Archive for January, 2010

Senior Bowl Review – Risers and Fallers

On or Off the Falcons Radar?

The Senior Bowl was fun to watch and provided a good glimpse at a number of players that may can make an impact for teams when the draft rolls around in April. Teams and fans alike will be looking for the obvious picks in the first round, but as the past has shown, drafting a player in the first round is anything but a lock, and many of the best players come later than the first round. The Falcons have a number of needs to address when the 2010 NFL Draft arrives. Some of the positions need immediate attention (OLB and CB) and some will need addressing very soon (TE and OL).

One of the most enjoyable things for fans to do as the off-season hits is to discuss what their biggest needs are to improve for the new season. Some of the needs are obvious, but its extremely interesting to see how often fans disagree on what the most pressing needs are, and for the Falcons, there’s even more scrutiny due to not having a second round draft pick. Several …

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Senior Bowl Targets – Defense

Another Defense Heavy Draft?

Thomas Dimitroff did what most experts and fans alike thought he would when he went heavy on the defensive side of the ball in the 2009 NFL Draft. However, many may not have thought he would spend 7 out of 8 draft picks on defense. Some may have considered last year’s draft a bust, when both 1st round pick Peria Jerry and 2nd round pick William Moore went down with season-ending injuries. Injuries certainly can’t be helped, but Dimitroff had to know that both were big injury risks and the gamble came up short when the two went down for the year. Jerry was playing well when he got injured in the second game, but Moore is still a complete unknown in the NFL.

Dimitroff saw some redemption in the latter part of the class when several players stepped up big, particularly at the end of the year. Chris Owens finally got a chance to start at cornerback and had a pretty outstanding year considering the amount of time he got to play and being a third …

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Senior Bowl Targets – Offense

The Falcons May Have their Eyes on These Seniors

 

Even though the Big Game is still left, all the rest of the 30 remaining teams have officially cranked up the off-season and one of the first major points of research for the coaches, general managers, and front office personnel is the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week. The process is a pretty long one, extending almost three months, but the amount of talent that will need to be scouted by the people in charge will seem like they’re already behind. Front office personnel will be in overdrive from now until the NFL Draft in April. So many questions have to be answered as the Draft approaches including performance, work ethic, character, study habits, skill sets, and how they fit into schemes to name just a few.

Thomas Dimitroff and staff will be armed with a definite number of five draft picks (2nd rounder for Tony Gonzalez and 7th rounder for Tye Hill), but most estimates have projected for the Falcons to pick up an …

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Will the Falcons Keep Dahl?

Sign ‘em or Send ‘em? – Dahl Edition

One of the biggest question marks as the Falcons head into the off-season and specifically into free agency is what to do with the right side of the offensive line. Both guard Harvey Dahl and tackle Tyson Clabo are due to become free agents as March approaches, but the labor deal at issue right now will make them restricted free agents if no new collective bargaining agreement is reached. The issue is murky at best right now, but from listening to all the pundits and analysts, there will likely be no new deal. This will make the 2010 season an uncapped year, but will have ramifications for many players like Dahl and Clabo who have not played 6 years in the NFL. Currently, players have to play a minimum of 4 years to become eligible for free agency, but with no new deal on the horizon, 2010 will mandate that players now play 6. So right now, Dahl, Clabo, and even Norwood will be restricted free agents and any team who wants to sign …

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Can the Falcons Learn from the Championship Four?

Lessons to Learn from the Jets, Saints, Vikings, and Colts?

 Taking a small break from examining the Falcons potential free agents and whether to sign ‘em or send ‘em, thought it might be intriguing to take a look at the teams playing in the conference championships and what the Birds can learn from their successful runs this year, and overall franchise. Obviously, these teams are probably built differently and asking the Falcons to throw the ball like the Colts might be a stretch, or playing the 3-4 defense like the Jets would likely be out of reach as well. The idea is to examine some certain philosophies, schemes, and systems that might benefit the Falcons as they attempt to build a long-run winner that can not just make the playoffs, but reach the ultimate game as the Saints, Colts, Vikings, and Jets have this Sunday.

New York Jets

The Falcons were the last team to beat the Jets and they have gone on an amazing run since then, going into both Cincinnati and San Diego …

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Should the Falcons Keep Booker?

Pay ‘em or Pack ‘em? – Booker Edition

Was Booker a One Year Rental? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

One of the biggest and first jolts of news to come out of the 2009 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp was the news that Harry Douglas went down with an ACL injury and was quickly lost for the year. Some may have overlooked Douglas and the explosive dynamic he brought to the offense with returning Pro Bowlers Roddy White and Michael Turner, and the addition of Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Granted, the 2008 schedule was really weak (particularly in hindisight), but Harry Douglas had a big year for a rookie working in the slot (320 yards receiving, 1 TD; 69 yards rushing, 1 TD; 226 punt return yards, 1 TD). Douglas made it impossible for defenses to key on White on the perimeter and stack the box in order to stop Michael Turner. #83 was able to stretch the field and really open holes for both Turner and White. Enter Marty Booker.

Marty Booker as a Falcon

Booker broke out as a wide …

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Is Norwood Done in Atlanta?

Save ‘em or Send ‘em – Norwood Edition

Is Norwood Done in the ATL? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

One of the biggest and most lethal playmakers in recent Falcons history may be on the verge of moving on to another city and team in 2010. Jerious Norwood has been one of the fastest players in the NFL since he’s been in an Atlanta Falcons uniform. Every time #32 would touch the ball, fans and opponents alike knew he could take it to the house in an instant. His lightning quick speed, agility, and elusiveness has made him one of the biggest home run threats in the league. However, “threat” would be a good description as Norwood has also been a very large well of untapped potential. Since he was drafted in the third round in 2006, three different coaching staffs vowed to get him more involved and figure out ways to produce more touches, but his rushing yardage has significantly decreased every year (stats below) and he was never able to go over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving …

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Is Clabo the Future at Right Tackle?

Pay ‘em or Pack ‘em – Clabo Edition

Kicking off our 2010 Bird Cage Off-Season, we’ll take a look at all the potential free agents the Atlanta Falcons may elect to pay or pack as the start of free agency approaches in a little over a month and a half. Thomas Dimitroff, Coach Smith, and Co. will have to make some hard decisions concerning who to try and re-sign, and who to let go. In the free agent editions, each potential free agent’s situation will be examined, along with the pros and cons associated with re-signing them or letting them walk. First on the agenda, Right Tackle Tyson Clabo.

Collective Bargaining Agreement/Uncapped Salary Rules

One of the biggest question marks in this NFL off-season deals with whether or not the NFL and the Player’s Union will reach another collective bargaining agreement. The story, rules, and policies surrounding the entire situation is convoluted and complicated to say the least. The long and short basically say that unless a new …

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Falcons Awards Day

Who Gets Your Awards from the 2009 Campaign?

 

 As the Atlanta Falcons organization takes some time to reflect on the 2009 campaign and look at the positive and negative aspects of the year, this will also be a time for individual player assessment. Before they embark on the lengthy and all-important off-season, they will need to take a long hard look at who exceeded expectations and which players fell short in 2009. Of course, some of the categories may be locks across the board, but others may be somewhat difficult. Take your shot……

Offensive Player of the Year

TG or Roddy? (AP)

This one might be a lock across the board, but there are a couple of candidates that could take the trophy. Of course the future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez might be the favorite and getting robbed of the Pro Bowl. Gonzalez had 867 yards, 6 TDs, and averaged over 10 yards a catch. Roddy White is the likely next candidate that had 85 receptions, 1,153 yards receiving, and 11 touchdowns. …

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Favorite (and Least) Falcons Game of the Season

Which Games Stick Out?

A False Hope (Curtis Compton/AJC)

 

As the playoffs progress to the quarterfinals, we still have a few more posts to cover our Falcons performance from the 2009 campaign before we officially transition over the 2010 off-season. Many seasons can turn on one game or even one play, and examining 16 games may not be easy, but a few games must stick out and certainly may be different from one fan to the next. In that spirit, what game was your favorite of the year, least favorite of the season, and which game changed the season, in other words which one had the biggest impact on the Falcons finishing with a winning season but still missing the playoffs.

Favorite Game

Curse Breaker your Fav? (AP)

This one could be broken into several categories. On one hand, fans can look at the 4-1 start and the positive victories that came out of that: the opening wins against the Miami Dolphins and 2008 #2 seed Carolina Panthers at home seemed to potentially set the tone …

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