Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Snelling’

Ranking the Falcons: No. 30 Jason Snelling

July 12th, 2013 Comments off
AP Photo/Phil Coale

Jason Snelling

Click here to read the scoring system to understand why running back Jason Snelling finishes 30th among Falcons players.

Total Score: 42


Player Grade:
49 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 1 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 27 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +0
Positional Bonus: +3

Jason Snelling could probably head to the St. Louis Rams and start over either Daryl Richardson or Isaiah Pead. But he could find a role on the majority of NFL teams nowadays, as teams don’t simply just use two running backs but now many are using three in their committee-driven systems.

Snelling isn’t a flashy player, but what you really like about him is that he’s really the ideal role player. He doesn’t excel at anything, but whatever you ask of him he can do. If you want him to run the ball, he’s effective. He’s a good receiver as well out of the backfield. He’s solid in pass protection. He also is a capable lead blocker when the Falcons have used him over the years when Ovie Mughelli has been out of the lineup. While Mike Cox filled in ably last year once the Lousaka Polite experiment was deemed a failure, the truth is that the Falcons probably could have simply gotten away with Snelling filling in the rest of the way. He also is an underrated special teams player.

Hell, I’d bet if the Falcons wanted Snelling to line up at tight end/H-back or at slot receiver, he’d be functional there. Versatility is the key with Snelling, and it’s why at age 29 (a year beyond his peak age) he still is going to have a significant role with the team and could probably continue to do so for another few years beyond 2013 if the Falcons so wished it.

What prevents Snelling from being higher on this list is that in his primary role: as someone that carries the football, he’s decidedly average when compared to most running backs in the league. That’s not mean to be as negative as it sounds. Snelling is average (or slightly above) across the board when it comes to the skills that running backs require to succeed in the NFL such as footwork, burst, balance, speed, lateral agility, and power. That makes him a well-rounded player, but essentially he becomes the jack of all trades and the master of none. That leaves him at a disadvantage compared to many other NFL running backs that excel in at least one of those areas. But it makes him perfect for his role in Atlanta because of the aforementioned ability to fit into a number of roles and niches with the team.

As for his 2013 outlook, Snelling is probably not going to get a ton of work offensively because of the Falcons upgrade to the starting position with the acquisition of Steven Jackson, and the fact that No. 2 tailback Jacquizz Rodgers is one of those players that does excel in a few areas (lateral agility being the primary one). He only finished with 18 carries for the year, a third of which came in garbage time against the Giants. But he really took advantage of those limited reps, particularly in that game, and the same will be expected for him in 2013. He did catch 31 passes last year, but that figure probably will decline due to the presence of Jackson.

A way for Snelling to increase his value will be improving on special teams. He’s been no slouch there over the years, collecting 36 tackles in six seasons. Last year, he had 6 stops, the second-best mark of his career after a team-leading 19-tackle effort in 2008. If he has another year of production like that in him, then it will more than make up for any decline on offense.

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 TJRSports.com 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: 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

Falcons Needs: Fullback

January 31st, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Bradie Ewing

The Falcons made a commitment to retain this position in their offense by drafting Bradie Ewing last April in the fifth round. Ewing missed all of his rookie season with an ACL tear, suffered in the preseason opener. While fullback won’t be a pivotal position in the Falcons offense, the team would not have deemed it necessary to draft Ewing if it wasn’t going to offer some value.

The team began the 2012 season with Lousaka Polite at fullback, but he quickly proved inadequate. The team brought back Mike Cox, who lost the competition to Polite during camp, and Cox played fairly well. Cox is by no means a great fullback, but he’s a competent lead blocker. He will be a free agent, and the Falcons will have to make a decision on whether to re-sign him or just to simply hand the keys over to Ewing.

If they opt to re-sign Cox, it should not require a significant investment, as he’s likely to be amenable to another one-year, minimum-level contract. That way the Falcons have an insurance policy in place if Ewing isn’t completely recovered from his knee injury or quite ready to be an NFL starter. More than likely the team would bring both players to camp and Ewing would be the favorite to win any competition between them.

The team can also tinker with moving Jason Snelling to the spot full-time if Cox is not retained. Snelling played well early in the year, when he was filling in for an injured Polite. If Snelling was again to be buried on the depth chart as the No. 3 running back in 2013, mixing him into the lineup at fullback would be a good way to get some production from him.

Overall, the Falcons need at this position isn’t very big due to the presence of Ewing, and the fact that the team has an in-house candidate in Snelling and an easy-to-retain free agent in Cox.

Categories: Features Tags: , , , , ,

Falcons Needs: Running Back

January 31st, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Turner

After highlighting the Falcons needs at the quarterback position, it’s time to move onto running back. It seems likely that the Falcons will cut Michael Turner in the off-season, a move that will come a year later than it should have. That will make running back one of the more immediate needs of the team.

Turner will leave a significant hole on the Falcons roster, as the lead back he was able to get about 250 touches this past year, even with a purposefully reduced workload. One of the issues that faced Turner in 2012 was the fact that his legs looked very worn and old. And thus it’s likely that the Falcons will opt for a runner with fresh legs. That leads one to believe the Falcons will opt for a draft pick instead of a free agent signing to fill Turner’s shoes.

While Jacquizz Rodgers flashed ability, the Falcons probably should not expect Rodgers to step up and be that lead back. Last season, Rodgers had 5 games in which he carried the ball 10 or more times. In those games, he rushed for a combined 202 yards on 51 carries with 1 touchdown. That’s good for nearly 4 yards per carry (3.96). But 65 of those yards came on two big runs: his 45-yard run against the Seahawks in the playoffs, and a 20-yard run against the Bucs in Week 12. Excluding those two runs, he was averaging about 2.80 yards on 49 carries. That’s not a figure that suggests Rodgers possesses the ability to be consistent if/when his workload doubles as the lead back.

Jason Snelling has shown himself to be a functional starter in the absence of Turner in past years. He looked relatively sharp when he was able to get a significant workload last year, but was rarely used until the final month of the season. Again, the Falcons can’t assume that either he or Rodgers will be able to step in and produce with an increased workload. The simple truth is that while both players flashed ability from time to time, their flashes were no less sporadic than Turner’s throughout the 2012 season.

Instead, the Falcons need to look for another back to at least split the workload with Rodgers and Snelling, if not surpass them as the lead rusher. The problem with signing free agents is that their window for production is much smaller because most are near the end of their primes, which ranges from about age 27 to 28 for NFL running backs.

One of the primary skills that the Falcons new running back should have is the ability to produce on third down. That was an area of weakness with Turner, and the Falcons should want their new runner to offer equal if not more value there than Rodgers and Snelling. Another area that the new back should excel in is his ability to generate explosive plays on the ground. During Turner’s early days in Atlanta, his explosiveness was a big key to his success and the offense’s success. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Falcons want a pure speed back, as they should be looking for someone that has the physicality to run effectively between the tackles and be able to take the pounding of getting 15-20 carries each week for a full season. All of those requirements likely lend itself to the Falcons drafting a back in the earlier rounds come April. The key is for the Falcons to have three largely interchangeable backs when it comes to their offensive attack, which will again primarily be a pass-first unit. But through at least competition, the goal will be that one player emerges as the go-to option that can be successful on early downs and help take pressure off the passing game on third downs and in the redzone.

Antone Smith is also a restricted free agent that will likely be retained due to his prowess on special teams.

Will Turner impact against the Seahawks?

January 12th, 2013 1 comment
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Turner

The Falcons have had an extra week of practice, and thus the capacity to add some new wrinkles to the offense this weekend. My hope is that the extra time allowed the Falcons to really come up with a winning gameplan against the Seattle Seahawks. And as previously noted, I think that should include more Jacquizz Rodgers and less Michael Turner.

The Falcons offensive line has struggled to create push this year. It has been one of the main reasons why Michael Turner has been a non-factor. The other main reason is that Michael Turner over time has diminished in ability. Father Time still remains undefeated. With all of the hits that Turner has taken over the years with the Falcons, he no longer has the burst, quickness, or lateral agility that he once did. Turner was never a guy that shined in those areas as the majority of his success from 2008-10 with the Falcons was because Turner was an elite after-contact runner. But over time, Turner is no longer that force of nature after contact. And his skills in those other areas has gone from average to poor. And basically that means he needs a lot more space to run, something the Falcons front five have had increasing difficulty creating since the loss of their top run blocker, Harvey Dahl, in 2011.

The strength of the Seahawks run defense is the middle, where they have a lot of beef in Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, and Alan Branch. It’s no secret that center Todd McClure is not a power blocker. Right guard Peter Konz while a capable run blocker, is neither consistent nor powerful enough to push a 320-pounder like those three off the ball. And that’s also never really been left guard Justin Blalock’s game, as he too is not consistently a “plus” run blocker. And while Mike Cox has done a solid job this year lead blocking, he’s not the guy that can clear a hole quite like Ovie Mughelli could in his heyday. If the Falcons intend to run a lot into the teeth of the Seahawks defense, they are playing to Seattle’s strength and their own weakness.

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Jacquizz Rodgers

Instead, the Seahawks will be playing a 250-pound Bruce Irvin nearly every snap due to the injury to Chris Clemons. Greg Scruggs will be rotating in as well. Greg Who? Exactly. Right tackle Tyson Clabo, the Falcons best run blocker should be matched up quite a bit with Irvin, who normally plays left end. The smartest thing for the Falcons will be to attack Irvin wherever he lines up on the field when they want to run the ball.

And the simple truth is that if the Falcons do attack the edges on the ground, Michael Turner is not their best candidate. Both Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling, while underused, possess a better skillset to get out on the edge than Turner. If the Falcons intend to run the ball, and trying to maintain some semblance of balance will be beneficial for the Falcons, it plays to their strength to feature a lot more Quizz and/or Snelling, and a lot less Turner. Rodgers, smaller stature, outstanding quickness and lateral agility means he doesn’t need as much space to work with as Turner. He can find creases, cutbacks, and do a better job finding daylight not only on the edge, but also up the middle if/when the Falcons do decide to try and pound it.

Not to mention the fact that the Falcons are a pass-first team, that will likely try to tire out the Seahawks front four with a lot of no-huddle. Rodgers has overwhelmingly been their featured guy in the no-huddle due to his solid pass protection skills, as well as his ability to make impact plays in the passing game. While Turner is a capable pass protector, he is really a weak link when it comes to catching the ball. A four-yard pass on a checkdown to Rodgers has a chance to go 20 yards. The chances Turner drops that checkdown are much higher than the chances he turns it into a big gain.

Turner still should be the go-to guy for the Falcons in short-yardage and near the goalline. But on the majority of snaps, whether it’s a run or pass, having Rodgers on the field gives the Falcons the best possible matchup against the Seahawks.

What I’m afraid will happen on Sunday is the Falcons being overly “loyal” to Turner. I thought the Falcons should have gotten rid of Turner this past off-season. I think they did not because of the hope that he still had something left in the tank, and it would have not looked great dumping a guy that had had the four-year run that Turner had in Atlanta outright. And I think at certain points this year, the Falcons have continued to put Turner as a big part of their weekly gameplans out of that same loyalty, when it’s been fairly clear since the middle of the year that the offense functions better when Rodgers is on the field. I just hope the Falcons don’t get into that same mindset where they are giving Turner unnecessary reps Sunday over some gooey feelings for the guy. The bottom line is the Falcons need to win on Sunday. I believe that Rodgers gives them the best chance to do that. And I hope that Dirk Koetter has devised a plan of attack that reflects that.

Categories: Features Tags: , , , ,

Scouting the Seahawks: How Atlanta Matches Up

January 11th, 2013 Comments off

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Marshawn Lynch is the foundation of the Seahawks attack.

I’ve watched quite a bit of Seahawks games on NFL.com’s Game Rewind to prep myself for this preview. I watched how they fared against New England’s and Buffalo’s offenses. I wanted to see how they did against a top quarterback with weapons (something they haven’t seen much of this year) and a dynamic wideout in Stevie Johnson who brings similar tools to the fold as Roddy White. I also looked at their Week 12 loss against the Dolphins, to see how the Dolphins pulled off that victory. I also wanted to see what the New York Jets did in Week 10 to cause Russell Wilson to have one of his worst games of the year. And of course I looked at their matchup last week against the Washington Redskins.

What I discovered was a very good Seahawks team that plays a style that is going to be a difficult matchup for the Falcons.

The key to Seattle’s success is their strong running game helmed by Marshawn Lynch and Tom Cable’s zone-blocking scheme. Lynch is one of the best after contact runners in the league, and the Falcons defense has struggled throughout this year with their tackling. If they aren’t swarming to the ball and Lynch gets too many one on one situations with our linebackers and safeties, the Falcons could be in for a long day.

Lynch’s running is the foundation of their offense. With it, they utilize a lot of play-action and read option with Russell Wilson. The Falcons have been fairly solid against those two, but have had their lapses. They’ve faced Carolina (twice) and Washington, both of whom utilized a lot of read option, so they will be prepared. However neither Carolina nor Washington used much of it in their early matchup. The only time the Falcons have seen a lot of it (and I suspect Seattle will use it quite a bit) was in their Week 14 loss to Carolina. During that game the Falcons did give up a pair of long touchdowns on read option on a Cam Newton run and a screen pass to DeAngelo Williams. But I feel somewhat confident that Mike Nolan may have fixed many of those kinks in the subsequent weeks.

If the Falcons can contain Lynch, it will be difficult for the Seahawks to overcome it because it might force them into playing a way they don’t want to play, which is a dropback passing game. Russell Wilson’s short stature has made it difficult for him to be your typical pocket passer at this level. He likes to get out on the move, using his legs and throwing downfield. In fact, it reminds me quite a bit of the Falcons circa 2002 with Michael Vick. It’s what makes Seattle so dangerous since Wilson is prone to breaking some long runs. The key for any defense against them will be to contain him to the pocket and force him to use his arm, not his legs. The former has not quite developed, and he still is prone to making some youthful mistakes against the blitz, similar to Vick.
Read more…

Moneyball 2012 – Week 15 Review

December 18th, 2012 1 comment

A solid performance for the Falcons against the Giants. It was probably their most balanced game all year long. If they’ve been more balanced, then I just don’t recall that game, because it’s been a while since it happened.

The hat tip must go to the offensive line. After being manhandled by the Giants last January, they were very good. They were able to open enough holes to establish the run for the team early on. They also did an excellent job protecting Matt Ryan. I counted only 3 hurries (2 by Osi vs. Baker, 1 by JPP vs. Clabo), and no pressures. Last year, Ryan was sacked twice and pressured 6 times.

Propelled by one of the better line performances we’ve seen in 2012 (and by far their best at home), Ryan and the offense got back on track after two abysmal performances in previous weeks. Roddy had a relatively quiet game, his two lone catches were third down conversions. Jones also was fairly quiet in the first half, but came alive in the second half. Gonzo was Gonzo, you know being money on third downs and in the redzone. Douglas really stepped up and made some nice plays. Even Mike Cox got into the action. It’s nice to see the Falcons offense being able to spread the ball around and get multiple contributors involved.

On the ground, Turner had a solid game. But he was outshined by one Jason Snelling. I don’t think anybody’s ever earned as much money as Snelling did on that small amount of carries. Sure, all of his earnings came in the fourth quarter, and only $1 did not come on the final drive during garbage time. But he ran extremely hard, and it was clear that Snelling was going to give the coaches something to consider in film review this week. I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but he looked better on those 7 carries than I think any Falcon RB has looked all year long. The Falcons should be looking to mix him more in the rotation going forward.

Mike Cox, you’re going to get some love here too. Not only did you entertain us with your tumble over a defender, you also did a solid job blocking. Your blocking hasn’t been world-shattering, but you’ve been steady and consistent. You don’t miss assignments which is really all you can ask for from a fullback.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$15$0$0$0$0$0$15.00
Julio Jones$0$3$9-$1$0$0$11.00
Jason Snelling$0$7$2$0$0$0$9.00
Michael Turner$0$7$0$0$0$0$7.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$5$1$0$0$6.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$6$0$0-$1$5.00
Mike Cox$0$0$2$2$0$0$4.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$1$0$0$0$3.00
Roddy White$0$0$2$1$0-$2$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Peter Konz$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00

Read more…

Weatherspoon among others out for Saints game

November 9th, 2012 Comments off

The Falcons released their injury report today for this Sunday’s upcoming contest against the New Orleans Saints. A number of Falcons players were on this week’s injury report, including linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin), and safety Charles Mitchell (calf), all of whom were declared out for the game. All three players missed the entire week of practice.

Also appearing on the report were a number of questionable players including: defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux (hamstring) and Peria Jerry (knee), and cornerbacks Robert McClain (hip) and Chris Owens (heel). McClain and Owens were added to the injury report today after being limited in today’s practice. Both Babineaux and Jerry were limited throughout the week’s three days of practice.

Defensive end John Abraham (elbow), tackle Sam Baker (ankle), wideout Harry Douglas (ankle), cornerback Asante Samuel (hip), and running back Jason Snelling (illness) all also appeared on the report, but are listed as probable. Abraham was able to fully participate in all three days of practice. Both Baker and Samuel were limited on Thursday while fully participating on Thursday and Friday. Douglas was limited until fully participating in today’s practice. Snelling missed Wednesday practice, but was full go on Thursday and today.

With Weatherspoon out, Mike Peterson will likely enter the starting lineup in the base defense, with Akeem Dent taking over Spoon’s duties in the nickel. Both Cone and Mitchell will be missed on special teams. Babineaux and Jerry’s injuries leave the team relatively thin at defensive tackle, as Corey Peters is still recovering from a foot injury that kept him out of the first six games of the season. It could mean Vance Walker and Travian Robertson get increased reps on Sunday. McClain and Owens are the team’s top two backups at cornerback, being key components of the team’s nickel and dime packages. That could potentially be tested given the Saints proclivity to use three, four, and five wideouts on the majority of their plays.

Falcons streak past Eagles

October 28th, 2012 1 comment
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Jones runs by defenders for TD

The Falcons extend their record to 7-0 with a 30-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons built an early lead, and pretty much were on cruise control for most of the day as the Eagles struggled to find a rhythm and made a lot of mental errors. Mike Smith pushes his post-bye record to 4-1, and gets revenge for his lone loss suffered against the Eagles in 2008. This win also snaps the Eagles post-bye win streak of 13 games under Andy Reid. Mike Smith has now won 50 games with the Falcons, making him the winningest coach in franchise history, passing Dan Reeves (1997-2003) with 49 wins.

Matt Ryan had another brilliant performance, completing 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. On the ground, Jacquizz Rodgers led rushers with 60 yards on 8 carries, including a 43-yard run late in the game. Michael Turner added 58 yards on 24 carries. Julio Jones and Rodgers tied for the team lead with 5 receptions each. Jones had 123 yards and a score, while Rodgers contributed 20 yards in the passing game. Roddy White (3 catches, 38 yards), Tony Gonzalez (3 catches, 29 yards), and Jason Snelling (3 catches, 16 yards, 1 touchdown) also made contributions. D.J. Davis caught his first two passes of his NFL career for 30 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown to start the game for the Falcons. Matt Bryant connected on 3 field goal tries of 43, 29, and 30 yards. Matt Bosher was forced to punt only once, not coming until the fourth quarter which went for 52 yards. He had another punt attempt blocked. Rodgers returned a pair of kickoffs for a total of 30 yards, while Dominique Franks had a single punt return for 11 yards.

Defensively, the Falcons limited the Eagles to only 256 yards of total offense and were able to get to Michael Vick 3 times. Thomas DeCoud led defenders with 9 tackles, and he also recorded one of those sacks. John Abraham (3 tackles, 1 sack); Kroy Biermann (7 tackles, 1 sack); Robert McClain (6 tackles); William Moore (3 tackles, 1 forced fumble); Stephen Nicholas (5 tackles); Chris Owens (2 tackles); Dunta Robinson (2 tackles); and Sean Weatherspoon (6 tackles) all had noteworthy games.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,

Falcons Week 1 Injury Report

September 7th, 2012 Comments off

The Falcons released their injury report for this weekend’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Only two players appeared on it, with cornerback Chris Owens (hamstring) and running back Jason Snelling (calf) listed as probable this week.

Both Owens and Snelling were able to fully participate in Thursday and Friday’s practices, after being limited on Wednesday with their respective injuries. Both Owens and Snelling sat out the preseason with their respective injuries.

For the Chiefs, nose tackle Anthony Toribiio (ankle), defensive end Allen Bailey (ankle) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) were listed as doubtful. All three players sat all three days of practice this weekend.  Also on the Chiefs’ injury report were linebackers Derrick Johnson (ankle) and Jovan Belcher (groin) and cornerbacks Jalil Brown (groin) and Brandon Flowers (foot), all listed as questionable. Johnson, Brown, and Flowers were all limited in practice all three days, with Belcher missing Thursday practice and being limited on Wednesday and Friday.

Categories: News Tags: , ,