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Time to purge the roster?


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Outright roster purge or gradual transition?

By Steve Wyche | Monday, February 11, 2008, 04:47 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Things are relatively quiet with the Falcons right now as scouts, coaches and other personnel staffers prepare for the scouting combine, which begins next Wednesday, and free agency, which starts at the end of the month.

As much anticipation as there is about who Atlanta will draft and sign, it s equally as intriguing to see how new general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith plan to rebuild this roster. Will it be a gradual changeover, with the replacement of 4 or 5 starters next season? Or will they purge a huge chunk of the roster that has had diminishing results over the past three seasons and truly build from the ground up?

With team owner Arthur Blank saying the Falcons should have at least $23 million to spend in free agency, the plan seemingly would be a semi-gutting of the roster at the least.

Dimitroff and Smith have to be sure they find the right replacements, though because if they re going to make wholesale changes, they better not miss on the players they bring in. Not to say immediate results would be demanded by Blank but if things stagnate or get even worse over the next few years&

Possibly weakening the Falcons input on personnel was the loss of assistant general manager Billy Devaney, who bolted over the weekend to become the executive VP of football personnel with the St. Louis Rams. Devaney is a longtime pro personnel man who could have helped Dimitroff, whose background is scouting college personnel. Devaney is a solid pro personnel guy but with Blank s insistence on change, Devaney was never considered to replace Rich McKay as GM.

In terms of the Falcons roster, there is some talk that quarterback Chris Redman played well enough to generate the interest of some other teams around the league. If the Falcons want to keep him, which all signs point to, they might have to add another year to a new deal or pay him a little bit more than initially anticipated. Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich are in limbo and there is no guarantee, with the potential roster purge, that either could be bac

Another thing to keep an eye on is what the Falcons do with D.J. Shockley. Shockley is coming off major knee surgery and his health will determine his future with the team. If he s unable to go through much of the offseason workouts, it could be hard for him to stick. However, if he s able to return in time to show the staff something, they will at least be able to form an opinion.

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In terms of the Falcons roster, there is some talk that quarterback Chris Redman played well enough to generate the interest of some other teams around the league. If the Falcons want to keep him, which all signs point to, they might have to add another year to a new deal or pay him a little bit more than initially anticipated. Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich are in limbo and there is no guarantee, with the potential roster purge, that either could be bac

This should let everybody know that Redman is the FIRST choice at QB, and Joey, and Byron are at best gone at worse 2nd.

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we need to just let a few go. We have players who are decent and with good coaching he can reach his full potential. Release players who are not contributing that much. And players who are injuries prone. And players with questionable characters. But we have what we need, just need a few more. And a good coach.

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Hey, I hate to see some of the players that are gonna go gone, but the bottom line is we have new coaches and we have to give them a chance to see what they can do. Only they know the direction they wanna take this team in. If there not successful we can moan and complain at them later for letting go whoever the players maybe that they get rid off, and or the ones that we think they should have kept. Until that point in time comes, which I hope they are successful and it doesn't, I'll give them the chance to show us all that they know what they are doing.

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