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
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