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 Post subject: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:55 am 
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http://falcfans.com/preseason-week-2-stock-report-8764

Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
August 18th, 2013 Aaron Freeman Edit Leave a comment Go to comments
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Konz appears to have found a home at center

This is the third installment in the weekly stock reports, assessing which Falcon players have improved or diminished their stock for making the Falcons roster and/or potentially contributing in 2013.

Last week I indicated that four players’ stock was down: QB Dominique Davis, TE Levine Toilolo, OT Ryan Schraeder, and CB Dominique Franks. Without going into great detail, all four players improved their performances against the Ravens. Franks stood out the most as he was arguably the most impactful defender on the field once the starters went out. He blanketed Ravens wideout LaQuan Williams, and made it nearly impossible for backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor to complete a pass to the young receiver. But rather than rehash previous players, I’ll indicate some new faces that were able to raise their stock within the past week.
Stock Up



RB Antone Smith – After a strong preseason debut by Ronnie Wingo, Smith’s grip on a roster spot seemed a bit more tenuous especially given the time he missed due to injury. But Smith responded with a solid performance against the Ravens. As a rusher, Smith was unimpressive. He rushed for 16 yards on 6 carries (2.7 avg). None of his first five carries proved successful, until his sixth and final carry of five yard where he was able to bounce a play to the edge. He is being pushed for what is expected to be the fourth running back spot by a trio of youngsters in Josh Vaughan, Ronnie Wingo, and Donald Russell. That trio combined for 12 carries and 67 yards (5.6 avg) against the Ravens. Seven of those dozen combined carries (58.3%) were successful runs. Vaughn looked particularly impressive, with his first four carries all counting as successes. But Smith showcased excellent speed, which can be valuable in both the passing game and on special teams. He was able to use that speed on the edge on a pair of catches in the flat that went for a combined 40 yards, almost all of it coming after the catch where he streaked by Ravens’ defenders. That speed also came into handy on special teams where he was able to get downfield quickly and cover punts, including downing one at the Ravens’ own 2-yard line. While Smith doesn’t offer the same long-term potential as a runner that the other young backs on the roster do, he does offer immediate value in the passing game, thus complementing Matt Ryan well, and on special teams, meaning he can be active and contribute every Sunday.

OC Peter Konz – While I did highlight Konz as a player whose stock was rising a week ago, it should be mentioned that it continues to rise after a standout game against the Baltimore Ravens. He faced 4-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and was highly effective in controlling the 340-pounder. As mentioned previously, former Falcons center Todd McClure routinely struggled against big 3-4 nose tackles. But if Thursday night is any indcator, that will no longer be an issue with Konz playing the pivot.
Stock Down

WR Martel Moore – After earning early praise during the first two weeks of training camp, Moore has been extremely quiet during the team’s first two preseason games. He did register a 7-yard catch against the Ravens but after being considered a potential candidate to win the Falcons’ fifth wide receiver position, it appears now that the best he can do is earn a practice squad spot. Not unless he can really step up his production over these final two preseason games.

LB Stephen Nicholas – His grip on a roster spot seems to be growing more tenuous with each passing day. It reached a point where Nicholas was splitting reps with undrafted rookie Joplo Bartu among the starters against the Ravens. Then on Saturday, he suffered an apparent injury and was forced to leave practice. Due to his high contract and the emergence of some young players, the odds that Nicholas is released at the end of the summer has risen from a remote possibility to a near likelihood.

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:25 pm 
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I believe that many of us were fairly confident that Konz would be fine at center. He was getting out-muscled at guard, which really wasn't a big surprise.

Smith is a special teams ace. We should use him more often on kickoff/punt returns. That said, I think that I'm leaning towards letting Snelling go, keeping Jackson, Rodgers, Smith, and Vaughn, and sticking Wingo on the practice squad. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Snelling, but he is getting older. If something was to happen to Ewing, bring Snelling back in to play FB.


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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:14 pm 
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F*** Ewing. They should have never drafted him in the first place and just plugged Snelz in there.

#DumbDraftDecisions

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:42 am 
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I agree about Konz, but still have a wait and see attitude.

Even in preseason when first strings go against first strings; everything changes on that first regular season game. Blitz's start coming; things speed up; and you really see your team. I feel more positive than I did!! (I think)

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:37 am 
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Pudge wrote:
F*** Ewing. They should have never drafted him in the first place and just plugged Snelz in there.

#DumbDraftDecisions



well, I think alot of the evaluation of 'Snailing' overlooks the fact that while being the teams reliable 'backup', he also plays ALOT on ST as well as taking over Ewing's FB duties... I may be wrong, but I think this has the effect that later in the game, he gets a little gassed...Now, maybe if Ewing can stay healthy, and takeover Snelling's ST play, and pound the FB position...then you might see a different Snelling?

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:54 pm 
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Mike Cox played 178 snaps last year in 10 games. Or 17.8 per game. Jason Snelling played 261 in 18 games, or 9.9 per game. If Snelling was the team's fullback, we're talking maybe 10 additional snaps per game. Or 160 over the course of the season, I don't think it's going to be a problem.

And if Snelling was to wear down and get hurt, the fullback is a throwaway position in our offense. Just throw in another WR or TE and you're OK. Michael Palmer was a decent option in the backfield.

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Mike Cox played 178 snaps last year in 10 games. Or 17.8 per game. Jason Snelling played 261 in 18 games, or 9.9 per game. If Snelling was the team's fullback, we're talking maybe 10 additional snaps per game. Or 160 over the course of the season, I don't think it's going to be a problem.

And if Snelling was to wear down and get hurt, the fullback is a throwaway position in our offense. Just throw in another WR or TE and you're OK. Michael Palmer was a decent option in the backfield.



okay, fair points. But: how much in those 10 games Cox-ed did he play on ST?

Snelling played every game, at every position asked. Snelling is not 'designed' to be a FB, nor is Palmer ( shudder). I know you dont 'like' the position, but as long as were using it, I want the best guy available to staff it. BUt one thing I think Snelling has proven, is he will do what he is asked..Well, if we have guys like Cox, or A Smith, or Ewing that can replace him on ST, that might open him up more. With a viable hands threat in SJax and Quizz, the addition of Snelling used correctly could be valuble backup options if one of the four of the Fabulous Five go down....just sayin :up:

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:10 pm 
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Worrilow's stock has to be soaring right now. That kid is playing like he wants a spot really, really bad...

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:45 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
okay, fair points. But: how much in those 10 games Cox-ed did he play on ST?

Snelling played every game, at every position asked. Snelling is not 'designed' to be a FB, nor is Palmer ( shudder). I know you dont 'like' the position, but as long as were using it, I want the best guy available to staff it. BUt one thing I think Snelling has proven, is he will do what he is asked..Well, if we have guys like Cox, or A Smith, or Ewing that can replace him on ST, that might open him up more. With a viable hands threat in SJax and Quizz, the addition of Snelling used correctly could be valuble backup options if one of the four of the Fabulous Five go down....just sayin :up:

If Cox played on ST, he didn't impact very much. But I honestly wouldn't take Snelz off ST. He's too good there. Falcons already lost Dent and WEems on ST, they can't afford to lose another guy.

Snelling isn't the ideal FB, but he's been consistent and productive when asked to play that role over the years (usually when Ovie was hurt, or last year when Polite was sucking). But i believe the modern era of the league is going away from the traditional lead-blocking FB. You know I loved me some Ovie Mughelli and will always have a warm place in my heart for a physical, smashmouth FB. One of the reasons why I'm not in love with Ewing is because he was never that guy at Wisconsin, and I don't believe will be that guy in the pros. But can he be an effective player? Yes. BUt the Falcons won't get a ton of usage out of him.

People talked up his ability to contribute in the passing game. Well he's just average there. If you want a FB that can contribute in the passing game, why not put a WR/TE at that spot (see Evan Rodriguez, James Casey, Marcel Reese)? If you want a FB that can tote the rock occasionally, then get a RB (see Leonard Weaver, John Kuhn). If you want an athlete, then you can find those guys elsewhere (see Michael Robinson). If you want a thumper, then why not convert some hard-hitting LB or undersized DE (see Bruce Miller, Spencer Larsen)? If you just want someone that can contribute on ST and take the occasional snap on offense, then again, why not put a LB there (hey, don't you think Stephen Nicholas could've made a pretty good FB in his day?)?

To me the league is moving away from the traditional FB, because smart teams figured out that you don't need a lead blocker esp. if you have a good QB, because a guy that can clear running lanes doesn't help a QB out one bit. And if all you want is a guy that just plays 10-15 snaps per game, then you can plug and play with a converted QB/RB/WR/TE/LB/DE. Smart teams realized that your offense is better if you put a good WR on the field or a 2nd good TE on the field (see Colts, Patriots). What's better for your QB/offense? A FB that may carry the ball 5 times and catch 15 passes in a year, or a #3 WR like Brandon Stokley or #2 TE like Aaron Hernandez or Coby Fleener that can catch 40-60 passes per year? It's a no-brainer.

Just look at Snelling. He has shown he's more than capable of getting 100-150 carries per game and catch 40-50 passes per year? Even if he's 30% less effective blocker than Ewing (which I don't believe he would be), that's easily offset by the 50%-100% increase in his offensive output he potentially could add.

There's really just no defense of the Ewing pick. The only one being if Ewing becomes an elite/near-elite lead blocker and the value he adds there offsets any of the potential value the Falcons could have had by going in another direction.

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:35 pm 
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I agree with everything you just said Pudge. Fullback is not going to see the field much in our offense. I really don't know why we went with Ewing in the first place. That said, people at camp said that things look completely different with Ewing as lead blocker for Jackson... <shrug>


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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:04 am 
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Pudge wrote:

Just look at Snelling. He has shown he's more than capable of getting 100-150 carries per game and catch 40-50 passes per year? Even if he's 30% less effective blocker than Ewing (which I don't believe he would be), that's easily offset by the 50%-100% increase in his offensive output he potentially could add.

There's really just no defense of the Ewing pick. The only one being if Ewing becomes an elite/near-elite lead blocker and the value he adds there offsets any of the potential value the Falcons could have had by going in another direction.



Okay, I get your point, and I agree that the Ewing pick was a wasted pick....However, that being said..

From what I gather, the NFL is a cyclical league...Sure, right now we are witnessing the rising of pass-oriented offenses, but give it a couple years, and someone will figure out a new wrinkle at the FB position, and then it will become popular again...

BUt I digress..

I still maintain we really dont 'know' what kind of player Snelz could be because he was a seventh round pick, who was relegated to primarily backup play to Turner..I remember in '07 when everyone was calling him a bum, and I believe back then I said something along the lines of 'he is never going to be a RB that can carry a team, but if he gets more playing time, he could work his way into a complimentary role'. Which he has..But I'm not sure I agree with he has to play ST, because he is just 'too good'. What that basically tells me, this team cannot seem to develop any other players on ST's. Why can't A Smith do that job? We have to keep our 3rd RB, who becomes much more important if SJax goes down on ST's and we can't find someone to do that, especially since they changed the kickoff rules, and now more teams then ever are just putting the ball in the stands?

Just seems kinda risky to me. :ninja:

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:48 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
From what I gather, the NFL is a cyclical league...Sure, right now we are witnessing the rising of pass-oriented offenses, but give it a couple years, and someone will figure out a new wrinkle at the FB position, and then it will become popular again...

It's not for everybody. If you're a team like Minnesota, then investing into quality fullbacks makes sense because the centerpiece of your offense is Adrian Peterson, not Christian Ponder. And you want to complement AP more than you do Ponder to make yourself into the best offense possible. But for Atlanta, clearly our best player is Matt Ryan. That's been the case since 2011 if not 2010, and likely will remain so at least for another 5-7 years. Unless a FB is a good pass protector (which Ovie was) or is going to catch 30+ passes, he's not going to really help Matt Ryan very much.

fun gus wrote:
What that basically tells me, this team cannot seem to develop any other players on ST's.

Well, I'll say this...if it was easy to develop good ST players, then players like Larry Izzo, Coy Wire, Elbert Shelley, Ike Reese, Tracy White, Don Davis, Keith Burns, and Brendon Ayanbadejo wouldn't have all been able to play 8+ years in the NFL.

Simple truth is that Eric Weems and Dent were very good ST players for us in 2011. And Drew Davis is a far cry from Weems. He's decent, but not nearly as good. And the Falcons haven't yet stumbled upon a good LB to replace Dent yet. Maybe that's Worrilow, Schiller or another guy, we shall see. I think it's one of the reasons why the Falcons drafted Ishmael & Motta this year, because of their potential to be outstanding ST players, but only mediocre defensive players.

And you may not be aware, but Jacquizz Rodgers plays a lot of ST. No, not just as a returner. But he works on coverage from time to time, and even when he wasn't actually returning kicks, he was on the kickoff team blocking.

The only skill position players that get away with not playing ST on offense are obviously the big 5 and Harry Douglas. But even now I think the Falcons are going to use Douglas on PRs this year so that he finally starts to earn his keep. Toilolo is out there covering kicks and working on the punt team.

Nicholas still plays ST on occasion. Grimes did even when he was a starter. Biermann does as well. I expect Massaquoi will still continue to cover kicks even though his role on defense is expected to be larger.

This is why they allow you to active 46 players. Typically on any given Sunday, only about 36 are going to play regular offense/defense. The other 10 are purely ST players, but you gotta get 11 on the field, so a few of your defensive/offensive regulars have to be ready/willing.

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:11 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
This is why they allow you to active 46 players. Typically on any given Sunday, only about 36 are going to play regular offense/defense. The other 10 are purely ST players, but you gotta get 11 on the field, so a few of your defensive/offensive regulars have to be ready/willing.


Surely you exaggerate? I have to think a few are backups who have some role on ST, but aren't "purely ST." Davis and the swing tackle (who does likely man the punt line, but not because he was the best at that job) are the obvious ones; a few others might crop up week-to-week based on injury needs.

I get that they likely do play ST, but to say "purely" seems to overstate that importance a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Do the math, here's typically the players expected to play offense and defense for the Falcons in the past:

QB - 2
RB - 3
FB - 1
WR - 3
TE - 2
OL - 7
DE - 4
DT - 4
LB - 3
CB - 3
S - 2

That's 34 players. If you want to add the 4th WR in Drew Davis who typically may see 3-5 offensive snaps unless there's an injury or blowout, that makes 35. Now if the Falcons play more dime this year, you can add another DB, and that will make 36.

The 3rd QB doesn't play unless there's an injury. Antone Smith is the 4th RB, and he plays only ST. The 5th WR, Kevin Cone last year only plays ST. Cliff Matthews opened the season as the 4th DE thanks to an injured Sidbury, and got 12 snaps in Week 1 vs. KC. Then over the next 9 weeks where Edwards & Sid were the 3rd & 4th DEs, Matthews and Massaquoi, the 5th & 6th DEs didn't see a single snap on defense. Then after they cut Edwards after Week 10, and basically benched Sid (he would only be active for 2 more games the rest of the year, in which he played 0 defensive snaps), Matthews was the 3rd DE, but Massaquoi barely played as the 4th DE. He did get 4 snaps in Week 11 vs. Arizona but the rest of his 23 snaps came because someone above him (Matthews/Abraham) was injured. The 4th LB, Mike Peterson, outside the 4 games where he was filling for an injured Nicholas & Spoon, got a total of 14 snaps last year. The 5th LB, Robert James got 7 snaps all year. Chris Owens, the 4th CB last year, got 30 snaps the first 2 weeks as the team's nickel corner, then got concussed in Week 2 vs. Denver, sat out the next 2 weeks. Then he came back for Washington, and over the next 5 weeks, played a grand total of 14 snaps on defense. Then he got 25 snaps vs. Arizona, as an injury replacement for Asante Samuel. He got 77 mroe snaps over the next 3 games thanks to Asante being in and out of the lineup. Then in Week 15 vs. the Giants, the Falcons made the switch over to Franks and more dime (Owens did not play a single defensive snap in Weeks 15 & 16), as Franks got 61 snaps in those 2 weeks. Then with Owens injured in Week 17, and Dunta going down early in that game, Franks again got about 36 snaps that week. Outside the 4 weeks he was filling in for an injured William Moore, Chris Hope the 3rd safety saw only 16 snaps all year on defense. Charles Mitchell, the 4th safety got 2.

All but 10 of Tommy Gallarda's 85 snaps came in the weeks where Michael Palmer was injured, and he was the 3rd TE. After he was injured, Coffman as the 3rd TE got 1 snap in 6 of hte 7 games where he appeared on offense. In the 7th (vs. Seattle), he got 2 snaps.

That's 13 guys, including the 3rd string QB, which doesn't count the 3 guys (kicker, punter, long snapper) that are indeed purely special teams players. 2 or 3 snaps here, 5 snaps there on offense/defense. Probably in the vast majority of those cases those snaps come from the fact that one of "Big 36" ahead of them just needs a breather on the sideline for a series or is getting checked out by the trainer for some minor ding (I'd argue that's the only reason why Davis gets reps on offense)

Do those dozen players offer more on offense & defense than the 7 guys that are inactive every Sunday? Sure. Mike Peterson isn't being kept because of his outstanding ST play, that much is true. But the guy behind him (Robert James) is.

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 Post subject: Re: Preseason Week 2 Stock Report
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:49 pm 
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I'm not sure what the break down percentages are, but I do know if you are a young guy trying to make the roster you better be able to play special teams and play them well.


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