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Thoughts On Addressing The Defensive Woes...


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Not sure what your thoughts are, or which way we might go about addressing our pathetic pass rush and ineffective run stopping, but here are a few thoughts:

Within our own team:

John Abraham is aging...there is no need to sugar coat it. Can we honestly expect a 12-15 sack year at age 35??? He is great situational, but he depsarately needs DT and opposite DE help...

Kroy Beirmann is a solid rotatlional DE...he will make a few plays, I liked dropping him in coveage on zone blitzes, but they were useless, bc DT and other players could not shed blocks...I still think he might be a good 3-4 DE...

Jonathan Babineaux is a solid #2 DT...he is quick, can get penetration, and sadly, is our best run stopping DT...but in terms of great defensive DTs, he is probably in the "upper middle class" of NFL DTs...

The rest:

DTs: P. Jerry, V. Walker, C. Peters, Robertson...at this point, they are all still rotational guys...maybe Peters can come back from injury and be a solid DT, but can you honestly claim him better than Babs??? so he is still not a great DT...and for Jerry, his time is up, never lived up to 1st rounder...

DEs: Massaquoi, Sidbury, Matthews...all project/rotational...Sid fans, sorry he never got a chance, but there might have actually been a reason for that...hopefully Mass and Matt can give us solid rotational snaps ALA Chauncey Davis when he was here...

How to address:

Free Agency:

DEs:

Michael Johnson...11.5 sacks, but played alongside all pro Geno Atkins, would he be as good in ATL...has great size, but motor has been questioned (thoughts = Ray Edwards)...plus does he even leave Cincy??

Dwight Freeney...they arestaying in a 3-4 scheme, and I think everyone including Dwight knows he doesnt belong in it, but he is a Colt lifer...similar to Abraham though, he is aging, and might he only be astop gap solution???

Cliff Avril...I think he might actually be a reasonable thought for ATL...DET is in cap ****, and most likely may not be able to keep him, unless they consider him a priroity..again though, was a beefactor of solid DT play (Suh)??? I think we could look back at the Ray E. expereicen (JA69, Willimas wall)...I think he coul dbe a solid DE for ATL and he is relatively young, but asking price likely too high..

Osi Umenyiori...he is aging, and quite honestly I think he only cares about a contract...I would stay as far away from him as possible...even with his "talent"...also he is getting older, so maybe only a stop gap solution...

Michael Bennett...had a solid year, but I think he will stay with TB, and I would not consider him a "playmaker"...HE is very balanced, but remember we have to imagine no Abe in 2 years, and who then would be our "playmaker" on the DLine???

DTs:

Randy Starks...Could be a great run stopping DT for ATL alongside Babs...might actually be obtainable as MIA has several other FA to sig (Bush, Long). What would the price be??

Henry Melton...my first thought is Tommy Harris 2.0...players that leave the Bears, scare me (IMO)...he could be a solid DT for ATL, but is nearing 30, and I'm not even sure CHI would let him go...

Richard Seymour...aging DT, I could see him as a cheap stop 1-2 year DT for ATL, but I really think the Falcons "filter" will elimiante this guy...I know he a UGA boy, I think a lot of people think the FO thinks about that stuff, but trust me, they don't think about it much...

Draft:

It seems as though there are a lot of talented palyers in this upcoming draft on defense:

DE: Moore, Jones, Werner, Montgomery, Jordan, Ansah, Okafor, Hunt, Carradine, Mingo

DT: Star, Hankins, Richardson, Jenkins, Short, Williams (x2), Floyd

All of these guys have pos/neg without going into detail on each, but considering our draft position and the amount of "holes" to fill, I would eliminate early 1st guys...

So what do we do???

I think entertaining the thought of a transition from 4-3 to 3-4 and seeing what personel is needed is a start...

What do we need to be able to do to win against the other possible NFC playoff teams?? You think about stopping the run with the read-option (SF, SEA, WAS). Is speed still a factor on defense? (GB, NO, PHI (Chip Kelly and those weapons scares me a little)...

Do needs on the offensive side of the ball not allow us to fully address the DLine?? ie TE, RB, OL...

Will addressing LB, or position changes help?? ie Nicholas?? Dent?? are they the players at LB for the next 3-4 years??

My Plan:

In my deepest of deepest thoughts, I really look at our DC (Nolan) and his experience with a 3-4, and look at our current personel, and what the this draft has to offer, and what the need is around the league...and really feel that a change to the 3-4 is eminent.. toss out your hybrind thoughts, but I think a base 3-4 about 60% of the time, with nickel, etc.. the rest is the way that we will go.

Thus, we start with the secondary:

W. Moore: resign to a DeCoud friendly contract, although being added to the Pro Bowl will probably make it it slightly more...

T. DeCoud: he makes some great plays, and sometimes in run support, he just is out of position and misses tackles...for what he is worth, and our needs on defense, and the talent out there, I think he still remains a solid starter for us...

CBs: I think Grimes' injury pretty much sealed his fate, unless he is brought back on a very team friendly contract (IMO, that won't happen). I think we stay with DRob and Samuel, but we might possibly move McClain to starter, and DRob to nickel, I would look for us to go CB early in 2014, as we look to get younger and get rid of DRob or Samuel after next season...

Otherwise, I think we are solid on the back end...

Linebackers:

Spoon: Pro Bowl caliber OLB, I think with the move to ILB in a 3-4, he we will be great ALA P. Willis...he ahs the speed and playmaking ability...

A. Dent: I really think Dent showed some run stopping ability, and having Spoon inside with him, I think it will elevate his play and maybe mask some of his mistakes...I'm going off SF again, but Navarro Bowman was not a high round pick, and some even questioned his ability, but I think playing inside along PWillis has really evelated his play...go back to some of Noaln's teams and his other ILB alongside Ray Lewis (Bart Scott)...

Nicholas: IMO, he was really exposed in our playoff games, and I see him in a tranistion to the 3-4 as a solid backup at all 4 LB positions, remember not too long ago, Smitty used him in a situation DE schemes...

How to address OLB in the new 3-4 scheme: obviously we would move Kroy & Abe to OLB...we just saw the Colts do this with their two DEs in Freeney and Mathis (Pagano took over, a product from Nolan)...I alos look at 3-4 OLB in FA, which might come easier, than a 4-3 DE (Spencer, Kruger, Phillips, Barwin), not to say any of those teams are going to just not resign the guys, but its a possiblity...I also see this draft and think of 3-4 OLBs in Jones, Mingo, Jenkins, Lemonier...

Defensive Line:

Babs: I think he would be a great 3-4 DE....thats IMO, but he plays the run well, and can get penetration...

C.Peters: I also think that currently, he could be a decent, to solid 3-4 DE and would hold up agst the run quite well...

Obviously, we do not have the NT needed for this system. I look at the draft and see Star, Hankins, Short, Williams, Jenkins, Hughes, Geathers, and see guys that could easliy start for us at the psoition and make an impact...with just changing systems and moving players, i think we have addressed our holes and set ourselves up for an offseason that can at least maintain our current level of competitiveness, or actually increase it...I think Nolan would really thrive in playcalling in a 3-4 as well...

You can put the players in a mock draft yourself, but I think it will go something like this depending on BPA:

1st: NT/OLB

2nd: NT/OLB

3rd: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE

4th: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE

4th: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE

5th: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE

6th: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE, CB

7th: BPA out of TE, RB, OG, DE, K??

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Here is what I want for the Defense!

Peria Jerry - may need to go. If he is at 100% and could not do more than he did this year time to set him free.

Stephen Nicholas – Should be let go. He was the sole problem in giving up 6 points in the championship game on the drive where he saw fit to pitch a fit and could not recover that entire drive. That alone was one big peg in the coffin for the game. I was so mad I was begging for him to be pulled. He cost the Falcons a BIG 3 and out.

Mike Peterson – Time to move on, if he is not good enough to put on the field when the above is acting like a baby then why is he on the team.

Lawrence Sidbury – Time is up for this one as well he can’t make the active roster. So why is he here?

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Will somebody please tell DeCoud to tackle? Overall, solid year from him, but he aggravated me more than anybody else this past game. He constantly made half-hearted swipes at the ball instead of trying to make the tackle. Even when there was no other defenders around. This repeatedly let them get an extra 10 yards or so on those plays.

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