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Falcon Bubble Guys / And Defensive Line Preview


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http://atlallday.com/2014/08/04/espn-atlanta-falcons-roster-projection/

It is “game week” for the Atlanta Falcons, as they will host the Miami Dolphins on Friday night at the Georgia Dome in the 2014 preseason opener. With that in mind,Vaughn McClure of ESPN has projected the entirety of the 53-man roster as of Monday morning, and there are few items of note.

First, here is what McClure had to say about the offensive line:

The Falcons believe they have a solid starting five after signing the veteran Asamoah to play right guard and drafting the rookie Matthews in the first round to play right tackle. Both have looked the part at the start of camp. Baker also looks healthy coming off major left knee injury.
remains on the bubble.
has been solid against rookie Ra’Shede Hageman.
won’t make the cut.

It is somewhat surprising to see Lamar Holmes, who started 15 games during the 2013 campaign after being a 3rd-round pick in 2012, on the cut line, but this projection has both Ryan Schraeder and Gabe Carimi making the squad. In addition, Mike Johnson would be on the chopping block, but that isn’t nearly the surprise that Holmes would be, and it will be worth monitoring during the preseason at the offensive tackle spot.

The other “major” controversy came in the secondary where Javier Arenas, who signed a one-year deal back in March, could be on the outside looking in. Here is the snippet from the piece on the cornerbacks:

Trufant and Alford could make up one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in the future if Alford continues to mature. Trufant is there already. The high-powered, multi-receiver offenses around the league only increased the need for solid cornerbacks, and the Falcons have a battle for the third corner with McClain, Wilson and Javier Arenas. McClain’s value increased when the coaches decide to cross-train him at safety and when special teams coach Keith Armstrong named him one of his top guys.

Honestly, it would be pretty shocking to me if the Falcons were to keep fifth-rounder Ricardo Allen over Arenas. While he hasn’t been lights-out in the NFL since arriving from Alabama in the 2010 NFL Draft, he is a somewhat proven commodity who could be useful in the return game should anything happen to Devin Hester. This is (obviously) not set in stone at this point, but it was an intriguing note.

We have a long way to go until the 53-man group will be finalized, but it is never too early to project.

The 2014 NFL season is almost here, and it is time to preview this season’s edition of the Atlanta Falcons. In part one, we took a deep dive into the defensive line.

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Atlanta Falcons season preview 2014: Defensive line

First things first, the Atlanta Falcons absolutely needed an upgrade on the defensive line from the 2013 season. As a defensive unit, the Falcons combined for only 32 sacks during the 16-game season, but more than that, their defensive line was simply unable to generate any sort of consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and they were equally deficient against the run, where the team was just 31st in the NFL in allowing more than 135 yards per game on the ground.

However, Thomas Dimitroff and company made significant acquisitions to stabilize the group as this season approaches, and in all honesty, it will be quite nice to see a passable unit on the field. It is important to note that the Falcons are switching to a predominantly 3-4 scheme for the upcoming year, and while much of the personnel is the same, that is something to monitor from an aspect of expectations.

Defensive Ends

Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Babineaux, Osi Umenyiora, Malliciah Goodman, Ra’Shede Hageman

This is an interesting group. Jackson and Babineaux are certainly not prototypical pass-rushers from the “defensive end” position, but each are very solid players when understanding their role. Tyson Jackson was acquired via free agency from the Chiefs in the off-season, and while he is probably overpaid, he is excellent against the run despite a lack of explosiveness. Babineaux is a bit better at getting into opposing backfields, but he is getting up in age (32 years old), and there are concerns that he has lost a step in recent seasons.

Umenyiora is the lone member of this group that is a pure pass-rusher, but he doesn’t quite fit into the scheme as a rush linebacker in a 3-4. I would expect that his use will vary based on situation, and despite rumors of his demise, the former Giants defensive end did lead the team in sacks with 7.5 in 2013.

Goodman and Hageman are both rotational players, at least for this season, although Hageman has considerable upside if he can fight through early injury concerns and a “raw” pedigree.

Defensive Tackles

Paul Soliai, Corey Peters

Soliai was perhaps the biggest acquisition of the off-season for Atlanta, and he has a monster up front. At 6-foot-4 and 345 pounds, the former Miami Dolphin will be called upon to eat up double teams on virtually every play, and while his numbers aren’t impressive (34 tackles, 1 sack in 2013), that is simply not his game. Barring injury (he has missed only one game in the past four seasons), he will be a mainstay in the middle and that is a great thing.

Unfortunately, old pal Corey Peters isn’t quite as safe. The 25-year-old Peters was actually quite effective during the 2013 season, and honestly, he was one of the few bright spots on the entire defense. Unfortunately, he sustained a torn achilles at the very end of the campaign, and though he is back on a one-year deal, it is tough to gauge where he will be physically. On the bright side, Atlanta won’t necessarily be relying on a swift return from Peters with Soliai in the fold, but he could be a difference maker from a depth perspective if all is right, and it is impossible not to root for Corey Peters.

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Overall, this is an improved unit, but one that should still have a hint of modesty from a perspective of expectations. Run defense should be a strength of this group, but the pure pass rusher is still nowhere to be found, and even if Mike Nolan can patch together a productive season from Umenyiora or even Hageman, I’m not positive that the explosiveness is there.

Improvement is good, but the next step will be to take some of the pressure off of the young group of defensive backs.

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Always think Peters is much older than he is.

The guy doesn't know TD very well if he would be surprised we keep our 5th rounder over a FA.

This.

TD is stubborn with his draft picks. He's definitely gonna have to cut Smallwood. Starr may get practice squaded, Allen may stay depending on what our plan at safety is.

Now if he cut konz and Holmes, I'd be impressed.

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Glad to hear Schraeder is still in the mix I liked his come from no where as a UDFA and has made every post a winner.

I'd let Peters walk I thought he played well last year but with the emergence of Robertson behind Soliai he is surplus to what we need now.

Arenas or Allen whoever show's as a ball hawk out of the 2 stays.

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Glad to hear Schraeder is still in the mix I liked his come from no where as a UDFA and has made every post a winner.

I'd let Peters walk I thought he played well last year but with the emergence of Robertson behind Soliai he is surplus to what we need now.

Arenas or Allen whoever show's as a ball hawk out of the 2 stays.

Don't think I'd cut Peters just yet but I agree with the sentiment. If Robertson continues to improve the need for Peters drastically reduces. I was extremely excited to hear Robertson finally coming around and using that raw power. He could be great for passing downs if he keeps it up.

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Let's not talk about the emergence of Robertson yet - all he's done is look good in drills where he's one-on-one and can use that massive strength. He still needs to show that he can get it done in a game where he'll have actual responsibilities that change based on the play. The knock on him has always been mental - the light just hadn't come on. Physical ability was never the issue.

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It would be foolish to get rid of Peters. He was our best DL last year and he's just injured with an injury that NFL players can come back from, not something career ending.

Just because Travian is doing well doesn't mean jack. Let's continue to build on that depth and rotation.

We need depth, why get rid of it.

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