Archive for May, 2010

Should Abraham Be at OTA’s?

Justified or Suspect?

One of the bigger issues that consumed some Falcons fans last off-season during the doldrums of summer was the continued absence of Defensive End John Abraham at any OTA’s (organized training activities). It might have simply been a product of the big void of summer and not having any other good tidbits to discuss. He was, in fact, coming off a record year with 16.5 sacks and most could certainly give him the benefit of the doubt if he chose not to show up for OTA’s, especially since they are not required and are purely voluntary. Abraham was still training and keeping in shape, just in his own routine and location. Head coach Mike Smith went out of his way to let media and fans alike know that he was in contact with Abraham and seemed fine with Abe’s decision, at least in public anyway. This year certainly presents a different set of circumstances with Abraham having a fairly sub-par year, at least in terms of sacks (5.5). At issue is not …

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What’s the Falcons Plan at Kicker?

An Important Decision

 As Falcons fans know all too well, the decision at kicker is one of the most important decisions that coaches and team officials can make. How many games were Falcons fans on pins and needles when the kicker came out for a chip shot field goal? It felt like college or even high school football, where it was maybe a 50/50 shot at best to make the 3 points. Not only did Jason Elam miss a ton of easy kicks, but most all of them were clutch kicks that could have definitely made a difference in the game. Even though it may have been a stretch to say the Birds would’ve made the playoffs with some of the made field goals, it sure would’ve been nice to find out.

Elam’s Fall

After a hall of fame career in Denver and having a very good first year with the hometown Falcons, Elam certainly didn’t go out the way he planned. The Falcons kicker probably set a pretty gloomy omen when he missed two field goals out of four and an extra point in the season opener …

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Which Offensive Rookie Free Agents Can Make the Team?

A Lot of UDFA Talent
 

It’s very common for teams to sign a number of undrafted free agents after the draft is over, mostly to make sure they didn’t miss any diamonds in the rough or to create competition for training camp. It’s also fairly rare for these players to make the active roster and most times end up on practice squads if they’re lucky. General Managers are always looking for the next Pierre Thomas, but with the high intensity and depth of scouting that goes on now, the diamonds in the rough are a lot harder to find than they used to be. All that being said though, some good players can be found through the undrafted free agent route, even if they are added for depth or to become developmental players. In all likelihood, the undrafted free agent rookies won’t make it on the active roster, but John Parker Wilson came in ready and focused last year to supplant hometown favorite DJ Shockley last year, so anything’s possible. Which one of these offensive …

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Could Shann Schillinger Be a Sleeper?

Vast Majority Hammered the Pick

 Lost in the fact that the Falcons were drafting in the 6th round with their last overall pick was head-scratching at best and outright slander at worst. Why in the world would Thomas Dimitroff add another safety? One of the few positions that looks to be fairly deep is safety, with Thomas DeCoud having a breakout year, Erik Coleman having a decent year after switching positions, super talented William Moore waiting, and the Falcons signing veteran journeyman Matt Giordano. We do have to remind ourselves that it was the 6th round, but wouldn’t it had been better served to take a chance on another defensive tackle like Jeff Owens, wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, tight end Nate Byham, or hometown favorite running back Jonathan Dwyer? We’ve come to know the importance of special teams here with this Falcons coaching staff, for good reason, and Schillinger might be an excellent pick for special teams. He may even become more than …

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What Role Will WR Meier Play?

A Fairly Surprising Pick

 Many fans started to get very, very nervous when tons and tons of talented wide receivers were pulled off the board. Eric Decker to the Broncos, Andre Roberts to the Cardinals, Mardy Gilyard to the Rams, Marcus Easley, and….well, you get the picture. Many agreed that it was very nice to beef up our lines with defensive tackle, guard, and center in the middle rounds, but the extremely deep wide receiver class was running thin very quickly and the Falcons hadn’t pulled the trigger on a receiver. The receiving corps went to being one of major strengths to a pretty big weakness with the injury to Harry Douglas, sub-par year from Michael Jenkins, and really no threat outside of Roddy White. After Dimitroff moved up to snag CB Dominique Franks, the name “Kerry Meier” scrolled across the board with the Birds second 5th round pick. A collective WHO? was likely gasped by the vast majority of Falcons fans.

Major Production @ Kansas

After the initial …

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How Will You Bust the No-Falcons Blues?

The Dark Clouds of No-Falcons-Football Have Arrived

 The weather is getting warm, kids are getting out of school, the grill is getting fired up, the pools are opening, and vacations are on the horizon. Best time of the year, right? Well, not if you’re an Atlanta Falcons and Football addict. The driest time for Atlanta Falcons and Football has arrived. The summer is a wonderful time for family and fun, but it’s a tough period for us fans obsessed with all things Atlanta Falcons football. There are OTA’s (organized team activities), but those are really just glorified off-season conditioning sessions and attendance roll calls on who is and who isn’t there. Yep, its quite the contradiction since the summer should the most fun times, but is the hardest for us Falcons fanatics. So to help our fellow Bird Cage members through this painful time, we’d thought we offer some fun things (or at least distractions) until training camp rolls around in late July:

Catch an Atlanta …

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How High Can CB Franks Climb?

A Roundly Praised Pick

Although many fans and media types alike vehemently disagreed and criticized some picks that Thomas Dimitroff chose on draft weekend, it was almost a consensus lock of being an excellent draft choice of Oklahoma Cornerback Dominique Franks in the 5th Round. Almost everyone knew that the Falcons would go cornerback at some point during the draft to continue and build a deep, tough, and athletic secondary, but didn’t know exactly when that TD would pull the trigger. The signing of veteran CB Dunta Robinson in free agency made it a much lower priority than first round, as originally thought. It was also widely believed that the Falcons would target a cornerback who could assist them in the return game as well since Eric Weems was decent, although not great, and Harry Douglas return days are probably over. After being projected to go in the second or third round, looks like Dimitroff may have hit a homerun grabbing Franks in the fifth round.

A Playmaking …

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Falcons Mini-Camp Wrap

Deepest Falcons Roster to Date?

Deepest Roster to Date? (C.Compton/AJC)

 From all reports and observations, the Atlanta Falcons had a very successful Mini-Camp that set the tone for the upcoming 2010 NFL Season. Although its really impossible to glean too much from shorts and jerseys, the Falcons coaching staff and top brass did get a look at what appears to be the deepest Falcons roster in a long time. There are always position battles and roster competitions, but the sheer magnitude of battles at multiple positions looks very impressive. Besides the obvious starters (Ryan, Turner, Abraham, White, etc.) many players will be looking over their shoulder as the final cut down day looms in late August. If competition does in fact breed excellence, than it looks like the Falcons will benefit heavily for the upcoming 2010 campaign.

Some Great Links on Reports from Mini-Camp

AJC Falcons Staff Writer D. Orlando Ledbetter gives his Mini-Camp Day One Report

DOL gives his Mini-Camp Day …

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Fan’s Guide to Falcons Mini-Camp

The Bird Cage Mini-Camp Special

A Little Taste of Falcons Football (C.Compton/AJC)

 

Falcons Football is here again!….well sort of. Atlanta Falcons fans will get their first glimpse of their 2010 Birds when mini-camp kicks off this weekend in Flowery Branch. There will only be one day open to the public, so grab your favorite football memorabilia, chairs, and snacks and head up to The Branch to get a look at your hometown Birds, which is brimming with excitement on the dawn of a new season. Take advantage while you can, because it will be a long, painful wait until July and training camp officially gets under way. Just like spring practice in college football, mini-camp will offer just a little taste of what’s to come for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2010 NFL Season.

A few Frequently Asked Questions from AtlantaFalcons.com:

Time to Arrive

Saturday, May 8 (First Practice)

Practice – 10:30 a.m. (Practice is open to the public, gates open at 9:30 a.m.)

Defensive players …

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Was Center Joe Hawley a Good Pick in 4th Rd?

Many Panned the Pick

 

If fans lost their marbles when the Atlanta Falcons selected defensive tackle Corey Peters in the 3rd round, they may have launched their remotes towards their TVs when the Falcons selected UNLV Center Joe Hawley in the fourth round. It was pretty much common knowledge that the Falcons were going to address center at some point throughout the draft, and the round probably wasn’t that shocking, just who they took. The Falcons top brass worked out several centers with their private workouts including JD Walton, Matt Tennant, Ted Larsen, and Joe Hawley. Walton was selected in the 3rd round by the Denver Broncos and it was thought by many that the Birds were zeroed in on Tennant, who was Matt Ryan’s center his senior year at Boston College. Thomas Dimitroff not only passed over Tennant, but also voted no on several other centers that were reportedly ranked higher according to draft “experts” including Eric Olsen and Ted Larsen.

Rated Low

Even though …

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