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5 Atlanta Falcons Most Likely To Have A Breakout 2012 Season


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120993599_crop_650x440.jpg?1338337260 Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Each NFL team has a player who comes from nowhere and makes a statement in the NFL. He did not have stardom before. He is the breakout player.

Last year Julio Jones had a breakout season with nearly 1,000 receiving yards.

Here are the five Falcons most likely to have a breakout season in 2012, headlined by Jacquizz Rodgers

Starting running back Michael Turner has taken a lot of hits in his four years as a Falcon. That's taken a pounding on the big back.

The Falcons need to lighten his load. Jason Snelling, just re-signed in the offseason, is the same type of runner Turner is.

Second-year running back Jacquizz Rodgers provides the change-of-pace to offset Turner and Snelling's power.

Rodgers needs to improve on his pass-blocking skills, and if he does that, he'd start regularly playing on third downs.

Rodgers is the most likely Falcon to break out in 2012 based on the fact that Atlanta needs a back with electrifying speed.

With Atlanta Falcons' leading tackler Curtis Lofton departing to the division-rival New Orleans Saints, someone is going to have to step up in 2012.

Linebacker Lofa Tatupu is the early favorite to land the starting middle linebacker spot. Tatupu didn't play all season in 2011, citing numerous knee injuries.

Tatupu was a three-time Pro Bowler, but the injuries have led to the quick down-turn of Tatupu's career. If Tatupu can remain healthy, he could have a breakout year.

The Falcons changed offensive coordinators in the season, and in the process, helped wide receiver Harry Douglas.

Douglas' game is best suited to play in the slot. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will make sure Douglas gets the ball and deep.

He could have a monster season on offense with most of the attention, and deservedly so, trying to stop Roddy White and Julio Jones,

In addition, Douglas has a decent chance to win either the kick returning job or the punt returning job with the departure of Pro Bowler returner Eric Weems.

Douglas did return punts in 2008—19 of them for 226 yards—and even scored a touchdown.

If Harry Douglas does not win both returning jobs, cornerback Dominique Franks is likely to be win one of them.

With the addition of cornerback Asante Samuel, Franks is not going to be a starter next year, even when the Falcons play the nickle defense consisting of five defensive backs.

Franks returned 29 punts in college for 346 yards but did not score. Franks is much less experienced at returning kickoffs, only returning eight in college.

The position battles between Franks and Douglas will be interesting to watch unfold, and the victor will likely have a breakout season.

If Tatupu cannot remain healthy in the 2012 season, linebacker Akeem Dent will play lots of minutes during the 2012 season.

The local product from the University of Georgia will see his playing time increase anyway, and could burst out into the NFL scene in 2012.

At 6'1" and 243 pounds, Dent has ideal size and speed to play linebacker at the NFL level. Look for Dent to make a dent on defense next season.

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"Rodgers is the most likely Falcon to break out in 2012 based on the fact that Atlanta needs a back with electrifying speed."

umm did i miss something? quizz is quick but no where near electrifying speed.

I hate how the word "speed" is determined through forty times. No RB ever runs in a straight line. If you timed RBs making cuts between defenders and the "speed" in which they accomplish that, Quizz will be near the top of that list. A more relevant measure of NFL "speed" imo.

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I hate how the word "speed" is determined through forty times. No RB ever runs in a straight line. If you timed RBs making cuts between defenders and the "speed" in which they accomplish that, Quizz will be near the top of that list. A more relevant measure of NFL "speed" imo.

Quizz isn't "fast" like Norwood, but he is "fast" like Sproles.

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What a terrible article.

Weatherspoon?

Moore?

Julio?

Weatherspoon had a breakout season, Julio had a breakouts season last year (they even said that), Moore had a pretty dang good season in 2010. I don't think they qualify as much as the others. But Lofa shouldn't have been on there.

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I hate how the word "speed" is determined through forty times. No RB ever runs in a straight line. If you timed RBs making cuts between defenders and the "speed" in which they accomplish that, Quizz will be near the top of that list. A more relevant measure of NFL "speed" imo.

But he is slower than alot of backs his size(Sproles,MJD,Rice,LaMicheal James,even Antoine Smith) and im not talking 40 time, it shows on tape.

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Sproles isn't that fast. 4.49 40. Quiz ran a 4.47 at his pro day. There's a fact so you can see it.

I'm just using eyeballs man. Just eyeballs.

I think now that Curtis Lofton is gone, Jacquizz Rodgers has takent over the role of most overrated Falcon. Just my opinion.

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I'm just using eyeballs man. Just eyeballs.

I think now that Curtis Lofton is gone, Jacquizz Rodgers has takent over the role of most overrated Falcon. Just my opinion.

He might be slightly overrated but I think everyone knows that it's based on potential and not production. He has the potential to be a great weapon, Peter King said last year at camp that Quiz could be the most exciting player in the NFL if he gets enough touches.

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I'm not seeing that. I keep hearing everybody say it, but I haven't see it.

I was merely using players to give a comparison of his "type" of speed. I'm not saying that Quizz right now is as good as Sproles, at least not yet. He plays similarly, so maybe he can be that type of player one day, but right now he needs more time.

Edited by hjerry
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Why did he leave out Matt Ryan? He's the leader of the offense and there are some indicators that point to him having a break-out year: he'll have a better OL, first and foremost, but he'll also have another year of experience as a QB and working with JJ, he'll (hopefully) have a much more aggressive and less predictable offensive scheme to work with, he's been hitting the weight room with more diligence, so he should be stronger with his throws and standing in against the rush. On the other hand of course, If Ryan DOESN'T haved a break-out season given the above situation, I think the questions and the skepticism regarding his ceiling will grow a whole lot louder and more urgent.

Edited by PokerSteve
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Quizz isn't "fast" like Norwood, but he is "fast" like Sproles.

Sproeles has elite speed. Quizz is more quick than fast. We really havent had a chance to see what he can do in the open field. This year with the screens and vertical game he should get more opportunities.

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Guest Gritz

I think now that Curtis Lofton is gone, Jacquizz Rodgers has takent over the role of most overrated Falcon. Just my opinion.

I don't think there's been a large enough sampling of his work as a pro to make a determination yet.

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Guest Gritz

I do agree with you, but on the other hand we already have fans comparing him to Darren Sproles.

Yeah, I wouldn't go there yet.

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I do agree with you, but on the other hand we already have fans comparing him to Darren Sproles.

I love Quizz, but I just haven't seen the straightline speed to compare him to Sproles. He's definitely shifty, but other than being short, and a 3rd down back, I wouldn't go there.

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