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FalconsIn2012

Falcons intent on recapturing secret ingredient from Super Bowl run

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So much to process in this article.  Once again, Blank has set the direction for the offseason.  In February he mandated the draft be focused on offensive and defensive line.  I wonder if cutting Tru & Freeman has changed his tune.  Cause if we don’t address RB early it will be a concern.  And OL shouldn’t be prioritized until the 4th IMO.

And we considered targeting Roger Saffold last season but didn’t want to give one guy money projected for two....those two being Brown & Carp.  

 

 
Falcons intent on recapturing secret ingredient from Super Bowl run


Addressing the trenches once again is a primary emphasis for the Falcons.

Owner Arthur Blank made that clear after he decided to retain Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn following consecutive 7-9 seasons.

"Both offensive and defensive lines, you’ll see a lot of emphasis on," Blank said regarding the team’s biggest offseason issues to address. "There’s always some other needs that will pop up in free agency or the draft, but I would say [the lines] would be my view at this point."

From an offensive line perspective, continuity might have been one of the most underrated elements from the Falcons’ Super Bowl run in 2016. The Falcons were the only team to start the same five offensive linemen for the entire ‘16 season. Since 2012, three of the eight teams that have started the same five have gone on to the Super Bowl: the 2012 49ers, the 2016 Falcons and the 2018 Rams.

"You look at how healthy we stayed as a team the entire year, and you talk specifically about the offensive line," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "We had the same five starters from Game 1 all the way through the Super Bowl. That doesn’t happen, and it happened that year. I think that was a big part of the reason that we were successful. There was so much continuity there and so much trust amongst those players to have each other’s backs in tough situations."

Being in unison along the line was vital in running the outside zone scheme that was implemented by then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The offense was about attacking the edge and getting the defense running sideways, paving the way for the running backs to make quick cutbacks. Establishing the outside zone helped set up play-action to provide wide-open looks for Ryan to his receivers down the field.

The starting line then -- left tackle Jake Matthews, left guard Andy Levitre, center Alex Mack, right guard Chris Chester and left tackle Ryan Schraeder -- worked so well in unison.

 

"Andy and I, we were the megaphones inside to get things relayed to Jake and Ryan at the tackles because sometimes it was hard to hear Alex," the retired Chester said. "And Alex, for as good as a fundamental blocker as he was, he’s also such a great communicator and a great football mind.

"I like to think we overwhelmed teams. I think we showed teams that we were pretty good at a little bit of everything. We could be that outside zone team. That was our base. But we could also line up and run power. It was hard to defend all the stuff we we could do."

Mack marveled over the line’s chemistry. It was particularly evident on the interior, with Mack, Chester and Levitre all having at least eight years of NFL experience at the time. The line helped the Falcons average a league-best 6.69 yards per play, and the run game was among the top five in the league, with an average of 120.5 yards per game.

"We had a good group of guys there, and we got better as the year went on because it was the same guys," Mack said of the line. "You had a lot of learning from each other. In the offense, you could get a lot of work and knowledge of how you want things to work and fit, and you can carry that into the next game."

Since that 2016 team, the Falcons have started a number of combinations on the offensive line -- they started three combinations in 2017, six in 2018 and five this past season. The emphasis leading into the 2019 season was rediscovering continuity, which is why the Falcons drafted right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary in the first round and signed guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown in free agency. Lindstrom broke his right foot in the season opener, but he did come back to finish the 2019 season, allowing him to especially build chemistry McGary. Brown and Carpenter didn’t perform up to expectations despite signing multiyear contracts worth $6.5 million and $5.5 million per year, respectively. Carpenter eventually was placed on injured reserve with a concussion, and Brown was benched.

The Falcons strongly considered pursuing top free-agent guard Rodger Saffold, according to a league source, but weren’t going to pay one guy $11 million per year with money budgeted to pursue two.

The Falcons enter this offseason tight against the salary cap despite a low level of concern expressed by Dimitroff and team president Rich McKay, who will now oversee Dimitroff and Quinn. It’s doubtful the Falcons will make a big splash in free agency in terms of signing an offensive or defensive lineman, but who know what type of maneuvering they could do to free up cap space.

Some wonder if the 33-year-old Mack, with a cap number of $10.55 million in 2020, might be a guy the Falcons try to save money on. A longtime evaluator at the Senior Bowl said, "The Falcons could replace Mack with a guy such as Temple center Matt Hennessy, a really good player who would be your starting center for years."

But the Falcons, who are operating essentially under an ultimatum to become contenders again or else, have to consider how valuable Mack is to the cohesiveness of the line. Lindstrom and McGary are the future on the right side. Expectations remain high for Matthews, who has four years and $49.55 million left on his deal. The left guard appears to be the biggest question mark, with Carpenter's status uncertain and youngster Matt Gono not really getting the opportunity most thought he would receive.

The Falcons haven’t had the type of free-agent success they’ve hoped for in signing guards in recent years, which puts more pressure on them to find the right draft prospects capable of becoming immediate starters. The Falcons could look in the draft at Senior Bowl prospects such as Ohio State's Jonah Jackson or LSU's Damien Lewis.

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The Falcons strongly considered pursuing top free-agent guard Rodger Saffold, according to a league source, but weren’t going to pay one guy $11 million per year with money budgeted to pursue two.

 

We all see how well that turned out..should have just went on and paid saffold least your getting a legitimate talent..instead of the scrubs we got.

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5 minutes ago, RoddyWhite84 said:

The Falcons strongly considered pursuing top free-agent guard Rodger Saffold, according to a league source, but weren’t going to pay one guy $11 million per year with money budgeted to pursue two.

 

We all see how well that turned out..should have just went on and paid saffold least your getting a legitimate talent..instead of the scrubs we got.

Hindsight here....It could easily be argued that if we went the route to get Saffold, and he broke his foot in game 1 of the 2019 season, the fans would be yelling we didn't build any depth.  I see both sides of the question, and I think I would have gotten 2 guards for the price of 1 as well, hoping one of them stepped up and played consistently.  Unfortunately, neither Brown or Carpenter stepped up, partly health and partly play.  We're in the same boat for 2020 at LG, one of them needs to step up, or we draft an interior line guy early, which I would say isn't in our best interest with the holes on Defense.

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18 minutes ago, blutarski said:

Hindsight here....It could easily be argued that if we went the route to get Saffold, and he broke his foot in game 1 of the 2019 season, the fans would be yelling we didn't build any depth.  I see both sides of the question, and I think I would have gotten 2 guards for the price of 1 as well, hoping one of them stepped up and played consistently.  Unfortunately, neither Brown or Carpenter stepped up, partly health and partly play.  We're in the same boat for 2020 at LG, one of them needs to step up, or we draft an interior line guy early, which I would say isn't in our best interest with the holes on Defense.

Could have gotten Spain for a fraction of what we paid Carpenter and Brown, or what Saffold would have cost. Bad GMing.

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6 minutes ago, etherdome said:

No where in that article did Blank dictate any specific acquisitions.  He simply stated what we all know.  We have weak lines.

This sounds like an owner setting a course of action before agreeing to retain Quinn & TD

“Addressing the trenches once again is a primary emphasis for the Falcons.

Owner Arthur Blank made that clear after he decided to retain Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn following consecutive 7-9 seasons.“

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1 hour ago, Ovie_Lover said:

Like @vel still think Blank is the reason we hired Koetter. 

Blank is calling more shots than most think.

Still think that is the #1 problem with this team. It would be like a potato farmer owning the Red Sox dictating what their pitching rotation would be, and then putting the manager's rear in a sling when the rotation sucked.

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

Blank's ultimatums are killing this team.  I'm very, very, very tired of it at this point.

He needs to sit down and shut up and let the professionals do their jobs.

Dear Artie,

Read this ASAP so you can GTFO of your own way.

-Your pal, PF

Capture.JPG

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55 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

If they had made that one decision.  Sign Staffold & Spain..how different our team would look.  We likely then draft Dexter Lawrence over Lindstrom.  Imagine Lawrence  next to Grady

And use the $12.8M they blew on Beasley to sign Preston Smith, Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa.

Those two decisions would have changed the game.

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50 minutes ago, RYNE said:

We’ve done nothing except flip a 2nd rounder for a backup TE. 
 

seems like offensive and defensive line focus to me. What a joke

What makes you think that HH will be a back up TE for the Falcons?

Would you prefer to use a second round pick on a college (not NFL) player?

It makes no sense to assume that a player will forever be what he was last year.  I know that there is a lot of anger for the FO, but the trade makes sense and will probably work out well for the team. 

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25 minutes ago, etherdome said:

What makes you think that HH will be a back up TE for the Falcons?

Would you prefer to use a second round pick on a college (not NFL) player?

It makes no sense to assume that a player will forever be what he was last year.  I know that there is a lot of anger for the FO, but the trade makes sense and will probably work out well for the team. 

#1 I NEVER said he would be a backup for us. 
#2 I would rather have used that second round pick to fill one of our major holes at RB, LG, LB, DE, or CB. All positions far more valuable than TE. 
 

Hurst is 27, and virtually has done nothing in the NFL. So far a bust as a first round pick. Basically we will rent him for 2 years instead of having a rookie at a key spot for the next 5. Which is obviously no guarantee of success either, but is much rather take that chance to hit on a young inexpensive player than a 27 year old who has done nothing. 
 

It was a dumb move. Hurst for a 4th or 5th then fine. Giving up a 2nd rounder when this team is full of holes was stupid. We gave a second rounder for tony freaking Gonzalez. You don’t have to like it for it to be true. This fan base has a serious problem with claiming everything the team does is “fantastic”. It’s not. We are about to go out and fail again this season. And be in the same exact position next year. So far we have gotten worse. 

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1 minute ago, DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins said:

Yep. And essentially, it's because Blank brought the FO back for "continuity." Continuity of shiit is still shiit.

 

I truly believe the entire thing is they’re all buddies now. And they didn’t want to mess up their friendships. So stupid. Set us back so bad. We are nowhere near a super bowl run. Going to be a long time and a long rebuild. Someone else is going to have to come in and tear it down and start over. 

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2 hours ago, RYNE said:

#1 I NEVER said he would be a backup for us. 
#2 I would rather have used that second round pick to fill one of our major holes at RB, LG, LB, DE, or CB. All positions far more valuable than TE. 
 

Hurst is 27, and virtually has done nothing in the NFL. So far a bust as a first round pick. Basically we will rent him for 2 years instead of having a rookie at a key spot for the next 5. Which is obviously no guarantee of success either, but is much rather take that chance to hit on a young inexpensive player than a 27 year old who has done nothing. 
 

It was a dumb move. Hurst for a 4th or 5th then fine. Giving up a 2nd rounder when this team is full of holes was stupid. We gave a second rounder for tony freaking Gonzalez. You don’t have to like it for it to be true. This fan base has a serious problem with claiming everything the team does is “fantastic”. It’s not. We are about to go out and fail again this season. And be in the same exact position next year. So far we have gotten worse. 

Well, I disagree with you.  The Tony Gonzalez trade was something separate.  At that time, the Chiefs were in cap trouble, Tony wanted out, we had plenty of cap space and finally, there were few serious suitors for Tony's services at the time.  

We are in cap trouble, and the Ravens were entertaining other offers.  The price was a second round pick.  We received a TE that could turn out to be an upgrade at the TE position.  That's right, HH is more athletic and a better blocker than Hooper.  We will soon find out if this trade was worth while.  

This team has holes to fill, but acquiring a good TE that can block and catch AND come at a low price, is not stupid.  We should now be in a position to sign a FA pass rusher and draft more defenders to fill out the defense.  

We will probably still draft a good CB, DT and RB.  My guess is that we will also sign an edge pass rusher or a LB with pass rush talent.  

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