Why the Falcons shouldn’t pursue Bob Sanders: He gets hurt

Peria Jerry after hurting his knee in September 2009. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Peria Jerry after hurting his knee in Sept. 21, 2009. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

No sooner had I written a little something about the looming lockout and how the Falcons have little need to make a free-agent splash than I was inundated by various forms of electronic missives, all wanting to know: Should the Falcons pursue Bob Sanders?

And my answer — and I stress this is just my answer — is no.

I realize he’s a safety of high caliber when healthy, and the Falcons could still use help in the secondary. But those two words — “when healthy” — are the reason the Indianapolis Colts, who have defensive issues of their own, cut a safety of such high quality.

In 2007 Sanders was the NFL’s defensive player of the year. He has since worked a total of nine regular-season games. He has had knee surgery and torn both biceps.

Sanders might be a gamble a lesser team would take, but the Falcons don’t need to take such a risk. They’re pretty good as is. They like their young safeties — Thomas DeCoud and William Moore — so much they just cut Erik Coleman, who was one of Thomas Dimitroff’s first free-agent signings. If there’s money to be spent on a free agent (assuming the lockout ends in time for free agency to be allowed), I’m fairly certain the Falcons would prefer to spend it on a wide receiver or a pass rusher.

I know what you’re saying: In 2009 the Saints grabbed Darren Sharper, a safety who was three-plus years older than Sanders is now. (Sharper was then 33; Sanders turns 30 this week.) All Sharper did was solidify a shaky defense and help New Orleans win a Super Bowl. But he had no history of injury. Indeed, he’d played at least 13 games in each of his first NFL seasons. Sanders has played in more than six games only twice in seven seasons.

In the NFL, you don’t usually profit betting on that sort of track record. Indeed, the draft choice for which Dimitroff can be most questioned — Peria Jerry in 2009 — is iffy not just because Jerry was chosen ahead of Clay Matthews and Ziggy Hood, each of whom started in the Super Bowl, but also because Jerry had been injured at Ole Miss. Sure enough, he missed nearly all his rookie season after hurting his knee and did little last season. (The Falcons say they’re still expecting big things from him.)

I say again: The reason a protracted lockout should cause the Falcons comparatively less distress is that they’re not lacking for much and they prefer to build through the draft anyway. They don’t need to be throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks. A team that signs Bob Sanders is hoping against hope.

By Mark Bradley

86 comments Add your comment

Hollywould

February 21st, 2011
11:16 am

Don’t need Sanders at all. Would want too much money anyway.

Soldierman

February 21st, 2011
11:19 am

the murf

February 21st, 2011
11:19 am

WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION?

the murf

February 21st, 2011
11:19 am

Sorry bout the caps!

Soldierman

February 21st, 2011
11:20 am

Dangit close but no cigar guess I’ll read the article now shucks

2nd

February 21st, 2011
11:20 am

If i’m not still locked out.

Ohh, not locked out

February 21st, 2011
11:20 am

But not 2nd either. 6th & 7th

matt r

February 21st, 2011
11:21 am

I’m sure injuries factored in Colts cutting Sanders, but they also have to pay #18

todd grantham

February 21st, 2011
11:24 am

I thought Bob Sanders was the guy who played Howdedoodee on tv.

Ducks Fan

February 21st, 2011
11:25 am

Sure, let’s get Sanders and then go after Donte Stallworth. They’d make two good building blocks for the All-Injury team.

SirReal

February 21st, 2011
11:25 am

Mark,
I agree. We honestly dont need Bob Sanders and by doing so would definitely make people look at TD as a guy who loves to sign injured players….not good for the exec of the year. Like you said, we have a 2 good safeties already that can grow together.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 21st, 2011
11:26 am

The price should be right….

“six games only twice in seven seasons”

That is not going to get you a big time payday. Falcon give him a 1 year deal with a mutual option for a 2nd year? Gives Sanders time to prove that he is still an elite safety and the Falcons depth and a great player when healthy. If the price is right go for it.

Logan Booker

February 21st, 2011
11:28 am

I think he would play a great cornerback if used corrently. I mean, look what his brother did at corner for the Detroit team!

lgnbkr@gmail.com

loganbooker@gmail.com

Logan-Booker

February 21st, 2011
11:28 am

The Real Falcon

February 21st, 2011
11:28 am

Have to agree.

el logen boookser

February 21st, 2011
11:29 am

Is his name blocked from here?

el logen boookser

February 21st, 2011
11:31 am

Really, I think he would make a good line backer. Look at what his uncle did at the detroit team!

Ted M

February 21st, 2011
11:34 am

The Falcons could an offensive lineman too

Bubba

February 21st, 2011
11:38 am

Al From Dadeville

February 21st, 2011
11:40 am

What Would Bear Do?

Falcon nut

February 21st, 2011
11:52 am

NO! enough said.

Prime Time

February 21st, 2011
11:54 am

I can still play cover 2!!!!

Samuel

February 21st, 2011
11:58 am

Would he take a backup spot?, how could they fit him in. Would he be willing to play less since, he gets injured alot?

Eazy

February 21st, 2011
11:59 am

This is a pretty bad article considering Bob Sanders wasn’t someone I would imagine being anywhere on the Falcons Free Agent radar.

He not only gets hurt...

February 21st, 2011
12:02 pm

…he stays hurt – but when he can play he is a stud…

BSherm

February 21st, 2011
12:03 pm

We have a solid strong safety who can hit. We DONT need Bob Sanders. We need a free safety who can fly with ball skills. DeCoud is a good back up with B- speed. We need Interceptions from playmakers in our 2ndary. Bob Sanders has 6 picks in 6 seasons. Troy Polamalu/ Ed Reed had more than that in 1 season. No thanks Bob!

Randy

February 21st, 2011
12:08 pm

The only way I’d consider Sanders would be if he signed for vet minimum with tons of bonus’ tied to productivity.

danielsdawgs

February 21st, 2011
12:10 pm

CHAMP BAILEY!!!!!

Billy

February 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

what Randy said! vet minimum with incentives

Mike10

February 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

Get Ray Edwards and a #2 receiver and were good.

elroy

February 21st, 2011
12:34 pm

why the ajc should get rid of bradley. He sux!

BirdDirty

February 21st, 2011
12:38 pm

Who said anything about getting Bob Sanders in the first place?

BirdDirty

February 21st, 2011
12:43 pm

Mark Bradley, you are delusional. The Falcons need help at LB, CB, WR, TE, RB, and DE. And you say we are not lacking much? Give me a break.

falconfan11

February 21st, 2011
12:50 pm

The heck with Sanders. Go get Champ!!!!

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BirdDirty

February 21st, 2011
1:02 pm

Way to create a story out of nothing. Slow news day huh? Write an article on how Matt Ryan needs to live up to the “franchise QB” title the mainstream media has annointed him with. Do that! I’m sure you would have already written a few for No. 7!

Stockdog

February 21st, 2011
1:10 pm

Didn’t Sanders get hurt when he was cut? Apparently, fell and dislocated his knee trying to answer the phone.

TruthSeeker

February 21st, 2011
1:11 pm

I don’t know if Sanders is the answer, but the Falcons do need to do something to upgrade the secondary. Since 2006 the Falcons have ranked 29th, 23rd, 21st, 28th and 22nd in the NFL against the pass. For some reason it seems like the Falcons have been hesitant to address this issue. Getting Dunta Robinson last year helped, but we need more. The philosophy has been to let the young players grow, but at some point you have to wonder if it’s more of a talent issue than an experience issue. Whatever improvement we’ve seen in our pass defense has been marginal, and the Green Bay game showed that it’s still a weakness.

Even when healthy, Sanders is more known as a run-stopping safety than a great coverage guy, so I’m not sure that’s where we need to be looking.

CobbGOPer

February 21st, 2011
1:13 pm

How bout we get some corners who are taller than 5′6″?

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Hirsutedawg

February 21st, 2011
1:33 pm

Bob Sanders no, Champ Bailey yes.

Wha..

February 21st, 2011
1:35 pm

What was Dimitrov thinking pasing up Clay Matthews? I never figured that out. Oh well, the only place for Col. Saunders is KFC.
Or da Hoggs. Danny Snyder likes him some pok too.

Joe Tess Fish House

February 21st, 2011
1:36 pm

Hes rite U no. The Flacons alreedy have 2 many injruy prune players. Perrier Jerrry was supusdely injured all seaeion last year and Sean Witherspoon spent half the seasion in street clothes. Why bring another high priced bust 2 the rooster?

RambleOn84

February 21st, 2011
1:43 pm

Right on Mark!

Sanders is one of my favorite players to watch, but he is just FAR too fragile.

I don’t like being a Monday Morning QB, especially when it comes to a guy Dimitroff who has made many more good picks than bad.

But I didn’t like the P. Jerry pick when we made it, and it hasn’t looked good so far. I wanted the Falcons to pick up Matthews (who is way better than I expected him to be) or Maualuga (who hasn’t been as good as I thought, but still better than what we’ve gotten out of Jerry).

Hopefully Jerry will turn it on this year. Still, Clay Matthews would look awfully good in a Falcons uniform.

RambleOn84

February 21st, 2011
1:45 pm

I would be down with bringing in Champ…though his skills have definitely declined some, he is still among the league’s best. And he could mentor some of the younger guys here.

Even though I’m a Jacket fan, I’ve always admired Champ’s talent.

I hate it when people say awfully good.

February 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

It sounds stupid you oxymorons.

Ant Bootays Shrimp Lovas

February 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

I don woan hem here caz he tak up spase own my bench and n da chow lines.

Enemas for Arbor Day

February 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

RambleOn……Do you read anything you write? Unless you are in the third grade, and don’t have any original thoughts of your own, you need to improve your discourse.

RambleOn84

February 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

I missed all of the wonderful discourse in your post…can you help me find it?

UGASlobberknocker

February 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

This guy make Mike Hampton seem like an ironman