Our Atlanta Falcons: Retooling in 2014 (Special Guest Post – Seminole Warrior)

The Godfather, Seminole Warrior, Lays it Down!

Special Guest Writer: Roddy E. Nixon, Jr. (aka Seminole Warrior)

PRELUDE

Like you, my fellow Falcon friends, I have had time to sit back and reflect on the season that was lost in 2013. Many fans came into the season with extraordinary expectations of being a Super Bowl team. Many, including many in this forum, warned that the image in the mirror was false. So now, we turn our attention to the reconstruction; the re-tooling of this franchise. This is part one of a two part series that will lay out a plan that, if followed, would restore the faith and confidence of the fans in the direction of the team.

In this narrative, we will assess how we got here. Then, in the next week’s follow-up, we will address, position by position, where the team stands and what must be done to field a consistent winner.

THE FACTS

Simply put, our Falcons suffered a major collapse in 2013. The Branch would have you believe that it was all a result of the numerous injuries we sustained during the season. Proceed with caution as you cross that bridge. I would suggest that the implosion that became known as the 2013 football season ACTUALLY began on December 30, 2012.

Edwards Colossal Mistake (AJC)

The Falcons had a playoff berth and home field advantage secured. On this day, they hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final home game of the year. The Falcons, in a rather ragged and uninspired performance, would lose that game. But it would prove costly for two key reasons.

First, key injuries would befall the team in the form of John Abraham and Dunta Robinson. Second, it would set into motion a mental approach, a gradual meltdown that would continue for some twenty-two (22) ensuing games.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

There are several theories that could come into play here. All of them have one element in common, the front office at the Branch.

DRob Another Huge Whiff (AJC)

Let’s start with the fact that the Falcons’ current regime has been in power now since January 2008. During that five year term, the Falcons have had TWO offensive coordinators (unofficially three), TWO defensive coordinators (unofficially FIVE), TWO secondary coaches, THREE defensive backs coaches, and THREE offensive line coaches.

Not a single one of these leaders left the Falcons for a better opportunity in the NFL; in fact, most of them were “scapegoats” in the seasons of “decline”; seasons in which our Falcons benefitted from the weaker schedules they played.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISITION…WHAT WENT WRONG?

In five drafts under this regime, the Falcons have acquired some forty-four players (44). Of those selected by the team, twenty one (21) remain or are currently projected to be with the team. Sounds fair, right? NEGATIVE!! Why? Of those 21 players, ONE THIRD of them, EIGHT to be exact, are from the 2013 draft class!!

That means of the possible 36 drafted players from the previous FOUR classes, there are only THIRTEEN (13) remaining and are projected to be on the roster come 11 March 2014, the start of the free agency period. OUCH!!! Therein lies the reason why our team has no true core.

Here is another stunning fact. Not a single draft pick from the selections of the regime have been a STARTER in a Pro Bowl. Not one. And of the selections, Matt Ryan has the highest number of appearances, two, as a Reserve.

FREE AGENCY AND TRADES

The Falcons have invested heavily in free agency over this period and as a whole, the team has benefited in a marginal way from it. Michael Turner is clearly the best FA signing of this regime. Dunta Robinson was semi-productive while Ray Edwards took the money and ran. The rentals known as Osi Umenyiora and Steven Jackson have not produced the dividends expected.

Spoon on the Clock (AJC)

The trade for Tony Gonzalez was a great move while the Asante Samuel and Ty Hill deal have resulted in mixed or failing reviews.

This is absolutely horrid when you consider the extensive experience in the front office when it comes to management, scouting, and talent evaluation. There have been several rounds fired from the chamber of the Falcons’ big guns. Unfortunately, most of them have been “blanks.”

By some estimates, the Falcons could have up to 15 to 20 million to work with in this year’s free agent market. If they make some “big” cuts or restructure some deals, the number could rise. But even if they have the money to spend, will it be used wisely or will we yet again make a mid-spring visit to the local Rent-A-Center?

WHERE DO WE GO NEXT?

When this regime came aboard, we were all told to anticipate that the draft would be the principal means by which this team would be constructed. The draft would then be supplemented with focused, specific, and selective free agent signings.

The draft has not resulted in a core of players. There is a scattering of proven talent on the offensive side but the defensive side, littered with youth, remains largely untested or significant underachievers. The time is now to address the reconstruction of this team going forward.

Well, in my opinion, we have failed on both fronts. So as we begin this re-construction of the team, we have to address some very key points?

THE PREMISE

Simply put, our Falcons suffered a major collapse in 2013. For a recap of the many reasons why the collapse took place, please stroll through the archives of The Cage.

What we will do now is evaluate, position group by position group, the team’s core. We will use a scale of one to five to evaluate the needs of the group. A grade of one means that there is a minimal need for change at the position while a grade of five means a critical overhaul is needed. We will state the need, suggest draft prospects and identify the most viable free agency candidates that we could reasonable acquire.

Mass another Bright Spot (AJC)

A key point Cocoa and staff make in this breakdown is the assumption that the Falcons will continue to move away from power football and more towards a west coast themed offensive (WCO) scheme. Now when we say WCO, we are focused totally on the Bill Walsh approach. There are a couple of variations. And both Minnesota (1997 – 2005) and New England (2001 – now) have used them well and been very productive, including the three Super Bowl titles won by New England.

QUARTERBACK

Rating: Two (Some Concern)

The Atlanta Falcons are quite stable at the quarterback position. The team has invested heavily in Matt Ryan and the investment, in the eyes of Cocoa, is well worth it. A former first round pick, we have seen a steady progression and improvement in Ryan during his ATL tenure. The issues that have haunted him have more to do with other areas than his talent, abilities, and leadership from the position.

Quarterback is the most important position in the game today. We know firmly what we have in Ryan. After that, the view is unclear in terms of what we have in both Dominique Davis and Sean Renfree. Davis is an up and down performer while Renfree’s talent is overshadowed by his injury history.

SUGGESTED DRAFT MOVES: Cocoa suggests San Jose State’s David Fales. An excellent WCO themed quarterback, Fales represents a slightly smaller version of Matt Ryan or Matt Schaub with a similar college trajectory. Like Russell Wilson a few years ago, this young man will be underestimated by many. Cocoa is not among them.

RUNNING BACK

Rating: Three (Great Concern)

Cocoa and his team feel that it is past time that the Falcons address the position of running back with youth and vigor instead of a Rent-A-Center free agency approach. Of the backs listed at this time, only Jacquizz Rodgers is seen as one with staying power. Steven Jackson has had a fine NFL career but is past his peak. All other backs are clearly situational in nature. The Falcons, in order to open up their offensive, must get younger and more diverse. A quality receiving and blocking running back is a GREAT need in 2014.

JJ Great, but Pricey (AJC)

FREE AGENCY MOVES: None. The Falcons should not invest significantly in free agency at this position. The Tee Pee has concerns about the injury prone nature of the top five free agents. In addition, they are on the wrong side of the age scale (27+) therefore they are risky long term investments when you consider the shelf life of running backs in this league.

SUGGESTED DRAFT MOVES: Trey Mason, Devonta Freeman, and Charles Sims.

Each of these young men represents the type of physical, break-away talents Atlanta needs at the position. They are great inside and outside, outstanding receivers, and effective blockers. And each can change the game in an instant if afforded the chance.

WIDE RECEIVER & TIGHT END

Rating: Three (Great Concern)

The position of wide receiver is becoming an increasing area of concern. The Falcons’ Big Three consists of an aging, expensive star, an injury-prone upstart, and an inconsistent veteran. Depth is suspect due to limited playing time and lack of integration into the overall “scheme”.

Do not get Cocoa wrong. Roddy White still has some shelf life left in his game. As a matter of fact, I think he would benefit by a move to the slot while we breaking in youth on the outer perimeter. This move would also allow us to bring along the tight end position as it rises from a position of weakness to one of strength. Julio Jones has been plagued by injuries since his debut in Atlanta so depth is critical. And while solid in 2014, Harry Douglas is too erratic to be relied on long term. All other just do not show the consistency, reliability, and upside we need at this time.

FREE AGENCY MOVES: None. This is too expensive of a proposition given the depth in the draft class.

SUGGESTED DRAFT MOVES: Jordan Matthews, Jared Abbrederis, and Donte Moncrief.

Each of these young men represents a key component of need in an upgrade Falcons passing attack. Abbrederis is a Wes Welker clone; smart, effective in the slot, and crafty after the catch. Matthews is a perfect clone of his more famous cousin, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. And Moncrief is the total package; fluid in his routes, great hands, and an astute down field blocker. .

Like wide receiver, tight end is a troubling area due to inadequate depth at the position as well as relative inexperience. Relying on a “breakout” from Levine Toilolo is a very risky move. And there is no other depth on the roster. And free agency does not offer a hell of a lot in 2014.

FREE AGENCY MOVES: None. The value is just not there.

SUGGESTED DRAFT MOVE. Arthur Lynch.

At tight end, Georgia’s Arthur Lynch is a silent assassin in the eyes of Cocoa and his team. His main addition to the Falcon’s tight end corps would be his blocking skills. But make no mistake. The tools are there for the evolution of a very fine receiver as well. There is some Alge Crumpler in Lynch.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Rating: FIVE (CRITICAL Concern)

Reynolds Never a Guard (AJC)

The offensive line of the Atlanta Falcons is the most CRITICAL area of concern for this team as we prepare to enter the heart of the 2014 off season. The unit is simply, a travesty. It lacks size, it lacks tenacity, it lacks presence. Depth is non-existing and has to be addressed by ALL available means. The ENTIRE right side of the offensive line (Johnson, Reynolds, Konz, Trueblood, etc.) has to be replaced immediately. They are proven liabilities in both rush and pass offense. And the best way to do so is via free agency.

FREE AGENCY MOVES: Geoff Schwartz AND Jon Asamoah. The Pioli factor comes in HUGE here. A veteran presence and IMMEDIATE return are needed on the Falcons offensive line. These two men anchored a very solid offensive line for the Chiefs. Their strengths lie in the rushing game yet they both are very solid pass protectors as well. This would be a tremendous upgrade that would significantly enhance the protection of the $105 million dollar franchise investment. But there is one more move to be made.

SUGGESTED DRAFT MOVES: None. This is the final curtain call for the experiments known as Baker and/or Holmes. Schrader is young and has upside. Acquire a UDFA from the likes of Boston College or Wisconsin and develop. Yes, Mike Tice has to develop some OL talent.

SUMMARY:

Ideas have now been floated and you have a small insight into the mindset of Cocoa as well as his Tee Pee Sports staff. By no means have we finalized our big board for the draft or secured our complete list of free agency moves. But what is clear to us and Falcons fans all over the world is that a serious focus in needed in 2014. Again, we will adopt the Operation Missouri approach; show me (us). In the mean time, assess the following:

With only one playoff win and no title game or Super Bowl appearances to show for five years worth of work, did this regime deserve the chance to come back in 2014?

Has Mike Smith reached his ceiling as a head coach?

If the Falcons finish below .500, should they have a new HC in 2015? General Manager?

Given the lack of fundamentals, poor technique, and poor pass rush efficiency, did the Falcons do the right thing in retaining Mike Nolan while terminating Ray Hamilton?

Was the REAL eye for draft evaluation Dimitroff or was it Les Snead?

Why has this organization had such horrid success with its free agent signings?

How really has control over the player evaluation and development process in Atlanta and why does it seem to have been sub-standard in comparison to other organizations?

What will YOU consider a successful season in 2014?

812 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

January 26th, 2014
6:06 pm

Enter your comments here

JJ

January 26th, 2014
6:07 pm

My brother…Excellent post my friend!!!

D3

January 26th, 2014
6:12 pm

SW — Let me be the second to say (JJ beat me to punch) how much we all appreciate your hard work on this post and overall dedication to our Falcons and specifically to The Cage. I know you call DOL the Godfather, but you’re the Godfather of this blog and have called and predicted everything for 3 years running on our Falcons. Bravo and well done Sir!!!!

Other Guest Posts —- I want this to be a community blog and start having as many of you contribute as would like to. The Cage is a family blog and we’d be honored to have any of you contribute as much as you’d like. Feel free to email me anytime, dawsondevitt@gmail.com , if you’d like to write about anything regarding our Falcons.

JJ

January 26th, 2014
6:12 pm

D3, Great pic of the 2 stooges!

Unca' Bob

January 26th, 2014
6:23 pm

Seminole Warrior,

Thank you as well for all your hard work over the years. Very, very well done.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
6:33 pm

Cage Family

I am deeply humbled at this opportunity. I promised my brother that I would take a shot at something of this magnitude and I wanted to keep my word. As you know, while controversial at times, I love this franchise and want nothing more than to see it become THE STANDARD for the league.

If we are to be the true fans that we say we are, we have to take all things into consideration. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The goal is simple; we want to have a smart discussion on the state of the team AND what we the fans think could be possible solutions to making it better. We all want the Lombardi to parade down the streets of Midtown. So how do we get there.

By NO MEANS am I saying that this is the “perfect” means. But it is a thought. We want yours. Join us here in the Cage..

Finally, at this moment, I would be totally wrong if I did not give praise to a few people that have been instrumental in supporting this. D3, I may be the Godfather in your eyes, but you, my brother are the HEART and PULSE of the Cage. It was YOUR dream and I am glad that I can be a part of it.

All the OCBM members; you know who you are – thanks so much!!
Newly expanding Cage Family – Hang on!! The roll is just beginning.

Again, thanks to all of you and especially, D3. I hope it does not disappoint.

marko

January 26th, 2014
6:40 pm

The warrior is defiantly an asset. Keep up the good work.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
6:41 pm

JJ / Gunny

Thanks. Just living the dream. Just living the dream.

falcon21

January 26th, 2014
6:43 pm

SW, disappoint! Hell no, great write up my friend, very good reading and great job!!!

marko

January 26th, 2014
6:52 pm

Defiantly an asset? Even though it sort of makes sense, I was trying to type definitely. I’m not sure what Freud would say about that, nor am I sure I want to know. Rest assured I consider our good friend Seminole an asset defiant or not. I definitely mean it.

JJ

January 26th, 2014
6:55 pm

marko, lol, your correct either way!

JJ

January 26th, 2014
7:04 pm

***WEATHER***

SW, As a contractor, Im a weather channel freak, always have one tv or computer on it during the winter. Looks like p’tree city to macon will get the snow and those below macon will get the more dangerous ice storms. Always hate it when south ga gets snow and we dont! But your right, southern ga do not have qinter equip to clear overpasses so its a major problem.
Be safe cagers!

JJ

January 26th, 2014
7:05 pm

winter equip…

Pastormackdaddy

January 26th, 2014
7:05 pm

Great post…..as for your questions I think CMS has plateaued and unless the team gets deep into the playoffs he will be replaced as well as TD….looks like the Nolan extension and hiring of Pioli are a harbinger that coach/GM changes will happen sooner than later.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:05 pm

Again, thanks guys for the kind words.

As you can see, the Tee Pee places a very high premium on the free agency period this year. If we were calling the shots, we would aggressively pursue the acquisitions reflected. A totally new right side of the offensive line is essential and the combination of Asamoah and Schwartz would take a position of weakness and turn it into a position of strength in as long as it would take to sign the deal.

Right tackles and guards historically have not commanded premium dollar since the game is so focused on pass protection. But both of these guys bring the total package. And at their ages (26 and 28, respectively), they are just hitting their stride in terms of their career. Collectively, they should hold it down for 4-6 years each with ease while allowing for a real, development process that will be focused on the draft.

That is where the Pioli factor comes into play. He scouted, analyzed, and drafted both of these guys while in Kansas City. He knows what it would take to acquire them.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:14 pm

Which brings me to a revelation….

Remember the great Dennis Green? Yes, that Dennis Green.

Well, Dennis was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 – 2001. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Stanford. Dennis is a disciple of the Bill Walsh offensive tree.

While the head coach in Minnesota, Green orchestrated, will Brian Billick, some of the most profilic offensive assaults the NFL has seen. The WCO-themed offense consistently ranked high in both passing and rushing statistically.

It used a zone blocking scheme to facilitate this juggernaut of an approach with a great deal of success. For the latter half of that period, the offensive line coach was one Mike Tice.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:17 pm

Now, given that we have an OC that is a WCO guy, an offensive line coach that also understands the WCO and the ZBS, a quarterback that rose to stardom at a college that extensively used both the WCO and the ZBS, and NOW, an assistant GM that has made a career of acquiring effective ZBS and WCO players for the multiple variations of the scheme New England has used, then why would we even consider retaining the outdated, non-player friendly approach of the power rushing scheme?

D3

January 26th, 2014
7:17 pm

SW — Schwartz is actually listed as a OG, which is strange, but he’s listed as OT in wikipedia. Would love either those pickups. Agree that Asamoah would be the easiest, and surest, way to fix the right side of the OL. Would like Schwartz as well. Honestly, I like the idea of signing Asomoah and drafting either Robinson, Matthews, or Lewan to play the right side until Samantha Baker gets hurt, and at worst could have Schraeder fill in at RT when of those OT’s we draft slide over to LT for when TRex gets hurt. I like Schraeder’s upside, but we can no longer count on these “guys” like Holmes, Konz, Johnson, Reynolds, and Schraeder suddenly “turning it on.” I like the Asamoah signing because outside of Yankey (who will likely be gone by 2nd rd), there’s not a ton of great talent at RG as I thought. Very underwhelmed by Cyril Richardson, even though I’ve only watched one series. Thinking that Gabe Jackson is similar to Richardson. Would love to take Zack Martin and plug him in at RG, but he’ll be long gone. Make a signing of Asamoah and either Linval Joseph or Paul Soilai would make me a happy Falcons fan.

Grits Blitz

January 26th, 2014
7:23 pm

D3 – I, like Warrior, consider you are the CEO of The Cage and you were very wise to tap Warrior as your TEE PEE ADVISOR, extraordinaire! (Any successful leader knows you surround yourself with quality folks and, then, let them do their job!) Thanks D3 for not backing down and telling the truth. U D Man, Player!
Warrior – Now I see what you’ve been up to, with “rainmaking”! Thank you for keeping the Board on task, on time, and on post. Very logical and well analyzed points!
-Roddy to slot…VERY interesting. Why not? We need a speed receiver anyway (like Tony Martin in ‘98).
-Would their be a better time to trade Julio for major draft choices given his injury history? (I think he’s highly gifted but we are REBUILDING almost everything anyway and need quality players.)
-I can go with you on new O-Line via FA. (Too bad we couldn’t trade deadwood for draft picks but I understand there aren’t too many teams who would want them.) Proven players w/ a youthful age is the commodity every team wants but we’ve got to have them or it’s “extended commode time” and a Ryan injury preordained.
-Guess Part II will bring me the “painmakers” on defense I love to fantasize about. I know you’ll do me & all Cagers proud! (Guessing you’ll look for retooling D-line w/ draft choices. Just hope we’ll not trade up, but down for more draft choices.
-If Worrilow, Bartu, and a new LB (to replace/trade Spoon), what about new nicknames?
-Worrilow…”Robocop”- to serve & protect the middle, w/ no warning tickets…just “lights out” and an all out assault on the NFL’s concussion protocol?
-Bartu…”Shaft” – a bad mama jammer, digging his scene w/ that ganster lean, and, like Jessie “Hammer”, bringing the Shaft to all who intend to break the law in his area?
-New (speedy) LB…”Tomohawk”, “Cruise Missile”, “The Malet”, “Judge Dredd” – brings pain and justice to all trespassers in his territory?
Can’t wait for Part II…The Apocolypse That Was 2013 and The Restoration Makeover.
Warrior, keep on keeping on! (Hope this will lead to a writing/radio gig to resurrect “Leonard’s Losers”. I miss his comical, but pretty accurate weekly college and pro prognostications w/ his Little Smart Pill Machine.)

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:23 pm

Now, let me be the first to say that Pioli’s moves in Kansas City were not always the most effective. The Quinn and Cassel quarterback situation as well as the coaching hires of Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel were major disasters.

But look at the core of the draft picks that were acquired during the tenure of Pioli. You IMMEDIATELY find more Pro Bowl talent than what we have developed here in Atlanta!!

JJ

January 26th, 2014
7:25 pm

One word…smitty!!!
It’s his way or the highway…thankfully this will be his last yr,
Did anyone else see how the north team played like our smith led falcons?

TD will hang himself with this draft and Smitty is adjoined at hip.
Their replacements are allready in place.
It’s do or die for the 2 stooges…at least I hope!

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:32 pm

D3

Baker, unfortunately, is locked into a rather stupid contract that will cost the Falcons entirely too much to get out of this year. The same is the case with Justin Blalock. That this the primary reason I did not go with a draft pick on that side of the ball; due to finances those two are too entrenched at least this season. And if we are going to rebuild the line, why not use the money to get both an element of youth and experience on the right side while letting Tice work with the best of the rest of the bunch, Schraeder.

The hope is that if Tice can instill some ZBS principles, their weaknesses in the power game would be negated. Schraeder is the youngest of the bunch and has the upside to develop; VSU ran a ZBS scheme and he looked very good in it so the transition may not be as great as it would be with the others.

My suggestions would then allow us to draft the DT that is so critical to our defensive evolution. I did not discuss defense in this forum as I am saving it, with your blessings, for part two of the re-tooling series.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:33 pm

Thanks, Grits.

I promised to try and bring it. Keep me on mission and focused as always!!

Grits Blitz

January 26th, 2014
7:35 pm

JJ, I’m w/ your post. Except you scare me with “Their replacements are already in place”. I can’t see ANY coach we presently have being the real answer we need for a long-term future. (And, one never knows what is in A.B.’s mindset.)

D3

January 26th, 2014
7:39 pm

Grits — Thanks for the kind words my friend. Despite what he says, SW has been a driving force here in The Cage and the rock we’ve all leaned on.

PIGPEN

January 26th, 2014
7:40 pm

Bravo my brother from another mother! What a true articulation of the many problems that continue to plague this organization, it reminds me of the days of old with Rankin Smith and company!

JB Falcon

January 26th, 2014
7:42 pm

JJ, 7:25, I got my fill of MS play calling when the North had 3rd and 13. I’ll give you three guess at the play he called, and the first two don’t count.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:43 pm

Cage Family

As you can see, I am a big advocate of the ZBS. When you look at the vast majority of offensive linemen that are coming out today, you can see that the premium is being place on two key elements.

Mobility and intelligence.

Instead of being big and slow focused on plowing the road, the ZBS themed offensively linemen can use the combinations of power,mobility, and intelligence to open lanes or shift protections to the detected strengths of a defense. If a man is not covered on the offensive front, he automatically has the ability to supplement where he sees a weakness in the defensive front or approach.

Additionally, due to the increasing pool of readily available players, resulting from the increased use of spread and WCO-thremed offenses, the ability to find ZBS themes players is much easier than it is to find the large, hulking players of yester-year.

Finally, it is physically and fiscally viable by nature. What owner would decline a chance to save money?

D3

January 26th, 2014
7:43 pm

Call me crazy, but I actually think that Dimitroff has more staying power than Smith. I’ve always said that Dimitroff would get to choose a second head coach. I really don’t know why, because Dimitroff has had plenty of mistakes, but the Pioli hiring makes me think that Dimitroff has more job security than Smith. Like I said, I really have no proof other than just a gut feeling.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:46 pm

Piggie,

Yes!!

Welcome to the Cage!! Been trying to get him here for a long time, Cage Family. My brother from another mother loves the game.

By the way Coop and D3, Piggie is a UGA die-hard.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:50 pm

JJ / Rock

I beg to differ. Only one of the replacements is in place. The other one, the future HC, is still in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:51 pm

D3 @ 7:43pm

See my 7:50pm posting. You are absolutely correct in your feelings and we discussed the next HC in previous conversations.

paddy o

January 26th, 2014
7:51 pm

Mr. Nixon! the Pres of the Cage!

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
7:54 pm

To borrow from Star Trek; “Shields Up as I will deflect all praise back to my brother from another mother, D3.

As I said, he IS the heart and pulse of the forum. I’m just enjoying the ride with all my friends!!

D3

January 26th, 2014
8:01 pm

SW — Your shields have no power here! :grin:

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:07 pm

Back to the offensive line re-configuration.

By going with the re-configured right side, it builds upon a philosophical approach that has been a centerpiece of a mandate our good friend and my fellow warrior, Coop, has been advocating for several years.

Coop always maintained, fiercely at times, that the key to success was to build from the inside out.
My suggested approach takes his approach and instills it immediately.

It also allows us to implement the draft philosophy of one of my favorites, one of the most successful GM’s in league history, the great Ozzie Newsome. Pioli knows those principles and philosophies well as he helped instill them with Belichick in New England.

All that the philosophy has resulted in is FIVE Super Bowl titles between the two franchises and a decade of consistently being in the mix for division titles, the playoffs, and championship appearances.

Overall, the approach is proven.

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:08 pm

Darn it, I think the monster got me.

D3

January 26th, 2014
8:11 pm

SW — Thoughts on OC: Hawley, Konz, or other?

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:12 pm

One more time…

****IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT****

http://www.weather.gov/

Cage Family

The potential is rising for the advent of a major winter storm across the Southeastern region this upcoming week. We in the meteorological community are actively alerting the public EARLY and OFTEN of this because the South is one of the least prepared areas of the country for said weather.

PLEASE click on the link included, find your particular area of interest, and remain informed on the weather scenario and its potential impacts for you, your family, and other interests.

This is a particularly dangerous situation for a large area. Any snow and/or ice of significant amounts can result in traffic issues and power outages. Ensure that you use the time NOW to get the needed supplies in place, gas up your vehicles, check propane and gas levels, and check on elderly friends and relatives.

Thanks friends. Please stay alert and safe as well as aware of changing conditions in the coming days.

*****BACK TO REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING******

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:25 pm

I have always thought that Hawley was the future at center. And Konz has upside at the position as well.

The issue with both is the same. First, they both are out of place in a power scheme. Secondly, they both suffered initially but have shown some promise at times. Third, both were shortchanged by a true lack of player development and integration into a proper offensive scheme.

Both, I honestly feel, have the required qualities needed to be an effective ZBS center. Both were all conference performers in the scheme and have reputations as tough, mobile, and intelligent by all measures.

If they can benefit from a proper scheme integration, better conditioning, and solid coaching, the upside is there. BUT neither will truly develop as long as the ignorance known as cross training is allowed to continue.

Hopefully, Tice’s hire ends that failed concept.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Winter Weather Watch issued, snow expected [...]

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:30 pm

Let me be clear on my feelings about Konz. He sucks as a guard!!

However, I think that both he and Hawley can be very effective as centers in a ZBS scheme. After all, they came from said backgrounds and excelled in it. Both are known as mobile, intelligent linemen.
They both were all conference performers coming into their respective drafts. Power was a supplement to their games; not the primary instrument. And in their respective offenses, scoring was not an issue as was offensive balance and scheme integration.

If they are afforded a chance to return to a WCO-themed offensive scheme, where their talents are integrated into the scheme along with the many other Falcon players that came into the league from similiar WCO/ZBS themed offenses, the potential for greater balance and productivity could surprise.

Grits Blitz

January 26th, 2014
8:39 pm

Okay, Warrior, time to reveal what’s behind door # 3…which HC in Mass. do you have in mind for us? I only hope he’ intelligent, can adapt, improvise during a game, knows how to organize, plan, and his players know he means what he says – that his expectations will met or changes will come, sooner than later. (A Brian Bellick type would be a very nice change of pace…a thinker AND motivator.)

Grits Blitz

January 26th, 2014
8:41 pm

Oops! I meant Billick, not Bellick. (He may be too close to M. Smith but at least he should NEVER need to ask him for advice!)

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:49 pm

GB

Billick is all those things for sure. But the man behind the door is no other than New England offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.

McDaniels is a brilliant offensive mind. He stepped into a horrible situation in Denver. He was raw and quickly humbled by it. There was no real structure in the front office and it was simply overwhelming.

That will not be the case here in Atlanta. With structure in place, a pre-existing bond with both TD and Pioli, an experienced defensive mind in Nolan, and an owner that seems ready to invest in any one with a plan, the potential is unlimited in Atlanta.

Look at what his offense did with a series of injury-prone and rookie WRs, not real threat at tight end, and a running back by committee approach. The key to it all is a leader at QB.

Atlanta gives him all that and more once the OL is stabilized. Again, the upside is ridiculous!!

JJ

January 26th, 2014
8:53 pm

JB, Give a hug to Elvis from Rock and I…its all good!

Grits Blitz

January 26th, 2014
8:55 pm

D3 & Warrior, last question for the night…with MS still in place, what are the projections for perpetuating the ever-present WPP in 2014? Do you doubt its demise? (Does seem to pose a contradiction w/ obtaining and drafting new players and then not playing them. The “either-or” and not the “both” point of view does tend to emerge doesn’t it? Otherwise, why bother to pay or draft a Pro Bowler if you’re not going to play them? Leads back to a bargain basement selection of sorry, untalented players that won’t need to be paid much, either. Hope 2013 exploded that bum bust gelding hunt forever! Most of the time, don’t you tend to get what you pay for? (Just the ramblings of an asylum escapee…)

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
8:55 pm

Grits

Billick was a fine OC and head coach. Like Lovie Smith, he just could not find the right offensive pieces at a critical time.

But the next HC in Atlanta will not have that issue. And that head coach will be current New England offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.

Josh is an offensive wizard. He stepped into a horrible situation in Denver. A weak front office and a lack of HC experience doomed him. Additionally, the offensive composition in Denver was suspect and undisciplined.

That will not be the case in Atlanta. Josh would have an owner that is willing to hear a reasonable plan for the future. His offensive mind would be a perfect match for the talents of Matt Ryan. His uptempo, WCO-themed offense would play to the strengths of a changing ATL roster. And with Pioli and TD building the roster, the skies are limitless.

Look at what he achieved this season with a seasoned QB, running backs by committee, and a corps of WRs that were injury-prone and raw.

Again, his mind would work wonders in Atlanta if we draft wisely and use free agency effectively.

Mike in Minnesota

January 26th, 2014
8:56 pm

JJ – **WEATHER**…Minneapolis… – 20 degrees with 30 mph gust…makes it feel like – 43 degrees…at least we have salt trucks and plows… Everyone down there be careful and drive safe !

SW – Nice piece of writing…I agree that December 30 2012 , was the day the collapse began…Smith should have sat out the veterans…December 15 2013 , was another day that the veterans should have sat , while the staff evaluated our depth chart !

Seminole Warrior

January 26th, 2014
9:00 pm

Grits,

The CFA’s Witnesss Protection Program MUST be a casualty of the 2013 season. It should have been shipped out before Pat Hill, Paul Dunn, and Ray Hamilton. There is simply no place for it in 2014.

Players have to developed quickly and should be expected to perform as soon as reasonable possible. And Mike Smith’s approach has failed IMMENSELY in that regard.

There is NO ONE out there that will tell me that Worrilow and Bartu would have seen considerable time without the injury facet taking place. These talents would have settled for limited special team roles at best. Now, we have a strong sense of the upside each bring to their positions. They now need to be integrated fully and continually developed.

Pioli knows the value of player development. And he also knows that if you do not do it, someone else will if given the chance. With Pioli in the mix, the Tee Pee thinks that WPP is done.

But remember, Operation Missouri remains in effect so we will see.