The Falcons have been playing good football for several years, but they’re no longer worried about playing other good football teams.
Flush with confidence after thrashing the defending champion Giants yesterday, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said he could sense a difference in this year’s version compared to past teams which earned a front-runner label.
“I told them early in the locker room, ‘We can’t keep ducking people and say, We don’t want to play these guys, we don’t want to play those guys,’” White told Mike Garafolo of USA Today. “We have to go out there and execute our game plan, whatever Smitty [coach Mike Smith] brings to us, and we’ve got to go out there and play Falcon football. Stop saying, ‘I hope we don’t get these guys.’
“We’re a good football team. We have to go out there and play like a good football team.”
The Falcons have been ousted from the playoffs by three teams that ended up in the Super Bowl, losing to the eventual champs the last two seasons. White said previous Falcons teams didn’t always “relish the moment,” of playing such competition.
“Absolutely. I could say, two, three years ago, that was the attitude, trying to escape guys and not do this and say, ‘I hope we don’t get these guys,’” White said. “We’d be saying, ‘Oh, these guys can do this, they’re a good football team.’ We can’t say we don’t want to play them. We can’t say that.
“This year, it’s a totally different team.”
Pushing through from good to great is often a mental task, more so than a physical one. If the Falcons truly believe they’re different, that might be the first step in being different come the postseason.