Potential Breakdown Atlanta Falcons

Almost Inevitable for Some Players

RW Still Some Gas Left in Tank?

Training camp is less than a week away and optimism is sky high with a new regime in town and Dan Quinn looking to revitalize a franchise that’s been in the dumps the last two years. All 32 teams are Super Bowl bound at this time of year and the Falcons legitimately do look to have rebound year for many, many reasons. However, it’s almost always inevitable that some players will start to break down, whether it be due to injuries, age, or just overall performance. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but a look at a few Falcons that could have a down year……….

DT Jonathan Babineaux

Can Babs Continue Pressure?

The consummate Atlanta Falcon, playing his entire career in red and black, is already 33 years old and will actually turn 34 in October. The stud Falcon has started or played in 153 games for the Falcons and almost has never missed any games in his entire career. In fact, he’s only missed 7 games in his 10 year career. That is simply amazing, especially for a defensive tackle. His productivity only marginally slipped the last few years, as he still pulled down 2 sacks and had 31 combined tackles, but only 15 were unassisted. Babineaux can still play a role in this defense if he’s used as a rotational piece. The only issue here with Babs is age and how much longer he intends to play. He’s under contract for two more years and it will remain to be seen if he can play at a high level.

SS William Moore

Can Willy Mo stay healthy?

All fans love Willy Mo. The problem, as we all know, is that he’s rarely on the field due to various injuries. He’s one of the Falcons best players when roaming the secondary and one of the best leaders of the defense. But he’s also had a hard time staying healthy. Only once, has Moore started all 16 games (2010) and has failed to start 35 times (if you include his rookie year) out of 96 total games. That comes to almost 40% of all games he’s missed or failed to start. His physicality lends itself to possible injuries, but after only starting all 16 games once in his career, fans will hold their breath every time Moore makes a huge hit and doesn’t get up right away.

C Joe Hawley

Hawley Myth or Reality?

Even before news came out that Hawley will likely not be at “100 percent throughout the season” he’s been one of the most injury prone players on the team since being drafted out of UNLV. All things being equal, many still feel that he’s the favorite to start and best option at center overall. Some of that may be more myth than reality, as he’s only started 11 total games at center in 5 years (he started 12 games at guard in 2011). He’s been relegated to the injured reserve the last 2 out of 3 years and most will have to see it before they believe Hawley is the answer at center.

WR Roddy White

This is as painful to write is it is to admit, but father time looks to finally be catching up with the seemingly indestructible, best Falcons receiver of all time. Let’s take a look at how amazingly consistent he’s been. He started 93 out of 96 total games, not including playoffs, from 2007 to 2012 (97%). He pulled in over 1,000 yards receiving in those 6 straight seasons. That also included 49 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl four of those years including one as an All-Pro (2010). In summary, he’s been one of the best and most consistent wide receivers in the NFL for a very, very long time.

Can RW and JJ Continue Excellence?

Along with every other Falcon, he had one of his worst years in 2013 with a nagging injury that held him to 711 yards and 3 TDs. He had a very good year in 2014, finishing with 951 yards and 7 TDs, but he also 3 fumbles (tied for most in one season of his career) and many drops. White turns 34 in November and even the best start to lose a step eventually. However, he’s a beast and Quinn and Co. could significantly lengthen his career and productivity if they move him more to the slot and let Hardy and Hankerson work the outside. Only time will tell.

K Matt Bryant

Matty Clutch!

Let’s hope this is only paranoia and not a jinx. Bryant has been pure money since joining Atlanta. He’s had a 90% or above field goal percentage in 3 of his 6 years as a Falcon and two of the others were 86% and 88%. Last year was one of the 90% and he only missed 3 out of 32 total field goals, even hitting a 54 yarder last season. But Bryant just turned 40 and the Falcons have to think about his replacement at some point. He still appears to have plenty in the tank, but Falcons fans will quickly remember Matt Elam. Amazingly consistent until…………….he wasn’t, and he could never get it back.
What Falcons are you concerned could have a break down in 2015?

462 thoughts on “Potential Breakdown Atlanta Falcons

  1. Arno

    Defensive Yards Per Play Tracker
    2014 – 6.1
    2015 – 6.5 (league worst)
    Admittedly a lame stat at this point. But surprised? I am. Thought our D looked much sharper. First unit anyway.

    1. medallion

      The stat from Friday’s game is both misleading in some ways and concerning in other ways.
      Most of the front seven including those who are expected to rotate heavily on the defensive line played 10 snaps or less. Projected SLB Reed didn’t play, Schofield started at SLB, and even Schofield played less than 10 snaps. After that group left, the pass rush basically looked like last year’s pass rush. That’s concerning.
      Trufant didn’t play, Alford played 10 snaps, and Moore played 10 snaps so 3 of 4 projected starters in secondary not around much. So, some growing pains for other CBs and perhaps even SS Ishmael in a new scheme to be expected.
      We had problems covering TEs again. That’s concerning, but Reed didn’t play, Schofield played very little, and I hope there’s a plan for Southward and/or King (both former SS) to man up on receiving TEs after more experience gained from learning CB under Quinn’s system.
      Some of the FS play was very concerning to me. The primary example is the Titan’s first TD where Collins was covering a slot receiver in a bunch formation and the defensive call had to be man to man on at least the single side WR and the slot receiver if the slot receiver went towards the middle of the field. While Collins made some mistake in his coverage, whoever the FS was on that play should have seen what was happening. The single side WR ran a crossing route towards the bunch. Classic SF type pick play to free someone to run open into a wide open side of the field.

        1. medallion

          I’m actually a big fan of stats for lots of different purposes and ARNO’s post certainly caused me to think more about some of the defensive problems we did have.
          Side joke – short version – businessman wanted to know how much 2+2 was and asked his accountant. Accountant replied – “how much would you like it to be?” Long version nice because it also pokes fun at big law firms and computer software developers.

    1. Arno

      I ran through the other games’ stats to compare. f21 is right– we should be looking at the first team D. On the other hand, all the teams played their backups. I bet Collins’ fast track to gain experience was a big factor in our giving up so many yards.

  2. Mike In Minnesota

    I believe D Quinn et al. are using the first two pre season games to prepare for the Sep 01 cuts to the 75 man roster…they may indeed be seeing what they need to see during practices…I believe there are 3 types of players in camp…1. The untouchables ( they got low snap counts )…2. The summer camp practice fodder ( they got low snap counts )…3. The in betweens ( they’re the ones being evaluated in these early 2 games ) …. Of the 3rd group there may be 2 types…3A. The ones that are not “AS” conditioned as the coaches would like …or …3B. The ones that aren’t picking the schemes as quick as the coaches would like…Either way the higher reps you get the more on the bubble you may be for the Sep 1 cuts…The last game will be used for fine tuning the roster and conditioning the “starters” for “race trim” to use a NASCAR reference.

  3. Grits Blitz

    Seems to me it stands to reason it does not matter in the least if we win any other preseason game as our top priority would/should be to identify the best players for the long, reg. season haul – this year.
    1. 99% of the best players are already on their respective teams right now.
    2. For example, just consider O linemen. We need top quality ones and don’t presently have enough of them.
    3. We can and likely will have our scouts and coaches aware of and briefed frequently on who may be available… almost on a daily basis.
    4. We can upgrade our line (this year) but it most likely won’t occur until the FINAL cut for other teams. Some of their (cut) players then will provide the upgrade, if nothing else…especially considering the lack of dependable depth of some of our current backup role players.
    5. Barring the old “needle in the haystack” (UDFA gem), we could even acquire a new starter from a final waiver wire the last week of preseason!
    (That scenario would not surprise me in the least and I welcome it. ANYTHING that makes us better.)
    6. Patience will be the key now as it may take some reg. season games for the “real” starting O line to take form and successfully gel.
    7. DQ knows we are not going to win the SB this year and just getting our sea legs with a new attitude, philosophy, expectations, schemes, and enthusiasm will be a big enough transition victory to build upon for one season, including seeing who really can and can’t perform…more for the future than the present.
    8. Of course, getting a real GM who knew what he was doing would help DQ transform us exponentially to greatness with all due speed…

    1. Mike In Minnesota

      The latest two signings are evidence that this coaching/scouting staff is actively trying to “upgrade” and “anticipate” needs and I believe the HC has created an environment where this is not only encouraged but expected !

  4. Coop

    Morning Cage. finally got to watch the game. First off… it sure is nice to win. Pre-season or not, it felt an awful lot like the Smitty era as we took a huge lead… saw it disappear, then regained the lead. The difference? We held on to win. I get all the backup talk and preseason talk. But at the end of the day, it is always nice to see a W when we have seen so many Ls lately. Good mentality in my opinion.

    I thought Matt and JJ looked awfully good. Otherwise (barring a couple of flashes by the D), I wasn’t too impressed or too distressed by anything. Running game and the ZBS looked pretty tepid. Pass coverage looked very similar to years past.’

    All in all, I was pleased for the time of year. I hope to see much more in week 3 or I will be concerned. Then again… we looked as good as last year (not that we could get much worse).

  5. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Let’s not read too much in to these “preseason” games – especially the 1st two where the starters won’t play much. The objective (as we all know) is to find the best 53 for the roster. – normally. This year is a little different with a new HC, OC & DC. I’m still predicting 9-7 for 2015 but no division title. That should go to Carolina once again with their superior defense and improving offense.
    #1 Panthers
    #2 Falcons
    #3 Aint’s
    #4 Buc’s

  6. JB Falcon

    Looks like Freeman, Coleman and other wounded are back on the field in pads. I do hope DQ does not play them Friday and risk further injury. He needs to crawl Shan’s butt because of the sorry blocking of the new and improved ZBS OL blocking first. Our problem is not the RB’s so why punish or hurt them more trying to run through a line with no hole in it?

  7. JB Falcon

    Arno, I printed out your roster list by number today. I sent a memo to the Falcons site about the situation and here’s their rely;
    “Our roster page on our team website is sortable. If you click on “#” sign above the numbers, then it can sort the players by either increasing or decreasing jersey numbers. See below:” (Check out their roster http://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/player-roster.html
    NOW they tell us!!!!

    1. Arno

      Good job, JB !!! It wouldn’t occur to me to memo the Falcons’ PR team. Now can you get them to sort it by O and D? 😉

    2. JB Falcon

      Plus, all the columns are sortable. i:e: You can click on WT and it’ll sort fattest to skinniest or visa versa. I didn’t know Polumbus was 6’8″.

  8. LRD

    Friday night…. Was impressed with the smoothness of Ryan and Julio. As many have stated, the running game is concern, but do feel that it will improve and be starting to rev up come Eagles. Think Renfree deserves some time against the Glass Jaw Jets with the Falcons 2nd team. And want to see Renfree against 2nd or first team D. I personally like his touch and his composure. But again it was against the 3rd team.
    I’d like to see Nick WIlliams in the slot with the first team. See if that flash we saw on friday is actually something or not.
    Defense was ok. Still tackles down field. Good to see Bab’s still making an impact. Beasley already drawing double teams.

    Now for simple gripes about past friday: the new announcer sucks. the song selection during the lulls sucked. the new graphics sucked. they didnt even do F A L C O N S after a TD… which sucked. I know. sounds like a grumpy old man, but still….

  9. jaw

    LRD The announcers suck. I want to know WHO and Number of players involved in each play, O. & D. Previous years stats are History. People interviews are stupid waste. report the game as it happens. forget all the BULL till game is OVER.

    1. JB Falcon

      Big Amen here! Put some radio announcers in there! Pretend like I am listening only and do your job. Announce, or find something else to do.

  10. JB Falcon

    LRD, I said most of the same complaints to my son. Son said, “Dad, you’re getting to be a grumpy old man.”
    Yeah, I’ve worked long and hard to become one.


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