Grade the Atlanta Falcons Assistant Coaches

Give Your Marks

High Mark for New Coordinators (AJC)

With the Falcons Mini-Camp over, get ready for the worst part of the dead zone. Literally nothing will be going on for the next few weeks, but the Falcons training camp will only be a month from this Tuesday, so the light is getting close to the end of the tunnel. One thing that fans and the media alike often talk about when discussing a team and their coaching almost always focuses on the head coach and sometimes on the offensive and defensive coordinators. One part of the coaching staff that’s often overlooked are the assistant coaches, specifically the position coaches. This is a chance to look at the entire coaching staff, their track record, and how they’ve fared since being a Falcons coach. A look at the Falcons coaches:

Dirk Koetter – Offensive Coordinator

Many fans were scared to death when news came down that Koetter would be the new offensive coordinator. All that most could think of was the fact that Koetter has just overseen the worst offense in the NFL. Well, judging on his first year as the Falcons OC, fans should worry no more. He led the Falcons into a new aerial assault that saw 3 offensive players head to the Pro Bowl (Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez) and should have been four with Roddy White getting a snub.

A Month Away (AJC)

They had two 1,000 yard receivers with Jones and White and were only about 70 yards from having three with Gonzalez hauling in 930 yards. He made it one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL and saw Matt Ryan have his best year as a Falcon and was even in the MVP conversation for awhile. The only things that need a little improvement are the running game, developing a killer instinct in the second half, and developing other receivers behind Jones and White, especially slot receiver Harry Douglas. Grade / Analysis – A; Koetter did a great job in year 1 and the only thing that kept it from being an A+ was the items listed for improvement.

Mike Nolan – Defensive Coordinator

Nolan did wonders for a Falcons defense that are perennial underachievers. He did a fantastic job against the elite class of QB’s including Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning, as well as beating Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo, and Michael Vick. He helped send two safeties to the Pro Bowl in Thomas DeCoud and William Moore and created an “amoeba” style offense that kept offensive coordinators guessing as to what was coming next. He vastly improved the Falcons secondary. He even helped the Falcons achieve the NFC’s #1 seed, as well as their playoff win in almost a decade.

Good Year 1 for Nolan (AJC)

Of course,the downsides were being poor against the run and the playoff collapses: blowing a 20 point lead in the 4th quarter vs. the Seahawks and a 17-0 lead vs. the 49ers in the NFC Title game. Both games at home in the Georgia Dome. He also failed to improve the Falcons much at all in terms of their pass rush. Maybe it’s been some on lack of personnel, but after a full season and slew of draft picks with “his type of guys,” he should be ready to make another leap forward in year 2. Grade / Analysis – B+ ; Maybe Nolan should get a little higher grade since it was his first year and a lack of personnel may have been the issue. But it could also be argued that it could be lower since the pass rush was essentially the same and the playoff collapses are hard to stomach.

Pat Hill – Offensive Line Coach

This is where the adage of “coaching can make the difference” really applies. There was a little concern with Hill coming back to the NFL after spending so long in college football at Fresno State. However, he was a part of the “Cleveland ‘95” group that included Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, Thomas Dimitroff, Ozzie Newsome, and Scott Pioli among many others. Hill took the same group of offensive linemen and made a supremely better unit overall. That’s also including the loss of starting RG Garrett Reynolds early in the season. He helped Sam Baker have his best year as a pro, which helped him parlay that into a nice new contract.

Hill with an A+ (AJC)

It certainly wasn’t perfect. Todd McClure showed his age, Tyson Clabo had a pretty down year overall, and the run game was non-existent at times, but when it counted most, the Falcons offensive line did their job in the playoffs, keeping Matt Ryan clean and providing a great rushing performance vs. the Seahawks. Hopefully that success will continue in year two with some young and inexperienced additions. The long haul may find it more challenging, for former OL coach Paul Boudreau had a lot of early success as well. Grade / Analysis – A+ ; Perhaps this a touch on the optimistic side, but the offensive line finally wasn’t the main bane of fans existence the way it usually is each season and Hill deserves all the credit.

Keith Armstrong – Special Teams Coordinator

Special teams is sometimes one of the more forgotten parts of the game. Punting, field goals, and PAT’s don’t get the attention of offense and defense, but it’s something that can easily be taken for granted. Most fans never think of these things until they go terribly wrong. Just ask 49er fans about their Super Bowl experience. Armstrong has been with the Falcons since Mike Smith came aboard and has produced extremely consistent special teams units. According to his AtlantaFalcons.com bio, his units have finished in the top 10 the last 5 years.

Supremely Solid Armstrong (AJC)

Matt Bryant has been money since his arrival and helped propel the Falcons to their first playoff win in a decade with a 50+ yarder, not a gimme. Matt Bosher has developed in a very fine punter and his coverage teams are some of the best in the NFL. Jacquizz Rodgers turned into a good kick returner last season, if not a homerun threat. One of the only things Armstrong hasn’t found is a consistently good punt returner. The Dominique Franks experience was a cruel joke. Maybe that gets fixed this year. Grade / Analysis – A ; Armstrong has been extraordinarily consistent and solid since his arrival and been a key part of the Falcons success.

Terry Robiskie – Wide Receivers Coach / Assistant Head Coach

Just a few weeks ago Robiskie was given the title of Assistant Head Coach. That’s a testament to what he has meant to the Falcons and their success since Mike Smith’s arrival. He has overseen Roddy White going to the Pro Bowl 4 times and should have been 5, as he was snubbed last year. Robiskie is roundly considered to have been integral in White’s emergence from potential bust to perennial Pro Bowler. The Falcons receivers have long been one of their best positions since Mike Smith’s arrival under Robiskie. Julio Jones earned his first Pro Bowl appearance after an impressive rookie year. Harry Douglas showed flashes as a rookie and it seems as though he’s lost much of that since.

Robiskie Superb (AJC)

It hasn’t been impeccable in every aspect. There was the Michael Jenkins episode, Kerry Meier could never make an impact, and Harry Douglas has seemed to regress since his rookie season. Robiskie also needs to find a replacement for Roddy White sooner rather than later. Maybe 2013 will find out whether Drew Davis or Kevin Cone could be the guy. Grade / Analysis – A ; Robiskie has been given a ton of talent to work with (White, Jones), but he’s also done a great job of maximizing that talent as well.

Gerald Brown – Running Backs Coach

Brown has quietly been the running backs coach for the Falcons since Smith’s arrival. He oversaw Michael Turner’s great ride from 2008 to 2011 (it’s fair to say that Turner was at the end in 2012). Turner named an All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl two years (2008, 2010), as well as the NFC’s rushing leader two years (2010, 2011). It’s hard to argue with results. Even though the Falcons rode the Turner train a year too long, it’s hard to fault Brown for that. Jacquizz Rodgers has had a nice couple of seasons as a Falcon and almost eclipsed 800 all-purpose yards in 2012. Jason Snelling has been Mr. Reliable and supremely versatile for the Falcons.

Ovie Mughelli was a consummate Falcons while hal e was here and did a good job and now he inherits one of the best RB’s in the NFL in Steven Jackson. One fault that could go Brown’s way is not developing any other back other Rodgers over the last 5 years, but that’s not necessarily all his fault. Grade Analysis – A ; If you’re basing ratings on the performance of their respective position, than Brown gets high marks. 4 out of 5 years the running game has been successful. Although they haven’t developed a running back on their own besides Rodgers, they really haven’t drafted any.

Rest coming soon………….

Ray Hamilton – Defensive Line Coach

This analysis and critique may seem a little unfair since it seems to scapegoat one person in a massive failure the past five years, but if you’ve paid attention over the years the net of blame has been cast far and wide. Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith, Brian Van Gorder, the players themselves and even Rich McKay have received their fair share of blame over the past five years, so this is surely not out of range. The failure to produce one single pass rusher in 5 years has been a massive failure on every level, including the position coach. While it has been a total team failure with all sharing blame, Hamilton doesn’t get a pass. The only two defensive linemen that have consistently produced a pass rush (Abraham, Babineaux) were already on the team before Mike Smith and Co. arrived.

No Pass Rush (AJC)

There have been high draft picks (Jerry, Peters), mid-round picks (Biermann, Sidbury, Massaquoi), late-round picks (Walker, Matthews, Robertson) and free agents (Edwards) and no one has stepped up to collar more than 4 sacks in any season. There have been plenty of position coaches that have lost their job when their position hasn’t got it done (Paul Boudreau – OL, Emmitt Thomas – DB). Maybe this finally is the year that the Falcons produce at least ONE pass rusher and an overall decent pass rush. He does get credit for the play of Abraham, Babineaux, and the play of Corey Peters and Vance Walker, but when looking at his entire body of work, it must be considered a very poor performance. Grade / Analysis – C- ; 5 years and hasn’t been able to produce one consistent pass rusher other than Babineaux and Abraham.

Tim Lewis – Defensive Backs Coach

Lewis replaced longtime stalwart Emmitt Thomas in 2010. It’s difficult to assess exactly what impact that Lewis has had (or hasn’t for that matter) on the Falcons secondary. The highlights obviously include this past year that saw the Falcons rank as one of the top in the NFL in interceptions and sent two players to the Pro Bowl (Moore, DeCoud). Overall, it was one of the better DB performances of the last 5 years. The surprise of Robert McClain was a nice addition while also absorbing the loss of Brent Grimes. Even free agent bust Dunta Robinson seemed to have his best year as a Falcon.

B or C Grade? (AJC)

The lowlights include being one of the weaker secondaries in 2010 and 2011. The Falcons were gashed and dashed through the air by quarterbacks and those images of 10 yard cushions still haunt Falcons fans. Chris Owens seemed to digress with the arrival of Lewis and Franks missed the roster cut, even though being a 5th round draft pick. Perhaps it’s a little harsh to single out Lewis with the pitiful pass rush, but that’s the nature of fans having no insight into Flowery Branch. Grade Analysis – C+ ; If 2013 is a repeat of 2012 than this grade will rise much higher, but if it’s more like 2011, than it will remain in below average range.

Glenn Pires – Linebackers Coach

Piers has been the LB coach for the Falcons since Smith arrived back in 2008. Brian Van Gorder also coached linebackers while he was here for 4 years as DC. This is an interesting one to analyze. On one hand, the linebacker corps has been pretty consistent. Curtis Lofton was a great tackler. Stephen Nicholas has had his moments here and there and actually led the team in tackles last season. Akeem Dent showed some progress during the year. Mike Peterson came aboard and added some needed fire and leadership to the group. And Sean Weatherspoon seemed primed for his first Pro Bowl before injury. If nothing else, the LB corps has been decently consistent.

However, looking at the grand scope and entire body of work, the linebacker corps has been the exact opposite of “playmakers.” A recent post identified just how little of an impact the LB’s had on a game (lack of sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, passes defensed). Looking at the grand sum total, the stats were downright anemic as an entire unit. In addition to that, in year 6 the Falcons are apparently turning to practice squad players and undrafted free agents to fill out the roster. How can they be in that position after 5 years? Perhaps Thomas Dimitroff and the front office deserve much of the blame, but there have been a slew of players drafted that never made an impact (Robert James) or are no longer with the team. Grade / Analysis – C+ ; Between the fact that the Falcons are having major depth issues in year 6 and the lack of playmaking ability a B grade has to be out.

Chris Schelfo

Paul Dunn

Glenn Thomas

Joe Danna

145 comments Add your comment

JB Falcon

June 23rd, 2013
6:40 pm

So far so good on your ratings. I expect to see some of the minus signs go away this year and I believe Nolan will difinitely go to an A, if not A+.

Arno

June 23rd, 2013
7:03 pm

Koetter said the call that would have worked was to run White through the two defenders to the end line (last picture above). The Falcons have used that play in the past with success, but Koetter was thinking first down in that spot, not touchdown. “He catches it right at the C and we’re on the podium,” Ryan said. “But you don’t get do-overs.” – superb article by Prisco that DHunt posted. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/22449285/after-further-review-ryan-rewinds-tape-on-final-drive-of-nfc-title-game

The above shows a little insight on Ryan working with Koetter. I had wondered how that would go when Koetter was hired. Definitely supports D3s “A” rating.

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Paddy O

June 24th, 2013
1:26 am

I only know the C’s well enough. I’d rate Welcome Back a B+; if he can ditch the stupid cute plays, and simply ram the ball down the oppositions throat to the tune of about 40 pts a game, I’ll upgrade him. Nolan, I give an A-. Overall, I thought our D played decently – had some VERY big games – Giants, Denver, SD. Still need to tweak our scheme against the Cam Newton type defenses.

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Joshua malavenda

June 24th, 2013
3:42 am

I think all the coaching staff as a whole gets a A.
Mike smith- c-
Dirk- A
Mafia- A
Hulk Hill-A
Robskie-B
Armstrong- A
Tight end coach- B
Rb coach- A
Dl-c

It’s hard to really access this because I am not really sure how
Much mike smith has control of the particular areas of the but I do know that have to do a better job of developing players. I do have trust that with hiring of new cords thay they will get better in that area and for years to come. I still have no doubt in my mind that we will win it this year.

#Riseup#

Joshua malavenda

June 24th, 2013
3:44 am

Team meant to add

Big Ray

June 24th, 2013
9:10 am

WTF….can we not do Q&A with…you know…the LOCAL professional football players? The ones that play for the LOCAL team?

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-falcons/2013/jun/23/q-chiefs-pro-bowl-safety-eric-berry/

WR

June 24th, 2013
10:38 am

Morning cage,

D3, nice topic when its probably hard to come up with any, my take:

Dirk Koetter, A+, had to go a little higher here, 1st because we all we’re totally flabbergasted when this pick was originally made. 2nd, after watching all the games last year, the Falcons flat out stopped attacking offensively after gaining leads in the 1st half, I find it hard to believe an OC with such a creative game plan just forgets how to call plays in the 2nd half, this smells of Smitty IMHO.

Mike Nolan, B+, great schemes even without a lot of pure talent, with an infusion of talent, and more player development this grade will continue to climb.

Pat Hill, B+, not sure yet how much credit Hill deserves for the OL play. Baker stayed healthy for a change which was a major contributing factor to his improvement, can’t completely give this one to Hill. Peter Konz as a rookie, was already considered to be a talented future C for the Falcons but turns out he was pretty good at G, so here Hill gets credit. Then again, the line as a whole wasn’t much of a run blocking unit, sure Turner gets his sure of the blame, but it wasn’t all Turner.

Keith Armstrong, Terry Robiskie, A for both, just really good coaches for their specific units.

Gerald Brown, C, Turner was burned out of course, Quizz came in to do a nice job more off his own talents, you know what your going to get with Snelling. Which brings up players like Antone Smith, there has been signs upon signs for potential, but that’s about it. Why hasn’t this guy improved enough to get a few snaps a game, and speaking of that, if he hasn’t improved that much, why is he still on the roster. This group, tends to look like the DL group, you just never see much outside of the starters, its also getting to the point where I’m wondering if the LB group is headed down the same path.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:14 am

Great Monday Cage! — Thought it was an interesting (if impossible) topic to look at. How much blame / credit do position coaches deserve? I’m sure many of you can relate in your playing days, but a position coach can make a pretty impact either way. Personally, I had fantastic position coaches my freshmen and sophomore years in high school, but than I got really terrible position coaches as a junior and senior. It was amazing the difference just as high school coaches and the impact they can have. I’m sure the ceiling is somewhat limited the further up you get, but look no further than Pat Hill if you need proof. Anyway, the dead zone is upon us, so I thought it a good time to take a look at the lesser discussed coaches.

Just updated Ray Hamilton, Tim Lewis, and Glenn Pires.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:15 am

Ray Hamilton – Defensive Line Coach
This analysis and critique may seem a little unfair since it seems to scapegoat one person in a massive failure the past five years, but if you’ve paid attention over the years the net of blame has been cast far and wide. Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith, Brian Van Gorder, the players themselves and even Rich McKay have received their fair share of blame over the past five years, so this is surely not out of range. The failure to produce one single pass rusher in 5 years has been a massive failure on every level, including the position coach. While it has been a total team failure with all sharing blame, Hamilton doesn’t get a pass. The only two defensive linemen that have consistently produced a pass rush (Abraham, Babineaux) were already on the team before Mike Smith and Co. arrived.

There have been high draft picks (Jerry, Peters), mid-round picks (Biermann, Sidbury, Massaquoi), late-round picks (Walker, Matthews, Robertson) and free agents (Edwards) and no one has stepped up to collar more than 4 sacks in any season. There have been plenty of position coaches that have lost their job when their position hasn’t got it done (Paul Boudreau – OL, Emmitt Thomas – DB). Maybe this finally is the year that the Falcons produce at least ONE pass rusher and an overall decent pass rush. He does get credit for the play of Abraham, Babineaux, and the play of Corey Peters and Vance Walker, but when looking at his entire body of work, it must be considered a very poor performance. Grade / Analysis – C- ; 5 years and hasn’t been able to produce one consistent pass rusher other than Babineaux and Abraham.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:15 am

Tim Lewis – Defensive Backs Coach
Lewis replaced longtime stalwart Emmitt Thomas in 2010. It’s difficult to assess exactly what impact that Lewis has had (or hasn’t for that matter) on the Falcons secondary. The highlights obviously include this past year that saw the Falcons rank as one of the top in the NFL in interceptions and sent two players to the Pro Bowl (Moore, DeCoud). Overall, it was one of the better DB performances of the last 5 years. The surprise of Robert McClain was a nice addition while also absorbing the loss of Brent Grimes. Even free agent bust Dunta Robinson seemed to have his best year as a Falcon.

The lowlights include being one of the weaker secondaries in 2010 and 2011. The Falcons were gashed and dashed through the air by quarterbacks and those images of 10 yard cushions still haunt Falcons fans. Chris Owens seemed to digress with the arrival of Lewis and Franks missed the roster cut, even though being a 5th round draft pick. Perhaps it’s a little harsh to single out Lewis with the pitiful pass rush, but that’s the nature of fans having no insight into Flowery Branch. Grade Analysis – C+ ; If 2013 is a repeat of 2012 than this grade will rise much higher, but if it’s more like 2011, than it will remain in below average range.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:16 am

Glenn Pires – Linebackers Coach
Piers has been the LB coach for the Falcons since Smith arrived back in 2008. Brian Van Gorder also coached linebackers while he was here for 4 years as DC. This is an interesting one to analyze. On one hand, the linebacker corps has been pretty consistent. Curtis Lofton was a great tackler. Stephen Nicholas has had his moments here and there and actually led the team in tackles last season. Akeem Dent showed some progress during the year. Mike Peterson came aboard and added some needed fire and leadership to the group. And Sean Weatherspoon seemed primed for his first Pro Bowl before injury. If nothing else, the LB corps has been decently consistent.

However, looking at the grand scope and entire body of work, the linebacker corps has been the exact opposite of “playmakers.” A recent post identified just how little of an impact the LB’s had on a game (lack of sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, passes defensed). Looking at the grand sum total, the stats were downright anemic as an entire unit. In addition to that, in year 6 the Falcons are apparently turning to practice squad players and undrafted free agents to fill out the roster. How can they be in that position after 5 years? Perhaps Thomas Dimitroff and the front office deserve much of the blame, but there have been a slew of players drafted that never made an impact (Robert James) or are no longer with the team. Grade / Analysis – C+ ; Between the fact that the Falcons are having major depth issues in year 6 and the lack of playmaking ability a B grade has to be out.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:22 am

There is a TON of different ways, criteria, and facts you can use to judge these guys. It’s essentially all guess work anyway since we have zero insight to the inner workings of Flowery Branch. But here’s a few things I tried to consider when grading and be as fair as possible………

1) Full body of work
2) Development of players (or lack thereof)
3) Time here
4) Players / free agents / draft picks to work with
5) Play on the field
6) Contingent factors

Some of this clearly is out of the hands of the position coach, such as re-signing certain players while allowing others to leave. Some of it is dependent on other positions, which is one reason I tried not to be too awful harsh on Tim Lewis because the pass rush has been so crappy.

One thing that I wanted to zero in on is player development and if I went purely by that, many of the grades would be much lower. However, is it fair to give Gerald Brown an A when he’s had a big ticket FA like Turner and really only one other draft pick (if you discount Thomas Brown way back in 2008) while giving Tim Lewis a C+ when he was given a crappy free agent (DRob) and not much else? It’s a really tough one to analyze, but just something to throw out there trying to keep it fresh.

D3

June 24th, 2013
11:37 am

snacktastic

June 24th, 2013
3:44 pm

Great timing on this post. I said last offseason that I’d give my opinion on the OC/DC after the season was over, and now’s the time.

I wasn’t terribly worried when Koetter came in, as I knew he didn’t have much to work with in Jacksonville. I was intrigued when I read an interview about his offensive philosophy, and was even more intrigued when I heard how he started to develop chemistry with Matt Ryan. The results on the field speak for themselves. Ryan’s stats have improved every year, but what impressed me most this year was the creativity and aggressiveness that showed up in the offense, a marked contrast to the previous year under Mularkey. It helps to have an offense full of Pro Bowlers, but Koetter deserves a lot of credit in helping this team succeed last year.

That we didn’t have a dominant defense did not bother me at the beginning of last season, as I figured we’d just score enough points to win most of the time. However, I was optimistic when I saw the fan reaction to Nolan’s hire. To me, the lack of a pass rush is somewhere between a nit-picky complaint and a legitimate concern: our secondary came through a number of times last season and was a team strength, but you can’t rely on them to do so every week. I don’t know how much we can blame the pass rush on Nolan, but I do know he got more out of this defense than we were used to with BVG.

Both coordinators get my stamp of approval. As far as the rest of the coaching staff, I’m in no position to grade them–though I did hear Robiskie on the radio once, and he seems really cool.

snacktastic

June 24th, 2013
5:03 pm

Looks like my post got eaten.

Big Ray

June 24th, 2013
5:30 pm

Hearing that Seymour wants more money than Falcons think he’s worth.

Dude is a beast but he’s also 34 and missed 8 games last season. Not like TG88, who missed nothing AND produced at Pro Bowl level.

Besides, Falcons failed to address DT in the draft. Make your bed, now sleep in it.

I’ll get to rating the CS later.

JB Falcon

June 24th, 2013
5:48 pm

snack, ya gotta admit, there hasn’t been much on th blog for the BM to eat this afternoon.

BR, there’s still time to get Seymour. The market is slim and the Falcons are it. I’m sure he would be an asset, if he is able to play, but I think we will do alright without him. I think the lack of drafting a big DE was by design and Nolan had a big input into that decision. He has that type of players that wil fit his defensive plan so we’ll be holding his feet to the fire this year. Remember, 10 players, 4 sacks each.

JB Falcon

June 24th, 2013
5:50 pm

Why is it, that, every time you write a post, you don’t see your error until you have already hit Submit Comment?

JB Falcon

June 24th, 2013
5:56 pm

Q&A with Eric Berry???? Man, “radio” can dig up some indepth crap.

WR

June 24th, 2013
6:33 pm

Like many here already think, sure Seymour could add some value to the Falcons. That veteran voice from someone who’s been there, a player who has routinely preformed at a top level. But as mentioned earlier, he did miss 8 games last yr, and he is 34 yrs old.

Part of what I believe is driving the Seymour signing is the idea that the Falcons have to win now. I probably will get bashed for this, but having to win now is just not true. Sure I want them too as much as the next diehard Falcon Fan, and again, sure this fan base is deserving and in the past we haven’t had much to hang our hats on as far as hope. But this is a completely different Falcons organization, not to take a quote from Lebron James of all people, but this organization is setting itself up to win not 1, not 2, not 3, you get the idea, in regards to winning the Lombardi.

Has anyone really thought about the SB or bust quote regarding the Falcons, yes, it was made by a Falcon, but has anyone really thought about it. I’m hopeful the birds win it all this upcoming season, but if they don’t, at risk they lose TG88, and then what. If the Falcons losing a future hall of fame TE that is out preforming his age sets this team back tremendously, then this new regime we talk about so much is not getting the job done. Know one else on this team is due to be released, not return, or traded, that has significant value to this team unless the Falcons somehow amazingly don’t resign Matt Ryan.

The ceiling is so high for the Falcons right now you can understand the SB or bust beliefs, but if you slow down for a second to think as a long time Falcons fan, you understand they finally are positioning themselves to be in contention every year, could just be me, but that’s a 1st as a Falcons fan.

JB Falcon

June 24th, 2013
9:44 pm

WR, as an old Falcon fan, since ‘66, you ain’t going to get an argument out of me. Five friggin’ years in a row and we used to wish for, and didn’t get, two in a row. I’ve been waiting, cheering, and hoping since 1966 and we have came came so close.
I can see the team we are building and the “SB or bust”, by Roddy, is a bunch of crap. We are building a concept that is the same that AB built with Home Depot. They are here to stay and will remain as a SB contender for years to come. As a selfish, loyal, long time, fan I think it’s about time we kick some azz.
I expect it, and as a fan, think we deserve it. AB wants a new $1bil stadium and I agree. He is going to have to win this year to get us, the fans, to support him. I’m sure his desire to win is a much, or worse, than ours and he knows he is taking a huge gamble. AB is thinking about the future and so am I. I am easing into the future and so is AB and I want some SB stuff with the Falcons logo on it.

Birdman

June 24th, 2013
10:23 pm

Thanks JB

Good words and I agree

WR

June 25th, 2013
9:02 am

JB, my sentiments exactly. That’s why I mentioned the Seymour signing possibility, if they can get him at a reasonable price, great, if not I’m liking what I am hearing out of camp. For instance, when Osi, who’s a vet and has been around some really good DE’s in his time mentions our young DE’s as maturing rapidly and being good to very good I get even more excited about this year and the future. The Falcons also have another year in both Nolan’s and Koetter’s systems. Just think how far they went in only one year in a system, now imagine adding more weapons and having another year under your belt in said system.

Sure there probably will be some bumps alone the way, breaking in two starters practically 3 starters on the OL (technically I’m not counting Konz, he’s just moving over to his natural position. Then their also breaking in 1 to 2 starters at CB, and if you had to break in 2 wouldn’t you want them practicing daily against Julio Jones and Roddy White, nice icing on that cake.

At this point it’s a matter of depth, and from the sounds of things, there’s some nice young studs that are itching and jumping at the bit to show their stuff. All to challenge for an SB this year, and with enough youth to challenge for some time.

John Waynesworld

June 25th, 2013
10:01 am

Good grades, D3, pretty accurate. I would give Koetter a bit of a lower grade, unless I found out that he was pressured by Smitty to run Turner as much as he did rather than using Quizz more often (or anybody else for that matter). If he wasn’t forced to continue to use #33 on short yardage, then that deficiency is on his watch.

Compared to the one dimensional team he previously coached and even with Turner’s sluggish running, Koetter was fortunate in his new job to get the keys to a Maserati offense. Realistically he or any other OC (except run-obsessed dinosaurs like Mularkey) should have had similar success with this talented group.

By adding SJ39, Koetter could practically mimic the game plan of last season and look like a genius.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

June 25th, 2013
11:21 am

Nice work D3.

I’d like to comment on offensive/defensive coordinators, respectively. May be a little soon to critique either. For the most part, the offense and defense looked pretty much the same as when the previous coordinators were here, our league rankings on offense and defense for the 2012 season are eerily similar to our years with Mularkey, BVG. Koetter came in, added a few new wrinkles in the passing game (along with some gadgets to Mike Johnson) for the most part, running formations were identical to what we’ve come accustom to in the past. I understand when a new coordinator is hired, one cannot scrap an entire a system…install another, and be competitive the up-coming season. Koetter probably implemented (was allowed) to install 25% of his scheme. I look for Koetter to really show his bonafides this season.

Simular story with Mike Nolan, in my opinion. The defense for the most part was BBDB, and lived up to the labeling with the exception of some new looks early, creating tons of turnovers in the first quarter…to mid season, but in the latter stages when the turnovers dried up…the defense looked similar to BVG’s. I certainly give Nolan props for improving the defense as it relates to keeping opponents out of the endzone, could be a catch 22 though, most of those teams we denied the endzone were mostly .500 and sub .500 teams. Nolan was allowed to add some new wrinkles as well, player personnel probably handicapped Nolan from installing more of his scheme.

For the most part, we made the playoffs…and acquired home-field advantage with previous coordinators, I can’t truly give grades when we didn’t make significant gains on either side of the ball.

I’ll hold judgement in Feb 2014.

ps. Ray Hamilton is overrated…has shown lack of competence as it relates to the DL (developing a pass-rusher) IMHO.

JB Falcon

June 25th, 2013
2:27 pm

Ken Strickland

June 25th, 2013
2:30 pm

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2013/6/25/4462924/even-adam-schein-likes-the-steven-jackson-signing

CAGERS-here’s an analysis on what SJackson will bring to the Falcons OFF & DEF.

Ken Strickland

June 25th, 2013
2:32 pm

http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/6/25/4463378/richard-seymour-rumors-falcons-patriots

CAGERS-When all is said & done, it looks like Seymour wants to be a Falcon & is waiting on us to make a move.

Ken Strickland

June 25th, 2013
2:58 pm

What excites me the most about this yrs Falcons is this. This is a team that will have considerable turnover at key positions on both OFF & DEF. Offensively, there will be 3 new starters from the OL that finished last yr. OC(Konz), RG(Reynolds) & RT(LHolmes or MJohnson). We’ll also have a new FB(PEwing) & RB(SJackson).

Defensively, we’ll have 2 new DEs(Osi & Mathews, Goodman or Massaquoi), likely a new DT(Seymour) & a new CB(Trufant. There’s also considerable turnover when it comes to depth on both OFF & DEF. Yet with all of these key changes, we’re still considered a viable SB contender.

WR

June 25th, 2013
5:50 pm

Afternoon cage, for the 1st time in my long time experience in the cage I will attempt to defend Smitty, yes Smitty just might be alright.

Point 1. With a dysfunctional torn down organization and team, Smitty teamed with TD to draft a QB and lead the team to the playoffs. How improbable was that considering the situation he and TD came into.

Point 2: Smitty was a rookie HC when he took the Falcons job, absolutely no head coaching experience at all, so in essence, he’s been learning on the job quite the same as Matt Ryan his initial rookie QB. So what, the case in point is that his 1st Falcons team took the NFC representative for the SB to the brink, one, again one, major breakdown cost them that game.

The following year the team was limited due to injuries but still finished with a winning record. The next year they sprinted out to one of the best records in the league only to be blown out by GB in the divisional round. The next year they came back tougher but again were pretty much blown out in their 1st playoff game. It would appear that nothing was going on here as far as growth, but if you really look at those seasons, the team was getting stronger and tougher, and the coach was leading the way without much fire power. Fast forward to last year:

Smitty is now getting comfortable in the HC spot, his team has now been given an offensive arsenal, he hires a great offensive mind in Dirk Koetter to fully utilize the weaponry at his teams disposal, and he hires Mike Nolan to remake and completely build him a D while he focuses on his HC duties.

Point 3: Mission accomplished as mentioned above, but failure came in the idea that Smitty had never been in this situation before, and neither had his team. Like him for it or dislike him for it, but Smitty is going to be a professional sportsman and he teaches his team the same approach. Problem was last year that he needed to learn and convey the message and understanding of stepping on a opponents throat when there down. To take a message from the “UFC” Smitty had to learn to keep beating on a team until they “TapOut”, the Belichick’s of the world had to learn this without as much early success as Smitty, but they learned it, I believe Smitty will too.

For all the SF crushes and Seattle crushes, funny how people forget the Falcons had completely blown these teams out only to let them back in games, experience is the strongest teacher in the world. At almost the highest level of his sport Smitty finally had to face the reality that it’s not unsportsmanlike to beat on a team that’s down, it’s unsportsmanlike to beat on them when they too know their down and have given up the fight.

JJ

June 25th, 2013
6:54 pm

WR, WOW,,,jmho, but disagree with all 3 points and conclusion!
But Im not gonna go there, respect ur opinion as always brother!

Not very many I respect on this blog more than urs my friend, so Ill pass and think a little bit more on it.
:)

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:03 pm

Times up….

- WPP

- SMITTYBALL

- HALFTIME MAGIC CITY DANCERS OR JUST NAPTIME, NO PLANNING?

- KEEPING TURNER IN LINEUP WHEN HES OBVIOUSLY DONE, snelling or quiz???

- MR won half these games in the 4th qt BECAUSE OF SMITTY!!!

-Smitty is the luckiest coach in the entire NFL…but he has the winningest record for the falcons so nothing but praise for the king!!!!!!

JB Falcon

June 25th, 2013
7:03 pm

WR, a very worthy defense. I would also like to ask anyone to name a coach that could step in, right now, and bring with them Smitty’s knowledge of the team and the bond Smitty has with the team and coaching staff, and do a better job.
AB has followed the recipe using the best ingredients available. There’s not point in throwing a rotten tater in there.

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:05 pm

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:14 pm

…inspite of smitty!

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:16 pm

I meant to say inspite of smitty, not because of smittys great coaching that brought every game back to MR to win in late 4th qt!

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:19 pm

Question: What does smitty do during halftime?

Bueller?
Bueller?
Bueller?

JJ

June 25th, 2013
7:20 pm

Just havin fun, Im out!

Unca' Bob

June 25th, 2013
7:30 pm

JJ,

And a humble opinion it is. Weak as well. Three time Coach of the year in a five year span? How much smarter do you feel than him?… Just a thought.

Big Ray

June 25th, 2013
7:37 pm

Last season was last season, and I’ve commiserated enough over it. So instead of grading how the CS has done things, I figure it makes more sense (at least for me) to talk about how I’ll grade them this season.

Dirk Koetter :

He’s done some very good things for the offense, certainly more good than bad. What I want to see him do is find more ways to confuse the crap out of defenses. Furthermore, as has been discussed ad nauseum, the 2nd half issues MUST be fixed. Now, some of this is and has to be attributed to the HC, but when the offense stalls for an entire half of football, the OC is anything but blameless. An improved running game (with an improved RB) will help this, but even some of the crappier defenses know how to eventually stop the run. So it has to be more complicated than that.

Also, Koetter will be held in judgment over the development of “replacements” on offense. SJax won’t last forever, this is TG88’s last year, and Roddy White is on the other side of 30. Harry Douglas still isn’t what we want him to be, and probably never will be. So what you gonna do, Koetter? Can you help make this offense stay just as potent when a HOFer leaves?

Mike Nolan :

Alright, so Mafia’s forte for the draft was the secondary. We picked up two CBs and two Safeties with our picks. Mixed in were two DEs. The CB competition will be fierce, but what of the DL? Not a single DT picked up and the one vet being mentioned in the same sentence as the Falcons looks like he isn’t going to sign here (well, at the moment anyway).

Nolan’s defense was pretty good at taking the ball away, but couldn’t stop the run on most Sundays. What he’s going to have to prove this year is that he has begun to mold a unit that will produce turnovers and coverage sacks, because it certainly looks like this defense is built for that. It does NOT look like a dominant defense, but then again…there are different kinds of dominant. This defense won’t necessarily beat up on you (your front 7 has to be big, strong, and nasty for that to be the case), largely because the DTs are somewhat pedestrian and the DEs are smallish for the position (exception – Goodman has some size and Cliff Matthews has added some poundage).

Nolan has to continually put the ball back in Koetter’s hands. There’s no other way to say it. Also, can Nolan find ways to cover the weaknesses that are likely to crop up? How about defending a mobile QB, yet still covering TEs?

Pat Hill :

More so than either Coordinator, Hulk Hill is really on my hot spot. This guy was brought in for a reason, and it’s time to see if he can teach some good, cohesive OL play. Hill is a master of fundamentals, which is good. I’ll be judging Hill on the development of Konz, Johnson, Holmes, and others. If he can get a very cohesive and intelligent unit going, we can stop worrying about MR2. If not, we’ll be talking about one of two things – whether TD is an idiot in regard to the OL or whether Hill needs to be replaced.

Keith Armstrong :

Does a good job. Our coverage units are strong. He just got two more guided missiles in Ishamel and Motta. Now just name a new punt returner and kick returner. OH, and please suggest the Franks be cut from the team. Please.

Terry Robiskie :

Watching the development of Julio Jones is proof enough that Robiskie knows what he is doing. However, I’ll be judging this guy on how our “other” receivers are developed. Somebody needs to unseat Harry Douglas – even if it’s not going to happen this year because HD is an incumbent at the #3 WR. But somebody needs to push him, hard. Robiskie has got to get Cone and Davis ready. Why? If the Falcons have the misfortune of a serious injury to White or Jones, there could be trouble. We already know that HD is NOT an able substitute in most games, let alone the BIG ones.

Gerald Brown :

This guy has been more or less saddled with Mike Turner for a while, but now he gets the more talented and self-motivated Steven Jackson. Quizz has made plenty of good strides, though lack of speed holds him back in some things. Brown’s influence is difficult to see, but it will be interesting to see how well FB Ewing comes out.

Ray Hamilton :

It’s not this guy’s fault that – a) they won’t draft him any dominant types at DT or DE, b) Peria Jerry should be renamed “broke leg mountain”, c) Peters and Babs don’t have a history of staying on the field together and healthy for more than 3-4 games in a season, d) We use LBs at the DE position, etc.

That said, Hamilton gets credit OR discredit for the development of Travian Robertson and Micanor Regis, if nothing else. One of those guys should be pushing Jerry right over the edge, but if we can’t see some improvement from either guy, you have to wonder just what it is that Hamilton is getting paid for.

Tim Lewis :

Like Pat Hill, Lewis gets some serious spotlight time from me because he got a full plate served to him in the draft. Trufant and Alford, along with Motta, Ishamel, and Charles Mitchell are there to be groomed. Mitchell could find himself on the outside looking in, and Shann Schillinger could be right there next to him. It’s on Lewis to help make that happen.

How will it look if Alford and Trufant struggle?

Glenn Pires :

This guy gets judged on the development of Akeem Dent, more than anything else. I don’t include Brian Banks for reasons that should be obvious – dude is a long shot, a camp invite, and it’s on him (Banks) as to whether or not he can make meaningful contributions, or even make the team.

But Dent – we spent a 3rd round pick on him. Either he becomes somebody this team can deploy often, or the pick is all but wasted.

Caveat – like the DT position, the Falcons chose to ignore LBs in the draft. Could prove to be a mistake, but Pires + Dent could help change that perception. Or not.

Big Ray

June 25th, 2013
7:43 pm

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-falcons/2013/jun/25/seymour-discusses-his-talks-falcons-sounded-ready-/

Here’s my thought on this. Just leave him be. The man missed 8 games last season and it’s fairly obvious that he doesn’t feel overly motivated to do anything of note, and that it will have to be a nice paycheck for him to beat on his body some more. I’d be all over this if he had played and produced like the ageless wonder that is Tony Gonzalez. But that’s not the case.

Move along….

Big Ray

June 25th, 2013
7:48 pm

Unca' Bob

June 25th, 2013
7:54 pm

Big Ray

June 25th, 2013
7:43 pm

Well stated my friend. I could not agree more.

WR

June 25th, 2013
8:01 pm

JJ, that’s why we love this blog, nothing wrong with disagreeing, because we all come together for the same cause in the end.

Again, I haven’t been Smitty’s biggest defender but after taking a step back, the guy is getting it done abate going through the learning process which we all have to when starting any job.

Just remember, this guy hasn’t been a HC at any level, being the HC is alot harder then Monday morning quarterbacking. I use to jump down his throat about being a defensive minded HC with no D, then I looked over at Belichick and realized he too was a defensive minded HC and his D’s haven’t been all that good.

Sorry but if I’m a coach that wants to have a sustainable career, I build a culture, with Smitty check, I try to build a trust within my team, with Smitty again check, I try not to put my team in position to lose, again with Smitty check. Then I look back and see what I have built, I see the team and organization has brought in, and I realize, at the end of the day I just have to let the chips fall where they may, meaning, I just have to go out and let the guys make it do what it do. And in the end, I won’t let them embarrass anyone purposely because that’s what we represent, at the same time, I now realize, when an opponent is down, we will beat them into submission. That’s starting to look like Smitty to me.

JB Falcon

June 25th, 2013
8:10 pm

BR, good analysis on the cords and assistants. I also think Seymour talked himself out of a few million and agree that we can do well without him. There’s no one out there that could fill an urgent need for the Falcons because we don’t have any urgent needs. So far we have put together a good team that is being built for the future as well as now. From what I’ve read we’re going to have to cut some players later on that other teams will be glad to have.

JJ

June 25th, 2013
8:22 pm

” I now realize, when an opponent is down, we will beat them into submission. That’s starting to look like Smitty to me.”

Come again?

From My brother WR that stated “just be dominant on one side of the field” to smitty is looking like he will start beating teams into submission…???

My friend, which stat/info suggest that king smitty will start beating teams into submission?

Can u point to any game in his last 5ryrs that he has?

Not many my friend, not many!

Wings

June 25th, 2013
8:30 pm

BR, I agree with you re Seymour. I remember when NE traded him to the Raiders. At first, he refused to go to Oakland. I doubt anyone would have wanted to go there a few years ago, but it’s his JOB. It was a bad attitude.