Atlanta Falcons Players Facing Make or Break Years

Crucial Seasons for Some Falcons

Is this the breakout for Bier? (AJC)

The dead zone of Falcons and football has almost come to its merciful end, as the Falcons get ready to start training camp on Wednesday. It seems like decades ago since the Falcons hauled in their draft class and eons ago since the Falcons played their last snap. Expectations are obviously high as Roddy White has come out and said that it’s Super Bowl or Bust for the 2013 Atlanta Falcons. Tony Gonzalez recently mentioned that they’re looking to have the “perfect offense.”

While most of the roster is set with veterans, stability, and good quality, there are a few areas that are concerning. And just like every year, some players are looking at a year full of pressure to perform. Some are facing a “make or break year,” either in terms of finally grabbing a starting spot, living up to their potential, and perhaps even remaining an Atlanta Falcon going forward. A look at the Falcons under the most pressure heading into 2013:

Thanks to JJ and ProFootballFocus Stats (subscription required):

Will Mike Johnson Win the RT Spot?

PFF Stats: 2012 (+1.7 grade, 50 snaps)

The former Alabama man and 3rd round draft pick is in no danger of losing a roster spot, as he’s extremely versatile and valuable to the Falcons OL. His ability to play pretty much any spot on the offensive line guarantees he’ll be with Atlanta for a good while.

Johnson's Time? (AJC)

That being said, however, Johnson has been unable to win a starting spot anywhere on the OL since being highly regarded coming out of a Nick Saban led team. Specifically, the vacancy at right guard has been a chink in Johnson’s armour. After Harvey Dahl went to St. Louis, Johnson has lost the battle for right guard not once, but twice to Garrett Reynolds, who only played right tackle his entire career.

Normal logic would see Johnson competing for the RG spot again, where he was an All-American for the Crimson Tide and having Reynolds compete with Lamar Holmes for the RT spot, his more natural position. But Smith’s fetish for cross-training says otherwise. As mentioned earlier, Johnson will be a part of the Falcons offensive line one way or another, but this truly seems like Johnson’s best, and perhaps last, chance to earn a starting spot.

Will Harry Douglas Ever “Breakout?”

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PFF Stats: 2008 (-0.2 grade, 53rd out of 111); 2010 (-7.4 grade, 104th out of 111); 2011 (-6.9 grade, 100th out of 115); 2012 (-6.8 grade, 95th out of 105)

Not many Falcons have been more beloved than local-kid-does-good than receiver Harry Douglas. The former Jonesboro High School and Clayton County product was taken in 2008 and had a fantastic rookie year that saw him flourish not only in the slot for passing, but also saw him as a jack-of-all trades type of player. He was involved in reverses and turned out to be a dynamic return man. That was a long time ago.

Make no mistake, HD hasn’t been terrible, but he surely hasn’t transformed into what many fans expected either. He did sustain a season-ending ACL injury in 2009 and most fans have been understanding that it takes time to fully recover. He’s had flashes here and there, but certainly nothing consistent. In fact, ProFootballFocus has had him ranked near the dead bottom every year he’s played, always grading out to a negative, even his rookie year.

Fans too Critical or Not Enough? (AJC)

To be fair, maybe it’s simply a case of unrealistic expectations that fans have for the former Louisville WR. He is, after all, the 4th option in the offense and will likely slide to the 5th option with the arrival of Steven Jackson. How many yards and TDs can be expected when those ahead of him are so prolific.

The number of catches and yards aren’t necessarily the issue. The problem is that when he does get touches and looks, he’s anything but dynamic. Even though the downside of being a lower option in a highly effective offense means less touches, the upside is that you should have a bunch of space to work with when you do get the ball. Also, many fans see Douglas as completely immune to any competition for his slot receiver spot. A few more items: there’s the issue of needing to replace Roddy White sooner than later and mostly no one feels that HD is a legit #2 receiver. And finally, there’s that infamous “slip” that continues to give fans nightmares. Everyone makes mistakes, but that one will haunt for a long, long time. If that slip doesn’t happen, who knows what we’d be talking about now. Coaches may not feel like #83 is in a make or break year, but most Atlanta fans certainly do.

Any Hope for Peria Jerry?

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PFF stats: 2009 (-2.3 grade, 71 snaps); 2010 (+1.8 grade, 213 snaps); 2011 (-9.4 grade, 145th out of 156); 2012 (-4.6 grade, 127th out of 148)

There’s really no sense in beating a dead horse here. Falcons fans hve debated, argued, and had a ton of anguish over this pick for some time. After knocking out a stellar draft in 2008 (one that still holds up pretty darn well), Dimitroff followed with perhaps his worst clunker. Starting first and foremost with one Peria Jerry. He was one of the higher rated DTs in the draft class, but was markedly injury-prone. Most experts expected him to be long gone by the Falcons pick. He slid to the Falcons and the rest is history.


Oh, the Memories (AJC)
Will Kroy Biermann Turn the Corner to Great?

The former Ole Miss Rebel looked pretty good before his season-ending injury and its never been the same since. He’s had a few occasional flashes, but assuming Jerry doesn’t turn into Geno Atkins in one year, its a safe bet to say that he is by far and away TD’s worst draft pick. Even though pretty much all fans have given up hope, there’s always a chance he could follow the same path that Sam Baker blazed in 2012. Many chalked Baker up to be a 1st round bust until he turned in his best year as a Falcon. Funny how contract years do that. On one level, the comparison makes sense due to them both being very underwhelming 1st round picks. However, the difference is that Baker actually had two solid years of starts and production in 2009 and 2010, one of which the Falcons secured the #1 seed in the NFC. Jerry hasn’t really done anything in his 4 seasons (excluding his rookie year lost to injury).

Most wish that the Falcons had kept Vance Walker and sent Jerry packing along with the other cuts. There’s always a chance he could make a miracle turnaround, but the majority of fans aren’t holding their breath.

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PFF Stats: 2008 (+3.9 grade, 24th out of 82); 2009 (+7.9 grade, 12th out of 73); 2010 (+8.4 grade, 21st out of 65); 2011 (-11.9 grade, 60th out of 67); 2012 (+0.3 grade, 33rd out of 62)

He’s a fan favorite and for good reason. Kroy Biermann is the epitome of effort, hustle, and selflessness. The former Montana product has done anything the coaching has asked of him. The “swiss army knife” gained 20 lbs and made a permanent move to defensive end (even when most draftniks slotted him as a linebacker), has played special teams constantly and at a high level even after earning a starting spot, subbing in for placekicker, and played more of a DE/LB hybrid role in Nolan’s defense. While Biermann has been very solid since being a Falcon, he hasn’t turned that mythical corner that so many have expected. He’s likely suffered from an ideal position fit.

Just Solid or More? (AJC)

The former Grizzly was able to pull down 2 sacks while only playing barely 300 snaps. His best year came as a rotational defensive end, where he had his highest overall productivity collaring 5 sacks in about 500 snaps. Most believed he was primed for a huge year with a full-time role. He seemed to have an overall decent year, but only managed 3 sacks. 2011 was by far his worst year, with him seeing over 500 snaps at DE, but only getting 2.5 sacks and an overall really poor productivity grade. Last season saw a respectable uptick, getting back to 4 sacks and grading out as an overall average defensive player. However, the inclusion of Biermann’s specific role seems to have really helped in his game.

The final issue when analyzing Biermann is his contract. He signed a 3 year, $9 million dollar contract a in the 2012 off-season. That’s not huge money, but it’s certainly starting money, considering Steven Jackson is due about that much with the new contract he just signed and his amazing past production. Almost all fans are pulling for Biermann to finally turn that corner, and it appears in year 2 of Mike Nolan’s defense, he just might.

Will this be Stephen Nicholas’ Final Year in Atlanta?

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PFF Stats: 2008 (-0.3 grade, 62 snaps); 2009 (+2.2 grade, 24th out of 54); 2010 (+5.9 grade, 12th out of 41); 2011 (+5.3, 16h out of 45); 2012 (-4.8 grade, 30th out of 43)

This one’s a little bit different than the others in that Nicholas is likely past the point of having his “breakout” year since he just turned 30 years old this past May. It’s certainly not impossible for the former South Florida product to have a fantastic year, but it seems to be a possibility of diminishing returns. He had a pretty decent year in 2012, leading the Falcons in tackles with 97, notching 2 sacks, with a forced fumble, 4 passes defensed, and an interception. But he was ranked as one of the lower 4-3 OLB’s, coming in at 30 out of 43 with an overall poor grade. He was solid against the run, but extremely poor in pass coverage (next to dead last per PFF / his playoff performances).

Nicholas Actually Most Consistent (AJC)

Nicholas has been OK since he’s been here, but anything but spectacular. He’s fluctuated anywhere from 35 tackles in a year all the way up to 97. He pulled down 3 sacks in 2009, but couldn’t muster one in back-to-back years of 2010 and 2011. The OLB has benefitted from a lack of investment at the position since the arrival of Smith and Dimitroff. Specifically looking at OLB, Sean Weatherspoon is the only high draft pick (or much of any pick at all) the Falcons have committed to the team. They took Robert James with a 5th round pick in 2008, Spencer Adkins in 2009, and a ton of undrafted free agents, none of which have latched on permanently. They did sign Mike Peterson as a free agent, but he was already on the decline. In defense of Nicholas, though, he’s been one of the best and most consistent linebackers for the Falcons the last 4 years, according to ProFootballFocus.

When looking at Stephen Nicholas, the contract is really the issue. He is signed through 2015, and his cap hits will only increase. He’s due $3.5 million in 2013, $4 million in 2014, and a whopping $5.5 million in his final year of 2015. Unless he has a huge season in his waning seasons, you have to think that Nicholas will top the potential veteran cut list in the 2014 off-season, the same way it snagged Michael Turner, John Abraham, and Dunta Robinson. There’s also the Biermann factor. Perhaps they didn’t sign or draft any LB’s because they know that Biermann will be moving mostly to an LB role. Stephen Nicholas will need a big year to keep his spot on the Falcons safe for the 2 years remaining after his contract.

Is Antone Smith Completely Safe?

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PFF Special Teams Stats: 2010 (-1.5 grade), 2011 (+0.5 grade); 2012 (+0.5 grade)

This one is obviously a lesser known candidate for a crucial year, but it’s worth taking a look. Smith has been known as a speedster, but he’s never gotten any chances whatsoever, even when fans have cried out for any kind of speed in recent years. Common knowledge had him get one look in 2012, a failed screen pass, and that was it. Hard to think the coaching staff couldn’t work him in when he’s looked pretty good in preseason. He is known simply as a special teams maven and even signed a new contract in the off-season.

Is A. Smith Safe? (AJC)

However, thinking that Smith is completely safe on the roster might be the wrong view. He signed a pretty low 2 year, $1.425 contract with a $65,000 signing bonus (guaranteed money). That’s pretty standard for a pure special teams player, and if they decided to part with Smith they would only incur $65,000 in dead money. Smith has a ton of competition for that spot this training camp. Josh Vaughn (practice squad) and two undrafted free agents (Ronnie Wingo, Donald Russell) will make a bid to replace Smith on the roster. They will have their work cut out for them, but if they can get close to replicating Smith’s special teams prowess with more offensive upside, they may have a shot. Wingo, in particular, is one to keep an eye on. He is 6’3, 230 lbs and ran a sub 4.5 forty. But when it’s all said and done, the Falcons put a premium on special teams, which saw them as the 4th best in the NFL in 2012, and Smith is an essential part of it.

The Cage Camp’s Turn

  1. What’s your thoughts on these candidates heading into training camp?
  2. Is Mike Johnson a bust if he doesn’t earn the RT spot?
  3. Should he be competing for RG instead?
  4. Your thoughts on Harry Douglas : fans too critical or major under-performance?
  5. Is there a miracle somewhere in the future for Jerry?
  6. Will Bier Truck make the leap to greatness this year?
  7. Do you prefer him at DE, LB, or hybrid?
  8. Thoughts on Stephen Nicholas: should he be safe?
  9. OK with Antone Smith or prefer someone else at #5 RB spot?

The Falcons Cage Podcast

(Just click on the link. You can listen live or you can download it to your favorite device)

Episode #1 – Linebackers (Seminole, JJ)


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


Episode #3 – 2013 Falcons Draft (Coop, Seminole, JJ)


Episode #4 – Tomorrow night @ 6:30 pm

314 comments Add your comment

PoolerSpirit

July 23rd, 2013
9:44 pm

2. and 3. I think Mike Johnson’s a disappointment… really liked the pick when he came outta Bama, but we’ve got nothing to show for that third round pick yet. Yes, I think he should be competing for the right guard spot… In fact, I think he should be the favorite for the right guard spot.
4. Still like Harry, but he’d be a lock as a Falcon star if he hadn’t fallen down in the San Fran game.
5. Don’t think the light’s ever getting brighter for Jerry… time to change that bulb.
6. I expect to see more of the Bier Truck at Linebacker and that, whaddaya call it… the roving, line up anywhere and blitz the quarterback… could be a star in Nolan’s scheme, but don’t see him becoming a superstar by any means… He always seems to be just a half step away from a big play.
7. Put him at the hybrid spot and let Goodman and some refugees from the WPP handle the left DE spot.
8. Think Nicholas is safe this year, but I think we’ll take his replacement pretty high in next year’s draft… course, thought we’d take his replacement pretty high in the past draft… but I think Nicholas is, at worst, serviceable in his LB role for Nolan.
9. Antone’s never shown me anything… He had one game last year in the preseason that I thought he looked like he had some potential. But I’d rather see Ronnie Wingo get a shot at RB in Smith’s place this year.

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
9:59 pm

THIS DEFENSE HAS BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE.

JUST MY OPINION.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SeminoleWarrior

July 23rd, 2013
9:59 pm

Damned!!

Of all the days to have a long day, today has to be the one. A great posting by D3 and I am too darn tired to address it with a clear mind. Will hit it hard and heavy tomorrow night after the Pod Cast.

A little teaser though…EVERY player D3 listed in his narrative except for the Bier Truck will NOT be with the Falcons in 2014. Either their deals are done OR they will be released for cap purposes. More to come.

WR

July 23rd, 2013
10:01 pm

D3, nice post,

I must say I do not believe the Falcons are facing a make or break season this year or the next. Its only a make break-season for us die hard Falcon fans because we have been starving for anything for quite so long.

In truth, to say its a make or break season sounds good, and if they were to come through, it would feel good. I might be wrong considering others have opinions, but we don’t just want an SB this year, we want to be in contention for it every year. It already feels bad enough to doubt and expect for something to go wrong when a season can be so promising. As a Falcons fan, that’s usually what we’re left with.

Considering the owner, this regime, and the new found culture of the Falcons, its time for us to not live in certain places anymore. Yes, the Falcons seemingly have a team this year that can make it happen regarding an SB trophy. But the real premise is that the Falcons have an organization that eventually will make it happen, and they are putting together the opportunity to make it happen on a competitive basis, yearly.

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
10:03 pm

TD Still have not address the DT issue and going on 5years now.

SOUND LIKE THE HAWKS, HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Hawks have been searching for true center for 13years, SMH

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
10:04 pm

D3

It’s show time now

Im ready for some football, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
10:23 pm

TD cut Falcons best Pass rusher.

TD cut a solid RT, should have move Clabo inside 2 RG.

Drafted 2 CB with first 2picks.

I still don’t understand the draft picks but let move on,

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
10:35 pm

Falcons had 11icks this year.

TD Drafted not 1 RG or RT or DT.

What his vision for this team ?

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

July 23rd, 2013
10:43 pm

SREAM

July 24th, 2013
6:50 am

In a word…..no to each question

Jimbo73

July 24th, 2013
9:23 am

I found an interesting articles which might provide some insight as to our philosophy in this year’s draft from a defensive perspective. Two things that jumped out were the percentage of plays our D was in the sub package and the other was the ineffectiveness of our DBs tackling. These two things tell me why we went the CFA route for LBs and why we are looking to more versatile players, Biermann, DE or LB and Matthews, DE or DT.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2013/matching-12

Another article to further bolster the belief that Nolan has a tendency to gravitate towards the “Big Nickel”. I know I’ve made this point before but I truly believe that if we take a look at what the Front Office has been doing this off season, this makes the most sense. The 4-2-5 base with the big nickel allows for the ability to disguise our defense and still have the personnel on the field that can handle the 12 set as well as have larger DBs to defend against the run.

http://boards.atlantafalcons.com/topic/3947932-nolan-and-the-big-nickel-defense/

I hope you enjoy the articles. One more day and we have survived the dry gulch that is the off season. I can’t wait to see them this Sunday. Woo-Hoo ! ! !

Jimbo73

July 24th, 2013
10:14 am

I think the blog monster grabbed my post.

Paddy O

July 24th, 2013
10:28 am

Every year there is a little transition. Next year, we’ll be replacing Tony G; hopefully, Coffman takes over. WE have about 5 years left with Roddy. We still need some work on our defense. I suspect we still lack LB depth and a big butt DT. Also, we need another workhorse RB – maybe a guy like Joe Delaney.

Paddy O

July 24th, 2013
10:35 am

SW: I think we could hang onto HD. If Mike Johnson does not excel this year, time to decide that dog don’t hunt. Bierman does a decent job in his role. Peria is a bust however you slice it. Last year, Nicholson would disappear for games at a time, then have a decent game or two, then disappear again. We need a LB upgrade.

Grits Blitz

July 24th, 2013
10:56 am

Coach Nolan, you never show any love replying to my MAJOR concerns of our defense. Guess it’s now a given that management just plans to outscore…everyone! Do you REALLY think we now have the “answer” with an undersized d-line (lacking a stopper DT and legit LDE), A. Dent at MLB (not a “beast” or “leader”), S. Nicholas (who could not even stay w/ TEs), and 1-2 rookies at CB? If team is really “all in” for Gonzo’s last season, as John Madden said, “forget about the horse being blind, just load the wagon”! Sign Abe and Seymour – NOW. Just can’t see voluntarily writing off the d. – to the delight of all other teams!

JB Falcon

July 24th, 2013
11:50 am

DOL just announced that the Falcons have agreed to terms with Trufant. Kinda figured they would.

Hamad Meander

July 24th, 2013
12:27 pm

What do you speculate was the subject of bickering between Trufant and the Falcons? With the CBA and slotting, there really isn’t too much room to argue….

Arno

July 24th, 2013
12:37 pm

Welcome to training camp, Desmond. (What a relief!)

JB Falcon

July 24th, 2013
12:59 pm

“What do you speculate was the subject of bickering between Trufant and the Falcons”?
Uhhh, dare I say, Money? I believe the CBA had more to do with terms instead of dollars.

Wings

July 24th, 2013
1:21 pm

Could have been a trademark issue with Trufant.

NFL Stats

July 24th, 2013
1:39 pm

I’m a big Dawg fan. I was reading that UGA’s “base defense” against spread option teams will be the 4-2-5 — with a “hybrid” safety/LB being the 5th DB. But when the Falcons employ a “nickle” its been with a smaller CB type. Three questions to our Cage: Considering our problems with Seattle, SF, and Carolina (spread offenses) (1) will we see more of a 4-2-5 with a hybrid S/LB?, (2) What player(s) fit this S/LB role? (3) what is the pass coverage scheme most often used with a “big nickle” (man vs. zone)?

[...] Atlanta Falcons Players Facing Make or Break YearsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)After Harvey Dahl went to St. Louis, Johnson has lost the battle for right guard not once, but twice to Garrett Reynolds, who only played right tackle his entire career. Normal logic would see Johnson competing for the RG spot again, … To be fair …and more » [...]

Matty Bicep

July 24th, 2013
3:49 pm

Our “analysis” on Jerry sounds an awful lot like Sam Baker last year.

Say what you want, but the guy made 1 play, swatting the ball out of MV7s hands, and possibly setting the destiny for 2 franchises, because that is one loss I don’t think we could have recovered from.

All the other stuff, we will just have to wait and see….

Matty Bicep

July 24th, 2013
3:50 pm

JB, I think the dispute with Trufant is guaranteed cash, he wants a 4th year guaranteed.

JJ

July 24th, 2013
5:30 pm

Cage, Just got home and preping for podcast when Jimbo73 laid a golden egg in the earlier bolg. Tks Jimbo and he has more nuggets that everyone should check out…but this one is so good I have to hire 2 men and their truck to bring it over:

“Understanding a Mike Nolan Staple: The Big Nickel:

Back in January, Mike Nolan said the current state of the NFL offense will require five defensive backs in the base defense. This is far from shocking. We have seen pass happy offenses the past few years, with many teams employing 3 or 4 wide receivers even on early downs. Teams like New England are also using two highly athletic tight ends, consistently creating match-up problems against either smaller nickel backs or slower linebackers. Most teams run five or more defensive backs over half the time.

att Barrows, beat writer for the formerly Nolan-coached San Francisco 49ers, mentioned that Nolan loves the big nickel formation. That is true, as the big nickel has become widely associated with Nolan, usually to varying degrees of success. With the NFL going fairly pass heavy, the loss of a linebacker like Curtis Lofton means less than it would have only five years ago.

Greg Cossell, NFL analyst for NFL films, scouted the Giants defense during the most recent Superbowl. How did the Giants plan to counteract the Patriots pass offense? With plenty of big nickel formations.

Many 49ers likely remember the term, “big nickel.” This was a defensive scheme that Mike Nolan liked when he was the coach here, one that replaced a linebacker with a safety and which is designed to give defenses an advantage against passing teams. That’s often what the New York Giants use as their base defense – five defensive backs, three of them safeties

What is a big nickel formation? Also called the “Wolverine” formation, the big nickel was originally created and successfully utilized after a rash of linebacker injuries. In a normal nickel formation, an OLB is removed to put in a nickel back. For example, last year Atlanta would remove Stephen Nicholas for Chris Owens/Dominique Franks on 3rd downs.

Instead, the big nickel would would have replaced Nicholas with another safety. There are some positives. For instance, the big nickel could be employed sooner on drives. The big nickel also gives a defense a definite step between a poor pass coverage linebacker and a poor run stopping nickel. Many would say you plug in another strong safety, who has better run stopping abilities than a free safety.

How would this look in Atlanta? As Greg Cossell mentions in his article, the Giants had multiple different personnel in the big nickel. This could occur in Atlanta, but I will describe how it will likely look.

Stephen Nicholas comes out and is replaced by either a drafted safety or perhaps Shann Schillinger. The more athletic tight ends, like Jimmy Graham, are now covered by a defensive back, improving the match-up without loosing too much in run defense.

If Nolan switches up formations, Sean Weatherspoon could take snaps as the middle linebacker, with either Akeem Dent or Lofa Tatupu leaving the lineup. Spoon has the size to play in the middle and would make sure the defense did not loose some pass coverage abilities, such as when Nicholas is subbed out.

What should we expect? The Falcons will likely add a safety with Nolan’s use of three safeties. Atlanta has alreadystarted looking at safeties. Tavon Wilson is projected as a free safety, which leads me to think Nolan is modifying his two strong safety set or perhaps Thomas DeCoud’s position. DeCoud is very nice in run support, but leaves a lot to be desired in coverage. He may play closer to the LOS with a new safety up top. Theoretically, Dominque Franks has the size to play free safety and could see a move to that position.

Expect to see plenty of safeties on the field next year and likely plenty of exotic formations we rarely saw the previous few years.”

Once again, THANKS JIMBO 73, great find!!!

JJ

July 24th, 2013
5:39 pm

Coop,This article is the smoking gun on why we took 2 CB first in the draft….still would have gone CB,
DT, LB, then CB…isnt TD known for finding abscure cb talent out on some west mtn???

But were definately going to a base of 4-2-5 and spoon and bieerman will play majority of LB’s spots.

So I worry about run defense as we all do!

Je ne sais pas!

Kens Strickland

July 24th, 2013
5:49 pm

With the NFLs most dynamic & productive trio of receivers, in TE TGonzalez, & WRs RWhite & JJones, it’s unrealistic to expect slot receiver HDouglas to have a breakout yr, especially with the likelihood of our rushing OFF getting a jumpstart with the addition of RB SJackson & FB BEwing. Also, with 2 starting RBs, & each of their backups being excellent receivers, there won’t be many passes thrown to our slot receiver.

A combination of injuries & a personal dislike by former OL coach PBoudreaux, for whatever reason, derailed MJohnson’s chances of becoming a starter.

JB Falcon

July 24th, 2013
5:53 pm

If I keep reading JJ’s posts and looking up those French words I’ll be able to speak French one day.
So far, Je ne sais pas much! Right JJ?

JJ

July 24th, 2013
6:15 pm

JJ

July 24th, 2013
6:20 pm

Latin?
Amo, amare, amawi, amatusasum???
No idea, thats 30+ yrs ago.

What happend to your TM, I liked it!

JB Falcon

July 24th, 2013
6:57 pm

A guy named “faucon” contacted me about it. :)

I do, however, know Spanish pretty well. Taco, Siesta, Re-fried beans, …. I could go on and on.

D3

July 24th, 2013
7:16 pm

HOT OFF THE PRESS…………

Training Camp Preview Podcast with a little extra bonus time at the end.

Enjoy if you like……………..

http://tobtr.com/s/5165111. #BlogTalkRadio

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
7:22 pm

What’s up Cage

Jimbo73, thanks for a great post and JJ, thanks for passing it on.

Training camp is now about to begin and the position battles will be in abundance. Really want to see a real sense of competition.

This training camp is EXTREMELY important for the Falcons. The future of several positions, present and future, will be determined.

JJ

July 24th, 2013
7:33 pm

So here’s our fflsegment titled:

SW n JJ:
I want togo over mags this series. SW and my self by most of them as were fanatics but more imptly
its our summer reading. I’ve bought every mag that came out…dont! WASTE ur money, latest mag up to date is si.com /ffl

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
7:40 pm

JJ,

Totally concur. I highly recommend the SI Fantasy Football 2013 as well as Athlon Sports Fantasy Football 2013.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
7:43 pm

Remember also, FFL league members, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.

WR

July 24th, 2013
8:06 pm

Evening cage, can’t say it enough, the players arrived today for training camp, finally we really can say “Are you ready for some football”.

On that note, might sound crazy but I just do not see alot of make or break situations for the Falcons players. Sure one could mention Biermann, but he’s a utility player, now if he breaks out into something else, nice, if not, I would still expect and be happy with his utility abilities as long as they don’t decline, every team needs a Steve Tasker.

Then there’s Peria Jerry, my bad.

Now a good candidate here could be Harry Douglas, paging the rookie we saw back in the day, problem is we kind of been putting out that page for quite some time, h@ll Batman crawled out of a hopeless prison with a bad back to save Gotham in less time then this. Yeah that was just a movie, but still, will the real Harry Douglas please stand up, if he has, the Falcons have to issue the deuces sign.

How about Antone Smith, opps, my bad again, guy must be dating Smitty’s daughter, wait does Smitty even have a daughter, maybe he’s secretly dating Smitty, something’s got to be up here.

It would be easy to mention the DEs and the OL, but reality is that these are young guys with little tread used, until they get the opportunity to pass or fail they just don’t belong in this conversation.

P.S., why is Dominique Franks even still on the team, yep, here’s a great candidate for the make or break question, that is if your considering just the latter breaking part.

WR

July 24th, 2013
8:07 pm

No offense my ACC brother SW, but whatever you have been using for FFL, I look to avoid.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:12 pm

LOL…Ouch, my ACC brother.

I see that I have to prove to you the same thing that I have stated to JJ. This IS NOT the same old Posse and the Warrior’s process is not the same.

We will build on the playoff appearance of last season as we FULLY commit to year to of post-grad studies from Sensei Ozzie.

JB Falcon

July 24th, 2013
8:13 pm

Well, I only allocated 30 mins to listen to the podcast so I didn’t get to listen to it all. Great job guys. I respect each one of your opinions and worries but, all in all, I sensed a bit of optimism coming from everything I heard. Comparing today’s discussion to the one’s we used to have indicates that we are no longer expecting, and hoping for, at least, a winning season. Yea! 8-6. or now, 9-5, is so passe’. We’re now discussing what it will take to win the whole thing!!!
Yeah, agree to disagree but we’re in a whole new spectrum and the subject is like talking about which girlfriend was the best. I can live in this environment.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:27 pm

So all of a sudden, weeks two and nine have become rivalry weeks. Like it…I like it.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:31 pm

Will Johnson win the RT position battle?

The battle of third round picks is going to be intense. But I am going to give the advantage to Holmes. The primary reason is that this is the last year that Johnson has in a Falcons uniform.
Simple economics suggests that we MUST get Holmes on the field at some time and that time has to be now. This position battle is even keel as both have “flashed”. Holmes gives us a size advantage and a slightly lower injury risk at this point.

Lamar Holmes will enter 2013 as the starting right tackle in the eyes of the TeePee.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:37 pm

Will HD83 have a break out year?

Sorry, friends. Due to his inability to produce in a more significant way and the need to invest the money elsewhere in 2014 and beyond, HD83 will be playing his last year in Atlanta this season.
For whatever reasons (injury, the acquisition of TG88, the emergence of JJ11, etc.), it just has not happened for HD83. And the team must move on in short order.

The leading candidate to replace him in my opinion is Drew Davis. A physical specimen at 6′1 an 205 pounds, this young man could move into the slot this year if given a FAIR chance and could move into the #2 WR slot when the time comes. Keep an eye on Kevin Cone as well. That 6′2″, 215 pounder could also be a future star in DK’s up-tempo scheme.

Do not underestimate the lessons learned first and foremost from Coach Rob and secondly, watching JJ11 and RW84 each day. That is invaluable and promising at the same time.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:39 pm

Peria Jerry.

I personally will drive the moving van for him on his way out of ATL. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason what so ever to retain Jerry after his deal is done at the end of this season. NONE!!

I repeat….NONE.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:43 pm

Stephen Nicholas.

See my comments earlier in regards to Harry Douglas.

Keep an eye on the Delaware Kid, Paul Worrilow. If he can make noise during the preseason, he will be kept and that could facilitate something I would just be giddy about. Worrilow at WLB and Weatherspoon at SLB.

My DREAM linebacker corps would be Worrilow at WLB, Biermann at MLB, and Spoon at SLB.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:44 pm

Antone, Antone, Antone.

In the spirit of the Seminole nation, I will simply say that you gave it your best shot. But the time has come to look towards another endeavor.

WR

July 24th, 2013
8:52 pm

SW, I applaud your rivalry with JJ, but me team should not remotely enter into that conversation, its kind of like GT facing Duke yearly, we already know what the outcome is going to be no matter the supposed upgrades.

I mentioned it earlier, we’re in the same boat regarding HD83, probably the only different is that I can’t blame it on the addition of Gonzo or JJ, this should have meant opportunity in my opinion. Not so much for HD, with lesser talent, he torn through defenses in his rookie season. With more he takes a back seat, I will say the injury he sustained his 2nd season may be a factor, major injuries can now be corrected with surgery more so then they were in the past. But surgery cannot fix mentality, and he might have lost most of his reckless abandon because of the injury.

falcon21

July 24th, 2013
8:54 pm

Another great podcast D3 and thanks for the mention. JJ, keep bringing it and stop disappearing, you do a good job dude. SW and Coop, you guys were talking my language and I agree about the Beerman, he showed promise a few years ago and I for one said the reason he is not getting it done is because he plays special teams and is worn out, I’m not buying it anymore. He’s gotta show us something this preseason.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:58 pm

WR,

LOL…

Speaking of Tech, this kid Vad Lee seems to be catching people by storm. Not me though. I think he and my guy Winston are going to be electric.

SeminoleWarrior

July 24th, 2013
8:59 pm

Thanks, F21.

We are waiting on you to join the forum…I would love your inputs. Same with you, JB F.