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Which Position Group Is Weakest For The Falcons?


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Jeanna Thomas

Offensive Line

I'm not sure this position group is really the weakest, but it does have a lot of questions surrounding it, from guys coming off injuries to the transition to an entirely new scheme. The tackle positions should be pretty well set, as Jake Matthews should be improved on the left side and Ryan Schraeder certainly played well on the right side last season, but it remains to be seen who will actually win the starting left guard role. Joe Hawley and Peter Konz are both coming off of injuries that ended their seasons last year, and Jonathan Asamoah has been battling an ankle injury over the past couple of weeks.Lamar Holmes also looks to be out for a few weeks with a broken foot. This is a unit that desperately needs to be improved both in terms of run blocking and pass protection, and so many unknowns at this point is enough to make me slightly nervous about this group heading into the season.

Caleb Rutherford

Interior Linebacker

Two things about this: 1) "But how can you say this? We just added a bunch of LBs in free agency?" ...No. and 2) I'm in a "Prove it" mindset with this group. Until I'm shown they're vastly improved, I will assume it hasn't changed much. Fan favorites or not, the linebacker group in 2014 was far and away the worst part of our defense and has been for some time. We could not stop the run and we could not cover TEs, and doing neither of those is going to lead to not only big problems, but long, drawn out drives that eat a ton of clock, which by extension leaves our far superior offense on the sideline.

I left this at interior linebacker because our defensive alignment has changed, and some people will include Beasley as a linebacker even though I currently am on the fence about that. In any case, we'll need improved play from both the new and old faces in our LB corps if we're going to turn the corner in 2015.

Alec Shirkey

Offensive Line

That the Falcons felt the need to sign players like Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus so late in the offseason says a lot about this group's depth. I had questions before the team released Sam Baker, who for all his inability to stay healthy would have at least provided a safety net, and I certainly have questions following his departure. Though talented, Jake Matthews still needs to prove he can handle playing one of the NFL's toughest positions. Ryan Schraeder came on nicely at the end of last season, but that's no guarantee opposing teams won't adjust to him in 2015. Joe Hawley is coming off an ACL tear. And the hole at left guard -- whether filled by Peter Konz, James Stone or Chester -- remains a concern. So I'm not quite sold on this unit, especially given the way it has hampered Atlanta's offense in recent years. We'll see how Kyle Shanahan's zone blocking scheme fares.

Dave Choate

Tight end

This position still haunts my dreams. For all I've argued that Levine Toilolowill improve and that the depth chart is miles ahead of where it was a year ago, this still is one of the weakest positions on the team. The Falcons are a Jacob Tamme injury away from the oft-injured Tony Moeaki and Levine Toilolo seeing major snaps, and we just can't be sure how that's going to go.

I would have felt great about the depth chart had the Falcons been able to landTim Wright, but as it stands now, we're hoping for a monster year from Tamme. Color me nervous. - I get it. White people can turn any color.

Matt Chambers

Pass Rush

After years with a head coach who always said that sacks do not matter, the team was left without any decent pass rusher. This year, the Falcons were forced to rebuild with a number of part-time players in free agency likeO'Brien Schofield and Adrian Clayborn. The team will hope Vic Beasley and and a heavy rotation will improve the pass rush. However, Atlanta is likely a few years, and a few players, away from having a competent group that can slow down an elite offense.

Kendall Jackson

Secondary

There's only one position in the secondary I have absolutely no worries about, and it's manned by Desmond Trufant who, in just two seasons, has cemented himself as one of the better cornerbacks in the league. While I'm not concerned with William Moore's ability, his health issues are a bit worrisome even if he does have a capable backup in Kemal Ishmael.

Free safety has to be the biggest question mark with veteran Charles Godfrey, converted cornerback Ricardo Allen, and the aforementioned Ishmael battling it out for the starting spot. At right cornerback, the winner will be betweenRobert Alford, who had a penalty-ridden and inconsistent 2014 season before he broke his wrist, and second-round rookie Jalen Collins.

This group could end up being a strength when all is said and done, but I can't say I'm overly comfortable with the secondary as is.

The DW

Tight End

The Falcons will go into 2015 two years removed from having the greatest TE to play in the NFL. In the years since the team traded for him in 2009, the Falcons have not made significant moves to find his heir apparent and we are now reaping what we have sown. The drafting of Levine Toilolo has - to this point - failed miserably. Jacob Tamme can be a serviceable receiving target and Moeaki has loads of potential when not injured, but this is a group that inspires very little confidence - especially since the position is one that is used heavily in Kyle Shanahan's offense.

The hope for this position group is that Tamme can play at his highest level since coming into the league while Moeaki stays healthy and Toilolo makes some big developments. Those are a lot of "ifs" though, and it is the reason this position group concerns me the most.

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Everything even the HC and the QB even the Waterboy they all weak..................at least what some falcon fans will end up saying.

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FS

Allen could be a revelation but this is based on gym class. Behind him could end up being journeyman Godfrey who is currently losing out to a DB considered undersized for CB. I think a younger guy could push him off the roster entirely with other guys at CB that could also play FS.(Southward/King) Damian Parms has prototypical length and adaquate speed and illustrated a willingness to come up and deliver a lick from both safety spots in college. He has collected a number of INT's in the last three practices to go with two in the shrine game. He and Allen are emerging as ball hawks for our FS position for me in the early going but whether they prove worthy or unworthy this position starter and back up is the most uncertain, unclaimed, unsettled position of all on the roster. Every other starter barring injury is pretty well consensus.

QB-Ryan

WR-Jones, White

TE-Tamme(thus far)

FB-DiMarco or Mooney

RB-Freeman/Coleman

LT-Matthews

LG-Chester

OC-Hawley

RG-Asamoah

RT-Schraeder

Listed two deep, co-starters per situation

LEO-Biermann/Beasley

RDT-Hageman/Babinaux

LDT-Soliai/Jarrett

LDE-Jackson/Clayborn

SLB-Reed/Schofield

WLB-Durant

MLB-Worrilow

RCB-Alford/Collins(top 3 for nickel)

FS-Allen

SS-Moore

LCB-Trufant

K-Bryant

P-Bosher

S-Harris

Specials are given as there are not even any competitors in camp.

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Polumbus is playing both sides in preparation H of serving as the primary swing tackle with Holmes going down. More reps for Schraeder at RT that way too. Also Polumbus has played RT in this system so he needs reps at LT which he just got 3 days of.

Matt Huffer was the #2 LT behind Polumbus for almost all of practice(day 1). If Holmes starts the season on PUP, Huffer could be pretty good depth that nobody yet knows about. We need to see him live against other teams DE's. He may be this years Ryan Schraeder as he seems to have passed draft pick Jake Rodgers and fellow UDFA Eric Lefeld as OT prospects. Rodgers was supposed to be tried as swing tackle but looked relegated to RT only when Lefeld replaced Huffer at LT the last few snaps of day 1. Huffer had a sleeve on his right knee in day 2 picks.(unrelated?) Lefeld is listed as OG and has practiced there. Even he could be ahead of Rodgers as versatile player able to play inside or out and next in line at LT.

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