Archive for August, 2009

Who Takes Backup LB Spots?

The Battle for LB Role Players 

Will "The Beast" Keep a Spot? (atlantafalcons.com)

Will "The Beast" Keep a Spot? (atlantafalcons.com)

Competition Throughout
As mentioned several times before, competition throughout the entire Falcons roster has been and will be heated, intense, and fierce since the start of training camp. The vicious competition will not be limited to starting spots such as Defensive Tackle or Strong Safety. Some of the more concentrated battles will be those backup positions where players are fighting tooth and nail simply to earn a spot on the 53-man protected roster. Many of these players will be fighting for their professional lives in many instances.

A Special Teams Must
Although they may not be asked to contribute on offense or defense in a major role, they must exhibit a great versatility and tenacity on special teams. In the Falcons case, they must prove they can play for special teams Coach Armstrong, who demands toughness, speed, and most importantly hitting. Atlanta’s special teams proved to be one …

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Nicholas’ Breakout Year? Wire a Roster Lock?

Time to Shine?

 

Once Bright Star
One of the gaping holes left wide open by the departure of Michael Boley in free-agency was a big need at the strong-side linebacker position. Boley seemingly had a coming out year and was one of the few bright spots of the controversial and divisive year of 2007, having close to a Pro-Bowl worthy year after being drafted in the fifth round. Boley combined for 109 total tackles, 3 sacks, 7 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Many thought Boley would be the perfect candidate to build a young, new defense around.

Not in Accord
That scenario certainly turned out not to be the case when Dimitroff and Smith started their new regime in Atlanta. The promising young linebacker pulled one of the better disappearing acts in recent memory. He had a sub-par to terrible year that saw him getting benched in favor of journeyman Coy Wire as the season wore on. No one knows exactly what happened and both sides remained professional and never spoke of trouble, …

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Roam the Dome Event

A Fun Affair

Looked Great in Red & Black (Curtis Compton/AJC)

#88 Looked Great in Red & Black (Curtis Compton/AJC)

After a very successful Friday Night Lights event at Brookwood High on Friday night, the Atlanta Falcons concluded their Allstate All-Access Weekend with the Roam the Dome event at the Georgia Dome. It was a great environment that allowed fans to come see the team up-close and get a feel for what it looks like from the “good” seats. It was a very family friendly affair that allowed the kids to run around and enjoy themselves, concessions were open, and there were on the field games and activities after the scrimmage. Autographs were also available for season ticket holders who requested the free tickets in time. There was a coin toss, singing of the national anthem, and the new Falcons cheerleaders debuted at halftime. The event had the feel of a spring practice game for those of you who have attended one. Everything wasn’t free however. Free parking was available in the orange lot, but that filled up pretty …

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Will Lofton Replicate Terrific Rookie Season? Veteran WRs Added

 

Successful Sophomore Campaign?

((((Updates))))

Training camp, Friday Night Lights @ Brookwood, & the Roam the Dome updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available throughout the weekend.

Standout at Oklahoma

Taking Matt Ryan 3rd overall and moving up to snag Sam Baker at #21 in his first draft as General Manager of the Falcons is what most draft experts and NFL observers will remember. But the steal of the draft that Dimitroff quietly executed drew rave reviews by taking Curtis Lofton in the second round. If Matty Ice can be considered the building block of the offense for years to come, Lofton is surely Dimitroff’s foundational stamp for the defense in his revamping effort. Even though Lofton came into the league as a junior, he left quite a legacy at the University of Oklahoma (tackles (94 solo, 63 assists), 10.5 TFL, one sack, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions. He also scored two defensive touchdowns (one on an interception return and …

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Big Chance for Young Receivers

Opportunity in Crisis: Perfect Time for Young WR’s to Shine  

Quick Fan Favorite (Al Messerschmidt)

Quick Fan Favorite (Al Messerschmidt)

((((Updates))))
Training camp updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available later in the day.

Terrible Injury
We all know the news and it’s not good. Even though we don’t yet know the severity of the injury to our young, promising team-playing character wide receiver (which is the exact opposite of you know who), its time to analyze where Dimitroff, Smith, and us as fans can look for opportunity in crisis. Harry Douglas epitomizes what’s best about hard work and toughness. Douglas came in as a rookie receiver and never backed down from day one, even going as far as getting in a tussle with All-Pro safety Lawyer Milloy. Douglas wowed Falcons fans with his speed, tenacity, and amazing play-making ability as a rookie, and even exciting many with the prospect of little drop-off if White continues his holdout. #83 will be perfectly fine regardless of …

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Which Mike Peterson Did Falcons Get?

Did Falcons get the career Mike Peterson or the LB from ‘08?  
((((Updates))))
Training camp updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available later in the day.

A linebacker corps that oversaw a defense that statistically struggled against the run (ranked 24th) and the pass (ranked 21st), but lead the Falcons to stand up when it counted (11th in points per game) and losing only 5 regular season games. The Birds allowed both of their starting OLB’s to enter free agency without a new deal. Longtime Falcon fan favorite and hometown boy Keith Brooking was let go to the Dallas Cowboys, and a once promising, potential Pro-Bowl player in Michael Boley quickly exited Atlanta and signed a rather big contract with the New York Giants (5 yrs, $25 million).

Replacing a Long Time Favorite
Everyone knew that Dimitroff wanted to build through the draft and possibly even acquire more draft picks in order to restock an emaciated defense, one that already was the weak link …

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Babineaux’s Time for Pro-Bowl? Who’s in at DT #4?

((((Updates))))
Training camp updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available later in the day.
Babs Time for Pro-Bowl? 

Jonathan Babineaux was drafted by Jimmy Mora Jr. in his 2nd year as head coach, obviously seeing an athlete with extreme quickness and agility, he felt worthy of drafting in the second round. Babineaux certainly saw his struggles in trying to crack a starting lineup filled with big bodies and established starters such as Grady Jackson, Rod Coleman, and Chad Lavalais. Babineaux fit a perfect description of a down defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, but in an ever changing climate of the NFL, a move was being made towards big, weighty nose tackles as many teams were moving to a 3-4, and also giving a big versatility of moving inside to an up tackle in a 4-3 defense. The theory became one that any number of players could be moved inside to a down D-Tackle if they were under 300 lbs. In a sport that has been so much dictated by stopping the …

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Roddy White’s Holdout: Justified or Disturbing?

Who’s Right: Roddy White or Thomas Dimitroff? 

How Long Will it Last?  (AtlantaFalcons.com)

How Long Will it Last? (AtlantaFalcons.com)

((((Updates))))
Training camp updates will be posted in the comments section as they become available throughout the day.

Everything looked great as the Atlanta Falcons approached training camp. The team shocked the critics last year going 11-5, making the playoffs, Turner and White getting named to the Pro-Bowl, having the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Matt Ryan, Mike Smith gaining Coach of the Year, and Thomas Dimitroff receiving General Manager of the Year award. The Falcons bolstered their already potent offense with Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez and Dimitroff had another fantastic draft and even got all of them signed before camp. Life is good with no distractions, right? Wrong.

Ticking Time Bomb
The long talked about issue with Roddy White and his contract status finally bubbled to the surface right as camp began.  And this threatens to be the only potential distraction as …

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