Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Atlanta Falcons-Indianapolis Colts Preview

Fresh off their bye week, the Falcons return to the Georgia Dome to play the winless Indianapolis Colts. Since losing starting QB Peyton Manning to two neck surgeries in the offseason, the Colts have been dismal. They've started the season 0-8 with no progress. Colts fans expect Manning back by December, which is highly unlikely.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Colts WR Reggie Wayne
The Falcons (4-3), on the other hand, have had a progressing season. They had a rocky start at 1-2, but have been 3-1 since. It seems as if Michael Turner rushes for over 100 yards, Atlanta is undefeated. The Falcons offensive linemen have had an up and down year. It seems as if they're getting back on track since the Falcons have won two straight. Matt Ryan has the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning leadership but hasn't quite gotten to that certain type of peformance. But Atlanta is hot right now and looking forward to welcoming the Colts to the Georgia Dome.

As for the Colts (0-8), nothing has been going right for them. From losing their MVP quarterback to an 0-8 record, fans in Indy must be embarrassed. Star WR Reggie Wayne hasn't been putting up big time numbers like he was when Manning was at QB. Neither is WR Austin Collie or RB Joseph Addai. Now all their hope (if there is an ounce of hope left) for the Colts is QB Curtis Painter. They're coming off a 27-10 loss to the Titans. The week before they suffered a horrific loss to one of the Falcons' NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints, 62-7. It now appears that Peyton Manning made up 100% of this franchise. The Colts weren't this bad since Manning's rookie year back in 1998. Ever since he stept on the scene, he has taken the Colts to two Super Bowls and has won one. Once one of the most dominating teams in the NFL, is now considered the worst along with the 0-7 Miami Dolphins. The Colts' 12 year streak of 10-plus wins is now over. Colts fans have now moved on to 2012.

Falcons rookie WR Julio Jones returned to practice on Monday, but it is unknown as to if he is going to play on Sunday. I want Julio to get back out and show everybody he really is that star wide receiver everybody in Atlanta thought he was going to be. Prior to his injury, he was playing very well. I want to see WR Roddy White get back to that elite wide receiver caliber status he was at in 2010. Only at 39 catches for 425 yards and 3 TDs, Falcons fans expect better. Also, like I said earlier, we need to keep on giving Michael Turner the ball. It is critical to getting a victory. His 100 yard rushing games always pay off.

I think the Falcons will come out on top in this game. I expect a blowout, but I also expect the Colts to compete. Indianapolis knows their season is over and they want to earn respect around the league. The Falcons will improve to 5-3 heading into their big NFC South matchup against the Saints, who suffered a loss to the winless St. Louis Rams last week. This is why I'm not taking the Colts so lightly in this game. We will still need to keep on playing hardknock Falcons football.

I hope you've enjoyed this edition of my Falcons blog and you can expect more and more in the future. Keep on spreading the word to your friends and family members as these blogs get better and better every week. So until then, GO FALCONS!!!-Yuriy

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Georgia Defeats Florida, 24-20

Georgia QB Aaron Murray under center
It was a good day to be a Bulldog. Coming into the game losing 18 out of 21 games to the Gators, Georgia comes out on top. Georgia rallied after a 14-3 deficit. The Dawgs never gave up followed by great leadership from QB Aaron Murray. Mark Richt had great play calling and a great job from the defense were major factors that helped us win this game.
The Traditional Georgia-Florida classic

QB Aaron Murray went 15/34 for 169 yards and 2 TDs with 1 interception. RB Isaiah Crowell had 18 carries for 81 yards even though he suffered an injury in the second half. He eventually came back though. RB Richard Samuel had 17 carries for 58 yards and 1 TD. Not A great day on the ground but Samuel's TD in the redzone late in the 3rd quarter helped Georgia take the 24-20 lead. Contributions also came from WR Tavaress King with 3 catches for 44 yards and 1 TD and Michael Bennett with 2 catches for 25 yards and a TD. Just like the RBs, the WRs didn't have a great day but it still lead the Dawgs to victory. The Georgia offense combined for 354 yards. The Bulldogs dominated with 37:40 on time of possession. The Defense got into the backfield all game and were constantly harassing John Brantley. LB Jarvis Jones went off on the Gators with six tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble.

On the Gators' side, QB John Brantley went 12/34 for 245 yards and 1 TD. Florida had an awful day on the ground with -19 rushing yards. WR Jeff Reed had 4 catches for 69 yards and 1 TD. Jeff Demps returned a kick 99 yards for a TD. The Florida offense combined for 226 yards. The Gators had two turnovers and those two turnovers were two fumbles lost.

The Gators started the season 4-0, but have lost four straight ever since. They have been dominated by superpower SEC teams such as #1 LSU and #2 Alabama. The 4 game losing streak has all came from SEC teams: LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia. They look to bounce back at Vanderbilt next week.

Georgia got payback on the Gators and are now rolling on a six game winning streak and improve to a 6-2 record. They play New Mexico State next week which shouldn't be a problem. They have two remaining SEC teams to play. #24 Auburn, and Kentucky. I think head coach Mark Richt's job status is now locked. I think UGA fans can start the SEC Championship game conversation. They are now tied with South Carolina for 1st place in the SEC. I think UGA can win out. Their four remaining games are against New Mexico State, #24 Auburn, Kentucky, & Georgia Tech. I think they can compete for a BCS bowl game. We will see what transpires for the remainder of the season for UGA.

Keep on visiting and reading my blogs every week covering one of your favorite Atlanta Sports teams. I will keep on trying to make my blogs better and better and make the best ones possible. So UGA fans, until then, GO DAWGS!!!-Yuriy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Georgia Bulldogs-Florida Gators Preview

It's here again. The Georgia-Florida Classic. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The 5-2 Bulldogs take on the 4-3 Gators. Georgia had the momentum going heading into their bye week on a five game winning streak. Meanwhile, Florida has lost three straight heading into this game. They lost 38-10 to Alabama, 41-11 to LSU, and 17-6 to Auburn. They Gators haven't been the same team since QB Tim Tebow left.
Georgia QB Aaron Murray

Florida QB John Brantley
The Bulldogs are red hot right now and so is QB Aaron Murray. I expect him to have a huge game on Saturday and lead the Dawgs to victory. I can also see freshman RB Isaiah Crowell having a big game as he ranks 4th in the SEC with 608 rushing yards. WR Malcolm Mitchell is questionable. He has been Aaron Murray's go to WR with 25 catches for 238 yards and 3 TDs. TE Orson Charles has also been a huge factor with 4 TDs on the season. 

Someone on defense that I know can break out again this week is CB Brandon Boykin. He is a lockdown corner and is a dangerous weapon on kick-returns and everywhere else on special teams. I want to see freshman LB Ray Drew finally get it together and play like the player everyone thought he would be.

Florida QB John Brantley (ankle injury) is expected to play on Saturday. This injury resulted in freshman QB Jacoby Brissett getting the start in the last two weeks. He has not performed well at all and resulted in a blowout loss at LSU and a loss at Auburn. They also rotated QB Trey Burton. The Gators look to get their rushing attack going with the rotation at RB with Jeffery Demps and Chris Rainey. Rainey also plays a lot of WR. 

Georgia and Florida are going to be playing hard-knock, SEC football all game long. One of the best rivalries in college football is going to be renewed again. I think the Dawgs will come out with the win and avenge a tough overtime loss to the Gators last year. I expect both teams to put a lot of points on the board. Both offenses will put on a show and I believe both teams will find a way to make eachother's defenses vulnerable. Out of every team on Georgia's schedule, I want us to beat Florida the most. They are every UGA fan's most despised team. Keep on checking out my blogs and share it to a friend or family member and expect my next blog soon. So until then, GO DAWGS!!!-Yuriy

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Falcons Defeat The Lions, 23-16

It was a crazy game in Mo Town. In a game that went right down to the wire, the Falcons come out on top for their second straight win. QB Matt Ryan went 20/34 for 218 yards and 1 touchdown pass, despite throwing 2 interceptions. He had a 1 yard rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. RB Michael Turner had 27 carries for 122 yards. WR Roddy White had 5 catches for 52 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Tony Gonzalez had a career day as he moved into 2nd all time in receptions with 1,103.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Ryan suffered an apparent ankle sprain in the 2nd half but returned two plays later. His first play back was a 45 yard completion to WR Harry Douglas. The Falcons just can't lose when Michael Turner rushes for 100 yards. FB Ovie Mughelli suffered an injury in the 3rd quarter which looked like a broken leg. His MRI might be in Atlanta tomorrow. Falcons WR Julio Jones was out for a second straight week with a hamstring injury.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford

For the Lions stats, QB Matthew Stafford went 15/32 for 183 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Calvin Johnson had 5 catches for 115 yards and 1 touchdown after a slow start in the 1st half. Atlanta had a good day on defense as they held three Lions RBs to less than 50 yards. Falcons LB Curtis Lofton had 10 total tackles. LB Sean Weatherspoon had 6 tackles and 1 sack.

Despite getting the W, penalties killed the Falcons. We have to cut down on that, especially on offense. That's what happens though when you're in Detroit. The fans in Ford Field are so loud and play a role as a 12th man. Matt Ryan and the whole team overcame that though. I like Ryan's leadership when he suffered that injury. Coming back out two plays later wanting to get back on the field and leading your team to a victory.

The Falcons improve their record to 4-3. They have a bye week next week before they take on the winless Indianapolis Colts in Week 9. Atlanta obviously has the momentum going into that game as they continue to fight in the competitive NFC South.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Falcons Defeat The Panthers, 31-17

Defensive Tackle Corey Peters intercepts QB Cam Newton in the 4th quarter one-handed
Fullback Ovie Mughelli highsteppin' in the endzone after a pass from Matt Ryan
What a way for the Falcons to have a bounce back week. After a Week 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Falcons go back into the Georgia Dome and beat Cam Newton and the Panthers. Matt Ryan went 14/22 for 163 yards and 1 touchdown. RB Michael Turner had 27 carries for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Falcons Wide Receivers struggled to make any plays but WR Roddy white had two key pass interference penalties that helped Atlanta get into the endzone.

The defense stepped up by intercepting Cam Newton three times. Safety Thomas DeCoud had eight tackles and Linebacker Curtis Lofton had seven tackles. Panthers QB Cam Newton struggled as he went 21/35 for 237 yards and 3 interceptions with a 44.6 passer rating. Although Newton did have 6 rushing attempts for 50 yards and 1 touchdown.

I want to see WR Harry Douglas get more catches and make plays because I know he is a playmaker and he could've had a couple touchdowns in this game but Matt Ryan overthrew him a few times. Rookie WR Julio Jones was out with a hamstring injury and there is no report yet as to if he is going to play against the Lions next week. WR Roddy White only had 2 catches for 21 yards. Thats a surprise knowing that he is tied for 2nd in most receptions in the NFL. I think he and Matt Ryan will get back on the same page next week. TE Tony Gonzalez also had an off game with 3 catches for 29 yards. I believe him and Ryan will do the same as they will for Roddy.

Some of the factors that helped the Falcons win this game was the fact that they had no turnovers and Matt Ryan didn't get sacked once. Ryan had no interceptions also. Its good to see Michael Turner get the run game going again because some days Ryan will have an off game and Turner will still be able to contribute on the ground. The Falcons are improving on every category every week. 3-3 is not where we want to be but we will get better. We are facing a 5-1 Lions team that lost their first game of the week in Week 6 to a good 5-1 49ers team. It will be a battle of offenses and I know we will be ready. It was also great how we honored Hall Of Famer Deion "PrimeTime" Sanders before the game. Catch all of my analysis for this game in my next blog which will be previewing the Falcons-Lions game. I hope you enjoyed my recap of the game and so until then, GO FALCONS!!!-Yuriy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Georgia Defeats Vanderbilt In A Wild One, 33-28

Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
What a game in Nashville tonight. It was a career night for Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray. He went 22/38 for 326 yards and 3 touchdown passes with 1 interception. His go - to WR was Marlon Brown as he caught 4 passes for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. WR Tavarres King also contributed with 5 catches for 57 yards and 1 touchdown.

When UGA intercepted Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers with a 1:30 left in the 4th. It was a crazy ending. Georgia decided to run the clock out but Vanderbilt still had two timeouts. The Bulldogs punted with 15 seconds left and that's when the punt was blocked at around the time the play ended with 7 seconds left in the game. Rodgers tried to throw the ball right into the end zone, which was an incompletion. The next pass was a 5 yard completion but time expired and the Dawgs held on to the win.

Georgia struggled to get the running game going so they had to go to through the air. RB Richard Samuel had 15 carries for 53 yards and star freshman RB Isaiah Crowell had 10 carries for only 35 yards. The Bulldogs defense forced 3 turnovers despite letting Vanderbilt cut it to a 5 point game in the 4th quarter when they had a 20-7 lead in the 1st half. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers' younger brother Jordan Rodgers helped rally Vanderbilt after they benched starting QB Larry Smith. Kicker Blair Walsh made four field goals despite missing two. Georgia struggled on offense in the 1st half but right when the 2nd half started, they clicked and had it going on all cylinders.

Our defense has to stop giving up huge plays. When Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy found a hole, he took advantage just as he did when he ran for a 19 yard touchdown in the 2nd half. The defense isin't wrapping up when making tackles. Freshman LB Ray Drew can't do it all by himself. He made his presence felt tonight with 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. Star CB Brandon Boykin contributed with 1 interception.

You have to give the Commodores credit tonight. They wanted to show that they can compete with the top teams in the SEC. All week I thought we would cruise right by them and get a easy win but I was completely wrong and we had a ball game. In their 1st home game, they wanted to put on a show for their fans. They put up a hard fight but our Georgia Bulldogs found another way to get a victory.

My final thoughts on this game is that it was an ugly win but a win is a win. As I said before, we have to improve on defense and not give up big plays. We need to give RB Isaiah Crowell more carries like we've been doing since the season started. Giving him ten carries a game won't win us ball games. We have to establish a good running game and not put all the pressure on QB Aaron Murray to win the game. We're currently riding a five game winning streak heading into our bye week. In two weeks we play our biggest rival, the Florida Gators. Look for my next blog which will be a preview about that game. So until then, GO DAWGS!!!-Yuriy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Atlanta Falcons Preview Against The Carolina Panthers

Panthers QB Cam Newton
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Its time to step it up this week for the Falcons. After a loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, we look to bounce back against the 1-4 Carolina Panthers. QB Cam Newton has been nothing but sensational this season despite his team's lack of success. What I think will win us this game is Michael Turner's running game. Since 2008, Turner has had a lot of success against Carolina. Falcons rookie WR Julio Jones is out with a hamsting injury so other offensive weapons such as WR Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and TE Tony Gonzalez will have to step up. I believe Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez will pick apart the Panthers defense and get Gonzalez into the endzone twice.
  Our defense improved last week despite giving up a 14-0 lead to the Packers.  Cam Newton has been putting up huge numbers this season but has not able to get his team a lot of wins. Turnovers have been a problem for him and I think our defense should take advantage of that. Our offense has too much talent to be struggling. All credit due to the Packers, but I think our offense should have easily picked apart their defense.

I think this Week 6 matchup against the Panthers will give the Falcons a lot of improvement in many different areas. We have a 2nd straight home game and a chance to show our fans what Falcons football is really about.  I think Matty Ice will shine and I think other receivers such as Harry Douglas will finally get his opportunity to step up. I think other contributors on defense should have more chances to show what they're about such as DE Kroy Bierman and CB Dominque Franks. Carolina has kept its defense in tact by resigning LB John Beason and DE Charles Johnson. They will be looking to get into our backfield quickly but our offensive line is a huge factor in us winning this game.

We have to get pressure on Newton all game and force him to throw turnovers and get into the backfield every time. His go - to WR is Steve Smith and Smith is having a re surging year after a quiet 2010. Our CBs have to play lockdown defense on him. I would like to see LB Sean Weatherspoon finally step up and show us the star LB he is supposed to be.  It seems that our defense has jus been struggling to get sacks this season. Our defense has to play hard-knocks football like the Jets and Ravens defense. That's what will win us a lot of football games this season. I think we will make that happen and we will get the win against the Carolina Panthers.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Georgia Holds On To Beat Tennessee 20-12

RB Isaiah Crowell
It was a great day for the Dawgs as they get head coach Mark Richt's 100th career win. Freshman RB Isaiah Crowell was a big part of it as he rushed for 58 yards on 19 attempts with 2 touchdowns. QB Aaron Murray went 15/25 for 227 yards but no touchdown passes. WR Malcolm Mitchell had a huge game with 3 catches for 126 yards. He sustained a strained hamstring injury in the 2nd half. He's expected to be ok but coaches kept him out for most of the 2nd half to let him rest for next week's game. Our defense played without LB Cornelius Washington as he was charged for a DUI earlier this week. Tennessee was picking apart our defense even when Volunteers QB Tyler Bray was injured in the 4th quarter as backup QB Matt Simms entered the game. I don't see anything we really have to improve on on offense but we have to work on our passing defense. I've been really excited about Isaiah Crowell since he committed to Georgia in the spring as the #1 recruited RB in the country. He's been fun to watch and I don't think the Tennessee game will be his only 2  touchdown game. I think QB Aaron Murray will continue to progress and be one of the best QBs in Georgia history. WRs Malcolm Mitchell, Tavarres King, and TE Orson Charles will come up big for us for the rest of the season. They are all huge playmakers for the Bulldogs and players that Murray can get the ball to at the right place and time. After an 0-2 start to the season, I said we will go undefeated for the rest of the season and I'm going to keep my word on that. Georgia plays a weak Vanderbilt team next week and I don't think we should have any problems with them. I think Georgia will put the whole country on notice soon and I expect a great October out of Georgia. So until then, GO DAWGS!!!-Yuriy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Atlanta Falcons Week 5 Preview Against The Green Bay Packers

Falcons fans know the nightmare we all had to go through in the 1st round of the playoffs last year. Coming into the playoffs as the #1 overall seed, we had so much expectations. A lot of people thought we would win it all. But that night in late January, a 48-21 loss to Green Bay, shocked everybody. After Eric Weems ran back a kickoff return late for a touchdown in the 2nd half, the Falcons just had a huge meltdown and everything went Green Bay's way from there. It was a Packers team that suffered many injuries such as the one to star running back Ryan Grant.
 His status for the Week 5 matchup with the Falcons and Packers is questionable as to whether he is going to play. This game is going to be the Sunday night primetime game everybody is going to watch. Since that playoff game in January, this is the rematch everybody wanted to see. Fresh off a 30-28 win against the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday, the Falcons have momentum going into the Georgia Dome. The Packers do as well, coming into the game being undefeated at 4-0. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers has been nothing but outstanding just like his 2010 season.
 Some of the keys for the Falcons to win this game is to contain linebacker Clay Matthews. Arguably one of the best defensive players in the league, Matthews is bound to get into the backfield quickly. I'm excited as to what rookie WR Julio Jones can do in this game. He has been nothing but great in the Falcons' 1st four games and I expect a big game out of him on Sunday night. I think he can get through that Green Bay secondary. The major players that need to step up in this game is the offensive line and WR Roddy White. White, arguably the best WR in the league last year, is off to a slow start as he looks to get back on track. Expect TE Tony Gonzalez to make big plays for the Falcons as usual. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will have to make smart play calling in order for the Falcons defense to not give up safe leads late in games. We barely escaped the Seahawks after a last second 61 yard missed field goal in Week 4. I think this game is going to be a shootout and a high-scoring game. Both teams will be making plays back and forth but I think our Falcons have what it takes to get some payback on the Packers. So until then, go Falcons!!!-Yuriy

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Atlanta Falcons defeat the Seattle Seahawks 30-28

It was another close game for the Falcons today. Barely coming out with the win, Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka missed a 61 yard field goal that could've won the game for them. In the second half, Atlanta had a two touchdown lead which resulted in a huge meltdown that made Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson look like a pro-bowler. But nonetheless, Our offense produced well today as QB Matt Ryan went 28/42, 291 yards, and threw 1 touchdown pass. RB Michael Turner had 26 carries for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rookie WR Julio Jones had 11 catches for 127 yards. WR Roddy White had 6 catches for 78 yards. TE Tony Gonzalez also pitched in with 1 touchdown catch. We still haven't seen the Roddy White of 2010 making plays this year but when the big lights come on in the Georgia Dome next week against the Green Bay Packers maybe we will see a silver lining. Atlanta's defense couldn't stop Seattle's no-huddle offense but was still able to hold on. One player that I think will come up big for us in games like these is Kicker Matt Bryant. He went perfect today with making all three field goals attempted. It seems like our offensive line is improving. That is the main thing we have to focus on in order to give Matt Ryan time to make the perfect throws and be a good quarterback. Michael Turner improved on the running game but I would like to see more 100 yard games in the future. Im very happy about what we're seeing with Julio Jones so far this season. He is the WR people in Atlanta thought he would be. GM Thomas Dimitrov made a smart move trading all the way up in the draft to get him. I think we could see the Seahawks in the playoffs. Anything can go in the weak NFC West division and Seattle could be the favorites to win it. We all know what they did to the New Orleans Saints in the 1st round last year. We may have had a bad meltdown on defense today but you have to give the Seahawks credit for not giving up and having enough heart to mount a comeback. As for our Falcons, we have a lot to improve on such as holding on to safe leads late in games. Our defense appears to be getting tired fast and we need to improve on that in order to beat the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers next week. I hope you enjoyed this blog and check out my next blog coming soon which is going to be a preview of the Falcons-Packers game in the Georgia Dome next week. So until then, go Falcons!!!-Yuriy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Atlanta Falcons Preview Against The Seattle Seahawks

The Atlanta Falcons have had a rough start to the season so far. They Suffered a horrible loss to the Chicago Bears but bounced back in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles at home on the day Michael Vick returned to the Georgia Dome as a starter but on the opposite sideline. Then in week 3 they suffered a 16-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons made a lot of key errors and mental mistakes which cost them the game. As they travel to Seattle this week to play the Seahawks, they look to build momentum heading into the game against the Green Bay Packers next week in the Georgia Dome. Seattle, (1-2 this season) have a key advantage with the crowd being the 12th man. We may have beaten them last season but after what the Seahawks did to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs last year they showed they can compete with the teams in the NFC South. Some of the keys to winning this game is for the offensive line to step up and give Matt Ryan time to throw. Thats one of the things that killed us against Tampa Bay last week. Another thing is to get the run game going with Michael Turner. We should keep on getting JaQuizz Rodgers in the mix as a 3rd down running back. Roddy White needs to make plays when they count. Last week White dropped a pass in the red zone on the five yard line that could've gave Atlanta a 17-16 lead late in the 4th quarter. Julio Jones has already proved that he can be a big playmaker. Matt Ryan should keep on feeding him the ball. Tony Gonzalez has been nothing but great so far this season and expect for him and Matty Ice to pick apart that Seahawks defense on Sunday. A key matchup is cornerback Marcus Trufant covering Roddy White. Our defense needs to step up and make plays. We cant offord penalties like going offsides that can be factors in the game. Our secondary also needs to step up. Daunta Robinson and Brent Grimes need to give Tavaris Jackson a hard time putting the ball in the right spot. Defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards need to constantly get in the backfield and not give Jackson any time to throw. I feel that we're going to get the win this game and get the momentum we need going into the Green Bay game in the Georgia Dome next week.-Yuriy

Atlanta Hawks 2011-12 Season

Despite of all of the mess with the NBA Lockout, we can all discuss how our team will look like in 2011. The Atlanta Hawks finished the season strong against a contending Chicago Bulls team. We all saw the rise of the up and coming talent Jeff Teague when substituting for Kirk Hinrich's injury at the end of the series against the Orlando Magic. Five time all-star Joe Johnson had a stellar regular season but failed to get the Hawks past the second round again. Head Coach Larry Drew had a tough season as being promoted to head coach after being an assistant coach since 2004. A disappointing 44-38 season had Hawks fans doubting him but overcame the adversity after defeating the Orlando Magic after getting swept by them in the 2010 playoffs in the second round. Al Horford made the all-star team for the second straight year. What a lot of fans are wondering are the Hawks going to resign 2010 Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford. Its tough being a Hawks fan because you don't know what you're going to get from them every night. Some nights they act like they want to win and some nights they barely show up. But ever since the 2008 playoffs against the Boston Celtics and taking them to 7 games, the Hawks have had the whole city of Atlanta buzzing. What I think that can take the Hawks to the next level is some more signing in free agency when the lockout ends. We added a new Center to the team in Keith Benson, rookie out of Oakland. I think we should continue to develop Jeff Teague and turn him into that star PG everybody visioned when he got drafted by us in 2009. We also need the production of Josh Smith every single night. He did just that this past year. He was one of the major all-star snubs on the 2011 ballot. Our superstar guard Joe Johnson has been getting a lot of criticism since the 2010 free agency when he got a 7 year, $123 deal. Many people say he's overpaid. I would think its worth it if he steps up not in just the regular season, but in the postseason as well. Show us your that superstar you are. I really do think the Hawks have the potential to get to the Eastern Conference Finals every year. We even have the potential to go to the Finals. We can contend with every team in the league if we learn to work as a unit and use the talent we have. I hope you enjoyed this blog and I'll try to work on more Hawks blogs in the future. -Yuriy