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Preseason Week 2 Stock Report

August 18th, 2013 Comments off
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Konz appears to have found a home at center

This is the third installment in the weekly stock reports, assessing which Falcon players have improved or diminished their stock for making the Falcons roster and/or potentially contributing in 2013.

Last week I indicated that four players’ stock was down: QB Dominique Davis, TE Levine Toilolo, OT Ryan Schraeder, and CB Dominique Franks. Without going into great detail, all four players improved their performances against the Ravens. Franks stood out the most as he was arguably the most impactful defender on the field once the starters went out. He blanketed Ravens wideout LaQuan Williams, and made it nearly impossible for backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor to complete a pass to the young receiver. But rather than rehash previous players, I’ll indicate some new faces that were able to raise their stock within the past week.

Stock Up

 

RB Antone Smith – After a strong preseason debut by Ronnie Wingo, Smith’s grip on a roster spot seemed a bit more tenuous especially given the time he missed due to injury. But Smith responded with a solid performance against the Ravens. As a rusher, Smith was unimpressive. He rushed for 16 yards on 6 carries (2.7 avg). None of his first five carries proved successful, until his sixth and final carry of five yard where he was able to bounce a play to the edge. He is being pushed for what is expected to be the fourth running back spot by a trio of youngsters in Josh Vaughan, Ronnie Wingo, and Donald Russell. That trio combined for 12 carries and 67 yards (5.6 avg) against the Ravens. Seven of those dozen combined carries (58.3%) were successful runs. Vaughn looked particularly impressive, with his first four carries all counting as successes. But Smith showcased excellent speed, which can be valuable in both the passing game and on special teams. He was able to use that speed on the edge on a pair of catches in the flat that went for a combined 40 yards, almost all of it coming after the catch where he streaked by Ravens’ defenders. That speed also came into handy on special teams where he was able to get downfield quickly and cover punts, including downing one at the Ravens’ own 2-yard line. While Smith doesn’t offer the same long-term potential as a runner that the other young backs on the roster do, he does offer immediate value in the passing game, thus complementing Matt Ryan well, and on special teams, meaning he can be active and contribute every Sunday.

OC Peter Konz – While I did highlight Konz as a player whose stock was rising a week ago, it should be mentioned that it continues to rise after a standout game against the Baltimore Ravens. He faced 4-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and was highly effective in controlling the 340-pounder. As mentioned previously, former Falcons center Todd McClure routinely struggled against big 3-4 nose tackles. But if Thursday night is any indcator, that will no longer be an issue with Konz playing the pivot.

Stock Down

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Preseason Week 1 Stock Report

August 11th, 2013 Comments off

Andrew Weber- US PRESSWIRE

Corey Peters

A week ago, I discussed some of the players that bolstered their stock up or down during the first part of training camp. Now it’s time to look at which players did the same in the first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Some of these thoughts were previously expressed in my offensive and defensive reactions article from a few days ago. But these are the players that I think really helped or hurt their stock when it comes to solidifying their respective positions and/or making an impression to earn a spot on the roster.

Stock Up

 

RB Ronnie Wingo – Wingo ran with authority and power while working with the third team units against the Bengals. He did drop one pass, and he’ll need to showcase that he can produce in the passing game if he has a chance to make the roster. That goes both for catching the football and in pass protection, something he didn’t get much opportunity to do against the Bengals. He took advantage of the absence of Antone Smith, who’s grip on the fourth running back position appears a little more tenuous. But among the backup running backs not named Jacquizz and Jason, Wingo appears to be the best runner.

OC Peter Konz – Konz had a nice debut at center against the Bengals, showing that he was capable in pass protection and run blocking. The beauty of being a center is that you don’t have to do a whole lot to look good. But Konz did all the right things, playing balanced and with leverage and getting good position as a run blocker. He’ll best tested even more this next week against Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata. Blocking Ngata is often like trying to block out the sun, nearly impossible. If Konz fares well against him, then things will definitely be looking up.

DT Corey Peters – After missing all of camp and the first half of the regular season last year with a foot injury, Peters appeared poised and ready to show out in his contract year. He did not disappoint in the opener, as the Bengals struggled to move the ball on the ground when they ran to his side. He has never been the sort of disruptive force up front that Jonathan Babineaux is (which was also on display against the Bengals), but Peters did show his ability to anchor and get off blocks at the point of attack against what is a fairly good Bengals blocking interior. He appears in regular season form, which bodes very well for Peters in 2013.

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Training Camp Stock Report Week 1

August 3rd, 2013 Comments off

It’s been over a week since Falcons began training camp on July 25, and it’s time to look at which players have distinguished themselves (and those that have not) with our weekly stock report. Expect the next one to be up after the Falcons Thursday night matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

Stock Up

 

Chase Coffman/Levine Toilolo

Coffman has been taking full advantage of the absence of Tony Gonzalez from the Falcons lineup, catching everything that comes his way. Toilolo is also making good ground as well, and it seems like the Falcons will no longer be hurting for depth at tight end as they have been in past seasons.

Martel Moore

Moore got off to a fast start in camp, working the corners on the roster that aren’t named Asante Samuel. The competition for the fourth and fifth receiver spots are fairly wide open. Moore has shown he can make plays on offense, but perhaps the secret to his making the final roster will be if he can showcase his prowess on special teams.

Ryan Schraeder

Schraeder has generated quite a bit of buzz working with the reserve offensive line units. He’s a player that could manage to make the roster as the ninth offensive lineman and backup to left tackle Sam Baker.

Peter Konz

By all accounts, Konz has had a solid camp, quieting any concerns whether or not the Falcons would see a precipitous dropoff this year at center due to the retirement of Todd McClure.

Cliff Matthews/Malliciah Goodman

Both Matthews and Goodman are off to good starts to camp. Both are expected to be in the mix to play defensive end when the Falcons want to add size to the lineup. Both players are hitting the scales around 280 pounds, and should be in the mix to spell Jonathan Babineaux when the Falcons go to their 3-man fronts at left defensive end. They will also likely be asked to play inside in 4-man fronts to add some quickness inside. Any concerns over whether either player would be able to carve out a significant role in the rotation seem to be evaporated given their start.

Joplo Bartu

Bartu’s name is generating a bit more buzz in recent days. His athleticism and speed have been drawing rave reviews. Bartu has a chance to win a backup outside linebacker position, particularly as a backup to Stephen Nicholas on the strongside.

Stock Down

 

Lamar Holmes

It’s been fairly quiet on the Lamar Holmes front. He is expected to be pushing Mike Johnson for the starting right tackle spot in one of the few starting positions that was truly open to competition, but there hasn’t been much buzz surrounding Holmes. While there hasn’t been a ton of buzz surrounding Johnson either, it does seem like he clearly has the lead. If Holmes doesn’t step up in the coming weeks, this competition could be over before it even really began.

Desmond Trufant

It’s probably not fair to put Trufant on this list. He had a rocky beginning to camp, but by all accounts has improved significantly as camp has progressed. He’ll have plenty of time to get his stock back up the rest of the way, so by no means should anybody be in panic mode. But Trufant is/was expected to win the starting right cornerback position, and the simple truth is that if the season began today, it would be a question of whether he would be in that role.

Preseason Stock Exchange (Week 1)

August 14th, 2012 Comments off

It’s time to look at which Falcon players have improved their stock and those that have not after the first preseason outing. This is mostly looking at who shined and who did not against the Ravens.

Stock Up

QB Dominique Davis – Davis benefited greatly from the lackluster night by both Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson. Besides Wilson running an effective 2-minute drill at the end of the half, both veteran passers looked very rusty against the Ravens. Davis showed some athleticism, using his legs to extend plays and also showed off his strong arm with some shots downfield. Davis still needs to polish up his footwork, mechanics, and tighten up his accuracy, but if he can build off last week’s performance against the Bengals, he will be in prime position to potentially earn a roster spot.

WR DJ. Davis – The No. 5 wide receiver spot will almost certainly be determined by special teams ability. And Davis stood out against the Ravens, particularly with his excellent open field stop when working as a gunner on a punt returner, tripping up Bobby Rainey in the 3rd quarter to cause a 1-yard loss on a Dawson Zimmerman punt. Kevin Cone looked to have the inside track at the spot, but Davis is making up ground.

OL Peter Konz – Konz had his moments when working at right guard with the second team offensive line, showing ability to get some push. He missed a block while pulling inside on a play, but then helped make up for with a good block downfield when he pulled outside on the next play. Konz had some struggles when he moved to center for the third unit. But if he’s going to make up ground against Garrett Reynolds for the starting right guard spot, he got off to a solid start.

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Week 14 Stock Report

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

More looks at which Falcon players have raised or lowered their play in recent games.

Stock Up

Jonathan Babineaux – After a slow start this season, Babineaux’s play has picked up to his usual standards in recent weeks. He’s played well this season and has made his presence and impact known throughout the year but he has not played at the consistently high level he played for most of last season. Recent games have indicated he might be back.

Brent Grimes & Dunta Robinson
– Both Grimes and Robinson had strong games against the Tampa Bay. Grimes is more notable because of his game-saving interception and an interception that was overturned. But Robinson also did his part and arguably had his best game in coverage since joining the Falcons. The Falcons pass defense has been one of their weaknesses throughout this season, but if Grimes and Robinson continue to play at a similarly high level it may wind up being a strength as the games start to get more dire come January.

Stock Down

Jamaal Anderson – After a relatively strong first half of the season, Anderson’s play has tailed off in recent weeks. He’s been practically invisible for much of the past month. Early in the season, he was making his presence known as a run stopper and an occasional pass rusher on his limited opportunities there, but in recent weeks his ability as a run stopper have been on the decline. And without it, there is not much else with Anderson.

Justin Peelle – While Peelle has may his presence known in the passing game since his return, his blocking seems to be much more iffy. The gap between the veteran Peelle and upstart Palmer seems to be have been closed. Before the argument would have been that Peelle is the more reliable blocker, but that reliability has not been apparent in recent games. And if it doesn’t return before the year is out, it may never do so because the Falcons might consider going with Palmer as the primary backup to be not so significant a roll of the dice as it may have appeared to be earlier in the season.

Week 13 Stock Report

December 1st, 2010 Comments off

There was no stock report last year because I was too focused on deep-fried turkey, greens, stuffing, and mac and cheese than which Falcon players had gotten better or worse over the last week. So enjoy this stock report and some left overs if you still got any left.

Stock Up

 

Harvey Dahl – While Tyson Clabo probably wins the award for Mr. Consistency as far as the five starters go, typically Dahl gets the award for Mr. Impact. If and when Dahl blocks well, the Falcons ground game usually follows. Dahl’s play while not stellar, has been consistently at a higher level in recent weeks than earlier in the season.

Peria Jerry – Jerry has put together some fairly solid performances in recent weeks, at least relative to him providing very little in the first few weeks of the season. He’s shown improvement as a pass rusher, and has been able to get penetration at times vs. the run. If the Falcons were looking for another disruptive presence in the middle to team with Babineaux, then Jerry probably is their best option today.

Matt Bryant – Bryant has been money all year long, perfect 12 of 12 on field goals in the dome including several game winners. The Falcons can be very confident down the stretch that if they need a clutch field goal made at home, Bryant will come through.

Mike Peterson – Peterson  still has his struggles in coverage and the Falcons have done their best this season to try and disguise those issues. When Weatherspoon was sidelined, that was much harder to do with Peterson logging many more reps on passing downs. But now that Weatherspoon is back, Peterson can get back to what he does best which is play the run and be a tough presence inside. And he’s done exactly that in recent weeks.

 

 

Stock Down

Corey Peters – In my praise of Vance Walker two weeks ago, I mentioned that Peters has struggled against the run. Those struggles have continued, although not as glaringly so as they were about a month ago. But Peters remains the starter, and I’m not exactly sure why. It appears the Falcons have settled into a rotation where Walker gets a lot of snaps on run downs, and Jerry gets snaps on passing downs. And I guess Peters gets snaps on both because he’s not really excelling anywhere. And while Peters is still a rookie, and prone to rookie mistakes, he just isn’t making an impact when he’s on the field. I’m just not sold at this point in the year if the Falcons want a rotation that features its best interior defenders, he is really in the conversation.

Justin Blalock – Blalock did not play well vs. the Green Bay Packers. And while Sam Baker has merited much of the ire from Falcon fans this season, I think Blalock is more of a problem child on the Falcons weak left side. McClure, Clabo, and Dahl are fairly consistent with their level of play from week to week. The same can be said of Baker. And while that level of play is arguably mediocre most weeks, that’s at least consistently mediocre. Blalock is the blocker that is prone to the most wild swings from week to week and really from snap to snap. He has plenty of good moments, but seemingly just as many if not more more bad ones. And unless he can play at a consistently higher level down the stretch, he seems like the most likely candidate between himself, Dahl, and Clabo to get left out in the cold when the Falcons talk turkey (yes, pun intended!) about contracts after the season.

Week 11 Stock Report

November 17th, 2010 Comments off

Brent Grimes

Is Brent Grimes slipping?

I did this in the preseason when it came to discussing which players had their stock up and down as far as making the roster, but I think it’s time to break it out for the regular season as well. Just trying to look at which players stock is up and down as far as playing well, poorly, etc. And since this feature was non-existent through the first 9 games of the season, for this first time, I’ll try to incorporate performances in recent weeks.
 

Stock Up

Roddy White – This is a no brainer. Roddy is on a ridiculous pace so far this year with his production. His 70 catches in 9 games makes him on pace for 124 receptions this year. For the record, the single season record for receptions is 143 which Marvin Harrison accomplished in 2002. But the second most ever is 123, accomplished by Herman Moore in 1995 and Wes Welker in 2009.

Michael Palmer – In the absence of Justin Peelle, the undrafted rookie has performed well as a role player, contributing as a receiver and blocker. His play hasn’t been stellar but he’s made some key blocks in recent games and been a very reliable outlet for Ryan underneath. He looks like a keeper long-term. If his play continues to improve, the Falcons may have little reason to bring Peelle back next year.

Read more…

Preseason Week 3 Stock Exchange

August 28th, 2010 Comments off

The Falcons first units got an extensive workout for the third preseason game against the Dolphins. And while the offense didn’t quite look like it was in midseason form, there were some good individual performances from a few players. The defense looked a little sharper, but there are still some questions going into the final exhibition contest. The team will make their first roster cut down by Tuesday in which they will have to release at least four players to get down to the limit of 75.

Stock Up


WR Harry Douglas – Douglas appears to be progressing nicely on his recovery from a season-ending knee injury last year. In the Dolphins game he flashed some of his trademark quickness and burst on his way to a 4-catch, 41-yard effort. He made a key grab to convert a 3rd & 11 on the Falcons initial scoring drive, which set up the touchdown pass to Roddy White on the very next play. And he had a nice 26-yard catch and run on the team’s scoring drive in the third quarter that put the team in the redzone, leading to a touchdown pass to Brian Finneran three plays later. If Michael Jenkins has an extended absence, Douglas is doing a nice job instilling some confidence that at least one of the team’s reserve receivers appears poised to step up and help.

TE Michael Palmer – Palmer has had a nice summer, showing good hands as he paves his way for a possible third tight end position. The incumbent is Keith Zinger, who was used almost exclusively as a blocker last year in goalline and short-yardage situations. It remains to be seen how impressed the team has been with Palmer’s run blocking, but he at least clearly is an upgrade as far as the passing game goes. He probably has shown enough that he merits a practice squad role at the least, but has a good shot at landing a spot on the 53-man roster.

LB Sean Weatherspoon – Weatherspoon made his second start on the strongside vs. the Dolphins, and from all indications appears that he will open up the season in that same position. Along with the team’s other linebackers, he certainly did his part to limit the Dolphins running attack to 46 total yards on 18 carries (2.6 avg) with a 4-tackle effort. Through three games and three starts, Weatherspoon has tallied 11 tackles, showing some of his trademark speed and range in run support.

Stock Down


K Matt Bryant – While a missed extra point in the Dolphins game may have had more to do with the dirt-laden field conditions of Land Shark Stadium, it still just underscores the fact that Bryant hasn’t instilled a ton of confidence with his kicking so far this summer. Given the inconsistency that the Falcons had last season in the kicking game with Jason Elam, Bryant may be facing a bit more pressure and extra scrutiny. The Falcons aren’t likely to make a change at this point in the summer, but the leash will be fairly tight and short once the regular season begins.

WR Brian Finneran – Although he made a nice grab on a scoring strike from Chris Redman vs. the Dolphins, he hasn’t really shown he’s in sync with starter Matt Ryan. Ryan showed an overwhelming tendency to target Roddy White in the Dolphin game, with 12 of his 26 passes going to No. 84. Finneran on the other hand only had one pass go his way from Ryan. As the Falcons look for a viable stopgap option in the absence of Michael Jenkins on the outside, Finneran hasn’t inspired a ton of confidence with his preseason performances.

CB Dunta Robinson – While it’s hard to blame the Falcons for playing it safe and keeping Robinson sidelined for fear of him aggravating a hamstring injury, it certainly hasn’t eased any doubts over whether the Falcons made the smart decision to sign Robinson to a big money contract this past spring.  Hamstrings are notorious for taking some time to heal, and the Falcons maybe being extra cautious given the issues safety William Moore had a year ago. The Falcons can’t really afford to have Robinson get off to a slow start in the regular season, as the secondary will draw tough assignments against explosive receivers like Mike Wallace, Larry Fitzgerald, and Robert Meachem and physical ones like Hines Ward and Marques Colston early in the season. Last summer, Robinson missed the entire training camp due to a contract holdout, and it was proabbly no coincidence that the Texans secondary gave up 272 passing yards to a mediocre Jets passing attack in Week 1. The Falcons cannot afford a repeat of that this year.

Preseason Week 2 Stock Exchange

August 22nd, 2010 Comments off

It’s time to look at who’s stock is up and down after the second preseason game. The Falcons have just one more preseason game before they much begin to make roster cuts and decisions.

Stock Up


WR Troy Bergeron -
With the season-ending injury to Meier, the Falcons are likely in need for some roster help at this position. And right now, Bergeron is probably the only one of the “camp bodies” at wide receiver that has thus far distinguished himself in preseason games. He’s tied for the lead among all receivers with four receptions, including a nice run after the catch on a 19-yard score vs. the Patriots. Bergeron’s eligibility for the practice squad has expired, so the only way he can stick is to be on the team’s 53-man roster when all is said and done. And right now, he’s given the team the most to date to why he deserves over the other guys who actually can go on the practice squad.

TE Justin Peelle - Not only is Meier’s injury a potential boon for a player like Bergeron, it might also help Justin Peelle. With all the injuries and question marks the Falcons are facing at the wide receiver, there is no question as to what Peelle’s value is. And if those issues linger at wide receiver, the team may be forced to use a lot more two-tight end sets as the regular season begins. And Peelle thus far has shown that he is ready for the increased workload with 4 receptions thus far in the preseason, including 3 vs. the Patriots. To date, Peelle has caught more passes from Matt Ryan than Harry Douglas has, so relatively speaking he is a trusted option that can take pressure off the other receivers as the season nears.

DE Lawrence Sidbury – While Kroy Biermann has garnered most of the headlines and hype this summer, Sidbury has quietly done a good job pressuring the quarterback as well. He got a sack in what was essentially garbage minutes vs. the Patriots, but he’s shown a greater burst and quickness off the edge than he displayed last season and summer, and looks like he is well on his way to being a key contributor in the team’s rotation.

Stock Down


CB Dominique Franks -
This is not in reference to what Franks can do on defense, as he showed some improvement this past week vs. the Patriots in coverage. This is in regards to his special teams production. Franks is in the midst of a competition with Eric Weems over return duties, but thus far has been unimpressive. He has fair caught four punts, and his lone return vs. the Patriots was a 7-yard loss in which he looked amateurish, trying to run to break a big play but rather picking up a loss of yardage. This week vs. Miami may be his last chance to really shine and unseat the much more battle tested and consistent Weems.

S Matt Giordano – While Shann Schillinger made his preseason debut with a couple of tackles and a nice interception, Giordano premiered vs. the Patriots by being the victim on two bad plays where he was caught out of position. One of which resulted in a touchdown. While the fourth safety spot was likely always Schillinger’s to lose, Giordano did little to at least make it interesting and inspire confidence in the coaching staff that a veteran hand like his is necessary. Barring a brilliant performance next week vs. the Dolphins, and a flop on the part of Schillinger it would seem that the job is locked up.

RB Dimitri Nance – While he still may maintain a slight lead on Antone Smith in the competition for the fourth running back position, Nance did little vs. the Patriots to separate himself from the pack. Despite looking promising on two touchdown runs vs. the Chiefs, and thus far being the more reliable of the pair as a receiver out of the backfield, Nance’s fumble vs. the Patriots has made this battle much more even. And while some of the blame may rest on the blocking he’s received up front, his 2.1 yards per carry average is far from impressive. Especially when Smith has it practically doubled.

Preseason Week 1 Stock Exchange

August 15th, 2010 Comments off

It’s time to look at a handful of players whose stock is up or down based on their performances through the first game of the preseason.

Stock Up


Kroy Biermann, DE -
Expectations that Biermann would be able to step up his game were not let down with a good preseason opener. Two tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble indicate that Biermann seems poised to build off a breakout year as a pass rusher.

Dominique Franks, CB – He is not in the mix to be a starter this year, and probably doesn’t have a realistic shot of winning the nickel role, but Franks has reportedly had a strong camp so far, and continue to flash his ability in the game against the Chiefs. He showed his tackling ability with two good sticks on Chiefs receivers. He missed another tackle by taking a bad angle and gave up another long play in coverage, indicating that he still has a ways to go before he can be a reliable contributor on defense. But if his tackling ability is any indicator, Franks should be a valuable contributor early on special teams. Chris Owens had a similar path a year ago, going from special teams maven into regular contributor on defense by year’s end.

Kerry Meier, WR – We continue to hear nice things about the fifth round pick who has snagged everything so far at camp. Meier finished the preseason opener with two catches for 27 yards. He isn’t likely a serious option to fill in time for the vacant Michael Jenkins, but if Meier continues to play at a high level, he may get opportunities on offense rather than being relegated to special teams duty only. He has a chance to pass Eric Weems as the teams’ No. 4 receiver with Jenkins out of the lineup.

John Parker Wilson, QB – It seems the Falcons decision to enter camp with only three arms (one short of the usual in the NFL) seems to be a smart move since Wilson has performed at a level that makes a fourth arm pointless. Wilson didn’t have a great night statistically, completing 8 of 16 passes for 80 yards, but shined at times making some really good throws and showing his NFL arm.

Stock Down


William Moore, S
– Moore has missed time by re-aggravating a groin injury he suffered in the spring. Many expected Moore to be a serious challenger for a starting position at strong safety, but he has yet to prove he can remain healthy for a long enough stretch to give the coaching staff something to think about. Barring some absolutely brilliant performances in the remaining preseason games, it would appear Erik Coleman is locked in as the starter for at least another year.

Antone Smith, RB – Despite leading the Falcons in rushing on Friday night’s game against the Chiefs, Smith had at least two key drops in the passing game. He is in direct competition with undrafted rookie Dimitri Nance for a potential fourth running back spot on the depth chart. Given that spot’s role likely to be limited to third downs and special teams, whichever of the two proves to be the more reliable receiver would likely go a long way to settling the competition.