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  1. The Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Sunday after a seven-point home loss to the rebuilding Carolina Panthers. The loss dropped the Falcons to 0-5 and marked the third consecutive season in which they lost at least four of their first five games. While offseason simulations and the betting markets were not this low on an Atlanta team that finished 6-2 over the second half of the 2019 season, it’s time to face facts and ask the “what went wrong” question about this team and what it can do to be better in these twilight years of Matt Ryan’s career. The Falcons Made a Mistake By Not Elevating Kyle Shanahan to Head Coach After 2016 This is certainly not something I thought at the time, but given what has transpired over the past few years, it’s become pretty clear that allowing a great offensive coach to leave (because he wasn’t already your head coach) is a blunder — one that teams such as Minnesota are finding out in real time, as well. It’s a pretty solved problem that offense is more stable than defense, and furthermore, defense depends on a number of things sufficiently happening at the same time and a collection of matchups, which are largely the control of the opposing offense, falling into place. As we’ll talk about below, variance in the form of injuries and failed draft picks have curtailed a defense that, to Dimitroff’s credit, had the requisite talent to compete for most of the past three-plus seasons. https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-atlanta-falcons-rebuild-dan-quinn-thomas-dimitroff-matt-ryan-2020
  2. Rumor has it the Texans are considering trading former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Obviously, if Houston decides to deal him, it has the potential to alter the balance of power for teams hoping to make the playoffs who are in need of an extra boost to the pass rush. The Falcons fit the bill, for one. In fact, Atlanta has been named one of three potential landing spotsin a Clowney trade by Pro Football Focus. “Atlanta’s defense had a tough go of it last year, suffering multiple injuries that left the unit crippled. Still, they managed a modest 68.8 team pass-rush grade (18th) and a 75.6 run-defense grade (25th) . . . they could benefit from a player of Clowney’s caliber on the defensive line.” No argument here. Clowney was the first potential free agent target profile we wrote about this year before he was hit with the franchise tag. Clowney would be an excellent addition for Dan Quinn’s defense and is the kind of piece that could put the unit over the top. Difference-makers like Clowney don’t come cheap, though. The Texans should have no shortage of suitors if they really are going to put Clowney on the trade block and any potential deal would involve a ton of draft capital. Don’t get your hopes up. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Imagine this guy coming off the edge with Takk and Clay in at DT in the Nascar package? That would be a really good pass rush. Bring him home TD.
  3. Y’alls might have learn that I love me some PFF. Anyway, here’s their tidbits about this topic; they even have a little bit of our Falcons in it. Enjoy and discuss. After listen, what do you think of rushing 3 and dropping 8? I know we all hated doing this.
  4. Falcons: 1st: Devin Bush - LB 2nd: Rashan Gary - EDGE 3rd: David Montgomery - RB
  5. https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/draft-brian-burns-is-so-much-more-than-an-explosive-athletic-freak-hes-a-technician-committed-to-improving#
  6. Im indifferent when it comes to drafting Ed, if we draft him cool and if we don’t cool too. I rather we draft the right person. If that’s Ed then so be it. From PFF’s perspective, the Falcons will limit his growth because if we draft Ed it’ll most likely to play the nose and though he good there he’s not elite. The bright side is that Ed has played the nose position probably more than anybody else who will be in contention for our first round pick. Do you want to pick Ed to play the nose if you don’t think he can be elite there?
  7. Interior pressure is all the rage in today’s NFL, and everyone wants their own game-wrecker on the inside in an age where the line between run downs and passing downs has blurred significantly. The ability to anchor the line of scrimmage while wreaking havoc on pass attempts and taking attention away from edge defenders is at an all-time premium. In his fourth year in the NFL, Grady Jarrett is posting career-best numbers and realizing his potential as one of the league’s incredibly disruptive interior defensive lineman. Against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Jarrett posted his best numbers of the season, earning season-high overall and pass-rushing grades. He harassed Josh Rosen all afternoon, totaling six pressures, which was tied for the fifth-best among qualifying interior defensive linemen in Week 15, amassing two sacks (tied fourth) and four hurries (tied second). The Clemson product also generated a pressure percentage of 17.2, which ranked tied for seventh among qualifiers. Jarrett also demonstrated his effectiveness against the run, where he recorded a run-stop percentage of 11.8. This season has been the most impressive of Jarrett’s career thus far. He has racked up six total sacks on the season, tied for the 11th-most among defensive interiors this season. He’s generated an impressive 44 total pressures and a pressure percentage of 12.5, both of which rank seventh-best at his position. Looking at his advanced stats, Jarrett’s season becomes even more impressive. Among interior defensive linemen with 150 or more pass-rushing snaps, Jarrett’s win rate of 17.0 ranks sixth-best. The former Tiger has also produced an early down win rate of 15.3, which ranks seventh, and a pressure percentage of 12.9 that ranks sixth. His effectiveness on early downs demonstrates his value when rushing the passer on snaps where runs are a strong possibility and passing attempts have been typically less frequent. On third-downs, where passing is much more likely, Jarrett has produced an exceptional win rate of 20.5, a mark that ranks third among qualifying interior defensive linemen this season. The Atlanta Falcons’ defensive tackle has been one of the league’s best at the position against the run this season, as well. Among 115 qualifying defensive interiors, Jarrett’s 9.8 run-stop percentage and 20 run stops rank 19th and tied for 13th, respectively. Looking at his numbers this season compared to the rest of his career, Jarrett is primed to set season-highs in a plethora of categories. He’s producing the highest overall grade and pass-rushing grade of his short career, and he has tied his career-high in sacks (six), which he has two games left to surpass. He is also on pace to set career-highs in hurries and total pressures despite playing the least amount of snaps in his career since his rookie year, demonstrating his improved ability to get after the passer and make his pass-rushing snaps count. As capable and multi-dimensional interior defensive linemen are becoming even more important, Jarrett is having a career year and is fast-approaching the status of one of the league’s most intimidating defenders in the league, able to affect both the run game and the passing game like only few can. https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-grady-jarrett-earns-season-high-grade-against-cards-builds-on-career-year
  8. https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-2018-nfl-offensive-line-rankings-all-32-teams-units-after-week-17 Atlanta ranked 12th overall. If Mike Tomlin is fired, Blank needs to throw the bank at Mike Munchak.
  9. Great video, I highly recommend listening to all of it. Specifically around the 1:45 mark is when it started to get really interesting.
  10. https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-hayward-ramsey-headline-the-nfls-top-cornerbacks-heading-into-2018 Casey Hayward, Jalen Ramsey headline the NFL's top 15 cornerbacks heading into 2018 BY GORDON MCGUINNESS • JUL 24, 2018 Oct 22, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward (26) reacts after an interception during the second half against the Denver Broncos at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports The 2017 season saw a change in the NFL, with a new group of young cornerbacks stepping up to emerge as the best players in the league. Of our eight highest-graded cornerbacks in 2017, five of them were in their first or second season in the league, including the three players who ranked second, third and fourth. With that in mind, here are our preseason rankings for the top 15 cornerbacks in the NFL heading into the 2018 season: 1. CASEY HAYWARD, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS After years of being one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL, Hayward took a big step forward to claim the throne of the top player in the league at the position. Setting a career high in terms of his PFF grade at 96.4 to rank first in the league, he allowed a reception just once every 17.7 snaps in coverage and allowed an NFL passer rating of 58.6 on throws into his coverage. 2. JALEN RAMSEY, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS The fifth overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ramsey has already elevated himself among the elite at the position with a tremendous 2017 campaign. Targeted 92 times in coverage, Ramsey allowed just 51.1 percent of those targets to be caught, coming away with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups. 3. CHRIS HARRIS JR., DENVER BRONCOS At 83.5, 2017 was the lowest graded season of Chris Harris Jr.’s career since 2011, but his career body of work suggests that he is still one of the top cornerbacks in the game today. Since 2011, he as allowed just 58.1 percent of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught, at just 10.3 yards per reception. Over that span, he has allowed just 15 touchdowns in coverage compared to 16 interceptions and 43 pass breakups. 4. TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE, BUFFALO BILLS One of two rookie phenoms in 2017, the former LSU Tiger hit the ground running in the NFL, and finished the year as our third-highest graded cornerback at 91.6. A playmaker from Day 1, White tied for 10th among cornerbacks with 11 pass breakups and tied for fifth with four interceptions. While there are plenty of question marks in Buffalo ahead of the 2018 season, White’s status as a playmaker on defense isn’t one of them. 5. MARSHON LATTIMORE, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS It’s fitting that Lattimore is grouped with White here, because the two of them are likely to be compared to one another for every subsequent season after their success as rookies. Like White, Lattimore didn’t miss a beat entering the NFL, and allowed a passer rating of just 45.3 on throws into his coverage, the third-lowest mark in the league. Coming off a season where he was our fourth-highest graded cornerback in the NFL at 90.5, there’s no reason to expect anything other than another big year for Lattimore in 2018. 6. A.J. BOUYE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS Bouye wasn’t just good in 2017, he was historically good. His NFL passer rating allowed of 31.6 on throws into his coverage is the lowest we have seen from an outside cornerback since we began grading and collecting data in 2006. In his first season in Jacksonville, Bouye proved that his 2016 season in Houston was no fluke, and confirmed himself among the upper echelon of cornerbacks in the league. 7. WILLIAM JACKSON III, CINCINNATI BENGALS Bouye yielded the lowest NFL passer rating allowed in coverage, but Cincinnati’s Jackson was right behind him at 36.1. Proving he belonged in the NFL in his second season in the league, the 2016 first-round pick even dominated against one of the best receivers in the league in Antonio Brown. In two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jackson was targeted seven times when covering Brown. He didn’t surrender a single catch and had four pass breakups. 8. PATRICK PETERSON, ARIZONA CARDINALS Quarterbacks just don’t target Peterson often. Targeted once every 21.2 snaps in coverage, only Jackson III was targeted less frequently on a per snap basis. For his career, Peterson has allowed just 54.7 percent of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught, and allowed just 394 receiving yards in his coverage in 2017. 9. AQIB TALIB, LOS ANGELES RAMS Talib’s best season of his career so far came while playing for a Wade Phillips defense in Denver in 2016, grading at 90.6 overall. He wasn’t quite at that level last season, but still ranked 14th in the league with a PFF grade of 86.2. Reunited with Phillips in Los Angeles now, he’ll have the chance to recapture the magic and add to his 34 career interceptions and 71 career pass breakups. 10. DARIUS SLAY, DETROIT LIONS There’s a reason that they call him ‘Big Play Slay,’ and he is coming off the best season of his career last year. Through just five seasons in the league, Slay has come away with 14 interceptions and 44 pass breakups. He had 21 combined interceptions and pass breakups in 2017, a mark that led the NFL on his way to allowing a career low 55.6 passer rating on throws into his coverage. 11. RICHARD SHERMAN, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS Big questions surround Sherman as he heads into his first year in San Francisco. Most notably, he is coming off an injury, is now 30 years old and has seen his PFF grade drop in each of the past three seasons. That being said, his 45.5 passer rating allowed in press coverage is the best in the league since we began grading in 2006, and he is still one of the toughest cornerbacks in the NFL to have success against in coverage. 12. STEPHON GILMORE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS When Gilmore signed with the Patriots last year, we viewed it as a perfect fit for his skillset. He proved us right with his first season for the Patriots, producing a career high 89.4 PFF grade. Including the playoffs, Gilmore allowed just 610 yards on throws into his coverage and looks set to remain as the Patriots No. 1 cornerback for the next few years. 13. MARCUS PETERS, LOS ANGELES RAMS The second new addition in Los Angeles is also one of our top 15 cornerbacks heading into the 2018 season. Peters is one of the top playmaking cornerbacks in the NFL as through three seasons, he has picked off 21 passes and come away with 34 pass breakups including the playoffs. In the regular season, he has yet to rank lower than third when it comes to interceptions in a season so far in his career. With a dominant player like Aaron Donald providing pressure up front, don’t look for that to change in 2018. 14. DESMOND TRUFANT, ATLANTA FALCONS Injuries seemed to slow him down in 2016, but Trufant was back to the level we saw from him earlier in his career last year. He has allowed just 57.9 percent of the throws into his coverage to be caught since entering the league in 2013 and while he hasn’t created many turnovers, with just nine interceptions through five seasons including the playoffs, he has racked up 42 pass breakups, with 10 of those coming in 2017. 15. XAVIER RHODES, MINNESOTA VIKINGS Grade wise, he hasn’t quite lived up to his ‘Rhodes Closed’ reputation, as 50 penalties over his five-year career including the playoffs hurting his overall grade. That being said, Rhodes is one of the most physically-imposing cornerbacks in the NFL and he has a knack for getting his hands on the ball with 51 pass breakups so far in his career.
  11. I know it’s PFF and some people hate PFF, but he really did dominate.
  12. My impression just watching with my eyes is that Poole is chasing on every dump off pass that is thrown. I was honestly wondering if he had regressed since last year, or if something else was going on. I went and checked his actual stats. I've posted them below. As it turns out, he is playing pretty okay considering the number o snaps he is taking in slot coverage. The stats below are from PFF's advanced CB stats. This is a clip from their "Slot Coverage Performance" table. From it we learn: Poole has the 3rd most snaps in the NFL in slot coverage Poole is the second most targeted corner is slot coverage Poole has given up the second most receptions (tied with K'Waun Williams) and the 3rd most yards while covering the slot. Poole has given up zero TDs in slot coverage Now we need a point of comparison to see if he is indeed struggling this season compared to last. Notice the 2nd table below. This is the same table from 2016. The comparison does show that his performance has slipped a bit in terms of how often he is being targeted and how many yards he is giving up per target. All of that said, I think there may be other issues besides his ability in play between the two seasons. The Falcons are given up far fewer big plays this season and are getting beat much less often on passes over 20 yards in the air. This leads me to believe the safeties may just be helping more deep and outside and leaving Poole on his own more in the slot. That is just my perception. I haven't dug into the stats yet. My overall assessment is that Poole is not shutting down the slot, but he is doing his job very well. Guys are not getting past him down the seems and they are not scoring. I think you will see a lot of TATF chat about moving Alford into the slot and playing Collins outside once he gets back. Based just on this shallow analysis. I think that may be mistake. It looks like having a nickel who can hold down the slot may just be one of the unspoken, but very important, elements in the Falcons version of Quinn's scheme. Here is a link to PFF. Because I'm using their stuff, I feel obligated to ask you to give them a look. They do have plenty of well written free articles. Just remember advanced stats are mainly useful for individual match ups, I find them limited when trying to compare two teams.
  13. 3. MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS – 86.1OVERALL GRADE Our No. 2-graded quarterback since Week 6, Ryan continued his hot play with a clean game against the Cowboys. His first pass was intercepted on a tipped pass that normally falls incomplete, and that continues Ryan’s trend of unlucky interceptions. He’s actually been the best in the league at avoiding turnover-worthy plays, so don’t let those eight interceptions fool you. Against Dallas, Ryan maneuvered the pocket, moved the chains on third down, and showed off his red zone accuracy with a well-placed ball in the back of the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. Ryan finished 13-for-13 for 133 yards and a score on passes in between the numbers. https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-nfl-qb-rankings-by-pff-grade-after-week-10?utm_content=buffer81f7d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=nfl
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