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12 Jan

Three Trades My Barber Would Make (by Smitty)

I just got back from my barber and we were discussing the upcoming season. My barber is still ticked off over the “In-Field Fly Incident.” You may remember he was arrested for throwing Barbicide on the field.

While he was locked up in the clink, his cell mate was a Braves front office official and he has added another great contact to keep up on all the latest Hot Stove action. In fact, they ran into each other at the probation office yesterday and here are three moves that are in the works:

Move one:
Atlanta gets: Miguel Montero, Jose Altuve, and George Springer
Arizona gets: Jed Lowrie, Xavier Cedeno, and Cory Gearrin
Houston gets: Dan Uggla, Randall Delgado, and A.J. Pollock

Move two:
Atlanta gets: Tommy Milone, Jeff Bianchi, and Tyler Thornburg
Oakland gets: Juan Francisco and Corey Hart
Milwaukee gets: Mike Minor and Coco Crisp

Move Three:
Atlanta gets: Brandon Morrow, Wil Myers, Mark Trumbo
Toronto gets: Brian McCann and Vernon Wells
LA Angels gets: Dylan Bundy and Paul Maholm

As always, these moves are subject to change to include more players.

156 Responses to “Three Trades My Barber Would Make (by Smitty)”

  1. 1
    Stu Says:

    Move Two would be a disaster. And how did Myers and Bundy make it into Move Three?

  2. 2
    Adam R Says:

    What is this “lying in the weeds” nonsense?

  3. 3
    mravery Says:

    My guess is that the Braves have an offer on the table, J Upton wants to come here, and the Diamondbacks are trying to find someone to beat it. I do think that if Texas wants him, they’ll be able to get him. But it doesn’t look at this point like they’re willing to give up enough. Dunno why they’re so insistent on keeping both Andrus and Profar. A move for an elite bat in the OF seems so natural for them I’m quite surprised it’s not done. Maybe they just don’t think that highly of Upton.

  4. 4
    Dan Says:

    What is this ‘lying in the weeds’ nonsense?

    Glad someone else was thinking this.

  5. 5
    csg Says:

    It’s gonna be tough if Upton goes somewhere else at this point. DOB was setting this up as soon as BJ signed his deal. I think it’s clear that Upton wants to come here. Can’t blame him for saying no to the Mariners.

  6. 6
    spike Says:

    Aside from the fact it’s a stupid metaphor, I take “lying in the weeds” to mean at some point AZ is going to realize that Seattle ain’t happening, and Texas is not going to come across with the players they want, so they will have to negotiate seriously with Atlanta w/o Simmons in the deal.

  7. 7
    Bethany Says:

    This process is taking years off my life. It was impossible! Then Cody Ross! Then the Mariners! Then AHHHHH.

  8. 8
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I had forgotten how badly the youngsters get strung up on the Hot Stove League moving slowly. It’s okay Bethany. It will happen, or it will not.

  9. 9
    mravery Says:

    Until the Seattle deal became public, I never took the talk of J Upton to the Braves seriously. Now I dunno. I imagine Arizona must just not think that highly of him.

  10. 10
    Dan Says:

    Thinking the Braves want Upton, have an offer out to him, and are just waiting and hoping everything else falls apart for Arizona.

    A 27 year old career minor leaguer, Constanza and Francisco are not options the Braves want to go with, despite any bluster otherwise.

  11. 11
    mravery Says:

    Gattis isn’t a career minor leaguer. He’s been there three years, which isn’t very long at all. He’s something of a unique case, and I for one remain optimistic about his ability to be useful at the major elague level, either this year or in the future.

  12. 12
    Jeff K Says:

    @9 – It is interesting Towers’ efforts to trade Upton. But I wouldn’t read too much into it and conclude that they don’t like Upton — Towers has a history of alienating the players he’s trying to trade.

  13. 13
    Jeff K Says:

    @6 – Do they really need Simmons after the Cleveland/Cincinnati trade? Seems to me that they would be looking for pitching as the centerpiece of an Upton trade.

  14. 14
    csg Says:

    Arizona doesn’t want or need another SS for Upton at this point.

  15. 15
    spike Says:

    You are kidding right – you guys do know that Gregorius has a minor league OBP of .323, and .288 at AAA – where he probably ought to start the year. Sickels has him at a C+. He may never hit enough to stick. He’s “a” shortstop, but hardly “the” shortstop.

  16. 16
    Bethany Says:

    Did the Mariners send a SS in their trade offer?

  17. 17
    Adam R Says:

    Yep, Nick Franklin.

  18. 18
    Bethany Says:

    Boooooooo

  19. 19
    Dan Says:

    Ahmed would probably be included.

  20. 20
    Bethany Says:

    I’m fine with that, but I’d also probably give up a kidney to make the trade happen at this point.

  21. 21
    Jeff K Says:

    Franklin doesn’t look like a Simmons to me. Towers would probably like a SS prospect to spread the risk, but doesn’t need to get Simmons if he can get the pitching that team needs.

  22. 22
    spike Says:

    I agree that they may well trade him for a package that would not include a SS, but their clear preference is still for one that does.

  23. 23
    kc Says:

    Flacco may not be as good as Ryan, but he sure knows how to win a playoff game.

  24. 24
    ububba Says:

    #23
    No dis on Flacco, but that game was a little gifted. Helluva game, though.

    Let’s go, Falcons.

  25. 25
    Bethany Says:

    @24 “Little” is an understatement. I’ve never seen a safety misplay a ball at the end of a game like Denver’s guy did.

  26. 26
    Coop Says:

    R.I.P.,Pascual Perez.

  27. 27
    Adam M Says:

    Pretty sure Flacco’s career playoff record has more to do with his defense than his play. Even with the impressive numbers from this year’s two postseason games, he is sporting a career passer rating of 80 with a 54% completion rate.

  28. 28
    sdp Says:

    Crass joke coming.

    Heyward, Bupton, and Jupton? Damn, that would be one “hung” outfield.

  29. 29
    DG Says:

    sdp: I guess you would (since you already did), but I’m not sure I would have posted something like that. My sensibilities aren’t frail, but I don’t read Braves Journal for stuff like that.

  30. 30
    ryan c Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves shock the heck out of everyone and get Parra for something as small as a lefty reliever.

  31. 31
    c. shorter Says:

    30 — Perhaps that’s been the play all along. (Like a Pence smokescreen.)

  32. 32
    Ray Says:

    @28, 29 I don’t get that. What is “hung” referring to? Could someone please explain that to a non-native english speaker?

  33. 33
    Dan Says:

    Heyward, Bupton, and Jupton? Damn, that would be one “hung” outfield.

    Outside of stereotypes, how would you know that?

  34. 34
    Brave Marine Says:

    Sdp: im not a prude about innuendo or speech. Been a Marine for over 25 yrs so ive pretty much heard it all. But how the heck does that ‘observation’ belong in this discussion or on this site at all? Grow up.

  35. 35
    csg Says:

    Parra wouldn’t shock me. He’s a decent 4th OF type due to hos versatility but he’s not going to be a difference maker.

  36. 36
    csg Says:

    His

  37. 37
    Mark Graybill Says:

    Well, the poster put “hung” in quotation marks, which suggests it is a figure of speech. Talented ballplayers are frequently referred to as “studs” in much the same way in sports culture.

    If this is a statement about penis size, then I, too, find it somewhat offensive.

  38. 38
    Dan Says:

    This topic makes the “Screaming Savage” cap discussion look pretty good about now.

  39. 39
    Bethany Says:

    “Matty Ice” my foot.

  40. 40
    Bethany Says:

    I’m just speechless. I went into the game expecting the Falcons, to lose, but not like this.

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Wow. Well, better to win ugly than to lose pretty, huh?

  42. 42
    Dan Says:

    Better luck next year, Seahawks.

  43. 43
    Bethany Says:

    oh my god

  44. 44
    Trace Says:

    Had it all the way :)

  45. 45
    JonathanF Says:

    @39: Need your foot back, Bethany?

  46. 46
    Bethany Says:

    @45 You’ll have to remove it from Matt’s rear end first.

  47. 47
    ububba Says:

    Man, that game just wrung me out.

  48. 48
    Bethany Says:

    @47 I know, I feel physically exhausted.

  49. 49
    Stu Says:

    Yeah, I’m spent, too.

  50. 50
    Parish Says:

    Not sure the last time I saw such a miracle rescue such a complete debacle. Those things don’t usually go together.

  51. 51
    MikeM Says:

    See braves, winning a playoff game IS possible

  52. 52
    Dan Says:

    “There’s no way they’ll beat the Broncos.”
    “There’s no way they’ll beat the Giants.”
    “There’s no way they’ll beat the Seahawks.”

    “There’s no way they’ll beat the 49ers.”
    “There’s no way they’ll beat the Patriots.”

  53. 53
    mravery Says:

    This has been a pretty good weekend of football. I’m quite enjoying it so far.

    Most interesting thing: The best QB this weekend has been Colin Kaepernick. But I guess we’ve got to give Brady the rest of this half to see if he can step it up.

  54. 54
    spike Says:

    Late to the party, but I couldn’t believe they didn’t go for two when they went up 26-7, to mitigate exactly what transpired. 17 points still doesn’t beat you if you miss, and you get OT if they score 21 after a made 2 pointer. All’s well that ends well though.

  55. 55
    Dan Says:

    Didn’t the Falcons also get a penalty too, to make a 2-point conversion easier? Weird they still went for only one extra point there.

  56. 56
    sdp Says:

    I apologize for my ill-conceived attempt at humor which utilized and perpetuated a stereotype.

  57. 57
    Nick Says:

    You can correct me if I’m wrong, ububba, but I’m pretty sure I now have some idea of what 1980 felt like. I’m pretty sure I was feeling it there after Seattle scored and before we started moving the ball.

  58. 58
    Adam M Says:

    Only the Falcons can defeat a great football team and leave me feeling irritated. But I’ll take it. What a weekend of football.

  59. 59
    Kirk H. Says:

    I’ve never been impressed with Mike Smith’s game management skills. In addition to not going for two at the obvious point spike mentions, the rushing to call to timeout after the Gonzales catch did not make sense to me, nor did the terrible squib kick (which should not have been even necessary)at the end.

  60. 60
    mravery Says:

    One could argue that on a botched snap for the FG, the holder could grab the ball and spike it to stop the clock and allow another opportunity.

    I realize that’s silly, but it’s the only rationalization I could think of for the TO with 13 seconds remaining.

  61. 61
    kc Says:

    @59 Game management skill does not exist in Atlanta.

  62. 62
    Parish Says:

    61 – or within an hour of Atlanta?

  63. 63
    sansho1 Says:

    The squib kick seems to have been Bryant’s mistake. Maybe he wasn’t done playing hero, and thought he could recover it himself.

  64. 64
    JonathanF Says:

    I just think he was trying to get it past the first row and missed.

  65. 65
    ElKabong Says:

    I’m probably alone in this, but I always confuse Brandon Morrow, with Brenden Morrow.

  66. 66
    ububba Says:

    #57
    Yeah, it came close to feeling the same: A big day turns into a crushing loss. Luckily, this one morphed into a near-miraculous comeback win. Then that was followed by another heart-stopping scare. There’s just never been a Falcons post-season game like this.

    (The ’98 NFC title game in Minnesota was an exciting game & a great win, but it still felt like a gift–the Vikes’ FG kicker hadn’t missed a kick all year, until that game when he coughed one up at the end of regulation, giving the Falcons another life.)

    And now that I’ve processed what happened (I think), it did occur to me that a Falcon loss in this game today would’ve eclipsed Jan. 4, 1981, as the franchise’s the all-time worst playoff loss. Hell, it would’ve ranked up there with all-time losses for any Atlanta team.

    In that game vs. Dallas, the Falcons were the NFC’s #1 seed playing at home against a team that had played the previous week. (Back then, there were only 5 playoff teams per conference—so only 2 wild-card weekend games & byes for the NFL’s 6 division winners.)

    The Falcons were up 24-10 going into the 4th quarter, then 27-17 with just over 3 minutes to go. Similar to this game, Atlanta was outscored 20-3 in the 4th quarter. Not many remember this, but after Drew Pearson’s winning TD with 47 seconds to go, the Cowboys missed the PAT, keeping the score at 30-27, allowing the Falcons a slim opportunity to tie with a FG.

    The difference? With 31 seconds left today, Matt Ryan & others pulled it out; with 47 seconds left 32 years ago, Steve Bartkowski & company couldn’t.

    I’m not sure this game is some kind of redemption for that moment of misery, but there is a little bit of symmetry. I’ll definitely take it.

    FWIW, I was fine with Smith going for the FG with 13 seconds left. It was a makable FG & you cannot risk a sack or turnover there. Seattle found that out at the end of the first half.

  67. 67
    Dan Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7SR8YCoW8o

    Is it wrong to enjoy this?

  68. 68
    Kirk H. Says:

    @66 The error was in calling the timeout before letting the clock tick down a few seconds more. The FG attempt should have been the last play. If you botch the snap with no timeouts, chances are pretty good you aren’t getting off another play anyway.

  69. 69
    Bethany Says:

    The game yesterday felt like the 2010 Iron Bowl to me, with a few things reversed. Auburn gets kicked up and down the field for one half, then the freak fumble prevents another Bama TD. Auburn mounts an amazing comeback in the second half, completely with the Fairley sack and fumble recovers at the goal line, only to muff a punt. I thought the game was over, but somehow we pulled it out. That’s the only football game I can recall giving me so much grief as yesterday.

  70. 70
    Smitty Says:

    @66

    I don’t understand why smith called the timeout so quickly. That was a total panic move. He should have let the clock wind down to about 4 seconds.

    Oh well, they won. That is all that counts

  71. 71
    Kirk H. Says:

    I also don’t get this idea of the defense calling timeout right before the snap on crucial FG attempts that seems to be all the rage. You’re just giving the kicker a free practice attempt. I think Jeff Fisher was the first guy I saw do this, but not sure if he was the “inventor” of this extremely annoying trend. I’d love to see coaches get an unsportmanslike conduct penalty for doing this.

  72. 72
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    If they didn’t ice the kicker, the Falcons would’ve lost. The coach shouldn’t get unsportsmanlike conduct, he should get the game ball.

  73. 73
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @56 – apology accepted (by me at least.)

    @67 – yes, it’s wrong to take joy in the pain of 10 year girls.

    @71 – “icing” the kicker is terrible strategy; kickers are more efficient after being “iced” than if you just let the play go.

  74. 74
    sansho1 Says:

    Oops, it was Bosher on the kickoff, not Bryant.

    It looked to me like Bosher and Bryant knew the timeout had been called before the snap, as some of the linemen had already relaxed, so I’m not sure what conclusion is to be drawn from the first kick.

  75. 75
    spike Says:

    Icing the kicker is a strategy devised and enforced secretly by the networks to get one more set of commercials in at a time with the max number of viewers are paying max attention.

  76. 76
    Smitty Says:

    @75

    Sounds about right

  77. 77
    c. shorter Says:

    75 — just like the 2 minute warning

  78. 78
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    King Kaufmann made the point yesterday that just when you thought the TD-PAT-commercial-Kickoff-commercial thing was over the top, the NFL drops a “mandatory review of all scoring plays” in there so you get TD-commercial during review – PAT – commercial – Kickoff – commercial – football.

  79. 79
    Smitty Says:

    Anything to sell more Papa John’s!

  80. 80
    Seat Painter Says:

    I heard on ESPN that icing the kicker gives about a 4% extra chance of a missed FG. So, it actually works about once every 25 times, which seems about right, so maybe once a season?

    Anyway, if I were going to try something to get into a kickers head, I would be very obvious in going over to the side judge, as if I was gonna call a TO, so the kicker would notice and think an icing was about to happen, but tell the official I was NOT going to call a TO. Then maybe the kicker screws up by not concentrating.

  81. 81
    Mark Grogan Says:

    Not being critical or anything. I thank Alex and everyone involved for keeping this thing going. BUT, I think perhaps it is time for a new poll. Maybe how many games will the 2013 Braves win?

  82. 82
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I’m not sure why people whose teams win a game seem to take pleasure in the anguish of the fans of the team that lost. Seems tacky to me but, increasingly, sports fandom is starting to feel that way.

  83. 83
    spike Says:

    Sports fandom? Practically every facet of American culture has been reduced to win/lose proposition, with the requisite trash talking and end zone spiking by the followers and participants.

  84. 84
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @81, ask and ye shall receive!

  85. 85
    Tom Says:

    @75, 77 – just like the whole sport.

  86. 86
    Stu Says:

    I really don’t feel like I have enough info for the poll. If I knew Gattis could hit MLB pitching and play passable catcher, I’d vote for him, easily. But I don’t know that, so I voted for Bethancourt and his elite glove and BP power.

  87. 87
    Adam R Says:

    @86, Same. I voted for Bethancourt.

  88. 88
    csg Says:

    I need to see Bethancourt put up at least a .700 ops in the minors before I can vote for him. Doesn’t matter how good his arm and glove are if his bat stays this bad. His age is a huge plus but it might be 2015 or 2016 before he’s ready

  89. 89
    Stu Says:

    Yeah, I completely disagree. Catcher defense is pretty important. He could play right now. (No, this would not be ideal, but it would be better than forcing a bad LF into the position.)

    Anyway, the Braves need to just start him on the Yadi Molina PED Plan to transform him from, well, Yadi Molina into an MVP candidate.

  90. 90
    Adam R Says:

    Everybody agrees Bethancourt can do one thing at a major league level. Gattis? Not so much.

  91. 91
    csg Says:

    I could agree with you depending on the LF situation. If we trade for the other Upton then it would be much easier carrying a defensive only catcher.

  92. 92
    Stu Says:

    Well, either way, I think it’s just a straight value calculation at the catcher position. I’m just saying that I think Bethancourt’s [DWAR - OWAR] would be higher than Gattis’s [OWAR - DWAR] if Gattis really can’t catch at this level.

  93. 93
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    “You have to have a catcher because if you don’t you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.”
    — Casey Stengel

  94. 94
    sansho1 Says:

    I equate icing the kicker with maximizing lineup construction in baseball — yes, the numbers say the advantage of doing so is very small. But if you are a coach or manager, and this variable is completely within your control, you are doing your team a disservice by NOT employing the tactic, no matter how small the advantage. Gamesmanship within the rules is a part of the job description, as far as I’m concerned. If the league can come up with a way to make it against the rules, that would be fine with me — it’s not like I enjoy watching a kicker get iced. But I don’t blame coaches for doing it, at all. I would absolutely do it.

  95. 95
    spike Says:

    @92, I get that you mean in terms of net value, but for the record, WAR does not equal DWAR+OWAR.

  96. 96
    Stu Says:

    Right, I was making up terms, just trying to explain my point.

  97. 97
    Smitty Says:

    I would like to see a stat of DWAR+OWAR.

  98. 98
    IthacaBraves Says:

    In reality it could make sense to carry both of them in 2014. Bethancort could come in late in games with a lead as a defensive replacement and Gattis could pinch hit in games where the Braves are trailing an need a big hit. It’s quite possible that Gattis’ defense will be improved with one more season under his belt, same could be said about Bethancort’s hitting.

  99. 99
    csg Says:

    MLB.com’s Doug Miller
    “According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the Braves could try to match the talent level put forth by the Mariners by offering Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado, Eric O’Flaherty or Jonny Venters, shortstop Nick Ahmed and likely either J.R. Graham or Zeke Spruill”

  100. 100
    csg Says:

    Cant verify this at all, but it was posted at AJC so take it at no real value.

    @mlbinsidenews hearing Justin Upton is going to the #Braves, details to follow.

  101. 101
    csg Says:

    AAR and others, I guess the AJC link on the right side needs to be updated. DOB changed the place and look to his new blogs.

    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-braves/

  102. 102
    Bethany Says:

    I wonder what happens first; The Braves get J Upton, or the Eames chairs I ordered that have since gone missing in the mail arrive. the universe has to give me one of them, right?

  103. 103
    spike Says:

    oooh I am a huge Eames fan – which model did you order?

  104. 104
    Bethany Says:

    @103 They are vintage fiberglass shell chairs with dowel legs in navy and orange: Auburn colors! I don’t care for the new Herman Miller versions with plastic seats instead of fiberglass. Unfortunately they left Jersey City on the 9th and haven’t been seen since.

    They are probably the cheapest Eames chairs you can buy, but I love that design! I’ve got some vintage DCM chairs too.

  105. 105
    Dusty Says:

    McCann hoping to be ready for the start of the season and feels ahead of schedule, that sounds encouraging.

  106. 106
    csg Says:

    Bmac said today that he may be ready for opening day.

  107. 107
    Stu Says:

    100—Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but that account is not legit (illegit?) — and it never even tweeted that.

  108. 108
    csg Says:

    Edit: Another good reason to stay away from AJC, I guess. If you actually needed a reason.

  109. 109
    Smitty Says:

    @107

    If the account is not legit and didn’t Tweet that, does that mean it’s true?

  110. 110
    justhank Says:

    If the Falcons had played the exact same game with the lone exception that Bryant missed the late field goal, how different the Atlanta sports world would be today.

    Hardly any questioning of Smith’s poor decisions (two-point conversion – do the math, Coach – premature timeout, squib kick, etc.) or Matt Ryan’s truly heinous interception(s).

    There’s virtually no discussion of the total collapse of the defense which quite nearly allowed the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL playoff history.

    I guess Al Davis was in a rare lucid moment when he proclaimed “Just win, baby”.

    My hatred of the 49ers thoroughly resuscitated, I look forward to going Elvis on the big screen when Kapernick (sp?) dances into the end zone for the fifth time.

  111. 111
    Dan Says:

    The “mlbinsidenews” Twitter is a hoax run by a teenage Braves fan. Think it was the same guy who made the phony Chipper Jones account, that compelled Chipper to join Twitter.

  112. 112
    Nick Says:

    @110

    By the same token, there also wouldn’t have been any mention of the way the Falcons completely blew the Seahawks off the field in the first half, or of the way that Ryan led the Falcons 41 yards in 12 seconds with two plays at the end. If the overriding goal is “We just have to win a playoff game”, like it was, and you do, then that’s it. You can’t really go back and talk about how badly we sucked here and there and there. The team has to nitpick everything, but as fans, I can’t see complaining about a playoff win…ever. I frankly couldn’t care less how bad much of the second half was, at this point. It actually makes the fact that we eventually won even better.

    As far as the 49ers, we pretty well handled Seattle’s zone read. That, of course, has already evolved in the media into Seattle not even trying the zone read, which is complete BS. Wilson never ran on one, but that’s because we defended it well. Though I don’t necessarily agree with it, let’s say SF’s zone read is a giant step up from Seattle’s. (In reality, Kaepernick is a better running QB than Wilson, but Lynch is a better RB than Gore, so I think it’s closer to a wash than people are saying). Doesn’t the fact that we will now have been preparing for this type of offensive attack for two straight weeks, and will have had to for three additional weeks during the regular season, account for something? I think so.

  113. 113
    mravery Says:

    You’re nuts if you think Lynch is a better RB than Gore.

  114. 114
    mravery Says:

    And I wouldn’t necessarily say the offenses are that similar. SF throws a ton more looks at you, they run the ball more often and more effectively, and Crabtree and Davis are better than any of Seattle’s top receiving threats. But the biggest difference is on the other side of the ball. The best passrusher for the 49ers will not be out. That’s what you should be worried about.

  115. 115
    sansho1 Says:

    Ryan’s first INT was at least in part due to Gonzalez stopping his route. The second was indeed heinous, on multiple levels.

    But hey, the offense scored twice the average number of points that Seattle’s D gives up, so you have to give them high marks overall. Good offensive gameplan, and terrific execution for much of the game.

    The defense, on the other hand…well, we’re gonna need some turnovers.

  116. 116
    Stu Says:

    I definitely agree that Lynch is better than Gore.

  117. 117
    ububba Says:

    Speaking of turnovers…

    Gore has been more durable & averages more per carry than Lynch, but both guys fumble too much for my taste.

    Yes, we’ll need turnovers and hopefully that’ll come by virtue of the Falcons confusing Kaepernick with coverages. (Go back to the SF/Rams game.) They’ll need to keep him in the pocket (easier said than done), especially if he recognizes man pass coverage–that’s when he takes off running.

  118. 118
    mravery Says:

    Gore’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. I don’t believe that has been one of Lynch’s strengths.

  119. 119
    Nick Says:

    Thank you, Stu. At the very least, I’m not nuts.

    Also, Green Bay’s defense is horrific with a capital H. I wouldn’t be looking for a repeat of last week. We pretty much entirely shut down Seattle’s run game, specifically. We had problems when they started throwing the ball all over the place and Wilson was extending plays for seemingly a minute and a freaking half waiting to find someone downfield. And at that, Seattle is definitely better than San Francisco.

  120. 120
    Stu Says:

    Just checked, and Football Outsiders agrees with us,, Nick. Whew!

    They’re both pretty good, though.

  121. 121
    ryan c Says:

    Bet Hudson balks at least twice this year on the ol’ fake to 3rd, throw to 1st move.

  122. 122
    PaulV Says:

    @121 With the playoff umps we had he could get 4 or 5 guys picked off.

  123. 123
    Rusty S. Says:

    I’m interested to see how they write that. Are they going to prohibit stepping toward third entirely, or just with runners on 1st and 3rd, or some other variation?

  124. 124
    mravery Says:

    According to FB outsiders, GB’s defense is better than Atlanta’s. So there’s that.

    And be real for a second here, guys. Seattle is a different team at home vs. on the road. They never beat ANYONE good on the road this year, unless you want to count a Redskins team that had a QB for exactly 1/4 of the game. Other than that, their best win on the road was against a reeling Bears team. They lost to Miami in Miami as recently as Week 12. Everyone was slurping the Seahawks because they crushed everyone they played at home. (And honestly, I’d still favor them against every team in the NFL in Seattle.) But they just lose something on the road and are eminently beatable.

  125. 125
    Grst Says:

    @123 My guess is they’ll make it so you have to throw the ball to third if you step toward it with your foot on the rubber, as left-handers are required to do at first.

  126. 126
    Smitty Says:

    I think Lynch is better than Gore. But the 49ers are better than the Seahawks.

    I think playing against Wilson this week will help the Falcons next week.

  127. 127
    mravery Says:

    I should stop sniping. I’m just so excited about the 49ers and Kaepernick. The GB game was AWESOME. Especially because it started the exact same way the Gator game did vs. Louisville and ended the way I had hoped that one would.

    Anyhow, next week’s going to be great. Also, read this:
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/47506/falcons-30-seahawks-28-or-the-day-i-became-a-sports-fan

  128. 128
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Marshawn Lynch is better than Frank Gore, by a little.
    The Seahawks’ corners and secondary are much better than SF’s.
    Russell Wilson is better than Colin Kaepernick.

    The 49ers d-line is better than Seattle’s (minus whatshisname.)
    Vernon Davis is a lot better than the Seahawks’ tight end.

    All in all, they’re really similar clubs and the Falcons have to beat Cam Newton yet again. (The irony of this postseason is that the year Atlanta rebuilt their defense to beat Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, they get two Newton clones instead.)

  129. 129
    Nick Says:

    Our goal will be to get ahead and force Kaepernick into a must-throw situation. If we can do that, I don’t think he can pull off what Wilson did. Now if he’s in a situation where he has the entire playbook, he’s gonna be a real handful.

  130. 130
    Bethany Says:

    I think Gore is better than Lynch. Lynch has more breakaway plays, but I think Gore is outstanding and I hate that SF doesn’t use him much.

  131. 131
    mravery Says:

    I love that they don’t use him much. It means he’s still in great condition to put up 100+ yards against a top-10 rush defense in the playoffs.

  132. 132
    Nick Says:

    Just curious, mravery, how did you go about becoming a Niners fan? And if it’s because you’re from there, follow-up question: How did you go about becoming a Braves fan?

  133. 133
    spike Says:

    I am not a huge fan of the game, but it seemed like Wilson was not having to make particularly hard throws. The receiver was open, and we had no pressure on the QB at all. Maybe Abraham comes back and makes the difference, but that did not look good in the 2nd half.

  134. 134
    Dan Says:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/atlanta-braves-arizona-diamondbacks-justin-upton-nearing-trade-hot-stove-010834

  135. 135
    mravery Says:

    Born in: Sacramento, CA
    Moved to: Gainesville, FL at age 2
    Mom’s mom: Big 49ers fan. Would always go out back and ring a cow bell when they won. Also like Vinny Testeverde ’cause he was a “good Italian boy”, but that’s not particularly relevant.
    Dad: From Annapolis, MD, so he was a Colts fan until they moved. After this, basically teamless until he moved to CA. This being the 80s and the Raiders being in LA, the 49ers were the natural fit.

    So when I entered the world, the 49ers were the team for me to root for. They were pretty good back then, which always helps, and it’s not like there was really a local team to root for if you’re in Gainesville anyways. Tampa Bay, I guess, but who would root for a team with those uniforms by choice? But yeah. I had a 49ers jacket back when I was 5.

    The Braves are much simpler. They were on TV every night, and there was literally no other show in town back then.

    Incidentally, I have something of a soft spot for the Giants due to my Bay Area roots. I think my dad would always try to line up our summer visits to CA with a Braves away series. I’ve seen more Braves games in SF than in Atlanta.

  136. 136
    sansho1 Says:

    Apropos of our discussion the other day, the episode of The Layover currently airing on the Travel Channel is proving to be an accurate and surprisingly comprehensive disquisition on the appeal of various ATL neighborhoods (including the wise advice to forget about downtown).

  137. 137
    Trace Says:

    Count me as one who thinks Lynch is better than Gore.

    Nolan’s defense is pretty good at taking away what he believes is the biggest threat. Against Denver, they gave up a big yards per carry average because they were focusing on defending Peyton Manning, of which they did a very good job. Similar stories against the Saints and Giants. Against the Bucs in Tampa, they did a nice job of shutting down Doug Martin after he was being lauded as the best running back in football at the expense of allowing big plays in the passing game.

    Yesterday, they believed that Lynch was the most important player to stop in order to win. I don’t think they knew how well Wilson could throw from the pocket and it came back to bite them in the ass.

    I anticipate they’ll try the same approach with San Francisco. Stop Gore and make sure Kaepernick doesn’t have room outside to break off those big zone-read plays. (Green Bay did not seem to grasp this concept.) They’ll try to force him to throw the ball 40 times and see if he’ll make some mistakes like he did playing on the road in Seattle.

  138. 138
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @134, you horrible, awful man.

  139. 139
    Trace Says:

    Off topic, but the Hawks are heading into the 4th quarter against the Bulls with 37 points.

    They scored a whopping total of 5 (yes, 5) points in the 2nd quarter.

  140. 140
    Nick Says:

    For reasons that I can’t fathom, I’m actually watching this abortion. Well, to be more accurate, I have it on in the background as I’m working. The Hawks had 20 points at halftime. That would be bad for Tennessee, which has four fewer minutes in the half and couldn’t score 70 points against a team consisting of their own grandmothers.

  141. 141
    Grst Says:

    Ditto @138

  142. 142
    spike Says:

    It was a bit of a trip down memory lane though – haven’t bit on that in a long time.

  143. 143
    mravery Says:

    Is it really as simple as “just don’t let him get outside the pocket”? I really don’t think so….

    That said, I think SF is giving too many points given that they’re going to be playing early on the West coast. It’ll be the equivalent of 10AM local for the 49ers, which is NOT a good time to be playing football.

    FWIW, Jacquizz Rogers is the scariest player on the Falcons in my book. Not that he’s better than their WRs, but if he can give them a viable run game, (Be real. Turner can’t.) allofasudden Atlanta might have a legit two-dimensional offense.

    On the other hand, if Kaepernick is throwing the ball 90% as well as he was on Saturday out doors, the 49ers should be able to outscore the Falcons regardless.

  144. 144
    csg Says:

    Does anyone recall the talking heads bringing up another player in their blogs as much as they have with Justin Upton? DOB has been doing it since BJ was signed. Bowman is now on twitter and the official page talking about him. Cant recall this type of discussions with any other potential player.

  145. 145
    Trace Says:

    Actually the game doesn’t start til 3:00 pm so it’ll be 12:00 on the West Coast.

    I’m not surprised that the Niners are favored. They probably have the better team. If I was a San Francisco fan, though, I would hope the win is put away early because the Falcons thrive in close games. Especially at home.

  146. 146
    Putter Says:

    A new tweet:

    David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves
    Was told tonight that #Braves and #Dbacks have not re-started JUpton trade negotiations since he rejected trade to Seattle.

    Ugh….

  147. 147
    csg Says:

    Don’t believe that.

  148. 148
    mravery Says:

    Oh, I agree that the 49ers should be favored, I just think 4 is too much. Maybe -2. -4 is saying SF is a full TD better on a neutral field, and homer that I may be, even I don’t think they’re that much better.

    And I thought the game was going to be at 1. Why the later start? Is that how they always do it for the conference championships? Weird…. (Not that I’m complaining….)

    As for JUpton, I mean, the rumors fill good copy, don’t they? Also, I just saw a friend from high school doing an Office Depot commercial. So there’s that.

  149. 149
    Dan Says:

    Would they need to restart “negotiations”? Imagine the Diamondbacks already know about what the Braves are offering, and the Braves are waiting to see if they take it.

  150. 150
    sansho1 Says:

    From what I understand, the general betting public loves the Packers. So when the Packers get smoked, all that Packers money goes immediately to the team that smoked them, on the theory that that team must therefore be invincible. Sure enough, the opening line was 49ers -3, and in the last hour it’s gone to -5. If I was a neutral observer, and had I not already lost an alarming amount of money gambling on football this year, I’d be hammering the Falcons right now.

  151. 151
    Dan Says:

    Hey, Falcons were 11-point underdogs last time they won an NFC Championship game.

  152. 152
    Nick Says:

    @151

    That was always a ridiculous line. And I know that a line is based on how people are betting to make the money even on both sides, so I’m not saying Vegas was being ridiculous, but that people were being ridiculous. The Vikings were clear favorites in the game (the only clear advantage Atlanta had in that matchup was at running back, and there were people who were even arguing Robert Smith was better than Jamal Anderson before the end of the week), but for a 14-2 NFL team to be 11-point underdogs to anyone in any venue is absurd. If we make the Super Bowl and wind up playing the Patriots, I fully expect to be a double-digit underdog in that one, too, and that will be equally absurd.

  153. 153
    Smitty Says:

    @152

    The Vikings should have won that game by 20 points.

  154. 154
    Bethany Says:

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/47441/have-the-diamondbacks-lost-their-leverage-with-justin-upton

    I’m trying to resign myself to the fact that despite it making perfect sense for the Braves to trade for Upton, it won’t happen.

  155. 155
    PaulV Says:

    We should talk up Upton home away splits so Wren will get a better trade

  156. 156
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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