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Archive for July, 2009

Winborn not signed yet, agent says

July 31st, 2009 Comments off

Pro Football Talk.com reports that Jason Fletcher, the agent for linebacker Jamie Winborn, informed them that his client was still available today and had not signed with the Falcons. That contrasts a report from Scout.com yesterday that indicated the team had added Winborn.

There has been no official announcement of Winborn’s signing at the team’s official site. Falcons blogger J. Michael Moore did post about Scout.com’s report, but indicated that the Falcons had yet to confirm or deny the addition of Winborn. The Falcons have a spot still available on their 80-man roster following their waiving of cornerback David Irons earlier this week.

UPDATE: Scout.com reports that Winborn passed his physical, but no contract was signed due to some language that still needed to be “ironed out.”

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White fined for missing meeting

July 31st, 2009 Comments off

The AJC reports that Roddy White was fined by the team for missing the first team meeting for training camp on Friday evening. All players were expected to report at 5:00 on Friday, and would be considered a holdout if they were not present for a 6:30 team meeting. The Falcons have been trying to extend White’s contract, which expires at the end of this season. Earlier this week, White’s agent said “no comment” on whether White would show up to camp on time per an AJC report. The team’s first practice is scheduled to be held at 8:30 on Saturday morning.

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Falcons sign Speer

July 31st, 2009 Comments off
Adam Speer

Adam Speer

The team announced today the signing of offensive lineman Adam Speer. Speer, an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State, started every game this past season at left guard. He also has experience playing center, making him a good fit to replace the role that Jeremy Newberry vacated when he opted for retirement earlier this month.

Speer was voted to All-Pac 10 2nd team by the conference’s coaches this past year.

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Jerry signs

July 30th, 2009 Comments off
Peria Jerry

Peria Jerry

The Falcons announced the signing of first round pick Peria Jerry today. Jerry was the team’s top draft pick and last one to sign.

Terms of the deal are unknown, but it is a five-year deal. The Falcons begin training camp practices on Saturday. Jerry is expected to compete for the starting defensive tackle position opposite Jonathan Babineaux.

The Falcons become the sixth team to sign all of their draft picks.

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Falcons add LB Winborn

July 30th, 2009 Comments off
Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Jamie Winborn

Scout.com’s Adam Caplan reports that the Falcons have signed linebacker Jamie Winborn.  Winborn played last year with the Denver Broncos, starting 11 games, recording 99 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and defended 11 passes, which was tied for the league-high among linebackers.

Winborn mostly played strongside linebacker for the Broncos last year as an injury replacement for Boss Bailey. The eight-year veteran has played multiple spots at linebacker. The Falcons mark Winborn’s fifth team since entering the league as a second round pick for the San Francisco 49ers in 2001. The former Vanderbilt linebacker has been known for his speed and quickness throughout his career.

Winborn’s versatility means that he can potentially help out the Falcons depth at any linebacker position, but could also push third-year Stephen Nicholas who is expected to man the team’s strongside linebacker position.

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Roddy’s Holdout talk…a bluff

July 30th, 2009 1 comment

I could be wrong, but based off the recent report from the AJC insinuating that there’s a possibility that Roddy White might hold out, I don’t think there’s much to it.

For the record, Roddy’s agent declined comment on whether Roddy was planning a holdout. Which by not saying that Roddy will be there, implies that there’s a possibility he won’t be there if a contract is not completed before Saturday.

My bet is that Roddy’s agent is using it as a tactic to put a bit more pressure on the Falcons brass to get a deal done sooner rather than later. But I don’t think Roddy will skip camp. He really has no leverage. If there’s no cap next year, he becomes a restricted free agent. If there is then the Falcons can tag him. It’s almost guaranteed that Roddy is going to be a Falcon in 2010. So the Falcons shouldn’t be in any rush to get a deal done today. Obviously, they’d probably like to get a deal done since the sooner you sign a guy, generally the cheaper he is since each off-season there are new blockbuster deals.

But Thomas D. should call Roddy’s bluff. We have Tony Gonzalez now. I’m not saying Roddy is expendable. But he’s not nearly as indispensable as he was a year ago.

Falcons cut Irons

July 28th, 2009 Comments off

The team announced today that it has waived cornerback David Irons. Irons was a sixth round pick in 2007. Irons is the fifth player lost from the eleven-member ’07 draft class. The Falcons traded Laurent Robinson earlier this off-season, as well as dumping Daren Stone, Doug Datish, and Martrez Milner in 2008.

In two seasons with the Falcons, Irons appeared in 20 games and played very little defense, not registering a single tackle. But he did have 17 stops on special teams in that span, as well as a fumble recovery.

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Ex-Falcon pass rusher Bryan passes

July 26th, 2009 Comments off

Rick Bryan, a former Falcons defensive end passed on Saturday at the age of 47 from a heart attack per a report by Tulsa World. Bryan played his entire professional career with the Falcons from 1984 to 1993. He started 93 of 109 career games, and recorded 30.5 sacks, which ranks tenth all-time among Falcon players. Bryan was a 1st round pick selected by the Falcons 9th overall in 1984.

Bryan was diagnosed by team doctors with a spinal injury in 1989, but managed to play two more full seasons with the Falcons afterwards.

Bryan was a two-time All-American at Oklahoma. He leaves behind a wife, and three children, among whom his son Mike who plays linebacker currently at the University Tulsa. Earlier this year, another former Falcons defensive lineman, Shane Dronett passed as well.

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Falcons sign Moore

July 23rd, 2009 Comments off
William Moore

William Moore

The Falcons announced the signing of second round safety William Moore today. That leaves only first round pick Peria Jerry as the team’s only unsigned rookie among its eight-member draft class.

Terms of Moore’s contract were not available, but it is likely a four-year contract worth upwards to around $3.5 million based on contracts signed by other draft picks. Moore is only the sixth second round pick to sign a contract.

The Falcons will kick off their first practices of training camp on August 1, leaving the team with a little more than a week to get a deal done with Jerry to prevent a holdout.

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Michael Vick: The Iverson Effect

July 23rd, 2009 2 comments

Today you may read an editorial in the New York Times from blogger Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats. In perusing some of the stories that Mr. Burke has published on Advanced NFL Stats, the guy knows his stuff. But in regards to the recent entry in the Times, I think he’s a little off the mark.

The New York Times editorial is titled “Vick as a Quarterback? He’s Underrated.” So if you don’t want to read another blogger’s opinion about Michael Vick’s career as a Falcon, I suggest you stop right now, scroll down, or click the back button on your browser. And instead of discussing Vick’s future or current options in the NFL, I want to discuss what I think is a misconception about statistical analysis about Michael Vick.

Mr. Burke (like many others) include Vick’s rushing totals in conjunction with his passing statistics, which often has the effect of boosting Vick’s numbers to that comparable with the top passers in the league.

I believe this kind of analysis is misleading due to the false belief that all yards are the same. One of the major drawbacks of the popularity of fantasy football today is that people pay more (and too much) attention to yardage totals. The more yards one has, the better he is than other players with less yards

Gaining 12 yards on 3rd & 8 is better than gaining 12 on 3rd & 20. Unfortunately in football, there aren’t readily available detailed box scores like in baseball that will allow us to break down games play by play and situation by situation.

The problem I have with those that add Vick’s rushing totals to his passing totals is because I believe they falsely think that Vick rushing for 12 yards on 2nd & 8 is just as equal to Vick throwing for 12 yards on 2nd & 8. And on the surface, it does appear to be so. In the end, both times you convert for first downs. But I do think there is a difference, and I think gaining those 12 yards throwing is better than those 12 yards rushing.

But the reason why I think there is a subtle difference is what I call the “Allen Iverson Effect. ” Which is thusly named because of the similar impact that Allen Iverson has on the basketball court. I think most people can generally agree that Allen Iverson is one of the greatest pure scorers to ever play in the NBA. But right now, Allen Iverson cannot get a job in the NBA. And the reason why is because NBA teams feel he disrupts team chemistry.

Two points is two points, and the team that has the most points at the end of the game wins. On the surface, whether Iverson scores the two points or the backup small forward scores really doesn’t matter. But in the case of Iverson, his scoring two points seems to have some negative impact on the team. Because Iverson is not a facilitator. The other four players on the court along with him are hurt by his presence because they in essence must facilitate him. Iverson is also not a defensive stalwart because of his inability to match up with bigger guards, and thus his presence on the floor reduces a team’s defensive potential and presence. So despite the fact that Iverson’s scoring does significantly help a team, the other things that come along with him often negate how beneficial his scoring can be. You basically can call Iverson a black hole.

And we saw this past year with the Denver Nuggets when they replaced Iverson with a point guard that could distribute (and score) in Chauncey Billups, they were within two wins of the NBA Finals, instead of being swept in the first round of the playoffs like they were a year ago. Billups averaged 8 less points per game this past year than Iverson did with the Nuggets a year ago. But you’ll notice that almost every other Nugget player’s statistics improved this past year.

Vick is essentially the same. When Vick scrambles for yards, it basically is the same as Iverson scoring by himself and not involving his teammates. As a quarterback (similar to that of a point guard), Vick’s job is to distribute the ball. But because of his inability to effectively do so, he inhibited the development of his receivers. Because of Vick’s scrambling and mobility, receivers were forced to often cut off their routes. You can’t develop as a receiver and route-runner if half the times you are supposed to run a post or fade route, you wind up improvising a new route. Also Vick’s unpredictability also hurt the offensive line’s ability to block for him. It is difficult for blockers to effectively form a pocket of protection around their quarterback, when he’ll escape it the first chance he gets.

Vick is essentially the same as Allen Iverson, in that he’s a black hole. Vick’s singular effectiveness as a playmaker is negating by his inability to be an effective distributor. As is the case in basketball, the best offenses in football are the ones that are the most cohesive. And the cohesion is brought on by the point guard and quarterback in both sports. When Vick ran, the cohesion of the offense decreased. It was still productive, but real football is not like fantasy football. Just because Vick has comparable statistics when rushing totals are included, doesn’t mean he benefits a team the same way top passers do. Vick’s 3513 total yards in 2006 are not equal to another passer like Tom Brady having 3631 total yards that same year.

In the case of Iverson, you have a player that no team with the goal of trying to win championships is willing to give much of a chance. Iverson can go to a bad team like Memphis and make them better. But on a team that has championship potential, he’ll make them worse or the same like he did in Denver and Detroit. Vick is probably the same way.

So for Mr. Burke, I would say that your analysis in other realms is spot on, but in this case, the stats are misleading. Vick is not underrated as a quarterback. His 1039 rushing yards from 2006 are basically 1039 yards he cannot get by passing. So it basically makes him 1000 yards less effective than your run of the mill quarterback that gets 3500 through the air.

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