Posts Tagged ‘Clabo’

Takeaways from Last Week – August 26

August 26th, 2013 Comments off
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Could Lamar Holmes make or break the Falcons Super Bowl chances?

The big story from the weekend is the fact that the Falcons offensive line looked very suspect against the Titans on Saturday.

In fact, calling their performance suspect is about as nice as I can be. They got whooped. And if I could travel back in time and run into myself from a year ago and told him about their efforts against the Titans, my past self would tell the future self, “No duh.”

Frankly, the Falcons front five got whooped quite a bit in 2012. And by quite a bit, I mean that I can count on one hand how many games where they could be considered the victors of the battle in the trenches. And if their performance against the Titans is any indicator, that will not change in 2013.

It’s no small wonder. The Falcons replaced long-time fixtures at center and right tackle in Todd McClure and Tyson Clabo. They are still in a plug and play mode at right guard with Garrett Reynolds, in the hopes that third time is a charm with Reynolds as far as his production goes. If I ran into my past self, he’d call me naive if not downright stupid for thinking there would be significant improvement up front considering what the Falcons did this past off-season.

The offensive line certainly is going to be a work in progress. And in truth it may be several years before things get fixed up front.

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Opposing Camp Primer: Miami Dolphins

July 11th, 2013 Comments off
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Grimes hopes to pick up in Miami where he left off in Atlanta

After checking out the Falcons first two opponents of the year in the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams, let’s look at their Week Three opponent in the Miami Dolphins and what things will be happening in South Florida this summer.

The Dolphins are a team in flux hoping that their second year under head coach Joe Philbin will lead to greater success than the 7-9 finish in 2012. They spent quite a bit of money this off-season to bring in new starters at several positions on both sides of the ball and are hoping it pays immediate dividends. The main thing people watching Dolphins camp will be looking for this summer is how things gel with all the new faces.

Much of the focus is going to center on second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as many are expecting big things from him this season as he matures into a more consistent passer. Tannehill has skills to be a very good quarterback in the NFL, showcasing all the physical tools you want. Despite limited experience playing at both the collegiate and professional levels, he shows a relatively strong mental grasp for the position which indicates that with added experience the sky could indeed be the limit for how good a player he matures into. But there were too many times he was erratic last year. And it certainly didn’t help that there were no true weapons for him to throw to last year.

That changes with the free agent additions of Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson at wide receiver, as well as tight end Dustin Keller. Wallace had a disappointing 2012 campaign with the Pittsburgh Steelers, seemingly due to the uncertainty of his future in that city after two excellent seasons as the league’s most-feared vertical threat. The Dolphins hope that now that he has is sated contractually, he can get back to those former ways. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, history suggests that when free agent wide receivers change teams their level of success with their new teams isn’t very good. The Dolphins hope that Wallace is the exception, rather than the rule.

Gibson will be competing with Armon Binns for the third spot at wide receiver. Philbin wants to incorporate an explosive vertical attack into the Dolphins offense, akin to what he helped build in Green Bay years ago, which will make ample use of three-wide sets. Gibson is a solid possession receiver that was productive in St. Louis over the past few years. Binns has good size and many observers are suggesting his strong off-season will cause him to win the job this summer. If either one can become the underneath option for Tannehill while Wallace and Brian Hartline continue to do what they do best on the outside: stretch the field, then it should give the Dolphins a major upgrade in their passing attack.

But one of the key areas of competition this summer on offense will be at the running back position. Gone is Reggie Bush, with his backups in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller competing for the starting job. Miller is expected to win the job and certainly will enter camp as the starter. Thomas had a few moments last year, where his size and inside rushing ability could prove to be an effective change of pace to the quicker, more explosive Miller that is better rushing on the edge. Depending on how strong a summer Miller has could determine just how much balance the Dolphins have this season. And despite roots in Green Bay, Philbin being a former offensive line coach is not going to run an offense that throws the ball every down. How much success they have on the ground will be a key factor in taking pressure off Tannehill to be able to better pick and choose his spots in 2013.

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Categories: Features Tags: , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 31 “Thank God for Jake Delhomme”

July 2nd, 2013 6 comments

This week, Allen and I are once again joined by Tom Melton to discuss some of the upcoming roster and depth chart battles we expect to see in Atlanta Falcons training camp. We break down the battle along the right side of the offensive line as well as what could shake up with the battle for key depth positions at quarterback and tight end … We look at every level of the defense as battles rage at all the position groups. Tom weighs in on how Richard Seymour could help the Falcons … We discuss the depth at linebacker along with what if any of the young players could step up to help the Falcons pass rush … We dive into whether or not this year’s defensive line will live up to some past units and whether Falcon fans have been spoiled by past success up front … It wouldn’t be a Tom Melton episode without some patented Dunta Robinson bashing … We discuss their favorite young punter in the NFL and his name isn’t Matt Bosher … We discuss whether the loss of Tyson Clabo or John Abraham will hurt the team more and then reminisce on some of our favorite Predator moments over the years … Peter Konz’s future is discussed as well as Justin Blalock’s tuba playing … Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers’ values are also discussed. Note: This episode does contain explicit language, so it is NSFW!

Ep. 31: Thank God for Jake Delhomme [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Allen writes for as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Tom Melton can be found on twitter: @TMeltonScouting, and also writes for his own draft blog and NFL Draft Monsters.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at:

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL:

Takeaways from Last Week – June 3

June 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Could be a Make or Break year for both Dent and Spoon

We’re entering the “dark time” of the NFL calendar where there isn’t a whole lot going on. Teams are conducting minicamps and OTAs and it’s the season of hype. Media members talk up this new free agent or rookie, or that new assistant coach or coordinator, and how it’s going to pay big dividends for their respective team. Sometimes it does, but most times it does not.

Teams have got to sell tickets, and it doesn’t feel right putting down hundreds of your hard-earned dollars for an inferior product. So they have to sell you on how your team’s product is going to be superior and merit that investment. For good teams like the Falcons, that means talking up Super Bowl possibilities. For mid-level teams like say the Panthers, it means talking up playoff potential. For cellar-dwelling teams that are rebuilding like the Raiders, it’s usually about how management has things moving in the right direction.

I apologize for my cynicism, but I can’t help it. For whatever reason, it’s always the month of June where I get the most skeptical, pessimistic, and negative about the upcoming season. Maybe it’s the freshness of the draft starts to wear off, and now we sit in this lull waiting for training camp to come around. Maybe it’s just my impatience making me bitter. No different than waiting in an overly long line to get into a store or venue, and beginning to wonder if the product or event is really worth all this fuss. This is why I don’t shop on Black Friday.

I think it’s also because I have a tendency to be contrarian. Not to extreme measures, but if you have a certain viewpoint, I enjoy exploring the opposite viewpoint. I was never on the debate team in high school, but I think I probably would have enjoyed it. You think Player A is going to have a breakout year for B and C reasons, well then I’ll start to think about D and E reasons why you’re wrong.

Speaking of breakout candidates, I’m actually not sure if I can think of many for the Falcons this year. At least no one I’m really confident is poised for a big 2013 season. I’m sure there is going to be a player a lot like Robert McClain, that sort of comes out of nowhere and becomes a key contributor for the team. But I can’t really wager a guess because it really comes from nowhere.

But there are a number of Falcon players that I hope have breakout years and really become big-time contributors in 2013.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 29 “The Ryan Fitzpatrick of Left Tackles”

May 31st, 2013 2 comments

Allen and I are joined by Steve Cohen, another die-hard Falcon fan to talk some of the latest news surrounding the Falcons, including the potential signing of free agent defensive tackle Richard Seymour. We also discuss whether that move and other recent moves signal the Falcons will be moving more towards a 3-4 defense in 2013. We each share our concerns about the battles along the offensive line, and discuss our disappointment with some of the contracts given to some of those blockers recently. We go in-depth on what sort of effect Steven Jackson will have on the Falcons offense and whether or not it could have a huge impact on the outcome of the 2013 season and discuss what if any changes defensively could also make a huge difference. Our conversation then swings towards whether the Falcons are now the top team in the NFC in the wake of Michael Crabtree’s injury, and give our thoughts on what other teams in the conference could be contenders this year. Of course no FalcFans podcast can go without some discussion of Brent Grimes, and the we opine on what was really the reason behind Tyson Clabo’s release. We wrap things up with a discussion on how geography affects our fanhood.

Ep. 29: The Ryan Fitzpatrick of Left Tackles [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Allen writes for as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Steve can be found on twitter: @SteveInBrooklyn

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at:

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL:

Clabo gets dumped

April 4th, 2013 Comments off

Tyson Clabo

Agent Chad Speck of Allegiant Athletic Agency tweeted this morning that the Falcons had informed him that they would be releasing his client, offensive tackle Tyson Clabo. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the move will be designated a post-June 1 release to clear more cap space.

Clabo had three years left on his contract, and was set to count $6.05 million against this year’s salary cap. He received a $4 million signing bonus as part of the five-year deal he signed back in the summer of 2011, as well as a $3 million option bonus that was paid last year. The remaining prorated part of his signing bonus counts $800,000 per season, while the option bonus was prorated over four years at $750,000 per season. Due to the post-June 1 designation, only one-year’s worth of bonus will be accelerated to this year’s cap as dead money, meaning the Falcons will only have to carry $1.55 million and save $4.5 million against the 2013 cap. The remainder of the accelerated unpaid bonus ($3.1 million) will count as dead money towards the 2014 cap next year.

With Clabo departing, 2012 third round pick Lamar Holmes and 2010 third round pick Mike Johnson become the most likely candidates to serve as his successor. Johnson took over for an injured Will Svitek last year as the team’s swing tackle and top reserve at the position. Holmes got limited reps after missing part of the off-season with a foot injury.

Clabo first entered the league in 2004 as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos out of Wake Forest. He spent time on the practice squads of the Broncos, New York Giants, and San Diego Chargers as a rookie. When cut by the Broncos at the outset of the 2005 season, he was added to the Falcons practice squad before making the team outright in 2006. That year, he started 10 games predominantly at right guard as an injury replacement for Kynan Forney. The following season in 2007, he started 11 games at right tackle as an injury replacement for Todd Weiner. He would land the full-time starting right tackle gig in 2008 with the arrival of Mike Smith, as Weiner moved to fill in at left tackle. Since 2008, Clabo has not missed a game at the position in five seasons. Dating back to 2007, he has made 91 consecutive starts at the position. In 2010, his performance led to him being voted to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

Categories: News Tags: , , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 26 “”

March 30th, 2013 Comments off

On this week’s episode, I am joined by Allen Strk and Tom Melton to recap the Falcons free agent moves as well as look forward to what the team could do in April’s draft. You’ll hear our thoughts on the acquisitions of Osi Umenyiora and Steven Jackson, as well as the team re-signing players like Sam Baker and William Moore. You’ll also hear our opinions on what are the chances that Brent Grimes and John Abraham suit up for the team in 2013. As we venture into the draft, you’ll hear opinions on whether the Falcons should prioritize improving the pass rush or their coverage on the back-end. You’re hear opinions on a couple of first round targets such as Datone Jones, Desmond Trufant, and Johnthan Banks. The conversation then returns back to the Falcons, and whether players like Tyson Clabo, Jonathan Babineaux, and Stephen Nicholas’s days as Falcons might be numbered. We debate whether Peria Jerry or Jamaal Anderson proved to be a better pick. Thoughts about what options the Falcons may have at improving their linebacker and wide receiver play will also be discussed. We pine over the memories of Eric Weems, and shed no tears for the departed Dunta Robinson.

Ep. 26: [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 14 minutes

Allen writes for as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Tom Melton writes for his own blog at Tom Melton Scouting, as well as NFL Draft Monsters and the newly formed You can find him on twitter: @TMeltonScouting


If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at:

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL:

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 24 “Playoff Recap and Offseason Preview”

February 20th, 2013 1 comment

Another episode in which I’m joined by Allen Strk to recap the Atlanta Falcons postseason efforts as well as preview some potential moves the Falcons could make this off-season. Allen and I last spoke at the end of the regular season, and scheduling conflicts prevented us from getting a recap up earlier this month. But we’re back again to go deep into the San Francisco 49ers loss and Seattle Seahawks win, including our thoughts on Michael Turner, Thomas DeCoud, Julio Jones, Stephen Nicholas, Harry Douglas, Richard Sherman, and the offensive line. Both of us give our insights into what are some of the Falcons biggest off-season needs with much of the focus on the defensive line and the secondary. We discuss some potential free agents that could help the team including Cliff Avril, Michael Johnson, Michael Bennett, and even Darrelle Revis. You’ll also hear us discuss the play of Kroy Biermann and the futures of Jonathan Babineaux, Dunta Robinson, and Brent Grimes.

Ep. 24: Playoff Recap and Offseason Preview [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Allen writes for as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.


If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at:

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL:

Falcons FA Focus: Offensive Tackle

February 8th, 2013 Comments off

William Beatty

A few days ago, I broke down the Falcons needs both at offensive tackle as well as along with center and guard. Well after some time to really dive deep into some tape via Game Rewind, I was able to look at many of the potential free agents that could be available this off-season for the team to sign.

The Falcons potentially have needs at both areas, principally at left tackle and at right guard. Sam Baker is a free agent, and as mentioned in that previous post he will likely be their first priority to re-sign rather than trying to add a replacement on the open market.

There certainly are better left tackles that could become free agents than Sam Baker. Jake Long (Dolphins), Ryan Clady (Broncos), and Branden Albert (Chiefs) headline that group. Clady almost certainly will be slapped with a franchise tag, so there really is no point discussing him. But the other two, Long and Albert, the possibility that they hit the open market is a little higher. Both probably will be tagged given the loads of cap space that each team is projected to have. But if not, then both present significant upgrades to Baker if the Falcons are willing to spend. The expectation is that both players will seek new deals that approach the monster eight-year, $92 million deal that Joe Thomas signed in the summer of 2011. Up until this most recent year, Long was considered along with Thomas as the top left tackle in the game. But he’s coming off a down year in Miami. Injuries have accumulated over the past few years with Long, and it started to really affect his game as well as a shift in blocking scheme under head coach Joe Philbin. Long is still a premier tackle due to his quick feet, polished technique and strength, but one wonders if the injuries will limit the remainder of his NFL career. He was limited in 2010 by a left knee injury and had shoulder surgery at the end of the year but still managed to play at a Pro Bowl level that year despite his injury issues. He was limited at the start of the 2011 with another left knee injury, and then had to deal with lower back problems late in the year. His season ended with him on the IR after suffering a torn biceps in December. He was once again limited with a minor MCL sprain in his right knee at the start of the 2012 season, and once again his season was cut short prematurely with a late-season triceps tear. Essentially, it’s going to be a tough decision for a team to be willing to commit huge dollars to a player that hasn’t made it through a season healthy in over three years. Why Long is better than Baker is because he’s much quicker and more adept in pass protection, and is a much more physical player as a run blocker. But I did notice that Long can get beat by speed rushers, because I believe he sets up too deep in the pocket which allows defenders to be able to build speed and momentum too easily. He also did not play with great power this past year, which could be directly related to all of the injuries that have accumulated on his arms and shoulders in recent years. But he’s still very athletic, and would be an excellent fit for the Falcons on the left side with their ample use of screens and a renewed emphasis on the ground attack. Late in the season, Miami moved right tackle Jonathan Martin to left tackle, and while he was capable he’s a huge downgrade from Long. But given Long’s injury history and his huge price tag, the Dolphin may opt to pass on him.

Albert is also dealing with injury concerns of his own, as his season was ended prematurely due to back problems. Back issues are notorious with offensive linemen, as they have limited the careers of players like Marcus McNeill and Jared Gaither in recent years. So it’s going to take team doctors signing off on him for another team to merit paying him a big contract. Albert is a capable run blocker that is athletic with good feet. He’s not a dominant player, but he certainly would make a significant upgrade for the Falcons in terms of his ability to get push off the left side. The Chiefs have the No. 1 pick, and many believe that the top prospect in this year’s draft is tackle Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. Joeckel’s contract will be considerably less than what Albert would make on the open market, so there remains questions on whether the Chiefs will left him walk.

Other left tackle prospects include Will Beatty (Giants), Jermon Bushrod (Saints), and Bryant McKinnie (Ravens). None are considerably better players than Baker and thus would be primarily a lateral move for the Falcons if signed. Beatty is coming off his best season as a Giant, after three seasons of flashing potential but never putting together a full year. He’s both a competent run blocker and pass protector, but he’s not a player that wows you. Bushrod has been an effective pass protector at times over the years in New Orleans, as he’s a gifted athlete. But he’s inconsistent, and tends to struggle when facing top-end pass rushers. McKinnie is age 33 and played well down the stretch for the Raven during their Super Bowl run, but sat out of most of the season due to questions about his conditioning during the summer and some nagging injuries. McKinnie is infamous for his less than stellar work ethic dating back to his days in Minnesota as well as his actions of the “Love Boat,” which I probably won’t go over well with the brass in Atlanta.

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Falcons Needs: Offensive Tackle

February 5th, 2013 Comments off

The big question here is going to revolve around Sam Baker and whether or not the free agent left tackle will be back in Atlanta in 2013.

Baker had a solid 2012 season, good enough to merit the team bringing him back. But it will likely only come at the right price. The team drafted Lamar Holmes in the third round of last year’s draft for a reason, mainly as insurance in case Baker struggled in 2012. Will Svitek is also a free agent and coming off his triceps injury won’t command large dollars on the open market. If Baker’s camp wants too much money, then the Falcons will have no problems turning to either Holmes and/or Svitek at the position.

But it’s probably not going to come to that. The Falcons brass showed a lot of loyalty and faith in Baker when many others did not (i.e. most of the fan base including myself), and it’s likely he’ll be amenable to whatever terms the Falcons come to. Atlanta won’t lowball him by any means, but the market could possibly dictate him making quite a bit of money if he shops himself around similar to Kevin Shaffer when he left Atlanta in 2006. While there are a number of high profile free agents that could hit the market such as Jake Long, Branden Albert, and Ryan Clady, most if not all of those guys will likely receive the franchise tag. That could potentially leave Baker among the better candidates of a diminished group of free agents, thus driving up his price tag.

Svitek won’t be a slam dunk to return as he could rejoin former Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau in St. Louis, potentially earning an opportunity to start which is something he won’t get in Atlanta if Baker is re-signed. But at the end of the day, the Falcons will likely re-sign one of the pair of free agents.

If not, then Holmes becomes the likeliest candidate to open 2013 as the team’s starting left tackle. And more than likely the team will look for an insurance policy via free agency that can add depth and compete there. Tyson Clabo is locked in at right tackle, and Mike Johnson represents a capable reserve behind him, but is probably a more natural guard than tackle. That’s not the type of guy you want starting sixteen games at left tackle.

It’s doubtful the Falcons seek draft options come April due to the presence of Holmes. It would be possible early if a good tackle prospect were to fall in Round 1, but that rarely happens. They could add a backup later in the draft, but that would likely only happen if Baker walks and the team wants to move Johnson back to guard.