MADNESS By Bobby G. Copperhead

I always thought March Madness only described the college basketball playoffs or the last blitz of winter followed by a spring like day here in New England, but I now understand it also can be applied to the wild NFL free agency period after being witness the past week of building anticipation, legal tampering positioning and a crescendo on Tuesdays opening day. The madness created a shark feeding frenzy for fans and writers and no doubt coaches and staff throughout the league. Somehow it seemed more explosive this year with the wheeling and dealing (Miami and Kansas City), the high profile trades (Percy Harvin and Anquon Boldin), the numerous rumors of Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora and the ‘Stick it’ Bill departure of Wes Welker. We even had a ride on the Brent Grimes roller coaster, courtesy of the AJC.
Through all the smoke sailed a steady ship. The Atlanta Falcons, focused and true to earlier commitments were more Methodology like than Madness, as some experts predicted, as they took care of the Nest.
“No big splash, why act rash, spend wise the cash, avoid the Bash”, said not the Owl but the friendly Hawk.
A week ago Atlanta signed Antone Smith and Garrett Reynolds, nothing spectacular but solid pieces needed for the team. Reynolds could very well be a starter on the offensive line and will provide at the very least versatile back up presence. Smith performs on special teams and adds running back depth. I hope he moves ahead of Snelling on the chart. The five year contract awarded William Moore was good news to Falcon nation albeit back page worthy elsewhere, but solidifying the Safety position along with Decoud now gives the team a pro bowl duo that is one of the teams top strengths for probably a few years.
The comeback announcement that took few by surprise and that all Falcon fans hoped for by Tony G. was perfectly aligned on Tuesday to give the Atlanta Brass time to adjust free agent targets and plan for the upcoming draft. The very great eighty-eight was not too late to create a happy state we can all appreciate.
The signing of Sam Baker did not sweep the nation by storm, but many considered him out of Georgia in 2011 and now keeps the blind side in check and hopefully he can repeat the 2012 performance and groom Lamar Holmes for the future. Just another simple need filled, for it only takes a small hole to sink a ship. While the NFL version of March Madness struck from coast to coast , the Atlanta Falcons took small steps,
and without headline grabbing showed patience, commitment and a plan that was probably drawn up right after the NFC championship game. Fireworks and sensational monster deals are what every fan and writer enjoy, but to sustain a thriving business we must remember the Aesop quote, “ Slow but Steady wins the Race.” Maybe a day or two after posting this we will get the spotlight defensive end or running back many silently hope for but we can not argue the approach of T.D, Smitty and the coaching staff to let the field clear before taking the next shot. While we have impatiently waited they have plotted and planned these moves that have been made and many more to come, including the extension of Matty and hopefully getting Grimes and Walker also back on board. Indeed some teams out West have gotten stronger, but there are more moves to be made, some will be made to affect as far ahead as 2014 and there is still the Draft.
Time has just slightly begun in football measurement for the 2013 season. The business is more a chess match than a hundred yard dash, and at times somewhat hard to realize in this sped up world.
The Atlanta Falcons did not win the initial start to free agency, but it is a long race and seeing what has transpired to the Super Bowl champion Ravens in a matter of two months I feel confident the Falcons man the right ship, sailing to avoid the mismanagement mistakes and keeping a steady path for future success.
Speaking of success, all the madness and what has transpired in a weeks time, I’ve forgotten March started with the announcement of the Approved retractable roof stadium for the Birds – A new Nest, Sweet.
March Madness may not be in Atlanta as elsewhere, but I say the Falcons head into the St. Patrick’s weekend pretty lucky.

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