Falcons need to attack free agency for defensive help

Tennessee defensive end Jason Babin had a career-high 12.5 sacks last season.

Tennessee's Jason Babin had career-high 12.5 sacks last season.

Now that the Stupid Rich Men’’s War has nearly ended and NFL players are set to approve the new collective bargaining agreement, the Falcons need to turn their attention to an area people can more easily relate to: the defense.

According to Barrister D. Orlando Ledbetter, Minnesota free agent defense end Ray Edwards is expected to sign with Philadelphia. This is  a concern for two reasons:

– 1) Edwards would fill a Falcons’ need for a pass rusher. The team supposedly had a “change of heart” about him. If that’s true, I wonder if it’s because Edwards is going to be more expensive than they had hoped and expected. (Several teams have showed interested in him, including Philly and New England).

– 2) The Eagles represent one of the Falcons’ biggest obstacles in the NFC. There’s also a possibility that they are going to trade quarterback Kevin Kolb — the former starter and now backup to Michael Vick — to Arizona and can pry cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in return. Edwards and Cromartie would significantly boost to a defense that finished fourth in the NFL last season (behind only Baltimore,  Pittsburgh and Green Bay).

The Falcons on that same list? Eleventh.

That’s not bad overall, but probably not as good as it needs to be to contend for a Super Bowl.

There’s a belief in Flowery Branch that defensive tackle Peria Jerry will be back to full strength this season from a knee injury. But a front four of Kroy Biermann (whose production fell off last season), Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux (coming off a good season) and John Abraham (33 years old) is not comforting.

Remember, this was the same team that lost to Green Bay 48-21 in the Georgia Dome in the NFC divisional playoffs and allowed Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to complete 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns.

There are other ends available in free agency, including Carolina’s Charles Johnson, Green Bay’s Cullen Jenkins and Tennessee’s Jason Babin (career high 12½sacks last season).

After making the decision to go with an offensive playmaker in the draft (Julio Jones), this is when the Falcons need to fix the other side of the ball.

By Jeff Schultz

Previous NFL blogs:

Falcons Dimitroff can do without NFL’s CBA mess

NFL lockout nears end, but this is no time to celebrate

NFL lockout will end soon because money trumps stupidity

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

128 comments Add your comment

Jamaaliver

July 25th, 2011
11:16 am

I maintain that a more experienced Defensive Coordinator is our biggest need. Look at who coahced the defenses in the Super Bowl…

Dom Capers vs Dick LeBeau. Two of the best to ever coach the game. No coincidence their defenses were two of the best last year.

BVG

July 25th, 2011
11:21 am

I just need some playmakers and our defense would be just fine.

Hose

July 25th, 2011
11:25 am

Well if Edwards sign with the feagles, hope they pay a kings ransom.

JChikara

July 25th, 2011
11:27 am

Another issue is that a lot of players already under contract need to seriously step it up. Dunta Robinson was a bust last year, only making headlines when he gave a concussion in Philadelphia. Weatherspoon will need to be healthy in order to produce at LB. Lofton and Moore were pretty solid, but I think their younger players will need to take it to another level if they want to compete with the Packers and Eagles in the NFC.

Tiger

July 25th, 2011
11:33 am

Remember when Dimitroff’s reputation was of a guy who can spot talent deep in the draft?

In reality he’s a big spender. Ryan was the third pick and Jones cost the whole draft.

Heck, I can spend and bundle too.

This is who he is folks. Let’s stop with the false accolades.

Ted M

July 25th, 2011
11:34 am

So, I guess we are going to be tortured with preseason football.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 25th, 2011
11:35 am

Bring “The Beast” back to the state of Georgia!

Walker, Texas Ranger

July 25th, 2011
11:40 am

Agree Mr. Schultz, I like that combo instead of spending it all on the CB from Oakland.

Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
11:42 am

The Flacons need 2 stop wasting there draft pics on fist round busts. If they didnt waist a pick on Perreier Jerry the would not have 2 find 1 in free agentcy.

Thigs I no will hapen this year
Sean Witherspoon spends half the session injrued
Perrier Jerry avergages less than 1 tackle a game
Roddy White drops 2 many TD cathces
Matt Ryan threws 2 many ints

All the above are first round busts.

Mr. Phil

July 25th, 2011
11:46 am

Good news is we are only a couple smart moves away from a superbowl. So everyone remember that.

drmaryb (*_-)

July 25th, 2011
11:47 am

I doubt the Falcons will be able to find room on the team for Babin. He’s just so BIG!!

Seen (The Falcan'ts) This (get eviscerated) B4 (in every playoff game)

July 25th, 2011
11:48 am

“Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns.”

OUCH!!! Now THAT really hurt!

LOL!

DawgFan

July 25th, 2011
11:54 am

Jeff, I asked the question over at Ledbetter’s column, but no one tackled it yet. Do you think there is any chance the Falcons give a look to Mark Herzlich, the BC linebacker who beat cancer and went undrafted this year? He is a bit of a beast on the field and would add depth to our linebacker corps.

Jeff Schultz

July 25th, 2011
11:56 am

Walker, Texas Ranger — Falcons won’t be going after Raiders’ CB. They’re already spending a ton for one CB (Dunta Robinson).

Seen (The Aints) This (get obliterated) B4 (by the only sub-.500 playoff team in the history of pro football)

July 25th, 2011
11:57 am

Enter your comments here

Jeff Schultz

July 25th, 2011
11:58 am

DawgFan –I can’t speak specifically about Herzlich (a great story) but I think Falcons like their linebacking corps.Hopefully somebody will give him a look.

Bear

July 25th, 2011
12:01 pm

Joe tess Fish House must be an Aints fan. None of them know anything about football.

Rikus

July 25th, 2011
12:01 pm

DawgFan, Mark will certainly get signed somewhere. I would love to see him come to ATL. Not only is he pure heart, he’s mentally tough and still has the potential to be an NFL great.

chuckw/deadjournalist

July 25th, 2011
12:02 pm

i agree with herzlich, especially if nicholas leaves and wire isn’t resigned. he’s a great story who can probably be a special teams ace, at the least.

ryan

July 25th, 2011
12:03 pm

Jason Babin or Cullen Jenkins might be nice pick up if we don’t get Edwards or Johnson and probably would be cheap 12 1/2 sacks that’s not bad .

TechFan

July 25th, 2011
12:12 pm

DawgFan,

Every now and again I have to admit when you guys get it right. You’re dead on! Herzlich is a beast and only fell off b/c he was busy fighting cancer the year before. The guy was a menace since day one in the ACC. I for one would love to see Atl sign him. He is a gamer and has a motor that refuses to stop!

ryan

July 25th, 2011
12:13 pm

From what i heard about Edwards is was asking to much do you want take risk and pay that much money and rather get someone who is good and cheap .

Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:15 pm

Seen (The Falcan’ts) This (get eviscerated) B4 (in every playoff game)
July 25th, 2011
11:48 am

“Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns.”

OUCH!!! Now THAT really hurt!

LOL!

If that is true I want to no why the Falcons gave away this and next years draft for a thug WR?

Tron5000

July 25th, 2011
12:15 pm

I like Charles Johnson and his NFC South experience. Only 25 years old. If we can afford him, I’d really like to see him on the D-Line. And I’m a Tech fan saying this in spite of the fact that he’s a UGA guy.

Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:15 pm

Flacons need help on defence not ofence.

DC Dirty Bird

July 25th, 2011
12:19 pm

Babin is a typical underachiever who performs only in a contract year. To those who knock the draft, there were no “immediate impact” defense ends available at the end of the draft. I may end up wrong, but I would not have spent first round money on the three that were available. As far as Edwards is concerned, I wouldn’t be surpised if he still ends up here in Atl. Hard to believe Philly would spend a 1st rounder on a end, sign Trent Cole for what he’s worth so that he doesn’t hit free agency next year, and give big money to Edwards.

Jimmy Crack

July 25th, 2011
12:20 pm

No offense, Jeff, but “duh”.

What do you think we have all been talking about starting the day after we DIDN’T draft a DE with our first pick?

Also, what is the difference between buying a overpriced DE and an overpriced CB? If the new salary cap can get us close to Asomugha, we can factor in savings from not overpaying for one offensive Guard this year as well as monies gained from losing certain dead weight players next year to make it happen. Who’s to say that “Crazy Arthur” won’t spend big for a bookend All-Pro CB if he is serious about making it all the way this year?

bob

July 25th, 2011
12:23 pm

ERIK WALDEN………..HOMEGROWN GA BOY!

@Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:24 pm

What makes Julio a Thug?

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man

July 25th, 2011
12:25 pm

Charles Johnson would work for me–just don’t let him run a sweep to the left. That was a sad day.

@Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:26 pm

Or is your description of him just an assumption based on the fact that he is Black, and you are a Racist?

Really?

July 25th, 2011
12:29 pm

@Joe Tess Fish House
Really? That’s the best you can do. Remedial English and Grammar would be a nice idea. Then there might be a chance that Football 101 would sink in.
Go back to your GB or Philly website please and/or get educated.

DC Dirty Bird

July 25th, 2011
12:31 pm

Joe Tess, please support your “thug” description of Julio. He’s been active in the Atl community and he hasn’t even signed a contract. Please tell me you’re not basing it on his skin color and hair style.

Worldwide Clyde

July 25th, 2011
12:34 pm

ryan

July 25th, 2011
12:34 pm

DC Dirty Bird i hope your right nothing has been done yet Falcons will be busy i think we all need relax and be wait an see mode before everyone jumps off cliff .

JSS

July 25th, 2011
12:36 pm

Reality is sinking in, the well is not as deep as the fantasy (Falcons fans Arthur Blank can buy anything mindset) is unrealistic… The Falcons better hope they catch a flyer…

Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:44 pm

He went 2 Alabama.

Nuff said

@Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:49 pm

Your an Idiot.

Nuff said.

DC Dirty Bird

July 25th, 2011
12:51 pm

Joe Tess, so did our back up QB John Parker Wilson. Is he a thug?

@Joe Tess Fish House

July 25th, 2011
12:52 pm

You’re an Idiot.
Had to fix it before I’m called remedial for not knowing the difference.

Big Ten Champs Nebraska

July 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

I think the Falcons are not being truthful with their intent here. This free agency period is much like the draft as far as a limited amount of time to select.acquire players. Don’t let anyone know who you are interested in right away.

Real American

July 25th, 2011
1:00 pm

Joe Tess is a very astute observer of the gridiron. Sometimes genius is not recognized when it is so contrary to popular belief. Deep vision can be clouded by others short-sightedness. Colloquial style should not be used to criticize, but look to the content. Joe Tess is a brave visionary and should be respected.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2011
1:01 pm

Going to Alabama, albeit unsavory, doesn’t make you a thug. That would make our Marc Ingram and Roman Harper thugs, and make your Parker Wilson a thug too, none of which, fall into that category. So, no going to Alabama doesn’t make you a thug,….uneducated maybe, but not a thug.

Now, going to Alabama and being a Falcan’t, well, that just makes you a two time loser!

Real American

July 25th, 2011
1:04 pm

Of course, with Class Warfare being the lead liberal mantra of the day, the article was destined to start with the “rich man’s war…………………………”

chc4

July 25th, 2011
1:05 pm

Let’s get this straight JS — you want the Falcons to pay big $ for a 3-4 DE? Glad you aren’t the GM. As for Rodgers-Cromartie, he was awful last season. And coaches have had it with his attitude. Not too worried about the one.

chc4

July 25th, 2011
1:06 pm

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man — that was Charles Grant, not Charles Johnson.

Real American

July 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

SeenB4……………………………Seattle 41, Nawlans 36

HA HA HA HA HA HA ! ! !

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2011
1:10 pm

@Real American: And what’s even more ironic, is that Jeff uses a quotation mark in lieu of an apostrophe in that statement! LOL!

DawgFan

July 25th, 2011
1:10 pm

Charles Johnson would be a better pick than Ray Edwards, in my opinion. Johnson has teh NFC South experience, plus he’s already reached double-digit sacks, and he did it wouth the added-benefit of Julius Peppers on the other end of the line.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2011
1:11 pm

@Real American: Green Bay 48 – Falcan’ts 21. Ahhh ha ha ha ha. Whipped silly in their own house!!!!!!