Roster Analysis: Part III

d3_lead

Parts 1&2 of the dissection of our Falcons roster didn’t have a lot of drama to them. Pretty straight forward, happy with what we have. Not that some improvements couldn’t be made, but if we had to go into the 2016 season with what we ended 2015 with, I’m certain we’d all be satisfied. So, now onto Part 3 where things are going to start getting more interesting.

Part III-Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

by Dewey

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones, Roddy White, Devin Hester, Eric Weems, Justin Hardy, Nick Williams, C.J. Goodwin, Jordan Leslie

d3_julio-jonesJulio Jones-under contract through 2020 season, $15,900,000 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$23,100,000 dead money, $7,200,000 cap charge NOT savings

Cut post 6/1-$15,900,000 dead money, $0 cap savings

Trade-$9,600,000 dead money, $6,300,000 cap savings

That’s right, if for some crazy reason we decide to cut Julio before June 1st, it costs us a total of $30,000,000. But that’s not going to happen. Julio just gave the Falcons the most prolific season for receptions and receiving yards in franchise history, and one of the best seasons ever in the NFL for those categories. We have seen Julio blossom from an athlete who played WR to a top 5 WR in the entire NFL. Julio is a rare athlete that is never satisfied with his performance, always looks to make himself better and most importantly, seems to put the team ahead of himself. I’m sure if you asked him, Julio would trade half those catches and yards to still be playing rather than sitting at home. Still, there are some improvements that could be made to his game. Julio will still drop the occasional easy pass, probably looking to run before he has the ball. Also, with over 130 catches and over 1800 yards, 8 TD’s seem to be a bit of a low number. Of course, that’s not all on him. All in all, aside from the enormous contract, there is very little to complain about Julio’s game.

d3_roddy-whiteRoddy White-under contract through 2017 season, $6,137,500 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$3,775,000 dead money, $2,362,500 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-$1,887,500 dead money, $4,250,000 cap savings

Trade-same as cut pre 6/1

The old war horse just keeps on trotting along, though Roddy seems to be trotting at a much slower pace these days. Now 34 years old (oh to be young again), Roddy is definitely on the down slope of his career. Has lost a step, still troubled with the occasional drop, minor aches and pains that linger just a bit longer and slow him just a bit more, a contract that is paying him for his past performances rather than his current contributions (43 catches, 500 yards, 1 TD), and a coaching staff that at times seemed to be more concerned with NOT getting Roddy the ball than getting it to him. Plus recent reports that Roddy had trouble grasping the new playbook. Still, there was a lot positive to be said for Roddy in 2015. Roddy is still a team player. He blocked just as hard, if not harder, than he ever has. The only time Roddy complained about not getting the ball more was when he was asked a direct question about it from a reporter who was probably just digging for some dirt. And Roddy, true to his nature, spoke the truth, and that’s something I’ve always loved about Roddy. Roddy has always been brash without being arrogant. Maybe with a full year in this new system under his belt, we will get more production from Roddy. No one expects, 80 catches, 1200 yards and 10 TD’s anymore, but it would be nice if he could get back to 60, 800 and 5.

d3_devin-hesterDevin Hester-under contract through 2016 season, $3,833,334 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$833,334 dead money, $3,000,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

This was a lost season for Devin. After proving he wasn’t just a return man and could offer some offensive help in 2014, with the chance to impress a new HC and OC, Devin came down with the dreaded turf toe(don’t laugh, it ended Deion’s career). It took Devin almost the entire season to get healthy, and when he finally did, he was so far behind the learning curve, he was used just in the return game. Though still probably one of the most feared return men in the game, given his age(33), and the contract numbers listed above, the writing could be on the wall for Devin as a Falcon.

d3_eric-weemsEric Weems-under contract through 2016, $1,147,500 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$212,500 dead money, $935,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

I know I’m not alone in the Cage when I say “I love Eric Weems”. Weems is a football player, period. He will do whatever is asked of him just to be on the field, playing the game he loves. Every team needs about 3-4 of these guys on the roster. I would rather go to battle with 53 Eric Weems’ than a roster of over paid, over hyped prima donnas. However, the coaching staff might have reached a little in asking Weems for his service this season. Miscast as the personal protector on the punt team, rather than the gunner (where he was once selected to the pro bowl), not only put our punter in jeopardy on more than 1 occasion, but hindered Eric’s effectiveness for what he can bring to the team. A change was made late in the season, but it might have been a little too late for Weems. Weems will be 31 at the start of next season, and special team gunners are usually reserved for faster, younger players, hungry to make a name for themselves, though they also need to have heart, which Weems has by the truck load.

d3_justin-hardyJustin Hardy-under contract through 2018 season, $660,205 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$405,615 dead money, $254,590 cap space

Cut post 6/1-$135,205 dead money, $525,000 cap space

Trade-same as cut pre 6/1

The 2014 season ended with 4 of our top 5 WR’s age 30 or more. A youth movement needed to take place at this position and Hardy was the 1st step. Coming out of East Carolina, Hardy set many receiving records and was viewed largely as a steal in the 4th round. It later came out that East Carolina never had much of a playbook, and having to learn a playbook, plus taking the next step up to the pro level with all the nuances that entails, was a little much for Hardy to grasp all at once. Justin made the 53 man roster, but was inactive for almost half the season, until some minor bumps and bruises forced the coaching staff’s hand to dress him, and with only 46 players dressing each week, that meant they would have to play him too. Largely, Hardy didn’t disappoint once given a chance. He was brought along slowly, only put in on plays where he knew exactly what he was doing, then integrated more and more towards the end of the season. Hardy’s rookie numbers aren’t going to make anyone forget what Julio did his rookie season, but Hardy came up with some clutch catches and showed he has really good hands. 2016 should be a bit of a coming out party for Justin. I’m not sure he’s ready to be the #2 yet, but the biggest strides a player makes in the NFL is from season 1 to season 2. I look forward to seeing Justin’s strides.

d3_nick-williamsNick Williams-under contract through 2016 season, $600,000 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$0 dead money, $600,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

“Little Nicky” was everyone’s favorite flavor the first month of the season. “The little white boy who could”. “Could be our version of Wes Welker”. Nick was good for 1 catch a game early on, and it typically moved the chains on a key 3rd down late in the game. 1 target, 1 catch, 1 first down was his weekly stat line on our way to 5-0. Once again, bumps and bruises to other players caused an increase in Nick’s playing time. With increased playing time came increased targets, which caused increased scouting by opponents, which caused the real Nick Williams to show up on game day. Now targets were being missed, and 1 really costly drop that brought a previously unseen ire from Matt Ryan on the field. Nick is a smallish receiver (5’10”, 185lbs), but there are places for such receivers in the NFL. Nick has now been in this system for 2 seasons (2013 when Kyle Shanahan was OC in Washington), so he probably has as firm a grasp on the playbook as he’s going to have. Making the team as a backup WR, Nick was taught all the WR positions to be ready in an instant should someone fall during a game. If Nick could up his game just a bit (stronger getting off the line, getting more separation than just a step), he could be the 2nd piece to our WR corps getting younger (25 years old at the start of camp in 2016). Not a #1, #2 or even a #3, but a quick, underneath #4 who can also contribute on special teams is always a plus. And he showed decent return abilities in pre-season last year should the Falcons decide to go that way.

d3_cj-goodwinC.J. Goodwin-futures contract, no terms available at this time

Had to google the history on C.J. and what I found is an athlete that is very raw. Played basketball for 2 years at Bethany College before transferring to Fairmont State. While at campus at Fairmont State, C.J. was playing in an intramural basketball game against the football team. He caught the eye of coaches and was convinced to go out for the football team. He made the team and contributed 24 catches for 440 yards (18.3 average) and 4 TD’s. The HC was fired and took the DC job at California University in Pennsylvania. C.J. had graduated early, so he decided to transfer to CU of Penn to play his last season. Played mostly special teams but contributed 11 catches for 126 yards and 1 TD. Signed as a UDFA by Pittsburgh in 2014. Was on practice squad 2014, 2015. Cut, signed to Falcons practice squad in 2015.

d3_jordan-leslieJordan Leslie-futures contract, no terms available at this time.

Had to google Jordan also and I must say, I’m impressed. 6’2”, 215lbs. Played college ball at UTEP for 3 years. As a freshman, caught 30 passes, 430 yards and 2 TD’s. Would lead UTEP in receptions each of the next 2 years (51, 973, 6 in 2012), (44, 612, 7 in 2013). He had already graduated with honors, and decided to follow his position coach to BYU for the 2014 season where he posted numbers of 55 catches for 779 yards and 6 TD’s. Jordan was signed as an UDFA by Minnesota in 2015 and cut at the end of camp. Jordan then signed with the Jaguars practice squad, later signing with the Falcons practice squad. He’s got the size, and was productive in college. Quinn & Co. see something they like in Jordan. It would be nice to see this guy turn in to some type of player that could contribute to the team. Sometimes all you need in the right opportunity.

Analysis: It’s difficult to argue with the overall strength of a position when you have a player that had a monster season (Julio). However, when the disparity between the #1 target and the #2 target are so big, (Julio caught 136 balls, Roddy 43), something needs to be done. Yes, had Hankerson stayed healthy all year, even with his many drops, he probably would have had 60+ catches, but that’s still a wide difference. And after Hankerson got injured, no one really stepped up into that role that he was performing. Of course, this all could have been coach related as well. One thing’s for sure, this group needs to continue to get younger, with 3 on the current roster on the wrong side of 30.

My Conclusion: Obviously Julio isn’t going anywhere, though I’d still gauge interest throughout the league, but doubtful anyone would come up with something that would make the move worthwhile. Hardy obviously has a place in our team’s future, probably a strong #3 this year, maybe he could excel in the role Hankerson started the year with. Williams makes the team as a #4, with a shot at return duties as well. Goodwin, if eligible, has another year on the practice squad, as he is just too raw. Leslie Jordan makes the team as #5, learning all WR positions, unless a better option comes along through a cheap UFA or UDFA. With the many holes on our team’s line of scrimmages, we don’t need to waste a pick on WR, unless there’s a hidden gem available in the 7th round. This leaves our geriatric group (Roddy, Devin, Eric Weems). I’m afraid this is the end for Weems and Hester, as neither seem to be able to offer up the contributions they could just 2 short seasons ago, (resulting in just over $1,000,00 in dead money and just under $4,000,000 in cap savings). I would try to trade both first, though Hester’s contract and Weems diminishing returns probably makes it unlikely we get any takers, even for a 6th or 7th rounder. I’m really gonna miss Weems. Which leaves us with Roddy. This is a difficult one. I love Roddy, love everything he stands for, but you can’t ignore the recent drop in production along with the nagging injuries and the salary size per production. I’d love to keep him on at a reduced salary, but I’m not sure his pride would allow that (notice I didn’t say ego, Roddy knows what he is, very self-aware). I try to trade Roddy, but at his age, with his salary and recent injury history, I doubt we find any takers. He comes to camp, we work with him and let him continue to mentor the younger players, try one last time to trade him, then cut him post June 1st(causing another almost $2 million in dead money, but freeing another $4.2 million in cap savings). This leaves us without a true #2 WR. We saw this team can be productive without a true #2 in 2015, but we also saw how much better this offense functions when you have a #2(before Hankerson was injured). I would make a play for Rueben Randall of the Giants as an UFA, but I wouldn’t go over $6 million/year, which might not be enough to entice him or pry him away from the Giants. Otherwise, bring in another bargain like we did with Hankerson last season, and hope the others make huge strides.

Prediction: Julio, Justin, Williams make the team. Roddy’s contract is restructured so he doesn’t lose money but doesn’t have as big a cap charge. 2 inexpensive UFA’s along with 2-3 UDFA’s and our 2 futures contracts projects all vie for the final 1-2 WR spots available, doubt we keep 7 again, but you never know.

Tight Ends

Jacob Tamme, Levine Toilolo, D.J. Tialavea, Tony Moeaki

d3_jacob-tammeJacob Tamme-under contract through 2016 season, $1,784,375 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$200,000 dead money, $1,584,375 cap space

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

Jacob gave us the intermediate TE target we’ve missed since the days of Tony Gonzalez, and could even get deep on occasion. He really took off after Hankerson went down, becoming Ryan’s 2nd favorite downfield target behind Julio. Tamme came in and performed just as advertised, soft hands, good route runner, not much in the blocking game.

Levine Toilolo-under contract through 2016 season, $750,146 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$75,146 dead money, $675,000 cap space

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

d3_levine-toiloloLevine was pretty much just as advertised as well. All block, no catch. Earlier in the season when our OL was performing better, Levine was able to sneak out every now and then to catch a pass. Then 2 problems arose. 1-Levine hadn’t gotten any better at catching the football than the previous year. 2-the OL started to perform worse and, just like the previous year, Levine was asked to stay in and block to help out our porous line. Levine can block with the best of them, the problem there is, if he’s in the game, it kinda tips off that there’s a good chance it’s a running play, and if happens to be a pass, there’s a 95% chance that you don’t need to bother covering him because he’s either staying in to block or he’s not getting the ball thrown his way due to his inability to catch the ball.

d3_dj-tialaveaD.J. Tialavea-under contract through 2016 season, $525,00 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$0 dead money, $525,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

Google couldn’t even save me on this one. All I have for you is this, he’s 6’4”, 260lbs, which is a good size for a TE. He played his college ball at Utah State. He caught 30 passes for 198 yards and 5 TD’s in 3 years after playing DT his freshman year. Graduated in 2013, went undrafted in 2014 and signed with Buffalo as an UDFA in 2014 draft. Spent 2014 on Buffalo’s practice squad, signed by Falcons to their practice squad in 2015. Got to dress/play the final game of the season. I’m sorry I can’t be more help on this one. [Editor’s note: Tialavea with the Jaguars?]

d3_tony-moeakiTony Moeaki-contract expired, UFA

Tony was signed in the off-season and heading into camp looked to be a lock for the #1 or #2 TE spot. Was injured for much of camp and pre-season and was released. Signed back about mid-way through the season, Moeaki slowly worked his way into the rotation and actually started stealing playing time from Toilolo. A better blocker than Tamme, but not quite as good as Toilolo. A better receiver than Toilolo, but not quite as good as Tamme.

Analysis: The Falcons got more from the TE position than the previous year mainly due to Tamme. Tamme is a good receiver but not a full time, dual threat TE. Toilolo is an excellent blocking TE but doesn’t offer up much else. This is a group that needs to get better next season if Kyle Shanahan wants to run multiple TE sets and not telegraph what the play is going to be. Having a dual threat TE and a receiving TE would be a step in the right direction. Ultimately you’d like to have 2 dual threat TE’s.

My Conclusion: I’m fine with Tamme for now. I would sign Moeaki back at a modest contract and hope he can stay healthy in camp this time. If we have the luxury of keeping 3 TE’s, I keep Toilolo too as the 3rd TE, really only used in short yardage and goal line situations. I try to find another dual threat TE in FA, but don’t break the bank to acquire one. Bring in an UDFA rookie for competition. If we had more picks or fewer needs, I would address this mid-rounds in the draft, but since we’re short on picks with much bigger holes, this is my plan.

Prediction: Tamme makes the club based on past performance, not to mention his 2015 season. Moeaki, or player of his talent level is brought in and makes the club. If we keep 3 TE’s, Toilolo makes it, if we don’t, he doesn’t.

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135 thoughts on “Roster Analysis: Part III

  1. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Dewey – Just took time to read your article and haven’t really studied it yet. There really aren’t any big decisions here to be made on who to keep and who goes. Like you said, maybe they bring in one UFA (mid to low cost) and keep Roddy around one final year. That’s probably what will happen. About the same with TE…. no major upgrades expected. The OL, DL, LB’s and possibly SS will be the focus of the next draft. That’s not to say if a guy they love falls in their lap they won’t take him- but not likely to happen. Good write up Dewey and thanks for the time you took.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Flo, agreed. Though it may not be sexy building the lines of scrimmage, it’s become extremely necessary after being neglected for so many years. Couple that with limited draft picks and this is an off season that appeals to only the truest of fans.

      Reply
  2. waynester

    I agree with most of your conclusions other than TE. This position is critical to our (current) OC’s scheme. I realize we’re short on picks (which is why I advocate trading out of Round 1) but believe one of our 2/3rd rd targets needs to be a TE like Henry or the kid from ‘Bama since Linus, er, MATT seems to need his Security Blanket back. Since Gonzales left, #2 has regressed.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      waynester – IF Hunter Henry (TE) was there for the Falcons in the 3rd Rd they would be stupid not to take him – or maybe in the 2nd. He is by far the best TE in this class – my opinion. He’s got everything you need: 6’6′ 255 lb, 4.65 40 – excellent route runner, hands and blocker. Pair him and Tamme with Julio & R White and the entire offense is upgraded. As Dewy pointed out, while JJ snatches umpteen passes his TD production has been something to be desired. M Ryan needs a red-zone target.

      Reply
    2. Dewey

      Fair points Waynester. I couldn’t agree more on trading down. Depending how the draft is falling, I would trade down in rounds 1-4 if possible and accumulate as many extra picks for this year and next as I possibly could.

      Reply
  3. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Roddy White (WR) – Simply put, as Matt Ryan said, he’s the best. Ryan was thinking, but certainly wouldn’t say, RW was the best – past tense. While in human years RW isn’t old – in football years he’s nearing the end. More than years, the hits he’s taken over the years add up and have taken their toll. Feeling that RW has one more year in him and ’16 will be his farewell tour with the Falcons. Hope I’m wrong and he finds the fountain of youth. What I don’t want is for him to be cut before the ’16 season begins – or be traded. Give him the opportunity he deserves to go out in style.

    Reply
  4. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Devin Hester – Yes, he has one final year on his contract but should retire and take an injury settlement. That’s what I expect. He’s the best there ever was returning kicks and a likely Hall of Famer some day.

    Eric Weems – Going to differ with Dewey on this one & say Weem’s is wanted,needed and will return for his final contract season. At $1 mill + he’s a valuable member of the special teams and can fill in at WR. With few upgrades at WR in ’16, Hester’s expected departure and RW subject to nagging injuries he will be needed. One final season for the warhorse – Eric Weems.

    Justin Hardy – Expect major improvement in his route running in ’16. While I don’t quite see him as being the next Wes Welker, as some have, I do believe he’s the Falcons’ slot receiver for the next three years and a steady player – much like Harry Douglas (minus the speed).

    Nick Williams – ’16 is the final year of his contract but he may not make it that far. The “bench” at WR needs upgrading and I expect the Falcons to sign a mid-level UFA WR to replace Hankerson and pick up a cast off UFA or take a WR in the 7th Rd if they see one they like.

    Reply
  5. Flo-Ri-Duh

    As for those other guys Dewey listed – if they were any good they would have been on the 53 man roster some where wouldn’t they? It’s not like they had to beat out a lot of talent on the depth chart. A bunch of Bernard Reddy’s – I guess.

    Reply
  6. ajarnbangkapi

    Dewey – really well written and researched analysis. Thanks!!

    WR’s. mostly agree. I think Roddy SHOULD stay (not sure he will, he just wasn’t targeted much and likely disconnected a bit when he WAS included.).
    This leads to the uncomfortable possibility that there was a personality conflict between him and one of the new staff that got him written out of game plans. If so, it won’t take much excuse for them to get their own people in there.

    Hester is older, and hence his injury resume is growing/bloating. Cut, use the $$$ on the O-line.
    HOWEVER, Weems is sufficient valuable as a ST’er that I would keep him another year.

    TE – I would maintain status quo, there are just too many other holes that need urgent addressing to invest limited resources in getting what would be a marginal incremental improvement year to year. Work on the lines and S, greatest impact year to year incremental improvement will be found there in a year with limited resources available to fix what is broke.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thank you AB. Would love to see Roddy and Weems back. It’s so difficult to say goodbye to favorites. We’ll see what Quinn and the FO have in mind.

      Reply
    2. Paddy O

      I’d keep Weems – he can’t be that expensive, and is still a game return guy. But, I would NOT use him as the punters protector – that lost us one of the games this year. I would not even bother Roddy on the salary. He under utilization has only one source – the stupid OC.

      Reply
  7. ajarnbangkapi

    To add/clarify a point, what CAN’T be improved? If we don’t have a probowl caliber player that is working on a hall of fame career, they could be improved on.

    With relatively minimal resources (a problem all teams face every offseason) it becomes where the greatest INCREMENTAL improvement can be found with the smallest commitment of resources in the existing market.

    In the Falcons case, I see OL (C&G starters, quality depth), s and LB. We drafted a LB last year 1st and put him in the DE spot – basically a 3-4 linebacker playing on the line and applying pressure in LEO mode.

    WR/TE aren’t as high a priority in my view, both would see improved production with a stouter OL, giving the QB more time.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Spot on AB. We have a ton of positions that could use upgrades, some more drastic than others. I’m of the belief that an upgrade at any position makes the team better, however, drastic upgrades at certain positions (OL for example) can make the team a lot better.

      Reply
      1. ajarnbangkapi

        Dewey;

        Ultimately, all teams face the law of diminishing returns when looking at position specific improvements.

        Way back when, I was in charge of worldwide inventory for a repair network for capital equipment, multiple sites. Success (W/L’s in that business) was measured whether of not the right repair part was available in stock locally for customers in that region to get their equipment back in production same day. I started out with an inventory that met that standard 67% of the time, with a $$ value of over $7,000,000, some of which was defective and unknown if it was repairable.

        By using that principle I suggest for repairing the Falcons performance (see how I made that relevant), merged with the Pareto Principle modified and measured for our product line, We went to 92% (from 67%) success rate while reducing inventory from about 7 mil to a tad under 6 mil.- just a different mix based on several replenishment periods (offseasons for the NFL to stay on topic). Also cut cost and repair time for repairable stuff coming in for repair/refurb.

        I suggest many of these principles would apply to analyzing a roster with a couple caveats (measured within the same consistent O or D scheme for example).

        Stats can be useful or they can be used to blow smoke up the nether regions of whoever. Gotta know how to use, what to gather, what is relevant to get better.

        To bring it back into focus, improving the O-line could also improve WR/TE’s with more time to get open, RB’s to open holes, QB’s to keep them healthy, reduce turnover and penalty totals (resulting in potentially improved redzone production)etc. – based on a 2015 baseline.

        We are SO substandard in C and G that we would improve several positions by focusing resources in upgrading starters and backups in this one area. Pareto applies here as well.

        Reply
        1. Dewey

          Very sound advice AB, and I couldn’t agree more. Taking your model to the defense, if we are able to finally generate a pass rush, suddenly the coverage skills of all of our DB’s and LB’s goes up a tick.

          Let’s just hope, for 1 off season, our FO doesn’t get distracted by shiny objects.

          Reply
          1. ajarnbangkapi

            Shiny objects ARE our nemesis here – and that includes higher picks as opposed to lower picks with extras involved.

            Total “singin to the choir” agreement shouted to the heavens on improving all aspects of the D with an enhanced pass rush.

        2. Greg Mendel

          Good stuff, A-Bang. As I’ve already said: Go for broke on the O-line until we actually have one. Honestly, I would split our entire draft into O & D picks. If we don’t dig the trenches deeper, none of the “skill” ( as if O & D isn’t a skill) players we draft or already have — are going to reach their potential.

          Reply
        3. Paddy O

          successful businesses are incredibly complex – even fast food restaurants and pizza deliver joints (and those are easy). McDonalds is currently failing because they refuse to pay their instore management a good enough wage to guarantee good work.

          Reply
          1. Flo-Ri-Duh

            Paddy 0 McDonalds is failing with me because their food is awful, their service lacking and the place is often not clean. Would you be willing to pay more for better service -w which would require hiring more expensive employees? Hardees now has the best burgers of the fast food places around here – but you pay more. I would put Burger King second, Windy’s 3rd and McDonalds dead last.

          2. Paddy O

            Flo – I actually worked at a Mc D’s in 1990 prior to entry into the Army; worst job I had – but their management always made sure you did not waste food nor did you serve any food that was even remotely old. Sometime in the mid 90’s they switched management, and they now give you almost everything premade and nuked. I also agree- almost all Mc D’s employees are arrogant asses, and their restaurants are frequently dirty – plus, hardly any of their Coke machines work properly – too much suds.

          3. Paddy O

            I rarely go to Hardees – did in the late 80’s at Tallahassee – they were right next to the Gumby’s Pizza I ran along Tennessee street. I’d rate em: Arby’s, Burger King and Chic Fila

    2. Paddy O

      yes – O line and LB to me. I’d probably draft 2 O line, 2 LB’s and a S or development DE; possibly the fastest guy left in the draft in rd 7 for a KR/PR. I really hope we sign at least a C and RG/LG and one or two LB’s in FA.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Paddy O – I was rating the hamburger places but would certainly rate Chick- Fil-A and Arbys ahead of those burger places. Hardees has changed – food much better in recent years. I don’t go to any burger places much.

        Reply
        1. Paddy O

          burger wise – I like Burger king a lot. Hardees never go – used to make Mc D’s a Friday night thing – but food and service was so bad, stopped going about a decade ago. Breakfast is still pretty tasty.

          Reply
  8. Arno

    Trading down and Thomas Dimitroff is a contradiction. We have eight years proof of that. If we trade down in 2016, then it’ll be because of Quinn– maybe the only development that could ease my frustration over Blank keeping TD.

    Reply
  9. PoolerSpirit

    Something Ajarn said makes me wonder… Will Julio Jones spending his whole career in a Falcons uniform dampen his odds of being elected to the Hall of Fame one day? Someone earlier complained about Mike Kenn’s Hall of Fame career being neglected by HOF voters… could it happen to Julio as well?

    Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      PS – Makes perfect sense to me. Other than WR being a glamour position and the O line is not, what could prevent JJ from getting “jobbed”?
      Is Tommy Nobis in the HOF?

      Reply
    2. Dewey

      Pooler, if Julio keeps up his production, he won’t have to worry about the HOF. Julio will have stats on his side no matter what. The biggest problem with olinemen is they just have their reputation and voter’s memories.

      Reply
    3. Paddy O

      the NE always has an unfair comparative influence on HOF elections – it was especially pronounced in baseball when NYC had 3 MLB teams.

      Reply
  10. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – Again, good work and analysis on Part Tre’!
    Just wondering, what prevents Nick Williams from playing the slot and running a lot of in-motion slants, hooks, and screens?
    Seems that would be tailor-made for him with his size and skills as he’s not a speed merchant, ala Tim Dwight. I would lots rather see him
    taking those quick pop, Shanny-devised one-yard throws to the line of scrimmage than Julio. (Just a miracle Ice and JJ did not have a
    significant injury in 2015 that would have caused missing multiple games! Those OC-called plays are just screaming “injury on standby”.)

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks Grits.
      Williams works good in the slot. Unfortunately, he’s a little too “little” for those quick hitters. A big gain on those is usually predicated on the receiver beating someone head to head. Sometimes you can make a guy miss, but more times than not you need to break a tackle.

      Reply
      1. Grits Blitz

        Sorry, Dewey, but your “too small” theory gains no traction with me. (Some may say his smaller size may actually be an advantage from the slot and the NFL has had too many exceptions of smaller receivers making big plays consistently over time and years.)
        Guess D.Q. and Shant are totally comfortable with keeping that bulls-eye on JJ to keep getting those quick pop passes in the future until they lose him for a game/season so the point appears mute, anyway. Long live the OC’s wise play-calling for those 1-2 yard gains…

        Reply
    2. Paddy O

      considering how much the opposition offense is focused on JJ, usually 3 guys bracketing him, running him on underneath routes simply makes it tougher for the other WR/pass options to get open. it is utterly stupid and self defeating use of JJ to run him underneath, at least we eased up some on the bubble screens.

      Reply
        1. Paddy O

          After the first 3 games – D’s were focused on shutting down JJ – so, what do we do? Try to get him the ball MORE by keeping him close to the LOS? How stupid are we? If you run JJ off, he will get open, but also pull coverage from the rest of your O weapons/options. Stupid to keep him under 20 yards.

          Reply
  11. William...Birdman

    OK
    I got my wish for Christmas as the Birds beat the Panthers . Now my next wish is there one and done this week .

    Oh yea I found the post that I saw on face book about Scam being suspended for the rest of the season . When you go to it all it talks about is his work outs and what he does and uses >There is nothing about a suspension . Tried to Copy it and post it here but had no luck “Not that good on PC’s and how to do things ” But at least now I know I was not hallucinating

    Reply
  12. SG

    Dewey – Sincerely, kudos once again. You are a far better Observer, Analyst and Author than most that earn a decent living doing so.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      SG, I am humbled by your praise. The dissection is fun but a bit time consuming. The writing needs to be good for my “target audience”.

      Reply
  13. Dewey

    For those interested, thefalcoholic is doing a roster analysis as well. Started a couple of days ago. Supposedly going to do 1 player/day. Have done Matt Ryan and Sean Renfree so far.

    Reply
  14. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Dewey – thefalcoholic.com review of Matt Ryan. (#1) 21 TD’s / 16 INT’s. (#2) Errors in the red-zone (#3) Off-target passes on wide-open receivers.
    Sounds more like what a rookie QB would do than a veteran. On a positive note, DW did say Matt Ryan looked better in the last 3 games as he appears to be getting more comfortable in the new system.

    Reply
        1. Paddy O

          he was trying to hard to get it to the key guy on the called play. He did a better job his rookie year of simply throwing the ball away.

          Reply
  15. Flo-Ri-Duh

    BIRD’S MOCK DRAFT XXIV: 2016
    *****************************************
    *****************************************
    Trade: {Falcons’ #17 – 950 pts.} to Browns’ for { Browns’ #32 – 590 pts. // #65 – 265 pts // #96 (4th – 116 pts.}
    [trade chart: drafttek.com]
    [stats: walterfootball.com]

    #2 (32nd) Jonathan Allen (DE), Alabama, 6’3″ 272 lb., 4.73 40 [Quality run-defender / pass-rusher and dominator at point of attack]
    #2 (50th) Darron Lee (OLB), Ohio State, 6’2″ 235 lb., 4.60 40 [Fast, instinctive – excellent cover skills]
    #3) (65th) Darian Thompson (FS), Boise State, 6’2″ 210 lb., 4.50 40 [Outstanding run-support & pass- coverage skills]
    #3 (81st) Sebastian Tretola (G), Arkansas, 6’5″ 335 lb., 5.28 40 [powerful yet agile pass-run zone-blocker – cleared the way for Alex Collins]
    #4 (96th) Tyler Johnstone (OT), Oregon, 6’6″ 295 lb. [sound run- pass zone-blocker]
    #4 (112th) Miles Killebrew (SS), Southern Utah, 6’3″ 230 lb., 4.61 40 [Excellent tackling skills, aggressive demeanor]
    #7 Luke Rhodes (ILB), William & Mary, 6’1″ 242 lb., 4.67 40 [small school sleeper prospect with speed to cover]
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    UFA signings: [walterfootball / others]
    Ben Jones (C), age 26, Texans [above average consistent run-pass zone-blocker] – went to UGA where he was ALL -SEC – welcome home!
    Kelechi Osemeli (G), age 26, Ravens [powerful yet agile run/pass zone-blocker] – Ravens’ extended Marshall Yanda’s contract & salary cap is tight
    Danny Trevathan (ILB), age 26, Broncos [excellent run-pass coverage skills] – with Brandon Marshall (ILB) also a FA Broncos can’t sign both
    Marvin Jones (WR), age 26, Bengals [adequte #2 receiver – caught 65 balls in 2015] – Hankerson’s replacement
    Ladarius Green (TE), age 26, Chargers [Performed well when Antonio Gates was suspended in 2015] – upgrade over Toilolo
    Tahir Whitehead (OLB), age 26, Lions [Inserted in Lions’ starting lineup mid-season & was good in coverage – even better stopping run]
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    Released: (cut) [stats: thefalcoholic / overthecap, etc.] –
    William Moore (SS) – [cap savings: 3.2 mill] – injury settlement retired – replaced by the draft / Mikes Killebrew
    Andy Levitre (G) – [cap savings: $1.2 mill] – replaced by draft/UFA-Sebastian Tretola & Kelechi Osemeli
    Justin Durant (OLB) – (cap savings: $2.5 mill] – replaced by draft/UFA – Darron Lee & Tahir Whitehead
    Tyson Jackson (DT) – (cap savings: $1.6 mill) – Joe Mbu (DT) takes his spot on the roster / Jarrett becomes starter
    Devin Hester (WR) – (cap savings: $3.2 mill) – injury settlement retired –
    Michael Person (C) – (cap savings: $800,000) – replaced in draft / UFA – replaced draft/UFA – Ben Jones & Nick Martin
    Levine Toilolo (TE) – (cap savings: $765,000) – replaced by UFA – Ladarius Green
    James Stone (C) – (cap savings:$600,000) – ACL surgery in 2015 ended his season – injury settlement ?
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    ERFA Tender:
    Ricardo Allen (FS) – ERFA in ’16 – offered a ERFA [take it or leave it] contract – if accepted, vet minimum for 3 yrs – only option? to quit
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Trade:
    Kemal Ishmael (SS) – (cap savings: $675,000) – to Lions for 5th Rd pick
    Paul Worrilow (ILB) –
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Re-signed UFA’s On Falcons’ Roster:
    Chris Chester (G) – 1 yr $750,000
    Adrian Clayborn (DE) – 2 yr $2 mill per
    Bryce Harris (OT) – 1 yr $750,000
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    RFA’s Contracts- ’16 –
    Nathan Stupar (LB) – vet minimum offered
    Ryan Schraeder (OT) – vet minimum offered
    Paul Worrilow (ILB) – vet minimum offered

    Reply
    1. medallion

      If Cleveland would make that trade for our 17th round pick, I would be all for it even though the 4th rounder will probably be pushed back some by a number of compensatory picks (not yet announced as far as I know) at the end of the 3rd round unless any of the following are still available at #17: big LEO DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson), DT/probably strong side DE in 4/3 Under base defense Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss), and (believe it or not) WR Laquan Treadwell (Ole Miss) and maybe not if big LEO DE Jonathan Allen or weak side LB Darron Lee (Ohio State & possibly the fastest high quality LB in this draft class by a big margin). Combine results might cause me to change those opinions.
      As you can tell from what I just wrote, I certainly like your two targets for the second round. Unfortunately, I just don’t think either is making it out of the first round.
      As a side note, you listed Darron Lee’s 40 time as 4.6. I have seen at least one major draft site project his 40 time to be 4.48 (my memory is that it was CBS, but it might have been another site).

      Reply
      1. Dewey

        I’ve been on the Shaq Lawson bandwagon since about mid-season, but after watching his running mate Kevin Dodd the last 2 games for Clemson, I’m not so sure. He’s only a junior and I haven’t heard if he’s declared for the draft or not. Right now, he’s listed as a late rounder(5th-7th), though I’m sure his stock has skyrocketed these past 2 games. Like Shaq, he’s been a rotational DE until this season. I don’t know if it just clicked late for him or if he only “turns it on” when the lights are shining their brightest. Either way, he seems to have more “big play” potential to me than Shaq does. Shaq seems to be the steadier player, as I’ve seen Dodd’s enthusiasm get him caught in no man’s land a few times. I wouldn’t take Dodd in the 1st round, but if he’s there in 3rd or 4th, depending what we’ve done up to that point, I’m all over this guy. 6’5″, 280lbs and can really move. Hopefully, he just “got it” late.

        Reply
        1. medallion

          Kevin Dodd was not expected to declare for the draft, but he has declared per several sources.
          I agree with everything else you wrote. Not surprising since I seem to agree with your opinions well over 95% of the time.

          Reply
          1. Dewey

            Yea, just finished googling Dodd. Seems he’s now projected top 50 given his playoff performance. As much as I like the kid, don’t know if I go 1st 2 rounds on him. We’ll see.

        2. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Dewey – Shaq Lawson was dealing with a knee injury before the Bama game but he played any way. He’s better than he showed in that game.
          Don’t see Kevin Dodd going 1st Rd but 2nd is a possibility. He’s only started one year since they had a guy named Vic Beasley on the team. The vulnerable Bama OL was exposed as they couldn’t handle the quickness of Clemson’s DE’s.

          Reply
      2. Flo-Ri-Duh

        medallion – Thanks. Darron Lee’s 40 time was taken from walterfootball.com – We won’t know the truth about the “measurable” until the Combine. Checked on several sites including draftek.com and walterfootball.com to see where they “drafted” these guys. A couple of them may have gone 4 or 5 picks before Falcons and several went a bit later. None were way off of where they picked them. Of course, the combine will confirm the athleticism and size of these players but that is only part of what goes into a football player. Darron Lee has the talent – no doubt- but he’s still green based on him only starting one year in college – as I recall? There are a few that will go ahead of him and a whole lot of DL, OT’s and CB’s will go 1st Rd. I wouldn’t touch Robert Nkemdiche with a 10 foot poll. A physical marvel but very undisciplined as a football player and off the field he’s had lot’s of issues that Ole Miss kept under wraps. After the combine we will have a better handle on where these guys belong. I’m still sure Falcons go DE or LB #1 – providing there’s one on the board they like.

        Reply
  16. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – If we get rid of both Moore and Ismael that would leave us with only Killebrew drafted in the 4th rd. for SS. Who would be the depth SS?
    I’d like to think DQ would only jettison Ismael because he has someone with better ability to keep as a back-up as a bona-fide upgrade.
    Perhaps Arthur’s new scouting dept. will automatically find those “needles in a haystack”…overnight!
    (Would greatly prefer to try and trade Moore before cutting him, if possible.)
    Overall, good work! I like your game plan for improving, Brother Cager.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Grits- That was one of my mocks.
      Options still on roster at safety:
      Robenson Therezie (FS) – signed til ’18
      Akeem King (SS) – signed til ’17
      Ricardo Allen (FS) – sign’s til ’18
      …………………………………………………………
      Darion Thompson (FS/SS) – 6’2″ 210 lb, Boise State [2nd Rd choice 2016] – can pay SS & FS
      Miles Killebrew (SS)) – 6’3″ 230 lb. , Southern Utah (4th Rd choice 2016]
      …………………………………………………………
      * Plenty of options, all under age 26 and HEALTHY.
      BOTH of these Draft Picks are expected to be starters day #1
      BOTH fit what DQ is looking for: BIG Safeties with good coverage and run support skills.

      Reply
  17. Grits Blitz

    Flo & Dewey – Sorry. Can only read OR type. (Can’t seem to multi-task, but the MRS. wishes it were so.)
    As for distributing kudos, you both deserve a boatload! Your commentary is much appreciated.

    Reply
      1. Grits Blitz

        Flo- Appreciate the confidence. However, I must ask myself what would an amateur have to offer among pros like you and Dewey? I’d be wise to stick with you gentlemen as you both have a real knack for finding the kind of talent we desperately need. Carry on, young men!!!

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Grits- Just speaking for myself here but I’m not a pro – haven’t gotten paid a dime 😦
          I’m serious now – you can do this – “recruiting” Grits to enter the Mock Draft Contest (about 3 months away – plenty of time)
          Don’t disappoint me – I know where you live! (not really but it sounds good)

          Reply
        2. Dewey

          No pro here. I haven’t gotten 1 pick correct in years. Of course the Falcons have only won 18 games the last 3 years, so their “pros” aren’t doing any better than me. It’s just that their picks are the only ones that count.

          Reply
  18. William...Birdman

    Thanks for the replies on RG3.

    I thought about the same tho . Just wish we had a back up for Ryan that I felt had a chance to win a game like some of the teams that beat us this year.

    Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      BM, if we had a decent OL Renfree would not be that bad. At least he knows where he would have thrown the ball if he had time. Our “Hike-1-Sack” system doesn’t work regardless who the QB is. MR has mastered it as good as it can be mastered. Your not going to win many races with a flat tire, no matter how good of a driver you are. Give our Renfree as much time as the one’s that beat us and we might see different results.

      Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          JB – Of course not. OL is the #1 upgrade. I still believe DQ will try to upgrade the DL (pass rush) at #1 and possibly follow that with a LB,SS or G. depending on who’s on the BOARD. We don’t need to “reach” for any more ‘Southwards’. The strongest and deepest positions in this draft are DE, DT, CB and OT.

          Reply
  19. medallion

    Dewey – outstanding work (as usual)!!!
    As we consider and comment on Dewey’s breakdowns of position groups, then other Cagers’ thoughts, and the inevitable draft projections, trade wishes, FAs (including 2015 Falcons that are UFAs, URFAs, and ERFAs), and potential cuts of players under contract for 2016, I thought it might be helpful to throw out some random rambling stuff on 4 big picture topics: (1) some statistical things reflecting on 2015 versus 2014 (which also involves a reflection on the new and retained coaches and the players), (2) some salary cap stuff that I think really deserves a lot more attention than it is getting in media, (3) roster turnover and players’ experience, and (4) whatever else might pop into my random rambling head after 8 beers like long term plan to win the big one. I am going to break it down into separate posts since I lose posts frequently (my fault) and they might be spread out over several days.

    Reply
  20. medallion

    Part One: Some statistical things involving 2015 versus 2014.
    Prelude – some things I intend to write were partially inspired by Ajarn’s excellent post the other day. Thanks for that Ajarn.
    Per the NFL’s official stats:
    Offense – yards per game: in 2014, 8th at 378.2 per game. In 2015, 7th at 374.1 per game.
    Points scored per game (combination of offense, defense, and special teams scoring): In 2014, 12th at 23.8 per game. In 2015, 21st in scoring at 21.2 per game.
    Offensive Line Pass Blocking: In 2014, 31 sacks and 89 QB hits. In 2015, 32 sacks and 89 QB hits. No typo and I was surprised also by overall totals matching so closely. I would bet the Devil is certainly in the details however as to where the sacks and hits came from.
    Defense – yards per game: In 2014, dead last at 398.2 per game. In 2015, 17th at 347.6 per game. IMO, pretty impressive improvement.
    Points allowed per game: In 2014, 27th at 26.1 per game. In 2015, 14th at 21.6 per game. IMO, pretty impressive improvement.
    Perhaps some more stats tomorrow, but I think the defensive improvement is even more impressive when you consider the relatively small portion of the salary cap spent on the defense in 2015 and all the holdover players from 2014 that contributed to that improvement – many of them being players Quinn choose to keep and are under contract for next year and some UFAs that were on 1 year prove it type contracts that deserve, IMO, serious consideration for being signed again – especially now that they have one year under Quinn’s defense under their belts.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Excellent talking points med. That’s one reason I don’t like stats. Our offensive yards went down a tick but we were ranked higher. Numbers can tell anything you want them to.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        medallion & Dewey – The offensive stats were padded by the early season success and tailed off as the Falcons started losing. Of course, when you have a b-zillion turnovers that effects the offensive stats.

        Reply
        1. Paddy O

          sadly, and it was never corrected, our offense was a turnover machine. Quinn should have showed OUR defense how other teams strip us for training.

          Reply
    2. Flo-Ri-Duh

      medallion – These stats basically point out that the Falcons offense was not that much less productive in 2015 than it was in 2014. The run game was a little better and the pass game was a little less productive. (stats wise) The OL pass protection for Ryan was a lot worse in 2015 if you read the comments on here. That’s not true… it sucked both years but actually there were fewer sacks and QB hits in 2015 than 2014. There were still to many to suit Matt Ryan – if you were to get his honest answer.
      2014: 26 sacks on QB & 43 QB hits (atlantafalcons.com)
      2015: 21 sacks on QB & 26 QB hits (atlantafalcons.com)

      Our short memory on how bad MR was beat up in 2014 mislead us in to believing 2015 was worse. Actually a decent improvement but would like the sacks to get around 16 (1 per game) and hurries around the same (1 per game) – that should be a reasonable goal.

      Reply
      1. Dewey

        Flo,

        Where exactly did you get those numbers? I see you listed the site, but every site I go to for season ending stats shows exactly what med posted, ….
        2015-32 sacks against us
        2014-31 sacks against us

        Really curious where you found your numbers

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Dewey – It was at http://www.atlantafalcons.com this morning. Not saying it’s right but I checked three times and that’s what they had. Didn’t compare it to what Medallion had but I put same figures as his several days ago on here – maybe back during part II or part I. They were in an article by Leadbelly I believe – not sure. Of course, you can’t depend on Leadbelly to always be accurate.

          The article is titled “Identifying Atlanta’s 2015 Offensive Improvements”. [Andrew Hirsch – written 23 hrs. ago]
          Just found it again.
          Maybe you can enter those words In google and find it. My computer won’t let me cut and paste – something wrong since I took it to get a virus removed. Sorry.

          Reply
          1. Dewey

            Found it, thanks. Atlanta gave up 32 sacks this season (Ryan-30, Renfree-2). The only thing I can figure is they’re attributing the other 11 sacks(they said offensive line allowed 21 sacks) to non-olinemen.

          2. medallion

            If you dig deeper at Falcons official website (looking at team stats), it also shows 32 sacks allowed in 2015.
            So, there are only three ways to square what Hirsch wrote: (1) 11 sacks attributed by the Falcons to players other than a C, G, or T (e.g., FB, RB, or TE not blocking well on a blitz and we sure saw that – especially by RBs; snap/reception of snap problem causing a sack and we sure saw that); (2) Mr. Hirsch and his editor/proofreader having gone to the writing and editing/proofreading class co-taught by the AJC and DOL; or, (3) my personal favorite – he was paid off to put the best spin possible on “offensive improvements” which led to putting a stat out of context, with many suspects for who paid him off.

          3. medallion

            Flo – if you have the time and an interest in finding out about why there’s a differential in hits per the NFL and the Falcons, that would be nice to know. Perhaps the Falcons call it a “hit” only if the ball hasn’t crossed the line of scrimmage when a QB is hit.
            Perhaps the NFL includes “hurries” if someone ends up touching the QB.
            I don’t know even though I once spent a little time trying to get the NFL’s definition and an even smaller amount of time trying to get the Falcons’ definition.
            When I wrote about “hits” per the NFL, I figured that was the best way to compare “hits” from year to year because, in theory, the NFL applies the same definition to all teams in any given year and, for some unknown reason (Cagers – please try to stifle all laughter ), I somehow have amazingly developed some skepticism over how sports teams, businesses, politicians, newscasters, and more paint their self portraits.

          4. Flo-Ri-Duh

            Alright Dewey – That makes sense…. I was surprised at how few sacks they gave up myself. If this is true the RB & TE pass blocking is piss poor.

  21. Greg Mendel

    Which team was the only one to beat the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 regular season?

    We all know the answer. But what does it mean?

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Greg Mendel – It means the Falcons aren’t as awful as some think. It also means the Panthers didn’t play quite up to their standards with the playoffs already wrapped up.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        I was encouraged by the way the Falcons gave effort and played the last three games (over all) though it ended on a sour note when Ryan got dementia at the end of the game and forgot which team to throw to. At least they showed pride and didn’t quit. There was only one blowout on the season 38-0 Panthers and that was embarrassing enough to get the Falcons motivated to whip Panthers’ arses the second time around.

        Reply
  22. Flo-Ri-Duh

    10 Key Offseason Dates: Falcons (Leadbelly @ ajc.com)

    #1) Jan 30 ::: Senior Bowl, Mobile Ala., Cowboys and Jaguars staffs coaching this game
    #2 Feb 23-29 ::: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis
    #3 March 1 ::: Deadline for teams to use franchise or transition tag. [Falcons aren’t likely to use it this year]
    #4 March 7-9 ::: Teams can start negotiating with agents for 2016 UFA’s (unrestricted free agents)
    #5 March 9 ::: Teams MUST be under salary cap. Teams can sign UFA’s and make Trades after 4 PM.
    #6 March 20-23 ::: League meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.
    #7 April 18 ::: Falcons are permitted to begin offseason workout program
    #8 Late April ::: NFL releases regular season schedule
    #9 April 28-30 ::: NFL Draft held in Chicago
    #10 May 3 ::: Deadline for teams to exercise their fifth-year options for 2013 1st Rd picks

    Reply
  23. JB Falcon

    SW -“When we caught up with ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Monday, he saw the Atlanta Falcons targeting injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith with the No. 17 overall pick.” – Vaughn McClure
    Uh Oh.

    Reply
  24. Flo-Ri-Duh

    JB –
    Jan 15th – walterfootball.com = Jonathan Allen (DE)
    Jan 14th – Hair Grease Kiper = Kevin Dodd (DE)
    Jan 14th – Sporting News = Taylor Decker (OT)
    Jan 14th – drafttek = Reggie Ragland (ILB)
    Jan 14th – NFL Draft Geek = A’Shawn Robinson (DT)

    Going back over numerous Mock Draft sites (since Jan 8th) the most common positions chosen: DE, DT, LB

    Reply
  25. JB Falcon

    As per espn Koetter and M smith are back together. Koetter=HC; Smith=DC. Small world of coaching. Musical chairs continue.

    Reply
    1. Arno

      Very scientific. If Koetter and Smith do well in TB, it eliminates two of the main variables of what went wrong in Atlanta. No need to elaborate…

      Reply
    2. Paddy O

      hm. Koetter gave Mike a big thank you. I think TB could be dangerous next year, but I thought that the 2nd year of Raheem Morris, too.

      Reply
  26. JJ

    Dewey, Great, great job on this 3 part series and appreciate all the time you put into research…quite time inclusive that many dont know.
    Arno, Thanks again for all you do for the cage, without you, we would not exist as we’ve had in the past.

    Film Review: Saw 13 hrs this afternoon…so much I’d like to say but this is a falcons blog…Go see it!!!

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks JJ. It does take some time. Don’t get to go to movies that much anymore, but 13 hours is on my radar to see when available on DVD.

      Reply
  27. JB Falcon

    I guess I just don’t understand this running/passing balance as being all that. The Falcons made such a big thing out of it this year. NE just went 80 yards for a TD without one running play. I’ve always figured whatever moves the ball. If it works, do it.
    We had more first downs, 3rd down conversions, total yards, etc. via passing than we did rushing.
    http://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/statistics.html

    Reply

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