Got a case of the offseason football blues?

Tony Gilbert (51) is a part or what could be a deep Falcons linebacking unit. (Getty Images)

Tony Gilbert (51) is a part or what could be a deep Falcons linebacking unit. (Getty Images)

DOWN ON THE DELTA – Got a bad case of the offseason down home blues.

There are no OTAs to cover. No mini-camps. The draft has been over for months.

Have to push away from the football table, try to re-charge and then be ready to strike when things heat back up.

This is officially the “offseason” for the NFL. About the only thing going on before training camp is the rookie “don’t act a fool when you get your money” symposium.

Someone named “ATLJBO” has this six minute highlight tape of the Falcons 2009 offseason additions out on youtube. It’s pretty cool.

To pass time, I’ve tried to watch a couple of Braves games. Been following the Hawks in the draft and free agency.

Rode the roller coasters at Six Flags yesterday.

Got to set up the second annual golf match with Falcons VP of Communications Reggie Roberts. He got me

last year. I must  win this re-match and the right to talk wrestling smack all season long.

I’ve been walking two-miles in the mornings the last two weeks to get ready for the Peachtree Road Walk. Others will be racing. I’ll be walking.

In my role as Second Vice President of the Professional Football Writers or America, I’ve been reviewing the league’s 2009 medial access policy. A couple nice rules changes that will help the fans follow their teams. Can share those later.

Also, my buddy and former editor Garry D. Howard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was recently inaugurated as President of the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Leon Carter (New York Daily News), APSE President Garry D. Howard, Stephen A. Smith, the lovely Donna Howard and  Jennifer Howard in front.

Leon Carter (New York Daily News), APSE President Garry D. Howard, Stephen A. Smith, the lovely Donna Howard and Jennifer Howard in front.

Football-wise, saw that Mike Brown signed with the Chiefs. So that makes Lawyer Milloy the top unsigned veteran safety.

But there is one area on the team that I’ve been studying a lot this offseason.

I understand why they have  Curtis Lofton at middle linebacker, Michael Peterson at weakside and Stephen Nicholas at strongside. But trying to make sense of the reserves is pretty intriguing. There are going to be some good roster battles and if the first teamers fall on their faces, there appears to be help.

Here’s a look at the reserve linebackers:

Special teams maven Coy Wire.

Special teams maven Coy Wire.

COY WIRE, 6-0, 228: Can play all three positions. Took over for Michael Boley in running situations late last season. Played some safety earlier in his career. Is one of the top special team players.

Edmond Miles

Edmond Miles

EDMOND MILES, 6-0, 243: From Tallahassee. Played at Godby High. Always want to know why guys from Florida leave the state. Miles played at Iowa. Did Miami, Florida State or Florida not recruit him? Was he a late bloomer? Did he just want to play right away at Iowa? Made the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie in 2007. Played mostly weakside linebacker in college.

ROBERT JAMES, 5-10, 218: Fifth round pick in 2008. Didn’t play last season after suffering a head injury

Robert "The Beast" James led Arizona State with 106 tackles in 2007.

Robert "The Beast" James led Arizona State with 106 tackles in 2007.

and was placed on injured reserve. A super-fast, run-and-hit guy. Fits the teams “need for speed” profile. Have to worry about him being a little to small. Nicknamed “The Beast” in college.

TONY GILBERT, 6-0, 248: The former Georgia Bulldog was signed late last exhibition season. He was not active for any games last season. But he knows the system and quietly goes about his business. With Peterson coming over there might not be a place for Gilbert. If something happens to Lofton, Peterson, a former MLB with Jacksonville, could shift to the middle.

SPENCER ADKINS, 5-11, 246: Played a lot of weakside for the Hurricanes. Is extremely fast with good striking ability. He will have to make the team on special teams. “An intriguing natural talent who was used primarily as a situational pass rusher. . . but his lack of instincts always could restrict him from developing,” according to Pro Football Weekly’s 2009 Draft Preview.

RASHAD BOBINO, 5-11, 230: Played on some good defenses at Texas, starting 45 of 52 games over his productive career. Went undrafted, despite being all-Big 12 three times. He’s definitely a player to watch when training camp opens.

Mainstays, Keith Brooking and Michael Boley are gone off to Dallas and New York.

Reggie Roberts, Falcons VP. "You're going down!!"

Reggie Roberts, Falcons VP of Communications. "You're Going Down!!!"

But what about the depth at this position. Do you like it? Worried about them being too small?
Any sleepers in the bunch? And yeah, Roberts, you’re going down!!!

190 comments Add your comment

row3

July 1st, 2009
3:23 pm

What we may lack in size. We’ll make up for in SPEED!! Peterson and Loftin will be great leaders for this LB corps.

Daniel Bell

July 1st, 2009
3:25 pm

Maybe the depth of players will inspire everyone to play hungry, and therfore play better.

Trainwreck

July 1st, 2009
3:33 pm

I just want football season to come back… waiting for the Braves to suddenly turn it around is depressing. I do like our LB depth though, and I especially like the fact that speed was a big thing that we looked for to fill positions on defense this year. Speed with no skill won’t give you much but with our coaches, I feel confident that all of out players will be ready to play and use that speed effectively

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
3:37 pm

D-Led,

Any word on a Falcon Blog?

Peadawg

July 1st, 2009
3:49 pm

I can’t wait for football…any kind of football whether is be pro or college. I just wanna see some hittin’.

In the mean time I’m enjoying watching Tommy Hanson light if up every night.

Fair Tax

July 1st, 2009
4:02 pm

Pulling for you Tony, GOMAB

BigTimeTECHFan

July 1st, 2009
4:46 pm

woah, if one starter goes down were are in trouble or better hope the rookies are good, Wire ok but the rest of them will not be in NFL 2 years

Atljbo

July 1st, 2009
5:16 pm

Thanks for the shout out (my video.. I’m thinking about doing another one) ……But yea…. I feel like our LB group is OK…… Michael Peterson is a guy that can play the WLB position and MLB position (if Curtis gets injured) ……… The Cross-training thing is huge with Coach Smith……

I feel like the LB position is one of the easiest positions for a rookie or backup to step up and fill……

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 1st, 2009
5:42 pm

Unca’ Bob: It’s going to happen. Haven’t heard anything new though. We’ve got some time. I think they’ll want the Falcons Fan blogger in place by training camp, but I’m not a shot-caller on that.

ATLJBO: Yeah, that was a good one. Let me know when the new one is ready so we can share it with the crew.

Speed Kills

July 1st, 2009
5:42 pm

“ROBERT JAMES, 5-10, 218: A super-fast, run-and-hit guy. Fits the teams “need for speed” profile. Have to worry about him being a little to small. Nicknamed “The Beast” in college. ”

Give him 10 extra pounds just for the nickname.

dan

July 1st, 2009
5:53 pm

That Coy Wire is pretty good. He should definately get some playing time on special teams and on 3rd downs.

What!!!

July 1st, 2009
5:55 pm

If the Falcons don’t make the playoffs, can anyone tell me who will be at fault?

GM

COACH

QUARTERBACK

Who do you guys think the blame should go to?

Football thirsty

July 1st, 2009
6:08 pm

You can’t place blame before a hypothetical situations occurs. It just depends. If all the new players suck… GM, if the players execute but don’t the wrong plays are called at the wrong times… coach. If Matt Ryan losses games by committing lots of turnovers… QB. I don’t see any of these things happening. I can see injuries taking out some key players which could really hurt our playoff hopes… but no way to foresee those.

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
6:09 pm

D-Led,

Thank you for the heads up. I hope it will be red.

Joe's place Joe speaking

July 1st, 2009
6:21 pm

Hey D-Led I was getting a haircut the other day @ GoodFellas on Concord rd. And I look at the wall and see a big picture of you with your infamous Bowtie. I asked Tim ( who owns the shop ) if he knew you and he said that’s my man! I’ve been goi g to Tim for probably 10-15 years but I never that was you until I recently seen your picture on here. Anyways long story short it’s a small world! Do you go there to get cut or just old friends?

munson on the braves

July 1st, 2009
6:26 pm

just get us to football season! just get us to football season! My sentiments exactly.

falconidiot

July 1st, 2009
6:33 pm

My concern with the LB’s is in pass coverage against QB’s like Breeze, Brady, McNabb, i feel certain this is where we will be attacked defensively until we prove we can cover. This defense entirely will stop the run, without a doubt. We should be physically better at the position than last year.

What!!! The only thing to blame for missing the playoffs will be injury.

Tyson

July 1st, 2009
7:09 pm

Hey D-Led. whats wrong with MY 6 minute youtube clip about 2009 falcons?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A81eeYcZE7I <<<<watch it FalcFans

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
7:13 pm

falconidiot,

The QB’s you mentioned would be any ones concern. My concern is directed at the D-Line. Should they become disruptive in the other teams backfield, LB and DB play will be a moot point. The D-Line needs to put more pressure on whom ever the QB is. Should we obtain this goal this year the Falcon’s will make believers of a lot of people.

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
7:16 pm

falconidiot,

Are you famliar with a big red disc?

row3

July 1st, 2009
7:25 pm

Tyson, Nice highlight reel. I love those memories of the 2008 season. This season your highlights will be 12 min long.

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
7:32 pm

Tyson,

I went there. I done that. When I finish giving you the proper props, I’ll go back. Very, very, well done! I enjoyed it. Thank you for memory rehash.

WR

July 1st, 2009
7:33 pm

What!!!, now here’s a person that doesn’t get it. There are so many factors that go into a winning team and this person is worried about placing blame. I made the comment that football is 90% mental and 10% physical and this same person came up with the intelligent remark of thats why so many 150 lb geniuses are playing football. After a statement like that, this person is wondering who we should place the blame on if the birds don’t make the playoffs. I usually don’t give the brainless wonders of the world the time of day but for this person I will make an exception. If a fast time in the 40 and pure strength made for good football players we wouldn’t need a govenmental stimulus because we could resort to playing football, as talented as the players in the league are have you ever wondered why a mediocre team will remain mediocre until a good coach arrives. Kind of like getting a degree from Harvard and getting a degree from Chattahoochee tech. Not to offend the Chattahoochee graduates, but there is a big difference. How does a stud college athlete whom appears to be the best physical specimen in the draft become a bust, by not getting the mental aspect of the game. What!!!, have you ever heard of the wonderlic test, its a test of aptitude and intelligence, its not 100% as a predictor of success like any other test, but it gives a good barometer to base decisions on. Now I wonder why someone who could run a 4.2, 40, and bench 225 lbs 50 times, would need to take such a test. I got it, because they need to have some form of intelligence and teachability. At the same time I wonder how can a team so talented not make the playoffs without blaming the coach, QB, or GM. Once again I got it, injuries, chemistry, and the bounce of the ball, Belichick should be fired, the Patriots lost one player and didn’t make the playoffs, what a horrible coach, on that matter Tom Brady should be banned from the league, yeah he blew out a knee during a freakish hit but if he had played through the pain and suffering New England would have been superbowl contenders.

Unca' Bob

July 1st, 2009
7:35 pm

row3,

Have not seen ya’ in a while. Is the family OK?

row3

July 1st, 2009
8:08 pm

Unca’Bob, Thanks for asking. The Wife’s doing good, going though some physical theapy. We’ll have her ready for training camp. It’s good to be back.

Joe's place Joe speaking

July 1st, 2009
8:21 pm

Hey D-Led I was getting a haircut the other day @ GoodFellas on Concord rd. And I look at the wall and see a big picture of you with your infamous Bowtie. I asked Tim ( who owns the shop ) if he knew you and he said that’s my man! I’ve been going to Tim for probably 10-15 years but I never knew that was you until I recently seen your picture on here. Anyways long story short it’s a small world! Do you go there to get cut or just old friends with Tim?

falmouth

July 1st, 2009
8:42 pm

I feel good about a lot of things concerning our team but the LB corps…iffy at best. been watching DVD’s of our 2008 games lately. thank goodness we picked up peterson!
IMO Lofton looked good in spots and i was mostly encouraged but he got lost in the fray and pushed back sometimes and we got run on so much that i had a hard time saying he’s a “thumper.” in college, yes!, in the pros, not yet. but hey, he SHOULD get better. Nicholas (although now we know why he didn’t play much {good luck to you and the family!}), had to go back to 2007 to see significant footage. not bad but not spectacular either. Coy Wire, love him on special teams…i really do. even thought he was okay in a reserve role. but his play in the Cardinals game was PUTRID, ATROCIOUS, REPUGNANT…(anyone know anymore words I can use?)!!! how many tackles did he miss?!! and was he ever in the right place? THAT guy was better than boley?! i LOVE him on ST though. i mean that.
i think we’ll do pretty well against the run but i was thinkin’ the same thing, falconidiot. who in our backer corp is good in pass coverage? Unca’ bob, even if we were a good pass rushing team, it’s not easy to get pressure quick enough to effect slants, shallow crosses, flats or anything quick or shallow and that’s what backers are partially or fully responsible for most of the time. a matchup with a back who can catch like reggie bush (twice a year), slot receiver, or a recieving TE against our backers scares me a little.
That said, I think the team will be fine. can’t wait for the season to start!!!!
GO GIT ‘EM FALCONS!!!!

Sarah B

July 1st, 2009
9:33 pm

Falmouth yoou left out repulsive.

What!!!

July 1st, 2009
9:58 pm

Just saw on “NFL NETWORK” That their sources reported that commissioner Goodell has been secretly in talks with Vicks agent and according to the talks, Vick’s agent is led to believe that Vick will be allowed to play in the NFL in this season.

I guess “YAHOO SPORTS” should fire their sources who stated Vick would be suspended for the entire season :)

Sarah B

July 1st, 2009
10:12 pm

also:

abhorrent, abominable, adverse, against, alien, antagonistic, antipathetic, averse, conflicting, contradictory, counter, creepy*, different, disagreeable, disgusting, distasteful, extraneous, extrinsic, foreign, foul, hateful, incompatible, inconsistent, inimical, invidious, loathsome, nasty, nauseating, noisome, objectionable, odious, offensive, opposed, opposite, repellent, revolting, sickening, unfriendly, vile, horrid, in opposition, inconsonant, revulsive, unconformable, unfitted

Hee Hee I’m bored…

Sarah B

July 1st, 2009
10:15 pm

WR that is VS2 in disguise – ignore please, there is no reasoning with him.

Sarah B

July 1st, 2009
10:16 pm

God, where is everybody??? I’m bored there is nothing on the idiot box either. God I hope they let us off work early tomorrow.

Anybody????

Sarah B

July 1st, 2009
10:18 pm

I think our LB’s will be fine TD is some kind of miracle worker but we will see.

[...] surgery on his groin area, but should be ready for training camp.  They also take a look at the linebacker [...]

NFL News | Superbowl Winners

July 1st, 2009
11:16 pm

[...] Got a case of the offseason football blues? ” Got a bad case of the offseason down home blues. There are no OTAs to cover. No mini-camps. The draft has been over for months. [...]

Stirg d'Nahsif

July 2nd, 2009
12:29 am

D.O., you “understand why they have Curtis Lofton at middle linebacker, Michael Petterson at weakside and Stephen Nicholas at strongside.” Why? Can You explain to me, why they were chosen, specifically, for their respective positioning?

What’s up, y’all and everybody?

Smarts

July 2nd, 2009
12:44 am

WR, you made a good point about intelligence being a key element in football success. In fact, two weeks ago, ESPN’s Colin Cowherd compared college graduation percentages of all the players in the NFL to those in MLBaseball and it was a surprising 85% for NFL and less than 20% in all of MLB. It was also pointed out on his ‘Herd’ show and by Chuck Oliver on 680 The Fan that the closer you line up to the center of the field (closer to the football for Offense), the more important intelligence is. The QB has to read defenses, call audibles, check down receivers etc. and the Center typically calls blocking formations for the O line. Brains are always important but for RBs and WRs, speed, strength, hands, and athleticism are probably more important. On D it’s usually the Middle Linebacker and Safety directing player positioning.

With all the parity in player talent throughout the league, intelligence in the GM and Coaching Staff are crucial. Luckily the Falcons have Dimitroff and Smith. Building a team with a cohesive chemistry is vital and a problematic great talent or two can disrupt a team. Smart teams use addition by subtraction: T.O., D. Hall, J. Shockey, M. Vick, ‘Pacman’ Jones etc. One bad apple……….

Unca' Bob

July 2nd, 2009
5:42 am

Unca' Bob

July 2nd, 2009
6:45 am

falmouth,

Your disc from last year can now become a Frisbee. Two of the LB’s you were watching are no longer on the team. With improved D-Line play Loften’s play will step up conciderablly. We now know about Nicholas’ lack of play last year, and the best read of the year BTW. Peterson had some issues at Jax last year so look for him to come in and prove he can still play at the NFL level. Overall, the LB corps looks pretty solid. I look for us to draft a LB next year that will have had played in a system that would have required him to play against the run and pass.We get him trained-up to replace M Peterson when he opts to retire.

Nativebird

July 2nd, 2009
7:33 am

Time for the kids to play no question. Nicholas needs to be ready, no question the kid’s got size and pop. Saw him in preseason last year flat out remove a guy from his shoes, man what a hitter. The question, has his couple of seasons in the NFL provided the “football” sense he’ll need.

Zoomie

July 2nd, 2009
8:14 am

A couple of posters have already touched on it: it’s hard to make a reasoned judgement on the LB corps when the DL is not yet a known quantity. I trust the coaches are working hard to get the first two defensive layers in sync. Having a year (or more, in Peterson’s case) under their belts with the current system should help tremendously.

Unfortunately, the Falcons LB image burned into my mind is of both the MLB and OLB biting on the RB coming out of the backfield while the Cardinals TE rolled into the void created by our dropping safety, effectively ending the Falcon’s 2008 season. Third and sixteen — still hard to believe!

I need a new, more satisfying image. Hopefully, the LB crew described above will provide it.

D Money

July 2nd, 2009
9:04 am

I think we’re fine at linebacker. We have 3 starters that are good and then a back up (Coy Wire) that’s pretty decent. Just like most other teams, if two of your starters get hurt in any position, then you’re in trouble. My only concern is Jamaal Anderson’s play this season. If the light comes on then we should be great. We should be anyway with 3 first rounders on the line (Anderson, Abraham, Jerry) and a second rounder (Babs).

Joe Be

July 2nd, 2009
9:11 am

Interested to read that Mr. Blank’s right-hand man Reggie Roberts suddenly is playing golf which makes him now OFFICIALLY semi-retired.

Unca' Bob

July 2nd, 2009
11:08 am

SirReal

July 2nd, 2009
11:22 am

Is anybody else experiencing football withdrawal symptoms….?LOL

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 2nd, 2009
12:54 pm

Joe’s Place Joe Speaking: Yes, I get the dome cut at GoodFellas. Nice guys in the shop and always a lively discussion. Being go to Tim for almost 10 years myself. Followed him over from the old spot on S. Cobb.

Tyson: I’ll check out your video. Looks like they like!!!

STIRG: Want some reasoning on the “WHY” I understand the starters. Peterson has shown striking ability and has the knowledge of the defense. Has played all of the spots. Lofton was just find against the run. Want to see him in pass coverage like some of you all. But he earned the right to play on third downs. Nicholas has showed that he can strike while playing on special teams. He likely should have been starting sooner.

JWW

July 2nd, 2009
1:03 pm

Joe Be, Reggie deserves alot of time off for golf (and then some) considering all the BS he has dealt with over the past few years (Vick, Petrino, Moore). I think he deserves a medal.

Joe's place Joe speaking

July 2nd, 2009
1:08 pm

Yeah over at Rips on South Cobb. Dang it’s a small world! Well who knows maybe I’ll see you in there sometime. Thanks D-Led!

JWW

July 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

This question was put to new Falcon Garrett Reynolds:

Q: You’ve got a family background with the Volunteers and you grew up in Knoxville. How did you not end up at the University of Tennessee?
A: I grew up watching their games and stuff, and going to them with my pops. They just offered me a preferred walk-on though, and I ended up going over to North Carolina on a visit and I absolutely loved it. The teammates seemed great, and you know, I really liked the atmosphere, and I knew if I ever blew out my knee or something, I’d have a great degree to back me up. So it worked out great for me and I wouldn’t change it for nothing.

Isn’t that a complete diss at a University of Tennessee diploma? lol Whatever, I wish Garrett luck and think he will do great for us.

Stirg d'Nahsif

July 2nd, 2009
1:32 pm

Thanks, D.O. I was just trying to get a better understanding why a middle linebacker (Peterson) was chosen to play weakside and why Nicholas was chosen at SAM, when he backed Keith Brooking at weakside all season. I think Smitty’s demand for versatility explains it all. Like you, I think we have the best players starting. Thanks, again,, for the update.