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Atlanta Falcons: Better 2015, Reed Or Durant?


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Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and the rest of his staff decided to play it cool in the 2015 NFL Free Agency period, opting to bring in good scheme fit role players rather than throwing money at falling stars. It wasn’t a headline stealing FA period for the Falcons this year, but that was fine by the folks in Flowery Branch. A new coaching regime was in town and most of their emphasis was on building through the NFL Draft.

Two of the main free agents the Atlanta Falcons acquired this offseason were LBs Brooks Reed formerly of the Houston Texans and Justin Durant formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. Many questionable personnel moves to the linebacker corps over the last few years decimated a once proud unit into arguably the weakest in the NFL.

By also bringing in a franchise caliber pass rusher in Vic Beasley with the 8th overall selection in the NFL Draft, Atlanta definitely made some moves to bolster its LB unit. With possibilities for both Reed and Durant to start for the 2015 Atlanta Falcons, who has the better season for the Dirty Birds?

Reed spent his first four NFL seasons in a talented front seven down in Houston. Playing alongside DE JJ Watt, LB Brian Cushing, and even DE Jadeveon Clowney, Reed was able to start 52 of his 60 games played with the Houston Texans. Given that rookie OLB Vic Beasley will play a hybrid role at the LEO, it still see Reed playing on the same side right behind Beasley at LOLB for most of 2015.

Durant had a promising 2014 with Dallas cut short by injuries, only appearing in 6 games for the Cowboys. What I like about Justin Durant is his versatility, as he has been able to play all three linebacker positions in a 4-3 defense. I would say though that he’s had his best success at ROLB and should factor in their for the Dirty Birds this fall.

Though he’s not as obvious of a starter as Reed at this point in his career, given that the Atlanta Falcons often start former UDFA’s in its LB group, it wouldn’t shock me to see Justin Durant climb up the depth chart and win a starting linebacker job in Richard Smith‘s defense.

To me, the Atlanta Falcons linebacker corps is really a catalyst for this defense. We know that there is young talent in the secondary as HC Dan Quinn and AHC Raheem Morris look to bring the Legion of Boom to the Dirty South. And we also know that the elephant in the room for this defense has been the non-existent pass rush these last few seasons, so that’s constantly on everyone’s minds until it’s not an issue anymore.

But should the LB corps elevate its play in 2015 to close to the top 2/3’s of the league, perhaps Atlanta’s defense could improve enough to get the Atlanta Falcons back into playoff contention. Atlanta has two great teachers of how to play linebacker in DC Richard Smith and former San Francisco 49er Jeff Ulbrich coaching the LBs. So for this year’s unit to have bite, both Durant and Reed will have to play well.

It’s close as like both of these new Atlanta Falcons linebackers, but I would say at this point Brooks Reed will have the better season over Justin Durant just because he will likely start and get more snaps. But should any injury happen in the Falcons LB corps this fall, expect Durant to come in and start in possibly multiple roles. Here’s to an improved defense in 2015. Training camp is only 8 days away! Rise Up, ATL!

http://atlallday.com/2015/07/23/atlanta-falcons-better-2015-reed-or-durant/

Edited by FentayeJones
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Ummm, barring injury, Reed will be the strongside backer and Durant will be the weakside backer. I don't see how you compare them when they will have different roles. The Strongside backer will hopefully have more sacks as he will have greater opportunities to rush the passer. However, the Weakside backer should have significantly more tackles as he will be more free to chase down the ball carrier.

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2014

WLB-Bartu

MLB-Worrilow, Stupar(ST's only)

SLB-Shembo

2015

WLB-Durant, Akunne or Spruill(ST's only, we hope)

MLB-Worrilow, Stupar(ST's only)

SLB-Reed, Schofield

Only three LB's played on D last year and even though they list as ILB's in a 3-4, they had to be deployed in a 4-3 in certain situations. Durant will be a play maker not a warm body that makes tackles because somebody has to. Reed will be strong against the run and give way to Schofield in pass rush situations. Worrilow needs to improve in coverage.

Edited by Ryan_2.0_WCO
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Did this author really say Durant has the chance to climb up the depth chart and grab a starting role? Reed is more likely to have a better season because he's more likely to start?

Yeah we signed Durant to a 3 year 11million deal to be our backup on the (previously) worst LB corps in the league. He'll be lucky to beat out Bartu

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I like the veteran presence from these guys as well as Schofield. I think they will collectively bite the ***** of anybody who does not practice up to their ability. I don't think either of them wants to be the star of the defense and that's great by me. As long as they hold their assignments and tackle in space, they will be just what the doctor ordered.

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Did this author really say Durant has the chance to climb up the depth chart and grab a starting role? Reed is more likely to have a better season because he's more likely to start?

Yeah we signed Durant to a 3 year 11million deal to be our backup on the (previously) worst LB corps in the league. He'll be lucky to beat out Bartu

Actually i disagree. I think Durant is one of the better Westside lbs in the league, but Bartu is definitely a little underrated.
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Actually i disagree. I think Durant is one of the better Westside lbs in the league, but Bartu is definitely a little underrated.

I was being sarcastic, no doubt Durant runs away with the starting job at WLB. Bartu will have to fight for a roster spot after a poor showing last season (though any LB would look terrible in that scheme Nolan had us running)

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I was being sarcastic, no doubt Durant runs away with the starting job at WLB. Bartu will have to fight for a roster spot after a poor showing last season (though any LB would look terrible in that scheme Nolan had us running)

How or where did you get this notion from? Did you come up with it on your own or are you just repeating what you saw someone else say? And if you're repeated this info because someone else said it, who said it?

Because this is an example of why there's so much bad information on this forum. Someone says something like this that's entirely false, somebody else reads it and now they think it's fact because somebody else said it, and they go on repeating it and causing even more people to possibly become misinformed.

Bartu did not have a "poor showing last season". He was our most efficient tackler by a pretty big margin, in fact. Played in 16 games, started 14 at WILL/MACK, 486 snaps, 83 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 PD, and only 2 penalties.

If he had played as many snaps as Worrilow (1079) at the same tackle percentage as he did with 486 snaps, it equates to 181 tackles. Now I know that's pretty much impossible, but it illustrates just how efficient he was with only 486 snaps and 83 tackles. That's a really incredible percentage and FAR from what's considered a "poor showing".

Edited by Beef
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How or where did you get this notion from? Did you come up with it on your own or are you just repeating what you saw someone else say? And if you're repeated this info because someone else said it, who said it?

Because this is an example of why there's so much bad information on this forum. Someone says something like this that's entirely false, somebody else reads it and now they think it's fact because somebody else said it, and they go on repeating it and causing even more people to possibly become misinformed.

Bartu did not have a "poor showing last season". He was our most efficient tackler by a pretty big margin, in fact. Played in 16 games, started 14 at WILL/MACK, 486 snaps, 83 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 PD, and only 2 penalties.

If he had played as many snaps as Worrilow (1079) at the same tackle percentage as he did with 486 snaps, it equates to 181 tackles. Now I know that's pretty much impossible, but it illustrates just how efficient he was with only 486 snaps and 83 tackles. That's a really incredible percentage and FAR from what's considered a "poor showing".

You judge performance by tackling efficiency in limited snaps? Lol ok

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I jumped for joy when I heard we got Brooks Reed, He is way better than most on here give him credit. .He was an awesome signing.. My favorite by far. I wanted him badly in his draft and had him in my mock, But now we get him at the peek of his career, I say he has his best year ever this year.. having much help on the new D# front ... And a Coach that knows exactly how to bring out his best.

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You judge performance by tackling efficiency in limited snaps? Lol ok

486 snaps for a 2nd year UDFA is a lot. That's 30 snaps per game and an average of 5 tackles per 30 snaps. And in a position where your SOLE JOB is to tackle. He's on the weak side, so he's not supposed to cover TE's or rush the passer. 99% of his job is to tackle and that's it.

Just to give you some perspective, Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles with 153 in 989 snaps. That's 61 snaps per game and 9.5 tackles per 61 snaps. If Kuechly only had 486 snaps like Bartu, he would have only had 75 tackles. Bartu had 83 tackles in those 486 snaps.

That's tackling at an elite level. If you can't recognize that, then you're misguided and shame on you for spreading misinformation and calling that "poor showing".

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486 snaps for a 2nd year UDFA is a lot. That's 30 snaps per game and an average of 5 tackles per 30 snaps. And in a position where your SOLE JOB is to tackle. He's on the weak side, so he's not supposed to cover TE's or rush the passer. 99% of his job is to tackle and that's it.

Just to give you some perspective, Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles with 153 in 989 snaps. That's 61 snaps per game and 9.5 tackles per 61 snaps. If Kuechly only had 486 snaps like Bartu, he would have only had 75 tackles. Bartu had 83 tackles in those 486 snaps.

That's tackling at an elite level. If you can't recognize that, then you're misguided and shame on you for spreading misinformation and calling that "poor showing".

I figured you'd spew about tackling #'s being a fair metric to judge performance of WLB's due to their roles, but it isn't as simple as looking at the # of tackles. I'm not a Bartu hater anyway, you saw him flash his rookie season along with Worrilow. He didn't play as well last year, which I attribute in large part to Nolan's scheme. No LB's were going to look good in it with the responsibilities Nolan put on them and the cluster**** he created with the front 4.

Obviously you disagree that his play was subpar last season. He's a falcon and I want him to turn into a beast, the WLB in the 43 under is a great fit for both him and Durant, so here's his chance

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I figured you'd spew about tackling #'s being a fair metric to judge performance of WLB's due to their roles, but it isn't as simple as looking at the # of tackles. I'm not a Bartu hater anyway, you saw him flash his rookie season along with Worrilow. He didn't play as well last year, which I attribute in large part to Nolan's scheme. No LB's were going to look good in it with the responsibilities Nolan put on them and the cluster**** he created with the front 4.

Obviously you disagree that his play was subpar last season. He's a falcon and I want him to turn into a beast, the WLB in the 43 under is a great fit for both him and Durant, so here's his chance

Look, it's nothing personal with you. I don't know you from Adam and I haven't paid attention to your posts anywhere else trying to single you out. I simply saw someone post something that I think is incorrect. I don't know if you're uninformed, misinformed because of someone else's influence, or have simply come up with this opinion on your own some how.

But fact is, there's a reason he only played 486 snaps in this defense. It's because 85% of our entire defensive snaps (1,083 total), we played with 5 DB's. When Bartu wasn't in there at WLB, it was because Shembo was in there at SLB. We played in a 4-2-5 and a 5-2-4 and swapped in the WLB and SLB depending on the down and who was playing the nickel (McClain, Wilson, or even Southward sometimes).

Typically, in a 4-3-4, the WLB has a lot of coverage assignments vs the slot receiver and the SLB typically covers the TE (hence, "strong side"). But in Nolan's defense, our nickel, who was on the field for literally 925 of our 1083 snaps, covered the slot receiver. And when Shembo wasn't in, and we rushed 4 or 5, the middle was vulnerable and this is one of the reasons why TE's KILLED us all season. We consistently lacked middle-zone coverage on the strong side. And this is another reason why Worrilow rated so poorly with PFF, because he had way WAY too much real estate to cover from the middle all the way to the sideline on the strong side. And this is also why when Bartu was in, he was essentially playing a dual role of WILL and MACK, because he had the middle all the way to the sideline on the weak side to cover. But I'm not talking pass coverage, I'm talking run coverage. Because again, our nickel, who was in 85% of the snaps pass covered the weak side.

So literally, Bartu's only job, like 99% of the snaps he played, was to play the run and tackle the ball carrier from the middle over. And I just find it extremely difficult to say he did that poorly when he actually did it so well.

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I couldnt get past

"Reed spent his first four NFL seasons in a talented front seven down in Houston. Playing alongside DE JJ Watt, LB Brian Cushing, and even DE Jadeveon Clowney, Reed was able to start 52 of his 60 games played with the Houston Texans. Given that rookie OLB Vic Beasley will play a hybrid role at the LEO, it still see Reed playing on the same side right behind Beasley at LOLB for most of 2015." ...

LOL I think he thinks LEO means LEFT END ...O? lmao...Reed is strong side setting the edge opposite of Beez. Nobody will be directly behind Beasley technically since the LEO lines up so wide. JD will be behind Hag/Babs, and PW between Sol and Tjax/Clayborn. Reed sets the edge outside strong-side.

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Did this author really say Durant has the chance to climb up the depth chart and grab a starting role? Reed is more likely to have a better season because he's more likely to start?

Yeah we signed Durant to a 3 year 11million deal to be our backup on the (previously) worst LB corps in the league. He'll be lucky to beat out Bartu

I'm fairly sure after reading some of these articles, these reporters don't even pay attention to the Falcons at all. They just talk out of their *** and make stuff up to collect clicks.

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I'm fairly sure after reading some of these articles, these reporters don't even pay attention to the Falcons at all. They just talk out of their *** and make stuff up to collect clicks.

All journalists do that to a certain extent in this USA Today world we live in.

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486 snaps for a 2nd year UDFA is a lot. That's 30 snaps per game and an average of 5 tackles per 30 snaps. And in a position where your SOLE JOB is to tackle. He's on the weak side, so he's not supposed to cover TE's or rush the passer. 99% of his job is to tackle and that's it.

Just to give you some perspective, Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles with 153 in 989 snaps. That's 61 snaps per game and 9.5 tackles per 61 snaps. If Kuechly only had 486 snaps like Bartu, he would have only had 75 tackles. Bartu had 83 tackles in those 486 snaps.

That's tackling at an elite level. If you can't recognize that, then you're misguided and shame on you for spreading misinformation and calling that "poor showing".

thank you for the info..i think bartu will contribute this year and lets be honest both war and him had a bit of a down year last yea

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I jumped for joy when I heard we got Brooks Reed, He is way better than most on here give him credit. .He was an awesome signing.. My favorite by far. I wanted him badly in his draft and had him in my mock, But now we get him at the peek of his career, I say he has his best year ever this year.. having much help on the new D# front ... And a Coach that knows exactly how to bring out his best.

I remember!!! I had no idea who he was until you made it known. I really wanted him after you showed us what the deal was on him. Was disappointed when we didn't get him, but I followed his career. You were 100% correct on this guy. He was pretty good and did what you said he would.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/13997/brooks-reed

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