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Young Talent on Defense

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Matt Ryan is the young franchise QB who's going to win us a lot of games for a long time, but TD has given Smith the most talented D he's had since being with this team and we've got a lot of young talent on D that's just getting better and better.

1st let's look at the players we have this season that we didn't last season

DT-Jerry (1st round 09), Peters (3rd round 10)

LB-Spoon (1st round 10)

CB Robinson (10th overall 04)

SS Moore (2nd round 09)

Now let's look at the players that played last year that are going to be better this season

Biermann-21 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks as a rookie, 49 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks in his 2nd year. He's put on weight since coming into the league and has flashed the burst to blow by tackles and get to the QB

Sidbury-Only 5 tackles and a sack his 1st year, a similiar player to Biermann but came in bigger, hopefully he shows some development this season

Davis-Will be key as a run defender keeping the others fresh, capable of getting about 4 sacks if given the chance still only 27

Babineaux-Our best D linemen last season, coming off a career year with 47 tackles 10 tackles for a loss and 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, 28 and poised for a Pro Bowl year

Johnson-Had 20 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss after not being in the league in the year before. 28 and set to be the #4 DT behind Babs Jerry and Peters

Walker-Got to play a bit in the 2nd half of the season as a rookie. The year before he got drafted Walker had a monster season with 45 tackles, 14 for a loss and 8.5 sacks. If he works out he could be a real steal

Lofton-The rock solid anchor of our run D coming into his 3rd season will luck to improve in his 3rd down abilities as a pass defender and blitzer. Luckily we have the athletic Spoon to compliment him perfectly.

Nicholas-The athletic LB responded well to his first season as a starter with a productive year and the addition of Spoon will free him up to blitz or pass rush as a DE.

Grimes-His first year seeing major playing time he had 66 tackles 13 passes defensed and 6 interceptions. Hes listed as 5-10, 181 though he sure seems smaller than that, and you'd like to see him play nickel but based on his production compared with the other corners on the roster last season he seems as the front runner for the #2 spot. You've got to like his ball skills. I'll take 6 interceptions a year from one of my corners every season.

Owens-Had 2 picks as a rookie. Will get a chance to compete with Grimes. He's listed as being slightly smaller than Grimes but I don't know if that's true. I know the staff was high on Owens when they drafted him, itll be interesting to see what he can do his 2nd year.

Jackson-Didn't have as productive as a season as his rookie year but will be given a shot to win the nickel or dime spot

Decoud-Responded to his chance to start in a big way with tackles sacks fumbles and interceptions, looks to be even better with a year starting under his belt and better players around him

So we've got a number of our key contributers from last seasons defense just enterting their 2nd or 3rd seasons as starters and a number of talented players added in as well like 1st rounders at DT, LB and CB. Because TD has largely built this D over the last few years through the draft we have this cumulative effect of a number of young players all getting better at the same time and each doing better because everyone around them is doing better. This is by far the most talented and athletic D Coach Smith has had to work with since he got to Atlanta and it's going to be very fun to watch them make plays this season.

Weatherspoon for Rookie of the Year!

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Falcons have made themselves a good defense with a young core to make them solid for years. A look at the roster and you will find only 10 guys over 30 yrs. old. And some may not make the final cut.

Projected Breakdown

defensive starters 1

offensive starters 1

special team starters 3 includes K and LS

rest are in backup positions, I don't know about you but that is pretty young.

A look at the over (30) the hill gang

John Abraham- #1 pass rusher

Brian Finneran- backup WR

Matt Bryant- does anybody care about K age?

Tony Gonzalez- great TE future HOF

Justin Pelle- backup TE

Mike Peterson- was starting OLB veteran LB leadership could be odd man out with Spoon

Chris Redman- backup QB age probably helps his position

Brian Williams- Competing CB if does not start veteran leadership needed with young CB

Coy Wire- backup OLB good ST

Joe Zelenka- LS need I say more

Weatherspoon for Rookie of the Year! I like the sound of that

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