Owens at the Senior Bowl
We’ll be tracking which prospects the Falcons will be looking over the course of the time that NFL coaches and scouts descend on the city of Mobile, Alabama for a week of Senior Bowl practices. These prospects will come from a variety of sources, which include the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Scout.com, Draft Countdown, and others.
- QB Jarrett Brown, West Virginia
- CB Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State
- TE Dorin Dickerson, Pittsburgh
- FB Rashawn Jackson, Virginia
- WR Donald Jones, Youngstown State
- DE Brandon Lang, Troy State
- CB Trevard Lindley, Kentucky
- DT Jeff Owens, Georgia
- LS Mike Windt, Cincinnati
We’ll continue to update this list as information becomes available throughout the week.
The league announced today that Falcons receiver Roddy White has been added to the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad, as a replacement for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice, who withdrew on Monday.
White led the Falcons with 85 receptions for 1,153 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. It will be White’s second appearance in the Pro Bowl after making it for the first time last season.
No Falcons were selected to be part of this year’s Pro Bowl initially.
The AJC reports that the Falcons have hired a new secondary coach in Tim Lewis. Lewis will replace Emmitt Thomas, who was not retained from last year’s staff.
Lewis most recently served as defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the Carolina Panthers in the same capacity. He was the New York Giants defensive coordinator for three years prior to that and defensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers before that. Lewis interviewed with the Falcons twice for their vacant head coaching position in 2004. He was the only other person besides Jim Mora, who eventually got the job, to do so.
We’ve added the team needs to the site based off the assessments of several fans that are members of the FalcFans community. They are ranked and weighted based off fans feel are the teams biggest areas of need. Each position is given a numerical grade of based off these rankings. A need grade of 100 indicates that it’s a high grade with a consensus of being the team’s top need. Explanations are given by some of the FalcFans forums members who contributed.
1. Defensive End
“Having only 28 sacks is woeful if you want to be serious about being a good team. Without a good pass rush your asking for trouble vs. NFL quarterbacks. Biermann and Sidbury are young and growing as players but a No. 1 defensive end is needed with more potential to be a sack artist and someone other teams fear. That player doesn’t exist on the Falcons today with Abe all of the sudden losing his abilty.” –thescout
“Grimes and Owens both showed potential to be solid starters, but both are far from sure things and there is little depth after them. Probable third round pick, doesn’t look like there is anyone gonna be worth taking where we are.” –DaveWaz
3. Outside Linebacker
“We need an upgrade at outside linebacker. Peterson faded and Nicholas was just okay. We could potentially use two better faces at outside linebacker.” –jagstang76
4. Wide Receiver
“I’ve seen enough of Jenkins. Really, really wanted to see what Douglas could’ve done this year. Ryan made a living at Boston College by throwing over and around the middle to slot-type guys. I want to see our offense use the slot receiver to max out the passing game. Jenkins simply doesn’t take enough heat off of Roddy, and Gonzo’s not getting any younger.” – widetrak21
5. Running back
“Turner’s injury revealed how shallow we are at running back. We depend heavily on a solid running game to open up the passing game and keep the defense off the field.” –jagstang76
6. Offensive Tackle
“Protecting our young quarterback needs to be a priority. Clabo is a free agent and hopefully ends up a restricted free agent. Baker has had serious injury concerns for 3 years straight… Possible first round pick.” — DaveWaz
7. Offensive Guard
“Blalock and Dahl are capable, but neither is a top player, so they could definitely find someone better. Depth is the more important factor here, and particularly someone that could push one or both players.” –Pudge
8. Defensive Tackle
“Our one starter is gonna get suspended and the other is coming off a major knee injury. Johnson is solid against the run but can’t pass rush at all. I think this could be a sleeper 1st or 3rd round pick if the right player falls to us.” — DaveWaz
“McClure is a steady, average center that against bigger players usually loses the battle at the line. The guy can’t play forever and a youngster is needed to groom.” –thescout
10. Tight End
“Gonzales is good but aging, and doesn’t have speed down the seam. A guy to help out in case he goes down and to punish defenses for creeping in would be very helpful.” –takeitdown
Pro Football Talk reports that former Browns head athletic trainer Marty Lauzon will be soon joining the Atlanta Falcons.
Lauzon would likely be replacing Ron Medlin, who served for the past sixteen years in that role with the Falcons. Earlier this week, the AJC reported that the Falcons and Medlin were parting ways. Per that report, the reason for the split was “philosophical differences.”
Lauzon himself resigned from his position in Cleveland this past June, citing person and family reasons for his decision. Lauzon had been with the Browns since their return to the league in 1999, and had served as their head trainer since 2005.
The AJC reports that Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave, who was garnering interest from other organizations to join their coaching staffs as offensive coordinator including the Houston Texans and the University of Virginia, will be returning to the Falcons for another season.
ESPN.com reports that former Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast might land in Atlanta as a replacement for assistant head coach Emmitt Thomas, who didn’t have his contract renewed with the team.
Pendergast spent one season with the Chiefs after spending five seasons as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator. This past season the Chiefs defense finished 29th and 30th in scoring and total defense, respectively. Pendergast also worked with the Chief secondary, which finished 22nd in pass defense this year.
Thomas had spent the past eight seasons with the Falcons, mainly in charge of the teams defensive backs during his tenure. But he also served as the team’s interim head coach for the final three games of the 2007 season after the departure of Bobby Petrino. Thomas was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star blogs that the Chiefs should hire Thomas to replace Pendergast, making the potential for a swap of assistants between the two teams.
The Vancouver Sun reports that the Falcons will work out Montreal Alouettes kicker Damon Duval next week.
The Falcons were plagued with inconsistency at the kicker position throughout the 2009 season, and signed Matt Bryant and Steven Hauschka over the course of the season. Duval helped win the Grey Cup for the Alouettes this past November by hitting a game-winning 33-yard field goal. Duval made 55 of 63 field goals during this past season and also punted 109 for an average of 44.8 yards. Duval has been a member of the Alouettes since 2005.
If the Falcons choose to sign Duval, it won’t be the first time he played for the team. Duval was a member of the team for most of the 2004 off-season. He was cut by the Falcons at the end of training camp in August 2004. Duval played at Auburn and was an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003.
The Houston Chronicle reports that due to the expected departure of current offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the Houston Texans are in the process of looking for a replacement and a potential candidate could be Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave.
Shanahan is expected to join his father, Mike’s staff upon his official hiring by the Washington Redskins at some point in the near future.
Musgrave is a candidate that makes a lot of sense for the Texans. He played two seasons with the Broncos (1995-96) when current Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator. He also coached current Texans quarterback Matt Schaub his first two seasons at the University of Virginia, working as the Cavaliers’ offensive coordinator. He would coach Schaub for a season as a pro, when he was first hired by the Falcons as quarterbacks coach in 2006. Schaub was traded to the Texans in March 2007 and came highly recommended by Musgrave.
Musgrave has spent the past four seasons as the Falcons quarterback coach, working closely with Matt Ryan for the past two seasons. He has previous experience working as an offensive coordinator, last serving in that role with the Jacksonville Jaguars for two seasons (2003-04) before arriving in Atlanta. He also was a coordinator for the Carolina Panthers (2000) and Philadelphia Eagles (1998).
Because the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans share the same overall record (9-7) and strength of schedule (129-127), they will flip a coin to determine which team will pick 19th and who will pick 20th in the draft.
This is not the first coin flip the Falcons have been involved in. They were in a three-way coin flip in 2008 for the 3rd overall pick. They won the flip, getting the third overall pick, and ultimately selecting quarterback Matt Ryan.
Last time, the coin flip occurred during the first weekend of the NFL’s Scouting Combine held in the middle of February. This year’s Combine kicks off on February 24.