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.
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.
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.