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Falcons report: Inside slant


cshot4
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The Falcons' leadership was deconstructed and so too, will the roster. It's what happens when a team was a victory from going to the Super Bowl in 2004 then fails to make the playoffs the next three seasons.

The transformation of player personnel could be, and arguably should be, radical.

Three years of diminishing returns and a 2007 season of unforeseen, immeasurable turmoil must be left in the rear-view mirror and included in the wake could be popular players who simply haven't been able to reverse the downward turn.

Tailback Warrick Dunn, quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich, wide receiver Joe Horn and linebacker Keith Brooking could be among a wealth of cuts that would transform the persona of a franchise that lacks an identity.

Seemingly any player over 30 or with an injury history or with a hefty salary that runs no further than '09 is a potential victim.

Team owner Arthur Blank said the Falcons will have at least $23 million in salary-cap space and could have more than $30 million, depending on how deep and wide the cuts.

The revamping of the roster won't be made randomly. Though the salary-cap ramifications have a lot to do with who stays and who goes, new general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith - who have established themselves as the top decision makers - have made sure plans are in place to fill any vacancies before creating those voids.

Much of the replenishing will come through the draft - the Falcons have nine picks. With ticket sales lagging, a marquee pick could be popular (Atlanta will draft third, fourth or fifth - more later). However, Dimitroff and Smith have indicated the fortification of the interior is priority, big splash or not.

By flouting the abundance of projected room under the salary cap, Atlanta also must be active in free agency and land their desired targets.

Atlanta's ability to lure the right players could be very interesting because the Falcons' top pro personnel man, Billy Devaney, recently left to become the executive vice president of player personnel for the St. Louis Rams.

Dimitroff's area of expertise is evaluating college talent, although he's been on a crash course to bone up on guys who've been playing in the league and who will be available.

Smith is said to have a solid eye for pro personnel, but he's a coach. Thus, he can't devote all of his time to player evaluation, except for what he's seen on film or across the field from him on Sundays.

A longtime defensive coach/coordinator for Jacksonville and Baltimore, Smith should have a solid perspective on offensive players that he's had to game plan against. He will know not only a player's physical gifts but if a player competes hard all the time.

By the end of the month we should know what direction the falcons are heading!

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Smith is said to have a solid eye for pro personnel, but he's a coach. Thus, he can't devote all of his time to player evaluation, except for what he's seen on film or across the field from him on Sundays.

Did anyone else say "HUH?" when they read this part? :blink:

It's the offseason. It's not like he's drawing up any immediate gameplans for an upcoming game. An NFL coach that can't devote a good bit of his time to evaluate the players that he's going to put on the field shouldn't be considered a good head coach IMHO.

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Statick (2/15/2008)
Smith is said to have a solid eye for pro personnel, but he's a coach. Thus, he can't devote all of his time to player evaluation, except for what he's seen on film or across the field from him on Sundays.

Did anyone else say "HUH?" when they read this part? :blink:

It's the offseason. It's not like he's drawing up any immediate gameplans for an upcoming game. An NFL coach that can't devote a good bit of his time to evaluate the players that he's going to put on the field shouldn't be considered a good head coach IMHO.

He might be helping to devise a new playbook on both sides of the ball. I am sure that he is having his input, but his time is probably divided in a few ways.

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I noticed in the article the mention of Billy Devaney leaving to go to the Rams. Not much has been said about this. He was the Falcons top pro talent evaluator. Was his departure expected? Does it hurt the Falcons when trying to get FA's? The article called his departure "interesting" as far as getting FA's to come here. What does that mean? Or was Devaney's departure expected and TD has his guy to be in the pro personnel position? I just don't know and if anyone has any insights into this, please post. Thanks.

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Duff_Man (2/15/2008)
Statick (2/15/2008)
Smith is said to have a solid eye for pro personnel, but he's a coach. Thus, he can't devote all of his time to player evaluation, except for what he's seen on film or across the field from him on Sundays.

Did anyone else say "HUH?" when they read this part? :blink:

It's the offseason. It's not like he's drawing up any immediate gameplans for an upcoming game. An NFL coach that can't devote a good bit of his time to evaluate the players that he's going to put on the field shouldn't be considered a good head coach IMHO.

He might be helping to devise a new playbook on both sides of the ball. I am sure that he is having his input, but his time is probably divided in a few ways.

I'm sure Coach Smith is, but I'm going by what they stated what our new philosophy will be: to build an offense/defense around the talent that we have.

A coach going by that formula has to have an idea of what players he wants and I don't see how a coach can draw up a playbook knowing that some of the players that he has won't be here when the season starts nor does he know who he'll end up with pertaining to the draft.

It just doesn't make sense how the writer expressed that in his article.

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The pro personnel department doesn't worry me. The guy who left was the one who got us Ed Hartwell, Jason Webster, and countless other boneheaded signings.

Anyone can look at an All-Pro player and say, he would be great on my team. What we need is to find the diamonds in the rough, and to this point our franchise has failed at this task.

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WineBird (2/15/2008)
The pro personnel department doesn't worry me. The guy who left was the one who got us Ed Hartwell, Jason Webster, and countless other boneheaded signings.

Anyone can look at an All-Pro player and say, he would be great on my team. What we need is to find the diamonds in the rough, and to this point our franchise has failed at this task.

Good point.

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