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Falcons Team Report 5-16-2007


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Falcons report: Inside slant

 

May 16, 2008

The Sports Xchange

 

 

As much as the Falcons tried to make their recent minicamp about the team, it turned out being about first-round draft pick Matt Ryan, the quarterback of the not-so-distant future.

To emphasize the point, the final exercise of the three-day session was a two-minute drill, with Ryan working with most of the No. 1 offensive personnel against the No. 3 defense. Ryan completed all five passes he threw, including a minicamp-ending touchdown.

"We are not going to rule out anything in terms of who is going to start," coach Mike Smith said. "We are not going to put a ceiling on any of our players whether if it's the quarterback, offensive tackle, linebacker. We are going to let them go out and compete.

"I will say this: the quarterback position is probably one of the more difficult positions to make the transition. But if any body can do it, Matt is a guy that can."

Chris Redman is the starter for now and he looked much better than Ryan at all facets of the game. Redman had an April mini-camp to learn some of the nuances that Ryan was learning, however, the gap is closing.

After the first practice at mini camp, Ryan asked for DVDs of the workout and of the offense so he could get up to speed. During the evening practice, he was getting veterans properly aligned or set in motion when the call dictated as much.

Even more impressive was Ryan's interaction with his teammates. He immediately acted as if he belonged, without being overbearing. His humble assertiveness was appreciated by teammates, who, by the end of minicamp were calling him by the nickname he earned at Boston College, "Matty Ice."

Though hardly a full representation of the cynical overall fan base, the 4,000 or so fans that attended the three open practices were very supportive of Ryan. His No. 2 jersey was sold at a souvenir trailer and dozens of people, from kids to adults, sported his jersey more than any other players.

Ryan's insertion as the starter in 2008 will be determined by much more than how well he learns the scheme, adjusts to opposing defenses and how he plays in preseason. The offensive line remains a work in progress and everyone has to get in sync with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's new system.

Regarding that system, tailback Michael Turner, signed from San Diego to a six-year, $34.5 million contract, said things would be basic enough for any quarterback, as long as the Falcons stick to the blueprint.

"The running back room knows it's on them this year," Turner said. "We're going to take care of the quarterback, whoever the starting quarterback may be."

 

 

Falcons report: Notes, quotes

 

May 16, 2008

The Sports Xchange

 

 

 

--Veteran WR Joe Horn has seen the writing on the wall and he wants out. Horn said this week that he would like to be traded to a team that could actually use him as more than just a mentor.

"They're going with the younger guys and I don't have a problem with that if that's the course they've chosen," Horn said. "I want to have an opportunity to play with a team that needs a veteran to play and contribute and who helps the young guys."

General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team still has plans for Horn. Whether those are to retain him is anyone's guess but Horn's $2.5 million salary this season is guaranteed, according to his agent.

With close to $10 million remaining on a four-year, $14.5 million deal -- it could escalate to $17.5 -- it is unlikely any team would trade for Horn.

--There was more shuffling along the offensive line, except the deck ended up being stacked the same way it was at the end of last season. >From left to right: T Quinn Ojinnaka, G Justin Blalock, C Todd McClure, G Kynan Forney, T Tyson Clabo.

Blalock spent last training camp at RT, Ojinnaka at LG and Clabo backing up both tackle spots. Come training camp, the OL could look more like this: LT Sam Baker, LG Blalock, C McClure, RG Forney, RT Todd Weiner.

Weiner is still recovering from major knee surgery but he is scheduled to begin running next week. Weiner said he expects to be ready to play by training camp.

--The happiest player at Falcons minicamp was linebacker Keith Brooking. The 10-year veteran is back at weak-side linebacker, courtesy of draft pick Curtis Lofton. Lofton worked in the middle along with second-year player Tony Taylor. The coaching staff loves Lofton and if he can handle the physical rigors once the pads come on late this summer, he will take over MLB, where Brooking has played the past three years out of necessity.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"I want to win a Super Bowl and I want to win a Super Bowl here in Atlanta but I don't think I can help this team win a Super Bowl sitting on the bench, waiting for third down." -- Wide receiver Joe Horn, who believes he is being fazed out and wants to be traded.

In this world of trend setting and trend stealing, the Falcons are set to pick off the Giants' usage of three defensive ends in pass-rushing situations.

Jamaal Anderson, last season's first-round pick, could be used at end on first and second downs, but on third down he could be "reduced" inside, much like Justin Tuck was for New York. John Abraham would still rush off the right side.

Outside linebacker Michael Boley, draft pick Kroy Biermann or a yet-to-be discovered speed rusher would be employed off the left edge. Besides trying to get up-field push, coaches feel that Anderson's height (6-6) and length could disrupt interior passing lanes.

As for Anderson, he also will align on the outside edge of the offensive tackle or tight end in base defense sets. He was routinely stationed head-up on players last season and was easier to block, especially on passing downs, where a hot receiver or a slot player could chip him and allow the pass blocker to lock him up.

MEDICAL WATCH

WR Brian Finneran, who tore his right ACL twice the past two seasons and has not played, took part in three of the five minicamp practices. They were his first football-related activities since training camp of '06. Finneran had to miss two practices as a precaution.

QB D.J. Shockley, also recovering from a torn ACL, took part in all individual drills in his first football-related activity since getting hurt in a preseason game against Buffalo. His medical limitations have him fourth on the QB depth chart, but if he gets healthy through OTAs and has a strong preseason, he could push Joey Harrington for a roster spot.

Second-year NT Trey Lewis (torn ACL) did not participate in any mini-camp drills and likely won't be ready for the start of training camp.

FRANCHISE PLAYER

None.

TRANSITION PLAYER

None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--PK Morten Andersen is a reliable geriatric kicker that still has some leg left but the signing of Jason Elam takes him out of the picture.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--FS Erik Coleman: UFA Jets; $10M/4 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.

--K Jason Elam: UFA Broncos; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.

--DE Simon Fraser: Not tendered as RFA by Browns; terms unknown.

--TE Ben Hartsock: UFA Titans; $9M/4 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.

--CB Von Hutchins: UFA Texans; $9M/4 yrs, $2.5M.

--FB Corey McIntyre: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

--DT Rashad Moore: Not tendered as RFA by Patriots; terms unknown.

--DT Kindal Moorehead: UFA Panthers; terms unknown.

--C Alex Stepanovich: UFA Bengals; terms unknown.

--RB Michael Turner: UFA Chargers; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--DT Tim Anderson: UFA; terms unknown.

--LB Michael Boley: RFA; $2.017M/1 yr.

--OL Tyson Clabo: ERFA; terms unknown.

--DE Chauncey Davis: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

--QB Joey Harrington: FA, had been released by Falcons; $1M/1 yr, $300,000 SB.

--P Michael Koenen: RFA' $1.47M/1 yr.

--QB Chris Redman: UFA; $4M/2 yrs, $2.75M SB.

--NT Montavious Stanley: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--TE Courtney Anderson: UFA Bills; terms unknown.

--TE Dwayne Blakley: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--DT Rod Coleman (released).

--S Chris Crocker: UFA Dolphins; 1.15M/1 yr, $300,000 SB.

--TE Alge Crumpler (released).

--RB Warrick Dunn (released).

--WR Jamin Elliott (released).

--OT Wayne Gandy (released).

--CB DeAngelo Hall (traded Raiders).

--QB Byron Leftwich (released).

--S Omare Lowe: UFA Seahawks; $605,000/1 yr.

--CB Lewis Sanders (released).

--LB Marcus Wilkins (released).

--OLB Demorrio Williams: UFA Chiefs; $16M/5 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.

 

 

 

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Sun Tzu 7 (5/16/2008)
After the first practice at mini camp, Ryan asked for DVDs of the workout and of the offense so he could get up to speed.

OK, I like that...

What I like even more is that he was applying what he saw on the DVD's in subsequent practices. Nice. The learning curve for this boy will be steep.

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What I like even more is that he was applying what he saw on the DVD's in subsequent practices. Nice. The learning curve for this boy will be steep.

Yes the curve will be steep but I like what I hear so far...

I also like that I'm hearing this from somewhere OTHER than the front office or Blank...  because once they realize that fans like this... we're going to be heaing it from them ALL THE TIME....

Just like we did with Vick.... but we know now that was false information...

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As for Anderson, he also will align on the outside edge of the offensive tackle or tight end in base defense sets. He was routinely stationed head-up on players last season and was easier to block, especially on passing downs, where a hot receiver or a slot player could chip him and allow the pass blocker to lock him up.

 

You know I also thought the same thing last year, but I wondered why they didn't move him around more. More poor coaching? 

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Sun Tzu 7 (5/16/2008)
rugger8 (5/16/2008)
By steep, I meant the shape of the curve if you were to graph it- as in he will learn quickly.

We'll see. I think he'll get the play book down quickly but he still needs to get use to NFL game speed which will only come through experience.

Totally agree. But if he doesn't have to think so much about what to do, and it comes naturally because he learned it quickly, he can react in game situations more naturally and more quickly. But yes, I know, it's all conjecture at this point.

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Totally agree. But if he doesn't have to think so much about what to do, and it comes naturally because he learned it quickly, he can react in game situations more naturally and more quickly. But yes, I know, it's all conjecture at this point.

Yes,  but if his work ethic is as advertised then we might be able to see improvement during the season.

I'll be interesting to see what his "2nd year jump" is like.

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I really think we will be pleasantly surprised with Anderson this year.  With some real coaching and diffferent ways to use his strengths he should have a much more impactfull year.  I love the idea of moving him to the interior on obvious passing plays, he should be very disruptive, then we can put pure speed on outsides. 

That is where the Giants D-line really excelled was from the coach using his players and scheming them into opportunities.

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londonfalcon (5/16/2008)
falconfansince66 (5/16/2008)
The thing that really amazes me about those articles: No references to YKW!! :)

Thanks for posting!

You beat me too it. They must be the first articles not to mention the dreaded V word!!!

I'm impressed!!  :)

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So far Matt Ryan has really shown himself to be the model of what a QB and a team mate should be.  I was very impressed with him in his interview with Jamie Dukes on the NFL Network last night and I am really happy to see that he wants to do everything that he can to start and win in the NFL right  now.  That's a change from the past.

I would like to see Horn stay but the fact is he just may not be in the plans.  When you are re-building you really don't need an aging wide receiver who piqued years ago.  The signing made sense to me but the amount of money that we payed him never did.

The offensive line rotation scares the **** out of me.

Happy to see Brooking moved back outside for two reasons.  First he plays better in space and second I want to see Curtis Lofton play.  I wanted him in the draft and I was shocked when we actually picked him because we never draft the guys I want.

Still hate the Jamaal Anderson signing but I thought that we did play him wrong last season.  If a guy has speed why do you line him up inside the tackle and make him try to run through a wall?  Line him up outside and let him use his speed and strength.  The whole Mike Smith philosophy is based on pressure from the front four so unless we want our secondary torched Jamaal had better improve a whole lot from year one.

Interested in seeing him at tackle too.

I thought I had read that Trey Lewis was done for the year after slipping on the stairs but if not then that's good news.

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londonfalcon (5/16/2008)
falconfansince66 (5/16/2008)
The thing that really amazes me about those articles: No references to YKW!! :)

Thanks for posting!

You beat me too it. They must be the first articles not to mention the dreaded V word!!!

when it comes to football his name should never be mentioned again, unless it references how much his cap charge is hurting us or the day he gets officially cut.
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