Your Thoughts on Atlanta Falcons Free Agency

What’s Your Take on Falcon’s Move to Date

Welcome, Welcome Mr. Soliai!! (AJC)

The Falcons struck quickly in free agency, locking up three major pieces along both lines, definitely adding some beef and girth and, hopefully, some toughness as well. The front office’s buzz words for this off-season are “recalibration” and “grittiness.” They seemed to follow that theme in the beginning, but there remains just as many questions about the 2014 version as there are holes on the current roster. This from a team that was a true bottom dweller in 2013. It’s a decent start, but there’s a ton left to do before this team is ready to rise up the NFC and one draft seemingly won’t do the trick. A fan’s instinctive look at the Falcons moves to date……….

Samuel, Nicholas, Reynolds Cut

Nothing to see here. These were all moves that had to be made and everyone saw the writing on the wall well before the season was over. Samuel turned out good for a year after only giving up a 6th rounder, but was already 31 years old when the Falcons acquired him.

Great Trade, but Time to Move On (AJC)

Keeping Nicholas at the time (2011 / Age: 28) made enough sense due to his “unrealized potential” to pair with Sean Weatherspoon for an athletic LB duo. Unfortunately, when they talk about “unrealized potential” it’s usually code for “soon-to-be-never-was.” And that’s exactly what happened. When you lose your spot to an undrafted free agent, that’s a pretty good indicator.

Even though cutting Garrett Reynolds wasn’t necessarily surprising, it wasn’t one that saved a ton of cap space. And most assumed that he’d at least get a shot with new OL coach Mike Tice. It wasn’t meant to be and perhaps Reynolds was the ultimate sacrifice under Smitty’s ridiculous “cross-training” system that moved players away from their natural (and best) position. We’ll never know if Reynolds would have been decent at RT, but he definitely wasn’t a right guard. Gut Reaction – Nothing to see here. All expected.

Gabe Carimi Signed

Front office folks like Thomas Dimitroff and Co. like to use the term “low-risk / high reward,” but it should really be deemed “low risk / low reward.” If he’s another reclamation project, actually makes the roster as a backup, or contributes in any way, they can claim victory. However, if they pass on a franchise offensive tackle and this competition for RT between Carimi, Lamar Holmes, Ryan Schraeder, and Mike Johnson was their plan all along, this would be a key component in a front office “post mortem.” Gut Reaction – If they don’t draft an offensive tackle in first two rounds and Holmes/Schraeder/Carimi don’t suddenly morph into Joe Thomas, then ready the pitchforks.

Babineaux, Johnson, Peters, Hawley Re-signed

Most every fan was happy to see Jonathan Babineaux come back to likely finish his career a Falcon. Maybe it’s being burned by letting John Abraham go or just that he’s been one of the few sources of strength on an otherwise deplorable DL, keeping Babineaux at a reduced rate feels to be the right move, especially with the other free agency signings (Peters, Soilai, Jackson) to complement. Gut Reaction – Feels right, but maybe it’s a case of the 2013-John-Abraham-Pro-Bowl-Blues.

In terms of Mike Johnson, see the description for Gabe Carimi above. Except this time, the front office are desperately hoping that the former Alabama product can pull a hail mary and make fans think about what he truly was / is: another one of Dimitroff’s major OL busts. This one of 3rd round variety. Gut Reaction – Another last chance hail mary to redeem Dimitroff OL bust.

At Least Hawley Looks the Part (AJC)

Falcons did what was right and for both the team and for Corey Peters: re-signed him to a one year “prove it” deal since they obviously view him as a major cog going forward and he suffered a pretty bad injury at the worst possible time (1 game left until free agent market). One of the few (see only) defensive linemen they’ve actually developed in 6 years. Too bad they didn’t heed this same advice with Brent Grimes. Gut Reaction – Good, solid, upstanding move. Mutually beneficial to both parties.

The worst kept secret in the entire Falcons organization: bringing back OC Joe Hawley. Of course this is put in the context of “competing” for the starting job with fellow OL underachieving draftee Peter Konz, but he signed a contract for starting money. It’s true he’s better than Konz, but that’s the same of 97% of all centers in 2013 (Pro Football Focus ranked Konz as next to dead last among all OC’s). The Falcons front office is clinging to Hawley’s misfortunes being a product of weak RG play, and a scapegoated OL coach for good measure. Signing Hawley isn’t terrible in a vacuum, but the Falcons could have signed OC Evan Dietrich-Smith for a grand total of $500k more a year. Dietrich-Smith was light years better than Hawley ever thought about being, even though he started only one year. If nothing else, Hawley was beat out at center by Peter Konz (see above). Gut Reaction – Feels like the same old, same old: letting arrogance and hubris of “proving” their draftees weren’t busts. They didn’t even look at other OC’s.

McClain Tendered a 7th Round Pick

This makes total sense in keeping McClain. When the Falcons tendered McClain as a 7th round pick, any team would have to give up a 7th round pick to sign him and the Falcons would have had the chance to match any offer. It’s a little surprising they tendered him so low, as they obviously feel he’s expendable. This isn’t a “certain sign” the Falcons don’t plan to keep him, but it appears that way. Gut Reaction – He’ll be here another year, but maybe not beyond that. Can the Falcons not build and keep a young and promising CB corps (along with Trufant and Alford) together for a change?

Thomas DeCoud Cut

Graham Nightmares for DeCoud (AJC)

This move has to be measured in two parts. The first part is obvious glee and jubilation. There’s not a ton of downside to cutting arguably your worst starting player. Even though DeCoud had a few decent years, it became painfully apparent that DeCoud would never be anything more than average at best, especially considering his contract. But, if part one is clearly a great move, then part two is just as paradoxically vexing. The original thought was that if they cut DeCoud, then they would pursue one of the many quality safety free agents, even if that meant moving William Moore to free safety. That didn’t happen and after all the quality safeties are gone, the Falcons are essentially left with two options: develop either Ishmael or Motta into a starter or draft a safety in the first two rounds. Can the Falcons really afford to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on a safety with so many other areas in need (OT, Pass Rusher, TE)? The Falcons likely have a plan, but right now it seems like a completely scattershot, punch-drunk move. Gut Reaction – Let’s hope they know what they’re doing here.

Jon Asamoah / Right Guard

The best free agent guard on the market, at least consistently. Asamoah ranked as one of the best overall guards (left or right) in the NFL the last 3 years. Some will negatively point to him “losing his job” last year, but there’s always more to the story than someone “forgetting how to play.” But even if he’s not the next Gene Upshaw, he’s still galaxies better than anything the Falcons have had since Harvey Dahl left. He was signed at a very reasonable price as well. Gut Reaction – Homerun. The RG turnstile likely finally ends.

Paul Soliai / Nose Tackle

Great Move (AJC)

Perhaps no other free agent signing has been roundly praised since Michael Turner was signed. The former Dolphin casts away 6 years of light-in-the-tail, underweight DT’s in one fell swoop. The Falcons defensive tackles may have been decent individually, but collectively they have been manhandled and pushed around for years by bigger and tougher offensive lines. Soliai is already 30 years old, but he immediately makes everyone around him better (other DT’s, LB’s, secondary). The Falcons didn’t just break their “underweight, less than 300 lbs” stereotype, they destroyed with a 6’4, 340 lbs mountain of a man. Fans would love to see another one taken in the draft as icing on top. Gut Reaction – If Asamoah is a homerun, than Soliai is a grand slam.

Tyson Jackson / Defensive End

Fans wanted girth and toughness to the two lines, but some either turned their nose up or deeply questioned the signing of DE Tyson Jackson. Admittedly, it was a pretty big contract, but Jackson appears to be a good signing on many fronts. First, he gives the Falcons a major cog to run more 3-4 defenses. They now can play around with the other 5-technique DE since Jackson has one side locked down. Your defense isn’t going to have 11 All-Pros and sometimes you have to have pluggers to absorb blocks so others can make the plays. Jackson also brings a possibility of playing DT in a 4-3 defense as well. Since he weighs about the same as most of Mike Smith’s 4-3 DT’s (between 290 and 300), he could shift inside if needed. He is a piece that would have otherwise been missing in a conversion to the 3-4. Finally, he adds size and toughness to a defensive line in sore need of it. Jackson opens up a lot more opportunities for his teammates and also for the front office in the draft. They now won’t feel the need to “force a pick” to get a 3-4 conversion underway. The contract is pretty big, but let’s give him a chance before immediately hating it. Gut Reaction – Yes, the contract’s a little high, but Jackson should provide many others a lot more chances to make plays, as well as opening up many more draft possibilities.

Javier Arenas / Defensive Back

Jackson Provides Major Flexibility (AJC)

The third former Chief to join the Falcons roster and it’s obviously no coincidence with Scott Pioli manning the Assistant GM post. Arenas had a very good career while at Alabama and was taken in the 2nd round. He’s had a middling career, both in terms of being a return specialist and a backup defensive back. The timing was what gave this signing a bad taste. The Falcons were meeting with return ace Devin Hester and a few hours later, this signing comes across the board. If he was signed as a replacement for Dominique Franks in the 4th CB role, than it’s a definite upgrade. While you can’t blame the Falcons for not paying Hester his reported $4 million a year salary demand, Arenas isn’t the answer for return specialist either. Gut Reaction – Major upgrade over Franks, but no returner.

Re-signed Peria Jerry

Whatever. (Insert negative comment here). See Hawley and Johnson re-signings. Enough said. Gut Reaction – The more things change,………..

A Flexibility Boost

The Falcons had seemed to be heading for a pigeon hole in their draft strategy before these moves took place. They would have to draft for needs since there were so many holes. The signing of Soliai, Jackson, and Asamoah definitely cut down the sheer amount of needs they had to fill and replace. A given move to more of a 3-4 also increases the effectiveness and sense of taking a pass-rushing OLB suited for the 3-4, such as Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr. As well, the Falcons are no longer hamstrung to being forced into draft picks out of pure necessity. While not the biggest of splashes, the Falcons surely filled a lot of less-than-glamorous gaps.

Increase or Decrease Clowney Likelihood?

Increase or Decrease on Clowney? (AJC)

Some feel that these moves means it’s almost a definite possibility that Jadaveon Clowney comes to Atlanta, either at #6 or by trading up and away even more picks. Others, however, feel that it actually decreases the likelihood of drafting Clowney at all, whether or not he’s there at #6 or not. It’s still hard to fathom the Falcons passing on him if he’s sitting there at #6, but the possibility at least cracks the surface. A move to the 3-4 doesn’t seem to fit Clowney as well, either as a 3-4 DE five technique, or a standup OLB rusher given coverage responsibilities. It would be a huge risk drafting a guy that high and feeling the need to convert him to a new defense, and he’s already the riskiest player in the draft. While it may not decrease the likelihood the Falcons would take him, it does seem to cut down on the chances the Falcons will now trade up and away to get Clowney. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Decent Start, but Gaping Holes Remain

Whatever (AJC)

The Falcons moved quickly to “recalibrate” their broken lines by bringing in a hoss NT, the best RG on the market, and a DE five-technique plugger. Of course there’s the draft left, but the Falcons still have major holes to fill between now and the beginning of September. They have major needs at offensive tackle, free safety, tight end, and a pass rusher. And they also have big issues at depth with either aging,ineffective, or oft-injured starters penciled in (running back, wide receiver, fullback, left tackle, outside linebacker). This is a deep draft, but judging on Dimitroff’s miserable 3rd round draft history (Chevis Jackson, Chris Owens, Mike Johnson, Akeem Dent, Lamar Holmes), than he’ll be lucky to get two holes filled. And that’s not even mentioning a few less-than-stellar first round picks (Sam Baker, Peria Jerry, Sean Weatherspoon).

Your Turn / What’s Your Thoughts on Falcons in Free Agency thus Far?

620 comments Add your comment

Hamad Meander

March 19th, 2014
11:14 pm

I had the chance to be the first commentor for the first time ever, so I’ll take it. So far, I’m thrilled with the pieces we’ve added in free agency, but we have a lot of work to do in the draft. If we come out of the draft without a legitimate right tackle and a pass rusher, we are in trouble.

lowdownjj

March 19th, 2014
11:16 pm

GREAT start! I like the Asomoah signing the best….we already have most of our team talent on the offensive side of the ball. And we were WASTING our weapons with Ryan running for his life. I think Robinson has the most upside but (ESPECIALLY with TD’s track record with ANY linemen) Matthews might just be the better choice. We KNOW he can pass block (TEX A+M) and don’t have to project a OT that comes from a run heavy team (Auburn). Gotta go OLB in 2nd which SCARES me about the FS prospects. There’s only a couple top tier FS in this draft and they will ALL be gone by round #2. Bet we bring in Clemons or another aging crum bucket for a stop gap cause we STILL need competition at TE. LORD….4 starters in 1 draft?? No wonder TD brought in reinforcements with Pioli and Co

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
12:17 am

Samuel, Nicholas, Reynolds cut – check
Gabe Carimi signed – nothing like optimism
Babs, Johnson, Peters, Hawley resigned – yes, no, yes, no
McClain tendered a 7th round pick – insulting
Thomas DeCoud cut- no brainer
John Asamoah / Right Guard – passes my filters = grade “A”
Paul Soliai / Nose Tackle – age 30 & injury concerns = grade “B-”
Tyson Jackson / Defensive End – prove me wrong – grade “D+”
Javier Arenas / Defensive Back – good idea/wrong guy – grade “C”
Re-signed Peria Jerry – must be a typo? = grade” F-”
Increase or Decrease Clowney likelihood – no effect whatsoever
Decent Start, but Gaping Holes Remain – that’s your opinion

I still give the FO a “C-” for the FA’s… could have been worse.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
12:56 am

(12:17 am 3/20/14) – I hate to admit this but I added up my FA score wrong… and I must correct a wrong – therefore, I am admitting my mistake and my correct score for FA’s is “C+” not “C-”.

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
1:05 am

So Dimtroff re-signs Jerry…Sure the Pioli effect is in full force. After all, in signing three former Pioli picks (Asamoah excluded) isn’t someone saying in someone’s ear that Jackson and Arenas are on the cusp of “goodness” (perish the thought of greatness)

If they are stupid enough to re-sign, let alone to pay Jerry more than a percentage above the veteran minimum then they deserve to be publically flogged (metaphorically of course) Who was showing interest in a five year abject failure? They continue to baffle and conduct business as though they are the kings of Narnia.

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
1:08 am

Flo, I think the Jerry Signing should justify the C- rating. If it was possible to give an F- grade then that is the circumstance for it.

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
1:12 am

Hey Dimwitroff, since you are into taking backward steps, why not resign DeCouldn’t?

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
1:23 am

When you hear a coach or GM talk about “changing the culture of a team” it means to change the tone and tenor, even the very soul of the team, not rehash mistakes. Is there no other 3 technique tackle that you could bring in besides Perry?

Some will talk of his signing as depth but he is 30 and not showing signs of being a revelation. This signing and the Hawley and Mike Johnson signings smack of their arrogantly thumbing their noses at us and proclaiming “We were right about our picks and we will prove it!”

Based on their sticking to their old self promoting ways, be prepared to curse and fume at the upcoming draft. There is absolutely nothing different about this administration that I can see based upon their continued pattern of decision making, Scott Pioli notwithstanding.

Keith

March 20th, 2014
1:28 am

Great start but they seemed to apply the brakes at an odd time when many FA were still available. There are too many holes to fill with just the draft and the youth will take time to achieve. Next best move may be to trade Roddy White to the Patriots for a number 1 pick. They are shopping and we could use another high pick for OL, LB, or S. UGA’s Lynch in the 4th or 5th round makes a lot of sense.

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
1:51 am

I am frustrated by these decisions of Hawley, Jerry and Arenas and to a lesser extent Johnson and Jackson when you look at Denver president of football operations John Elway. His team was in a wheel spinning mudslide two years ago when he jettisoned Tim Tebow, virtually acknowledging that pick as a mistake of a first round choice.

He strikes big with Peyton Manning and is rewarded with a Super Bowl appearance. Not resting on his laurels, he again goes all-in with an overpayment to Demarcus Ware and Aquib Talib. While no one expects the team to shell out 10 million dollar contracts to everyone, which acquisitions seem to be more Super Bowl worthy?

To be fair, Denver has fewer holes to fill but even without Eric Decker and Antonio Cromartie Denver still seems to be the team to beat in the AFC whereas Jon Asamoah and Paul Soliai only give the Falcons a glimmer of hope.

How happy would we have been with Linval Joseph and Evan Dietrich Smith along with Chis Clemons and safety or T.J. Ward to go with Jon Asamoah? This could have been (with due respect to Soliai) but it wasn’t and never is. The question is why? Why does common sense and logic seem to elude them?

What Denver fan is complaining about the decisions of John Elway since they are strong annual championship contenders? So far the Pioli-Dimitroff tandem is nowhere in the vicinity of the leadership and decision making of one John Elway. We were told to expect more and so far it is business as usual.

Kennycaine

March 20th, 2014
2:00 am

Above should have read “with Chris Clemons at safety OR T.J. Ward.”

Lars

March 20th, 2014
2:13 am

Another losing season for Falcons, trust that the Falcons will NOT draft smart, rarely do, with the exception of obvious first pick. As long as Matty ice cold is at the helm, throwing ball away, and dropping into fetal position at first sign of trouble, that leaves 1 total down to do something before punting on fourth. Of course coach may want to kick a field goal on third down………….lol… moron……..so blame either.

marko

March 20th, 2014
5:37 am

Fresh meat, thanks D3.

The real story seems to be that we’re all going to see the thirty-four defense we’ve anticipated ever since we signed Dimitroff. We now have a defensive coordinator who’s considered one of the best in the business at running a 34. In Dimitroff, and Pilioi, we have a couple of guys that successfully created New England’s championship defenses. If past performance is indicative of future results, we’re headed in the right direction.

These are not exciting additions. this is more about re-establishing depth. I support the trade that made Julio a Falcon, but it comes with big black cloud behind the silver lining. every time Julio visits the trainer’s table he takes the four guys we didn’t draft with him. That’s how you finish 4 and 12, with 4 undrafted free agents starting.

Hopefully we’ve learned painful lessons.

NFL Stats

March 20th, 2014
6:23 am

Ken Strickland — Just included you in my daily prayers.

SG

March 20th, 2014
6:33 am

Thanks much D3 for the new post. We all appreciate that your time has been spread pretty thin.

My brevity this morning is due to the long day in front of me, but basically the last point, “Decent Start, but Gaping Holes Remain” sums up my view of everything displayed by the FO – not just this off season but for some time.

I think I must be sitting in the same row, same section w/ Kenny + Flo, (esp. w/ Kenny’s reference to Elway) – and what I’m watching, still, is the very same shell game of TD.

I hope I’m proven wrong.

Gman

March 20th, 2014
7:24 am

The PJ re-signing should have gotten someone fired. Are they trying to build a SB contender or a marshmellow fireside sing along with all their BFFs?

Grits Blitz

March 20th, 2014
7:37 am

Gman- well stated, indeed, at 7:24!

D3-No surprise here. FO is NOT GOING TO CHANGE. Unless P. Jerry stupidity was a “sign and trade”, it’s obvious to me they think they’ve got a boatload of winners already on the O & D lines already. Trading Perry, however, begs the question…who would want him? What more evidence does Arthur need to “clean out the (FO) stall”? A new stench just formed downwind.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

March 20th, 2014
8:09 am

Trust, in, TD?…

Never liked the coined phrase, folk insisted on immortalizing the guy, before winning anything (playoff game) or assembling a squad that can win in the trenches (offensive/defensive lines). Whomever celebrated Pioli coming to town, I’ll place some used Holiday-Inn mattresses underneath you, to break your fall from expectations. These guys (Pioli,TD) are cut from the same cloth, Between the both of them, since leaving the Patriots, and becoming GM’s, they have a total of what? 1 playoff win. Same goes for the two coordinators that left the Patriots to try their hand at head coaching gigs, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, neither has succeeded up to this point.

When will folk realize, Belichick was/is the man, as it relates to player personnel, who gets drafted.

So, trust in TD, was a famous phrase around these parts for so long, one that I never bought into, made the man out to be a super hero, lemme break some news to ya, Super Heroes aren’t real, neither is TD’s fictional accumulation of talent on the Falcons.

There’s know Santa Clause either….

JJ

March 20th, 2014
8:17 am

Dawson, Another fine write up and some GREAT comments from the Cage!
In TD we do NOT trust !!!

John Waynesworld

March 20th, 2014
8:28 am

A fine recap, D3.

Even after FA has pretty much ran its course, we still don’t seem to have a defined choice at #6. This is probably all on purpose, much like a player in Gin Rummy holding all his runs in his hand instead of laying them on the table for the opponent to use. The risk is always in how long to hold them.

Dimitroff wants everyone to know that the Falcons don’t always play by boring, ‘old man’ draft rules, that he is a juggernaut GM, an innovator, a shocker, a risk taker. He wants to be the Top Gun of GMs…

Goodell: You really are a cowboy.

Dimitroff: What’s your problem, Goodellski?

Goodell: Thomas, you’re everyone’s problem. That’s because every time you move up in the draft, you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because you’re dangerous.

Dimitroff: That’s right! NFL… man. I am dangerous.

MB

March 20th, 2014
8:44 am

Jerry got 3 1/2 sacks last year….I don’t know, any guy who can get to the QB from the tackle position is worth a mini salary and camp invite; I doubt his contract represents much more than that….I would be curious to see what he can do shooting gaps that Soliai creates.

Jerry is not an every down DT who can be effective 600 snaps, or can he anchor a defense….but if he comes in fresh on passing downs, he could be a contributor.

paddy o

March 20th, 2014
9:19 am

man, this was a sharp summary! thank you, D3!

paddy o

March 20th, 2014
9:22 am

Flo- I think the Solial signing deserves a B+ and the Jackson signing a C+, primarily due to the cost – but, If Jackson can prevent the gaping hole middle where RB’s scampered for 20+ yards routinely, he is worth the cost. I’d rate our FA moves a B-; no FS signing resigning Jerry & Johnson was fairly
pathetic; not signing McClain is also not wise.

paddy o

March 20th, 2014
9:26 am

Kenny – I fear all the bird dropping from the Patriots (including Daniels) think they were responsible for the Patriots success – and it really boils down to Belichick – both Pioli and TD think their draft picks were good; so, we essentially have Peter robbing Paul to pay Paul; or, birds of a feather

paddy o

March 20th, 2014
9:31 am

Lars – I’m afraid you are too stupid to post here.

Hamad Meander

March 20th, 2014
9:34 am

D3- great post. I agree with almost everything you posted. I too am a little more optimistic on Tyson Jackson – I think he is a strong piece of the puzzle. Now, the Peria Jerry re-siging – as I posted before, how is it that our FO has 12+ hours in a day to look for and evaluate talent, but they limit their signings to ONLY players they have drafted before or have been on teams they were associated with? Why do they continue to relive their mistakes over and over again. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if we resign DeCoud. Peria Jerry, even if he plays as good as he possible can, doesn’t bring ANYTHING to this defense now. With Soliai and Babineaux we are set at two tackle positions IF we stay in the 4-3 and if we move to a 3-4, what exactly will Jerry bring? Ain’t no way he is a 3-4 DE. Ain’t no way he’s a 3-4 NT. Ridiculous move, in my opinion.

Hamad Meander

March 20th, 2014
9:36 am

Dang you Blog Monster!

JB Falcon

March 20th, 2014
9:52 am

This is a good article about a DE possibility. Besure to click on the link about “nastiest guy on the team.”
http://blogs.atlantafalcons.com/2014/03/20/draft-spotlight-stanford-de-trent-murphy/

paddy o

March 20th, 2014
9:57 am

truth – I posted my Belichick post prior to reading yours – I wholeheartedly concur. Belichick is what keeps the Patriots winning

WillieCoyote

March 20th, 2014
10:03 am

At 6, I only want to see the Falcons come away with Robinson or Mack. If they are gone, I’d like to see them trade back and come away with Barr or further back and come away with Pryor or Dixon. Trading back will likely give them an additional 2nd or 3rd rounder which would be a good thing. Also, the only 1st round tackle I want is Robinson so if he’s gone by 6, I’d like to see them wait till the third or fourth round. the improvement at Guard and Center will be a massive improvement for our run game and the pocket won’t collapse as easily making it easier on the Tackles as collateral benefit. Konz going to the bench is his first step out of the league or his first step to becoming a legitimate starter; it’s squarely up to him now.

The situation at RT should be better this year (couldn’t be worse) with the return of Johnson (who’s actually a guard) and the Carimi signing (whose better than Trueblood) adding competition. You have to figure Holmes gets better (couldn’t be worse and is better suited for the right side than the left) and Schraeder also improving. Add in a potential draft pick anywhere from the first to the third round also.

The addition of Soliai and Jackson is an upgrade to our run defense. I’d like to see another big body drafted in the 3rd – 5th rounds for added depth. Soliai in particular will be valuable in pushing the pocket back and allowing the other linemen to get up field since he’ll occupy two blockers on almost all occasions.

This team will be markedly improved this year but if you want a SB team built this offseason, I would love that but just don’t see it.

The run defense, pass rush, and offensive line all have had a net gain with the moves thus far and those were the priority items going into the offseason. There are still holes but there is the draft and training camp cuts to come to help plug those up. I’m as mad as anyone about last season but it’s about time to stop the doomsday, my dog just died type moping.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
10:21 am

Leadbelly – “Kevin Cone to work out for Panther friday”. Hope they sign up 5 or 6 Kevin Cones.

Arno

March 20th, 2014
10:22 am

FA started with a few solid moves, looked to be building a new culture, but then seemed to back off, bringing in guys or keeping guys that just look like filler. At this point I’m perplexed. This from espn McClure: “The Falcons would have considered Louis Delmas had Delmas decided to visit Atlanta and work out. Instead, Delmas signed with the Miami Dolphins.” Someone on the Cage (sorry– forgot who) brought up the point that the Falcons are not an attractive destination for FAs because of the minimal extensions of our HC/GM contracts. If that’s true, we will have to rely on the draft to finish patching things up. My feeling is that FA fizzled out for us. Disappointed.

Julius the Kicker

March 20th, 2014
10:31 am

Another great post D3,
I am not a expert, more like student on football. Because so much love with hometown team, watch and learn football. So far, I am happy with free agent signing except one signing that I wish that happen.
I am happy cause we are going to be 3-4 defense. Why, we have one of best 3-4 defense coordinator in the league, and why not give him what he is good at. Thus, I am happy with 2 defense signing.
Except one, I was hoping to sign Alex Mack for OC. I know, it might cost lot of money, but this position justify that spending. I don’t know whole lot about him, but he look like one of the best in his position with experience. I believe, if we have really good OC with experience, our OL will be stable enough to Quarterback to success. That doesn’t mean, I am disappointed with OG signing.
There are lot of different way to fix our problem, but having proven OC & 3-4 defense will be best way to get back to Super Bowl fast, IMO.
For draft, 1st round ( Outside linebacker ) & 2nd round ( OT ) ……

Screen Pass

March 20th, 2014
10:35 am

““Kevin Cone to work out for Panther friday”. Hope they sign up 5 or 6 Kevin Cones.” – Flo

I disagree. It has been a meme to down on K. Cone, mostly by UGA types but others as well. K. Cone has been the 1st or 2nd most productive receiver every year in training camp since joining, not counting frontline starters like Roddy, JJ, etc. He is the same size as JJ and runs a 4.3…if the Panthers actually have someone on their staff with a brain that will send him downfield he could very well be a great weapon. K. Cone had no stats here because Smitty is a retard who held him out like he still does A. Smith. At the minimum, he can be used to take the top off of Cover 2 defenses, with a team willing to actually throw it downfield K. Cone can be very deadly. Cam Newton is a spray and pray guy that overthrows alot, K. Cone is tall and very fast, a match that Falcon fans could be moaning about in the near future. But hey, we got Hawley and P. Jerry back…SB here we come!!

Screen Pass

March 20th, 2014
10:50 am

Note, brought this over from last thread;

“Waaa.

http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/3/6/5473554/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-process-big-board” – Buford Bob

Great find and link BB! If you read the comments someone puts up this link ( http://organizationalphysics.com/2013/12/06/how-to-hire-like-the-nfls-best-teams/ ) which has more great stuff in it. We in the Cage have bitched that TD didn’t bring the “Patriot Way” here to ATL, but what if he actually did and we were wrong? From the SB Nation link BB posted;

“In New England, it’s even less. It’s 75. It’s 75 guys, so when you think about how many guys are picked in the Draft, they only have 75 guys that they want to take,” Jeremiah said. “That’s why a lot of time you’ll see them, they get in the fifth, sixth, seventh round, they’ll start punting picks. They’ll say, oh, just give me something for next year, we don’t have anyone we want. They won’t make our team, why are we going to waste a pick on a guy that’s not even going to make our team.”

New England has picked seven times in each of the last two NFL Drafts. Compare to Seattle, which drafted 11 times in 2013 and ten times in 2012. It’s a different approach, and Schneider (and all of the Wolf tree of GMs) believes in building in some insurance for players that they miss on by drafting in volume.” – SB article

TD has given away over an entire drafts worth of picks in his few years here, leaving us less picks just like NE. I suppose this wouldn’t be a bad strategy if TD could actually pick the right 75 guys..so far he hasn’t done that. Interesting stuff.

Greg Mendel

March 20th, 2014
10:53 am

Does adding “depth” mean expanding the WPP? Are there any holes to fill in the WPP, and can they be addressed via FA as well as rounds 1 — 3 of the draft?

These questions keep me awake at night (and much of the day).

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
10:53 am

paddy o (9:28 am 3/20/14) – and I thought I was being “kind” giving them a “C+”. I give Asamoah an “A” . Have to disagree with D3 here slightly… see him as the 3rd best OG in FA not the best. Still, I’m happy with him ’cause he’s a major upgrade and not injury prone or past his prime. Soliai I give a “B-” because he does not pass my filter for a 5 year contract at multi millions. He’s 30 + and will be 35+ in his final contract year. He missed 2 games and parts of other games with injuries last year – maybe not a red flag but at least an orange one. Soliai comes with a three year expiration date. Falcons should have gotten Linvil Joseph and signed him to a 5 year contract. Joseph does pass my filter in his prime, no injuries and just plain better. Falcons should have gotten Dietrich-Smith at $500,000 more per year and signed him for 5 years as he is in his prime and one of the BEST. Instead they re-sign Hawley. They re-sign Peria Jerry & Michael Johnson. WHY did they have to bring in these so called experts and actually pay them when they had qualified people on staff to make stupid decisions? I’m sticking with my “C+” and calling that being kind.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
11:05 am

Screen Pass (10:35 am 3/20/14) – Kevin Cone played sparingly for sure. All I saw from him was a few dropped passes. By the way, I am a UGA grad & fan but I’m for Tech when they aren’t playing UGA. Always have been. I’m not a Tech hater. Kevin Cone got his chance -after all if Matt Ryan can’t get him the ball doubt if Scam Newton will do any better. We shall see.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
11:11 am

Greg Mendell (10:53 am 3/20/14) They are “expanding depth” on the bench and infirmary …. not necessarily expecting these low level contracts to play much. Just need 53 bodies.

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 20th, 2014
11:17 am

Guess you think I am being too harsh here? I do see these FA’s as an improvement over what they were last year which was 4-12. Sticking with my 8-8 prediction for 2014 – but reserve the right to downgrade or upgrade slightly based on who they draft.

Screen Pass

March 20th, 2014
11:24 am

“By the way, I am a UGA grad & fan but I’m for Tech when they aren’t playing UGA. Always have been. I’m not a Tech hater. Kevin Cone got his chance -after all if Matt Ryan can’t get him the ball doubt if Scam Newton will do any better.” – Flo

The UGA – GT stuff here is kept in check as it should be on a NFL board…the people I’m talking about are on another board. K. Cone was targeted once last year and made the catch. This isn’t entirely true as he caught a 30-40 yard over the shoulder beauty that was called back by a penalty on one of those worthless O-line sluts we kept around. Point being, he wasn’t put on the field but a couple times so of course no one can get him the ball. Smitty doesn’t run a downfield offense but the Panthers do…even if that is because C. Newton overthrows by a mile lol.

just "little ole" me

March 20th, 2014
11:36 am

waynester – Here’s a brief summary with some video on DT Carrethers 6′1″ 330lbs out of Ark St. He is usually slow off the snap. He was pushed out of run lanes too often. He does an ok job getting off his block to make a tackle. Ball carriers can escape his tackles with one move. He relies too much on his weight instead of using his strength to control the line of scrimmage. He does have a swim move, but doesn’t use it effectively very often.

Game vs ULL where he had 16 tackles (6 solo, 10 assist) Watch how often ULL runs the ball right at Carrethers and how many times the ball carrier gets through the DLine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4Xo6OfbeAU

He does do some good things, but there are numerous other prospects that have a greater upside than this DT.

paddy O

March 20th, 2014
1:41 pm

The WPP is pretty well established; you can fill it out my examining the utter lack of playing time by draftees; unless a crisis hits (vet goes down). This is one reason Peterson stayed on the team so long. Smitty also hates screw-ups, which is why he comes across as so pathetically conservative on play calling. One odd thing is our teams inability to tackle – especially QB’s on sacks – Bierman, Spoon, DeCoud, Babs – almost all of them arrive at the QB spot, and instead of bulldozing the QB, they attempt to ole arm tackle (something DeCoud did for at least 3 years with zero coaching correction or benching); which many QB’s simply side step; once you elude our sack rush, rarely is a 2nd guy their to clean up the miss – you might get a QB hurry; but even that rarely ruins the play. Smitty BS’s constantly – pretending he has noticed a bad trend and pontificating about his focus being on fixing it. It might change temporarily for a week, then we fall back into the bad habits that got us that situation in the first place. Without Ryan, Smitty is a sub 500 HC.

D3

March 20th, 2014
2:18 pm

JUST SIGNED HESTER…………..

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2014/3/20/5524172/falcons-sign-devin-hester

Hey, credit where it’s due.

Chop Buster

March 20th, 2014
2:31 pm

I just hope Smitty doesn’t make these guys down the ball like he’s done with just about every other punt and kick returner.

John Waynesworld

March 20th, 2014
2:33 pm

3 years is definitely an accounting trick.

JB Falcon

March 20th, 2014
2:40 pm

I hope they didn’t agree to pay him the $4mil a year he was asking for a part time job.

JB Falcon

March 20th, 2014
2:45 pm

Former Michigan offensive lineman and first-round NFL draft prospect Taylor Lewan has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault or assault and battery stemming from an incident on Dec. 1, 2013, according to court records.ESPN

Gman

March 20th, 2014
2:59 pm

“Taylor Lewan has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault or assault and battery stemming from an incident on Dec. 1, 2013, according to court records.ESPN” JB

Well he’s go the nasty alright.

SG

March 20th, 2014
3:02 pm

Hester’s contract is probably heavily Incentivized. I am surprised though he had over 50 KRs last year averaging about 25 per.