© St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 2003
For a quarterback facing a 3-4 defense, Koy Detmer said the biggest thing is getting used to how it looks when you walk up to the line of scrimmage.
"You're used to seeing four linemen with a hand down on the ground, now there's only three, and there are two guys on the ends standing up, and two inside linebackers," said Detmer, who will back up Donovan McNabb.
Detmer said it's a little harder for the quarterback to read where everybody is coming from, but otherwise, his job changes little. Not so with the offensive linemen.
"It's mostly different for the protection and the blocking," Detmer said. "You just have to have your rules down."
The Falcons are among a handful of teams that regularly play the 3-4, which was much more popular in the 1970s and '80s.
Also, Andy Reid was honored as the Maxwell Football Club's Coach of the Year, the second time in three years he has won.
If ignorance is bliss, and youth breeds it, Atlanta is in clover in January.
Twenty-four players on the 53-man roster are third-year pros or younger, 31 are in their fourth season or less.
Maybe they didn't know enough to be intimidated in Green Bay. Or maybe they'll be immune to Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium for the same reason: Youthful ignorance.
"That's a good way of putting it," coach Dan Reeves said. "I think inexperience sometimes may help you from that standpoint."
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the officiating errors made at the end of the wild-card game between the Giants and 49ers were "totally unacceptable."
Tagliabue said the league already is looking into ways to avoid a recurrence of the errors that prevented the Giants from attempting a potential game-winning 41-yard field goal in their 39-38 loss to the 49ers on Sunday.
The league admitted Monday that the officiating crew failed to call a pass interference penalty against San Francisco on the final play of the game.
"What happened at the end in terms of the breakdown of officiating was totally unacceptable to us, and it shouldn't have happened with the mechanics already in place," Tagliabue said in a radio interview. "We are going to be thoroughly reviewing how the breakdown occurred and make certain it doesn't happen again."