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theProf last won the day on June 15 2016

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  1. From the article: "Ideally, Collins could play as the right cornerback in the nickel, allowing them to use Trufant as the slot/follow corner and Robert Alford as the other outside cornerback." I seriously doubt that Trufant will play slot CB. It appears that Alford is more likely to play the slot CB in the Nickle moreso than Trufant. From an Andy Benoit article posted by FantayeJones: "It’ll be interesting to see Alford’s role in 2017. Trufant is back now and, judging from the five-year, $69 million contract they gave him this offseason, the Falcons see him as their No. 1 corner. Alford undoubtedly will start, but where will he primarily line up? “I have no idea. Like Coach (Dan) Quinn said, going into training camp, it’s a competition. For everyone. No one has a spot. So we won’t know that until after the last preseason game. But I would love to be inside in our nickel coverage.” That’s where Alford played in Super Bowl 51, against the league’s shiftiest slot receiver, Edelman. It’ll be lost in history, but it’s evident on film: Alford won the battle against Edelman that day. The Falcons likely now have a premium slot corner."
  2. I think that Scott forgot to include Falcons player #9 to watch in his article, or the article inadvertently cut-off player #9.
  3. Falcons: Top 9 players to watch for 2017 training camp By: Scott Carasik | June 28, 2017 Here are the top nine players you should be watching when the Atlanta Falcons take the field for training camp in one month. 1. FB Tyler Renew Tyler Renew was a workhorse running back for the Bulldogs but projects best as a fullback at the next level. He’s a tremendous worker just and could beat out Derrick Coleman as the team’s starting fullback and a special teams ace for the Falcons this season. In training camp, don’t be surprised if he gets to compete with Terron Ward and Brian Hill for a role at running back as well. Renew is a bit raw, but his experience at the Citadel is in a zone-based run scheme that could give him a leg up on Hill for a game-day role. 2. TE Austin Hooper After having a solid rookie campaign, Austin Hooper looks to be the featured tight end in Atlanta’s passing game this season. Hooper has all of the tools needed to be a threat up the seams in new coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s offense. During training camp, we should get an idea of how much improvement he’s made. Because Hooper will be the No. 1 tight end this year, he should see an increase in targets to around the 60-70 range. Considering he had 25 catches for 336 yards and four touchdowns on just 36 targets last year, he should be on pace for a 45 catch, 600 yard, seven touchdown season in his second year. 3. OL Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer The battle for starting right guard is easily the most important position battle for Atlanta this offseason. So Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer will be under a gigantic microscope this offseason. Garland is a former defensive lineman who has converted into a solid offensive lineman as a pro. Schweitzer is a college left tackle who fits into the mold of a true zone blocking offensive lineman. The common problem both of these players have is poor pass protection. Thanks to the gluttony of talented defensive tackles around in the NFC South, having a right guard who can isolate and protect against the Gerald McCoys and Sheldon Rankins of the world is essential, and neither may be up to the challenge. 4. EDGE Takkarist McKinley The Falcons’ 2017 first-round pick will be a top draw at training camp. In this case, it’s even more interesting because of the heart Takkarist McKinley showed on draft day and the shoulder injury he had to have fixed after his pro day. McKinley was drafted to be the perfect speed rusher across from Vic Beasley. His first step and ability to rush effectively from either side of the ball gives him more value in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 defensive scheme. The Falcons should be trying him out at LEO end—where Brooks Reed played last year—the minute he’s able to step on the field. 5. DT Dontari Poe Atlanta’s biggest free agent signing this offseason was massive defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Due to a series of back and knee issues, Quinn wants him to lose weight and play closer to 330 pounds than the 350-plus pounds he was playing at in Kansas City. Due to the depth the Falcons have on their defensive line, it looks like they also would be willing to rotate Poe out so that he’s not playing 80-plus percent of the snaps like he did earlier in his career for the Chiefs. Hopefully, Poe shows flashes the talent in training camp he did when he notched six sacks as a third-year nose tackle. 6. LB Duke Riley When Atlanta traded down and took Duke Riley in the third round, questions came out about what De’Vondre Campbell’s role would be and how Riley would fit into the big picture. Instinctually, Riley is already around where Campbell was near the end of his rookie season, but he doesn’t know the Falcons’ scheme just yet. If Riley can show early in the season that he’s got the scheme down pat, he could challenge Campbell for a role on passing downs and even allow the Falcons to run more 3-3-5 nickel packages where they rush Campbell or Riley while still having good coverage linebackers behind them. 7. CB Jalen Collins Despite filling in admirably while Desmond Trufant was out for the last half of 2016, Jalen Collins finds himself a man without a role in Atlanta’s starting defense. Collins will have to use his time in training camp to show that he’s more than just a depth body and special teams player. Ideally, Collins could play as the right cornerback in the nickel, allowing them to use Trufant as the slot/follow corner and Robert Alford as the other outside cornerback. Because of Collins’ size, they should utilize him well against the larger receivers around the NFC South like Tampa’s Mike Evans Caorlina’s Kelvin Benjamin. 8. FS/CB/Nickel Damontae Kazee The Falcons picked Damontae Kazee in the fifth round of this year’s draft despite him looking like a player without a set role or position. Athletically, Kazee is a poor-man’s Tyrann Mathieu, but he has great instincts and is a ball-hawking kind of defensive back. As a tackler, there are few guys who are as willing to hit as hard Kazee. The issue that will need to be resolved during training camp is just how the Falcons will use him. Will Kazee be a slot corner? Will he be an outside corner? Will they use him at free safety? Ideally, he will be a chess piece who can provide depth at all three posotionis and be a key core-four spot special teams player.
  4. theProf's 2017 Sack Projections Team total: 44 Vic Beasley: 12 Grady Jarrett: 5 Takkarist McKinley: 4 Adrian Clayborn: 4 Derrick Shelby: 3 Jack Crawford: 3 Dontari Poe: 3 Ra’Shede Hageman: 2 Brooks Reed: 1 Courtney Upshaw: 1 Deion Jones: 1 De’Vondre Campbell: 1 Duke Riley: 1 Desmond Trufant: 1 Brian Poole: 1 Keanu Neal: 1 For all you prognosticators out there, go on record here with your own 2017 sack projections!
  5. Projecting the Atlanta Falcons individual and team sack totals for 2017 We’ll be bold and say the totals will rise. by Dave Choate Jul 3, 2017, 8:00am EDT Good morning, everyone! Many of you hopefully have the day off, but you’re not getting out of doing some math. This morning, I sat down and tried to guess where the Falcons will arrive at for a team sack total. A year ago, they snagged 34, but 15.5 of those were due to Vic Beasley alone, and the defense should be better this season. I think a jump all the way to 40 is within reason (really!), and I think while Beasley’s share of that decreases, other players will step up in a major way to make up the slack. Here’s my projections. 2017 Sack Projections Team total: 40 (34) Vic Beasley: 11 (15.5) Takkarist McKinley: 5 (N/A) Derrick Shelby: 3.5 (0) Adrian Clayborn: 3 (5) Grady Jarrett: 4 (3) Dontari Poe: 2.5 (1.5) Ra’Shede Hageman: 1 (2) Jack Crawford: 2 (3.5) Deion Jones: 1 (0) De’Vondre Campbell: 2 (0) Duke Riley: 1 (0) Brooks Reed: 1.5 (2) Desmond Trufant: 1 (2) Brian Poole: 1.5 (1) Keanu Neal: 1 (0) Will this translate into a better pass rush overall? I think so, mostly because McKinley figures to be an impactful addition after he warms up, Poe will help the defensive line, and the front seven overall looks deep, balanced, and talented. For what it’s worth, the last time the Falcons had 40 sacks in a season came back in 2004, when that excellent squad put up 48. The Falcons are in a long drought, and hopefully this is the year they get out of it. What say you?
  6. Looking back over these positional rankings, I'm not so sure that I would give the Defensive Backs an A+. Alford still has some propensity to get a little too handsy with the Receivers possibly resulting in holding and interference penalties. He got much better at this as the season progressed last year, but I'm still somewhat afraid that he might revert back to his old ways at inopportune times. While Trufant is outstanding in coverage, he is still somewhat lacking in turnover-creating ability. Poole and Collins are developing nicely, but still have vulnerabilities in pass coverage that can be exploited. Neal was a great draft pick at SS, but there is virtually no real depth at SS behind him (assuming Ish goes to a full-time LB). Ricardo Allen is good and solid, but he might not ever make it to a "very good" type of status. We're not sure what we have in this year's draft-pick Kazee or even what position he will play. I know that I am knit-picking, but I still would not personally give the DBs an A+ ranking at this point.
  7. It appears that Eric Weem's Returner role will come down to veteran FA signee Andre Roberts or last year's speedster draft-pick Devin Fuller, who got placed on IR for the 2016 season. I'm somewhat surprised that I haven't seen more talk on this board re Andre Roberts, who was one of the better NFL Returners in 2016. Roberts’ 747 kick return yards was fourth in the NFL. His average of 22.6 yards per kick-off return ranked eighth in the league. On the punt return side of things, Roberts’ average of 12.3 yards per punt return ranked third in the NFL and he also had the second-longest punt return of the regular season, with an 85-yard scamper against the Bears. Roberts also finished tied for first in punt return touchdowns (2).
  8. Big oversight to omit mentioning Grady Jarrett in the DL evaluation. Jarrett and Poe should be one of the best DT tandems in the NFL. TaK should help improve the pass rush, along with injured returnees Shelby and Clayborn. Hopefully they will be 100% healthy. Crawford should be an improvement over Jackson. I certainly think the DL has a good chance to be Atlanta's most improved positional group during the 2017 season.
  9. Falcons 2017 position groups ranked from first to worst By: Tim Weaver | June 25, 2017 6:00 am The Atlanta Falcons have one of the NFL’s deepest and most talented rosters, but a lot has changed since the Super Bowl. To help get you re-acquainted with the team, let’s go around and examine each position group and see where they rank compared to each other. Here’s where they stack up. 1. Running backs: A+ If there’s a team in the NFL today that has more star power at running back than these Falcons, we haven’t heard of them. Devonta Freeman has posted consecutive seasons of over 1,000 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns and he’s soon going to be paid like one of the league’s elites at the position. Freeman deserves every penny of it. All Tevin Coleman brings is a perfect change of pace option and perhaps the game’s most lethal receiver at running back. Since the last time we saw him he has added another 15 pounds of muscle, too. Atlanta has also added rookie Brian Hill to the equation, which should round out this picture perfectly. The Falcons are sitting on a veritable gold mine at this position. 2. Defensive backs: A+ At some point we’re going to run out of superlatives to describe this group, because there’s virtually nothing not to like. One could make the argument that Atlanta is deeper at cornerback than any other team in the NFL. Think about it. From Desmond Trufant to Robert Alford to Jalen Collins to Brian Poole, who has a better top four? These Falcons corners are fast, physical, long, and are perfect fits to play in Dan Quinn’s cover-3 system. Atlanta has perhaps the most promising defensive back in football right now in last year’s first-rounder Keanu Neal, who played no less than five different positions for the Falcons in his rookie season. There’s also Ricardo Allen at free safety, who allowed the fewest yards per cover snap of any safety last season. 3. Quarterbacks: A How good are Atlanta’s running backs and defensive backs if the unit with the NFL’s reigning MVP can’t beat them out? Yes, they’re that good. Matt Ryan finally earned his place among the best passers in the league with a phenomenal 2016 season. He posted career highs in passing yards (4,944), completion rate (69.6 percent), yards per attempt (9.26), touchdowns (38) and passer rating (117.1). Ryan is in the peak of his career and should be able to out-duel or at least match any other QB that the Falcons might meet. Behind him, Matt Schaub is one of the better backups in football. He has plenty of experience as a starter and even played in a couple Pro Bowls. That’s why Atlanta paid such a high price to keep him from joining Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. 4. Wide receivers: A In case you were living under a rock on Mars during the entire 2016 NFL season, Atlanta’s wide receiver corps is scary good. Thanks to his incredible playoff run, Julio Jones has now established himself as the undisputed top receiver in the game, and for the first time in his career he’s got plenty of help along for the ride. Mohamed Sanu proved to be another brilliant free agency pickup by the Falcons. He had the highest catch rate from the slot as well as the lowest drop rate in the entire league. Meanwhile, Taylor Gabriel made a name for himself as an incredibly efficient and dangerous weapon. There’s also plenty of talent on the bench as well. Watch out for Justin Hardy to have a breakout campaign in 2017. 5. Linebackers: B No position has been so radically changed over under Dan Quinn as linebacker. In just two years, Quinn has brought in three new starters, all of whom are either heading into their first or second seasons as a pro. It all starts with Deion Jones, who might be the best middle linebacker in the NFL under the age of 25. He had a magnificent rookie season and is an excellent piece for Atlanta to build around in the future. The addition of LSU’s Duke Riley effectively gives the Falcons a Deion Jones clone and allows De’Vondre Campbell to move over to the strong side, where he is likely to thrive. There’s a lot to like about this group and they’re only going to get better with time. 6. Offensive line: B It really speaks to Atlanta’s depth that their offensive line can rise no higher than No. 6 on this list. The Falcons’ five starters did not miss a single game in 2016, a remarkable accomplishment for a unit that really came together under the leadership of free agent steal Alex Mack. However, since we last saw them this unit has undergone some big changes. Right guard Chris Chester has retired, leaving a hole open between Mack and the excellent right tackle Ryan Schraeder. Atlanta used a draft pick this year on Sean Harlow, but he’s apparently not in the mix for that competition. Whether it’s Wes Schweitzer or Ben Garland, there’s no guarantee that either one will be as solid as Chester was. Also, the team’s swing tackle Tom Compton left in free agency, which is another hole that will need to be addressed at some point. Overall though, this is a fine offensive line and the Falcons should consider themselves lucky to have it. 7. Defensive line: B- On the edges, Vic Beasley had to do a lot of heavy lifting in the pass rush game last season but he should have more help now. Derrick Shelby and Adrian Clayborn are both expected to be healthy for the new season and Takkarist McKinley looks like a monster in the making. Inside, the Falcons cut the cord with Jonathan Babineaux after 12 years and upgraded with two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe. If Poe can re-gain the pass-rushing form he showed in 2013 and 2014, Atlanta’s defensive line has a chance to be something truly special. Still, one can’t help but get the feeling this unit is missing some essential element. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Dwight Freeney. 8. Tight ends: C Second-year tight end Austin Hooper may carry a heavy burden this year. Now that Jacob Tamme is out of the picture, Hooper is the team’s top receiver target at tight end and should see a steady increase in the number of looks he gets from Ryan this year. Hooper has great upside and athleticism to spare, but there’s not much depth behind him. Levine Toilolo can be a sneaky gadget weapon from time to time but he’s mostly a blocker only. From there, Joshua Perkins will see some competition from fifth-round pick Eric Saubert. Neither is likely to see the field much, though. It’s not that Atlanta’s tight ends are bad, it’s just that there are other better units out there, especially in the NFC South. Then again, if Hooper has the breakout kind of year we’re hoping for, this grade could rise quick. 9. Special teams: C- Matt Bryant, Josh Harris and Matt Bosher do their respective jobs well. The reason for the low grade here is Atlanta’s return game, which is lacking. Last year, the Falcons ranked No. 29 in total kick return yards and did not score a touchdown. They also allowed the fifth most kick return yards in the NFL (905) and the eighth most yards per punt return. Whoever wins up replacing Eric Weems, Atlanta’s return game will better in 2017. Still, there’s no guarantees of an upgrade there. Until they prove they can stop returns and generate better field position more consistently, this will be the team’s weakest unit
  10. Seems that some of the Mods come and go. Whatever happened to ShineyMcShine, SacFalcFan, Rev Hal, BankerBird, and Tuggle?
  11. Some of the most hilarious posts to me were Emmitt's "prognostifications". Gosh I miss those.
  12. Great article. Thanks for posting it atljbo.
  13. The answer is perhaps, but it depends upon a lot of things. Reminds me of simplistic income tax questions, such as, are medical expenses deductible? Yes, but one would have to itemize deductions and not take the standard deduction. Even if one itemized deductions, medical expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 10% of Adjusted Gross Income. Even then, the medical expenses have to be true out-of -pocket costs, not reimbursed by medical insurance. So are medical expenses tax deductible, Perhaps, BUT. So would losing Teco to free agency net the Falcons a 3rd round comp pick? Perhaps, BUT. First the Falcons would need to be in a Net Loss situation, ie, the number of compensable free agents (CFAs) lost would need to exceed the number of compensable free agents signed. Next Coleman would need to be signed by another team for at least an annual compensation of $8 million per year. Next Atlanta could not sign a Free Agent for more or at a comparable salary with Coleman, or they would cancel out each other. Perhaps, BUT. BTW, Coleman is signed by the Falcons for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He would not become an UFA until 2019. If the Falcons were to lose Coleman to free agency in 2019, any possible comp pick for him would not be available until the 2020 draft. So I would prefer to live for the moment, rather than speculating on what may or may not happen in 2020.