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  1. Atlanta hires assistant OL coach Chandler Henley The former Titans quality control coach re-joins Arthur Smith in Atlanta. By Dave Choate Feb 1, 2021, 6:00pm EST 6 Comments Share this story Share this on Facebook (opens in new window) Share this on Twitter (opens in new window) SHAREAll sharing options When the Falcons first hired Arthur Smith, it seemed like a safe bet he’d take some assistants from the Tennessee Titans with him, given that he spent more than a decade with that team. To this point, he’s added a lot of former Titans coaches like offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and quarterbacks coach Charles London, but not any who coached alongside him in 2020. That changes today with the addition of Chandler Henley, a quality control coach who worked for Tennessee from 2018-2020. The Falcons just announced he’ll join Smith’s staff as an assistant offensive line coach, working with offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford. Henley’s focus was on the offensive line, per the team’s story, though before that he coached tight ends with Yale (which means he coached exclusive rights free agent Jaeden Graham) and was once an assistant quarterbacks coach at Yale. He’ll be tasked with helping Smith and Ledford get the most out of a line with unsettled spots at center and left guard, which in turn should help to enable better things for the entire offense. Given that Smith got his start as a quality control coach for the Titans, it’s cool that he can give a coach in a similar position a promotion and a shot at working his way up the ranks. Welcome to Atlanta, Chandler Henley!
  2. Link Thomas Dimitroff’s mounting roster failures and cap decisions have doomed the Falcons Accountability starts at the top. The man at the top has been egregiously mismanaging nearly every aspect of this team, making the same mistakes time and time again. By Matthew Chambers@FalcoholicMatt Nov 26, 2019 Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images The Falcons sunk from a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl to the clear bottom of the NFC South so quickly you could get whiplash. 2016’s team is a memory with no connection to what we see on the field this season. Between 2016 and today, the team jettisoned most of their coaching staff. The actions spoke for themselves: The problem was the coaches. With fresh faces, fresh ideas, and a much healthier team, the Falcons are even worse. Throughout the offseason, everyone from the owner down to coaches said the Falcons needed to fix the offensive line. Thomas Dimitroff reportedly promised Arthur Blank he would fix the offensive line. We now know the offensive line is far from rehabilitated, with even Dan Quinn saying the team’s overpaid, underperforming guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter are a liability. How is the line just as broken after blowing millions and multiple first-round picks? We uncomfortably pointed at several similarities between 2014 and 2019 during the offseason. Among the similarities that preceded both teams, the Falcons tried to get tougher along the defensive line with multiple high-priced and early-round defensive linemen in 2014. In 2019, it was offensive linemen. Neither worked. There are similar storylines through each offseason. The top similarity is Dimitroff overpaying mediocre players, ignoring better prospects, and pretending glaring needs do not exist. The Falcons added three big defensive tackles in Mike Smith’s last season, essentially forcing homegrown Corey Peters to leave in free agency. All three flamed out. Tyson Jackson last played in the NFL in 2016, Paul Soliai last played in the NFL in 2016, and Ra’Shede Hageman last played a regular-season snap in 2016. Peters has 2.5 sacks in 2019 in his age-31 season. Watching the Falcons bench highly paid guards like Jamon Brown for Wes Schweitzer feels like the status quo. The plan was to fix the offensive line. They added four starters. The offensive line is now worse and more expensive. Dimitroff’s saving grace through the lean years was his contract negotiation and cap management. Cap management was easy when the Falcons rarely had to extend their draft classes. Look no further than the list of mounting early-round failures when Dimitroff was called a capologist. Takkarist McKinley may end up being worth that first-round selection, but the Falcons took McKinley over TJ Watt. Both players were highly-rated pass rushers. Dimitroff must have scouted both players. He decided on McKinley. Like most decisions Dimitroff makes, it was wrong. Now that the Falcons have had to extend a few great players, the team is in a cap disaster. Most teams can rebuild after a disaster season. Not Atlanta. There is no money to spend. In fact, the Falcons have to cut a lot of players just to sign their draft class. There is no cap genius behind this team. No brainchild delicately weaving together a long-term plan. Contracts are ham-fisted under the cap with seemingly no consideration for two to three years down the road. Imagine the Falcons trying to pay Vic Beasley, had he not turned into a mediocre waste of a top-10 selection. The Falcons overpaid mediocre-to-bad players, both in free agency and on the team, and seems to overpay players represented by CAA. It feels like Dimitroff took the Fyre Festival motto to heart, ignored the clear issues his moves created, and said, “Let’s just do it and be legends.” Those cap issues can be overlooked after a Super Bowl win or two, just like the lack of five-star housing could be overlooked due to the greatest beach music festival party ever. No legends were made. The only thing made was preventable disaster. Analyzing team needs has been problematic from the start. Ignoring the Vic Beasley debacle, Dimitroff, more often than not, simply ignores the team’s biggest needs. In 2019, nearly every mock draft had the Falcons selecting a defensive lineman. The need was not a secret. Hundreds of NFL analysts were able to look at the Falcons and say, “This team clearly needs defensive line help.” In fact, most analysts said the same thing in 2018. Dimitroff thought otherwise both years. Again, he was wrong in both seasons. 2019 was no abnormality. The Falcons over-invested in the offensive line while ignoring big issues elsewhere. Despite focusing the entire offseason on the line, it stinks. It felt almost insane the Falcons were guaranteed to have one of the league’s most expensive backup guards after drafting Chris Lindstrom 14th overall. Now the Falcons have one of the league’s most expensive benched guards. Somehow, this has happened before. Dimitroff did the same thing in 2014. He brought on three defensive tackles to a group that included the previously mentioned Peters and the ageless Jonathan Babineaux. There was very expensive depth at the expense of areas like defensive end, offensive line, and linebacker. Dimitroff overpaid multiple players after the Super Bowl run despite looming cap issues, highlighted by Matt Schaub, Levine Toilolo. Those deals forced the team to sit out of 2017 free agency, except for overpaying the underperforming and injury-plagued guard Brandon Fusco. Guess how that worked out. How many swings could Dimitroff possibly take at fixing the guard spot until he got it right? We can also not pretend his failures are limited strictly to the offensive line. In 12 years, the only good defensive lineman he has drafted was fifth-round selection Grady Jarrett. How is such a failure even possible? Falcons fans are looking at a 3-8 record, no chance at the playoffs, no signs of player development, no chance at paying a top free agent in 2020, and very little to be excited about. Thanks to egregiously mismanaging the roster, the cap, and nearly every aspect of the team, Dimitroff has doomed the Falcons yet again. He survived his incompetent 2014 season, but there is simply no reason for Dimitroff to survive the laughable moves made in 2019. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the fans will not be here long enough to see if Dimitroff can fix the mess he made. Everyone involved deserves a competent general manager to steer this team back to relevancy.
  3. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/10/22/20926643/report-falcons-working-on-vic-beasley-trade-finding-cool-market When we first heard that Vic Beasley was on the trade block, I had hoped some team enamored with his potential would surrender a mid-round pick for him. I knew that might be a long shot, but now it looks like an absolute pipe dream. Per Jeff Schultz at The Athletic, the Falcons are shopping Vic Beasley hard ahead of the trade deadline but aren’t exactly finding a ton of suitors. This is endlessly aggravating for any number of reasons. The team’s decision to roll on with Beasley on his fifth-year option was part of a larger bet Dan Quinn made on himself and his crew, and it’s turned out to be a catastrophe all around. The team’s defense has gone into the toilet and Beasley, while not the liability he was a season ago, hasn’t exactly taken a step forward. Considering the team had offers on the table for him last year and those likely would have been much better than what they are getting now—and considering the opportunity cost of keeping Beasley at that salary for 2019—what looked like a questionable move at the time can absolutely be declared a huge mistake. I’m hopeful Beasley will land somewhere where he’ll have better fortunes, and I’m hopeful the Falcons will get a draft pick back that they’ll be able to turn into a useful defender in 2020. We’re days, if not hours, away from knowing.
  4. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/10/21/20924585/falcons-could-become-the-first-team-in-modern-nfl-history-to-go-5-games-without-a-sack-takk-vic The Atlanta Falcons have been pretty bad on defense, to put it mildly. It’s when that ineptitude starts intersecting with history that we have a big, big problem, and that’s happening now. The Falcons have currently gone four straight games without getting a sack. We know, as Mike Smith was fond of saying, that sacks aren’t everything, and the Falcons did manage to get some actual pressure on Jared Goff after spending the previous three largely flailing as a pass rush. But the failure to get even a crumb going after a passer 30-50 times per week is the symptom of a larger problem, and that larger problem is a pass rush loaded up with seemingly capable players (and, to be fair, a few less capable ones) who cannot seem to bring down an opposing quarterback. Get to five games in a row, though, and you have the worst sack drought in modern NFL history. 43 people are talking about this You’ll note from this chart that teams are, somewhat intuitively, very bad when they go on this kind of streak. You’ll also note that since 1970, which stretches back 50 full years now, no one has managed five games in a row without a sack. If the Falcons can’t get Russell Wilson down next week—and Russell Wilson is a **** sorcerer, so that’s quite possible—they’ll be in the history books yet again for something awful that I don’t even want to think about. Classic Falcons. Let’s hope the pass rush finally roars to life this week so we can avoid this.
  5. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/10/9/20904622/daniel-jeremiah-on-falcons-defense-this-play-should-never-happen-rush-3-drop-8-what-are-we-doing Falcons fans have been fuming over the poor play of the defense against Houston since Sunday. After doing some digging, we found that Atlanta’s 53-32 drubbing at the hands of the Texans was their worst defensive performance of Dan Quinn’s tenure and the most points they’ve allowed since 2004. It appears that the national media has picked up on the embarrassing showing as well, with NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah particularly shocked with Atlanta’s schematic decisions. Jeremiah broke down a few plays by the defense, where the Falcons sent only 3 pass rushers and dropped 8 players into coverage. When the Falcons allowed huge gains and a TD on those plays—some of which featured only 3 receivers running routes versus the 8 coverage players—it prompted a shocked expression from Jeremiah and an exclamation of “This play should never happen.” I agree with Jeremiah 100%. The scheme was nonsensical from the beginning of the game. Dan Quinn’s decision to rely on rushing 3—which is a departure from his usual defensive philosophy of trying to get pressure with 4—and dropping 8 players into coverage was a poor one against a Texans team with plenty of firepower and a porous offensive line. Houston had been allowing almost 5 sacks a game though the first four weeks, and Atlanta managed zero on Sunday. They also only recorded two pressures, according to Next Gen Stats quoted by Jeremiah. I honestly cannot fathom the decision-making behind a gameplan that didn’t prioritize getting pressure on Texans QB Deshaun Watson. Watson is one the NFL’s rising stars, and the only thing that’s kept him down is a pretty bad offensive line and constant pressure in his face. The Falcons elected not to pressure him, instead relying on a secondary that has been beaten like a drum by the likes of Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota. No offense to either of those guys, but Watson is a far superior QB. In the end, the Falcons allowed over 400 yards, an 84.8% completion percentage, 12.9 YPA, and 5 TDs to Watson. Quinn’s “adjustments” to the defense over the past few weeks have continued to make the unit look worse and worse. Instead of leaning into more aggressive schematic decisions—like those deployed against the Eagles—the defense has continued to become more and more conservative. We’ve seen larger cushions for receivers, more players dropped into coverage, and fewer blitzes, which has resulted in a significant lack of pressure since Week 2. Daniel Jeremiah was absolutely right: these types of plays should never happen. Sadly, it appears that Quinn’s instincts for fixing the defense are all wrong, and that’s why we saw one of the Falcons’ worst defensive performances of the 21st century in Week 5.
  6. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/10/9/20902669/comparing-the-falcons-2019-and-2014-rosters-desmond-trufant-devonta-freeman-dan-quinn-mike-smith When we’re looking for a comparison for 2019, the year that keeps getting dredged up, over and over again, is 2014. It’s obvious why. The parallels are there. Both years have featured a coach coming off a deeply disappointing, injury-riddled year and knowing they’re on the hot seat. Both have featured heavy investments in free agency and the draft to improve the trenches. And both seasons, as we’re learning quickly about 2019, are massive disappointments. With another regime change likely in the offing, it’s worth looking at the situation the Falcons were left with in 2014 versus 2019. The conclusion, as you’d suspect, is that this team is far more talented, but that does not serve to make us feel better about anything that’s happening here. Offense 2019 vs. 2014 Offense 2019 2014 Matt Ryan Matt Ryan Devonta Freeman Steven Jackson Keith Smith Patrick DiMarco Julio Jones Julio Jones Calvin Ridley Roddy White Austin Hooper Levine Toilolo Jake Matthews Jake Matthews* James Carpenter Justin Blalock Alex Mack James Stone Chris Lindstrom* Jon Asamoah Kaleb McGary Ryan Schraeder There is no doubt that the 2019 offense is more talented more or less across the board. Matt Ryan is better now than he was in 2014, Devonta Freeman is far better than Steven Jackson, Calvin Ridley is an upgrade on late-career Roddy White (albeit not a tremendous one just yet), Austin Hooper is miles and miles ahead of Levine Toilolo, and Jake Matthews and Alex Mack are obviously much better than...well, Jake Matthews. And James Stone. There are places where the Falcons had more strength in 2014, of course. Fullback is an obvious one, given how good Patrick DiMarco was and is, and even late career Justin Blalock was better than James Carpenter. Jon Asamoah may not be better than Chris Lindstrom, but Lindstrom being hurt and the team having to dip into reserves makes that close to a wash. And it’s not at all clear that McGary, for all his considerable promise, is a better player now than Ryan Schraeder was then. Actually, it is: He’s not. But here’s the funny thing: This obviously less talented 2014 team, run by the same offensive coordinator, was a better team through five weeks than the 2019 version. The 2014 Falcons scored 151 points in the first five weeks and stood at 2-3, while the 2019 team has 102 points and is 1-4. The offensive line has been a limiting factor despite everything the team has poured into it, but while this Falcons team has more talent, they’ve been considerably worse. That’s extremely depressing, but does indicate that the Falcons don’t have a massive rebuild in the offing on this side of the ball. A line with a healthy Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, and maybe Jamon Brown and Alex Mack should be good enough to win games in 2020, and the playmakers are still everywhere. It’s just unbelievable how bad they’ve been thus far in 2019. Defense 2019 vs. 2014 Defense/Special Teams Position 2019 2014 DE Takk McKinley Jonathan Babineaux DE Vic Beasley Kroy Biermann DT Grady Jarrett Paul Soliai DT Tyeler Davison Tyson Jackson LB Deion Jones Paul Worrilow LB Joplo Bartu De'Vondre Campbell CB Desmond Trufant Desmond Trufant CB Robert Alford Isaiah Oliver CB Damontae Kazee Robert McClain S Keanu Neal* Kemal Ishmael S Ricardo Allen Dwight Lowery K Matt Bryant Matt Bryant P Matt Bosher Matt Bosher LS Josh Harris Josh Harris You can gin up some sympathy for Dan Quinn and this coaching staff when you watch the Falcons blunder in ways that can’t simply be due to scheme, like the failure to find Will Fuller in zone coverage over and over again on Sunday. But then you look at the talent disparity between these two defenses and it makes you really, really mad. There isn’t a single position where you can say with confidence that the Falcons were better in 2014 than they are in 2019. Not at defensive end, where Kroy Biermann and some combination of Tyson Jackson/Jonathan Babineaux/Malliciah Goodman was not inspiring even if Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley aren’t having huge years; certainly not at defensive tackle, where Grady Jarrett is a star and Tyeler Davison is pretty good; DEFINITELY not at linebacker, where Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell compared to Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu isn’t fair on paper and isn’t fair no matter how much Campbell struggles in 2019. Maybe at cornerback, where Desmond Trufant was terrific in 2014 and Robert Alford was quite good, but not at safety, where Keanu Neal/Kemal Ishmael and Ricardo Allen are better than 2014 Kemal Ishmael and Dwight Lowery. The talent disparity is massive. Here, you’d expect the results to be better for the 2019 Falcons defense, but again you would be sadly mistaken. The Falcons have surrendered 152 points this year compared to 143 in 2014, and while things continued downhill in awful fashion for the Falcons in 2014, that’s pretty **** shameful given what Dan Quinn and company are working with. Special teams is the same, though obviously everyone is older. Conclusion Mike Smith left this roster is abysmal shape, which is still the worst part of his otherwise fine legacy as Falcons coach. The team hadn’t nurtured young talent in years, and the result was largely a veteran team with a lousy defense and holes riddling the offense. He did, however, leave Dan Quinn building blocks he didn’t know were building blocks, including Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen, and Ryan Schraeder. Dan Quinn will leave the next coach far more talent to work with, which is about the only positive note I can see at the moment in this bleak year. The new regime is likely to clear out several high-priced players and is almost certainly not bringing back guys like Vic Beasley and De’Vondre Campbell, but even so there’s a legitimate foundation, and a turnaround shouldn’t take all that long if the right staff is brought in. Unfortunately, comparing 2014 to 2019 just makes you feel worse about what we’ve seen thus far.
  7. It was a hot one in Flowery Branch today, and the Falcons were sweating it out in full pads for their second day of scrimmaging. The team essentially simulated a full game over Sunday and Monday. Tomorrow the team will focus on preparing more specifically for the Broncos in advance of the Hall of Fame matchup on Thursday. Wednesday they’ll travel, and Thursday they’ll take the field for the first somewhat real game of the 2019 NFL season. Here’s what you need to know from Monday’s practice. Day 7 notes Russell Gage once again got his fair share of targets with the first team. Kenjon Barner got some first-team reps and made the most of them, breaking a few ankles along the way on one run. The defense clearly came out on top on Monday, winning the two-day scrimmage 23-15. The defense came into Monday with a lead, and they made the offense work for every point and forced plenty of punts. Even though the offense didn’t come out on top, they did get opportunities to work through a lot of situations, like two-point attempts. Giorgio Tavecchio will be taking over kickoff duties. Rookie Jaelin Robinson, an undrafted free agent out of Temple, got some work with the first-team today. Wes Schweitzer has gotten some second team reps at center but it was primarily Chandler Miller, the undrafted free agent out of Tulsa, getting those reps on Monday. Dan Quinn said he’s been impressed with the rookie cornerbacks. Here’s part of the reason that’s the case for Kendall Sheffield. Calvin Ridley was back in pads and a helmet, but spent most of practice working with trainers off to the side. It was a pretty good crowd for a Monday. The Falcons had staff stationed near the foot of the hill to encourage fans to get loud on third downs, just like we’d all like to see happen in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There’s still no news on Julio Jones’ new deal. Day 7 quotes Dan Quinn: On the scrimmage on Sunday and Monday: “We hit an entire third quarter, fourth quarter, end of the game moments that came up. So over two days, we basically split a game in all ways that you could. We tried to mix in versatility for all players in a lot of spots. Defensively, mix in between some 3-4 principles, some 4-3, where it’s nice to have that versatility when you need it for stand up outside guys, four down guys, and it’s important for us to have the ability to go in and out of some of those looks. I thought it was good offensively, we had some more examples — there was a two-minute to work down, two-point plays. So all those were a big factor for us.” On the plan going forward: “We’re still in camp mode, taking a couple day break to go play, and we’ll come back, we’re going back into a camp mentality, another set of installs, another set of things to work on. So a long way to go, but we made a lot of progress in seven practice days … if we keep getting better and getting closer, those things will play a **** of a lot better together.” On working on multiple defensive looks now: “Big nickel guys, big safeties — two-safety packages to match up. We’ve got corner guys, so sometimes you’ll see four corners out there — three defensive ends as a package at a time. You’ll see — could be some three or four linebackers the way they can run. So little packages — not tons, but little ones that could have an impact. This time of year, you plan big — what are you going to do against this scenario? Against this one? And then now you have it all in, and then you can bring in what you need for that game plan as opposed to putting it in the week of the game.” On the defensive performance during the two-day scrimmage: “I thought it was kind of hit or miss for pass rush. I thought I saw some good — (Allen) Bailey, (Grady) Jarrett, (Vic) Beasley had some. Man, (Takk) McKinley got felt more today. On the other side, I thought (Jack) Crawford was one that felt some. In the secondary, obviously making two big takeaways yesterday, when that doesn’t happen, obviously that’s one of the reasons their team was so ahead. So the takeaways, creating turnovers, being a ball hawk — I didn’t feel the same ballhawking intensity that I saw yesterday from the red team. So creating takeaways, why were they ahead 23-7 at the half? That was a big part of it — good takeaways, good pass rush. So it wasn’t at the same level today in terms of the takeaways, so those are the good ones to learn from.” On the RB depth chart being far from settled: “Today I would say it would be a different kind of shared role, because although I’m not discouraged by any of them at all, I’m more encouraged, where there hasn’t been a separation.” Matt Ryan: On the adjustments the offense is making: “A lot of install at this point, working through a lot of different things, figuring out how guys are going to fit into what we’re doing — we have some new pieces. I think the coaching staff has done a good job with that. As players, our focus is to just go out there and not make the same mistake twice as we’re installing things. If you mess up, that’s fine, but we’ve got to correct it and be better for it, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that the first couple of days of camp.” On Thursday being an opportunity for young players: “Yeah, for sure, especially when you have the additional preseason game like we have this year. It’s a really good opportunity for our young guys to get out there with the lights on and showcase what they can do. So I’m looking forward to watching those guys play on this coming Thursday night and seeing their hard work come to fruition out there on the field.” On where the team is after seven days of training camp: “I think we’re in a good spot. We’ve had a lot of install so far, putting a lot of different things in, trying to work on a bunch of different things that we’ll use throughout the course of the year. I think it’s a really good chance to see how young players can take things from the meeting room out onto the practice field. Overall, I think we’ve done a nice job — guys have worked really hard. We’ve got a long way to go, though.” The team will be back on the field for Day 8 Tuesday morning, and then they’re headed to Canton. We’ll have analysis of Tuesday’s practice and all of the Hall of Fame Game content you need right here on The Falcoholic. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/7/30/20746229/falcons-training-camp-notes-and-quotes-recap-day-7
  8. Sambrailo leaks like a sieve. McGary will start week 1 vs Minny! As Durham put it, “this guy isn’t looking for a fight, he’s going to start one.” Falcons training camp: Observations on the offensive line And why Ty Sambrailo should be looking over his shoulder. By David J Walker on July 28, 2019 1:00 pm Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports After a 2018 season in which Matt Ryan was hit and sacked at one of the highest rates in his career, the front office decided they had to address the offensive line with gusto going into 2019. Many fans thought the team was done when they signed free agents James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Many of us were stunned when they drafted G Chris Lindstrom in the middle of the first round and even more stunned when they grabbed tackle Kaleb McGary by trading back into the first. Mission accomplished. Now we need to see if those moves will actually pay off. Last year, the only two guys on the offensive line worth a **** were left tackle Jake Matthews and center Alex Mack. Every other starter in 2018 has either retired or been jettisoned. That leaves three big holes on the OL that need to be filled. Rookie Chris Lindstrom appears to have right guard locked down already and he has looked the part so far in camp. On Saturday the 27th, Lindstrom looked comfortable out there with the 1s and regularly stood up pass rushers and held his own, though it’s still just half speed. In one on one drills, Lindstrom was rarely beat and looks stout enough to face up against guys like Grady Jarrett. That’s a good sign in a division where he’ll face Gerald McCoy and Kawaan Short twice a year. Left guard is still a rotation between James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Carpenterappeared to get more snaps with the 1s on Saturday, but this is likely going to be a competition until the end of the preseason. I will say this: both of these men are enormous. Carpenter seems to be pretty agile for his size, which could give him an edge in the competition. Right tackle is interesting. So far, Ty Sambrailo has been getting all of the snaps with the 1s while Kaleb McGary is stuck with the 2s. On Saturday, Sambrailo was regularly getting beat by guys like Vic Beasley and John Cominsky in one-on-ones. Sambrailowas solid down the stretch last year, but it’s clear the team will eventually want McGary to take that spot back. Dan Quinn specifically said that McGary is “pushing Sambrailo” though he didn’t indicate if he’d get any run with the first team any time soon. It’s also likely that the coaches are hesitant to put two rookie linemen on the field at the same time. That’s only exacerbated by the fact that they would be next to each other. They may feel that Sambrailo’s veteran presence is more important right now. That said, it’s clear the team wants McGary to emerge and it may just be a matter of time. As Jeanna and I were watching McGary run the 11-on-11 drills with the 2s, Wes Durham came by and asked us who we would start if the season were right now. All three of us seemed to agree it would be McGary. As Durham put it, “this guy isn’t looking for a fight, he’s going to start one.” Jeanna aptly compared McGary to Harvey Dahl, a comparison Durham particularly liked. The competition at right tackle is definitely one to watch in the coming weeks. It’s far from over. For a unit that was banged up and ineffective for large stretches in 2018, the start of training camp has looked promising. There’s still a lot to be figured out, but the fact that there are several good options is a much better position to be in.
  9. Link Was Marquand Manuel to blame for poor play from Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley? 16 We have been trying to figure out the problem with the pass rush. Dan Quinn blames coaching. By Matthew Chambers Jun 9, 2019, 3:00pm EDT SHARE Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images 2017 provided plenty of reasons for optimism. After an unforgettable 2016 (for good and very bad), Dan Quinn avoided a predicted down season in part to a dramatically improving defense. Unquestionably one of the team’s best defenses in the last two decades, the young players could only get better. Then they didn’t. Injuries were a big problem, but multiple players fell flat in 2018. When the Falcons needed someone to step up, most of the defense disappeared. The most worrisome problem has been the frustratingly inconsistent play from the team’s highly drafted pass rushers Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley. The two first-round selections combined for an embarrassing 12 total sacks. Both players looked about the same as 2017, with Beasley obviously only a shell of himself since his 2016 season where he lead the league in sacks. There is clearly a lot of blame to go around. Dan Quinn spoke to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic about defensive coaching and clearly placed a lot of blame on Marquand Manuel and Bryant Young. As Quinn tells it, he churned through game film looking for problems. We know how that turned out as most top coaches, including Manuel, Steve Sarkisian, and Keith Armstrong are no longer with the team. Manuel was a former defensive back turned defensive back coach turned national embarrassment turned defensive coordinator. He got some great performances out of the secondary, but struggled to replace players lost to injury, never developed players like Duke Riley, and most problematic, failed to get results from top defensive line talent. He remains unemployed. Bryant Young, the defensive line coach, stepped down after the season for family reasons. Young, similar to Manuel, was short of pro coaching experience when given the position. Quinn’s quote can lead to this question: is Marquand to blame for Beasley and McKinley’s unimpressive seasons? Beasley’s 2016 was likely not repeatable, but we should not have seen such a significant drop off from a player with such outstanding athleticism. McKinley looked ready to take a big step after an impressive rookie season but looked like the same player. Quinn admits there were a lot of schematic and coaching issues that resulted in the weak defensive line play. He must truly believe that, as defensive line additions were limited to signing Adrian Clayborn late in free agency and dropping a fourth-round pick on John Cominsky. Clearly, the defensive line was not at the top of team needs heading into the offseason. How much did Manuel and Young slow down development for Beasley and McKinley? That’s a question we obviously don’t have an answer for. Quinn will focus on both players to get the defense back on track. The talent is there to turn them into a premium duo. Whether or not that happens in 2019 will probably determine Quinn’s future employment with the Falcons.
  10. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/6/9/18656920/revisiting-the-1966-atlanta-falcons-training-camp Revisiting the 1966 Atlanta Falcons training camp Looking back at where it all began. By Evan Birchfield on June 9, 2019 12:00 pm On June 30, 1965, the National Football League awarded the city of Atlanta an NFL franchise, making them the 15th team in the league. The 1966 season would be the Atlanta Falcons’ inaugural season, but before it could all begin, training camp had to occur. The first ever training camp in franchise history started on July 2, 1966 at the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina. A total of 130 players would show up to Falcons training camp, including 42 players that they added in the 1966 NFL Supplemental Draft. According to the LA Times, legendary head coach Vince Lombardi, expressed interest in becoming the Falcons first head coach, but he also wanted part ownership. Owner Rankin Smith turned him down, and instead hired Lombardi’s defensive backfield coach, Norb Hecker. “No, the facilities certainly aren’t ideal. The boys have been very good about adjusting to the situation, though,” Falcons head coach Norb Hecker told the Charlotte News according to the book Tales from the Atlanta Falcons sideline by Matt Winkeljohn. “There are no gripes, and the spirit has been very good.” That was certainly putting it mildly. The practice field reportedly had uncut grass, awful food, and a lot of mosquitoes. “There were no screens on the windows and the mosquitoes were as big as birds,” Al Thomy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said. “We almost had the first NFL players’ strike over the food. The hamburgers bounced off the floor. The players threatened to go on strike if they didn’t improve the food.” It wasn’t just the field itself having problems, there was an apparent issue of players consuming alcohol. Newly acquired running back Alex Hawkins was expected to play a leadership role on the Falcons. At 5 a.m. one morning, head coach Norb Hecker found Hawkins on the back of a watermelon truck. “Do you want to say anything on your behalf?” Norb Hecker asked. “Would you believe I was kidnapped?” Alex Hawkins responded. Following the 1966 training camp, the Atlanta Falcons would never return to Black Mountain, and the following year training camp was held at East Tennessee State University. The facility the Falcons used in Black Mountain are still around today, serving as a YMCA and and training center. Falcons legend Tommy Nobis summed up the 1966 training camp perfectly, in saying “Black Mountain – it was pretty rough.”
  11. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/4/3/18292364/survey-just-11-of-nfc-south-fans-expect-the-falcons-to-win-the-division-saints-panthers-bucs Fans have been polled about who they expect to win the NFC South, and the results are…gross and offensive. As you’d expect after a year where most of the NFC South was a vast disappointment and the Saints largely excelled, the Saints are the heavy favorite to win the division this coming year. That’s especially true after a free agency period where the Saints did not demonstrably get worse and may well have gotten better, with only the Buccaneers (who have a new coach and some radical changes to come) showing similar growth this early on. Still, it’s a little surprising that nearly 75% of fans in the NFC South FanPulse survey thoughts the Saints would triumph this upcoming year, given that the Panthers and Falcons have been very good teams in the fairly recent past. One imagines that the expectation is that the new pass interference rules won’t kill their defensive backs, that Drew Brees’ late season arm swoon won’t continue, and that an admittedly very good roster will be enough to carry them to victory. That’s probably a reasonable (if, again, gross) assumption, but a healthy Falcons team and a Panthers team with an actual offensive line could certainly easily challenge New Orleans. The Buccaneers are probably a year or two away, as they often are. A lot could change between now and September, with the NFL Draft (where the Saints are notably going to be limited), a long summer of workouts and competition, and more ahead. We’ll hope what’s to come can help propel Atlanta by their most hated rivals. How do you see the division shaking out here in early April?
  12. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2019/3/6/18250784/nfl-free-agency-2019-falcons-michael-bennett Id absolutely be interested. Even at 34 dude is still affecting the QB and stopping the run. 7 mill is the price tag for this year too. Thoughts?
  13. Dan Quinn announces Freddie Falcon placed on injured reserve, will miss remainder of 2018 13 It’s disappointing news for a mascot fans were expecting to return soon. By Matthew Chambers@FalcoholicMatt Oct 18, 2018, 10:00am EDT SHARE https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2018/10/18/17989838/dan-quinn-announced-freddie-falcon-to-be-placed-on-injured-reserve-ir-falcons-injury-mascot Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports The season of injuries continues strong. The Atlanta Falcons lost Devonta Freeman for likely the rest of the season thanks to a groin injury this week. It started with Deion Jonesand Keanu Neal going to injured reserve after Week 1. Then came Andy Levitre, Ricardo Allen, Grady Jarrett, Matt Bryant, and even today injuries of unknown severity to Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley. Just when you think the Falcons could not have any other injuries, Dan Quinn confirmed rumors from earlier in the day: Frederick Falcon is heading to injured reserve. “This may be the toughest injury to overcome this season. After consulting with multiple doctors, it was determined that Freddie [Falcon] needs to undergo surgery. He won’t return this season. But there’s no quit in this team. We are always talking about next-man-up. It’s time for some younger guys to step up and keep us in this season. We know Freddie, and he’s going to fight to come back healthier, stronger, and hungrier than ever.” This is disappointing news, especially since Quinn previously stated the injury was not expected to keep Freddie out for long. Quinn expressed vague but optimistic statements about Freddie getting closer, and yesterday’s MRI being only precautionary. Not even 24 hours ago, Quinn described being “very optimistic” Freddie could suit up against the Giants. “We might not be able to replace Freddie’s sunny demeanor, the feathers he leaves all over the **** place, or his breakdancing skills, we know he will be around the facility, rehabbing, motivating players, and working on his hype skills.” Atlanta has no good replacements for Freddie at this time. The team could trade for Swoop from the Philadelphia Eagles, or take a radical route and sign Fredbird from the St. Louis Cardinals. Neither would come close to Freddie. The roster move marks the 6th starter placed on injured reserve after only six games.
  14. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2018/10/2/17923576/dan-quinn-already-missed-his-chance-to-fix-the-atlanta-falcons-defense Remember last week? I sure do. It feels like only a few days ago. As per usual, the Atlanta Falcons were hit with another major injury to their defense after their defense had already hemorrhaged yards and points for four quarters and one awful overtime drive. We offered up some potential fixes for the team that would be just enough glue and tape to keep the defense together until Deion Jones returns. Those players included Eric Reid, John Simon, and Earl Thomas. Those players have been signed by the Carolina Panthers, broken their leg, and signed by the New England Patriots, respectively. It looks like Quinn missed his opportunity entirely to shore up the problematic secondary. There were options, but he was not interested in any starters. Well, lets see how that plan worked out. Kemal Ishmael only played on special teams. Jordan Richards only played 19 defensive snaps. Last Monday’s plan didn’t last six days. Instead, Brian Poole played a lot of safety, pushing the very raw Isaiah Oliver into action. None of that worked. Andy Dalton toss up 37 points. You don’t end up at 1-3 without some problems. Criticism will come naturally from that record. Unfortunately, Quinn painted himself into a corner. The easiest moves are gone. The Falcons were struggling with the loss of Adrian Clayborn and Dontari Poe, then they lost Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and Ricardo Allen. That’s five starters from 2017, and the Falcons have signed Sharrod Neasman. Sorry, but that’s a bad move. This is reminiscent of watching the league’s worst defense in 2014. We heard each week the staff would look at personnel, scheme, and play calling, and we saw the exact same result every week. Sometimes teams need to be aggressive. Last week was Atlanta’s time to do that. The Falcons defense may improve, but it’s not going to bounce back to a strength with this personnel.
  15. It’s now or never for Atlanta Falcons WR Justin Hardy 6 Fact: Justin Hardy’s teeth bleach themselves By James Rael@falcoholicjames May 20, 2018, 10:13pm EDT SHARE Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy has a big year ahead of him. “Make or break” would probably be hyperbole here, because Hardy is just looking to keep getting paid to play football. Problem is he may struggle to stay relevant on a team with such a loaded offense, including a shiny new first round draft pick who happens to play his position. Hardy’s numbers since he was drafted won’t blow your socks off: 62 receptions, 618 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. He was prolific at East Carolina. In his junior and senior seasons, he racked up 235 receptions, 2,778 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus gave him a 2017 grade of 50.5. (That ranked 85th among NFL WRs. It also means he had a “poor” season, according to their metrics.) As Hardy enters the last year of his rookie contract with the Falcons, he has a lot to play for; if he wants a future at Flowery Branch, it’s now or never. But even if the Falcons don’t intend to re-sign him, 2018 will essentially serve as an audition for 2019 free agency. Hardy needs to show teams he can be a bigger part of the offensive game plan; no small task when you play for the Falcons. To be sure, it’s never been about talent for Hardy. He’s a sure-handed, smart wide receiver, but playing without a playbook in college made his transition to professional football harder than it needed to be. Some folks also point to Kyle Shanahan’s complex playbook and the transition to a Steve Sarkisian-led offense as additional factors that have kept Hardy from achieving his full potential. No matter the underlying explanations, Hardy’s clock is undeniably ticking. With any luck he will take on a bigger role in 2018, earning a new contract and solidifying his role with the team.
  16. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2018/4/9/17216554/atlanta-falcons-hire-two-new-defensive-coaches-aden-durde-travis-jones-seattle-seahawks-dan-quinn The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their defensive coaching staffs with two faces familiar to various parts of the franchise. Former Seattle DL coach Travis Jones and former NFLUK head of football development Aden Durde have been hired as the new assistant defensive line coach and a defensive quality control assistant, respectively, per the team. Some background on both. Jones was Quinn’s defensive line coach during his two years as defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, where he oversaw one of the most dangerous defensive fronts in the NFL. He held the position through 2016, and was with Seattle last season as a senior defensive analyst. Funny enough, Jones started his coaching career at Georgia, his alma mater where he played, as a graduate assistant. He was born in Irwinton, Ga., and graduated from high school in Wilkinson County, so it’ll be a homecoming for Jones to be back in the Peach State. He’ll assist with Bryant Young, the team’s main DL coach. As for Durde, he worked with football players from other countries to help them get ready for NFL careers through the league’s NFLUK program, which, as the presser notes, included Falcons TE Alex Gray. He’s also interned with the Dallas Cowboys, and has played as a professional linebacker in various leagues, including two brief stops in the NFL with the Panthers and Chiefs. He’ll join Charlie Jackson and Jess Simpson as a defensive assistant. Jones’ addition is fairly impressive with his experience, as he’ll work with Young to help Atlanta’s defensive front further grow. Perhaps Durde’s addition will give Gray, a guy firmly on the roster bubble heading into 2018, another advocate in the building as he tries to stick around. So, let’s welcome these new coaches to Atlanta. We’ll have more additions to the Falcons fold once draft weekend rolls around, unless a free agent or two get in on the fun before then.
  17. Falcons were unimpressed with Matt LaFleur’s work, and let him walk before hiring Steve Sarkisian Now that the wheels have completely fallen off of the Falcons offense, we’ve been wondering why Dan Quinn didn’t just promote Matt LaFleur. by Matthew Chambers@FalcoholicMatt Oct 23, 2017, 5:53pm ED https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2017/10/23/16527676/falcons-were-unimpressed-with-matt-lafleurs-work-and-let-him-walk-before-hiring-steve-sarkisian Thanks to their long Super Bowl run, the Atlanta Falcons did not have a whole lot of options for offensive coordinator. They knew they were losing Kyle Shanahan. In fact, the only two names from outside of the organization that popped up were Chip Kelly and Steve Sarkisian. It was odd the Falcons did not seem to seriously consider promoting Matt LaFleur, the quarterback coach for Matt Ryan’s MVP season. He spent years with Shanahan running the offense, and honestly, was the most sensical replacement for Shanahan. LaFleur may not be calling plays in Los Angeles, but is the offensive coordinator for another prolific offense. Yikes. How did the Falcons let him get away? LaFleur was under contract with the team, and could not leave the Falcons for any position but a head coach job without the team’s blessing. The team, of course, allowed the move. And now we know why. It would be tough to bungle a situation worse than this. The Falcons happily let the offensive staff leave for other positions so they could hire Sarkisian, who never coordinated in the pros. It is tough to say what the team did not like about LaFleur, but I don’t think it could be worth the offensive drop off. The offense has imploded so quickly that you have to blame the decision makers, starting with Dan Quinn.
  18. Link: https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2017/10/5/16425616/a-closer-look-evaluating-matt-ryan-with-qb-guru-derrik-klassen?utm_campaign=thefalcoholic&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter For the second consecutive week, Matt Ryan had a subpar performance. He looked unsettled against an outstanding Bills’ defense. It wasn’t surprising, considering Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu were injured. Missing both of your starting wide receivers for an entire half in a close game is going to create problems. The real issue is Ryan’s troubles started long before both players were sidelined. He is missing far too many throws and not making enough plays for a player at his level. To examine his issues, Football Outsiders’ Derrik Klassen joins me to break down what went wrong against Buffalo. Derrik is constantly watching quarterback film and writing informative pieces. I wanted to bring on a great football mind to add another perspective. This is something I’m planning to do at least once a month. Derrik also writes for Bleacher Report and Optimum Scouting. I always rewatch the previous Falcons game and post GIFs on Twitter of the most impressive and disappointing plays. One specific player, positional group, or topic is excluded from the film review to be saved for this piece. Here are four of Ryan’s biggest errors, as Derrik and I analyzed each play. First Quarter: 1st and 10 at ATL 49 Klassen: It appears Ryan got a tad lazy with his mechanics on this one. The flat side of his back foot is pointed toward the middle of the field behind the target, rather than toward the target area. Ryan also fails to drive on the throw properly. He instead lofted or pushed the ball through the air, when he needed to bring his torso into the throw and get some "pop" as he released the ball. Strk: When using play action, the Falcons love utilizing Jones on deep over routes. His ability to shift past opposing cornerbacks and explode upfield makes him a lethal option for these designs. This is an excellent play call from Sarkisian. It’s not easy to create big plays against McDermott’s disciplined defense. You must take your chances against them. Ryan fails to do so on this play. Derrik makes an excellent point about Ryan lofting the ball. It’s one of his most frustrating tendencies. Not putting more touch on his deep throws has translated into missed opportunities. According to Pro Football Focus, Ryan has only completed three out of 15 pass attempts on throws 20 yards or more this season. That is an alarming stat, considering the plethora of weapons at his disposal. There has been some debate about Ryan’s poor game correlating with Ryan Schraeder’s absence. While Ty Sambrailo is a significant downgrade, the criticism has been slightly exaggerated. Ryan receives good protection here. This is simply a bad miss, as the ball doesn’t even hit Jones’ fingertips. First quarter: 3rd and 9 at 50 Klassen: If I'm not mistaken, Ryan is trying to throw back shoulder on a wheel route to Sanu. Once again, Ryan's footwork is out of sorts. He swings his entire body too wide when he turns to Sanu. His shoulders are already open before he begins to throw, making it difficult for him to get any drive on the ball and control the release point. Ryan misses high and wide, as a quarterback often does when he opens too wide to his left. Strk: There seems to be a growing sentiment that Steve Sarkisian is holding back the offense. Although his play calling can be conservative at times, you can’t say he isn’t putting Ryan in favorable situations. The former Washington head coach is starting to use more trips and rub route concepts. It can create confusion and (most importantly) space when properly executed. They create enough room for Sanu to make a routine catch. This is another glaring miss from Ryan. Despite rarely attempting back shoulder throws, every quarterback should be able to make them. Ryan leans far too wide to make an accurate throw. These footwork issues are concerning for such an established quarterback. He spent countless hours working on his footwork during the summer. It’s an integral part to his success. For Ryan to suffer from these lapses without facing much pressure is worrying. As a true student of the game, most would assume that he makes the necessary adjustments. You don’t expect a former NFL MVP to let fundamentals derail them. Third quarter: 2nd and 1 at ATL 39 Klassen: Taylor Gabriel wasn’t open here. Maybe had Ryan pulled the trigger immediately and done a better job of driving on the throw, Gabriel gets a real chance at the ball, but that was not the case. Ryan made a late throw beyond the range of his arm talent. A rare, careless mistake from Ryan. Strk: Many people focused on criticizing the throw rather than the decision. While nobody will applaud the throw, it wasn’t the sole reason behind Ryan’s first interception. Buffalo was well-prepared for the deep ball. With only two receivers running routes, they were able to handle their coverage assignments and prevent any potential big play. Not having Jones and Sanu certainly didn’t help when trying to stretch the field. Micah Hydewas in excellent position to cover Gabriel. Ryan found success hitting Gabriel on vertical routes last season, when the speedy playmaker got behind the defense. That wasn’t happening on this occasion. Ryan threw up a near 60-yard prayer and paid for it. Fourth quarter: 2nd and 17 at BUF 49 Klassen: This is the most confusing play of the bunch. I'm not entirely sure whether Ryan is late pulling the trigger or if Ryan expected the receiver to cut that route off shorter and stop. Both are entirely possible, but given that Atlanta was down their two top receivers at that point, I'm leaning toward putting blame on Justin Hardy for this one. Without knowing the play call or route specifications, it's tough to tell one way or the other, but Ryan does not often have communication issues like this with his top guys. Strk: Although Hardy is the fourth wide receiver, he has a strong rapport with Ryan. Jones is the only wide receiver that has been with the Falcons longer than Hardy. It’s hard to see the timing being off. As Derrik mentioned, Hardy may have possibly ran the wrong route. It seems unlikely based on previous experience. Ryan’s recent performances gives more of an indication that he is at fault here. They desperately needed a decent gain to put themselves in a manageable third down situation. Running a quick-hitting pass play made complete sense. On such a critical drive, Hardy’s route should be designed to gain at least eight yards. Sarkisian couldn’t risk calling a long-developing play, especially with the limitations at wide receiver. This appears to be another notable miss from Ryan. Instead of picking up a solid gain, his poor throw leaves them needing to pick up 17 yards. That miscue led to Ryan’s second interception on the very next play. Not converting these opportunities can come back to haunt any team. The Falcons learned that in a cruel way, as their star quarterback failed to elevate a decimated offense in a winnable game.
  19. https://www.thefalcoholic.com/2017/8/3/16092038/devin-fuller-has-been-waived-injured-wr-ucla-bruins-kr-pr-atlanta-falcons-out-of-permalink-ideas https://twitter.com/TheFalcoholic/status/893206679680110592 The Atlanta Falcons were hoping their 2016 7th-round pick could replace Eric Weems as a returner. There was a lot of expected competition, then Devin Fuller tore his ACL last week. The team made it official, giving fuller the waived/injured designation. He will almost certainly pass through waivers and end up on Atlanta’s injured reserve. Man, it’s a tough way to go out. Typically, late round picks that end up on injured reserve in both of their first seasons don’t make it to year three with that team. The Falcons may finally cut Fuller once healthy, and hopefully give him a chance to catch on elsewhere. Best of luck to Fuller in his rehab and hopeful return to the NFL.
  20. Atlanta Falcons OTAs: DT/OL hybrid Ben Garland gets early first team snaps at right guard 10 NEW, 10 Fact: Ben Garland first grew a beard when he was four months old by James Rael@falcoholicjames May 31, 2017, 9:52pm PDT TWEET Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports The Atlanta Falcons have quite the renaissance man in Ben Garland. He plays a little defensive tackle. He can play center and guard. He will cook you up a delicious egg white omelet and pair it with some fresh strawberries, if you ask nicely. So when Chris Chester formally announced his retirement earlier in the offseason, no one at Flowery Branch hit the panic button. Garland will battle it out with second-year player Wes Schweitzer and rookie fourth round draft pick Sean Harlow. The first couple days of OTAs aren’t all that telling long-term, but for what it’s worth, Garland is getting the first team reps. View image on Twitter Again, this is really not something anyone should read into too extensively. That said we know Garland is, at a minimum, a solid football player. With Alex Mack on his left and Ryan Schraeder on his right, one would think Garland could get the job done. Heck, if his career trajectory to date is any indication, he may be a Pro Bowler before we know it! Seriously though, I’m definitely curious to see what Garland can do. I’m glad the team intends on throwing him into the fire from the outset. Your thoughts?
  21. Dan Quinn talks about Jack Crawford’s role, disruptive ability 25 NEW, 25 In a brief film session posted on the team’s Twitter feed, Dan Quinn dives in on his newest defensive tackle. by Dave Choate May 21, 2017, 9:00am PDT TWEET The Jack Crawford signing was kind of big news earlier this offseason, and at the time, it only seemed like big news because the Falcons had one of their quieter free agency periods in recent memory. As Dan Quinn sits down and talks a little bit about him, though, you get a better picture of why the team liked him and what they’ll expect him to do. The team put out a short video film session with Quinn on Twitter, and it’s a cool mini-glimpse at how Quinn is evaluating his players. It also further confirms, as the team has suggested before, that Crawford will primarily be playing defensive tackle after splitting his time between end and tackle over the last few seasons. Crawford should be behind several players in the pecking order, but if he’s exclusively playing defensive tackle, there should still be plenty of snaps available for him behind Grady Jarrettand Dontari Poe. Hopefully he’ll be a force for good in this growing Falcons defense. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/media-lounge/videos/Film-Study-Quinn-Breaks-Down-Poe-Signing/dd529a35-5969-4b04-911a-6e5cfe1eb2ae ^^^^film study on Jack Crawford - looks like he will be a situational DTackle in passrush. G-Dawg: While I certainly am not predicting "break-out stardom" for a 28 year old journeyman DE/DT, it does say something that Dan Quinn targeted Jack Crawford very early in free agency and gave him a 3yr, $8.8mm deal which raised some eyebrows. I see him as a NASCAR package type of rotational passrushing defensive tackle capable of 3-5 sacks per year(with limited snaps) but lots of interior pressure and an ability to get upfield and collapse the pocket for opposing QBs that thrive on a clean pocket up the middle - especially short guys like Drew Brees. Dan Quinn is, at his core, a Defensive Line coach - and when he puts his name on a defensive lineman, I'm going to pay attention. We may even be overstocked on the defensive line right now - there is going to be a lot of competition - iron sharpens iron.
  22. Report: Falcons traded up for Takkarist McKinley to leapfrog Dallas Cowboys Dallas was also thirsty for a pass rusher. by Dave Choate May 12, 2017, 8:00am EDT TWEET The Atlanta Falcons needed a pass rusher pretty badly, as we repeatedly argued in the run-up to the draft. To ensure they got the one they liked, they had to swap up a few spots, and now we have our most concrete reports that indicate why they felt they had to go up. It was the Dallas Cowboys, of course. Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys were strongly interested in Takkarist McKinley. Atlanta either figured that out or had a strong hunch that caused them to move up. Dallas took Taco Charlton two picks later. The Cowboys also had first-round interest in UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinely, but the Falcons jumped the Cowboys and picked him at No. 26. The Cowboys selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton at No. 28 and were satisfied with the choice. McKinley is a better fit for Atlanta’s defense than Charlton, given his athleticism and pass rushing ability, so it’s little surprise the Falcons made him a priority. The Falcons have faced questions every time they trade up about whether they actually needed to do so, so hopefully this will help set a few minds at ease.
  23. Matt Ryan is the greatest Falcons draft pick ever, per your votes There’s no question that #3 is #1. by Dave Choate Apr 5, 2017, 12:00pm EDT TWE Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images Ever since we launched our polling for the best Falcons draft pick ever, the final result has been pretty obvious. I thought we might have a twist or turn here that turned the whole thing upside down, but instead, Matt Ryan coasted to victory. In his final matchup against Julio Jones, Ryan took close to 75% of the votes. He’s fresh off an MVP season and a Super Bowl run, as we’ve noted many times, and put together easily the best season of his career. He’s still young enough to think there’s several great seasons ahead, too, and he’s already make his mark on the record books. Matt Ryan career franchise ranks (NFL ranks) Passing Attempts: 1st (24th) Passing Completions: 1st (18th) Passing Yards: 1st (21st) Passing Touchdowns: 1st (25th) Passer Rating: 1st (11th) Considering quarterback is widely regarded as the most important position on the field, and considering Ryan’s place in both the team’s and NFL’s record books, there is no question he’s a deserving choice for this honor. Two teams passed on one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade, and the Falcons were only too happy to capitalize on that particular mistake. Ryan will be dogged with questions until he gets his first Super Bowl ring, unfortunately, but if he plays another five years he’s going to have a Hall of Fame-caliber resume whether he gets one or not. Julio Jones can take some solace in the fact that he is regarded with awe by every sentient, decent human being who doesn’t have a hot take about Odell Beckham or Antonio Brown, and that he’ll likely go down as the greatest receiver this Falcons team has ever seen. Thanks, everyone, for voting. Congratulations to Matt Ryan!
  24. http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2017/3/28/15103164/thomas-dimitroff-hoping-to-ink-contracts-desmond-trufant-devonta-freeman-contracts-by-training-camp Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn’t the novice he once was. He’s been there, he’s done that, he’s burned through truckloads of hair product. So even when faced with a substantial challenge, Dimitroff isn’t backing down. Successfully re-signing both Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman is one such challenge. Dimitroff sat down with Alex Marvez and Vic Carucci on SiriusXM NFL Radio today and he had some interesting things to say about those contract negotiations. (Spoiler alert: you’re going to like his confidence in getting both deals done.) **Rest of the article on the link above.**
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