Archive

Archive for April, 2014

Takeaways from Last Week – April 28, 2014

April 28th, 2014 Comments off
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Werder kicked off a firestorm this past week

The buzz this past week centered around whether the Atlanta Falcons would trade up for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

This isn’t anything new if you’ve been around the Falcons for the past few months. Clowney has been on the tip of every Falcon fan’s tongue since November when it was clear the team would finish the year with a poor and subsequently a high first-round draft pick. Would it be high enough for the team to get Clowney? That question fractured the fan base into two groups: the tankers and the anti-tankers. The former group wanted the Falcons to lose as many games as possible to secure the highest possible draft pick, while the latter group wanted to see their beloved Falcons scrap it out and finish the 2013 season as strongly as possible.

Two guesses as to which group I fell into.

But now the media is a few months late to the party. I first began writing about trading up for Clowney during February’s Combine. But soon afterward, things went by the wayside and the Falcons went back to where they’ve been for most of the franchise’s existence: obscurity and irrelevance.

But now that rumors that the Houston Texans are keen on moving back from their No. 1 overall selection, the Falcons are now thrust back into the limelight. Given the team’s recent history for bold draft-day moves, their open admiration of Clowney, it makes perfect sense to link them as the likeliest trade partner for the Texans.

And now we find the fan base once again fractured into two groups: those that want the Falcons to do whatever is necessary to get a talent like Clowney, and those wishing the avoid Clowney like the plague. We’ll call them traders and anti-traders.

However, that’s probably an over-generalization. Instead, the majority of Falcons fans would probably be very interested in acquiring Clowney, but are cautious about the amount of compensation a trade with the Texans or any other team at the top of the draft the Falcons would require.

Clowney Adds Significant Talent to Falcons Defense Read more…

Draft Needs: Do Falcons Need Another Backup Quarterback?

April 27th, 2014 Comments off

While it’s clear the Falcons are set at the starting quarterback with Matt Ryan, there is an adage in the NFL that you’re only as good as your backup at that position.

Earlier this offseason, I discussed the team’s need at quarterback, mentioning the possibility that there is significant room for improvement in terms of their backup situation at the position.

Dominique Davis has talent worth developing but is he ready to become a starter in the unfortunate event that Ryan misses significant time?

It would be ironic that given the improvements the Falcons could make to their offensive line with the signing of guard Jon Asamoah potentially coupled with the use of a high pick on an offensive tackle, that Ryan could get injured this year. But that’s often how the cookie crumbles in the NFL as things rarely go according to plan.

Davis has struggled with his mechanics and his accuracy on intermediate and deep passes, which isn’t a great recipe for success if he’s forced to play more than a couple of series. Sean Renfree, a seventh-round pick last season, has struggled to stay on the field due to injuries dating back to his days at Duke. And in his first preseason with the team looked very rusty in limited reps.

I don’t expect the Falcons to draft a quarterback this year given the investments already made in Davis and Renfree. But this summer, if neither Davis nor Renfree show significant growth, then the Falcons may have to look in a new direction come 2015.

If a talented quarterback slips into the late rounds of the draft, given the high number of picks the team may have, they might be able to afford to draft another passer. But it’s likely any such player will still be a developmental guy that will take time to develop. That certainly could pay off down the road, but there is a more immediate concern at the position on whether the current backups are ready to produce if thrust into the lineup.

One positive is that Davis and Renfree remain eligible for the practice squad, along with any rookie added. Thus the Falcons could still manage to retain all three under certain circumstances.

But it still remains a longshot that the Falcons would address this position seriously in the 2014 draft.

Categories: Draft Central Tags: , , ,

FalcFans Weekly – April 27, 2014

April 27th, 2014 Comments off

Much of the news surrounding the Atlanta Falcons this week centered on rumors about whether the team would trade up for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Reports swarmed that the Falcons could swap picks with the Houston Texans, who hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 draft.

On Friday, Clowney worked out for the team in what wasn’t quite a normal workout, rather a biomechanical “force plate” test. Pro Football Talk has the scoop on what exactly went down. It appears that the test used on Clowney is far from a new development with the Falcons.

Vaughn McClure of ESPN indicates that the Falcons won’t make the trade up. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC is also suggesting that a trade up isn’t smart on the Falcons behalf as it may be a smokescreen.

In a related article, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson writes about the economics of trading up for the No. 1 pick.

***

The 2014 regular season schedule was also announced this week, and the Falcons are set to open up the season at home against their biggest rival, the New Orleans Saints. The war of words has already begun as Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had some choice words for the Falcons offensive line.

When it comes to the Falcons-Saints matchup on September 7, in the immortal worlds of Bart Scott, “Can’t wait!

***

Podcast co-host Allen Strk analyzes the schedule for Pro Football Spot.

***

The Falcons offseason program began this week. Mike Smith, Matt Ryan, Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore all spoke to the media on Tuesday and Wednesday and the official site provides the video.
Read more…

Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 4/27

April 27th, 2014 Comments off

It was a busy week for the Falcons as they worked out a number of top prospects and had them visit team facilities.

We reported earlier in the week about which players were expected to visit, but that was far from a comprehensive list. Here are the known visitors and they day in which they found themselves at team facilities this past week:

Monday:

  • Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Tuesday:

  • Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
  • Storm Johnson, RB, Central Florida
  • Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
  • Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
  • Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Wednesday:

  • Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
  • Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
  • Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
  • Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
  • Terrance West, RB, Towson

Thursday:

Friday:

  • Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (on campus in Columbia, SC)
  • Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina (on campus in Columbia, SC)

Saturday:

  • Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU (Source: ESPN)

Unknown Date:

  • Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
  • Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

We also learned of the Falcons’ interest in several other prospects this past week:

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reports that the Falcons have met with Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief. Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports that the Falcons have met with Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman. Wilson also reports the team has conducted private workouts with Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith and Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens previously. Whether or not any of those players were in town this past week is unknown.

 

 

Categories: Draft Central Tags: , ,

Trading Away Future Picks Rarely Works Out

April 25th, 2014 Comments off
William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning is the exception, not the rule to trading future first-round picks

I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

It’s a statement that is often used in reference to the possession of a firearm, but I also believe should apply to the possession of draft picks, particularly the more valuable ones at the top of the draft.

I’ve written multiple times over the course of this offseason about whether or not the Atlanta Falcons should trade up for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. And in light of recent reports it does seem that possibility is beginning to gain steam as we inch closer to May 8, the first night of the 2014 NFL Draft.

It has been hinted that the Falcons may need to part ways with a first-round pick in order to secure the rights for Clowney at the top of the draft, which is something that probably won’t work out in their favor if history is the judge.

This belief on the value of draft picks is based largely on past observations of when teams move up in the draft, particularly when it comes to parting ways with future first-round selections. I’ve outlined several trades over the past decade in which teams gave up a future first-round pick. There were of course multiple picks involved in these trades, but I want to remain focused on the first round:

In 2004, the Buffalo Bills traded back into the first round in order to select quarterback J.P. Losman. They gave up their 2005 first-round pick to Dallas Cowboys, who selected defensive Marcus Spears.

  • Losman started 33 games over five seasons in Buffalo, posting a 10-23 record as a starter with 33 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.
  • Spears played eight seasons with the Cowboys, serving as a regular starter for six of them. He collected 10 sacks in that span.

In 2004, the New York Giants gave up their 2005 first-round pick to the San Diego Chargers as part of their package to trade for the rights of quarterback Eli Manning. The Chargers would take outside linebacker Shawne Merriman in 2005.

  • Manning has started 151 games over ten years with the Giants, posting an 85-66 record as a starter and a career passer rating of 81.2. He has earned three Pro Bowl berths and won two Super Bowls as a Giant.
  • Merriman began his career with three Pro Bowl seasons in which he combined for 39.5 sacks, but injuries sapped him and he was cut midway through his sixth year in San Diego. In his final five NFL seasons, he appeared in just 33 games and had five sacks.

Read more…

Categories: Draft Central Tags:

Falcons To Test Clowney, Work Out Ellington

April 25th, 2014 Comments off
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney

Multiple reports emerged yesterday afternoon that indicated the Atlanta Falcons were the team “most likely” to trade up with the Houston Texans for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Coupled with the news that the Falcons would be traveling to South Carolina today to conduct a workout with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney following his visit to team facilities on Wednesday made for easy dot-connecting that the Falcons were on the verge of pulling off another blockbuster draft-day trade.

Clowney’s agent, Bus Cook, made headlines earlier this month by declaring that the prospect would no longer be working out for prospective NFL teams due to an injury suffered by Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas during such a workout. Cook indicated that Clowney may do a five-minute private workout for one team that wouldn’t risk injury. That created even more dot-connecting that the Falcons were the one team and today’s visit was the one workout that Clowney was planning.

However, other details given the initial buzz fell through the cracks. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Falcons would also be conducting a private workout of South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Later reports also emerged that confirmed that Cook’s earlier statements were in reference to biomechanical and aptitude tests that the Falcons were planning to conduct. Those tests would only last five minutes, which is unlikely to be worth the three-plus hour drive that it would take Falcons brass to get from Atlanta to Columbia, SC for the visit.

Read more…

Categories: Draft Central Tags: , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 64 “Not To Totally Get Into the Draft”

April 24th, 2014 Comments off

Allen and I are back to give our initial thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons 2014 regular season schedule. We go through each week and give a quick breakdown of the opponent. Later, we discuss the free-agent pickups of Josh Wilson and Dwight Lowery, ageism in the NFL, the direction the Falcons are headed in the 2014 NFL Draft as well as Allen’s expectations for attending the draft spectacle in New York. At the very end of the podcast, there is some explicit NSFW language.

Episode 64: Not To Totally Get Into the Draft [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

2014 Schedule

April 23rd, 2014 Comments off

2014 Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Preseason
Week Date Opponent Time* Result Score Notes
1 Aug. 8 Miami 7:00 pm
2 Aug. 16 at Houston 8:00 pm
3 Aug. 23 Tennessee 7:00 pm
4 Aug. 28 at Jacksonville 6:00 pm
Regular Season
Week Date Opponent Time Result Score Notes
1 Sep. 7 New Orleans 1:00 pm
2 Sep. 14 at Cincinnati 1:00 pm
3 Sep. 18 Tampa Bay 8:25 pm
4 Sep. 28 at Minnesota 4:25 pm
5 Oct. 5 at N.Y. Giants 1:00 pm
6 Oct. 12 Chicago 1:00 pm
7 Oct. 19 at Baltimore 1:00 pm
8 Oct. 26 Detroit 9:30 am
9 Nov. 2 bye
10 Nov. 9 at Tampa Bay 1:00 pm
11 Nov. 16 at Carolina 1:00 pm
12 Nov. 23 Cleveland 1:00 pm
13 Nov. 30 Arizona 4:05 pm
14 Dec. 8 at Green Bay 8:00 pm
15 Dec. 14 Pittsburgh 1:00 pm
16 Dec. 21 at New Orleans 1:00 pm
17 Dec. 28 Carolina 1:00 pm

 

* All times are Eastern and Stats are provided by NFL.com‘s Gamebooks, which are in PDF format. You can find a PDF reader here.

Click here to see the results of the Falcons 2013 Season.

Categories: FalcFans.com, News Tags:

2014 Schedule Announced; Falcons Open vs. Saints At Home

April 23rd, 2014 Comments off

The Atlanta Falcons 2014 regular season schedule was announced tonight. The team’s 13 opponents have been known since the end of the regular season, but the order in which they will face the Falcons was unknown until tonight.

One game had been previously announced as the Falcons would face the Detroit Lions in Week 8 in London, England. That game will be considered one of the Falcons’ eight home games, and will be played on Sunday, October 6 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

The Falcons open the 2014 regular season at home against NFC South division rival, the New Orleans Saints on September 7. The team opened this past season on the road against the Saints, and will have a chance to avenge a close loss.

Their first road game comes the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals. They return home on a short week to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Thursday Night Football, which will be simulcast on NFL Network and CBS in their first primetime appearance. It marks the team’s sixth consecutive home game on Thursday night.

The Falcons then catch a few extra days’ rest before traveling to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. They continue their road trip to start the second quarter of the season against the New York Giants. The team returns home in Week 6 to face the Chicago Bears before going back on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.

That is followed up by the “home” game against the Lions in London. After which, the team receives a bye week before returning to action in Week 10 on the road against the Buccaneers. Their first action of the year against the Carolina Panthers comes the following week on the road.

Week 12 begins a two-game home stint where they host the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. That is followed by their second primetime action against the Green Bay Packers on the road in Week 14 to be played Monday, December 8 on ESPN.

They return home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, followed by a road game against the Saints. They close out the regular season at home against the Panthers on December 28.

News of schedule’s release also came with a new stipulation about flex scheduling. Games can be flexed into primetime on Sunday night as early as Week 5 beginning this season. The league won’t be allowed to flex a game every week as they have a cap of up to two games over the six-week span from Week 5 to Week 10. Thereafter, starting in Week 11, the normal flex rules apply in which the league can flex any Sunday game into primetime if given 12 days notice. Thursday, Saturday, and Monday games are not eligible to be flexed.

There also will be a new “cross flex” procedure in which games can be flexed between networks of CBS and FOX. It will mean that to better balance out broadcasts, it will be possible that two NFC opponents could be aired on CBS and vice-versa for AFC opponents on FOX.

 

Categories: News Tags:

More Prospects Visit Falcons

April 23rd, 2014 1 comment

It’s a pretty busy week for the Atlanta Falcons as their offseason program begins amid the team hosting several of the top prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft this week. Earlier this week we reported on several scheduled visits for the team over the course of this week. But apparently those reports were far from comprehensive.

Yesterday, Central Florida running back Storm Johnson was in town visiting alongside three other prospects. It was already known that UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr would be visiting the team on Tuesday, but Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Louisville safety Calvin Pryor were two more that were in the Falcons facilities along with Johnson.

Read more…

Categories: Draft Central Tags: , ,