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Falcons roster still has some holes

Ledbetter Blog

By D. Orlando Ledbetter | Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 09:33 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Flowery Branch - You get the eerie feeling that Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Michael Smith are not done with this roster.

The cornerbacks are too young. There’s no kick returner unless they want to use Jerious Norwood, the No. 2 running back. The backup safeties are Antoine “Toolbox” Harris and rookie Thomas DeCoud. Center-guard Alex Stepanovich is still on the mend from a back injury.

There’s still some work to be done in the personnel department.

Dimitroff and personnel guru Les Snead are definitely monitoring the waiver wires and looking at some trade scenarios to help Smith before he plays his first game against Detroit on Sunday.

Let’s do a quick roster analysis to determine where the Birds can fortify their roster:

QB: (3) Matt Ryan, Chris Redman and D.J. Shockley. Comment: Shockley made the team with the touchdown drive right before halftime against Baltimore. Joey Harrington sealed his fate when tossed an interception against a bunch of backups against Baltimore.

RB: (5) Michael Turner, Norwood, Jason Snelling, Ovie Mughelli and Corey McIntyre. Comment: Nice group. Too bad Thomas Brown got injured. He had the team made as a kick returner.

WR: (6) Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, Brian Finneran, Laurent Robinson and Adam Jennings. Comment: Finneran had a special preseason after missing the last two seasons with knee surgeries. Jennings is your punt returner, who likely needs to stop fair catching so many punts.

TE: (3) Ben Hartsock, Martrez Milner, Justin Peelle. Comment: Starting to think that Hartsock’s hands might be under-rated. He’s no Alge Crumpler, but his hands are a little better than advertised. Milner still struggles with consistently catching the football.

O-LINE: (9) Todd McClure, Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Harvey Dahl, Tyson Clabo, Todd Weiner, Quinn Ojinnaka, Ben Wilkerson and Stepanovich. Comment: Kynan Forney’s exit was bizarre. He didn’t handle the demotion behind Dahl well and never fought back to take his spot.

D-LINE: (9) John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Grady Jackson, Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, Kroy Biermann, Simon Fraser, Kindal Moorehead and Jason Jefferson. Comment: Abraham needs some help in the pass rushing department from Anderson, Davis or possibly Biermann.

LB: (6) Keith Brooking, Curtis Lofton, Michael Boley, Coy Wire, Stephen Nicholas and Tony Gilbert. Comment: Taylor talked too much and seemed a bad chemistry fit. Enter Gilbert, a nose to the grind veteran, who goes about his business.

DB: (9) Brent Grimes, Chris Houston, Lawyer Milloy, Erik Coleman, Chevis Jackson, David Irons, Blue Adams, Antoine Harris and Thomas DeCoud. Comment: With Von Hutchins out for the season, this group of cornerbacks is too young. Keep an eye on the Domonique Foxworth situation in Denver, he’s on the trading block and could add some experience. Thought Daren Stone did enough to make the team with his special teams play. It will be interest to see where he lands.

SPECIALS: (3) Michael Koenen, Jason Elam and Mike Schenk. Comment: There’s a void at kick returner with the injury to Brown. The Falcons may not want to use Jerious Norwood, the No. 2 running back. Harry Douglas may be an option. After the initial cuts, the Falcons contacted Clifton Smith, who had five career punt returns for touchdowns and averaged 17.1 yards per return over his career at Fresno State. He was in camp with Tampa Bay and elected to take a spot on their practice squad.

Do your own breakdown. In which areas are the Falcons weak? Where are they solid? What else do they need? Feel free to leave some questions, I’m learning how to use the comment function and plan to periodically check back in today.

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This was a great blog from Ledbetter.

Some Info the I found interesting...

1. TE: (3) Ben Hartsock, Martrez Milner, Justin Peelle. Comment: Starting to think that Hartsock’s hands might be under-rated. He’s no Alge Crumpler, but his hands are a little better than advertised. Milner still struggles with consistently catching the football.

Why is this a shock? Milner has been dropping balls since his Senior year at UGA.

2. LB: (6) Keith Brooking, Curtis Lofton, Michael Boley, Coy Wire, Stephen Nicholas and Tony Gilbert. Comment: Taylor talked too much and seemed a bad chemistry fit. Enter Gilbert, a nose to the grind veteran, who goes about his business.

Interesting insight into why Taylor was cut. I assumed it was simply a need to have additional back-up experience for Lofton.

3. SPECIALS: (3) Michael Koenen, Jason Elam and Mike Schenk. Comment: There’s a void at kick returner with the injury to Brown. The Falcons may not want to use Jerious Norwood, the No. 2 running back. Harry Douglas may be an option. After the initial cuts, the Falcons contacted Clifton Smith, who had five career punt returns for touchdowns and averaged 17.1 yards per return over his career at Fresno State. He was in camp with Tampa Bay and elected to take a spot on their practice squad.

Clifton Smith turned us down to stay with TB. I wonder if the offer was to join our regular 53 squad. Either way, I think this proves we are really skeptical of Jennings.

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I really don't know what's out there. But I'd like to see another quality DT... Foxworth was a needed addition.

As far as KR goes, I don't understand why they don't want to use their best at that position! Injuries can happen at anytime, just deal with it and use the players that gives you the best chance to score. The point is you have to maximize the threat that is Norwood. Just giving him the third series of each game and to throw him in here and there to spell Turner, is not gonna do it for me. I want Norwood on the field anytime he has the chance.

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Falcons roster still has some holes

Ledbetter Blog

By D. Orlando Ledbetter | Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 09:33 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Flowery Branch - You get the eerie feeling that Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Michael Smith are not done with this roster.

The cornerbacks are too young. There's no kick returner unless they want to use Jerious Norwood, the No. 2 running back. The backup safeties are Antoine "Toolbox" Harris and rookie Thomas DeCoud. Center-guard Alex Stepanovich is still on the mend from a back injury.

There's still some work to be done in the personnel department.

Dimitroff and personnel guru Les Snead are definitely monitoring the waiver wires and looking at some trade scenarios to help Smith before he plays his first game against Detroit on Sunday.

Let's do a quick roster analysis to determine where the Birds can fortify their roster:

QB: (3) Matt Ryan, Chris Redman and D.J. Shockley. Comment: Shockley made the team with the touchdown drive right before halftime against Baltimore. Joey Harrington sealed his fate when tossed an interception against a bunch of backups against Baltimore.

RB: (5) Michael Turner, Norwood, Jason Snelling, Ovie Mughelli and Corey McIntyre. Comment: Nice group. Too bad Thomas Brown got injured. He had the team made as a kick returner.

WR: (6) Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, Brian Finneran, Laurent Robinson and Adam Jennings. Comment: Finneran had a special preseason after missing the last two seasons with knee surgeries. Jennings is your punt returner, who likely needs to stop fair catching so many punts.

TE: (3) Ben Hartsock, Martrez Milner, Justin Peelle. Comment: Starting to think that Hartsock's hands might be under-rated. He's no Alge Crumpler, but his hands are a little better than advertised. Milner still struggles with consistently catching the football.

O-LINE: (9) Todd McClure, Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Harvey Dahl, Tyson Clabo, Todd Weiner, Quinn Ojinnaka, Ben Wilkerson and Stepanovich. Comment: Kynan Forney's exit was bizarre. He didn't handle the demotion behind Dahl well and never fought back to take his spot.

D-LINE: (9) John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Grady Jackson, Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, Kroy Biermann, Simon Fraser, Kindal Moorehead and Jason Jefferson. Comment: Abraham needs some help in the pass rushing department from Anderson, Davis or possibly Biermann.

LB: (6) Keith Brooking, Curtis Lofton, Michael Boley, Coy Wire, Stephen Nicholas and Tony Gilbert. Comment: Taylor talked too much and seemed a bad chemistry fit. Enter Gilbert, a nose to the grind veteran, who goes about his business.

DB: (9) Brent Grimes, Chris Houston, Lawyer Milloy, Erik Coleman, Chevis Jackson, David Irons, Blue Adams, Antoine Harris and Thomas DeCoud. Comment: With Von Hutchins out for the season, this group of cornerbacks is too young. Keep an eye on the Domonique Foxworth situation in Denver, he's on the trading block and could add some experience. Thought Daren Stone did enough to make the team with his special teams play. It will be interest to see where he lands.

SPECIALS: (3) Michael Koenen, Jason Elam and Mike Schenk. Comment: There's a void at kick returner with the injury to Brown. The Falcons may not want to use Jerious Norwood, the No. 2 running back. Harry Douglas may be an option. After the initial cuts, the Falcons contacted Clifton Smith, who had five career punt returns for touchdowns and averaged 17.1 yards per return over his career at Fresno State. He was in camp with Tampa Bay and elected to take a spot on their practice squad.

Do your own breakdown. In which areas are the Falcons weak? Where are they solid? What else do they need? Feel free to leave some questions, I'm learning how to use the comment function and plan to periodically check back in today.

Thanks for the info

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Well it is an interesting read by Ledbetter. He has done a decent job of reviewing where we are at, and I can't really criticize any particular point he makes. He does give some insider scoop on Taylor that is interesting. That was the first inkling that all was not well with Taylor. I just thought that Lofton had simply beaten him in the competition.

But Ledbetter did pick us to go 1-15 in July, and I won't forget that either. B)

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I don't see us making a deal for another CB, but I could certainly see us trying to pick up another DT somewhere along the line.

Maybe we can make a deal for a worthwhile guy to really solidify our D. I wouldn't put this past TD, but only if he thinks we are in a position to contend sooner rather than later.

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I don't see us making a deal for another CB, but I could certainly see us trying to pick up another DT somewhere along the line.

Maybe we can make a deal for a worthwhile guy to really solidify our D. I wouldn't put this past TD, but only if he thinks we are in a position to contend sooner rather than later.

I guess you mean another DT besides the Jason Jefferson pick up.

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