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 Post subject: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Something I picked up online:

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2013/9/10/ ... nsive-line

We have problems that should have been considered by management and coaches before cutting Clabo and even Dahl.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:51 pm 
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I'm still not happy we ever let Dahl walk, but I see the reasoning behind it.

Clabo not entirely loved by PFF this weekend. Strong in pass protection, very poor in run blocking.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Number that may or may not mean anything to anyone. In the TD, Mike Smith era, the Falcons have had a total of 46 draft picks. Of those, 15% (7) have been spent on offensive linemen. I'm not sure if that's high, low or average around the league but it tells me at least the effort is there to resolve the problem.

As a side note, of the 46 picks, 28 (61%) have been on the defensive side of the ball. And our defense still stinks. Sooner or later TD has to find a diamond in the rough.....doesn't he?????


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:12 pm 
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I think you have to break this down a bit further. (not suggesting that YOU break this down, just food for thought)

I think you have to look at how many 1st and 2nd round picks are used at the various positions. 1st and 2nd round picks are supposed to be your starters. First rounders are supposed to be your stars.

3rd and 4th rounders are expected to be your depth and situational players that you can groom to be starters. There's a little bit of expectation that players drafted in the 3rd and 4th rounds can become solid starters, but you're not counting on these picks to be the foundation of the team.

5th - 7th rounders are players that you expect to have to put some work into. You don't expect these guys to be starters. You expect them to be depth. There's still a decent chance that you could luck out with one of these guys once in a while.

UDFAs are camp bodies that have a very outside chance of becoming roster depth. Very rarely, you luck out and get an UDFA that can be a situational player, or even a starter.

Ideally, when you break down a 53 man roster, a third of your team should be 1st or 2nd round picks. Another third should be 3rd and 4th round picks. The rest of the team should be made up of 5th rounders and lower.

The current offensive line of the Falcons consists of a 1st rounder (Baker), two 2nd rounders (Blalock and Konz), a 3rd rounder (Holmes), and a 5th rounder (Reynolds). According to what I said above, we should expect Baker, Blolock, and Konz to be starters at their position. Holmes should be decent, but it is understandable that he would need time to develop. Reynolds should be a question mark.

In reality, Baker has been a very inconsistent player. He was a reach when he was drafted. Blalock has been decent, and I think he's probably better than he has appeared to us thus far because he was having to help make up for McClure's physical weakness. (We can revisit this at the end of the season after Konz has some time under his belt) Konz should be a good center.... time will tell. Reynolds has been unable to stay healthy over his career. Despite that, he has inherited a starting role on our line. I can't say that I'm comfortable with him there, but he did have a good game against the Saints. Holmes hasn't looked so good thus far. OT is the toughest position to play on the line, and it's going to take some time for him to develop. In hindsight, letting Clabo go was probably a mistake. I assume that we made that move to free up cap space for something, but that something never materialized. Hopefully Holmes will show a lot of progression very quickly. (or TD will make a big move to fix the glaring problem at the position.)


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Some points of clarification RobertAP that I would make.

As you said 1st & 2nd round picks are going to be the foundation players of your team. You're going to build your offense and defense around these players. These are the players that are going to impact games week in and week out, and opposite team's gameplans are going to built around. And ideally these guys will include players that are among the Top 5-10 at their respective positions.

3rd & 4th round picks are going to be your complementary starters. These are the players that complement and fill in the cracks on your starting roster around your foundation players. In some cases they'll be backups (such as a 3rd down RB or nickel corner), but in most cases they should be starters. Occasionally a foundation player will emerge from this group (e.g. Steve Smith, Geno Atkins, Russell Wilson, Asante Samuel, Jared Allen), but those players are few and far between.

5th thru 7th rounders are primarily going to be Depth. Typically you're going to target guys that can help you on special teams in these rounds but ideally also have upside to become valuable depth or potentially starters on offense/defense. Now the number of starters that emerge from this group is low, and most of these players will be out of the league by the time they hit their 3rd & 4th seasons. Thus why it's important that you find STers in this group, because that will increase the chances that they stick long enough to develop enough to become those players. Rarely will any of these players become foundation players (obvious exception is Tom Brady), and some will become complementary starters, but again those are rare.

And as you break down your roster, it's more like:

25% will be 1st-2nd round picks
25% will be 3rd-4th round picks
25% will be 5th-7th round picks
25% will be UDFAs/mid or low-level free agents signed from other teams.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:41 pm 
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I liked Dahl's attitude but hated the untimely penalties that often came with it. Clabo, it was time. He lost a lot last year IMO. Whether or not Holmes is the answer or not, time will tell...

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Ok, so I dug some more numbers up that probably don't clear anything up at all. I took the "top" O-lines in the league, New England, SF and Denver. Took there starters and their draft positions and who drafted them. I did the same with the 3 bottom feeders, Oakland, Arizona and San Diego.

New England has 2 first rounders, a 2nd rounder, a 5th rounder and an undrafted free agent. One of the first rounders came from them via Free agency. ie, they signed him. The rest were drafted by the Pats

San Francisco has 3 first rounders, a 5th rounder and an undrafted free agent. The 5th rounder was signed via free agency, the rest drafted by the 49ers.

Denver has 1 first rounder, two 2nd rounders and two 3rd rounders. One of the 2nd and both of the 3rd rounders were signed via free agency. Denver drafted the others.

The bottom feeders.

Oakland has three 2nd rounders, one 3rd rounder and an undrafted free agent. One of the 2nd rounders was signed via free agency, the rest drafted by the Raiders.

Arizona has two 1st rounders, one 2nd rounder, one fourth rounder and an undrafted free agent. The 2nd rounder was signed via free agency, the rest drafted by the Cardinals.

San Diego has one 1st rounder, two 3rd rounders, one 6th rounder and one 7th rounder. The 3rd and the 7th rounder were signed via free agency, the balance drafted by the Chargers.

To compare, the Falcons:

Atlanta has one first rounder, two 2nd rounders, one 3rd rounder and one 5th rounder. All drafted by the Falcons.

Conclusions to be made? If any? Bad drafting? Bad coaching? Players not playing to their potential?


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:04 pm 
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I'll again point out that we reached mightily for Baker. Baker was a 2nd round talent. I believe that he has played like a 2nd round talent. That said, I'm still in TD's corner on the reach. We needed a tackle badly, and they were flying off of the draft board.

I believe that the Falcons would be ok on the line at this point if we had a true first round quality OT. OT is too important to skimp on. If one of our OTs was someone we could regularly count on, we could scheme to help the other side and feel confident about our line. But having to scheme to help BOTH tackles... That's insane.


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:12 pm 
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No doubt Robert.


The only thing that stands out is that the top 3 O-lines have brought in at least one of their starters via free-agency. Maybe it's time to open up the man purse for a young proven talent on the line?

I realize that they don't come cheap...but....


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:49 pm 
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Most here want it perfect and there is just no such thing.

When Turner was running for 1600 yards it was boring to some and some thought we were holding Ryan back? Some thought it was just to boring to watch?

If you were sure this line would be a good one in three years would you want it to develop at the expense of this year?? Well you can never be sure......??

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:10 pm 
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Quote:
If you were sure this line would be a good one in three years would you want it to develop at the expense of this year??


I do think the line (namely Holmes) will get better in time. My only concern is our window of opportunity to be a serious Super Bowl contender is closing.

Gonzo is gonzo after this year. The Roddy-Twitterlicious-White is not a young man anymore. I think he is gone after next year.

The miles on S-Jax will catch up to him. Will it be next year?

That's 3/4 of our weapons. I don't see anyone on the roster now that is going to fill any of those shoes......Last season was our best chance at a Super Bowl IMO. Lots of good teams in the NFC this year.....


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:42 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Quote:
If you were sure this line would be a good one in three years would you want it to develop at the expense of this year??


I do think the line (namely Holmes) will get better in time. My only concern is our window of opportunity to be a serious Super Bowl contender is closing.

Gonzo is gonzo after this year. The Roddy-Twitterlicious-White is not a young man anymore. I think he is gone after next year.

The miles on S-Jax will catch up to him. Will it be next year?

That's 3/4 of our weapons. I don't see anyone on the roster now that is going to fill any of those shoes......Last season was our best chance at a Super Bowl IMO. Lots of good teams in the NFC this year.....


Good post Angry, our young lineman may get good, in a few years, but they aren't their now, and we are in a win now mode as allot of our best players are in their last 1-3 years of being good. That's why I want to bring someone in to at least improve one of the O-line spots.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:06 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
Most here want it perfect and there is just no such thing.

When Turner was running for 1600 yards it was boring to some and some thought we were holding Ryan back? Some thought it was just to boring to watch?

If you were sure this line would be a good one in three years would you want it to develop at the expense of this year?? Well you can never be sure......??

I'm not asking for perfection Cyril. I'm saying that we really need to get ourselves a good tackle. I'm not saying, "we need to replace Baker and Holmes immediately." I'm saying that we need an offensive tackle on this team that we can trust to hold down their side. if we had that, we'd be able to provide adequate help to the other side. All last year, and in our first game this year, opposing defenses have been able to pressure our QB when only rushing four. Often, they are able to get pressure when rushing 3.

Clabo, though he was starting to slip, was someone we could count on to do his job. Right now, I don't trust either of our tackles to do their job consistently. That spells big trouble for our offense going forward.


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:39 am 
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Quote:

Clabo, though he was starting to slip, was someone we could count on to do his job. Right now, I don't trust either of our tackles to do their job consistently.


Well we just guaranteed Baker 18 million. I don't think you can know how you would feel about Clabo without him playing with this group.

As far as I can see Reynolds had a career game Sunday, so we'll see if we can get two in a row from him?

What I mean about perfection was last years 13-3 team. In hindsight that was probably our best year to go to a Super Bowl; yet very few were happy; even though we had a flawed team.

I wanted a Super Bowl too, but realized our defense kept us from " the killer attitude" you want.... And I know what you are meaning when you say "Killer attitude". You just want us to beat some teams by 14+ points or dominate a game.. I understand that's not to much to ask when your 13-3, you wouldn't think.... But poor defenses kill a team, and I believe its our defense that will hurt us most again this year.... Hope that's wrong... I believe Baker can come back, but teams are going to throw everything at Holmes!!

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:33 am 
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By, "lack of killer instinct," I'm referring to the offense coming out and having a fantastic first quarter or half, and then falling asleep in the 3rd quarter. If it happened once in a while, I'd chalk it up to other teams adjusting to what we're doing. But as was pointed out earlier, we average 4 points in the 3rd quarter. That's not going to win many football games. And yet, we were 13-3 last year. We were 13-3 because our offense can score, seemingly at will, when we want to. When we get comfortable, we fall asleep and then wake back up for the end of the game.

I would like to see our offense run at its full potential for a full four quarters... I would like to see our team play better in the 2nd half than in the first half.


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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:44 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
I'll again point out that we reached mightily for Baker.

Baker was not a mighty reach. He was projected as a player taken in the top part of ROund 2 (picks 33-40) that we took at Pick 21. He was really no more than a reach of 12-15 spots, or half a round, which is not a mighty reach. On the other hand, Peria Jerry was a late 2nd round talent that was marginally a Top 50-60 talent that we took at Pick 23, which was a reach of 25-30 spots, i.e. a full round.

The issue with Baker was not his initial selection. Although hindsight tells us that Duane Brown has become a much better player. But that choice of Baker over Brown makes perfect sense given that Baker was universally hailed to be more NFL ready coming out of USC and having played LT for 4 years there. Brown OTOH spent his first 2 years at Virginia Tech as a TE, then moved to RT as a junior, and only started at LT for a single season (his senior year). Brown was the more athletic of the two, but much rawer. And despite his current success, people probably forget that Brown was widely considered a liability his first 2 or so years in Houston, as Dwight Freeney famously abused him in all those games where the Texans got stomped by Manning and the Colts.

The "mistake" with Baker really wasn't his selection. There was a run on tackles. Gosder Cherilus went off the board 4-5 picks too early, when they took him at 17, which forced Carolina to take Otah at 19. Forcing the Falcons to move up from 34, where they initially were likely planning on taking Baker to 21.

But again the mistake for Baker was after the 2010 season it was very clear that Baker was not a fit in the man-blocking scheme employed by Mike Mularkey, and never would be. He played exclusively in a Gibbs-style zone blocking scheme at USC. Bakerl acked size, power, and strength to really push the pile, as a run blocker. And despite 2 injury-plagued seasons in 2008 and 2009 that led to struggles, he was completely healthy in 2010 and was no better a player. At that point at the outset of 2011, IMHO the Falcons should have started to make plays to move on without him. He and Blalock were both the weaker aspect of that OL on the left side, while Dahl & Clabo were the strength. The Falcons should have been willing to blow up the left side of their line at that point. Instead, they went in the total opposite direction, and invested it in, and ultimately decided that within 2 years to blow up the right side. This weakened the entire unit (because they no longer had a strength). Baker & Blalock are better than they were, but marginally. And certainly not $80 million (their combined contracts) better.

In 2011, had they not traded up to get Julio JOnes, they could have taken Gabe Carimi at the end of Round 1. Yes, Carimi has struggled in his NFL career, thanks in part to injuries as well. But Carimi is a very good run blocker, and unlike Baker has the potential to play multiple positions, meaning that if he had failed at one spot he could be moved to another. There has long been the belief that Baker could be moved to RT and the Falcons OL would be improved or at least not suffer for it. I disagree with this belief.

Had they kept their 2012 pick from the Jones trade, they could have drafted Riley Rieff or David DeCastro, currently starting for the Lions at LT, and Steelers at RG respectively. Or even Kevin Zeitler if they were so inclined, who is the Bengals starting RG.

I don't want to get into the should they or shouldn't they aspect of the Jones trade, just pointing out that I think there is a strong evidence that the weakness of the O-line was a trade-off of making that move. There are consequences to every personnel move, even good ones.

But instead the Falcons opted to overpay Baker. And basically locked themselves into Baker for another 3-4 years, when his performance over the past 5 years indicated that at most he was deserving of 2. The Falcons basically had 3 off-seasons to rid themselves of the "reach" and opted not to. I think that is going to hurt them. Let's hope the Sam Baker we see the rest of the season is the 2012 version of him, which was serviceable to good most of the year, as opposed to the previous versions of him.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:28 pm 
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We were 13-3 because our offense can score, seemingly at will, when we want to. When we get comfortable, we fall asleep and then wake back up for the end of the game.


If you really believe that, then doesn't Ryan deserve part of the Blame; he's the coach on the field.

Now I don't believe that, as you've been saying in game one our Offensive line sucked. I believe its our O-line that has to regroup over & over almost every year?

If it all starts upfront why is our Offensive & Defensive line usually barely average??

You don't really think the lines start coasting do you?? They just are just not that good; the coaches on the sidelines are working hard and so are the other teams.

The guys on the other teams get paid too, and have to watch film all week long of their performances.

Ryan was 3-11 Sunday not because he's bad; but he didn't have much chance to do better. 3-11 ON THIRD DOWNS will cause you to not score very much. 3RD down
conversions will be the start of the killer instinct!! Or giving up 3rd down conversions will kill you..... We gave up a lot of them last year!! That's when I think you thought we were coasting..... An average defense breaks down as the game goes on (very often) We did something right last year to be 13-3; that's an awesome record for a flawed team.

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 Post subject: Re: A Deeper Look Into the OL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:41 pm 
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Cyril wrote:
The guys on the other teams get paid too,

Boom goes the dynamite!
:clap:

I think some folks have never even considered that notion, Cyril...

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