Enact Your Falcons Off-Season Plan

Time to Play the Role of Thomas Dimitroff

Blalock Back? (C.Compton/AJC)

Could there finally be an end to the NFL lockout? After all the blustering and attacks, it appears that the loss of money may curtail the labor dispute just in time for there to be no missed time. Reports are coming out that a deal could be agreed to, voted on, and accepted by Thursday. Many believe that the free agent market may open as early as Monday. There will be an insane avalanche of deals flying all around and now its your turn to make all the decisions for the Falcons extremely shortened season. Give your breakdown of Falcon free agents, unrestricted free agents, and you can even dip into the undrafted free agent pool if you like.

Atlanta Falcons Free Agents

Tyson Clabo

Re-sign the Pro Bowl tackle. In a story by Falcons guru D. Orlando Ledbetter, Clabo said that he wants to remain in Atlanta assuming the Birds do what’s needed. This changes things a good bit as initially it seemed he wanted to max out and head out of town. DOL thinks a contract worth $35 – $45 million would keep him here and the Falcons will do it. A 6 year, $42 million dollar should keep Clabo here and it gives the Falcons a ton of options with the young guys on the roster.

Harvey Dahl

Sadly, Dahl Likely Gone (C.Compton/AJC)

Let him walk. It’s a given the Falcons won’t re-sign all three and may not even keep two, but Dahl looks the most expendable. Even though some believe he’s the most valuable lineman on the OL, he’s expendable with the drafting of Mike Johnson and progress of Jose Valdez. Justin Blalock is younger, more versatile, and has more upside.

Justin Blalock

Keep him. Blalock is the youngest of the free agent Falcons and has gotten better and better after coming and starting as a rookie in 2007. Blalock has built up a nice combination with Sam Baker and could even move back to his college position of right guard. Of all three, Blalock is probably the one that is most likely to be re-signed due to his upside, youth, and versatility.

Brent Grimes

A no-brainer here. All the fantasy talk of moving Grimes to nickel or letting him go to get Nnamdi Asomugha are just that: fantasy. They placed a first round tender on him and will gladly pay him after rising through the ranks the hard way and proving he deserves a starting spot. Grimes is already rising up the charts of all-time Falcons in terms of interceptions and just made his first Pro Bowl in his first full year of starting.

Jason Snelling

The Falcons will probably try to do everything they can to keep Snelling, but they simply won’t be able to keep Snelling when he’s being offered a max contract to go start on a team that desperately needs a proven threat in both the running and passing game. Someone like Washington, Cleveland, or Seattle will be ready to take the risk on a back who has had limited hits on his young career. Snelling goes where the money is.

Jerious Norwood

Snelling Goes, Norwood Stays (C.Compton/AJC)

This one’s also easy. Norwood will be a proto-typical low risk, potentially high reward re-signing. Norwood will have very low market value after two injury riddled seasons and can be kept for a minimum price, at least on a one-year deal. He knows the playbook and can be a great insurance policy to Snelling leaving. If Norwood were able to get back to pre-injury form, a Turner/Norwood/Jacquizz Rodgers could be an insanely lethal trio. He knows the playbook and the is comfortable with the organization. Norwood comes back on a one year deal.

Stephen Nicholas

For all his boasting of the Lions potential upswing, he came back and said how much he enjoys Atlanta and the Falcons need him as much as he needs a starting contract. Simply put, Nicholas has a huge advantage in this debate. Although Nicholas needs some continued work in his coverage skills, he gives the Falcons their most athletic starting linebacker corps in a long time when paired up with Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon. Throw in the fact that the Falcons basically have limited to no alternative options, and Nicholas is a much bigger signing than some believe. Mike Peterson is 35. Akeem Dent won’t be ready, nor should he be counted on as a rookie. Coy Wire is a great backup and Spencer Adkins/Robert James are doubtful on being the answer. May have to overpay a little, but the alternative is not good.

Mike Peterson

He wants to come back and the Falcons want him back……albeit in a backup role and a continued great presence of mentor and leader in the locker room. He still has some gas left in the tank, but he can no longer be relied on as a full-season, 16 game starter. Peterson comes back on a 1 or 2 year deal.

Matt Bryant

Another no-brainer. Bryant is no spring chicken at 36 years of age, but he added a much needed level of consistency and clutch-kicking to the Falcons special teams. He alone was able to win several games with his foot in the closing seconds. Not sure what kind of deal he gets, but it’s an almost lock of him returning while they see what they have in Matt Bosher.

Michael Koenen

After getting the franchise tag in 2009, Koenen had much lower productivity and made $2.731 million last year. After getting panned by many fans, the 6th round selection of Matt Bosher was a strategic strike to add their newest punter and kickoff specialist. It’s a huge risk, but Dimitroff was readying for Koenen to either ask for the moon or bolt. Koenen goes.

Eric Weems

Weems'll Be Back (C.Compton/AJC)

He may not be active or productive in the pass game, but his special teams play alone earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl, even though not as a returner. He is one of the better kick returners in the game and had two kickoffs returned for a touchdown, one of which led to huge comeback win in Tampa Bay. The Falcons have a tough call on what to do with Kerry Meier, but Eric Weems has earned a roster spot and then some. It’s up to Mike Mularkey to get him involved in the offense. His speed and ability is too great to go unused on offense.

Free Agents

Ray Edwards

Will they or won’t they? That’s the big question regarding what the Falcons will do about the defensive end position. Some believe that Edwards is as good as on his way to Atlanta, while others believe that this has been all smoke. If both are available, the Falcons probably would elect to go with Charles Johnson since he is younger, Georgia bred, played for Brian Van Gorder, and had 11.5 sacks. That being said, though, Johnson has a 1st round tender on him and the Falcons not only would pay it, but they can’t since they traded their 2012 1st round pick to Cleveland for Julio Jones.

Edwards has had 8+ sacks the last two years, has excellent size and speed, and would not only give the defensive end position consistency and production, but would also be ready to take over for Abraham while allowing the Falcons to continue to develop Kroy Biermann, Lawrence Sidbury, and rookie Cliff Matthews when Abraham slides toward retirement. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Edwards is one of the best young DE’s in the game and does a great job in other areas besides sacks. The worst kept secret finally comes to fruition.

Paul Oliver

The Falcons won’t be getting Nnamdi Asomugha or even going after other starters like Jonathan Joseph because they have their two locked up in Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. They feel good (at least publicly) about Chris Owens taking over the nickel back spot, never mind the painful playoff memory seared in fans brains. He did take over and start well at the end of 2009, so the talent is there. Dominique Franks is the big x-factor, but holds a ton of potential and appears to have a huge upside.

The Falcons only have 4 cornerbacks on the roster and could sign several more for competition. Oliver started 8 games for the Chargers last year and proved he has ability both at UGA and San Diego. He would be given a great opportunity to return home and compete for the nickel back spot (which is essentially a starting spot with its frequent use).

Undrafted Free Agents

Much like the draft itself, trying to guess which players the Falcons will sign as undrafted free agents is like throwing darts in the dark. That being said, Thomas Dimitroff has done an excellent job of mining this talent pool. Two of the players, John Parker Wilson and Michael Palmer, are firmly entrenched Falcons. Brandyn Harvey, Tim Buckley, Rafael Bush, Rafael Priest, and Bear Woods are still on the Falcons practice squad. Obviously, these are dream candidates, but something to have fun with.

QB Adam Weber

The Falcons scouted Weber and may be looking for an eventual replacement for John Parker Wilson at 3rd string QB, who in turn would be looking to move in as the Birds backup QB in 2012.

RB Derrick Locke

Bosher In, Koenen Out (C.Compton/AJC)

The Falcons could go crazy at this position since Snelling will likely be leaving. They would love to get their hands on all the top RB undrafted free agents, but many teams will be honed in on this position. The Falcons scouted Locke and he fits the mold of a Thomas Dimitroff player (extremely productive at Kentucky, senior), is very fast, and excellent in both the running and passing game. They may instead go with a pounder to replace Snelling as well.

WR Ricardo Lockette

The Georgia grown player is lightning fast, but needs some serious work to get up to speed. May not be the best fit for the Falcons since they are more than stocked at WR with Roddy, Julio, Jenks, HD, Weems, Meier, and Harvey, but he was interviewed by the Falcons and his pure speed is something that can’t be taught.

TE Schuylar Oordt

The Falcons are set for this season with Tony Gonzalez, Justin Peele, Michael Palmer, and Robbie Agnone, but Oordt’s ability to stretch the field, production, and speed had some taking him in the regular draft. Couldn’t hurt.

OL Willie Smith and Zach Hurd

With the likely departure of some of the OL free agents, the Falcons will have to get some more o-linemen in the pipeline. Jose Valdez was signed as a UDFA and he is on the verge of not only a permanent roster spot, but maybe even a starting spot. Smith could project to a starting OT one day and Josh many thought Hurd would be gone much, much earlier.

DE Ryan Winterswyck

Became a late favorite among Bird Cage members. Reminds many of Kroy Biermann with his toughness, work ethic, and high motor. Even though they drafted Cliff Matthews and may sign a FA DE, Abraham is nearing retirement and the status of Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, and Lawrence Sidbury are all in doubt.

DT Blaine Sumner

Another Bird Cage member favorite. Nicknamed the “Vanilla Gorilla,” played fullback and defensive tackle among several other positions. You can never have too many DT’s, especially ones that are 6’2, 331 and can actually run the football.

LB Mark Herzlich

Nicholas a Big Signing (B.Sanderlin/AJC)

What’s not to like about this guy. He beat cancer for goshsake. Maybe not the most athletic of LB’s, but his tenacity and high motor could earn him a spot. Surely worth a look at a potential position of need.

CB Kedrick Burney

Much like the RB position, the Falcons can go crazy here as well since they only have 4 cornerbacks on their roster and usually carry five. A productive CB at UNC who could find his way on the practice squad and follow the Brent Grimes route.

S Joe Lefeged, Jerrard Terrant, and/or Jeron Johnson

Take a chance on a local guy at a position of need. It sure worked out well for Vance Walker, who has firmly earned himself a spot on the roster and in a rotation at DT. This spot is wide open after the departure of Erik Coleman to the Detroit Lions. Complete shock that Johnson fell all the way out of the draft when some scouting services had him as high as the 5th round. Lefeged will be at the top of every teams lists as he is one of the best available free agents on the market.

K  Kai Forbath

Sure the Falcons drafted Matt Bosher and he’s probably penciled into a roster spot, but competition never hurts. Forbath was one of the better FG kickers in the country and could make an NFL team given the chance.

Resources for your GM Work

Current Atlanta Falcons Roster

2011 NFL Free Agents

Potential Undrafted Free Agents

Ridiculously, Insanely, Irresponsible 2011 Roster Guess

53 Man Roster

QB: Ryan, Redman, Wilson (3)

RB: Turner, Norwood, Rodgers, Mughelli, G. Johnson (5)

WR: White, Jones, Jenkins, Douglas, Weems (5)

TE: Gonzalez, Peele, Palmer (3)

T: Clabo, Baker, Svitek, Reynolds (4)

G: Blalock, Johnson, Valdez (3)

C: McClure, Hawley (2)

DE: Abraham, Ray Edwards, Biermann, Davis, Sidbury (5)

DT: Babineaux, Peters, Jerry, Anderson, Walker (5)

LB: Lofton, Weatherspoon, Nicholas, Dent, Peterson, Wire (6)

CB: Robinson, Grimes, Owens, Paul Oliver, Franks (5)

S: DeCoud, Moore, Schillinger, Rafael Bush (4)

ST: Bryant, Bosher, Zelenka (3)

Practice Squad

QB: Adam Weber

TE: Robbie Agnone

LB: Robert James

OL: Andrew Jackson

WR: Kerry Meier

CB: Rafael Priest

WR: Brandyn Harvey

DE: Cliff Matthews

Your Turn

  1. Time to play the role of Falcons GM
  2. What deals would you make to shape the final roster
  3. Who would you re-sign
  4. Who would you let walk
  5. What free agents would you ink
  6. Any trades needed
  7. What undrafted free agents should be taken
  8. Have fun and predict the 53 man roster and/or practice squad if you desire

175 comments Add your comment


July 20th, 2011
1:07 am

Agreed on re-signing Norwood, Nicholas, & Blalock. I’m torn between Ray Edwards & Charles Johnson. Honestly I’m just ready for some signings…any signings…well, maybe not just any. Anywho, good word D3!


July 20th, 2011
1:08 am

meant to say good “work”…but “word” works too…Amen!


July 20th, 2011
1:14 am

D3 you are just bubbling over with good information…keep’em coming. The one request I have is please don’t give up any more number one draft picks. As you noted we don’t have one next year and to give up our number one for the following season would be bad business. We need to be stocking up not giving them away.

Unca' Bob

July 20th, 2011
6:31 am


I agree with you on all points in signing our free agents. However, I thought C Johnson would be an Unrestricted Free Agent because he has four years in the league. If that’s the case, his first round tender would be moot.

Your usual great job. Thank you.

The Real Falcon

July 20th, 2011
6:51 am

Wow, a well researched piece.
I am so ready for camp!


July 20th, 2011
9:22 am

UB, if they go with 4 years for UFA status then you are right about the 1st round tender being a non-issue. However, just ask yourselves if you rather have Charles Johnson next year or any of the 1st Rd DE from this year. Give me 1st round production over 1st round projection any day of the week. Still it does make Ray Edwards more attractive if there is no pick compensation.

D Money

July 20th, 2011
9:27 am

The must re-signs how I see it: (Offense) Blalock, Clabo, Snelling. (Defense) Nicholas and Grimes.

* The offense would/should be high powered with the addition of the rookies Jones and Rodgers.
* The defense wasn’t really that bad last year. The glaring weaknesses was the lack of a pass-rush against some of the better teams and once B. Williams went down during the playoffs we were exposed ( I still think Owens will be fine.)

As far as FAs, the only positions I think we should look for is DE and backup safety.

Paddy O

July 20th, 2011
9:58 am

D3- hell of a job & a ton of good info. My priorities on UDFA would be Devine & Lockette. Then I’d sign Nnamdi & Johnson, plus all of our guys who are FA except Koenen, unless Koenen would sign for cheap – he had a substantial drop off and really failed in the clutch.

John Waynesworld

July 20th, 2011
9:59 am

Great stuff, D3.

Agree with Unca Bob on Johnson, but the right of refusal clause argument is still up in the air, I thought. I would take either of the two DEs. The cornerback situation is tough because we will have to give starting CB money to Grimes and Dunta already has his honey pot. That would pretty much eliminate any of the top tier guys, so we might as well go all in on a defensive end and grab a solid nickel back (over 5′9″ please).

I am not sold on Nicholas by any stretch. It seems that there are positions where if you don’t hear the name/position called out in a game, it is a good thing (for positions like offensive linemen and cornerbacks), but it can be a bad thing if you don’t hear the name/position being called out in a game for certain positions (like linebackers and defensive linemen) as if they disappear during the game. I just don’t hear the name Steven Nicholas enough for a linebacker, and that tells me that he is either doing just enough or not enough. I personally can’t see why Bear Woods, who has proven skills at mike LB as a scheme reader, can’t move over to Nicholas’ position. Bear has also played Safety and QB before. I am sorry to say I cannot figure out Robert James or Spencer Adkins. Maybe they should open up a lemonade stand on the hill at Falcon’s camp next month.

On a side note I am secretly THRILLED that Jerious may still be on our team.

Paddy O

July 20th, 2011
10:01 am

am I wrong, the safety from Tech was NOT drafted? Tarrant/Tallent?


July 20th, 2011
10:36 am

I like your plan with either Edwards or Johnson. I like the Oliver pickup also. If Nicholas leaves I would like to go after than Thomas Davis since I think he played for Van Gorder before like Oliver and not just because they are Bulldogs but because they know the system. I would still like to take a shot at Vernon Gholston because if we get Edwards or Johnson then we will need another DE on the other side if we do not resign Abraham when his time is up.


July 20th, 2011
11:33 am

If it were ME…

Our FA
RT – Tyson Clabo, 6 years, GOES
Great player but classic overachiever. Given what we need to spend on an LT next year, not worth it.
RG – Harvey Dahl, 4 years, GOES
Simple economics. He is going to cost a lot and we have young players to start.
LG – Justin Blalock, 4 years, STAYS
Quietly become a solid player. Could provide stability on the right side or keep covering for Baker.
RB – Jason Snelling, 4 years, GOES
YAWN. Too much for a backup…any backup.
RB – Jerious Norwood, 5 years, GOES
Just don’t see the point.
OLB – Michael Peterson, 12 years, GOES
He is where Lawyer Milloy was a few years ago. Let him play for a non-contender so he can keep playing the game he loves but not at the elite team level.
OLB – Stephen Nicholas, 4 years. STAYS
Falcons were good to him with his family issues. I would remind him of that because it is valuable.
WR – Eric Weems, 3 years, STAYS
Doesn’t cost much and was one of the lone bright spots on special teams? Done and done.
CB – Brent Grimes, 3 years, STAYS
Overpaying against my better judgment.
PK – Matt Bryant, 9 years, STAYS
Not the time to play kicker roulette.
P – Michael Koenen, 6 years, GOES
I forgot he was still here…

New FA
OLB – Manny Lawson, 49ers
CB/SS – Paul Oliver, Chargers
RB – Kevin Smith, Lions

UDFA (In order of priority)
CB – Kendric Burney, North Carolina
RB – Mario Fannin, Auburn
QB – Pat Devlin, Delaware
OT – Willie Smith, East Carolina
TE – Andre Smith, Virginia Tech
DE – Ryan Winterswyck, Boise State
TE – Collin Franklin, Iowa State

53 Man Roster
QB: Ryan, Wilson, Devlin (3)
RB: Turner, K. Smith, Rodgers, Mughelli, M. Fannin, (5)
WR: White, Jenkins, Jones, Douglas, Weems (5)
TE: Gonzalez, Peele, Palmer (3)
T: Baker, Svitek, Reynolds, (3)
G: Blalock, Johnson, Valdez* (3)
C: McClure, Hawley*, Bruggeman (3)
DE: Abraham, Biermann, Sidbury, Davis, Winterswyck (5)
DT: Babineaux, Peters, Jerry, Anderson, Walker (5)
LB: Lofton, Weatherspoon, Lawson, Nicholas, James, Dent (6)
CB: Robinson, Grimes, Kendric Burney, Owens, Franks (5)
S: DeCoud, Moore, Schillinger, Paul Oliver (4)
ST: Bryant, Bosher, Zelenka (3)

Practice Squad
WR – Kerry Meier
S – Rafael Bush
LB – Bear Woods
OG – Andrew Jackson
DE – Cliff Matthews
OT – Willie Smith
TE – Andre Smith
TE – Collin Franklin


July 20th, 2011
11:34 am

D3, great post! I think you’re right on target with both our free agents and our potential targets. I think you’re right, but hope you’re wrong about the running backs – I would love for us to somehow resign Snelling. If that happens, then I think we ditch Norwood to make roster space for some younger backs.

Picking UDFA is like throwing darts blindfolded, but I like the names I’m seeing, especially Mark Herzlich. You couldn’t have a better human being on your team, and if he ever gets fully healthy again, he’s 1st-round caliber talent. People always talk about the comeback from cancer, but they forget that he also played almost his entire senior season with a club-cast on his hand.

darrell starks

July 20th, 2011
1:12 pm

D3 im ready for some football.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 20th, 2011
1:14 pm

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 20th, 2011
1:17 pm

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Ken Strickland

July 20th, 2011
1:19 pm

D3-Although you are usually outstanding with your presentations and analysis, you really out did yourself this time, BRAVO! If we sign DE CJohnson, can you imagine how much our pass rush would improve? We’d have 2 double digit sack masters at DE who are accustomed to fighting through double teams to get their sacks.

It would definitely force teams to hold their RB’s in for extra protection on pass plays, which would take pressure off our LB’s. Here’s my starting DEF team.

DE-Johnson/Edwards, Abraham
DT-PJerry, JBabineaux
OLB-SWeatherspoon, SNicholas
CB-BGrimes, DRobinson

darrell starks

July 20th, 2011
1:22 pm


July 20th, 2011
1:32 pm

I like us getting Carlos Rodgers as the nickle, over Oliver & I don’t see Nicholas starting over Peterson personally, & more than that, I’d actually rather us let Nicholas walk & pursue Justin Durrant to play opposite of Spoon. Durrant plays the pass much better than Nicholas & is stout against the run as well.

darrell starks

July 20th, 2011
1:33 pm


July 20th, 2011
1:46 pm

Dan i totally agree on Vernon Gholston!!!!


July 20th, 2011
2:02 pm

Blalock, Snelling, & Clabo stay on Offense, so

QB: Ryan,
RB: Turner, Snelling (i don’t see someone paying him starter $ & giving us a 2cnd rounder for him), Rodgers, Mughelli, M. Fannin, (5)
WR: White, Jones, Jenkins, Douglas, Weems (5)
TE: Gonzalez, Peele, Palmer (3)
LT: Baker,
LG: Blalock,
C: McClure,
RG: Johnson,
RT: Clabo

DE: Abraham/Edwards backups who will get pt: Biermann, Sidbury, Davis, Gholston
DT: Babineaux, Jerry, backups who will get pt: Peters, Anderson, Walker
OLB: Weatherspoon, Durrant backups who will get pt: Dent, Peterson, Wire
MLB: Lofton, Dent, Herzlich
CB: Robinson, Grimes, Nickle/ Carlos Rodgers back ups who will get pt: Owens, Franks Kendric Burney, (5)
S: DeCoud, Moore, Schillinger,
ST: Bryant, Bosher,


July 20th, 2011
3:34 pm

John Waynesworld

July 20th, 2011
3:48 pm


July 20th, 2011
4:14 pm

I hope we can resign Blalock, and Clabo for the line. I don’t like the idea of having to replace three guys so I hope something can be worked out. I think we go Edwards over Johnson but as long as we get one I will be satisfied. I don’t think we do much at LB. In today’s NFL a defense is in the nickle so much that I think that is an area were we don’t have to spend a lot of money. I actually would really like to see us sign Mark Herzlich as a UDFA. Maybe it is because my mother-n-law was just diagnosed with cancer but I just really root for the guy. I hope Snelling, Weems, and Grimes are back but I wouldn’t be surprised is Snelling is gone.


July 20th, 2011
4:48 pm

uga_b, very good picking, ‘cept I’m a little concerned about letting Snelling and Norwood both go. I do like keeping Bear Woods and Meier for sure. I would expect to see one, if not both of them, get some playing time this year.

Paddy O

July 20th, 2011
6:03 pm

We’ve got a lot of wild cards – guys we’ve drafted that on faith we anticipate contributing. Franks, Johnson, Hawley, Sidbury, etc. This is especially true due to our release of some highish draft picks that just were not working out. So, 2011 should be very interesting.

John Waynesworld

July 20th, 2011
6:52 pm

From Rotoworld:

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer expects the Eagles to go “hard” after a defensive end in free agency.
“Leaning towards Ray Edwards,” speculates McLane. It sounds like the Falcons may have some competition. The Eagles are seemingly on the prowl for pass rushers on an annual basis, and left end is their neediest spot up front. (Edwards played LE in Minnesota.) Philly could consider cutting Juqua Parker if it signs Edwards, who will command a lucrative long-term contract.

John Waynesworld

July 20th, 2011
6:56 pm

Unca' Bob

July 20th, 2011
8:25 pm

C Johnson is my choice as far as free agents are concerned. Has anyone figured out why they are called “Free”?

Ken Strickland

July 20th, 2011
9:01 pm

One thing is certain. We fans won’t have to wait through a long drawn out process as far as teams signing FA’s this season. Which FA’s we want, and which FA’s want us, will be decided very quickly.

UNCA’BOB-They are called FREE AGENTS because they are FREE to sign with any team they choose.


July 20th, 2011
9:08 pm

KS, the lock out said teams can’t talk to players but didn’t say anything about teams talking to “agents”, who talk to players. I think we are going to see the fastest, pre-planned, FA period in history. I’m hoping Chs Johnson already knows where he’s going and how much we are going to pay him.

Unca' Bob

July 20th, 2011
9:25 pm

Unca' Bob

July 20th, 2011
9:35 pm

JB, Nothing would please me more. CJ for DE. Way too much upside to ingnore.

Unca' Bob

July 20th, 2011
9:38 pm


July 20th, 2011
9:52 pm

We traded the future for Julio…so the offense is fine. Now, if we can just pick up Vernon Gholston (24 career tackles) the defense is good…and we’re on to the SuperBowl!

just me

July 21st, 2011
1:01 am

D3 Thanks for the great write up! Looking forward to see what TD does when free agency begins!

Here’s some thoughts on the OLine.

Resign G Blalock.

Let Dahl and Clabo walk.

Sign FA LT Doug Free and move Baker back to his natural RT position. I expect that Free will demand a contract simular to what Clabo would require, but he is a much better pass protector for Ryan’s blind side.

Sign UDFAs:
OT Willie Smith(ECU): converted DLineman that only has three years exp wth the OLine, but has shown great potential.

G Zach Hurd(UConn): great run blocker, needs to work on pass protection, team captain, all big east, works with numerous charities. (TD kind of player)

C Chase Beeler(Stan): Would be nice, but will probably end up in SF with his former HC…so my alt is
C Tim Barnes(Mizzou):1st team all Big 12 in 2010. strongest in blocking for the run, needs to work on footwork in pass protection.

2011 starting OLine:
LT Doug Free
LG Mike Johnson
C Todd McClure
RG Justin Blalock
RT Sam Baker


July 21st, 2011
1:47 am

I think Blalock is a little bit underrated in part because hes not known for decking the unsuspecting DB.. If you watch the falcons you’ll notice that a ton of run plays go left and I think there’s a good chance that most audible run plays are set up that way. When i think penalties coming of the left side I always think Sam Baker. Maybe its just me…

Unca' Bob

July 21st, 2011
8:17 am

Ken Strickland

July 21st, 2011
8:51 am

JBFALCON-players often play a big role in recruiting FA’s, and one player could get info from another about which team he’s leaning towards and easily pass it onto his agent. Also, players can contact the relatives and friends of GM’s, HC’s, assistant coaches, owners, or employees with access to these people, and pass this info on.

I guarantee you that most teams know which FA’s are most likely willing to sign with them for the right money, and players know which teams are most interested in them. This time though, there won’t be a lot of wining and dining. If a FA isn’t ready to agree to a contract, a lot of teams will most likely move on to the next player on their list.

If the Falcons make a pitch at DE CJohnson and he feels he wants to wait for a better offer, the Falcons will immediately go to REdwards. They can’t afford to wait on him, or for the market to decide where he signs, while their backup options are signed by other teams.

Like I’ve said before, don’t overlook the progress and potential of OLineman JValdez, because he’s a TClabo clone as far as size, potential, and the way he’s progressed form being an UFA, to the practice squad, to a possible starting position. I wouldn’t be surprised if we let both Dahl and Blalock walk and replaced them with MJohnson and JValdez. That would save us more than enough money to offer Clabo the contract he wants, and give us a couple of compensatory picks next yr.

Ken Strickland

July 21st, 2011
9:04 am

UNCA’ BOB-3 of our current starters, OG HDahl, OT TClabo and CB BGrimes, were UFA’a, and both Clabo and Grimes are Probowlers. I believe Probowl K/P returner EWeems is also an UFA, and OLineman JValdez, who’s an UFA, is currently on the fast track to becoming a starter. You can’t argue with the tremendous success we’ve had with the UFA’s we’ve signed.


July 21st, 2011
9:37 am

JB, the fact of the matter is that RB is the easiest position to turnover and backup RB would be no different. Under my scenario, I really only cut one RB since Norwood actually being on the team would be like adding a player. What I “did” instead was cut Snelling who is a forever backup in my mind (based on speed, etc.) and “sign” Kevin Smith who has the talent to be the starter after Turner leaves but has been overworked. It was about sustainability; right now, we do not have a future starting RB in the pipeline. Plus, I added Mario Fannin who is just a faster Snelling. He would be much cheaper and not be a step back in flexibility or style.

I don’t believe Dimitroff will let Snelling go; I would (but I would also just as happily release Turner and play Snelling). Not impressed with our backfield in all honesty.


July 21st, 2011
9:58 am

Nice work here. I’m definitely ready to get the off-season started and see what shakes out. Couldn’t find much I didn’t agree with here, though I’m not sure Norwood will be back. He seems to think the team has no plans for him after drafting Rodgers. Not sure about Bryant coming back either. The Flacons seem to enjoy letting kickers walk.

I’m still not sold on Ray Edwards, but given the lack of options there, I suppose it’s better to take a shot on him than stand pat. Love the list of UDFAs.

just me

July 21st, 2011
10:40 am

My thoughts on the QB position:

QB Redman get’s traded to Minn for a 2nd – 4th round pick in next years draft. He knows Coach’s system and will start until Ponder is ready.

Wilson will move up to number two spot and TD will sign two UDFA to come in and compete for the 3rd QB spot.

Pat Devlin(Delaware) has NFL QB build nees to improve accuracy was projected to go in the middle rounds
Mike Coughlin(Boise St)career back-up could be the next Matt Cassel impressed scouts at BST pro day.


July 21st, 2011
12:31 pm

I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’m confident that pretty much anybody they put out there in a Falcons uni will be able to handle the job. The current regime has been nothing but impressive, so I’m far less inclined to speculation and fantasy hoping about players than I once was. Even the big fuss about another DE seems overblown to be because I think the 2011 Falcons will have a much improved interior D-Line and that is going to be the difference in their improvement. The starters and backups at most other positions seem solid, with the notable exceptions of QB, RB, and LB. But that only matters if the injury bug gets us, and I’m to much of an optimist for that.

So that leaves me with just a sentimental favorite in this discussion. I would love to see Norwood come back strong and healthy and doing what we know he can do. But if he’s lost even a step, it’s time to cut bait.

I’m also looking forward to some of the young guys, like Johnson and Franks to step up and show some big time play.

I’ll be saving this blog to see how close the predictions match the eventual (sooner rather than later please!!!) outcomes. Some of your fantasy GM reputations will be on the line people, so careful what you say ;<)


July 21st, 2011
12:41 pm

It’s only been three years yet I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’m confident that pretty much anybody they put out there in a Falcons uni will be able to handle the job. The current regime has been nothing but impressive, so I’m far less inclined to speculation and fantasy hoping about players than I once was. Even the big fuss about another DE seems overblown to be because I think the 2011 Falcons will have a much improved interior D-Line and that is going to be the difference in their improvement. The starters and backups at most other positions seem solid, with the notable exceptions of QB, RB, and LB. But that only matters if the injury bug gets us, and I’m to much of an optimist for that.

So that leaves me with just a sentimental favorite in this discussion. I would love to see Norwood come back strong and healthy and doing what we know he can do. But if he’s lost even a step, it’s time to cut bait.

I’m also looking forward to some of the young guys, like Johnson and Franks to step up and show some big time play.

I’ll be saving this blog to see how close the predictions match the eventual (sooner rather than later please!!!) outcomes. Some of your fantasy GM reputations will be on the line people, so careful what you say ;<)

darren harper

July 21st, 2011
12:44 pm

Please add one more player to your 53 projected roster. The third string QB does not count against it. Also Blaylock will be let go resulting in a 4th round compensation pick if someone signs him. If they don’t we get him back on the cheap. Snelling is not an everydown back but will probably be overpaid elsewhere. Gartrell is straight garbage and want be in the NFL this year. I suggest a veteran like R Brown for insurance and a few carries a game. I think the third CB spot is more important than DE. We need a outside corner like Joseph and move Grimes to nickel which he would be the best in the league and a great matchup for quick slot receivers. I believe this move would on average buy coverage enough extra time that our pass rush would become more effective. Taking Bierman off special teams will help him late in games. I think we vresign either Clabo or Dahl but only one.

Unca' Bob

July 21st, 2011
7:39 pm


Per your 9:04, no way I could, nor will I argue. The regime we have in place now is the best I’ve seen in forty years of Falcon football. In my Humble O, I feel we are on our way. Put you’re seatbelt on, this could very well be a ride for the ages. TD has mined a lot of talent from nothing, and some you named were not from his watch. Having said that, I have full faith in our Falcon Organization. Let’s see how it shakes down.

Ken Strickland

July 21st, 2011
7:40 pm

CB BGrimes was voted to the Probowl as our starting CB. There’s no way in hell he’ll be moved to nickel CB and replaced by s lesser CB just because he might be bigger. And how does anyone know whether JSnelling is or isn’t an every down back? Where did this rediculous idea come from?

I’m certain their were Charger fans who had the same baseless HE’S NOT AN EVERY DOWN RB opinion of MTurner after 4yrs of backing up LTomlison. If we don’t resign Snelling, in addition to signing a vet FA RB, we should resign JNorwood, since signing him would be a low cost, low risk, and potentially a very high reward signing.

I’d certainly take his speed, quickness, elusiveness and versatility, despite his injury history, over either GJohnson or ASmith. Replacing quality OT’s, especially Probowl caliber OT’s, is a lot harder to do, and a lot more expensive, than replacing none Probowl caliber OG’s.

Look for us to resign OT TClabo and let both Dahl and Blalock walk. They’ll be replaced by JValdez and MJohnson, who will be a lot cheaper and have more potential for improvement. I also think CB BGrimes, OLB’s SNicholas/MPeterson, K/P returner EWeems, and k MBryant will definitely be resigned.

Ken Strickland

July 21st, 2011
7:50 pm

UNCA’ BOB-I agree whole heartedly. This structure has already been built by TD and Smitty, all they’re doing now is finishing the interior. If we resign all of our own targeted FA’s, and the other FA’s we’ve targeted, this team will be a force on both sides of the ball. Offesively, we’ll be able to run or throw it down the throats of DEF’s.

What was a DEF weakness, our poor pass rush, could turn out to be a strength. And a consistent pass rush would reduce, and in some cases, totally eliminate most of our DEF weaknesses.