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 them will have to part with draft picks and the Falcons have a chance to match any offer.

Nasty Boy Harvey Dahl

Harvey Dahl played his college ball at Nevada through 2004, where he was named to the All-WAC team two years in a row and named to the Outland Trophy watch list. Dahl went undrafted and caught on with the San Francisco 49ers and rotated on and off the active roster over the next two years. He was then signed by the Atlanta Falcons to their roster, but was inactive for most of the time and finally saw some action against the Seahawks in the season finale. Then came the breakout year of 2008. The former undrafted free agent started all 16 games and help lead the Falcons to the second best rushing offense in the NFL, sending Michael Turner to the Pro Bowl. O Line Coach Paul Boudreau worked his magic with two guys formerly destined for the practice squad.

The Falcons offensive line as a whole took a step back of sorts in 2009 and had many spots where they struggled mightily to run the ball and had times when Ryan and Redman were under duress the entire time. Even though the Falcons ranked 10th in pass protection according to Football Outsiders, Ryan (and Redman) were rushed many times and had to get rid of the ball many times before they wanted to. Dahl has earned the reputation of being one of the nastiest, meanest players in the NFL. Pete Prisco from CBS Sports wrote a little piece on Dahl and being named one of the meanest players in the league, “As if on cue, the NFL’s meanest player, and some might say the league’s dirtiest, livened up a ho-hum May practice a few weeks back by doing something he does a lot, which is to brawl. Atlanta Falcons guard Harvey Dahl is a nasty player who pushes the whistle on almost every play, so it wasn’t surprising to see him in the middle of a violent practice fight that ended with Dahl getting eight stitches across his nose, courtesy of a helmet to the face.” Along with Tyson Clabo on the right side, a nickname came about calling them “The Nasty Boys”. Question is whether TD will re-sign Dahl, Clabo, both, or neither?

Sign ‘em

Harvey Dahl was an undrafted free agent, former practice squad player that evolved into a beast in the running attack and was largely responsible for the Falcons quick turnaround. Dahl may let his emotions get the best of him sometimes, but he comes ready to play every game is rarely if ever over-matched or beaten in games. He is a big road-grading, guard listed at 6’5 and over 300 lbs. He is a tireless worker that makes sure he will out-muscle his opponent and wear them down both physically and mentally. The Falcons want to continue to build their team, fill holes, and create good depth and not re-signing a player that you brought from the practice squad to excellent starting lineman would be ludicrous.

The Falcons are likely locked in on the left side with Sam Baker (some have even called for Baker to move to Right Tackle) and Justin Blalock, but the other three are in complete limbo. The Falcons will be in the 3rd year of “The Process” and should be ready to make the leap to making a deep drive in the playoffs and taking away one of your best lineman would make no sense at all. It is true that Dimitroff will be armed with 8 picks in the upcoming draft, but will it be wise to expect a rookie to be any better than Dahl? And wouldn’t it be smarter to go ahead and spend the money on a guy you developed and knows the system well than going out in free agency? Dimitroff should have ample money to re-sign Dahl, Clabo, and Norwood if he wants even of there were a salary cap in 2010. Seems likely that Dimitroff will keep Dahl at least for another year and see if he truly is worth the money. If Dimitroff absolutely had to choose between keeping Dahl or Clabo, smart thinking would be to keep Dahl and either give Garrett Reynolds or Will Svitek a chance at tackle, or get their own guy at tackle in April’s draft.

Send ‘em

While Dahl had a very good year in 2008, along with the rest of the line, much of that we know now was due to an extremely weak schedule because they all took a step back this year. Dahl may be one of the nastiest players in the league, but he also has fits where he costs his team dearly with his extra activity. His failure to keep his emotions in check often result in personal foul penalties, which are complete drive killers. Dahl had pretty good size at 6’5 and over 300 lbs, but not great size when running up against some of the behemoth nose tackles that push over 330+ lbs. Who knows how much Dahl will be commanding for a guard that regressed from his breakout year to the next. Not saying that Clabo would do it, but if given the choice where Dimitroff had to choose between Dahl and Clabo, they would re-sign Clabo and try to move him to guard where he can be a true road-grader with his bigger size (6’6, 330) and not worry as much about pass protecting, his given weakness. Brett Romberg was brought in as a possible replacement for Todd McCLure at center when he retires, but with Coach Smith and Coach Boudreau’s philosophy of cross-training, Romberg has shown capability of playing guard. Dimitroff will also have many options in the draft or free agency.

So, should the Falcons re-up Nasty Boy Dahl or let him walk into the free agency sunset?

If given the choice of only re-signing one, which would you choose, Dahl or Clabo?

Enjoy…………

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117 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
10:49 pm

I am enjoying!!!

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
10:49 pm

D3

January 24th, 2010
10:53 pm

The Saints deserve to win the game, but the way they won it left the casual, non-Saints fan empty. You’re get into a position to win with the following three plays

1) extremely questionable pass interference call where David Thomas had no chance of catching the ball
2) 4th and 1 that showed the ball at least didn’t make it over the 1st down marker
3) A catch where Robert Meachem looked like a serious trap

Granted, the calls all may be legit and they put themselves in position to win the game throughout the contest, but winning like that leaves a hollow feeling, regardless of which team did it.

BT

January 24th, 2010
10:58 pm

I would like to re-sign both Dahl and Clabo while keeping options open for bringing in more quality depth if not an out right starter.

Overall, I am not satisfied with the Falcons O-line play and some adjustments or change is necessary.

Wabe

January 24th, 2010
10:59 pm

I don’t think Vikings fans can walk away from this game questioning the officiating. If anything, take any one of those bone-headed turnovers back and you might have a different result. The game-management with 19 seconds left was pathetic. Coming out of a timeout, you get caught with 12 men in the huddle and you almost took another timeout (which would’ve cost you 15 yards and knocked you out of FG range). You think come out of that penalty with a dumb pick by Brett.

That sequence right there costs the Vikings a real shot to walk away with a W in regulation. There were so many other moments throughout the course of the game that you could point to and say the outcome may have been different if the ball bounced a bit differently, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
11:01 pm

Thank You Wabe!!!!!

Wabe

January 24th, 2010
11:02 pm

I think we’re already thin on the O-Line as it is, and I think we’ll have to resign Dahl if we want to keep Matt Ryan upright next season. The line needs to pick up some quality depth. Get some guys that can play into bigger roles as we go into the future.

Bolstering both lines will be crucial to this teams success next season. We must protect Matty Ice and the front 4 must have a better season next season getting to opposing QB’s.

BT

January 24th, 2010
11:03 pm

D3, I agree with what you are saying about how the Saints won.
Combine that with all the breaks and calls they recieved all season and you can consider them as much lucky as good.

D3

January 24th, 2010
11:03 pm

Wabe – Great points and my bias has certainly clouded my judgement a little, but the Vikings deserve to lose, at least their offense. Their defense played tough. And don’t forget the awful fumble right before halftime that would have put them ahead going into halftime. Favre’s age finally caught up with him I think. That pick was the game killer. All he had to do was take the run (which may have been 10 yards), but he forced it like he usually does and that was it. The Saints defense was really pretty bad today. Can’t wait to see what Manning does in his second Super Bowl try.

falcon21

January 24th, 2010
11:05 pm

Football is football, you get your good calls and you get your bad calls, you have to learn to live with it. I don’t like it but I have to deal with it. That is sports!!!

Wabe

January 24th, 2010
11:07 pm

I hear that D3.

The thing about the Saints DEF is that they attack. They’ll keep sending guys to pressure QB’s, even if they are getting gashed when it comes to yardage. Teams have been able to move the ball on them, but the critical turnovers they force really offset that. They’re attack mentality pays off dividends for them with the turnovers. They’ll give up big plays here and there knowing that they’ll make a couple of big plays as well.

Saints ranked 25th overall this year in total defense. But, they ranked 2 (I believe) in takeaways. You can move the ball on them, but you’ve got to protect that ball – and I think it’s safe to say that the Vikings struggled to do that tonite.

D3

January 24th, 2010
11:11 pm

Dahl – Given the choice of Dahl or Clabo, I would have to say keep Dahl. In a dream world, we would resign Clabo and move him to guard, but no way he’s gonna do that with all the money he would lose in that deal, but that is his natural position and he wouldn’t have to worry as much about pass protection. In all likelihood, both will be back due to the labor issues and give TD one more year to decide. The quandary TD will have is that if we keep both Dahl and Clabo, than we likely wouldn’t take an OT first. Very tricky issue. Many have forgotten about Garrett Reynolds who was a stud at UNC, is 6′7 310, and was drafted as one of Boudreau’s style. Very well could keep Clabo one more year and develop Reynolds further and see if he can take the reigns. If not, then draft an OT in 2011 (assuming there’s no lockout). Big questions abound on this O-Line.

BT

January 24th, 2010
11:14 pm

Catch y`all on the rebound…

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
11:17 pm

I didn’t see a single Ref fumble toight.

D3

January 24th, 2010
11:20 pm

Gotta Run – As much as I hate to concede that the weekend is over and football will be soon behind it, its time to call it a night. Time to get ready for a new week. Enjoyed the convo’s with you guys and gals today. Have a great night and start to the week Cagers!

See you on the flip-side. And on that note…………………….

30 DAYS UNTIL SCOUTING COMBINE!!!!!!!!

falcon

January 24th, 2010
11:31 pm

Both Dahl and Clabo are keepers. Get both of them signed.

Atlanta Peach

January 24th, 2010
11:36 pm

Oh ! here you are !

Atlanta Peach

January 24th, 2010
11:41 pm

Arrogant ! Arrogant ! New Orlean Saints ! You shall reap what you Sow !!!

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
11:43 pm

Yeah Peach here we are. How are they arrogant?

Atlanta Peach

January 24th, 2010
11:50 pm

Well, they didn’t come out with the bats this week. Thank god ! But yeah, all year they the saints keep saying what they are going to do to other teams ! They have back it up with wins but they need to be more respectful of others ! They feel like they are God oh Mighty and that’s not true ! Don’t you remember all the trash talking they did against our team the Falcons ?!! How would you feel if the team you ruded for won a superbowl before the falcons did ?!

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

Look Peach, I like you and love the Falcons, You are spunky like me. But for some reason I can’t stand Manning and the Colts. If they win the SB before us, well I’ll still blame it on Robinson 1999 who pretty much ruined our SB hopes. We’ll get ours soon I can feel it girl,

Atlanta Peach

January 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

Now I guess the colts are the underdog to a team that has never done anything good in their 43 years in the league !! That’s why I called them arrogant ! I can see if they had won 2 or 3 superbowls they can be arrogant ! That’s their right ! But they never did anything !!!!

Sarah B

January 24th, 2010
11:56 pm

Colts are currently favored by 3.

Atlanta Peach

January 24th, 2010
11:58 pm

I just think about all those killings that went on in that superdome 5 years ago, and 5 years later they are awarded a superbowl appearance. Something just ain’t right ! Oh well !

Sarah B

January 25th, 2010
12:02 am

The Saints weren’t even there and none of it was proven just rumored.

Atlanta Peach

January 25th, 2010
12:02 am

But one thing is true Sarah, the vikings reaped what they sowed last week by running up the score last week against dallas. In life, you can’t do that ! Poor Archie, he is going to be forced into ruding against his old team !

Sarah B

January 25th, 2010
12:16 am

You think? Even against his son?

Atlanta Peach

January 25th, 2010
12:18 am

No ! Those Mannings want rings !!!!!

Sarah B

January 25th, 2010
12:24 am

Oh sorry read it wrong. Against his old team…

Sarah B

January 25th, 2010
12:25 am

Everyone else went to bed.

Atlanta Peach

January 25th, 2010
12:28 am

Yeah they did ! But nice talking to you again sarah even though we both wanted different out comes ! Talk to you superbowl week. going to watch the australian open. Go Serena !!

JJ

January 25th, 2010
2:40 am

Sign him!

Congrats…belch…Sai…vomit…nts. It’s going to be a nauseating 2 weeks. Some iffy calls but they fumbled this game away. You’ll always be the aints to me!

tbhawksfan

January 25th, 2010
2:42 am

For me it’s BPA at OT, DE, DT or OLB. Those are the needs. If we sign back both nasties, then we can look for a third, fourth round depth pick on the OL or go for the home run and land one of the starting caliber OT’s.

One thing for sure. 8 picks is too much. We’re already fairly deep, just with some inferiour talent. turn the 8 picks into 5 or 6 and get higher rated talent at positions of need.

Can’t expect a team of reaches to be the best.

Ed

January 25th, 2010
2:43 am

D3, it may be 30 days till the draft combine but this is a huge week with pratice at the Senior Bowl leading up to the game. In particular, it will be fascinating watching how Tebow handles a new offense & playing under center. We’ll also get a better read on what to expect or what to look from key players at the combine. It is inevitable a few players will stand out while some will see their stock slide.

AtlantaFan

January 25th, 2010
2:50 am

RomeDawg

January 25th, 2010
5:12 am

I like Dahl! That nasty steak wears the opposition down over the course of the game. I would like to see him try to reign in some of the “horse play” after the whistle. Those 15 yard penalties hurt.

The Real Falcon

January 25th, 2010
9:21 am

LRD

January 25th, 2010
9:47 am

I say keep him. I remember at camp last year, my son was getting signature from Svitek and Dahl came over . Sviteck is laughin and joking and Dahl sneers and growls and my son jumped back and then Dahl started to laugh and joke. It was funny. For having a sense of humor along with aggression I say keep him.
We do need to draft and add depth to our OL. And how much longer does McClure have?

Topp Dogg

January 25th, 2010
10:18 am

Keep Dahl, goodbye Norwood end of story

Dahl??

January 25th, 2010
10:53 am

The only Doll the Falcon’s will keep is that BLOW-UP one they pass around the locker room after a game…!!!!!!!!!!!!

WR

January 25th, 2010
10:53 am

Working hard D3, good post once again, to add my two cents, I say the Falcons definitely keep Dahl, he adds that nastiness dimension that all OLs need. Guard play was pretty good throughout the season, tackle play slacked off here and there. Keep Dahl definitely, try to keep Clabo at a reasonable price, draft a first round OT if available and worthy of being a legitimate LT, nothing against Baker, I do believe he could hold down the LT spot, but no sense in wanting someone to just hold down a position, move Baker to the right side where he can excel, bring in a young, strong, competitive LT, to cement the OL and Ryan’s future. Give the Falcons an additional offensive weapon, a really good TE, plus a good WR and RB isn’t getting it done anymore in the NFL. You need more explosive players, hopefully many have learned that watching this year playoffs. The power and results of the NFL has shifted to the teams with a variety of weapons on offense. The so-called best defenses in the league were sitting at home when the playoffs begin, the remaining best defenses that made the playoffs are now sitting at home. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the Falcons to upgrade the defense, but it does mean that the old saying that defenses win championships, has taken a break, outside of Baltimore, its been all about the O since 2000, every so-called great defense has been put in its place in the Superbowl since about the 99′ season, the truth shall set you free, and to free up the Falcons they need to add move offensive weapons while also focusing on improving the OL, the D showed a great deal of improvement with more youth, the O took a step back with a great deal of vets, so where does that leave the birds.

CBrass

January 25th, 2010
11:23 am

No doubt we have to resign Dahl.

darrell starks

January 25th, 2010
12:11 pm

Yes we have 2 keep dahl he is the hard and soul of the offense line.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

jay sikes

January 25th, 2010
12:30 pm

Saints took ball with 4:52 to play. Ran for no gain. Lost 8 yards. Third down and 18.Almost 4 min ro play. Vikes should have called T/O. Let clock run down>Saints finallypunted and Vikes took over with little over 2 min to play, and then ran the ball on first down. Terrible use of the clock. Reminds me of Les Miles.

CBrass

January 25th, 2010
1:22 pm

You draft guru’s may find this interesting. Mayock ranks the top prospects at each position.

http://www.nfl.com/seniorbowl/story?id=09000d5d815ee2f1&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true

DRemington

January 25th, 2010
1:24 pm

Sour grapes to all the Viking fans. There are always numerous calls each game that could be called either way. There is not exact call these days with “replay”. Cudos to the Saints…for those of us who remember the “aints”, we say, “Good for New Orleans!”

DRemington

January 25th, 2010
1:27 pm

Oh, by the way… don’t teams want “nasty men” on the offensive and defensive line? I wouldn’t think that Dahl could be any more nasty than others who play the game. Maybe he just gets caught. He’s young. He’ll learn how to conceal the ugliness. Besides, those from Nevada, myself included, love watching a local boy.

Fish2774

January 25th, 2010
1:54 pm

If the Falcons don’t resign Harvey I’m cancelling my season tickets. You want guy’s like this around that beings a nastiness. Ask Big Albert Haynesworth bout Big Nasty. Hayneworth gave him a thumbs up, and said he’s one of the best he’s faced in a longtime. What more concilation do we need when it’s coming from one of the best NT in the league.

falcon21

January 25th, 2010
3:03 pm

WR, very well said and I agree totally. We do need to keep Harvey, he plays with the attitude our o-line needs.

tell it like it is

January 25th, 2010
3:42 pm

IF Haynesworth gave him a thumbs up better keep Dahl.Thats coming from one of the bestdefencesive players in the game.