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Posts Tagged ‘White’

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 33 “The One About Fantasy Football”

July 26th, 2013 7 comments

Allen and I are back with Dave Wasniski, the commish of the FalcFans fantasy league to talk all things fantasy football. We discuss which players we like and don’t like at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end, including discussions of some of the Falcons own players such as Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Steven Jackson and where they should rank this year. You’ll also hear our thoughts on what to do about playing or sitting Falcons opponents as well as our thoughts on what new NFL rule changes could affect the game this year.

Ep. 33: The One About Fantasy Football [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com 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: 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

Ranking the Falcons: No. 4 Roddy White

July 26th, 2013 Comments off
Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

Roddy White

Wide Receiver Roddy White finishes fourth on the Falcons. Click here to read about how the scoring system for these rankings was devised.

Total Score: 89

Player Grade: 80 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 32 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 26 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 32 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +1
Positional Bonus: +3

With another 1000-yard season, that will give White seven consecutive, a benchmark only achieved by six other receivers in NFL history. That is not only a mark of skill, but also an indicator of durability.

Durability has been one of the keys for White’s success. He’s never missed a game in eight seasons with the Falcons, with Reggie Wayne (182) being the lone active wide receiver in terms of consecutive games played to rank above White’s 128.

While White may take a slight ding to his workload this year due to the potential emergence of Julio Jones, he is still expected to play at a high level. The Falcons were able to incorporate White more as a slot receiver last year than in previous years, which could help continue to benefit him. Being able to utilize his separation skills against what are often lesser cornerbacks in the slot could be a good way to create similar matchup problems to what Jones does on the outside.

Thanks to the coverages that Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez often can draw, White got many more one-on-one opportunities on the outside. White exploited those to more big plays down the field. After three seasons (2009-11) where he combined to average 12.8 yards per reception, White’s average jumped to 14.7 last year. And given the likelihood that defenses will be even more focused on Jones this year, it will give White a lot more one-on-one opportunities that he can exploit to great effect. And if that results in even better production from White, that could ultimately be a key difference to allow the Falcons to get further in 2013 than they did a year ago.

Categories: Features Tags: ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 32 “They’re Gonna Run It Up the Middle!”

July 17th, 2013 5 comments

Allen and I are joined this week by Matt Chambers of Grits Blitz blog to discuss the NFC South in depth. We discuss each of the Falcons three NFC South opponents: New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Carolina and what are our expectations for each team in 2013, and whether or not they will present a significant challenge to the Falcons in their bid for a title this year. Discussions also veer towards the competition at cornerback and whether Dominique Franks should be written off … How much confidence folks should have in the Falcons offensive line, including Sam Baker and Mike Johnson … Matt Bryant and the Falcons kickers of the recent past … What interviewing Michael Vick might be like … Chris Weinke, Pierre Thomas, and a host of other past Falcon killers. WARNING: This episode contains some EXPLICIT language.

Ep. 32: They’re Gonna Run It Up the Middle! [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 11 minutes

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

Matt Chambers can be found on twitter: @FalconsM5, and also writes for Grits Blitz blog.

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

Takeaways from Last Week – July 15

July 15th, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

I feel your pain

A week from today, we will be on the two-week anniversary of when the lockout ended. And now with two years of hindsight to show for it, it’s clear that the players dropped the ball.

Last week, I discussed Roger Goodell and the NFL’s corporate image in efforts to “protect the shield.” The fact that the players didn’t fight harder to have Goodell removed as the entity that disciplines players. This became a major issue last off-season with the BountyGate decisions, where Goodell clearly overstepped his limits when meting out player punishment.

The players signed a deal believing that their would be a landfall with money coming in 2014. Well, current projections indicate that at the earliest that will be coming in 2015. Until then there has been a flat cap which has led to teams spending much less money, leading some players to believe that teams are colluding with one another to keep prices down.

The players also didn’t fight hard enough to get rid of the franchise tag. Look at the number of tagged players that aren’t getting deals. Eight players got tagged this off-season. And only one of them as of this posting Monday morning, Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady, got a long-term deal. In fact, several of them such as Randy Starks and Anthony Spencer were pretty much told point-blank that their respective teams had no interest in locking them up to long-term deals.

That’s the same way that the Falcons treated Brent Grimes an off-season ago. They had no intention to really give him a long-term deal, which led to the bitterness expressed by Miko Grimes.

Look at the following table. Since 2008, 73 players have received franchise tags. Only 35 of them have gotten long-term deals from their respective teams. Even discounting this year’s group of eight, the percentage was still barely about half (52.3%). Basically when a player is tagged, it’s a 50/50 proposition that he gets a new deal from his respective team. This is why players hate the franchise tag. It’s denying them money that they should be able to get on the open market.

Year
Total
Signed
Not-Signed
Pct. Signed
TOTALS73353847.9%
201381712.5%
20121911857.9%
20111310376.9%
201064266.7%
20091541126.7%
2008125741.7%

Read more…

Camp Battles 2013: Wide Receiver

July 14th, 2013 Comments off
 Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Is 2013 the year Kevin Cone finally emerges?

Like many of the Falcons offensive starting positions, they are locked in at the wide receiver position. Thomas Dimitroff envisioned the possibility of having a No. 1 and No. 1-A receiver when he moved up in the 2011 draft to add Julio Jones to a receiver corps that already had Roddy White. It seems that vision will come true in 2013, as it’s hard to figure which player will be the preferred weapon of Ryan in the regular season. Based off last year, technically the honor of being the top option will probably fall on Jones. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones saw a pass from Ryan once every 4.56 snaps where he ran a route. White on the other hand was slightly less used with a target for ever 4.70 snaps. That gap could widen as the Falcons look to better take advantage of Jones’ elite physical tools.

Behind both starters is Harry Douglas, who in this day and age of a passing league is also technically a starter. Douglas appeared in 58.8% of the Falcons offensive snaps last year (per Pro Football Focus) and will once again resume his duties in the slot. But the Falcons managed to mix Roddy White more in the slot last year, and might continue to expand his role there.

Most of the competition will come in camp at the position behind Douglas at the No. 4 wideout spot. That role primarily will be used on special teams rather than offense. Drew Davis is the incumbent there. Outside some of the Falcons blowouts and games in which Julio Jones was injured, he saw little more than two dozen snaps on offense last year. Davis managed to make the most of what few opportunities he did have, showing good speed and quickness to catch 4 passes and a touchdown last year. Davis flashed good ability as a cover guy on special teams, but was inconsistent at times. The key for him to maintain his current position on the depth chart is to make strides both on offense and special teams. Offensively, refining his route-running should help.

But in reality the competition for the fourth wide receiver spot is fairly wide open. Kevin Cone spent last year as the team’s fifth wideout. Cone had a bit of a disappointing preseason last summer. Among the potential candidates, he may possess the best physical tools due to his size and speed combination. But his hands were inconsistent and he hasn’t quite refined his route-running to a high level. Coming out of an option offense at Georgia Tech in 2011 explains his slow progress somewhat, but 2013 needs to be the year that he puts it all together.

Tim Toone was a late summer addition last year that showcased some ability as a punt returner and speed on offense. He finished the year with the team, although he did not suit up for game. Toone’s best avenue to making the roster will be showing he can be a contributor on special teams, most likely as a punt returner.

Also competing for a shot at the return gig is James Rodgers, the older brother of Jacquizz. Rodgers spent the year on the practice squad. He had a solid summer last year, coming fairly close to locking down one of the return spots. He’s an undersized offensive player, but if he can regain the explosiveness he lost due to an ACL tear in 2010, it should aid him greatly.

Marcus Jackson may be the most polished receiver of the group of last year’s practice squad players. Jackson was able to showcase solid hands last summer and an ability to get open, a necessary trait to be a productive NFL receiver. But the key for him will be to not only continue to make strides offensively, but also show he offers value on special teams. Otherwise, he’s looking at another year on the practice squad.

The Falcons also have three undrafted rookies in the mix in Darius Johnson, Rashad Evans, and Martel Moore. Johnson and Evans are helped by the fact that they have return experience while at SMU and Fresno State, respectively. They will hope to do what Rodgers couldn’t last summer and steal one of those jobs. Both are undersized but possess speed that could be assets on special teams. Moore offers a bit more potential as a wide receiver on offense due to his superior size and capable speed. Like Jackson before him, he’ll likely be pushing for a chance to earn a practice squad spot with a good summer.

2013 Key Player: Julio Jones

June 27th, 2013 Comments off
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Jones runs by defenders for TD

For the Falcons offense to take the next step offensively, they may need wide receiver Julio Jones to take his game to new heights.

Jones marveled folks, including myself, in the NFC Championship game, catching 11 passes for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns. All the while playing hurt, as Jones suffered some sort of injury during the second series when he took out a security guard along the sideline. But he didn’t miss a snap, and still proceeded to catch 7 more passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

That sort of dominance is why the Falcons moved up to draft him. And myself being originally critic of that trade, it also compelled me to change my mind.

The Falcons offense looks like it should be able to provide a bit more balance on the ground with the addition of Steven Jackson this year. But the Falcons passing attack still doesn’t have a consistent vertical element to the offense. Due to the inability to run the ball effectively, the team had to trade off big plays for consistency trying to move the ball through the air. They finished last year ranked 29th in the league in terms of generating 20+ yard plays per pass attempt, not far removed from where they were in 2010 prior to the Jones when they were dead last in the league. If Jackson can help take pressure off the passing game to constantly be looking to move the chains, it should open more big play opportunities for Jones and the rest of the receivers.

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Categories: Features Tags: , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 30 “Norv Turner’s Neck Meat”

June 15th, 2013 Comments off

This week, Allen and I are joined by Rashad James to talk about the latest happenings with the Falcons. Those include discussion of changes to the right side of the line and whether it will work in the Falcons favor … Addressing the depth and rotation at defensive end and which players might step up opposite Osi Umenyiora to help the Falcons pass rush … Concern over depth at linebacker and which young players might step up including Pat Schiller and Brian Banks … Falcons depth at safety and whether or not more usage of Mike Nolan’s Big Nickel is on the horizon … Roddy White’s future in Atlanta … Revisiting the Julio Jones trade and other potential options … NFC South Division Race talk … Offseason Grades … Falcons Mount Rushmore … Are the Houston Texans for real?

Ep. 30: Norv Turner’s Neck Meat [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 4 minutes

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

Rashad can be found on twitter: @SaucedUp_Boss

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

Takeaways from Last Week – June 10

June 10th, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is on the verge of making himself a lot of money. He showed significant improvement last year, as statistically he ranked highly in a number of advanced metrics.

Unfortunately for Ryan, the pressure on him is only likely to increase, particularly from the fan base.

But I honestly don’t expect Ryan to put together a better season than he did in 2012. Looking at advanced metrics such as expected points added (EPA) by Advanced NFL Stats, the Falcons three receivers graded very highly last season. Roddy White’s EPA of 71.2 was the fourth highest in the league during the regular season behind only Calvin Johnson (107.3), Demaryius Thomas (85.9), and Andre Johnson (83.4). Julio Jones ranked 8th with a EPA of 64.2 last year, and Tony Gonzalez was the top-ranked tight end with an EPA of 59.7. Among all receivers (tight ends included), that would have ranked 12th, ahead of receivers like Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree, Jordy Nelson, and Brandon Marshall.

That’s a rare combination. There were three other teams that have three receivers ranked in the Top 32: the Patriots, Cowboys, and Broncos. But when you average their ranking, the Falcons finished with an average rank of 8th for their Big Three, while the Broncos (13.7), Patriots (18.7), and Cowboys (22.0) were well behind the Falcons.

The point is to suggest that 2012 likely represents a statistical peak for the Falcons top wideouts and quarterback. A repeat performance in 2013 would be welcomed, but not likely. The last time I think a team had that caliber of performance was in 2008 with the Arizona Cardinals, as Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Anquan Boldin all ranked in the Top 13 that year in terms of EPA. The following season, all three ranked between spots 35th and 41st among wide receivers. In 2008, Kurt Warner’s EPA was 6th highest in the league but slipped to 14th the following year.

Thus why it’s probably a shame the Falcons didn’t take advantage of that production and ride it all the way to the Super Bowl. They got close, but it’s likely there will be a step back in 2013 for the passing attack.

And if the Falcons expect to have a repeat of the 2012 season and make a deep run in the playoffs, they are probably going to be much more reliant on the other aspects of the team to step up. But outside the secondary, the Falcons really got minimal production from the rest of their roster last year. Their running game was among the worst in the league. They couldn’t sack the quarterback and they couldn’t stop the run, putting them near the bottom of the league in those areas as well. Their offensive line was average at best for the majority of the season.

Ryan and the receivers essentially carried the team last year. And I hope many fans won’t get down on him or them if that doesn’t happen again this year or in future years. But the focus and scrutiny often falls on the quarterback, especially if he makes over $100 million.

I just hope for Ryan’s sake, that after he gets his new contract he won’t be held to an impossible standard by all parties.

Read more…

Categories: Features Tags: , , , ,

Falcons Super Bowl Window is Small

June 7th, 2013 Comments off
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

White hopes his next big celebration includes a Lombardi Trophy

Falcons receiver Roddy White made recent headlines with comments that the time is now for the Falcons to win a Super Bowl. I for one am not a person that typically agrees with many of the public utterings made by White, but in this case he’s 100% correct.

The Falcons do have a small window of opportunity to “get over the hump” and try and win a Super Bowl. While the powers that be in Flowery Branch probably won’t say as much publicly, the truth is in their actions.

And by actions, just look at the team they’ve constructued. While it wouldn’t be accurate to say the Falcons are “all in” for a Super Bowl in 2013, they certainly are for the next two seasons.

Don’t agree? Well, here’s a thinking exercise… Name the Falcons current ten best players. Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute.

Okay done? Here’s probably the list you came up with, or very close to it…

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OTAs: Day 5 Report

June 6th, 2013 Comments off

Once again, the media had access to today’s practices on the fifth day of the Falcons OTAs. So here’s what we came away with: