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Schraeder, Alford Part Of Atlanta's Youth Movement


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ATLANTA FALCONS

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More Alford part of Atlanta youth movement

By Vaughn McClure | December 3, 2013 8:10:22 PM PST

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The youth movement is in full force for the 3-9 Atlanta Falcons.

Both defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter made such clear when they talked about utilizing a few rookies over the final four games.

Specifically, Nolan mentioned incorporating second-round pick Robert Alford into the left cornerback role typically filled by veteran Asante Samuel. Alford played 35 snaps in last Sunday’s 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills and had the key fumble recovery in overtime.

Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports

Rookie CBs Robert Alford, No. 23, and Desmond Trufant have been impressing Atlanta's coaches.

Samuel played 28 snaps.

"It’s that time of year – I think all the guys understand it, because [samuel] is not the only one – across the board on defense and offense. There are several guys that are giving up some reps to the young guys,’’ Nolan said. "[samuel’s] been on a lot of teams and played a lot of years. It’s kind of the nature of the beast when you get late in the season. You know, you start to take some more looks at young guys to see what they can do.

"It’s not always necessarily 'take somebody’s job.' A lot of times, it’s just to see so you can develop them. You’d like to be developing guys when you get ahead by a few touchdowns. But when you get late in the season, you want to come out of it learning more about your people. Because as we all know, we’re not playing for a playoff spot anymore."

Alford has handled his role well this season. He kept his head up after being pulled off punt returns following a fumble. And he’s shown flashes of his great speed and ball skills on defense. Alford leads the team with two interceptions to go with his fumble recovery.

"I think Robert’s done a good job," Nolan said. "Look, he’s our leading ball disruptor as far as takeaways go. He intercepted the ball in the Carolina game, which was an outstanding play in the corner of the end zone. And he had one earlier in the season on a deep crossing route. And, obviously, he picked up that fumble the other day and made a play on it.

"We’ve been pleased with Robert all along. That’s why the other day when we went in, we left him in because he’s been doing a good job. And hopefully, [he] just keeps getting better."

Head coach Mike Smith lauded Alford for the way he played the deep ball against the Bills, although Smith also reprimanded the rookie for throwing a lateral to fellow rookie Desmond Trufant after Sunday's fumble recovery. Alford and Trufant are sure to make plenty of the plays together in the future, although Trufant has been in the spotlight more often this season.

"He wasn’t as game ready, we didn’t think, as early as [Trufant] was," Nolan said of Alford. "But going forward, you know, he’s a guy that we’ve got to continue to look at because he’s a good player. He’s like [Trufant]."

On the offensive side, Koetter talked about getting rookie tight end Levine Toilolo and rookie tackle Ryan Schraeder more involved. Toilolo had a nice 12-yard catch against the Bills, while Schraeder played a season-high 27 snaps at right tackle and lined up at tight end in the jumbo package.

Koetter said Schraeder did OK but had a couple of misses. And he wants to get Toilolo more playing time to improve his blocking skills.

"At the end of the year here, we know Levine’s a player that we’re trying to … Tony [Gonzalez] is not going to be here next year. We know we’re going to try and get Levine some work. We know we’re going to try and get Schraeder some work. But, you’re also trying to win the games. Fine line there, but we need to get both those guys some work."

Tags:Atlanta FalconsRobert Alford

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Great. Now start playing Vaughn. Robertson. Jones. Replogle. Ishmael. Etc.

I really doubt any of them (Ishmael and Replogle at best) are even on the roster next season.

Schraeder is the one I am most happy to hear about. At worst I think he can become Baker's primary backup at LT if given the shot. He is very athletic. (removed other comment to avoid misinforming)

He and Alford are guys that looked like they had some real future potential when given the shots in preseason with the starters.

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I really doubt any of them (Ishmael and Replogle at best) are even on the roster next season.

Schraeder is the one I am most happy to hear about. At worst I think he can become Baker's primary backup at LT if given the shot. He is very athletic, and moved to OT from a skill position WR>TE>LT....reminds me some of the path Jason Peters took.

He and Alford are guys that looked like they had some real future potential when given the shots in preseason with the starters.

Actually Schraeder never played football, before 4 years ago, and was a tackle from the start. He only played a bit at Butler community college, before transferring to Valdosta, and playing exclusively LT.

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Actually Schraeder never played football, before 4 years ago, and was a tackle from the start. He only played a bit at Butler community college, before transferring to Valdosta, and playing exclusively LT.

****, who am I thinking of then? Not sure why I thought it was him. I have to stop following the whole NFL....it is effecting my memory about my team, lol. I am usually on point with this stuff!

thanks for clarifying man, my apologies. sad.png

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****, who am I thinking of then? Not sure why I thought it was him. I have to stop following the whole NFL....it is effecting my memory about my team, lol. I am usually on point with this stuff!

thanks for clarifying man, my apologies. sad.png

No problem. It's actually a plus for us, as he is, just now, starting to come into his own at the position. With his talent, had he played highschool and then college ball, at the FBS level, he probably would've been drafted and fairly high. If he continues to improve, hopefully he can be a stalwart at tackle for us, for years to come. I believe that he has the natural ability to do so. He just needs the right coaching.

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Nice,

Although I noticed it was a habit that shraeder, Holmes, arnolds, and baker completly whiff. And by whiff, I mean whiff like they are literally watching their man run by and raipe the rb/qb. Anyone have an idea why this is happening?

4 men being legally blind is kind of statistic, it seems to be a coaching issue here.

Edited by osiruz
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