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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 61 “You Know They’re Gonna Draft Another Fullback Right?”

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

Allen and I are joined by FalcFans forum member Ryan Lounsbury, to talk about the Falcons offseason moves. Ryan has a bit more positive outlook on the additions of Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson to the roster than us. We give our takes on the Falcons’ latest moves of signing Javier Arenas and Devin Hester, re-signing Peria Jerry and cutting Bradie Ewing. We discuss Scott Pioli’s takeover of the front office, whether overpaying for free agents is a necessary evil of the offseason, if the Falcons’ interest in another free agent blocker means they lack an overall vision for the future, if the team should trade up for Jadeveon Clowney, Taylor Lewan’s fit in Atlanta and the recent news made involving DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick and Matt Schaub.

Episode 61: You Know They’re Gonna Draft Another Fullback Right? [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Ryan can be found on twitter: @RyanLounsbury

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: pudge@falcfans.com.

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

FalcFans Weekly March 23, 2014

March 23rd, 2014 1 comment
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Peters

Defensive tackle Corey Peters appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Saturday afternoon, and Pro Football Talk has a pretty good summary of what was said with quotes. In it, he revealed that he’s off crutches in the midst of his rehab from a torn Achilles tendon. Earlier this month, it was reported that Peters was still in a walking boot when he was re-signed by the team.

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Former Falcons defensive tackle Vance Walker discusses “political” reasons that drove him out of Atlanta a year ago. Here’s an interesting quote:

I’d say, it wasn’t necessarily the scheme; it was probably a little more political from the Falcons to the Raiders. The Falcons had a decent roster of D tackles, and even though I was showing and proving that I could rush the passer, I never really got the opportunity. That’s what they promised I would be able to do out in Oakland. It kind of freed me up and let me show my abilities. Obviously, I know I would be a lot better, I could still be a lot better and learn from my mistakes and learn from others. I think (it was just) a personnel type of thing, with me being younger, with the Falcons; I guess they weren’t ready to give me that role just yet.

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Malliciah Goodman has reportedly packed on some muscle this offseason in advance of his expected role as a defensive end in the 3-man front the Falcons are likely to feature more this season.

Read more…

Falcons Add Devin Hester

March 20th, 2014 Comments off

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a three-year contract with former Chicago Bears return specialist Devin Hester. Hester’s signing comes on the heels of the Falcons adding another return threat in cornerback Javier Arenas, although it’s fully expected that Hester will be the primary returner for the Falcons moving forward.

Hester, 31, comes to the Falcons after eight seasons with the Bears where he went to the Pro Bowl three times for his return prowess. He is the league’s active all-time leader in punt returns(264), yards (3,241) and touchdowns (13). That latter mark also stands as the best of any punt returner in NFL history. His career average of 12.3 yards per return is seventh on the all-time list as well.

Hester has also achieved success as a kickoff returner with five scores there, the eighth most all-time. His 19 non-offensive touchdowns are tied for the most of any player in NFL history alongside former Falcon great Deion Sanders.

Hester began his career as a cornerback, thus why he sports the No. 23 on his uniform. But he was quickly moved to wide receiver during his second season with the Bears. His production on offense has been erratic, but he’s seen significant playing time the past five seasons with 46 starts in that span. He’s caught 217 passes for 2,807 yards (12.9 avg) and 14 touchdowns. His best season came in 2009, when he had career highs of 57 catches and 757 yards, along with three touchdowns.

Originally Hester was a second-round pick by the Bears out of Miami in 2006.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Falcons Re-sign Peria Jerry

March 19th, 2014 Comments off

Adam Caplan of ESPN first reported what was later confirmed by the team, in that the Atlanta Falcons have re-signed defensvie tackle Peria Jerry. Jerry was an unrestricted free agent that was not expected to be re-signed by the team, but apparently plans changed.

Jerry, 29, is formerly a first-round pick by the Falcons in 2009. He suffered a major knee injury early during his rookie season and never returned to form. The past few years he has carved out a role as a reserve, culminating in starting 14 games for the Falcons in 2013. He finished the year with career-highs of 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks. In four previous seasons, Jerry combined for 34 tackles and two sacks in 48 games with 15 starts.

He played predominantly a defensive end role with the Falcons in their hybrid 4-3/3-4 fronts this past season. And given the likelihood of the team’s desire to shift towards a 3-4 base defense, Jerry will likely be asked to play end once again.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Is Zeke Motta An Option For Falcons at Safety?

March 18th, 2014 1 comment
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Zeke Motta makes a tackle

Two weeks ago, I discussed some excerpts from Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s appearance on the Rich Eisen Podcast.

Included in their discussion centering on the Combine, was a brief discussion of safety Zeke Motta. And it made me think that the Falcons are much higher on Motta than probably his play may merit.

Is it possible that the reason why the Falcons did not successfully land a free safety to replace the recently released Thomas DeCoud is because they believe Motta is capable of competing for the starting position?

But first, let’s take a look at what exactly Dimitroff said. This comes in the portion of the podcast where Eisen was asking whether or not the workouts done at the Combine influence teams’ draft boards.

Eisen: Does your board change now?
Dimitroff: No question. It changes and yet we’re very mindful of it not changing drastically. But there will be movements up and down. And quite honestly as much as we don’t want to talk about and we don’t want the agents to hear about it, when someone runs a truly horrible 40 time, it’s amazing how quickly a player can plummet.
Eisen: Just the one 40-yard dash?
Dimitroff: It’s amazing. One of the guys last year that we acquired through the draft was Zeke Motta from Notre Dame. Your guy Mike Mayock loved him and he didn’t run a good time at the Combine unfortunately. We drafted him in the seventh round and there was no way he should have been a seventh rounder. He fell quite a bit and we like what we have in him now. Some people just don’t run good times. They’re not good 40 time guys but they play a lot faster.
Eisen: So here you are using an example of how a guy dropped because of a 40 and yet he’s a football player that is more than useful to the Atlanta Falcons organization. So why read so much into somebody’s 40-yard dash?
Dimitroff: We talk about it all the time and the league is a matchup league. And that part of the matchup is so important. You can have the most athletic and smooth, fluid individual running routes, catching balls, doing whatever but if they can’t stay in phase, meaning they can’t stay with that player. Whether that’s a defensive back and a receiver or an O-lineman mirroring a D-lineman they have no chance in this league. So from a speed standpoint at his position it’s very important for him to have range and people pass him up. There are those situations where guys are football and game-speed fast and not on the fly.

Read more…

Categories: Features Tags: , , ,

Takeaways From Last Week – March 17, 2014

March 17th, 2014 2 comments
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Tyson Jackson

It’s not fun being so negative.

Which makes my negative reaction to the Atlanta Falcons initial free-agent moves doubly worse.

Are the Falcons a better team after signing guard Jon Asamoah, defensive tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson? Aboslutely.

Are they a significantly better team? No, not really.

At least not in some areas. Sure, they beefed up the run defense. But was the run defense that huge a need? Perhaps it’s selective memory, but outside Bobby Rainey’s Week 11 romp, I don’t recall that many instances where I felt like the defense getting the ball run down their throat.

I do remember the Falcons getting run on and run on a lot, but it never felt like it was something “out of control” to the degree to prompt swift and decisive action at the outset of the free-agent market. I think a lot of the poor run defense had more to do with the fact that they were so young at linebacker, coupled with shoddy tackling in the secondary. It seemed more like long runs were killing the Falcons, evidenced by the 28 runs of 15 or more yards they gave up last season, which was tied for the fourth-highest total allowed in the league.

Not to suggest that upgrading the run defense shouldn’t have been a priority for the Falcons, just not the priority.

I try not to be the guy that acts like the “armchair GM” that all his decisions are the right decisions. I’m very aware that I’m often wrong about things, and that there are several methods to the madness that is building successful NFL teams.

So when looking at the Falcons’ moves, I always try to see them from the team’s perspective. And if I can follow their logic and thinking, then I can usually accept, if not approve their decision-making.

So from the team’s perspective, it’s very clear they wanted to upgrade both lines. They re-signed two offensive lineman in Joe Hawley and Mike Johnson and added Asamoah. They went after defensive linemen by re-upping Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux while adding Soliai and Jackson.

It’s clear that the focus was on the interior of both lines, to add beef and “toughen up” the unit just like they had indicated was their plan all along. I mentioned Soliai as a potential target back in February, albeit with the expectation that he’d be a relatively cheap addition.

So on the face of things, I cannot fault the Falcons. In fact, I applaud them. They correctly identified the two biggest weaknesses of the team in both lines and addressed them with upgrades.

But once you go beyond that superficial layer, things start to fall apart.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 60 “We Just Love Misery”

March 16th, 2014 Comments off

Allen and I are back to recap and review the first week of free agency in the NFL and whether or not the Atlanta Falcons’ moves to bolster the offensive and defensive lines were good or bad. We break down each move and player, indicating what we like about the decisions to bring back Joe Hawley, Jonathan Babineaux and Mike Johnson; as well as discussing the pros and cons of newcomers Jon Asamoah, Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson. During the course of our discussion, I explain the “Hampton-Hoke Fallacy” and the negative ripple effects that can occur when teams overpay for players.

Episode 60: We Just Love Misery [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 19 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. 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: pudge@falcfans.com.

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

FalcFans Weekly Round-Up – March 16, 2014

March 16th, 2014 Comments off

One young Panthers fan did not react well to news of Steve Smith’s departure from Carolina. I understand your pain, young man. I’m a Falcon fan and I felt the same.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Falcons Load Up Lines to Open Free Agency

March 13th, 2014 Comments off
Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Paul Soliai

The official opening of free agency started with a bang for the Atlanta Falcons who brought in three additions and re-signed another to bolster their offensive and defensive lines. The Falcons added offensive guard Jon Asamoah and defensive end Tyson Jackson, both formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, along with ex-Miami Dolphin defensive tackle Paul Soliai,  and re-signed center Joe Hawley.

The influence of new assistant general manager Scott Pioli was apparent with the team’s decision to sign Asamoah and Jackson. They were both drafted by Pioli during his time in Kansas City as general manager.

Asamoah signed a five-year contract worth $22.5 million, and had been rumored to be a favored target by the Falcons during the “legal tampering” period prior to Tuesday’s start of free agency. He served as the Chiefs starting right guard for most of the past three seasons, starting a combined 41 games, and will presumably play the same role in Atlanta.

Jackson was Pioli’s first-ever draft selection in Kansas City, originally selected as the third overall selection in 2009. The underwhelming start of his career earned him the “bust” label, but his improved play this past season allowed him to shed that distinction. Jackson started 45 games over five seasons with the Chiefs, with improved production the past two years as he combined for 77 tackles and seven sacks. He signed a five-year deal worth $25 million and will likely play defensive end, replacing free agent Peria Jerry in the starting lineup.

Rather than Pioli, Soliai owes his Falcon benefactor to be defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Soliai and Nolan along with current defensive line coach Bryan Cox spent time together in Miami in 2010-11. He was another player that was linked to the Falcons prior to signing with the team. He spent seven seasons in Miami, starting the past four at nose tackle in their predominantly 3-4 defense. Soliai landed a five-year contract worth $33 million.

Hawley joins Jonathan Babineaux, Mike Johnson and Corey Peters as current Falcons that were re-signed. He signed a two-year deal worth $6 million to stay with the team. Hawley started the final seven games at center last year as a replacement for an underachieving Peter Konz.

 

Falcons Re-Sign Babineaux

March 11th, 2014 Comments off

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post cites sources that indicate the Atlanta Falcons are “extremely close” to agreeing on a three-year contract with free agent defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.

UPDATE: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Falcons have agreed to terms with Babineaux on a three-year deal. The Falcons have now confirmed it.

Babineaux was originally a second-round pick of the Falcons in 2005 and became a regular starter for the team in the second half of the 2007 season after the release of Grady Jackson. He has not relinquished the job since, logging 108 starts over the course of his nine-year career in Atlanta. He has collected 23.5 sacks during his career, but is coming off a 2013 campaign where he had just one sack and 42 tackles. Babineaux will turn 33 in October.

If re-signed it will mark the third contract that Babineaux has earned with the Falcons. His second contract occurred in November 2008 when his initial rookie contract was on the verge of expiring. If the Falcons are successful in signing Babineaux before today’s 4 p.m. start for the new league year, it will mean that Babineaux will have never tested free agency during his NFL career, a sign of his perceived high value by the Falcons.

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