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Don� t be shocked to see Grady Jackson brought back at nose tackle


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The Combine, QBs and D-Hall

By Steve Wyche | Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 01:21 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I m heading to Indianapolis Wednesday night for the NFL scouting combine where hundreds of college players, pro coaches scouts, agents and media members will convene to conjure tales about the next great and over-hyped players.

It s actually a pretty great experience, especially watching reporters, like myself, waiting in hallways to ambush team officials to get their assessments of players.

Agents are there en masse not only to look after their newly signed collegiate clients but to broker their pending free agents. Free agency starts Feb. 29 and even though deals can t officially be discussed then, they are broached to some depth days ahead of time.

My colleague, D. Orlando Ledbetter, and I will be blogging a few times a day through the weekend to let you know the latest developments. Most will be Falcons related but we ll also try to keep you in the loop on national stories, such as if a player opts not to participate or arrives with a mysterious cast on his leg.

As for the Falcons, I had a pretty lengthy conversation with GM Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith this week about the team s plans. They would not be specific about what they plan to do in free agency and the draft; however, signs are that more player cuts are coming to create more salary cap room.

Dimitroff said that the cost of free agent offensive linemen is more than he imagined but he said he s re-adjusted his thoughts to that, signaling a veteran guard or tackle could be pursued in free agency.

The Falcons have to find a left tackle in the draft or free agency to replace Wayne Gandy, who was cut. A right guard also could be brought in, either to replace starter Kynan Forney, whose future with the team is not a lock; or to be groomed to replace him. Forney is in the last year of his deal.

Atlanta also has to replace Alge Crumpler, who was cut last week. Depending on how the tight end is used will determine how that is addressed but it would seem a free agent either a starter or rotational backup would be signed.

Injuries also could determine what the Falcons do and Smith said contingency plans are in place.

That said, don t be shocked to see Grady Jackson brought back at nose tackle because Trey Lewis, who has season-ending knee surgery, might not be back in time for training camp. RT Todd Weiner also is recovering from season ending knee surgery and if he has a setback or is slow to recover, Atlanta needs depth at that spot.

The Falcons are expected to re-sign tackle Tyson Clabo, who is an exclusive rights free agent he can only negotiate with the Falcons unless they decline to his rights and he proved last season he is a capable starter.

In regards to a quarterback, Dimitroff and Smith said they would be analyzing the draft prospects thoroughly. Whether that means they will draft one with the third, fourth or fifth pick, remains to be seen. However, all indications are that a quarterback will be drafted at some point. They would not commit to re-signing Chris Redman yet, although indication are they do like him.

Something I ll be following are the developments with CB DeAngelo Hall. Smith and the coaching staff want him back but Dimitroff said they are weighing trade options. This could get interesting very soon because Hall wants an extension, that would cut into any team s salary-cap space. If the Falcons have that money earmarked elsewhere, Hall could be moved and Atlanta would then have to find someone to replace him.

Dimitroff said Hall makes the Falcons better so his decision could also send an interesting message. Do you trade away a guy who you said makes you better or do you commit huge dollars to him long-term maybe at the expense of adding a high draft pick and hope he matures and becomes a better player?

Be sure to check this blog or AJC.com Friday morning to find out how the Falcons fared in the coin toss that will determine if they will draft No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5. In case you missed it, Atlanta, Oakland and Kansas City all finished with 4-12 records. The Falcons will flip with Oakland to see who gets the third pick. The loser is paired with Kansas City to determine who gets No. 4 or No. 5.

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nobkowski (2/20/2008)
I would be shocked only if Trey's rehab. doesn't go well.

The thing with Hall is par for the course. I read somewhere that he has said give me an extention now or I will not play. Sounds about like him. Whether it's true or not I don't know.

Thanks for posting.

asante samuel said the same thing last year.

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DeathFromAbove (2/20/2008)
Hall was torched repeatedly, and basically gave away the Carolina game being a hothead.

but statistically he had one if his best, if not his best season. yes i know what happened at the carolina game, i was there, but then again you could also say that if the holder didnt fumble andersen's first kick of the season and if we won the turnover battle we would have won. i know hall's blow up was a momentum killer but the game was not over.

here's a link to hall's career stats including the 07 season:

http://www.nfl.com/players/deangelohall/profile?id=HAL268837

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nobkowski (2/21/2008)
I know it was just pre-season, but I've never seen anyone get owned like he was by Chad Johnson.

On top of that, he was fined once by the club, and once by the nfl. He is a good corner, but he sure isn't all he thinks he is.

I guess you haven't watched a whole lot of football games? One matchup comes to mind. Steve Smith vs. Fred Smoot (Redskins). He was torched all day long. And he was brought to Washington to become a 'shut down corner'.

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DeathFromAbove (2/20/2008)
At least Asante's contract was actually up and he got franchised, I have ZERO sympathy for Hall considering he still needs to fulfill his original contract, especially after his mediocre play this past season.

Do you remember another CB we had a few years ago, he also played 21? He wanted to stay here and they let him walk and we got ZERO for him.

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DeathFromAbove (2/20/2008)
At least Asante's contract was actually up and he got franchised, I have ZERO sympathy for Hall considering he still needs to fulfill his original contract, especially after his mediocre play this past season.

What???????????? How many TD's did Hall give up? 07 was one of Halls best years!!

(I do agree with you on the Carolina game but that was 1 game)

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Grady would be a surprise, but to me that's not the biggest shock in the article.

I'll start by saying I really liked the TD hire, and I think he's done a good job up to this point, but this scares me a little.

Dimitroff said that the cost of free agent offensive linemen is more than he imagined but he said he s re-adjusted his thoughts to that, signaling a veteran guard or tackle could be pursued in free agency.

Unless the amount of money expected by OL FAs has ballooned yet again, I'm worried that our GM didn't know about the ridiculous cost of solid veteran OL players. That makes me wonder how FA is going to turn out this year. It's fairly obvious to most fans who follow football year round that signing good OL-men can eat up the largest chunks of your FA budget, and for the last 3 or 4 years it's not even the LT's, even the guards have started getting paid well. IF TD hasn't noticed that trend over the last few years, how equipped is he to handle free agency? I think he'll learn & be fine, but I'm now nervous about this year, when I wasn't before reading this article.

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keithbrooking56 (2/21/2008)
DeathFromAbove (2/20/2008)
Hall was torched repeatedly, and basically gave away the Carolina game being a hothead.

Did you actually watch any of the games? Hall was the best cornerback in the league last season, hands down. He practically shut his side of the field down. He had an amazing season last year.

Best corner back in the league? LOL!

I guess that's why he made the pro bowl and didn't give up so many frist downs on slant routes or routes accross the middle. Hall is good but he isn't as good as he thinks he is or as good as many on the boards think. Also, he has loads of luggage he is carrying around.

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