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Five Falcons To Watch At Otas


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Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer

The Atlanta Falcons begin organized team activities Tuesday, although a handful of players are expected to be sidelined due to injuries.

Regardless, there will be plenty to keep an eye out for as new head coach Dan Quinn continues to prepare his team for the 2015 season.

Here are five players to watch during OTAs:

1. Vic Beasley: We didn't see much from the touted pass-rusher during rookie minicamp because only the first 30 minutes of practice were open. Since the media can view the entire practice Tuesday, everyone should get a better feel for Beasley's blazing speed off the edge. With Quinn opting to have officials at practice, one has to wonder how many false starts Beasley will cause against the offensive line since he can't take down the quarterback.

2. Mike Person: Speaking of the line, one of the new faces is left guard Mike Person, who came over from the Rams. Word out of St. Louis is Person wasn't really a guy you expected much from. Well, Person has a chance to prove he deserves a starting spot, with the left guard position open following the release of Justin Blalock. Person ran with the first team during voluntary minicamp and is likely to continue do so with Joe Hawley (ACL/MCL) still sidelined and left guard candidate James Stone still at center. Let's see how Person gets out and runs in this outside-zone blocking scheme.

3. Devonta Freeman: The second-year player showed flashes at running back last season. Plus, Freeman has already impressed the new coaching staff with his pass-catching ability. Now it's time for Freeman to show he should be first up out of the backfield, with competition coming from rookie Tevin Coleman. Freeman has plenty of confidence in his ability, as does Coleman. Proving his value in the passing game -- and in pass protection -- might be Freeman's best way to establish some separation.

4. Robert Alford: I'm really curious to see how Alford performs following a season ended prematurely by a broken wrist. He has all the athleticism and fire to excel at cornerback. Now, Alford just has to play smarter, and he knows it. Secondary coach Marquand Manuel's hands-on approach should help Alford overcome some of his shortcomings. It will be interesting to see if Quinn continues to praise Alford's efforts on the outside as opposed to moving him inside to cover the slot as a nickelback. Rookie cornerback Jalen Collins' recovery from foot surgery along with banged up converted free safety Dez Southward should give Alford more time to prove he belongs outside, even if his size (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) says otherwise.

5. Roddy White: This is a big season for the veteran receiver in terms of showing he's still got it. He obviously wasn't himself a year ago due to a variety of injuries and age catching up to him. If White remains healthy, he probably has one good season left despite getting ready to turn 34 in November. But how will White mesh with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan? Shanahan is known to be stern with his ways, while White's laid-back approach can be interpreted the wrong way at times. Not to mention Shanahan brought in one of his own guys in receiver Leonard Hankerson, a capable target when healthy. Whatever the case, White needs to use his veteran savvy to be an effective part of the offense. Let's see if he looks rejuvenated during OTAs.

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13576/five-falcons-to-watch-at-otas

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sorry, this one's just dumb. If Roddy's healthy he's a big threat. Shanny is not going to butt heads with Roddy and Roddy will give Shanny respect. I hate that people keep saying "Roddy might have 1 good year left'.

. Roddy White: This is a big season for the veteran receiver in terms of showing he's still got it. He obviously wasn't himself a year ago due to a variety of injuries and age catching up to him. If White remains healthy, he probably has one good season left despite getting ready to turn 34 in November. But how will White mesh with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan? Shanahan is known to be stern with his ways, while White's laid-back approach can be interpreted the wrong way at times. Not to mention Shanahan brought in one of his own guys in receiver Leonard Hankerson, a capable target when healthy. Whatever the case, White needs to use his veteran savvy to be an effective part of the offense. Let's see if he looks rejuvenated during OTAs

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can anyone pull up a stat on Roddys yac. I guarantee it's close to 0 haha

Here is an article from the Falcoholic. Basically, outside of Julio we were pretty average in yards after contact. Roddy, not so much.

Good football teams have offensive weapons that break tackles. It's not a necessary condition, but a high broken tackle percentage (broken tackles over offensive touches) undoubtedly makes an offense more dynamic, threatening, and effective. Football Outsiders breaks down 2014 broken tackle percentages in this article. Give it a read, if you have a moment.

With respect to broken tackles, last season was a bit of a mixed bag for the Falcons. Steven Jackson only broke 20 tackles in 209 touches last season. Marshawn Lynch, the league leader, broke 88 tackles. Granted nobody came close to Lynch, but Jackson simply wasn't himself. Roddy White had the 9th worst broken tackle percentage among tight ends and wide receivers, breaking tackles in only 1.3 percent of his touches. He actually only broke 1 tackle in 80 touches.

If there was a bright spot in 2014, it was our franchise wide receiver. Among tight ends and wide receivers, Julio Jones ranked 6th in broken tackle percentage, breaking tackles in roughly 13.3 percent of his touches. Rob Gronkowski led that category.

Overall the Falcons ranked 19th in broken tackle percentage, breaking tackles in 6.5 percent of their offensive touches. That was a slight improvement from 2013, when the Falcons broke tackles in 5.9 percent of their offensive touches. 2012 was a particularly good year for the Falcons; they broke tackles in 7.2 percent of their offensive touches, the 4th highest percentage in the league that year. Jacquizz Rodgers helped set that pace, breaking 26 tackles on his way to a broken tackle percentage of 17.7, the second best percentage in the league that season.

Edited by FentayeJones
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Drives me nuts that nobody ever mentions Roddys brother. They were freaking close.

Yeah, I really think his brother's sudden death played a great impact on him last year. I know if my brother was murdered right before the season started I doubt I would have my head in the game at all times.

Aside from that, Roddy is getting old, but if he's healthy, he can still be a solid possession receiver for another year or two. A good 3rd down option when you just need a 1st down. Man I would love to get that man a ring before he retires.

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Yeah, I really think his brother's sudden death played a great impact on him last year. I know if my brother was murdered right before the season started I doubt I would have my head in the game at all times.

Aside from that, Roddy is getting old, but if he's healthy, he can still be a solid possession receiver for another year or two. A good 3rd down option when you just need a 1st down. Man I would love to get that man a ring before he retires.

depends on the person. He should have wrote his brothers name on his gloves and used it as motivation to do everything in remember of him
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depends on the person. He should have wrote his brothers name on his gloves and used it as motivation to do everything in remember of him

... Dude. Not sure you can tell people HOW they should mourn the death of a loved one.

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When has Roddy's ego ever been a detriment to the team?

when he said super bowl or bust during the 2013 offseason. The media hyped it up and we fell on our face winning 4 games.

when he said we had the best wr group in the nfl and didn't show up while Marshall and Jeffrey lit us up.

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