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 Post subject: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:15 am 
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http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football ... spa/nWdYw/

Wow, I thought Turner would be cut but am surprised by Abraham & Robinson. Wondering with the release of Duante if Grimes is coming back?

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:55 am 
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I can't say any of the moves surprise me in that Robinson was massively overpaid for his output and didn't match the Falcons defensive system. Turner was an expected cut.

I'm a little surprised about Abraham; but, this years free agent class is full of players like Abraham (Osi & Freeny for instance) so there are plenty of options out there.

Kudos to the Falcons for freeing up the cap space. Now, I hope they use it wisely to improve the roster. Seems to me that the Falcons are going into a re-tooling mode this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:10 pm 
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Turner was a no-brainer. Robinson move surprised me a bit just because there is very little precedent of the Falcons being proactive with their cuts, but it was never out of the realm of possibilities. Abe shocked me because given our issues up front, I figured team would supplement, not replace.

Freeney/Osi are basically the same as Abe, so it doesn't make a lot of sense IMO to dump Abe just to sign one of those two. Makes me think Falcons are looking to get someone younger with upside such as Michael Johnson, Kruger, or Avril?

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Officially switching to 3-4 maybe? Perhaps the big splash will be a big DT?

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Last edited by SmorgasBorgnine on Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:56 pm 
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Interesting... I believe that I called these 3 as being cap casualties late in the season. Might be a first that I was right about cuts.

Also, this might be a strong indication that we're switching to a 3-4. With Abraham out of the picture, we have ZERO 4-3 defensive ends that are worth a lick. We have two options, go out and find TWO 4-3 Defensive ends, (good luck with that) or we go out and get a 3-4 NT and a couple of 3-4 LB's. (not that hard really)

If we were drafting high, my opinions on this might be different. But we're drafting low, REAL LOW, and it's quite likely that we will continue to draft low for the next several years. As such, I don't see us being in a good position to draft a top 4-3 DE any time soon, much less two of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:02 pm 
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I think releasing Abraham and not trying to reconstruct his deal is a slap in the face. He gave everything he got to the team, absolutely ridiculous. I think it's an atrocity that he got cut because he is one of those players that can still be effective. He's easily one of my favorite Falcons of all time and this hurts a lot.

The other two were no-brainers and I'm happy it looks like Grimes is going to be re-signed at least. I know Dmitroff has something planned for the future to bolster the pass-rush but to me this is a sad day.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:29 pm 
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I like Abraham... But he is not who he was 3 years ago. Abe had some good moments this year, but they were pretty sparse. 35 tackles and 10 sacks. 3 sacks were in 1 game. He had 1 sack in the last 6 games, and no sacks in the post season. Abraham is still a good player, but he is at the twilight of his career. Watching Abe this year gives me a good indication of why Tony wants to retire on top rather than wait 1 year too long.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:37 pm 
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I've searched through messages from October, and can't find the post where I said that I expected Abraham, Turner, and Robinson to be gone. I found plenty of references to Turner and Robinson, but I could have sworn that I argued with someone about Abraham. The jerk store called, they want me back.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:39 pm 
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I'm not changing my pic anytime soon.

The whole unchanging salary cap idea just seems idiotic to me. Can someone with a modicum of business accumen explain the logic behind this?

Abe had three sacks in one game ...How many ATL defenders had three sacks in all of last year?

Trying to get past the anger, trying ...


Ok, I'm also of the opinion that a 3-4 negates ATL's two best defensive players: Babe is a penetrating DT, not a clogger, and Spoon is clearly a 4-3 OLB, not a 3-4 LB at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:58 pm 
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Babs could play DE in a 3-4, as he did play DE in situations last year. Bierman is also suited to a 3-4 defense. I think in a move to 3-4, the biggest hole is the NT. We'll have to go shopping for that. Everything else can be filled on the cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:22 pm 
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He could play in a 3-4, sure, but it's wasting the only guy left on this roster with any history of being disruptive. You want to focus on building to Biermann's strengths over Spoon's?

I'm not saying it cannot happen--I still expect to see elements of it--next season, but I don't see how getting rid of inexpensive 4-3 backups for some as-yet-unidentified 3-4 players is really plausible. We'll see: New Orleans is trying your idea for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:32 am 
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The Turner cut was obvious, Dunta, you know he grew on me, but alas, his contract was ridiculous from the start so it makes sense. Abe? not sure where this comes from, it's not like he was scheduled to make 10 million a year and it creates a huge hole. I'm disappointed in this one. Hopefully TD has something up his sleeve better than the Ray Edwards reach of two years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:53 am 
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Ray Edwards wasn't a reach. We actually got him for a pretty good price. However, he obviously quit playing football the moment he signed with us.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:14 am 
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samedi wrote:
I'm not saying it cannot happen--I still expect to see elements of it--next season, but I don't see how getting rid of inexpensive 4-3 backups for some as-yet-unidentified 3-4 players is really plausible. We'll see: New Orleans is trying your idea for sure.

Good mention with New Orleans. But with them, players like Cameron Jordan and Martez Wilson were 3-4 players in college. Curtis Lofton is an undersized 3-4 ILB practically. David Hawthorne has experience in the 3-4 from his days in SEA. So 4 of their 7 potential starters are "better" fits in the 3-4 than they are in the 4-3.

Do the Falcons have that? I don't think so.

Yeah, moving to the 3-4 IMO is going to have to be a gradual thing over a couple of years to make it work. Jumping headlong into without having a Cameron Wake, Antonio Smith, or Jamal Williams to form the foundation around. In our case, the only possible candidate up front is Spoon. And as samedi said, his best fit is as a WILL in a 4-3. It just doesn't make sense. Otherwise, if you were dumping Abe, then you might as well dump Babs too, since he's no better/worse than Abe.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:26 am 
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Emmitt Wrote"
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I think releasing Abraham and not trying to reconstruct his deal is a slap in the face. He gave everything he got to the team, absolutely ridiculous. I think it's an atrocity that he got cut because he is one of those players that can still be effective. He's easily one of my favorite Falcons of all time and this hurts a lot.


Abe got paid about 12 million a year and I think Atlanta treated him well. Blank and Smith and others said "thank you for your service".

I get emotional about my favorites too, but lets remember Abe was treated financially right here; and was used smartly concerning his getting older. I think Abe puts himself at Risk playing longer, he did an interview today with his Falcon Jersey and hat on and said " Atlanta did me right and I love it here. My family will be staying here!!

He was asked about playing for less money and said ' it usually doesn't work out"
its a pleasant experience for me when everyone seems happy.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Mark it down. I 99% agree with a Cyril post. It would be 100%, but I hate that pic in the sig. :shock:

I would have liked to have seen Abe come back, but at this point he is worth no more than $3 or $4 mill. I doubt he gets that on the open market.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised that they realised their mistake with Dunta and released him. Maybe TD did learn something in NE.


As for the switch to the 3-4, why does everyone assume that? Didn't Nolan come in last year and say he wanted to play a lot more nickel? Last time I checked that leaves you with six players up front to play a 3-3, 2-4 or 4-2. I am starting to think that some of you guys are saying it, so that if it happens you aren't surprised by it.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Spanky Ham wrote:
I would have liked to have seen Abe come back, but at this point he is worth no more than $3 or $4 mill. I doubt he gets that on the open market.

I'm not sure I buy that. If Abe had a repeat of last year, that is worth easily $7-8 million, which was exactly what his cap hit was.

Now, I can understand if the Falcons believed Abe was no longer capable of having that sort of production. But his dip in production last year IMHO was not because of declining ability, but not being a great fit in the scheme that Nolan wanted to employ.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:26 am 
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Spanky, it's easy to say that you want to play a lot of nickel when you have 3 top corners. However, that approach got exposed pretty quickly when we weren't able to stop anyone's run game. Plus, Grimes went down, and the nickel looked a lot less attractive. We started working Dent into the lineup.

The time tested method for having success at any level in football is to have a, 'front 7.' In such a lineup, you are able to defend against run or pass. The Falcons will have a front 7. Based on releasing Abe, and the lack of production from the other DL spots, I believe that we will make the switch to a 3-4 with the hopes of being able to create more pressure with less talent. This method has worked for a lot of teams in the past. Nolan knows how to make it work. I believe that we'll land a NT in the draft, and look for OLB's either in free agency, or in the draft as well.

We'll know in about 9 days... If we go after Johnson, Bennett, or Avril, then we might be sticking with the 4-3. However, if we make no moves on the DL, or we go after 3-4 OLBs (Kruger, Barwin, Phillips), then you might as well write it in stone, we are switching to the 3-4.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:26 am 
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By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons have a plan for free agency.

It’s just not real sexy, but it’s a plan.
By clearing salary-cap space, the team is $20 million under their adjusted cap of $124.3, according to NFLPA documents.

The Falcons, who were 10 yards away from the Super Bowl, now can try to re-sign left tackle Sam Baker and safety William Moore to keep them from hitting the open market March 12. Teams can start negotiating with agents Saturday.

There’s also the matter of cornerback Brent Grimes and tight end Tony Gonzalez as the team prepares for the long-term.

It now knows the parameters of what quarterback Matt Ryan’s contract extension will look like in light of the six-year, $120.6 million deal that quarterback Joe Flacco has agreed to with the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s a priority for us when the time is right, and we’re not too worried about it, because we’re confident it’s going to get done,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Our feeling is that Matt’s going to be with us for many years to come, and he’s our franchise guy.”

While they have some room now, there’s not enough cap space to pursue any big-ticket unrestricted free agents and lends additional credence to Dimitroff repeatedly stating that the team will rely on the draft.

Baker has played out the original five-year, $11.71 million contract that he signed in 2008. He is coming off his best season, but has yet to make a Pro Bowl. He should command a modest contract.

Denver placed their franchise tag on All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady. He’ll receive $9.8 million next season. While Clady, who’s been to three Pro Bowls, can demand a huge deal, Baker’s offer likely will be more in line with the five-year, $38.75 contract that Giants left tackle Will Beatty signed Wednesday.

Moore, who went to his first Pro Bowl after last season, has played out his original four-year, $3.4 million deal. It’s payday time for him, too.

Buffalo placed their franchise tag on safety Jarius Byrd, a second-round pick in 2009, who has been to two Pro Bowls. He’s set to make $6.916 million next season, the average of the five highest-paid players at his position.
Byrd was taken 42nd overall in 2009, and Moore was picked 55th that year.

The Falcons have not decided to use the tag on Moore and want to reach a long-term deal that would be more cap-friendly.

Last season, the Falcons re-signed free safety Thomas DeCoud to a five-year, $17.5 million contract. Moore’s contract should fall in the range of five years and $25 to $30 million. He’s considered a top-tier free agent by former team executive Bill Polian.

“Moore is not a spectacular player, but he could start for most teams in the league,” Polian recently wrote on NFL.com “He’s a good all-around type, solid in all phases of the game.”

By releasing Dunta Robinson, the Falcons are thin at cornerback. Brent Grimes, who suffered an Achilles injury that required surgery, will not be ready until June, according to coach Mike Smith, who said that Grimes’ injury required a nine-month recovery period. If Grimes fully recovers, his contract situation must be addressed. He played last season under the franchise tag and made $10.2 million for one game.

Polian also considers Grimes a top-tier cornerback.
“Solid young player, but injury concern (Achilles) might reduce his value,” Polian said. “He’s a starting-caliber corner if he answers his health question.”

As far as outside free agents, it appears that Steven Jackson, who reportedly will void his contract with the Rams, will be the top target in light of the release of running back Michael Turner. The reason for his release was a failed physical, according to the NFL’s transactions list.

Turner aggravated an ankle injury in the NFC Championship game. He limped off the field in the third quarter and did not return. The team did not announce any additional information about the injury or if he required offseason surgery.

Jackson could split duties with Jacquizz Rodgers, who had a strong second season. Jackson is an adept pass catcher out of the backfield and fits the scheme.

Former All-Pro defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora also are potential targets. Freeney had 13.5 sacks over the past two season and Umenyiora had 15. Freeney turned 33 on Feb. 19 and Umenyiora is 31.
But as Dimitroff said, there are a lot of moving parts in free agency.

- See more at: http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-falc ... ZZ0J0.dpuf

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:54 pm 
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I guess I should have said he is worth no more than $3 or $4 mill to the Falcons for next year. While some team will give him a chance, I doubt any team is going to give him $7 mill for next season. I can't recall any defensive player receiving a contract for more than $5 mill after the age of 35.



Robert,
I understand what you are saying about the nickel, but I have to take what the Falcons say at face value. Do I believe everything? No. Are they going to try to continue using more nickel? I have no idea. What I do know is I have never heard any Falcon mention moving to a 3-4. Ever. If you have this info, then please link it.

The fact is some people believe the Falcons are switching based on Nolan having coached the 3-4. Well, guess what? Nolan has also coached the 4-3 just as much.

Is it possible that the Falcons will switch to a 3-4? Yes, but I think it is very small and it is only based on Nolan which is kind of a short-sighted reason to do it.

Here is a question. Does anyone really think that the conservative Falcons who believe they were just on the cusp of the SB would be willing to make a drastic change to a 3-4 without the personnel to accomplish it?


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Spanky Ham wrote:
Here is a question. Does anyone really think that the conservative Falcons who believe they were just on the cusp of the SB would be willing to make a drastic change to a 3-4 without the personnel to accomplish it?

Truth.
:clap:

There aren't many good 3-4 FAs available. And it's stupid making that decision and then basically waiting until the draft happens before you find players that are worth building around.

Maybe the Falcons are moving to the 3-4, but it seems to be fan-induced speculation moreso than any hint out of Flowery Branch that suggests it.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Spanky Ham wrote:
Here is a question. Does anyone really think that the conservative Falcons who believe they were just on the cusp of the SB would be willing to make a drastic change to a 3-4 without the personnel to accomplish it?



3 years ago, I would agree with you..But after seeing TD give up 4 picks to move up for Julio, I'm not so sure I would consider them 'conservative'. If this season is any indication, they have given Ryan more free reign, and already done some imaginative things on D we never saw out of BVG. Remember the 'shifty-shifty' defense we saw for two games? I wouldn't 'rule out' anything at this point.

Why does everyone think we don't have the 'personell' to make the switch?

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:11 am 
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My point is that we don't have much in the way of a front 7 at all at this point. That whole line has been having trouble for the past few years. We can't just cut the whole bunch and start over, but switching to a 3-4 makes a bit of sense...

If we had a crappy team right now, I'd support investing further in the 4-3. With high draft picks, we could find the 4-3 DE's that we'd need to rebuild the line. But we are not a crappy team, and as long as Matt Ryan is the QB, I doubt that we'll be picking in the top 15 any time soon. It is easier to find talent later in the first few rounds that fits the 3-4 rather than the 4-3. If we believe that we will continue to be a winning team, it is in our best interests to switch to a 3-4 defense.

In terms of our current personnel, it is true that switching to a 3-4 doesn't exactly line up with their skills. However, they should be able to make due, assuming that we acquire some people to fill some of the more important needs in the 3-4. For instance, nose tackle, though not a big stat position, is pretty critical to anchoring a 3-4 line. A pass rush specialist OLB is another important consideration. Finding a good nose tackle can prove to be difficult, but there are a few good candidates coming out of college this year. In terms of pass rushing OLB's, they're all over the place.

The Falcons will have some work to do to make the switch to a 3-4. However, our current personnel in our current scheme obviously are not generating pressure, and they're having trouble stopping the run. I think a shakeup is in order.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:56 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
It is easier to find talent later in the first few rounds that fits the 3-4 rather than the 4-3.

Are you making that claim in general, or specific to this year? Because, in general that's not true at all. You look over recent drafts, and you'll find just as much quality 4-3 players (e.g. Von Miller, Spoon, Jason Pierre-Paul, etc.) as 3-4 players (J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, Bruce Carter, etc.) taken in the early rounds.

Also, again, the nose tackle position in the 3-4 is overrated. It's not a critical piece to the success of a good 3-4 defense. You need someone competent there, but unless he's a player like Vince Wilfork that can impact both as a rusher and run stuffer, then he's really marginally more valuable than your typical SAM linebacker in a 4-3, because he's in essence only a 2-down player. Especially when you look at how ineffective rookie NTs have been over the years (Dontari Poe, Dan Williams, Ron Brace, Terrence Cody, etc.). Even if the Falcons were to find a stud NT this April, that player probably won't impact until 2014 at the earliest.

There's a misconception that the 3-4 > 4-3. It's not really. When you look at good defenses over the past 5 years, if measured by teams that don't give up more than 320 points in a season, or more than 5100 yards, of the 31 teams that have done that in that span, 18 of them have been base 4-3 teams. Now I would probably concede that at face value, a 3-4 is probably slightly superior because it's easier to disguise blitzes with it, which probably makes your average 3-4 defense slightly better than your average 4-3 defense. But you still need the right personnel to run it, and the Falcons simply lack that.

Adding a NT isn't going to do a whole lot. As I've said before, successful 3-4 defenses are built around either the DE up front (e.g. Richard Seymour, Aaron Smith, J.J. Watt, Justin Smith, etc.) or a OLB (e.g. DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews, Aldon Smith, etc.).

So until the Falcons find such a player, the idea that they'll be better in a 3-4 than a 4-3 isn't true. But as I've argued before, that dominant 3-4 DE could just as easily be subbed with a 4-3 DT, as well as that 3-4 OLB being a 4-3 DE. The difference between the two players is minor, thus why there is no real need for the Falcons to go 3-4 over 4-3.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Cap Room Surprises
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:00 pm 
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It's not a matter of what round, it's where in the round. The best 4-3 defensive ends go very early in the 1st round. They simply don't drop to the end of the round. However, you can get some of the best 3-4 OLB's and DE's late in the 1st round. In addition, the talent pool for the 3-4 is much larger than the talent pool for the 4-3.

Let's face it, the key to having a good/great 4-3 is to have a pair of very good DE's. Unless we pull a couple of blockbuster moves, we're simply not going to be able to obtain that in the next several years.

I do not subscribe to the idea that the 3-4 > 4-3. However, I believe that in order to have a "stout" 4-3 defense, you need some top talent at the defensive end positions. For the past several years, we've had half of that equation in the form of John Abraham. However, we have all seen that with only half of that equation, we just don't get enough pressure. If we want to improve the defense with Abraham gone, that would require us finding the two most significant pieces in the 4-3, and it's one of the hardest positions in the NFL to fill.

I actually believe that the 4-3, provided you have the talent, is the superior front. However, getting the talent to have a dominant 4-3 is very hard to do. At this time, because of our recent success, we simply do not have the resources to build that kind of line. We would be better off re-tooling to a 3-4 for as long as we have Matt Ryan. (because as long as we have Matt Ryan, we will continue to draft at the bottom of the round)


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