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Sorry if this has been posted but here tis anyway....

NOTES, QUOTES

Signs indicate that the Falcons aren't going to sign free agent defensive tackle Grady Jackson, who they cut in the middle of '07 and who signed with Jacksonville, and played for current Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. The Falcons have made no contact with Jackson, who was their most productive defensive tackle in '06 and '07.

The Falcons have no notable space eaters on the defensive line of Jackson's pedigree. Jackson is being mildly courted by the Raiders, Patriots and Jaguars but no team has extended him a contract.

Though the talk of a trade that would send WR Joe Horn to Dallas has quieted, it is not dead, according to sources. The teams have had no discussions but the Cowboys are said to be doing their homework on Horn in case they part ways with WR Terry Glenn and opt to pursue another veteran. It wouldn't take much to pry Horn from Atlanta, which would love to unload his guaranteed, $2.5 million salary.

The Falcons had to relocate their successful interactive fan festival, known as Midtown Touchdown, from Piedmont Park to the Georgia Dome Aug. 2 because the drought conditions in Atlanta have caused the downtown park to restrict public gatherings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've made no contact with Dallas or they with me." Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff regarding reports that the Cowboys and Falcons were engaged in trade talks regarding wide receiver Joe Horn.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The recent signing of veteran journeyman Deke Cooper went under the radar but it could turn out to be an important acquisition. Cooper started 15 games for Carolina last season and was brought in to push veteran Lawyer Milloy the leader of the team.

Though Milloy would be hard to unseat an injury or poor training camp could lead to his demise, especially since he is in the last year of his contract. If Cooper doesn't unseat Milloy, he could replace Daren Stone as the backup. Stone, a second-year player, has a ton of promise, but a DUI arrest this summer hurt his stock on a team looking to upgrade its character.

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK: Starter Chris Redman. Backups Matt Ryan, Joey Harrington, D.J. Shockley.

This will be the biggest position of intrigue because the clock on Redman's storybook rise to starter began to tick toward expiration April 27, when the Falcons took Ryan with the third overall pick. Redman, who fought back from NFL exile to be the team's No. 3 quarterback entering last season, will open training camp because he's the most polished of the group. Plus, teammates trust him. However, he's never started more than six games in a season and his merit with the Falcons is based off four starts in '07 three of which were losses. If Atlanta is competitive early on, Redman could get a prolonged lifeline. Should the team crash, Ryan could be inserted depending on the reliability of a very sketchy offensive line. Shockley and Harrington will compete for the No. 3 job.

RUNNING BACKS: Starters RB Michael Turner, FB Ovie Mughelli. Backups RB Jerious Norwood, RB Jason Snelling, RB Thomas Brown, FB Corey McIntyre.

Turner and Norwood could form a game-breaking tandem. Turner has averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry in his four-year career. Norwood is at a 6.2 yards-per-carry average in two NFL seasons. The concern is that neither has consistently been given a wealth of touches. The Falcons are hoping that Turner has the physical and mental toughness to grind through a season in a run-heavy offense. The fleet Norwood could see his touches come in a variety of forms but they will come. Norwood could be the biggest game changer on the roster but two coaches haven't figured out to use him. The wild card could be the rookie, Brown. Though he has to beat out Snelling (his style is similar to Turner, without the breakaway speed), Brown is a Darren Sproles-type who is a big-play threat. Mughelli will be a constant in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's run-heavy system.

TIGHT ENDS: Starters Ben Hartsock, Martrez Milner. Backups Keith Zinger, Brad Listorti.

With Alge Crumpler's departure, so too went the receiving threat at the position. Martrez Milner will serve as the motion/H-back tight end, but don't expect him to produce Chris Cooley numbers. He will be used just as much as a blocking option as he will a receiver. Hartsock will be mostly a third tackle, who could end up lining up a lot on the left side to help rookie tackle Sam Baker. Zinger, a rookie, is a blocker, but he could end up on the practice squad of Listorti, an impressive receiving tight end, continues to blossom as he did in mini camp.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters Roddy White, Laurent Robinson. Backups Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, Joe Horn, Adam Jennings, Brian Finneran, Eric Weems.

White and Robinson are both big targets with breakaway speed and strength to shrug off initial contact. White shed his two-year bust tag with an 83-catch, 1,200-yard 2007 season. He finally has the confidence of a big-time receiver, however, his numbers will likely shrink with the emergence of Robinson and the run-heavy scheme. Robinson was a spot starter as a rookie, but he showed unbridled toughness and the ability to make catches at all three levels. Douglas is the small slot receiver who has shown promise. Jenkins, a one-time starter, could be the No. 4 WR, with usage coming either in the red zone or as a blocker in certain formations. Horn wants out but his contract (guaranteed $2.5 million) isn't appealing to trade partners. His money makes him tough to cut but teams don't want their No. 5 WR not to play special teams. That could leave Horn as a game-day inactive, which would be a sad ending of a career for a one-time, Pro Bowl regular.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters LT Sam Baker, LG Justin Blalock, C Todd McClure, RG Harvey Dahl, RT Todd Weiner. Backups LT Quinn Ojinnaka, G/C Alex Stepanovich, Ben Wilkerson, G Kynan Forney, T Tyson Clabo.

This unsettled unit could make or break the offense. McClure is as solid as they come, but the left side of Blalock and Baker can hardly be assuring. Baker is a rookie and he's not Joe Thomas. He will have his good and bad moments. Blalock really struggled last season as a rookie and he must inject some tenacity into his game if he is to avoid being the weak link again. Dahl seemingly has gained favor over Forney for his size (6-5, 318) and nasty demeanor. However, Forney is a seasoned workhorse while Dahl has spent three seasons primarily as a practice squad player. Weiner will regain his right tackle job if he is able to fully return from micro fracture knee surgery. There was some question about Weiner's availability at the start of the season, but his rehabilitation went faster than expected. If Weiner isn't at full strength, the reliable Clabo a better run than pass blocker will start on the right side.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters LE Jamaal Anderson, LT Jonathan Babineaux, RT Montavious Stanley, RE John Abraham. Backups E Chauncey Davis, E Kroy Biermann, E Simon Fraser, T Rashad Moore, T Kindal Moorehead, T Tim Anderson, T Trey Lewis.

Abraham is coming off a solid 10-sack season in which he stayed healthy, which is always the addendum to his success. The Falcons hope he can avoid injury again but with the abundance of double and triple teams he will see, it will be a test. Without a stud, pass-rushing tackle beside him, Abraham is going to have to be at his best to register double-digit sacks. Stanley, Moore, Babineaux and Moorehead will form the interior rotation. None is great against the pass or run, so this could be a problem. Lewis was emerging as a perfect nose tackle fit, but he tore his ACL late last season as a rookie then re-tore it while walking down steps this spring. Anderson is the wild card. He was solid against the run but failed to register a sack in 16 starts last season. The problem could be that he tries too much to be a speed rusher instead of using his long arms and big hands to smack and distract opposing linemen as a complement with his speed.

LINEBACKERS: Starters WLB Keith Brooking, MLB Curtis Lofton, SLB Michael Boley. Backups WLB Stephen Nicholas, MLB Tony Taylor, SLB Robert James, Travis Williams.

This is the strength of the defense, and maybe the team, but there are potential cracks. Brooking, a five-time Pro Bowler, returns to his natural spot after playing in the middle the past three seasons. His tenacious side-to-side pursuit and pass-rushing skills will be highlighted by playing in open space. Brooking is getting long in the tooth, though, but he's going to give full effort. Boley is a potential Pro Bowler who can cover, rush and play the run well. He is battling a domestic battery charge and he is in the last year of his contract. Those are off-field issues that could prove motivational or be big distractions. Lofton is a thumper who could finally fill a position that hasn't been properly addressed in years. However, he is not the greatest athlete and might only be a two-down MLB. He also will be playing behind an interior that is loaded with question marks.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters LCB Brent Grimes/Von Hutchins, SS Lawyer Milloy/Deke Cooper, FS Erik Coleman, RCB Chris Houston/Chevis Jackson. Backups CB Grimes/Hutchins, CB Houston/Jackson, FS Thomas DeCoud, SS Daren Stone, FS Antoine Harris, CB Wilrey Fontenot, David Irons.

No area of the team is as unsettled as the secondary, where it could be argued that no player has earned a starting job. Milloy seemingly is a lock, since he's still got some game left and is the most respected player in the locker room. Even so, Atlanta brought in Cooper, who started 15 games for Carolina in '07, to compete for the position. Both corner spots are open and Jackson, a rookie from LSU, is a player the team desperately wants on the field. He is a rookie, though, so there will be growing pains. Grimes is the only real man coverage defensive back but at 5-9, 185, he is small. Houston started most of last season, but durability and desire are growing concerns. Coleman was signed as a free agent but he is more of a run support free safety, which isn't overly ideal in a Cover-2 scheme. DeCoud could eventually emerge as the starter. Hutchins will be a factor in nickel sets.

SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Jason Elam, P/KO Michael Koenen, LS Mike Schneck, KOR Jerious Norwood, KOR Thomas Brown, PR Brown/Adam Jennings.

The free-agent addition of the 36-year-old Elam follows three years of failed experiments with unproven kickers to start the season. The Falcons are just hoping he has some punch left in his leg, seeing as though they might not venture into the red zone too often. The return game is unsettled, even though Norwood was one of the better kickoff returners in the league (25.3-yard average) last season. Norwood is expected to have an increased role on offense so rookie RB Thomas Brown could end up handling kickoff and punt return duties.

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bart (7/20/2008)
Sorry if this has been posted but here tis anyway....

NOTES, QUOTES

Signs indicate that the Falcons aren't going to sign free agent defensive tackle Grady Jackson, who they cut in the middle of '07 and who signed with Jacksonville, and played for current Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. The Falcons have made no contact with Jackson, who was their most productive defensive tackle in '06 and '07.

The Falcons have no notable space eaters on the defensive line of Jackson's pedigree. Jackson is being mildly courted by the Raiders, Patriots and Jaguars but no team has extended him a contract.

Though the talk of a trade that would send WR Joe Horn to Dallas has quieted, it is not dead, according to sources. The teams have had no discussions but the Cowboys are said to be doing their homework on Horn in case they part ways with WR Terry Glenn and opt to pursue another veteran. It wouldn't take much to pry Horn from Atlanta, which would love to unload his guaranteed, $2.5 million salary.

The Falcons had to relocate their successful interactive fan festival, known as Midtown Touchdown, from Piedmont Park to the Georgia Dome Aug. 2 because the drought conditions in Atlanta have caused the downtown park to restrict public gatherings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've made no contact with Dallas or they with me." Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff regarding reports that the Cowboys and Falcons were engaged in trade talks regarding wide receiver Joe Horn.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The recent signing of veteran journeyman Deke Cooper went under the radar but it could turn out to be an important acquisition. Cooper started 15 games for Carolina last season and was brought in to push veteran Lawyer Milloy the leader of the team.

Though Milloy would be hard to unseat an injury or poor training camp could lead to his demise, especially since he is in the last year of his contract. If Cooper doesn't unseat Milloy, he could replace Daren Stone as the backup. Stone, a second-year player, has a ton of promise, but a DUI arrest this summer hurt his stock on a team looking to upgrade its character.

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK: Starter Chris Redman. Backups Matt Ryan, Joey Harrington, D.J. Shockley.

This will be the biggest position of intrigue because the clock on Redman's storybook rise to starter began to tick toward expiration April 27, when the Falcons took Ryan with the third overall pick. Redman, who fought back from NFL exile to be the team's No. 3 quarterback entering last season, will open training camp because he's the most polished of the group. Plus, teammates trust him. However, he's never started more than six games in a season and his merit with the Falcons is based off four starts in '07 three of which were losses. If Atlanta is competitive early on, Redman could get a prolonged lifeline. Should the team crash, Ryan could be inserted depending on the reliability of a very sketchy offensive line. Shockley and Harrington will compete for the No. 3 job.

RUNNING BACKS: Starters RB Michael Turner, FB Ovie Mughelli. Backups RB Jerious Norwood, RB Jason Snelling, RB Thomas Brown, FB Corey McIntyre.

Turner and Norwood could form a game-breaking tandem. Turner has averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry in his four-year career. Norwood is at a 6.2 yards-per-carry average in two NFL seasons. The concern is that neither has consistently been given a wealth of touches. The Falcons are hoping that Turner has the physical and mental toughness to grind through a season in a run-heavy offense. The fleet Norwood could see his touches come in a variety of forms but they will come. Norwood could be the biggest game changer on the roster but two coaches haven't figured out to use him. The wild card could be the rookie, Brown. Though he has to beat out Snelling (his style is similar to Turner, without the breakaway speed), Brown is a Darren Sproles-type who is a big-play threat. Mughelli will be a constant in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's run-heavy system.

TIGHT ENDS: Starters Ben Hartsock, Martrez Milner. Backups Keith Zinger, Brad Listorti.

With Alge Crumpler's departure, so too went the receiving threat at the position. Martrez Milner will serve as the motion/H-back tight end, but don't expect him to produce Chris Cooley numbers. He will be used just as much as a blocking option as he will a receiver. Hartsock will be mostly a third tackle, who could end up lining up a lot on the left side to help rookie tackle Sam Baker. Zinger, a rookie, is a blocker, but he could end up on the practice squad of Listorti, an impressive receiving tight end, continues to blossom as he did in mini camp.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters Roddy White, Laurent Robinson. Backups Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, Joe Horn, Adam Jennings, Brian Finneran, Eric Weems.

White and Robinson are both big targets with breakaway speed and strength to shrug off initial contact. White shed his two-year bust tag with an 83-catch, 1,200-yard 2007 season. He finally has the confidence of a big-time receiver, however, his numbers will likely shrink with the emergence of Robinson and the run-heavy scheme. Robinson was a spot starter as a rookie, but he showed unbridled toughness and the ability to make catches at all three levels. Douglas is the small slot receiver who has shown promise. Jenkins, a one-time starter, could be the No. 4 WR, with usage coming either in the red zone or as a blocker in certain formations. Horn wants out but his contract (guaranteed $2.5 million) isn't appealing to trade partners. His money makes him tough to cut but teams don't want their No. 5 WR not to play special teams. That could leave Horn as a game-day inactive, which would be a sad ending of a career for a one-time, Pro Bowl regular.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters LT Sam Baker, LG Justin Blalock, C Todd McClure, RG Harvey Dahl, RT Todd Weiner. Backups LT Quinn Ojinnaka, G/C Alex Stepanovich, Ben Wilkerson, G Kynan Forney, T Tyson Clabo.

This unsettled unit could make or break the offense. McClure is as solid as they come, but the left side of Blalock and Baker can hardly be assuring. Baker is a rookie and he's not Joe Thomas. He will have his good and bad moments. Blalock really struggled last season as a rookie and he must inject some tenacity into his game if he is to avoid being the weak link again. Dahl seemingly has gained favor over Forney for his size (6-5, 318) and nasty demeanor. However, Forney is a seasoned workhorse while Dahl has spent three seasons primarily as a practice squad player. Weiner will regain his right tackle job if he is able to fully return from micro fracture knee surgery. There was some question about Weiner's availability at the start of the season, but his rehabilitation went faster than expected. If Weiner isn't at full strength, the reliable Clabo a better run than pass blocker will start on the right side.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters LE Jamaal Anderson, LT Jonathan Babineaux, RT Montavious Stanley, RE John Abraham. Backups E Chauncey Davis, E Kroy Biermann, E Simon Fraser, T Rashad Moore, T Kindal Moorehead, T Tim Anderson, T Trey Lewis.

Abraham is coming off a solid 10-sack season in which he stayed healthy, which is always the addendum to his success. The Falcons hope he can avoid injury again but with the abundance of double and triple teams he will see, it will be a test. Without a stud, pass-rushing tackle beside him, Abraham is going to have to be at his best to register double-digit sacks. Stanley, Moore, Babineaux and Moorehead will form the interior rotation. None is great against the pass or run, so this could be a problem. Lewis was emerging as a perfect nose tackle fit, but he tore his ACL late last season as a rookie then re-tore it while walking down steps this spring. Anderson is the wild card. He was solid against the run but failed to register a sack in 16 starts last season. The problem could be that he tries too much to be a speed rusher instead of using his long arms and big hands to smack and distract opposing linemen as a complement with his speed.

LINEBACKERS: Starters WLB Keith Brooking, MLB Curtis Lofton, SLB Michael Boley. Backups WLB Stephen Nicholas, MLB Tony Taylor, SLB Robert James, Travis Williams.

This is the strength of the defense, and maybe the team, but there are potential cracks. Brooking, a five-time Pro Bowler, returns to his natural spot after playing in the middle the past three seasons. His tenacious side-to-side pursuit and pass-rushing skills will be highlighted by playing in open space. Brooking is getting long in the tooth, though, but he's going to give full effort. Boley is a potential Pro Bowler who can cover, rush and play the run well. He is battling a domestic battery charge and he is in the last year of his contract. Those are off-field issues that could prove motivational or be big distractions. Lofton is a thumper who could finally fill a position that hasn't been properly addressed in years. However, he is not the greatest athlete and might only be a two-down MLB. He also will be playing behind an interior that is loaded with question marks.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters LCB Brent Grimes/Von Hutchins, SS Lawyer Milloy/Deke Cooper, FS Erik Coleman, RCB Chris Houston/Chevis Jackson. Backups CB Grimes/Hutchins, CB Houston/Jackson, FS Thomas DeCoud, SS Daren Stone, FS Antoine Harris, CB Wilrey Fontenot, David Irons.

No area of the team is as unsettled as the secondary, where it could be argued that no player has earned a starting job. Milloy seemingly is a lock, since he's still got some game left and is the most respected player in the locker room. Even so, Atlanta brought in Cooper, who started 15 games for Carolina in '07, to compete for the position. Both corner spots are open and Jackson, a rookie from LSU, is a player the team desperately wants on the field. He is a rookie, though, so there will be growing pains. Grimes is the only real man coverage defensive back but at 5-9, 185, he is small. Houston started most of last season, but durability and desire are growing concerns. Coleman was signed as a free agent but he is more of a run support free safety, which isn't overly ideal in a Cover-2 scheme. DeCoud could eventually emerge as the starter. Hutchins will be a factor in nickel sets.

SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Jason Elam, P/KO Michael Koenen, LS Mike Schneck, KOR Jerious Norwood, KOR Thomas Brown, PR Brown/Adam Jennings.

The free-agent addition of the 36-year-old Elam follows three years of failed experiments with unproven kickers to start the season. The Falcons are just hoping he has some punch left in his leg, seeing as though they might not venture into the red zone too often. The return game is unsettled, even though Norwood was one of the better kickoff returners in the league (25.3-yard average) last season. Norwood is expected to have an increased role on offense so rookie RB Thomas Brown could end up handling kickoff and punt return duties.

mr blank need to let go of his pride and sign big grady since they didn't do the right thing by drafting glenn dorsey.

if dj shockley stay healthy through preseason he will be our #1 qb unless matt ryran huge contract  says otherwise.

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