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Evaluating Falcons' O-Line From Within


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Evaluating Falcons' O-line from within

January, 9, 2014

JAN 9

9:00

AM ET

By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com


At least one Atlanta Falcon believes the offensive line will be just fine next season.

Outspoken wide receiver Roddy White took to Twitter on Wednesday and voiced his support of the line and new offensive line coach Mike Tice going into the 2014 season.

"Mike Tice will make a tremendous difference for our Oline when we get bake (Sam Baker) back we will be fine that's the same line that won 13 games," he tweeted.

White even assumed a front-office role for a day and implied the Falcons needed to address the defensive line before the offensive line with the first-round draft pick, currently No. 6 overall.

"I would love for us to draft clowney if he is available but if he isn't we should trade out and stockpile players got a lot of holes to fill," White tweeted, referring to highly touted South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

"Clowney helps the Oline they have to block him at practice."

Maybe the organization is leaning the same way in terms of targeting Clowney, but the offensive line needs a facelift regardless. It seems likely the Falcons will address the line via free agency and the draft, but how high would they select an offensive lineman such as Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews or Auburn's Greg Robinson?

Whatever the case, Tice will have his hands full trying to get the most out of the group. We talked to the significant offensive line contributors -- outside of the injured Baker -- an asked them for their self-evaluations of the season. We’ll start off with the guy who figures to be the first one out the door, by his own admission:

Jeremy Trueblood

Position: Right tackle

Age: 30

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

2013 games played/starts: 15/10

Snaps: 628

Overview: The Falcons signed Trueblood for insurance as Tyson Clabo moved on to Miami and Mike Johnson suffered a season-ending dislocated left ankle and fibula fracture in practice. Trueblood was known as a solid run-blocker with a mean streak. His struggles in pass protection, however, were clearly evident throughout the season. Trueblood ended up getting benched twice during the season, near the end in favor of undrafted rookie Ryan Schraeder. It seems highly unlikely the Falcons will bring him back. He made the veteran minimum of $840,000 this past season, which would bump up to $855,000 in 2014.

Trueblood’s self-evaluation: "I think I played fine. They told me (getting bench for Schraeder) wasn’t based on play. They just wanted to get some young guys some experience. So I understand that. We weren’t going to the playoffs, and they wanted to see what we have on the roster. I think we have a lot of great players and a lot of great teammates here; a lot of great guys that I met and a lot of great coaches. They’re heading in the right direction, I think. If they stay healthy, they’ll build a pretty good team.

"It’s not my decision (remaining with the Falcons). My decision is to be wherever I’m wanted, so we’ll see what happens. How long will I keep playing? Until they kick me out. That’s my plan, it’s to keep on playing until I can't take it anymore or they don’t want me anymore, whatever comes first."

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Trueblood’s self-evaluation: "I think I played fine. They told me (getting bench for Schraeder) wasn’t based on play. They just wanted to get some young guys some experience. So I understand that. We weren’t going to the playoffs, and they wanted to see what we have on the roster.

cut him today please and if the staff did tell him that, they need their a**es whipped

Edited by Rise_Up_504
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Trueblood’s self-evaluation: "I think I played fine..."

In light of the above statement, it's clear Trueblood needs to be placed in the NFL's Concussion Program because he's obviously taken way too many shots to the head.

If Trueblood is on the Atlanta Falcons football team next season, then any FO talk about seriously wanting to win a Lombardi will be exposed as nothing more than empty propaganda. Same goes for most of Trueblood's line-mates also.

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Assuming a healthy Baker will somehow make everything all right is just wishful thinking - Nice try Roddy, but we need a major overhaul on the OL.

As I have said repeatedly, the problem with the O-line this season was terrible coaching from Pat Hill, injuries and conditoning, and a terrible scheme fit for the players. Move to a zone blocking scheme which actually suits players like Konz and Holmes, get tougher coaching that focuses on technique (ie. not focusing on making players mean like under Boudreau or being buddy buddy like under Hill), and get them to actually focus on strength and conditioning will be more effective than a knee jerk reaction to full scale personnel changes.

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As I have said repeatedly, the problem with the O-line this season was terrible coaching from Pat Hill, injuries and conditoning, and a terrible scheme fit for the players. Move to a zone blocking scheme which actually suits players like Konz and Holmes, get tougher coaching that focuses on technique (ie. not focusing on making players mean like under Boudreau or being buddy buddy like under Hill), and get them to actually focus on strength and conditioning will be more effective than a knee jerk reaction to full scale personnel changes.

For Holmes to be better in ANY scheme he needs to first do two things:

1. Get his head out of his arse (work on situation awareness as an OL = know who to FN block fool!!)

2. Find the inner motivation to get in proper shape/condition, and DO IT!

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