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Camp Battles: Receivers

July 1st, 2009 Comments off

I’ve already detailed the quarterback and running back positions, now it’s on to the tight ends and wide receivers.

At at all three spots, the starters are established with Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Tony Gonzalez. And Harry Douglas is definitely going to make the roster and work out of the slot.

At wideout, Brian Finneran is the most likely candidate to win the fourth receiver spot. While there has been questions of one of the young prospects pushing him for his spot, unless Finneran gets injured, it’s doubtful he won’t be on the team this fall. The Falcons traditionally keep a fifth wideout, so the remainder of the roster will be battling it out for the final spot. Eric Weems held the spot well last year, but he’ll be challenged by Chandler Williams (who spent the year on the practice squad), Troy Bergeron (a star in the Arena leagues), and three rookie free agents: Aaron Kelly, Darren Mougey, and Bradon Godfrey.

All three rookies are big on size, which will make them attractive developmental options. But more than likely, special teams ability will determine which of these players stays, and that’s why Weems has the advantage due to his experience. But it’s probable that one of these other players will make the practice squad, under the hopes that they can replace Finneran in 2010 after his contract expires this season.

At tight end, there will be a battle between veterans Ben Hartsock and Justin Peelle over who will be the No. 2 option behind Gonzalez. Hartsock is the better blocker, but Peelle isn’t that far behind and gives the team a much better option in the passing game.

More than likely the Falcons will keep both, but it’s not set in stone. A strong summer from either Jason Rader or Keith Zinger could land them the No. 3 job. Both players are capable blockers, but probably will need to show much more consistency and ability as pass catchers to stay on the roster.

Dahl tops team’s performance-based pay chart

March 24th, 2009 Comments off

Brian McIntyre of FalconInsider.com reports that Falcons guard Harvey Dahl received the most on the team as far as the league’s performance-based pay roll. Annually, the league rewards players with low salaries that earn significant playing time.

Dahl earned the most on the team with $255,938. He started every game at right guard after having earned $445,000 in his regular base salary.

Second on the list was right tackle Tyson Clabo, who pocketed $254,297 adding to his $445,000 base salary as well.

FalconInsider.com lists ten other players’ extra payouts:

Kroy Biermann, DE – $162,469
Justin Blalock, OG – $144,273
Harry Douglas, WR – $112,217
Brent Grimes, CB – $189,409
Chris Houston, CB – $139, 921
Chevis Jackson, CB – $122,031
Justin Peelle, TE – $123,329
Marcus Pollard, TE – $1,386
Jason Snelling, RB – $121,308
Coy Wire, LB – $113,837

Pollard’s was the lowest on the team.

Falcons agree to terms with 3 free agents

February 27th, 2009 Comments off
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have re-signed three of their upcoming free agents. The Falcons have agreed to terms with tight end Justin Peelle, defensive tackle Jason Jefferson, and linebacker Coy Wire.
Also the Falcons extended the second round tender to restricted free agent guard Harvey Dahl. Center Ben Wilkerson also a restricted free agent has agreed to return. There has been no word on Jamaal Fudge, the team’s remaining restricted free agent and whether the Falcons intend to retain him.
Wire agreed to a two-year contract. The terms of the other players’ deals were unknown. Along with Peelle and Jefferson he was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
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Falcons show interest in TEs at Combine

February 20th, 2009 Comments off

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have conducted interviews already at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with two top tight end prospects and an offensive lineman. The two tight ends are Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew and South Carolina’s Jared Cook. The offensive lineman is Georgia Tech tackle Andrew Gardner.

The Falcons have been looking to upgrade their tight end position for some time, even making an attempt to acquire Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez back in October according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Combined last year, the team’s top two tight ends Justin Peelle and Ben Hartsock combined for 18 catches. Peelle is a free agent and both players are known primarily as blockers.
Pettigrew caught 42 passes last year at Oklahoma State. He is widely considered the top tight end in this year’s draft class and is billed as a first round pick, making him a possibility for the Falcons with their top selection (24th overall).
Cook is one of the better tight ends in the class as well and most indicate him as a potential second round target. He caught 37 passes this past year with the Gamecocks.
Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com has Pettigrew and Cook billed as the No. 1 and No. 2 tight end prospects, respectively, in this year’s draft.
Gardner was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Yellow Jackets. He suffered a shoulder injury this past October, and missed the rest of the season. He is rated as the 19th best offensive tackle in the class by Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com.
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Falcons add two more to roster

September 1st, 2008 Comments off

Today the Falcons made more moves in part of finalizing it’s final 53-man roster and 8-man practice squad. The team signed linebacker Tony Gilbert and tight end Justin Peelle. To make room for them, on the roster, they released linebacker Tony Taylor and tight end Jason Rader. And to fill out their practice squad the team added defensive end Sean Conover and running back Ken Darby.

Gilbert played in Jacksonville the past five seasons, gaining experience with many coaches currently on the Falcons. Like Taylor, Gilbert was a Georgia alum. In his career, he has appeared in 56 games primarily on special teams. For his career, he has 13 tackles on defense and 1 sack. Taylor started the first two preseason games at middle linebacker, but was surpassed by second round draft pick Curtis Lofton by the end of preseason. Gilbert will now serve as Lofton’s backup.

Peelle was released by the Miami Dolphins. He spent several years with the San Diego Chargers (2002-05) and Dolphins (2006-07). In his career, he has 85 catches for 614 yards (7.2 avg) and 7 touchdowns , having started 39 of 93 games. Throughout his career, he has been used primarily as a blocker. Peelle will replace Rader as the team’s backup tight end behind Ben Hartsock.

Conover, recently cast off from the Tennessee Titans. He has played in 11 games the past two years with 2 starts, recording 10 tackles.

Darby was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2007 draft. He played in only 1 game last year, rushing for 9 yards on 2 carries and having 2 catches for 16 yards. During this past preseason with the Bucs, he rushed 32 times for 102 yards (3.2 avg) and 4 catches for 32 yards.

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