Tag Archives: ATLANTA

First game at #MBStadium – The Virtual reality tour

27 Aug

When you first walk into the stadium from the front landing with the massive Falcon sculpture you are overwhelmed by the visuals. Halo board, lower field electronic scoreboards, and colors so vivid and bright  it all seems surreal.

It’s as if you’re a character in the movie #Tron, or have donned a set of VR glasses. Being inside the stadium is like you have been dropped inside a giant video game.

Everything has taken to a new level. Fans enjoyed a Field Level Club area that allowed them to walk from inside a stylish restaurant/lounge, to a porch right behind the team bench on the field.

As for the game itself, the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals 24-14. Matt Ryan was was not as sharp as 1st 2 games. Julio played a little as did Takk McKinley.

The Falcons  performance will raise some questions about the team, especially since they have not won a game this preseason. But that is for another story. Mercedes Benz stadium was the story tonight. There is more work remaining before it is totally finished. But early reviews from the fans are 5 star rated for excitement and entertainment.

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#Falcons final 2 practices at Flowery Branch before 1st game at MB Stadium

23 Aug

Dan Quinn Falcons Head Coach

The Falcons are back to the norm except for one change. Their Friday walk through will be at their brand new home – Mercedes Benz Stadium.

This season is unique as the Falcons are defending NFC for only the 2nd time AND heading into a brand new stadium that is a technological marvel.

How important is it to have this walk through on Saturday and 2 home games at the new stadium before playing regular season game there?

It will also give coaches the opportunity to evaluate players under pressure of not only making the team, but the excitement of a new stadium and a real regular season feel

Coach Dan Quinn in his daily press conference gave the media some key points to consider:

  • Linebackers look good. Rookie Due Riley’s initial impact may be biggest on special teams. Quinn loves the way he flies around.
  • De’Vondre Campbell has looked good at the Sam LB spot
  • DE Jack Crawford has quickness unusual for a man that size.
  • Coach Bryant Young has the ability to coach the D-Line with a hands on approach befitting a recently retired player

Running back, lineman, and defensive backs are areas that still have the most competition remaining in terms of the 53 man roster. Coach Quinn still deciding whether to have coordinators and ass’t coaches calling plays form on the field or in the press box.

Click Here for the VIDEO of the press conference.

@MBStadium – #Falcons and #ATLUTD new home a Temple of Sports Entertainment

17 Aug

From the outside it looms proudly over the Westside landscape. A menacing 50 ft high Falcon (the largest steel sculpture in the Unite States) greets you at the main entrance. At night the huge Mercedes Benz logo illuminates the sky like a beacon. It lets all who approach know that they are in the conundrum of Sports in the South and possibly the US.

The inside is so surreal it’s as if you are walking into a giant video game. From veteran sportscasters to rookie reporters fresh on the job, all the media was amazed by what we saw. It’s going to be the talk of the town, and the Sports world for years to come.

Click on the video above for a little peek.

#DwightHoward trade signals beginning of #Hawks2020

21 Jun

 

Atlanta has traded C Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets just 2 days before the 2017 NBA Draft. Click HERE for the ESPN story.  This means the Hawks are going to launch #Hawks2020 The goal – build a team that can realistically compete for an NBA title by 2020. The Hawks are looking to create a sustainable winner that creates real fan allegiance. They want to develop this a way like ATLUTD soccer and the Falcons.

Have a style of play that is both easy to watch and players easy to root for. The Hawks plan to control their brand from top to bottom.

They are using cutting edge fan engagement to keep fans connected and excited about the team. Great social media, in-game promotions and personalized VIP experience via the Hardwood Club draws upscale millennials and a diverse group of fans to buy in as they move into the future.    Atlanta also looks maximize control of all aspects of player training, development, and health. There is a  90,000 sq ft combined practice and sports science facility in partnership with Emory Healthcare. Soon there will be a brand new D league facility built in College Park less than 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Eventually there will be development of The Gulch area near Philips Arena into a work, live, play development similar to the area around the Battery adjacent to the Braves SunTrust Park.

The Hawks even offer special ticket packages to new Moms with Grady hospital. Pretty soon it might be engineering Hawks fans from birth, and players from High School to the NBA in the Hawks mold.

A kind of Sports genetic engineering. Hmm Atlanta Hawks the first GMO NBA franchise..

Are the Atlanta Falcons turning into Linebacker U ?

12 May

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The Atlanta Falcons drafted another LB in this years draft. This comes after drafting Vic Beasley in 2015, DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones the 4th and 2nd rounds in 2016.

Former LSU LB joins Duke Riley is picked 75th overall in the 3rd round.  He is the prototype Q guy. Speed, quickness and a sure tackler. Coach Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff are seeking to add depth to a defense that came on late in the season, but withered under a relentless Patriot offensive attack in the final part of Super 51.

If Riley can give you 75% of what his former LSU teammate Deion Jones did last year the Falcons will have one the steals of the draft.  We got a chance to see a glimpse of him in the rookie camp.

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

Takkaist McKinley usa_today_10033656.1493351431
Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

#Hawks must choose style to define team, and win consistently

8 Mar

IHawks Cavs THJ MG_5105

The 2016-17 season started out with great promise  for the #Hawks as they jumped out to a 9-2 start. This opening stretch included back to wins vs the Rockets at home, and the Cavs on the road. Coach Bud seemed to have the perfect  setup. The first team liked to get the ball inside with alley oops to Dwight Howard or sometimes pick and rolls with Paul Millsap. The 2nd unit led by the explosive scoring of Tim Hardaway Jr. and efficiency of Mike Muscala, or Ersan Ilasova  would give Atlanta to change the tempo of the game when needed, and keep the starters fresh.

Since then Atlanta lineups have at time seemed to be tossed together at random. Players seem at times to be ill at ease with one another on the court. The good ball movement which had been a Hawks trademark under Coach Bud, now constantly deteriorates in dribble fests ending in bad passes and missed shots.

They must choose whether they are a primarily a half court team using more pick an drolls  with Millsap and inside out game with Howard. Or play more small ball with Millsap, Ilyasova, and Hardaway running more of an up tempo game.  You can include Dwight Howard in this style too by having him operate as a ‘trigger man’ with outlet passes to ignite fast breaks like Bill Russell did with Celtics, Kareem with the Lakers, and even Tim Duncan late in his career at San Antonio

This team needs an identity if they want to be consistent winners. The question is do they have the will and patience to do it.

#AtlHawks blow last minute lead, lose to #Pacers at home

6 Mar

The #AtlHawks looked like they were on their way to a hard fought victory over the Indiana Pacers. They had a 96-90 lead with less the 2 minutes to go, a 96-94 lead AND the ball with about 30 seconds. But it was all for nought as the Pacers Glenn Robinson III hit a 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give them a stunning 97-96 victory over the Hawks.

This game marked the return of former Hawks PG Jeff Teaugue  for the first time since he had been traded to the Pacers for a second round pick after the 2016 season.

Atlanta took an early 30-19 lead, then Indiana’s All Star G Paul George took over. George scored 24 of his game high 34 in the 1st half to help the Pacers take the lead before Atlanta came back to tie the game at 50 to end the 1st half.

The Hawks continued to have problems with George until they placed Paul Millsap on him in 3rd quarter. He did not score after that. By that time however they had forged a 7 point lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks defense, and the offensive punch by Tim Hardaway, Jr (THJ) finally allowed Atlanta to overtake the Pacers and take a 6 point lead in the clising minutes. That’s when things went horribly wrong.

Paul Millsap has been the Hawks best offensive player all year and over the last 2 months Tim Hardaway Jr has been right behind him. Last night was no different. Millsap had 24 to lead all Hawks, and THJ scored 10 of his 23 in the final period. But when the Hawks looked to seal the win late, both men came up short. AMillsap missed shot, then turnover on consecutive possesion allowed the Pacers to cut the lead to 96-94. Then an ill advised 3 pt attempt by Hardaway set the stage for Robinson’s game winner. (Click here to see video)

This has been a recurring theme for this team. An inability to get consistent clutch baskets/plays from their best players. Until this changes the Atlanta Hawks and their fans will continue to deal with more frustrating losses.

 

Despite loss, #ATLUTD and Arthur Blank big winners in epic opening night

6 Mar

The final score from the pitch at Bobby Dodd stadium on the Ga Tech campus was NY Red Bull 2 Atlanta 1. But in every other way the Atlanta United Football Club (@ATLUTD) inaugural game was a huge success.

The game was a sellout. ‘Fan Village’ set up in front of historic Bobby Stadium was filled with a diverse group of fans in full party mode. Some fans waited as long as an hour to buy their official ATLUTD garb at the store in Atlantic Station. Is that the hum of the money machine we  hear?

Once again the genius of ‘Uncle Arthur’ Blank was displayed in another successful sports business endeavor. Hats off to him and ATLUTD for their smashing debut

(Goal by Yasef Asad pic above – AccessWDUN )

 

Could #Hawks #TimHardawayJr be the next great #NBA Sixth man

4 Mar

The #AtlHawks may have in #TimHardawayJr , the next great #NBA Sixth man. His improved play has been outstading the last two months  He’s been red hot in the Hawks last 10 games, averaging over 17 Pts per contest. This includes 33 in a big road win vs the Rockets and 36 in a tough loss at home to the Cavs. His recent stats compare favorably to 3 time 6th man of the year Jamal Crawford of the Clippers in the years he won. In fact hs current pace of 19 pts per 36 minutes is the same as Crawford when he won last season.

Unfortunately for Atlanta there are 2 problems.

  1. Hardaway wants to start. He mentioned in a Detroit Free Press  article ‘he hopes to become a full time starter’ The numbers seem to agree according to ESPN.com In the 17 games he started he’s averaging 17.2 points per game. In the 42 coming off the bench he has averaged 11.8 . In fairness, this is due more to minutes played per game. 33 per as starter, 22 per coming in off the bench. For Hardaway and the Hawks he is at his best when he plays between 30-36 minutes a game. This year he sits at a bifty 19 pts per 36 minutes played That is the same as the teams leading scorer Paul Millsap He also averages 3 more points per game than starter Kent Bazemore who the Hawks just signed to big deal after last season
  2. MONEY. Hardaway will bcome a restricted free agent next year. His vastly improved play surely has caught the eye of several teams around the league. Hawks mangement may have erred in not signing him to an extension when they had chance earlier in year. Although the team has right to match any offer, Atlanta faces the prospect of paying a lot more for his sevices. This may pur him above the threshold of what Atlanta wants to pay to keep him especialy with having All Star Paul Millsap contract also coming due for a hefty increase

Several years ago the Hawks had an exciting player coming off the bench.  and a multi time All Star on the team becoming free agents. They said they could only pay out one big contract not two. They resigned their All Star guard at the time Joe Johnson, the other player was allowed to be a free agent and he signed with the LA Clippers. That player was Jamal Crawford. He has gone on to win 2 of his 3 Sixth Man of the Year awards since his time there. He won his 1st one in Atlanta the year before he left in free agency.

Being in just his 3rd year, and 24 years old it seems like the career of Tim Hardaway, Jr  is certainly on the rise. Hopefully Atlanta will find a way to keep him here.

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