Falcons start offseason workouts

Falcons defensive tackle #97 Trey Lewis goes down with a season ending injury against the Buccaneers during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. CURTIS COMPTON / Staff

Falcons defensive tackle #97 Trey Lewis goes down with a season ending injury against the Buccaneers during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

Dana Point, Calif. — Falcons head coach Mike Smith was beaming ear to ear.

He said he’d receive a “good report” from the first day of offseason workouts.

He told the AJC that defensive tackle Trey Lewis, linebacker Robert James and running back Thomas Brown were all medically cleared to participate.

The Falcons let defensive tackle Grady Jackson leave via free agency and have not replaced him with a veteran. So the news about Lewis, who is coming off of two knee surgeries, was important.

Lewis was off to a promising rookie season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2007. He missed all of last season after re-injuring the repaired knee while walking down the stairs. Lewis might be able to help offset the loss of Jackson.

Robert "The Beast" James led Arizona State with 106 tackles. He was a fifth round pick, 138th overall in 2008.

Robert James was nicknamed "The Beast" at Arizona State.

James, who was nicknamed “The Beast” in college, was a fifth round pick last season. He missed the season with a head injury. The Falcons are in the midst of re-vamping the linebacking unit. James was called a “run and hit” linebacker and might be able to help next season.

Brown, a seventh round pick from Georgia last season, appeared to have the team made as a kickoff returner before a horse-collar tackle took him out with a groin injury.

Smitty wasn’t as forthcoming about the secondary. We told him we were having trouble figuring out what they were doing at safety. We told him about a “no-cover, no-hit” 46-year-old safety they might be over looking. He said “you can find plenty of those.”

Falcons running back #27 Thomas Brown returns the opening kickoff for a long gain during 1st quarter action against the Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Saturday, August 9, 2008. Curtis Compton/ AJC

Falcons running back #27 Thomas Brown returns the opening kickoff for a long gain during 1st quarter action against the Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Saturday, August 9, 2008. CURTIS COMPTON/ AJC

Georgia safety Reshad Jones #9 gets his hand on a pass caught by South Carolina tight end Jared Cook #84 in Georgia's first SEC game (a win 14-7) last season.  RICHADDICKS@AJC.COM

Georgia safety Reshad Jones #9 gets his hand on a pass caught by South Carolina tight end Jared Cook #84 Iast season in Athens. RICH ADDICKS/AJC

Also, tight end Jared Cook is coming in for a visit. He’s a local player from North Gwinnett High and South Carolina and will not count against the limit of pre-draft players the Falcons can bring in. The Falcons flirted with signing free agent L.J. Smith and may be looking for a receiving tight end in the draft. The draft is considered to be deep at that position.

Those were the Falcon highlights of the AJC’s first day at the Owner’s meeting.

The overall highlight was running into Condoleezza Rice in the hall way of the hotel. The former Secretary of State and super football fan spoke to the Owners on Sunday night.

Team Prez Rich McKay and Tennesse head coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairs of the competition committee, went over the rule changes and points of emphasis for next season. Nothing major, other than banning low hits (Tom Brady rule) on the quarterback. They stopped short of saying they’d just let the QB’s wear skirts or kilts.

If they are out there with the ball, set to do damage to the defense then they should be able get hit anywhere. But in the name of player safety, they can’t be hit in their lower extremities. Players can reach out with their arms and take the legs out, but not lead with the pads.

The theme of the rule changes was player safety. The wedge on kickoff returns will become a thing of the past. Only two-man wedges will be allowed. Call that one the Kevin Everett rule. No more busting up the wedge and ending up with a devastating neck injury.

The AFC coaches speak Tuesday morning. The NFC coaches speak on Wednesday.

Excited about Lewis, James and Brown being back? What about the rule changes?

113 comments Add your comment

this gets old

March 24th, 2009
6:12 am

46 yr. old safety ????!!!!! Yeah, riiiiight! C’mon off of that thang and give the real age brother!

JJ

March 24th, 2009
6:59 am

good report d-led! Keep the info flowing, cannot wait for draft and spring training. This time of year (march madness) is the WORST time of the sports year for some of us. However, the masters and baseball are close!

mountain_jim

March 24th, 2009
7:59 am

Appreciate the updates. Keep em coming. For me the WORST time of year is when bball is over and golf and baseball is left. snore.

Willie Coyote

March 24th, 2009
8:00 am

Where exactly can you hit the QBs now?

uga_b

March 24th, 2009
8:17 am

Willie, you can only hit them in the equivalent of a the strike zone: above the knee and below the shoulders.

At what point do we ban hitting a defenseless reciever coming across the middle? Seems like catching them and tickling them might be safer.

The Robot Nesbitt

March 24th, 2009
8:18 am

This is the Robot Nesbitt seeking information on the professional sport of football. My series is designed for use in the college game and will be modified in two years to play at the professional level. I will dominate and destroy opposing defenses.

The Robot confirms that Trey Lewis is healthy but is a step slower that he was prior to injury. Result: Ineffective. Protocol One: Draft a defensive tackle early.

That is all. Thank you.

Robot out.

Todd

March 24th, 2009
8:21 am

Does anyone know who Ledbetter is referring to when he said “We told him about a “no-cover, no-hit” 46-year-old safety they might be over looking.” ??

chris 4 prez

March 24th, 2009
8:25 am

Robot SHUT UP!!!

TheManMike

March 24th, 2009
8:46 am

DLED-

“The stopped short of saying they’d just let the QB’s wear skirts or kilts.”

Come’on now….Kilts and skirts should never be in the same sentence unless your telling someone who (obviously) does’nt know that a Scot wearing a kilt would kick your arse for saying that. Watch it now…

-But literally, I’m Scottish and you should read up on Scottish history before you try to use Kilts as a term for “panzy” or “sissy” – the implication just does not fit – Scots are historically pretty effin ballsy….

rob

March 24th, 2009
8:47 am

DLED thanks for the article on the Falcons..We are starving for anything new on the Falcons..What do yuo know about the second free agency period that starts around July 1st or so..

TheManMike

March 24th, 2009
8:47 am

You still the man DLed – Just cant be messing with my heritage like that…..gotta inform the masses. haha. ;)

No worries.

noah

March 24th, 2009
8:51 am

Keep up the Falcon news! Thanks!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
9:15 am

Glad to hear the Trey Lewis is on the mend. But I too think we could use a plug in the middle. Terrance Taylor or Roy Miller should be available in round five.

The Robot Nesbitt

March 24th, 2009
9:22 am

Robot has been alerted to the presense of a virus. System scan. System scan completed. Chris 4 Prez will be eliminated. Thank you.

Robots do not wear kilts.

Falcons safety situation does not compute. Protocol Two: Draft safety in third round of draft.

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
9:23 am

If James can get up to 225-230, we could have a potentially potent pair with James (WLB) and Nicholas (SLB). Will be interesting to see how they hold up in coverage. It is a known fact they both are tackling machines given their college histories as well as Nicholas’s special team work to date. GO FALCONS!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
9:25 am

Robot, I personally like Patrick Chung as a surprise in the late first round. But if we went another way, what do you think of Courtney Greene of Rutgers in the fourth?

The Robot Nesbitt

March 24th, 2009
9:50 am

SeminoleWarrior, the Robot has completed it review of Courtney Greene v1.0 of Rutgers. v1.0 processing speed is sufficient for basic tasks in a cover two scenario. v1.0 however is lacking in sufficient hard drive to RAM opponents against the run.

Conclusion: Greene is upgrade and would result in 12.3% improvement in year one; 43% improvement by year four.

griffdawg1

March 24th, 2009
10:13 am

The wedge going away!!! cmon are you kidding me. This is football, it is supposed to be violent. If a guy thinks he can run headfirst into 4 250 lb. blockers then that is the risk he takes. That guy is already banned from leading with his helmet , they just need to enforce that rule on that particular play. Roger GOD-ell needs to leave the integrity of the game in place!!

gdg73

March 24th, 2009
10:19 am

regardless of Lewis’ injury status, I would still go DT in the first. If Robert James is as good as people think or say he is, we can forget LB in the first round (Clay Matthews, Jr. and Brian Cushing fans). I also think that Cook will be a fine addition as well in the 2nd or 3rd. He might be better than Pettigrew anyway.

clthurman

March 24th, 2009
10:19 am

Well sounds like what I thought they have no plan on the secondary…what a crock….so it looks like a lot of zone and cover 2 crap where we dinked and donked to death and then a fade route over Grimes or Houston for 6. After a great beginning last year you would think a little more planning would be in effect. The three that are coming back from injuries are Question Marks until they prove it on the field of play. No back ups on the defensive side which was our weakness and it has only gotten worse. And if you think this years draft is the answer I dare anyone to say that this draft will most assuredly address these shortcomings and be for real. And reading all of Ken’s Kyperisms is giving me a headache since if the younger player does shine we wont pay them ala Foxworth because TD has a plan and he is from New England and I can go on forever. Improve the D please and Orlando quit being a suck up and ask the hard questions…I get enuff cheese from the losers on the local broadcast channels.

gdg73

March 24th, 2009
10:25 am

In meant to say “sorry Clay Matthews, Jr. and Brian Cushing fans”

DR. SEUSS

March 24th, 2009
10:55 am

Reportedly, Mike Vick has written a “book” in prison.

Any guesses on the title?

“WHERE’S WALDO?’” FOR DUMMIES

FEE! FI! FO! FUM! SET! HUT!

SUCCESSFUL DATING WITHOUT WOMEN

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

MIKE VICK: JAILHOUSE RAPE SURVIVOR

HERE, POOCHIE!

ALL EYES WANT 4 CHRISTMAS IS SOAP ON A ROPE

THE MIKE VICK COLORING BOOK

COTTON PILLOW FIBERS TASTE THE BEST

uga_b

March 24th, 2009
10:58 am

I still think they go DL, but I am not sure if they go end or tackle. I think it will depend on who is higher on their board. The big question is when they make the decision on Anderson. Before the draft to target DE or DL based on where he plays or move him based on who the select?

Jim

March 24th, 2009
11:14 am

Y’all who are worried about the qb’s being sissies need to get a grip. If it were you paying the big bucks, it would be different. Last season, half the qb’s in the league spent time on the bench due to injury. Not cool at all. Park the comments and realize it is a business and business people are going to protect their investment. Simple as that.

TrueFalconFan

March 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Trey Lewis is a perfect replacement for Grady, almost like a free agent pickup. I am also excited to see him back along with Robert James. Many people don’t know these guys, but by the beginning of the season you will see their impact and forget about Michael Boley and Grady.

Baba O'Riley

March 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Thank goodness Thomas Brown is back. What would we do without these ex-UGA players on the sidelines???????

Mitch

March 24th, 2009
11:42 am

Milloy is still out there. Does anyone think there is a chance he could come back? Why is he still unsigned?

Nique

March 24th, 2009
11:45 am

Trey Lewis is not proven enough for us to be going into the season relying on him, I think he is a good back (if he can ever stay healthy), but not a starter! That’s why I think drafting one of the 3 lagit NT’s in the draft (Raji, who will be gone, Brace, or Taylor is so important) or after figuring who get in the draft, going back & signing a vet NT like Tank Johnson, Dwayne Robertson, or William Joseph would all fit in nicely I believe. Hood & Perry are UT’s & won’t fit the system we run since we already have Bab as the starter at UT, so the acqusition of a NT is a MUST!!!

This injury update doesn’t mention Von Hutchings, is he also a go?

& with everyone talking about a OLB in the 1st round, with Peterson, Lofton, & Nicholas as our starters & then Wire, James, & Gilbert as reserves, we already go 6 deep at the position, why would we go there in the 1st round?
I say trad down unless Vonte Davis, Andre Smith, or Ray Maualuga falls to us.(& I only ofter this as an option for ppl who really believe that our LB core is still to weak the way it is compossed. Maualuga is an absolute stud! English & Matthews are good players, but niether are the quality of Maualuga)(& then the other part of this option is that this is only an option, if we believe that Lofton can truly play the SAM backer position, like they said that he could when we drafted him or vice a versa with Maualuga)

While there have been some convincing arguements for English, I still don’t feel his i the selection the 1st round if he’s not gonna be an everydown player! & also there is not consecious that he’s a definate 1st rounder, some ppl have him there others don’t, so he could still be a reach at 24, if they really love him & he’s still there, once again the might want to think about trading down a few spots & picking up an extra selection.

& all of this Micheal Johnson love, I totally agree that if he wasn’t a local guy he wouldn’t be getting half of this love from the readers! I don’t like him in the 1st for us, although i am unhappy with Anderson’s total production, he did make steps last year & i think that him & Davis at DE is not more of a defeciency than our NT, SS, TE, or CB positions, so i don’t see how you can justify going there 1st.

darrell starks

March 24th, 2009
12:16 pm

This is an important off season work out for the falcons i am realy looking forward to a couple of player in the off season one player is LAURENT ROBINSON who in my opinion is the second best wide receiver on the team the other player is TREY LEWIS WHO WAS ON HIS WAY OF BEING A DOMINATE PLAYER ON THE TEAM .GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JG

March 24th, 2009
12:23 pm

I would like to see Robert James, Lofton and Peterson. Sounds like that could be a exciting trio, and draft a Linebacker in the 3rd or 4th round?
I would definitely draft a Tackle though in the first or Second round. I still would take Pedigrew if available, to make the offense unstoppable and give Turner another shot at Rushing title and Ryan another solid weapon. With our 2nd Round and Third round pick up a Safety or Tackle,
Fourth Round Linebacker or Corner, Then Our Two Fifth round picks more Defensive Backs , 6ht round Offensive line help..

Good to see some exciting talent healthy again!

darrell starks

March 24th, 2009
12:42 pm

Everyone is talking about we need a TE i say we dont JUSTIN PEELLE CAN BE A solid TE FOR US HE CAN CATCH he can block plus i think him and MATT RYAN CAN DEVOLOP in to a nice combanation in this system NOT ONLY THAT THE GUY GETS OPEN.GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
1:02 pm

Take a look at the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense and you may see some insight into the type of size that Coach Smith is looking for in his defense. Then DL coach Smith had a very aggressive DL with a strong push inside and speed rushing on the outside.

Atlanta Jackets

March 24th, 2009
1:04 pm

Are the Falcons looking at Micheal Johnson from Tech? I think a line with him and Anderson at the ends would be killer in a few years.

I love the Robot!

darrell starks

March 24th, 2009
1:06 pm

The falcons bigger need is on defense bad we have no one on defense except ABRAHAM WHO WILL BE 31 this season as i said it before defense give you more opportunity to score and defense wins championship THE FALCONS HAS NEVER HAD A DOMINATING DEFENSE IN THE HISTORY OF THIS ORGANIZATION. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 24th, 2009
1:09 pm

WILLIE COYOTE: Next, you will be able to tag the QB, Or they’ll let them wear belts and the defensive players can pull the flag out of the belt. Actually, UGA_B gave a pretty good strike zone analogy.

ROBOT: Good posts. Now, can you get beer from the Fridge, too?

THEMANMIKE: I feel you about the kilts. Maybe I should have just stuck with the skirts.

MITCH: Dude is 35. Don’t think he’s an option. The actually released a “good-bye” release. But our man super agent Todd France said he’s had some preliminary discussions with teams.

OWNERS MEETING UPDATE: Just finished up the morning press interviews with the AFC coaches. And we had our Pro Football Writers of America meeting. (I’m the Second Vice President and took the minutes. We’re fighting for better access league wide so that we can give the fans all the information that you want. Some teams (Belichick and some of his disciples) have real sketchy records on access and throwing obstacles in the way of the media. At the Combine, Coach King Bill got up on the mike and rambled on for about 20 minutes straight, just so he wouldn’t have answer any questions. He’s a piece of work. Any way, let’s move on here.)

1. JACK DEL RIO: The AJC tried to get the hard-nosed Jacksonville head coach to expound on his rife with Falcons LB Michael Peterson. That went no where. (Got one those “I’ll break you in two. I used to play linebacker in the NFL looks for Coach Jack. I thought we were cool!!!)

2. MARVIN LEWIS: Cincinnati’s coach wouldn’t touch an Odell Thurman question from the AJC, but instead took the opportunity to say some nice things about David Pollack. “Pollack was a No. 1 pick. He was the guy who brought the charisma, life and energy. The loss of David, it’s taken a while to come back from. . . The loss of David was hard to overcome. We’ve over come the other one (loss of Thurman). But that’s part of football.” He wouldn’t even say Thurman’s name. OUCH! Lewis was aware the Pollack is doing local sports radio.

3. OFFICIALS MEETING: Mike Pereira the NFL’s supervisor of officials will address the media later today. (I’ll ask your question Willie Coyote. “Exactly where can we hit the QB, now?)

Cameron

March 24th, 2009
1:10 pm

If only we could ban the Robot from this site altogether, then we all would not have to lose brain cells from reading his idiotic comments. What a loser!

hawesg

March 24th, 2009
1:13 pm

I think trading down a few spots and looking at Sean Smith, Louis Delmas or a similar DB makes sense. Or maybe Ron Brace if you want to go that way. But sitting at 24 with only three picks in the first three rounds seems iffy. I have a hard time believing Dimitroff’s “plan” involves drafting questionable effort guys like Vontae Davis or Michael Johnson. But that’s just me.

darrell starks

March 24th, 2009
1:15 pm

NO WAY DRAFT A TIGHT END WE NEED DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nique

March 24th, 2009
1:17 pm

JG
There is NO WAY Nicholas doesn’t start for us this year, the coaches seem to be in love with this guy & his potential! That being said, i do agree that waiting until the 3rd round or maybe the 4th to gat an additional OLB would be the way to go, hopefully getting M. Freeman out of OSU, but i would push corner up on my need list.

darrell starks: I agree, well for the most part, adding a TE would be nice & we have the potential to upgrade there, but i don’t know if it’s a necessity. & because of this, I’m not sure that we have to go with Pet. bc there are other TE’s who are willing blockers, not great by any means but willing & we could teach the draftie how to improve their blocking while he excells in stretcging the field, which is the true need that we have at TE since Hartstock & Pelle are already primaraly blocking TE’S. so getting one in the late 2cnd-4th sounds really wise to me.

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
1:33 pm

D Starks, I too want to see Laurent Robinson come back. If healthy and he can simply return to the type of play he showed in his 2007 rookie year, he would be the THIRD leading receiver on the team (37 catches, 440 yards, 2 TDs in ‘07). That would also minimize the need for a TE selection early as Jenkins and Fin would be able to work the seems with more speed and size than we had last season. Robinson and White would both provide deep threat potential for Ryan on the outside. This would also allow Douglas to become the primary KR/PR, thus adding another very dangerous weapon to our arsenal. GO FALCONS!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 24th, 2009
1:39 pm

The question is whether DeCoud is ready to take over at FS or SS. Coleman could move over to SS. But Nique…I am with you. Marcus Freeman is going to be a steal anywhere after round three if he is available. I hope we take him in the third. Additionally, the big run stopper we need is DT Terrance Taylor of Michigan. “Sugar Bear” can coach him up, he is a premier run stopper, and paired with Babs, Smitty would have the interior he desires. Taylor will be there in the 4th or 5th unless Parcells jumps in there before us.

fanATicaL

March 24th, 2009
1:42 pm

Before James was injured .There were some sounds of him playing safety not LB.Maybe this is the plan being so deep at LB ?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 24th, 2009
2:04 pm

CAMERON: That wasn’t very nice. I like ROBOT.

fanATical: He’s a bit smallish, but they made it clear he was a LB. They are not deep at LB. Only 1 full-time returning starter.

To Darrell Starks: Once We had It!

March 24th, 2009
2:05 pm

Falcons still hold the record for the fewest points allowed per game for a season in the late 70’s. This was referred to as the “Gritz Blitz”!

Nique

March 24th, 2009
2:48 pm

I am also excited to see what Laurent Robinson can add to the mix, bc before his injury last year, he was going to & well on his way to taking Jenkins job! However, Jenkins stepped his game up last year, so i think he might be penciled in at #2, him & Matt seemed to have some chemistry. But SeminoleWarrior while i see your point, I hope that they continue to use Douglas as an important weapon within the passing game to, he made plays for us last year, that no other receiver could have/would have made bc of his ability as a skat WR & his quickness. But with the return of T. Brown our return game should be better with him KR/ & Douglass PR.

hawesg I’m right with you, I also think trading down a few spots is the way to go!

I’d like to see us address our needs in this order,
*early 2cnd NT- Brace, Late 2cnd SS- Delmas, Moore, Chung – or Smith if he’s still there. 3rd -CB, D.J. Moore or OLB M. Freeman. (1st)4th (which we would also get from trading down out of the 1st into the early 2cd)- TE Beckman or Coffmen, & then(2cnd our original)4th -Tackle Gardner or Lydon Murtha*

The Robot Nesbitt

March 24th, 2009
2:57 pm

The Robot will retrieve beer from refrigeration unit. Robot has three koozie hands.

Cameron, Robot is not build for emotion. But your internet website blog posting hurt Robot curcuitry. Robot sad. Salty. Need to reboot.

…setting preferences… logging on…

Laurent Robinson is outdated and will be replaced. Hands are sufficient, but damage to lower regions have slowed response times.

Must destroy Jack Del Rio.

Reality Check...

March 24th, 2009
3:23 pm

The Robot Nesbitt and Baba O’Riley needs a reality check….

oldbrave

March 24th, 2009
3:27 pm

wrong falcons had one of the best defenses in nfl history set record for fews points allowed one year > Clude Humphrey John Zook Breg Brezina

oldbrave

March 24th, 2009
3:28 pm

was early 70s before the Grits Blitz

oldbrave

March 24th, 2009
3:30 pm

grita blitz had williams, curry, kykendall, Bone Marrow and Flea dog yates