Falcons Corners

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by Dewey

Triangle? Square? Pentagon? Octagon? How many corners will the Falcons defense have? (Wait for laughter to die down and….), but seriously, the Falcons find themselves with an embarrassment of riches at the all important cornerback position heading into the 2017 summer workouts. With the NFL becoming more and more a passing league, and teams becoming more and more reliant on sub-packages, I guess you can never have too many cover men. But how many will the Falcons keep on the final 53 and how many will be among the 46 dressed on Sundays? We currently have a first rounder, 2 second rounders, 1 undrafted rookie and 3 castoffs, all of whom have seen significant playing time, and all who have played pretty well under some pressure filled situations. Now we add to the mix a 5th round rookie who by all rights should battle for significant playing time. Who will be the last few standing come September?

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DESMOND TRUFANTxxxxxI had been pretty vocal on my displeasure with the Falcons rolling over and presenting Desmond with a big check without even testing the waters to see what type of deals might be available. Desmond is a good corner, but the defense actually played better (or 02put up better numbers at least) after Desmond was lost with an injury mid-2016. But with a new monster contract, Desmond will be a Falcon for quite some time. So let’s pencil him in at our #1 CB and hope he produces what his contract implies.

ROBERT ALFORDxxxxxThe player every Falcon fan loves to hate. Personally, I’ve always liked Alford. I could do with a few less penalties, which he did, in fact, clean-up in the back half of 2016. Alford has been our #2 CB since arriving via the 2013 draft with Desmond, and like Desmond, has a shiny new contract that will make him a Falcon for the foreseeable future. I like the way he takes chances for turnovers, something his06 counterpart doesn’t seem to do as often. I’ve seen where folks would like to see him tried out at FS, but since there have been no rumblings from the branch about this, we’ll go ahead and slide Alford into CB #2 spot.

JALEN COLLINSxxxxxBoy, I really didn’t like this pick in the 2nd round of 2015. Troubled past, not a lot of starting time at LSU, and didn’t put up impressive numbers when he did play. Really slow to pick up even the fundamentals when he got to “big boy school”, it looked as if this was a dud pick. 2016 didn’t start off any better for Jalen, as he was suspended the 1st four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Then coming off suspension, he was inactive for a few games and it looked like we might have to admit our folly in drafting Jalen. Then came the Trufant injury and Collins was forced to play. To everyone’s surprise, amazement and awe, Jalen actually played steady 04(further fueling my desire to at least shop Desmond). Jalen can be a solid #3 CB, but not a nickel. Ultimately, when we go to 3 corners, Jalen plays the outside and Alford would assume slot duties. One has to wonder though, has the Falcons FO had its collective fill of Jalen? Only 1 slip-up with the league so far, but is that, coupled with his past, and the fact that he was so slow to grasp the process, enough to make the Falcons look in another direction? More on that later.

BRIAN POOLExxxxxPoole burst onto the Atlanta scene as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016. He impressed enough that he was the 3rd CB in the first 4 games while Jalen was serving his suspension, then continued in that role after Jalen returned and subsequently after Trufant was injured. Coach Dan Quinn intimated this past off season that Poole would get some work at safety. Obviously, some people ran with that and said Poole was being moved to safety. I don’t believe that to be the case. I believe Poole will get some work07 there to be familiar with the position in case of injury and to have more roster flexibility with the final 53 and the dressed 46. Right now, I believe Poole has the inside track on the 4th CB slot in dime situations.

DEJI OLATOYExxxxxAs 2016 wore on, the Falcons made a couple of minor roster moves to their practice squad with a couple of free agent CB’s. One, that we will get to in a moment, was more the “headliner” of the signings. The other, Olatoye, was barely even noticed. But down the stretch run to the playoffs and on into the playoffs and Super Bowl, it was Olatoye that proved to be the better signing, as he played steady, within himself, when called upon.

BLIDI WREH-WILSONxxxxxBlidi is the aforementioned “headliner” signing the Falcons made when filling out their practice squad. More heralded than Olatoye, Wilson did an admirable job when called 08upon, but it was clear that he was behind Olatoye in the pecking order. Good size and speed that Quinn likes, Wreh-Wilson may be fighting an uphill battle to earn a roster spot.

C.J.GOODWINxxxxxTalk about size, speed and athleticism! C.J. has it all except experience. A college WR along with playing WR his first couple of years in the league, C.J. made the switch to the defensive side of the ball in 2016 and showed some really good ability. Mostly a special teamer in 2016, CJ did find his way on defense a few times and was relied on even more during the post-season. There were also rumors of C.J. getting some looks at safety.

DAMONTAE KAZEExxxxxOne of our 2017 5th round draft picks, Kazee is going to be the wild card on how the CB10 situation plays out this fall. Smallish and more quick than fast, Damontae has a penchant for turnovers, something this defense could use more of (2 ways to stifle the opposing offense, stop ‘em or just take the damn ball from them). If, if, if, if, if Kazee can come into camp and win the 3rd/4th CB spot, things could get a whole lot more interesting in our defensive backfield, personnel wise.

Trufant and Alford are the starters, period. At the end of last season, Jalen had proved himself capable of being the #3 CB, playing the outside in nickel and dime situations. But if Poole improves and provides solid depth at the safety position AND Kazee comes in and performs like everyone hopes, Jalen could find himself on the outside looking in come 2018 (where he 11could be traded/released to provide some much needed cap space).

MY PREDICTION:

The Falcons will break camp with 7 CB’s on the roster. My feeling is Trufant, Alford, Collins, Poole, Kazee, Olatoye and Goodwin all make the club. Poole and Goodwin will also be used for depth at the FS position. I believe we could see a defensive alignment were all 7 are on the field at once (I call this the Knee-Jerk-Reaction-to-Blowing-a-Huge-Lead-to-the-Patriots-in-the-Super Bowl defense). Or maybe we’ll just call it the “Heptagon Defense”.

(And Yes, I’m aware that a heptagon actually means 7 angles, but that also means there are 7 vertices, or “corners” to the layman….I went to elementary school too ya know.)

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2,097 thoughts on “Falcons Corners

  1. William Birdman

    Not very good 10th string backups.Being tgeres a 53 man roster change .Theres gona be plenty of cut players to pick up from other teams.Our Starters look great and offense still dont have all there stars.
    Looking good cant wait for the season.cool pick KING

    Reply
      1. Greg Mendel

        During the part that mattered, I don’t think so. It’s a tryout and a practice, in my opinion. Plus, the scrubs have never has a chance to plan or really practice together. There are probably some good scrubs for DQ to improve, but they’re thrown to the lions in these games. I’m not disappointed. I saw what I wanted to see, plus some.

        Reply
  2. JB Falcon

    Seems like a lot of us are disappointed in the two 2nd half let downs so far but I’m seeing seeing as much hope as ever. DQ is doing exactly what he should be doing as far as giving every single player on the team an opportunity to play in a game. He’s said all along that it doesn’t show what you have in practice until he sees you play in an actual game. That’s being thorough. I’m getting my optimism from watching the very first possessions in each game whereas we were obviously the dominate team in each game. It didn’t take long to prove that and he took the key players out as he should have to avoid possible injuries. We scored twice on the Steelers before they even got a fist down on two tries. That’s dominating. I see no reason why we will not continue the pattern. When the season starts we will not be taking everyone out and the domination will continue.

    Reply
    1. Greg Mendel

      I agree. The quality play “went deeper” than I expected. The rest of the game was mixing and testing chemicals in the garage. No happy fizz, but nothing blew up. We have a good team with decent depth.

      Reply
  3. Flo-Ri-Duh

    A few links for you to discuss Monday as I will be gone – eye doctor checkup.
    Glad the brought in Pasztor (OT) because the 2nd/3rd team Falcon OT’s got a butt whipping. Not saying Pasztor is great – but he’s definitely better than what they had.

    Reply
  4. icndark

    Not that anyone asked, and not that there’s anything in it for me but over the past two football seasons I have been purchasing the NFL Package offered by Direct TV. The cost was way overboard but, living out of market, this was the best way to watch my birds in the best quality possible. This has now changed! I paid $100 to get NFL Game Pass on NFL.com. Just Wow! The quality is amazing and the game selection is unmatched. Watching the condensed games is perfect for scouting upcoming opponents. They even have a way to search for plays but I haven’t gotten into that yet. I swear, this is not an ad. Well worth the money for those not swimming in bucks. I can imagine it would be great for FFL enthusiasts as well.

    Reply
    1. B

      Pre season matter more when you are a perennial loser, when wins are few and far between. Cleveland needs to win pre season games, New England could care less.

      Reply
    1. JJ

      Flo, I had a last minute drop with our 12th member…will hold it open for you until midnight then its open to any cager. Email me so I can send you a invite back to your email through our espn league office.
      jones_jeffrey@bellsouth.net (thats a underscore in between my name.)

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        JJ – Can I give you my wife’s e-mail now and change it later? I’m getting a new computer soon… mine has a virus or something. When I get one I’m getting a new e-mail address.

        Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        B- I sure hope so – always thought that Matthews was capable but injuries have set him back. I think he’s tired of the criticism about him being the weak link on th OL. I expect his best season in 2017.

        Reply
        1. B

          Yea, his dad played 19 years, did not make his 1st pro bowl until his 6th year,, then he made the next 14….Lets him Jr is a last bloomer too.

          Reply
  5. Flo-Ri-Duh

    https://bloggingdirty.com/2017/08/21/atlanta-falcons-steelers-one-positive-negative/
    * Right on target – OL depth is a concern… but with Austin Pasztor (OT) signed the OT depth could be OK. As for C/G depth, whoever doesn’t start at ROG will be the first man up there…. or will Pasztor also be the 1st backup at OG?

    * By the way has anyone here reported that Forrest Lamp (OG), 2nd Rd – Chargers, tore his ACL back on August 2nd? He was under consideration for the Falcons’ 1st Rd pick. I feel bad for the young man.

    Reply
  6. Flo-Ri-Duh

    The Falcons must trim their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Sept 2. (atlantafalcons.com)
    That’s 12 days from now. Their last preseason game is 2 days before the cutdown vs Jags.

    Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      That’s the reason we have preseason. I’ve picked out several I hope makes it but my judgement is not dependable.

      Reply

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