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Falcons Rookie Prince Shembo


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FLOWERY BRANCH

At the Falcons’ recent rookie minicamp Prince Shembo playfully cut off a questioner who asked him how his size and speed will benefit the Falcons’ defense.

“I’ve got size? I thought I was short,” Shembo said. “I hear that a lot.”

It’s all relative, of course. At 6 feet 1, Shembo isn’t short in real-world terms or even for a college linebacker, but he’s at least three inches shy of the ideal height for an NFL linebacker/pass rusher.

That’s the role the Falcons want Shembo to fill after they selected him in the fourth round of the draft two weeks ago. They drafted him because of his many positive physical attributes and his production at Notre Dame.

Shembo’s muscular, 253-pound frame is what prompted the question about his size. He’s not stiff, either: Shembo’s vertical leap measured 38.8 inches at the combine and he ran 40 yards in 4.68 seconds at Notre Dame’s pro day.

And Shembo showed he can get in the backfield at Notre Dame. In 51 games for the Irish, including 34 starts, he had 24.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said versatile linebackers such as Prince are more in vogue than those who only specialize in pass coverage, rushing the passer, or supporting the run.

“I like Prince’s skill-set in terms of his ability to rush the passer,” Smith said. “He’s also a guy that can be moved around (in the formation). We want to have as much flexibility with the players as we possibly can. We want to be as multiple as possible. He can put his hand in the ground (and pass rush), he can drop (in coverage).”

Shembo’s height could be a challenge when rushing the passer. The NFL is flush with offensive tackles who are 6-5 or taller, and they can smother smaller pass rushers.

But Shembo said “the taller, the better” for opposing pass blockers because he’s had more success against them than shorter foes. As an example he cited his struggles against his Notre Dame teammate, Zack Martin, the No. 16 overall draft pick by the Cowboys.

“He was like 6-4,” Shembo said. “It’s that medium (height) that can get you sometimes.”

Still, Shembo said he knows he needs to refine his technique to be an effective pass rusher in the NFL at his height. He said he spent most of his time during the rookie minicamp last weekend working on it.

“Doing a lot of (knee) bend,” he said. “If I learn all these techniques they are teaching me I can probably start getting under guys and using all my strength to push and propel them forward. That will be good.”

As for pass coverage, Shembo said he was used mostly as an “outside rush backer” at Notre Dame. He said he sometimes covered short routes in the flats and that he’ll be asked to turn and run with receivers more often with the Falcons.

If Shembo can quickly develop his pass rushing and coverage skills, there’s a chance he can be join Falcons veteran Kroy Biermann in a hybrid role. According to statistics complied by Pro Football Focus, Biermann was used in a dual role the most by far in 2013.

Before suffering a season-ending injury in the second game, Biermann rushed the passer on 55 percent of his pass plays (38) and was in coverage on 45 percent. No other Falcons linebacker rushed the quarterback on more than 22 percent of pass plays.

Among Falcons defensive linemen last season, Jonathan Massaquoi was used in coverage a team-high 19.9 percent of the time. No other lineman covered on more than 12 percent of plays and Osi Umenyiora, who had the most snaps among defensive ends, did it on just 5.9 percent of his pass plays.

Shembo earned a reputation as a tenacious tackler at Notre Dame and that bodes well for his ability to help with run defense for the Falcons. The Falcons are banking on Shembo’s ability to do everything else, too.

Shembo said the defensive system at Notre Dame was similar to Atlanta’s. The rookies haven’t been in pads yet, but Shembo said the practices were still pretty physical and he was able to gain some insights from watching himself on video.

“You see things you like, things you don’t like, things you need to work on,” Shembo said. “There is going to be a critique on everything. That’s just how it is.”

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Guest fibonacci

I'll wait until i see him in camp. No one has made me eat crow since 2009 of doing the training camp. but i can't judge line men, it's to hard.

But I've seen multiple times Daniel Cox and jay say player x is awesome and that guy doesn't even make the PS.

You know no one who works for the falcons will say anything negative.

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I'll wait until i see him in camp. No one has made me eat crow since 2009 of doing the training camp. but i can't judge line men, it's to hard.

But I've seen multiple times Daniel Cox and jay say player x is awesome and that guy doesn't even make the PS.

You know no one who works for the falcons will say anything negative.

That's true. They were all over bartu last year and he didn't really do anything.

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Guest fibonacci

That's true. They were all over bartu last year and he didn't really do anything.

I'll do some digging. But there was a linebacker a couple years ago that those two were set on. Every other day was a huge report on how that guy was going to be the next best thing at linebacker. And so many times i saw high school mistakes out of the guy. I even caught the guy looking at my camera while trying to make a tackle and smiling. No joke.

-that guy didn't even make the PS.

I'll do some searching tomorrow/Friday.

But if i was ever given a job for the falcons. I don't know if i could do it, unless they could accept the fact I'm not going to be a homer and tell lies. I tell it how it is. Even when i watched Tony show DD how to throw, what guys were getting fat and not pushing anymore, dunta time out area, Nolan/Smith getting onto alford for being aggressive (which you could see alford had very little aggressiveness in season games), and many other things

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I'll do some digging. But there was a linebacker a couple years ago that those two were set on. Every other day was a huge report on how that guy was going to be the next best thing at linebacker. And so many times i saw high school mistakes out of the guy. I even caught the guy looking at my camera while trying to make a tackle and smiling. No joke.

-that guy didn't even make the PS.

I'll do some searching tomorrow/Friday.

But if i was ever given a job for the falcons. I don't know if i could do it, unless they could accept the fact I'm not going to be a homer and tell lies. I tell it how it is. Even when i watched Tony show DD how to throw, what guys were getting fat and not pushing anymore, dunta time out area, Nolan/Smith getting onto alford for being aggressive (which you could see alford had very little aggressiveness in season games), and many other things

Lol are you serious? God I wish mike smith would kick rocks

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Guest fibonacci

Lol are you serious? God I wish mike smith would kick rocks

when i start doing trading camp this year. I'll be posting it on pure football. Just so it's easier to see this stuff.

So then you'll be able to see this stuff.

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Guest fibonacci

Just a side note. I was the only guy who had pictures of Steven Jackson and burfet (spelling. But the guy from Bengals during their combined workouts) about to fight at camp last year.

And a lot of writers tried twisting the heck out of that story. And once i showed pictures, they recanted what they were saying.

I'm not a fan of reporters/journalist. Rappaport and scheffer (spelling). Are about the only two guys i listen to. The rest are Homers and afraid to post the truth and they hype up a lie for who knows what reason.

I'm not saying this prince kid is going to be one of their failures. But i don't trust them.

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Just a side note. I was the only guy who had pictures of Steven Jackson and burfet (spelling. But the guy from Bengals during their combined workouts) about to fight at camp last year.

And a lot of writers tried twisting the heck out of that story. And once i showed pictures, they recanted what they were saying.

I'm not a fan of reporters/journalist. Rappaport and scheffer (spelling). Are about the only two guys i listen to. The rest are Homers and afraid to post the truth and they hype up a lie for who knows what reason.

I'm not saying this prince kid is going to be one of their failures. But i don't trust them.

That's how you have to be with these guys! If everyone just bought into whatever coachspeak they're gonna put out there, just to make themselves look good, a team would just continue to suck. The thing with the Falcons, is they had so much regular season success before last season, and expectations were so huge that when they tripped on their *****, EVERYONE noticed, and any real fan of the team isn't just gonna take Smitty's or TD's word for it.........unless they post in RC or TATF.wink.pnglaugh.pnglaugh.png

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Guest fibonacci

That's how you have to be with these guys! If everyone just bought into whatever coachspeak they're gonna put out there, just to make themselves look good, a team would just continue to suck. The thing with the Falcons, is they had so much regular season success before last season, and expectations were so huge that when they tripped on their *****, EVERYONE noticed, and any real fan of the team isn't just gonna take Smitty's or TD's word for it.........unless they post in RC or TATF.wink.pnglaugh.pnglaugh.png

:P

rarely do I quote what someone says. it's all for being a homer. and when that guy sucks or you have a losing season you are more upset then if you were just told the truth.

most journalist/announcers/reporter are homers of their team and haters of everyone else.

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