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Hi all, I know special teams is not the most sexiest phase of football. But I wanted to share a video I did. On why I believe it could be the glue to what Falcons need. To help propel them back into the playoffs in 2020. Feel free to share your thoughts.
After many years of mediocrity in the special teams department I am excited to see what Ben Kotwica has done with this unit. I also am looking forward to seeing what Marcus Green brings to the table. My eyes will be glued to special teams cause it's easier to score from the 40 than the 25 yard line....thoughts?
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.
How would you feel if we pulled off this off-season? Extended -QB Matt Ryan (27) Current 2013 base salary $10M Ryan is not a FA until next off-season and is not at risk of ever leaving, but we might as well extend him now. He's proven he's a franchise QB and carried this team to the Championship game with no running game, an average at best OL, and a D that has no D Line. He's shown elite accuracy and toughness and had plenty of comebacks in the last few minutes or seconds of the game. He's not going to get any cheaper and the market is going to either. With the salary cap not set to increase anytime soon signing him now for the best price we can makes sense. He's gotten better every season and will continue to improve. Extending him can even free up cap space for this offseason Resigned -SS William Moore (27) UFA, 3-4 year deal Moore might be our best player on defense. He is a supreme combination of size, speed and talent. He can make every play from run stuffs, sacks and fumbles, to passes defensed and interceptions. He hits like a freight train. He's a playmaker, a beast and probably my favorite defender on this team. His problem has been durability but that will help keep his price relatively low. -CB Robert McClain (24) RFA, 1 year deal McClain was I imagine a waiver pickup from nowhere and stepped in as the nickelback last season. He produced well with 10 passes defensed, an INT, 2 fumble recoveries and a run stuff. As an exclusive rights free agent we can resign him for a 1 year deal for cheap. A former 7th round pick in Carolina who timed 4.42 speed and put up 23 reps of 225, he could continue to emerge as a waiver wire steal -TE Michael Palmer (25) RFA, 1 year deal If Gonzalez retires Palmer will get a chance to compete for the TE spot with Coffman and whoever we bring in. -RB Antone Smith (27) RFA, 1 year deal I don't know anything about Smith, other than he's supposedly fast but he's only played as a special teamer. We need speed at RB so I dont understand why he hasn't played if he has ability. I have him resigned here because he's a RFA so will be cheap and can compete for depth Not Resigned -LT Sam Baker (27). The OL just wasn't good enough and I can't justify rewarding mediocrity. It's time for a change, freeing up cap space for our moves that would have been spent on Baker. -CB Brent Grimes (29). We need DL, not CBs, if Grimes would play for half Duntas price we might have something but I have a feeling he will sign elsewhere based on how things went. -FB Mike Cox -SS Chris Hope -C Todd McClure -QB Luke McCown -CB Chris Owens -LB Mike Peterson -OG Garret Reynolds -DE Lawrence Sidbury -OT Will Svitek -DT Vance Walker Cuts -RB Michael Turner (31) 2013 base salary $6.9M Turner turned this team from a bad one to a playoff one and was just as crucial to the early development of Ryan. Unfortunately we need cap space. He's 31 and has a very big cap hit. This is not a running team and he doesn't fit the style of the offense. -CB Dunta Robinson (30) 2013 base salary $8M Robinsons production simply doesn't live up to his contract. He's a fearless hitter but seems to just lack ball skills. He doesn't line up as the #1 CB and take guys away. He's the #2 and doesn't get turnovers. His contract gets even more absurd in the following years. I'll gladly pay his contract for a Revis or Patrick Peterson, but not a guy who isn't going to impact every game. Free Agency -RB Reggie Bush (27), 6'0 203 lbs, Miami Dolphins 3-4 year deal The only things this offense lacked last season aside from better OL play was a running game, speed at RB, and a receiving threat at RB. Bush is all those things and much more. He's a perfect fit for this offense. Our inability to run the ball and sustain drives showed up and cost us vs SF. Bush would give us a dangerous running game, balancing the offense and opening up play action. Bush proved in Miami he's far more than just an outside runner. He proved he can be a tough inside runner that can break tackles and then hit the turbo for a TD. He produced as a workhorse and his stats were limited by Miami letting draft picks steal his red zone touches in his contract year. He can get far more than our RBs with the same blocking with his speed and doesn't need many runs to break a big play. His speed will gouge defenses when they play coverage. Now when teams try to bring pressure Ryan has a RB he can dump it off or screen to who can make a big play. Ryan has had many weapons but never a RB with speed, never mind one with legit WR ability. Bush can run it inside but just as easily line up as a WR or motion out of the backfield to the slot. He gives Ryan a matchup destroyer to motion all over the formation. He can even give us a much needed weapon at punt returner but we'd probably save that as a weapon to pinch hit with in the 4th quarter if needed. He'd give us 15-20 dangerous touches as a runner and receiver a game, and his presence underneath will really stretch the defense for the other receivers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz-VtPtpxCU -DE Dwight Freeney (32) 6'1 268 lbs, Indianapolis Colts 2-3 year deal The pass rush needs an upgrade desperately. It has for years. Abe is the only pass rusher, is 34 and always fighting injuries. Freeney is a guy who I believe is just like Abe in that he will be a productive pass rusher until the wheels fall off. The defense doesn't have to be great, but the pass rush has to be better. Freeney and Abe would be an excellent duo for us to rush the passer on 3rd down and get off the field. Abe needs to be off the field unless it's a passing situation, and Freeney has good size at 268 to set the edge in run D in the base defense. Freeney is proven and will be cheaper than the younger options that might be available who are less accomplished. He is also a Super Bowl champ and could be a great leader on the DL, defense and team as a whole. Of course we need to add young talent which you will see with our draft. Abe in 12 seasons has 122 sacks and 44 forced fumbles. In 10 seasons Freeney has 107.5 sacks and 44 forced fumbles. These are guys who know how the get to the QB and get the ball out. Backup plan: Osi Umenyiora if Freeney signs elsewhere -DT Terrance Knighton (26) 6'3 330lbs, Jacksonville Jaguars 1 year deal DT might be as big of a need as DE. This team needs a big DT, BADLY. The front is undersized and gets worn down over the course of games, making it harder for them to get off the field, causing them to get even more worn down. We need a 320lb+ DT to anchor vs double teams in the run game and free up the DL and LBs to get to the ball, and ideally one who can also push the pocket and command a double team in the passing game, freeing up the DL to hunt the QB. Knighton is massive and has the athletecism to get sacks and run stuffs as well as stop the run. He's exactly what this defense is missing on the inside. We should try to get his weight down to the 320 range so he can contribute the majority of the snaps Jacksonville's D was awful last season and Knighton was even demoted during the season. He's not hitting FA in prime bargaining position. We sign him to a 1 year deal for relatively cheap and give him the opportunity to prove he is a difference maker who deserves to be paid as such. If he does, he will be paid, if not by us someone else. This team needs a big beast on the inside to shut down running threats like Doug Martin and Cam Newton, not to mention the 49ers, whose season we are going to end. Backup plans: Roy Miller, Glenn Dorsey, Pat Sims -OLB Thomas Howard (29) 6'3 245 lbs, Cincinnati Bengals 1-2 year deal Howard went down with an ACL in a week 2 practice last season. The season prior he was the Bengals leading tackler in his 1st year with the team. A former 1st round pick of the Raiders, Thomas had 6 interceptions (2 for touchdowns) and 11 passes broken up in his 2nd season in the league. Spoon and Moore are our only young building blocks on D. Now that we finally have a legit big body DT, we move Spoon to MLB where he can man the core of the D and be closer to the football on every snap. Howard steps in beside him at OLB, giving us 2 athletic LBs in our nickel D. Howard's price will be hurt by coming off injury and his age. We can sign him to a 1 year prove it deal, or perhaps increase it to a 2 year deal if Cinci is trying to bring him back. Howards rehab is reportedly going great and if healthy he could be a great pickup for relatively cheap. Backup plan: Daryl Smith