Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these so I may need one or two to get back in the swing of things. I’m not sure why it’s been so long because I certainly enjoy getting a chance to spill my sports opinions out on you, the readers, but maybe it was because of lack of time or topics, etc.
I’m certainly excited that the prep sports calendar is back up and running again because the events to cover over the past few summer months have been few and far between, and it’s a lot easier to piece a sports section together when there is stuff actually happening rather than seeming like I have to search out any shred of local news and piece together the small paper during the slow summer. Plus, while designing the paper and being in the office is alright, being out and about covering games is my favorite part of the job.
But here we are again starting another sports year as the 2017-18 school year has arrived. I’m sure I’ll see you all out at a game soon. I’m excited to see more thrills on the field.
Anyway, enough rambling. Here are a few topics I’ve been thinking about in the sports world:
Did the Falcons make the right move with Freeman?
The Falcons signed running back Devonta Freeman to a new five-year, $41.25 million contract this week. I love Devonta as a player. He is a dynamic running back and one of the top playmakers at the position in the league.
I’ve also heard enough of his interviews off the field to respect him for his character and way of thinking. He is both humble and confident at the same time, and he is a team-first guy that wants to do anything he can to help the Falcons win. That’s why you didn’t see him hold out at the start of training camp like many other players hoping for a new contract would’ve done.
So, I’m totally alright with the signing. But (there’s usually always a but coming with me in these columns) I’ve always been a strong believer that running back in football is a pretty overrated position as far as how it equates to the team’s overall success. Don’t get me wrong, having that flashy guy that can break a big gain or TD run at any time is great to have. Or having a big guy that can wear down the opposing defenses and churn yards and the clock at the same time is valuable. But running backs are only as good as their offensive line allows them to be.
If you have a good offensive line group (which the Falcons have built over the past few seasons), you can put almost any decent running back behind them and they are going to make plays.
Not only all that, but the Falcons also have Tevin Coleman to share some of the load with Freeman. So if the worst-case scenario happened and Freeman walked away after his previous contract was up, you wouldn’t be in the worst situation with Coleman.
Like I said earlier, I am thrilled to have Freeman as a part of the Falcons core. But with so many other important guys on the team’s roster coming up, I just hope this investment doesn’t come back to bite the Falcons over the next few years. And I hope that Freeman stays healthy enough to play this contract out fully. He has been a little injury-prone in the first few seasons of his NFL career.
Only time will tell if this was a good deal.
How long is the Braves’ rebuild going to take?
I am a Braves’ fan through and through. And I have defended this rebuilding project the franchise has gone through over the past few years many times. But I’m starting to lose patience.
We’re in Year 3 of the rebuild, and I honestly cannot tell you if next year will be any better. The prospects aren’t here yet, and I don’t know if they will be ready for the start of 2018. The biggest prospect of them all, Dansby Swanson, has scuffled mightily this season, even forcing the club to send him back down to Triple-A. We have no idea what his confidence is like right now and what it will be in the near future.
Freddie Freeman is rocking and rolling as the most consistent star player on the roster, but there is a part of me that feels like the Braves are wasting the prime years of his career on this rebuilding project. They need to start to spend money and build around Freeman and these prospects. You can’t just keep spinning your wheels as a franchise.
SunTrust Park is a beautiful new stadium, but after so long, the big, shiny attraction will no longer be the reason for fans to come to the ballpark.
Eventually, the Braves are going to have to win to attract fans. Let’s all hope that is sooner rather than later or never.