Give your Entirely too Early Atlanta Falcons Roster

Ridiculously too Soon Predictions

Where will Trufant start? (AJC)

The thought of trying to predict what the Atlanta Falcons final 53 man roster and practice squad would be in May is preposterous when the final decisions won’t be made until September. But the official “Dead Zone” of Falcons and Football has approached full steam upon us and it can be a fun little exercise to think about what the final squad might look like. Sure, like predicting the draft, it’s an effort in futility, but at least it’s something to think about as the Falcons enter the 2013 season. With the new draft picks and signings, there will be plenty of battles going on for roster spots and the infusion of some talented undrafted free agents the fight for practice squad places will be fierce as well.

Quarterback (2)

Matt Ryan – does anything really need to be said? No.

Dominique Davis - the decision to let Luke McCown walk (to the hated Saints nonetheless) was hopefully a decision that the Falcons are completely comfortable with Dominique Davis as the number 2 quarterback behind Ryan, a feeling almost all fans felt last year. Davis looked really good in preseason and it seems the Falcons finally have a QB they can groom for the future, either for an eventual successor to Ryan or either as a potential trade for a draft pick. Most importantly, the hopeful sign the Falcons feel OK with Davis in the backup role is the fact that they won’t have to keep 3 quarterbacks on the active roster and can use that additional spot for an skill player or linemen.

Running Back (5)

Steven Jackson – The big off-season signing will be an exciting addition to a Falcons offense that was already potent. The offense seems to truly be ready for liftoff with a running back that can do it all, has power, and actually hits the hole hard. It’s true that Jackson will turn 30 in July, but if anyone thinks that Jackson is only a slightly younger version of Turner, they obviously haven’t been paying attention because Jackson is still excellent form and fitness. He’s only missed a handful of games in his entire career and has posted 8 straight years of 1,000 yard rushing seasons and 5 straight years of 300 yard receiving seasons. He may not be the back of the long distance future, but fans can’t wait to see #39 in red and black.

Ewing a Welcome Edition (AJC)

Jacquizz Rodgers – The former Oregon State product didn’t necessarily have a huge breakout year that some thought, but he came close, totaling over 700 yards of offense, even hauling in more yards than slot receiver Harry Douglas. It’s unsure how the signing of Steven Jackson will affect Rodgers, but it will likely be somewhat similar to his role with Turner, especially since Jackson will be 30 this summer. Coach Smith has said that Rodgers could be a feature back, but he won’t have to be for another few years. It will be very nice having two backs that can do everything required and the two former Beavers will be interchangeable.

Jason Snelling – The all-utility running back didn’t have his biggest year of production, but he’s been invaluable to the Falcons in many ways. He’s been a special teams ace and had a pretty good year receiving considering how few catches he had. He also doubled as a fullback many times throughout the year. Unfortunately, he only got 18 carries in 2012. He may see the same or possibly even less action with Jackson coming to town. Snelling’s still the #3 running back and is a consummate Falcon.

Antone Smith – The special teams ace seems to have a solid hold on a roster spot even though he never gets any touches or looks on offense despite his very good speed. He got one screen called for him that fell incomplete and, to most fans knowledge, that was the only chance he got. Perhaps he gets some looks as a kick returner, but offense doesn’t seem to be in his future.

Bradie Ewing - The Falcons drafted the best fullback in the 2012 draft, but unfortunately Ewing was lost for the year in the first preseason game. The Falcons initially kept Lousaka Polite for a few games before bringing back Mike Cox. Hopefully the former Wisconsin product is back to full health and will fill out the running back corps nicely and add yet another potential weapon to go along with his run-blocking skills. The Falcons brought in two fullbacks in Deon Goggins and Devonte Campbell. Maybe one of them can earn a practice squad spot, but it seems all but impossible they make the roster with a healthy Ewing.

Tight Ends (3)

Tony Gonzalez - Best tight end to ever play the game. Enough said.

Chase Coffman – With Michael Palmer signing with the Giants, even though being a restricted free agent, what was thought to be a lock anyway was just confirmed. Dimitroff said a while back that the replacement for Gonzalez was already on the roster and it would seem to be Coffman since the only other possibility left. Even though Toilolo will get all the attention as the “new draft pick,” it would be shocking not to see Coffman a ton after finally getting healthy and tutoring under Gonzalez for a year. It will be a shock if Toilolo gets more reps than Coffman and surpasses him on the depth chart.

The New TE Now Seems a Lock (AJC)

Levine Toilolo - The new draft pick from Stanford essentially was just given a roster spot with the departure of Michael Palmer. Of course it’s never in stone for a new player and rookie, but when Dimitroff took him in the fourth round where he was projected for much later, it’s hard to believe that Toilolo won’t be on the final roster. He’ll almost definitely get red zone targets, but other than that is yet to be determined.

Wide Receiver (5)

Roddy White – 4 time Pro Bowler. All-time leading franchise receiver. Still has plenty left. No sign of slowing down yet.

Julio Jones — The future. One of the best young wide receivers in the NFL.

Harry Douglas — Talk about put-up or shut-up time. The hometown player done good has faded since an excellent rookie year. It’s true that he may get lost with all the other weapons on the field, but when he does get his hands on the ball, there are no signs of playmaking or seperation. Everyone’s pulling for him, but if he doesn’t get back to his rookie form in 2013, it’s time to find someone who can make plays with their ball in the hands, especially with the plethora of other offensive weapons.

Drew Davis – Maybe Davis can challenge HD for work in the slot, but it seems unlikely with Smith’s known penchant for loyalty. Davis sure looked the part in the Eagles game, but wasn’t heard from much again. Both Davis and Cone look to be keepers, but they need to start making some plays of their owns to warrant a spot in the future. Many don’t remember that Davis actually didn’t make the final roster, but Tim Toone actually did before injury.

Can Cone Get More Reps? (AJC)

Kevin Cone – The former GT Yellow Jacket showed his game-breaking speed in preseason, but never was able get a foothold during the season. He did battle injuries throughout the season so maybe that was it. With the Falcons having one of the best wide receiver tandems in all of football, fans are begging to see someone, anyone, break out as a 3rd wide receiver. Could Cone’s speed do it?

Offensive Linemen (9)

Justin Blalock – One of the only holdovers from the previous regime. Blalock has been the binding rock on an offensive line that has seen it’s fair share of changes of the past several years. #63 has started 94 games and every single one except for two as a rookie. Some think he may be on the road to what happened to Clabo due to his high salary, but that simply holds no water when they have the eternal turnstile at RG.

Sam Baker - Once thought to be a bust and one of Dimitroff’s worst picks, everyone involved at Flowery Branch deserve a massive amount credit on this one. They took the criticism and stuck by Baker and he delivered in 2012 after finally being healthy. For once, Baker wasn’t the center of criticism on the OL. He just got a sizeable contract, where longevity and continued performance could earn him a big payday down the road.

Holmes vs. Johnson (AJC)

Peter Konz - The former Wisconsin Badger took his share of lumps early on, but settled down quite nicely at right guard, especially in the playoffs. There’s no doubt whatsoever that Konz will be starting, it’s just a matter of where. Common logic holds that Konz will shift over to center for the retired Todd McClure and have yet another battle royale to find a replacement at right guard, seemingly either Garrett Reynolds, Mike Johnson, Joe Hawley, or maybe one of the practice squad guys like Phillipkeith Manley. Speaking of Hawley, if he takes over at center, than Konz would stay at right guard.

Lamar Holmes - Most fans are very nervous about Holmes likely taking over at right tackle, but with him being a 3rd round draft pick, that’s simply too high to take a backup linemen. Holmes didn’t see much action, but looked pretty darn good in preseason action. Letting Clabo go was definitely a risk, but it was time to get Holmes on the field. Like Konz, he may take his lumps early, but hopefully he’ll settle down. Clabo was arguably the weakest OL link in 2012 anyway. You can’t say it was a bad pick if he doesn’t get on the field to start and simultaneously be upset when he actually does move into a starting spot.

Garrett Reynolds – Assuming that Konz will be moving over to center, Reynolds has to be the favorite to win the starting RG position for a 3rd straight year. Reynolds hasn’t finished a full campaign yet and has mixed results. In 2011, he was replaced due to poor performance after about 5-7 games. Last year, the former Tarheel actually did a pretty good job before being lost for the year due to injury. It will be interesting to see how the final OL shakes out, but Reynolds offers supreme versatility in being able to play both OG and OT.

Joe Hawley – While he may be a fine backup, this is put-up or shut-up year for Hawley. The former UNLV product has had a strange career. He slotted in for an injured Todd McClure in his second year and eventually went on to start 12 games at right guard in 2011, replacing both Reynolds and Baker. He comes back in 2012 as a favorite to start and loses the RG battle to Reynolds. His original position was center in college, but if he’s going to be more than a backup, this is the year to start.

Mike Johnson - As with Hawley, if Johnson is going to make the jump to a starting spot, this is the year. He played mostly at guard at Alabama where he set a record of having the most starts by any player in Alabama history. He can play both tackle and guard, but Dimitroff seemed to indicate that he’ll be competing with Lamar Holmes for the right tackle spot. Like Reynolds and Hawley, Johnson is extremely versatile, so he’s definitely got a roster spot, but after being drafted int he 3rd round, he’s looking like one of the worst OL picks if he doesn’t make a move.

Phillipkeith Manley - The first 7 spots are relatively easy to predict, being TD draft picks and being developed, but the last few spots will get very interesting. Manley, a former UDFA, actually made the final 53 man roster last year, but was eventually bumped back down to the practice squad during the roster adjustment period. Some believe that Manley may even be a darkhorse to win the starting right guard spot outright. At a minimum, it seems like he has an inside track to at least make the roster, likely permanently this time.

Is Travian Ready for Breakout? (AJC)

Terren Jones - Here’s the biggest unknown yet. The Falcons are dangerously thin at the tackle position after not re-signing journeyman Will Svitek and cutting Tyson Clabo. Technically, the Falcons only have two pure tackle prospects in Baker and Holmes, but they have several that have played tackle at some point in their past (Reynolds, Johnson). Jones seems to have the best shot of the other UDFA tackle prospects. He’s big, powerful, and started his entire senior season at left tackle. He could be a great prospect to groom for the future. The Falcons may elect to go out and sign a journeyman type of tackle in the mold of Will Svitek for insurance purposes instead of going young here.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Jonathan Babineaux - Some thought the longtime Falcon might be on the chopping block when Abraham, Robinson, and Turner were released, but he was the lone veteran that didn’t. He will turn 32 in October, but he showed last year that he’s still the most dependable DT the Falcons have had in a long, long time. Can he finally get some help at the other spot?

Corey Peters — After showing great promise as a rookie and in year 2, Peters was hobbled by an injury that he never seemed to recover from. As of now, Peters is penciled in to start alongside Babineaux. This year will tell whether he’s the future or just a transition to someone else.

Peria Jerry — How many “put-up or shut-up” years can a player have? It seems an infinite number if you’re name is Peria Jerry. The Falcons loyalty finally proved them right with Sam Baker having a good year after sticking by him. That’s gone both ways, though. They tried the same thing with Jamaal Anderson, even trying a different position, and it did nothing but take reps away from other players they could have developed. Although it’s been said in the past, this really does seem like the final year for the former first round pick to prove his worth.

Travian Robertson — The former Gamecock is the biggest wildcard in the DT rotation this year. He looked good in preseason, only to never be heard from again in Smitty’s Witness Protection Program. Maybe the Falcons felt so good about Robertson that they were willing to let Vance Walker head to Oakland. Most fans are really hoping for a breakout year or at least extremely solid on from Robertson. Otherwise, the Falcons are dangerously thin for the future at DT.

Micanor Regis – This is one that most may not agree with or predict. Regis earned a spot on the practice squad last year and may could make the jump this year. He showed a few flashes in preseason and had very good stats while at Miami: 6-3, 305 pounds, 46 career games with 112 tackles (52 solo), 5.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and three interceptions at Miami. Any defensive tackle who can nab that many tackles for loss and more surprising, 3 interceptions, obviously has talent. It’s hard to think the Falcons would roll with only 4 defensive tackles when 2 of them (Jerry, Peters) have had major injury troubles and one of the others will be turning 32 (Babineaux).

Defensive End (6)

Osi Umenyiora – John Abraham’s younger replacement is slotted to take over for the player he’s replacing. It’s curious as to what extent the former Giant will play, but he’s locked in atop a very interesting defensive end group.

Kroy Biermann* – This has an asterisk by it because the belief and hope is that Biermann will see a special type of role carved out for him and not be married to being a full-time defensive end. That’s the only way to reconcile taking not one, but two defensive ends in the draft to go along with Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi already on the roster. Biermann will likely be listed as defensive end, but the anticipation is that he’ll be playing more LB than DE in 2013.

Cliff Matthews - Some think that one of the four young defensive ends might be on the outside looking in, but they found a way to keep all 6 last year and that was before Biermann started taking on a more versatile type of role. Matthews will be locked in a battle with Massaquoi and new draft picks Goodman and Maponga for the other starting spot. There’ll likely be a pecking order of some sort and most all of them may find roles on the team. Matthews could get more 3-4 DE type of looks since he’s one of the bigger DE’s on the roster.

Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi pushes a sled on his first day of practice.

Mass to Start? (AJC)

Jonathan Massaquoi - Some are thinking that Massaquoi might be the favorite to earn the starting spot opposite Umenyiora. He had one of the best sack productions in college compared to the other DE’s on the roster. Mass may not be the tallest of ends, but he’s 264 and has shown he can get after the rusher. Along with Maponga and Biermann, Massaquoi seems to be a perfect fit for rush OLB’s in any 3-4 looks that Nolan is ready to run.

Malliciah Goodman – The former Clemson standout is quietly becoming a darkhorse to steal the starting job as a rookie. He is one of the best physical specimens the Falcons have had at defensive end in quite a while. 6’4, 276 is a prototypical defensive end and will likely find some playing time if he can get his work ethic on par and find some major consistency he lacked in college.

Stansly Maponga – The TCU Horned Frog is the ultimate wild card in this defensive end group. He seems similar in build and skill level to Massaquoi. The defensive end is extremely versatile form his college days, playing in many different looks, both as a 4-3 DE and a 3-4 OLB. Maponga seems like a prototypical Mike Nolan player. Is battling back from injury, but may surprise some people.

Linebacker (5)

Sean Weatherspoon - The first round draft pick seemed to be on his way to his first Pro Bowl before he got injured. One of the only dynamic playmakers at linebacker who can make plays other than just tackling. Spoon seems to be depended on to cover since he’s one of the only ones that can do it. Perhaps that’s been affecting his chances to get after the QB. Is at the precipice of turning the corner into all-out stud, but just hasn’t hit it yet. Likely the new leader of the Falcons defense.

Stephen Nicholas - No player’s likely happier than Stephen Nicholas. Some fans wanted him cut in the off-season along with Abraham, Robinson, and Turner, but not only did he stay on as a likely starter, but he got a huge boost when the Falcons didn’t select one single linebacker in the draft. Although the traditional linebacker isn’t as heavily counted on, he would have been the one to worry since Spoon is rock solid and Dent is young middle linebacker that showed growth. He actually had a pretty good year, but all fans will remember is his poor playoff performances.

Akeem Dent - The former UGA player took his lumps early on, but definitely seemed to get better as the season went on. Considering the fact that the nickel back Robert McClain played more snaps than him, it’s a testament to him that he kept at it and made some progress, even though slight. He’ll likely never be the next Patrick Willis and needs major work on his coverage skills, but what he was needed to do (replacing Curtis Lofton) he’s on his way to being a solid, if not spectacular MLB.

Can Schiller Make the Jump? (AJC)

Pat Schiller – After the top 3, it’s anybody’s guess. Eternal practice squad hanger-on Robert James finally made the roster 4 years later and Mike Peterson was brought back to fill in for an injured Lofa Tatupu. Schiller looked pretty good in preseason and seems ready to make the jump from UDFA to practice squad to roster spot. He’ll have to fight like mad against several current UDFA’s, James, and Brian Banks, but Schiller seems to be ready for a spot behind Dent on the roster.

Brian Banks – Forget the feel-good story because this guy will have to show he can play to earn a spot. Part of him getting a spot may simply be by default because there’s not a whole lot of top level talent competing since the Falcons passed on taking a linebacker in the draft. Right now, it seems to be between Banks, Schiller, and Robert James for two spots. Most fans are ready to give someone else a shot after four years of James bouncing up and down the roster. Like Schiller, he will have some competition for those two backup spots with some talented players in Nick Clancy, Paul Worrilow, and Joplo Bartu, but he will have the drive and motivation to get him over the top. The Falcons may bring in an older vet for insurance purposes instead of the youth movement.

Cornerbacks (5)

Asante Samuel – The multiple time Pro Bowler added a needed swagger to the defense last year and proved to be one tough son-of-a-gun, battling through multiple injuries to help out his team. Still showed he’s got some gas in the tank, but it may be his last year as a Falcon.

Desmond Trufant – The new first round draft pick takes over Deion Sander’s old number and will likely be starting opposite of Samuel. There’s a chance that Robert McClain could beat him out, but he seems more suited to the nickel, where he excelled last year.

Alford: Nickel or Dime? (AJC)

Robert McClain – The 2012 surprise of the year will be back and find himself some new athletic position mates. He is the favorite to keep the nickel position for now and may even beat out the rookie Trufant, but he’ll have competition from both ends, where Robert Alford will be trying to get on the field with his speed and athleticism.

Robert Alford – The Falcons double-downing on cornerback has reinvigorated the cornerback position in one fell swoop. Alford seems to be the favorite to take over kick returning duties and maybe even punt return responsibilities as well. Will probably be the dime back at first but could move up the depth chart.

Peyton Thompson – Like several other positions the final roster spots are a crapshoot to predict, and cornerback is no exception. Many may think that Dominque Franks will be the frontrunner to win the final spot, but Thompson has been getting raves and may be the next Brent Grimes. Not only is he a former UDFA, but he also has insane athletic talent and speed. If Thompson can break through, he could find a permanent home for the near future.

Safety (5)

William Moore —

Thomas DeCoud —

Charles Mitchell —

Zeke Motta –

Kemal Ishmael –

Specialists (3)

Matt Bryant —

Matt Bosher —

Josh Harris –

Practice Squad (8)

Ronnie Wingo (RB)

Paul Worrilow (LB)

Adam Replogle (DT)

Nick Clancy (LB)

Reshad Evans (WR)

Jacques McClendon (OG)

Alec Savoie (OT)

Tommy Gallarda (TE)

194 comments Add your comment

Flo - Ri - Duh

May 13th, 2013
4:50 pm

D3 – Why is everyone in such a rush to send Asante Samuel out to pasture. He was the Falcons’ best CB in 2012. He’s 32 which means he is in his prime – not his decline. Samuel is a team leader and a well respected citizen off and on the field.

Flo - Ri - Duh

May 13th, 2013
5:10 pm

Asante Samuel should be a top CB for 3-4 more years . Falcons should try to resign him – not dump

It will be very interesting to see what this patchwork OL can do this year. I see two proven quality starters and that’s it.

JB Falcon

May 13th, 2013
5:55 pm

D3 you posted a very good procastrination so I’ll just say “Ditto.” We have some weeding out to do and some will moan and groan but we should come out stronger and younger, and hopefully, better.

Birdman

May 13th, 2013
6:04 pm

JB Falcon

May 13th, 2013
7:15 pm

BM, if Banks makes the team it will be just short of a miracle. Deep down, I hope he does. He’s had five years to build up his desire his will power has to be unquestionable.

Ken Strickland

May 13th, 2013
8:00 pm

D3-OT LHolmes was actually drafted to be LT SBaker’s eventual replacement, since last yr was the final yr of his contract. If he was thought highly enough to be drafted as a potential starting LT, then how can him playing RT be that much of a concern?

After a yr of working extensively under OL coach PHill, Holmes obviously demonstrated enough progress & instilled enough confidence to encourage our staff to release Clabo & pencil him in as our starting RT.

We’re definitely going to have an improved OL & rushing OFF. Imagine, if our short yardage OFF had been good enough to have converted those key 3rd or 4th & 1 situations, we would have particated in the last 2 Superbowls.

Arno

May 13th, 2013
8:06 pm

Nice job, D3. I would put this in my Falcons 3 ring binder if I had one. No complaints about this roster (except missing Sean Renfree). I’m looking at three, maybe even four, new D guys on the field at any one time. That amount of turnover gives me a bit of the shakes. Hope they have a great camp with field awareness, getting acclimated with what each other can do, coming together as a unit. Having Spoon, DeCoud, and Moore anchor the center is reassuring– because they will be facing a very motivated team on September 8.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Mave2124

May 13th, 2013
8:55 pm

Aside from Richard Seymour, I think Nolan will roll the dice on youth and not go get vets on D. Besides, where would all this money come from? We cut Clabo to sign draft picks and extend Ryan later on. Love the discussion…you gonna talk about the other groups in a later post?

Paddy O

May 13th, 2013
9:10 pm

I would not mind 1 or 2 FA LB’s.

Matty Bicep

May 13th, 2013
10:22 pm

I think banks makes he team…leader, fresh legs, studying the playbook, talks Smitty talk….I like him.

Matty Bicep

May 13th, 2013
10:25 pm

Oh yea, he’s 6 2, 250…if he hits….

The Time is NOW

May 13th, 2013
10:49 pm

Good post, D3.

I think the Falcons will have to keep the 3rd QB on the active roster. If they try to get him through waivers to the practice squad, someone will snap him up IMHO. If your 3rd QB is a UDFA, you might sneak him thru, ala DD. If Renfree looks like he had real NFL potential, no way they risk putting him through waivers.

Defense wins Titles

May 13th, 2013
11:33 pm

GM Dimitroff, Do not stop working yet. Keep your eye on the releases, waivers, all the way to the opening of 2013 season. I think great pickups of an OL, MLB, OLB, CB, maybe even an upgrade of WR. If you can get them off of Pats, Steelers, Ravens, Packers, 49′ers, or Seahawks, wonderful. Next years draft should be BPA, Best Player Available. Gosh Darn It!!! You and Smitty better fall in love with some SEC and Georgia Dawgs. Draft real men to play in NFL. I am high on Trufant and Toilolo. Alford is just a fast —— from a directional school. The DE’s are more so so guys who cant sack a QB. Really could have drafted some LBs. Do Much, Much better next year.

Defense wins Titles

May 13th, 2013
11:39 pm

Dimitroff, we do not pay you guys to develop talent. That is what SEC in the NCAA does for NFL. Draft NFL players Tom. You cant draft 7 men who can help replace your last 7 on roster each year? Come on Tom, Hire me. I really would love to help you find really great football players based on our needs each year and make The Falcons Champions.

Joshua malavenda

May 13th, 2013
11:53 pm

Good article d3

Here’s a promising article about terren jones:

http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1178507-2013-nfl-draft-alabama-state-offensive-tackle-terren-jones

I love the players the falcons are bringing into camp this year.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Event: Target Free Second Tuesdays at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, [...]

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
12:41 am

I tell you what I like about Terren Jones. He has the same attitude (from reading articles on him) that Lamar Holmes has. Both seem to have an edge to them. Jones says he can beat anybody he lines up against. That’s more than you’ve ever heard from the dearly departed Clabo, who would try to get all sigmund freud every time you asked him a question.

Likewise, Holmes declared that his intent upon joining this team was to “take someone’s job.”

I love it. Wish the best of success to both, it would mean a HUGE Tackle tandemn if we could get them both on the field at LOT and ROT some day.

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
1:00 am

Agreed pretty much on the roster. A few thoughts along that line, though.

1. Toilolo was projected as a 5th rounder, I do believe. Wasn’t a huge reach, but also wasn’t a huge need in my opinion. Might be a huge project, though. Certainly a huge target.

2. Versatility (talking about the OL) means nothing. Effective play means everything. I’d rather have guys that are not versatile (can play Guard or Tackle, but not both) but are effective, than guys who are not very effective, but have been deemed capable of playing more than one position. Sorry, but the cross-training idea has run its course and I have yet to see the benefit of it. I’m thinking I shouldn’t hold my breath on that one, though. The cross-training hasn’t worked to a particular benefit yet (Konz at RG is the best “move over to another position” situation I’ve seen yet. And yet, the cross-training probably won’t stop. Meh….

3. Antone Smith is a good STs player who has no offensive future. Ok, I get that. But Dominique Franks is a near-useless STs player who has no defensive future. I do not see a reason to give him a roster spot next season. I really don’t.

4. Biermann = Linebacker. Make it so.

5. Falcons have known for some time that the whole veteran bandaid thing will only hold up for so long at DE. This is the year. Abe has been shuttled off to wherever DEs go to fade away when they are no longer worth the millions they think they are worth. We cannot afford to keep going with Biermann at DE all day long.

TD took two DEs in the middle rounds, something he does not do lightly. The WPP is about to be history, if TD’s words hold true.

Get the future at the position developed NOW, or somebody’s butt needs to be fired. I’d start with Ray Hamilton, that’s how the pecking order goes.

6. The DT position – you wouldn’t take one in the draft, so why bother inviting UDFAs? Don’t bother unless you want somebody to take the place of an existing DT. In other words, if the UDFA DT can’t displace Micanor Regis, who either sucks or is WPP bait, then why bother?

I don’t want to see one single DT on the PS. Not one. Leave that for OL and skill position players. Damn that. Don’t even bother with this position as an afterthought. Run what you brung and be prepared to address the situation PROPERLY next season.

…And hope that your faith in Jerry isn’t as misplaced as it certainly seems, and that Peters returns to form, or that Travian is “the truth.” Otherwise….

That’s right. I STILL think this was a mistake, but if you’re going to make a mistake, go ahead and stick to the plan.

7. UDFA cornerback Saeed Lee drew praise from the CS in rookie camp. Yeah? So? I’ve heard this sort of thing before. Drawing praise and getting a shot at the big time are not mutually exclusive. Ask Lawrence Sidbury, who was “turning heads” in real games. How’d that work out for him?

marko

May 14th, 2013
6:00 am

Really good work D3. Thank You for your fine efforts to keep football alive in the darkness that descends, from the end of the draft, till the opening of training camp.

Just curious, why no comments on the defensive tackle, and wide receiver positions?

Heisenberg

May 14th, 2013
7:22 am

“Versatility (talking about the OL) means nothing. Effective play means everything. I’d rather have guys that are not versatile (can play Guard or Tackle, but not both) but are effective, than guys who are not very effective, but have been deemed capable of playing more than one position. Sorry, but the cross-training idea has run its course and I have yet to see the benefit of it” -BR

I see the value of cross-training your backups, but I agree with your assessment. It makes no sense to cross-train your starters to that extent. At some point, it stops being about how SERVICEABLE your linemen can be at ALL positions and starts being about how NOT GREAT your linemen can be at ONE position.

I’m excited for the roster battles this season. The talent is there. If the development has even partially been there, the Birds should be in good shape.

If the right side of the line comes together, I’m hard pressed to think of a position that didn’t improve (or stay the same) this past offseason. Except defensive tackle. Though I still feel like Seymour ends up here at some point

Ken Strickland

May 14th, 2013
8:11 am

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2013/5/13/4325542/what-does-a-successful-rookie-campaign-look-like-for-desmond-trufant

What I don’t understand about this article is what the author said at the end the article about what Trufant has to do to become successful. Why does he hav to do it when the CB he’s replacing(DRobinson)didn’t do it?

Ken Strickland

May 14th, 2013
8:16 am

Ken Strickland

May 14th, 2013
8:32 am

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2013/5/12/4323268/rank-the-nfc-south-post-draft

CAGERS-Once again, tell me what you think. Our 14-4 overall record last yr proved we were better than most of the teams we played. The OL & RB changes we’ve made will improve our OFF. The CB, DE & safety moves we’ve made will improve our DEF.

I don’t see a single NFC team that’s made moves that will make them better than the Falcons, including Seattle & Frisco. Their OFFs are almost totally QB dependent, and any team that can limit their read option OFF can shut both teams down.

CS

May 14th, 2013
8:42 am

The falcons need open camp at the LB spot PERIOD. If think Nolan has a plan better than last year. I want be shock too see Banks,Goodwin & Maponga in the starting lineup. The front office is not playing around this season at all on Defense. Some players have been riding the waves but that is ALL over this season. We will have many new faces on Offense as well. Last year I said they would go 14-2 so this year I am saying 14-2 again. I just think Nolan has his Defense now and that will be the key here.

Ken Strickland

May 14th, 2013
8:44 am

I believe we all like Biermann, but in reality it’s unlikely he’ll get any better as a starting DE. He did do well as a hybrid LB/DE last yr, but Massaquoi & Maponga appear to be quicker, faster & more athletic.

The would seem to make them better candidates to do what Biermann did last yr, especially since they were both considered potential 3-4 LB candidates when drafted. Biermann seems to have maxed out as a pass rushing DE.

Every other DE on the roster appears to have the potential to exceed his production as a pass rusher.

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
8:51 am

So the Falcons don’t have enough dough to sign all of their draft picks, eh? Guess what that means? Exactly what we knew (and secretly hoped) it meant – more cuts coming.

It all shakes out in the end.

Will there be some “wow” cuts? Possibly. No way to tell just yet, and the simple fact is that the CS will have to get eyes on the draft picks, the up-and-comers, and the UDFAs before certain cuts are made.

Of course, there is nothing to say that ALL of the draft picks make the roster, right?

That said, here are some existing Falcons that I can see flying off into the sunset (or wherever):

Dominique Franks
Tim Toone
Matt Hansen
Robert James (Zeke Motta could conceivably take his place on STs)
Adam Nissley/Tommy Gallarda (take your pick, but at least one of them is gone due to Toilolo’s presence)
Shann Schillinger (if he’s still considered a STs ace, he might stay…otherwise Ishamael could eclipse him)
Terrence Johnson (I expect to see 5 CBs make the roster and neither he nor Franks are in that group…if a 6th is carried, he’ll still have to fight to get that spot).

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
8:56 am

Heisenberg ,

I see the value of cross-training your backups, but I agree with your assessment. It makes no sense to cross-train your starters to that extent. At some point, it stops being about how SERVICEABLE your linemen can be at ALL positions and starts being about how NOT GREAT your linemen can be at ONE position.

Exactly my point. I too, believe that the talent is there. Just need to coach it up and let it go out there and play.

Flo - Ri - Duh

May 14th, 2013
8:56 am

8:16 Ken Strickland – Dominque Franks, Jason Snelling .. color them gone. Hawley? These UFA OL’s are UFA’s for a reason ……. big doesn’t make you good. Hawley makes the team THIS year unless Falcons pick up a castoff from another team during the cut down process. Cliff Matthews is on the bubble. Massoguoi? I have yet to see him do anything. On the bubble. One of these two DE’s will be gone and it’s a toss up right now. Robert James (OLB) – gone. Peria Jerry (DT) – this is his final go round. Mike Johnson (OT) – his final go round. Stephen Nicholas (OLB) – final go round. Travian Robertson (DT) – final go round. Pat Schiller (ILB) – on the bubble. Tim Toone (WR) – gone.

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
8:59 am

Ken S ,

Can’t say Dave Choate is really off-base with that article. Hawley might need to watch his ass, although I do suspect that “knowing the system” and being the only other option at Center will keep him on the squad…for now. Don’t know anything about Harland Gunn playing Center at all…

I also can’t argue with the idea that we may be saying “so long” to Matthews or Massaquoi. Somebody is gonna have to show something this fall. And quickly.

I don’t see Snell going anywhere in case Ewing goes down again or something like that. But it could happen. I just don’t see it. Not unless one of these UDFAs really shows something.

D3

May 14th, 2013
8:59 am

Great Tuesday Cage! — Apologies on not finishing the post. Bit off more than I could chew and ran out of time. Will try to finish it sometimes today.

Made one mistake that I need to correct. I’ll be subbing QB Sean Renfree in for one of the linebackers. I really want to keep LB Paul Worrilow because of his “play-making” tendency, but I’ll have to go with the rock solid tackler Nick Clancy instead.

BR — Think you’re being a touch too harsh on my boy Micanor :grin: . He was an UDFA from last year who I really liked both in preseason and major college production. He may not get too much PT, but he was a very athletic DT for his size (getting sacks, tackles, TFL, and batting down passes).

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
9:01 am

Floriduh ,

How is it Travian Robertson’s “final go round” when he was drafted just last year? I’d concede the point/idea if we picked up a DT in the draft, but we didn’t. Unless you think there’s something to one of these UDFA defensive tackles (which I don’t, but that’s just me), dude stays. I mean, this is his final go round but Micanor Regis (zero snaps in the NFL PERIOD) stays?

Big Ray

May 14th, 2013
9:05 am

D3 ,

I did say Regis was either sucky or WPP bait. I don’t remember the guy playing AT ALL, so I’m going with WPP. However, if a person trusts all things Smitty, then we can only assume he sucks, LOL.

You know which way I’m leaning. All I can say is, college production or not, his butt was glued to the bench for however long he’s been with the team. That’s how far under the WPP he is – I don’t even know when he joined the team without looking it up.

I do know he was a Hurricane, but either he ain’t Warren Sapp Lite, or Smitty/whomever doesn’t know a talented DT from his ass, from a hole in the ground…and I’m just NOT in the mood to go THERE right now. ;)

Joshua malavenda

May 14th, 2013
9:21 am

Big ray- I agree with everything you said at 12:30 but the comments about the dt. Look what mafia did with Paul solali and Vance walker who were pretty much no names before Nolan got hold of them. I bet he does the same with the dts this year. In Nolan i trust.

Ken- I Agree with you 100%. We will lose to green bay and the last game of the season. That defense is going to cause havoc on opposing offenses this year and I can’t wait.

Joshua malavenda

May 14th, 2013
9:25 am

Here’s a intresting article about what successful nfl franchises look like:

http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1635323-the-8-signs-of-a-successful-nfl-franchise

Joshua malavenda

May 14th, 2013
9:42 am

Td in his predraft presser he made a comment about he would make a exception to the infamous black dot system if the player was really good. I said that to say this micanor Regis was suspended for a couple games and benched for the rest of season due to the fact that he pounced a nc ol in the groin. Just something to think about.

Uncle Joe

May 14th, 2013
9:49 am

It’s “Schiller Time”!! :)

Screen Pass

May 14th, 2013
10:06 am

“I tell you what I like about Terren Jones.” – BR

It is dead zone time and I don’t have anything really profound to expound upon, I can’t help much with the boredom :) . I can however maybe offer ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6kygVcl5bs ) something to whet the appetite more than homer Kool-Aid lol. He is #70 and mostly LT best I could tell. He moves well for his size, seems to lack the balance issue Holmes displays, and people fly off his punches…good signs. It is against competition that doesn’t project to NFL standards but his basics seem in order. I agree wholeheartedly about versatility/ cross training non back-ups…this ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MyANZS6iX0 ) will prolly make Smitty swoon lol.

John Waynesworld

May 14th, 2013
10:50 am

Great stuff D3, keeping us going through the down times. You’re right, it is too early, haha, but hey, that’s what we do! Here goes…

I also have a question mark about putting Renfree on the PS. By not having a veteran backup QB it may benefit us having a 3rd option on the roster in case of a minor meltdown or just pure ineffectual play by a young backup QB in the event Matt gets dinged. As far as Renfree getting plucked, obviously the Falcons can match any offer posed by a team to the PS player, but will we be able to with our final cap number?

I agree with Big Ray about Toilolo. Walters had him rated between the 4th and 6th round, while CBS and Draft Insider had him rated a 5th rounder. Our compensatory 4th round pick was for all intents and purposes a 5th round pick.

I know the WRs aren’t examined yet here but from that list, I am not satisfied with 3 out of the five players. Harry is getting paid way too much for an occasional cameo appearance, and Cone and Davis are one year away from not being re-signed. Unless those two shine like gold this season they will probably be replaced by some of these new incoming UDFA WRs simply for budget purposes.

I think Terren Jones was selected not only to be a backup OT but to be groomed to play Guard. OGs in the NFL are in many instances converted Centers and Tackles (and not the other way around) so if Jones can hang around he would be an immediate candidate to move inside, if he is not needed to replace one of our OTs due to injury, etc. If Jones shows some good post-ACL mobility he could leapfrog Manley if the weight gain rumors about Phillipkeith are true.

The linebacker scenario is odd if not purposeful. By not adding LBs through the draft it gives Schiller a great shot at the roster and Banks a better shot at the PS. Robert James and Mike Peterson should for all purposes be released to make room for Schiller and the new BC guy Clancy (I think he makes the roster instead of bringing in a vet). Bartu and Worrilow can fight it out for the 2nd PS LB spot, if there is one.

By not drafting a LB and drafting 2 Safteties, it make me think that this season we will keep the same number of LBs (5) on the 53-man, but we will probably add one more Safety to the mix. Last year we kept 4 on the roster and this year we should keep at least 5 Safeties (maybe 6?). It will work better with Nolan’s (and the rest of the league’s) plan to counter the pistol offense and the 2 TE sets.

John Waynesworld

May 14th, 2013
10:51 am

Blog monster, D3…

CED

May 14th, 2013
11:58 am

Good read Dled …. I think Goodman will win that DE position but these young guys need to be put in a rotation to at least get everybodys feet wet. I think Toilolo will be 2nd behind TG, He has the great height. At CB position they signed Lee today I’m excited to see the battle and who wins the start.

John Waynesworld

May 14th, 2013
12:11 pm

CED, Falcons fans and AJC readers wish DLed could write that many words in one article.

The author is D3.

Hamad Meander

May 14th, 2013
12:15 pm

1. We have to carry three QBs if they believe Dominique Davis is worth keeping at all. Sean Renfree is legit and well coached and will not last on the practice squad.

2. If we are running a 4-2-5, which all indications are we will, then having more than 4 linebacker on the roster makes no sense. Zeke Motta, for all he is, is a linebacker playing safety. He should be our 3rd down linebacker/safety, therefore having 5 LBs and 10 DBs on the roster seems a bit much.

3. Big Ray – totally with you on the OL cross training. We need to carry no more than 8 offensive linemen on the active roster.

4. Defensive Tackles – Peria Jerry – this is a new era in Falcons history and it’s time to move on. Fresh legs and dependable linemen are the key here. I can see us rotating DEs more than DTs.

5. Surprise UDFA – Ronnie Wingo. I’m still not completely comfortable with our RB depth, and his speed/size ratio intrigues me.

D3

May 14th, 2013
12:18 pm

Arno — Good point my man RE: 3rd QB. My only thing is that if they keep Renfree on the practice squad, than order for another team to snag him, they would have to put him on their active roster. I’m hoping that last year was just a unique situation with Dom Davis. He was a fresh UDFA, so they didn’t feel comfortable going into the season with his as #2, but they knew that some team would snag him and develop him. I’d much rather have a 5th safety, 6th LB, or 10th OL than a 3rd QB. With a year of tutoring under Ryan, I think Dom Davis is fully ready as our #2, hence the Luke McCown non-re-signing.

Maeve2124 — Great points and welcome if you’re new to the cage. Yeah, no money first of all and I agree. We’ve been going with the bandaids on defense (Mike Peterson, Asante Samuel, Lofa Tatupu, Dunta Robinson, Ray Underwear, etc) instead of building from within. It’s risky, but we won’t lack from talent and athleticism.

marko — I’ve updated them since. Like I said in the other post, just bit off more than I could chew and ran out of time before deadline. Just updated the DT and WR. Only have safeties and practice squad to finish now.

waynester

May 14th, 2013
12:52 pm

D3
I believe the McCown decision was purely financial. We’ve been blessed with a healthy QB but the law of averages says he’s due to miss a few games. I hope we keep the #3 QB but understand the logic of using that roster spot on another position.
Cross-training SHOULD allow us to have an extra spot or two by having backups who can fill in anywhere needed on the line and interchange without a big drop-off in performance. If it’s not accomplishing that, THEN I’d agree to cut it out. If it’s giving us that extra roster spot on the OL, S or LB by having versatile guys it’d be a huge advantage overall.

D3

May 14th, 2013
12:59 pm

Yes, finally someone acknowledges one of our weakest areas on our team……….

Defensive tackle wasn’t exactly a strength for the Falcons last year and they haven’t done anything to improve in this area. They have Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux as the starters and Peria Jerry would be the top backup in the rotation if things remain the way they are.

But I’m not sure the Falcons can afford to stick with the status quo. Babineaux isn’t getting any younger and Jerry isn’t anything special.

There is a lot of clamoring from Atlanta fans for the Falcons to go out and sign veteran Richard Seymour. There’s good logic behind that. Seymour would bring an instant upgrade to the middle of the defensive line.

There hasn’t been any hard evidence that the Falcons are interested in Seymour. But they might be playing the waiting game and seeing if his price drops.

Nice points by Pat Y.

Could the “defensive end argument” finally be replaced by something else? In this case, defensive tackle? :wink:

waynester

May 14th, 2013
1:02 pm

Despite Pat Y’s assertion–we DID have talks with Seymour’s agent prior to the draft. Like most, I’m sure RS wants more than we’re willing to shell out(kinda like Abe and the Titans) and we probably are hoping the price will come down closer to camp…..

JB Falcon

May 14th, 2013
1:24 pm

Keep Renfree or don’t keep Renfree? Hmmm. Many think keeping him would take up a roster spot since he could get hi-jacked from the PS. I understand we got him for future investment purposes, so isn’t that like investing in the stock market when you barely can pay your debts? Seems to me that maybe next year when we’re maybe not filing so many needs would be a better time to invest.
Dom has been in the practice QB spot almost as much as, if not more than, MR has. Wouldn’t want to have to but I would feel comfortable with him. IF we had to, a good back-up for the OL would be a bigger need than a rookie bacb-up QB, imo, of course.
Just chewin’ ‘n spittin’ here.

D3

May 14th, 2013
1:46 pm

BR @ 1am — Great points all around. I think we’ve all kind of settled and come to grips with almost all positions, but the DT thing is still the most worrisome. Maybe a Richard Seymour signing is in the future. Let’s hope.

Heisenberg — Excellent arguments. DT is still the most worrisome. I’m predicting a Konz – C; Reynolds – RG; Holmes – RT right side of line. It’s also the biggest worry. I’m so done with this RG turnstile. What is it, three years running now? On another note, ready for the Breaking Bad finale run? I know I am.

Ken S — Totally agree with you on the Trufant article. I’d say that Julio felt way more pressure as a rookie because of the tons of draft picks given up for him. Trufant isn’t in pressure very much in my opinion because the talent is so much better top to bottom than it was last year.

JB Falcon

May 14th, 2013
2:13 pm

Waynester, seems like the Falcons are about the only team that has shown interest in Seymour. I can see the need for him, as a band aid, but I thought we were trying to quit with the patches. Seymour is 34 yrs old; missed 8 games last year due to injury; was going to make $19 mil this year and “might” settle for $7 or $8 mil. Can’t never tell, might happen!
I’d rather stick with the BR philosophy of “run what you brung.” It appears that Seymour’s departure left Oakland’s line so decimated that their best lineman now is Vance Walker. Good possibility he might re-consider a new offer from his old team?
The money from Clabo coming 06/01/13 is not that much. It will allow us to sign our rookies and “maybe” have a couple of mil left over. A difference maker is not going to play for peanuts.