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  1. Disclaimer: While the comments below do discuss Michael Vick, this isn't just another way to re-start some Vick debates. The following passage is relevant to our franchise and that's why its being posted. For those who enjoy angering genuine board members, please refrain from posting unintelligent, uncivilized, or just plain dumb comments. "I think, in another one of the endless plugs for Sirius Radio today, we had a revealing interview the other day with Hue Jackson, the quarterback coach of the Ravens -- and Michael Vick's last offensive coordinator in Atlanta before the QB went to jail. "In my opinion,'' Jackson said on "The Opening Drive'' program, "Michael Vick was the verge of turning this league upside down.'' Jackson also said he has been corresponding with Vick by letter while he is imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kan. He has sent Vick tips and reminders about what to do in third-down situations and in the red zone, and he says he thinks Vick is going over them in jail. Jackson thinks Vick will play again, and play very well, when he gets out just over a year from now." http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writ.../01/mmqb/2.html (Page 3, Number 4)
  2. http://www.rockathletics.com/news/2008/4/2...0428082021.aspx Butterworth signs with FalconsRock offensive tackle Mike Butterworth signed a two-year NFL free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons on MondayEmail to a Friend | Print 4/28/2008SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- Rock offensive tackle Mike Butterworth signed a two-year National Football League free-agent contract Monday with the Atlanta Falcons.Butterworth (#76 above), who had entertained hopes of being picked in the draft, said Monday he turned down a free-agent offer from the Tennessee Titans to accept the deal with the Falcons shortly after the conclusion of the two-day NFL draft on Sunday "The Falcons have been in touch with me and my agent throughout the pre-draft period and had shown a lot of interest in me, and I felt it would be a better fit for me," Butterworth said. Butterworth will report to a Falcons' mini camp on May 9. "I'm really relieve the wait is over," he said. "It seems like it's been a long time since our season ended in early November, so it's good to know all the hard work has paid off. I am hopeful it will pay off even more now that I know which roster I will be on." Butterworth will see a somewhat familiar face at the Falcons' mini camp next week. Bloomsburg running back Jamar Brittingham also signed a free-agent contract with Atlanta. Butterworth ended his Rock career by earning All-America honors from Daktronics Inc. (second team), Don Hansen's Football Gazette (honorable mention) and D2Football.com (honorable mention). A 6-foot-7, 310-pound native of Northern Cambria and graduate of Northern Cambria High School, Butterworth earned first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors for the second consecutive year and was a first-team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division selection for the third straight season. A national finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award, Butterworth was a member of the winning East squad in the Valero Cactus Bowl for Division II Universities all-star game. Butterworth served as the foundation for a Rock offensive line that allowed the lowest number of sacks in the 13-team PSAC and paved the way to SRU leading the conference in rushing (262.3 yards per game) and total offense (463.5 ypg)in 2007. The Rock offensive effort was a key ingredient in the 2007 team recording the highest win total (9-2 final record) at SRU since 1999.
  3. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nf...rt_N.htm?csp=34 With fresh faces aplenty, the 'new' Falcons are moving onUpdatedBy Jarrett Bell, USA TODAYSome introductions are in order.Thomas Dimitroff is now the chief talent guru for the Atlanta Falcons, stepping into the general manager's office after schooling with the New England Patriots. Like they say in Foxborough, Mass., he wants them tough and smart. Mike Smith is the new coach, with the odds very high that he won't bolt before the end of his first season the way predecessor Bobby Petrino fled. Smith, formerly the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator, is a neophyte head coach bringing a tried-and-true philosophy to winning: control the line of scrimmage. PHOTOS: Minicamps across the league Matt Ryan is the rookie quarterback, plucked from Boston College with the third pick in the draft. He was groomed in a pass-heavy, pro-style offense. But there's at least as much buzz about his presence. Is Ryan more like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? That's rarefied comparative air, considering the MVP and Super Bowl credentials of Manning and Brady and about as far an extreme to Michael Vick, the onetime face of the Falcons now serving time in prison after pleading guilty last year to federal charges of bankrolling a dogfighting ring. Surely, no team in the NFL needs a reboot like the Falcons. Owner Arthur Blank is overseeing a rebuilding project that might qualify for FEMA assistance after his franchise was pummeled by a disaster that pierced much deeper than a 4-12 finish would indicate. The message blaring on the team's website succinctly expresses the state of the team. In big, block letters: New. Then a slogan: A new era, new excitement and new hope. Says Blank: "We're doing everything we can to put our house in order." Winning back public trust is an obvious priority. There is no longer a waiting list for season tickets at the Georgia Dome, no marquee drawing card like Vick to build marketing campaigns around. In many ways, the franchise that has never had back-to-back winning seasons since entering the NFL in 1966, is starting over. "I don't want it to be a haphazard approach," said Dimitroff, New England's college scouting director for 4½ years. "We want to develop a plan and a style of how we want to play." Not surprisingly, there's a lot of talk about character and community service coming from the Falcons' decision-makers. "Changing the culture is important, and that's what we're trying to do," Smith says. "The majority of games go down to the last four minutes. When you have players that are going to be disciplined and accountable, you've got a better chance of winning." The Falcons will open the season with as many as a dozen new starters. Gone are once vital cogs such as running back Warrick Dunn, tight end Alge Crumpler and cornerback DeAngelo Hall, indicative of the sweeping changes. Smith hopes to build a team that earns a reputation for being physical. He has contributed firsthand to such models. Before Jacksonville, Smith was a Baltimore Ravens assistant (where he was on a Super Bowl-winning staff). On an offense directed by new coordinator Mike Mularkey, that means running the football with authority. The Falcons led the NFL in rushing for three consecutive years, beginning in 2004. But those statistics were bolstered by Vick, the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Now the Falcons, who lured running back Michael Turner from the San Diego Chargers with a six-year, $34.5 million contract, want to dominate on the ground in a more conventional sense after stumbling to 26th in rushing in 2007. Turner and returnee Jerious Norwood have the looks of a potent one-two punch that can take a heavy load off Ryan's shoulders. "That's the cornerstone of what we want to do," Smith says. "We have the players that will allow us to run the football." The timetable for Ryan's ascent to the starting lineup isn't etched in stone, although Smith seems intent on giving him every chance to win the job as a rookie. Chris Redman is a short-term option. Smith liked Ryan's moxie during a campus visit before the draft, when the Falcons conducted a private workout for the quarterback. "I talked to him about his thoughts on playing early," Smith said. "Matt gave me the right answer. He said, 'Coach, I want to compete, and I want to be your starter.' That's the attitude we want to have at all of our positions, not just Matt Ryan." Ryan realizes that his progress on the field will dictate whether he will follow the path of many highly drafted quarterbacks and open the season as a starter. "It's kind of like being a freshman in college," he said after his first minicamp practice in May. "You just have to take your lumps, try to learn from it and try to earn the respect of your teammates." After Vick led Atlanta to the 2004 NFC title game, an enamored Blank rewarded him with a 10-year, $120 million contract extension. Blank was unaware of the off-the-field issues that lurked. But in retrospect, he erred by ignoring or miscalculating subtle signs that raised questions about Vick's maturity, leadership and work ethic. With Ryan, Blank seems assured that a solid foundation is in place, extending beyond the quarterback's physical skills. "He rates very high in terms of intangibles, on the field and off the field," Blank said. "He has all of the abilities that the organization needs." Blank didn't hesitate to compare Ryan to Manning, the Indianapolis Colts star revered for his obsessive preparation. If nothing else, the team's owner has raised the bar for what he expects from his quarterback in the leadership department. "Matt's the type who will be the first one at the headquarters in the morning and the last one to leave at night," Blank said, referring to tendencies that were not reflective of Vick's patterns. "Michael is in jail," Blank added. "We don't know how long that will be for. We don't know what physical and mental condition he'll be in when he gets out. There are legal and financial issues. We still own his rights, but we owe it to our fans, coaches and players to move on. Selecting Matt Ryan was the important way to do that." Winning consistently would be an even better indication that the Falcons have made a clean break from the past. That could take years to achieve. But at least they have identified the starting line & and made some key introductions. AROUND THE FIELD IN ATLANTA " Quarterback: Ryan, the most polished passer in the draft, could start as a rookie but there's no rush. Sixth-year veteran Chris Redman revived his career last year and can bridge a transition while Joey Harrington battles D.J. Shockley (off knee surgery) for the No. 3 job. Ryan is the most tangible sign of the franchise's widening distance from the imprisoned Michael Vick. After passing for 4,507 yards last season at Boston College, he will enter camp with a legitimate chance to take his lumps from Day 1 and grow into the job. That approach sure didn't ruin Peyton Manning. " Running back: Welcome to center stage, Michael Turner. LaDainian Tomlinson's former backup has a fat free agent contract worthy of top billing. But he has plenty of help to drive the running game. With big-play threat Jerious Norwood returning, the backfield might be the team's strongest area. That includes the crushing blocks of Ovie Mughelli, one of the NFL's best fullbacks; he's backed up by Corey McIntyre. If the O-line cooperates, this combination can take much heat off Ryan. Will Turner, used sparingly in San Diego, be as prolific in a featured role as he was subbing for Tomlinson? The Falcons have wagered a six-year, $34.5 million contract on it. The draft brought Thomas Brown, touted for his good hands and potential as a returner. " Wide receiver: Former first-round pick Roddy White and wily vet Joe Horn finished 2007 as the starters, but the emerging Laurent Robinson or Michael Jenkins could supplant Horn. Robinson should get better after an encouraging rookie year; Adam Jennings adds value on special teams. It will be interesting to see how Horn, 36, and 10th-year vet Brian Finneran, who's coming off two major knee surgeries, fit with so much youth on hand for long-term rebuilding. Third-round pick Harry Douglas is another factor. Horn, still productive, has been a great model for the younger receivers. But that doesn't mean he's ready to play a lesser role. " Tight end: Major overhaul with the departure of sure-handed mainstay Alge Crumpler. In: Hard-nosed free agent signee Ben Hartsock and Martrez Milner, who spent the last half of his rookie year in 2007 on injured reserve. Neither would be confused with artful receiving threat Tony Gonzalez. Hartsock started nine of the 16 games he played with Tennessee last season and caught 12 passes. Keith Zinger? He's in a good place to be a seventh-round pick. " Offensive line: The new blindside cornerstone tackle, Sam Baker, is pegged to grow with Ryan after Atlanta moved up to take him with the 21st pick of the draft. But after injuries wreaked much havoc last year and given opinions that Baker projects better as a right tackle than left tackle, where he started at Southern California it was surprising that the Falcons didn't do more to beef up the front wall. Two spots are settled with incumbents: right guard (Kynan Forney) and center (Todd McClure). Right tackle Todd Weiner's comeback (knee surgery) raises the possibility of left guard Justin Blalock switching to right tackle. Tyson Clabo, who finished 2007 at the post, and backup D'Anthony Batiste are also back. Renardo Foster and Terrance Pennington return from IR. There are many pieces to work with. With better health, perhaps there's enough to mesh into the type of effective unit that helped Atlanta lead the NFL in rushing for three consecutive years albeit with the league's best running quarterback and a zone-blocking scheme from 2004-2006. " Defensive line: Right end John Abraham's explosive first step makes him one the NFL's best pass rushers when he's healthy. There's talent on the other side, too, in Jamaal Anderson, though he failed to register a sack in his rookie season. The tackle spots pose questions. Jonathan Babineaux is back, but Rod Coleman is not. It's possible wide body Grady Jackson, dumped last season, might be re-signed. " Linebacker: Expect Keith Brooking to switch from the middle to his more natural weakside post with Demorrio Williams gone. The move depends on the development of rookie tackling machine Curtis Lofton. Michael Boley, slated for the other spot while seeking a long-term deal, didn't endear himself with a recent arrest. " Secondary: With the trade of disgruntled DeAngelo Hall, rookie corner Chevis Jackson has a chance to immediately start opposite Chris Houston. Strong safety Lawyer Milloy has veteran presence and physicality but heads into his 13th season with questions about his range. Erik Coleman was signed from the New York Jets and probably will start next to Milloy. " Special teams: Kicker Jason Elam moves from the thin air of Denver to the controlled climate of the Georgia Dome, replacing seemingly ageless Morten Andersen. Michael Koenen returns as the punter. Norwood and Adam Jennings handled returns. " Coaching staff: Mike Smith is a first-time head coach supported by experienced hands in key roles. Assistant head coach Emmitt Thomas and quarterback handler Bill Musgrave are holdovers, while new faces include offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey (a former Buffalo Bills head coach), widely respected O-line coach Paul Boudreau and receivers coach Terry Robiskie. " Outlook: Patience. Owner Arthur Blank injected much energy and buzz after buying the team in 2002. With deft marketing and spurts of success on the field, Blank seemed on his way to establishing his desired "model" franchise. Then the bottom fell out with the Michael Vick disaster, coupled with former coach Bobby Petrino's meltdown. Rebuilding will take time the Falcons are a virtual expansion team. The good news: It can't get any worse than last year.
  4. "Proven wrong? You haven't changed a word yet, your argument is swiss cheese logic and has been from the first post." Because I didn't need to. You can call my arguments swiss cheese, American cheese, or Pepperjack cheese- it doesn't really matter. I can rest assured knowing I used evidence and tangible warrants to support my claims. I'm still waiting for you to show me a single piece of support from anything you have said. "Jesus Christ, are you seriously going to be condescending about someone else's logic and then post that? He hasn't really played DT in our scheme, but he "looks" like other players with a great deal of success? And don't tell me to care about Cleveland's rotation, their defense was terrible last year." I'm not condescending your logic. You could have said let's play Boley at quarterback and I would think about it. However, since you never give me any reason (citations, sources, evidence, testimony) to buy anything you say and then turn around and criticize me for conducting this properly, I tend to lose patience. Anyway, I never said anything about Fraser only being good because of his measurements. My last post talks about how he has prototypical size and has been productive previously in his young career. As for Cleveland's defense being terrible, I don't see how that means all the players are, too. San Fransisco's defense was horrible last year too, but Patrick Willis and Nate Clements are still among the elite players. I'm sure you are going to say something about Fraser not being anywhere as productive as Willis, but we weren't looking for an amazing player. We needed a capable one. "#####, pure and simple. If there is one thing that can be said of real performance, it's that it's not always reflected by stats. No one in their **** mind needs to be told that stats are not the full story." Congratulations, you successfully restated my comment. I know statistics are not the full story, but they are an extremely large part of it. The other warrants like expert opinions and team biographies are also parts of that same story. All I have to say is you must have one extremely bad story since you seem disinclined to use anything from numbers to expert opinions to give what you say any credibility. Also, I think there is a better way to have a debate than using cursing as a crutch. I bet you disagree with that, too. "Again, nonsense. I never said we should go in with only four players, I stated from the start of the offseason that we needed to add through the draft, which is why I'm complaining now. As it is, signing cut bait's not the answer and TD should know that." As I proved, that "cut-bait" has strong capability and they should be able to build upon their limited experiences. Sure we could have added through the draft, but other than Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis, the other DTs were considered unremarkable. Since you like waiting till next year, the 2009 draft is loaded with DTs much better than this years. Why waste draft picks when the Falcons have so many holes? I'm sure you want to cry about the draft more, but I've already been through this. Go look at the link at the bottom of the article if you want. "And again, your reading comprehension fails you. I don't doubt what his role was at one point (for one game last year), I doubt his talent and his ability to actually perform in that role any better than anyone else with nothing but size." I'm glad you can doubt him since you think I'm only talking about size. Honestly, I'm pretty sure my reading comprehension isn't the one that has been in question. Anyway, sure. We can doubt anyone if we ignore what they have done in the past and what they have shown they have the capability of doing. I understand Fraser and the others haven't been beasts so far in their careers. However, I also understand they have shown the ability to become very strong players. You can doubt all you want since you continue to ignore player histories. "Do you read at all? I don't care about Ryan's career or Dorsey's talent around him? The thing I don't care about is your rationalization, as clearly both of those things are important, otherwise I would not have mentioned them. The merits of Ryan and the talent around him as already been discussed in a billion other threads and is pretty much a dead issue. Good defense, threw the ball a lot, tiny white receivers, some talent, not a great deal of talent, career reflected mostly mediocre talent." That is convenient. The issue that reveals how valuable of an asset Matt Ryan is has now become a "dead issue." Maybe to you it is, but everywhere else it is proving Ryan's prowess. With below-average teammates, a new coach, a new system, and a extremley pass-heavy offense where the pressure was solely on the QB, Ryan helped BC rise to #2. Name one other quarterback in recent drafts or future drafts that can do that. "Decades? How old is Dimitroff again, did he start scouting when he was 10? And the Blank/ McKay pair hired Petrino, as well, they have no credibility until proven otherwise." 18 years. That is 2 short of 20 years. 20 years is equal to 2 decades. If you are going to sarcastic, at least make sure it isn't going to backfire like that. Blank is regarded in good standing among owners and he never brags about knowing everything about football. McKay created the World Champion Buccaneers team and has found players like Michael Boley and DeAngelo Hall while in Atlanta. Don't forget that draft he had last year that was regarded as one of the league's best. "Are you some kind of fool? It was a short analogy relevant only in the context in which it was used, expanding an analogy from someone else for your own interpretation is useless dribble to a conversation." I don't think I am, especially since I'm not the one who just got called out for a making a non-sensical analogy that compared the US Presidency to Falcons Personnel Management. Expanding your flagrantly bad analogy was an attempt to save you some face. I guess you don't want it. "And signing him without improving the interior offensive line is wasting a year of his career without getting production." I don't know where offensive line came up in this, but whatever. You are assuming Ryan starts. If he doesn't, Ryan has that extremely vital first year to develop and acclimate to the NFL enviornment. Even if he does start, we did draft an extremely good LT. Left tackle is generally considered the hardest offensive line position. I guess Dimitroff is dumb for taking a good player to play the hardest position and protect our QBs' backs. Baker's stock didn't fall because he was bad. Most people had him as an early first rounder in 2007. Injuries hurt him, but he still got drafted in the 1st. If we didn't, Houston or Pittsburgh would have. "I hated Hall, but I also know that we could have gotten New York's first if we didn't fight with them on the price until the deal fell apart. Again, do you read?" Wow. You know we could have gotten a first rounder from New York? That is really surprising since there was never any confirmation of that rumor. It is even more surprising that you know that since New York never wanted to meet Hall's asking price. It took the Raiders a huge amount of time and patience to finish Hall's deal. You seriously think New York and Tom Coughlin would deal with that? If so, you don't watch the NFL. If the Giants wanted Hall bad enough to give up a first-rounder, the Falcons could have gone back to them after getting Oakland's offer and have an auction. Unfortunately, New York didn't want Hall anywhere near that bad. "Nonsense, everything you've posted is based on implications based on a player's stats, physical size, or stats in college." Everything I have posted included statistics and measurements from college and the NFL in conjunction with player biographies and expert analyses. Re-read the posts if you want. "They're paid to toil out there, they can be big boys and take it. And the injury risk won't be lessened by signing players that should not be on the field." That is quite possibly the worst reasoning I have ever heard. Why even have depth then? Our guys get paid to play, so according to you they should be able to play fully on every play of every game of every season. Forget having specialized roles and role-players even if they are better than our starters at certain jobs. Forget having a rotation to keep players fresh and therefore directly lower the chance of injury. Thank you for not being our General Manager. "In conclusion, is your IQ hovering in the Forest Gump range?" I'm not going revert back to my glory days as a 5-yeard-old and insult you. Obviously no amount of reasoning, logic, or evidence is going to change your mind. It was my mistake in thinking you wanted to have a discussion. I should have realized you are one of the posters who thinks they know everything about football and loves writing random things without any sort of support for their claims. This is going to be my last post regarding this argument as I feel I have demonstrated my original point well enough.
  5. I was actually being sarcastic and implying that I really did read the article since originally skimming it and found that it was lacking much in the way of substance beyond the very obvious. Why are we bragging about getting depth from such a horrible defense last year? He's a natural 3-4 end, not that he's natural enough to be doing anything big or important. His contributions last year were minimal despite playing in every game and the team clearly lacking much talent in the starting defensive line. Solid facts? What was that line by Twain about lies, damned lies and statistics? Intellectual dishonesty, noting what wonderful things these guys did as spot-starters in previous years and ignoring the fact that they were cut from defenses that needed some real contributions, is not all that encouraging. Not to mention the fact that it seems like all of these boys have been in the NFL several years and their contributions in their incredible performances didn't seem to dissuade their former teams from releasing them without much thought. Is there some "facts" behind why these lines are worse? Clearly that's not the point, the point is that our line is somewhere around the bottom of the league and the starters have not been improved upon, but for someone throwing down facts, that's stating the opinions about several different teams. So you want some fatass naturally suited to a 3-4 to be playing inside when we clearly need someone that can maintain his gap and control the center with his arms while forcing the running back to attempt to break outside? ****, we could go get some drunk rednecks and out-of-work bouncers for that kind of work, not sure if it would work, but anyone off the street did about as much as Moore did last year. Yes, let's assume that the current staff knows what they're doing, and McKay suddenly started using his brain for more than picking linebackers in the fifth round. Now I'm bored and wondering why I even logged onto the message board. So you rationalized when it became apparent that he was not in our future plans despite being the dominant force that helped the talent around him as much as they helped him. I don't necessarily care about that. Ryan's team played in the Champs bowl and barely beat Michigan State after playing in a conference that puts out NFL talent but on the whole is weak. Ryan also had an awful good defense, and a young offense in which not all of the receivers graduated. So do you like pulling the wool over your eyes? TD was hired based on one interview over webcast, several of his moves, signing Turner without investing in the interior offensive line, trading Hall early for a 2nd round pick, Ryan, don't make a whole **** of a lot of sense. The President is the Commander in Chief, he must know how war really works, how's it going in Iraq? There's a line between being pretentious and having an opinion, and discussing your opinion over a message board does not cross that line. A little research? Boy, do you just do fantasy football? Research? That's what you call going to NFL.com and looking up stats? I do research all the time, then, I just find "field studies" to be far more effective. Nonsense, you misunderstood my intentions on that last part. I don't want new veterans, the line's shot this year with or without Grady, nothing but stop-gaps and possible talent with Lewis, there's no point in wasting cap space when the team's not winning this year and we're drafting linemen next year. Man, you really don't like being proven wrong. But it's fine, we can continue. Concerning Fraser, you say he is a natural 3-4 end. If you are trying to say he has been playing defensive end the majority of his career then you are right. However, if you are trying to say that his best and only fit is at defensive end, you are just trying to pass off your baseless opinions as facts again. Fraser hasn't played DT much so any comparisons or saying he is best at end without even seeing him work as a DT is ignorant. That really seems to be your style. At 6-6, 300 pounds, Fraser looks like John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. He may not play like those athletes, but if he does switch to DT in our defense, he brings strong technique and rushing ability with him. Next, you say his contributions were minimal. First off, if your looking at his "contributions" from last year, I guess you have finally warmed to using those statistics you hate so much. Second, Fraser was part of a rotation in Cleveland. He was brought in on running downs as well. Obviously, since he was specialized, he has less numbers or ways to measure contribution. Your second comment is about my use of solid facts. You say Mark Twain didn't like statistics. You know, something tells me he wasn't discussing the NFL when he said that in the 1800s. Statistics are among the best ways to measure players in sports. I agree they are in no way the full formula, but numbers are more vital to it than anything else. Also, I find it interesting how you critique my use of statistics/evidence while failing to back anything you have said up. I might be more inclined to buy your reasoning if it is supported by evidence other than the amazing Serge Storm's opinion. Next you say our line hasn't improved. Well then, maybe we should just head into 2008 with Babineaux, a recovering Lewis, Montavious Stanley, and Tim Anderson as our interior line players. Under your logic, we should only be two deep at each DT spot. I don't know if you have heard, but that depth isn't even sufficient for special teams rotations. Your only arguments have been that these players haven't consistently produced. You never refute the fact that they have good capability and upside are still young and thus have plenty of room to grow. Personally, I like having depth along my defensive line so our starters can stay fresh, certain roles can be played, the risk of injury is reduced, and all athletes can be more able to make plays. But hey, I guess that isn't for everyone. Your next statement is laughable as well. I might have given some weight to what you have been saying, but now since you just compared a capable defensive tackle who played for the Patriots to "drunk rednecks", that respect is gone. You again tell me not to use statistics, but then turn around and use them yourself when you say Rashad Moore didn't do anything last year. I'm sure you ignored last time I wrote, so I'll say it again. Moore is a specialized player. His role is control the A gaps on running plays. Whenever he has been called upon, Moore had filled that role well. You stated "We clearly need someone that can maintain his gap and control the center with his arms while forcing the running back to attempt to break outside." Maybe you missed, but that is the exact job Rashad Moore was hired to do after our front office saw he could do it. After that, you discuss Ryan's career. For starters, you say you "don't care" about the fact that Dorsey was surrounded by future pros. Of course you don't care, it proves you wrong. Anyway, your other point is about Ryan being in a weak conference, having a good defense, and having young receivers. Your last point about receivers just furthers the notion that Ryan was the only truly talented players on his offense, and most likely his team. You talk about the defense, but you ignore the fact that starts of that defense like JoLonn Dunbar and Jamie Silva were not drafted. Furthermore, you ignore that Ryan had more than 600 passing attempts, second in the NCAA among players with above an 87 QB rating. Obviously, Ryan can do much better when he is not the only viable player at any skill position and is not required to throw 30-40 times per game. Then you talk about me being blind for following Dimitroff since he was hired after one web-cam interview. This exemplifies your favored style of typing without knowing. Blank and the other members of the hiring committee looked at his decades of scouting work, the players he found, his whole resume, his personal life, his education, his football IQ, and his philosophy. That list doesn't include Dimitroff's referrals from renowned managers like Scott Pioli and other trusted sources, nor does it include the his personnel preferences that have been proven successful in New England. Your extremely bad analogy comparing the President of the United States and the General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons comes next. I guess you need to head back to school and learn about government all over again. The President carries more duties than any other profession. Along with being commander in chief, the President is in charge of foreign relations, domestic policy, and certain economic decisions. Unfortunately, a person with all those duties is not part of our front office. Each person specializes in a certain role. Rich McKay is in charge of business policies, Dimitroff is in charge of personnel, and Smith is in charge of the game and players, etc. If you want to compare Dimitroff to a government role, at least do it to a similar one. For example, while I don't have to agree with everything our leading general does, I can rest assured knowing his decisions are based on his extensive experience and intelligence in his area of specialization. The Turner signing made perfect sense in that now we have a more proven running back that is a perfect fit for our planned offensive system. Unlike Warrick Dunn, Turner is physical and can work well between tackles. Mularkey has been noted as comparing him to Jerome Bettis and preferring that type of play. No other running back in this year's draft or future drafts filled that bill, nor did any other free agents. The Hall trade was initially confusing to most fans. But again, by doing a little research, most of us figured out why it was a good move. First, Hall was over-rated. An endless amount of experts from Ron Woodson to Marshall Faulk stated that, citing the games when Hall got beat by Hines Ward and Terrell Owens as good examples. Second, Hall was a major distraction. He was selfish, immature, and had very little discipline. In New York, Jeremy Shockey was the same type of player. Then, towards the end of the season, Shockey broke his fibula and wasn't present anymore. Not surprisingly, the Giants were able to focus and creat a team attitude. This change only helped them become World Champions. I guess that isn't too big a deal, though. You'll have to forgive me again for not doing the whole-name calling thing. This problem of being courteous and civil is really becoming a big one for me. As for my research, I don't know where you formulated the idea that consists exclusively of statistics. In conjuction with numbers, most everything I post is supported by expert opinion, player biographies, as well as testimonials. Whatever research you claim to do or have done, we have yet to see any of it be presented. Lastly, you say you don't care about this season since we are losing the majority of games anyway. Why waste the cap space you ask? You are right. Maybe we should just let our proven players like Babineaux and Lewis toil out there without any help. Who cares if it risks their good ability and health? Plus, why would we ever want to add players with strong upside to our team? We should just waste money on those big name guys that turn out to be busts more often than booms. Let's just keep wanting to do badly and use your philosophy of waiting until next year to fix everything. That should work...
  6. I could get confused with that, one minute we're talking the player's roles, the next it's how badass Babs is and how the line made up of weaklings really is very talented after all. It's not so much that we haven't been talking about it, as it's been incomprehensible fluff from the first post through the circle jerk of the first page. ****, if you can pick up guys that didn't play football last year and have never had more than a very limited role in the NFL, who would you not want us to sign? You could make an argument for just about anyone having some form of potential and being rotational players in the NFL, if they've ever played in the NFL, they've been used in some role and have some form of talent, very limited roles and talent that won't do much for the rest of their team, but roles and talent nonetheless. What is the worst line in the league? If we keep switching between liking cheap, low-level rotational players and saying they have real talent, I'm not sure if our line is just short of sending three guys to the probowl or suitable for depth on Akron's vaunted defensive line. None of these players have done enough in the NFL to say they "did" anything for New England, maybe Anderson produced in Buffalo before they deemed that even with their tattered defense that he was expendable, that's about it. Does everyone have to like the FO's decision? I know this one kid out of some tiny school in Louisiana. Some kind of technical school, I can't think of the name. I know he didn't win any big awards, and didn't play in that big of a conference, but I think that Glenn Dorsey fellow would have been suitable in Atlanta, and we did have a shot at him at one point, before we found out that TD has secretly been beating off to Matt Ryan's senior season tapes for months now. Just to reiterate, I am not intentionally "overinflating" our defensive line. Every member has good capability, that part can't be argued. The only area of debate is whether or not they can entirely fulfill their capability. Since we start our new season with a league-renowned conditioning and strength program, respected defensive line coach, and a solid team enviornment, I tend to be optimistic since these would logically imply these players are only going to get better. Fluffy stuff, right there. Yes, I was talking about their own stats again, you're right, I just got so confused I thought I was talking about real performance and performing well in his role freeing up the other linemen while you were saying the same thing about their stats over and over again like my opinion on real performance has changed. Yes, and Abe has been productive with just about every one lining up beside him, Babs, Lewis, Stanley, it could be that he's a good player and one that raped bad offensive lines like Carolina and Seattle's second string. And now we get to wanting to sign some players that have actually done something in the NFL. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay, here we go again. This is getting slightly repetitive since you seem to be against actually reading anything written and instead enjoy just typing for the sake of it. "I could get confused with that, one minute we're talking the player's roles, the next it's how badass Babs is and how the line made up of weaklings really is very talented after all. It's not so much that we haven't been talking about it, as it's been incomprehensible fluff from the first post through the circle jerk of the first page." To be honest, if you still get confused when the article is divided into the "Strategy" section and the "Players" section, I really can't do anything to help you- that's as simple as it gets. As for it being incomprehensible, it is written in grammatically correct English and supported by actual evidence. Judging by what you have posted so far, proper English and claims that are supported by evidence probably do constitute "incomprehensible" for you. "****, if you can pick up guys that didn't play football last year and have never had more than a very limited role in the NFL, who would you not want us to sign? You could make an argument for just about anyone having some form of potential and being rotational players in the NFL, if they've ever played in the NFL, they've been used in some role and have some form of talent, very limited roles and talent that won't do much for the rest of their team, but roles and talent nonetheless." Again, I would recommend you at least do a little research before you just talk for the sake of it. Seriously, at least Google names or something, just don't keep throwing your random claims out there as if they are fact. You say we are picking up guys who "didn't play football last year and have never had more than a very limited role in the NFL." Simon Fraser played in all 16 games last year. In 2006, Fraser played the whole season and even started 5 games. In just those 5 games, Fraser had 23 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 passes defended. Ask anyone, those numbers for a 300-pound DT in just 5 games are extremely good. I'm sure you are going to say something about me using statistics again, but unlike you, I am at least basing my opinion of solid fact. I would much rather use statistics as opposed to using nothing. Furthermore, Tim Anderson had 42 tackles, 1 sack, 5 tackles for loss, and 4 passes defended in only 12 games during 2005. Rashad Moore is being described as a bigger Grady Jackson and a capable gap-stuffer. Obviously, both Anderson and Fraser have had more than "very limited roles" in the NFL and Rashad Moore inherently has a very specialized role. Since he is specialized, he naturally has less playing time. You state that we might as well sign any player and say they have potential. Again, in the original article, I give you evidence of of these discussed players' previous production and obvious capability. All of these athletes are young, and none have more than four years of experience. These guys have shown the ability to be good, albeit inconsistently. Since they are young, the chances that they improve and reach their full potential are much higher. I like our front office signing young guys who were very productive in college and at certain points in their just-beginning careers. If you read that, you would understand I am not saying we should sign every player "if they've ever played in the NFL." "What is the worst line in the league? If we keep switching between liking cheap, low-level rotational players and saying they have real talent, I'm not sure if our line is just short of sending three guys to the probowl or suitable for depth on Akron's vaunted defensive line. None of these players have done enough in the NFL to say they "did" anything for New England, maybe Anderson produced in Buffalo before they deemed that even with their tattered defense that he was expendable, that's about it." Off the top of my head, the Dolphins, Jets, and Broncos were considered the bottom three defensive lines in 2007. We are not "switching" between anybody. Last year, we had no depth. This year, with our signings and re-signings, we have created a deeper and stronger defensive line. These changes were not switches. Rather, they were additions. I don't know if you think I am saying I expect these guys to start. If that is what you think, you are just being ignorant again. My point is that players other than Babineaux, Lewis, and maybe Moorehead are going to be solid back-ups and rotational players. For example, it is third and two. I don't know about you, but I would be really happy if we had a 6 foot 3, 330 pound man to lock up the middle and hold the point. Well what do you know? That describes Rashad Moore. That is exactly why he was brought to Atlanta. His role isn't to be an every down thumper. Instead, he is going to played when either our line needs an anchor in the middle or injuries necessitate it. "Does everyone have to like the FO's decision? I know this one kid out of some tiny school in Louisiana. Some kind of technical school, I can't think of the name. I know he didn't win any big awards, and didn't play in that big of a conference, but I think that Glenn Dorsey fellow would have been suitable in Atlanta, and we did have a shot at him at one point, before we found out that TD has secretly been beating off to Matt Ryan's senior season tapes for months now.' Of course you don't. Just please, please don't act like you know more about football than Thomas Dimitroff, Rich McKay, and Mike Smith. They know more about football and the players then we do by a couple of light years. I'm not going to agree 100% with them on everything, but I rest assured those men know what they are doing. When you re-start the whole Dorsey or Ryan debate, you are just opening a separate can of worms. I cover that in my draft review in detail, go read that. However, you probably won't go read it and will just continue to baselessly typing, so I'll discuss it a little. I initially advocated taking Dorsey. He played in the great SEC and was on the national championship team. But upon doing a little more reseach, I realized he wasn't as a good an option as Ryan. Dorsey was surrounded by great players. LSU had Dorsey, Jackson, Highsmith, Steltz, and Zenon as the seniors on defense. All are in the NFL now. Also, Dorsey played next to future first-rounder Al Woods. The point is that he was surrounded by great players. Ryan on the other hand, was putting on a one-man show. Other than Gosder Cherilus and Ryan, not a single other Boston College player was drafted on offense or defense. Ryan's primary receivers were under 6 feet. Ryan played in the same conference as Mario Williams, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Chris Long. Despite being leagues ahead of anyone on his team and playing in a competitive conference, Ryan still had his team up to number 2 in the BSC polls. You criticize Dimitroff for liking Ryan too much. At this point, it's just amusing to see you act so knowledgeable. How much game tape have you watched of Dorsey? What about Ryan? What do you know about the schemes they played in? What do you know about their personal lives? What do you know about their medical conditions? At the end of the day, I am going to trust Dimitroff more than a fan who thinks he knows everything about Dorsey and Ryan after reading something on NFLDraftCountdown.com and watching a little ESPN. "Fluffy stuff, right there. Yes, I was talking about their own stats again, you're right, I just got so confused I thought I was talking about real performance and performing well in his role freeing up the other linemen while you were saying the same thing about their stats over and over again like my opinion on real performance has changed. Yes, and Abe has been productive with just about every one lining up beside him, Babs, Lewis, Stanley, it could be that he's a good player and one that raped bad offensive lines like Carolina and Seattle's second string." This is just another example of you typing without knowing. Personally, I don't pretend to know everything, but I at the very least do a little research before I write something. If you had taken that step that has apparently been very difficult for you to take, you would realize that neither Lewis or Stanley lined up on the right next to Abraham. Both played the left defensive tackle postion or nose. "And now we get to wanting to sign some players that have actually done something in the NFL." Okay, now I get it. You're one of those people who just wants us to sign the "proven veterans." I don't know about you, but everyone else realizes Grady Jackson is a stop-gap. Having these younger players helps us in having consistency and the ability to improve. If we just sign the Grady Jacksons and Anthony McFarlands while ignoring the age factor, we will end up old and uninspired like the Dolphins last year. Actually, on second thought, I think I really do want a one-win season.
  7. It's been said many times before and will be said many times again. So now we are actually talking about the scheme and the quality of our players? So now you're telling me you just like picking up guys that might make it in the NFL and guys that won't make it in other places? I agree on that spot, entirely, unfortunately, the team is picking up maybes and mighthavebeens, I don't see how that makes a line that can occupy blockers and open plays up for the linebackers. Who said that? I said he's talented, he fits in the scheme, and he helps the rest of the line like someone with his job should. When the players around a UT make very few plays, despite having real NFL talent, it just may be partly because that UT isn't as good as the one that plays in that other town and has so much more production around him. It's youtube highlights. Any infant can post the high points in a player's career. I can dig up some positive Mamula footage, maybe he really was worth that high of a pick. You know, I'm not entirely sure what you have been reading/posting for the last couple of days, but from the beginning I have been discussing our potential schemes and the quality of our players. As for your comment about me liking us picking up "maybes" and "mighthavebeens", you are 100% right. First and foremost, I am a realist. I see our salary cap, and I see that there is no room for signing any well-known defensive tackles. Second, none of the defensive tackles available in free agency are worth the money they would require. Third, picking up these "maybes" gives us depth, and all of these "maybes" have potential. That has been my sole point throughout this little debate. We are both on the same page in our belief that none of the free agent signings are amazing players. Where we differ is that, through reading player profiles, looking at statistics, and finding testimony, I believe players like Tim Anderson, Montavious Stanley, and Rashad Moore have decent upside to work as rotational players and can also add valuable depth. You seem to believe that these Falcons are simply chunks of meat that enjoy sitting on or around the line of scrimmage and maybe trying to hit an offensive blocker if they feel like it. You also say you don't see how they can open up lanes for linebackers. I guess you didn't know, but those were the exact roles Tim Anderson and Rashad Moore played in Buffalo and New England, respectively. I don't believe our defensive line is the best in the league, but they are by no stretch of imagination the worst. Maybe you think we should have added a DT in the draft. I do too, but I'm not going to flip out since we didn't. It's pretty intuitive: Our front office had many opportunities to take a DT but still didn't. Therefore, we can assume they didn't want one. Why would they not want one? Because currently, our players satisfy the requirements. Someone posted earlier about our free agent signings occuring after Lewis' injury, thus he might still be unable to play. Well for starters, I think the main reason for our defensive line free agent signings was because we had no depth before Lewis was hurt and even less after. Also, the draft occured more recently than free agency. If Smith and Dimitroff were still really concerned about Lewis, I think they would have drafted a DT or signed some UDFA DTs. The basis of me taking a positive stance towards our line is that other than being a genuine fan, the tidbits of information I have heard regarding our new scheme suggest that these players can enjoy some level of success. Just to reiterate, I am not intentionally "overinflating" our defensive line. Every member has good capability, that part can't be argued. The only area of debate is whether or not they can entirely fulfill their capability. Since we start our new season with a league-renowned conditioning and strength program, respected defensive line coach, and a solid team enviornment, I tend to be optimistic since these would logically imply these players are only going to get better. Lastly, you talk about Cofield again. You say he was "so much more productive" than Babineaux. Just in case you ignored the first two times I stated it, Babineaux had a statistically better season than Cofield in 2007. Oh yeah, since you seem to just hate those darned statistics so much, John Clayton liked Babineaux in 2007, too. I already said that in another post, but it's just in case you missed it. As for Babineaux failing to open up fellow linemen, John Abraham had 10 sacks. John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux both play on the right side. Either that's a really big coincidence, or it proves you wrong in that Babineaux does do his job. I'm going to go with the latter. Once again, I feel our line is solid- not Super Bowl quality or equivalent to the Giants or Vikings. I would really like to see the signing of a player like Grady Jackson, Anthony McFarland, or Antonia Garay to add a little more comfort. However, the point of my article was to show that our current line has decent upside and ability- we just have to wait and see if they fulfill those.
  8. "Actually, I was saying that because I wasn't really paying that close attention to any article so full of fluff and so thin in substance. Did I read about how our line was comparable to the New England line in that both clear up blockers for the linebackers? Honestly. Are you dense or something? What, is he going to be healthy and active now that he's in Atlanta? I don't really see how I was wrong in the assumption that an injury-prone player with one decent year might not be part of the solution. Same with Moore, not useful and was crowded out on a team with a real defensive line, lands on a team with very little meaningful depth at his position and is a short-term fix at best. Alge Crumpler and Zach Thomas were both old and in very clear decline, both are not likely to contribute in nearly the same capacity that they did for their former teams most of their careers. Hadnot is a decent, not great player that could command more than what Miami felt he was worth, and that was that. Big, obvious difference; actual performance compared to stats. Bernard is no longer the best DT on his own team, though, that would be Mebane at this point. Cofield is a similar player to Mebane in that both, if not the biggest DTs in the league, are certainly among the more disruptive, but their job is freeing things up for other playmakers while closing holes against the run, something Babs does not handle well at all. You can tell this by looking at the rest of the defense, especially in the case of Cofield, who made room for three different dominant pass rushers that lined up on either side of him, often sandwiched between Umenyiora/Strahan and Justin Tuck. Babs, on the other hand, did nothing to help Anderson. And don't patronize other people with youtube clip." So you just conceded you didn't read my "fluffy" article. I find it interesting how you are so knowledgable that you can critique it without even comprehending it. Forgive me, I had no idea you were so intelligent. But back to the point, you seem to have a case of subjective seeing- you see only what you want to see. In my review, the Patriots served as an example of an occupational line. If you can find me the text where I indicated that our current defensive line is equal to the Patriots, you win this one. Unfortunately, that text doesn't exist. My intent was to show the type of scheme Mike Smith may bring to our franchise. Next, forgive me for not getting into the whole name-calling business. I have this big problem of acting my age. But in response to your comment, you say Anderson was a one year wonder. I'm glad you have managed to re-state what I wrote in the article. I understand that Anderson had one injury set-back and wrote about his good ability and upside. You call him "injury-prone, implying he has had a career full of injuries. He started at Ohio State without missing any games and had one injury in the NFL. If that is your definition of injury-prone, nearly every player from Ray Lewis to Reggie Wayne is "injury-prone." You said yourself that Rashad Moore is a "short-term fix." That is exactly what we need. I'm pretty sure Moore wasn't signed by our front office because they thought he was the next Warren Sapp. They saw he had good occupational ability, good football capability, and also added good depth. Finally, I love how you managed to twist the Giants defensive line so well. I know you understand football well, and therefore I know you cannot seriously sit there and tell me that Osi Umenyora, Michael Strahan, and Justin Tuck are only good because Cofield "frees them up." You say Babineaux is bad because he never gets Anderson "freed up", but you know as well as I do that Jamaal Anderson does not equal Umenyora, Strahan, or Tuck right now. Just because a rookie DE didn't produce as well as you hoped doesn't mean the UT he is playing with is bad, especially when most experts (namely John Clayton) consider Babineaux a very skillful UT. It simply means the DE isn't above-average at that time. Finally, I really don't understand how video evidence is patronizing. Actually, most people consider it to be the strongest type of testimony. Try taking a look first, then crying about it later.
  9. "1. it was obvious and this thread is not different 2. He brought Petrino up, and you are talking about the system as soon as you talk about how the line will be used. 3. He was let go from a team that still has a need at DT and was horrible in run defense last year, that's not a good sign. Moore and Stanley are both low-level pickups that were not valuable enough for other teams to even keep on their roster. It's just bizarre on these boards, the only thing that apparently matters is how much a guy weighs and that he plays for the Falcons. 4. Anyone that uses stats at all is ignoring at least half the story. Babs has never been strong against the run, that was certainly apparent when he had to start last year, and his stats are not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. To call him "good" when he regularly gets pushed around is laughable. Wasn't the best fit for the Falcons? What is the best fit for the Falcons? A scheme that favors safeties that cover a lot of ground, fast coverage linebackers and a front four capable of pressuring the quarterback on their own while the DTs swallow up the interior? No defense is going to fit when there are holes everywhere." Just to clear things up, I'm discussing Mike Smith's possible system, not the Petrino/Zimmer system. Re-read the article if you need to. Anyway, you talk about Anderson being released from the Bills and therefore being a bad player. I covered this in what I wrote initially, but I'll do it again. Anderson proved his ability in his strong 2005 campaign. His other years were either affected by injury or by him being asked to do the wrong job. Obviously, when a player isn't working in the role you assign for him, you aren't going to use him. You say Moore and Stanley are not valuable for other teams to keep on their rosters. Maybe you missed it, but the Falcons just re-signed him this offseason. As for Moore, the Patriots are extremely deep at DT and had to free up roster spots. If you assume cutting a player means that the player is bad, I guess you think Alge Crumpler, Rex Hadnot, and Zach Thomas were all bad players. Next you say calling Babineaux's stats good is "laughable." I guess you must laugh at other good NFL defensive tackles like the Seahawks' Rocky Bernard and the Giants' Barry Cofield, too. Both play the UT position, just like Babineaux. In 2007, Babineaux had 45 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 defended passes in just 14 games. Bernard, who is considered a solid DT and plays on a strong Seattle line, had 35 tackles (10 less than Babineaux), 3.5 sacks (.5 more than Babineaux), 3 tackles for loss (4 less than Babineaux), 0 forced fumbles and 0 defended passes in just as many games. In 16 games, Cofield, a full year starter for the World Champion Giants, had 34 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss, 0 forced fumbles and 1 defended pass. Obviously, Babineaux's production puts him in the upper-tiers of defensive tackles. You say stats are only half the story. Well, look at these videos. There are many plays where you can see our young defensive line playing well and Babineaux fending off the run. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qbKAbWbKtI...feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0R3vnYSTjI
  10. Serge Storms:"A quote from one thread? Name a thread in which this excuse is not used. "It was all Petrino's fault." "We weren't using them right." Exactly how many variations of the basic 4-3 front have we used since the switch? The defensive tackles haven't performed because our top three players are the lesser-known dog killer that has 4.5 career sacks despite being a career UT, a lower-level star that didn't stay healthy as a rookie, and a journeyman that looked good against Arizona. " First of all, I think he was only asking what you were referring to in your last post. Second of all, I don't recall even mentioning Bobby Petrino at all, nor did I discuss his system. Third of all, my point about players being forced into unsuitable roles is mainly about our free agent signings. I don't care if you believe me, but please believe the evidence. Tim Anderson played in Buffalo and had one very good year out of three. The other two years, Anderson had either injury setbacks or was not able to flourish in the system. Same with Rashad Moore and Montavious Stanley. Lastly, calling Babineaux a "lesser-known dog killer" is not only ignorant but makes me wonder why you even like the Falcons. Babineaux was acquitted of charges last year after the District Attorney dropped the case. Anyway, anyone who evaluates DTs based solely on sacks isn't very perceptive. Babineaux, as I wrote in the article, is adept at pass rushing and run defending. He had 45 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 defended passes in just 14 games last year. Are you really going to tell me he isn't a good player? "That's not vital to the play of the defense. We had a veteran defensive coordinator with a great deal of experience and success in the NFL before coming to Atlanta, the problem has to do with the fact that nothing has been invested in the interior defensive line and currently there isn't much talent at that position on the roster." Mike Zimmer was definitely experienced and successful, but I really don't see how that always equates to success. In his latest interview, Chris Houston stated that Zimmer's defense was not helpful for all the players and caused some athletes to feel uncomfortable (including Houston). At that point, it is evident that Zimmer's scheme wasn't the best for the Falcons. I definitely wouldn't mind adding another player to our defensive line. All I am trying to say is that currently our line is not as dismal as you think it is. On the contrary, those players are learning and getting better.
  11. Serge Storms: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> I'm pretty sure there's a difference between talent not producing stats in a system that does not use them in an ideal capacity for stats, and a lack of talent resulting in a lack of production. You are right, there is a difference. Unfortunately, I don t know how you would automatically assume that all the members of our line have a lack of talent. The article highlighted the strengths and attributes of each individual player, and it also directly showed you how they have considerable upside and the ability to become consistently good. You seem to ignore the fact that the vast majority of the line is young, many were hampered by injuries, and the rest were playing in roles not conducive to their style. Widespreadhaggrd: I think you are completely overinflating the talent at DT. Lewis's injury is a major concern. It is hard to imagine him factoring in this year. Once again, I am by no stretch of the imagination saying our defensive line is amazing or even above average. In the article, I call them solid and define it for you as players who do their job. The statistics I presented tell the story of capable players who are still trying to prove themselves. Because of the capability they have, I think they can learn, grow, and have a decent level of success. As for Lewis injury, I agree with you in that it is a major concern. However, most of us understand that our front office knows much more about the condition of the players than we do. Given that, their decision to not draft a DT indicates either A) Lewis is progressing well or Our free agents signings and other line members are doing a sufficient job. Hopefully it is both. Formul8or: And people need to quit comparing <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Anderson to Mario Williams. Williams was only controversial because everyone thought Bush was the next big thing. Williams in no way whatsoever had a bad season. It also didn't hurt that the Texans actually drafted a top DT to help Williams out and that was another part of Williams success. We do not have a DT in the ranks of Williams. First off, I m not saying Anderson is Williams. When someone compares something, it means they are discussing similar subjects, not perfectly equal subjects. Obviously, we all know Anderson wasn t as good as Williams coming out of college and isn t as productive right now. There is a reason Williams was chosen first overall and Anderson was the second defensive end taken. My point in the article isn t to imply Anderson=Williams. Rather, my intent was to give you an example of the learning curve young ends face in the NFL. While Williams didn t have a bad season, he still didn t meet the expectations people had of him. Same case here in Atlanta. As for your point that the Texans drafting of Amobi Okoye helped free up Williams, I agree with you. However, I highly doubt the rookie was able to boost Williams sack total by 9.5, especially when Houston coach Gary Kubiak is recorded as say Williams one year of experience and learning helped him become a much better player. Also, I think you used your point about Atlanta not having a good DT on the wrong side. Because Atlanta doesn t have a strong DT, offensive blockers can focus much more attention on Jamaal Anderson, thus reducing his productivity. Declaring Anderson a bust after only one year of playing is really irrational. The kid played wide receiver during all of high school and part of college, and then was switched to defensive end. Obviously he needs a little more time to learn. Finally, if you don t believe what I say, look at this scouting report from 2007. It shows you that Anderson was going to be drafted based on potential and his ability to learn through experience. Nobkowski: Thank you for your time in this thread. However, for the past several yrs. we have been inundated with the "ifs". This season we are once again loaded with them. Lets hope the ifs turn out better than they have lately. But we have more ifs this year then before. Just keeping it real. No problem, thanks for reading it. But yeah, you are right. There are a bunch of question marks. The only thing is that no matter what team you cheer for, there are always ifs. Obviously the Falcons have more ifs than, say, the Colts do, but it s a burden any NFL fan has to bear. We have just got to be genuine fans and hope for the best. Rydolph: Good read. I disagree with this part though. We added one good linebacker in the draft (Lofton) and a couple of special teams players or potential backup players at best with James and Biermann. Thanks, glad your liked it. As for your disagreement, you say Lofton is the only good linebacker we drafted. While I do believe Lofton was the best of the group, by no means was he the only skilled one of the group. If you see my draft review, you can read more about James and Biermann. Both are extremely talented, physical, and smart players who displayed good ability and were targeted by teams that emphasize game speed, football IQ, and tenacity. While they are going to be special teams contributors early on, they should develop into good NFL players.
  12. Disclaimer: This article is long, but I guarantee it will give you some good insight into our defensive line. The first part of this review is about our defensive strategy. If you just want to read about players, the individual breakdowns are in the bottom half. Strategy Analysis One of the main concerns with our Falcons Franchise right now is the condition of the defensive line. Many fans and critics are complaining that our defensive line is the worst in the league and we needed to draft a DT to have any success in the future. While I'll be the first to agree our defensive line isn't the best in the NFL, I can confidently say the line is solid. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> Solid, at least the way I am using it, implies a line that can get its job done- it does not mean a line that will accumulate 50 sacks, 70 tackles for loss, and 20 forced fumbles. Keeping that in mind, let's move on. First, in order to understand the state of our defensive line, we probably need to understand the role of our defensive line. In football, there are many variations among defenses and defensive lines. Besides base alignments like the 4-3 and 3-4, some teams like the Colts emphasize speed and athleticism among their front four, while other clubs like the Chargers mandate strength, size, and power for their boys up front. However, beyond these differences in physical attributes, many lines have different roles. Let's take the New England Patriots as an example. The Patriots play a 3-4. Their front three is made up of defensive ends Ty Warren and Richard Seymour flanking nose-tackle Vince Wilfork. While these three Patriots are great players, they only accumulated 7.5 as a group during their undefeated regular season. Now how can the defensive line of the record-breaking Patriots only have 7.5 sacks, you ask? The answer: because of their role. The role of Patriots' defensive line is not to break through offensive protection and get to the quarterback or running back. Rather, their primary role is to be an occupational line. As Wilfork, Warren, and Seymour were occupying the offensive blockers in 2007, the Patriots' top three linebackers (Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, and Adalius Thomas) were able to penetrate the offensive line and sack quarterbacks 21 times total. That is how the Patriots were able to generate such a consistent pass-rush and keep opposing offenses confused. On the other hand, there are the more commonly recognized lines like those of the Giants, Colts, and Seahawks that focus their front four on getting into the backfield instead of opening lanes for others. Success in that type of scheme depends much more heavily on indivdual talent. While I am not guaranteeing anything, given Mike Smith's defensive scheme in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Jacksonville, I believe the Falcons are going to employ a hybrid scheme next season that has a little of both roles. In Jacksonville, for example, Coach Smith used John Henderson and Marcus Stroud to clog the middle. While offensive players were focusing their efforts on those two monsters, Jaguar defensive ends and linebackers slipped through and made some plays. I don't think it s too much of a stretch to think the Falcons are going to have a similar approach. Just take a look at this year's free agent signings and draft if you don't believe me. Through free agency we added defensive linemen Simon Fraser, Rashad Moore, and Kindal Moorehead. I will give you an individual analysis on each of these players a little further down, but for now you need to see that these signings created a deeper defensive line unit that is now full of big and strong occupational guys. As for the draft, although we didn't add any defensive linemen, we did add three good linebackers. Curtis Lofton is going to work the middle, with James and Biermann helping him out on the sides. Because of this personnel strategy, I think it is obvious the Falcons are planning on using the defensive line to occupy blockers and allow our newly solidified linebacking corps to break through and generate pressure on the offense. Player Analysis Okay, now we are done with the conceptual part and can get down to really looking at the players along our front four. Let's start with the defensive tackle position: 1) Trey Lewis- The 6-3, 320 pound second-year player is an extremely interesting prospect. Taken in the sixth round out of Division II Washburn, Lewis is a late-round, small-school player. However, fortunately for us, last year he displayed the ability of a first round pick as he filled out the line at the nose tackle position. Before injuring his leg and being forced onto the Injured Reserve list, Lewis managed 19 total tackles, 2 deflected passes, and 1 interception. For a rookie forced into the starting line-up because of injuries, I would say those statistics are great. If we stretch those numbers out to a whole season, we can project Lewis to get 35 tackles, break up 4 passes, and get two interceptions. We obviously add several sacks into those numbers, too. Finally, one of the most important characteristics of Lewis that we cannot measure is his ability to occupy blockers. With his 6-3 frame and great bulk, Lewis can easily take up a center and guard and thus open the door for Keith Brooking or Michael Boley to get the sack. I know that Lewis is currently rehabbing his knee and had a major set-back after surgery, but I am sure the front office is closely watching his rehabilitation progress and knows more about him than us fans. Since they didn't draft a DT, it would be a safe to conclude Trey is doing well and therefore they saw no huge need at the position. 2) Jonathan Babineaux- Babineaux has been one of our most consistent players since being drafted in second round in 2005. At 6-2, 286 pounds, Babineaux is ideal for the under tackle position. Last year, Babineaux played in 14 games while starting 9. In those 14 total games, this third year pro netted 45 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 2 forced fumbles to go along with 3 passes broken up at the line. Those statistics are extremely good for any defensive linemen- especially one who missed 2 games. Ultimately, Babnieaux is a solid pass rusher and run defender and should be a commodity at the UT position next year. 3) Kindal Moorehead- One of this year s free agent signings, Moorehead, who was drafted in 2003 by the Panthers, was brought into shore up our line. Judging by his statistics in Carolina, where he had 104 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception over his career, Moorehead should do just that. As a rotational player with a 6-2, 285 pound frame, Moorehead can play both interior line positions and help keep starters fresh. He excelled in that role in Carolina and should do well here, too. 4) Montavious Stanley- Another third year pro, Stanley showed us he is a decent rotational player last year in his 14 games and 6 starts. Because of the injuries suffered along the front last year, Stanley stepped in as starter for the first time last season against the Colts. Over the final six games, Stanley started and accumulated 20 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. For the year, Stanley had 29 tackles. As you can see in those numbers, Stanley was extremely productive in the games he started for the Falcons last year and should continue to grow as another rotational player. 5) Rashad Moore- Another member of this year s free agent class, Moore is considered an ideal nose tackle since his playing weight is 325 pounds and his height is 6-3. With those dimensions, Moore is as wide as he is tall and therefore is the prototypical gap-stuffer, pretty much a poor man s Grady Jackson. Over his four years in the NFL, Moore has amassed 88 total tackles, 3 sacks, 2 defended passes, 4 fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. For a player whose main job is to take up blockers, those figures are above average. If he can stay healthy, Moore should prove to be an asset to the nose tackle position. 6) Tim Anderson- Anderson, signed in November 2007, is another player who brings size (6-3, 315 pounds) and physicality to this team. Although Anderson has had both injuries and lack of opportunity affect his career, he displayed his prowess in the 2005 season, his second year. As a 12 game starter that year, Anderson collared 42 total tackles, 1 sack, 5 tackles for loss, and 4 passes defended. Those numbers indicate great ability and starting potential- potential Anderson has yet to consistently reach. Coach Jeff Fish s new strength and conditioning program emphasizes positional flexibility and potency, so hopefully Anderson can stay healthy and reach his good levels of upside. 7) Simon Fraser- Although Fraser played defensive end in Cleveland s 3-4, he measures in at 6-4 and weighs in at 295 pounds. While he fits the bill for the heavier ends required in the 3-4, I think he is suited to play defensive tackle in most 4-3 schemes. I don t have any insider information or anything, but it just seems logical that a player who stands like a defensive tackle, weighs like a defensive, and plays like a defensive tackle most likely is a defensive tackle. Anyway, if we analyze Fraser s production, we see in 2007 he added 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 defended pass to his resume, which brings his 3 year career totals to 51 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked kick, and 5 defended passes. For a player who was primarily a back-up, Fraser's statistics show he is an above-average lineman. 8) David Patterson- A undrafted free agent in 2007, Patterson didn t get much playing time last year. At 6-1, 274 pounds, Patterson is best suited for the UT position. Although we don t have an NFL body of work to look at for him, we can look at his years at Ohio State. As a freshman, Patterson registered 7 tackles in 2 sacks in a limited role. His sophomore year, Patterson managed 19 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. His first year as an upper-classman, David broke through for 4 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. He capped everything off with 22 total tackles and 3 tackles for loss as a senior. With that level of consistent collegiate productivity, Patterson at worst is a good insurance policy and adds necessary depth. Alright, so now we are done with defensive tackles and the interior line. Before continuing, a quick thing to keep in mind is how young the unit is. Right now, our oldest player is Kindal Moorehead at 29. The implication is that with our youthful players, there is a huge space for learning and progression, so don t be surprised if you see several of these guys make good progress this season. The final section of this review is the analysis of the Falcons defensive ends. We have six on our roster right now in John Abraham, Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, Willie Evans, Derrick Jones, and Brandon Miller. For the sake of saving space, I m only going to discuss Abraham, Anderson, and Davis- our top three ends. 1) John Abraham- We all know what the story is with John. A masterful defensive end, Abraham is adept at forcing fumbles (27 in 8 years) and creating sacks (67.5 for his career). This grizzled veteran is an unstoppable force when healthy. The key words, however, are when healthy. While Abraham was able to stay healthy in 2007 for the most part, he missed 8 games in 2006 with a groin injury. While we know Abraham can play football (32 tackles, 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 4 tackles for loss, and 4 defended passes in 2007), we are less sure about his durability. It seems that many people think Abraham is a crystal statue, ready to be broken at any second. While his durability situation is not that severe, there is still a level of uncertainty about it. Hopefully he will stay healthy again this year and play like he usually does. 2) Jamaal Anderson- Our controversial first-round pick from 2007, the new defensive end is already getting deemed a bust by some. First of all, those critics seem to ignore the fact that the reasoning behind drafting Anderson was his potential. Generally, it takes more than 16 games to realize that potential- it took Patrick Kerney 9 years to reach his. Anyway, at 6-6, 280 pounds, Anderson is an imposing figure who compliments the smallish Abraham (6-4, 260 pounds) quite well. Last year, Anderson netted 30 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 3 defended passes. While I cannot find any concrete numbers, Abraham also had several quarterback hurries and hits in his first year. While none of those numbers are in no way mind-boggling, they still are not as bad as cynics will have you believe. The main area with concern to Anderson is time. Defensive end is considered one of the positions with a big learning curve, and Anderson is following that curve right now. A very good example of this is Houston s Mario Williams. In his first season, the number one pick of the 2006 draft only sacked opposing quarterbacks 4.5 times. Last year, Williams second year, his sack total skyrocketed up to 14 sacks. This example should put those arguments from certain fans and media members who love slinging around the word bust to rest. Furthermore, with celebrated Ex-Jaguars defensive line coach Ray Hamilton heading up the same unit in Atlanta, Jamaal now has the same great teacher who tutored students like John Henderson, Marcus Stroud, Rob Meier, and Paul Spicer. 3) Chauncey Davis- Our rotation player, Davis does an excellent job at relieving Abraham and Anderson for some plays. Over his 3 year career, Davis has tallied 95 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 defended passes, and 1 interception as a backup. Last season, probably his best, Davis compiled 31 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 tackles for loss. As I said earlier, we can already see him improving each passing year. All in all, I stand by our defensive line. I wouldn t mind adding depth and experience by signing Big Grady Jackson or another free agent. But even if we don t, I will still be content since we are going to have a very young and capable defensive line with plenty of room to learn, grow, and prosper. *All statistics were compiled from the following sources: AtlantaFalcons.com; ESPN.com; CBSSportsline.com For a detailed review of our 2008 Draft and an analysis of each individual pick, see Thanks, SRS SRS1132@yahoo.com
  13. "I only read halfway down through the Harry Douglas pick. But have some rebuttals anyway... First, based on the idea that we should just trust the coaches and GM, there's no reason to even watch the draft, or read the boards, or check in on training camp. Doesn't matter until kickoff of Week 1, there's no sense in hoping to "win the offseason" if when it looks like you're not, you really are since you don't have a scoreboard. So we're ALL stupid for bothering to pay attention...there's nothing to see here people, move along...move along... Second, going through and justifying the upside of each pick isn't the point. Of course there's SOME rationale for picking them or the FO wouldn't have picked them. It's not LITERALLY throwing darts...they thought about it and decided based on those reasons that they wanted to pick that guy. But that doesn't mean that their reasons were the best reasons, or that the guy was actually the best pick at each point along the way. Sure, they got Lofton in preparation for the possible departure of Brooking. I'm all for the departure of Brooking. But he's not gone yet. Couldn't we pick an MLB next year when Brooking really IS gone? Couldn't we pick a DT this year in preparation for the DT that just departed? Why did they cut Coleman AND not prepare a replacement....but they DON'T cut Brooking but do prepare a replacement? So you see, the explanation for picking Lofton is logical...but it omits the rest of the story...we don't need him TODAY. We do need the Dorsey today. This is the basic point...you can justify that all the picks were good...fine. But that is NOT the base of the wave of complaints about this draft. We're not complaining about who was picked...but rather, who WASN'T. We could have gotten a combo of Dorsey and Flacco, and traded up to get Baker too. Flacco would have been there for us in the second if we had passed on Ryan--Baltimore would have taken Ryan, leaving Flacco for us. You say I'm wrong? Okay, I can fall back to Henne and Brohm. It is NOT about it being smart to get a QB when you clearly need a QB. What it IS about is what it cost to get him. Ryan himself isn't a bad pick. But it impacts what we can get/have to get next. That's the point. Your line of thinking that we need Douglas sounds good. No argument here...except...you claim that the supposedly strong WR corps only has two good ones out of six, and we need at least three. I invite you to apply that logic to the OL. We have exactly zero good ones out of six and we need, oh, I dunno, somewhere between three and six of them. At least on the WR area, we do have a couple. So the complaint is not that we shored up the WR corps, it's that we did it INSTEAD of helping the OL. Or the DL. Both. So, while you have nice fancy justifications for each pick, how about justifying those vs the missed opportunities to fill needs that are more pressing at positions with less depth. The news conference after the draft that claimed that upon further review, the idea that our OL and DL needed improvement has been reversed, doesn't fly with me. I'm not buying for a second that our current OL and DL are actually the stronger parts of the team." RCWalters: You have to realize I'm not saying we need to blindly follow the Front Office personnel as if they are Gods. I'm merely stating that all of us need to have some level of trust and respect for men who have spent the better part of their lives studying the game of football. In response to your second point, I would say justifying the upside of each pick is the point. After all, isn't identifying players with upside the whole point of the draft? My justifications don't focus solely on upside, either. Rather, they discuss the role each pick can and will play on our team. After that, you talk about getting a MLB in next year's draft, and I'm assuming you're hinting at James Laurinitis or Ray Maulauga. But first off, there is no guarantee we will be in position to take either of those players. Second, the MLB is the quarterback of the defense. Just as it immensley helps young quarterbacks to sit before starting, Lofton backing-up Brooking will afford him the same opportunity. Lofton can now learn about the NFL game without worrying about starting. Third, Lofton simply adds much needed depth- depth that couldn't wait yet another year to be filled. Next, you talk about our need at DT. I covered this in my review, but I'm sure you understand the concept that QBs drive teams- not DTs. I completely accept the fact that Dorsey was a great DT, and I would be really happy if we had selected him. But with Matt Ryan, not only do we have a positive leader and franchise player, we have a guy who can win many more games for us than a DT ever could. Your logic is really circular in your next point. You said the complaints aren't about who we did pick, its about who we didn't. Thats really the same thing. By complaining that we should have taken Dorsey, you are saying that Ryan was indeed a bad pick. Furthermore, most of the critical posts I have seen are along the lines of "Matt Ryan Sucks" or "Wtf, Harry Douglas?" Obviously, those are directly criticizing our picks. Next, you talk about how my weak WR corps argument should be applied to our OL. Well, let's look at our line. We picked a LT in Baker this year, so that corner is set. Last year, we took Justin Blaylock in the 2nd round, so the LG positioin is set. Through Free Agency, we added a young, versatile, and aggressive center in Alex Stepanovich to play behind our veteran Todd McClure, and we also drafted the versatile Doug Datish in 2007. The Center position looks very good. At right guard we have Kynan Forney, who played well healthy but was hurt much of last year. This is a weak spot, but we have depth with D'Anthony Batiste, who filled in admirably at LG last year when Blaylock was out. Finally, we have Todd Weiner at RT. While there are still question about Weiner and his health, we have Tyson Clabo waiting in the wings. Last year, due to the many injuries, Clabo got the chance to start. Not only did Clabo play well, some say he earned the starting job. Also, don't forget the fact that our coaching staff is cross-training players and might make some position changes, so nobody knows the state of our offensive line for sure. Might preceding analysis is based on empirics. Along the DL, our signings of Defensive Linemen Simon Fraser, Rashad Moore, and Kindal Moorehead add depth behind starters Trey Lewis and Jonathan Babineaux. Since you referenced next year's draft earlier, don't forget that next year has plenty of quality defensive linemen who we will be in position to draft if need be. As for your comment about my "fancy justifications", I'm really not sure when accurate and logical became synonyms of fancy. I'm not going to make justifications talking about "missed opportunities" when my review establishes our picks were among the best opportunities for our team.
  14. Cyofish: Well to start, if you go back and read the review, you'll see I used the pronouns "us" and "we". Those words indicate that I include myself among the people who should recognize real scout's and NFL personnel's football knowledge. The fact that I gave my opinion on each pick in no way implies I am saying I am smarter than Dimitroff, Smith, etc. As far as your analysis of Ryan, I agree with you there. I think it would be in Ryan's interest, the Falcons' interest, and the fan's interest to let him sit for a year and learn the ropes from veterans like Redman and Harrington. I don't expect him to be Peyton this year.
  15. So here we are, finally finished with the Falcons' 2008 Draft. After months of speculation, mock drafts, rumors, and workouts, we now know which players will become part of the Falcons Franchise. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> There were some picks people liked and many picks people hated. It seems that many people are upset since the front office "wasted" picks on the likes of an overrated quarterback and offensive tackle, a small wide receiver and a unknown defensive end, among others. However, all these critics are wrong for several reasons. This review will not only give you a detailed report on our new picks, but also provide cohesive and accurate justifications for each individual pick. But before I begin the actual review itself, we should clear up a few things. First and foremost, I think all of us fans need to realize that none of us are real scouts. Sure we can look up statistics, YouTube videos, and watch EPSN. But obviously, none of those give us an actual view of the draft prospect. On the other hand, Falcons Personnel have access to coaching tapes, game tapes, and practice tapes. Also, they can call old coaches and coordinators, conduct interviews, and hold private workouts. I don't know about you, but it seems logical that Falcons personnel know a whole lot more about these prospects than we do. Second, if you honestly believe that you have more football expertise than Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith, and Rich McKay, I beg you to write to Arthur Blank and tell him about yourself. You are the next coming of Vince Lombardi. Unfortunately, most of us know that our football intelligence pales in comparison to that of a former Patriots college scouting director and a former Jaguars defensive coordinator, so maybe we should just trust them. Okay, so now let s move on to the interesting part of this analysis. Like I said earlier, a lot of fans and media members were confused about several picks. Since they were so confused, the natural response was to assume the picks were illogical. Unfortunately for them, all of the picks made sense. For example, we already can see the importance of having a franchise quarterback (Ryan) and a historically good left tackle (Baker) to protect him. We can also see the importance of drafting a playmaking linebacker (Lofton) to be Keith Brooking's heir and solidify our defense. To compliment all of these players, we found an aggressive but smart cornerback who played in the SEC (Jackson). But these preceding picks aren't the ones that are considered pointless, though. The controversial picks started with our second pick of the third round, WR Harry Douglas of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Louisville. Before the draft, many of us seemed to share a common belief that our receivers were one of our stronger groups. But ask yourself, how is our receiving corps one of our strong points when we have a first-round bust in Michael Jenkins, an aging wideout in Joe Horn, an injury plagued veteran in Brian Finneran, and an unproductive late round pick in Adam Jennings comprising two-thirds of it? Most of us know that running ANY type of offense requires at least 3 viable receivers. We only have two with Roddy White and Laurent Robinson. Where is our slot man? We just found him in Harry Douglas. A prevailing argument against Douglas is that he is physically equivalent to a midget and thus cannot survive in the NFL. That is a good standpoint if you are able to ignore the success of other lightweight receivers like Santonio Holmes of Pittsburgh, Wes Welker of New England, and Brandon Stokely when he was in Indianapolis. Douglas was extremely productive last year at Louisville when he caught 71 balls for 1159 yards and 7 TDs. The year before, his junior season, he was just as good as he fielded 70 balls for 1265 yards and 6 TDs. If we look at the three years where Douglas caught more than 6 balls (his sophomore, junior, and senior years), we see that he never averaged less than 16.32 yards per catch. Compare those numbers to the numbers of the highest rated receiver before the draft, Devin Thomas. While Douglas was productive for 3 years and had such good numbers, Thomas had only one good year and his YPC average is lower than Douglas'. Those statistics I just poured out reveal a consistent, skillful, and dangerous wide-out. But outside of those statistics, an important trait of Douglas' I think we should look at is his Senior Bowl performance. If you saw it, you should remember his clutch catch in the 2-minute drill. As the South team was pushing down the field, Erik Ainge hit Douglas in the middle of the field for what should have been an 8 yard slant. While most other receivers would have been hit immediately and lost valuable time, Douglas side stepped two defenders and crossed the field and made it out of bounds for a 23-yard gain. This portrays Douglas physical skills as well as his playing intelligence. Harry Douglas is a true slot receiver, and not surprisingly, the Falcons need one. The next controversial player was our last pick of the third round, California s safety Thomas DeCoud. From what I have seen, people are questioning his consistency and tackling ability. Well, despite what Mel Kiper might say, I personally doubt that a safety who is slow and bad at tackling accumulates 115 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles to go along with a pick and 4 deflected passes. Not only has DeCoud improved from junior year to senior year, he managed 12 tackles and a deflected pass against the dominating USC Trojans. Standing at 6-1, weighing 207 pounds, and boasting a 4.5 forty, DeCoud is also physically ready for the NFL. Are you seriously going to tell me he can't play? In the fifth round, we took Robert James and Kroy Biermann. To be honest, I was a little confused about these, too. But then I turned over some rocks. Concerning James, people are wondering how we could possibly need another linebacker. Well, let s think about it. We drafted Lofton to play in the middle. After letting Demorrio Williams go to Kansas, we have no depth. Literally. Our back-up MLB (without Lofton) is Tony Taylor, and undrafted player. Our back-up WLB is Travis Williams, yet another undrafted player. How about our back-up SLB? Oh yeah, we don't have one. By adding Robert James, we gain a strong tackler and an extremely good coverage man to back-up Stephen Nicholas or Michael Boley. With this pick, the depth chart is Brooking-Lofton, Nicholas-James, and Boley-Biermann. The Kroy Biermann pick makes plenty of sense, too. A glance at our roster reveals that behind Chauncey Davis, we have no legitimate player to assist an injury prone John Abraham and an unproven Jamaal Anderson. Kroy Biermann was voted the best defensive player in Division II, and he terrorized offensive lines for 218 total tackles, 46 TFL, and 33 sacks over a four year collegiate career. He is obviously a capable DE. But that is assuming we use Biermann as a DE. This prospect has the versatility that allows us to use him as a linebacker, defensive end, or pass rushing specialist. Wow, this is starting to sound a little Giants-esque. Next, I am sure there aren't too many people who are really upset with our 6th round pick, Thomas Brown. Many of you saw him as a Bulldog and realize his potential. For those of you who don't, Brown profiles as an ideal third down back, much like Kevin Faulk. He runs a quick 4.55, but still carries 204 pounds on a 5-8 frame. He can run between the tackles or outside of them and still have success. He displays good hands and had 2 touchdown receptions last year. Brown adds depth to the RB position, which until today consisted of Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood, and Jason Snelling. If any of the 3 went down, we would be in a bad position, so Brown gives the Falcons much needed security. Don't forget that this pick creates a deep and versatile backfield, much like the one the Giants used to upset the Patriots in the Superbowl. The Wilrey Fontenot pick in the seventh round is questioned since we already drafted a corner. But we need to realize that drafting Chevis Jackson doesn't necessarily mean he will fix everything. Jackson is most likely going to be a good corner, but Fontenot will not only add depth, but also increase competition- something that is never bad. Fontenot, who was picked on a lot since he was playing opposite Antoine Cason, managed to compile 40 tackles, 7 deflected passes, and 1 interception as a senior to go along with 37 tackles, 2 TFL, and 8 deflected passes as a junior. This pick strengthens a previously weak cornerback pool that now consists of Chris Houston, Von Hutchins, Brent Grimes, David Irons, Chevis Jackson, and Wilrey Fontenot. Our final pick, Keith Zinger of LSU, is a "prototypical blocking tight end" (NFL.com) and still has the ability to catch and stretch the field as indicated by his 27 yard reception against Tennessee in the SEC championship and his 18 yard reception against Ohio State in the national championship. Some might say we need a receiving TE more, but we already have a decent receiving tight end in second-year pro Martrez Milner, who had 30 receptions his senior year of college. Plus, we can always add receiving tight-ends like Darrell Strong, Mike Peterson, or Jed Collins as Undrafted Free Agents. Finally(I know I have been jumping between rounds a lot), the Curtis Lofton pick in the second was a strong move that solidified our depth and created an heir for Keith Brooking. Lofton, one of the NCAA s top tacklers and playmakers, now has at least a year to learn behind Brooking and become very good. As a senior, Lofton made 157 total tackles, 10.5 TFL, and 1 sack. His playmaking abilities are revealed by his 4 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, and 2 deflected passes. Oh yeah, I almost forgot his 2 defensive touchdowns, but that's not important... Okay, so now that we are finished analyzing our picks from rounds 2-7, let s go to our 1st round picks. I admit that initially, I was unhappy with Matt Ryan being taken over Glenn Dorsey. I figured Dorsey would solidify our defense and free up our linebackers. But then, as I did more research on Matt Ryan and heard experts give their input, I started to buy into the Matt Ryan pick. After thinking about it, I came to the realization that quarterback is more vital than defensive tackle can ever be. Does anyone honestly believe that the Giants, Colts, Steelers, and Patriots would be champions and consistently successful franchises without their QBs? Sure, they would be good if they had a great defensive tackle instead, but they wouldn't be great. Just look at Warren Sapp in Oakland, Amobi Okoye in Houston, or Pat Williams in Minnesota. All are/were dominating tackles, but we know they impact they game much less than a quarterback. If you don't buy any of that, just look at Superbowl XLI. Although the Bears had an amazing DT tandem in Tommie Harris and Tank Johsnon, Peyton Manning simply had more of an impact on the game because of the nature of his position. Not surprisingly, Manning won. A QB touches the ball every offensive snap and can create a game changing play at any moment. A DT may or may not play on every down, but ultimately only manages a small number of game altering plays throughout a season. Matt Ryan has that special ability- the one that can alter a game's outcome. I know his comeback ability has become an extremely overused cliché, but that doesn't prevent it from being true. A big knock on him is his 19 interceptions, but according to former QB Ron Jaworski, many were not his fault. Some were, but many were results of miscommunications and tipped passes. Matt Ryan didn't have a great offensive line. Other than Gosder Cherilus, no other offensive player (or defensive player, for that matter) was drafted. Ryan had a weak running game and primary receiving corps composed of wideouts all under 6 feet tall. He played under a new coach with a pro-style offense in a competitive ACC. Ryan carried his talent-lacking team on his shoulders the whole season. However, never once did he criticize a single one of his teammates. Rather, he praised them for what they had accomplished. Statistically, Ryan was pretty impressive. His 654 pass attempts as a senior ranked second out of QBs with a rating of at least 87.05 (118 total). Despite this, he still completed 59% of his passes. Despite suffering 21 sacks (versus Henne's 16, Booty's 12, and Ainge's 3), he still managed 31 touchdown passes his senior year in conjunction with 2 rushing touchdowns. Over four years, he had 56 touchdown tosses and 11 rushing scores. As a senior, Ryan average 1 touchdown pass every 13 completions and 1 interception every 34 attempts. The last positive Matt Ryan brings is his persona. We all hear about his great character, strong leadership, and football intelligence. These have become overused as well, but they are still very true. Ryan s character was on display when he refused to criticize his former teammates and upheld his family s name. His leadership was evident when he controlled the huddle at BC and inspired others around him to play great. His intelligence comes forth when we see him dissect defense, make good audibles, and not get tricked by our scouts in a grease-board interview session. These three traits create Matt Ryan and give him that coveted persona. The best part is, ever since the Falcons chose Ryan, the team has been positively discussed by the media for the first time in years. Ultimately, if you don't believe a word I just typed, realize that there has to be a reason every scout, analyst, and NFL personnel worker loves Ryan. Okay, now that we are done with Ryan, let's go see our friend Sam Baker. Concerning Baker, there seems to be a prevailing thought that our 2 second round picks were not worth him. Primarily, those critics need to see that the players we got the picks for weren't as great as they would have you believe. We saw from last season that Matt Schaub wasn't worth the 2nd rounder Houston gave us. Basically, the trade let us receieve lot of value for a player that underperformed last season. The DeAngelo Hall trade did a lot other than get us some picks. We gave the 2nd rounder to Washington, but we still have next year's fifth rounder. More importantly, trading Hall should have the effect Jeremy Shockey's absence had in New York. Many people are saying that without Shockey's distractions, the team was able to bond and come together much better. With that precedent, I am sure Hall being gone will give the Falcons the ability to focus. That should go to show that any arguments saying Baker wasn't worth Hall and Schaub are unfounded. Another criticism of this draft pick is that we should not have traded up because Sam Baker would be there at the top of the second. Let s analyze this. Houston was 4 picks away waiting for an OT. Baker is a perfect fit in there finesse offense. Obviously he was their main target since all the other high-level tackles were gone, so we had to move ahead of them. But focusing on Baker himself, we see a consistent player who performed well among good competition. First off, if you watched Baker's press conference, you can see he is smart, has good character, and possesses an infectious personality. But these are just his intangibles. Tangibly, Baker missed only 3 games out of 52. He was developing extremely well and was considered a first round pick until hamstring injuries temporarily stunted his progress. Baker is a good technician, uses his hands well, plays with nice leverage, and also has a ton of experience. His natural gifts included good athleticism, quick feet, a huge frame (with room to grow), and long arms (Scott Wright, 2008). He comes from a football family, which we know is usually a good thing (see the Mannings, the Longs, the Winslows, and Jones brothers). In the end, Scott Wright puts it frankly when he calls Baker "a natural left tackle". Some of the negatives people discuss are his lack of strength and bulk, his lack of a killer instinct, and his short arms. However, the strength and bulk issues are obviously easy fixes, especially with Coach Jeff Fish's new, unique, and highly regarded strength and conditioning program. Also, to remedy his lack of tenacity and other issues, Baker will be under the tutelage of Paul Boudreau, the man who coached the lines Barry Sanders, Fred Taylor, Curtis Martin, and Steven Jackson ran behind. Boudreau is also the man who mentored the 2002 Panthers and 2003 Jaguars offensive lines- the lines that broke franchise records for fewest sacks allowed. At the end of the day, it looks like all of our picks have immense potential to become great. Alright, I am finally finished. But remember, even if you don't buy my reasoning or that of our Front Office, you should still make every effort to support this franchise. No matter how hard we cry, we can't change what happened in this draft, so we should be supportive and optimistic heading into this season since we now have several vital cornerstones in place. Thanks, SRS SRS1132@yahoo.com
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