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 Post subject: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:02 pm 
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http://falcfans.com/falcons-needs-defensive-end-7071

Falcons Needs: Defensive End
February 6th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Normally I would have followed up my needs assessment of the offensive line with a look at several of the offensive linemen that the Falcons could target. But due to the sheer amount of linemen I need to watch on film, I’m just going to skip ahead to other position needs and get to those free agents at a later date. So now it’s time to start to take a look at the Falcons needs on defense, beginning with the defensive ends.

The Falcons have their starters for next year already on the roster in John Abraham and Kroy Biermann. Abraham did not take to his new role in Mike Nolan’s defense as cleanly as hoped, but it would be an shock if he’s not retained. He is the Falcons best pass rusher by far. Biermann proved to be a valuable commodity in the team’s nickel subpackage that for much of the year became predominantly their base package due to his versatility. But the Falcons certainly need to upgrade their pass rush, as it was rarely affected the outcomes of games in 2012.

Both starters are signed through 2014, but the team probably will want an heir apparent under fold before then to succeed Abraham. Thus the Falcons will be looking for developmental talent in the draft more than likely. The ideal situation will be finding a young pass rusher in the draft that can make Abraham more of a part-time player and split reps with both ends. Due to the versatility of Nolan’s scheme, that will likely be a player that is comfortable playing both with his hand on the ground and off it. Abraham primarily played as a stand-up end with his hand off the ground. Biermann did both, but as a pass rusher mainly put his hand on the ground. When he stood up, Nolan often asked him to drop into coverage. The ideal player for the Falcons is someone that can do all three: rush like a linebacker, rush like an end, and also be fairly effective dropping into coverage. The prototype for this type of player would be Von Miller. An obviously, there are very few Von Millers that exist in the world, so the Falcons will probably be looking to settle for “Von Miller Lite.” A big part of the Falcons plan moving forward may rest in hoping that Jonathan Massaquoi develops into this type of player. But if they come across another player early in the draft that also fits this description, they should definitely pull the trigger.

The Falcons may seek free agent options as there will be a few that could come in and become immediately valuable starters. But given the failure that was Ray Edwards, the Falcons may be a bit hesitant to dive headlong into the free agent waters.

Another decision the Falcons will have to make is whether to re-sign Lawrence Sidbury, who will be an unrestricted free agent. Sidbury has flashed potential as a pass rusher, but his struggles against the run and his inability to perform on special teams have caused him to be inactive more often than not in his four-year Falcon career. While the Falcons do have nice backup options in Cliff Matthews and Massaquoi eagerly waiting for extended reps in 2013, it may be hard for the Falcons to justify letting a good pass rusher like Sidbury walk given their issues in that area. It may all boil down to price tag. If Sidbury is willing to accept a short-term deal that commits a minimal amount of guaranteed money, then the Falcons probably will be willing to keep him. If not, then he’ll likely be able to find greener pastures elsewhere.

Given the likelihood that the Falcons will add a pass rusher early in the draft, it means that they may not ultimately miss Sidbury as five ends certainly should suffice. Especially if the Falcons continue to rotate defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux at left end as they often did in the latter half of 2012.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:11 pm 
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I was the guys biggest fan, but Biermann played like J.A.G even in the nickle. This was the magic year that Kroy was supposed to 'break out' and IMO if anything he played about the same level as last year under BVG, and perhaps worse. This is begginning to look like Jam 98 2.0 :ninja:

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:24 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
I was the guys biggest fan, but Biermann played like J.A.G even in the nickle. This was the magic year that Kroy was supposed to 'break out' and IMO if anything he played about the same level as last year under BVG, and perhaps worse. This is begginning to look like Jam 98 2.0 :ninja:


A. No, he plays the pass a bit better and the run a bit worse than JA.

B. 5th rd pick vs #8 overall.

C. Ever see JA drop back in coverage? Know why not?

D. He's not Abe's replacement. He's great on ST, semi-decent as a 4-3 end, and pretty versatile as a 3-4 OLB. ATL does need to draft/develop another legit pass rusher, but I don't think anyone ever expected it to be Biermann.


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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:38 pm 
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samedi wrote:
fun gus wrote:
I was the guys biggest fan, but Biermann played like J.A.G even in the nickle. This was the magic year that Kroy was supposed to 'break out' and IMO if anything he played about the same level as last year under BVG, and perhaps worse. This is begginning to look like Jam 98 2.0 :ninja:


A. No, he plays the pass a bit better and the run a bit worse than JA.

B. 5th rd pick vs #8 overall.

C. Ever see JA drop back in coverage? Know why not?

D. He's not Abe's replacement. He's great on ST, semi-decent as a 4-3 end, and pretty versatile as a 3-4 OLB. ATL does need to draft/develop another legit pass rusher, but I don't think anyone ever expected it to be Biermann.



fair points. The best being 5thrd vs #8. But Jam 98 DID drop back into coverage at times.

I wouldn't call him 'great' on ST. He's good.

I wasn't expecting 'Patrick Kearney' type turnaround, but he didn't really impress me, either. He lacks the speed and power to get to the QB, and when he does, he lacks the grip to being them down. I would have thought after wrestling that wildebeast wife of his would have helped him out, but it appears it hurt him 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:18 pm 
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I really believe our defense would be better with a better athlete in Kroy's position. He is high energy but truth be told he only really gets to the QB when the secondary has everyone covered. He gets owned against the run and God-forbid a QB is able to identify him dropping back to cover the deep middle we would be in a world of trouble. I dont think we could just drop him but I dont think that he should have such a big role on defense.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:20 am 
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I disagree guys. Kroy was for the majority of the year our most consistent run defender up front. He's definitely the best DE on the roster in that arena.

The Falcons should not have to rely on him as much as they did last year because of his limits as a pass rusher. But he's a very good role player. He should be a 3rd end, but even if the Falcons use their top pick on a DE, it may be a year or two before he is good enough to deserve more PT than Kroy.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:15 am 
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Biermann is the kind of 5th round choice T.D. gets from time to time. Was J. Rogers
a 4th.? That's another good one.

I think the "doctors" screwed up our Ray Edwards free agent. They should have known he had a bad back. Every week he brought his own seated padded chair and I was told
it was because of a bad back.

You just don't just go from 30 sacks to 3 in two years for nothing. The franchise screwed that one up, but I've never heard T.D. make an excuse for himself like I will.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:53 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I disagree guys. Kroy was for the majority of the year our most consistent run defender up front. He's definitely the best DE on the roster in that arena.


wait. what does 'up front' mean? Was not Jam 98 much 'better' at run stuffing then he was at anything else? We did not get Kroy or Jam 98 to 'stuff runs'..Jam 98?! Didn't 'someone' around here say he would never grow into that role, and that he should have been a DT or in a different scheme? 8-)

Kroy was our most consitant defender on a D that could not down two ROOKIE QB's in his own house? :roll:


Or just 'up front'?


Pudge, 'consistent' and Kroy need not be used in any circumstances. Even 'run'. Man I'm sorry but I dont see it. J. A. G. ......................................................(at least he is not 'just a Grimes')

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:43 am 
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ATL got Kroy to be a 3 or 4 DE, and to play well on special teams. He is very good on ST.

ATL may over pay him now to be that, and he may get too much playing time because of how bad their DE depth is right now, but he's not the problem: Expecting him to be a DE 2 is.

JA was a very good run stuffer. I do agree that that is not what he was drafted to be, but very few 6-6 280# guys end up being effective pass rushers in the NFL, regardless of how many guys they bulldozed in college.


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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:40 pm 
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As was the issue in past years, people get far too focused on pass rushing. 40-45% of plays still involve running the football. Look, Kroy isn't a great pass rusher. I think everybody knows this. But he's probably are 4th best pass rusher on the team behind Abe, Babs, and Sid. He's also a good run defender, and has improved immensely in that area over the past 3 years. He's also a valuable ST player as samedi said.

You don't throw guys like that away. The difference between him and Jamaal Anderson is that Kroy is WAY BETTER pass rusher than Anderson was on his best days.

Kroy is a 5th round pick. He is what he is. As Cyril said, he's arguably the best 5th round pick TD has made (BTW Quizz was also a 5th rounder). He's from that very good '08 draft class, that I consistently give TD credit for unearthing, because it was an excellent group of players, and a big reason for that is because he was able to unearth a solid role player like Biermann there.

Kroy's cap hits in 2013 and 2014 are roughly about $3.5 million. Does that make him overpaid? Sure, but not by a ton. Maybe he's worth only $2.5 million. But compare that to Ray Edwards, who counted roughly $6 million against our cap over the final 4 years of his deal.

Don't forget the reason why we've seen so much of Kroy the past two years is because Edwards blew.
Cyril wrote:
You just don't just go from 30 sacks to 3 in two years for nothing.

My theory is this: He wasn't that good in Minnesota. He produced because he was often matched up one on one against inferior RTs, as well as he never had to deal with double teams because Jared Allen and Kevin Williams were consuming those. Plus their pressure would help flush the QB into him.

It's interesting that since he left Minnesota, the player that was very similar to Biermann here in Brian Robison has easily stepped into his mantle and been productive. Robison had 13.5 sacks over the course of 4 years mainly as a backup (FYI, Biermann has 14.5 in the past 4 years). Then the past two years, he's had 8 and 8.5 sacks, which are exactly the totals Edwards had in 2009 and 2010 before coming to Atlanta.

I think the Falcons were probably a bit more desperate to upgrade their pass rush in 2011, and basically overlooked several red flags with Edwards, including the injury that he did not rehab during the off-season because he was more focused on a boxing career. I also don't think the Falcons did their homework in regards to his character. He was not known as the best character guy going all the way back to his days at Purdue. He left there early, and IMO at the time I thought he quit on that Purdue team and his coaching staff because of a subpar season.

I think TD is discerning enough to know these things, but again I think desperation ruled over all. I think part of that problem is that the Falcons probably were too focused on the Packer game as opposed to the 2010 season as a whole, and basically their 2011 off-season moves (principally Jones & Edwards) were more with the mindset of "If we had these guys against hte Packers we would have won that game" as opposed to "If we had these guys for an entire year, it would make us better for the entire year."

I think the latter is how you should approach the off-season, and not just one game, especially one playoff game. I think fans tend to do that as well when it comes to playoff losses, as people are much too focused on what went wrong in the 49er game, and not paying attention to the other 17 games we played this past year.

Not to mention, I think the Falcons wrongly concluded why they lost that Packer game in 2010. It's not because they didn't have a playmaker at WR instead of Michael Jenkins or another good pass rusher opposite Abe. It was a conglomeration of several factors from coaching to gameplan to multiple personnel issues, not just 2.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:06 pm 
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Well in all 18 games we played this past season we couldnt get to the QB consistently. We need a pass rusher in the worst way.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons Needs: Defensive End
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:44 pm 
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The Mattural wrote:
Well in all 18 games we played this past season we couldnt get to the QB consistently. We need a pass rusher in the worst way.

I don't disagree with that. But the conclusion shouldn't become, "Well he stinks" or "He's worthless" or "I'm starting to want to give up on him." But it's not an easy thing to find.

I think everybody agrees that the Falcons can do a lot better than Kroy at DE. But I disagree that he is approaching "Jamaal Anderson territory."

And I don't think people should assume that the Falcons will manage to find a DE this off-season that is going to come in right away and start and outproduce him right away. It could happen, but it's probably not that realistic. In a perfect world, the Falcons will be able to get a "Von Miller Lite" that can come in and split reps with Abe & Kroy. Abe could move to being more of a 3rd down specialist, and Kroy can steal his reps on run downs. And whatever incoming DE can also play some on early downs, but also be good enough to play on third downs as well. That new guy will be a blend of both Kroy and Abe, basically Abe's pass rushing skills with Kroy's versatility to be able to drop into coverage and play the run.

But picking at #30 it is doubtful we're going to find that player. Or at least if we do, it's going to take a year or two before that player becomes that player. Now a month from now, I might be singing a different tune after I've gotten a better look at the draft prospects. But as it has been said before, there aren't a lot of really good pass rushers that weren't Top 15 picks. Frankly, if you need help at any of the premium positions (QB, LT, pass rusher, and CB) and don't have a Top 15 pick, more than likely you're going to be screwed.

It's unfortunate for the Falcons that they arguably have weaknesses at 3 of those 4.

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