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Mike Bell: More Notes From Cocktail Napkins... Gotta Love These Hawks!... Patriots?... Not So Much.

How 'bout them Hawks? This dream season just keeps rolling along. We talked with DeMarre Carroll the other day and he told us how much he and his teammates have bought into Coach Mike Budenholzer's defensive system and offensive philosophy. Carroll is the poster boy for the unselfish nature of the this team, diving for loose balls, not caring who gets the glory.  The balance, the ball movement and the gritty defense should be the perfect recipe to finally get this team out of the second round.

After years of Iso- Joe Johnson & Bitter Beer Face Josh Smith this is such a refreshing style of play to watch. In a down Eastern Conference why not the Hawks going all the way? Can you imagine the scene at Philips if the Hawks take on LeBron & the Cavs in the second round, it would be nuts.

DeMarre says it's like a college team and the casual fan (see me) has jumped on the bandwagon. Root-able and likable, just a great time at Philips these days.

We asked Hawks fans on the show yesterday are they willing to turn the page on Danny Ferry? It ran about two/thirds yes, fans are willing to forgive Ferry for the scouting report comments he made about Luol Deng.

Only in Atlanta could a guy be up for executive of the year in the NBA but not allowed in his own arena. I don't know if Ferry was reading from a Cavs scouting report or if he actually harbors racist feelings. To me, the entire fiasco can be attributed to the dysfunctional nature of ownership by committee . Mike Gearon who taped the meeting looking for a "gotcha" moment had a mean-on for Ferry from the jump. After moving the immovable objects of Joe Johnson & Marvin Williams you'd think Gearon would've stopped meddling.

Soon enough our decade long nightmare of The Atlanta Spirit LLC will be over. NBA franchise values are skyrocketing, the Hawks worth an estimated $825 million, a good to time for these clowns to get out of the sports business.


....Meanwhile we Falcons fans (not so) patiently wait until after the Super Bowl to meet our new head coach Dan Quinn.  I think I like the hire, when it happens. There was just no one remotely close to a slam dunk for any team out there looking for a new head coach. The retreads had baggage, the first timers unproven.  Quinn isn't bringing Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas or Bennett with him. How much of his defense's playing personality can be attributed to Pete Carroll?

The biggest question I have is how much better can this defense be with Pinky & The Brain calling the shots on the draft and free agency. We decided to go with Pinky & The Brain (texted from a listener) over my suggestion for naming our 2 headed personnel monster of Scott Pioli & Thomas Dimitroff..."Piolioff". I still don't understand how Pioli now controls pro & college scouting and the draft yet still answers to Dimitroff... but I don't understand layer upon layer of corporate structure in my business either. Pioli has has drafted some stars on defense with the Patriots & Chiefs but he's had misfires too. One is on our current roster (Tyson Jackson). It's become quite apparent over 7 seasons Dimitroff can find only offensive play makers.

For what it's worth everyone we talked to the last few weeks from Seattle media says Quinn is a leader of men, a guy's guy. A dude with presence. Dan Wetzel from Yahoo Sports told us Quinn is a big boxing fan and Miguel Cotto is his favorite fighter. We'll see how Quinn jabs at Tom Brady & the Pats offense next week. His defense made Manning & the Broncos look completely over matched in last year's Super Bowl.

I was as underwhelmed as most Falcons fans when I heard Kyle Shanahan was hired as offensive coordinator. Just more proof of how shallow the NFL assistant coaching pool has become with so many teams turning over their staffs each year.

One positive to take from his one season in Cleveland as OC was he would not lay down to management when it came to starting Johnny Manziel. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Shanahan thought going with Johnny Football late in the season while still alive in the playoff hunt was a big mistake and told Mike Petine and the Browns brass so in no uncertain terms.


Did you see the Yellow Jackets Men's Basketball team scored 28 points against Virginia last night? Like most of Atlanta you probably didn't know or care. Brian Gregory's team plays in a beautiful new facility right in the heart of the city and is completely irrelevant.


Deflate-Gate? It sounds ridiculous...and we wouldn't think twice if this had been the Packers footballs used in Seattle last week. But it's the Patriots and their reputation for dirty tricks precedes them.

Smart play by Bill Belichick deferring the handling of the footballs in his press conference to Tom Brady. Like the league would sit Tom Brady for The Super Bowl?

Brady revealed to many astonished reporters that the league hasn't even spoken to him about it yet. So if you're expecting a quick resolution on this by Roger Goodell's stooges, figure sometime after St. Patrick's Day for the report on Brady's Balls.

Obviously 2 more pounds per square inch of pressure wasn't gonna help the Colts avoid that beat down in Foxboro. But do you really think this is the first time the Patriots have monkeyed around with the footballs?

From Spygate to stealing teams signs to their loose interpretation of eligible receivers there has been a consistent effort to cheat by this team for 15 years. The only folks giving the Patriots the benefit of the doubt are Peter Griffin sound-a-likes from Woonsocket.

And what really grinds my gears is how the NFL destroyed the Spygate tapes 8 years ago. Nothing to do with the fact that Roger Goodell's prime supporter among NFL owners is New England's Bob Kraft, right? They had been warned a year before Eric Mangini dropped a dime on them to knock off the extra curricular filming activities and yet they still kept doing it.

People ask what's the advantage of a deflated ball? More grip, easier to throw and catch? Why should any of this matter?  Because it's cheating. Some sports fans say if ya ain't cheating, ya ain't trying. But New England takes cheating to another level. They maintain a culture of cheating.  The one thing we all know about Bill Belichick and his Patriot minions...they don't do anything unless it's going to give them an advantage. And their history shows they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

And if Roger Goodell was really serious about "protecting the shield", he should hit em wear it hurts, take away another first round pick. Never happen, but it would be nice to see The Commish stop shooting himself in the foot and do something right for a change. Not that the Patriots would learn anything from it.

Man I hope Seattle kicks their ass!

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