What’s Your Biggest Off-season Concern for the Atlanta Falcons?

Big Off-season for Blank's Falcons (AJC)

As we Falcons fans sit on the sidelines and watch the divisional championships this weekend, what’s your biggest concerns for the off-season? Are you worried on a micro level that the Falcons top brass won’t sign the players needed in free agency or will find a way to mess up the draft? Or are you more concerned on a macro level and worried about the ongoing disconnect that seems to be prevalent at the top?

Working on new post about Head Coach Mike Smith’s tenure in Atlanta, but until then share what’s on your mind about the Falcons as we watch the legit teams make a run to the Super Bowl.

547 comments Add your comment

Wings

January 11th, 2014
11:20 am

For Unca’Bob

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 11th, 2014
11:23 am

I’m most concerned that they have the same lunatics running the asylum.

Wings

January 11th, 2014
11:25 am

I am afraid we are at the beginning of another 3-5 year phase with Smitty trying to re-establish power football. Basically we are back to 2008 again. I don’t have a problem with power football but Smitty’s version is not successful for a trip to the Super Bowl. My conclusion is Smitty RUNS everything, and there is not much input from anyone else. Don’t all of the past events point to this fact. In the preseason, Worrilow had all of those tackles and he was still assigned to the practice squad and Bartu was the first to play. Smitty’s decisions defy logic and reality.

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 11th, 2014
11:31 am

……… With the 2nd pick in the draft the Rams, uh wait there has been a trade!

falcon21

January 11th, 2014
11:32 am

I agree with Wings, our biggest concern should be Mike Smith.

Rocky

January 11th, 2014
11:37 am

Agree with Flo, trading up to get The Clown and losing YET ANOTHER draft pick!

D3

January 11th, 2014
11:38 am

Flo — Hysterical

Wings — That’s a dang good point. Seriously, it seems that way for sure. That’s one of the only things that can explain the exact same issues that have been present since day 1 of his regime. We could list a thousand examples, but I’ll just throw two more in: Antone Smith and Lawrence Sidbury. Both showed out in preseason and in regular season in very limited appearances. Smith had like 29 YPC average for awhile. And Sidbury was the ONLY DE that could rush the passer opposite Abraham. And hell, he never even got a chance to play a 3-4 rush end type role, even in Mike Nolan’s defense. And that leads into yet another. One of the best 3-4 minds in the NFL and when he comes to Atlanta, he doesn’t run it? I even wonder why Nolan even came to Atlanta, to be honest.

D3

January 11th, 2014
12:01 pm

Draft Trade — I just really don’t see that this year (maybe just wishful thinking), but I can’t imagine Blank being OK with moving up yet again and giving up any more draft picks. Julio is great, but that’s once in a lifetime type of trade. Enough is enough. If we trade up, I may just spontaneously combust.

JJ — Yeah, I tried my very best to keep alive the hope that Konz was a decent pick. Well, as SP and I were talking the other night, I went back and actually researched the draft class of 2012 and it turns out to be another Dimitroff fail. I bought the meme of “best center in the draft” hook-line-sinker. Well, turns out he was the best center in the draft because he WAS THE ONLY CENTER worth a d@mn. There were only like 3 centers drafted, and one, Ben Jones from UGA, immediately moved to OG. The only other center was drafted in the 6th or 7th round and never played a game and was even cut. Here’s the final nail in the coffin: Stud RG Kelechi Osemele was right there for the picking. A true plug and play player. He takes him instead of Konz, than we’re set at RG for the next 10 years. And this comes after the trainwreck of the Garrett Reynolds experiment. Just effin’ terrible. Furthermore, he drafted him not as a center, but as soon as he drafted him, he immediately said he would work at RG. He’s been good in the 1st round, generally, (Ryan, Julio, Trufant — Spoon’s officially entering bust territory) and UDFA luck, but outside that he’s pretty miserable at drafting.

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Birdman

January 11th, 2014
12:52 pm

I agree with Ya;ll I think these same things . BUT !!

I also think that we will see a change in things this next season for the good. I just feel that there is to much on the line for this coaching staff to not fix some things . I also think that a few new pieces in this Puzzle ( good pieces ) and the Falcons will be a contender again NEXT YEAR .

Who they Pick up in the draft ” How will the Coaching change ” Free Agents.” and Injuries

These will be graded from us all and the out come of it will tell us the answers we want to know .

The Draft ..I just feel will be a good one as well as free agents . We want know until the Fall about the others. I’m just being Optimistic and have a feeling the Birds will be back in things again next year I Hope !!!!

Arno

January 11th, 2014
1:18 pm

My immediate concern is that Smith will not and cannot attract the right coaching hires.

Arno

January 11th, 2014
1:28 pm

I should explain: Based on the postseason comments, the Falcons have a respect for themselves that is beyond what the rest of the league thinks of them. Lovie Smith was able to pull in the staff he needs, while ‘fire ‘em all but us’ MSmith’s stock is falling around the league. What coaches will risk coming here?

woeismesince66

January 11th, 2014
1:30 pm

Why an o-line coach no one wanted for a whole year? Will it be the same with the d-line coach?
Just look around for a d coach that hasn’t worked for a year or two and he will be the Falcons man.

D3

January 11th, 2014
1:41 pm

Arno / woe — Exactly right. Furthermore, who would be chomping at the bit to hire Mike Smith if we canned him? (besides Jacksonville, but they don’t count…..and they have a new owner, so he may not even go back there). If you can’t get it done with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, than what else would he need to get to the Super Bowl. I have a hard believing that Smith could even get there with Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Some may think that Smith is similar to John Fox, but Fox always had good defenses and knows when to butt out of the offense.

Doing research on the Falcons now for the last 6 years for my next post and it ain’t pretty. Basically, I just scroll down to the bottom of every ranking, particularly on defense.

Birdman — Hope things are going well for you man. It’s been great seeing you in here lately. Maybe a better year for our Falcons and Dawgs………….., well, maybe at least our Falcons.

Rocky

January 11th, 2014
1:48 pm

Konz: “My role? It’s so out there right now. I could be the future Todd McClure who was here for 13 years or if things don’t work out, I could be gone. And I want to be in a leadership role. I want to be the rock on the offensive line. That’s what I’m working on.”

Meat (aka Ebby Calvin LaLoosh):” It feels out there. I mean, it’s a major rush. I mean, it feels radical in kind of a tubular sort of way, but most of all, it feels out there.”

Rocky

January 11th, 2014
1:53 pm

Above quotes by grendelg on Jan 10, 2014 | 9:22 AM

Ken Strickland

January 11th, 2014
2:00 pm

Since we can’t address all of our OFF & DEF needs in just 1 draft & FA, it seems to me that the best way for us to improve our OL, rushing OFF & DEF, as well as our pass rush, with what we have is to make the following FA & draft decisions:

OL
1-Sign Browns All Pro FA C Alex Mack
2-Use our 2nd rd pick to draft RG
A-Cyrll Richardson(Baylor) 6′5″ 340lbs, or
B-La’ el Collins(LSU) 6′5″ 321lbs, or
C-Gabe Jackson(Ole Miss) 6′4″ 340lbs
DEF
1-Use our 1st rd pick to draft a pass rusher(I read an interesting article that suggested we draft of sign a Hybrid LB/DE to pair with DE JMassaquoi & DE/OLB KBierman to form what would be a very versatile & formidable pass rushing trio)
2-Sign Giants FA DT Linvil Joseph.

I read 2 articles that said he would definitely improve our poor interior run DEF & interior pass rush. It stated that he’s far better suited for the 1 technique than CPeters, who plays 1 technique for us. Signing him would allow Peters to replace Babineaux at the 3 technique, where he’s considered better suited.

Having 2 DTs playing techniques both play best, & having 3 outside pass rushers in Massaquoi, Biermann & Barr(draft pick), would definitely put a charge in our overall pass rush. We could even resign Babs, assuming he’ll accept a pay cut & accept being a designated pass rusher. If we made these OL moves, we’d be so strong up the middle that we could easily get by with Baker & Holmes at OT.

Ryan would consistently have an interior pocket to step up into to avoid any outside rush, which means our OTs would only have to force DEs to the outside & around Ryan. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

These are FA moves we can afford, as well as draft picks we can definitely make. The OFF moves would make the interior of our OL solid as a rock. It might be possible for us to have enough FA money to sign a veteran OT like Bengals ACollins.

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
2:07 pm

Biggest concerns?

Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, and Mike Smith. In short, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Details on Eyewitness News later from south GA today.

sinisin

January 11th, 2014
2:17 pm

Ugh, you guys are bringing up depressing but valid points, re: coaching hires. At first, I was disgusted with the Tice news just because all I know about him is how bad the Bears fans I knew wanted his head and remembering Cutler getting the snot kicked out of him. But that coupled with the reminder from you fine folks that Lovie Smith just had an opportunity to rehire him, and passed, just screams to me that the dude is incompetent. The MS crony-connection seems like the logical reasoning behind this hire, at least to my cynical eyeballs. Considering MS has just enough rope to hang himself with this upcoming season, you guys are right, I can see why a lot of solid candidates wouldn’t be interested in taking a job here and how that might also have contributed to the Tice move. Color me pessimistic, but I seriously have low expectations for the new DL coaching hire too.

At this point, I’d consider our offseason moves bringing in one or two workable contributors for the 2015 overhaul, to be as much good as we are realistically gonna get out of this year. Also, now considering the possible upside of cheering for “supernewt” (oh, how that made me LOL), because hopefully being the biggest, fattest, ugliest losers of our own division will light a for-real fire under some a**es.

D3

January 11th, 2014
2:18 pm

Ken — Great points. Honestly, free agency is really going to either improve my optimism or submarine it. Not necessarily for the players, per se, but if Tommy the Trader can step outside of his own ego, admit he was wrong, and go about fixing it. We need something for these OL in free agency. ANYTHING!!!! We absolutely cannot fix everything we need to on both lines in through the draft. You lay out great scenarios, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Even at the postseason press-conference, he hinted that he wouldn’t go out in free agency. If he signs one of two between OL and DL, I’ll be half-enthused, if he signs none, I’ll go back into my depression cave. If he were to sign both Alex Mack and Linval Joseph, almost all of my full optimism would be back. As I mentioned a few days ago, it would make the most sense moneywise to sign Mack. The highest paid center in the league is around $6 million. Would gladly pay him that or a little more to bring in some veteran leadership, toughness, and stability to this OL. Furthermore, that would be an amazing place to start to fix this OL. Once you have your center, everything’s way easier. Imagine an OL like this:

LT – Greg Robinson, LG – Justin Blalock, C – Alex Mack, RG – Cyril Richardson or Gabe Jackson, RT – Baker ; with Konz, Holmes, Schraeder, and Gunn as our backups…………oh well, one can dream.

The reason I see Linval Joseph as a huge priority is that this DT class looks like a pretty weak one from my early estimations.

ws falcon

January 11th, 2014
2:18 pm

Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith, Until both are fired . falcons are not going anywhere. 8-8 or 10-6. One an done in playoffs. Me thinks sir Arthur is ok with this!!!!!!!!!
Same old BS from the start of falcon history. Blanks is another Smith family reborn

ws falcon

January 11th, 2014
2:20 pm

He had a winning coach that could get falcons too superbowl (Reeves). Fired him

D3

January 11th, 2014
2:21 pm

SW — You’ve finally stopped your partying and rejoined us. :grin: Not sure if you caught it, but when they overheard Gus Malzahn saying, “we’re better than they are” after they scored and went up by a big margin, I knew it was over. Sure enough, the fake punt came and things went downhill from there. You don’t have to be Mike Smith and be a statue, but you sure as the hell don’t say you’re better than the other team after barely 1.5 quarters, especially a team that went undefeated and buried their opponents. Anyways, rambling, but congrats again. My pops was alive to see his Tigers win a title, so this one would’ve just been icing.

Birdman

January 11th, 2014
2:26 pm

ws

I liked Reeves . The Birds may have already had a ring if he were Coach these last 5 years

D3

January 11th, 2014
2:27 pm

If we make a few cuts (Nicholas, Samuel, etc) and combine that money we’re getting from not keeping Gonzalez again and the dead money coming off the books, we should have plenty of dough to sign one or two stud FA’s.

However, it won’t matter. Dimitroff is simply too arrogant and egotistical too go out and sign some studs in FA, because he would have to admit he’s been dead wrong on the OL and DL. I have yet to hear him admit any mistake or fault in the Falcons trainwreck of a season.

D3

January 11th, 2014
2:29 pm

Birdman — And guess who our DC would’ve likely been…………………Wade Phillips, one of the best DC’s in the game. Nah, we had to hire Lil’ Jimmy Mora, Bobby Prictrino, and Blockhead from Jacksonville.

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
2:49 pm

****CFL Alert***

D3,

Glad to be able to call my Seminoles champions again. Gus actually suffered from the same thing my team suffered from early; a case of over confidence. Once things settled in, the real teams came into focus. Not boasting but very glad to be the champion.

Will be back in full fold later this evening. Lots to bring to the table and as the underclassmen declare, the staff is very busy getting those evaluation reports in to the Cocoa One.

But I will take the chance to warn my Falcon family….nothing is changing. More smoke and mirrors, BS, and see if they remember. Mike Tice? Please!! I’d rather have Skip Bayless

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
2:51 pm

And before I get back to the college touring, one more point..

Not NO but HADES NO to the Clown!! Do not do it. I promise you….you will regret it.

Chop Buster

January 11th, 2014
2:54 pm

There’s a problem in the Falcons organization scouting and drafting the right talent. My biggest concern is Heckle (TD) & Jeckle (Smitty) will screw up our draft picks this year, as they’ve done in the past six seasons. I don’t have confidence in either of them at the helm. Sorry, just my personal view of them.

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
2:56 pm

Chop

You are not alone. I’m either ride side by side with you or pitching in on the gas while we cruise.

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
2:57 pm

But when the measure of success is going to be a return to a winning season (9 wins) while instill the core values of what we “really” desire in our team, then I guess with the bar set so low, Stooge Three and the CFA are bound to succeed.

Rocky

January 11th, 2014
3:08 pm

sinisin

January 11th, 2014
3:12 pm

Actually, SW, you just touched on MY biggest fear. With an easier schedule looming (due to our piss poor play this year) and lowered standards of what “success” means (in comparison to our piss poor record this year), this team could conceivably pull off 9-7; and that MAY be enough to convince folks that all the huff and puff this year about “injuries” being our downfall was accurate.

And that in turn will lead to vindication of and an extension for Smitty’s tenure here, and Dimitroff’s as well. And those two nincompoops will continue to select poorly in the draft, pass on valuable FA assets, and sign waste-of-skin players to lucrative and long term deals.

AND we will simultaneously have to endure Smith’s insistence that his philosophy = wins, that light butt DT’s and cross training OL does work, and that “our team is gonna be the 49ers 2.0″ will be our new identity (conveniently ignoring our complete lack of player personnel to execute that pipe dream). AND we will waste, not only an opportunity to maximize the potential of our young’uns, but also squander the best years of MR2 and Julioooo.

All while watching the Panthers and Saints continue to jockey for the NFC crown, and then a new and improved Tampa Bay passing us by as well. Ugh. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

sinisin

January 11th, 2014
3:14 pm

Got’Dang’Blog Monster!!! I KNEW I should have copied that whole post before submitting. So not typing it all over, I think I’ve made myself sad enough for one day.

D3

January 11th, 2014
3:23 pm

Chop — Hilarious. I was bored the other day and looked up “Frick and Frack” and it was an ice-skating duo or something. Just hysterical. I made a Three Stooges thing with Smitty, Dimitty, and McKay-ty.

SW — Did you ever get that Three Stooges powerpoint I sent you? I absolutely, 100% feel your concern on Clowney. And honestly, I’d much rather go the safe route with Matthews or Robinson, but I can’t get on that train just yet. I know the Clown is a boom or bust prospect, but the talent is just so great, it’s hard for me to slam the door shut. BTW, you get the honor of ending the SEC’s run and they deserved it. Hey, why not come on in the SEC and we’ll kick out Kentucky. You know you’ll have one win every year if you’re in the SEC East. :grin: Still missing Mark Richt?????????

D3

January 11th, 2014
3:26 pm

sinisin — Post is out. Are you completely snowed in up there? You won’t believe it, but the sun just came out and it’s like 60 degrees or something down here. Jeez, this weather.

Screen Pass

January 11th, 2014
3:32 pm

” I KNEW I should have copied that whole post before submitting. ” – sinsin

Protip 101 for proper Cage enjoyment :) . The BM knows when you don’t lol.

D3

January 11th, 2014
3:36 pm

Watching NFL Sunday Countdown on DVR delay and here’s the stats on the screen for Seattle’s defense……….

Points Per Game — #1
Yards Per Game — #1
Takeaways — #1
Red Zone TD Pct — #1

I mean, just d@mn! Talk about building a defense. CFA White-Haired Blockhead can’t build a defense to rank higher than 28th in any category in year 6. Just WOW! And Seattle just lost their DC last year.

sinisin

January 11th, 2014
3:40 pm

Thank you D3, I needed that post to vent properly before I am subjected to Seahawks v Saints. Ugh, now I’m sad AND nauseated!

It’s actually in the 50s today in NJ, but raining and super foggy. Just a yuck day in general, but beats the pants off the 6 degrees and sunny from earlier this week. If it WAS colder, there’d be a helluva lotta snowfall this weekend.

SP – info assimilated :)

Screen Pass

January 11th, 2014
3:41 pm

“Above quotes by grendelg” – Rocky

Thats the dude I thought was Greg M. here lol. I think out side of the writers Caleb, DW, and Jeanna, he might be the only person with a functioning brain over there :) . Ever since another writer went on the “I would love to snack dive in A. Rodgers’ sugar britches” comments…I had to withdraw support for a bit.
I guess watching the playoffs might be the last time we see good O-line play for awhile.

Unca' Bob

January 11th, 2014
3:48 pm

Bryan Cox is the new D-line coach.

Screen Pass

January 11th, 2014
3:50 pm

“Ugh, you guys are bringing up depressing but valid points, re: coaching hires. At first, I was disgusted with the Tice news just because all I know about him is how bad the Bears fans I knew wanted his head and remembering Cutler getting the snot kicked out of him. But that coupled with the reminder from you fine folks that Lovie Smith just had an opportunity to rehire him, and passed, just screams to me that the dude is incompetent. The MS crony-connection seems like the logical reasoning behind this hire, at least to my cynical eyeballs. ” – sinsin

This isn’t a heaven for homers that’s for sure. I wish I could be more optimistic but out side of visiting the bearded iguanas I’m gonna need to see real evidence of these people having a clue. I think FA will tell us most of what we need to know, I’m in agreement with the “show me” club.

Flo-Ri-Duh

January 11th, 2014
3:53 pm

Aint’s @ Seahawks – Batter up! Aint’s on the road ain’t good. Kick some Ain’t butt!

D3

January 11th, 2014
3:56 pm

sinisin / SW — Ya’ll touch on a great point with the “lowered expectations” and Smith coming back. For no other reason than my own sanity (I have to have some team in my life I can have hope in because my college team is completely out of hope and Richty will be here as long as Paterno was at Penn State). I just cannot imagine any scenario of him coming back if we go 9-7. 10-6 and yet another playoff loss will, I have to effin; admit. But don’t assume that we can even get to 8-8. This schedule ain’t that soft. We were one Bucs win away from being swept this year in our own division and the Bucs will be infinitely better under Lovie Smith. Then we have the NFC North with a guaranteed improved Lions team with a new HC, same for Vikings. Bears and Packers. Also, we have the AFC North which we know will be tough as always with Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals (hell, the Browns will probably beat us). Oh yeah, and we have to go to play the Giants in the Meadowlands. If we’re not careful, we could be looking at another 4-12 season.

******Breaking News*******
Just got a text from Falcons Mobile or something, that we just hired Bryan Cox as our DL coach. So glad we interviewed so many people for these jobs. Hell, I guess Smitty and Dimitty don’t believe and interviewing multiple people, analyzing, dissecting, and trying truly find the best possible candidate. Nah, just be a friend or lackey of ol’ Smitty’s and “YOU’RE HIRED!!!!” Even though Cox probably doesn’t have any connection to ol’ WHT (white-haired troll).

Bill Belichick (217 wins, 6th all-time)……..”Each year your team finds the best way to win. Doesn’t matter how you won a year ago or 5 years ago. As a coach, you try to find the best way to win (offense, defense, kicking game, scheme, personnel).” ………. and we have “don’t try to win the game lateralling to Trufant because it’s too risky” Smitty. Just EFF!

D3

January 11th, 2014
4:00 pm

I think FA will tell us most of what we need to know, I’m in agreement with the “show me” club. — SP

Exact same thing I said earlier. I’ll know everything I need to know about the 2014 Falcons when we see the (non)action in free agency.

Seminole Warrior

January 11th, 2014
4:42 pm

Bryan Cox replaces the Sugar Bear. Not impressed. Cox was a heck of a player but the jury is out on him as a coach. But given the fact that the defense is on life support, why not just take the first available defilberlator?

****CFL Alert****

As far as MR goes, he will always stand in great graces with me. It was his work along side Coach Bowden that led to our first two national titles in Tallahassee. Sounds like he is becoming Mack Brown, part two.

I recall FSU fans screaming for Jimbo’s head lat year when we lost to NC State. My question was who would you hire? So I ask you friends, who should replace MR?

Rocky

January 11th, 2014
5:05 pm

“That Tampa Bay D line is one of the best lines in all of football
We may not have as much talent on that line like they do but we’re not far from it.

My hatred for the Saints is second only to Satan himself…and even then it’s a close race.”
by dirtybirdmagic on Jan 11, 2014 | 3:59 PM

Screen Pass

January 11th, 2014
5:08 pm

“Aint’s @ Seahawks – Batter up! Aint’s on the road ain’t good. Kick some Ain’t butt!” – Flo

Hawks and Lynch looking pretty good so far. I look forward to a 2-3 Int game from Brees face herpy demon. If the Taints defense gives R. Wilson the same amount of time they did Foles this should turn out well.

Nookah

January 11th, 2014
5:09 pm

Greetings Cagers!!

Great to read the posts on here as usual although I sense an air of pessimism. Our posts are even referencing the well loved Dan Reeves and perhaps what we are witnessing is 7 years of bad luck for the unceremonious way he was shepherded out of town. So that puts us comfortably at 2015 when MS should be equally shepherded out of town? I hope I am wrong for our sake as Falcon fans.

I am intrigued by the possibilities of fixing the O & D lines in FAgency and the draft. However, the age old question faces us as fans, will our top brass (and I use top loosely) make the right choices? History is replete with examples that suggest no, they will not make the right choices because as usual as D3 suggested earlier, TD would be admitting to his mistakes if he did. With that said, I can’t see why we would not go after Mack. That is one move I am desperate for because we are sadly lacking a QB on the OL.

Second we have to sign Linval Joseph, plain and simple. Enough of the projects because this coaching staff has proven to us an hopefully to themselves, we cannot develop young players. I really hope they do not try to take credit for Worrilow and Bartu because that was entirely due to default based on the injuries of Biermann and Spoon. That is the only reason they got any playing time this year.

Of course the anemic pass-rush that has plagued this team has been well documented and I won’t rehash as that would be redundant and repeating what many on here have stated.

Slot receiver is the next need for this team. Get Benjamin from SW’s alma mater, the next TG in the red zone plain and simple.

Living with faith…..Go Falcons!!!

Birdman

January 11th, 2014
5:10 pm

6 to 0 end of 1st

Go Hawk’s