Mike Smith already pointing toward 2010

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank celebrates on the sidelines after a field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 20-10. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank celebrates on the sidelines after a field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 20-10. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

TAMPA – Just minutes after awarding owner Arthur Blank with the game ball, Falcons coach Mike Smith was already pointing toward 2010.

“We are very disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs,” Smith said. “We are pleased that we were able to get nine wins. This is the end of the 2009 season. But really it’s the beginning of the 2010 season on the calendar. We wanted to finish strong with three straight wins to lead us off heading into this 2010 season.”

The Falcons opponents for 2010 are set as they will face the AFC North, NFC West and the second place teams from the

ampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib (25) breaks up a first-quarter pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins (12) during an NFL football game sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib (25) breaks up a first-quarter pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins (12) during an NFL football game sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

NFC North and NFC East.

At home the Falcons will play Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Green Bay.

On the road, the Falcons will play Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

RYAN TOUGHED IT OUT: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan would not let on how tough it was to battle back from his turf toe injury.

At least now, he will get a chance to let the injury heal.

“I can’t say enough about Matt Ryan and his toughness,” Smith said. “That was a very significant injury in terms of the turf toe. For him to come back and the work that he did with our training staff and athletic performance, to come back and work as hard as he did, he spent many, many hours, the last three weeks, when he hasn’t been able to practice. He had to get a lot of mental reps.”

YOUNG CORNERS PLAY WELL: For the second consecutive game, cornerbacks Christopher Owens and Brent Grimes had interceptions.

“He got outside the pocket and he tried to make a play,” Owens said. “I felt like he threw it into a crowd and I was the fortunate one to pick it off.”

Grimes had another game-sealing interception.

“They ran a double move, I just played the man and made the play on the ball,” Grimes said.

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) intercepts a fourth-quarter pass intedned for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant (89) during an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) intercepts a fourth-quarter pass intedned for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant (89) during an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Grimes appeared to be steadier once he moved over to the right side in Chris Houston’s spot. He doesn’t feel that he plays one side better than the other. He opened the season at left cornerback.

“It doesn’t really make a difference,” Grimes said. “It’s corner. You are back pedaling and running on both sides. I don’t really feel any different on either side.”

Grimes led the team with six interceptions.

“I’m just out there trying to make plays and help the team win,” Grimes said. “If interceptions are the way that I can help, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

JENKINS HIT 50 CATCH MARK: Wide receiver Michael Jenkins had four to give him 50 for the third consecutive season.

Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib had to be separated from Jenkins after an errant pass in the second half. He was talking trash and Jenkins wasn’t taking any mess from the second-year player.

“The ball was out of bounds and he was acting like he made a spectacular play,” Jenkins said. “He wasn’t talking about nothing.”

BROCK GETS SOME ACTION: Safety Eric Brock, who was moved up to the active roster on Dec. 22 from the practice squad, got some action on defense when Thomas DeCoud went down with a groin injury.

“It felt really good,” Brock said. “All of the preparation that goes into it and to finally get some snaps on defense was really encouraging. A lot of those vets like Mike  (Peterson) did everything they could to encourage me. I felt real comfortable.”

Next season, Brock, who played at Auburn, will have to make the roster because his practice squad eligibility is up.

The Buc's pirate ship. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The Buc's pirate ship. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

“I know that my practice squad eligibility is up,” Brock said. “I just have to continue to work hard in the off season. Continue to learn our plays, learn our checks and get more comfortable in the defense. When you feel comfortable, you’ll make plays. I have to continue to work on special teams. .  . my main thing is to keep working.”

McCLURE WANTS TO KEEP LINE TOGETHER: If the league and the players union reach an collective bargaining agreement by March, right guard Harvey Dahl and right tackle Tyson Clabo will become unrestricted free agents.

“Hopefully, we can keep this group together as much as possible,” McClure said. “When you look at teams that have success, they keep their lines together for the most part.”

McClure was impressed with the how the team closed out the season. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, they won their final three games.

“We had three games where we knew that we weren’t going to the playoffs and this team kept playing,” McClure said. “That says a lot about he character of the guys in this room.”

The ship from the front. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The ship from the front. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

83 comments Add your comment

Reid Adair

January 3rd, 2010
10:39 pm

What a great day, especially for long-time Falcons fans. I was very pleased with the team’s performance – particularly Matt Ryan, Jason Snelling, Chris Owens and Brent Grimes. I think Owens and Grimes will be fine over time.

Thanks to Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and company for their commitment to the organization. I am convinced that things are headed in the right direction for the long term.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 3rd, 2010
10:48 pm

REID: Nice comment. Should be a bizarre offseason with the labor issues.

Steve

January 3rd, 2010
10:59 pm

Im so happy that albatross is gone. Thank you Falcons from one long suffering fan

FoxNoise.net

January 3rd, 2010
11:04 pm

Our needs in the draft seem eerily similar to last year’s – but we could also use a RB somewhere in the top three rounds.

Headmofo

January 3rd, 2010
11:17 pm

2010 NFL DRAFT

1st Rnd Defensive End (our corners are improving and Brian Williams will return in the off season. Also, take a look at Thomas Dimitroff’s draft history with the Patriots. The Patriots never took a corner high nor will the Falcons (D. Hall and Jimmy Williams were on McKay’s watch). Haden (Florida) won’t fall far enough for us to grab him so expect a premier pass rusher with this pick.

2nd Rnd. We are enjoying our second round pick this year with Tony Gonzalez. If somehow we are able to unload Jason Snelling or Jerious Norwood at best we could get a late 3rd rounder. We maybe able to package that pick along with some other compensation and snag us a 2nd rnd pick. If so, this may be the spot for that Cover Corner.

3rd Rnd. Corner Back. This may seem low for an area of need but remember we are under the cap presently and heading into an uncapped year. The Falcons can take a Corner or Defensive Tackle here and pick up a player like Daunte Robinson from the Texans or Rasheen Mathis from the Jags. The Falcons want to win now so an established corner whom can lead and play right away would be a much better fit. Remember corners are high bust rate players just like Quarterbacks. (Could see an additional 3rd Rnd compensatory pick here giving us two 3rd rounders)

4th Rnd Defensive Tackle I love Bab’s (but he may miss 4 games, pot charge). We need a space eater in the middle to allow Lofton to run free ala Ray Lewis. Remember Smitty had Marcus Stroud and Big John Henderson w/the Jags. This may be a spot to plug in a beast.

4th Rnd. Could see two more compensatory picks here but until we know for sure I will not count them.

5th Rnd. Offensive Lineman. I like Sam Baker but I am starting to belive that he is better suited to play right tackle. This is low to take a left tackle but Todd Mc Clure flirted with retirement before. Look for a Center here to be groomed for the future.

6th Rnd. Kicker I know what your saying, why draft a kicker here? Think back to the two games we dropped this season without a reliable one!!!! Special Teams are important!!!! Take the best place kicker available here. This guy will hopefully kick us into the playoffs next year.

7th Rnd. We gave that pick to St Lois for Tye Hill. He will be moved to Safety or be released.

Compensatory Picks (we should have at least 3-4).
1.Running Back
2.Line Backer
3.Gaurd or Tackle (will depend on if we lose Harvey Dahl or Tyson Clabo or both)
4. DL

Look for the Falcons to continue to build for the future with this draft. We have some major pieces already in place so don’t plan on us reaching for any over-rated players.

Peria Jerry should return next year along with Moore at Safety.

2010 should be a great year!

Jdog

January 3rd, 2010
11:19 pm

All in all, a tougher schedule combined with lots of injuries and still only 2 less wins than last year. A great coaching effort and great commitment from the players. A good season! Thanks!

Falcons 4 Real

January 3rd, 2010
11:22 pm

Great win today, that monkey is finally off our backs. Kudos to Coach Smith and staff for overcoming a lot of adversity to pull off a winning season in spite of a pague of injuries and a brutal schedule (scheduling 5 teams coming off a bye should never have happened and I hope we address the league about that.) It looks like next season’s schedule is marginally better as I figure the out of division opponents are: Cleveland, Cincy, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Fran, Seattle, St Louis, Arizona, Philly and Green Bay. Correct?

Singletary

January 3rd, 2010
11:24 pm

Could not have said it better, Todd. I think we need to set the o-line (and a younger center that you mentor for several years.) Is SamBam (not sure if that is a public nickname or just a fixture of a HS friend’s imagination) going to stay healthy? Calling wellness Coach Fish, Ph.D.?

As sad as this day is (six months until Training Camp,) I’m much more enthisiastic about the possibilities than I have been in ~43 year.s

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 3rd, 2010
11:25 pm

RUNNING BACK is a very likely target spot. Preparing files on Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer and Cal’s Jahvid Best. All have first round grades.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 3rd, 2010
11:34 pm

THE FALCONS only had one victory over a team with a winning record. (New York Jets 9-7). Miami finished 7-9. Carolina 8-8. San Fran 8-8. Chicago 7-9. Washington 4-12. Tampa Bay (twice) 3-13. Buffalo 6-10.

enjoy history in the making

January 3rd, 2010
11:49 pm

Let’s enjoy history in the making!!! Finally, we don’t have to be categorized as the franchise that “you know the rest!” We have a better opportunity to make the playoffs and possibly go beyond next year. We will be in a great position to draft a tremendous first rounder. I have never been so excited about being 9-7. Let’s support our Falcons, Braves, Thrashers, Hawks, Bulldogs (pray that we get the right DC), and yes the bumble-bees (there, I said it!) My hats are off to the Falcons. Remember in 1990 when the Yellow-Jackets, then the Braves took the world by storm? I think our time is approaching…

Atlanta Peach

January 4th, 2010
12:00 am

Choke, “Howd you Doin” ?!!!!!!

Resign or Resign?

January 4th, 2010
12:10 am

I thought that the defense played well the second half of the season and they get Jerry, Moore and Williams back next year. Let’s hope they can stay healthy. Owens, Grimes and the rest of the young defense will have a year’s worth of experience. There are always the questions of what to do now with Houston and Tye Hill; but I don’t see any late round draft picks being any better. I think the secondary will be OK; we may need to add a “stud” LB or DL if they are available in the draft or FA; but I don’t think we need to “reach”!
We still need a #1 WR; I see other receivers getting 5-10 yards of seperation ( and NO, not just against the Falsons) and running “free” against other secondaries. It will be good to get Harry Douglas back, but Weems nearly matched his stats this year.
RB? Has everyone given up on “The Burner”? Let’s hope he is back and healthy next year. I think the Falcons have more pressing needs on the OL and other positions to use their first round pick on a RB; unless someone like Spiller or Dwyer drops to them. Even then, you’d have to trade Turner from a position of weakness since he is coming off of an injury.

RUDEDOG

January 4th, 2010
12:14 am

The falcons only had one win over a team with a winning record. Don’t get ahead of ourselves. We have a lot of work to do,and bums to get off this team. Yet and still good game birds.

Atlanta Peach

January 4th, 2010
12:27 am

Just think RUDEDOG, Had the Falcons replaced their field goal kicker two games earlier, The Falcons would have been in the playoffs ! Wouldn’t have gone far but still the same !!

chosen1

January 4th, 2010
12:32 am

this is how our draft needs to look like…… defensive end, corner back, o line, then depth at running back and d line

Playing N.O twice, Philly, and Arizonamans pass defense and if you can’t cover you better be able to pass rush and morgon or dunlap could be availble…. Since Haden is the is the realy only lockdown corner you cant reach for anyone at this position. after seeing Baker ge beat all day today a LT is needed too. A RB withblazing speed is need to helpcompliment brusing backs Turner and Snelling s a help, and a young TE to learn from Gonzalez could help too.

We can compete for a great run next season…. Free angency can be big for us. We need to get a VETERAN corner to come and help against th saints and the other pass happy teams… I CANT WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON

UGA Fan

January 4th, 2010
12:38 am

Great season Falcons! ESPN stole the playoffs away from us and we are the hottest team right now so we deserve to be in the playoffs, actually we deserve a bye. Next year we win it all, Super Bowl Champs!!!!!!! Georgia was really 10-2 this year and we deserved to be in a BCS bowl and not Shreveport. Next year we are National Champions, 13-0.

43 and counting...

January 4th, 2010
12:54 am

Now that the curse is broken….

RICH McKAY, get your act together, get with the Rules Committee, and you and our buddy Jeff Fisher pass a rule about HOW MANY TIMES A TEAM CAN FACE ANOTHER TEAM COMING OFF A BYE!

THOMAS DIMITROFF…. Analyze the tentative schedule from now on so we don’t get hosed like we did this year!

ARTHUR BLANK… Open your checkbook in the uncapped year and get us over the top!

Mr. Logical

January 4th, 2010
12:56 am

I’m finally glad to see the Falcons have back to back winning seasons. But we need to be more active in the off-season this year then we were last year. Injuries, inconsistency and lack of depth really hurt us this year.

The Falcons seem to be set at the starting cornerback positions. Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens played very well in those last three games. I think it might be time to trade Chris Houston. He seems to be a liability when he’s on the field, and is absolutely awful in coverage in my opinion. Another guy that I’m infuriated with is Jamaal Anderson. Will he ever reach his potential? (And besides, the Falcons have played better defense without him too.) Maybe Thomas Dimitroff will finally become convinced to trade him. Chauncey Davis has played much more aggressive than Anderson in the last couple of games. I like would like to see Chauncey starting over Jamaal at left .

Mr. Logical

January 4th, 2010
1:02 am

… defensive end.

poppa falcon

January 4th, 2010
1:04 am

Brutal schedule, multiple injuries……..yet this team manages to finish with a 9-7 record. Would’ve LOVED to make the post-season, but I’m satisfied that the building blocks are being set for a successful WINNING franchise.
Excellent article, DL.

Goldenglove002

January 4th, 2010
1:12 am

I’d love to see Dwyer become a Falcon (well I’d love any of those 3, but especially). I go to Kell and the guy is a legend there. Everything that I have ever heard about him is that he loves being around Atlanta (he attends a good bit of Kell games) and I would take a guess that he would probably enjoy being on the Falcons.

Now I’m not sure if RB would be a great pick in 1st round (depending on what happens with Norwood and Snelling), but we shall see. It’ll definitely be an interesting offseason.

Oh, and how can I forget! Go Falcons and congratulations on breaking the streak!

Falcon State of Mind

January 4th, 2010
1:43 am

I would love to have a player like a Terrance Cody or even a hitter like a Mays from USC. I think that Cody would complete our line, and I can see him being available around our pick. If Smith wants to stop the run, plug this big dude in the middle for the next ten or more years and rotate him with Jerry and Babs. I actually think our rotation at dline is good enough where we can get a free agent to round it off. Some of our younger guys at that position actually don’t look too bad. I would all in all cut JA and CH.

Nique

January 4th, 2010
2:13 am

We don’t need to look at Rb until the 4th round. Turner’s fine, Let Norwood go, keep Snelling, & sign as scat back in F.A. Using 1 of our 1st 2 picks on a RB would be very bad & irresponsible! Our 1st pick should be a CB (i wouldn’t mind a stud LT either though, which would allow us to move Baker over to RT where he belongs), then a DE, OLB, & then DT. We also need a Center & a Kicker. In FA we could address 1 or some of these things.

jim

January 4th, 2010
3:31 am

i have been a falcons fan longer than most of the people on this blog have been alive. the fact that we only had one victory over a winning team and they have zero offense shows just how far we have to go.

Charles

January 4th, 2010
4:50 am

Great day for Falcons fans! Now, can someone please keep Arthur Blank off the sidelines next year?

harleyman

January 4th, 2010
4:55 am

Orlando. Two teams didn’t have winning record because the Falcons beat them. Two others would have finished .500 w/o loss to Birds. I tend to look at that in a more possitive manner. Great Falcons win yesterday. Injuries, tough schedule, great perserverance. Thanks to the organization for getting the monkey off it’s back with B2B winning seasons.

Tom K

January 4th, 2010
6:24 am

I got my Xmas wish a few weeks ago for the “D” to do well against the Jets and now, a nice 3-game winning streak to end the year and to finally put an end to the “Streak”. Good job Birds. Your heart and strong play the last 4 games has me already looking forward to next season.

jerry

January 4th, 2010
6:46 am

They missed the playoffs because they could not rush the passer. Pure and simple. Look at the quarterbacks they faced the last three games and their ratings.

Sanchez (rookie)–63
Brohm (2 starts in NFL)—-43.2
Freeman (rookie)-59.9

Tom K

January 4th, 2010
7:10 am

jerry, I share the same feeling that part of defensive resurgence was due to facing weak offenses and inexperienced QB’s. But, giving up only 20 points over 3 weeks, going 11 quarters without giving up a TD, holding strong rushing teams at bay, and finally generating a pass rush and turnovers, are things we can feel good about and build upon. And, was it just coincidence that this all started to happen when Anderson and Houston were out?

Rod

January 4th, 2010
7:41 am

jerry – the Falcons played a BIG part in those low ratings. Do you even realize that?

florida falcon

January 4th, 2010
8:16 am

D-man, Doc just took you to school! Damn!!!!

Alan

January 4th, 2010
9:08 am

Great comeback winning the last 3 and not holding your heads sown and giving up, Its great to be a Falcon fan.
OK, lets take a day off and then go back to work for 2010. Thomas, its now time for you Smitty and the coaches to do your thing, a good draft and continue building for sucess.
Mr. Blank, grest support and guidance will continue to make this a very sucessful team.
Falcons, for all the effort in 2009.

GO FALCONS AND GO SOUTHERN RUSH.

midnite

January 4th, 2010
9:18 am

Happy New Year DOL, The curse is finally over. Halleujah! I know we only beat one team with a winning record, but the teams that beat us have records that are impressive also. I’m proud of this 2009 team and thanks boys for busting that blasted curse. 2010 or bust!

midnite

January 4th, 2010
9:22 am

Doc
With all due respect this is a sports blog, its intended purpose it to disseminate information quickly. Are you a teacher? Kind of sounds like you may be. You must never text or tweet.

[...] On the very next play, Owens picked off Josh Freeman to set up the next drive. Tied at 10-10 in the game, Jason Snelling took over the game and took it down the field refusing to quit. Facing third down, Ryan had his chance at redemption as well. An out pass that looked like it may be picked went right to Roddy White, who made an amazing play to stay in bounds and score the go-ahead touchdown. The most ironic play may have been when Brent Grimes picked off Josh Freeman again on a 3rd and 1 in the endzone on a deep pass. One of the most beleaguered players throughout the year ended up saving the game. Jason Snelling’s hard-running and recently added (and former Bucs kicker) Matt Bryant iced the game.  (Check out DOL’s New Blog) [...]

gdg73

January 4th, 2010
9:43 am

If we would have just beaten Dallas, we would have made the playoffs. In that game, we drove the ball down there throats (Turner) on the opening drive and scored a td. Our defense held them on their first drive. Then Mike Mularkey wanted to get cute with the play-calling and started trying to showcase Matt Ryan’s arm. The drive either ended in a three and out or an interception. I can’t rememeber. Another TD would have killed the Cowboys spirit I do believe. Instead, the wheels came off after that and we got humiliated.

TJ

January 4th, 2010
9:47 am

Position Changes Possible. Mr Ledbetter, what do you think of two possible position changes:. 1. Move Jerious Norwood to wide receiver. He clearly is the fastest man on the team, but he is not built to take the hits at RB. 2. Move M. Jenkins to Tight End. He gets little to no separation against CB’s but would fare better against safeties and LB’s. Plus he is a great blocker. What think ye? Thanks
P.S. My 2010 resolution is to follow God’s will, in other words to be “led better”. (sorry couldn’t resist that one!). .

Jeff Schultz: Left-Wing Crybaby

January 4th, 2010
10:03 am

All of You Falcons Naysayers – I Hate You All. You’re All Banned.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you had a chance to review my resume yet, Good Mr. Blank, Sir?

vafalconfan

January 4th, 2010
10:34 am

This team had too much character to be denied. We have never been more stable in the front office and we have never had better leadership. Congratulations Arthur Blank!

what

January 4th, 2010
10:38 am

Jim being a long time fan doesn’t = football knowledge. You my friend have proved that. Good day!

Mave2124

January 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Rather go 1st round CB than DE…DEs are so hit or miss to me….look at Jamaal Anderson. Rather go with a blue chip CB and hope he isn’t as annoying as D.Hall was to people.

chipperdawg

January 4th, 2010
11:29 am

Great season!!! The curse has been removed!! 2010 is looking good already, as we have built up some incredible depth through out this roster, due to all the injuries in ‘09. Getting guys healthy again to go along with the experience gained by young guys in ‘09, plus another draft to continue building for the future! Its a great time to be an Atlanta Falcon fan!!!!

Gritz Blitz

January 4th, 2010
11:39 am

I’m very proud of this team and the strides we took this year. I’m a lifelong fan and it was great to finally get back to back winning seasons.

FYI – Did you know had we beaten the Patriots and say Carolina we would have been 11-5 and still would not have made the playoffs? I’ve looked at the standings and we would have lost tie breakers to the Eagles and Packers who both have 11-5 records.

Falcons are Pros

January 4th, 2010
11:44 am

Hey doc- Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Samantha Baker

January 4th, 2010
11:46 am

Great Season,
Really, If there is a true LT available in the 1st round we should snatch him up.. The Ravens have had excellent Drafts.. First There are solidified like us at Running back and Quarterback and then went and got Michael Oher? At left Tackle. They will be in the Playoffs for a second Straight Year.. If a Left Tackle is available that is worthy we must take him and move Samantha to Right tackle. If not we still need D line help.. Maybe Cody? Move Babinauex over to DE? He did lead the team in Sacks.. and With Bierman starting and Davis and Sidburry subsituting? IT all comes down to your Offensive and Defensive lines.. IF we have a pass rush you would be surprised what our Corners can do..
Get a Corner in the 3 round and a Linebacker to groom. Running Back in 4th Round, Reciever in free agency. Jenkins eventhough he reach a great career market it is becuase Roddy can’t get open, and Michael is open. We need another big time reciever who doesn’t drop big passes like Jenkins. Also we have lost Finneran and who know’s what Harry will look like when he returns. We are actually thin at Reciever, and we dont have time to develop one.

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

January 4th, 2010
11:47 am

ok, ok…after getting over not making the playoffs, there are a few thoughts about the season (will have plenty more in the weeks to come):

1) Kudos to Brent Grimes for getting better and playing the corner position with GREAT APTITUDE down the stretch. I saw glimpses of what Mike Smith must be seeing in practice. Great technique…gets his head around, locates the ball…and unlike many corners in this league, he actually can bring the ball in for the OSKY. I still don’t think that he is a #1 CB in the NFL, BUT he can be your passing situation 2nd CB, or nickel back. He certainly showed me something.

2) Snelling, #44 is the truth. Period. His progress begs a proposition: Why not sign and trade #32 Norwood for a second or third round pick. Adds to the talley of selections that you can have in the upcoming draft. A tandem of #33 and #44 is rough and tough…and is on par with any running attack in this league. Draft a running back or see where Thomas Brown is next year to serve as your scat back.

3) We need to draft a #2 WR. Jenkins is not the answer on passing downs. Keep him to take Marty Booker’s spot on the roster, H. Douglas #83 comes back, cut Booker and Finneran (good Falcon) loose. Jenkins should have had a breakout year with teams bracketing Tony G. and shading R. White. Did not happen, because he just can’t catch balls that are not easy catches.

4) Only one RB (NE’s Fred Taylor) went over 100 years on this team. The run defense, over the course of the year, was superb. Keep Curtis Lofton (of course), #54 (of course) and Peterson (one more year) intact. Also, the D-Line ended well with a nice rotation of players that dominated the Jets, Saints, Bucs, Skins, Dolphins, Bears, etc. The issue here is rushing the passer…

5) Which leads to the case of #98 J. Anderson, #55 J. Abraham, Chauncey Davis and #71 Bierman. Keep Chauncey, the Beer Man, and the disappointing Abe. Cut #98 loose. Sign a veteran guy to come off the edge. Bro. DOL, who will be available this year at DE in free agency? THIS is where we should spend a little money…

6)Secondary. I agree that many of their issues stem from the lack of a pass rush, but many teams went to a 3 step drop and we still did not make plays. I like #21 from what I see…seems to have a short memory unlike #23 Houston (has not been the same since the CHI game in the Dome last year). Cut Houston, Hill, and even Coleman. Go into the season with 2nd year Moore slated to compete with whoever you bring in for the starting SS spot. Keep DeCoud in place…was SOLID in his first year starting. Draft another CB early (2nd-3rd round).

7) Whatever you do…KEEP HARVEY DAHL!!! The man is nasty…and costs little. Try your best to keep CLABO, because of his versatility. Like we have done in the past, sign cheap players that we can coach up. The point here is that DAHL is priority.

…more later, but CONGRATS to the BIRDS for getting that losing monkey off our backs. Now, with the 2010 schedule, we have a chance to win 11 ball games. Draft at the CB, TE, WR and OL (Center) positions. Big Free Agency signing must be at the DE or DL position. Release Houston, Hill, J. Anderson, M. Booker, SS Coleman. We MUST address the pass rush this offseason.

Happy New Year.

FBD

Trainwreck

January 4th, 2010
11:53 am

Brent Grimes for Pro Bowl!! No, but seriously I’m glad to finally get that dubious distinction off our backs. Hopefully we will be playoff bound in 2010!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 4th, 2010
11:55 am

MADE IT BACK TO THE BRANCH: Coach Smith is speaking at 3:15 p.m. followed by Matt Ryan at 3:30.
POPPA FALCON: Thanks for the kind words.

DOC: Thanks, too. After 20 plus years of being edited, we’re all (my buddy Schultz included) finding out just how hard it is to self-edit. After writing four articles, I stayed up late to get something up for the fans. Then I re-edit after I fly back. Also, deleted your posts since they were off the subject which is FALCONS FOOTBALL.

TJ
: I don’t like those position changes. Jenkins to TE. He would have to bulk up. Not sure how good of a route runner Jerious would be at WR. Guess you could send him on a bunch of go routes.

MIDNITE: Thanks for the defense and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS: Just in preparing for tomorrow’s print articles.
–Falcons had one win over a team with a winning record
–Falcons were 1-5 against playoff teams.
–Victories game against so-so QB group: Chad Pennington, Jake Delhomme, Shaun Hill, Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell, Josh Freeman (2), Mark Sanchez and Brian Brohm.
–Defeats were to superior QBs (except for a sliding Delhomme): Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Drew Brees (2), Jake Delhomme, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb.

You can make the argument that the Falcons are quilty of WWUC — “Winning While Under Construction.”

Georgia Peach

January 4th, 2010
12:23 pm

Fine Atlanta Peach, how are you? anyway, anyone listening to the guys on 790? Brandon has summed up this season VERY WELL.