Forney misses the Falcons’ lion-hearted running game
FOR those of you who think Samson Satele has it bad: Have you wondered about Kynan Forney?
Yeah, Satele is 1-13 with the Miami Dolphins, but Forney is on perhaps a much worse sinking ship.
At 3-11, the Atlanta Falcons are not much better in the win column than the Dolphins and are deteriorating fast. You've heard of the Mike Vick dogfighting scandal and the Bobby Petrino debacle.
"You gotta move on. What can you do?" Forney said in a phone interview last week. "All I can do about Mike (sentenced to 23 months in jail) is support him as best I can and talk to him when I can and help him however I can.
"And the coach (Petrino) leaving (abruptly), we're dealing with that. He chose to go on and do his own thing. Good riddance."
Forney, like Satele, is a former University of Hawaii offensive lineman. Except for the occasional injury, he's been the starting right guard for the Falcons pretty much since he broke into the league in 2001.
He wasn't too thrilled with coach Petrino while he was coaching the Falcons, either.
Proud of the fact that the Falcons were the NFL's top rushing team the last three years, Forney was hoping the grind-it-out game would continue under Petrino.
"We wanted to keep running the ball," Forney said. "Petrino came in and we knew he wanted to pass, but we were under the impression that it would be a pretty balanced offense. But the way it turned out, we might as well have just done passing drills the whole time in practice.
"Running the ball is kind of the lion-hearted thing. Everybody knows what your plays are. They know you're going to run. They've watched your tapes. But it all comes down to who's gonna stop who?"
Forney has come a long way since his first two seasons, when he battled several turf-toe injuries. He started every game in 2003, '04 and '05 before a shoulder injury sidelined him for more than half the season in '06. This year, he's had some minor knee trouble.
He says offseason workouts a few years ago with former 49ers tackle Steve Wallace has been a big boon to his improvement.
"I think it helped extend my career," Forney said. "He helped me tremendously with 1-on-1 drills and it just took me up a notch. It took my God-given talents and put a technique to it. It's not that I didn't learn technique before from other coaches, but this really made a huge difference.
"On running plays, he got me to get my second foot down fast, and in pass pro (protection), to keep my feet moving."
Watching others and learning from them is something Forney swears by.
"Maybe I can steal something from watching the tapes and use it in my repertoire," he said.
When Forney was a rookie, he looked up to veteran Bob Whitfield and others. Now, he's one of those who take charge.
"Some guys are definitely more vocal than me," he said. "I try to play fast and play as hard as I can and hopefully others will see that and try to emulate it."
Forney plans on going to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans along with another former UH and NFL lineman, Adrian Klemm.
He's been vocally backing Hawaii in their matchup against Georgia, even though he's in hostile territory.
"We've got some friendly little stuff going on (with three Falcons teammates who played for Georgia). The loser has to wear the shirt and caps of the winner's school. I'm just showing some pride in my school. We're talking some trash."
Atlanta is coming off a 37-3 shellacking by NFC South champion Tampa Bay. It was interim coach Emmitt Thomas' first outing after Petrino's surprise departure.
Can it get worse?
"We want to end the season on a pride note," Forney said. "The coach quit. He tried to instill in us not to quit and then he does it.
"We'll just try and finish up and look forward to the new man. We'll see."