Roster cuts bring offensive line plan into focus

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure are back to anchor the offensive line, but for how much longer? (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl, Todd McClure and Justin Blalock are back to anchor the offensive line, but for how much longer? (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

With the Falcons recent roster cuts, their long-term plan for the offensive line came into focus.

Depending on which direction the labor negotiations take, left guard Justin Blalock, right guard Harvey Dahl and right tackle Tyson Clabo could all be free agents after this season.

Center Todd McClure is under contract through 2011. Left tackle Sam Baker is under contract through 2012 and would be a restricted free agent in 2013, at least under the current system.

So while we were all scratching our heads with the picks of guard Mike Johnson in the third round and center/guard Joe Hawley in the fourth round, the Falcons were planning to re-stock their line depth with potential starters.

Also, guard/tackle Garrett Reynolds was selected in the 2009 draft and tackle Jose Valdez is back on the practice squad to continue his development.

If Dahl, Clabo and Blalock hit the free agent lottery, the Falcons could counter with Johnson and Hawley at the guards and Reynolds and Valdez could compete for Clabo’s spot.

Let’s take a closer look at the roster:

  • A total of 31 of the 55 players on the 53-man roster were drafted by the Falcons. There are 55 players because defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and Robert James are exempt from the count because they are on the suspended list.
  • A total of 22 players don’t have three full years in the league.
  • There are 25 offensive players
  • There are 27 defensive players (Counting Babineaux and James).
  • There are 3 specialists.
  • The only surprises in our roster analysis were that tight end Michael Palmer beat out Keith Zinger and that Antone Smith beat out Dimitri Nance. So we had 51 of the 53 spots correctly predicted.

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100 comments Add your comment

E.lo

September 5th, 2010
6:42 pm

Derek

September 5th, 2010
6:42 pm

NE Falcon

September 5th, 2010
6:42 pm

any idea who gets cut when Babineaux gets back. Vance Walker is my guess.

The Grinch

September 5th, 2010
6:48 pm

Michael Palmer outplayed Keith Zinger; he deserved to be kept. Smith and Nance…guess they were just looking for speed.

I like the fact that we have so many O-line projects now. Blaylock’s underachieved in my opinion, McClure can’t last forever and Clabo’s decent but not great. I hope we keep Dahl.

Trust in Dimitroff!

BC

September 5th, 2010
6:54 pm

On the other side of the ball,I’m glad to see the “Bear” make the Falcons practice team instead of being picked up by someone else.

Row 3

September 5th, 2010
6:57 pm

Glad Valdez cleared waivers. He was my mian concern. Congrats to Bear Woods.

The Grinch

September 5th, 2010
6:57 pm

I’m surprised Valdez cleared waivers too. He looked pretty good to me.

The Grinch

September 5th, 2010
6:58 pm

Jinx, Row 3.

Row 3

September 5th, 2010
6:58 pm

Big Kuntree

September 5th, 2010
7:01 pm

D Orlando, Any word on of the Falcons plan on going after a released WR like TJ, Bryant or Coles?

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

September 5th, 2010
7:12 pm

The practice squad looks good in terms of who they decided to keep. I am not sold on our current OL when it comes to protecting Ryan in pass protection. Hopefully some of the new guys can be developed to provide better pass protection as well as opening holes for the running plays.

I’m just glad the the start of the season is finally here. GO FALCONS!!!!

Also interested to see if any teams go after Troy Bergeron. That drop TD pass in Jacksonville sealed his fate with the Falcons.

FalconsFan86

September 5th, 2010
7:14 pm

Yeah Orlando, please tell me the falcons and Dimitroff are looking into Houshmazilli or Bryant? Idk about coles but any of them would be welcome in my book! We need help with Kerry Meier goin down.

Greg from Marietta

September 5th, 2010
7:15 pm

Way to go D. Orlando! You can pick ‘em man. One quick question, what happens to the draft choice wide receiver that tore his ACL in preseason, is he kicked off the team or is he still property of the Falcons until he heals and just doesn’t count against the roster spots? Can another team claim him or not.

mountain_jim

September 5th, 2010
7:17 pm

I was hoping (and posting in these blogs) for Palmer over Zinger. Happy about that, and happy Valdez still around to promote.

Big Kuntree

September 5th, 2010
7:25 pm

D Orlando, Any word on if the Falcons plan on going after a released Vet. WR like TJ, Bryant or Coles?

waynelaster

September 5th, 2010
7:37 pm

I think Douglas & White are explosive receivers. Although Jenkins is not my favorite player, he has played decent over the years. I still & probally will alawys think Finnerman should have never made this yea cut. I pray we sign another tall & speedy veteran.

waynelaster

September 5th, 2010
7:43 pm

I am not a Finnerman basher, I just feel his lack of speed makes the Falcons one dimensional. Plus he pass his prime.

Reid Adair

September 5th, 2010
7:50 pm

I am pleased with the offensive line plan, regardless of which way it plays out.

ryan

September 5th, 2010
7:53 pm

I am just shocked that the Falcons are going to stand pat at WR and rely on Frank Weems and Jenkins .

GA ALL DA WAY

September 5th, 2010
8:08 pm

DL — You gonna leave us hanging on the TJ situation? What do you think about getting someone to really push Mike Jenkins, or Roddy for that matter? BTW good job on the selection I guess I would get it right too if I were on the field with the gang as much as your are!

oranjucejonz

September 5th, 2010
8:11 pm

Why does everyone want this guy Bear woods around so bad…..Is it just the name.I dont dislike him but i havent seen much from him

ryan

September 5th, 2010
8:13 pm

I just know why TD and Mike Smith are not worried about lack of production on the WR ’s Roddy White and Gonzo are to be double teamed someone is going to have to step up .

waynester

September 5th, 2010
8:29 pm

oranjucejonz
Woods looked good in camp and preseason, we’re just stocked at LB right now. Glad he’s still around–good guy, too…..

LJ

September 5th, 2010
8:33 pm

Fellow Falcons fans, please stop the nonsense about Antonio Bryant. He 1) is a malcontent and 2) is HURT. I lived in Dallas when he was on the Cowboys. Trust me, he has not changed. Plus, he is HURT. Why do you think Cincy went after T.O. and then cut Bryant? Because he is HURT. Bad knee and can’t play.

As for TJ, why? He also has attitude in the locker room. He thinks he is a #1 WR and wants to be paid like one. We have a #1 WR. He doesn’t block (at least not as well as Jenkins), so he can’t be our #2. And why would you put the brakes on Harry (a young draft pick) for a 32 year old WR who thinks he’s a #1 and is also a malcontent? So he can’t be #3. And sure, TJ is better than Finn or Weems, but Finn and Weems are being paid like the #4 and #5 WR.

As I said in another related blog, we have sent a WR to the Pro Bowl 2 years in a row. When has that ever happened with the Falcons? Not recently, if ever. We also have a HOF Tight End who should have made the Pro Bowl last year. He basically counts as a #2 WR. I think a lot of you guys are overreacting to the WR situation. Sure, it would be great to have a slew of #1 caliber WRs on the roster, but this team is balanced and primed for success.

If they make a play for TJ, I’d be shocked. As for Bryant, not a chance in Hades.

ryan

September 5th, 2010
8:42 pm

Well who should the Falcons bring in as insurance if someone gets hurt if they have to bring someone in .

Sly Ty

September 5th, 2010
9:09 pm

LJ that is a great post my man. I don’t know why our fans are acting like we have the Cleveland Browns receiving corps. Jenkins does his job, which is being a physical blocker, and occasional option on the mid-level slant pass against opposing defenses 2nd or 3rd best corner when all else has failed for the Iceman. Also, Jenkins is one of the best blocking recievers in the league. He is up there with Hines Ward as far as his blocking.

fanATicaL

September 5th, 2010
9:24 pm

This is a great roster.Maybe enough depth to survive any injuries.Hopefully MMarlarkey will be creativve enough to win the games we should.And the games we shouldnt.And can VanGorder make this defense an top 10 defense ? Any accomplishment of any combination of these items will put us in the Dallas

Sly Ty

September 5th, 2010
9:26 pm

Good thinking fanATicaL, and nice blogger name.

charles

September 5th, 2010
9:32 pm

We really need another wide receive, is there anyone else out there, i will take TJ he is best player out there

charles

September 5th, 2010
9:38 pm

Still should have gotten T O WE NEED ANOTHER RECEVER THAT CAN PLAY

hiramsaint

September 5th, 2010
9:49 pm

fanATical- depth? where?who?mularkey and creative?dallas? your not playing there this year with an 8-8 team silly rabbit!

BravesFanSince1961

September 5th, 2010
10:20 pm

Right now my BIG concern with the Falcons is Matt Bryant. He looked shaky to me during the pre-season. I hope it was just a fluke, but I’d keep a kicker or two on quick dial if I was TD.

Ted Striker

September 5th, 2010
10:33 pm

Nice analysis, D-Led — all the way around.

Row 3

September 5th, 2010
10:48 pm

oranjucejonz…Bear Woods was a fan’s wife favorite, maybe the name, possibly the dred’s, but my wife was happy after he made the PS.

mcbubba

September 5th, 2010
11:12 pm

Birds would be remiss to not inquire about TJ…
Come on Mr. Blank, whosyomomma!

Falconbloggerman

September 5th, 2010
11:30 pm

We need to get Brady and maybe Andre Johnson. That way, we would have nothing bitch about for a couple of weeks.

Or we could just play all practice squad members. We all love those guys.

GHunt

September 5th, 2010
11:34 pm

The Bear made the practice squad! The Bear made the practice squad! Nothing against the player, but I fail to see why he is hyped. Undrafted free agent with marginal talent is at best a developmental project.
When Babs return from suspension, Walker will be added to the PS and my guess is the bear will be cut..

Falconbloggerman

September 5th, 2010
11:37 pm

I love Bear Woods. I think I saw him make a tackel. If he gets a pro contract, my outlook on life will improve.

Nique

September 6th, 2010
12:29 am

Sly Ty you should read the article ealier this year that the AJC put out proving that MJ as the “great blocker” is a myth, he’s actually not even that good of a blocker for wr’s. Here’s part of the article & i quote “Well fans will always point to him being a “great blocker” and being a good enough possession receiver. Think again. He ranked 86th in blocking in 2008 and ranked 75th in blocking last year. Just because he has a big frame and is “supposed” to block good, doesn’t make it so.”

Ppl get off the MJ bandwagon of suppot, he’s a bust as a # 1 pick & not worthy of being our # 2 Wr. Point blank!!! & Hell if no TJ, bring in Micheal Clayton, get us someone because MJ isn’t the answer, he doesn’t do the job, he dopesn’t block well, he doesn’t catch clutch balls, why is he still here much less the # 2 man?

Nique

September 6th, 2010
1:21 am

I like the shape of the O-Line of the future. I really like Johnson & hopefully Reynolds or Valdez can be groomed into a LT so that Baker can be moved back over to RT which is his natural position & believe where he’d actually play up to his draft status. If not, i’d love to see us use our first rounder on a LT next year so we can truly get the most out of Baker & protect our investment in Ryan.

Brian Hunt

September 6th, 2010
1:22 am

I agree with GHunt.

Sly Ty

September 6th, 2010
2:59 am

Nique, clearly you know more than I and TD and Smitty. If they like him so do I. I have been wrong in the past, like when I wanted TD and Smitty to take Glenn Dorsey instead of Matt Ryan. The only 1st Rd bust on the team is Sam Baker, not Michael Jenkins or Jamaal Anderson. One is a solid blocking WR, and the other is a run stuffing DE. I never said Jenkins will get as many catches as Anquan Boldin, but he won’t be a whinning like a little B*T/H like that guy either.

Sly Ty

September 6th, 2010
3:00 am

Oh yeah Nique, don’t forget that Matt Leinart is available, perhaps you want him in place of Matty Ice.

scotlarock

September 6th, 2010
4:11 am

if i had hair id pull it out when i look at the wide outs on this squad..and year after year they cease to do any moves to upgrade it…great organizations make moves, thats how they become and stay that way..mj is a joke(only 6′5 wr u cant throw it up and say go get it unlike moss who he is taller than) finn will get hurt again and wouldnt make any other roster in the nfl but will probably start for us.and we HOPE douglas is mentally ready after coming off knee surgery(sorry even b4 the injury he didnt look like macklin or jackson in philly) .after white its all a bunch of practice squad receivers..

tom

September 6th, 2010
4:23 am

Let us see how they produce before we resign any of them. Whatever happened to David Irons from Auburn? He was injured early last year and not heard from since?

Manny

September 6th, 2010
4:47 am

Simple, one sentence answer regarding TJ: He ain’t coming because we already have good enough receivers to win football games.

willie g loves football

September 6th, 2010
5:35 am

FORGET THE DAMN WIDE RECEIVER YOU RUN THE BALL CONTROL THE CLOCK GET DOWN IN THE RED ZONE AND THROW TO GONZO TD , AND KEEP OUR WEAK DEFENSE OFF THE BOARD YES ITS WEEK REMEMBER WHAT NEWENGLAND DID, ITS GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

Scott Anderson

September 6th, 2010
6:29 am

yeh but its not going to happen at Pittsburgh

Paddy

September 6th, 2010
6:39 am

tom….David Irons was rehabed and then released. Don’t believe he was invited to another teams camp this summer.

SeenThisB4

September 6th, 2010
8:17 am

Steelers 20 – falcants 17.