FalconsSavant Posted May 25, 2010 Share Posted May 25, 2010 With the Falcons set to open organized team activities Tuesday, the team has spent considerable resources on improving its leaky pass defense and fortifying the offense along the line and at wide receiver. Here's a look at the five areas the Falcons attempted to upgrade and what they've done to address their concerns:1. Cornerback: The defense ranked 28th against the pass last season and gave up 55 plays of 20 yards or more, which was 27th in the league. Only Cleveland, Tennessee, Miami, Oakland and St. Louis gave up more. Addressing their cornerbacks, the Falcons traded Chris Houston and signed free agent Dunta Robinson to a six-year $57.5-million contract. Brian Williams was re-signed and they drafted Dominique Franks in the fifth round. The team also hired Tim Lewis as secondary coach.2. Linebackers: The position contributed to pass coverage shortcomings when the team went to zone coverage and linebackers could not consistently disrupt the short routes underneath. All of the starters return, but the team used its first-round pick to select Sean Weatherspoon, who has been working out at both outside linebacker positions. He excelled in pass coverage while at Missouri in the pass-happy Big 12.3. Defensive tackle: The defensive front needed to be fortified up the middle. A meek rush didn't help pass coverage. The Falcons recorded 11 of their 28 sacks on first down (tied for 13 in the league), five on second down (tied for 27th) and 12 on third down (21st), according to Stats Pass. While fans focused on the defensive ends, the coaches insisted that the rush needed to be improved up the middle. The team is hoping for the healthy return of defensive tackle Peria Jerry (knee surgery). The Falcons also selected defensive tackle Corey Peters in the third round. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson will get a shot to play tackle in passing situations.4. Interior offensive line: The Falcons wanted to get some young depth for the center and guard positions. Right guard Harvey Dahl was injured last season and missed five starts. Center Todd McClure has started 128 consecutive games, but isn't going to play forever. To help, the Falcons drafted Alabama guard Mike Johnson in the third round and UNLV's Joe Hawley, a center/guard, in the fourth round. Johnson lined up at left guard and Hawley at center during the team's minicamps.5. Wide receiver: The unit was among the best in the league last season in catching the ball. Of the 353 catchable passes thrown, Falcons wide-outs dropped only 21 or 5.9 percent, which was 5th best in league behind Houston (4.8), New Orleans (5.3), Arizona (5.5) and Chicago (5.6). However, the team is clearly not comfortable with the depth behind starters Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. The Falcons re-signed Brian Finneran and are hoping for the return of Harry Douglas (knee surgery). The team also drafted Kerry Meier in the fifth round and signed some promising college free agents in Brandyn Harvey and Ryan Wolfe.http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons/otas-5-areas-the-534223.html Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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