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  1. https://www.ajc.com/sports/football/where-are-they-now-bryan-cox-former-falcons-defensive-line-coach/jST1VUIxSAswKeReHSix4I/ Interesting tidbits in here. Editor’s note: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution catches up with former Atlanta sports figures in this occasional series. Today: Bryan Cox Former Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox has been doing a lot of soul-searching since he was fired three days after the team’s historic collapse in Super Bowl LI. Cox, 52, who wants to get back into coaching, is still waiting for his phone to ring. Cox was credited with helping to develop defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, and he was the position coach when Vic Beasley recorded 15.5 sacks to lead the NFL. Cox, a former player and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker, went from his group playing well in the Super Bowl with five sacks and nine quarterback hits to getting fired. He said he wasn’t given an answer as to why he was fired. He pointed to an incident at the NFL scouting combine the year before, but has since looked internally for possible reasons.Cox, who was a fiery player, shoved an Arizona Cardinals scout at the combine during a disagreement over access to a prospect during the interview process. He later apologized.“ After I got released, I picked my family up and we ran out of town to Houston,” Cox said. “I ran to Houston. We stayed down in Houston for a year. My now 11-year-old daughter said I stole her life from her, took her away from her life and her friends.” That didn’t sit well with Cox. He moved the family back to metro Atlanta, settling in McDonough. “I’m just down here spending time with the family,” Cox said. “I want to get back into coaching. But the phone hasn’t rung in four years, and that’s a hard thing.” Cox, a native of East St. Louis, Illinois, was a fifth-round pick out of Western Illinois. He went on to play 12 NFL seasons and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots, who won Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in 2002. He retired after the 2002 season and got into coaching in 2006 with the New York Jets as their assistant defensive line coach. He worked with Dan Quinn, who was the defensive line coach for the Jets in 2007 and 2008.He went on to coach in Cleveland (2009-10), Miami (2011) and Tampa Bay (2012-13) before landing with the Falcons. Being out of the NFL, has been tough for him. “For me, it’s just a matter of doing some self-analyzing,” Cox said. “Trying to make myself better and go from there. “I’ve been looking at some of the mistakes I made and (thinking about) what I would do differently. Not putting the blame on anybody else, but trying to look at what I could have done personally differently.” Cox has come up with a few things that he believes will make him a better coach if another opportunity arises. “One of the biggest things that I think I would come up with, when people that are supposedly close to you, but don’t feel like you’re approachable, that they can talk to you,” Cox said. “You have to take a look at that. The people that said they were close to me. That I was loyal to, that I felt like I was close to them, but they were not able to have a conversation with me.” Cox said he isn’t blaming everyone else. “I must not be approachable in some situations,” Cox said. “I’m trying to work through that. I’m trying to figure out some legitimate reasons why that could have been.” When Cox was hired, the Falcons were making a big “toughness” push.“When you look at the coaching philosophy, when I came to Atlanta it was all based on getting tougher and being bigger under (defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan and (coach) Mike Smith,” Cox said. “Then I never changed my approach when Dan came in. “The philosophy didn’t change. I had my thumb on guys too hard. I didn’t let them breathe enough. I felt like that was a mistake on my part. I didn’t change my philosophy with the staff that came in. I could have changed some things, but I didn’t. I think that was on me.” Cox doesn’t believe that the players are much different today than from when he played (1991-2002).“It’s easy for people to say these are different kids,” Cox said. “But the game don’t change. For the ones that want to be great, you can push them and hold them accountable. It’s the ones that are fringe guys, whatever their reasons are for playing, or doing it, might be different from my own.” The Falcons were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in 2014, and one of the episodes showed Cox working with defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman. Cox wishes that he taken a different approach with Hageman, who had legal troubles and has been out of the league since 2016. “I regret how things unfolded with Ra’Shede, with me being the teacher and me being the guy who was leader in the room,” Cox said. “I could have maybe fostered that relationship differently.”Hageman wasn’t a self-starter. The Falcons drafted him in the second round despite questions about his effort and maturity at Minnesota. “Maybe I could have done something differently, but again, I was in a place and state where I wanted to be around people that wanted to be great,” Cox said. “Not saying that he didn’t want to be great, but some things he didn’t know how to be great. “Maybe I pushed him to a point of disdain. Maybe dislike for me, dislike for how I was teaching and things of that nature. Again with hindsight being 20-20, maybe I could done something differently to make him be more successful.” Cox pushed Beasley in his third season, and that helped the Falcons reach the Super Bowl. “Vic was a guy who grew on me,” Cox said. “He was a guy that initially, I wasn’t overly jacked about, but I came to love Vic. I understood who he was. I was able to get the most out of him because I understood who he was and what he was about.” Cox described Beasley as a spiritual and very kind person. “You have to be able to get on his level and be able to understand what makes him tick,” Cox said. “If you can do that, you can get the most out of him. Fortunately, during my last year there, I was able to get him to be the NFL sack leader.” Cox also credited veterans Dwight Freeney and Jonathan Babineaux for helping with Beasley. After Cox was fired, Beasley recorded five, five and eight sacks in three subsequent seasons. Beasley was not re-signed after last season and signed with the Tennessee Titans in free agency. “You saw the growth that Grady made, the jump that he made,” Cox said. “So, it was a whole bunch of guys. That whole group fought and really filled in the gaps. If I was riding a guy too hard, they were able to go into the situation and really do it. “I thought Dwight Freeney really made a big impression on the group from his leadership and from his knowledge. By understanding my point of view, he was able to get some guys to understand some of things I was talking about.” In addition to being a stay-at-home dad, Cox has watched his son Bryan Cox Jr.’s NFL career. The younger Cox, a defensive end who played at Florida, is now with Buffalo after stops in Carolina and Cleveland. He’s played in 25 games and made two starts. “(Tosh Lupoi), the new defensive line coach with Atlanta, was his defensive line coach up in Cleveland,” Cox said. “So, everything is full circle. Everybody knows everybody. But he’s up in Buffalo. Hopefully, that situation will be good for him up there. ... I’m just being a father. Just being supportive and wanting him to live out his dream.” Cox plans to be ready when and if his phone rings. “It’s been hard the last four years,” Cox said. “From a mental standpoint, it’s been a climb. It’s been some struggles mentally being out of it and missing it. Hopefully, something happens.”
  2. The key to tonight and tomorrow lays in the hands of Dan Quinn (obviously). But this has nothing to do directly with anyone in round 2,3,4 or 7. I believe the key to how we draft depends on whether Dan Quinn is under the table talking to Easley. Easley eliminates the need to draft Dt and locks up another position of need for us. Everyone knows Quinn has been talking to him and he also played at florida as well. The question is does Quinn wanna pull the trigger.(if we pick a dt at 2-4 hes probably off the table) If we pick up Easley I think we are free to choose between lb offensive line or edge rusher. If we pick up 2 more good players on defense in the draft and Easley after the draft...
  3. Kind of a click-bait title to the story but a decent read. http://atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com/2015/05/28/polian-beasley-to-struggle-as-role-playing-rookie/
  4. FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has not spoken to the media at-large yet in training camp. He will speak after today’s practice, the fifth of training camp. We’ll have a story on MYAJC.COM later what he did this offseason and some video later. Ryan, who’s rooming with quarterback T.J. Yates, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and running back Steven Jackson, did speak to radio station 680TheFan Tuesday morning. Here’s some of what Ryan had to say: ON THE OKLAHOMA DRILL: “That’s what the attitude of playing football is all about. I think that’s what coach (Mike) Smith was going for yesterday. I think guys brought into it. As the drill went on, there was more and more talking. There was more and more excitement. It was fun. It was a good change up for being on the practice field.” ON BEING A BETTER QB AND LEADER: “So, much experience. Good and bad. I think that both of those help you become a better leader. Both of those help you become a better teacher. I think one of the things that has been different this offseason from some other offseasons is that I’ve had to take more of a role with teaching than I’ve had in other years past. Tony (Gonzalez) is gone. Julio (Jones) was out the majority of the offseason. Roddy (White) was out the majority of the offseason. We had new guys in at wide receiver like Devin Hester. All new tight ends. So, I had to really go back to the basics. . . .We are going to learn the offense and just know the base stuff. . . .(later) we can work on all of the nuances from there. It’s been different. It really has. I think the experiences of last year and how fine of a line it is between wins and losses and what it takes to get it done in this league has really helped.” ON REPLACING TONY GONZALEZ: “You’re not going to replace him with one guy. Tony is a guy (who) came into this league and really changed the position into what it is now. . . . We are not going to replace that with one guy. That’s unfair to ask the guys that are here to do that. We have to do it two ways. We have to do it with a group of guys at different positions and we have to do it by changing our scheme a little bit. We are going to have to be a little different than we’ve been in the past because the things that Tony could do that we hung our hat on for five years, other guys aren’t capable of doing that all the time. We’ll have to be a little bit different and we’re going to have to ask guys to step into some different roles.” (He said we may see more of their “10” personnel package. That’s 1 running back and 0 tight ends = 10 personnel. That’s their 4-WR set of Jones, White, Harry Douglas and Hester.) ON IF THE OFFENSIVE LINE IS IMPROVED: “That remains to be seen, but I think these guys have done a helluva job this offseason and through training camp. I really like Jake Matthews coming in. He has a great attitude for a rookie. He’s really, really smart . . . . He’s really strong. He’s really athletic and he’s really smart. I think that’s a great combination for when you are talking about a cornerstone of your organization for a long time. I think that was a great draft pick for us. Jon Asamoah has done a great job of coming in and picking up our scheme. He’s a veteran guy. So, I really like what he brings to the table. He’s quiet, but he goes to work. I think you’ve got a guy in Joe Hawley, who’s in that slot competing with Peter Konz at center right now. Joe at the end of last year got to get a lot of experience and at that center position. I think that’s under-valued a lot because those guys are asked to do so much at the line of scrimmage in terms of getting the other four guys on the same page. Then we get Sam Baker back healthy, which is huge for us. He’s a great player. On paper I think we should be a lot better. On the field from what I’ve seen right now, those guys have done a great job. ON HIS TACKLE OF ROBERT ALFORD: “Robert, he made a great play. He did. He made a good play on the ball. It was a deep ball. He had been telling me that he was going to get me for a couple of days, so we were covering the interception like you always have too, right. He cut back inside and I just happened to be in that spot. I kind of wrapped him up at first and was kind of laughing. Then I figured I might as well take him the ground. … it was fitting for the first day in pads.”
  5. After Umenyiora deal, Falcons are $2.9 million under the cap By D. Orlando Ledbetter ANALYSIS OF THE FALCONS' FREE AGENCY PLAN FLOWERY BRANCH – NFL fans in other cities have a major gripe with their ownership. Some owners take the big television revenue check and stuff it their big fat pockets. Falcons fans can rejoice because owner Arthur Blank has not been shy about letting his football men spend up to the cap in order to field the best team possible. And, he’s getting ready to authorized a major expenditure to re-sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a deal that’s projected to land in the $126 million to $138 million range. The official contract numbers for defensive end Osi Umenyiora’s deal are at the NFLPA office and with 59 players under contract the Falcons’ cap number is $123.58 million. They are actually $303,399 over the cap. However, per league rules, counting just the top 51 contracts, they are at $120.34 million and are $2.93 million under the cap. The Falcons committed $91.08 million to retain safety William Moore, tight end Tony Gonzalez, tackle Sam Baker, running back Antone Smith and right guard Garrett Reynolds. The Falcons also committed $24 million on running back Steven Jackson and Umenyiora to push their total offseason number to $115.08 million. Cornerback Dunta Robinson was snapped up by the Kansas City Chiefs and some of their reserves have moved on, including quarterback Luke McCown (Saints), cornerback Brent Grimes (Miami) defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Indianapolis), defensive tackle Vance Walker (Oakland) and tackle Will Svitek (New England). Running back Michael Turner and defensive end John Abraham are in the group of former Falcons who are still available. Here’s our Falcons free agent tracker: RETURNEES The Falcons committed $91.08 million to retain safety William Moore, tight end Tony Gonzalez, tackle Sam Baker, running back Antone Smith and right guard Garrett Reynolds. The Falcons also committed $24 million on running back Steven Jackson and Umenyiora to push their total offseason number to $115.08 million. Cornerback Dunta Robinson was snapped up by the Kansas City Chiefs and some of their reserves have moved on, including quarterback Luke McCown (Saints), cornerback Brent Grimes (Miami) defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Indianapolis), defensive tackle Vance Walker (Oakland) and tackle Will Svitek (New England). Running back Michael Turner and defensive end John Abraham are in the group of former Falcons who are still available. Here’s our Falcons free agent tracker: WILLIAM MOORE, SS: Moore received a five-year contract worth $29.512 with escalators that could take it up to $32 million. Moore received a signing bonus of $8.25 million and his cap number for 2012 is $3.9 million. He is set to receive base salaries of $2.25 million (2013), $3.5 million (2014), $3.5 million (2015), $4.5 million (2016) and $6.25 million (2017). ANTONE SMITH, RB: He signed a two-year, $1.425 million deal. GARRETT REYNOLDS, OG: Reynolds two-year deal was worth $2.58 million. He received a $500,000 signing bonus, with $700,000 of the deal guaranteed. His cap number for 2013 is $1 million. He set to receive base salaries of $715,000 (2013) and $1.285 million (2014). SAM BAKER, OT: He signed a six-year, $41.1 million deal with $18.25 million guaranteed. Baker also received a $10 million signing bonus. Baker’s base salaries are $1 million (2013), $3.25 million (2014), $4.5 million (2015), $5.25 million (2016), $6.5 million (2017) and $6.6 million (2018). Baker’s cap number is $3 million for 2013. TONY GONZALEZ, TE: He signed a two-year, $14 million contract and will count for $5.25 million on the 2013 salary cap. He’s set to receive a base salary of $3.5 million and he has a bonus of $3.5 million. In 2014, his base salary is $4.0 million with a roster bonus of $3 million if he plans to continue playing. A two-year deal was done in order to spread his bonus money out over two years. FREE AGENT PICKUP STEVEN JACKSON, RB: He signed a three-year, $12 million deal. Jackson’s deal, of which $4 million was guaranteed, has a cap number of $2.916 for 2013. He received a $3.5 million signing bonus and has base salaries are $1.75 million ($500,000 guaranteed in 2013), $3 million (2014) and $3.75 million (2015). OSI UMENYIORA, DE: He signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal with an escalator clause that could take the deal up to $12 million. He has a cap number of $3.75 million. He received a $2.5 million signing bonus. PLAYERS LOST LUKE McCOWN, QB, NEW ORLEANS: He signed a one-year contract. He had a $825,000 base salary last season. Dominique Davis, who didn't play a snap last season, is currently the No. 2 quarterback. BRENT GRIMES, CB, MIAMI: He signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with a $2.25 million signing bonus. A total of $3 million of the deal is guaranteed. He also received a $25,000 workout bonus. CHRISTOPHER OWENS, CB, CLEVELAND: He signed a one-year, $1 million deal. A total of $300,000 was guaranteed. LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE, INDIANAPOLIS: He signed a one-year, $780,000 contract with $65,000 signing bonus. Will SVITEK, OT, NEW ENGLAND: He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with $500,000 guaranteed. VANCE WALKER, DT, OAKLAND: He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Raiders. He has a $1.3 million base salary with a $500,000 signing bonus and $200,000 workout bonus. RE-SIGNED WITH ANOTHER TEAM DUNTA ROBINSON, CB: He signed a three-year deal worth $13.8 million. He received a $3 million signing bonus. STILL AVAILABLE JOHN ABRAHAM, DE: He has visited Seattle, San Francisco and New England. MICHAEL PALMER, TE: He played in 44 games and made four starts over three seasons. He caught 21 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. MIKE COX, FB: The former Georgia Tech standout started 11 games for the Falcons over the past two seasons and played in 16 games overall. He also played three seasons with the Chiefs. CHRIS HOPE, FS/SS: Former Pro Bowler played well on special teams last season and saw some action in the dime defense in the playoffs. MICHAEL TURNER, RB: He was officially released because of a failed physical, which was listed in the league transactions. Turner aggravated an ankle injury in the NFC championship game. He limped off the field in the third quarter and did not return. The team did not announce any additional information about the injury or if he required offseason surgery. Turner played in all 18 games last season and rushed for 800 yards on 222 carries during the regular season. He had a groin surgery after the 2011 season. Turner plans to keep playing in the NFL. RETIRED TODD McCLURE, C: He announced that he will retire after 14 years in the NFL trenches.
  6. So we are going to look for a compliment to Coach Smith (Possibly a younger guy given Mike Smith's health situation, or someone who knows Smith's scheme/Defensive patterns.) Someone Aggressive who attacks the offense and sets the players up to make plays, this person will work hand in hand (Have as much input on the D as Smitty). From what TD said these 3 guys sound like what TD and MS are looking for. Jack Del Rio- Good friends with Smith, previous HC expierence, worked with Smith in Jax, known for his aggressive style of defense. Mel Tucker- Younger fiery coordinator; in many ways Del Rio's protege's apparently is on good terms with many of the Atlanta staff, however if Mike Mularkey is hired by Jacksonville he'll more than likely stay. Manny Diaz- Even though I have been personally endorsing him, he matches up great with what TD says, he's young, fiery, and aggressive like Mel Tucker. Considered as a defensive mastermind at the college level, largely considered to be the eventual successor to Mack Brown at Texas. He may be looking to take his mind to the NFL however. His D is known for attacking offenses and forcing a lot of turnovers while limiting the big play. Thoughts?
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