How Should Falcons Fix DE?

Long-Standing Issue Needs Resolving

What happened to "The Sidbury Hope?" (C.Compton/AJC)

Rich McKay trades for John Abraham from the New York Jets, giving up the 15th overall draft pick. Falcon fans are salivating at the opportunity of seeing two Pro Bowl defensive ends across from one another and quite possibly the best defensive end combination in the NFL with Patrick Kerney manning the other side. Abraham battled through injuries in his first year as a Falcon and the much ballyhooed chance of seeing them play together was sadly a missed opportunity for the most part. The Falcons let Kerney hit the free agent market and onto Seattle, where he made the Pro Bowl and became an All-Pro and that was the last time that the Birds had a legit pass rush on both sides of the defensive line. Since then, it’s been John Abraham producing the pressure all by himself and an assemble that have combined for not very much at all on the opposite side.

Severe Lack of Production

Abraham had a solid year in 2007 with 10 sacks, a record year in ’08 with 16.5 sacks (and a Pro Bowl snub), a dip in ’09 with 5.5 sacks, and bounced right back to form 13 sacks and a well-deserved Pro Bowl invite and All-Pro recognition. So sad he’s gotten ZERO help on the other side. The trials and tribulations on the other DE side are well-documented. The most well-know of course is one Mr. Jamaal Anderson, who was taken #8 overall in the NFL draft. No need to pour salt in wounds here, but let’s just say that it’s safe to call JA#98 the B-word (at least at DE). He notched 0 sacks as a rookie starting all 16 games, totaled 2 sacks in 2008 starting 15 games, got a ½ sack in 2009 starting 13 games, and got 2 sacks this year rotating between DT and DE. In case you didn’t break out your calculator that would be a smashing 4.5 sacks in 60 games played. Ouch.

Then came the hope that Chauncey Davis may get a chance to prove himself as a full-time starter (and getting paid as such – 4 year, $14 million). After getting 4 sacks in 2008 in only one start, some thought Davis could challenge to be the answer at the other DE spot. The answer is 2 sacks in 2 years since (1 in ’09 and 1 this year). Nope. Then came the second homegrown hope with Kroy Biermann. All eyes were pointing for a great year for Biermann to explode on the scene. After collaring 2 sacks as a rookie in limited time and then packing on almost 20 pounds in the off-season, KB#71 got 5 sacks as a rotational player. His debut was less than stellar with only getting 3 sacks. While both players are excellent role players and great guys to have on the team, they haven’t shown they can handle the full-time duty (even though Biermann has plenty of upside and a fantastic work ethic).

Is Davis Worth the Dough? (C.Compton/AJC)

The final hope came as a lightning fast defensive end project from Richmond. Considered a huge steal in the 2009 draft, Lawrence Sidbury was thought to be the next great Falcons defensive end and a perfect protégé of Abraham. Only time was needed to develop. His national title performance as a senior is stuff of legend. After playing all 16 games as a rookie, grabbing a sack, and even recovering a touchdown, Sidbury’s potential was limitless. This year followed that hope with a loud and deep thud. Sidbury barely graced the field at all, playing in only 6 games mostly on special teams and being inactive for most of the season. There’s still a chance that Sidbury may be that guy, but it’s hard to believe that if he were that close that he wouldn’t get any reps in his second year.

John Abraham (since 2007) – 45 sacks

Anderson/Biermann/Davis/Sidbury (combined) – 21.5 sacks

Obviously, something needs to change and there are three ways the Falcons front office can take: spend some dough in free agency, draft a defensive end in the 1st round, or develop and hope.

Possible Free Agent Defensive Ends

 

Ray Edwards – 6’5 – 268 –Age: 26 – Minnesota

Could be one of the biggest free agent defensive ends to hit the market this year assuming there even is free agency. Edwards youth, play-making ability, and production will make him a highly sought after free agent. He has started 58 games for the Minnesota Vikings and been the full-time starter opposite Jared Allen for the last three years. Has been solid, but hasn’t had eye-gouging numbers after starting on the opposite side of a perennial Pro Bowler (2008 – 5 sacks, 2009 – 8.5 sacks, 2010 8 sacks). Can he be expected to come here and do any better with Abraham? And would that even be worth taking a risk on since the Falcons have Biermann and Sidbury to develop?

Charles Johnson – 6’2 – 275 – Age: 24 – Carolina

The former Georgia high school and UGA product may not even make it to free agency if the Panthers either re-sign him or place the franchise tag on him. In only 18 starts over the last 4 years, Johnson has notched as many sacks as all four Falcons defensive ends combined (21.5) and put up a staggering 11.5 on one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. Fans would think it a no-brainer to bring the Georgia boy back home (who also played under one Mr. Van Gorder at UGA), but it seems highly unlikely the talent starved Panthers will want to part with Johnson.

Mathias Kiwanuka – 6’5 – 265 – Age: 27 – New York

The 5th year man out of Boston College may be a logical choice for the Falcons and definitely could be available since the Giants already have Osi umenyiora and just drafted Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round last year. An immediate red flag goes up with his injury trouble and how he has had issue staying on the field, but when healthy he has shown good production. In his only full season of starting, he registered 8 sacks. In only three games this year (starting in just one), Kiwanuka was able to manage a stout 4 sacks before a herniated disc in his neck sidelined him for the rest of the year. Would the Falcons be willing to pay up a hefty amount of money who mirrors Jerious Norwood: oozing with potential, but never on the field to show it?

There are several other free agents available, but these seem to offer the most immediate impact and could provide a long-term answer at defensive end. Others such as Cullen Jenkins or Shaun Ellis seem to fit the 3-4 scheme much better or are too close to the 3-0 mark.

Draft a DE at #27

Defensive Kroy Biermann has missed the last two days of practice. He might have "tweaked" something.

Could Kroy Still be THE Answer? (AJC)

Drafting a defensive end in the first round is one of the riskiest positions there is in the NFL. The draft has way more first round busts or average production than they do immediate impact players. Defensive end has one of the deepest learning curves of any position in the NFL. For every Julius Peppers that can come in and make an immediate impact, there are ten times as many (ahem) Jamaal Andersons, Jarvis Moss’, Vernon Gholstons, Derrick Harveys, Aaron Maybins, Larry Englishes, and Marcus Spears as there are Julius Peppers. Even most great DE’s, such as Mario Williams, don’t even produce as a rookie. Can the Falcons afford to wait another 2 to 3 years on a defensive end prospect to arrive? All four DE’s taken in the first round last year (Brandon Graham, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, Jerry Hughes) combined for 9 sacks and even that number is skewed because Pierre-Paul made up half that with 4.5.

Aldon Smith – 6’5 – 260 – 4.7 Forty – 5.5 Sacks – Missouri

Extremely raw talent who has only played two years of college after redshirting. Collared 29 tackles for loss and 17 sacks in two years, but only 5.5 in his final year. Probably projects more as a 3-4 OLB.

Adrian Clayborn – 6’4 – 285 – 4.75 Forty – 3.5 Sacks – Iowa

A fifth year senior who’s best year was as a junior, where he registered 20 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. Followed that up with a weak 7 tackles for a loss and only 3.5 sacks as a senior. Doesn’t project as an elite pass-rusher in NFL.

Ryan Kerrigan – 6’4 – 263 – 4.8 Forty – 12.5 Sacks – Purdue

A true senior who has been extremely productive in his final two years taking in 43 tackles for a loss (26 as a senior) and 23.5 sacks (12.5 as a senior). May not be an elite pass rusher, but could project to great all-around defensive end.

Cameron Heyward – 6’5 – 288 – 4.9 Forty – 3.5 Sacks – Ohio State

Local product and son of former Falcon Ironhead Heyward. Has physical tools, but very low production in terms of sacks (3.5 as a senior). Could be much more suited to play base end in a 3-4. May be an overall good defensive end, but not the sack artist the Falcons need.

Allen Bailey – 6’4 – 285 – 4.75 Forty – 7 Sacks – Miami

A rare specimen in terms of pure physical tools and probably has immense upside, but his tackle for loss totals (11) and sacks (7) aren’t eye-popping and most definitely will need a decent amount of time to develop. Could play either the 3-4 or 3-4, but can Falcons wait for several more years on development?

Robert Quinn and Da’quan Bowers expected to be long gone by #27

Continue to Develop and Hope

As you can see, there’s not too many routes that seem as sure-fire as just signing a Julius Peppers that was out there last year. Many of the players coming out in free agency will either be franchise tagged if they’re already good-to-great and the rest have potential and “good” production, but will be hard to justify throwing a ton of money towards. Taking a defensive end in the first round is a losing proposition, especially late in the first round. Can either of the previous routes be any better than developing your own players? It’s a big risk and something that we as fans just aren’t privy to in terms of development and what the coaches think can happen next year. Kroy Biermann certainly has the work ethic to get there and was very close to many sacks last year. His hustle and gritty play will have him in the mix for a long while as a Falcon, even if not as a true starter. Perhaps it all clicks for him next year with another intense off-season regiment.

Lawrence Sidbury is the true wildcard in this equation. He will be entering the “golden third year” for defensive ends where it all comes together for many players. Charles Johnson, for instance, rarely played as a rookie, hit 6 sacks in year 2, dipped back down to 4 sacks, but then blew up for double digit sacks in 2010. It’s hard arguing the same for Sidbury at this point though because after showing tons of potential as a rookie he went missing. Is it logical to assume he can go from not even being active in most games to being the conclusive answer at defensive end? We’ll know one way or another how they feel about Sidbury after free agency is over.

So many paths to fixing defensive end and hardly any sure things. All routes have their own rewards and risks. Free agency could give immediate help but will cost money and no guarantees there. The draft is a landmine for defensive ends in the 1st round, but you never know when you hit the next Peppers or Tamba Hali. Even though Biermann and Sibury haven’t given a ton of production to being the final answer, defensive ends seem to “blow up” more than any other positions from one year to the next. So what SHOULD the Falcons do?

Please Fix the DE Situation (Your Turn)

-What’s your overall thoughts on entire DE situation?

-Where does fault lie at DE (excluding Abraham of course)?

-Simply put, what would you do if you were TD?

-Is free agency the answer?

-Of all the FA’s who would like the most?

-Who would be the most reasonable FA DE to get?

-Are there other FA DE’s that were missed?

-Should the Falcons draft a DE @ #27?

-Do the Birds finally have to fix DE in draft, even if time development is needed?

-If drafting, who would you take? Why?

-Should the Birds put their stock in Biermann and Sidbury?

-What happened to The Sidbury Promise?

-Could Biermann or Sidbury be ready to blow up next year?

-Without a major improvement at DE, can Falcons be legit in ’11?

382 comments Add your comment

woodie

February 10th, 2011
11:05 pm

As Glum would say…”we’re doomed”.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jersey Girl Sports and Angela Davis, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: AJC's fan blog: How Should Falcons Fix DE? http://bit.ly/dOshAp [...]

The Coon

February 10th, 2011
11:30 pm

I do not want to draft another project (except Kerrigan, i like him). we have to many of those developing right now and dimitroff has already expressed his interest in sticking with sid and most likely cutting JA98. If we want a quick fix we make a move for charles johnson, if he is franchise tagged we move on. Hopefully we draft randall cobb…

Bangkapi Ajarn

February 10th, 2011
11:31 pm

Free Agency first choice, Sid second choice. Zero chance of getting effective help from a rookie at 27.

Edwards would look nice in a falcons Uni, and Johnson isn’t impossible in the mess that is Carolina.

Bangkapi Ajarn

February 10th, 2011
11:33 pm

And, I’m not ready to give up on Biermann. This was his first year as a starter, he was close a lot, needs some seasoning to get that last spurt??

ATLJBO

February 10th, 2011
11:37 pm

Let me start this off with…. This is what they mean when they say… If you miss on a top 10 pick… It will set you back 4 years (McKay missing on JA98) … Now thats our biggest need.

But yea… We need a DE… The best case scenario is us finding a young talented DE in FA… The guy would be able to come in and produce day 1… Thats why i was so for Peppers last year (i remember alot of ppl felt Biermann would step up with more PT) . I feelt Biermann was just a really good rotational guy… I still feel that way… He will be a falcon for a long time and im a Biermann fan… But he is not “The guy” ….

With Sidbury.. I just think we all was hoping for to much to soon because of his talent… The guy was really raw… Thee Coaching Staff is developing the guy… Do i wish we would have seen the field this year…. Yes….. But the guy was raw coming out of college… Thats why most had him as a 2nd rounder but he slipped to the 4th because of his rawness… TD recently said this

“As far as Lawrence Sidbury, we want to continue to develop him,” Dimitroff said. “He has some very natural raw rush skills that we really want to tap into going into the future. This will be a big year for him.”

“(Douglas and Sidbury) are still very much in our plans and we expect bigger and better things out of them,” Dimitroff said.

On to the draft part.. I love the draft season…. I think Their will be a LDE at 27 that we can draft but i dont see a impact DE being there when we pick… We would have to trade up…. But yea… As of now… Aldon Smith is my fav DE… The guy has a explosive first step, long arms and plays the run better then most think… He can def get bigger also to become more even more stout… Mike Mayock compares him to Simeon Rice… I think he will be more stouter against the run in the NFL then Simeon Rice tho

darrell starks

February 11th, 2011
12:21 am

darrell starks

February 11th, 2011
12:29 am

darrell starks

February 11th, 2011
12:31 am

pick 27#http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzlJ_FFB9m0

darrell starks

February 11th, 2011
12:32 am

Cpat16

February 11th, 2011
1:32 am

Grab Edwards or Johnson in free agency since rookie DEs are mostly busts and draft Torrey Smith or anyone else in the 1st round.

Ed

February 11th, 2011
1:40 am

Your usual superb work D3. Drafting a DE with the 27th pick is asking for trouble. The first choice should be a player that the Falcons have faily high on their board that slips through. No position would be off limits except for QB. All things being equal, this team still badly needs a WR that can extend the field, and such a player is more likely to be available. Acquiring a DE via free agency or trade would prove far more beneficial in the short term which is what the Falcons will need if they are to make a deeper playoff run next year.

marko

February 11th, 2011
6:01 am

When I first saw Biermann, he reminded me a lot of Kerney. His first two years he actually had more sacks than Patrick had. That’s where the similarity ends. Year three Patrick recorded double digit sacks. Kerney was so focused on football he didn’t even date during the regular season. The Biermann seems more intent on becoming a reality TV star than his part time job as a football player. I still think the Biermann has the skills to get the job done, but he needs to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. A few years ago we had a kid that seemed to have the skills to become one of the all time great quarterbacks. He decided dog killing was more fun. God seems to have a strange sense of humor, He gives some people million dollar bodies and forgets to give them brains. Lets all hope Kroy doesn’t forget to ask the wizard for a brain.

robertussen

February 11th, 2011
6:24 am

if robert quinn falls to us we should take him i used to watch him play against aj green in high school ball

geno

February 11th, 2011
6:35 am

trade abraham, go to 3-4 defense…….trade gonzales, get speedy RB and WR…….simple as that

Unca' Bob

February 11th, 2011
8:40 am

ATLJBO,

I was reading about A Smith a few days ago and found too many
things that added up to JA#98. He’s coming out after his Soph. year,
was a former T/E, and has potential. Do we have the time to
wait on his development, if at all? I could see taking a shot at him,
but just not in the first round.

RabidDawgFan

February 11th, 2011
9:33 am

We need to move to a 3-4 defense. Simple as that. The top teams in the league run a 3-4. That should say enough.

WR

February 11th, 2011
9:55 am

D3, nice write up as far as the DE position. But I would like to offer this idea, has anyone seen a dominant pass rusher say even a Julius Peppers, dominate without a strong middle rush. Remember it was just a few years ago that Peppers had bust numbers, what happened, his interior DTs were lost in FA or injuried and he suffered. Jared Allen one of the most feared DEs in the league took a huge stop back, notice how the aging Williams boys in the middle of that D at DT struggled.

Not to say the Falcons can’t use DE help, but in all honesty the Falcons pass rush has suffered since the loss of space eating and player eating massive Grady Jackson. The reason Chauncey Davis got a look in the first place was because Grady was on the team when Davis happened to look good, no coincidence there. On the Falcons current DL its about like watching four DEs go after the QB, all of their strengths are about speed and quick moves for penetration. Place them up against a strong OL and they struggle, place them up against a decent OL and they suffer.

Most are screaming and have been screaming DE for the past few years, but most also forget what they were saying during the season and especially after the last lost to GB in the playoffs. It wasn’t like outside pressure wasn’t there, but there was no strength and pressure from the middle, Aaron Rodgers didn’t beat the Falcons by running to the outside, he beat them by running up the middle and so did most QBs. A clog in the middle, a space eater, a big wide strong body at the point of attack is needed. The Falcons could add Justin Tuck at DE and yes there would be some improvement, but Tucks numbers would deep also because the Falcons don’t have much force in the middle of their DL.

Speaking of bust, remember one Simieon Rice from Tampa, he was a bust, thats how Tampa got him, but place him next to a Warren Sapp and the guy looked like the second coming of Derrick Thomas. I guarentee if the Falcons had Suh from Detroit at DT know ones talking DE at this time, lack of sacks seems to point toward DE but overall watching the games its no the lack of an outside presence its the lack of an interior one.

BobbyDawg

February 11th, 2011
9:59 am

Cliff Mathews – SC. – DE / OLB. This kid has got a lot of heart, and ability. He’s the best DE out of SC in a while.

The Real Falcon

February 11th, 2011
10:07 am

A tleast we are looking for the first and right piece to start fixing the D.

Jack Tatum

February 11th, 2011
10:23 am

Should have drafted Clay Matthews. TD needs to go.

LRD

February 11th, 2011
10:33 am

FA will be the way we resolve the DE position in my opinion.

WR: Very valid points as no pressure inside..plus no pressure is making our DB’s look bad, and then the circle continues.

I would like to say though, that having Peters entering year 2, and Babs coming off a great season that we have 2 DT’s to clog that middle. Peters with more experience and more off season work could be a monster on the inside.. and then we have that #1 draft injury prone experiment there too…We cannot really say what Jerry’s true potential is but the B word may be in play.

Falcons draft Defense in round 1 since trading for Abe have been JA (bust), Jerry (bust), Spoon(injury, but shows potential)…. so maybe we acknowledge the trend and not pick D in round 1…

ATL Fan

February 11th, 2011
10:38 am

WR,
I agree, we need a bulldozer in the middle. Gotta have that push to disrupt blocking schemes.

WR

February 11th, 2011
10:48 am

An analysis on the idea of an improved interior DL. Here’s the top DEs as far as sacks and their DT teammates.

Justin Tuck-Barry Cofield 6′4 306 Chris Canty 6′7 304
Jared Allen-Pat Williams 6-3 317 Kevin Williams 6-5 311
Dwight Freeney-Daniel Muir 6-2 312 Antonio Johnson 6-3 310
James Hall-Fred Robbins 6-4 325 Gary Gibson 6-3 300
Trent Cole-Mike Patterson 6-1 300 Antonio Dixon 6-3 325

As far as the Falcons their DTs were Babs 6-2 295 and Peters 6-3 296, thats giving up on average 15 + lbs to the other defensive lines. 15lbs of garth in the NFL is huge no matter the position, then considering its in the trences thats an enormous shortcoming.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
10:51 am

On the current team who the hell projects to a 3-4? JA98? You moving Abe to LB at this point of his career? Spoon projects best out of the LB core. Your defense ranked 5th. Go on a 2-year 3-4 rebuilding project and you might as well let everyone go and start from scratch.

The 3-4 is en vogue but some of the worst defensive teams run it too.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
10:56 am

I think you go after Charles Johnson with everything because I don’t believe we are in as bad a shape anywhere else to justify a big signing. I know that is in disagreement with most here. I wouldn’t overpay in FA for any other position and I really like Nnandi and Ngata and Floyd. Now if Jacksonville is stupid enough to let Marcedes go, snatch him up.

If you don’t get someone in FA, you have to draft some DE depth since Abe is on his way out soon, and JA98 and Davis should be gone this year. Unless someone special is there, get them 3rd round or second day.

WR

February 11th, 2011
10:57 am

LRD, I agree about Peters, he was only a rookie and could add a few pounds, but six years in, Babs will remain about 295 to 300 at best as far as gaining weight. But he could lose about 5 to ten pounds and be moved outside as a DE or he could stay the same and play DE, adding garth in the middle like a Shaun Rodgers who would be cheaper, or a Nagata would solve the Falcons DL problems, and thats without hoping on a draft pick and breaking the bank in FA, win, win, all around, with more time for Sid and Biermann to develop as future replacements, show Davis and JA#98 the door.

LRD

February 11th, 2011
11:08 am

WR I too do not want to “hope” on a draft pick to fix DL problems. We have done that too much already (in my opinion).
My reasoning is TD spend on DB last year,and after the debacle w/green bay our lack of penetration against them was glaring…. Now is time to pony up using the money from letting JA98 leave(and coleman) to seal us a FA DT or DE.

BRO

February 11th, 2011
11:11 am

THE PROBLEM IS NOT DE. IT IS THE LACK OF PRODUCTION FROM THE DEFENSIVE TACKLE POSITION. Abraham is the only defensive player that at times requires a double team. With more physical and dominating tackes the DE will be able to produce the sacks. More Dahl and Clabo to DE. You need big mean players at that position-not nice guys. Defense takes a certain type of player with an attitude to whip the other guys butt.

WR

February 11th, 2011
11:23 am

LRD, you are correct sir, we can sit here even if the Falcons had a top ten pick and go DE but it still would be hope. Where as Babs has been mentioned outside before and clearly has shown the ability, Peters is a good DT, Peria, the jury is still out but there is been promise sightings, Walker is a nice sub, but the Falcons need that big body at DT and they clearly won’t be looking there in the draft. Get a massive DT and the whole landscape of the D changes, from the DEs to the LBs, and finally the DBs. Please no more projects or hopes, the pieces are in place, FA offers a few puzzle pieces to complete the project. Go after completing the O around Ryan, tell Smitty to back off and let Murlarkey do his thing. Have Smitty take a more active approach on the D which is surely suffering under Vangorder, and lastly understand the process is taking full shape and form, remember the darkest day is just before the dawn, GB was one of if not the darkest day in Falcons annals, the dawn follows unless they fell to remember that.

Out for now cage, hope to jump back in later.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
11:48 am

Babineaux sacks:

2007: 3.0
2008: 3.5
2009: 6.0
2010: 4.0

Peters:
2010: 1.0

Jerry:
2010: 1.0

LB Core:
2010: 4.0

Brian Williams
2010: 1.0

THE DEFENSIVE ENDS (not Abe)
Biermann: 3.0
Anderson*: 2.0

*Not sure if these came at DT or DE

Yes, I would love a big inside push, but clearly the production is lacking from the DE spot.

Bangkapi Ajarn

February 11th, 2011
11:49 am

Great convos this morning, special kudos to WR, LRD, uga-b for their insights, well done gentlemen (assuming masculine gender here).

Understanding that there are many approaches and opinions, I agree that FA is the way to go. I think DT has a lot invested already, let them do their job and grow – no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater when the first hint of a soapy scuzz appears. Also, Smitty’s more direct involvement with the D (and conversely less involvement with the O) would seem to be warranted.

13-3 is an indication that we are close, and the Packers woodshed whompin’ is an indication hat we are in no position to rest on the laurels of a #1 seed. Lets learn from that and use it as motivation.

Another opinions of where the Falcons are by Peter Schrager–

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/nfl-teams-on-the-rise-and-teams-that-could-slide-in-the-2011-season-021011

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
11:49 am

Oops. Jerry had 2.0 sacks.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
11:53 am

Shaun Rogers:
2008: 4.5
2009: 2.0
2010: 2.0

Haloti Ngata:
2007: 3.0
2008: 1.0
2009: 1.5
2010: 5.5

So these 2 have not been as prolific as Babinueax. This years 4 came in 15 games as well

gman

February 11th, 2011
12:22 pm

I think C Johnson would be worth a high pick(2). You never know the new Carolina regime just might want more picks. He could start immediately, have the same impact that Gonzo did with the 2nd round pick, and we could use the 1st round on Torrey Smith.

D3

February 11th, 2011
12:24 pm

Great Best Day of the Work Week Cage Fam! — Hope you guys like the post and some great convo’s coming from it. As I put in the post, there really is no great way to fix this DE position. All candidates outside of Charles Johnson have not blown up in any one year and show the “potential” we’ve been talking about for years with JA#98, Biermann, Davis, and Sidbury. Drafting is even worse, especially with this crop. The most “ready” DE that I noticed (Quinn, Bowers, Kerrigan) won’t be anywhere close to being there when we pick. Even all the DE’s taken in last year’s draft didn’t amount to much. Even though as much as I panned the pick with Pierre-Paul, he seems to have the most upside and long-term future after all. Even if we were to get a great talent at DE, it won’t be happening for several years. Can we really afford to wait on ANOTHER player to develop?

More later……….

tell it like it is .

February 11th, 2011
12:40 pm

If we traded players strait up with the packers,we still wouldn’t win!

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

Sack Rankings 2010:

Abraham: 5th in the league
Babineaux: Tied for 73rd; 10th among NT & DTs; 7th among DTs
Biermann: Tied for 106th
Anderson/Jerry/Lofton: Tied for 156th

SOMEBODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

February 11th, 2011
12:57 pm

WR, I have witness you make the argument ad nauseum the last couple of days about getting a larger body in at DT, after your break down of the teams that have the larger DT’s (300lbs +) and how it effects the pass rush, you have definitely sold me on the idea of a larger space eater that can command double team. I agree with you there, hadnt quite grasp the idea of moving Babs to DE, I suggest leave Babs at DT along side the “space eater” and test the FA market for a suitable pass rushing DE. IMHO

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
1:02 pm

With regards to the Panthers, they just went cheap on their coach and refused to pay Peppers last year. I cannot think of a recent move where they really “paid” their player. Beason? Gross?

Their roster is pretty crappy and they have to decide on these talented players:

Deangelo Williams ( I assume he is gone )
Charles Johnson ( Why would they pay him and not Peppers )
Ryan Kalil ( I assume they would keep him unless they are rebuilding )
Richard Marshall ( probaly could keep him based on price but they like Captain )
Matt Moore ( gone )

I wouldn’t be surprised if they shop Gross. And who knows about Steve Smith. This has rebuilding all over it and the Falcons have enough to talent in place to trade away some of this Draft for an answer.

Realistically, I could see Panthers asking for a 2nd and a 4th. Might get a 2nd and a 7th. We have a bunch of 7ths. I believe we could make this happen if we wanted to. Would the Cage be comfortable losing a 2nd rounder? I know I would. The positions we need can be filled later in the Draft.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
1:07 pm

Okay, I need to let other people fill the space, but regarding DT, as much as it excites me for Pass Defense and DE pressure, part of me really loves if for Lofton. Might make him a mini-Ray Lewis. He may also be able to think pass first instead of run. Remember also that Smith had old big boy John Henderson, so I am sure they would like to go that route someday. Babs in his own weird way kinda limits us based on his production.

D3

February 11th, 2011
1:09 pm

Guys, I get this whole “big-bodied DT” argument for sure. I even happen to agree with it to be honest with you. But this coaching staff and front office are not going that route. TD was on NFL N talking about his success being related to a “system-specific” outcome. That system is the 4-3 defense designed with quickness in mind instead of bulk. Now that runs counter to what Smitty made his name on in Jacksonville because he had two behemouths in John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a Ngata or a Rogers, but it just ain’t gonna happen. Even though they may not be the best unit in the entire league, they certainly are one of our biggest strengths on the team and on defense. Babs, Peters, Jerry (hopefully), and Walker are a good rotation even if they decide to part with Anderson.

The big question is now on Anderson. We’ve already weathered the fact that he’s a bust at defensive end and it’s nice to have his versatility and depth at DT, but he couldn’t even beat out Peters for the full-time job there, and for what he’s making, its hard to justify paying an eternal backup $3 million a year. Would a 3-4 team be willing to give up a later pick for him as a 3-4 base end? He probably could be a really good 3-4 end, so I could see a team giving up like a 4th or 5th rounder for him, maybe even a 3rd rounder. Who knows. To conclude, I don’t necessarily think that DT is a big area of weakness at this point. DE has been the issue for a long while.

How about a straight up swap with KC and TD’s old buddy getting Glen Dorsey for the 4-3, while they get JA#98 for the 3-4?

Zoomie

February 11th, 2011
1:11 pm

D3’s “. . . there really is no great way to fix this DE position” pretty much covers it. The Falcons’ D-line is in dire straits at both tackle and end, and they’re in a position to basically have to pin their hopes on developing the talent they picked up in the draft. I guess a wholesale shake-up is technically feasible, but that option won’t be exercised. Nope, we just have to hope that Jerry, Peters, Sidbury and Biermann can get it done.

The last thing the Falcons need to do is squander another draft pick on the D-line.

SOMEBODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

February 11th, 2011
1:18 pm

I kind of came to the conclusion that 2010 may have been a make or break year for Jamaal Anderson, he has been coached up and further developed since his arrival, with only pedestrian stats to show. JA98 was asked to put on 20lbs just to see if he could make a substanial impact on the defensive line, In the grand scheme of things (pun intened), the answer is no. So in a slightly machiavellian way, they kind of made sure that when they release him, they had tried every possible way to get the most out of him and not be made to look like idiots if he goes and ball out for another team.

LRD

February 11th, 2011
2:07 pm

Looking at what uga-b has posted, and then looking at other stats… and this is true for Abe.. it appears that most DE’s have 2 good years, 2 bad or so so years, than 2 good years. Very cyclical
And you posted up Ngata and Rogers.. if one was watching trends, it would be time to get Rogers for immediate impact, but Ngata could be the better long term trend.
Sure that that TD is looking at the trends for positions and productivity , comparing them then to individual player productivity , then taking into account how much the individual is being paid.(my master of obvious moment for the day).
But trend wise to, Abe peaks for 2 years then down 2 years.. last year was year 1 of the 2yr up trend, and this will more likely be the end of his years here too…. so I am hoping there is no lock out and we as fans can enjoy seeing him be a monster one last time!

mountain_jim

February 11th, 2011
2:27 pm

Sure wish some of that Dunta money had gone for Peppers last season. Now, after a season when almost everything broke Falcons way, Blank wants to heat up his checkbook in FA apparently. That’s great, but doing it last year for Peppers could have been the difference against GB. Well maybe not, BVG with still designing and calling the conservative scheme which GB destroyed.

So I don’t know if any of these DE’s in FA can be as good as Peppers, if so I hope we get him.

uga_b

February 11th, 2011
2:37 pm

Thought this was interesting:

“The current count of new defensive coordinators is 13, but Hue Jackson still has to hire one in Oakland and Munchak has to find one for the Titans. The Cardinals couldn’t land Dick LeBeau or Keith Butler, settling for Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton. If you wonder why offenses are staying ahead of defenses, look at the short tenures of defensive coordinators. If you take away LeBeau’s current seven-year run as defensive coordinator of the Steelers, there are only 27 years of longevity of defensive coordinators with their current teams. LeBeau is the only defensive coordinator who has been calling plays for his franchise longer than three seasons. There are only two — Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati and Brian VanGorder of the Falcons — with three years as defensive coordinators with their teams.”

Chop Buster

February 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

WR, I’ve been saying the exact same thing since Grady left–we don’t have anyone to push the pocket and clog the middle. The problem with DEs is you can always put in a TE or RB to double-team them. A big NT in the middle will require two OL, which will take away from their blocking/running schemes; and will free up our DEs and LBs to get after the QB.

D3

February 11th, 2011
3:14 pm

Funny we had our DE discussion today is also when DOL debuts his Mock Draft edition and to lead off is one Allen Bailey as mentioned above.

I get the pick on the surface, but the guy is really raw and never had more than 7 sacks in a really weak SEC. For future purposes I get it since Abe is set to retire and we have NO replacement for him and no answer on the other side. But this guy is really raw and can guarantee you that he will not produce immediately. Out of all the DE’s the last two years, the only one that I would’ve been happy with is Brandon Graham because his production as a junior and senior was insane in terms of tackles-for-a-loss and sacks (and even he only had 3 sacks before he got hurt).

Give me Torrey Smith, Mikel LeShoure, or DeMarco Murray any day (yes, I know his injury history, but the guy can ball out).

WR

February 11th, 2011
3:33 pm

Afternoon cage, quick check in, Chop Buster thats exactly my point, adding a big body at DT completely changes the whole D.

D3, so far you have shot down the idea of adding a CB, LB, and DT, with your last reasoning being Smitty’s approach and sight. But isn’t it that same conservative approach that would pretty much make it pointless to draft a speedy big play threat WR or RB. To say no way to the aforementioned players would basically be the same as saying no way to any other position we have mentioned to this point, lets see:

Biermann is just coming off his first season as a fulltime starter, Abe has proved he has some juice left in the tank, although it wasn’t shown by his actual insertion into games, the Falcons are high on Sidbury, one could say no way the Falcons go after a DE.

Turner, Snelling, Norwood at RB, remember it was just said that the Falcons are still high on Norwood, one could say no way the Falcons go here either.

White, Jenkins, Douglas, Weems, Meier probably over Finneran, Douglas wasn’t completely back to health until the later part of the season which would make it hard to develop the proper chemistry with Ryan, Jenkins missed half the season so you could say the same. Adding all that up one could also say again no way the Falcons go here.

The point is that players and contracts are in place but is the status quo okay. We question the conservative approach and the gameplanning but ideas are shot down because they supposedly wouldn’t fit into the same gameplanning and coaching we question.

This without is one of the most difficult Falcons drafts to judge in quite some time, its difficult because no way can you say no way to any position at this point, and thats with the idea of my belief that the DT situation is the strongest position, but a big body DT would not only improve the position but it could literally improve all the positions.