A Look at Some D-Line Prospects
The Atlanta Falcons have long suffered on defense and many believe the main culprit to be a weak defensive line. That’s a pretty tough argument to undercut since the pass rush has consisted of John Abraham, John Abraham, and the occasional Jonathan Babineaux. They have rotated, brought in, semi-developed, and drafted players to no avail. The lone high draft pick in the Smith / Dimitroff Era was Peria Jerry and that’s a microcosm for the past five years: supposedly loaded with potential, but actual production is nil.
It’s a pretty damning statement when the only two successful defensive linemen (at least consistently) were holdovers from the previous regime. Sure, there’s been spurts and flashes here and there, but surely nothing to write home about. Meanwhile, teams in the Falcons own backyard are finding ways to develop pass rushers. Former Bucs DE Michael Bennett was an
A Projected OL Under 30
In a fairly surprising move, the Atlanta Falcons released long time right tackle and 2010 Pro Bowler Tyson Clabo. The former Wake Forest product may not have always been lights out as he was in 2010, but he’s surely been solid and one of the biggest stalwarts on the Falcons otherwise unsettled and inconsistent offensive line.
In terms of pure numbers, it’s not hard to see why the Falcons made the move, at least in the long term. Clabo had $11.5 million guaranteed in his contract and had been paid $6.85 mill to date. Very rough estimates only had the Falcons saving $1.4 million this year and creating well over $4 million in dead money (which seems to piling up) this season, but takes him completely off the books after this season.
It’s hard to believe this is a move that signals the Falcons will use the money on the open market but more about clearing the space for the future while also going ahead and doing the inevitable.
Many Holes, Tons of Possibilities
As The Cage heads full steam into talking, researching, and analyzing the 2013 NFL draft, the biggest question always leads off with who the Falcons will take first. The draft will contain anywhere from 5 to 11 new players, span 3 days, and cover 7 rounds, but the first pick is what everyone talks about the most. Also, it determines what direction the rest of the draft can and will take, along with what impact may be felt the most in the upcoming season.
Good Batting Percentage
Thomas Dimitroff has a pretty good slugging percentage on 1st round picks. Matt Ryan won rookie of the year, been to two Pro Bowls, set franchise records, and is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Julio Jones was elected to his first Pro Bowl in year 2, and nearly broke 1,000 yds receiving as a rookie. Sean Weatherspoon may not have earned a Pro Bowl trip just yet, but he’s already
Working on new draft heavy post, but wanted to go ahead and get up a new thread letting you discuss all things new Atlanta Falcon Osi Umenyiora. Here’s some questions to help you out…….
1) What’s your overall thoughts on the signing: good, bad, or ugly?
2) Does this mean the Falcons are staying permanently in the 4-3 defense?
3) What’s your thoughts on the contract: 2 years, $5 mill guaranteed, $8.5 million overall, that could rise to $12 million with incentives.
4) Is this much better than just keep John Abraham?
5) Who will be lining up opposite Umenyiora? Biermann, Matthews, Massaquoi, or draft pick?
6) Speaking of, is there any way the Falcons can convince Abe to comeback for one more year on the cheap?
7) How does this affect the Falcons draft plans?
8.) Are the Falcons putting too many eggs in one basket with all these older vets?
9) Will Umenyiora being a two-time Super Bowl winner help in the locker
Holes Abound on Defense
Even though free agency will stretch until the beginning of the season and all the way through, the major rush is over and the Falcons are surely done with the big spending, basically because they have no more money. Atlanta’s team did a good job of keeping their own in Tony Gonzalez, Sam Baker, Garrett Reynolds, and William Moore. They even added one of the best running backs of the past decade in Steven Jackson. Interestingly, only one of those resides on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, the two represent an antithesis of one another. On one side, you have an offense that is laden with Pro Bowlers, future Hall of Famers, and seems ready to suit up if the game were tomorrow. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Steven Jackson look as good as any offense in the NFL, at least on paper. And that’s not even mentioning Jacquizz Rodgers, Chase Coffman, Jason Snelling, and perhaps Harry Douglas (or
Falcons Keeping their Own
If you were expecting the Falcons to jump out of the gates and be big spenders like the Dolphins, Rams, and Browns you were sorely disappointed with the start of the Free Agency Frenzy. Even though Dimitroff made a few quick strikes back in his early years for Michael Turner in 2008 and 2010 for Dunta Robinson, that hasn’t happened in a few years. It’s no secret that the teams that are perennial contenders rarely make huge signings on the first day, or even the first few weeks. By and large, the contracts that are signed on the first few hours of free agency are usually highly inflated. Mike Wallace signed a $60 million deal for 5 years and Paul Kruger inked a 5 year deal worth $40 million. This is not to say that they aren’t excellent players, but are they really worth that price? There was initial talk that the Falcons were pursuing running back Steven Jackson and a deal may be imminent, but that tapered off to being
A Week Left and Some Big Names
It may not include as many names as last off-season, but the Atlanta Falcons are on the clock as to whether or not they intend to keep their soon-to-be free agents before they hit the open market. A good rule of thumb is to keep your guys well before the free agent frenzy starts, because anything and everything can happen. Last off-season saw the Falcons keep a great core together including Kroy Biermann, Jason Snelling, John Abraham, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Thomas DeCoud, Michael Palmer, Antone Smith, and franchise tagging Brent Grimes. It may not be the flashiest and most exciting thing in the world to just keep your own players and not spend big on new ones, but that strategy yielded the Falcons one of their best in franchise history, coming up only 10 yards short of the Super Bowl.
The big names include William Moore, Sam Baker, and Brent Grimes, but there’s a slew of other players that have also been vital to the Falcons success.
What’s the Falcons Biggest Needs?
The NFL Scouting Combine is complete and free agency is only a few weeks away as the NFL off-season starts to pick up some steam. It obviously isn’t the same as the real, live games, but it can be just as exciting thinking about what the Falcons need and trying to predict what moves they plan to make over the next few months. For us Falcons addicts, it can be a great way to pass the time while also building excitement for the 2013 season.
As the raw numbers are in from the combine and you start to build your own draft board, one good way to go about looking at free agent prospects and at the players in the draft is to rank what you think the Falcons biggest areas of need are and that will give you a baseline to start from. Of course it’s entirely likely that none of what you hope will happen will actually come to fruition, but it’s still a fun exercise to help pass the time in the off-season. A look
Falcons Need to Clear Space
As the NFL Scouting Combine kicks off this week, another important date is rapidly approaching. NFL Free Agency begins on March 12th, and while the Falcons aren’t expected to be big players in the free agent market, the front office have their work cut out for them. They need to free up money to not only give themselves roster flexibility and sign their new draft picks, but also to keep some of their own soon-to-be free agents. A list that includes William Moore, Sam Baker, and several key role players. And that’s not even including trying to potentially bring back Brent Grimes and Tony Gonzalez, if he decides to return for one more go. It’s not easy letting go of players who have been great on and off the field, and sometimes even fan favorites. The best franchises do it and the Falcons won’t be any different, at least if they want to keep up their winning ways. A few items and players regarding the cap
The lack of pass rush other than John Abraham has been beaten to a pulp by fans and critics alike for years and years, and rightly so. This defense has been downright pitiful in getting to the quarterback. Sure, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but the failure to develop ANY pass rush from the defensive ends spot, or any defensive end prospect for that matter over a 5 year period is just criminal. They tried to move Kroy Biermann to a full-time DE in the 4-3, even though he was unanimously projected as an OLB at the next level. They re-signed Chauncey Davis to a starter level contract and he did absolutely nothing. They signed Ray Edwards and we all know how that turned out. Lawrence Sidbury must have kicked Mike Smith’s dog, because he’s nowhere to be found, even though he earned 4 sacks in very limited chances in 2011. Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi showed some potential, but they didn’t see the field