Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s finally here: GAME WEEK! After suffering through a long, hot summer filled full of no football, game week is finally upon us. The Combine, Draft, Training Camps, OTA’s, Preseason games, & fantasy football are just fillers for the real thing which is oh so close now. All the work, sweat, blood, and tears have been building up to this week, where a new season finally dawns. Rosters have been shaved and few minor tweaks may be done, but teams across the country are in their final countdown to gameday.
Final Roster Analysis
They were no huge surprises when the final cuts came down to make it to the 53 man protected roster, but there were a few intriguing moves that left some fans a little curious:
Parker Wilson over Shockley
The battle has been well documented for some time now, and this may have been a shock to casual fans, but it was generally assumed by many who had followed Shockley for several years. When Parker Wilson was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent many assumed it was just taking a chance on a QB that had been successful at Alabama, or thought dumping Chris Redman’s salary might be in the future. But Parker Wilson showed what’s great about the training camp in the NFL: if you take advantage of a given opportunity, then may the best man win. Shockley was just never able to find consistency, but he surely will be picked up quickly and hopefully find success. Did Parker Wilson earn it or did DJ get a fair shot?
Booker over Bergeron, Ferguson, Kelly, and Williams
Marty Booker proved that age is not always a factor in claiming a job on an NFL roster. The injury to Harry Douglas certainly presented a huge opportunity for several receivers looking to work into a fairly high-powered offense. Booker made the most of the opportunity by showing some flashes from his old form making some nice catch and runs. Robert Ferguson showed some nice glimpses on special teams, but not too many as a receiver. Bergeron had a few good catches and looks to be on the Falcons practice squad and may do the same thing Eric Weems did this year. Aaron Kelly just never seemed to catch on and be able to put his massive skill set together. Chandler Williams had a couple nice plays, but not enough to get him noticed. Surprised that Bergeron didn’t make the roster? Shocked that Kelly didn’t get a practice squad spot? Good choice on taking Booker over the other wide receivers?
Verron Haynes over Thomas Brown
This was one of the more puzzling moves on the roster. Generally, fans assumed that if the Falcons carried 5 running backs that Brown would take the fifth spot with his speed and special teams ability. Verron Haynes had some nice catches out of the backfield in preseason games, but Thomas Brown did as well. Haynes was the third down back for the Steelers for quite some time and is a great blocker out of the backfield, but still a slightly interesting move. Brown may be a good candidate for the practice squad. Was this one a big shock? Rather have kept Brown over Haynes? More bad UGA news after pathetic showing yesterday in Stillwater?
Thomas Johnson over Vance Walker
Many thought that Walker would be kept due to his decent performance early on in camp and with the fear that he may get snatched up if put on the practice squad, but since there evidently was only one spot, taking Thomas Johnson was a no-brainer having one of the best training camps of any player on the roster. Johnson and Walker were almost identical in build and frame so trying to keep both of them obviously wasn’t a priority. Having Jamaal Anderson being able to move inside and play defensive tackle also likely played a role in the decision. Disappointed Walker didn’t make it on the active roster? Will Walker last on the practice squad? Upset Falcons didn’t try to keep Walker AND Johnson?
Spencer Adkins over Robert James and Jamie Winborn
One of the biggest surprises of the final roster was Spencer Adkins earning the sixth linebacker spot. Although the Falcons didn’t take a chance on several “project” players, Adkins evidently showed enough potential on special teams and a high skill set that warranted a spot. Jamie Winborn seemed to be the logical choice with his experience and high tackle total from last year. Robert James was never able to get any rhythm after suffering a concussion in last year’s training camp. Having 3 out of 5 LBs near or over the age of 30 may have also played a role in the final decision. Seriously surprised that the 6th round pick beat out the other two favorites? Interested the Birds didn’t keep veteran Winborn?
Very interesting choices on the practice squad which includes DJ Shockley, Michael Butterworth, Troy Bergeron, Jose Valdez, Robert James, Vance Walker, Maurice Lucas, and Glenn Sharpe. Most names are pretty obvious picks, going with the younger players who can develop on the practice squad and get another shot at the roster next year, or be called up due to an injury. Kind of pleasantly surprising to see Shockley get picked back up on the practice squad. Assuming Shockley doesn’t get picked up by another team, could the Falcons be thinking about the future with Redman’s large contract expiring after this year? Curious who’s names were not on the practice squad: William Middleton and Aaron Kelly . The fifth round draft pick must have seriously under-whelmed during his opportunity in training camp, with the Falcons electing to go with Glenn Sharpe over Middleton. Aaron Kelly evidently didn’t have a very good camp either, not being able to put his serious skill set to use to warrant a spot on the practice squad. Happy that Shockley was retained on the practice squad? What happened to the fifth round pick Middleton? Upset that Kelly didn’t have a better camp?
And what you’ve all been waiting for…………….
Seminole Warrior – 50 correct roster picks and 2 correct practice squad picks
tyler – 50 correct roster spot picks and 2 correct practice squad picks
ElderFJC2, D3 – 50.5 points
Dean21, Unca’ Bob, Birdman, Jimbo – 50 points
JohnWaynesWorld – 49.5
JJ, Ed, Ravi, Kevin Kaeto – 49 points
iDash, CBrass – 48.5 points
Stirg, DW, WR, BlackTalon – 48 points
Let’s Go Falcons – 47 points
Biggest Shocks – The majority of roster misses came in the form of a couple of players: Vance Walker, Ben Hartsock, Robert Ferguson, and William Middleton.
Best Laser Strike – tyler was the only Cager to pick Verron Haynes onto the active roster.
Great fun by all in our first competition of the year in the Bird Cage. There will be many more competitions to come in the near future, including another one coming this week.
Next Topic Preview: Game Week, Falcons vs. Dolphins