in the second round at 52nd).

This might seem trivial but don’t underestimate aesthetics. Closing the season with three straight wins and a 7-9 record looks far better on the front porch to free agents than 5-11. Granted, free agent signing decisions generally come down to the amount of guaranteed money that’s on the table. But players often have options when the money is relatively equal. They want to play for contenders. It would be an easier sell for Quinn and Dimitroff if they could attribute a 7-9 record to injuries than 5-11.

Losing might seem the better option here. But if you believe the picture of the Falcons looks bad now, two more weeks of misery could make it even worse.

 

I've never thought about it like that

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To me, to tank implies quitting. Believe me, a quitting attitude on any team, however small is the kiss of death. Coaches are coaching for jobs. Players are playing for jobs. There will be no tanking. 

HouseofEuphoria likes this

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1 hour ago, Geneaut said:

I don't blame the logic of tanking by any means, but after a while, the wins just seem more precious to me.

Im on the fence man i want them to finish strong but man a top five pick with everyone coming back healthy next year couls be absolutely huge...sighs **** this season 

vitaman, Geneaut and Drew4719 like this

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14 minutes ago, Lowndesfalc said:

To me, to tank implies quitting. Believe me, a quitting attitude on any team, however small is the kiss of death. Coaches are coaching for jobs. Players are playing for jobs. There will be no tanking. 

No. Do you think the Panthers are quitting by sitting Cam, or is it just an extremely sensible thing to do?

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1 hour ago, Sidecar Falcon said:

I’ve become apathetic when it comes the outcome of the Falcons games. I just want to see us perform well, improve, and get out of the games injury free. The worst case scenario isn’t a win for this team. It’s an injury to one of our key players that extends into the 2019 season. 

We can ill afford another Klendathu.

- Starship Troopers

Performing well against scrub teams is like sleeping with your sister.. It feels good at the time, but usually gets awkward 

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