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Ian Rapoport on Falcons Offseason


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MOBILE, Ala. - Few people are as plugged in to the inner workings of the NFL than Ian Rapoport. The NFL Network insider has his finger on the pulse of trade talks, pending deals and organizational decision making across the league.

Rapoport was among those in attendance at the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl, and he took a few minutes to share his thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' upcoming offseason, which he believes could be busy.

"They definitely addressed the offensive line in the draft," Rapoport said. "Can you go spend a little, probably a little more than you'd like to spend, in free agency to get some edge help and probably a corner, I think you could. They don't need a ton, it's more just plugging a couple of holes. I would think the offseason would be pretty active."

Atlanta has a few notable players set to hit free agency, including tight end Austin Hooper, defensive end Vic Beasley and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff offered an update on Hooper at the Senior Bowl, essentially saying there was no update and the two sides would pick up talks after the Super Bowl.

Hooper, who was named to his second Pro Bowl this season as an alternate, is coming off of a career year and has emerged as one of the most reliable young tight ends in the league. If he does hit free agency, Hooper is expected to be highly sought after. Dimitroff did not rule out using the franchise tag to keep Hooper in the fold for next season, although that salary number would be high as well.

"They definitely have a decision to make with Hooper," Rapoport said. "Do you franchise him? It's possible. It's a big number, but he's a very good player. Do you try to sign him? Once a guy becomes a free agent, he can obviously go anywhere; it's harder to re-sign those guys at this point."

Whatever they decide to do with Hooper, the Falcons are expected to make a few moves on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. Whether that is in the draft or free agency remains to be seen but adding firepower to their pass rush is a primary concern, and Dimitroff believes the team can also bolster its secondary in this year's draft.

"We feel good where we are with our interior [defensive line] moving around, and we need to continue to bolster that outside rush," Dimitroff said. "... After Super Bowl Sunday we'll start really looking at where we're going in that direction. Yes, there are some people that are going to be coming available, and we'll have to make some tough decisions on that."

Atlanta showed marked improvement during the second half of the season after Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich began to split defensive play-calling duties. Morris is now the full-time defensive coordinator, and Rapoport believes he was great after moving to the defensive side of the ball during the team's bye week.

Despite some of the notable positions that need to be addressed this offseason, Rapoport credits the shifts on the coaching staff for the team's turnaround, and it's why he thinks the second-half success could carry over. If the Falcons have indeed found the right coaching formula, he thinks only some slight personnel adjustments are required.

So, while an active offseason might be in store for Atlanta, it might be more akin to preciseness of a surgery than the wide-spread destruction of a wrecking ball.

"It's much more of a situation where you probably need to tinker rather than something that needs a full overhaul," Rapoport said. "Had they moved on from Dan Quinn, it would have been a big overhaul, rather than where they're at now."

—Sidenote: kudos to the media team for the Falcons, the mobile app is full of videos/articles that actually provide information and exclusive content that I want to watch. Impressed.

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1 minute ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

Why do y'all insist on believing anything in these pre draft interviews year after year like we're just going to tell the 31 other teams what we are going to do? 

Normally I dont but after this team draft 2 first round oline and signed 2 big money FA Oline and basically neglected the Dline i just think they are just stupid

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19 minutes ago, FalconofShadows said:

So they feel good about our interior rush. That's just wrong on so many levels

 

 

TD never shows his hand.

 

This could be TD's language that the Falcons are indeed looking to bolster the interior of the d-line. You just never know about TD until FA and the draft comes.

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12 minutes ago, FalconofShadows said:

Normally I dont but after this team draft 2 first round oline and signed 2 big money FA Oline and basically neglected the Dline i just think they are just stupid

And how much did we talk about ol leading up to the draft last year? Absolutely none.

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35 minutes ago, FalconofShadows said:

Normally I dont but after this team draft 2 first round oline and signed 2 big money FA Oline and basically neglected the Dline i just think they are just stupid

That same draft they said they felt good about hitting the OL in FA and were looking at DL in the draft. Ie: they lied. I might not like who they get in FA or the draft but I definitely don't take them at their word.

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2 hours ago, FalconofShadows said:

Normally I dont but after this team draft 2 first round oline and signed 2 big money FA Oline and basically neglected the Dline i just think they are just stupid

Why?  The last first round pick they invested in oline was Matthews...since they had drafted Vic and Takk in the first on the dline.  

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11 hours ago, FalconofShadows said:

Normally I dont but after this team draft 2 first round oline and signed 2 big money FA Oline and basically neglected the Dline i just think they are just stupid

Yep, they are idiots they think Grady can do everything and just will continue to surround him by scrubs, over draft bust Edge rushers and then wonder why we don't get any sacks.

Surround Grady with some fat *** pocket collapsing monsters that we can rotate and watch Grady flourish and even lame Edge rushers get a ton of sacks.

We could at least TRY that idea instead of doing the same thing every year.

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2 hours ago, D.B.N. said:

They say the same thing every year. We’re always just “a few pieces away”

That's Rapaport. I'd also worry if TD was saying it, but it sounds like this year is viewed more as a team building year. That's when we get to have our best drafts. It's when we're a "few pieces away" that things get ugly.

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13 hours ago, FalconFanSince1969 said:

And how much did we talk about ol leading up to the draft last year? Absolutely none.

There was definitely chatter about OL leading up to the draft.  Most thought we would spend our first two picks on DL & OL.  A week before the draft the popular choice was Jonah Williams.  Post draft it TD admitted that Oliver & Wilkins were their Targets.  Lindstrom plan C.

TD says what he thinks.  Last offseason We let the world know protecting Ryan was our #1, #2 and #3 priority.  So what did we do:

Over the offseason, the Falcons spent $80.3 million to rebuild the offensive line.

A total of $51.7 million of the $80.3 million was guaranteed.

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I thought the most interesting part of what Rapaport said mirrored what Dimitroff said on the video of him driving with Kelsey to the senior bow. They’re going to make moves/difficult decisions to add their salary cap and I got the sense that we will be more active in FA than people think. I could see us going after a bigger FA name to shore up the pass rush which goes against our traditional philosophy of the past couple of years.

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13 hours ago, MAD597 said:

Yep we are screwed. This team will never build the trenches.

How do you even believe your own post here? The team doesn’t invest in the trenches?

All 5 OL (And some of the bench) were either round 1 picks or high priced free agents.

just paid Jarrett a ton to keep him, drafted 2 DEs in round one, and signed a starter from the Saints for the DT rotation.

what more do you want really? Not sure ANYTHING could satisfy you and some other posters on this board.

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14 hours ago, FalconofShadows said:

So they feel good about our interior rush. That's just wrong on so many levels

I feel better about our interior defensive line than I do out interior offensive line.  Lindstrom is a stud, but Mack is on the downside of his career and our other guards are backups at best in this league.  Plus we don't have an OL coach who can actually coach up the OL and get them to perform up to their potential.  Whereas I do have faith that DQ can work with the DL and coach them up to play higher than their talent level.

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