Atlanta Falcons Defense Ready for a Major Rebuild?

Holes Abound on Defense

Spoon a New Leader on D (AJC)

Even though free agency will stretch until the beginning of the season and all the way through, the major rush is over and the Falcons are surely done with the big spending, basically because they have no more money. Atlanta’s team did a good job of keeping their own in Tony Gonzalez, Sam Baker, Garrett Reynolds, and William Moore. They even added one of the best running backs of the past decade in Steven Jackson. Interestingly, only one of those resides on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, the two represent an antithesis of one another. On one side, you have an offense that is laden with Pro Bowlers, future Hall of Famers, and seems ready to suit up if the game were tomorrow. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Steven Jackson look as good as any offense in the NFL, at least on paper. And that’s not even mentioning Jacquizz Rodgers, Chase Coffman, Jason Snelling, and perhaps Harry Douglas (or a better slot receiver). The offensive line is as steady as it’s been in 5 or more years and Dirk Koetter appears that he’s only getting started.

Sad to See Walker Go (AJC)

The defense might as well be on a different team, or in another universe for that matter. They kept William Moore, and that’s about where the consistency stops. Dunta Robinson will play for the Chiefs next year. Vance Walker will suit up for the Raiders. Lawrence Sidbury will wear the white and blue for the Colts. John Abraham and Brent Grimes feasibly could come back, but they appear ready to go elsewhere also. The Falcons look to have at least 3 new starters in 2013, and that number could rise to even more. They evidently have no intention to keep CB Chris Owens either. Jonathan Babineaux is the only starter that remains from when Smith and Dimitroff took over in 2008. Fans may have thought changes were coming on defense, but the overhaul that appears ready to take place is pretty striking. A look at what seems to be on the horizon……..

Major Roster Overhaul

Some changes were expected and certainly warranted, but many fans are still a little unsettled at what’s on deck for 2013. Of the players that made up the defensive roster in 2012, many of them are either with other teams (Walker, Sidbury, Robinson), still unsigned free agents (Abraham, Grimes, Owens, Chris Hope), likely retiring (Mike Peterson), or out of the NFL altogether (Ray Edwards). If roughly half of the roster is made up of defensive players (around 25), that would represent over a third of changes on the roster on one side of the ball. Some of it may have had to do with finances, as the Falcons look to put themselves on a good financial footing.

Easy Decision, But Hole's Open (AJC)

Not paying Dunta Robinson $9 million was pretty much a no-brainer (even though the Chiefs signed him for half that). And while John Abraham was the Falcons best pass rusher, it also seems hard to justify paying a defensive end who turns 35 in a few months almost $6 million. Some will argue that Tony Gonzalez will be 37 and is set to receive that same amount, but one is still a Pro Bowler at the top of his game and the other is on a fairly rapid decline. Edwards was obviously cut mid-season due to not only having a terrible attitude, but also actually being terrible on the field. Lawrence Sidbury and the coaching staff never saw eye-to-eye for some reason, but seeing that the Colts signed him for what a practice squad player makes ($715k / 1 year) makes one wonder if the Falcons may have cut ties too early. Not keeping Mike Peterson or Chris Hope won’t shock anyone, as they are aging vets.

Brent Grimes is still unsigned, but took visits to both Miami and Cleveland and doesn’t appear likely to stay in Atlanta when all is said and done. The only two that are curious are Vance Walker and Chris Owens. Neither were barnstorming All-Pros, but both were excellent role players that added a ton of depth and versatility to the team. Not only that, but they were just the kind of player that Dimitroff usually keeps (Reynolds this year; Douglas, Biermann last year), when he drafted them and they’ve shown some good production and potential. As mentioned earlier, many of these moves aren’t really surprising when you look at them individually, but collectively, they represent a pretty sudden and major shift.

11 Total Draft Picks

One of the big reasons that many assume a major overhaul is coming is that the Falcons already had all 7 of their draft picks for the first time in years. News that the Falcons received 4 compensatory draft picks a few days ago only reinforces that fact. This is brings up memories of what they did in 2009, when they spent all but one of their draft picks on defense. To say the least, that’s a fairly mixed bag looking back 4 years later. William Moore just made the Pro Bowl and is one of the new franchise leaders on defense. It’s no secret that Peria Jerry is Dimitroff’s worst draft pick to date, but he’s still on the roster. Chris Owens is still an unsigned free agent. Lawrence Sidbury is in Indianapolis. William Middleton never made the Falcons roster.

Sidbury Now in Indy, for Cheap (AJC)

Spencer Adkins was cut last year, and Vance Walker just signed with the Oakland Raiders. Actually, when you break it down, it looks like a pretty terrible draft. Easily the Falcons GM’s worst. William Moore was a great pick, but when only one player makes an impact 4 years later and only one more is still on the team, that’s not a great batting percentage. Maybe Dimitroff simply wants another crack at a rebuild and sees his opportunity to do just that. The former Patriots assistant may not be perfect, but one of his very best traits is fixing his previous mistakes and he appears primed to make that happen again. There’s no way that 11 new players will make the final roster in 2013, so this really does look to be the most competitive off-season to date on defense.

The Nolan Influence

Another intriguing factor in the potential defensive makeover is the influence of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Nolan was hired on January 17th of last year, and even though it’s not weeks before the season starts, any new hire who wants to be successful will take an initial wait-and-see approach to evaluate the talent on hand before they start fully implementing their systems or making any big changes. Although he likely had some influence on free agency and the draft, it’s nowhere near the level of input and sway he’ll have after a year of up-close evaluation of the players, the defense’s strengths, and more importantly, their weaknesses.

Nolan Gets the Keys (AJC)

It appears that after many drafts, off-seasons, and free agent signings, Mike Nolan will be the beneficiary of a chance to remake an entire defense. No disrespect to Brian Van Gorder, but Mike Nolan represents a different opportunity that existed in 2009. Nolan is a seasoned defensive coordinator and generally regarded as one of the best in the business. He’s been successful anywhere he’s gone as a defensive coordinator. Brian Van Gorder had only been an NFL defensive coordinator for a year at that point in 2009, and only worked as a linebackers coach in Jacksonville a few years before that.

Nolan may not have done a great job as head coach, but he did oversee some pretty good draft choices in that time that he surely had some input into. Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson, and Manny Lawson on defense were taken in Nolan’s time as head coach. The offensive side of the ball saw them take Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Joe Staley, Delanie Walker, and Adam Snyder. This is by no means saying that Nolan gets all the credit for those draft picks, but he’s at least experienced drafting players that would either become Pro Bowlers or excellent role players.

The Great Scheme Mystery

The Lochness Monster, Sasquatch, and the possibility of Extraterrestrial life are some of life’s great mysteries. Add the question of whether the Falcons will primarily run the 4-3 defense or finally convert to the 3-4 to that list. First of all, every team runs some sort of hybrid, especially Mike Nolan. He was seen running the 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, and even the 3-3-5 at times last season. The question isn’t about all the exotic packages, but more about what base the Falcons will run.

Biermann Needs a Permanent Home (AJC)

Even though defenses can theoretically run any scheme at anytime, there is a definitive difference between having the 4-3 or the 3-4 as your base. The 4-3 under Mike Smith has relied on quick and penetrating defensive tackles who usually weigh a good bit less than most NFL DT’s and certainly way less than 3-4 nose tackles, who can range anywhere from 305 lbs all the way up to 350+ lbs. Smith’s 4-3 has relied on premiere defensive ends to get off blocks and, in many cases, double-teams.

4-3 Hasn’t Worked in 5 Years

John Abraham has done a masterful job considering he’s had zero help from the other side and not much from his DT’s. 4-3 linebackers haven’t been used much at all in rushing the passer, or at least effectively anyway. No linebacker has totaled more than 3 sacks (maybe 4) in any of Smith’s 5 seasons as head coach. Considering the Falcons front office and coaches are having the same conversations 4 years later after their first “defensive rebuild” in 2009, clearly it hasn’t worked very well. Many want the Falcons to move to the 3-4, but feel they don’t have the personnel to correctly run it, at least yet.

No Big-Bodied NT

They surely don’t have any DT anywhere close to being a run-stuffing, space eater. The closest is Corey Peters, and he hardly strikes anyone as the answer as a 3-4 NT. In a rotation perhaps, but not as a full-fledged starter. There’s some belief that they have a few players who can work as 5-technique defensive ends, where they can hold the point of attack and take on potential double-teams. Jonathan Babineaux showed his versatility last year in being able to play both defensive tackle and end. These DE’s range anywhere from 275 all the way up to 320+ lbs, depending on scheme. Travian Robertson comes to mind as a possibility, and maybe Peria Jerry as well. One many thought could fill that potential role was Vance Walker, who just left for the Oakland Raiders. Perhaps Cliff Matthews could, but he seems more like a rush OLB than a 5-technique.

Matthews or Massaquoi Must Step Up (AJC)

Corey Peters may be the answer there if he can return to full-health. The bottom line is that they need serious reinforcements for either base they choose to run. There’s a few options at linebacker, but not many. The most obvious is to see Akeem Dent go back to a 3-4 ILB that he played at UGA under Todd Grantham. He showed a lot of progress overall last year and seems to only be getting better. Sean Weatherspoon would seemingly take over the other inside linebacker position, being able to stop the run, rush the passer, and cover.

Several Players, No Positions

They may have starters, but no depth.The outside, rush linebacker position gets a lot more interesting. Kroy Biermann, Jonathan Massaquoi, and maybe Cliff Matthews seem like a good fit here with their ability to get after the QB, but also cover some in space. Biermann and Massaquoi were both projected to be 3-4 OLB’s when they were drafted. Cliff Matthews was a 4-3 DE in college at South Carolina, but he’s shown good enough athleticism to merit consideration out there. They let Lawrence Sidbury go to none other than a team recently converted to a 3-4 in the Colts.

Time for New Leaders and Youth to Step Up

…….Rest of post coming soon.

923 comments Add your comment

The Time is NOW

March 21st, 2013
1:15 pm

Enter your comments here

Kurt Collins

March 21st, 2013
2:10 pm

D3, you’re great man. You do an excellent job of keeping all of us fanatics informed. Thanks for your dedication.

John Waynesworld

March 21st, 2013
2:51 pm

Great stuff, D3. Deadline or not, you’re the man with the Cage plan.

One thing I thought of when reading the part on Edwards..Along with everything else he screwed up, he also cost us at least one really good pick in the 2012 compensatory pick lottery by offsetting the loss of two solid veterans.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/09000d5d827e13f2/article/nfl-distributes-compensatory-draft-picks-to-15-clubs

I don’t know how the formula works, but they threw Harvey Dahl in the “players lost” column for 2011 along with Michael Koenen, which would have landed us at least a 4th rounder (which we didn’t have at the time because of the Julio trade). Instead with the offset of Ray they gave us a 7th round door prize. To make the compensatory formula even more baffling, the “loss” of Edwards in some way gave the Vikings an extra 4th round pick (they got two 4th rounders total for losing Ray, Tavaris Jackson and Sidney Rice (who was hurt)). It boggles the mind. I am looking forward to one day watching a youtube video of Ray getting pummelled in the ring.

Ah, the youth of tomorrow…where are they? Well apparently while we were all sleeping Smitty and Nolan have been grooming all these mid to late round draft picks to jump right into these gaping veteran holes years later. Yea…Right. We shall see. Actually we should be optimistic that Nolan has done this kind of thing, successfully, before.

I totally agree with you about the 2009 draft class. Blech! At least we got Moore to offset the embarrassment of Jerry, and Garrett, besides being a good backup lineman, would definitely be handy in a bar fight.

D3

March 21st, 2013
2:52 pm

Great Thursday Cage! — Almost to the weekend

Kurt — Thanks man. It’s an extremely enjoyable hobby and passion. I get as much enjoyment as you guys.

_______

And let’s all send a big fat “thank-you” note to the Ravens for GROSSLY overpaying Joe Flacco, because like it or not, that evidently has set the floor at $20 million. Of course Rodgers deserves more than Flacco, and I really can’t argue that Brees doesn’t deserve that much either seeing how much he means to that team, but since a very average QB got hot at the right time and the Ravens subsequently vastly overpaid him, Ryan will be looking at $20 mill minimum, even though I don’t think he’s worth it. Rodgers, Brees, Manning, and Brady should have the ceiling at $20 mill and everyone else should be well under it.

Aaron Rodgers – QB – Packers
According to ProFootballTalk.com, Aaron Rodgers’ new contract with the Packers could be done before April’s draft.
With Joe Flacco getting an average annual salary of $20.1M, the bar has been set. Rodgers is expected to land something in the range of $23-$25M per year, a massive raise on the $9.25M he’s currently scheduled to earn. “It’s his time,” a source told PFT. Over the last four years, Rodgers is 46-16 as a starter, has won one Super Bowl and has never had a passer rating below 101.2.

JB Falcon

March 21st, 2013
3:00 pm

“Rest of post coming soon.” That will be the interesting part. So far, the post has effectively stated our position as we stand and wonder. With a little more information, as it leaks out, we will start to feel the enthusiasm pick up. Right now we’re standing in the dark listening to the rumbling but we have no idea where it’s coming from or where it’s headed or even what’s making the rumbling noise! It’s getting closer, that’s about all we can tell at this time.

D3

March 21st, 2013
3:34 pm

JB — Yeah man, always run up against that stupid deadline and once I get going on a post, it always takes way longer than I thought. Also, I’ve been trying my damnedest to get close to finishing my draft prospect excel spreadsheet. It will obviously be a lot longer on the post, but the long and the short of the last part will be along the lines of: all these defensive draft picks need to either step up and either start or make a significant impact or move on: Biermann, Matthews, Massaquoi, Jerry (yeah, right), Robertson, Mitchell, Franks, etc. I could throw Dent and Peters in that mix too, but they’ve at least shown the ability to make some impact. In summation, time to cast out the WPP once and for all.

D3

March 21st, 2013
3:43 pm

Love my Dawg Jarvis Jones, but between his non-workout at the combine, saying he was the best player in the draft today, and this………….looks like Jones might be dropping………..

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/uga-sports/2013/mar/21/pro-day-puts-jarvis-jones-bulldogs-limelight/

Barry

March 21st, 2013
3:45 pm

Hey Y’all:

D-3 , Great analysis of the Falcons needs on defense. I just hope we get BIG!!!, STRONG!!!, and NASTY!! on the defensive line, especially the defensive ends and tackles. We need heart breakers up front the can just DEMORALIZE an offense and/or make them think 3 or 4 times about running any kind of play. And when they do run a play, they feel it. And by the end of the game, they say “DAMN!!” , I don’t want anymore of that!!!! With the lose!!!! Will see what Smith , Nolan and Dimitroff with Mc Kay can come up with in the draft. Maybe we can find a new NFL baller in the bunch that can more than bring it in their rookie year. If we get 2 or 3 star rooks, what a blessing to our trip to the Super Bowl and more stars in the NFL by courtesy of our FALCONS..

Let’s Do this in “ONE HEARTBEAT!!! Thump!!!

GO FALCONS!! Draft and get us some “MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY!!”

“FALCONS RISE UP!!!” We “RISE UP!!” in “ONE HEARTBEAT!!!”

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
This is a SECRET from a FALCON FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

……………………………………”ONE HEARTBEAT, BABY!!!!!…………………………

JB Falcon

March 21st, 2013
3:48 pm

D3, we could actually field a team right now, before the draft, and hope we could outscore everyone we played. The bed looks made up for the 3-4 and I’m sure the FO is just waiting for their plans to develope. I too expect to see a lot of our wpp players to get major playing time and couple that with a perfectly selected draft, we will hopefully have a better D than last year. I’m not a bit worried about the offensive side of the team. A little excited to be honest.

The Time is NOW

March 21st, 2013
3:54 pm

D3 – Thank you for all you do to make the Cage the place it is! You put an awful lot of time into this blog. Even though you love it, there have to be times it feels like work (deadlines or spreadsheets anyone?). You are the man and the Cage is the online home of Falcons fans!

Jon

March 21st, 2013
3:59 pm

Great analysis and got me thinking about our round 1 draft priority. If we went 3-4, like you said, our biggest need right now with what’s on the roster is the big strong NT in the 3-4. Would it not make most sense then to look at someone like Jesse Williams from Bama with that 1st pick? Then you have him and Peters at NT and Babs/Robertson/Jerry/Matthews at DE along with some later draft picks. Then go with last year’s 3 starters at LB along with Biermann and your biggest hole becomes the 3rd CB with Asante and McClain that you can get in FA or the draft.

The Time is NOW

March 21st, 2013
4:11 pm

D3 – Somehow I doubt Jarvis drops all the way to us. If he does (a guy can wish), I have to admit a special fondness for playmakers – regardless of their physical measurables…

Matty Bicep

March 21st, 2013
4:48 pm

Re Jarvis Jones:

His first season with the Bulldogs was as a sophomore after transferring from Southern Cal and he led the SEC with 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Jones added 14.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as a junior this past season, along with an interception, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His best performances came in nationally-televised games against Missouri and Florida.

All I need to know .

Birdman

March 21st, 2013
5:19 pm

I wish we could see Jones in a Falcon uniform but I doubt he will be around for the Falcons Pick.

And this Osi from the Giants . I think the Falcons could do better than him anyway

Great Job D3 once again Thanks .

ryan

March 21st, 2013
5:20 pm

Hopefully Jarvis Jones drops to us if we add Osi U oh boy maybe punch our ticket to the Super Bowl with all this picks move up couple spots to get him i know i am dreaming .

JJ

March 21st, 2013
5:37 pm

D3, great write up!
Big Ray, lol, your best buddy found the cage again! ;)

cjdatl

March 21st, 2013
5:40 pm

Agree with everything you said D3. As it is, I don’t think they can run a 4-3 with the personnel left. There is still the draft, but I would sleep better if they could snag at least one good defensive player from FA.

Is there any idea to give MR a new contract and thus get this seasons salary down and thus being able to sign more FA players? I know that is mortgaging your future, but still, could it be worth it?

Birdman

March 21st, 2013
5:40 pm

Just say on NBCSP that Jarvis Jones is listed as the No 1 LB pick in the Draft

Birdman

March 21st, 2013
5:48 pm

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
5:54 pm

What’s up Cage..

D3, allow me a moment if you will. You have my word that I will remain respectful.

First, thanks to my OBCM brothers JJ and Big Ray for their words. We are one and will forever be.

All the points made in the previous posting regarding my comments are true. And the TeePee STANDS FIRM in EVERY SINGLE ONE it has made.

Was each one warranted? Was each one validated? Time will tell. In some cases, it has. In many more, the verdict is still out. Again, time will tell.

I have spent the vast majority of my adult life, along with thousands of others, providing the very FREEDOM OF SPEECH, you used to attempt to facilitate your cheap shot at me. But in a true display of integrity, I will not go into that ring with you. I choose a more honored approach.

I will be what I always have been; since the day we broke free from the womb of the Godfather. The TeePee will look at things as they are and ask why JUST AS VIGILANTLY as we will look at things as they are not and ask why not.

So, my fellow Falcon fan, MB, feel free to cheap shot my comments as much as you wish. But as you do, do me a favor. Take a moment to think about this. There is a relevance to the screen name, brother.

Unconquered….battle-tested…forever strong.

Thanks, D3. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Real estate attorney sentenced for corrupt transactions Cancel [...]

JJ

March 21st, 2013
6:07 pm

SW, Amen! D3 and I text every now and then and I just told him last night that my biggest fear was this troll would keep you off this fantastic board( stirgsdefish vs WR, both gone over friction but the mrs may be in play with the latter).
Im glad it didn’t and should know nothing and no one will silence the warior, esp a troll that sometimes acts normal.

I apologize my remarks I made to the troll, it doesnot reflect well on what D3 has built and SW.
I’ll save my rants for my fav Unca’Bob, nothing but love buddy! Start researching know so you don’t take a K in the 9th my friend!!!

JJ

March 21st, 2013
6:09 pm

“now” may work better than” know”!

JJ

March 21st, 2013
6:11 pm

“warrior”, damn, really need to start proofreading!
But I wont!

LRD

March 21st, 2013
6:37 pm

We will get a FA DE, and I still think we get Abe back for one last go at it. I may not agree with it ( as Osi will probably sign here) but it is what it is..
I am curious what Elway and the Broncos offered back up to Elvis.. especially on the same days that Abe and Freeney were to be in town.
D3, i know you dont care about the NCAA tourney.. but have to say, been some good games thus far! and Gonzaga is on the verge of going home..

JJ.. put down the tequila and walk away.. hahha

Birdman

March 21st, 2013
6:37 pm

SW

I am just in and out of here at times . I truly am sorry to know someone has turned on your good name and you as a person

What no eye has seen, and no ear has heard
And what has never come into a man;s heart
is what God has prepared for people like you.

I will never forget what you did and said for my Family here on the Cage Blog.

It has been an honer to know a man like you. And will be for days to come

Thank You !!!!

tyler

March 21st, 2013
6:40 pm

Jarvis ran 4.9 to 5.0 in his 40 today. It was outside and into the wind but this will give a couple teams pause. Damontre Moore, the player from A@M whose stats are very similar to Jones ran a 4.85 and that is why he has dropped (along with only doing 12 reps). I don’t care about these 40 times or reps, both of these guys are dominant defensive players and I hope one of them could fall to Atlanta.

tyler

March 21st, 2013
6:44 pm

D3, awesome job on the spreadsheet my man, NO, TD will not take us by surprise.

JJ

March 21st, 2013
6:46 pm

LRD, vodka not tequila my friend! :)

Birdman

March 21st, 2013
6:51 pm

tyler

That makes 2 of us . But lets get real unless the Falcons trade up he wont be coming here. He will be gone in the first 10 picks if not the first 5

Most teams will not even think about the time if they get a shot at him. Bank on it !!!

Ken Strickland

March 21st, 2013
7:04 pm

We already have 2 young, quick, fast, agile & athletic DEs on the roster with pass rushing ability(Massaquoi & Mathews), but that’s not the case at LB beyond Spoon. That’s why we have to use at least 2 of the 1st 5 picks we’ll have in the 1st 4 rds to draft LBs.

We should also draft a DE & CB in that group of picks. Last yr our passing OFF carried our rushing OFF & our overall OFF carried our DEF. This yr our rushing, passing & overall OFF should be much better. That should help compensate for any remaining flaws that might remain with our DEF, which shouldn’t be many.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

March 21st, 2013
7:17 pm

My gut tells me the Falcons has an offer on the table for Osi. Osi’s agent is holding out hope, playing the stall game, seeing if his client can garner more cheese from the other handful of suitors looking for pass rush help.

waynester

March 21st, 2013
7:22 pm

The scouting dep’t will have to earn their $$ on Jones and Moore–the tape says grab ‘em but lots of other factors say pass. I guarantee you there are a bunch of teams going back to review the video again, especially on Jarvis, after today. Coach Smith was there(I don’t think he’s ever missed a UGA or Tech pro day). I’d love to be a fly on the wall and get an unvarnished take on the UGA players…..

Matty Bicep

March 21st, 2013
7:59 pm

JJ, np…SW, you seemed like a big boy, I figured u could take it, nor am I afraid of spirited debate. I will say I do like you prose and the SW character. But after 30 years of lousy football and inept management, I like this organization for the first time in Falcon history, and I will defend them if I think someone is being too critical without facts to back it up, so I am not afraid to call bhhsst.

I will say, there is a part of truth, knowledge, and speculation in everything we all say.

Peace fellow falcon fans, and I am sure I will piss someone off again, but don’t take me too serious, I don’t.

Arno

March 21st, 2013
8:16 pm

With Abe gone, I have to assume this is Weatherspoon’s defense. Is Spoon up to it? Nolan may have eleven chances to make Spoon’s world a very interesting place.

Chop Buster

March 21st, 2013
8:23 pm

DLed tweeted that Ogletree is to have a private workout for the Falcons. I don’t watch too much college ball so I don’t know much about him. UGA fans what’s the scoop on him?

falcon21

March 21st, 2013
8:29 pm

Chop, he is a play maker, I love the guy but he may be a black dot on our board. Maybe the private workout will change that. I also like Rambo, I heard he did well today.

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
8:37 pm

“But after 30 years of lousy football and inept management, I like this organization for the first time in Falcon history, and I will defend them if I think someone is being too critical without facts to back it up…..”

We share that premise. For the greater part of the time I have been a Falcons fan, there have definately been more down days than up.

As far as the facts to back up the comments of the TeePee, just stay tuned. As I stated, time is the great equalizer.

Judgement day arrives on February 4, 2014.

Chop Buster

March 21st, 2013
8:42 pm

F21, thanks for the info. Maybe they are trying to loosen the black dot requirement if they’ve invited him for a private workout. I don’t think we need to bring in lunatics who just can’t get their act together, but these are kids who are prone to make an occasional mistake. I guess we’ll see.

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
8:43 pm

Jarvis ran 4.9 to 5.0 in his 40 today….I don’t care about these 40 times or reps, both of these guys are dominant….

Tyler, a great point.

I feel the same way about my guy Stepfan Taylor. All my dude did was have a “poor” forty time but there is NO question about his tenacity, productivity and the mult faceted skill sets.

But back to defense….

waynester

March 21st, 2013
8:46 pm

SW
I still see mocks with us taking a Tailback early–are you still taking S Taylor in yours?

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
8:57 pm

“There’s no way that 11 new players will make the final roster in 2013, so this really does look to be the most competitive off-season to date on defense…”

D3, that is the most intriguing aspect of this year’s draft.

Given the fact that so many remaining Falcons have been in the WPP for so long, we really do not know what we have. All we can work with is the projections and draft summary sheets of the past 3 or so years.

We have seen flashes in the preseason or spot duty in the regular season or a lot of special team effort. But the vast majority of them have nothing for us to gauge a true pulse from.

If we can get seven of eleven picks to be defensive in nature, we could FINALLY facilitate TRUE competition for several positions. We will see.
The remaining four picks, offensive in nature, can easily be used to fill needs and one for sure could easily result in a starter in the slot WR position. And I am not just talking my man Swope either.

One more point. Contrary to popular opinion, I do not feel the Falcons have to trade up to get the defensive help they need this year. Stay put and take the best player available at the position of most critical need at the time of selection….or get the best depth and challenge at a position that you can find with that selection.

JB Falcon

March 21st, 2013
8:59 pm

Here is a good link regarding Jarvis’s 40 time. It won’t drop him far enough for us to get him.
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/21/jarvis-jones-disappoints-at-georgia-pro-day/

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
9:00 pm

Absolutely, Waynester. Stepfan is the best total back in this draft.

Quizz is a situational back/specialist; no other back on the Falcons roster is a threat to anything or anyone. Snelling never got a real shot even when Turner was clearly in decline.

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
9:07 pm

Back to the defensive intrigue…

For instance, the TeePee currently has identified in the first five picks, two quality linebackers that could contend for starting jobs. They would allow for Weatherspoon to move to the MLB position and upgrade the corps as a whole in pass coverage, tackling, and range on the field of play.

Like my friend Tyler, my concerns about the 40 times are thrown out the window by the total package these guys bring to the equation. They are fast enough to upgrade what we had on the field last season. And again, they can challenge.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2013
9:11 pm

Agreed that Stepfan Taylor is the best complete RB in this draft. Adding SJax makes me think we won’t draft him, however. We may not even bother with the position until the 7th round, if at all. Do I think this wise? Maybe not, but then…there might be better prospects down the road. We shall see.

Matty Bicep

March 21st, 2013
9:11 pm

SW, what about Sjax? I am with you regarding Quizz, and I used to be higher on Snelling than I am. I agree he never had a chance to get a fill groove going, but I don’t feel he made the most of his chances running te ball. I like his catching the ball, and he hits the hole, he just does not seem to get push, he just gets handled 1 on 1 and stopped in his tracks too easy. I don’t think he is the answer, and think he is a longshot to make the team, especially of we draft a back, and Brady recovers.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2013
9:14 pm

Don’t be surprised if we don’t spend one of our top two picks on a CB. Just have this feeling….of course that feeling goes away if we end up signing Grimes or some other veteran.

I was thinking DT and LB all the way for the first 2-3 picks in the draft. Still like that idea, but not sure we go that route.

I would like to know Nolan’s thoughts on our DL as it currently stands. Adding a veteran DL player doesn’t seem all that likely right now. If we do, it’s Abe yet again for less money. Otherwise, I think Osi and Freeney get paid elsewhere.

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
9:28 pm

MB…

I agree on Snelling. As an ACC guy, I saw his upside and potential when he came out of UVA. He honestly wasted away in ATL; and like you, I agree that he will have a very tough time being retained. Smith gives you everything in terms of a viable special teams asset but little else.

As far as SJax goes, he has been a fine running back. But the only thing I see as an advantage of Turner is the pass catching ability. When you look at the collective body of work over the past four years, they are very close in terms of yards per carry and overall rushing totals. He has a little history of nagging injuries to the groin and hammie but has shown grit come game day.

Can he be productive? Sure. Is he a game changer? Some may think so.

SeminoleWarrior

March 21st, 2013
9:32 pm

Big Ray, if the 40 is the standard, then we should be able to steal ST in the fourth round.

Speaking of fourth round, that extra pick gives me a chance to mock a high quality cornerback that has flown under most radars all year. But the TeePee got him. And he can fill a need big time. And be a potential starter next year when Samuel becomes the next cap victim along with a few other players that are key to the team at THIS moment but will be sent packing next year. Clabo will be one of them..