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 Post subject: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:26 pm 
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I don't have the luxury many of you have being able to see the Falcons all season long. I can make some observations outside of statistical output based or analysis by people on this board or the talking heads. I take in most Falcon games by audio feed or reading an article about the game (my wife and I decided dropping the ridiculous amount of money required on a DirecTV subscription and Sunday ticket simply wasn't worth it). But that being said I'm still a devout fan with some opinions about a team that is coming to a crossroads.

Coaching: Plenty of folks are already calling for Mike Smith's head and I think it is premature. He had coached one of the more disciplined teams (penalty wise) and finally got over the playoff win hump. He could have called games differently but I don't think coaching was the demise of this Falcons squad. It was his first year with a new OC and DC. I'd like to see this crew one more season and realistically that is all we are going to be able to hold onto one or both of these coordinators considering the accolades they got.

Verdict: Keep Em

Quarterback: Oh Matt Ryan... How you tease us during the regular season with consistent and workman like routine. Baby Peyton in many ways but when the post season comes you become more akin to Tony Romo with some of your boneheaded interceptions and muffed snaps. That being said I can't imagine anyone else doing a significantly better job as we don't have a Russel Wilson or Colin Kaepernick waiting in the wings or better options elsewhere. Still debating the merits of a Top 10 QB is a nice quandary to have.

Verdict: Extend Ryan's Contract

Backfield & Tight End's: To keep this post from being too long I'll combine these two... It is rather clear that Michael Turner is done in the NFL. In addition to that it is quite clear that Tony Gonzalez will also be retiring this off season. Probably the biggest concern is how do you replace a legend and tired legs. You can't replace a legend and with Julio Jones emerging I'm less concerned about tight end. Fortunately, these days you can find quality replacements for starting running backs in the middle of the draft or even free agency. One is clear, Atlanta must replace Turner as Quizz is a great change of pace but not a starter.

Verdict: Look to the draft for a TE and/or RB; fill in as needed in free agency.

Wide Receivers: There is little to say here... Atlanta has one of the deadliest WR trio's in the league with Jones, White, and Douglas. Aside form adding depth there is nothing to see or do here.

Verdict: Stand pat; look for depth late in the draft.

Offensive Line: Falling under the better than I thought they would be category the Falcon offensive line was a solid unit throughout the season. A unit that has regularly undergone significant changes it would be nice to see this one remain intact. The biggest two questions on this line would be Sam Baker (UFA) and Todd McClure (Potential Retirement). I think Sam Baker has played well enough to be resigned by the Falcons for a modest price. I would not open the vault for him. If McClure retires the Falcons could open competition for Konz and Hawley to take over Center duties.

Verdict: Resign Baker (at the right price), and open competition for starting center between Konz & Hawley. Continue looking to add depth via draft/FA.

Defensive Line: Perhaps the most disappointing unit for me with complete ineptitude in generating a pass rush with a 4-man rush and even on occasion with a blitz package. John Abraham performed admirably but was clearly worn down at the end of the year with little support from the rest of the defensive line. Biermann remains a great rotational option but not a starter and I haven't seen the development many anticipated from Sidbury. It seems that it is time for Atlanta to stop experimenting and invest a high pick on a pass rushing specialist in the up coming draft. In regard to DT's Peter's sure did a lot to increase his stock in the post season and Babineaux remains a Falcon D-Line stalwart. Having Jerry and Walker on the rotation seems good enough for now but some shuffling of that deck maybe in order but is not a priority.

Verdict: Invest a top pick in a pass rush specialist.

Linebackers: A solid unit with good overall production for the Falcons... Perhaps the weakest link when it comes to pass coverage however with this unit being better in sniffing out the run and hitting hard than covering tight ends or the routes over the middle of the field. I'd like to see some more ball hawks on the depth chart to rotate in on pass defense packages.

Verdict: Look to the late rounds or free agency for depth.

Safeties: This was the year that Moore finally stepped up to his potential and Thomas Decoud the resident just barely above average player continued to be solid overall. While I'd love to upgrade Decoud (especially due to his arrogance) it isn't a concern for the immediate off season.

Verdict: Stand Pat

Cornerbacks: And now we come to the unit I'm most concerned about... Overall with the addition of Samuel this unit wasn't bad and played better than I expected especially after Grimes went down. We have one more year with this unit intact and then Samuel is a UFA (potential retiree) after 13/14 and Robinson comes off the books a year after that. Then of course we have Grimes who is a UFA this year. If Atlanta doesn't want to retool the secondary they resign Grimes to a potentially slightly below market deal considering the circumstances for 3-4 years and roll the dice with what they have. Of all the units this is one one I rebuild starting with the draft and then seeing what bargains are on the market in free agency. If Grimes commands $10-$12 million a year I'd be inclined to let him walk coming off a major injury and turning 30. If Atlanta can sign him up for a more modest $8 million then it's an intriguing deal for a 2-3 contract. Then there is a different DB on the Falcon roster that I think should be locked up and won't command a massive amount and that is Robert McClain.

Verdict: Let Grimes walk, resign McClain, look for a future starter in the top half of the draft and begin rebuilding this unit as the contracts of Samuel and Robinson expire over the next two years.

Special Teams: Both Bosher & Bryant are locked up through 2015 and aside from Bosher's performance dipping towards the later half of the season there isn't any reason to change out players here.

As I noted... My analysis isn't as nearly in depth as others can provide and just my casual observations. Feel free to call me full of crap and having crappy insight on this team. I think I fall under the umbrella most fans fall under... We support the team and follow them as much as possible but life often times is a bigger priority and we don't have football backgrounds. ;)

So... DB's keys to a successful off season:

- Dump Turner and find a replacement in the middle rounds of the draft or free agency if necessary. At $5.5 million Turner is no longer worth his contract.

- Use the top two picks in the draft to find a pass rush specialist of the future and/or defensive back to replace Grimes (assuming such players exist at the Falcons picks).

- Sign Matt Ryan to a contract extension 4-6 years me thinks.

- Continue adding quality depth to key positions to prevent the collapses this team experienced at the end of the season and into the post season.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:29 pm 
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I suppose I should note that replacing Gonzo this year isn't as big as most people think it is IMO. Julio Jones is a generational type WR a long with Calvin Johnson and we still have Roddy White and Harry Douglas to provide alternate threats. We can survive without an elite pass catching TE.

Provided we can find an answer to replace Michael Turner and bring the run game back to relevance in Atlanta.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:31 pm 
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I agreed with everything you said here except for DeCoud. He had a great season and don’t see anything wrong with him. So he likes to dance, big deal so does everyone. Also like to see if Mike Johnson can play right guard.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:33 pm 
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DeCoud had a good season certainly... I probably undervalue him due to his over abundance of cockiness and arrogance; which I suppose is a good thing but I'm not sure his talent matches up to levels of what he exudes.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:36 pm 
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If William Moore can stay healthy for a full season, he’s probably the better player compared to DeCoud. I just like DeCoud’s range, he has really developed into a great cover safety. That play he made on Davis was spectacular and you better believe I was laughing when he did the D-Generation X crotch chop. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:52 pm 
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I suppose I should note another option for Atlanta is to sign Grimes to 3-4 year contract and ax Robinson... I'd be okay with that approach as well seeing as Grimes even post-injury I would think a superior option over Robinson.

Not sure if the Falcons can eat the cap ramifications of cutting Robinson and giving Grimes a significant contract.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:51 pm 
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--Major Needs--
I'm going to start with with a caveat... I think that if Mike Nolan is going to stick around, we need to start transitioning to a 3-4 base defense. I am going to provide needs below based on a 3-4 defense.
Nose Tackle - To run a 3-4, this is the biggest key. We need someone who can occupy space in the middle. Jonathan Jenkins from Georgia should be that guy. Whether he is available when we pick is the big question. Perhaps we trade up to get him. If not, the backup plan would be Kwame Geathers, (also from GA) who we should be able to get later in the draft.

Right Guard - We've been dancing around this one for a couple of years. I think it's high time we addressed this seriously. 1st or 2nd rounder on RG. There are also two very good RG's who will be free agents in 2013, but they would cost us. There are also some solid guards available in FA who shouldn't break the bank, but would be upgrades.

Outside Linebacker - Assuming we get our NT, OLB will be the next area of concern. Kroy Bierman should be able to slide into the OLB role, and John Abraham could probably do it as well, but I'm not counting on Abraham being around next year. There are several big free agents available who would fit as a 3-4 OLB, including Paul Kruger, Connor Barwin, and Shaun Phillips. There will also be several prospects available in the draft.

Tight End - Martellus Bennet and/or Jared Cook. (draft class is WEAK at TE)



--Minor Needs--
Running Back - In my opinion, we already have the ideal guy to start behind Ryan in Rodgers. That said, I think Turner's wheels are pretty much shot, and it's time to look for some other young talent.
Safety - Though both Moore and Decoud showed that they are pretty darn good, Moore spent a LOT of time out due to injury this year, and Decoud seems to be hit and miss. Some depth/competition here would be good.
Inside Linebacker - I am unsure how Weatherspoon, Nicholas, and Dent would perform as ILB's in a 3-4 defense. Nicholas and Weatherspoon seemed to thrive in the role earlier in the season when we were experimenting with a hybrid 3-4. That said, I'd like to see some better depth on defense.


I think that we should aggressively address Tight end in free agency. I think that we should aggressively go after OLB or RG in free agency, and use a high draft pick on whichever one we don't land in free agency. Landing a NT should be our top priority. If Jonathan Jenkins falls to us, that's fantastic. If not, draft BPA in the 1st, leaning towards OLB or RG if we didn't address them in FA. If we don't land Jenkins, we need to land Geathers. He might be a reach as a 3rd rounder, but that's where I'd take him.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:26 pm 
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dirtybirdnw;

I think your insight is better than most..... That was a very good post without the emotion of
someone who doesn't understand when you go further than all but 4 teams; in your 5th year that's an accomplishment; and what we need is better players.

Then when the conversation gets turned to baseball and compare a Manager who won a World Series and kept us in the hunt; they act like they'd rather be the Cubs. It just shows you can't win with some fans that don't understand the odds of something going wrong; after you've gone further than most. That's why they call it a game!!

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Speaking of which, CF, sory to hear about the passing of your chldhood baseball idol, S Musial.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:09 am 
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Here's the basic template the Falcons should approach this off-season:

1. Sign OG Andy Levitre
2. Use your #1 pick on a DL. You want either the next John Abraham or the next Justin Smith.

If you don't get Levitre, then pick up a FA pass rusher and then use the #1 pick on a RG. Either way, the 2 biggest moves/splashes of the off-season should be used to solidify the trenches.

3. Devote a significant amount of your remaining picks to adding young, fresh playmakers to build around Ryan. Similar to what the Colts did last year with drafting Fleener, Allen, Hilton, Vick Ballard, and Brazill. For us, we're talking about a RB, a pair of TEs (one of which might come in FA), and a late round WR that can stretch the field on the outside.

4. Get a LB to help you out in nickel situations. Either a low/mid-level FA or a middle round pick. Basically you're looking for a Danny Trevathan (who the broncos took in Round 6 last year), preferably a guy that is considered a bit of a tweener at LB and S with speed. This player's primary role will be to cover Darren Sproles and Aaron Hernandez next year.

5. Make a decision at CB. Either cut RObinson and replace him with a younger, better player. Keep Robinson, and draft his replacement in Round 2. If you're going to re-sign Grimes, then make it a Terrell Thomas-like contract, which was 4-yrs. $17 million that included a big option bonus in Year 2. As you may recall, Thomas missed all of 2011 with an ACL injury, and then tore it again before this season.

Additonial Notes:

6. Also need to address the need for a dime safety to help deal with Hernandez/Gronkowski next year. The issue isn't DeCoud/Moore, it's the fact that we don't have a good 3rd safety. Preferably this will be a big CB that can play the run. Basically a Malcolm Jenkins/Aaron Beasley/Chevis Jackson/Brian Williams type of player. They are trying to groom Franks into that player, and he might be able to get there, but I don't like his chances against Hernandez, so if you can upgrade then do so.

7. We already have our 3-4 NT. His name is Corey Peters.

8. The draft class is DEEP at TE, not weak. It's not as top-heavy, but it's got depth like 2010.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:15 am 
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I'll start off with the defense, which I believe is our biggest area to improve. This defensive front got pushed around and couldn't impact the game, and that led us to so many close games and giving up leads. We have to improve the pass rush if we're going to stand a chance of getting to the playoffs let alone winning a NFC championship or Super Bowl. I agree with RobertAP. It's time to move to the 3-4 defense. I don't think Peters is the dominant NT we need up the middle. I like the idea of Jenkins, but I'd be happy with spending some money on one in FA if possible. This guy (like Justin Smith) is the turnkey of the defense and must be a major investment. The other DLs will make for really good 3-4 DE play and solid depth. OLB is the real problem right now in that Abraham probably needs to be done and Kroy (as much as I'm a fan of his) is not going to get it done in the pass rush. Perhaps we need to draft/sign a few LBs to give us some options. I really like the idea of a nickel LB/S who has speed. We got killed all year by the Joey Graham and Vernan Davis types. I like our safeties, but the CBs are worrisome. I think Grimes going down was a huge blow for the secondary. We never really saw how good the 3 could be. I don't have much faith in Robinson either, and Samuel is nearing the end. McClain is the only bright spot and he's not really what i'd call starting material yet. We might have to start over there too. I'm just tired of seeing this defense getting torched all the time. We need some dominance on that side of the ball. Even if we give up a couple extra weapons for Ryan, the balance has to swing that way or we'll never get where we want to go.

On offense, I like the idea of using later round picks for extra playmakers, Pudge. I could see us using a RB or 2 and a TE to go with Coffman/Palmer. I was pretty happy with how the OL played this year. I think a more passionate RB with some burst/punch would have taken advantage of what they were doing. That said, there's no reason we couldn't improve. I'd like to see us get a road-grader at RG. Levitre might be a good option, but I'd like someone who can generate a lot of push in the running attack. Maybe he does that and I just haven't seen him play, but we NEED in the run game. I think moving Konz over to C and installing a new RG FA would help a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:16 pm 
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ONe of the most overrated aspects of the 3-4 is the nose tackle. Yes, you need a good nose tackle to be a successful 3-4 team, but you don't need a dominant one. What separates the realy outstanding 3-4 defenses from the mediocre ones is having a dominant DE. Think about it, Aaron Smith was the catalyst for the Steelers for years, not Casey Hampton. The Patriots defense took a precipitous drop right around the time they traded Richard Seymour, yet kept Vince Wilfork. Look at J.J. Watt in Houston (they split the NT between Earl Mitchell and Shaun Cody), Justin Smith in San Fran (Aubrayo Franklin & Isaac Sopoaga), Baltimore with Haloti Ngata (yes, he's the DE in their base package, Kelly Gregg & Terrence Cody were the normal NTs), even Arizona with Campbell & Dockett & Antonio Smith at DE over the years and guys like Alan Branch, Dan Williams, and Bryan Robinson rotating in an out at NT.

If the Falcons are going to move towards a 3-4, they don't need to be concerned about the NT as much. Peters has the ability to be a solid NT although he doesn't fit most people's classic definitions. But he would be a good conversion option similar to Jamal Williams a few years back in San Diego. Peters is not overly disruptive, which is one of the reasons why I think his pass rush ability has been vastly overrated by many fans (and thus why I've argued throughout his time here he is at best a complementary player). When the Falcons get interior pressure over the past several years, it has almost always been Babineaux providing it, not Peters. Peters also doesn't make a lot of plays in the backfield. You constantly will see Babs shoot upfield up to a half dozen times per game and either make a stop in the backfield or whiff (whch has been the case too often recently). Babs is very disruptive, that's never been Peters game.

Peters instead is more of a run stuffer in that he can hold his own and eat blocks. He's not great there, but when you look at Peters in terms of his build, most of his mass is in his lower body. The guy has massive thighs and butt, which allows him to anchor much better. He'll need to bulk up, but the transition to make Peters into a competent to good 3-4 NT isn't huge. Maybe putting on another 10 or so pounds. At 6-3, he really only needs to be about 315-320 pounds (he's currently listed at 305). Walker is a similar type of player. The problem is that Walker is not as good at taking on double teams, but one on one vs. a center, he can be a very good power player. You don't need to invest significantly in a NT if you're the Falcons, because you have 2 decent candidates already on the roster that can rotate in an out with that player. It's about maximizing value, and adding another rotational body at NT doesn't add a ton of value.

I like John Jenkins, but it's an unnecessary pick high. Instead, the smarter decision is to look for a player like Sopoaga or Franklin in the mid/late rounds that can be developed. Unless a player has Wilfork/Ngata potential, then he's not going to be that high a pick. 3-4 NTs get a lot of hype in the pre-draft process, but in the end they tend to be late 1st/2nd/3rd round picks. Think Dan Williams, who many considered to be on the top DTs in his draft class (2010), but fell all the way to 26th overall. Last year, Josh Chapman and Alameda Ta'amu were at one point early in the offseason pegged as potential late 1st round picks, but both were Day 3 picks when all was said and done.

If Jenkins were to fall into the latter part of Round 2, I'd take him then because of his ability then exceeds the value you would normally get/expect around pick #62 or so.

But what you want with your 1st round pick is a player that has the potential to be a dominant presence up front. Jenkins flashes that ability from time to time, but is he going to be a dominant pass rusher? Probably not. You want an Aaron Smith/Richard Seymour/Justin Smith type of 3-4 DE that can routinely be a 6-8 sack guy every year, plus be a guy that can also be control his man and slant matchups up front vs. the run as those three did. J.J. Watt is the extreme example, but highly unlikely to find.

Or you want a edge pass rusher that has the capacity to be a double digit sack guy every year like Abraham. Those players are fairly rare outside the Top 15 picks in Round 1, so it's doubtful we get them. If you have to settle for a Ryan Kerrigan/Paul Kruger/Justin Houston type, then so be it. If he's just an 8-sack guy every year, then that's fine considering what Nolan likes to do. And you maintain the status quo with the capacity to build upon it in the future.

The goal here is to replace either Abraham or Babineaux by having a "go to" pass rusher like those two were in their primes here in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The type of guy that dominates lesser players as both did in those years, and against the top players will give them fits...on every snap.

That's hard to do when you're picking at #30, but if you have to move up 5 spots or so to get your guy, then so be it. The bottom line is that in Round 1, you consistently want to come away with a perennial Pro Bowl (or Top 5 at his position) player like a Sean Weatherspoon every year. If you're not getting that sort of player, or a very good complementary player (like a Ryan Kerrigan), then you might as well trade down and collect picks for future years or in the middle rounds to build depth.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:36 pm 
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I disagree with the notion that Peters will be fine as a 3-4 NT. A 3-4 NT needs to be able to control the A gap. That means having to contend with both a guard and a center. Corey Peters isn't going to be able to do that consistently. Corey is fine as a 4-3 NT where He can split the A Gap assignment with the UT. But in a 3-4, the NT will have to occupy two people. I just don't think that Peters can do that consistently.

I do agree that with a first round pick, you want to get someone who's going to be a top player at their position. But let's face it, we're picking VERY late in the 1st. How many perennial pro-bowlers will be left at #30? It might be possible to get someone on the OL who can be that guy... But any DE's that are worth a 1st round pick will be long gone by #30. There might be a Guard or RB left. But I would expect a pick at #30 to be a good first year starter who will be a very good player for a long time, perhaps even making a pro-bowl or two... but I wouldn't expect someone who's going to be dominant at their position.

Obviously, I listed a caveat that we could get Geathers a good bit later in the draft. He might even be the better option. But I would not go into 2013 thinking that Peters will be just fine as a 3-4 NT.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:51 pm 
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With the much tougher schedule next year:

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football ... son/nT3t5/

Free Agent signings (Both feep ours & bringing in needed upgrades)

http://www.ajc.com/gallery/sports/footb ... Q/#3040433

TD wii be earning his paycheck.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:06 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I disagree with the notion that Peters will be fine as a 3-4 NT. A 3-4 NT needs to be able to control the A gap. That means having to contend with both a guard and a center. Corey Peters isn't going to be able to do that consistently. Corey is fine as a 4-3 NT where He can split the A Gap assignment with the UT. But in a 3-4, the NT will have to occupy two people. I just don't think that Peters can do that consistently.

IMO, you think this because Peters has not been asked to do this before and therefore it's an unknown. But IMO, Peters skillset projects fairly well to this. Is he going to be Vince Wilfork? No. But as I've stated he doesn't have to be. Can he be Shaun Cody or Dan Williams? Yes absolutely.

The issue is that the two prime candidates for the ILB spots in the proposed Falcons 3-4 are not good at taking on blocks: Dent & Spoon. Therefore it's important to have a big physical NT that can control those A gaps. You want a Casey Hampton or Ted Washington that can allow those guys to flow to the ball more easily.

And Peters doesn't fit that classic mold. But again, I believe he has the ability to do so because I believe he is more than capable of anchoring against the double team due to his excessively large lower half. And watching Peters on tape down the stretch IMO he did a much better job than I expected taking on double teams. Again, I think if asked to be this type of player, his skillset projects much better to this than you believe.

But regardless even if I'm wrong, using a high pick on such a player is a waste of a pick for the Falcons. These players are a dime a dozen and can be had relatively cheap on the open market. Glenn Dorsey, Terrance Knighton, Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Casey Hampton, Alan Branch, Pat Sims, Sammie Lee Hill, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, etc. are all available FAs that can become stopgaps in a pinch which would then give you another year or two to evaluate Peters in that role. Then in 2014, you will have players like Soliai, Josh Brent, Terrence Cody, Kyle Love, Brandon McKinney, B.J. Raji, Cam Thomas, etc. as potential free agents.

Similar to fullback it really is a plug and play position, unless you really think someone "special" is available or a pretty good player drops a couple of rounds.

But IMO the move to the 3-4 must be precipitated with the acquisition of that Justin Smith/Richard Seymour/Aaron SMith type of player. If the Falcons do not find such a player this off-season, then IMHO there is no point in moving towards a stricter 3-4 scheme. Instead, going with the multiple hybrid scheme is smarter and maintaining the 4-3 principles because the majority of your players fit that skillset. Maybe that player is Margus Hunt, who might be available at Pick #30.

Without that player there is not much precedent for building a top-notch 3-4 unit, which obviously is the goal regardless of scheme.

As for good 30th overall picks, here are some of the really good ones over the past 15 years:

2011 Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, NYJ
2001 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
2000 Keith Bulluck, LB, TEN
1999 Patrick Kerney, DE, ATL

Some of the pretty good ones (or at least had the potential to be so)

2010 Jahvid Best, RB, DET
2009 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
2008 Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ
2006 Joseph Addai, RB, IND
2005 Heath Miller, TE, PIT
1997 Ross Verba, OG, GB

The outright busts

2007 Buster Davis, WR, SD
2003 Sammy Davis, CB, SD
1998 Marcus Nash, WR, DEN

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:14 pm 
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Is there any pass rusher worth moving up in the draft for like we did Julio? Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:06 am 
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starley657 wrote:
Is there any pass rusher worth moving up in the draft for like we did Julio? Just a thought.

I'm sure that a case can be made for a lot of players, but if the Falcons were to pull that again, there would be so much more heat than there was with the Julio trade... In a lot of people's minds, the Falcons need 2 DE's, a RB, a TE, a RG, an OT, and an OLB. If the Falcons gave up a bunch of picks again to move up to grab a top DE, they would be left with a considerable mess on their hands trying to address the other issues.

Another option to consider... It is possible that the Falcons could obtain such a player without giving up too terribly much... We might be able to work out a trade with someone who needs to do some rebuilding of their own. Perhaps we could pull another Abraham or Tony Gonzales type trade.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:11 am 
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starley657 wrote:
Is there any pass rusher worth moving up in the draft for like we did Julio? Just a thought.
Probably not. Granted, I haven't come close to finishing my draft evaluations. But nobody to me from what I've seen is "special." Probably the closest is Damontre Moore, but is he special, at least anymore so than Quinton Coples, Robert Quinn, Von Miller, etc. have been in recent drafts. Not from what I can tell, so is he worth moving up for? Probably not.

This year's DL class from what I can tell is going to be fairly deep similar to the 2011 class that produced Quinn, Watt, Kerrigan, Clayborn, Phil Taylor, Aldon Smith, Wilkerson, Cam Jordan, Sheard, Brooks Reed, DaQuan Bowers, Justin Houston, Fairley, Liuget, Klug, McPhee, etc. Will it be as deep, where a player like Houston who has Top 20 potential goes at pick #70? I don't know, I'll try and find out.

But some of the players i'm seeing being projected as 3rd and 4th round picks IMO have late 1st round potential. And thus the notion of the Falcons trading down if they don't love a player at #30 and getting a similar player 5-15 picks later is a pretty good strategy.

This is basically the same strategy the Ravens pulled a year ago by trading down from #29 to #35 and getting Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw hasn't quite proved to be a homerun at this point, but he's flashed solid ability. In an ideal world, we get what NE got from the Saints in the Ingram trade in 2011, which was a future #1 for moving back from #28 to #56.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:41 am 
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Well, if what we need is a good 3-4 DE to make it work, why not get one of the best over the years in Richard Seymour. He's 33 and looking for one last deal with a contender. I think he would help out our defense dramatically with his example and leadership. He would come fairly cheap and help us out in a similar fashion as Samuel did this season. We definitely need to draft someone to take over for Seymour, but it at least gives us some time to find the right guy. Margus Hunt does seem like an interesting prospect not quite unlike JJ Watt, but I don't want to take him because he's a athletic freak. My only problem with him is he's more athlete than football player, and you really need both to be good in the NFL.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:06 pm 
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Jagstang76, I think we'd be better off going with Kruger, Barwin, or Phillips. A good pass rusher is going to require a high draft pick, or a sizable dip into the bank. The only way that we're going to find a 10 sack guy in the draft is if we get lucky. I just don't see this team coming completely undone and going 4-12 next year. Cut Turner and Grimes loose and use some of the money to grab a top DE/OLB.

That said, I like the idea of a veteran presence. I believe that having Tony G around has helped the offense in a number of intangible ways. Perhaps bring in Seymore in addition to one of the three above. That would give us some depth, and allow us to have better talent in our rotation.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:58 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
I disagree with the notion that Peters will be fine as a 3-4 NT. A 3-4 NT needs to be able to control the A gap.


Depends on the 3-4. The Bum/Wade Phillips style 3-4s merely need a NT that can handle one gap, not two.

Further, this team's defensive linemen all round are lightweights for a 2 gap 34 and aren't a fit, IMO.

I'd rather have them playing Erk Russell's 60 than a classic 2 gap 34.

Finally, I don't think Mike Nolan is a 34 coach as much as he's a multiformation coach. He plays what his players can play
and what works.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:09 pm 
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As it stands currently, yes, our guys are lightweights. However, if we switch to a 3-4, grab a big NT, then we can move our undersized DT's over to DE and have a nice big front. Perhaps Babs, Peters, and Jerry would make fine 3-4 DEs.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Babineaux is a 3 tech, as was Warren Sapp. This is what happens to HOF 3 techs who end up playing 2 gap in the 4 slot..

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/guide-to-n-f-l-defenses-part-1/

As Babineaux actually has some good penetration skills, he's wasted in a 2 gap 34.

Not sure where you hide Mike Peterson in a 2 gap 34 either. The linebackers overall aren't big enough for a 2 gap 34 (think Georgia's Kendrell Bell; that's what you're looking for in a 34 ILB).

I don't see 2 good OLB candidates either on this team; the one good one is old.

JMO, but Mike (Smith|Nolan)'s defense is built around speed, not size, and trying to fit these square pegs into a round hole just costs this team way too much.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:56 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Here's the basic template the Falcons should approach this off-season:

1. Sign OG Andy Levitre
2. Use your #1 pick on a DL. You want either the next John Abraham or the next Justin Smith.

If you don't get Levitre, then pick up a FA pass rusher and then use the #1 pick on a RG. Either way, the 2 biggest moves/splashes of the off-season should be used to solidify the trenches.

3. Devote a significant amount of your remaining picks to adding young, fresh playmakers to build around Ryan. Similar to what the Colts did last year with drafting Fleener, Allen, Hilton, Vick Ballard, and Brazill. For us, we're talking about a RB, a pair of TEs (one of which might come in FA), and a late round WR that can stretch the field on the outside.

4. Get a LB to help you out in nickel situations. Either a low/mid-level FA or a middle round pick. Basically you're looking for a Danny Trevathan (who the broncos took in Round 6 last year), preferably a guy that is considered a bit of a tweener at LB and S with speed. This player's primary role will be to cover Darren Sproles and Aaron Hernandez next year.

5. Make a decision at CB. Either cut RObinson and replace him with a younger, better player. Keep Robinson, and draft his replacement in Round 2. If you're going to re-sign Grimes, then make it a Terrell Thomas-like contract, which was 4-yrs. $17 million that included a big option bonus in Year 2. As you may recall, Thomas missed all of 2011 with an ACL injury, and then tore it again before this season.

Additonial Notes:

6. Also need to address the need for a dime safety to help deal with Hernandez/Gronkowski next year. The issue isn't DeCoud/Moore, it's the fact that we don't have a good 3rd safety. Preferably this will be a big CB that can play the run. Basically a Malcolm Jenkins/Aaron Beasley/Chevis Jackson/Brian Williams type of player. They are trying to groom Franks into that player, and he might be able to get there, but I don't like his chances against Hernandez, so if you can upgrade then do so.

7. We already have our 3-4 NT. His name is Corey Peters.

8. The draft class is DEEP at TE, not weak. It's not as top-heavy, but it's got depth like 2010.


This is pretty dead on. They need DE and OG with premium picks. My ideal would be FA OG, trade back a bit and have 2 2nds and 2 3rds, and get DE, DT, WR, RB, TE with the 2nd through 4th round picks.

The importance of elitish OG, and 3rd round RB, TE, WR talent can't be overstated. IF this offense becomes mid tier, this is a 7-9 team. If they use 1st and 2nd rounders for DL, OL and all the rest for talent to surround Ryan (and LBs), then we're set up for years.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts into the Post Season
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:32 pm 
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dwmyers wrote:
Not sure where you hide Mike Peterson in a 2 gap 34 either. The linebackers overall aren't big enough for a 2 gap 34 (think Georgia's Kendrell Bell; that's what you're looking for in a 34 ILB).

Mike Peterson? Why would you even bring Peterson up? Is he really an important facet of the team at this point?

Yes, Weatherspoon and Nicholas would be a bit undersized for the 3-4. However, if we beef up the DL, that becomes less of an issue.

In terms of OLBs, you have to go out and get a pass rusher whether you get a NT or not. However, finding OLB pass rushers is a lot easier than finding DE pass rushers.


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