Atlanta Falcons Look Good Early @ Ravens

Depth Still a Concern, Much Better Effort

Much More Like It #39 (AJC)

After looking so poor in their first preseason game, the Falcons reminded fans why they’ve been one of the best franchises in the NFL the last five years, at least early on. Both the first team offenses and defenses looked as though they were getting closer to regular season form, save a few hiccups. The men from Atlanta stormed out to a big lead against the defending Super Bowl champions in their house before the 2nd and 3rd string teams gave away a huge lead that led to the loss. As the preseason is on the downslope to a close, fans are feeling less and less worry and more and more optimism as the regular season is less than 3 weeks away. A look at the game in Baltimore………..

Ryan Close to Stride

JJ Back to Normal (AJC)

For those worried that new contract might give the Falcons franchise QB a chance to coast on his huge new deal, the preseason are putting those concerns quickly to rest. Sure it’s only preseason and he likely hasn’t had to deal with huge gameplans designed against him or even played much more than a half, but Ryan is looking as though he’s picking up right where he left off in the 2012/13 season. He’s had QB ratings of 98.8 and 95.7 in his two preseason games and he’s yet to have his full compliment of targets all at once (Jones / Gonzalez out in 1st), (White / Gonzalez out 2nd), and Roddy White will likely not take another preseason snap. Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers turning the running game on vs. the Ravens can only help Ryan and the offense. It’s a long, long season, but Ryan looks like he’s getting close to a mid-season stride early on.

SJax Back to Beast

Can Smith Keep Spot? (AJC)

Many fans fretted after seeing Steven Jackson, one of the best running backs the past decade, look more like the 2012 version of Michael Turner than the newly signed stud RB. It was a lackluster debut for Jackson in a Falcons uniform, to say the least, seeing him get a long rush of a meager 4 yards and not much else. Well, the Jackson shook off the rust really fast to look like the old #39, bruising and shaking up and down the field. Following a paltry 8 yards on 5 carries in week 1, Jackson looked more like his old self, rushing 8 times for 42 yards and a 5.3 rush average. He also chipped in a beautiful pass and catch out of the backfield for a big 13 yard gain, reminding everyone of the amazing versatility in both areas (rush and catch). Beyond the stats, the new Falcon was quick and made sharp cuts up and down the line. The offensive line did a much better job as well, but there were several times where Jackson made a perfect cutback for a big gain. Jacquizz Rodgers looked super as well in his time in the backfield. If the Falcons offense can stay healthy, it really is a dangerous offense with Jackson behind Matt Ryan.

Offensive line Improves

Worrilow = Starter?

Could Drew Davis Supplant HD in Slot?

Major Concern on Depth, Blown Leads

Expecting a Wild Defense from Nolan

Is Alford Moving Ahead of McClain?

UDFA LB’s in Seeming Lead for Spots

Babineaux Dominant; Jerry’s Big Night

#5 WR Spot Wide Open

Will a UDFA RB Replace Antone Smith?

Practice Squad OL Making a Push

Rest to come very soon………….

The Falcons Cage Podcast

(Hit the links to listen to the bi-weekly podcast from our very own Cage Members. Click on the “Open a New Window” Tab or “Play in Default Player.”You can listen live or download it and listen on your favorite device: i-tunes, i-pod, i-pad, tablet, or android

Episode #10 – Preseason Review: Debate-Style Format – 8/21/13

Episode #9 – Falcons-Raven 2nd Preseason Review – 8/18/13
Episode #8 – Review from Falcons-Bengals – 8/11/13
Episode #7 – A look at Training Camp so Far – 8/4/13
Episode #6 – Cage Members’ Questions Pt. 2 – 7/31/13
Episode #5 – Cage Members’ Questions Pt. 1 – 7/28/13
Episode #4 – Training Camp Preview – 7/24/13
Episode #3 – Look back at Falcons 2013 Draft – 7/21/13
Episode #2 – Defensive Tackle – 7/14/13
Episode #1 – Linebackers – 7/10/13

556 comments Add your comment

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
7:15 am

Morning Cage

I hope I will get to watch the cast latter today.
Thanks guy’s

Kens Strickland

August 21st, 2013
8:40 am

Kens Strickland

August 21st, 2013
8:51 am

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
9:38 am

Good morning Cage

K Strick

The first posting. I am good with the awards; not really inclined to change anything. After the great read we had yesterday on Osi, if he stays healthy and comes close to what Abe produced last season, he is most deserving.

The second listing. AMEN to the Drew Davis and Paul Worrilow inclusions. Even if they are only on the bench for depth, it secures their places for the future instead of being cut or wasted on the PS.

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
9:40 am

Cage Family

There is a spot open tonight on the microphone if you are interested. Contact D3if you would love to be in on the Pod Cast.

I am sure we will have a great show tonight but duty calls in the forecast office once again on the night beat. And it would be totally unfair to my brothers AND the Cage audience, real and extended, to attempt to participate with all the distractions in the background that would be sure to come.

Grits Blitz

August 21st, 2013
9:41 am

Think about this Cagers…so far, it appears we have basically the same D-line as last year (w/ exception of Osi). Should we expect ANY differentj results re a pass rush? Am I the only one who looks at our present linebackers and thinks Worrilow should not start? The guy’s a hitter and a player! (Better than LB I’ve seen this year!) And, when will we get to see extended playing time in pre season for Banks to give him a real chance to show what he can or can not do? If nothing else, move one of them to MLB to replace Dent, put the Beer Man on a diet and move him to OLB. Dent and Nicholas don’t have the speed and can’t “bring the pain” to consistently hit people and bring them down. Why can’t we see what OT Shraeder can do at ROT with the 1st team? Come on coaches…quit fooling yourselves. See what you really have in game conditions, give folks a real chance, and play them on the 1st string for an extended period in the preseason games for a real evaluation!

Julius the Kicker

August 21st, 2013
9:42 am

Another Great Post D3,
Tire of reading slow football new. Ready for some action.
If all start are stay in good health, we should be in good shape.
Can’t wait to start of regular season.
GO FALCONS!!!

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
9:49 am

Nice points, Grits.

Kens Strickland

August 21st, 2013
9:57 am

http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2013/8/20/4636066/ricky-bell-profile-san-diego-chargers-tampa-bay-buccaneers

CAGERS-I’ve always been on the emotional side, and this article really got to me. It’s both inspirational & sad. All of you old timers, like myself, should remember RB Ricky Bell, of USC & Tampa Bay fame. When I read stuff like this, it really makes me realize that my situation can be a helluva lot worse, and that I need to better appreciate what I do have.

I’m closing in on 67 yrs of age, which means I need to stop dreaming and start doing if I want to accomplish any of my dreams & goals. I believe it was Sunday that I read a story about a young 10yr old Atl boy who had just died from an inoperable brain tumor. Losing the spirit, inner strength, maturity & determination of someone so young & so deserving of life, tore me up.

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
10:31 am

The TeePee responds:

Offensive line Improvements:

The youth movement continues to gain momentum on the OL. While I can live with the band aid fix that is Reynolds at RG, I would prefer to see more of Gunn or Manley. Holmes will receive his baptism by fire this year and will either put up or shut up for the team. TD believed in him so I will give him the benefit of the doubt after an initial cold reaction. I trust the skill and coaching pedigree of Pat Hill. With hard work and a little luck, Holmes should mature into his role. Konz is right where he belongs at the center and will be a staple there for a long, long time.

The Worrilow Factor:

Worrilow has done everything you can ask of a young player coming into camp. He has played his position well, shown intensity, and excelled on special teams. His skill set in pass coverage needs some work at this time BUT it is on par with that of several veterans on the roster right now. His tackling speaks for itself thus he could, IMHO, start at the SLB position for the Falcons. Again, though there is a weakness in coverage, there is enough in his tool set to handle backs and TEs at this time. But he will definitely be on the roster and given the inability of both Spoon and Nicholas to stay healthy, Worrilow will get his shot and he will deliver at some time during the season. He may not be the present BUT he is definitely now in the future mix.

Could Drew Davis Supplant HD in Slot?

Absolutely. A larger presence in the slot, Davis seems a natural for the part. If needed, given the inability of JJ11 to keep that hamstring healthy, Davis is a fluid, large outside presence as well. HD83 has seen chance after chance to prove his value. He is either timid or has lost the trust of his QB in key situation. Besides, the screen passes or short cross routes that HD83 has excelled at will be absorbed by the TEs and the RBs this season.

Major Concern on Depth and Blown Leads:

Depth has been an issue for the Falcons since this regime has been in place and continues to be. Most of us attribute it to WPP so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

As far as blown leads in games, attitude along with attention to detail on defense MUST improve. We have to stop opposing offenses, we must place a higher premium on such fundamentals as secure tackling and pass coverage.

Our DL has to be able to sustain a constant element of hurry-up or pressure on the OL and QB of the opposing offense. And our coaching staff MUST learn the element of finish in terms of game management.
We must go for the kill sometimes instead of settling for a serious wound most times.

FINISH….FINISH STRONG!!

Expecting a Wild Defense from Nolan:

I honestly have no clue what defense to expect from Mike Nolan. His scheme has been all over the place since his arrival in ATL. The team has addressed issues in the secondary by getting younger, faster, and more aggressive. But for me, the issues remain with the front seven. The ability to pressure from the DL and the ability to cover by the linebackers will be critical. While sacks are nice, CONSTANT pressure on the pocket is the desired goal. IF the pocket is threatened, the QB is prone to make a mistake. And mistakes can turn into difference makers.

Is Alford Moving Ahead of McClain?

Alford has been a great find for the ATL defense. He will not move ahead of McClain this year. He will serve as the #1 reserve CB while fine tuning his game. His value on special teams will be immense. BUT….

2014 will see Alford take his place on the field as a full time cornerback. Samuel is likely to be a cap loss and McClain is a free agent. The team will certainly want to bring McClain back if he has a good year like he did in 2012. Samuel will be part of an effort to free up cap space that will be needed for GREATER concerns coming sooner rather than later.

Babineaux Dominant; Jerry’s Big Night

Babs has always been a very solid three tech DT. And if healthy and focused, there is no reason to expect anything else. Peters is streaky and must show more consistency.

Jerry caught lightning in a bottle for one game and I commend him on that. If he can stay healthy and consistent (two BIG if’s), then it will be interesting next spring to see what the Falcons will do.

DT remains an issue for me when analyzing and assessing this team. The inconsistent nature could be a detriment. I think it will be addressed in FA or the draft next year.

Will a UDFA RB Replace Antone Smith?

I love my Seminoles. Everyone knows that. But the time has come to move on from Smith. He can’t run with power, his blocking is average, and he is limited as a receiver.

Russell is a larger, physical runner and Wingo has shown skill (2010/2011) as a receiving option out of the backfield. Wingo also bring a “Snelling-like” presence in that he has the ability to play both RB and FB.

Additionally, this kid DiMarco is a solid fine. He is a fine blocker from what I have seen and seems to have fine hands as a receiver. Bradie Ewing seems to be a coach’s favorite but we know nothing of him other than he has shown an inability to stay healthy. DiMarco may be one to keep if we can find a special team home for him.

That’s the rundown…..stay tuned for more later.

LRD

August 21st, 2013
10:36 am

Per the Bleacher Report and Awards.. I will say that William Mo will have a stellar year this year. Yes he was a pro bowler last year.. but now that he has Trufant to actually cover folks, Moore will now have even more of a chance to be a ball hawk. I really expect to hear his name more on tackles and more importantly on pass break up and INTs. He is due for HIS seasons.. barring no injuries

SW: We see totally eye to eye on Davis. If i could make one change to our O weapons it would be to move him into the Slot. And I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more of # 19 this year. He just looks so smooth on his routes, he has the bigger body than HD to absord and take hits on across the middle pass routes.
Jerry: In both pre-season games we have all started to notice that Jerry is having his name called. That he is penetrating into the backfield, and that he is so much quicker than he has been. Maybe, just maybe, that lingering knee issue is resolved.. and maybe just maybe we are seeing the break out year we wanted 2 years ago….

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
10:52 am

K Strick

How ironic….check this out.

I came home on leave from my assignment in Germany in 1982. My girlfriend and I went to Tampa to enjoy the beach and some time together. While sitting at a restaurant, the manager asked me if I was a football fan. I told him I was a Falcons fan and that the Bucs needed help bad. In the early 80’s, they did as we well know.

He went to the back area of the restaurant and later returned with two tickets. He gave them to me and my girlfriend. He was a Bucs season ticket holder but was not going to the game because he was going to be out of town. The Bucs were hosting the Redskins at the old Tampa Stadium on Sunday. I was excited because it was football; my girlfriend was excited because she had never attended a pro football game.

We got to see a great performance by the Diesel, John Riggins. Doug Williams was the QB for the Bus that day and they were breaking in a new running back in James Wilder. Tampa would lose the game but Ricky Bell would be a part of the game even though he was not on the field that day.

See, the guy that sat next to us on that Sunday constantly stated that he missed Ricky Bell. All he talked about was Ricky Bell. I wondered who this guy was because this fan was so in love with him. He had on the old orange and white Bucs jersey with “42″ proudly displayed. Dude had not been anything special that I could recall but I remember how intense this fan was about Bell. Obviously, Bell was more than a football player to that fan.

You are right. The story is enlightening. But at least in this moment, I have that memory of that fan who took what Mr. Bell gave him and treasured it. And now, Mr. Bell is at peace and secure in the arms of the Angels.

JB Falcon

August 21st, 2013
10:53 am

KS, that story about Ricky Bell was indeed eye opening and cause for all of us to appreciate life itself and what wonders are available to us. Thanks for posting it.

LRD

August 21st, 2013
10:54 am

Off Topic:
KS: All these rainy days have made many do contemplation of what/where/when in life.
As cliche as it is, make a list.. write it down. Post it where you can see it every day. (I used this tactic to help get me ready to quit smoking 2 yrs ago.. cept I did sneak one after the NFC Championship game last year….)
And start the list with something you know you can accomplish.. and then put down further on the list something you know you can accomplish. That way you not only mark off one at the top, but one towards the bottom and mentally that helps one trick ones own mind to know you can knock things off, that you dont have to do them in order, and that it shows progress.
My main goal.. hike up Mt Kilamanjaro before I am 56.. I have several years to go, but I look at it all the time.. and I also made a goal of running a 10k race every year.. and those 2 tie together to get me in shape, build up the habit of running/working out on a regular basis so that I can work to accomplish the ultimate goal(climing Mt K) by pursuing other goals…
Sorry for the non football talk…

RISE UP ATLANTA ( better…..?)

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
11:00 am

LRD

We all know what Rodgers can do with all his weapons.

Ryan is loaded as well. But imagine the impact (potential) of replacing Douglas with Davis. OMG!!

And in regards to the Jerry situation, as I stated in the Cast this past Sunday, I ate a little crow. It was not tasty but Jerry earned it. He has been a force in this preseason. My question is will he sustain it going forward. Only time will tell BUT I will give credit to the dude for the energy I have seen thus far in 2013. I did not agree with his selection BUT I wish him the very best!!

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
11:09 am

***NON FOOTBALL MOMENT***

LRD / K STRICK

Where are we in our lives? You both are correct. It is a question that we should often ask ourselves. And it is one that deserves critical focus.

Yesterday, we paid tribute to and shared with Coop as he took great joy in his 20th anniversary in uniform. I respect him for letting his emotion flow in such a way. As one that has shared that moment, I know how special it is.

I also know how special it is to be able to come from a little town in south GA and now say I have visited 38 different nations in my life when members of my family STILL have never been to ATL or Tallahassee, which is 35 miles from my hometown.

I know how special it is to have met three former Presidents, placed my feet into the waters of the Nile, and seen the sun set over the Pyramids at Giza. I know who special it is to have flown into the same day TWICE and chase the sun as I traveled to Korea and Japan.

But I also know the special nature of family and friends. The joys of holding my grandson and granddaughter for the first times; the joy of watching my son be pinned with his airborne wings by his mom. I have felt the pain of watching my mom bury a child too damned soon BUT watched his child reach great heights.

I could go on. But the message is simple; ENJOY LIFE!! Take the good and the bad BUT most of all, find something EACH DAY to be happy for. Reach out and touch something or someone in a positive way. It’s okay to be upset at times but NEVER let it consume you. And remember, the greater man or woman can say I’m wrong and/or I’m sorry.

Live…love…life. They are all special. But unfortunately, they also are gone too soon.

***Back to regularly scheduled programming***

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
11:14 am

Birdman

Thoughts and prayers remain with you, the princess, and the family. Stay strong, bro!! SOUTH GA Strong!!

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
11:24 am

***FFL Alert***

I’m good my ACC brother. I’m good. LOL, your comments have been great to read. In the end, all will see. It’s not the same ole Posse.

Looking forward to the weekly predictions…..especially when you have to BELIEVE in the Posse!!

LRD

August 21st, 2013
11:30 am

***FFL ALERT*** (man am I just interupting the flow today)
Just wait to after the draft. When the Howling Owls , against all odds, is predicted as the favorite for this year.. with all the cast offs that where left… The Owls again will be flying thru the night, striking fear into everyone , showing our talons, and again claiming that Sarah B trophy!!!!

Die Hard Falcon

August 21st, 2013
11:57 am

Offensive line Improves — I believe that the offensive line looked better this game and I think they’ll continue to jell together as the season progresses.

Worrilow = Starter? — Worrilow has potential to start, but it’s so hard to say until he plays w/ the 1’s against top tier offenses. Linebackers can get lots of stats w/ tackles, etc and it doesn’t always mean they’re the best out there. Although he has shown a propensity for being around the ball quite often, I guess we’ll see. I definitely see him on the 53 man roster though.

Could Drew Davis Supplant HD in Slot? — I could see that happening, I think someone needs to push HD, he just hasn’t shown up like I thought he would. Every year I wait and am disappointed, I used to blame Mularkey, but after last year, the infamous “trip” and all, I just don’t know what the issue is. I remember the flashes in the rookie year, and then I believe 2 seasons ago against the Aints at home he had a huge game but other than that, it just doesn’t happen. Too many simple drops too.

Major Concern on Depth, Blown Leads — I will be much more concerned during the regular season, the collapses in the playoffs last year were awful, especially the one that we ended up losing of course. The collapse in the Baltimore game doesn’t concern me at all, we had the game well in hand with the 1st & 2nd team, many or probably most of the players in during that 4th quarter will either not make the team or almost never see the field, certainly as a unit.

Expecting a Wild Defense from Nolan — I expect us to build on last year and progress in year 2 of the Nolan D. We weren’t a bad defense last year in terms of what matters: points & turnover ratio, we did quite well and I expect we’ll be better this year.

Is Alford Moving Ahead of McClain? — I don’t know yet, too hard to say, McClain had a rough outing last game, but it’s hard to put too much into 1 preseason game, Alford had a great 1st game but wasn’t anything special in the Baltimore game either.

UDFA LB’s in Seeming Lead for Spots — I would definitely say for the UDFA’s, the LB’s Bartu & Worrilow have to get on the roster, I think due to Mike Johnson’s injury, Ryan Schraeder will make the team as well.

Babineaux Dominant; Jerry’s Big Night — Babs has been dominant and is still playing at a high level, very versatile playing end in a pinch too. Jerry will have to show more consistency for me and do it when the games count too.

#5 WR Spot Wide Open — I think Roddy, Julio, HD, and Drew Davis are clearly the top 4; I still think Cone will get the benefit of the doubt, but I am really liking Darius Johnson, wouldn’t mind seeing him get on the roster at all.

Will a UDFA RB Replace Antone Smith? — Hard to say given the regime’s lack of desire to change sometimes, I think Vaughn had a great game against Baltimore, but Antone is the ST ace and that may give him the nod.

Practice Squad OL Making a Push — Manley and/or Gunn, 1 of them if not both will make the 53 man roster as back ups I believe

Go Falcons!!!

Matty Bicep

August 21st, 2013
12:01 pm

On the awards,

I think Alford edges out Trufant and goes to the pro bowl for special teams…as biggest surprise I say he lines up on offense and makes a play or two there, although, with JJ, you got to ask why?

I dont’ think Konz will surprise anyone, he played spectacular in the post-season last year, I expect the same from the Center.

I think everything else is spot on…Worrilow can run to the ball and tackle with the best of them. But I agree he might be a liability in coverage, he came out on 3rd down for the hens, probably why he did not get drafted…

But I do think he is faster than most thought in “game speed”, but I don’t know about his back peddle, or how he turns, but goes forward and tackles just fine. I assure you, if he lines on in a game, matching up against him will be a priority in the oppositions game plan….Drew Brees will be licking his chops, then, and only then, we will we find out exactly what we have in him.

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
12:08 pm

***FFL ALERT****

LRD, you came out of no where last year to win the title. That is my mission and intent in 2013.

I want a title and I want it now!!

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
12:18 pm

Good afternoon Cage

I hope and pray all are well .

Here is an article on the rookies and how they are so far a B on Trufant But take note on what they say on our young Man Worrillow.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1744541-team-by-team-nfl-rookie-class-report-card-heading-into-preseason-week-3/page/3

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
12:25 pm

Thank you Seminole Warrior !!

I am a blessed man and always Deep South strong.

Go Syrup Makers Lets get some Bulldog but this year LOL SW.

But truly” Thank you and all the Cage.

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
12:30 pm

Leads the NFL in tackles thus far with 18 in pre season. Not bad !!

SeminoleWarrior

August 21st, 2013
12:40 pm

LOL, Birdman.

THS is are young this year and we have a new HC. Got to be those damned cross town rival ‘Bees first and then you guys comes to town for the home opener. Ahhh, the Syrup Pitcher!!

Glory, Glory, Ole Thomasville!!! Highway 84, baby!! The highway of champions!!!

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2013
1:39 pm

SW/BM,

Do the Syrup Makers have anything to do with Cairo?

waynester

August 21st, 2013
1:42 pm

SW & Birdman
Ya’ll don’t sleep on my Colquitt Co Packers, either….
Although we don’t play each other any more I’ve got a lot of fond memories of travelling to Cairo and T’ville back in the day( the Bulldogs and Central ‘Jackets always had our number)…..

Kens Strickland

August 21st, 2013
1:47 pm

It’s amazing how someone else’s misfortune can inspire others to take action or reconsider the severity of their own situation, which isn’t a bad thing?

Big Ray

August 21st, 2013
1:54 pm

Good stuff, D3 .

Well, now to the questions.

1) I believe the offensive line will improve. It might take a handful of games, to be realistic….hopefully not more than that. The important thing will be continuity, because chemistry means so much. Continuity can only be achieved through health.

2) I’d like to be bold and “fresh” and pencil Worrilow in as a starter, but I’m not going to do that. It’s unprecedented on a number of levels. Worrilow doesn’t start if all the starters are healthy at LB. We’ve seen more than one special talent come to the forefront from relative obscurity, but it’s almost always due to injury to a front line player. Example – Victor Cruz.

Rarely do UDFAs take a job that is at least somewhat ably manned by an incumbent with experience. I’ll leave it at that. Worrillow’s chance should come, but despite his preseason performances so far, he won’t be able to prove to the CS that he’s significantly better than his “seniors” and the best man for the job.

3) I don’t think Drew Davis takes HD’s place in the slot unless HD gets injured. Even then, we’ll probably see a swap-up of personnel. I love Drew’s game, but can he truly work the slot? Seems to me he might do better on the outside, especially if Roddy or Julio is moved inside to the slot to really create havoc for the defense. And since the slot guy is only used so often in our offense (from my estimation, anyway), that will only happen every so often. Still – the way Drew has played, it has a high chance of success anytime they put those three on the field, especially with TG88.

4) We aren’t going to know if our blown lead issues are still for real until the regular season begins.

What we’ve seen so far is our reserves giving up leads as a unit . Well, you’re practically never going to see a full unit of reserves on the field in a regular season or playoff game unless we’re up by a ton of points. Even then, if the lead starts trimming down, what do you do? Put some starters back in.

As far as depth goes –

In 6 more days, the roster has to be down to 75 players. In 10 days, the last 53 men standing will be determined. Keep an eye on things.

To be continued ….

waynester

August 21st, 2013
1:55 pm

The Pack(preseason #2 in 6A) has a brutal schedule this season. We play 6 top 10 teams from 6A, plus Hoover(Ala’s defending 6A champs). We already had a scrimmage with Norcross(lost) and have to face Grayson right off the bat Saturday in the Ga Dome(Corky Kell Classic). Throw in Lovejoy, Lowndes and Camden and you’re looking a a HUGE mountain to climb….

Big Ray

August 21st, 2013
2:18 pm

5) Nolan will bring some wild stuff indeed. The wildest thing that can happen, however, will not have to do with schemes as much as it will have to do with personnel. Who starts where? How many snaps will certain guys get? What kind of rotation will we see along the DL?

A lot will depend on health as far as the DT position goes. If Jerry remains healthy (ehh…), then you may only see cameo appearances from Travian Robertson and Cliff Matthews. But with Nolan, who really knows? His schemes are personnel dependent (then again, everybody’s scheme is like that), but it’s his ability to use guys as weapons.

The blitzes will be dependent on two things – speed and “blocking.” We’ve seen a lot of blitzes that failed simply because the guys up front fail to “block” enough of the OL in order for the blitzer to have a lane to go through. We shall see how this shapes up.

6) The question is whether the Falcons want him in the nickel spot. McClain locked that spot up last season despite playing next to the coverage-challenged Dunta Robinson, so I’m not sure anybody short of a Pro Bowl level CB can take his job. And if he’s playing at a high level, why replace him? I see Alford more as Samuel’s replacement (eventually). Then again, you never know. If McClain falters, watch Alford step right in.

I think the Falcons would rather trot ONE rookie out there at a time if they can help it. But they’ll do as they must one way or another.

7) I’ll vote Worrilow of course, and Bartu as guys who make it into the LB corps. I certainly would hate to see us have to choose between the two, but it depends on how many LBs we carry. Robert James is still a special teams stud, so it would be hard to kick him to the curb. We’ll see. I think the aforementioned two are going to make it. But that’s me picking favorites, not the CS evaluating what they need vs. what these guys can do.

8 ) Everybody loves to see the kind of penetrating performance we got from Babs and Jerry against the Ravens. Whether or not this can continue is the question. Both guys are effective when healthy, though Babs has proven more consistent than Jerry. Again – it comes back to health. If either or both falter, though…who steps in? More importantly, can that person step up? I have my doubts.

Travian Robertson is big and strong, but still has technique issues. Cliff Matthews has the heart, but does he have the strength and stamina to stand up to the pounding that comes in the inner trenches? I’m not so sure – he’s never done it before, particularly for a whole season.

Here’s where Adam Replogle (or however you spell his name) could come into play. Personally, and this is just from what little I’ve seen of our reserve DTs… Replogle has played better than Travian or Regis . Tell me if I saw wrong…..

9) I have no clue what will happen with the 5th WR spot. Kevin Cone has the “seniority” of the group, but I’m not at all inclined to think he’s got it sewn up. One guy I was reasonably impressed with was Darius Johnson. Depends. If we go with seniority like usual, Johnson makes the PS instead of the roster. Like usual, special teams play will determine the victor in this battle, in all likelihood.

I have a feeling Marcus Jackson and James Rodgers are on the outside looking in…again.

10) Antone Smith might just be too good on special teams for any RB hopeful to supplant him. Those guys would have to show something really good in games, and they only get so many chances at that. On top of this, they play with the 2nd and 3rd string OL, so just how much can they show?

Two things will help a RB in this case – showing the ability to pick up a blitz or otherwise block well, and special teams play. Otherwise, think about it – a RB hopeful can’t just be a better ball carrier than the next man up. He’s gotta be an exemplary STs player who also won’t give up a sack or blow a block on a play in a real game.

11) I’d be happy if our PS contained mostly OL guys. Seriously. No, not every single PS spot, but half of them at least. We don’t draft a lot of guys, and the ones we brought in are huge bodies. Develop them! It’s good for depth.

John Waynesworld

August 21st, 2013
2:26 pm

John Waynesworld

August 21st, 2013
2:35 pm

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
2:43 pm

Unca’Bob

Cairo Ga . Is where I am from or Whigham . The Town Cairo is the home of Roddenberry’s “Syrup” Pickles ” Peanut Patch boiled peanut’s among other things . This town and county has been known for there Syrups “Corn and Cane ‘ for years . Hence the name Syrup Makers is the name of all the Cairo High Sports teams. Football and Basketball

When the too rival teams” Cairo Syrup Maker’s And SW’s Thomasville Bulldogs play each other each year in Football the Syrup pitcher is up for grabs for the team that wins and is held by that team until they meet again

Die Hard Falcon

August 21st, 2013
2:47 pm

I don’t know if anyone read the article from CBS sports’ Will Brinson on the Jonathan Baldwin trade to the 49ers, but 1 interesting item was that apparently Bill Belichek advised TD not to make the trade for Julio b/c “Jon Baldwin is basically the same guy”

That is hilarious, I definitely don’t regret the Julio trade at this point and glad that TD didn’t listen, too funny

Birdman

August 21st, 2013
2:54 pm

waynester

I Never under estimate Colquitt bro. !!

I.d say Cairo’ Colquitt’ & T-ville are within about a 60 are so mile radius

LRD

August 21st, 2013
3:24 pm

Interesting note.. but Falcons are game planning for TN game this sat. So.. reckon we will see more of what the D can do.. and what the O’s potential.
Also, w/out Roddy.. we can see more of Davis in the slot..

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Hamad Meander

August 21st, 2013
4:22 pm

Gritz Blitz – love the name, and you have game. Your points are spot on, and I’m ready to see what these guys who have ‘potential’ can do in game situations. There is NO REASON to keep a veteran if the new guy is better and younger. If Worrilow outplays Nicholas, then Worrilow should win the job. I’ve heard that Joplo Bartu is a beast. Let him start at middle linebacker. Let’s get younger, faster, and meaner now, not later.

Kens Strickland

August 21st, 2013
5:40 pm

I have to agree with BIG RAY when it comes to an UDFA LB, who has led his team in PRESEASON tackles, replacing a vet LB who’s led his team in REGULAR SEASON tackles. Besides having a nose for the ball, can anyone give any input about his coverage ability? We don’t want to get too excited about a potential FA tackling machine who’s a clone of former MLB CLofton, who, like Lofton, is a liability in pass coverage.

waynester

August 21st, 2013
5:44 pm

I realize this is virtually meaningless pre-season drivel–but ESPN has ranked the Uniforms of the NFL and we fared very poorly…#28…ahead of only AZ,CAR,CIN and JAX. That’s poor company, indeed(did ya’ll actually see the new Jags’ Unis? Awful, awful, and did I mention, Awful?)
This ain’t the first time I’ve expressed a similar opinion….Let’s PLEASE make our throwback uniforms the standard again. I know the marketing gurus wanted to make a break from the “culture of losing” that existed under the previous ownership but the current uniform design sucks donkey danglers. When I spend my $$$ on Falcons’ gear it’s ALWAYS the “throwback” design that I buy….and yes, I’m a curmudgeon but I genuinely LOVE the Old-School Look….

Hamad Meander

August 21st, 2013
6:10 pm

Ken – don’t get me wrong- I’m certainly not saying to dump a veteran just because a UDFA has looked good in preseason. I’m saying if all things are equal and you cannot discern a difference between the vet and the UDFA, then go with the youth and value. Sometimes I think the statistic of total tackles isn’t a good measuring stick. When Lofton left, did we lose all of those tackles? No, they were picked up by his replacements and other players. Linebacker seems to be one of the easier positions to fill. With us running 4-2-5 most downs, I hate to think that we allow some good talent go because we have no room.

Paddy O

August 21st, 2013
6:11 pm

imagine having an O line that pushes around opponents? imagine having CB’s that provide good coverage, freeing up either of the safeties (DeCoud does not really tackle well) or a speedy LB to blitz at will? We still have a lot of improving to do. Luckily, our QB, RB both WR AND TE are all pro bowl material. I’m still thinking the “no rest until 35 is on the board” is the best offensive MO we could have.

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2013
6:36 pm

Birdman,

Thank you for the free Two Dollar tour. I now have a greater understanding of some of the local goin’s on.

I hope all is going well for you and yours.

JB Falcon

August 21st, 2013
6:42 pm

UB, you’ve hear of the Lombardi but have never heard of the Syrup pitcher? :)

Arno

August 21st, 2013
6:51 pm

Unca' Bob

August 21st, 2013
6:53 pm

JB,

LOL. Reckon’ I need to get out more.

D3

August 21st, 2013
7:13 pm

Listen to my new episode The Falcons Cage Podcast #10 – Preseason: Debate-Style at http://tobtr.com/s/5308357. #BlogTalkRadio

WR

August 21st, 2013
7:41 pm

Evening cage, SW, no shame in eating crow this far with Jerry, I’m pretty sure and that’s including myself, a number of us are eating on that crow. My hope is that he can continue, if so, give me some hot sauce, and bring on the crow, I’ll chow down.

D3, nice write up, but I’m sticking to my earlier thoughts even while liking what I’m seeing especially in the 2nd preseason game for the Falcons. Those thoughts are:

The Falcons have a very young OL, they probably will have some serious concerns and shortcomings early in the season, that’s expected. But as long as they can do enough to get them by early on, and as long as the coaches scheme around the deficiencies well, there should be enough to keep them in contention until they gain the needed experience and start to jell.

Defensively, the secondary will be young, but with probowl safeties, a strong vet in Samuel, and Nolan’s ability to be creative, this is another unit that needs to just do enough to keep the opponents points in a decent range, the offense will be able to handle the rest if they do their part. I do believe eventually while in previous years this unit has been an afterthought, they have the ability to “Rise Up” as the Falcons slogan always preaches.

Lastly, my hopes aren’t overly high for this year’s team, my wishes on the other hand are. The pieces are in place without a doubt when considering offensive weaponry. But the same pieces have been in place for many teams only to see things go south. We have to understand as fans, SB champs build to that ending level of holding up the Lombardi trophy. Been quite some time since a team has had the highest of expectations and has come through in the end. Just doesn’t happen much, but what does happen is that good teams falter and they overcome, they face adversity and that adversity builds character, the character they you to take them over the top. I believe the Falcons can be one of those teams, they will take some bumps and bruises alone the way, but they have the makings of a team that can utilize the same said bumps and bruises, to build character and take them over the top.