Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

blkbigdog35

Falcons Off Season News

151 posts in this topic

Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley said the torn right labrum he dealt with last season, a college injury, was blown out of proportion. Beasley said he feels fully healthy now.

Share
 
  •  
  •  
  •  
icon-espn-e-@2x.png
12h
mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg

Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons FB Patrick DiMarco on the addition of three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, "Dude's a genius."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falcons' Vic Beasley improving pass-rush technique by studying Von Miller

  • Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Although Vic Beasley Jr. is adjusting to playing strongside linebacker rather than just rushing as a defensive end, the Atlanta Falcons second-year player is confident about elevating his pass rush during the 2016 season.

Beasley set a franchise rookie record with four sacks last season, but he still didn't play up to his high standards. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he wanted Beasley to work on his counter moves rather than just relying on speed. And Beasley has taken Quinn's advice to heart this offseason while working closely with defensive coordinator Richard Smith, linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, and defensive line coach Bryan Cox.

"Definitely counter moves, and I've been working with a number of coaches this year so far: Coach Smith, Coach Ulbrich, because I'm playing Sam now, and Coach Cox, and they've been helping me a whole lot," Beasley said. "Just having all their different opinions and different strategies has helped me a lot so far."

It's interesting that Beasley would single out Smith, formerly the linebackers coach in Denver. Smith helped tutor Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Beasley actually has been studying Miller while working on his counter moves.

"Like, I watch Von Miller all the time," Beasley said. "We share a lot of similarities. I don't necessarily try to be exactly like him, because I am my own person. But we do share a lot of similarities, and I try to mirror some of myself after him."

Another year in Quinn's system should help Beasley's cause, regardless of the position switch. Sure, Beasley might have more responsibilities now when it comes to dropping into coverage, but his primary responsibility, no doubt, will be rushing the passer. The Falcons had a league-low 19 sacks last season, and didn't exactly secure a pass-rush specialist this offseason. But they will count on Beasley to show the dynamic ability that made him the eighth-overall pick in the 2015 draft.

He'll likely team with Adrian Clayborn, Grady Jarrett, Derrick Shelby, and sometimes Brooks Reed in the nickel pass-rush group. Beasley even singled out undrafted Ivan McLennan as a guy who might enhance the pass rush.

"We have great guys in place, and the guys that we brought in definitely are going to add to that," Beasley said. "Just relentless pursuit. You have to want to get after the quarterback. And I think we just have to have a relentless pursuit to get after the quarterback."

Although Beasley revealed he played last season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, he refused to use that as an excuse for an average season. Beasley maintains he won't need surgery on the shoulder.

"Honestly, I think that's kind of just blown out of proportion," Beasley said. "Last year, it didn't really hinder me. I played with the labrum in college, but it didn't hinder me any. I was able to become All-American in college. But now, I'm off to a great start, and I feel 100 percent with my labrum."

When he first came in as a rookie, Beasley boldly stated his goal of reaching double-digit sacks. He stopped short of declaring such a goal heading into this season, but he knows expectations are high for him, regardless where he lines up on the field.

"I probably shouldn't put a number on that," Beasley said. "Just try to adapt to the guys around me. The guys around me are going to push me. Obviously that's a goal of mine (double-digit sacks), and I'm just going to keep working hard to get there."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NFL's most hated player? Falcons' Jacob Tamme goes all in to win Twitter poll

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/20752/falcons-tight-end-jacob-tamme-loves-to-be-hated

 
4:49 PM ET
  • mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The scrapbooks Jacob Tamme's wife have put together for him throughout the years will soon have a new item: a SiriusXMNFL radio list citing him as the NFL player fans loves to hate the most.

The mild-mannered Tamme got a chuckle after beating out Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Richard Sherman with 40 percent of the vote. Tamme really engaged the fans to win enough votes. The final results were published here:

The Players you love to hate list was published - @alexmarvezand @TomPelissero want to know 'who you love to hate'

27%Tom Brady
19%Cam Newton
14%Richard Sherman
40%Jacob Tamme
2,617 votesFinal results
  •  
  •  
  •  
     3838 Retweets
  •  
  •  
     2929 likes"I just happened to cross it and saw my name on it and said, 'This is interesting,'" Tamme said. "And I said to myself, 'I might as well win this thing.'"

Tamme found out a fan called in and wasn't happy that he caught some of Dallas Clark's touchdowns when the two played together in Indianapolis and Clark got hurt.

"At that point, we just had fun with it," Tamme said about discovering the list by chance. "Since I was on it, I thought it would be neat to beat somebody. I kind of singled out Sherman because he was the cl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could Dwight Freeney put new spin on stale Falcons' pass rush?

4:46 PM ET
  • mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

The Atlanta Falcons are set to bring in veteran pass-rusher Dwight Freeney for a visit next week, as first reported by ESPN's Jim Trotter.

Freeney, 36, was in Cincinnati for a workout first reported by ESPN.com's Coley Harvey. But as Harvey mentioned, it looks like Freeney will head out of town without a contract.

Freeney, with 119.5 career sacks, had his best days with the Indianapolis Colts. Last year with the Arizona Cardinals, he had eight sacks. But Freeney also played on a pretty stout defense in Arizona.

Will the Falcons' sign him? Well, coach Dan Quinn said he's always looking for pass-rush help. The Falcons had a league-low 19 sacks last season. And although they're counting on a big jump from Vic Beasley in his second season, the Falcons still could use more help after not really finding an edge rusher in free agency or the draft.

Beasley led the Falcons with four sacks last season, so getting four out of Freeney would help regardless of his age.

Here's what one NFL personnel guy said about Freeney:

"He's a guy who really has one move; the spin move. He's old, so he's going to win on effort. He'll get three or four sacks on hustle. He's not going to be groundbreaking or earth shattering. He's just a veteran guy. And, he's old, man. But he might help."

The Falcons have brought in two veteran cornerbacks in Leon Hall and Brandon Boykin but didn't sign either immediately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falcons not signing Dwight Freeney at this time

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/20886/falcons-not-signing-dwight-freeney-at-this-time

  • Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team won't sign veteran pass-rusher Dwight Freeney at this time, but haven't ruled him out for future consideration.

Freeney came to Atlanta on Wednesday to visit with the coaching staff. Quinn made it clear that there was no need for the 36-year-old Freeney to go through a workout because Quinn was well aware of Freeney's body of work, with 119.5 career sacks.

"We had a great visit with Dwight in here today," Quinn said. "It was a chance for him to get to know us, and us to know him. So it was more, not a meet-and-greet, but we could explain what our program is all about and where we're headed. So it was awesome to have him here with us. But nothing past that at this point."

Freeney played for Arizona last season and finished with nine sacks in 11 games. It's unclear how much money Freeney is looking for, but he would have made $970,000 last season had he went through a full season with the Cardinals.

Freeney, who also visited Cincinnati without signing, had no other visits immediately planned after Atlanta.

The Falcons, currently with just over $4 million in cap space, according to NFLPA records, get another $4.75 million in cap relief tomorrow after designating released nose tackle Paul Soliai a June 1 cut. In other words, money probably wasn't the primary factor behind the Falcons not signing Freeney immediately, unless his asking price was ridiculous.

The Falcons, who had a league-low 19 sacks last season, are counting on Vic Beasley to take a significant step as both a nickel rusher and blitzer from the strongside linebacker spot. Quinn also has faith in a slimmed down Brooks Reed, who was slowed coming off preseason groin surgery last season but showed little signs of life after getting healthy. The Falcons hope to get a push up the middle from Grady Jarrett, newcomer Derrick Shelby and veteranJonathan Babineaux, while Adrian Clayborn is the other edge rusher expected to make an impact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WILL INJURY, AGE TAKE DOWN HESTER?

Devin Hester, 33, isn't fully recovered from offseason toe surgery and is due to earn $3 million. Vaughn McClure notes that Hester understands that could all mean the end of his stay with the Falcons. Vets on roster bubble

Share
 
  •  
  •  
  •  
7h
mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg

Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons DC Richard Smith said the transition to him coaching the Leos, Sams, and edge-rushers in individual drills rather than head coach Dan Quinn doing it has allowed Quinn to have more freedom to roam and coach everybody. Smith is partnering with DL coach Bryan Cox.

Share
 
  •  
  •  
  •  
icon-espn-e-@2x.png
7h
mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg

Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich took the blame for his unit missing too many tackles last season. "A big part of that was me. We made such an emphasis on 'long stride, short stride, shuffle' like making it so mechanical. I'm doing a better job of teaching it now."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, blkbigdog35 said:

Our sixth rounder obtained in a tradeback for Jones is our most underrated move IMHO

blkbigdog35 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falcons Bryan Cox lashes out about unfair outside pressure put on Vic Beasley

11:46 PM ET
  • mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Bryan Cox is tired of hearing the criticism.

The Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach knows all about the chatter still lingering from last season regarding the first-year showing of Vic Beasley Jr., the eighth-overall pick in last year's NFL draft. Beasley had four sacks as a rookie, which fell well below his personal goals and the high expectations others put on him.

Defensive line coach Bryan Cox said it's unfair to say that Vic Beasley Jr. was a bust last season because "it's also everybody else within the group pulling their weight so it's not just a one-man band. It's not one man." AP Photo/David Goldman

"When you're talking about last season, everybody -- the so-called prognosticators and the professionals -- are harping about what Vic didn't do last season, but I take the opposite approach," Cox said. "You look at all the times he hit the quarterback and pressured the quarterback. If we can maybe just do a little better job of turning some of those into sacks, people would be quite pleased with him.

"At the end of the day, at least from my standpoint the way I look at it, I think the guy is going to be OK. He's worked this [offseason]. You see his speed better. You see his work ethic picking up, not that he wasn't a good worker last year. But you see him having a little better understanding in Year 2 making the little jump. There's still some technical stuff that we're going to work on and get better. But I think, at the end of the day, it's also everybody else within the group pulling their weight so it's not just a one-man band. It's not one man."

Beasley has to be the best guy in the group, since the Falcons didn't totally address the pass rush through free agency or the draft. Coach Dan Quinn said the team won't sign veteran Dwight Freeney at this time but could revisit Freeney down the road. There is talk about Brooks Reed helping the pass rush, but that has to be evident on Sundays to be believed. And the coaches insist Beasley's ability to pass-rush won't be thrown off by his move to strong side linebacker.

"I think he's on schedule; I think he's going to do a good job," Cox said of Beasley. "I'm going to let everybody else put all that pressure and talk about all what he should be and 'he's a bust' and this and that because nobody knows. Tell me who looked at the tape? Tell me who can tell what we're teaching?

"I think that's unfair to put on him. And I think it's unfair to say, 'Well, you were the eighth pick in the draft.' It's never one man. How many rookies have ever been drafted that you say, 'This guy's going to come and be elite, and he's going to take us where we need to go.' I don't know one man that's ever done that. So, I think it's unfair. And the pressure being put him is not coming from this side. I think he has a chance to be a really good player, and we're going to keep working towards that."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ben Day Hoe said:

Our sixth rounder obtained in a tradeback for Jones is our most underrated move IMHO

I agree I think he is a diamond in the ruff no doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Atlanta Falcons: How will Keanu Neal fit in the defense?

 

by Ford Nicholson13 hours agoFollow @pwnmaster123

ATL All Day  


 

In the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Keanu Neal, a defensive back from Florida. Neal can play all over the field for the Atlanta Falcons and he can do many different things to disrupt the offense.

Keanu Neal played mainly safety at Florida, where Falcons coach Dan Quinn recruited Neal to. Before Quinn became the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, he was the defensive coordinator at Florida from 2011 through 2012. Neal played in all 12 games as a freshman in 2013. At Florida he improved each year, and with Quinn in Atlanta, he should do the same.

With the selection of Keanu Neal in the draft, the Atlanta Falcons addressed their need of a safety after William Moore left for free agency after last season. The Falcons were searching for a safety who could run and cover and come into the box as an extra linebacker and help stop the run. Neal will be used in many different ways and he will improve the Falcons defense overall.

The Hard-Hitter Mentality

With Neal being a little over six feet and around 210 pounds, he has the mentality of a bowling ball coming at a ball carrier in full force. Kam Chancellor was know for being the hard hitting safety on the Seahawks defense when Dan Quinn was there. Neal was known for being a hard hitter at Florida and being able to separate the ball carrier from the ball.

In the Atlanta Falcons defense, Neal will be asked to roam the back end of the field and at times come into the box and stop the run. In the NFL, defensive players are asked to do more than one thing and be a versatile defender. Neal can bring that hard hitting mentality that has been missing from the Falcons defense.

Versatility

Neal presents Dan Quinn a player that can defend against the run and the pass. As a junior, Neal recorded 94 tackles and although he only recorded one interception, he was up at the line of scrimmage most of the time. Neal also has the ability to cover both tight ends and receivers. He had one of the best 40 yard dash times at the NFL Combine among defensive backs.

His speed is what sets him apart from other defensive backs and gives him the ability to play sideline to sideline and cover a lot of ground in a little amount of time. The Falcons defense will be better with him on the field and it will free up other players to excel at their specific assignments.

Verdict- Immediate Impact

Neal will be able to make an immediate impact on the Atlanta Falcons defense this year and he will be able to be coached up by Dan Quinn and Richard Smith. Both of them will be able to help Neal become one of the better safeties in the NFL.

Neal will need to work on learning the defensive scheme and work on playing with the rest of the people around him. If he can do that, the Atlanta Falcons will have found a great player who will be a great fit to the defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Atlanta Falcons: Do they have a top five cornerback duo?

 

by Nicholas Moody2 days ago

Blogging Dirty  


 

The Atlanta Falcons need some boost from their secondary if they want their defense to be one of the leagues’ best in 2016.


In today’s league, the passing game has become the preferred means of offense for most NFL teams. This rule applies especially to the NFC South, where the  Falcons play. With most teams constantly adding depth to their receiving corps, the cornerback position has grown in importance, and shutdown corners are becoming just as valuable as top-tier wide receivers.

The Falcons have young depth in their secondary, and have made strides the last few seasons to get better. However, the Falcons are going to need a big boost considering the division they play in.  The Panthers are coming off a super bowl run and will have Kelvin Benjamin returning from injury to go along with Cam Newton at the helm. The Buccaneers have a stud in Jameis Winston with two receivers that both stand at over 6-foot-5 in Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. And the Saints have Drew Brees… enough said.

This is a division that relies mostly on the passing attack, and with that kind of talent being played six times a year, Atlanta will need their cornerback duo of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford to be a top 5 performing duo.

Let’s get something out of the way right now; there is little chance of the Falcons cornerback duo being able to crack the top three. With the Jets and Broncos taking the top two spots, it’s very difficult to crack such tough competition. However, there is plenty of room to fit them into the top 5.  

Desmond Trufant will be 25 years old when the season begins in September, and the corner has already made great strides his first three seasons. Trufant has become one of the better corners in the league, not only for his ability to lock down receivers, but also for his smart decision-making.

Alford, who was selected one round after Trufant, is 27, but is still learning the game and getting better at a slower pace, but is still one of the better investments the Falcons have made.

These two make for a wonderfully athletic duo, but the Falcons also have an ace in the hole. Jalen Collins is expected to be their second outside corner in 2016. 

I understand the off-field issues and rookie struggles, but the kid has serious athletic ability and size, and will hopefully show much improvement from last season after his four-game suspension is served.

Trufant and Alford are a great duo, who honestly are already easily a top 10 duo in the league. With Quinn coming into his second year as head coach, it will give these two a greater chance to improve on what already was a great season for both of them. It won’t be an easy season. The Falcons face multiple teams that will pose a threat through the air. This could ultimately kill the dream of the Falcons having a top five corner duo from a statistical standpoint, but one must also consider the help head coach Quinn has brought to the linebacker position.

If a few draft picks and free agent pick-ups work out, it could be a big benefit for Trufant and Alford.

One can argue either way on where the Falcons corners fall in the grand scheme of things. What sets the Falcons apart, though, is when  Collins returns for the outside role after his suspension. Sure, he might not able to stay out of trouble, and maybe he could turn out to be a bust, but his athletic ability and size under Quinn will turn results if he can get on the field and stay there.

 With Trufant, Alford, and Collins all playing their best, I’m not sure you could find a better cornerback trio in the entire league. This is huge for the Falcons, with their pass-heavy division.

Ultimately, Falcons fans shouldn’t worry about their corners. Trufant and Alford are two of the best prospects a fan could ask for, and there are way more red flags that this team has to worry about. The Falcons might not have a top 5 cornerback duo just yet, but the question isn’t a matter of if, but when. If not this year, there isn’t a doubt in my mind they will next season. As long as they remain with the team of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falcons president wants to see throwback uniforms at new stadium in 2017

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/21228/falcons-president-wants-to-see-throwback-uniforms-at-new-stadium-in-2017

9:55 AM ET
  • mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay doesn't anticipate a new uniform or logo change for the team when it moves into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017, but McKay would like to see the throwback uniforms dusted off a couple of times a year.

McKay brought up the topic after the media toured the $1.5 billion venue Thursday."We've worn throwbacks for a number of years, (but) when we weren't allowed to wear the red helmets (2013), then we have not worn throwbacks (since then)," McKay explained. "We're going to go back and find ways and put our throwbacks on. As you've seen them potentially with the black helmet, we're going to try and get that back in our routine."

So does that mean the possibility of all-black uniforms?

"We haven't decided yet," McKay said. "We have many options. We can go black with white pants. We can do whatever. But we'll go back and we'll use the old logo. We like to celebrate history. And our players like it."

McKay sees it as a positive way to appeal to the players and fans heading into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

"Absolutely," McKay said. "I love the old '66 ones we wore with the red helmet. I thought that was a really cool look. But I think anytime you wear a throwback, it just brings back ... you've got a lot of your fan base that you know, those were their teams. We want to honor those teams. One way to do it is to wear their uniforms. I like it. I like the concept."

During the Falcons' inaugural season in 1966, they wore black jerseys with white numbers and red trim at home with a white Falcon crest on the sleeves with the red helmets and white pants.

A new logo was introduced during the 2003 season. The all-black uniforms with the new logo were worn between 2003 and 2008. Then the red jerseys became the preferred home jerseys in 2004, while black became the third alternate jersey.

In 2009, the Falcons unveiled the throwback 1966 uniforms in Week 2 against Carolina in honor of franchise's first team. They went 2-0 in those uniforms that season, defeating the Panthers (28-20) and Buccaneers (20-17) at the Georgia Dome.

Then in 2013, the NFL established a rule that required teams to wear the normal helmet along with the throwback uniforms, thus keeping the Falcons from wearing the throwback red helmet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NFC South Q&A: Will Julio Jones be the first to crack 2,000 receiving yards?

Today's question: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had the second-highest single-season receiving yardage total in NFL history last season, compiling 1,871 yards. The NFL record is 1,964 by the now-retired Calvin Johnson. Going into 2016, the additions of Mohamed Sanu and rookie tight endAustin Hooper, along with the growth of second-year receiver Justin Hardy, could create more one-on-one matchups for Jones. Will Jones be the first receiver in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard mark? If not, who will it be?

Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter: It's crazy to think that Jones had that type of production despite a bit of an adjustment year in Kyle Shanahan's offense. I'd chalk that up to the Falcons not having a whole lot of other options at receiver. Another season in that system should help, especially in the red zone, and so should the emergence of Devonta Freeman, who rushed for 1,061 yards last season, which will keep defenses honest if the ground game can remain consistent. If Jones doesn't reach that mark, I think the Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown could. Brown finished with 1,834 receiving yards last season and has gained 1,499 or more the past three seasons. He had the same number of regular-season catches as Jones last year (136) with fewer targets (195 to Jones' 204). Aside from sheer production, he's just so hard to cover.

David Newton, Carolina Panthers reporter: That's a pretty tall order, so I'll go with no. Make that heck, no. Now if anybody could do it, Jones would be my pick -- if he played for New England or possibly even Carolina. The Atlanta offensive line doesn't give Matt Ryan time to get Jones the ball enough for 2,000 yards. And the new offensive scheme doesn't promote throwing it enough times for Jones to get that many yards. Of course, the defenses in the NFC South are pretty bad, outside of Carolina's, so Jones will have opportunities to rack up big numbers. But 2,000 yards doesn't seem realistic for any receiver, even in this pass-happy age.

Mike Triplett, New Orleans Saints reporter: That record is going down. Maybe not this year, but it will happen more sooner than later, the way the NFL keeps airing it out. Jones wasn't alone last year, with Antonio Brown racking up 1,834 yards for fourth place in NFL history. Of the two, I would probably bet on Brown getting to 2,000 first because the Steelers have more options for defenses to worry about, and I think Brown is a safer bet for a higher volume of catches. But Jones has obviously proved he can thrive, even when he's double-teamed. And he has the best size-speed combination of any receiver in the NFL right now. If I were drafting a team from scratch for the 2016 season, Jones would be the first receiver off my board.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falcons DC: Keanu Neal is going to be a 'pretty special'

  facebook_icon.svg  
  twitter_icon.svg  
  email_icon.svg  
 
 
  • 0ap1000000236552.jpg
  • By Kevin Patra
  • Around the NFL writer
  • Published: July 5, 2016 at 10:33 a.m.
  • Updated: July 5, 2016 at 03:08 p.m.
 
 
 

Some Atlanta Falcons fans were not thrilled when the team made safety Keanu Neal a first-round pick at No. 17. But the rookie has impressed the coaching staff during offseason workouts.

"I'll tell you what, I've been very impressed with (Neal)," defensive coordinator Richard Smith said, via the team's official website. "He's extremely focused, he's very mature, he's very, very talented. I love his demeanor and his work ethic. He's the first one in the building trying to get more coaching; he wants to be coached so much. I think he's going to be pretty special.

0ap3000000671351.jpg
PIRATED VIDEO IS ILLEGAL the Amazon Original Series "All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals" on Prime Video. 

"We can bring him on pressures, we can drop him into coverage, he can man up -- so it's a really good addition. More importantly, I love his maturity and how important it is to him as a young guy."

The Falcons needed an upgrade at safety and Neal should slide into the strong safety spot from Day 1. The hard-hitting defensive back was compared to Kam Chancellor during the draft process. Since being drafted by Dan Quinn, that comparison has only grown. If Neal comes close to proving that evaluation true, he'll be plenty worth a mid-first round pick.

The biggest concern for Neal will be how he plays in space. There was concern he would get lost in coverages while at Florida. But the Falcons' run defense should immediately improve with Neal at the strong safety spot.

Atlanta's defense largely lacked toughness and explosive playmaking last season. Neal is one of several rookies, along with linebackers De'Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones, who should immediately contribute and add physicality in Quinn's second season at the helm. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just some opinions about TRU from around the NFC South.  I agree with there assessments.  

 

NFC South Q&A: With Josh Norman gone, is Desmond Trufant division's best CB?

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/21212/nfc-south-qa-with-josh-norman-gone-is-desmond-trufant-the-divisions-best-cb

  • Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

Today's question: Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant made his first Pro Bowl last season, and the 2013 first-round draft pick out of Washington firmly believes he should be considered among the elite corners in the league. As he approaches his fourth NFL season, Trufant hopes to elevate his play to another level. With Josh Norman moving on from Carolina to Washington, is Trufant hands down the top cornerback in the NFC South?

David Newton, Carolina Panthers reporter: Not just the top corner in the NFC South, but the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks have completed below 60 percent of their passes against Trufant the past three years. If he had a better pass rush in front of him that number would be lower, and he'd probably have more plays on the ball. According to Pro Football Focus, no cornerback was targeted less in 2015 than Trufant. That speaks to what quarterbacks think of the 2013 first-rounder. As the Atlanta defense improves, and I believe it will, Trufant will rise in stature just as Norman did at Carolina.

Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter: I'd say so, and the numbers don't lie. If you look at last season, Trufant got the type of treatment typically reserved for elite cornerbacks like Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman-- his side of the field was basically ignored. Trufant played 979 total snaps in 2015, yet was targeted ony 56 times, the NFL's lowest among CBs who played at least 75 percent of their team's defensive snaps (per the Falcons' media relations department). I don't think he's in Revis' or Sherman's league yet, but he's blossoming into a nice lockdown corner.

Mike Triplett, New Orleans Saints reporter: The Saints have two really underrated corners in Keenan Lewis, who was playing at a Pro Bowl-level before he suffered a hip injury last summer, and Delvin Breaux, who had a breakout year in 2015. And Tampa just signed Brent Grimes, who is the most accomplished corner in the division. But I don't think any of them top Trufant right now, since he is entering his prime and really does seem to have the talent to be one of the league's premier corners. I asked Drew Brees about Trufant, and it's clear that the young rival has made an impression on him. "I think he's an extremely good player," Brees said. "I think he is as quick and athletic and fast as any corner in the NFL. And you see him play with good body position. You see him decipher things. I've just kind of watched him grow from his rookie year until now. And when you take a guy who has the skill set and then all of a sudden he begins to gain the experience, that's when a guy can become dangerous."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul Worrilow will be pressed hard by rookie Deion Jones for starting role

Jul 19, 2016
  • mcclure_vaughn_m.jpg&w=80&h=80&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

The Atlanta Falcons open training camp on July 28 at their home facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Here's a starting lineup projection:

OFFENSE

Quarterback (Matt Ryan): Ryan has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of the past five seasons, although he's coming off a poor overall showing in 2015.

Running back (Devonta Freeman): Freeman was a fantasy hero last season while tying for the league lead with 14 total touchdowns en route to the Pro Bowl.

Fullback (Patrick DiMarco): A first-time Pro Bowler last year, DiMarco helped open holes in the run game and also contributed two touchdown catches.

Julio Jones was targeted 204 times last season, which produced 136 receptions and 1,871 yards. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Receiver (Julio Jones): Arguably the best receiver in the league, Jones posted the second-highest, single-season total for receiving yards with 1,871 yards on 136 catches.

Receiver (Mohamed Sanu):Newcomer who spent his first four seasons in Cincinnati, Sanu had a career-high 56 receptions for 790 yards and five touchdowns in 2014.

Tight end (Jacob Tamme):Steady contributor in first season with the Falcons last year, Tamme is coming off a 59-catch season. RookieAustin Hooper could start here depending on personnel grouping.

Left tackle (Jake Matthews):Former first-round draft pick continues to show flashes, but he needs to be consistent and play up to his tremendous potential.

Left guard (Andy Levitre): Veteran acquired in a trade last season got pushed around too much. Levitre had a team-leading 11 penalties last season.

Center (Alex Mack): A three-time Pro Bowler with the Cleveland Browns, Mack brings immediate stability to a position where the Falcons sorely needed help.

Right guard (Chris Chester): Veteran who started every game last season and was unsure about his future after offseason shoulder surgery but is back for another year. Rookie Wes Schweitzer could surpass Chester for the starting job.

Right tackle (Ryan Schraeder): A former undrafted player, Schraeder has evolved into a solid starter who will fight with anyone. Just needs to be consistent.

DEFENSE

Defensive end (Derrick Shelby): Newcomer previously with the Miami Dolphins has impressed defensive coordinator Richard Smith with his rushes and ability to stop the run. Shelby's versatility should earn him plenty of reps.

Nose tackle (Grady Jarrett): Although a knee injury limited Jarrett some this offseason, he still possesses outstanding explosiveness and could be a true impact player.

Defensive tackle (Tyson Jackson): The veteran has made the transition from defensive end to defensive tackle and Jackson always contributes strength up front.

Defensive end (Brooks Reeed): The coaches insist there will be a new and improved version of Reed in 2016 after he slimmed down and went through the offseason injury-free. Adrian Clayborn will be counted upon in pass-rush situation, but he is not a run-stuffer.

Linebacker (Vic Beasley): Beasley will transition to the Sam linebacker role but will continue to be an edge rusher in nickel downs coming off a four-sack rookie season.

Linebacker (Paul Worrilow): The team's leading tackler the past three seasons will be pressed hard by rookie Deion Jones and is likely to be replaced by Jones in nickel situations.

Linebacker (De'Vondre Campbell): Rookie might be a key element on defense if he truly can use his speed and length to cover tight ends, as advertised.

Cornerback (Desmond Trufant): Pro Bowl corner has emerged as one of the league's best while continuing to perfect his technique and rely on his speed.

Cornerback (Robert Alford): Alford has gotten plenty of reps covering the slot in preparation for that role in the nickel, with Akeem King, C.J. Goodwin orDeMarcus Van Dyke playing outside until Jalen Collins returns from a four-game suspension.

Strong safety (Keanu Neal): The rookie first-round pick showed more speed than initially expected during offseason workouts. He also possesses great leadership qualities.

Free safety (Ricardo Allen): Converted cornerback evolved into the team's best tackler last season and recorded a team-high three interceptions in 2015.

I want to see Jones at MLB and Clayborn at DE and Jackson at DT is a serious wait and see for me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Help wanted: Bus drivers needed

Football

By D. Orlando Ledbetter - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

0

 

Posted: 1:39 p.m. Sunday, July 24, 2016

 

There are some known commodities for the Atlanta Falcons, who report for training camp on Wednesday.

Matt Ryan is the quarterback. Julio Jones is the No. 1 wide receiver and center Alex Mack will anchor the offensive line.

The Falcons are hopeful that rookie Keanu Neal and second-year linebacker Vic Beasley can become impact players on defense along with cornerback Desmond Trufant, who’s coming off his first Pro Bowl season.

However, if the Falcons are going to improve on their 8-8 record and challenge Carolina in the NFC South, they will need more players to develop and become contributors on the final 53-man roster.

Over the next six weeks of training camp and exhibition games before they open the season against Tampa Bay on Sept. 11 at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons are looking for more players to step forward.

Defensive back Corey Ivy, an undrafted 5-foot-8 cornerback, was a bus driver for Morris back in 2001. He made the team and went on to play nine years in the NFL.

“The bus is always driven by a guy like Corey Ivy or a young guy,” Morris said. “Now, it’s being driven by a young guy like (wide receiver) Justin Hardy, who’s in his second year and moving up.”

Hardy impressed the coaching staff with how he learned how to read the playbook and with his play on special teams last season. He was fearless and willing to hit.

The Falcons are expecting him to contribute on special teams and add some quality depth behind Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

There are several other bus driving candidates on the training camp roster.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn wants Beasley, cornerback Jalen Collins, running back Tevin Coleman, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and free safety Robenson Therezie to slide from being role players to becoming major contributors.

Last season, Therezie and running back Terron Ward made the opening day 53-man roster as undrafted rookies. Defensive tackle Joey Mbu, another undrafted prospect made the practice squad and was promoted to the roster on Dec. 11.

Also, wide receiver Nick Williams and linebacker Allen Bradford made the roster as veteran longshots.

Wide receiver J.D. McKissic, an undrafted rookie from Arkansas State made an impression on Morris over the offseason.

“He has gotten here and worked as hard as he can,” Morris said. “He has had his ups and his downs like you expect from most rookies. But he has a nice natural learning curve going for himself and he has been able to move to multiple positions.”

Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, a former practice squad player and wide receiver, will be closely watched.

Goodwin, who’s 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, was used in practice at cornerback last season and went against Jones.

“Guarding Julio Jones is not the easiest job on the planet,” Quinn said. “We said, ‘we might have something here.’”

Defensive cordinator Richard Smith spoke highly of linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, who’s set to enter his fifth year in the league. He was signed to a one-year $675,000 deal.

“He’s going to push hard,” Smith said. “Not only is he a really good special teams player, but he’s been making plays on the ball. He’s really impressed me.”

The Falcons believe that linebacker Ivan McLennan, an undrafted rookie from Washington State, has some pass-rush ability. The coaches are looking forward to evaluating him in the exhibition games.

Defensive back Brian Poole played in 49 career games for Florida and made 120 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and six interceptions.

“We want to go out there and out-run people and out-hit people,” Morris said. “We want to go out there and out-compete people.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Free-agent O'Brien Schofield could return to Falcons

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/21348/free-agent-obrien-schofield-could-return-to-falcons

Falcons' goal is potent combo of Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/21361/falcons-fantasy-is-potent-combo-of-devonta-freeman-tevin-coleman

Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons have added WR Corey Robinson and TE Arthur Lynch, who played at Georgia. Robinson last played with the Lions and was a preseason standout with the Giants in 2014. Lynch was a fifth round pick of the Miami Dolphins. Falcons first training camp practice is Thursday morning. Entered the day with three roster spots. Added two players and lost one.

Share
 
  •  
  •  
  •  
icon-espn-e-@2x.png
1h

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites