Roster Analysis: Part V

d5-race

Sacks are probably overrated, but…

d5-however

…we’ll take whatever sacks we can find…

Review of the offense now complete, it’s time to turn our attention to the defensive side of the ball. While the defense made some major strides with a new scheme, new attitude, some new players, one bug-a-boo remained, “PASS RUSH”! Yes, the pass rush, a problem that has been around for the 2 years prior to Quinn taking the reins, still remains a weak spot for the Falcons. Smitty once made the famous quote, “Sacks are overrated”. To a point, I have to agree with him….if the opposition drops back to pass on first down, the QB scrambles, the defense tracks him down a yard short of the line of scrimmage, that’s technically a sack, now its 2nd and 11. Might as well have been an incomplete pass or a run for no gain. The play didn’t really have that much of an effect on the game as a whole. If it’s under 2 minutes to go and the opposition is mounting a drive to tie or win the game, and you get a sack on 4th down ending the game, then that’s a huge play. So sacks CAN BE overrated. And it’s a good thing too, we managed just 19 last season. By comparison JJ Watt had 17.5. In 2014, we managed just 22 sacks, so we’ve actually gotten worse in that department. Incidentally, JJ Watt had 20.5 sacks in 2014.

d5-whereever

…wherever we can get them.

So in the last 2 seasons, JJ Watt has gotten 38 sacks, the Falcons have gotten 41. Can you trade an entire defense for 1 player? And if so, would the Texans do it? Who would have gotten the better end of the deal? Anyway, enough silliness. Sacks might be overrated, but getting pressure, constant pressure on the QB isn’t overrated, and the Falcons weren’t much better at applying pressure to the QB than they were at actually getting to the QB. And with Quinn’s defense, that all starts up front. Quinn doesn’t like to blitz that much, relying on the front 4 to get pressure. After all, the blitz should be used as a surprise element, and should make an impact more than 50% of the time you use it, if used correctly. But when you have to blitz every down to create pressure, well it’s kinda like coming up to bat against a pitcher who throws 100mph with no movement and no 2nd pitch. You know it’s coming, just get your timing down and sit back and wait (of course I’m referring to a professional hitter, I wouldn’t even see the 100mph fastball and I damn sure wouldn’t dig in to swing at it). Point being, if Quinn doesn’t want to blitz, then we need to find a way to get constant/consistent pressure on opposing QB’s with our front 4. And by the way, I’m not discounting the way our front 4, front 7 played against the run, much better than in years past.

d5-poultry

Birds’ pass rush in need of a boost.

Quinn had 2 sets of dlinemen for most of the 2015 season. One set to rush the passer, one set to stop the run. This also allowed to keep fresh legs throughout the game. However, it doesn’t take opposing HC’s and OC’s very long at all to figure this out. And, if you have a savy QB that is allowed the freedom to audible in and out of plays, it’s advantage offense every play. Switching out 1 or 2 players along the line is one thing, but entire lines just gives all your secrets away. This is a passing league and even against the most balanced offenses, stopping the run is only half the battle, against most teams, it’s only about 1/3 of the battle…….

Part V-Defensive Line

by Dewey

d5-beasley

This one made Vic’s rookie season complete.

Defensive Ends

Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Kroy Biermann, Tyson Jackson, Mallicah Goodman

Vic Beasley-under contract through the 2018 season, $3,294,370 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$11,859,732 dead money, $8,565,362 cap charge NOT savings

Cut post 6/1-$3,294,370 dead money, $0 cap savings

Trade-$6,601,488 dead money, $3,307,118 cap charge NOT savings

Beasley’s not going anywhere, so the above numbers don’t really mean much. Beasley is an athletic freak. He’s as quick off the line of scrimmage as any defensive end in the league. The problem was, for almost the entire season that was his only move. Not too difficult to block if you know what’s coming (Ah, this is where I should have used my fastball metaphor). But it was true, Beasley would take off at the snap of the ball like a jack rabbit, make his move upfield and get completely pushed off my TV screen. There were stories of a torn labrum that came out with about 3 games to go but I’m not putting much stock in that. Beasley lined up for more snaps than any of our other dlinemen, I’m just not so sure he’s got the body for it. Led the team in sacks (4), probably led the team in hurries (sorry, I’m not digging that deep for stats). I’ve said before, the biggest improvement in a players game is from season 1 to season 2, so hopefully there will be much bigger things from Beasley in the future.

Adrian Clayborn-contract expired, unrestricted free agent

The first 4 games or so (anyone else noticing a pattern here?), it looked like we had made the FA steal of all time. Clayborn was constantly harassing the opponents QB and playing pretty stout against the run. Then Smith, Quinn, hell I don’t know, Artie himself, decided to switch things up a bit in an effort to get more pressure and had Clayborn almost exclusively rushing from the DT position. Well that experiment failed, and it only took the coaching staff around 10 weeks to figure out it wasn’t going to work. Clayborn’s numbers and production fell way off to the point where I’m not sure if the Falcons try and re-sign him or not.

Kroy Biermann-contract expired, unrestricted free agent

Kroy, Kroy, Kroy, what are we going to do with you, or without you. Last off-season, you could actually hear a groaning sound coming from Atlanta when the Falcons decided to bring back Kroy for 1 more season. Pre-season didn’t look to good, still bouncing back and forth between DE and OLB, still missing tackles, still getting pushed around by TE’s, still arriving in the vicinity of the opposing QB a step and a half late. But then something happened….the season started, Kroy was planted at DE and left there. And I will admit, he wasn’t terrible. No, he didn’t get to the QB often (but that strip/sack against Eli and the Giants turned that entire game around). Yes, he still missed some wide open big plays. Yes, he still got pushed around every now and then by an opposing TE. However, if Kroy would have played like this last season, I wouldn’t have been so shocked when they decided to re-sign him.

Tyson Jackson-signed through the 2018 season, $6,350,000 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$4,800,000 dead money, $1,550,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-$1,600,000 dead money, $4,750,000 cap savings

Trade-same as pre 6/1

Oh Lordy look at that cap charge!!!!! Tyson was signed at the behest of Asst GM Pioli in 2014 and showed absolutely no reason to have ever invested so much money in him. 2015 rolls around, new HC, new DC, new scheme, new Tyson around 15lbs lighter. Same results, sort of. Tyson proved himself more than capable against the run. One of the reasons our run defense was vastly improved from 2014. However, as was stated earlier, stopping the run is, at best, half the battle. Tyson was on Quinn’s “elephant” line, the line sent in with the primary objective of stopping running plays. And the “elephant” line did a really good job on those plays. But we need dlinemen who can stop the run AND rush the passer. $6+million is a lot to pay someone who will only be on the field less than half the time.

Mallicah Goodman-under contract through the 2016 season, $774,252 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$99,272 dead money, $674,980 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

I’ve been waiting for 3 seasons for Mallicah to do something…..anything, but it just isn’t happening. Blessed with good size, 6’4”, 275lbs. Strength. And reach, my goodness those arms reach around to yesterday. Fun fact, did you know Mallicah and I have the same number of career sacks in the NFL? Mallicah wasn’t done any favors under Smitty and the old regime. Gain weight so you can be a 3-4 DE. Psyche! We are actually running a 4-2-5, we don’t know what it is either but it adds up to 11 and that’s all that counts. Quinn comes in with his new scheme, lose weight, you’re too heavy, we’re going to try you out at this LEO position. “And with the 8th pick in the NFL draft, the Falcons select Vic Beasley”. Yay, another Clemson guy! Crap, there goes my shot at playing time. Mallicah only dressed for 4 games last season. It’s tough being the 9th man in an 8 man rotation. Mallicah may still show me something, I just don’t think it’s going to be with Atlanta.

d5-biermann

Not terrible. Hooray.

Analysis: With only 3 DE’s under contract, something has got to be added here. Quinn did a rotation of dlines in 2015 out of necessity, but if he really wants his defense to work at an upper echelon level, he’s going to need 3-down DE’s. And playmakers at that. Through draft, FA, undrafted, out of retirement, under a rock, bag boy at the Quick-e-Mart, he’s got to find at least 1 somewhere. We did a good job against the run, we now need to figure out how to do better against the pass, applying pressure, without losing much of anything against the run.

My Conclusion: it’s not going to happen, but Beasley needs to be taught how to play OLB now. I said it before the draft last season, I said it when he was drafted, I said it in the pre-season, I said it during the regular season and I’m saying it now. Vic Beasley is not a 3-down DE. He’s too small, and if he gains the requisite 20-25 lbs to be one, he will lose some of his quickness. You need to play to a man’s strengths, and for Vic, it’s his quickness. Most defenses are in nickel and dime sets for about 60% of the game anyway, so line him up at OLB in the base set, move him down to pass rush DE in nickel and dime sets. We’ve got to cut Tyson lose. There is only one 1-dimensional position along the dline and that’s NT. We can’t afford to spend $6+ million on a DE that offers nothing against the pass. Cut him post June 1st, where the dead money($1.6 million) isn’t as bad and the cap savings($4.75 million) are greater. I let Mallicah come to camp, but hopefully I’ve got much better prospects which makes Mallicah obsolete. Clayborn is a tricky one. For 7 games of the season, he looked like the real deal. Problem with that is, it’s a 16 game season. He made it through healthy which was a plus. He played for $3 million last season. If he wants to come aboard for another 1 year, same amount, I’ll take him as he is the closest thing we have to a 3-down DE. And I don’t flop him back and forth between DE and DT. Yes, there are some situations where maybe you line him up at DT, but not to the extent they did last year. Kroy, Kroy, Kroy. Believe it or not I’m torn on this one. He did play better than he has in a long time even though the stats weren’t really there to show it. Last season, he played for $1.925 million with $500,000 guaranteed. If he wants to sign up for $1.5 million, no guaranteed money, I welcome him back with open arms, anything more, good luck on the open road. There are some good quality DE’s available in the first round of the draft this year. Depending how FA works out, this is probably my target in round #1, definitely by round #2. Maybe grab another in round #4. Will need to bring in an UFA or 2. And of course, there will be 1 or 2 UDFA’s in the mix.

Prediction: Beasley stays at DE. Clayborn comes back. Biermann comes back. Mallicah is gone as is Tyson(post 6/1 if the FO has any sense). We make a play for Bruce Irvin, who is more of what I want Beasley to be, so what would be the point in having 2 of them? I doubt Irvin leaves Seattle. So more than likely, we go for a spot player, probably someone Quinn is real familiar with. Former UGA and current Seattle Seahawk Demarcus Dobbs is an UFA, I could see that happening. Pick up a DE somewhere in the draft, but maybe not the top draft priority that some want it to be, probably first 3 rounds.

Defensive Tackles

-Jonathan Babineaux, Ra’Shede Hageman, Paul Soliai, Grady Jarrett, Joey Mbu

Jonathan Babineaux-Under contract through 2016 season, $2,666,668 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$666,668 dead money, $2,000,000 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

We can get 1 more good year out of Babs, can’t we? Babs found a bit of a fountain of youth in Quinn’s system with the heavy rotation. Once again, effective against the run as well as the pass. I wish Babs could have played his entire career in such a system rather than being miscast first as a NT then as a DE.

d5-hageman

Friendly encouragement: good to go.

Ra’Shede Hageman-under contract through the 2017 season, $1,455,229 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$1,100,306 dead money, $354,923 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-$550,153 dead money, $905,076 cap savings

Trade-same as pre 6/1

Baby Hageman is the most physically imposing player we have along the dline. The most frustrating thing about ‘Shede is you only catch glimpses of what his potential says he should be. The second game against Carolina, Cam Newton made the mistake of pissing Hageman off. I’ve never seen Hageman play a more complete game. Disrupting plays, making tackles, harassing Cam, it was really exciting to watch. But, we rarely get to see that side of Hageman for even a series, nevermind an entire game. 2016 has got to be the season ‘Shede makes a name for himself or he could be looking for work elsewhere when we open the new stadium in 2017.

Paul Soliai-under contract through the 2018 season, $6,837,500 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$4,200,000 dead money, $2,637,500 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-$1,400,000 dead money, $5,437,500 cap savings

Trade-same as pre 6/1

Soliai was a complete waste of space when we signed him in 2014, much like Tyson Jackson. And, much like Jackson, a new scheme, new coach, lost some weight and his contributions were much greater in 2015. Big space eaters in the middle of the dline aren’t supposed to get a lot of numbers. As a matter of fact, You’re not even really supposed to know they are there if they are doing their job correctly. Well, Soliai managed to do his job and get the occasional “wow” hit by shooting a gap and catching an opposing RB in the backfield. But, also much like Tyson Jackson, that is a monster of a contract to be shelling out to someone you are relying on less than 50% of the game.

Grady Jarrett-under contract through the 2018 season, $586,963 cap charge

Cut pre 6/1-$185,889 dead money, $401,074 cap savings

Cut post 6/1-$61,963 dead money, $525,000 cap savings

Trade-same as pre 6/1

See those contract numbers? Enjoy them while you can because if Grady keeps progressing like he did in year 1, it’s going to cost a lot to keep this guy around. Grady is a prime example of how the NFL draft has gotten so screwed up. When I was a kid, the early rounds of the draft were filled with players who produced in college, pretty much regardless of their size. The later rounds were for players who had potential, but didn’t have the game to game production. Now it’s the complete opposite, a player like Grady is viewed as a hidden gem in the fifth round while a player like Hageman is considered a steal in the 2nd round. 25-30 years ago, Grady would have been the 2nd round pick and Hageman would be living on peanuts trying to prove his worth. Anyway, there is absolutely nothing to not like about Grady Jarrett and I’m really excited to see the strides he makes from year 1 to year 2. Just wish we would have played him more last year.

d5-mbu

Mbu promoted from practice squad in December.

Joey Mbu-under contract through the 2016 season, $525,000 cap charge

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

Cut post 6/1-same

Trade-same

I can see why Joey was kept around. First on the practice squad, then promoted to the 53 man roster when Soliai went down. He showed flashes in his limited playing time, but also showed his inexperience and lack of “professional” strength at times. This guy needs to hit the weight room hard all off-season to get stronger in his upper and lower body so he doesn’t get pushed around when he’s caught out of position. Aside from that, I really liked what I saw from Mbu. Depending on what the Falcons do here with the roster, I could see Mbu playing the role that Grady played last season.

Analysis: Aside from getting to the QB or collapsing the pocket, the overall play from our DT’s was pretty solid in 2015. You couldn’t really ask for much more, and in Quinn’s defense, a little more QB pressure is all that is required. A good mix of young and old (2 veterans, 3 youngsters), this position looks solid heading into the 2016 season.

d5-dress

More than one way to solve salary cap issues.

My conclusion: let’s start with the easy ones…Grady, ‘Shede and Mbu all make the club. Now, what to do with our “rocking chair” duo? Babs is a favorite of mine as he is a lot of Falcons fans. He used to be the “rock” you could count on, and in a lot of ways, he still is. But this may come down to money and how much we feel Babs still has to offer. Releasing Babineaux would save $2 million in cap space, and there’s always the chance he might just decide to retire. Afterall, he’ll be 35 next year and heading into his 12th season(doesn’t seem that long ago when he was a pudgy 2nd rounder out of Iowa). Let’s revisit this in a minute. The other veteran to deal with is Paul Soliai. Soliai is a main cog in our ability to stop the run, and that big space eater is a staple of Quinn’s defense. Right now, we don’t have anybody on the roster who could fill this spot. So, if Soliai goes, we either need to draft a replacement or find one in the FA market. I’m not getting rid of both, as we need some veteran leadership at least one more year for our young bucks. So, I’m cutting Soliai, after June 1st of course, which will save us around $5.5 million in cap space. There are some older, tried and true NT’s on the market this season(Terrance Knighton, Kevin Williams, BJ Raji, Haloti Ngata to name a few), surely 1 of them can come cheaper than Soliai’s almost $7 million cap charge. What I would really like is for Dimwit (or whomever Flo) to trade down and acquire some extra picks, because there are a few NT’s that will be available in the first 3 rounds of this year’s draft. In either case, Babs is here to be the steadying force, while our young DT’s gain another year of experience. Of course, if Babs retires, I keep Soliai and rest comfortably knowing that Jarrett and Mbu can fill the void left by Babineaux.

Prediction: With so many other holes to fill, and not a lot of means with which to do it, plus our aversion to moving backwards in the draft, the Falcons stay with the status quo, bring in a couple of UDFA’s and address replacing Soliai in 2017.

d5-underratted

Want to tell this guy that sacks are overrated?

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155 thoughts on “Roster Analysis: Part V

  1. JB Falcon

    Thanks for the excellent write-up Dewey. Lots of thought and effort with encouraging ideas. Were you really Donald’s nephew? 😉

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks JB. This one was fun. I think if Grady, ‘Shede and Mbu can continue to progess, add in a young stud DT, this could be a position of strength for us for a few years.

      Reply
  2. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Dewey – Moving right along… working after hours. Goof job! I agree with your assessment – somewhat. Beasley stays of course-probably at LEO, for the most part, in ’16. Clayborn stays if he isn’t asking to much but he’s looking for better than a one year contract. The idiot that moved him to DT was Cox – admitted so himself. A bad experiment. Maybe we need a new DL coach? Goodman – who knows why he sticks around? Biermann – I think he’s gone this time. I don’t see Falcons going after a super-expensive UFA at DE but expect DE (pass-rusher) to be their #1 priority and #1 pick – if one they like is still there at #17. Tyson Jackson, pretty much, is a DT playing DE… couldn’t catch a cold or a QB coming off of ACL surgery last week. TJ is 50/50 on whether he stays or goes because of his contract. I’d bite the bullet and off-load him now. Don’t think they will get past the talking stage with Bruce Irving – it would be nice but wouldn’t pay over $6 mill per year. He wants a whole lot more.

    DT’s – More agree with you than not. Babs, is still productive, has one year left and will be back for ’16. Hageman improved in ’15 and expect him to get better and hopefully more consistency is in his future. I don’t see any reason to let Soliai go – had a good season. Would like to see them draft a DT 2nd/3rd round with the idea of letting Soliai go in ’17 because of the huge cap hit. Got my eye on Andrew Billings (DT), Baylor, 6’2″ 310 lb. as his future replacement . He’s got unreal strength/power and actually enough quickness and push to disrupt the QB inside. That would be a big help with the pass rush. Billings might still be there in the 2nd round. Grady Jarrett (DT) could be replace T Jackson in ’17. Joey Mbu (DT)… who knows? At worst he’s still on the practice squad.

    Starting DL 2016: Dream On
    DeForest Buckner (DE) 1st Rd
    Grady Jarrett (DT)
    Andrew Billings (DT/NT)
    Vic Beasley (LEO)

    Reply
  3. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Dewey Dewey Dewey – I made a huge mistake – meant good job! Forgive me. My wife came in complaining about her daughter (real problem child) and took my mind off of what I was writing – of course “D” key is next to “F” key and I pushed the wrong one. Just proof-read it now and to my horror.
    You did a GOOD JOB…. sorry.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      No worries Flo, probably a bit of a goof job as well. Soliai and Jackson are real problems that need to be dealt with. On one hand, for what they bring to the table, they are really good. But cutting both post June 1st frees up $10 million in cap space that could be used to entice some better than average olinemen here. Of course, if we could get more draft picks, we could address a lot more areas.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Dewey – Thanks. It’s not so much Soliai is a problem as his contract is a problem. Thought he played well in 2015. T. Jackson is more of a problem in that he’s got a fat contract and he’s not what they need. What will happen in 2016? Soliai stays – Jackson goes. 2015 stats for Jackson: played in 13 games, 14 solo tackles, 16 assists, 1 TFL, O sacks, 1 QB hit. His cap hit goes up $2.5 mill in ’16 over what is was in ’15. The bad news is the awful dead money hit if they cut him: $4.8 mill. (overthecap.com)

        Reply
          1. Flo-Ri-Duh

            Dewey _ The Dead Money is piling up: Sam Baker (OT) $6.4 mill and Jon Asamoah (G) $3.9 mill = $10.3 mill dead money

            Tyson Jackson (DT/DE) $6.3 mill cap hit / $1.6 mill Dead Money
            William Moore (SS) $6.5 mill C H / $1.65 mill D M
            Devin Hester (WR) $3.8 mill C H / $833,000 D M

            Reality says Falcons don’t release all these guys – to much dead money. Who goes – who stays? Not including Soliai or White here because they are unlikely to be released in ’16 – can still contribute. Tyson Jackson (DT) while not that great also still contributes. Devin Hester (WR), turf toe in 2015, wants to return for his final season and he will if he can return to his 2014 form. That leaves William Moore (SS) as my most likely candidate to be released in ’16 due to injuries. He’s like Sean Witherspoon part II. Then there’s the situation where WM’s cap hit goes up to $8.65 mill in ’17. Tyson Jacksons’ cap hit actually goes down about $500,000 in ’17.

            This is a particularly strong class for DT’s and not bad for SS. Expect whoever is released to be replaced in the draft.

  4. Paddy O

    I was pretty happy with our D line play, and thought we misused and failed to scheme with Beasley’s strength. If we know Beasley is going to be run out of the play, blitz an LB in that hole – make that T flinch to cover the hole. Or, have somebody else play the role of DE and have Beasley as the blitzing LB – which is what you are saying. I think Biermann stays. As much of the rest of the tackles. I’d like Clayborn back.

    Reply
  5. ajarnbangkapi

    Great post and graphics, you guys are really bringing it big time!!

    Pretty much agree with most of it.

    I think Soliai stays, he has value and we have so much dead money already that we need to dance with who we brung if they contribute MORE dead money.

    We MAY bring in a FA DE and shift Beasley to OLB, but at this stage I think that is iffy.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks AB. Soliai was a difficult decision which was made primarily with this year’s cap space in mind. If he was cut after 6/1, most or all of the dead money counts against the 2017 cap. However, he would be very difficult to replace. Would hate to make these decisions for a living.

      Reply
  6. ajarnbangkapi

    QUESTION – I would like to post a pic, is that possible? Cut and paste didn’t cut it for a jpeg.

    I know we can do links, but how about a pic as a reply to a post?

    Reply
    1. Arno

      One way is to use photobucket.com. It’s is a free service useful for posting pics here. Once you subscribe, you upload pics from your own files and create a ‘library’ on the website. When you select a pic from your library, it gives you sharing options. Click the ‘Direct’ option, and it copies the link. Post the link in the comment box here, and when you refresh the page, it shows up as an image.

      Reply
    1. Arno

      Here’s your pic, which I got from the above. Look to the right of the page where it says “share this photo,” and click on “direct.” And then paste here.

      Reply
      1. ajarnbangkapi

        Thanks!! I received it from friends complaining about Dallas, but thought it was worth a chuckle. Lots of potential captions.

        Mainly curious how to post a pic, and this was a good shot, but I didn’t see the direct button, could be the browser I was using as well.

        Reply
  7. waynester

    Hilarious!!

    So far, I like Jaylon Smith from ND and hope falls to us due to his knee injury. He’s a special talent. I’d also be curious to see what Quinn could do with a guy like Sua Cravens. Similar to what he did with Irvin in Seattle, maybe? The more I study the O-Linemen, the more I like Ryan Kelly the OC from Bama and think we’d solve alot of our problems with just that one guy–especially if we can get him in rd 3. I’m afraid he may go earlier than we’d be ready to take him but he;s a awesome veteran of a big-time program and would be worth our 2nd rounder for such a vital position.

    Reply
  8. northernfalcon

    Well done Dewey ! Thanks Arno for the photos.

    I agree with most of the statements. I think Flo might be on to something with Cox. He has been the D line coach for some time. Is he the problem with not coaching up our D linemen ?

    I’d like to see in the draft:
    1st rd D-End
    2nd rd MLB
    3rd rd OL
    4th rd Reciever
    5th rd OL

    FA more O linemen !

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks northernfalcon. I’ve never understood how former players end up being position coaches at positions other than where they played. I understand needing to learn all of the nuances if you want to eventually ascend to a higher position, but learn at the college level. Cox was a LB, started off as an OLB, then later moved to MLB. He did line up some as a rush end in nickel and dime situations. How that makes him an expert to coach up dlinemen completely escapes me. Want to keep him on as a motivational speaker? Fine. But get us a coach who actually knows what it’s like to wage war in the trenches.

      Reply
  9. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Andrew Hirsch (www.theatlantafalcons.com)
    Chris Morgan (Falcons) = PFF (Pro Football Focus) Offensive Line Coach of The Year
    *Mike Tice (Raiders) runner up

    Congrats to the Falcons 1st year OL coach.

    SHOCKER ALERT!!! PFF says Falcons had the 4th best OL in the NFL in 2015!
    #1 Cowboys
    #2 Panthers
    #3 Aint’s

    #4 Falcons:
    *Pass-Blocking = Ranked 6th in NFL!
    *Run-Blocking = Ranked 8th in NFL

    Yes indeed – The Cage thought we needed OL-OL-OL but PFF said that basically all we need is a center that can snap the ball.

    This leads us back to the pass-blocking by the TE’s & RB’s – They gave up around 11 sacks on the year.

    Flo’s still thinking we need to get BIGGER and STRONGER on the Interior. Satisfied with the OT’s for now… a good thing.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      There must be some horrible lines around the NFL. I don’t need stats to tell me what I saw. Levitre, Person and Chester were turnstiles, especially the back half of the year. Yes, you improve the play at C, chances are LG, RG look better. That still doesn’t make them good.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Dewey – PFF says there are 28 OL’s worse than Falcons and 3 of worse lines are still in the playoffs. That just shows stats are for losers. Who said that?

        If they keep one interior OL it will probably be Levitre with his massive dead money. Person will probably stick as a backup since he is still under contract. Chester won’t command a big price on the open market and may also be re-signed as a backup for 1 season. Expect, of the three, Levitre to be gone post June 1 when his dead money is $1,375,000 (overthecap.com) – unless he has a miracle comeback and shows he can pass-block.

        The way I see it we still 3 interior OL – screw PFF!

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Dewey – I know we are in to the DL discussion now but one final thought. While studying the OL stats on sacks and QB hits it was revealed that the RB’s and TE’s pass blocking is “problematic”. Tamme (TE) will never be a good pass-blocker but he can improve. Toyboy is a liability and there is no reason to keep him – dead money $75,000 / cap hit $675,000. Probably couldn’t get a 7th Rd in a trade – but try. Moeaki, as I recall, is a UFA? I wouldn’t re-sign him either. You can probably find a blocking TE in Rd #7 for less – or even an undrafted free agent. My wish-list TE Hunter Henry would be a major upgrade in receiving and blocking over either. With Hunter Henry Falcons could get by with just two TE’s on the roster. Henry & Tamme on the field at the same time with JJ & RW/Hardy – lot’s of targets for MR…. and much better options in the red-zone.

          Tevin Coleman (RB) must be taught to block – wasn’t taught properly in college. Ward (RB) & Freeman (RB) are smaller backs which is somewhat of an obstacle in blocking but that should not be an excuse. Falcons had Quizz Rodgers last year and he was a good blocker. The TE & RB coaches need to do their job and coach these guys how to block better. Pass-blocking is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

          Reply
        2. ajarnbangkapi

          Flo – I am leery of how stats are twisted sometimes. I suspect the “interpretation” of how to look at which stats come from players agents leading up to free agency, but I tend to be cynical from time to time.

          really excellent catch to see whet they are putting out there though, thanks!

          Reply
  10. Wings

    Dewey, I don’t know how you do it!! Keep it up!!

    Arno, I love the Sack Dress photo. I’ll bet most Cagers don’t really remember that fad.

    Reply
  11. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Two Final Playoff Games: February 7th Super Bowl!

    Panthers (16-1) vs Cardinals (14-3) = Jan 24th. @ 6:40 pm on FOX network @ Carolina
    Broncos (12-4) vs Patriots (12-4) = Jan 24th. @ 3:05 pm on CBS network @ Broncos

    Reply
  12. SG

    You know Dewy, the more I read through your well-analyzed breakdowns, (and thanks to you and Arno, this is another excellent one), the more I’ve come to believe that the coaching staff decided that after the early roster pruning, 2015 was going to be the year of experiments, or, in some cases, outright gambles – like the picking up of a Clayborn, a Durant, a Person, etc.. The experiments on both sides of the ball were a way for the staff to assess a players’ strengths as an individual as well as his performance within the various packages he was put in, were needed “lab” experiments to determine who’d make the cut and what were going to be the positions of need in ’16. Yes, some of those trial and errors often resulted in memorable horrors that had some ready to welcome back Welcome Back, but often, we saw several inspired plays from holdovers we didn’t think had it in them, i.e. Biermann, Schraeder, DiMarco, and newbies like Clayborn, Durant, Hardy.

    Sure, there’s still much “lab” work to be done, but I’m feeling better about the team’s direction, (and my new found sense of patience).

    (As a side note: I have to also believe AB knew it was going to be a season of at least a mild discontent. Being first and foremost a salesman, there was no way Arthur could publicly acknowledge a rebuild while trying to move PSLs.)

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks SG. You’re absolutely correct. You can only speculate how someone will work in a given system, until you see it on the field, in live game action, not just practice or pre-season, you don’t truly know. Year #2 should give us an even better look as there should be a lot more reacting and a lot less thinking.

      I like the free agent 1 year contracts. In a perfect world, you use FA to patch holes, you use the draft to fill holes. Can you fill holes in FA? Absolutely. But more times than not, you don’t get what you pay for with the big contracts in FA. On the other hand, you usually get exactly what you pay for with the 1 year guys.

      Reply
  13. ajarnbangkapi

    Just had the first member of the new generation of our clan enter the world yesterday as my niece (in research phase of training to be Dr).

    She had a 9+lb. baby out in San Antonio, and just learned during al the enhanced communication that results from such events that the Oakland Raiders are possibly looking to move there! ownership bought some land between San Antonio and Austin and are exploring building a stadium there. Metro population of over 4 million, already supports a successful NBA team, and the Raiders are pissed at being passed over for LA and no new stadium.

    Reply
    1. SG

      Congrats on the new addition Ajarn.

      That move would stun the Raiders’ faithful but I’d think it a good market to at least conduct a viability study for.

      Reply
  14. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – Thanks for another truthful review! Hard to find any argument with your “facts” as I believe they are “spot on”. Still amazed if we can see them, why can’t D.Q.? Hope he’ll show more HC flexibility in his schemes and substitutions for 2016. (You are so right – other HCs have deciphered D.Q.’s platooning of players.)
    Cited long ago Vic’s frame is inappropriate for being a successful, long-term DE and hope D.Q. has seen enough of that experiment.
    (Also, thought long ago Brian Cox needs to go. Never understood what great insights a former LB could teach D linemen and after last year, I’m totally convinced keeping him there is pure folly. His teaching skills must be sub-standard by his proven inability to “coach-up”. Doubt D linemen truly respect him…just forced to tolerate him.)

    Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      Dewey – Addendum…If Vic is so great as a pass rusher, what would prevent him from being such a dominator, ala L.T., as a blitzing LB?
      I welcome some accountability somewhere…everywhere!

      Reply
      1. Dewey

        Thanks Grits. LT was great, no doubt about it. And not to take anything away from the man, but he played on some teams with hall of fame talent at every position around him. Burt, Marshall, Banks, Carson to name a few. Plus he played in the 3-4 and rushed the passer 99% of the time, so he had ample opportunities, plus, once again, it was difficult to key on him with all the other talent around him, kind of a pick your poison. Once again, not taking anything away from him. Not to make excuses either, but we play in a completely different system. With 4 down linemen, if Beasley, playing linebacker rushed every play as well, that would put added pressure on the guys on the backside. I believe Quinn originally envisioned Beasley as the Bruce Irvin type. Irvin’s first season with Seattle, he only played DE, even though he was undersized. Year #2, he moved to OLB in their base defense, but lined up as DE in nickel and dime packages. Now, either Quinn has seen something that tells him that’s not possible with Beasley, or he just hasn’t come out publicly and said that’s what’s going to happen. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

        Reply
        1. Grits Blitz

          More wait and see. Right. But, ALL accountability is now on D.Q..
          (He’s our only hope now as Arthur has already convincingly proven “acceptable mediocrity” in reality is fine with him.)

          Reply
    2. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Grits – We need a real “DL” coach. He’s, as you know, a holdover from Mike Smith’s staff, and was not chosen by DQ. Because Falcons were not supposed to consult with DQ until after the playoffs were over in 2015 they stuck with Cox. DQ should have someone in mind by now to replace Cox with…. will he pull the trigger? Hope so.

      Reply
  15. gman

    As SG just mentioned, I agree that A LOT of what happened this year was a TEST of who we had available. Remember it took Pete C 3 years to get his guys in his system and I believe that DQ will be doing the same (as evidenced by the fact that he jettisoned 12 of Spikeys 16 picks that were on the team at the start of the season)
    He’s going to need a little time and what happened on OLINE this year was piece work, again bringing in who was “available” to patch to horrible job that Dimwitty did with the line.

    As far as D, I think we’re on the right track but agree that Brian Cox has to go. He has been THE common denominator in our lack luster pass rush.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      gman – DQ had a short time to deal with “HOUSE CLEANING PHASE I” but still off-loaded about 1/3rd of the roster. Expect slightly less with “HOUSE CLEANING PHASE II” – maybe a 25% turnover this time. Lot’s of over-priced average players (at best) TD/Pioli signed up to long term contracts. They have to be dealt with to free up cap space but it can’t be all done in 2016. Maybe they let a couple or three go that are still under fat contracts. My candidates would be Tyson Jackson (DT/DE) $4.75 mill cap savings Post June 1 release, William Moore (SS) $4.8 mill cap savings Post June 1, Devin Hester (WR) $3 mill cap savings. Hoping they will agree on an injury settlement with W. Moore and he will retire. He’s got to realize that he’s done – way to many injuries. It’s a shame because he’s only age 30. Same deal with Devin Hester (WR)- injury settlement. With T. Jackson (DT), he just doesn’t contribute enough to justify his cost. There are others to be dealt with in ’17 with “HOUSE CLEANING PHASE III”. (stats: ocerthecap.com).

      Reply
  16. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Falcons “Outside The Box” Mock Draft 2016: Year II Cleaning House!

    #1 Andrew Billings (DT/NT), Baylor, 6’2″ 310 lb. [Rare DT PLAYMAKER:Elite Power at point of attack & unreal closing speed]
    +Soliai released: Post June 1: cap savings: $5.4 mill / dead money $1.4 mill

    #2 Cody Whitehair (G), Kansas State, 6’3″ 310 lb. [4 year starter: NFL skill set & well coached in zone-blocking technique]
    +Andy Levitre released: Post June 1: cap savings $4 mill / dead money $1.4 mill
    *Chris Chester re-signed: $1 mill 1 yr / cap savings $2.8 mill over 2015 contract

    #3 Ryan Kelly (C), Alabama, 6’4″ 305 lb. [3 Year Starter: plays with strength, agility & tenacity – a leader]
    + James Stone released: cap savings: $600,000 / dead money $1,000

    #4 Jacoby Bissett (QB), N.C. State, 6’3″ 230 lb. [NFL arm & accurate passes, quick feet to escape, skill to be a future NFL starter]
    +Sean Renfree (QB) released: cap savings $675,000 / dead money $11,000 [’16 is Renfree’s final contract year]

    #7 Kolby Listenbee, (WR), TCU, 6’1″ 185 lb. [His one skill is his ability to be a deep threat]
    +Devin Hester (WR) released: cap savings $3 mill / dead money $833,000
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..,….
    Cap Savings from released players – $12.5 mill +
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    UFA signings:
    #1) Olivier Vernon (DE), age 25, 6′ 2″ 275 lb. (Dolphins) – above average run defender and 18 total sacks past two seasons
    *signed 4 yr $6 mill per yr. contract
    +Tyson Jackson (DE/DT) released: Post June 1 cap savings $4.75 mill / dead money $1.6 mill

    #2) Danny Trevathan (ILB),age 26, 6’1″ 240 lb. (Broncos) – 3 down ILB solid in coverage and run game
    *signed 4 yr. $5 mill per yr. contract
    *Paul Worrilow RFA – Falcons did not match offer 3 yrs. $2.5 mill per yr.
    +

    #3) Tahir Whitehead (OLB), age 26, Lions – 3 down OLB – nice coverage skills and solid run-stopper
    * signed 4 yr $3 mill per yr. contract
    +Justin Durant (OLB) released: Post June 1: cap savings $2.8 mill / dead money $416,000

    #4) Jeff Allen (G), age 26 (Chiefs), 6′ 4″ 306 lb.
    * signs 4 yr. $4 mill per yr. contract – above average NFL starting guard

    cap savings from released players – $7.5 mill +
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    roster and cap stats: overthecap.com.

    Reply
    1. icndark

      Flo, I think you just fixed our three most glaring problems. First, the O-line you’ve suggested, even with two rookie starters, I would project into a top-ten line in the league. Second, the addition of those particular LBs to our current leftovers/holdovers, would skyrocket that defensive unit to at least average(I would think above average, though). Third, and in my mind, the most impressive; you managed to cut the most heinous contracts on the team and grab viable replacements without breaking the cap wide open. I really like the names you’re throwing around, but I also understand that we may not get the targeted draftee or FAs you have listed. The point, I think, is that the players we need are out there and available. If you can do such a great job of laying it all out for everyone to see, I can only pray that the FO of the Falcons has at least one Flo. I see no evidence of that, however…

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        icndark – Thanks but yes reality is what you say…. about as likely to happen as winning the lottery. These teams aren’t going to let these guys go without a fight. But in the Fantasy World it can happen.

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          icndark – AND I left some problems to be resolved in Phase III (2017) House Cleaning> Example being a suitable replacement at SS. Maybe one of the existing guys on the roster will work out – Ismael or King? If not, then with the addition of pass-rush DE and two sound LB’s they won’t have to cover as long – hopefully.

          Reply
    2. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Falcons “Outside The Box” Mock Draft 2016: Corn-tinued

      Malliciah Goodman (DE) – released: cap savings $750,000 / dead money $ 100,000
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… William Moore (SS): Injury Settlement : cap savings $6.5 mill / dead money $3 mill
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      Reply
  17. medallion

    Another outstanding piece of work Dewey and Arno. Thanks.
    It is a rarity for me to have a different opinion than Dewey, but I have some that are different on a few things about the DL even though I am (to quote some character from a long time ago) in “110% agreement” on most.
    In addition, based on various comments, I think some things are being overlooked when salary cap stuff is put in isolation like overthecap.com does to create nice tables that can fit on one page. Salary cap stuff is far more complex than I could possibly explain in a few sentences even if I understood all of it. The person in charge of overthecap.com has a link on the home page (near top right hand corner) that leads to that person’s lengthy explanation and more. Nonetheless, one constant that comes through about salary cap stuff is that all guaranteed money arising out of a signing bonus counts against some salary cap at some time (i.e., the salary cap piper always gets paid). Which year or years’ salary cap for signing bonus guaranteed money is controlled by many factors. A fairly easy example seems to involve Tyson Jackson’s contract. His signing bonus was apparently $8,000,000 for a contract that was for 5 years or longer (signing bonuses prorated over 5 years even if contract is longer) which equals $1,600,000 per year. Tyson has already played 2 years for the Falcons and therefore 2 years of his signing bonus have been applied against caps for those two years leaving $4,800,000 that has to be applied against some cap year or cap years. If he was cut before June 1 (without designation for post June 1 effective date – drats – had to mention something that could change which year and make this more complex than I hoped) that $4,800,000 goes against this year’s salary cap. If he is cut after June 1 (or before then with designation for effective after June 1), then only $1,600,000 counts against this year’s salary cap but the remaining $3,200,000 will still count against some salary cap later – I think probably all of it to 2017, but perhaps some gets pushed back to 2018. Nonetheless, the salary cap piper will get paid at some point.
    When to let the salary cap piper get paid on many contracts is a tough topic and does tie into my two cents opinions about the DL, but that’s for another time (hiccup).

    Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        SG – To make it real simple… $$$$ remain on the books until the player is paid what he’s due under his contract which can be pro-rated over time. Baker still has $6.4 mill (or so) on the books as “dead-money” [money he is still owed] and also counts as $6.4 mill towards the salary cap because he’s no longer on the team but must be paid according to his contract’s details. As he’s paid the cap will go down accordingly. Yes, overthecap.com “simplifies” but no need to get in to the fine details with a mock draft. Close is good enough.

        Reply
        1. JB Falcon

          Seems like one could take all of the dead money owed in the NFL and buy a whole new team? Like still making payments on a bunch of used cars.

          Reply
    1. Dewey

      med,

      No worries. You don’t have to agree with me, I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with everything I said. They’re just my opinions, ones I happen to agree with. And, some nights when the knees are wrackin’ me so bad I can’t sleep and it’s 1, 2 in the morning. I slip downstairs, pour me a batch bourbon on the rocks, crank up the computer and start summarizing, wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with anything I come up with during those wee hours. You should hear some of the stuff I don’t put on paper, around 2:30, 3rd bourbon, I can come up with some wildly insane ideas.

      So lets hear it med, what would you differently along the dline? Remember, we don’t actually have a say so, so there are no wrong answers or suggestions.

      I’ve always been decent with numbers and have been tempted to list the actual breakdown of dead money to the best of my understanding, but thought it just too over the top. Thanks for bringing it into the light. I responded to someone the other day, can’t remember who it was, but I mentioned, depending when you cut someone the dead money could either all count this year or spread out over 2 years. When we cut Sam Baker, $3,800,000 of his dead money counted against this year’s cap, we still have another $6.something million counting against next year’s cap for him. You’re right, there’s no way around that guaranteed money.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Dewey – Definition of “dead money” = The salary cap “space” a team must allocate to a particular player who has been cut. It serves as a device to ensure that every dollar a team has paid players is eventually allocated to the team’s salary cap. (bleacherreport.com)

        Even if AB paid Sam Baker all the money he’s due in one lump sum the day after they cut him it would still not rid AB of the cap hit remaining at the time Baker got the lump sum. The dead-money cap hit will go down at the same rate as if Baker was still on the team being paid by the contract terms of that year. No way to speed up the process of reducing the cap hit by simply paying off the player in advance. The cap hit will play out as to the terms of the contract and end at the time of the final contract year. Not sure I fully understood the “mechanics” of this before – hope I do now.

        Reply
        1. Dewey

          I understand “dead money”, just thought it might be too “over the top” to include the post 6/1 dead money breakdowns on each one of my roster analysis on every player.

          Reply
    2. Paddy O

      personally. I’m not interested in absorbing dead money – even a post 6/1 release screws your cap the following year. Solial and Jackson made our run D borderline excellent. We just need better pass rush – either a better DE, a fast blitzing LB or simply a better scheme / blitz design – we still do the same lousy stupid stuff we did under SMitty – which indicates Cox is not a good D line coach – ie, when we blitz, our blitzers all seem to end up in the same spot and essentially run into the rears of our own guys. Baker is hammering us over 6 million – that is more than RW84’s salary is, no?

      Reply
  18. medallion

    A nice note for all Cagers.
    I frequently listen to radio talk in the ATL area and I read a fair bit.
    Lots of things we discussed had not been mentioned (when I was listening at least) by radio hosts and then a day or two days after one of us pointed out something or we voiced our differences of opinions, somehow – perhaps magically – radio hosts start talking about things one of us brought up.
    Of course, we all know the Falcoholic decided to start doing a player review for the first time after being upstaged by Dewey (with assist from Arno) this year.

    Reply
    1. Dewey

      Thanks med. As long as I stay one step ahead of them, no ones can accuse uz of nuttin’.

      I don’t know about the rest of you, but if anyone wants to copy me, fine. But when the Falcons start paying attention and copying, well sir, that’s when Dewey’s got to get paid!!!!!

      Reply
      1. medallion

        Flo:
        I am not an alias for Dewey, but its nice to be compared to Dewey. Strangely enough, one of my two favorite lead posters at The Falcoholic goes by “DW” and I wondered for a while if that was Dewey.
        I am well aware that player reviews have been going on for years through many different media sources.
        However, when The Falcoholic started doing them this year, The Falcoholic announced it was the first time they were doing it and that announcement occurred after Dewey’s first position group review.
        Suddenly last night (hiccup – code word for drinking), it hit me that I could both compliment Dewey for his outstanding work and make a joke.

        Reply
        1. Dewey

          med,

          Thanks again for the compliment, and at least I understood your humor. I don’t write for the falcoholic, but oddly enough, my initials are DW, actually DEW, which is where Dewey comes from.

          Reply
    2. Paddy O

      I’m telling you – the commentary, info I get from the Cage is FAR superior to ANYTHING on ESPN, the AJC or talk radio. If we could start our own “ATLANTA CAGE HOTLINE” with paid subscriptions, it would benefit all Falcon fans.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Paddy O – Remember when The Cage was published in the AJC? Guess they didn’t like the criticism leveled at the Falcons and them for the public to see. They dumped D3 and The Cage…. as they say in X-Files “the truth is out there” – just not welcome in the AJC.

        Reply
        1. Paddy O

          very true – AJC – and a LOT of sports writers – trade “insider info” for PR BS cover up stories – same thing happens – at least online – for the Boston Red Sox. The BB writer for the AJC – O Brien – is easily duped or manipulated by the Braves FO – I call him the lobotlized parrot. He thinks the Braves FO has done a good job improving the team – I told him not for next year (maybe for the AAA team), the team could quite likely lose 100 games.

          Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      SG- Probably hired a Ga. Tech grad to design the thing and Labor Union’s to build it and the gub’ment regulations to oversee it. Lose- Lose- Lose situation 🙂

      Reply
      1. SG

        Heh – Heh – Heh – Flo, I actually thought they should’ve hired GaTech engineers review the plans prior to proceeding w/ the build.
        In an effort to be unique, it’s an unnecessarily complex design.

        Reply
        1. Arno

          Exactly. Not at all surprised that the mechanics/structure of the roof will require some major tinkering. And as a designer, I note that the past forty years driven by ‘efforts to be unique’ have produced an increasing quantity of stale results. Remains to be seen whether AB’s additional half-billion over budget project will transcend the trend.

          Reply
        2. Flo-Ri-Duh

          SG – Disclaimer: My son went to Tech – I went to UGA, So I like Tech and pull for them when they aren’t playing UGA. Tech’s a fine school – was just kidding.

          Reply
        1. Paddy O

          I like traditional brick buildings – the Colts building and the new Mets ball field are beautiful buildings. I’m afraid it will be hated once completed – there is a library in Atlanta that is also widely perceived as ugly. You rarely get Guggenheim quality design/utility.

          Reply
        1. Grits Blitz

          Med – exactly the result I was hoping for…a little jocularity. Never hurts to have a reliable plumber “on call” when things really back-up!

          Reply
  19. Grits Blitz

    Gentlemen, gentlemen – per FA, again I must project much of our wishful thinking of acquiring a stud lineman, e.g. OG Allen from the Chiefs, is not based on reality unless Arthur agrees to an overwhelming contract offer and we all know T.D. needs no further lessons on how to overpay. It’s ALL about the $ to lure such a player to this team in its present form.
    1. What player, unless seriously desiring a bromance to be united/reunited with D.Q. (or some unknown periphery motive), will want to leave a solid playoff-contending team willing to pay similar money (since we are not going to the SB in 2016, either, and who knows about even making the playoffs)?
    2. Do you think Arthur is committed to buying his way out of mediocrity now when virtually everything about his (and T.D.’s) past actions screams bargain basement deals for sub-standard players are coveted and acceptable? Isn’t this the same Arthur that has proven “acceptable mediocrity” carries the day? (Ever known Arthur to pay a luxury tax, ala Jerry Jones or other big spending owners, for exceeding cap salaries for players…even once?)

    Would I want to get the type of significant difference-makers like Allen? For improving our team long-term, of course, and more like him on both lines!
    Seems the more likely scenario would be of the available FAs based on this FO’s past, the best we can hope for is scout team identifies who appears ready/capable as a present back-up to be promoted to performing as an adequate starter? This type of guy would likely jump ship for the opportunity to be a starter and be a more affordable bang-for-the-buck. A gamble? Yes, but aren’t all new players deals based on many factors – seen and unseen?

    When CB, D. Sanders, decided to leave us, I first thought he was a plastic traitor. With some later maturity, I determined I didn’t blame him to want to play with a consistent winner who had a realistic shot at winning the SB. Wise owners/GMs and HCs try to find ways to influence their quality players to stay with them. Seems one of the best ways is having a consistently competitive team and higher-ups that possess genuine dedication/actions, not words, to prove it to them in a variety of ways. Loyalty can come, though not as often as in past eras, but the major lure appears these days to be the $ – if the “buying” team is not consistently competitive and lacks talent … in the FO &/or on the playing field.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      JB – That’s Irving just mending his fences with the boss and teammates after saying he wanted to leave. He’s got a contract to negotiate and knows he needs to be a nice guy for now. Don’t think for a second he wouldn’t come to Atlanta for a better offer than he can get from Seahawks.

      That said – I would like to have him at a reasonable price. TD doesn’t understand “reasonable”.

      Reply
  20. Flo-Ri-Duh

    (espn.com) Vaughn McClure article concerning Ryan Schraeder

    In Schraeder’s 3rd season in the NFL he became a starter and started all 16 games. PFF named him to their All-Pro list at right tackle, noting he allowed just two sacks, two QB hits and 20 QB hurries in 1,062 snaps. Also noted Schraeder had a strong showing against Charles Johnson who had previously taken him to “the cleaners”. Never mind that Charles Johnson was just returning from a season long tenure on IR with a bad hamstring injury. That aside, Chris Morgan OL head coach says that Schraeder has really improved a lot. The main improvement has been his consistency. Yes, it’s truly amazing how well an undrafted free agent has done. We’re lucky to have Schraeder – and Chris Morgan.

    McClure goes in to how the Falcons could extend Schraeder’s contract for one year rather than re-sign him to a new contract. The mid-tier level which the Falcons would likely use is around $2.7 mill. {The highest paid ROT’s get in the $6 mill range per year.} Eight ROT”s make $5 mill per yr. or more. If they tender Schraeder he could get a higher offer elsewhere and sign with them. If so, the Falcons would receive a 2nd Rd choice…. and of course they would have to find themselves another starting ROT. If they want Schraeder they don’t need to play around with this. Sign him to a long-term contract at a fair price before the price goes up. Should offer $4.5 mill per year – nothing less. They are paying Levitre (G) $4 mill FCOL.

    Schraeder speaks highly of Chris Morgan, saying he is exactly what the Falcons needed, a guy who could push his to be his best. Schraeder says he worked harder this past year and had more fun playing than ever before.

    Vaughn McClure is an excellent sports writer unlike some of those AJC guys.

    Reply
    1. Paddy O

      we fix the interior and we are humming. Although, 60% of the line is tough to redo in a single year. They went backwards in DQ/KS 1st year – they could have just kept Hawley and Blalock.

      Reply
  21. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Grits – WOW
    #1) You mean they wouldn’t jump at the chance to leave frozen St. Louis for smog-ridden Atlanta? Certainly, being as TD is in charge of handing out the cash he can “negotiate” an over-priced contract that even they cannot turn down.

    #2) Certainly Grits wouldn’t call highly overpaid Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, etc. bargain-basement? TD payed for a Rolls Royce and got a Mini Cooper. Maybe now when TD overpays they will at least get a Rolls with DQ in charge. That’s why I have faith they can get a top-notch guard UFA. My backup plan, if they whiff on signing one of the younger guys is Ramon Foster, age 30 (Steelers) . He’s close to being Jeff Allen (G) but 4 years older. Still should have some good tread on his tires and no major injuries that I know of. Another top guard is Evan Mathis (Broncos) age 34 but still an upgrade and I’d give him a two year contract right now – hand me the pen- H-ell yeah. All these guys are UFA’s.

    #3) Get what you are saying about being on a winner but money talks and AB’s not getting any younger… might as well spend it.

    Stay positive my friend……

    Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      Flo – Indeed. Just get frustrated A.B. “could” be a wonderful owner but has a nose-blind spot regarding football matters when he doesn’t “have to”.
      Just hire real, proven football businessmen to handle football matters, but no. (What does it say to you that an “astute” businessman can’t/won’t
      see a serious problem with his FO and operates without even a minimally sub-average G.M.?)

      Can’t wait to see what a true Rolls Royce would look like playing on our team! That would likely take the QEII loaded with Arthur’s $ and
      believe he’d rather spend it on his new nest decorations rather than players. Sad. Hate to think ahead that the fortunes of this franchise
      will only change with new ownership, but I am surely becoming convinced with each passing day by the continued lack of a genuine
      …commitment to excellence.

      Reply
  22. Flo-Ri-Duh

    (espn.com) – Cowboys’ secondary coach, Jerome Henderson, to meet with the Falcons. Henderson’s contract with the Cowboys expires at the end of this season. It’s not clear what position he is seeking but it’s thought he would not leave Cowboys for just a lateral move. Clarence Hill of The Fort Worth Star-Telegraph reports that Henderson will interview for the Falcons DC job although the Falcons have not announced that Richard Smith is no longer their DC.

    What’s UP?

    Reply
      1. Grits Blitz

        Wait a minute. I care deeply that Hair Grease could advise The Donald and vice-versa on their latest “doo”.
        As for grading the Falcons for 2015, as a judge, I wonder if the old line about a lawyer representing himself as a client holds?

        Reply
    1. Paddy O

      I”d still rate is B-; Jarrett is good; Hardy is good; Coleman has potential. Collins is the key guy. IF he does not develop further, is a bust, then the grade drops into the C zone.

      Reply
  23. medallion

    My two cent opinions about the D line (with reservation to change my opinion as soon as another Cager convinces me that another opinion is better or perhaps one second after I click “post comment” because I realize that quickly that I just wrote something dumb).
    Prelude: I really knew nothing about defensive line formations used by Seattle and some other teams like “4/3 under”, “4/3 over”, and some other D line formations designed to deal with some specific team’s unique offensive strength until early 2015 when it became apparent Quinn was going to be the new HC. I was basically a simpleton knowing some about 4/3 (including the Eagles wide 9 4/3 experiment) and 3/4 base defenses. At that time, I also wondered how Soliai and Jackson (who had just been signed to big contracts for what I thought was going to be a conversion to a 3/4 defense no matter how much Smith and Nolan ignored, denied, or misdirected about that in 2014) would hopefully fit. So, I started reading and found lots of great information. Some really wonderful stuff from some writers at Field Gulls and in-depth interviews with Pete Carroll that chronicled Seattle’s journey with Pete Carroll as HC and explained lots. One thing that was pleasing to learn was that a NT/big defensive DT (like Soliai) and a 3/4 type DE (like Jackson) could be important parts of a Seattle type defense while building an even better defense. Seattle even used a NT type (Red Bryant I think) as a strong side DE for a couple of years that ended with top 10 or better defenses. Over time, however, Seattle searched for a strong side DE that would be better overall – lots more pass rushing skills and better speed, but the trade off was, of course, not as strong at run stopping. Seattle’s search eventually found Bennett.
    To be continued (before I misclick and lose another post).

    Reply
  24. JB Falcon

    Mike in MN is probably laughing his azz off about our news headlines. I spent a year experiencing the Northern Exposure and this weather is very mild compared to that frozen tundra. My first day there the weatherman said “It’s going to warm up today. The expected high is nine below.”
    My heaviest coat was a London Fog.

    Reply
    1. falcon21

      Lol, In Bartow County we have about a quarter inch of snow and still snowing. No road danger at all but hell, it’s still pretty! I’m sure MIM is laughing but I’m good with this!

      Reply
  25. John Waynesworld

    Hello, Cagers. Been away awhile. I am still catching up on the older articles.

    Unbelievable job, Dewey! Your multi-part coverage should to be (and probably has been) read by the local Falcons’ media. While those guys have all the inside, in-house information we don’t have, they could learn a thing or two about creating an in-depth article like yours and others too. Great stuff and kudos to Arno for his fine picture enhancements and Flo for the roster variations.

    We are coming up on all-star games and putting eyes on those roster prizes. Today is both the East-West Shrine game at 4:00 p.m. and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game at 6:00 p.m. The latter game is has lesser known players with only a handful who get to the NFL but this year they are touting some exceptional prospects:

    Antwaun Woods, DT, USC – 6’1″, 320 lbs. This guy is a quick beast, like Grady Jarrett on speed. He will show up in this game for all to see. His lackluster season is the reason he is here.
    Trevone Boynkin, QB, TCU – 6’2″, 205. His talent should also shine in this lesser game. We all know about his legal problems, which is why he’s here.
    Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green – 6’0″, 219 lbs. Short but prolific (46 TDs/8 INTs). An interesting combination, he was 5th in the nation in passing, scored 4 rushing TDs, and did well in his bowl…all after sitting out his Junior year with a broken hip . Pro-style QB.
    Jaydon Mickens, WR, Washington – 5’11”, 170 lbs. Caught everything his way in practice. Circus stuff. Looked at as also KR/PR.
    Reggie Northrup, LB, Florida State – 6’1″, 231 lbs. Led FSU in tackles and he’s here? Hmmm.
    Ian Seau, DE/OLB, University of Nevada – 6’3″, 250 lbs. Son of the HOFer, tweener size but scouts like him. 5 FFs this season.
    Jatavis Brown, OLB, Akron – 5’11”, 218 lbs. Short but quick, he was shooting the gaps in practice this week.
    Luke Rhodes, ILB, William & Mary – 6’2″, 242 lbs. An interesting prospect for a 4th round LB. 341 college career tackles.
    Mike Matthews, OC, Texas A&M – 6’2″, 290 lbs. Brother of Jake, lacks size but can move. The bloodline has shown success here.
    Kyle Friend, OG/OC, Temple – 6’2″, 305 lbs. A weight room guy who can move. 43 career games, 41 starts at Center.
    Pearce Slater, OT, San Diego State – 6’7″, 335 lbs. Sleeper OT/OG #1
    Sam Carlson, OL, Colorado State University – 6’4″, 295 lbs. Sleeper interior Oline #2
    Antonio Glover, DB, Georgia Southern – 6’1″, 200 lbs. Tied for 7th in the nation in INTs (6) while 3rd on his team in tackles.

    There are a few local products like UGA’s LS Nate Theus and Georgia Tech’s FB Patrick Skov but the best of the local bunch other than Glover may be West Georgia’s OT Dominique Robertson (6’5″/306lbs). All are on the Team National roster.

    Here is the full roster page. The American roster is on a tab there…

    http://collegiate.nflpa.com/2016-game-rosters/

    Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      JWW- Nice background work! Man, that OT, Slater, can bring the size and beef! (A true manwich, indeed.) When you say #1, are you meaning he could be projected as our #1 when we draft or anybody’s #1? Does his film say he’s a dominator from day one? If he even sniffs a little like another Mike Kenn, how fast can we sign him? (Forget OG.)

      Reply
      1. John Waynesworld

        Thanks, Gritz. I was doing my last second editing and botched that up. I meant they were the top two OL prospects in this game. They were the two that I found mentioned most in other team web publications as sleeper OL picks in this game.

        Despite adding the same position in Free Agency, I do get a feeling the Falcons may be looking at an OT/OG as early as 3rd round, but OL prospects in this particular game won’t sniff that high in the draft unless they dominate today.

        Reply
    2. Flo-Ri-Duh

      John Waynesworld – Been wondering if you were abducted by space aliens. Good to see you back and nice research on today’s bowl games. I had Luke Rhodes (ILB) in one of my recent mocks. The Falcons have guys at all the practices looking for those “sleeper” bargains. Can they EVALUATE talent when they see it? There could be another David Andrews (C) out there right now.

      Reply
      1. John Waynesworld

        Thanks, Flo-Ri-Duh. I am hoping that Shanahan’s needs for mobile Linemen who also have an anchor for PP will force the established scouts to look harder at these games, especially when targeting Centers and Guards.

        Reply
  26. Mike In Minnesota

    JB Falcon – I’ not laughing…when Minnesotans get the stuff we get down there…they can’t drive in it either…Now… it is funny how the bread and milk run out…my wife has been in ATL for a few weeks ( her Dad has been ill )…she said she went to Kroger and the lady in front of her had 5 gallons of milk…3 packages of bologna…and 5 loaves of bread…That makes me laugh !!!…My iPhone says you’ll be 55 degrees on Sunday.

    Reply
  27. John Waynesworld

    First half standouts at the East West Shrine Game:
    Vernon Adams, Jr – QB – Oregon – 5’10 3/4″, 201 lbs – He looked like a Russell Wilson clone. 3 TDs and plenty of great scrambles.
    Victor Ochi – DE – StonyBrook – 6’1″, 255 lbs – Dynamic and dominant pass rusher and edge setter. His height and lesser competition is the only issue. He is blowing up his value in this game.
    Storm Barrs-Woods – RB – Oregon State – 6’0″, 212 lbs – He has shown a burst in this game along with soft hands.

    Reply
  28. John Waynesworld

    Other standouts at the East West Shrine Game:
    Geronimo Allison – WR – Illinois – 6’3″, 196 lbs – A very active WR showing much effort. 2 TDs today.
    Michael Caputo – FS – Wisconsin – 6’1″, 206 lbs – 2 INTs today.
    Jamal Golden – FS – Georgia Tech – 6’0″, 195 lbs – Was in on several plays.
    James Crowser – DE – Southern Utah – 6’4″, 258 lbs – Was a force coming off the edge.
    David Onyemata – DE – Manitoba – 6’4″, 300 lbs – Paired with Crowser to embarrass OTs all day long.
    Antonio Longino – OLB – Arizona State – 6’2″, 230 lbs – Mayock was impressed (as was I) with his instincts.
    Danny Anthrop – WR – Purdue – 6’0″, 193 lbs – Very reliable receiver. Got behind the defense on his TD catch.
    Alex Huettel – OG – Bowling Green – 6’4″, 301lbs – Had a great block 20 yards downfield that made a long run longer.
    Jake Rudock – QB – Michigan – 6’3″, 205 lbs – Started off shaky but ended the game with many compliments after a perfect TD pass was dropped.
    Jake Brendel – OC – UCLA – 6’4″, 305 lbs – Played solidly after hearing so much about him recently. Pulled well.
    Danny Lasko – RB – California – 6’1″, 205 lbs – Has a great burst when entering the second level. Good hands.

    It was hard to get a gauge on the O Lines, except that the West D Line dominated the East O Tackles. On the other side the West O Linemen did a good job overall protecting the relatively immobile QBs Sudfeld & Doughty.

    Reply
  29. Dewey

    Seems to be a lot of folks scared off by the “dead money”, let me put your minds at ease, especially where it concerns Tyson Jackson.
    I thought medallion did a fine job with this the other day, but let me elaborate a bit more, concerning Jackson anyway…….

    $6,350,000-2016 cap charge
    $5,850,000-2017 cap charge

    Cut before 6/1/2016-$4,800,000 cap charge (dead money), $1,550,000 cap savings; 2017-$5,850,000 cap savings; total for 2016, 2017-$7,400,000 cap savings

    Cut after 6/1/2016-$1,600,000 cap charge, $4,750,000 cap savings; 2017-$3,200,000 cap charge, $2,650,000 cap savings; total for 2016, 2017-$7,400,000 cap savings

    Keep on roster 2016, cut before 6/1/2017-$6,350,000 cap charge 2016, $0 cap savings, 2017-$3,200,000 cap charge, $2,650,000 cap savings; total cap savings for 2016, 2017-$2,650,000

    So, cutting Jackson anytime in 2016, has the same exact net effect on the salary cap for the 2016&2017 seasons combined, you just save more money one season over the other depending before 6/1 or after.

    Cutting Jackson after 6/1/2016 has the same effect on the 2017 cap as keeping Tyson all of 2016 and cutting him before 6/1/2017.

    So, if Jackson doesn’t figure into your future plans AND you can find a suitable replacement who does figure into your future plans OR you can use the money to get players to strengthen other, weaker positions, it makes perfect sense to cut Tyson this season, dead money or not.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Thought we already agreed to cut Tyson jackson (DT)? I already drafted his replacement. I’m letting william Moore (SS) go also unless he has a miracle recovery from his injuries.

      Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          Dewey – They didn’t mind the $6 mill & $3 mill plus on Baker and Asamoah and let them go without blinking, Really didn’t have a choice since they were injured and of no use. I don’t mind letting a guy go if I can find an upgrade and doens’t jack the cap rate higher than the guy you just released.

          Reply
  30. Flo-Ri-Duh

    http://www.walterfootball.com [by Charlie Campbell]
    Players visited by Falcons @ East-West Shrine Bowl Game
    Danny Anthrop (WR), Purdue
    Alex Balducci (DT), Oregon
    Jake Brendel (C), UCLA
    Fahn Cooper (OT), Ole Miss
    Darion Griswold (TE), Arkansas State
    Javon Hargrave (DT), South Carolina State
    Tyrone Holmes (DE), Montana
    Antonio Longino (ILB), Arizona State
    Lene Maiava (G), Arizona
    Victor Ochi (OLB), Stoney Brook
    Jake Rudock (QB), Michigan
    Steven Scheu (TE), Vanderbilt
    Hunter Sharp (WR), Utah State
    Terrance Smith (OLB/ILB), Florida State

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Wings – To early to tell but I like what I see so far. The college recruiting National Signing day is Feb 3rd. Ask me on Feb 4th, Lots of big name recruits still undecided that were going to sign with Richt & Co. Hope Smart can keep them on board and bring in a few of his own. Need OL. DL and WR for sure. I’m staying positive.

      Reply
    1. Dewey

      Been keeping my eye on Boehm all season. I really like him as a player, no doubt he’ll make someone very happy. Especially if he keeps his 4th/5th round grade. Don’t understand why he isn’t rated higher. Missouri is starting to get the reputation for cranking out NFL ready offensive linemen. I’m just starting to get concerned whether or not he is a system fit for us. We didn’t run our centers wide last year that much, but that could have been because Person couldn’t handle it. Hopefully, he shows he can do it at the combine. No problems with shotgun snaps as that is a main staple of Missouri’s offensive attack.

      Reply
  31. waynester

    If we want a sure thing at OC, Alex Mack should be available in Free Agency (for a price). The only thing is his age and desire to go to a SB contender (which I don’t see in the cards for next season)…..

    Reply

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