Who’s your Favorite to Win the Atlanta Falcons Right Tackle Spot?

Down to Two

Holmes or Johnson at RT? (AJC)

Even though training camp is only a few weeks away, the dead zone is upon us in a bad way. As the summer has peaked with the celebration of July 4th / Independence Day, most everyone is taking their vacations, time off, or visiting family and friends before August (unofficial start of football) rolls backs around. The Cage, however, doesn’t take a break, so leading up to training camp, we’ll take a look at the biggest position battles ahead for our Atlanta Falcons. First up, the fight for right tackle.

Clabo, Consistency, Experience Gone

Clabo Gone (AJC)

The epitome of longevity and consistency, at least in terms of starts, will be suiting up for the Miami Dolphins in 2013. Tyson Clabo joined the Falcons way back in 2006, made 10 starts that year, 11 starts the next year, and started every single game as a Falcon. The former Wake Forest product started 80 straight regular season games, 85 including playoff games. In all, the former Falcons right tackle started 106 games for the Falcons over 7 years. That’s nothing to sneeze at and it’s certainly a risk to get younger and sacrifice such consistency. He even notched a Pro Bowl honor in 2010, the only Falcons OL to get one in a long, long time.

Mixed Performance, Salary Shed

Opinions are fairly mixed about Clabo between media and fans alike. He reportedly got one of the highest run blocking grades from ProFootballFocus, but fans using their own eyeballs and real-time facts, think otherwise. While he may have been good at run blocking, most feel he was one of the weakest links in terms of pass protection. While he was extremely consistent in terms of starts, his productivity seemed to be on a roller coaster of sorts since his 2010 Pro Bowl honor. Sometimes he did well, only to be a swinging door to opponents getting after Matt Ryan. Another thing to consider was his salary. He was due to mae over $6 million dollars in 2013. Cutting Clabo after June 1st saved the Falcons $4.5 million. He was given a 5 year, $25 million contract after earning his first Pro Bowl berth, but as is common in professional sports, Clabo no longer seemed to be living up to his contract. It seemed to be a pretty shrewd move, but seeing as the Dolphins gave him a 1 year, $3.5 million deal, it renders the Falcons decision a fairly smart one. However, Spotrac.com has the Falcons incurring $3.1 million in dead money for 2014, but we’ll wait on confirmation on that next year.

Less Experience, More Talent?

How Much of a New Look will OL Get? (AJC)

The idea is a common in pro sports, having players with a ton of experience but declining skill sets or having players with little to no experience, but a lot more youth and talent. For a long time, the Falcons went with the former, keeping both Todd McClure at center and Clabo at right tackle, not to mention Justin Blalock and his supreme consistency of starts. It appears the Falcons have shifted to getting younger and, hopefully, more talented on the offensive line. As mentioned before, it’s risky, but it was time the Falcons started giving their own OL draftees a chance to play and start. One of the post draft conferences by Thomas Dimitroff said something along the lines of “it’s time to start developing our own players,” and that nowhere more true than the offensive line.

Mike Johnson: College Stud or NFL Dud?

Although it’s a rhyming title, it really is a legitimate question regarding offensive lineman Mike Johnson. He was a 3rd round compensatory pick for the Falcons back in 2010 and seemed to be ready for a starting spot sooner than later based on his college resume. He was an All-America, First Team All-SEC, only lost two games in two years, blocked for a Heisman winner (Mark Ingram), won an SEC Title, a National Championship, and left Alabama as recording the highest number of starts (54) ever for any Roll Tide player in history. And that impressive resume has led to a whopping one whole start in 3 years. Fans are flummoxed that Johnson lost in his battle to take hold of a wide open starting right guard spot two years in a row (the position he played most in college). Not only that, but Johnson lost that spot to a player that had played right tackle almost exclusively in his playing career (Garrett Reynolds).

3 of them No Longer Falcons (AJC)

Johnson now enters his fourth year in the NFL and it seems like a now or never moment for the former Roll Tide member. Another interesting point is that Johnson is in a competition for the open right tackle spot instead of what he was known for in college. For the moment, Johnson appears to be in the lead for the spot, at least if you consider mini-camp to mean something. Perhaps Johnson has finally turned the corner and is ready for primetime. Or it could simply be a case of Smith giving the veteran the spot before training camp starts (something he’s done since being the Falcons coach). If nothing else, Johnson is an extremely versatile and valuable backup. The problem is, that you don’t draft offensive linemen in the 3rd round to be backups.

Lamar Holmes: Super Talent or Confirmed Reach?

It’s a little harsh to judge a player on whether he gets a starting spot in only his second year, the higher the draft pick, the tougher the scrutiny. Such looks to be the case with Lamar Holmes with many fans. When the Falcons took the Southern Miss man last year in the 3rd round, many screamed and threw something at their TV. Why were the Falcons taking a supposed OL project in the 3rd round when A) their OL was already set, B) when they had no 1st or 4th round pick that year, and C) why take him in the 3rd round when everyone had him slotted in the 5th round or later? Knowing that Thomas Dimitroff always has his eye on the future, it started to make a lot more sense once fans settled down some.

Will Johnson Join Baker on Other Side? (AJC)

At a minimum, the Falcons GM was hedging his bets with Holmes. Sam Baker was entering his contract year in 2012 and had been wildly inconsistent and Tyson Clabo was over the 30 year old mark and his performance was no longer matching his significant salary. If Baker turned out to have a bad year and wasn’t retained than Holmes could train for that LT spot or it gave Dimitroff more cap room flexibility if needed, which turned out to be the case. Dimitroff did the same exact thing when he took Akeem Dent (another supposed reach) in the 3rd round and wasn’t held hostage to high salary demands by Curtis Lofton.

Holmes comes in with amazing potential. He’s 6’6, 325 (down from 331 when drafted) and moves extremely well for a big man. He’s had a year of tutoring under OL coach Pat Hill and looks to be ready to take hold of the open RT spot. He would add size and, more importantly, mobility coupled with athleticism to the offensive line. He currently is behind Mike Johnson (a guard in college) on the depth chart and, just like Johnson, that could be taken in two ways. Either Smith is simply giving Johnson the initial nod due to his veteran nature, or Holmes isn’t catching on or catching up as the Falcons and fans had hoped. Johnson has more at stake than Holmes since he’s in year 4 and Holmes is only in year 2. However, many of Dimitroff’s 3rd round draft picks have moved into the starting lineup by year 2 (DeCoud, Peters, Dent).

A Good Problem to Have

Once considered the most hated group by fans, the offensive line finally seems to have several options available to them on the OL, all of which have been drafted by the Falcons front office. Although there can only be one winner, it’s overall a good situation for the Falcons. They have two offensive linemen that can be very versatile and valuable. Another good sign will be that the Falcons are finally developing some of their own OL draft picks. Of course it could go terribly awry as it did in 2011, but hopefully the combination of Pat Hill and Dirk Koetter being in year 2, having a more explosive running back, and more talent will equal a good move over the long term.

Other Options?

Will Reynolds Stay at RG? (AJC)

This seems to be a pretty moot point since Coach Smith has already indicated that the right tackle battle has come down to Johnson and Holmes, but could there be any other possibilities as training camp gets underway? After all, Garrett Reynolds was always a right tackle and Mike Johnson played most at guard at Alabama. They seem to have a good crop of talent at offensive tackle through undrafted free agents in Terren Jones, Alec Savoie, and Ryan Schraeder, but they’ll be fighting just for a roster spot and more likely a practice squad spot.

The Cage OL Experts Turn

1) What’s your thoughts on release of Clabo: good move or too risky?

2) Who do you think WILL win the RT spot?

3) Which player do you WANT to win the RT spot?

4) What’s your overall thoughts on the offensive line as training camp approaches?

156 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

July 7th, 2013
10:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Unca' Bob

July 7th, 2013
10:40 pm

D3,

Just one more in a long line of fine articles you have brought to bear.

Who do I want to see start at RT? The best player on hand as always for any position. I do trust our coaching staff to pick the best talent on hand to fill whatever slot.

As far as Clabo is concerned, prior to his leaving, he offered to restructure his contract and the Falcons refused the offer. That, in and of it self, should go a long way to explain his departure. We must feel we have someone on hand that can be more than what Clabo brought to the table, and , on the cheap. Whom that lad is, I have no idea.

Expectations can be a witch, with a capitol B. Lord knows, I so look forward to the up coming season. My expectations are high. Let’s Tee It Up!!

Big Ray

July 8th, 2013
6:33 am

If I’m stuck on picking an individual based on what I think I know – I’d have to say I want Lamar Holmes to win the spot. He’s big, he’s athletic, and we drafted him in the 3rd round (so I want him starting sooner rather than later).

But, three things come to mind:

1) Chemistry really matters, and perhaps never is it more true than between a QB and his WRs/TEs in the eyes of most. But others recognize that it is equally important on the offensive line. Thus, whichever 5 guys develop and maintain the best chemistry are the guys you want out there.

2) Holmes may be the only legit LT talent on the roster behind Baker, who has had one nice season post-surgery. Do we want to lock him in at RT and then have to switch later if something happens with Baker again (not that I’m hoping it does)? At that point, you’re talking about reworking the chemistry across two positions instead of just subbing in at one. Much as I don’t like the idea of Holmes being a swing backup after we snagged him in the 3rd round, it might be the best idea in the short term.

3) What if Mike Johnson (also a 3rd round pick) is simply more experienced in our system? What if that shows up in practice and play? Recall the above-mentioned chemistry comments. What if Holmes simply needs a little more time?

Now I will say this – once a person becomes a starter on this team, they typically become the incumbent thereafter. It’s a Mike Smith staple – witness Reynolds at the RG position. That said, Dimitroff has urged the advance of his young draft picks (Johnson being foremost among them, I would imagine), and I see him winning the position in part because of that.

Whomever the best 5 guys are as a unit is who needs to be on the field. In this case, individual talent may not and probably should not win the day. Why? Because I’m not convinced we yet have a dominator at any of the positions. So it’s necessary that the unit itself be strong, as opposed to one or two monsters doing their thing with the others clinging to them as they go (effectively creating weak spots along the line which DCs and mean defenses will exploit). Might sound a bit screwy, but I think this is the way to go.

Especially if this ends up being a ZBS more than anything else.

Big Ray

July 8th, 2013
6:54 am

To answer the questions more directly:

1) Letting any veteran OL player go is risky in and of itself, particularly if you haven’t drafted any “for sure” stud to play the same position as the outgoing veteran. That said, keeping an incumbent who isn’t a star or otherwise better-than-average, rock solid performer is even more risky. This may or may not look like a great move early on. But in time (hopefully within just a couple/few games), it should prove to have been the right move. Also, the contract/salary cap implications have to be taken into consideration.

2) Mike Johnson. He’s got more time in the WPP…ahem, I mean…the Falcons system than the younger victim…ahem, I mean prospect….Lamar Holmes, who may be needed as backup swing tackle and may be more apt to play LT better if needed (which we hope is not the case).

3) Whoever FITS better. Protecting Ice and blocking well for SJax/Quizz is infinitely more important as a unit than having one’s favorite pick for a position get the starting spot. If that is Holmes, then great. If it’s Johnson, then great. Both are 3rd round picks and we need to show something for it. As TD said “it’s time.”

4) I really don’t know what to think. I can name two starters in Blalock and Baker, but that’s it as far as what one can expect. I hope Konz wins the starting Center spot, but what if Hawley beats him out? I don’t think he can take the RG spot from Reynolds, and maybe he shouldn’t (even though I’ve thought more than once that Reynolds is too tall for Guard and makes a better Tackle…but in the end, what the hell do I know?).

Konz is the one young guy that I figure HAS to start somewhere on the line due to his draft slot and his performance last season, but what if that goes against everything I said earlier about “performance as a unit” being more important than individual performance?

I assume Reynolds is the best RG we have on the roster, and it seems Philip Keith Manley’s multiple trips to Golden Corral are assuring this.

Once again, we are told there will be some “fierce competition” along the OL in training camp. After last season, I’m a little suspicious that seniority still rules the day. I think starters on the OL will – from left to right – Baker, Blalock, Konz, Reynolds, Johnson.

The position with the most doubt in my mind? Believe it or not….is Center.

Big Ray

July 8th, 2013
6:55 am

SERIOUSLY? BLOG MONSTER THIS EARLY??!!!

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Woman drowns at Lake [...]

Flo-Ri-Duh

July 8th, 2013
10:44 am

The short answer is we don’t know who is best since NONE of them has proven they are starting material at ROT. I have a feeling Holmes will start….. is he ready?

Paddy O

July 8th, 2013
12:42 pm

Lamar Holmes.

Big Ray

July 8th, 2013
1:23 pm

I think Paddy O’s answer was shorter.

I answered the questions but the thrice-damned blog monster ate it.

Die Hard Falcon

July 8th, 2013
1:34 pm

I think that Mike Johnson should get the nod if he can do it, I really thought he was a solid pick coming out of Alabama, but obviously things haven’t worked out for some reason, strange if we have Reynolds a RT coming out of college starting at RG and then Johnson a RG coming out of college starting at RT. I guess we’ll see, as long as it’s what’s best for the team.

I think Holmes is a little bit of a project and unless he shows it and wins the battle in camp and the preseason, then another year w/ more time to progress would be a good thing. I also like that we’d have a back up for Baker should the injury bug bite again.

Go Falcons!!!

JB Falcon™

July 8th, 2013
3:23 pm

Gotta got with UB on this one. I think Holmes may be a beast while hoping Johnson pans outs.

Ken Strickland

July 8th, 2013
3:40 pm

BIG RAY-I think your @2 is right on point & might end up being the deciding factor. After all, Holmes was originally drafted because Baker was in a contract yr & we weren’t sure we could resign him. Whether he wins the RT battle of not, I’m convinced he’ll end up being LT SBaker’s replacement, sooner rather than later. If Holmes has a good training camp & holds his own against MJohnson, we might see SBaker traded after the season.

Unca' Bob

July 8th, 2013
3:44 pm

Paddy O

July 8th, 2013
6:00 pm

short & sweet, BR, short & sweet.

Sportaree

July 8th, 2013
6:11 pm

I agree with Unca Bob and JB about Holmes. I would like to see a O line that has a group of big, nastys that will play as a unit and with an attitude.

D3

July 8th, 2013
6:15 pm

Great Monday Cage! — I had enough, (as many of you did), of the fru-fru topics and it was time to return back to your roots: nuts and bolts Falcons Football!

Here’s my take on the RT situation………….

Ultimately, as all of us, I want the best man to win. And honestly, I won’t be upset whomever it is because it will be a 3rd round draft pick that will take the spot, and the other 3rd round pick will be our main backup. But objectivity aside……..

I want Holmes to take the spot. For no other reason than the physical prowess that he represents. NFL.com has Mike Johnson listed at 6′6, but I think he’s right around 6′5. Holmes is a beast and a prototypical “big” OT candidate. I think the tandem of Blalock (326), Konz (315), Reynolds (310, but 6′7), and Holmes (325) would finally give us one of the bigger OL’s we’ve had in some time. However, it won’t just be all about weight, but more athletic weight.

Back for more in a little bit.

WR

July 8th, 2013
6:29 pm

Evening cage, the hope, again the hope, is that Johnson becomes the dominant player he was at tackle for Alabama, here in the NFL. That’s not to say I wouldn’t mind seeing Holmes winning the RT spot, but that is to say that Holmes was seen as been extremely talented and gifted if he realized it to be a staple at either LT or RT. Sure the Falcons just re-upped on Baker, and again, sure, Baker had a good year last year when fully healthy, but if Holmes can realize his talent and be coached up, your talking about a potential franchise LT which is about as hard to find as a franchise QB, luckily the Falcons have the latter covered. Now it might not pan out this way, but a future, very present future of Holmes @ LT, Blalock at LG, Konz @ C, Reynolds @ RG and Johnson @ RT and you have an OL to build around and protect Ryan for years to come. This could be like forming the Hogs of back in the day, and that dynasty OL that Dallas enjoyed in the 90’s. From that point its just plug and play, and this team would be the constant contender that we have imagined, and actually the constant contender they have shown themselves to be over the past few seasons.

Bottom line, I want the best OL that’s possible to be out there protecting Ryan, like anyone else. At the same time, considering the youth, building the potential for a dynasty along the way won’t look bad at all if the chips fall right.

tyler

July 8th, 2013
9:07 pm

Great topic D3, I’m looking forward to other position battle discussions, especially on Defense.

But to this question I would say I feel that the Falcons are very comfortable with Johnson and Holmes, as evidenced by the release of Clabo. Dimitroff has done a good job of addressing the OL through the draft and free agency, and now we have what I would call good depth throughout the OL positions.

At this point I can’t really pick a favorite between Johnson and Holmes. Johnson did suffer some injuries earlier in his career that the Falcons were fairly guarded about in terms of fully disclosing information. How much these injuries held Johnson’s development back is an unknown factor in my opinion, but could of been very significant for all we know. This combined with his impressive college resume is intriguing. I’m looking forward to watching him at full health this preseason.

What little we saw from Holmes in preseason last year was positive. Obviously his impressive size speaks for itself. A year of physical training combined with improved technique has me hopeful for Holmes’s ability to be a significant contributor for the team this year.

What it all comes down to in my opinion will be the performance on the field. From day one of training camp and probably all the way up to or through the 3rd preseason game. I will be watching closely as I am sure most of us in The Cage will, and I know the Falcon coaches will also be breaking down every snap these two play in practice and games. All in all, I have to forego a decision due to lack of information. I cant wait for training camp to start, wont be long now!!!!!!

JB Falcon™

July 8th, 2013
9:20 pm

Seems like ¾ of us want Holmes and ¾ of us want Johnson.

DHunt

July 8th, 2013
9:39 pm

1) What’s your thoughts on release of Clabo: good move or too risky?
With what we should have in Holmes or Johnson, you have to admit it makes good business sense.

2) Who do you think WILL win the RT spot?
I hope both guys are ready to step up and play to the level of the team. I hope the fact that this is even a topic of discussion is because both of these guys are so good that it is damn near impossible to choose between them. I hope this sincerely and devoutly, because the filp side of that coin is liable to keep a brotha up at night.

3) Which player do you WANT to win the RT spot?
Holmes is bigger and more athletic. Which means in order for Johnson to beat him out, he would have to be more cerebral or more capable of the technical execution required of great OT’s. Do I want the guy who is technically proficient and understands what needs to be done, but may not be able to do it as effectively? Or do I want the guy who may not always completely get the play call, or have the best technique, but usually performs quite well on sheer physical ability? Freely admit, I don’t know…

4) What’s your overall thoughts on the offensive line as training camp approaches?
Ever notice how guys get a starting job on a team with consistently high standards and that is consistently a contender for the championship, and then those guys start performing up to the higher level of the team? It seemed like that happened to a large extent last year for the Falcons; with the exception of the Carolina and Arizona games where 3/5ths of the line was pathetic. But maybe this year we can elevate from consistently good to dominant. Maybe this year both sides of the ball will step up and perform like they belong to a franchise with a culture and history of exceptional performance and a tradition of winning and championships.

Hey, it had to start somewhere for those franchises (Steelers, Patriots, 49er’s, etc) that have that reputation. Why not now. and why not the Falcons?

SeminoleWarrior

July 8th, 2013
9:58 pm

Cage

I am in TOTAL agreement with Tyler on this one. The jury is out on both of these guys.

Though he is a FA next spring, if Johnson is finally healthy and can live up to the vast potential he exhibited at Alabama, this will be one fierce competition. If Holmes is all that the Falcons thought he was when they took him in the third round, he should have some upside that is evident this training camp.

It will come down to the performance and which one of these guys is FINALLY healthy. Looking forward to this battle.

But in the end, I think given the fact that he has two more years on his original deal and Johnson is a FA in 2014, I think that Holmes wins out a close battle.

SeminoleWarrior

July 8th, 2013
10:09 pm

Like it or not, a healthy Sam Baker will be the LT for as long as he is in the ATL, especially if we retain the principles of the ZBS. If the issues with his back come back, then I concur with K Strick; his ATL days will be numbered.

Konz is the center for the next 7 to 10 years as Hawley will be a long term, inexpensive backup player for the Falcons.

Ken Strickland

July 8th, 2013
10:19 pm

I believe that unless LHolmes blows MJohnson away in the RT battle, MJohnson will be our starting RT. I still say our coaching staff expects LHolmes to be our starting LT of the future, and that could be as soon as next season. I think SBaker will be traded rather than released outright, but who knows for sure.

The truth is, regardless of which player wins the starting RT position, it will be an overall upgrade over the declining Clabo. GReynolds is a definite upgrade over PKonz at RG, and PKonz will be a definite upgrade over McClure at OC. Also, with Reynolds at RG & Johnson at RT, the R-side of our OL will be more physical and better built to power run block.

You add better power run blocking & better zone blocking ability, due to more athleticism & a true power RB, and you have far better rushing ability. This is the 1st time since Smitty & TDs arrival that we’ll have 3 every down RBs. DEFs won’t know from 1 down to the next what we’ll do. With Turner, Mughelli & Cox, we had to substitute if we wanted to pass, and DEFs knew what we intended to do and acted accordingly.

SeminoleWarrior

July 8th, 2013
10:36 pm

Well stated, Ken. This is the most promise the OL has had since the implementation of the Process. And I for one am very optimistic about what Pat Hill will be able to do with this group. More depth and versatility than we have had in some time.

If Baker was to be traded, any ideas on where you think he would be traded to and for what? Just curious.

marko

July 9th, 2013
5:48 am

The only under the radar situation I can see involves Garrett Reynolds. His two year contract could be easily described as an underwhelming vote of confidence. He resigned for 3 million and change, but the bulk is due next year. The Falcons would only have to pay him 500,000 to let him walk. Mere chump change in the land of billion dollar stadiums. Garrett has 2013 to prove he deserves his contract. if he does, he gets the full contract, and bigger paychecks in the future. If he falters, there’s Mr. Johnson. Deja vu all over again.

PoolerSpirit

July 9th, 2013
9:16 am

First… good to see the Cage rolling again… good job Dawson!

I still like Lamar as our right tackle, because I still envision Johnson winning the Right Guard spot over Garrett Reynolds… That’s the position Johnson was drafted for, and where I believe he had his most success while at ‘Bama. GR just seems too tall to be in the guard spot… or at least he should seem more suited for the outside tackle position and Johnson more suited for the guard position… I can’t understand the coaching staff’s insistence to the contrary…

WR

July 9th, 2013
12:15 pm

Afternoon cage,

Again to not neglect the issue of the topic, I’m just glad the Falcons have 2 strong potential players battling for the RT position. I know potential doesn’t mean much, but considering the Falcons let Clabo go, they have saw something in one of these guys, maybe both, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out, and crossing my fingers it plays out to their expectations and ours.

But on another note, for some reason my concerns lay heavily in the Falcons front 7, even when considering the additions of 2 rookies in the secondary, and of course the changes going on with the OL. Many probably will disagree but I believe Spoon and Peters are the only real strengths of that group. Sure, I like the addition of Osi, the Falcons can use whatever he has left in the tank and his veteran and SB experience is a plus. Yes, Babs is underrated and still gets it done so I’m not trying to take anything away from him, in the end its about impact, both offensively and defensively, and defensively I just don’t see where its going to come from.

Nolan is a great DC in my opinion, but no matter the DC, what has helped put them on the map is impactful players. Look at Koetter last year, he became a hot name, and if the Falcons duplicate their success or take it further he will be an even hotter name next offseason. What did he have, a passing game that featured Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez, with a QB of Ryan’s talents. The OL is a nice topic, hopefully the youth adds an upgrade, even if they don’t, there’s enough weapons over there to hide the defiancies, see GB only a couple years ago and since for the most part regarding OLs. Defensively however, I believe its only fair as a former big time BVG finger pointer to point out that it wasn’t as if the unit last year was any better. When considering this regimes approach that has pretty much always been the chase, the O gets better every year for the most part, but the D always seems to be an afterthought. Now that’s probably not the chase, but it sure is hard to argue against unless there’s some youthful players in the Falcons front 7 that will step up this year, hindsight is still 20/20, this is a unit I would like to be eating crow on when regarding my opinion.

I apologize for such a long post, getting close to the start of the season, so just contribute it to excitement please.

D3

July 9th, 2013
1:29 pm

Great Tuesday Afternoon Cage! — Rolling along and things are starting to pick up a little bit. Before I get into a point I meant to make yesterday, I wanted to share something with you that myself and JJ are very excited about………….

I’m sure that a lot of you hardcore Falcons junkies like myself have listened to various podcasts in the past. The AtlantaFalcons.com website puts out one every week or so and so does The Falcoholic. So JJ and I were talking one day and thought…………….why not do one for The Cage and have members be the guests? Well, we are……………..

Introducing The Falcons Cage Network Podcast!!!! We’re still in the beginning and exploratory phase of getting the podcast where it needs to be, but here’s some basics:

1) - We’re going to try and do one cast a week for 30 minutes. It’s through a really cool website called BlogTalkRadio where you just call in through your cellphone or landline (just make sure you have unlimited nationwide long-distance) and the website does the rest. Kind of like a conference call. Unfortunately, you have to pay a high subscription to use your computer, like Skype.

2) - It will follow a pretty easy format. Introductions, the main discussion (various topics I have laid out, similar to The Cage), some Rapid Fire Falcons Questions, and JJ will have a short fantasy segment at the end. We’re in the process of adding some more segments, but 30 minutes goes a lot faster than you think when you’re talking Falcons Football!

3) - JJ and I did our first test run show yesterday and, while it will take some time to get the kinks worked out, it was pretty fun and just adds one more element of fandom to our blog.

4) - We are having our first official podcast tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm. Myself, JJ, and Seminole Warrior are signed on. But we can have up to 5 total guests. If you’re interested, email me at dawsondevitt@hotmail.com and let me know if you’d be interested. It’s real casual and just talking Falcons Football in a more interactive context than typing on a blog.

5) – If it starts going well, we may start doing a couple a week during our dead zone (however, starting a new job in a good school system, it will go back to once a week once school starts in late July). If you want to be on, I will send you a basic outline of how the show is going to go if you want to prep and such. You just call this certain number 15 minutes before the show starts and the website does the rest.

5) - For those of you that are interested, JJ and I did a test run one yesterday and if you’d like to give it a listen, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. All comments, critiques, and suggestions are welcome.

Ultimately, the idea is to include all of you that would like to participate!

Unca' Bob

July 9th, 2013
1:57 pm

D3,

I saw a free program as well on the site. 30 minute 5 caller max…Is that what you are using?

JB Falcon™

July 9th, 2013
3:53 pm

So, Stafford got an extension for three yrs @ $53 mil. or $17,670,000 per yr. Hmmm. Hey, Ice, you listening?

falcon21

July 9th, 2013
4:14 pm

NFL Live on ESPN will be talking about our Birds in a few!

JJ

July 9th, 2013
5:16 pm

From Bleacher Report today:

” Predicting Every NFL Team’s Biggest Bust of 2013:

Atlanta Falcons, Garrett Reynolds

The Atlanta Falcons have been waiting for right guard Garrett Reynolds to break out of his shell and become a top-notch starting NFL offensive guard. Unfortunately for both the Falcons and Reynolds, he’s been unable to do that in each of the past two seasons.

In 2011 and 2012, Reynolds lost his starting spot during the regular season. In 2011, Joe Hawley, had to step in for Reynolds after he underperformed at right guard.

In 2012, Reynolds was placed on season-ending injured reserve due to a back injury. However, the Falcons looked improved with Peter Konz at right guard instead of Reynolds.

With Konz at his natural center position this season, Reynolds is slated to start once again at right guard. He’ll need to have improved specifically against the pass rush (Reynolds ranked No. 74 in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking efficiency stat and No. 72 in 2011 (subscription required)) if he wants to retain his job. If not, he could once again be Atlanta’s biggest bust in 2013. “

JB Falcon™

July 9th, 2013
7:10 pm

Maybe we’ll end up with Johnson at RG, where he played in college and let Holmes take over RT. Anyone want to shoot that idea down? Orr, maybe Reynolds will see the writing on the wall and play up to his potential.

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
7:54 pm

JB F, I like the idea and it makes perfect sense to me.

Given his versatile nature while at Alabama, I wonder why Johnson is not in the mix at the guard position. Reynolds is a convert at guard and is better suited for the RT position (trust me, saw him while he was at NC State…he is a natural there).

Meanwhile, the cross training experiment continues. Holmes is a true tackle; the question is whether he will man the right side this year and move over in time as Ken suggests OR whether Holmes is the answer at right long term.

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
7:59 pm

D3 and Cage

Looking forward to the first Pod-Cast on Wednesday night. I think it has the making of something special, just like the Cage has become a standard for all things Falcons.

WR

July 9th, 2013
8:38 pm

D3, apparently you will let JJ talk you into anything, be careful, just kidding, LOL. Looking forward to the podcast, I have to get through the summer rush, but I will try to join in as soon as possible. I will add though, if Rocky makes a commit, I’m calling Micheal Vick, we all know how things will go from that point.

Seriously, good luck guys, hope to be joining you soon.

Rocky

July 9th, 2013
8:42 pm

:{ grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Rocky

July 9th, 2013
8:43 pm

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:51 pm

LOL….good one, WR.

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:53 pm

JJ/ Rocky

I think I did everything I needed to in order to register accordingly. Will chime in early just in case I need to make a few adjustments.

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:55 pm

WR,

Just remember, our FFL guru does not want you to overload with QBs on your roster. LOL.

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:56 pm

One more point, WR. Hit me up with an email reply via our FFL….

What do you think of the new look ACC in 2013?

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:59 pm

SeminoleWarrior

July 9th, 2013
8:59 pm

Sorry if it has already been posted…..but it is a very good piece.

JB Falcon™

July 9th, 2013
9:37 pm

Okay, I need some help here. I went to blogtalkradio.com. I type Atlanta Falcons into the search and found a plethoria of posts. How do I get the the post D3 had on his e-mail? Anyone?

D3

July 9th, 2013
11:17 pm

JB — No worries. It’s a little confusing above. JJ and I did a test show yesterday, but myself, JJ, and SW are doing our first “live show” that will be open to the public. I’ll send you test run show via email. Doing that right now.

Heisenberg

July 10th, 2013
12:55 pm

It’s been a minute since I posted, but it was nice to be welcomed back with this gem from BR: “I assume Reynolds is the best RG we have on the roster, and it seems Philip Keith Manley’s multiple trips to Golden Corral are assuring this. ”

Also, D3, I think the podcast is a great idea. While driving home from work, I would throw on one of the local radio stations to get my daily Falcons dose. Needless to say, most shows could barely be called an appetizer for the knowledge I got in The Cage.

As far as the question at hand, I’ll join in with my echo of, “May the best man win.” Holmes seems to be the better fit at tackle (height), which frees Johnson up to be the OL’s swiss army knife. Like SW, I’m also a little confused as to why Johnson is competing for RT and Reynolds at RG when their natural positions seem to be the opposite.

And finally, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, chemistry and sticking together mean everything on an OL. Remember the Priest Holmes days in KC when that OL was making defensive fronts look silly? Sure, they had talent there, but it was not a coincidence that KC’s offensive line had played together longer than any other line in the league. I firmly believe that a bunch of average O-linemen playing together for 3 years will yield a better on-field product than a Frankensteined group of players with more talent. For instance, look at what happened to the Falcons OL when Dahl left. I’d rather have five medium strength links in a chain than three strong links and two weak ones.

So I guess what I’m saying is that once Johnson or Holmes wins the spot, leave it alone. Ironically, Smitty seems most likely to make changes on the OL than anywhere else.

Basically,

Hamad Meander

July 10th, 2013
3:32 pm

My vote: Lamar Holmes. Here’s my reasoning: Big, fast, strong. Right tackle isn’t the most difficult position on the offensive line and he should be able to handle it. Question: did he play right or left tackle in college?

We needed to get younger, bigger, and stronger on the line and moving Konz to center and putting Holmes at RT achieves that. I’m WAY more concerned about our options at RG. I don’t feel we have anyone on the roster that is a true right guard. It seems like we are using unsuccessful tackles to fill the RT position. I’m not cool with that. I believe the skill set and body types for tackle and guard are completely different.

I wish we had used our 2nd round pick on Larry Warford and we wouldn’t be worried who was playing RG or RT. Either way, offensive line isn’t going to be a problem area unless the injuries start showing up.

Hamad Meander

July 10th, 2013
3:40 pm

“(Reynolds ranked No. 74 in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking efficiency stat and No. 72 in 2011 (subscription required)) if he wants to retain his job. If not, he could once again be Atlanta’s biggest bust in 2013. “

Given that there are 160 starting offensive linemen in the NFL, being in the top half in pass-blocking efficiency isn’t a terrible thing. I’m not endorsing Garrett Reynolds, I’m just busting this opinion by ProFootball Focus for not being statistically revelant.

John Wayneswörld

July 10th, 2013
4:05 pm

DE Jamal Anderson has been released by the Bengals. Time to reunite the old gang?

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/10/bengals-release-jamaal-anderson/

Juuuuuust kidding.