Ryan rated as NFL’s top under-30 franchise player

Falcons QB Matt Ryan putting the silver sharpie to some helmets. He was helping out Kendyl Moss, the team's Director of Community Relations, who must have items for donation and charitable requests.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan putting the silver sharpie to some helmets. He was helping out Kendyl Moss, the team's Director of Community Relations.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Blog-cation was awesome.

Found that Palm tree to relax under. Plenty of frothy beverages. Watched some old episodes of Rockford Files. What else can you ask for.

Hit the OTA scene and with just one more open session, the Falcons appear to be ahead of schedule compared to last year. But that was to be expected now that the coaching staff has a year under its belt.

Would not worry too much about all of the dust-ups at Wednesday’s session. They were mostly low-level rugby scrums. When you get those helmet-swinging fights, those are the ones to be concerned about. Helmet-swinging shows a clear intent to do bodily harm to a teammate.

There’s not need to worry about the pushing and shoving deals with a little jabbering

“I like the way they are working,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It’s really difficult to see where we are because we are not really playing the game off football. We are in helmets and shorts and it’s really non-contact work.”

An emphasis has been placed on improving the passing attack during the OTA sessions.

“I think we’ll be ahead of where we need to be in the passing game in terms of what we’ve installed,” Smith

Peria Jerry and Curtis Lofton signing items for the Falcons' Community Relations Department.

Peria Jerry and Curtis Lofton signing items for the Falcons.

said. “In the running game, we have to get out and work in pads and that will come here in August.”

RYAN LAUDED: Fox named Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, 24, the NFL’s top franchise player under 30.

TWO-MAN WEDGE: One of the major offseason rule changes involves the formation of two-man wedges on kickoff returns. The idea is to keep players from getting injured while trying to bust up three- and four-man wedges.

Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong is adjusting to the new rule.

“With a two-man wedge you are going to be little more simple with your game plan toward wedges,” Armstrong said. “You won’t have to adjust as much for kickoff coverage. Kickoff return-wise you’ve got to change a little bit.”

The All-Pro Diet.

Tony Gonzalez' new book: The All-Pro Diet.

GONZALEZ BOOK: An advanced copy of Tony Gonzalez‘ book arrived in the office recently. It’s entitled, “The All-Pro Diet: Lose fat, build muscle and live like a champion.”

Gonzalez authors the book with Mitzi Dulan, RD (Registered Dietitian). Will get back to you all with a review later, but on the flip through saw some interesting recipes. One was for Fish Tacos and another for a Black Bean Burger.

Also, part of the All-Pro workout includes jumping rope 600 to 1,000 jumps total, 100 jumps per set, 30 seconds of rest between sets. This helps to develop quick feet.

SACKMASTER NEEDS HELP: The Falcons are looking for some help in the pass rushing department for John Abraham, who had a franchise-record 16.5 sacks last season. The battle for left end with Jamaal Anderson, Kroy Biermann and Chauncey Davis will interesting to watch in training camp.

Anderson, the No. 8 pick in 2007 draft, has two sacks in 31 starts. Biermann got two sacks in a reserve role last season as a rookie. Davis had a career-high four sacks last season, but has just eight overall in four seasons.

“It would be nice to get another guy to get into the six, seven sack range,” Smith said. “If we get two of those guys (in the six, seven sack range) I think we’ll be very efficient rushing the passer.”

OLINE LOOKING FOR DEPTH: Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is looking to create some depth along the line.

“We are still in underwear, so we can’t hit anybody,” Boudreau said. “Compared to last year, we are ahead of the process in terms of communication and being able to work together as a unit. There is more chemistry. Even with the young guys, they are ahead of schedule. Last year we were trying to teach them all of the things and we were just trying to break the huddle at the same time.”

CHEERLEADER CORNER . . .

A-TOWN DANCER TRYOUTS: Our good buddy Jason “Jake” McDonald of I-Light Media at www.ilightmediaws.com was kind enough to send along two very nice slide shows from the A-Town Dancer tryouts. We know they work for the Hawks, but we can scout for the Falcons cheer squad here.

Looks like our good friend Sam Crenshaw of Channel 11 had a difficult time serving as one of the judges.

Check out the first cuts of the A-Town Dance Team Auditions
and some action from Day 2 of the tryouts.

IN THE COMMUNITY . . .

DAVIS TAKES ON BULLYING: Defensive End Chauncey Davis, DeKalb Juvenile Court Judge Desiree Peagler,

Chauncey Davis

Chauncey Davis

DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May spoke to nearly 100 youth at the Browns Mill Road Recreation Center on June 5 as part of a special anti-bullying campaign.

“Something has to be done to combat this reckless behavior of bullying and to help build the self-esteem of both the person being bullied and the bully,” said Davis, who started the Chauncey Davis Foundation to address health and wellness related issues in the community. “As adults, if we don’t intervene now, we will hear more and more reports of suicides, gun violence, depression, drug/alcohol abuse, higher dropout rates and more with our young people.”

ROBISKIE, MILES TO HELP OUT YOUTH: Falcons wide receiver coach Terry Robiskie and inebacker Edmond Miles will be joined by four Falcons cheerleaders and PGA Tour pros DeWitt Weaver and James Mason at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw for the inaugural Tee Off For Tykes charity golf tournament Friday and Saturday to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The public is invited to attend the event and meet the Falcons and PGA pros. Pinetree Country Club is located on McCollum Parkway in Kennesaw.

FUNDS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: At the annual Verizon Wireless golf tournament with the Atlanta Falcons recently, attendees raised $24,670 for Partnership Against Domestic Violence.

Steve Bartkowski

Steve Bartkowski

This was the fifth annual Verizon Wireless Network of Champions Gold Tournament, which was held at The River Club Golf Course in Suwanee. At this annual celebrity event, attendees were able to meet current players including Matt Ryan, Brian Finneran and Michael Turner, former players Steve Bartkowski and

Hall of Famer Emmit Thomas as well as the Falcons leadership including head coach Mike Smith, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and president Rich McKay.

So are you worried about the OTA fights? Do you believe Ryan is the top franchise player under 30 in the NFL? Will Jamaal Anderson turn into a double-digit sack guy in year three? Is the Hawks cheer squad going to step up and help them get deeper in the playoffs? Happy to see Davis tackling a timely issue of substance in the community?

243 comments Add your comment

SonicJim

June 11th, 2009
1:44 pm

Good article D. I don’t think the fighting is a big deal. Like you said, if they were swinging their helmets then I’d be worried. Jamaal will have a break out year and we will all be putting this bust talk behind us.
can’t wait till the season begins. Go Falcons!!!

Tom Stanley

June 11th, 2009
2:15 pm

I was on Yahoo and found your blog. Read a few of your other posts. Good work. I am looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

Tom Stanley

Unca' Bob

June 11th, 2009
3:10 pm

D-Led,

Welcome back. Glad to hear you had an enjoyable vacation. You had one coming. SonicJim, I agree with you one both your points. Anderson knows full well what he is up against this year. I would really like to see Sugar Bear get him coached-up.
What these young players give back to the community is to be lauded. Atlanta is blessed to have such high quality young men.

Deangelo Falls

June 11th, 2009
3:25 pm

I’m a huge Ryan fan but I don’t see how you can’t give the “best franchise player under 30″ to Big Ben. Until Ryan gets a Super Bowl he himself would probably even say he isn’t worthy yet.

What!!!

June 11th, 2009
3:53 pm

Hold on to your seats FALCON FANS, this team will begin it’s takeoff to winnersville come sept!

Man great to be a Falcon fan! Come on VS2, Lynne, and you other single player fans, start your defense of YKW!!!

Please all Falcon fans refer to MV7 as YKW to tick’em off!

D3

June 11th, 2009
4:02 pm

Great Thursday Afternoon Bird-Cage and Welcome Back DOL! A little slow going as we head into the weekend, but that’s expected with the summer Falcons drought taking a strangle-hold on us. Many of us junkies will still be here. Speaking of………..

DOL – welcome back sir. I was under the impression that you would be gone until after mid-July. Well, welcome back my friend.

Fights – love the fights. That means theres serious competition all around the football field, especially on defense. Until someone pulls a Steve Smith on the practice field, than I think we’re ok. Competition breeds ferocity and toughness.

Top Franchise Matty Ice – maybe it should be top franchise player under 25, because as Deangelo Falls noted Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl Rings and is under 30. So thats a tough one, but beyond him, definitely because of his age and what he was able to do as a Rookie with a beleaguered team the year before and a pourous DEF.

Two-Man Wedges – Football is a violent sport and freak accidents happen from time to time, but for the amount of games played from pee-wee, to middle school, high school, college, and the NFL; the number is miniscule in comparison. No need to have knee-jerk reactions and start changing rules. Guarantee that the new “Hands Off QB Rule” wouldn’t have been made if wasn’t Golden-Boy Brady. Can you honestly say the same rule would have come about if it were JT O’Sullivan or Tavaris Jackson? I like that they still allow for two man wedges though. Many return teams probably will have a hard time adjusting.

Sacks from the Right – Abe definitely needs some help. He got ZERO last year, except for when CDavis was in the game. Will Biermann get a chance to compete for that starting spot? I always assumed he was a safe backup and maybe an eventual replacement for Abe, but competition should fuel some great battles this Training Camp. I’m still not ruling out CDavis taking the RDE spot; but we all know JA will be given every chance because of his draft status. I don’t think there’s any way we don’t improve on the Right Side with PJerry and TLewis.

A-Town Cheer Chicks – It may just be me, and call me on it if I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought our Dancers and Cheerleaders are pretty average. Not the worst mind you and d@— attractive, but their no Cowboy or Bucs cheerleaders, JMHO.

Tons more later. Great to have a new post to work on…………

Stirg d'Nahsif

June 11th, 2009
4:17 pm

Jamaal Anderson is going to make a lot of us look real “ignant”, come January. He may even become this seasons total-sack leader on the team. With offenses more concerned with Abraham’s side of line, it’ll open the door for Anderson. I’m not an OC; but if I’m defending a pass rush, I’d double Abraham and Babineaux. It appears that Hip-Hip Peria may attract double teams, as well. That’s six players to block the pass rush of A.P.B. Now, who’s going to block Anderson? A running back, a full back or a second tight end? I think not; bring it.

A.P.B., A.P.B., A.P.B.!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 11th, 2009
4:29 pm

Thanks for the shout outs. We’ll kick it through the OTA’s and week or so beyond before we hit another dead period.

TOM STANLEY: Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

D3: WAY TO post strong as usual. Thanks for your kind words, too. Also, I saved some of your post from the Spam monster. Need to figure out how our “HELP” desk can keep that from happening.

–DOL

[...] See the original post here: Ryan rated as NFL's top under-30 franchise player | Atlanta … [...]

uga_b

June 11th, 2009
4:46 pm

Hopefully the back 7 can help out the ends. Any Falcon news is good news. Only problem I had with the fight involved the “leg whip”, which sounds cheap. I can see why they pick Ryan. Ben just wins, but for the longest time he wasn’t asked to throw as much and has the injury issues.

south ga boy

June 11th, 2009
5:07 pm

lot of meat in this column d., not worried about anderson anymore, because we have insurance with that richmond spider man playing DE for the falcons now. i hope anderson does reach his potential and sid can be groomed to take over for mr double nickel in a couple of years.(experience, add a little wt.) and we all know he will get playing time on 3rd and long and filling in when abe is hurt. competition breeds a better team and with our 1st and 4th rounders this yr on the d-line, and the return of lewis, we now have about 8 nasty and atheletic men competing for 4 spots and playing time. our secondary gets remarkably better this yr with an onslaught of pass rushers that have more than one name, (abe) with our offense, we just need the def to move up to very good this yr and maybe elite with 1 more draft and the sky is the limit. go falcons

Jimbo

June 11th, 2009
5:36 pm

D-Led
Welcome back buddy. Hope you are well rested and raring to go. It’s starting to get a little slow here in the Bird Cage and we are relying on you to keep things fresh with new blogs.

I think it’s way to early to say that Matt Ryan is the top franchise player under the age of 30. If he continues down the same path this year as he did last year, with no sophmore slump (and there’s no reason to believe he will have a slump), then we might be able to draw those kinds of conclusions.

I expect to see improvement in Jamaal Anderson, but would be surprised if he was double digit sacks. I know he was working with Chuck Smith looking to improve those skills and hopefully the inside pressure we are expecting from the tackles will provide him with opportunities. The game is likely to be slowing down for him as well. I think the coaches are going to give him every opportunity to earn his contract and the level of competition in camp will make him better.

I really like the character of our players. We are seeing over and over, where the players are volunteering to do things in the community. I just saw a video of Coy Wire speaking to the military at Fort Benning. Several other Falcons were there with him and all of them volunteered. They are setting a great example for all of us, granted their celebrity affords them the opportunity to do these things, but we can all find ways to contribute in some way too.

Ken Strickland

June 11th, 2009
6:42 pm

With the speed, quickness, mobility and athleticism of our current DT’s, we’ll be able to run some serious stunts, which will definitely help our pass rush, as well as DE JAnderson. Imagine the difficulty OL’s will have trying to contain a pass rush from a DL featuring DT’s PJerry and JBabineaux and DE’s JAbraham and either JAnderson, CDavis, KBiermann or LSidbury.

I’m almost certain our coaches are well aware of the tremendous DEF talent they have at their disposal, and they’ll do everything they can to coach it up. Considering how well they did last yr, considering the liabilities they had at SS, LDT, LDE and OLB, we have an awful lot to look forward too. We’ve upgraded every position of weakness, and our much improved pass rush will neutralize the loss of CB DFoxworth.

There are no weaknesses or question marks associated with this yrs OFF. A yr of experience and the addition of TE TGonzalez took care of that. The only real question marks will be with our DEF, and they will be:

(1)How long will it take for our DEF to establish the necessary chemistry and jell?

(2)Rather than wondering if certain players will step up, we only have to be concerned with which player(s) will step up. We are simply too deep and talented at every key DEF position not to expect at least one of the competing players at each position to excel.

jason

June 11th, 2009
7:32 pm

Ken, good post as usual. I want to comment on the stunts. Maybe you can help me out. I see a stunt with Jerry pulling outside to the Tackle, and Anderson pinching hard inside on the guard. That’s your mismatch, especially if Jerry has close to DE speed to compliment Anderson DT size. Maybe even blitz an OLB to split the middle of the two fore mentioned on occasion. With Abe on the oppisite side you won’t have to stunt near as much. With Abe and the DTs I expect Anderson to walk into at least 4 QB sacks.

jason

June 11th, 2009
7:33 pm

Sorry guys, I have been away. Been doing the MEPS thing for the Army. Unfortunately, I will not be leaving SanAntone until Christmas. It will take by march before I am permanently back home in Georgia.

Dean 21

June 11th, 2009
8:23 pm

Welcome back DOL; the cage has held it’s on during your absence. thanks to D3, Ken Strickland, Big Ray, Jason, Stirg, Unca’ Bob, WR, Sarah B to name a few….This is what you call Falcons Country and we all love ourselves some Atlanta Falcons! This blog is a blessing since you took over DOL and we all Thank You for it!

Well, Jason..we were hoping a different outcome, so we will have to toast several ones for you at the games!

D3-wassup my friend? I had a few blog-cation days myself and of course the CEO HD list! Glad to know you are still firing off quality stuff about the birds. Again, it’s good to come back and still get great football stuff about the birds and none of that negative nonsense from the past.

Sarah B. have you arrived back in the Atl yet? Hopefully you had a great blog-cation also! We still have a few weeks to organize our bird cage training camp extravaganza!

Ken Strickland, good post and always I agree about our speed and quickness on the D line. We will give most offense coordinators fits if we perform like we should. My concern is how much Abe play should during pre-season, hopefully we will get some time to play Sid and Kroy during the preseason.

I think most of us have played the game at some level and we know with competition comes fights, it’s all in the game, just as long as it’s left on the field. No worries about the small spats or 2….feeds the hunger! I agree with the cagers who said it will be fun watching the competition during training camp.
Having pro sports teams in the Atl is a blessing that most of us don’t truly appreciate. Trust me, some states like West Virginia would love to have just One pro team in their state. It is truly special when the pro athletes come out and support the community and gives the young kids another voice for a more positive life to look forward to.

Dean 21

June 11th, 2009
8:24 pm

Superman will have to rise up tonight!

Dean 21

June 11th, 2009
8:30 pm

D3, what’s on tap going into the weekend? Here’s my Chicago outcome….
Atl – 34-28 close, but not close as last year! We have to take the terror dome back and not let all those chi-town fans attempt to take over!

give me a break

June 11th, 2009
9:15 pm

The trend continues…. one good year and then a sudden fall. The falcons can’t put too back to back good years together….. I predict the Falcons will come back to earth. They are much better in an underdog role than as a team on the rise. As good as Ryan is he will look more normal this year with teams preparing for him. 4-12 or 5-11 this year.

Sarah B

June 11th, 2009
9:43 pm

Dean21, yes I’m back and will be ready to plan our training camp visit. It was unseasonably cool in Vegas this June, but still a good trip. I put $$ on our Falcons to win the division & SB. We must have faith! Jason, how’s it going? I can actually see Ryan as the top player under 30 more so than Big Ben as people kept saying Ryan just handed off to Turner but that is not so true given that Ben just handed off to Fast Willie Parker a whole lot more. I know I got stuck with him in FF and Ben killed me early in the saeson. I did much better with Ryan later.

Sarah B

June 11th, 2009
9:46 pm

Bye Bye “Give Me A Break” exit stage left.

Marcus

June 11th, 2009
9:58 pm

D3, How could you leave out the Raiderettes?
Ol Al Davis may be losing it dn his squad living in the 80s, but his one good eye can still get some of the best cheerleaders.

I think Anderson finally turns the corner (literally and figuratively) despite any evidence to support it :) He has too much ability that hasn’t been realized, esp. considering he came to college as a WR/TE and left (early I might add) as a DE.

jason

June 11th, 2009
10:00 pm

Dean 21, I say Abe should play 1 series in each of the 4 games to stay mentally sharp. He is a veteran player so physicality in limited practice should be enough. Let the young guys like Biermann and Sid get all the reps and then some. I did not realize that Biermann was in the running for LDE with Anderson and Davis. MMMMM…. This is definitely Anderson’s make or break year.

BT

June 11th, 2009
10:03 pm

I also see Matt Ryan as the top building block in the league.
He has all the physical and mental tools, a great work ethic, cool under pressure and mature beyond his years.
Plus, he has a good team being built around him by a competent Org.
I can`t imagine him (and the team) doing anything but getting better.

VICK SUPPORTER 2

June 11th, 2009
10:21 pm

UNTIL YOUR TEAM IS LED TO “ACTUAL” PLAYOFF WINS…………

BUST

BUST

BUST

BUST

GO FALCONS!

BT

June 11th, 2009
10:24 pm

Folks, not meaning to negative but I don`t share the optimism (held by many) that J. Anderson is going to break out and hush his critics.
U R what UR until proven otherwise.
That does not mean (I think) the the D-line will not be vastly improved.
They will be, IMHO
Davis will be given a fair shot a earning the starting DE job and if recent history is any indicator?
Davis will win out.

BTW, lots of good post by some very good bloggers that know their Falcons football.

BT

Dean21

June 11th, 2009
10:34 pm

Jason, I agree. I’m all about allowing Abe to get the rust off, but that’s it. I’m confident this coaching staff will do the right thing because they actually protected him last year and got major production out of him during the process.

Sarah B – Not a problem, I will put some things together this weekend and map out a plan so we can get started. The first thing to order is choosing a good day. I agree with this exit information given to “Give me a Break” It should be Do not Enter! All about what he said was in the past…again, this aint yo daddy’s Falcons!

I think JAnderson will either hold his on and improve or simply be replaced and traded elsewhere. I would say by game #6, we should know if this season will be a huge success or failure for him.

Ed

June 11th, 2009
10:35 pm

I think you need to worry if there weren’t any dust ups at practice. It’s hot & humid & these guys want to impress so tempers are going to flare. No complacency in the Falcons camp it doesn’t appear which is the way things should be.

Dean21

June 11th, 2009
10:37 pm

Re-Post: correction.
Ken Strickland, good post and always I agree about our speed and quickness on the D line. We will give most offense coordinators fits if we perform like we should. My concern is how much Abe should play during pre-season, hopefully we will get some play time for Sid and Kroy this preseason.

Dean21

June 11th, 2009
10:42 pm

Does anyone in the cage think we should go out and sign a veteran cornerback & safety before training camp or should we just line up and go with our current cornerbacks/safties & rooks including the players coming back from injuries.

BT

June 11th, 2009
10:58 pm

”Dean21

June 11th, 2009
10:42 pm
Does anyone in the cage think we should go out and sign a veteran cornerback & safety before training camp or should we just line up and go with our current cornerbacks/safties ”
Line and go with what we have on defence.
If there is a fly in the ointment?
It`s quality, proven depth on the O-line.
Unfortunately, chances of finding a guy that would be of much use (in that department) walking around on the streets are not too good.
That`s my main concern.
So goes the O-line, so goes your offence.

BT

[...] Falcons | ajc.com – [...]

Ken Strickland

June 12th, 2009
12:55 am

JASON-that’s the standard DT/DE stunt. A much better stunt would be for the DT to act like an OLineman and engage the OG’s inside shoulder and push him outside. You then loop the DE in behind the DT. At the same time, you blitz the OLB over the area vacated by the DE. If the OT slides inside to pickup the looping DE, the OLB has a clear path to the QB. If the OT holds his position and picks up the blitzing OLB, the looping DE either sacks the QB or forces him out of the pocket. This can be done simultaneously by both DT’s and DE’s. Another stunt would have DE JAnderson use his size by turning parallel to the line of scrimmage and just crash down the line. The DT would then loop to the outside. That was a tactic teams used against us when we had that small OL and used the cutblocking scheme under JMora.

Unlike last yr, the coaching staff won’t have to spend large portions of this yrs training camp learning the new OFF/DEF systems, and then teaching it, along with new terminology, to the entire team. Last yrs rookies didn’t have the advantages this crop of rookies will have. Last yr, vets and rookies were all in the same boat as far as not knowing what to do or what’s to be expected in concerned. Therefore, they didn’t get the benefit of having veterans show them the ropes. That won’t be the case this yr.

This training camp will be spent incorporating new players into an established system, rather than having new coaches trying to incorporate new players into a new system, like last yr.

Jimbo

June 12th, 2009
7:40 am

Dean21,
I think we let things play out, evalaute what we already have in camp and then make adjustments as needed re: the S/CB situation. We have plenty of competition in camp and the quality of the competitors is not really a question mark for me. TD will be watching to see what breaking in the other training camps and he will make a move if he sees the right fit come along. Why do you ask the question? Is it because you have concerns about the quality of the S/CB in camp or do you just want to see some additional veteran leadership in camp?

MiltonDawg

June 12th, 2009
8:06 am

JA needs to make his mark this year..if not, Kroy may have to step in. You can smell the swagger in the air with these Birds. Love to hear about the fighting in OTAs..it’s going to make this team bond stronger over the summer and into fall.

Robert

June 12th, 2009
8:26 am

Great article. Football news is always refreshing, especially when it’s mostly positive. Gotta love seeing our boys reaching out to the community and making a positive impact. I think we are in for one helluva year. Go Falcons!

Mac

June 12th, 2009
8:31 am

Matt “Red” Ryan has a tremendous upside. I did get a little concerned about the number of interceptions toward the end of last season, but, heck, he was a rookie. He should only get better.

jason

June 12th, 2009
9:02 am

AS fdar as Jamaal Anderson goes… WE all talk about year 3 being the telling point of a player cashing in on his talent, and ability. Reaching their ceiling or not. With JA, I think it is different. He never played DE in his life until late frosh year or Soph year in collage. He also left collage in hei Junior year. So , he is still relatively new to the position. He has tremendous upside to go along with the size, speed, and quickness. I think JA will be a late bloomer. And I don’t know if it will be in ATL. I hope it will. He will make strides this year. Will it be enough to hold off Davis and or Bierrman? I don’t know, we will have to wait and see. Ithink by bolstering the DTs will unleash Abe and that will open up oppurtunities foe JA. I just think JA is the exception to the 3 year rule in the NFL. There are a lot of player who went way past the 3 year mark before they shined. JA will most likely be one of those, A “late Bloomer”.

Ken, I knew you would get me on line with the stunts. That’s what I meant when you said the DE moving parralell to the line and crashing down hard with the DT looping. If JA has the quicker of the DTs beside him, it would work. Either Perry or Babs. The quickness of the DTs will be what makes the stunts work. Like Basketball, Setting picks.

If a CB is signed, it will be for veteran leadership. He would fit a role. He will not make the team. He will be signed to speed up the learning curve for Owens and co. ATL is set at CB at least. They will get OJT. They will be thrown into the fire. Houston, Hutchins, C JAck, Grimes, Owens, and Middleton will all make the team. Too much talent their. Middleton has to much an upside to go Practice Squad so someone else can sign him.

JWW

June 12th, 2009
9:56 am

How can 2 players make a “wedge” shape? Won’t we have to call it something else, like a “brick” formation?

Also, I have to agree about the Tampa Bay cheerleaders. They are quite a group. Long hair must be a prerequisite.

Sarah B

June 12th, 2009
10:01 am

Hey are we done with Chicago? Is it time to move to The Cowboys or is that Monday? My brain is still on West Coast time.

D3

June 12th, 2009
10:39 am

Great Friday Top O’ the Morn’ Bird-Cage Brethren! Hope everybody is getting ready for an excellent weekend. Gotta love the summer of laid back times and vaca’s; also a good time for many of us to unplug from Falcons and Football, but not for many of us junkies. To our ‘Birds………

Vick Release – just got a text from AJC Sports that we released MV. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors and his shot at redemption. ‘Nuff said.

Character – it truly is great to see the importance of commitment and service to community given by our Falcon players, established by Arthur Blank. They don’t HAVE to do what they do or reach a bare minimum, but they go out and try to make the lives better of citizens in the community. I’ve always appreciated Blank saying he wanted to produce a team that “Atlantans would be proud of”, understanding the important role sports teams can play in cities and communities.

South GA Boy – great post brother. You hit the nail on the head about our depth possibilities and competition all around the football team. With Abe, JA, CDavis, TLewis, PJerry, Babs, VWalker, Biermann, El Sid & possibly Thomas Johnson; we’re looking to have one of the best D-Lines in the ATL since I can remember. Our DTs have always been a point of weakness, and it looks like we finally have the depth and talent we need. JA better have the light switch on, because even though the coaching staff may give JA more opportunities to win the RDE job, CDavis has proved it on the field way more and it looks to be a serious battle.

Jimbo – right on about slow going. Its a good time to recharge for the upcoming Blitzkrieg of Football we’re ready to embark on, because when Training Camp starts on August 1st there’s no turning back. I used to be of the mindset of not being able to control my self waiting for the season, but with the help of my Bird-Cage hobby I’m enjoying the build-up to it just as much, as it will lead to a crescendo of excitement come Sept. 13th. It is the magical “year #3″ for DEs. Stirg did some great research a while back that the 3rd year is a switch on/off year for NFL players, particularly DEs. The nice thing is that he really doesn’t have any choice with CDavis breathing down his neck.

Ken Strick – even though I totally agree with you, I just want to play a little devil’s advocate with your OFF statement. It may be me being superstitous, but I hate to speak in absolutes about our OFF having no weaknesses. On paper it doesn’t, but as much as I think its BS, there is a possibility of Matty Ice having some issues in his sophomore campaign.

j-man – where you been bro’? Are you definitely coming back to the Ol’ GA at some point? If so, we’ll have to share some Shiner Bocks and Bobby Flay grillin’.

More to come after I attend to my Lil’ WR, who is waking up fussy.

D3

June 12th, 2009
10:42 am

Quick Hit – I’m glad to release MV and allow him to seek other clubs, but d@—- taking an $8 million hit against our Cap this year just doesn’t seem right. Well, thank goodness its only this year and we have no Free Agent needs.

Tron5000

June 12th, 2009
10:58 am

Anyone else notice there were no close-ups of white girls in that slide show? And there were plenty of them there. Hmmm…..

Zoomie

June 12th, 2009
11:17 am

Very glad you’re back, DOL, and enjoyed your vacation. I, too, just returned from a spot underneath a Caribbean palm, where I enhanced my relaxation with many icy, fruity concoctions doctored with all types of rum I never even knew existed!

Not concerned about the OTA skirmishes. Nothing sounds too serious, though I’m confident that “leg whip” drew special after-session attention from the coaching staff.

I don’t think the “Top Franchise Player Under 30″ was earned by Ryan . . . yet. I’d like to take a look at the criteria used to come to that conclusion. He deserves a mention based on his accomplishments last season, but I think “Top” is stretching it a bit.

I wish only the best for JA, but think he’s outgunned at DE. I don’t think he’ll reach double-digit sacks. I just haven’t seen the potential that shows he could break out this year. I hope I’m wrong, but I won’t lie to myself about what I’ve seen so far.

I’m happy to see Davis, and the rest of the Falcon players, getting a lot of attention for their community involvement. Not only is it an opportunity for learning and growth for the players themselves, but really paints a great picture of the Falcons organization. Definitely helps to heal the wounds of the last few seasons before our transformation.

give me a break: I’ve been a Faclons fan since my dad sat me down in front of the TV at four years old to celebrate Atlanta’s new football franchise. The skill, focus, dedication, and professionalism exhibited by the current Falcons organization far surpasses anything the franchise has had in the past. I firmly believe the “two-years-in-a-row” curse goes down in flames this year. Whether or not it does, we Falcons fans will still have a lot to celebrate!

D3

June 12th, 2009
11:18 am

Amazing how infants are infatuated with mirros, so I’ll try to get a few more points in…….

Dean21 – great to have you back my man! Those honey-do lists will get you in the quicksand really fast. Our schedule has been kind of jumbles with everyone taking breaks here and there. We’re on Chicago Game still and Falcons OFF vs Bears DEF coming today. I had an idea that Coach Ken stimulated on our Roster Spot Analysis, more to come on that in a bit. You’re exactly right. I’m hoping we’re finally getting to a point where no teams can come in and be even as close to as vocal as our Falcons Fans. Cowboys, Bears, and Steelers fans have been able to come in be really vocal. Hopefully winning will take care of that. ATL is such a transplant city that its a little expected and those transplants will pay whatever it takes to go to the game.

Sarah B. – great to see you had a relaxing trip. Any craziness or sum winnings to speak of? I know a lot of pool and brews were involved. You’re exactly right with Big Ben in FF. The guy is terrible in Fantasy, what’s he average like 7 points or something? I had Tyler Thigpen for godsake who averaged like 18 points a game and finally won it all last year. Any interest in starting a Bird-Cage Fantasy Football League? Could be fun. I am the GM for my other two leagues and would definitely set it up. Let me know.

Marcus – good point on Raiderettes and the Chargers cheerleaders as well. I don’t think we’re the worst, but we certainly not in the upper echelon of hotness. Obviously its relative as these cheerleaders are on another level in the real world, but not in the NFL. Its definitely put up or shut down time for JA this year. No excuses for him.

j-man(2) – Looking for big things out of Biermann this year as well. He had a helluva rookie year as a backup even though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

BT – excellent point on JA. I’m right with you on CDavis. I think he’s got a great shot at winning the job. He did have 4 sacks in backup duty for chrissake. JA better get it going because CDavis was signed with the intent to be able to compete for the starting spot and besides a few players (Coleman, Abe, Lofton, etc.) not many positions are truly safe on DEF.

Ed – where you been bro’? Agreed. Competition is the key theme this year and it will make the team as a whole SO much better. When you have a fierce battle for the #5 WR spot or the #5 DT spot for instance, than things are seriously looking up. I can’t wait to go up to training camp and see some of these battles first hand.

MiltonDawg – there definitely is a serious confidence building with this team we haven’t seen in a while. Not the Lil’ Jimmy Mora/DHall/MV arrogance, but a quiet and deep confidence that we can win ANY game.

Robert – great to have you in the Bird-Cage. It definitely is a good place for many of us Falcons and Football junkies to come and talk intelligent football.

JWW – glad to have some backing opinion on the Bucs cheerleaders. I was just bored and looking on NFL.com at cheerleaders pics and the Tampa Bay Bucs cheerleaders are on another level.

Please compare our Cheerleaders to Tampa Bay’s if you desire:

Us
http://www.alumnicheerleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/2008-afc.jpg

Them
http://www.buccaneers.com/cheerleaders/teamphoto.aspx

Tell me if I’m wrong on this one………

Ernest

June 12th, 2009
12:31 pm

This bears asking, must JA have a higher sack count to be successful? My point is this is a team game. If JA is stout against the run or can occupy two blockers on a pass play enabling another teammate to pressure the passer, isn’t that providing value? I think sometimes we get too hung up on individual stats and not really notice how a player helps the team.

E. Tampa Ironworse

June 12th, 2009
1:45 pm

Ryan better than Big Ben…REALLY?

long time falcon

June 12th, 2009
3:55 pm

Come on ernest Jamal anderson was the 8th overall pick and he is being paid a lot of money. Defensive ends taken in the top ten picks are not payed to take on blockers and play solid against the run. If john abraham goes down the falcons are going to have serious problems on defense this year if JA doesn’t step up and start getting some sacks. If the falcons don’t get to the QB they won’t be making a deep run in the playoffs this year. Thats just a simple reality of the NFL game. We need him to get 6-8 sacks at least. Mike Smith said during OTA’s that the starter at the other defensive end position needed to be in that range.

Dean 21

June 12th, 2009
4:44 pm

Jimbo: Dean21,
I think we let things play out, evalaute what we already have in camp and then make adjustments as needed re: the S/CB situation. We have plenty of competition in camp and the quality of the competitors is not really a question mark for me. TD will be watching to see what breaking in the other training camps and he will make a move if he sees the right fit come along. Why do you ask the question? Is it because you have concerns about the quality of the S/CB in camp or do you just want to see some additional veteran leadership in camp

Jimbo-I agree that it is a lot of players competing for only a few spots, but you can never miss a veteran’s play that has something left. I’m not sure what free agents are worthy at this time, (Unca’ Bob, where are you) but we are still very young at the cornerback position which concerns me more than the safety position. I trust the coaching staff to make the right moves when and if needed. The beginning of camp will determine what we do; I just wanted to put the idea about possibly having a veteran DB in the mix as well. I would say the earlier the better for them to learn a new system. It seems we traded for Foxworth last year to get more experience. Well, that experience is now in Baltimore.

I.MUS WRITE- INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY

June 12th, 2009
4:50 pm

Good luck out their Jason -U will luv Ft Sam Houston……… San Antonio doesnt offer much besides the river walk.