Smith mum on whether Falcons will go after Peppers

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display last Friday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center last Friday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

RADIO ROW – After the Pro Football Writers of America meeting (yours truly is second vice president), I caught up with Falcons coach Mike Smith and owner Arthur Blank while they were working radio row. (Missed Thomas Dimitroff, who made his rounds on Thursday).

Smith talked with the local shows. He talked with Doc Walker and John Thompson from the D.C. station.

He spent some time with old friends in Baltimore and Jacksonville. He made several other stops. So  did Blank.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Fox Sports Laura Okmin. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Fox Sports Laura Okmin on radio row. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Tiki Barber interviewing Snoop Dogg. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Tiki Barber interviewing Snoop Dogg. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Smith was not distracted from his interview when Snoop Dogg and his entourage passed by on their way to an interview with Tiki Barber for Yahoo! Sports. Actors/Entertainers Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, David Spade, Usher and Jamie Foxx were some of the other celebs getting in their football fix on radio row.

In between visits, Smith, who I don’t believe is familiar with Mr. Dogg’s work,  gave us some important updated medical information.

RYAN AND TURNER UPDATE: The teams’ two major offensive weapons, running back Michael Turner (high ankle sprain) and quarterback Matt Ryan (turf toe), are nursing their injuries.

“Both of those guys are spending some time with our rehab people,” Smith said. “The big thing for them is to be non-active on those body parts.

DOUGLAS UPDATE: Wide receiver Harry Douglas, who missed last season with a knee injury, passed through radio row with his parents.

“Harry has done a very good job throughout the entire season,” Smith said. “He’s still involved in his rehabilitation. He’s getting closer to actually getting out and doing some work on the field.”

Coach Mike Smith doing an interview on radio row at the Super Bowl. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Coach Mike Smith doing an interview on radio row at the Super Bowl. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

FINNERAN UPDATE: Wide receiver Brian Finneran suffered a knee injury late last season.

“Brian Finneran’s was non-surgical,” Smith said. “It is just a matter of getting enough time off the knee so that he’ll be prepared and ready to go for mini-camp.”

NOT TALKING ABOUT PEPPERS: Smith also shared that the coaching staff has been evaluating the potential free agent class. Later in the month, they’ll switch gears to the combine.

I asked him about Carolina’s Julius Peppers and if the Falcons were interested. (I knew he couldn’t answer, but I asked anyway. Smitty didn’t want to get another fine from Commish Goodell!)

“Until free agency opens (on March 5th), we can’t talk about (other players),” Smith said.

79 comments Add your comment

Ebay

February 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

The Falcons probably won’t sign Julius Peppers. He will likely demand big money. I think they will pursue cheaper guys like Alex Brown or Adewale Ogunleye.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Smith mum on whether Falcons will go after Peppers http://bit.ly/cqsssw [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc dot com, D. Orlando Ledbetter and D. Orlando Ledbetter, Darryl Ledbetter. Darryl Ledbetter said: Snoop Dogg drops by DOL's latest Falcons blog. http://bit.ly/ddp1Kg [...]

Arthante Lafleur

February 8th, 2010
12:55 pm

We could take a cue from the Braves and trade Michael Turner and Roddy White for for a bag of practice balls.

All kidding aside, could we try to get that much for Jamal Anderson?

JOEinPHX

February 8th, 2010
2:12 pm

Second vice president of the Football Writers of America! Man, I gotta get me a box of them Cracker Jacks.

ben

February 8th, 2010
2:13 pm

Get Julius Peppers at all cost….Time to think big…need to sack Drew Brees…

Paddy

February 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

Any good pass rushing DE would do ok by me.

SimpleDawg

February 8th, 2010
3:18 pm

It sure would be nice to have a “sack specialist” who actually was able to sack someone.

Peppers is a freak of nature. Unfortunately, he doesn’t play up to his talent every play. His contract should be incentive laden in order to motivate him to perform….every game, every play.

Rich Mckay

February 8th, 2010
3:21 pm

We made two great FA pick ups the last two years (TG, MT). Heck, Williams was a great grab while he was healthy. Peppers is coming here or someone of similar impact.

Louis Arnold

February 8th, 2010
3:22 pm

Julius Pepper dam right give what he want

Fish2774

February 8th, 2010
3:24 pm

Sign Peppers, trade the 1st pick for a 2nd, 5th, and future first round. You can give Peppers a quality signing bonus instead of signing a rookie and go after the corner or linebacker in the 2nd rd with that pic.

Damien

February 8th, 2010
3:24 pm

Sign peppers, draft a DE and trade abe after this next season. he will be getting up in age and on his last leg. we let him play with Pep and teach a rook or let beer man step up next season. Anderson can get out of town on the next thing smokin. Hopefully this year. too bad his cap hit sux.

tyger

February 8th, 2010
3:41 pm

Sign Peppers period end of story…

Don’t let age or money deter you from adding key pieces to the puzzle. Chris Doleman, Jumpy Geathers, Biscuit Cornelius gave great efforts for us late in their careers. Age is just not that big an issue at DE, all you need is a 10 yd burst.

Plus, in an uncapped year, you still have to be competitive. Certainly, the Cowboys and Skins will try and buy a bowl bid and some others will low-ball it. It’s an opportunity for the Falcoons to take advantage while they still have Gonzo around.

Surely, Sidbury and Biermann are coming around. They’ll be good depth and fresh legs behind Abraham and Peppers. Our Dline with a healthy Jerry and Babineaux would be dominant. And thats what we need – everybody else automatically gets better.

We could spend the #19 pick on a young 5star corner like Patrick Robinson without having to throw him to the wolves. And suddenly have 4-5 nice young, athletic, fast corners similar to the Ravens, Eagles and Steelers secondaries.

But it all starts and ends with Peppers. Spend the money, go to the Super Bowl!

TheAntiMe

February 8th, 2010
3:47 pm

I asked him about Carolina’s Julius Peppers and if the Falcons were interested. (I knew he couldn’t answer, but I asked anyway. Smitty didn’t want to get another fine from Commish Goodell!) – D. Orlando Ledbetter

I realize that he could see right through your lame attempt to get a scoop but if I were Mike Smith, I wouldn’t be telling you anything about the Falcons that you couldn’t find in a 2-week old Sports Illustrated, Mr. second vice president.

soldierman

February 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

If Coach Smith feels like he can motivate that joker and we can get him at a reasonable price. (reasonable being not most dominant player money) then I say go for it. I think a reasonable range is somewhere between 6-10 per. The contract should be filled with escalators which would max out around 15 if he can prove to be a consistent dominant force. other than that. no dice.

Magic Man

February 8th, 2010
3:50 pm

Let Peppers get overpaid to play on a bad team (hello, Washington). Draft Carlos Dunlap, Jason Pierre-Paul, or Everson Griffen in the first round and a CB in the third round. Or, trade down in the first so they can get a second round pick and then go DE and CB, or vice versa, in rounds one and two. Or, draft Greg Hardy in round three.

The Real Falcon

February 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

Is Peppers willing to play a 4-3? Because he has said in the past he only wanted to play a 3-4.
Why not ask him?

extremus

February 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

While Peppers’ asking price will likely be steep, this deal makes too much sense not to get done ASAP. His presence alone on the line, along with a healthy Jerry, will give opposing O-lines enough to handle to allow a guy who was much maligned last year, John Abraham, to possibly experience a renaissance hearkening back to his big year in 2008. Last year Abe was double-teamed to the point where he was often dropped into coverage, but if he’s back to being able to go one-on-one our defense will be HUGELY improved on the pass rush.

Tell it like it is

February 8th, 2010
4:00 pm

Go ahead and sign peppers and while your at it pick up some salt to.Bwahahahahahahaha.Sorry folks i learned that from the Grinch.

F-105 Thunderchief

February 8th, 2010
4:08 pm

Maybe you could ask him, “Hey Mike, do you like jalapenos, poblanos, habaneros, etc.? Would you like to have more peppers in the coming year?” (wink, wink) and see what he says.

Jack

February 8th, 2010
4:10 pm

I agree sign Peppers. Unfortunately, we could not get a bag of feathers for Jamaal Anderson, so we just need to cut our losses

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 8th, 2010
4:13 pm

I am not sure the Falcons want to splurge on Peppers. He wasn’t even happy playing in his home state and the Panther’s paid him handsomely.

THE REST OF THE PFWA OFFICERS (Since that was so impressive to TheAntiMe and JOEinPHX!)

2010 PFWA Officers
:
Charean Williams: President
Mark Gaughan: First Vice President
D. Orlando Ledbetter: Second Vice President
Howard Balzer: Secretary
Mike Sando: Treasurer
Bob Glauber: AFC East
Vito Stellino: AFC South
Marla Ridenour: AFC North
Jeff Legwold: AFC West
Vinny DiTrani: NFC East
Pat Yasinskas: NFC South
Brad Biggs: NFC North
Kent Somers: NFC West
Ralph Vacchiano: At Large
Bob McGinn: At Large
David Elfin: Membership Liaison
John McClain: Super Bowl Liaison
Len Shapiro: NFLPA Liaison
Charles Robinson: APSE Liaison

Billy

February 8th, 2010
4:13 pm

Sign Peppers if his asking price isn’t too outrageous!

alanfalcon

February 8th, 2010
4:21 pm

No Peppers, a waste of money as he places more value on himself than the team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marcos

February 8th, 2010
4:32 pm

we really need this guy in defense and we can use our pick in an cb but please mr blank give us peppers and abraham look what the colts did whit freeny and mathis

Ramblin Wrecker

February 8th, 2010
4:42 pm

If we learn anything from the Super Bowl it should be this:

A pass rush is absolutely necessary if you want to compete against the likes of Drew Brees or Peyton Manning? Those guys will eat you alive if you don’t disrupt their pocket. New Orleans didn’t really rush Manning that much, until they blitzed him late. Turns out it worked when they needed it. The Colts couldn’t rush Brees one bit. With a healthy Dwight Freeney, maybe things would have been different.

Point is, the Falcons need to generate pass rush, and that means no cost should be spared to make that happen. If they believe Peppers still has it left in him, then it shouldn’t matter the cost. Give him a huge 2010 salary (the uncapped season) and then more reasonable yearly salaries over the next few seasons.

NOLA

February 8th, 2010
4:50 pm

Wo dat who dat, who dat say they gonna beat ‘em saints?

definitely not the Falcons. :) :)

calvin broadus.

Big Ron26

February 8th, 2010
5:00 pm

At first i was against signing Peppers but after watching last nights super bowl im steaming the sorry a** Saints won a super bowl before we did. I think the falcons need to go for it sign him bring in another receiver on offense a legitimate receiver next to Roddy white bring in another corner maybe lito sheppard we need to load up i want a super bowl title within the next 2 years, still draft wisely but i dont think we need to depend on rookies right now i wanna win now if the saints can go out there with a average defense at best and a one dimensional offense and win it all why the hell cant we the saints aint that much better then us right now if the they will make those moves just a couple of veterans added to the mix we can win it all.

Mere Ignorance

February 8th, 2010
5:08 pm

The best thing this team can do is trade for Michael Vick and take the short cut back to rebuilding. This Vick-less team is going no where and no one is coming out to see this team. What a bore they are.

Joseph

February 8th, 2010
5:29 pm

I wouldn’t trade a high round draft pick for him, but he could be snagged as a free agent without such cost outlay. We need to sit steady in the boat and maintain the course, we are on the right track, even without him. I also want to comment on last nights Super Bowl being the most watched tv show. Finally, maybe the pundits and the keepers of the refs can now allow the teams to just play ball, and may the best team win. The number of viewers show that not everybody wants to watch the same teams year in and year out play for the title. Just a thought.

Mere Ignorance

February 8th, 2010
5:55 pm

These falcons are following the course of the bulldogs, down hill from here. Its over. Time to rebuild. Next!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 8th, 2010
6:40 pm

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falcon21

February 8th, 2010
6:47 pm

I don’t see the Falcons getting Peppers, the money will be to great. Peppers is beginning the down side of his career and Abe is already there. Our only hope is that some of the younger lineman can step up or we sign another younger lineman with ability through FA.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 8th, 2010
6:54 pm

Falcons’ rebuilding plans may be disrupted by NFL’s labor strife. The dreaded “UNCAPPED” year is upon us. http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons/falcons-rebuilding-plans-may-294148.html

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
6:58 pm

DOL, Mr. Blank said it should not affect the Falcons. How can it not?

falcon 71

February 8th, 2010
7:13 pm

use the money for a player or players that want to improve thru utilizing the falcons facilities and coaches input to become an all pro. dont waste it on a player who has seen his best and is on the decline and doesnt play every down. forget Peppers let him handicap another team

Poor McKay

February 8th, 2010
7:58 pm

DOL, can you please speculate for a second on which D-linemen you think will return to the Falcons next season? In an uncapped year, cutting a player means no salary cap penalty, right? So Abraham and Jamaal could both be gone. How about Trey Lewis, is he worth retaining? Chauncey Davis got minimal playing time and Biermann and Sidbury seem to be on the rise.

Lastly, why no discussion about pairing Jerry with a big ‘un like Dan Williams from Tennessee? Didn’t Smith enjoy two massive DTs during his J’ville years? Move Babineaux to DE on running downs and let’s go with a big-boy line for a change. Pressure up the middle against Brees would be nice.

Jeryl McDowell

February 8th, 2010
8:15 pm

Sign Peppers. With him and abraham on the line together with a healthy Jerry and Babineaux would make our dline more dominate than the giants dline when they won the super bowl with strahan. With a dline as dominate as that will make the others better by givin them time to develop and make more plays. To me signin Peppers would give our defense a major upgrade wich can more than likely send us on a super bowl run because our offense has the keys and is too explosive too handle its just the defense has to hold up there end which Peppers can change the whole outlook of our defense in 1 to 2 years guaranteed

Boilerup

February 8th, 2010
8:30 pm

Ray Edwards…. Ray Edwards…. Ray Edwards… You saw what the last fomer Boilermaker free agent just did… Go Falcons!!!

falcon21

February 8th, 2010
8:36 pm

Our offense is not explosive, too many holes to fill. We need another o-lineman and a WR. Jenkins is not getting it done. Signing Peppers would be using money unwisely. Peppers is not even an every down D-linemen any more.

BT

February 8th, 2010
8:55 pm

The Falcons should not get involved in a high stakes bidding war with anyone for the services of Pep.
Right now, they need to focus on re-signing UFA`s Chris Redman, Brian Williams and a new kicker.
Then after march 5th, work on deals for a lesser name FA`s, maybe a WR, DE and/or a RB, also work out deals for their own inhouse RFA talent they wish to keep, mainly, those three O-lineman and Norwood.
By early April we should have a good idea the direction Dimitroff will go in the coming draft.

[...] [Falcons] Falcons Coach Mike Smith Mum On Interest In Panthers DE Julius Peppers Falcons coach Mike Smith shared that the coaching staff has been evaluating the potential free agent class. Later in the month, they'll switch gears to the combine. D. Orlando Ledbetter of ajc.com asked him about Carolina's Julius Peppers and if the Falcons were interested. "Until free agency opens (on March 5th), we can't talk about (other players)," Smith said. Source: AJC.com [...]

[...] [Falcons] Falcons Coach Mike Smith Updates Status On QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner The Falcons two major offensive weapons, running back Michael Turner (high ankle sprain) and quarterback Matt Ryan (turf toe), are nursing their injuries. "Both of those guys are spending some time with our rehab people," Smith said. "The big thing for them is to be non-active on those body parts." Source: AJC.com [...]

[...] [Falcons] Falcons Coach MIke Smith Optimistic WR Brian Finneran Will Be Ready By May Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran suffered a knee injury late last season. "Brian Finneran's was non-surgical," Smith said. "It is just a matter of getting enough time off the knee so that he'll be prepared and ready to go for mini-camp." Source: AJC.com [...]

[...] [Falcons] Falcons WR Harry Douglas Getting Close To Doing Field Work Falcons Wide receiver Harry Douglas missed all of the 2009 season due to a torn ACL he suffered during training camp. "Harry has done a very good job throughout the entire season," Smith said. "He's still involved in his rehabilitation. He's getting closer to actually getting out and doing some work on the field." Source: AJC.com [...]

Ken Strickland

February 9th, 2010
12:06 am

We won’t waste money signing JPeppers, nor should we. The main reason TD and Smitty refused to resign CB DFoxworth was because of his poor run support, and defending the run has been our major weakness. JPeppers also provides poor run support, as evidence by his total of 42 tackles in 806 snaps, compared to KBiermann’s 49 tackles in just 499 snaps. JAbraham had fewer snaps than KBiermsnn, and he had 35 tackles.

BosnianBaller

February 9th, 2010
1:41 am

Defending the run was not as bad as the horrible secondary we had.Also a big time DE is needed to put pressure on the qb because nobody got to the qb

JT

February 9th, 2010
2:18 am

Peppers alone ain’t the answer to us making the SB ya’ll, we need our running game back next season all season long, and we need 1 more go to receiver besides Jenkins, and someshut dwn corners

Scott Anderson

February 9th, 2010
2:40 am

Why do the Falcons always go after the players that are about to go downhill in production. Forget Peppers. He is overachieving ,prima donna, overpaid, player with the wrong attitude.

Build through the draft.

Forget dr peppers.

TRAVIS

February 9th, 2010
3:18 am

GO FOR PEPPER REMEMBER REGGIE WHITE IMPACT ON GREEN BAY WITH HIM AND AHAM ON THE OTHER IN AND USE THAT FIRST PICK ON LB WITH SPEED THAT FRONT SEVEN WILL BE AWESOME AND THE CB WILL HAVE TIME TO COVER BETTER AND GET MATT RYAN SOME FAST RECIVERS BY TRADING MICHEAL JENKINS