On the surface, recent remarks from coach-turned-commentator Brian Billick about the quality of the Falcons’ defensive talent will raise no eyebrows. Billick was doing what commentators do, commentating with commentary about topics worthy of comment.
But Billick and Falcons coach Mike Smith are family, in the Walter White/Uncle Hank sense. Married to sisters, that relationship has in the past ruffled feathers at other franchises when Billick was working Falcons games for FOX. Now, the feathers could be ruffled within Falconland.
“I can’t think of another team in the league that has less quantifiable talent on it defensively,” Billick told 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Billick added that Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has been working with “smoke and mirrors” for awhile, and that he’s now merely dealing with “smoke.”
Given the relationship between Billick and Smith and, separately, the relationship between Billick and Nolan (who spent four years with Billick in Baltimore), Billick’s words easily could be viewed not as his own thoughts but as a recitation of complaints he has heard from either or both men. Which could be interpreted as evidence of a growing disconnect between the coaching staff and the front office.
Which perhaps cries out for some sort of joint effort by the coaching staff and the front office to demonstrate that they’re on the same page, and that they’re not not pointing fingers at each other in the event that the season unfolds more like Week Two and Week Four and less like Week One and Week Three.