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Gameday Thread: Tampa Bay Bucs vs Atlanta Falcons

When: 1:00pm Est Sunday
Where: Raymond James Stadium
Why to Watch: With a Win the Bucs head to the Playoffs!!

I know the Falcons as a whole seem like a Bad Dream, but our players shouldnt take them lightly today. You've got a team that has been kicked while its down and should clearly come together on this day and save some face. I expect today's game to be brutal. The Falcons want to resemble a team and the Bucs want to wrap up their Playoff hopes. Don't look for a 31-7 outcome today, its not going to happen. Despite the distractions, the Falcons will come in focused today. To talk about that focus, here's a Q & A session with our Atlanta Falcons Blogger, Dave, from The Falcoholic:

Bobby Petrino.... Did you see his departure coming? Now that you've had time to reflect, are you and the fan base glad that he made this decision, was there a quiet consensus building over the course of the season that felt Petrino wasn't right for the job? Will the Falcons replace Petrino immediately after the season or do you see them taking their time?

I think we were all starting to suspect that he might bolt, but I have to admit the sprint to Arkansas caught me off guard. I never anticipated that he'd take off less than a full season into his contract. Shocking, and more than a little bit of a jerk move.

After reflection, I think many of us are glad to see him go. I wanted to cut him a break--and I guess I kinda did--but it was pretty clear his philosophy wasn't working out. This will give the team another chance to get things right despite the fact that they really haven't been good at that lately.

I do think the team will try to fill the vacancy quick, and owner Arthur Blank apparently has his eyes on 49ers assistant coach Mike Singletary. He's a much-heralded good guy, but his track record as a coach is virtually unknown. I'd be behind that hire, though.

Do you feel Michael Vick's punishment fits the crime? I was shocked that he would have the audacity to ask for leniencies while in the pen, what did you think of that? Is the door closed on a Mike Vick return to the Atlanta Falcons Organization, or do you see an instance where Blank would let a more mature, reserved, and learned Vick back in? Would the fan base welcome him back?

I think--and I can't answer this--it depends on whether he's learned from this and will come out of it a better person. If yes, than I think it's too harsh. If not, I think it's perfectly fine. Only he can answer that, though, and I suspect he won't.

By the time he gets out of the pen and comes back to the league in 2010, the Falcons will have moved along. I don't expect them to show any interest in him as a QB and I definitely can't imagine them giving him an audition at all. My only caveat is that a few more losing seasons might drive Arthur Blank into a spiraling staircase of madness and force him to hire Vick as a publicity stunt. I hope not, though.

As for the fanbase...well, there'll be some who want him back. I can't imagine the majority will want anything to do with him.

Do you and your fan base want General Manager Rich McKay fired? It's no secret the majority of Buc's Fans were sad to see him bolt, What's the general opinion of Rich among the fan base? I remember Rich being a great talent evaluator, who will you remember Rich?

I can only speak for myself here, because most of my readers haven't weighed in on McKay. I absolutely think McKay should be reviewed with a critical eye in the offseason. He has a great reputation but made a questionable hire with Petrino and hasn't distinguished himself in free agency or trades thus far.

I don't think he's a terrible general manager, but the NFL is very results-based. Those results haven't been there, so I think it's time McKay moseyed on to another team. He won't be out of work for long, that's for sure.

From the outside looking in, your QB Situation has been somewhat of a failure this season... Is that due to the personnel on the field or does that have more to do with Petrino not knowing how to handle the assets at his disposal. I don't think the Falcons would have beat us in our first match-up several weeks ago, but I think the team would have fared better with Harrington at the helm from the Kickoff.

I think it's probably fiddy-fiddy. Petrino reguarly undermined Joey Harrington on and off the field and watched it blow up in his face when Leftwich proved to be almost mind-bogglingly bad. If Harrington had simply played every snap this year until Redman became the starter last week, we might have one or two wins than we do now. Too late to look wistfully into the past, though.

Clearly, this is a position to upgrade in the offseason. My preference is that the team dump Leftwich and either Harrington or Redman and draft a couple QBs. Groom one to start, groom the other to be the backup. I dunno that that will happen, though.

At (3-10), the NFL Draft is obviously something that is on the horizon for your team. I realize its December, but do you think the Falcons will attempt to Draft a QB this April or will they look to acquire one via Free Agency?....

The team will absolutely draft a QB, and I'm hoping it'll be in the first or second round. The Falcons cannot go forward without a franchise-type and I don't expect them to even attempt it. I like Woodson quite a bit, but I think the Falcons will still lean toward Matt Ryan or Brian Brohm.

Injury Report:

For the Bucs:
QUESTIONABLE: - RB B.J. Askew (ankle), LB Ryan Nece (groin), RB Michael Pittman (ankle), DE Greg Spires (calf)
PROBABLE: - QB Jeff Garcia (back), WR Ike Hilliard (back)

For the Falcons:
QUESTIONABLE - G Tyson Clabo (ankle), WR Roddy White (knee)
PROBABLE: - CB Antoine Harris (knee)

Checkout the Competition at The Falcoholic, our Atlanta Falcons Blog and see what that fan base has to say, as well as Dave, my man runs an excellent Blog ....