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Jake Long Could Be An Atlanta Falcon This Week


dynobot77
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http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/15886/jake-long-should-be-an-atlanta-falcon-this-week

Sounds good to me:

Don't be surprised if the Atlanta Falcons announce the signing of veteran tackle Jake Long this week.

Yes, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said not to read too much into the team bringing Long in for a second look last week. And yes, Long didn't get signed immediately after last Thursday's workout. But that didn't mean the interest in Long suddenly faded.

I expect the Falcons to sign Long to bring more depth to the offensive line -- as long as no other team outbids them. The move won't have anything to do with the status of left tackle Jake Matthews coming off a strained back. And it won't necessarily be a product of how Ryan Schraeder performs at right tackle Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, either.

The signing of Long would serve as added insurance at reasonable price, most likely. Had Long been signed last week, the Falcons would have been on the hook for a guaranteed salary, with Long being a vested veteran. (The deadline was 4 p.m. ET Saturday for such contracts). Word was Long was looking for at least $4 million at the start of his free-agent process. My guess is the Falcons can get him for around $2 million while working through the logistics of the contract. The NFL minimum for a player with his experience is $870,000.

Long's agent, Tom Condon, obviously wants to find his client a new home as quickly as possible. News circulated last week of Long being fully cleared medically after tearing the ACL in his right knee a second time last year with theSt. Louis Rams.

A NFL personnel man from an opposing team recently offered me his thoughts about Long's comeback:

"Four straight years on IR. But he's tough, has the right offensive line temperament you want, [and] smart. Not the same athlete he once was, obviously. His conditioning and ability to push on people is the issue. How he will hold up."

Long also had season-ending triceps and biceps injuries in the past.

The Falcons don't need Long to be the same guy he was when he entered the league as the first-overall pick of the Miami Dolphins (2008), when he developed into a four-time Pro Bowler. They need him to give a shaky offensive line a little more stability. Right now, the only tackles behind Matthews and Schraeder are Tyler Polumbus and recently claimed Bryce Harris. Lamar Holmes, who suffered a broken foot during minicamp, finally is out of a walking boot but remains on the physically unable to perform list. He's unlikely to provide much help once healthy.

But with Long, at least the Falcons would have a game-tested veteran who brings some savvy to the equation. Long, 30, started all 96 games he's played in during seven seasons with the Dolphins and Rams.

Long also sounds like someone who would be a solid locker room figure.

"He's a hard-working guy and a great player," said Falcons nose tackle Paul Soliai, who was teammates with Long in Miami. "He didn't have to adapt when he came into the league. He came in and he knew how to act like a professional.

"I hate for any NFL player to go through injuries. He was a good teammate in Miami. The time I was there, the only thing I could tell you about J Long is he would try to outwork whoever he plays against. I know he's always ready to come to work."

I expect Long to punch the clock at the Falcons' facility starting this week.

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I'm aware of his injury history of late. At this point I'm certainly not saying he's our RIGHT tackle for the next 10 years. But, he is/was a legit #1 draft pick, probowl, and all pro left tackle a couple of years ago. He's not an elite LT any more but IF he stays healthy, he could be an upper tier RT. Being optimistic for this season (since our OL was cursed last year!), given a few games to shake off the rust. If he remains healthy this year for us, I think Long will help solidify our line. In terms of talent and scheme. I'm ALOT more confident this year in our OL's potential then at any point in the past 2-3 years.

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Keep in mind that this is not the same Jake Long of a few years ago. He is not as mobile and not as strong as he once was. He is probably pretty mediocre these days.

Is he an upgrade from Polumbo? Maybe.

If Jake Long is not an upgrade over Polumbus? If he is not that, then he should retire. Polumbus is gawd awful.

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Keep in mind that this is not the same Jake Long of a few years ago. He is not as mobile and not as strong as he once was. He is probably pretty mediocre these days.

Is he an upgrade from Polumbo? Maybe.

The poster who wanted Blank to personally invite him to camp would probably be an upgrade over Polumbus.

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