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Anderson could move to DT

January 17th, 2009 Comments off

Pro Football Weekly reports that it is very likely that Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson move inside to defensive tackle next year. Anderson has been a disappointment thus far in his short Falcon career at defensive end. He was drafted eighth overall in the 2007 NFL draft.

As a rookie in 2007, he started all 16 games but did not record a single sack. This past year, he tallied 2 sacks and 27 tackles at left end. But his playing time diminished as the season wore on. The team utilized him inside on passing downs throughout the season and per the PFW report could plan to do so on a full-time basis next season.

Likely filling in for Anderson at left defensive end will be Chauncey Davis, who is a free agent this off-season. Despite serving as a backup, Davis finished the year with 38 tackles and 4 sacks. Falcons nose tackle Grady Jackson is also a free agent, but Anderson isn’t expected to move there, rather serving as a backup to Jonathan Babineaux, who recently was given a five-year extension.

Per PFW, without a strong training camp, Anderson could be released. That could make him potentially the highest drafted player in 2007 to be released. Currently, the 49th overall pick Bengals running back Kenny Irons, the brother of Falcons corner David, holds that distinction.

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Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line

July 21st, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons defensive line also went through some major changes, particularly on the inside.

Inside, the team will have some serious competition for the two starting jobs. As of right now, however Jonathan Babineaux and Montavious Stanley are slated to be the team’s starters. Babineaux had his moments as a fill-in over the past few years replacing Rod Coleman when he was down with injury. Now the Falcons hope that Babineaux can be able to put it all together for a complete season. Babineaux has good quickness and can put pressure on the quarterback, something that the team will need this season as it tries to replace a pass rusher like Coleman.

Stanley is slated to start at the nose tackle position. But Stanley is essentially only penciled in as the starter because Trey Lewis, the incumbent is out with injury. There has been no timetable as when Lewis may return, and that probably won’t be known until a few days or weeks into camp. Lewis suffered a knee injury last year, but re-aggravated it in the off-season. More dire reports indicate he could miss several months of the regular season at the least. Stanley filled in for Lewis late last year, and like Babineaux had his moments. He’s a big, run stuffer. The reason he’s ahead of the other possible replacements for Lewis is because the coaching staff knows him, after he spent much of the first half of the 2006 season with the Jaguars.

Babineaux is unlikely to be pushed significantly for his starting job, while Stanley will probably be looking over his shoulder throughout training camp.

If either is unseated, Kindal Moorehead may be the one to do it. Moorehead is similar to Babineaux. He spent the past five years as a rotation player with the Panthers. He’s best when putting pressure on the quarterback, and will likely get a chance to impact on passing downs. His best season came in 2004, when he replaced an injured Kris Jenkins and performed fairly well in his absence.

Joining Moorehead are two more valuable veterans in Rashad Moore and Tim Anderson. Both have starting experience, but it’s doubtful either would leapfrog both Stanley and Moorehead to gain the starting position. Both will most likely compete for the nose tackle position. Anderson was signed by the team last year due to injury, and made some contributions as a pass rusher. As a starter with the Bills a few years back, he was a disappointment. Meaning, Anderson’s best contributions are probably off the bench.

Moore would probably be able to contribute more as a run stopper. He started for the Seahawks in 2004, but like Anderson works best in a rotation rather than as a starter. He’s familiar to Thomas Dimitroff due to his time with the Patriots last year.

Also in the mix is David Patterson. The team thought very highly of Patterson a year ago as an undrafted free agent, that he was one of the highest paid undrafted free agents. But he missed the entire season with injury. Patterson offers some versatility as a guy that could potentially play end or tackle for the Falcons. But they will be looking mostly for him to provide some pressure from the interior this year.

The competition at end won’t be as heavy. One starter’s job is very safe, and that is John Abraham, the team’s leading sacker last year. Abraham has been nicked up in the past, and that is always a concern for arguably the team’s top player on either side of the ball. Abraham is adept as a speed rusher and forcing turnovers and is an obvious difference maker when he’s healthy.

The other end is not so secure, although incumbent Jamaal Anderson will likely be given numerous opportunities to retain his job. Anderson struggled last year as a rookie, going the entire season without a sack. The team is hopeful that with a year’s experience, being a few pounds lighter, and the added tutelage of new defensive line coach Ray Hamilton, Anderson can make huge strides this year.

If anybody is going to push Anderson it will be Chauncey Davis. Davis clearly outplayed Anderson last year, and he’s not known as a pass rusher. Davis is an ideal third defensive end due to his ability to play the run and rush the quarterback, although he’s better at the former.

The team also added ex-Brown Simon Fraser. Fraser may also get work inside at defensive tackle. Like Patterson, he’s an Ohio State alum that offers the versatility to play multiple positions and could be a valued commodity in the rotation.

The team also tried to upgrade the speed it had on the edge with fifth round draft pick Kroy Biermann, undrafted free agent Brandon Miller, and Willie Evans. Biermann was an impact player at Montana and is known for his motor. Both he and Miller are undersized, so even if they made the roster their reps would be limited. Both would probably be ideal practice squad players where they can use the year to get stronger and bigger before they are put to the test. But if both show some ability as a situational pass rushers this summer, they will get chances during the regular season. Evans has bounced out the league on several teams since entering in 2006 as an undrafted free agent. Like Miller and Biermann, he lacks ideal size but will be given a chance to impact as a situational pass rusher.

The Battles

Stanley vs. Anderson vs. Moore vs. Moorehead – Stanley has the edge, but all will be given the chance to win the nose tackle job as the fill-in until Lewis is healthy.

The Falcons will likely keep eight lineman as part of their rotation, not including Lewis. Abraham, Anderson, and Davis seem unlikely to be released. But who the other five are is a toss-up. Stanley, Fraser, and Moorehead may have the inside track to three of those jobs. Biermann, Evans, Miller, and Patterson are all eligible for the practice squad.

Falcons extend tenders to Boley and Davis

February 29th, 2008 Comments off

The AJC reports that the Falcons are expected to extend tender offers to linebacker Michael Boley and defensive end Chauncey Davis. Both players are restricted free agents. According to the report, Boley will receive a first round tender, which will give him a one-year salary of $2.017 million. Davis will receive a fourth round tender, with a one-year deal worth $927,000.

Restricted free agents are allowed to negotiate contracts with other teams, but the Falcons will retain the right of first refusal, which means they can match any offer submitted by another team. If the Falcons match the offer, the free agent is retained. If not, then they have the right to compensation which is determined by the level of the tender. If another team signs Boley, the Falcons will receive a first round pick, and for Davis, a fourth round pick. Davis’s compensation is based on the fact that he was originally a fourth round draft pick for the Falcons in 2005.

There is no official word on what level of tenders (if extended at all) to the Falcons two other restricted free agents: punter Michael Koenen and fullback Corey McIntyre. If the Falcons opt to not extend a restricted tender to either player, they will become unrestricted free agents and are free to sign with any team.

UPDATE: Atlanta Falcons.com indicates that the Falcons have placed a second round tender on Michael Koenen worth ($1.47 million) and the right of first refusal with Corey McIntyre ($927,000). Both Koenen and McIntyre were undrafted free agents. If a team signs McIntyre to an offer sheet, the Falcons will receive no compensation.

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Williams, Davis will enter summer as starters

March 28th, 2007 Comments off

Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino told AJC writer Steve Wyche that Jimmy Williams is expected to be the starter at right cornerback and Chauncey Davis the starter at left defensive end at the start of training camp.

There has been notions that the Falcons may move Williams to free safety this summer, but Petrino seemingly erased them. Although Petrino did indicate that the team will address this position further, which could signal the release of incumbent Jason Webster later this off-season.

Davis has received a lot of playing time the past two years due to injuries to Brady Smith and Patrick Kerney. He is expected to replace Kerney in the starting lineup, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks this off-season. The Falcons are still likely to address this position in the draft, but at this point are unlikely to sign a veteran free agent.

Petrino also indicated that second-year tight end Daniel Fells would get an opportunity for increased playing time, particularly when the offense utilizes a H-back. That possibility could spell the end of Eric Beverly’s tenure as a Falcon.

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