Overreaction Monday: Richt’s ploy, Falcons’ bye, Braves’ salary dump

Is Georgia coach Mark Richt trying to send a message to athletic director Greg McGarity?(Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Georgia won, Georgia Tech lost, the Falcons were off – well-timed – and the Braves may be two moves away from being dropped to Double-A. Welcome back to Overreaction Monday.

GEORGIA

Skinny: 7-3 overall, 5-3 in the SEC (second place in East Division). Last week: Defeated Auburn 20-13. This week: Home against Georgia Southern.

Overreaction narrative: “We won! We’re fixed! And Mark Richt visited Jacob Eason! Take that, haters!”

Reality check: Slow your roll, fanboy. Auburn kinda stinks this season, but it was coming off a good win at Texas A&M and was playing at home, so in that sense what the Bulldogs did Saturday was impressive. But the big picture hasn’t changed. Georgia is still destined for a second- or third-tier bowl. (In ESPN’s bowl projections, former AJC comrade Mark Schlabach has the Dogs going to the Outback Bowl against Michigan, which would be good. Brett McMurphy has them going to the Liberty Bowl against Kansas State, which would be bad.) Either way (once more, with feeling): Georgia’s season was define by its losses to  Alabama, Tennessee and Florida and its failure to win the SEC East since 2012.

But there were two noteworthy things to come out of the weekend: 1) The continued improvement of the defense under Jeremy Pruitt, even against the backdrop of rumors that he is central to dysfunction and disharmony on the coaching staff; 2) Coach Mark Richt’s late decision to hop a flight to Washington state to meet with the family of touted recruit Jacob Eason, have breakfast with the quarterback Sunday morning and then send out a picture of the two sitting together in a diner.

Now, it’s possible Richt merely wanted to ease concerns with the family and the player amid speculation the coach might be fired. Or maybe he just wanted to attempt to change the narrative from, “What a disappointing season,” to, “We’re going to be awesome next season.” But let me offer this third possibility: Richt is sending a message to athletic director Greg McGarity and president Jere Morehead that goes something like this: “See this recruit? He likes me. And if you want me gone, you’re going to have to fire me, because I’m not resigning.” You could say it’s an attempted power play.

Will it work? My guess is: No. McGarity and Morehead will still make their decision regardless of this, which is not to say which way they’re leaning because I honestly don’t know. The decision could be based on Richt’s recent resume and/or what big-money boosters think as much as the potential of the future, which offers no guarantee. And if Richt believes that a picture with next year’s hot recruit is going to appease the masses, he’s mistaken.

The Falcons' red zone offense undeer coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Matt Ryan has fizzled in the last three games. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The Falcons’ red zone offense undeer coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Matt Ryan has fizzled in the last three games. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

FALCONS:

Skinny: 6-3 (second in NFC South). Last week: Bye. Next week: Home against Indianapolis.

Overreaction narrative: “Why give a week off to a team that has lost three of its last four games?”

Reality check: I asked coach Dan Quinn that question Monday. With his players not finishing as he would like, wouldn’t it make sense to keep them around for at least a few days to go over some things during the bye weeks. Quinn admitted he was “disappointed” by the Falcons’ play and thought about changing his plan to give players the entire week off. “But as tempting as that was, I decided to stick with the process.” He felt too many players were banged up and needed the rest, both physically and mentally.

I suppose a case could be made that coaches needed to work the bye week more than the players. They did for a few days early in the week. The two biggest things that need fixing: Get Roddy White more involved in the offense and improve red zone production – and a case could be made that fixing one may help the other. The Falcons had 10 touchdowns in 13 red zone possessions (76.9 percent) in the first four games and were 16 for 22 (72.7 percent) in the first six games. But in the last three games — a 10-7 win over Tennessee and losses to Tampa Bay (23-20) and San Francisco (17-16) – the Falcons reached the end zone only four times in 11 possessions (36.4 percent). The breakdown: four field goals, three turnovers and four touchdowns. There could be a number of reasons why red zone production might decrease but one of the biggest is the defense knowing what’s coming. So the focus is on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to find some pages in the playbook that he’s ignored. Hello, Roddy?

Braves general manager John Coppolella may be preparing for another salary dump by dealing Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran or someone else. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Braves general manager John Coppolella may be preparing for another salary dump by dealing Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran or someone else. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

BRAVES

Skinny: Last season: 67-95, the third worst record in the majors. Next season: Same?

Overreaction narrative: “They traded Andrelton Simmons. It’s clear they don’t care about this team in 2016.”

Reality check: This weekly blog has been reserved for football but I thought we’d branch out to baseball this week, given the Braves’ seem intent and removing all remaining interest in next season’s team. As I wrote the other day, the trading of Simmons for two pitching prospects and 31-year-old Erick Aybar made no sense on several levels. The Braves needed his defense because they’re not that great at anything else. He’s arguably the game’s best defensive player and the Braves had him under contract for five more seasons. Again: Five. Don’t pay attention to the spin. It’s clear that not only do they not want to spend money, they’re slashing payroll again, possibly because they anticipate a huge attendance drop next season and they’re trying to keep the bottom line happy for Liberty Media. Now comes one from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the team is “shopping everyone owed money.” That includes first baseman Freddie Freeman (surprise), the team’s best player, starting pitcher Julio Teheran (not a shock) and outfielders Nick Markakis (no surprise) and Cameron Maybin (expected). So are you ready to watch a minor-league team again next season? I don’t doubt that general manager John Coppolella, under the watch of president John Hart, thinks he’s making the right moves for the future of the franchise. But if there was some sense of logic to most of last season’s exits — Jason Heyward and Justin Upton were entering the final year of their respective contracts, Evan Gattis was not viewed as the team’s everyday catcher and the Braves wanted to make room for Christian Bethancourt — two major moves since have not made sense: The trades of Simmons and pitcher Alex Wood. Bottom line: This is not a team worth watching.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson saw his offense struggle after a fast start against Virginia Tech, including fumbling three times. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson saw his offense struggle after a fast start against Virginia Tech, including fumbling three times. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

GEORGIA TECH

Skinny: 3-7 overall, 1-6 in the ACC (seventh place in Coastal Division). Last week: Lost to Virginia Tech 23-21. This week: at Miami.

Overreaction narrative: “We’ve given up.”

Reality check: “Giving up” suggests Tech was that good to begin with. I’ve admitted I vastly overrated this team. What I didn’t expect was: The number of dumb mistakes and turnovers this team would have, their weaknesses on both offensive and defensive lines and the regression of quarterback Justin Thomas. Tech led 14-0 in the first quarter and 21-14 in the third quarter after an interception return, but failed to score on its last eight offensive possessions: Three fumbles, four punts, downs. The days of Paul Johnson’s offense putting up video-game like scores are few and far between now. The Jackets had a nice comeback season a year ago (11-3, 6-2) but Johnson, who acknowledges, “I’ve never had a team like this,” needs to figure something out if Tech is going to finish the season on a high note. It has games remaining against Miami and Georgia.

Recent ramblings
Jeremy Pruitt’s defense is salvaging Georgia’s season
Short takes on Georgia’s win over Auburn
• Simmons gone, and Braves’ offseason already looking like last one
Weekend Predictions: It’s not a good time to invest in Georgia
Former Georgia player Faloughi at center of Missouri protests
• Overreaction Monday: Kyle Shanahan, have you met Roddy White?
Latest Falcons’ embarrassment is on Dan Quinn
• Short takes: This Falcons’ loss is on Dan Quinn
Weekend Predictions: Dogs in middle of Dysfunction Junction
Georgia’s finish, Eason status shouldn’t tilt Richt decision
• Richt should take over Georgia’s struggling offense
• Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around
Mark Richt has failed too many big moments — it’s time for a change at Georgia
Falcons may be 6-2 but they don’t look the part
Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs
Matt Ryan: ‘It comes down to me being better’
Weekend Predictions: Jacksonville on Halloween? Ooh, scary: Gators over Dogs
Georgia’s quarterback problems fall at Mark Richt’s feet
Budenholzer can coach but can he build a champion?
Overreaction Monday: Ryan’s off, Tech’s alive and Georgia…
Georgia Tech has unforgettable moment in otherwise forgettable season
• Short takes on Georgia Tech’s miracle win over Florida State
Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable
(Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess
Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits
Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look?
Misery like this shouldn’t happen at Georgia Tech
Short takes: Tech’s run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end
Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints
• Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers
Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy…and Georgia can still win SEC East!
• Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door
Health would be Spurrier’s only good excuse for retiring in middle of season
• Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs — and claims of, ‘I didn’t know’ ring hollow
Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem
• There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season
 

Reader Comments 0

231 comments
A_Realist
A_Realist

When are UGA fans going to stop drinking the Richt kool-aid? Enough already!!!! Every year. ...same old kool-aid flavor....Wait Until Next Year.

Monteg226
Monteg226

What I am hearing is the money wants him gone

TideDawg
TideDawg

On 680 the Fan it was mentioned that the Braves could lose 100-110 games next year if they keep stripping the club. Well guess what! That could be part of the plan. Lose 110 games and they get  a top five draft pick. More stock for the future. It was also mentioned that 2 pitchers they got for Simmons could become 20 game winners. Duh!!! Every kid they sign out of high school could become 20 game winners. I'm not buying a lot of this reasoning. If you can't score the best your hot shot pitcher can do is pitch a 0-0 tie game. Get some bats on this team.


Big Wally
Big Wally

@TideDawg None of us will probably be alive when the Braves win another World Series.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Can't blame Marshall for leaving.  Hope he makes it in the NFL.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Big Wally  I'm really shocked by that.  Doesn't he know we'll be knocking on the door to greatness once Eason gets here?  I guess he didn't get the memo. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@dawg fan @Big Wally 

Marshall should leave looks like CMR has him tied to the bench. Young man needs to get on with his life ,or if he graduates in 2016 , use the graduate transfer rule and play elsewhere in 2016. It's clear that CMR has decided not to use him unless it's a blowout.

HMMMM101
HMMMM101

Reality, screw the braves.


ZanesMule
ZanesMule

Richt's agent will be floating rumors about the miami job, other jobs, etc. and mcgarity will panic and bump his salary up by $300-500K and give him an extension!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@39Concepts If the Red Pants Society running the Butts Mehr Country club is that stupid then they wouldn't be able to run a gas station

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire But who is going to coach us to the Belk Bowl if Richt leaves? 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

So the Coach Richt supporters say Mark is the best coach in UGa history. His record stands at 140 and 48 overall and 83 and 37 in the SEC.Compared to Vince Dooley who compiled a 201 -77-10 record overall and a 104-42-4 SEC record over 25 years. So you could possibly say Coach Richt record might be better than Coach Dooley's record. But take a closer look ,in 14+years at Georgia Coach Richt has 30 wins against FCS or what used to be 1-AA teams, in 25 years Coach Dooley had 8 wins against 1-AA teams.

So you can judge who was a better coach.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Buschleaguer not to mention Dooley's first 7 seasons were 10 game seasons not 12 and the rest of his career were 11 game seasons

FlatTire
FlatTire

Ohio St and UGA have some things in common.


Ohio is a top 5 recruiting state like Georgia

Ohio state like UGA doesn't have to recruit against another top tier school in their state

Ohio st loses almost every big game against SEC schools

Ohio st went 35 years without winning a national title 


The difference is 


(they decided to finally hire a championship coach and won)


Big Wally
Big Wally

@FlatTire Another difference, they had a head coach who knew how to punch Clemson players

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Big Wally  yea I forgot; sore loser mentality; thats why Ohio is on the blog; he still can't handle knowing Ohio St lost to Goff


LOL

TideDawg
TideDawg

@FlatTire @Big Wally  Where's the rebuttal from the OH:IO But-eye. He doesn't seem to want to be in this conversation.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@FlatTire  Back in the old days of National Champions, OSU, Mi., MSU, Sou. Cal. won nationtional championships because they were voted national champions as were other schools....They didn't have to play anybody to win a NCG. They had great voting power. Now, all those voters can do is vote them into the final 4 where they have to play to win a NC.

dawg fan
dawg fan

Richt is a master at PR and publicity stunts.  If only he were half as talented at coaching football.  We'd be in good shape.  Simply put:  This guy is all talk. Our program is all talk under his leadership.  It's nothing but snappy slogans about "finishing the drill" and cute pictures on Twitter.  Then we go out on Saturdays and get embarrassed on the field year after year.  He needs to spend more time figuring out how to at least compete in big games than wooing some 18 year old kid.  If you're going to woo anybody try all those big O and D-linemen that go to Bama, LSU, Florida, etc. and whip our arse on Saturdays.  Quarterback has never been a problem for us.  Mark Richt knows nothing about championship football.  He knows how to skate to 9 or 10 wins but winning a championship is way over his head.  He knows it too, but doesn't care.  Continuity is a good thing.   

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan but I thought we were knocking on the door to greatness?  Haven't you seen our cutting edge football

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire Yes, to hear his Fan Club talk you would think we pulled all these lofty expectations out of thin air.  These are the words of their own hero:  "Knocking on the door to greatness."  Mark Richt said that, not all of his supposed "haters" who are being so mean to him with unfair expectations.  Where is the door and when will we be knocking on it?  It's coming up on 4 years since he made that comment.   

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan  the new PR from the kool-aid crowd is he is the greatest coach in UGA history


I honestly thought UGA football started in 1892 but I guess Goff was the first head coach according to their history book

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire From about 2002 to 2005 that is true but it's what has happened since then that the Fan Club doesn't want to come to grips with.  Other than those 4 years he hasn't done anymore than the guy he was hired to replace other than luck into a down SEC East for many years when it had no dominant teams.  I'm pretty sure Donnan could have won the SEC East too at some point if powerhouses like Mizzou and South Carolina were his primary competition.  Imagine Richt coaching against Spurrier at Florida or Tennessee during the Peyton Manning years.  LMAO.  He'd get laughed out of the stadium every year.  He could barely even keep up with Spurrier at South Carolina. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan I don't know about that dawgfan,  Dooley went 4 straight seasons and only lost 2 regular season games during that span

ZanesMule
ZanesMule

with eason starting at QB and chubb back, the dogs offense will explode with points next year!! the dogs should be able to win the sec east---fla will be down after losing a bunch of talent on D and tennessee will be mediocre as always.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@39Concepts Florida's offense this year isn't good but they managed to score on UGA; keep dreaming those championship dreams

OH:IO
OH:IO

@39Concepts


dogs already shoulda woulda coulda for next season.


IT NEVER ENDS! 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @39Concepts Once again, more UGA comments from you than OSU comments.  Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

dawg fan
dawg fan

@39Concepts  "will" . . . "next year" . . . "should be" . . . "will be" . . . This is Mark Richt's legacy.  What a hero.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Big Wally Expect more of the same.  He's hit the jackpot with a nice cushy gig in Athens under Mark Richt.  Recall that Richt wasn't even going to get rid of Grantham after the absolute defensive disaster that was the 2013 season.  Schotty isn't going anywhere.  No accountability.  No consequences.  That's Mark Richt Football. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO @39Concepts

It is almost as bad as all of those Buckeye Pre-Season Games, 

 WILL THEY EVER END!



well maybe this week???

TideDawg
TideDawg

If Richt is on the hot seat for a mediocre(according to Ga. Fans)season then Jeff Schultz's seat should be on fire for the crap that he writes on a daily basis. Isn't he the one that writes that Ga. should win the East, win the SEC championship, and go on to the National Championship every year. Seems like he said the same thing about Georgia Tech this year. He really knows football and talent..Ha! Three cheers for the writer who gets it all wrong every year and hopes that one year he will be right. Remember next year when he starts writing about a team's chances and the great talent that a team has.......He hasn't got a clue.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


NEW dog EXCUSE ALERT!


NEW dog EXCUSE ALERT!



Schultz

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TideDawg  So I take it you do not consider this season mediocre?  You consider it acceptable to lose by a total of 52 points to the only two good teams we've played all year?  You consider it acceptable to blow a 21 point lead to mediocre Tennessee? You consider it acceptable to have one of the worst offenses in the entire conference despite supposed depth and experience on the O-line (It's all we heard in the preseason) and a 5 star recruit toting the rock?  This all is NOT mediocre Mr. Super Fan?  Please enlighten us on how so. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@dawg fan @TideDawg  Where I come from they think losing 1 game is a bad season. No, there's a lot that is not acceptable about the Dawgs. I went through this twice at Alabama. It's ugly here and it was ugly there. I know what the consequences could be during change. You ain't seen nuttin here that compares to what has happened in Ala. I'm going to quote Bear Bryant as I've quoted him before.  When asked what made him a great coach, he said: "I'm only as good as my assistants". I wholeheartedly believe that to be true.


dawg fan
dawg fan

@Dawg-Gawn Aww, that's so sweet.  Unfortunately this isn't the Girl Scouts.  This is big time college football and what others think does matter.  I wouldn't expect the players who Richt recruited or the assistants that he hired to turn their back on him.  What an absolutely asinine point. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TideDawg And I wholeheartedly believe that Richt should be fired due to his demonstrated inability to hire and retain competent assistants. 

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

@dawg fan

Not only are you clearly showing signs of suffering from acute Cranial Rectosis but just another wanna-be technophilla masquerading as a SEC registered dawg... such a genius idea!  Wonder why no other intelligent wasp daddy never thought of this idea... GT's won/lost record at this very moment is an exact mirrored image of UGA's 3-7 vs 7-3... why not fire your own coach waspi?... wait, envy & hate is always the easiest immature mental expression to project... carry on genius.

"BELIEVE" in the G

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Dawg-Gawn @dawg fan No wonder dawgfan sounds so intelligent......A Jacket huh?.........welcome back to the blogs preacher.