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SPORTING NEWS ... LEDBETTER REPORT


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Posted: May 18, 2008

D. Orlando Ledbetter

For Sporting News

PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: The team is hopeful it can sign QB Matt Ryan and have him ready to take the field to start the season. Ryan was sharp running a two-minute drill with most of the first-team offense during minicamp. He completed all five of his passes in driving the offense 65 yards for a touchdown. The staff doesn't want to place a ceiling on Ryan, though he needs to learn the offense before he can compete with Chris Redman and Joey Harrington. The Falcons believe Ryan is smart enough to pull it off and be their starter sooner rather than later. . . .

LT Todd Weiner (microfracture knee surgery) is hoping to return by training camp. His presence would help stabilize the offensive line and keep the team from having to rush rookie Sam Baker. Weiner was part of the cut-blocking unit that helped the Falcons lead the league in rushing for three straight seasons. If Weiner and Baker are ready to play, Weiner could slide over to right tackle. . . .

D.J. Shockley is capable of beating out Joey Harrington for the No. 3 QB spot. Shockley has a strong and accurate arm, and before suffering a knee injury he had top-flight speed and great elusiveness in the pocket. Shockley participated in minicamp but was held out of team drills as he continued to recover from surgery on the knee. Coach Mike Smith has promised Shockley the opportunity to compete for a backup spot.

LINEBACKERS ANALYSIS: SLB Michael Boley is a force in the run game, he can drop back in coverage and run with tight ends and big receivers, and he can get to the quarterback on blitzes. He's on the verge of Pro Bowl status. Middle and weakside linebacker are interrelated. If rookie Curtis Lofton is ready to step into the middle, then Keith Brooking could slide back out to the weak side, where he was a Pro Bowl performer. If Brooking has to stay in the middle, second-year man Stephen Nicholas, a promising, fast, run-and-hit 'backer, should land the weakside spot. Nicholas or Brooking would be upgrades over Demorrio Williams, who missed multiple assignments weekly. Grade: B-. Pro Bowl-caliber players: Brooking, Boley.

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magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

because your "the Falcons" - even your own beat writer's don't respect you. However, saying Keith Brooking is a pro-bowler these days is a massive stretch. I would say the Falcons linebackers as a unit(assuming Lofton's a stud) would put us at a B+......there is my 2 cents...

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g-dawg (5/19/2008)
magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

because your "the Falcons" - even your own beat writer's don't respect you. However, saying Keith Brooking is a pro-bowler these days is a massive stretch. I would say the Falcons linebackers as a unit(assuming Lofton's a stud) would put us at a B+......there is my 2 cents...

Brooking is only a couple of years out from the pro-bowl .... a return to the weakside might be the ticket he needs.

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g-dawg (5/19/2008)
magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

because your "the Falcons" - even your own beat writer's don't respect you. However, saying Keith Brooking is a pro-bowler these days is a massive stretch. I would say the Falcons linebackers as a unit(assuming Lofton's a stud) would put us at a B+......there is my 2 cents...

True .... the question was rhetorical ... in the media Ryan will become a bust and Flacco will not be a stretch.

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g-dawg (5/19/2008)
magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

because your "the Falcons" - even your own beat writer's don't respect you. However, saying Keith Brooking is a pro-bowler these days is a massive stretch. I would say the Falcons linebackers as a unit(assuming Lofton's a stud) would put us at a B+......there is my 2 cents...

Even if Brooking has lost a step (which I think he has, and I'm a huge Brooking fan), the level of experience he has will more than make up for moving a little slower. Also, just having someone like Brooking around to mentor the young guys is huge. Even if he never takes another snap, you got one of the best teaching your young guys, and that's priceless.

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Brooking's pro bowl years were at WLB so if he can move back outside, he may have another pro bowl caliber season.  some uncertainty there though.  I would be surprised if Boley does not continue to improve and earn a pro bowl spot this season.  Lofton is a highly rated rookie but remains to be seen if he's NFL-ready from week 1 or not.  I think B- is a fair grade; if I had written the article I would have said B+

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snicker (5/19/2008)
Brooking's pro bowl years were at WLB so if he can move back outside, he may have another pro bowl caliber season. some uncertainty there though. I would be surprised if Boley does not continue to improve and earn a pro bowl spot this season. Lofton is a highly rated rookie but remains to be seen if he's NFL-ready from week 1 or not. I think B- is a fair grade; if I had written the article I would have said B+

I believe Brooking played some MLB in 2005 when Hartwell was hurt ... he made the pro-bowl.

B+ would be a fair grade without a track record for Lofton.

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magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

How ???

When you're not Dallas, Pittsburgh, New England, etc.

It's just like in High School or any other place where "cliques" rule.

Some things NEVER change.

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magnus23 (5/19/2008)
Posted: May 18, 2008

D. Orlando Ledbetter

For Sporting News

PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: The team is hopeful it can sign QB Matt Ryan and have him ready to take the field to start the season. Ryan was sharp running a two-minute drill with most of the first-team offense during minicamp. He completed all five of his passes in driving the offense 65 yards for a touchdown. The staff doesn't want to place a ceiling on Ryan, though he needs to learn the offense before he can compete with Chris Redman and Joey Harrington. The Falcons believe Ryan is smart enough to pull it off and be their starter sooner rather than later. . . .

LT Todd Weiner (microfracture knee surgery) is hoping to return by training camp. His presence would help stabilize the offensive line and keep the team from having to rush rookie Sam Baker. Weiner was part of the cut-blocking unit that helped the Falcons lead the league in rushing for three straight seasons. If Weiner and Baker are ready to play, Weiner could slide over to right tackle. . . .

D.J. Shockley is capable of beating out Joey Harrington for the No. 3 QB spot. Shockley has a strong and accurate arm, and before suffering a knee injury he had top-flight speed and great elusiveness in the pocket. Shockley participated in minicamp but was held out of team drills as he continued to recover from surgery on the knee. Coach Mike Smith has promised Shockley the opportunity to compete for a backup spot.

LINEBACKERS ANALYSIS: SLB Michael Boley is a force in the run game, he can drop back in coverage and run with tight ends and big receivers, and he can get to the quarterback on blitzes. He's on the verge of Pro Bowl status. Middle and weakside linebacker are interrelated. If rookie Curtis Lofton is ready to step into the middle, then Keith Brooking could slide back out to the weak side, where he was a Pro Bowl performer. If Brooking has to stay in the middle, second-year man Stephen Nicholas, a promising, fast, run-and-hit 'backer, should land the weakside spot. Nicholas or Brooking would be upgrades over Demorrio Williams, who missed multiple assignments weekly. Grade: B-. Pro Bowl-caliber players: Brooking, Boley.

How is it that Redmon and Harrington know the offense and Matty-Ice doesn't....:blink:  It's a new system. 

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Emmitt (5/19/2008)
I noticed funny somthing. Isn't Wei... Wein... The guy with the hurt knee a RT and the new kid the LT. Does this guy know what he's talking about. I can't stand an analyst that doesn't know anything !!!!!!!!

-Emmitt

 

Weiner has played left and right OT. He played RT when #7 was QB to protect his blind side.

What DOL doesn't understand is Weiner was signed by Reeves BEFORE the Falcons were a cut-block team.

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magnus23 (5/19/2008)
g-dawg (5/19/2008)
magnus23 (5/19/2008)
How do you get a "B-" when two out of three of your linebackers are pro-bowl quality with promising young upstarts in Lofton and Nicholas?

because your "the Falcons" - even your own beat writer's don't respect you. However, saying Keith Brooking is a pro-bowler these days is a massive stretch. I would say the Falcons linebackers as a unit(assuming Lofton's a stud) would put us at a B+......there is my 2 cents...

Brooking is only a couple of years out from the pro-bowl .... a return to the weakside might be the ticket he needs.

Brooking has been renamed "Highway 56" as the Falcons opponents run straight "OVER" him. Keith Brooking has been in serious decline for last few years.

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Nicholas is a stud I really believe he will be a Pro Bowler in a few years, I think Brooking is still playing at a high caliber and should return to the Pro Bowl at Weak Side LB. I think we can let Nicholas spell Brooking in a few plays a game and when Brooking's days are over in a few years Nicholas will keep the weak side strong. Them, Boily and the rookie will give us a LB Corp close to what the Saints had in the mid 80's. I don't know why we did not get an "A" at LB it is the only strong unit the Falcons have, except for QB now with Ryan and hopefully RB, with Turner and Norwood.:D
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Actually - I think our running back situation ... including fullback is top notch.

I also think that our wide receiver corp can bud into something special.

We are actually in good shape at the skill positions .... its the **** lines that are the cause for concern.

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