Are you Worried about the Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle Situation?

Low 2012 Performance, No Reinforcements

How Much Does #95 have left? (AJC)

The Atlanta Falcons 2013 season is drawing ever closer (1 week from Thursday, but who’s counting) fans are getting pumped and excited about the long wait finally being over. It seems as though it’s been an eternity since the NFL Draft and eons since the Falcons fell a few yards short of their Super Bowl bid. But, alas, the long wait is almost mercifully over. Over the next few weeks running up to preseason, The Cage will look not only at the major position battles, points of strength, but also areas that could be the Falcons Achilles Heel. One such area that’s keeping fans up at night, or at least should be, is the defensive tackle situation. Here’s a look at how the Falcons defensive tacklea did in 2012 and how they’re rolling into the 2013 at DT:

Thanks to ProFootballFocus (subscription required) for their comprehensive statistics.

Best Falcons DT Now in Oakland?

While Vance Walker hasn’t been the biggest of names the last 4 years, hardcore fans know exactly what he’s meant to Atlanta since being drafted I’m the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In terms of pure value, he may have been the Falcons best example of player development the last 5 years (something that many feel is an issue @ Flowery Branch).

Vance Walker Stats per PFF:

(Out of 85 total DTs, 4-3 and 3-4); Overall – 17th (+7.6); Pass Rush – 34th(+1.5); Run Defense – 26th (+2.9); Sacks – Tied 21st (3); QB Hits – 53rd (1); QB Hurries – 18th (15)

The Cage is Worried about DT (AJC)

Although Walker had became known as a solid rotational d-tackle, according to ProFootballFocus he was the Falcons best overall DT and topped his position mates in overall ranking, coming in as the 16th best DT. In fact, Walker made 5 starts before being replaced by the ineffective Corey Peters, who likely never fully recovered from his injury. The Raiders paid Walker a 1 year, $2 million contract and he likely has a better chance to earn a shot as a permanent starter. While it’s understandable the Falcons can’t keep all of their draft picks that become free agents, Dimitroff has always kept the ones they’ve deemed worthy. It’s likely that Travian Robertson will slide into Walkers vacated spot, but couldn’t they have kept Walker, parted ways with Peria Jerry, moved Robertson in the rotation and had a much deeper and better DT position?

How Much Does Babineaux have Left?

Jonathan Babineaux Stats per PFF:

(Out of 85 total DTs, 4-3 and 3-4); Overall – 38th (+3.5); Pass Rush – 26th (+2.5); Run Defense – 56th (-3.3); Sacks – Tied 6th (5); QB Hits – 45th (3); QB Hurries – 14th (20)

Walker Gone (AJC)

After John Abraham wasn’t re-signed in free agency, Jonathan Babineaux became the Falcons only remaining defensive player with any consistency whatsoever. He turns 32 in October and he’s one of the only remaining players that is a holdover from the previous regime. Some thought he may get cut when Abraham, Dunta Robinson, and Michael Turner, but Flowery Branch elected to keep him along the defensive line. The former Iowa Buckeye enters the last year of his contract and he’s been one of the few players that have shown an ability to get after the quarterback, especially considering the instability alongside him at defensive tackle. Imagine how good he may have been with a stud DT right beside him. The DL is so paper thin that the Falcons can ill afford to lose Babineaux to any injury or digression due to age. Hopefully, he has enough to for one more year.

A Down Year for Peters Due to Injury or……..

Corey Peters Stats per PFF:

(Out of 85 total DTs, 4-3 and 3-4); Overall – 84th (-13.3); Pass Rush – 57th (-2.1); Run Defense – 85th (-12.2); Sacks – 0; QB Hits – 0; QB Hurries – 28th (12)

All Hope Peters Gets Back to Good (AJC)

Pretty much all Falcons fans knew that Corey Peters never really recovered from the injury that plagued him through mini-camp and all of training camp. In fact, he wasn’t activated until week 6 or so in the regular season. The former Kentucky Wildcat had an excellent breakout season in 2011, registering 3 sacks and generally being one of the best Falcons players on the entire defense. It’s understandable that he would have a down year, but those numbers above aren’t a mistake. He was next to dead last in ProFootballFocus’ defensive tackle rankings. He generally had a very down year and most will just chalk it up to injury. With Babineaux turning 32 and hitting the last year of his contract, Peria Jerry never living up to his draft status, Travian Robertson never playing much, and a slew of undrafted free agents behind them, Flowery Branch and fans alike are desperately hoping that Peters bounces back to his old form.

Peria Jerry

Travian Robertson / Cliff Matthews / Micanor Regis

Adam Replogle / Neal Huynh

No Draft Picks

Rest of post coming soon…………..

The Falcons Cage Podcast

Episode #1 – Linebackers (Guests – JJ, Seminole Warrior)

Episode #2 – Defensive Tackle (Guests – Seminole Warrior, Coop, Big Ray, JJ)

167 comments Add your comment

Wings

July 17th, 2013
11:22 am

For Unca’Bob

Wes

July 17th, 2013
12:15 pm

in the Walker section, forget to put numbers in where the dashes are?

CDUBB

July 17th, 2013
12:21 pm

I think the Falcons will be blitz heavy this year. They basically have 4 solid bump&run corners and they have enough athletic tweeners that can cover a short zone area. They were better last year after they went to what essentially was a 3-4.

JB Falcon™

July 17th, 2013
12:36 pm

I should probably save this post since it is not about linemen but feel it is important to know that we have the top ranked receiving corp in the league!
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000218122/article/nfls-top-10-receiving-corps?campaign=Twitter_atl

Paddy O

July 17th, 2013
1:06 pm

I was bummed to see Vance go. If Baker plays starting LT for us for another 5 years – is he then a “good quality” pick?

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Carrollton church destroyed by overnight [...]

tyler

July 17th, 2013
3:25 pm

I thought the Falcons and Nolan in particular did not show much confidence at all at the DE position, hence the two draft picks this year. For much of the latter part of last year Babs was rotating in at DE instead of DT. Hopefully some more depth at DE can allow Babs to work more at his natural position of DT. I think they feel Matthews can be more effective inside, and he has added weight this offseason, so hopefully he can help fill the gap left by Walker.

Jerry is up against an absolute do or die contact year, that’s if he manages to make the final roster this year which I still think is questionable. I think the four DTs will be Babs, Jerry, Peters, and Matthews, with both Matthews, Babs, and possibly Jerry available to play 5-technique in the 3-4.

tyler

July 17th, 2013
3:28 pm

I should add that Robertson and Peters should be the two inside guys in the 3-4, and if the Falcons sign Seymour, Jerry is probably gone.

tyler

July 17th, 2013
3:28 pm

(rotational inside guys that is)

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
5:44 pm

What’s Up Cage..

A very nice topic that I will address/comment on in short order.

JB F

I love the fact that our WRs are getting the attention they deserve. Additionally, with a year of the DK system in the books, I think we could see more out of HD83 this year in the slot.

I would like to see him with 40 to 50 receptions, 3-5 TDs, and 500-600 yards would be a great contribution and a significant addition to an already lethal passing attack.

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
5:54 pm

Initially, I think that the defensive tackle position is too small. We are stocked extensively with under-tackles (3 tech) players that are best suited to shoot gaps and disrupt. Currently, the Falcons do not possess that single DT/NT presence that contains the line of scrimmage or handles the double team.

This is significant in my opinion in that it allows offensive lines to gain the advantage and facilitate a greater push of the DL backwards. The inability to control or offset this push has resulted in a mixed bag when it comes to containing the opposing rushing offensive attack as well as a weakened ability to pressure the pocket or sustain a consistent pass rush.

More points in a few…

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
5:56 pm

Due to circumstances beyond control, the Pod-Cast is cancelled for tonight. If you are interested in listening, it is scheduled to return on Sunday evening, 21 July @ 6:30pm.

Best wishes to the moderator as he handles a personal matter.

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
6:30 pm

Grits Blitz

July 17th, 2013
6:43 pm

Coach Nolan, the defense can not “bring the pain” if you have few/no hosses in the stall. Somebody in management best be getting their best “spin move” on p.r. spinning how we’ve had since the SB to get some real “painmakers” and passed on … anyone – proven or otherwise, inc. DE and MLB! Get Ryan “tracted” and then get us some “hurt bringers”…now! Blitzing alone won’t cut it. (Just ask n – f – l, Jerry Glanville.)

JB Falcon™

July 17th, 2013
7:40 pm

SW, everything I’ve read about HD is that he had better be looking over his shoulder, not as in a play, but in the competition coming behind him. He is definitely the weak link in our receiving corp. It’s funny how that one play he screwed up in the playoffs was the topping on his ice cream cone, and that topping wasn’t a cherry.
Sorry to hear about the podcast. I was looking forward to it and am sure D3 will work out his detour. I’m looking forward to the podcast being able to talk about the most recent game. That will be interesting for sure.
As far as the subject on this post, the DT position, I wasn’t too worried about it until I listened to the second podcast. You guys brought up some disturbing facts. I suppose it’s too late to worry about it now because there’s no FA’s or anything out there that we can count on for improving what it is. If we can come up with a defense that is, at least, as good as the one we had last year, I think we will be alright. We were very hard to score on in spite of everything and I’m counting on our offense to add at least 30% more points this year than we put up last year.

D3

July 17th, 2013
7:51 pm

No big deal guys, just a little under the weather. Likely just some dehydration. Apologies on podcast. It will be back up and running on Sunday.

Arno

July 17th, 2013
7:59 pm

Cagecast #2 not only informative, it’s hugely entertaining. Mentioned that there is no key man to build around on the DL. Let’s hope Babs digs deep for another year.

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
8:10 pm

JB F, great points as always. I would like to see HD83 break through if he could. I recall he was very effective in the slot at Louisville back in the day. He seems to have the size for it given the trend in the league right now but you are on target….something just seems to no be clicking to complete the TOTAL package. Not a lot of depth behind him in the corps so I hope someone emerges soon. Just in case.

As far as DT, the size and depth issues have always been a concern for me. As stated, we brought up the issue as it could be a crucial one in this upcoming season. It bears watching and it will be very interesting to see what DC Nolan has in his bag of tricks. But inexperience, lack of depth, and size limitations will create issues for us just as it has in the past couple of years under both DCs (BVG and Nolan).

My hope is that we will finally make whatever adjustments needed on the DL so that the linebacker corps will be able to be more effective in their respective roles in rush defense as well as the pass defense arena. The “bend but do not break approach” can only sustain so much…

I agree with you on the offensive explosion in 2013. I am on record in saying that MR2 and JJ11 will both have years that will shatter Falcons team records.

But I would not be truthful if I did not express some concern about the DL’s ability to hold their own against some of the better OL’s in the NFC. I’m keeping the faith but it is being tested.

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
8:14 pm

D3, no need to apologize. Rest my friend.

Arno, I agree. Babs must have a rock solid 2013 if the team is to be as effective on the DL as we hope. Anything else and we have a problem of potentially epic proportions due to the depth and the lack of extensive experience. My humble opinion.

And sadly, I think we will be witnessing the final season in ATL for Babs. I do not think that he will be retained next spring as he is a FA. And the Falcons will have work to do in free agency. Just as the Ryan deal is still a work in progress, the future will soon face us with the need to get deals done with Weatherspoon and JJ11.

Spoon may be somewhat of a value package but JJ11 will cost us BIG…..

Sorry, but I can’t help it. I’m always looking forward.

JB Falcon™

July 17th, 2013
8:26 pm

D3, Man, you gotta quit drinking that Boone’s Farm on ice during hot weather. :)

Coop

July 17th, 2013
8:33 pm

I want to elucidate why I think we need a big body DT so bad. I am no coach or expert in anyway. Everything I think I know about football I have learned from watching games, reading this blogs, listening the shows that break down film, and playing Madden. So consider the source.

That said, the OL has 5 players and sometimes a TE to block. The 4-3 DL has 4 players. The D has two jobs, secure the point of attack or “anchor the line” and disrupt the backfield. The OL wants to move the point of attack or “open an alley” and secure the the backfield.

So it’s easy to see that the D is outnumbered. While complicated because the QB isn’t blocking or one on one, the DL has to figure out how to do their job one man down. The big body DT in theory occupies two blockers due to his sheer size. The DTs are generally up against the OGs leaving the OC to double as he needs or, move to block one of the LBs.

340 LBs DTs almost dictate the the OC has to double. He may even draw a FB or RB in a triple team. The benefit is that now the other two DEs and the other DT are all one on one. You only need one of them to beat his man to have a chance at the QB or the RB in the backfield.

Also, the bigger body makes it easy to anchor the line. The essence her is playing defense where you want instead of letting the OL move the point of attack to open a running lane or allow the QB to move out of the pocket. A big guy is harder to move and since everyone else is man on man, they are harder to move. Conversely, our lightweights are easier to move around. For instance, on the snap, the LG and OC move Babs to the left while the RG and a FB move Peters to the right. Or the RG moves Peters and the FB takes on the MLB. What we saw two years ago was teams “washing” our DTs to the outside like this on passing downs. Their TE or slot receiver would pull our MLB out of the picture. This opened an easy middle screen to the RB or more often a huge hole for the QB to scramble up the middle (away from Abe and Beertruck coming from the outside) for a first down.

I agree with SW, we have no one on this roster to anchor the line and protect our linebackers or give our DEs a chance to get to the QB.

The longer the DTs can anchor the line and collapse the pocket, the better chance the DEs can get around the outside. The cleaner the LBs will be, the less time the QB has, the easier it is fr the CBs to cover, and the less room the QB has to scramble.

That’s why I think the key to the D is the DTs. That’s why you build a D from the inside out and from the front to the back. Good DT play makes every defender better.

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
8:35 pm

LOL…JB F, Boone’s Farm.

They still make that stuff? Man, the headache it gave me when we would sneak it into the “back forty” back in the day.

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
8:48 pm

Coop, well stated.

I would also offer this…a nugget based on a historical approach. If we are going to roll with the premise that the Falcons’ defense is schemed in the “bend but do not break mold”, then I would suggest that the CFA and Nolan modify the scheme to be more in line with the traditional molds of the Tony Dungy-regimed Tampa 2 defense.

If properly crafted, and given the explosive nature of the ATL offense, the Tampa 2 would be an outstanding compliment to the team. It could make for a better integration of the smaller tackles that the Falcons have in abundance as well as make much better use of the linebackers. I reference the following breakdown:

From Wikipedia:

The personnel used in the Tampa 2 are specific in position and required abilities. All positions in this defense place a premium on speed, and often the result is that they are all undersized by league standards.

The defensive linemen in this scheme have to be quick and agile enough to create pressure on the quarterback without the aid of a blitz from either the linebackers or the secondary, with the defensive tackle in the nose position having above-average tackling skills to help stop runs.

The three linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties are responsible for covering the middle of the field.

The outside linebackers’ general zone is between the cornerbacks, covering the area of the field from the line of scrimmage to 10 yards back.

The middle linebacker must have better-than-average speed, and additional skills to be able to read the play and either maintain his central position to help the outside linebackers cover short passes, drop behind the linebackers in coverage and protect the zone of the field behind the outside linebackers from 11-20 yards out, or run up to the line of scrimmage to help assist in stopping the runs.

The cornerbacks protect the sidelines of the field from the line of scrimmage to anywhere between 15-20 yards out. They are not required to be great man-to-man cover players, but they have to be guys who can tackle.

An additional requirement for all of the linebackers and cornerbacks is to be above-average tacklers, as they are usually the primary tacklers in the defense.

The two safeties are responsible for covering their respective halves of the field from 20 yards out and more. The safeties in the system are expected to be above-average cover men with the ability to break up passes, but each safety also is expected to have additional specific skills.

The strong safeties, while not expected to be great tacklers, are expected to be hard hitters. The hard hitting strong safety protects the middle of the field from being exploited by small, fast receivers, and running backs on wheel route. The free safety will be called upon to do one of two things in certain situations: either blitz the quarterback, requiring him to have the skills necessary to beat a blocking halfback or fullback, or to assume the coverage zone left by a blitzing cornerback.

Falcon 34

July 17th, 2013
8:49 pm

Freudian slip from Tony Gonzalez or does he know something that others don’t?………….

“Right there it’s obviously the biggest question mark. Everyone else is coming back and it’s a good one, it’s a good question. I think Peter Konz, our second-round draft choice last year out of Wisconsin, he’s going to fill in nicely at that center position. Our right tackle, Mike Johnson, he’s going into his fourth year and it’s time for him to step up

No mention of Lamar Holmes. So we have a guy who played right tackle all through college starting at right guard and a guy who almost exclusively played guard starting at right tackle. Why not just move Sam Baker to center and Justin Blalock to LT for giggles!

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
9:13 pm

Falcon 34,

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm..

I love it when a future Hall of Famer and a player that was chased down and pleaded with to come back for one more round is speaking “openly”.

Coop

July 17th, 2013
9:19 pm

SW – My concern with the Tampa Two is multi-faceted. Primarily, I have zero confidence in our LBs to cover in zones (see either playoff game and wide open TEs… Most of the time they were on drag routes… Generally you beat the Tampa Two up the seam… So the drag would play right into the teeth of the T2). Second, DTs ability to penetrate. Finally, unknown CBs…

SeminoleWarrior

July 17th, 2013
9:24 pm

Valid concerns, my friend.

But given the evidence we have seen to date in terms of personnel acquisition, full or quasi, from the front office, the T2 seems to be the best possible approach.

It would take some time to implement. But then too, we have been “implementing” for five years.

LRD

July 18th, 2013
10:37 am

Good on Gonzo to say stuff like that. He has the respect and the right to say that kind of thing, and any player called out by someone like Gonzo needs to take that to heart. And maybe this is the swift kick that is needed.
Hoping against hope that Peters is back and fully healthy. As mentioned before Bab;s is getting long of tooth.. and who is there to step up in his role?
Maybe (again hoping against hope) that Jerry FINALLY fufills his promise… could it be?

Cant wait to get up to FB and see the men in action again.

D3

July 18th, 2013
12:43 pm

Great Thursday Cage!!! — Man, feeling much better today. Apologies for not making the podcast, but just felt like I’d been run over by a train. We got plenty of time to make up for it. The British Open is upon us to give us a little sports reprieve and don’t look now but…………..

1st ANNUAL CAGE MEETUP IS ONE WEEK FROM THIS SATURDAY. —– Date: Saturday, July 27th, Time – Around 2 pm; Location – Twains Bar; 211 E Trinity Pl Decatur, GA 30030. Hope to see as many of you as possible. We have about 15 or so that have replied yes. I’ll have nametags for us, plenty of brew ordered, and some season prediction competitions for us.

………and…………

TRAINING CAMP IS A WEEK AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Dearth of Falcons and Football known as the Dead Zone is finally almost over!

D3

July 18th, 2013
12:58 pm

RE: DT Situation —

Don’t want to sound overly pessimistic, but I have to agree with many of you on here. I just can’t really understand the failure to add just one DT. Now look, they may be totally in love with Travian Robertson, but at a minimum he simply replaces Vance Walker. I try to be as objective as possible here, but if they truly wanted to build the best possible DT depth and rotation, they would have done as follows……….

1) Cut Peria Jerry, saving about $1 million or so
2) Use that money to keep Vance Walker, seeing as he only got a 1 year, $2 million contract
3) Moved Travian Robertson into Peria Jerry’s spot.

As we discussed on the podcast, the worry is many-fold……..

A) We don’t really have anyone in the works to take over Babineaux as he enters the last year of his contract and that’s assuming that Corey Peters is a lockdown solid DT starter, and that’s a pretty big leap at this juncture.

B) As Coop and someone else mentioned, we have too many under-tackles / 3 techniques. We may not need a guy whose 350 lbs, but we also don’t need all of our DTs to be 290 – 300 lbs either.

C) I like the double picks of CB with Trufant and Alford. I had a hard time seeing why we took Maponga after we had taken Goodman and we had Massaquoi in the works, but I at least get it if we move Cliff Matthews more inside either as a 4-3 DT or 3-4 five-technique, and I also feel good about it if Biermann will be playing mostly LB. However, I can’t understand for the life of me why we took two safeties. I realize I’m being a little ridiculous, as I’m quibbling over two 7th round picks (compensatory at that), but still. The only big boy we have is Neal Huynh out of Ohio U. he’s 6′4, 315. But I think almost all of us assume he’ll be lucky to make the PS, if that.

D) I do really like Micanor Regis as he had fantastic stats and very athletic DT for his size. And he spent a year on the PS, which makes me think that he may make the jump. However, that was assuming we keep 5 DTs, which they may consider Matthews more of a DT and he would take that spot. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.

E) Ultimately, it’s a numbers game. Last year Nolan carried 6 DE’s, 4 DT’s, 5 LB’s. But that was before we activated Corey Peters.

Here’s my best guess:

6 DE’s – Osi, Goodman, Maponga, Mass, Cliff Matt*, Bier*
4 DT’s – Babs, Peters, Jerry Peterson
5 LBs – Spoon, Dent, Nich, Schiller, Banks

*Matthews will / can probably play more on the inside
*Biermann will / can (hopefully) play more as LB

I’m not a fan of the band-aid approach either, but I would be pretty happy to add Seymour in the middle for a year. At nothing else, he provides more ability than Jerry.

D3

July 18th, 2013
1:01 pm

falcon21

July 18th, 2013
1:50 pm

I’m not gonna get into the Walker convo too much. If Nolan wanted Walker he would still be here. I think there is more to it than we know about.

JB Falcon™

July 18th, 2013
1:56 pm

falcon21 – “The fountain of common sense.”

JJ

July 18th, 2013
6:47 pm

So the trademark has closed the blog. Curious no one else thinks enough of themselves to trademark there falcons blog handle…just a little smack back buddy!!!

JJ

July 18th, 2013
6:51 pm

“”Thanks to ProFootballFocus (subscription required) for their comprehensive statistics.”???
No, tks JJ !!!

JJ

July 18th, 2013
6:52 pm

No respect, no respect I tell ya…lol.
Yea it came from the trimple landi!!!

JB Falcon™

July 18th, 2013
7:58 pm

JJ™. just hold down the Atl key and type in 0153. You too can gain the power to shut down a blog. :)
I thought you were the one who supplied all of the stats in the last podcast? There were some things I didn’t know that were brought up but I wouldn’t pay for them either.

JB Falcon™

July 18th, 2013
7:59 pm

PS, use the right hand numbers, the top ones won’t do it.

WR

July 18th, 2013
9:12 pm

Again late night check in with the cage. Can you see it, can you feel it, finally the training camp is within our grasp. As a huge fan of the NBA back in the day when teams actually competed for champions, and teams weren’t just put together for championships, I’m so glad to see the NFL season about to be on the way. For those that don’t understand, back in the day, sure you had your perennial contenders but at least you believed every team had a shot, for ATL fans, we will not stone Cliff Livingston for taking that final shot against the Celtics, but we should, just kidding, but not kidding about the fact that we want to.

Training camp is about to get underway, the birdcage podcast is underway, the excitement of this upcoming season continues to build, and I for one I’m looking forward to it.

JB Falcon™

July 18th, 2013
9:31 pm

falcon21

July 18th, 2013
10:35 pm

The Cage podcast is here and it will only make the Cage better. I’m still on the beach drinking a few but I could not agree more WR.

Kens Strickland

July 19th, 2013
12:39 am

Let’s face it, none of us has any idea how much progress DT TRobinson has made, nor any the other DTs on our roster. While I don’t think there was anything TD could have done to resign VWalker, I don’t know if he felt the need to do so. I believe that after Walker was replaced as a starting DT by an underperforming CPeters, he was determined to get out of here.

Based on the way we drafted & the FAs we signed, it appears rather obvious our DEF coaching staff believed DE, not DT, was the biggest problem along our DL. The need for better man coverage ability at CB, better & more aggressive tackling from our safeties proved to also be an issue based on the way we drafted.

Anyone with reservations about out DT situation certainly isn’t basing those reservations on what they know about our DT situation, but rather what they don’t know. That’s certainly not the case with our DEF coaching staff. Their actions during the draft & FA are definite indications that they’re satisfied with our DT situation, and that’s enough for me.

Besides, our OFF should be able to take a lot of pressure off our DEF, especially our run DEF, since teams will be in catch up mode more often than not. Last yr a lot of pressure was put on our DEF due to our inability to sustain drives because of a poor rushing & short yardage OFF. OL & RB upgrades should improve those situations.

Jeff B

July 19th, 2013
5:06 am

“…the Falcons can ill afford to lost Babineaux to any injury or digression due to age.”

Are you implying that old folks change the subject a lot? Because that’s nonsense! Also, what’s the deal with airline peanuts?

D3

July 19th, 2013
10:22 am

Great Friday Cage! — Less than a week away from training camp.

Jeff — Thanks for the heads up. I corrected the error.

Ken — Good and positive points. I am hoping for the best concerning the DT situation, but I have to admit that I’m fearing the worst. Ultimately, I trust in Coach Nolan in what he’s doing. If he wanted or felt like he needed another DT, than TD would have either drafted one or brought one in. It’s just a very precarious situation with the thin nature of depth both at LB and DT.

WR

July 19th, 2013
10:41 am

Morning cage,

Ken, when your going to make the point that basically none of us know what’s going on with the Falcons DT situation and the inner thoughts of the Falcons decision makers, that gets a “no sh!t sherlock” in my opinion. Thats not meaning to sound rude, but it does mean, the Falcons DL hasn’t exactly been a picture of decency much less glory, so we’re a bit concerned as fans when its not addressed.

Then when you consider that the Falcons have stockpiled numerous DE’s in the draft for the past few seasons, signed a bust in Edwards last, whom did not even make it through the season, you kind of get really scared. On top of that, you go back to the DT situation and the only true performer is Babs along side Walker who is gone, and again you get scared or at the least worried.

Bottom line, to say the Falcons went after DE’s in the draft because they considered that a more worrisome position then DT doesn’t quite make sense. If it does, then this is a horrible front office because they have been going after DE’s for at least the last 2 maybe 3 drafts and yet they haven’t found a solution. I do not believe the Falcons front office is horrible, but you think they might want to start looking somewhere else if their DL is not getting any better, because at this point, the lack of ability from the DL is hurting their LBs. Give me a secondary with Deion Sanders, Ronnie Lott, Ed Reed, and Dick “Night Train”Lane, and put them behind whats going on in the front seven and the Falcons would still be struggling defensively.

Arno

July 19th, 2013
10:49 am

Did you mean ‘regression?’ But shoot, we aren’t about word police at the Cage. But I digress…………. Well balanced article, D3, and a great help to get us through the dead zone!

SeminoleWarrior

July 19th, 2013
11:31 am

“Anyone with reservations about out DT situation certainly isn’t basing those reservations on what they know about our DT situation, but rather what they don’t know. That’s certainly not the case with our DEF coaching staff. Their actions during the draft & FA are definite indications that they’re satisfied with our DT situation, and that’s enough for me. ”

My friend, a very well stated point which I truly respect.

But for me, I will place myself squarely in the category of being ignorant of what our coaching staff has in mind. And while I share your optimism on the offensive side of the ball, I am not seeing much in the way of significant upgrades on the DL. So, with all due respect, I will continue to operate and evaluate from the “Show Me State” point of view.

SeminoleWarrior

July 19th, 2013
11:33 am

K Strick, will you be able to attend the gathering on Saturday in DeKalb County.

I, for one, am looking forward to meeting as many Cage Family members as possible. Going to be a great time!!

SeminoleWarrior

July 19th, 2013
11:49 am

When you draft an injury-prone first rounder that has been a classic underachiever even when he is on the field, that is troubling.

When that first rounder is then, because of injury, is replaced by a third rounder “steal”, that becomes a starter and nice contributor, that is insurance and wise.

When both the first rounder and the third rounder share time with a seventh rounder and they STILL can not equate to the veteran next to them, that is a serious concern.

And when that seventh rounder is lost to free agency, for whatever reason, the first rounder remains a great unknown, the third rounder is now joining the first rounder as a constant injury list stat, and the guys on the depth chart have no significant time in the league, then, COLLECTIVELY, therein lies the reasons that so many fans, your truly included, are concerned.