Is This #71’s Big Season?
Is This #71’s Big Season?
Is #84 an Elite Wide Receiver?
You know we’re in the midst of the summer doldrums of no football when the topic is about Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. The WR has been nothing short of fantastic, going over 1,100 yards receiving three years in a row and making the Pro Bowl the last two years. Simply put, he’s one of the best wide receivers in the league, a consummate teammate and leader, and one of the core members of the Falcons franchise. Lucky for fans, White is locked up pretty much for his career since he inked his 6 year, $48 million dollar extension last August (some sites have him signing for $50 million). The question to ponder today is not if White is an excellent player, but rather if he is a top 5 wide receiver in the entire NFL and if he isn’t than what areas can he improve on. Remember that White only made the Pro Bowl this year because Sidney Rice elected not to participate and he became the alternate (even though
Position Switch or General Decline?
Erik Coleman is by far one of the best leaders on the Atlanta Falcons team. He was a major part of the Falcons amazing turnaround going from the 4-12 debacle in 2007 to the excellent playoff run in 2008. Even though Michael Turner was the biggest name that Thomas Dimitroff grabbed in the 2008 Free Agent period, Erik Coleman may have been just as important for the defense. The free safety, at the time, led a surprising superb defensive effort in 2008 and was essential to the D’s improvement. Although Lawyer Milloy was the leader of the secondary at that point, Coleman was one of the best secondary defenders, much more so than the declining Milloy. Dimitroff surely had a good idea on what was coming with the release of impending free agents Milloy, Keith Brooking, Grady Jackson, Dominique Foxworth, and Michael Boley. The Falcons GM likely was counting on Coleman to become the new leader of the revamped secondary. After a terrific 2008 season
Can #33 Regain Pro Bowl Form?
By far one of the absolute best running backs in the National Football League in 2008 was Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner. In fact, Turner finished behind only Adrian Peterson for most rushing yards 1699 and 17 touchdowns throughout the entire league. Perhaps no other single player deserves more credit than Turner for the magical season and turnaround in 2008, going from 4 wins in 2007 to 11 wins in 2008, a playoff berth, and finishing only one game behind NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers. The story is a well-known one, where Thomas Dimitroff made the biggest free agent strike in securing the rights to Turner and grabbing the best running back on the market in 2008, well before he had a magnificent rookie draft. Possibly the main reason he was named 2008 General Manager of the Year, for its hard to argue that Matt Ryan would’ve become the 2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year without Michael Turner and the offensive line. Not only had
Will #50 ‘Raise’ His Game?
First and foremost, Curtis Lofton has been a magnificent success since he was drafted by Thomas Dimitroff in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has been a tackling machine and is one of the best young middle linebackers in the NFL, so the topic isn’t questioning whether he is good on the verge of being great, just simply to entertain areas that Lofton can improve to become a ‘play-making’ middle linebacker. Take the title of ‘play-making’ somewhat lightly since being one of the most consistent tacklers in the NFL is making plays. #50 is already the heart and soul of the Atlanta Falcons defense, and is the captain of that side of the ball even if it’s not official yet. The idea has been floated by some in the media and fans alike that Lofton needs to develop his other skills at linebacker (coverage, interceptions, etc) to be mentioned among the elites at the position, players like Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis. Any terms denoted with quotation marks are meant to
Can He Dispel the Doubts?
Many fans and members of the media alike believed that Thomas Dimitroff had done well when he moved back into the first round to pick up Left Tackle Sam Baker from USC. The idea made complete sense in that Dimitroff elected to find the best protection available for his newly picked face-of-the-franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. After a serious run on left tackles in the 2008 NFL draft, the Falcons top brass traded picks to move up and select Baker. Some felt Baker’s arms were too short, among other critiques, to be a successful, franchise left tackle at the next level. Many of those critics are looking fairly smart in their initial questions of Baker in the NFL. After showing flashes of brilliance, Baker has had two injury riddled and fairly sub par years. The question begs asking if the Falcons left tackle is on the hot seat. Approaching this year’s draft, many believed that the Falcons should go ahead and draft a better LT for the future and move
What Will the Judgment Be?
One of the biggest question marks and points of concern for the upcoming 2010 Atlanta Falcons season is the looming suspension of one of the Birds best players in defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. A lapse in judgment will likely cost the Falcon to miss any number of games. During the 2009 season, Babineaux was arrested for drug possession and originally charged with intent to sell. The details of the incident showed a lack of judgment at best and a disgraceful episode of immaturity and failure of leadership at worst. This isn’t the first time that #95 has been involved with the law either. In 2007, Babineaux was involved in an incident with his girlfriend in an animal cruelty case. He was cleared of all charges and was found innocent of any wrongdoings when the incident was thrown out. Babineaux should get the benefit of this being his first and only real incident, but the fact that he was arrested before will stay in
A Big Loss in 2009
One of the most painful days for Falcons fans in 2009 was the day that wide receiver Harry Douglas went down with a torn ACL. The budding young slot receiver and dynamic local product (Jonesboro High School) was expecting to have an even bigger year in his sophomore campaign than he did in his superb rookie season. HD, as he’s been nicknamed by some fans, was a quick fan favorite by adding a great burst to the Falcons receiving corps, where he hauled in over 300 yards receiving with a touchdown, 60 yards rushing with a TD, and 226 punt return yards with a touchdown. Even more impressive was the fact that Douglas only took over punt returning duties about halfway through the season and was slowly worked into the lineup as a receiver.
Made His Teammates Better
The guy simply made everyone around him better: being a favorite target for Matt Ryan, stretching the field for Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, and creating space for the running backs. Throw in the