Falcons-Lions Preview and Well Wishes to MV

Debut in Motown

 

The Dark Clouds Have Lifted, Well Almost
The wait is finally over my friends, Atlanta Falcons football has returned, well sort of. No, its not the real deal yet, but if you’re a serious football junkie than it can serve to be an awesome experience for many reasons. One, the preseason game officially rings the bell that football is back. Two, preseason games are an excellent way for fantasy football junkies to do research on players that might be sleepers or risers, and conversely can help drop some players who may be overrated. Three, it’s a great time to try and figure out who will make the final 53 man protected roster. And finally, hey its football, do you need another reason? 

Tale of Two Franchises

Atlanta’s coming off one of its most surprising and exciting seasons in recent memory after going 11-5 and making the playoffs when everyone in the NFL wrote them off as barely winning a couple of games. The misery of the Detroit Lions is certainly well-documented as they’re the only team to go 0-16 and not win one single game in NFL history. The Lions cleaned house top to bottom, hiring a new GM, head coach, and shipping several big names out of town in favor of building through the draft. They even re-did their longtime Lion logo on their helmets and jerseys. Many experts felt they had a good-to-great draft and may finally be on the upswing.

 

Falcons Offense vs Lions Defense

Preseason games are glorified practices, but they can go a long way to figuring many things out for the regular season. Every team needs to improve in certain areas from the previous year and the spots for the Falcons have been roundly discussed. Most of the starting offense seems to be in place from last year, having 10 out of 11 starters returning, with the lone replacement coming in the form of one certain future Hall of Fame tight end, Tony Gonzalez. Matt Ryan will look to continue his great relationship with Roddy White from last year, who just basically became an Atlanta Falcon for life with his new deal. In White’s week absence, Ryan seemed to develop an even better rapport with Michael Jenkins practicing as the number one wideout for a bit. And of course Falcons fans are salivating at the chance to see the chemistry between Ryan and Gonzalez, who has gone out of his way to heap praise on the young quarterback.

Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood will likely see a couple of series and head to the bench. The “Burn Unit” as DOL nicknamed the offensive line the other day, will see some action and get a chance to beat on someone else other than their teammates. In general, we’ll see some glimpses of what’s to come with our potentially explosive offense, but not enough for our liking.

As far as the Lions defense goes, they will look to see what they have with many new faces they acquired in the off-season. They signed Big Grady at DT, Phillip Buchanon at CB, and Larry Foote at LB among others, and drafted Louis Delmas at S, Deandre Levy at OLB, and Sammie Hill at DT to add a youth movement. Add to those names one of the better young linebackers in the game, Ernie Sims, and Jim Schwartz’s defensive mind, and its possible to see some hope for the future.

Falcons Defense vs Lions Offense

If the Falcons offense will be looking for timing and tuning up, the complete opposite is true for the defense. Where we have 10 of 11 starters returning on offense, we have 5 or 6 players returning as a starter and to say that the defense was in upheaval is an understatement. Thomas DeCoud looks to solidify his new free safety position and Erik Coleman working at his new strong safety position. Stephen Nicholas and Coy Wire look to make the most of their respective time on the field. Mike Peterson in his new role as a Falcon, and the big battles for the open cornerback spot and Jamaal Anderson vs. Chauncey Davis will all be on display. Generally, fans will have their first glimpse at the retooled defense, where speed, athleticism, and hunger look to make up for a vacuum of leadership. Should be a ton of fun to get a peek at what our new look D holds.

The Lions can really only go up on offense after a pretty atrocious year. Of course a great tie-in for local UGA fans to watch and see what number one draft pick Matthew Stafford will do in his debut (remember, Matt Ryan looked pretty good in his). Besides Stafford they drafted arguably the best tight end in the draft in Brandon Pettigrew, whom many of us believed would be in red and black before the Gonzalez trade. They will add that to a promising RB in Kevin Smith and local legend Calvin Johnson. Daunte Culpepper wants to show with authority that’s he back and that Stafford may have to wait a little longer than expected.

Key Players & Battles to Keep an Eye On
The majority of what preseason games represent, particularly the early ones, are a chance for the backups to show why they deserve a coveted spot on the 53 man protected roster. The real games begin once the starters head for the sidelines:

Running Back #3 – Thomas Brown vs. Jason Snelling
As has been mentioned before, there’s a good chance that Brown and Snelling will both make it on the roster. However, neither player can assume as much since there’s so much competition throughout the team. Good chance the Falcons may carry 5 DT’s, 5 DE’s, and maybe even 6 WR’s, so it may not be a lock after all.

Every Wide Receiver Not Named White, Jenkins, or Finneran

The wide receiving corps has taken some turns and twists since the beginning of training camp. White’s holdout and Harry Douglas injury prompted the signing of veterans Robert Ferguson and Marty Booker to add to young players Troy Bergeron, Darren Mougey, Eric Weems, Chandler Williams, and Aaron Kelly. This is going to be so much fun to watch. Do the Falcons start the youth movement, or defer it for another year? Finneran looks to be a solid bet as a #3 or #4.

 

 

Open DT Not a Lock After All
Many assumed that Peria Jerry would be a shoe-in for the open defensive tackle spot when he was taken with the 24th overall pick in the first round. Thomas Johnson, Trey Lewis, Jason Jefferson, and Vance Walker are all having something to say about that. Thomas Johnson is making a big push to either start or make the coaches consider keeping a 5th defensive tackle. Jefferson’s a crafty vet who knows the ropes, but the biggest surprise has been local favorite Vance Walker of Georgia Tech fame. Trey Lewis must prove he can stay healthy.

Veterans or Rookies at Backup Linebacker
The battle was supposed to be simple with 2008 5th round draft pick Robert James battling 2009 6th draft pick Spencer Adkins for the last linebacker spot, but the recent signing of veteran OLB Jamie Winborn has certainly added some heat to the mix.

Open Corner Spot
Brent Grimes is shocking the world again and taking the inside track to be our opening day starter. Chris Owens is having a great camp as a true rookie and looks to push Grimes as far as he can to start in his first year. Chevis Jackson also looks to be in the mix as well, even though he may be slotted for the nickel again this year. Von Hutchins looks to be the hybrid CB/S that can play both, but maybe not necessarily as a starter. Hadn’t heard very much from rookie William Middleton.

Get the honey-do list done early, grab some good food (even try one of the recipes posted in here), get your favorite beverage, and lockdown on the couch for the return of ATLANTA FALCONS FOOTBALL!!!!!

Well Wishes to Michael Vick
The news broke late last night that our former quarterback, Michael Vick, was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. This will not be a post focusing on any negative aspects. Vick brought a spirit, energy, and passion to Atlanta Falcons Football and the NFL in general. He was one of the most exciting players in football when he played and wowed us many Sundays. Situations well known to everyone certainly changed the dynamics. Human existence is about redemption and second chances, and Michael Vick surely deserves every opportunity to remake his life and find recovery, both professionally and personally. Best wishes to MV on his new journey.

405 comments Add your comment

downsouthdirtybird

August 14th, 2009
12:00 am

downsouthdirtybird

August 14th, 2009
12:03 am

hmmmm gettin good at this. lol nice read d3 tommorow by lunch hopefully have me some good reads on the blog. cant wait for the season go falconsssssssssssssss

Dean21

August 14th, 2009
1:39 am

D3, have you heard anything about the Falcons-Lions game being tape-delayed and not broadcast until 8pm?

Dean21

August 14th, 2009
1:44 am

Hello CAGERS!!
D3, man you are popping them out so fast, it’s hard to keep up with ya..
but that’s a good thing because the fast pace initiates multiple topics and responses from our new & regular cagers!

D3,I also missed you at the Branch a few weeks ago. I’m trying to get caught up with the honey-do because my time is about to shine! It’s time for some good ole fashion football! Man I finally received my season tickets and wow, now that Eagles game will be something with the media circus it will bring!

CBrass, I noticed you were at the Roam the Dome event, I was sitting in section 136..It was a very nice outing, a lot of fans attended as well…It was awesome at the autograph session and I’m glad I received my autograph tickets in the mail. I was able to get Brent Grimes & Jerious Norwood Hancock on a few footballs. The other main attraction for me was El from V-103!!! Wow, pictures does nothing for this woman! God surely blessed her with a lot of beauty! ok, back to football :)

Can’t wait til Saturday to see who shines and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for TBrown, this guy has to shake that injury bug and must have a injury free camp to make this team. He surely has a chance to finally exist in the NFL. I’m also pulling for DJ, dude has to mirror TBrown.

BGrimes is not only talented, but a very nice dude. I was able to share a few words with him and Jerious and I wished them both a good and healthy season. The fight for several roster spots will begin on Saturday at 4PM.

Dean21

August 14th, 2009
1:45 am

I see the blog monster is not sleeping and has flagged my post….grrrrrrrr

Ed

August 14th, 2009
3:09 am

Enter your comments here

Ed

August 14th, 2009
3:11 am

D3 I say let’s go w/ the young guys and our own draftees unless there is a huge gap between the two.

Ed

August 14th, 2009
3:37 am

Ooops…I missed my first post. Meant to say good luck to # 7…hope he returns to as close to his former level of ability as possible & has a second chance in life to again be a successful person.

Krebs

August 14th, 2009
4:41 am

I wish Vick the best of Luck with the Eagles. He did his time and deserves a chance to work again. May he do well in all of his games except if and when he plays against the Falcons of course! Looking forward to the Lions game. Be interesting seeing Stafford for the first time. If that offensive line does not improve in Detroit he will be lucky to come out of season one alive (even as a backup).

Alex H.

August 14th, 2009
6:02 am

It appears that the game will be televised at 4 p.m. and then rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Awesome!

long time falcon

August 14th, 2009
8:04 am

The game is live on NFL network at 4pm. Then it will be shown locally at 8pm.

Lil'Dave

August 14th, 2009
8:30 am

Wow I saw some great motivation for Chris Houston last night on T.V. Did anyone of you guys see the commercial during last nights preseason game?? It showed the Dome and Chris getting beat in slow motion by Steve Smith making a one-handed catch in the EndZone… Had to be embarrassing for him. I kinda looked at it as a kick in the nuts for him… But my true question is…Is the game going to be on TV Saturday? If so what channel? And it’s at 4 right.

long time falcon

August 14th, 2009
8:39 am

Lil’ Dave, please read the post above!

Lil'Dave

August 14th, 2009
9:04 am

Sorry about that. I posted my comment before I read all the comments because my computer at work locks me out of the site after 5 mins. So I write first and read later and sound like a jackass in between :)

ddawgdavis

August 14th, 2009
9:08 am

There are two battles I want to see over the Pre-Season: D-Line and Linebackers. The tackle position is going to be interesting but I think Jerry will step up and show he’s got the position. The end position is the one that’s going to be the most interesting. Abraham and Bierman are shoe-ins at their respective slots, but the Chauncey, Anderson, and Sidbury three way battle will be good. I think Chauncey shows and then Sidbury progresses to take over next season.

LB is interesting at the Strong or Weak side. What’s interesting is the Winborn signing. Winborn is an over pursuer, but he almost won the the game single-handed for Denver last season. Now the rest of the time he ran past tackles and such, but was overall a decent LB. I think he ends up winning the position with Peterson and Lofton giving us a solid LB with Nicholas and Wire backing up.

Should be a good pre-season, I am seriously praying for no injuries and good results heading into the season.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
9:12 am

D3,

As always great read. I have even more respect for you for taking the time to wish our former QB luck. Yes he deserves a second chance and I wish him the best but not against us. Now I’m moving on…

I can’t wait to see what Stafford looks like. He’s has never had a great OL in college so he should be used to that. However some of the passes he got away with in college will be done here our defense is to fast but I’m sure that he’s found that out by now. Once again nice article D3.

BIRDMAN

August 14th, 2009
9:17 am

Hello cagers .Thanks D3 for another great article .I look forword to the game.
I hope MV well ,and maybe thats a good place for him to start his comeback.
After all he is with a team thats used to there QB to run the ball.Maybe not as
much as he used to but if I’m curect .Mcnab was that type QB ?

Vick at one time made this team as fun as it is now to watch.And his past
should be water under the bridge now.Don’t get me wrong I’m glad we are in
another chapter of Falcons football witch I think is a better one.Vick has
served his time for his screw up.So the wheels on the bus for him now can
turn again.

Ya’ll KEEP ..IT ..COMEIN

I’M READY FOR FOOTBALL

BIRDMAN

August 14th, 2009
9:17 am

Hello cagers .Thanks D3 for another great article .I look forword to the game.
I hope MV well ,and maybe thats a good place for him to start his comeback.
After all he is with a team thats used to there QB to run the ball.Maybe not as
much as he used to but if I’m curect .Mcnab was that type QB ?

Vick at one time made this team as fun as it is now to watch.And his past
should be water under the bridge now.Don’t get me wrong I’m glad we are in
another chapter of Falcons football witch I think is a better one.Vick has
served his time for his screw up.So the wheels on the bus for him now can
turn again.

Ya’ll KEEP ..IT ..COMEIN

I’M READY FOR FOOTBALL

BIRDMAN

August 14th, 2009
9:24 am

Sorry guys I hit the comment twice and don’t know why it came out like that.Thats not the way it was sent out ?

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
9:32 am

Good morning Cage…

LOL…D3, my brother. Mad props to you for the continued sustainment of excellence here. And yes, though it was in a clean up role, the Ziggy Express looked darn good making his move towards the QB.

Going to watching the defensive line very carefully on Saturday. There are only two locks on the DL in my opinion; Babs and Abe. The other two slots are wide open. Hip Hip Peria (Stirg) and Vance Walker are the two I am watching in particular. So much has been said of Walker’s effort to date; let’s see it translate.

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
9:53 am

Reference MV7: I’m in totally agreement with the comments of my friend, Birdman. He is rebuilding his life while the Falcons are working to build a WINNING future. Both sides have moved and SHOULD continue to move on. As one that has had a few skeltons fall out of his own closet over his life, I certainly respect the power of second chances. THEY ARE NOT AUTOMATIC and SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.

MV7, I would ask, if I could chat with ya, that you respect first of all, YOURSELF, and then your family. Respect the integrity of the game you say you love. Look forward young brother, learning from the past, and having faith in the future. PAY CLOSE attention to the wisdom and the judgement of your mentor, Coach Tony Dungy.

I’m a forgiving person, my brother, as are most people. But heed this warning, MV7. If you screw over Tony Dungy, you will have destroyed all every ounce of hope that the football nation, from Pop Warner to the NFL, would have ever had for you.
Wishing you the best, man. Thanks for the highlights. We are moving on in the Falcon Nation; we wish you the best as you do the same with the Eagles.

Unca' Bob

August 14th, 2009
10:02 am

Falcons WR Eric Weems had another strong outing. The 5-foot-9 receiver came down with another leaping catch in coverage during 7-on-7 drills.

Ed-Covington

August 14th, 2009
10:03 am

Don’t understand the Brown v Snelling comment: the Falcons will obviously keep both. They are two different backs with opposite styles. Snelling cannot return kicks, Brown can’t play FB. Unless something better comes up on the waiver wire (remember when Snelling was surprisingly cut two years ago?), the Falcons will keep both. I wish them both the best and the Falcons the Super Bowl. Go Birds! We are ready for some football!!

Sarah B

August 14th, 2009
10:07 am

Hey all my Comcast DVR box is showing it at 4:00 on 11Alive. Where do you people live that it’s not showing until 8???

Ed-Covington

August 14th, 2009
10:08 am

Agree with you all about watching the entire defense: DL, LBs, CBs and Safeties are all contested positions; which is a good thing. Healthy, spirited competition will bring out the best performances. Think the Birds will be OK no matter who wins the positions, but it will be interesting to see which players eventually win out. Go Birds!!

Unca' Bob

August 14th, 2009
10:09 am

Seminole Warrior,

I agree with your 9:53 post. Inparticular the third paragrapaph. That is the last I have to say about That.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
10:11 am

SW,

Well said my brother!!! Well said!!!

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
10:15 am

Correct Ed. The Falcons will keep both Snelling and Brown.

UnCa Bob (Semper Fi). What is up with Weems? Love the production but I’m getting too many “I told you so” remarks…LOL. It is not in the nature of the TeePee to surrender but I think the “white flag” may be getting ready to ease up the flag pole.

So UnCa, should I go ahead and place the order? LOL.

Ed-Covington

August 14th, 2009
10:16 am

Charter Comm. Cable in Gwinnett shows the game broadcast live on WXIA(CCC chan. 6) at 4pm and rebroadcast at 8pm om MyAtltv(CCC chan. 3)

Unca' Bob

August 14th, 2009
10:21 am

SW,

I don’t want you to think I’m piling-on. He just keeps making the highlights. Baskin-Robbin’s has combination ice cream and cake. You may want to order ahead. Ice cream and cake is much better than crow(LOL).

Sarah B

August 14th, 2009
10:22 am

Very nice sentiment SW. Very true too. Who doesn’t have a skeleton or two?

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
10:23 am

UnCa and CB…thanks.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”

….from Atlanta’s favorite son, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
10:25 am

Ed-Covington,

Thanks. I’ll look it up but Charter still suck and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
10:28 am

Sarah B,

Has the workload eased up?

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
10:28 am

UnCa, no such thoughts my friend. We are having fun with it here. And that is exactly the one she wants; the B & R package.

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
10:30 am

Thanks Sarah. And like CB, I’m wondering if the day is easier today for you than yesterday. You are more than welcome to roll south and watch the tropics with me this eve on the nightbeat…

Unca' Bob

August 14th, 2009
10:34 am

SW,

I know that package very well. Same one our Grandbabies want every Birthday.

Ken Strickland

August 14th, 2009
10:47 am

EDCOVINGTON-I think the RB battle will be between VHayes and JSnelling. Like you said, Brown has punt and kick return skills, which gives him the upper hand, plus we have JNorwood. The key battle will be between VHayes and JSnelling for the backup FB position. I don’t see us keeping 2 backup FB’s.

DDAWGDAVIS-the starting SAM position is SNicholas’ to lose. I don’t see Winborn, or any other LB on our roster, beating him out at this juncture in training camp.

On the previous blog I mentioned why I felt Vic chose Philly. I think he knew he wouldn’t be ready to take over aa a starter at this point. I think he also wanted to spend a yr backing up, and being mentored by, a QB that’s effectively dealt with controversy and is an effective runner and passer. After a yr of working with both DMcNabb and HC AReid, he should be able to take over an OFF. At any rate, good luck and thanks for the good times and the bad. Yes, I said the bad.

If it hadn’t been for the bad Vic brought to this franchise, owner ABlank may have continued buying the sizzle instead of the steak, when hiring a HC’s and GM’s(see Mora, Petrino and McKay). The Vic saga forced him to take the bull by the horns and buy the steak, which he did when he hired both TD and Smitty. SO AGAIN, GOOD LUCK TO YOU MVICK, AND THANKS FOR EVERYTHING.

Ed-Covington

August 14th, 2009
10:50 am

Whether Charter sux or not, I still thought everyone would want to know what channels the game was on, no matter what cable or satelite package you may have.

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
10:58 am

Completely concur K Strick…

Sarah B

August 14th, 2009
11:00 am

CBrass a little better today! SW thanks for the invite but I have a plane to catch in the AM. I’m green with envy of all of you. I have to record the Saturday game and watch it Tuesday night when I get back. I doubt the family would take kindly to me sneaking off to watch the game. It is for M&D’s 60th Anniversary that we all gather.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
11:01 am

Ed-Covington,

Thank you very much. I’ll check it out when I get home. It just ticked me off really bad yesterday when i checked and found out that they do not offer NFL network at all!!!

Sarah B

August 14th, 2009
11:04 am

I’ll take steak any day!! You are so right K. Strick.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
11:08 am

Sarah B,

Your parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary…that’s awesome!!!!

Lil'Dave

August 14th, 2009
11:09 am

Miss being able to talk to my fellow Cager’s like I use to be able to..And great job again D3 as always. The AJC should really put you on the pay-roll! And whatever happened to Terrance Moore??

So am I the only one that saw the commerical of Houston getting lit up by Steve Smith? Not that its a big deal or anything but I just hate to see my Falcons hung out to dry like that on national T.V.

Well have a great day guys and gal’s! Keep tha cage rock’in!

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
11:11 am

Wow…60 years!! Sarah, pass on the love and best wishes of the TeePee.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
11:11 am

Lil’Dave,

I saw it and thought the exact same things. To add insult to injury it was a one handed grab.

CBrass

August 14th, 2009
11:13 am

Sarah B,

My last post sounded a bit…off. That should read “Your parents will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary…that’s awesome!!!!

Sarah B

August 14th, 2009
11:14 am

Thanks guys and you are right we should all be so lucky.

SeminoleWarrior

August 14th, 2009
11:14 am

Lil Dave…trust in the process. The secondary is evolving. We will be better back there this year.