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Fired Up & Stuff - Making The Case For The Falcons Defense, 10 Things I Think I Think.

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There is change in the air at the Branch.

It's hot. Like really hot (It's always hot, if you aren't aware of this, read a Mash training camp report.)

But apparently everyone is fired up.

Intensity. Noise. Toughness. Quinning.

Much has been spoken of the overhaul going on at Flowery Branch under the hyper defensive mastermind.

Moving from the penthouse to the outhouse would discourage many. But no, not Master Quinn.

All reports coming out are glowing. Hands on, upfront, infectious personality. Zero to Fired Up in 3.2 seconds.

Dan Quinn was born to coach football, and it was time for him to sit in the big seat.

The kingdom he has been put in charge of is in disarray. Fires are burning all over the stat sheet.

An outbreak of the black lung in defensive 3rd down %.

Communist revolution rising in tackling 101.

A viking hoard raping and pillaging anytime we tried to convert a 3rd and short.

The sack column was a baron wasteland, with Kroy Bierman leading the team coming off major rehab with a paltry 4.5.

22.5 sacks was the mountaintop last year, and 8.5 has walked out of the door(Mass, Peters, Bobby Mac, Lowery, Osi). And 37% of not a lot is a whole lot.

Worrilow admirably blew all others off the tackle sheet with a hefty 143, Kemal Ishmael leading the secondary with 98. When your backup Strong safety is second on the team, ahead of all other linebackers, you've got problems.

Interceptions was the most promising of the stat line, with youthful names standing out, Notably Ish (4), Tru (3), Alf (3), and South (1). But hey, if even the bad QBs get time to slide in the pocket, look to the third read and have a cigarette, they are going to throw them up....

Stats aside, the eye test was enough. It was truly painful.

Painful like an ATM surcharge painful.

Painful like stubbing your toe and cracking your knee on the desk painful. Everytime you stand up. For a year.

Mike Smith did a great job (for a while, sort of, not really) of convincing us that sacks were flash, and pressure mattered. Nolan wore a suit bloody well as a Niner. But when big ticket players acquired to shore up the middle (Jackson of Tyson, first of his name. Soliai of Paul, probably first of his name) offered underwhelming push, the D was back to bend but don't break, more than tipping the cap to the Pornstache VanGorder era.


Brian Van F***Gorder

With beautifully average big ugly play, and a "f**k it, throw him in, hopefully he'll work this week" attitude to the edge rushing, the linebackers didn't stand a chance. Lead by the big hearted, poor-backpedalling Worrilow, the undersized LB corps were terribly over-matched and taking on blocks with painful inevitability.

With defensive leader, all round animal, mediocre-to-solid upside rapper, pimp my ride aficionado, mentor to the young'uns and indoor palm tree owner Will Moore sidelined yet again, it's a wonder the secondary didn't capitulate to the point of calling New Orleans to see if they had any spare brown bags.

The above seems pretty gloomy, right? 32nd in all relevant categories doth not traditionally inspire hope.


You've never been so gahd-dayum beautfiul out there smitty

Before I turn the frowns into begrudging smirks and the occasional eyebrow raise... I for one must say that I will be forever grateful to Mike Smith for turning around the abomination that Pigtrino and Michael Vick left in their wake.

But the epitomy of the 'B-' coach ran out of answers to fix the new woes, and frankly, fumbled some big, big moments. One could argue that without #2's ability to throw clutch 4th quarters, he would've been gone 2 seasons ago. Peaked right at the moment he was about to punch Meangelo. I salute you old, crotchety Smitty.

Cause for hope then?

Dan Quinn & The Front Seven - The master finds his 'Everest'


DQ seen here fielding his first question from D-Led

We know the pedigree here for the Goatee'd one. Defensive line guru. Hawksman via Florida and back again. Oversaw true defensive greatness. Uncovered greatness in simple schemes, worked tirelessly on new technique and accentuating player attributes.

Strengths - Front seven, knowledge of rap music, wearing boxing pads

Weaknesses - hair growth, randomly bursts into flames

What he has here is the chance to step out of Carrol's shadow, and prove to the league that he is the guy responsible for the vaunted, shutdown pressure the Hawks 7 created week after week.

Still skeptical? I think that's fair. Due in large part to him not taking Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner hostage by gunpoint and frogmarching them down to Blank Towers to hide in the basement till opening night.

Q and The Line

Yes, we are all skeptical, we too saw a D# squeak past JJ Watt's individual sack total by 2.... 2. But there is reason for hope here.

Quinn built his reputation on using an individuals' best assets. I think we have a lot these on the roster, and some genuine greatness will come out.

Kroy - Say what you want about Kroy, his motor never stops. I appreciate the effort level, hugely, and so do his teammates.

71 struggles with finishing and and converting pressure into sacks. Under Quinn, I believe he will preach the tenacious first step, and getting as close as possilble to get in the eye line of the QB. Make the QB hesitate. Stop him from getting to his second read. Make him step up into the DTs. May make the switch to maroon contacts, red weren't working out.

Hageman - There was great expectation for the young man. Admitteding to the press that his pad level 'sucks' and that he's his own biggest critic were refereshingly honest sentiments, not what we are used to hearing from the press-trained rookies. Enter Coach Cox, cigars at the ready... right? We are on to a winner here, we all thought. What we were treated to was underwhelming, both from an attitude and production standpoint. He is the dictionary definition of 'worthwhile project'. Cut out the immaturity, college attitude and enhance his strengths. We saw flashes. We all saw flashes. We got 1 sack and 2 TFLs in limited playing time. But if he gets his head right and becomes a pro? What you are left with is a 6'7 wrecking ball with a mean streak. An athletically gifted, penetrating D Tackle. Break out the cubans, Shede has turned up in great shape. Color me very optimistic. As optimistic as man can be who just re-watched hardknocks and had to fast forward his 'conditioning sprints'. I aged.

Babs - the crafty veteran. Our shining light throughout some atricious play. What we want from Babs is simple. Set the tone on the sidelines. And in limited playing time, play like your head is on fire. The man still grabbed 2 sacks and 3 TFLs last year. He can contribute in more ways than one. Just keep him and Shede apart.

Soliai - Paul has struggled with injury and father time in his Atlanta tenure. He is the only genuine big man on the line, so we need him to be stout on 1st down. Nothing more, nothing less. What exactly is the plan if he goes down? I assume we would have to bring someone else in, I don't see another guy on the roster that does what he does. Hopefully a healthy Soliai is an invigorated Soliai. I'm certain he can give us that 1st down effort if he is truly healthy. We need that. Badly. His success is going to be a big part of our ability to stop the run. He has the talent, no doubt. Is it a year too far? Still leads the league power rankings in tribal tattoo/hairstyle combos

Jarrett - Tuggle Jnr has got it all, and probably goes in the 2nd round if he knew where to buy some fine cuban heels. Remember Jerry's reports? Bowling ball of butcher knives? I give you the Grady Jarett recipe

  • Take one Peria Jerry
  • Add some hot sauce
  • Garnish with explosive technique and penetration ability (gigidy)
  • Remove dreams of fishing all day
  • Invite him to a BBQ
  • Tell him to skip lunch
  • Let him close enough to smell the ribs
  • Don't let him in
  • Allow to simmer for 35-40 mins
  • Offer him some Quinoa
  • Serve with a side order of stats : 144 tacklers, 29.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 FF
  • And there you have it, one Grady Jarett. He will be special people, and at some point the league will learn you don't have to be 6'7 to be effective on the line.

O'Brien Schofield - He was a priority signing for Quinn. A terrific player for an Irish Bar. Plays with angry hands and a quick first step. Knows Quinn's system inside out. Wes Durham, learn the name, you're going to get to know him really well. Definitely allowed to call him Q.

Adrian Clayborn - 1 of 382 different ways to spell Clayborn, he is unique in the sense that his version is simplest yet most butchered. Off the chart intangible.

Working with Chuck Smith

Looked dayum good when he blew the iceman up early doors.

in theory, coming into his prime

strong enough to play inside a bit

Will lead the team in 'michael bennett role' proclamations from TATF

Beasley - Ah, Victor/Vicky/Vicquan... You fill us all with so much hope. It's easy to blinded by stats, because they are unbelievable.

He is as tall as as six foot, three inch tree.

Weighs as much as a 246lb Boulder.

I know right. Impressive.

Combine numbers (Some of us don't have these memorized yet(we're getting there Falcan Moore))

Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP 6 ft 3 in 246 lb 4.53 s 1.59 s 2.65 s 4.15 s 6.91 s 41 in 10 ft 10 in 35 reps

Are you KIDDING ME? Workout warrior

He could've called it a day and declared in '13, and likely gone in the second. Instead, he backed himself, finished his education and took the Clemson Sack Record

52.5 Tackles for Loss

33.0 Sacks

7 Forced Fumbles

2 Touchdowns

2x all American

Shut. The. Front. Door.

This is genuine athletic freakazoid stuff. For years, we have not been able to point to a superstar candidate on the F7(frankly, we were all ready to hit F5). Abe and his baggage left some time ago. Enter Vic. No pressure kid.


Justin Durant, after stealing Weatherspoon's spoon. Clay Matthews Brooks Reed, not deadlifting for once

Reed - Brooks Reed has a been a good pro. The signing doesn't create Vic-level excitement, rightly so, but we should be very happy about the signing. Absolute physical animal who you have to throw out of the gym. He was drafted as a 3-4 OLB, seen as a bit of a project. After a slow start and a slew of injuries to his compadres, he has been incorrectly used for the majority of his career. Expect him to be allowed to get at the QB from LB. A really solid addition to a bad LB corps, and absoultely has the kind of attitude we want in the building. One of my favourite pickups of the entire offseason.

Durant - My favourite non-draft signing. A quote from Dave Campo, asisstant HC of the Jags when they drafted him. "Athletic, plays hard, great leader." He left such an impression on his teammates that they elected him Captain in his first year.

Why should you care about Durant? There is no way the cowboys let him walk if his Bicep wasn't on the mend. This may come as a shock, but this is a Linebacker that is actually comfortable in space. Watch this video for the Campo Quote and a rather satisfying film breakdown will make you feel the right feels.

This guy will not leave the field for us. Huge signing.

Worrilow - Our defensive captain, tone setter and champion try hard guy has finally got some promise in front of him, and some dependability alongside him. A great year for the Corps would see PW & Durant's tackle totals within a badger's nadger of one another.

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Raheem Morris & The Secondary - Refining youthful exuberance - Refining Swagger, like Mr Bentley


raheem morris in the big chair at the Bucs. Spotted here reminding Josh Freeman what down it is.

Morris spent 9 years with the Buccaneers, and we all remember his underwhelming stint (17-31) as HC for 3 years. Suffering from inexistent QB play, he was jettisoned and moved on to the Skins project, coaching the DBs from 2012-2014. Believe or not, Morris is still only 38.... Yes, younger than the other Matty Ice.

What I remember most about Raheem's Bucs tenure was his personality.

Cocky, Optimistic, Real. Likes bad sunglasses. Professional shirt tucker.

I begrudgingly respected his style(not the shirt and shades part), and thought a man getting this opportunity at that age really must have something about him.

He's been brought in to be our assistant HC and Defensive Passing Game Co-Ordinator. So that would be the AHC/DPGCO... obviously. But our new AHCDPGCO has some shiny raw materials to turn around.

Will Moore and Tru solidify 2/5 of the top level, leaving a lot of young, raw, talented DBs to slot in.

I'm very excited about Raheem. Much like some of our young guys, his time in the spotlight was too early, and he was over-matched. It doesn't mean the talent isn't there.

Trufant may finally get the national recognition as what he is. A Shutdown corner in making. Moore will be encouraged to be more of what he is. Quinn has publicly stated that he looks forward to working with Moore, and directly referenced tackling.


The true test of Raheem will be his ability to shape the other 3/5ths with young, raw guys.

Jalen and South bring ideal size and speed but make lobsters in the fish-tank look well cooked.

Both bring impeccable Sherman Dreads to the table. What else they bring is to be determined. Still, look the part right?

Alford has talent and incredible athleticism, but cannot be relied on to not hold/make mental errors. Rumors of Morris Duct Taping his fingers together so he can't hold during camp yet to be confirmed. Sources close to the situation have told me to stop calling.


Another Ricardo Allen

Ricardo Jamal Allen - Love his college tape, his promising porn star name, and his one 'big hit'.

Dude, that's just a hit if you're the FS. Expert Sock game also, valuable intangible.

There has been enough written on Ricardo, so i'll just say i'm also looking forward to seeing/praying he can/would sell my firstborn/seriously, we need to offer something to the lord of light if he can fill the starting FS spot.

Kemal Ishmael was a standout for me. He didn't set the world on fire, but 4 picks in your first year with a lot of playing time is no joke.

Please, just don't match him up against speed/great route runners. All of a sudden Storage Wars will be more interesting than watching the 3rd replay of another slo-mo angle of the toast slowly burning and Cris Collinsworth Climaxing.... "Money!".


He should build on his impressive extended cameo from last year (Ish, not Cris Collinsworth, he can play in traffic), and at worst is sensational depth behind Moore. Personally, i'd like to see both of them on the field on 1st down. Bring the pain, fire up ride of the Valkyries.

It's about time I wrapped this up.

10 things I think I think and still think about from time to time

  1. O'Brien Schofield will account for 4 sacks this year. O'Brien Schofield's will stock the finest selection of Pale Ale in the State.
  2. The starting LB corps will be better than 'meh'. And it will be Durant WarriSwole and Brooks 'leg day' Reed. Which is good.
  3. High Top Jop will be right on the edge of the 53, slap fighting with Maponga. Whoever offers more as a blitzer wins
  4. Big Cliff Matthews will make the roster. I'm not sure why, I just fancy it.
  5. Goodman will finally learn how to be aggressive with his hands and actually offer something on the outside in run support. The sexiest of all the edge roles
  6. Justin Hardy is most certainly an upgrade over Harry Douglas. Look forward to him making the catches that unclench your buttocks on third down on a shallow pattern across the middle
  7. Matt Ryan will have his best year. Lack of bicep muscles scrutinized after first pics of camp. Consensus that he has put on 1/2 inch
  8. Offensively, Freeman, Smith and Coleman will make fantasy owners weep. Rotated more than a Black Friday mall door
  9. Quinn will remain fired up
  10. I don't want to talk about the offensive line

I can't wait for training camp so we can recklessly speculate, anoint our yearly heroes who don't make it past first cuts(I still miss Kerry Meier, for reals), and enjoy Mash's occasional temper tantrums/good photos. (seriously though Mash, keep it up brother, you're a gentleman and a scholar).

I want to see this beautifully simple defence and master teacher turn this crazy train around. Don't worry Q, Matt has got his end of the bargain sorted on the other side of the ball.

The plan is simple, just like my brother in law Colin. But unlike Colin, this just might work.

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I enjoyed this. Good read

Very unique and interesting read

I started reading this last night and fell asleep, long read but some good stuff. can't wait for the season to start

Haven't posted much since the draft so had some things to get off my chest in my own weird way ;)

Glad it's appreciated, if you can get through the whole lot without a nap you're a hero.

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Awesome write-up dude, liked the player breakdowns.

Reading Beasley's stat sheet really is mind-numbing. If that translates to the NFL... gawddayum

his stats are unreal, forgot to add ACC DPOY as well. I was worried about his size. I'm fresh out of reasons to worry after seeing how he looked at minicamp

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Good stuff.

However I will say this about your predictions... if both Matthews and Goodman make the 53, you realize this means we'll have 10 guys for 4 positions and Mbu isn't even in that mix?

Solia, Jackson, Babs, Hageman, Clayborn, Jarrett, Beasley, Biermann, Goodman, Matthews is A LOT for just 4 positions.

I don't see both of them making it. One, sure. Both, doubtful.

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Good stuff.

However I will say this about your predictions... if both Matthews and Goodman make the 53, you realize this means we'll have 10 guys for 4 positions and Mbu isn't even in that mix?

Solia, Jackson, Babs, Hageman, Clayborn, Jarrett, Beasley, Biermann, Goodman, Matthews is A LOT for just 4 positions.

I don't see both of them making it. One, sure. Both, doubtful.

Get that, you're probably right. However..

  • I'd say that Mbu will get stashed on the PS. If he blows up in the preseason, it will be interesting to see.
  • We haven't messed around when it comes to releasing guys, so if both Cliff and The Goods (would be a great swing band-name) don't show value early in TC, you have to think Quinn/TD/Pioli will take youth and a lower cap number over the older guys.

I'm not sure how we are going to setup the roster in Atlanta, but the Hawks carried (at the start of the season)

6 Interior DL (NT,5T 3T)

5 Edge Rushers (LEO, SLB)


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I'm excited for this season but I'm really excited for the 2016 season. By that time, Beasley will have had a year worth of experience under his belt, Falcons will have had another great draft and even better FA, and the team as a whole will be experienced in Quinn and Shanahan's system. I think in 2016, we could make a strong Super Bowl run.

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