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Team checklist: Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff AP

We’ve handled post-lockout to-do lists for the NFC East and AFC East.  With some newfound progress in labor talks, we better pick up the pace on our team checklists or it may actually be post-lockout before we’re done. We hope.

Now up: Last year’s No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons.

1. Prioritize, sign free agent offensive linemen.

We’ve mentioned this issue a few times this offseason.  The Falcons will likely only be able to sign 1-2 players from the following group of free agents: Tackle Tyson Clabo,  guard Justin Blalock and guard Harvey Dahl.

The Falcons have a new crop of developing linemen ready to step up, but the lack of depth at right tackle could be a concern after they didn’t address the position in the draft.  Perhaps that could be worth a few bucks to Clabo.

2. Find another running back.

Jason Snelling is one of the most underrated backs in the league and is a free agent.  We think the Falcons should pay to re-sign him, even after drafting Jacquizz Rodgers.  The Falcons don’t lose much when they go from Turner to Snelling.  Jerious Norwood is as good as gone.

3. Pick up a linebacker.

Mike Peterson seems to think he’s returning to the Falcons, but the Falcons may want to reduce his snaps.  Versatile backup Stephen Nicholas is also a free agent. Even with Sean Weatherspoon picking up responsibilities, the Falcons need a solid starter here and maybe another backup.

4. Solve the specialists.

Kicker Matt Bryant is a free agent and there’s a good chance he’ll be re-signed. Punter Michael Koenan is also a free agent.

5. Add depth to cornerback.

The Falcons seem to like Chris Owens as a nickel back, but it is barren behind him.  A veteran presence makes sense.

6. Justify the Julio Jones trade.

We usually give rookie receivers some time to develop, but the size of the Julio Jones trade package puts pressure on Atlanta to help him produce right away.  Also providing pressure: The team is desperate for someone who can create big plays other than Roddy White.  That’s why they went nuts for Jones in the first place.

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18 Responses to “Team checklist: Atlanta Falcons”
  1. scoops1 says: Jun 2, 2011 1:22 PM

    after the way they got torched by the Pack WR corp, i would think getting some help in Secondary would be the #1 item

  2. ilovefoolsball says: Jun 2, 2011 1:28 PM

    Julio Jones will be injury prone. Good pick though, you got good value for him.

  3. iplaybingowitholdpeopleandwin says: Jun 2, 2011 1:48 PM

    this post is about as useless and unhelpful as walking around wearing aluminum foil on your head to protect against subliminal messaging.

    Dear Billionaires and Millionaires who we fans make rich please end the lockout or else we’ll patronize the UFL.

  4. virger says: Jun 2, 2011 2:05 PM

    i think secondary is right about where it needs to be. the rodgers game was an anomaly, he was pretty much just in god-mode. the falcons were not the only good team he blew up on, either.

  5. beckzhere says: Jun 2, 2011 2:16 PM

    With the big contract we just gave Dunta Robinson and the probability of resigning Brent Grimes, more than likely we are not going to bring in a high-dollar cornerback. Maybe a veteran backup for depth.

    The team seems to think our 3rd round pick, Akeem Dent from UGA, will be the heir to Mike Peterson’s strong side LB position.

    Running back is SOLID. Norwood is gone. Turner, Snelling and Jaquizz are one heck of a tri-fecta.

    Blalock and Koenen are as good as gone, but we have capable in-house replacements for both and won’t be much of a downgrade.

    Lastly, if Julio Jones is half the player we are expecting him to be…the Falcons will have one of the best recieving corps in the league. Roddy, Julio, Gonzalez, Jenkins/Douglas in the slot and Jaquizz in the flats. Look out! The Greatest Show On Turf has returned and it’s in Atlanta!!!

  6. splitbackveer says: Jun 2, 2011 2:21 PM

    Falcons better hope we have another uncapped year if they want to fix that defense because it’s gonna take some serious cash. They have shown no sign of the ability to draft or develop well on defense. I hope we get matched up against Mike Smith’s unit every season. It’s like taking candy from a blind kid. How the he’ll did they win the NFC South.

  7. dukemarc says: Jun 2, 2011 2:25 PM

    virger says:
    Jun 2, 2011 2:05 PM
    i think secondary is right about where it needs to be. the rodgers game was an anomaly, he was pretty much just in god-mode. the falcons were not the only good team he blew up on, either.

    ———————————————-

    Rodgers did it to them the first time around too. The difference was the Packers couldn’t run/score in the short yardage situations, which included Rodgers fumbling on the Falcons 1 yard line. The Packers left 11 points on the field the first go around.

    The Falcons need either secondary help or a better overall pass rush if they want to keep up with the Saints and the Packers.

  8. beckzhere says: Jun 2, 2011 2:33 PM

    splitbackveer says:
    Jun 2, 2011 2:21 PM
    Falcons better hope we have another uncapped year if they want to fix that defense because it’s gonna take some serious cash. They have shown no sign of the ability to draft or develop well on defense. I hope we get matched up against Mike Smith’s unit every season. It’s like taking candy from a blind kid. How the he’ll did they win the NFC South.
    ———————————-
    Are you high? Unless you are a Packers, Steelers or Patriots fan I would love to see your team several times a year…and we would win every time.

  9. trigdaddy says: Jun 2, 2011 3:11 PM

    beckz. might want to throw the eagles in that group too. they dominated the falcons in their one game last season, with their backup qb.

  10. dogluverssuck says: Jun 2, 2011 3:12 PM

    Julio Jones was a waste of 5 draft picks, because the Falcons can’t get Desean Jackson type of production when you have a “Dink & Dunk” guy throwing the ball.

    Ryan has the arm strength of a pop warner football quarterback, so Julio Jones will be worthless because he will out run all of those 20 yard quick slants.

    Ryan is 26 years old and still has not brought the franchise a playoff win since the last Franchise qb played there, and we see what that qb has done in his 1st season as a starter with his new team.

    It may be time the Falcons realize that Matt Ryan is a game manager – Nothing more. It’s funny how the media loves him, yet he is still 4 playoff wins behind the guy in Baltimore, that signed for more than half of what Ryan was paid.

  11. bleedgreen says: Jun 2, 2011 3:26 PM

    beckzhere says: Jun 2, 2011 2:33 PM

    Are you high? Unless you are a Packers, Steelers or Patriots fan I would love to see your team several times a year…and we would win every time.

    ———————-
    How about an Eagles fan? The Falcons can’t seem to beat the Eagles either. You guys made Kolb look like an All-Pro last year. For whatever reason, Philly owns Atlanta.

  12. bleedgreen says: Jun 2, 2011 3:28 PM

    dogluverssuck says: Jun 2, 2011 3:12 PM

    Julio Jones … paid.

    ————-

    I semi-agree. I don’t think he’s necessarily only a game manager, but I just don’t see what the hype is about. Granted I only catch a few games a year with him playing, but still. He isn’t Drew Brees, he’s not Peyton Manning. He’s on par with Joe Flacco. Pretty good, but not worth the knob slobbing he gets from the media.

  13. beckzhere says: Jun 2, 2011 3:44 PM

    Trigdaddy and Bleedgreen,

    You are both absolutely correct. The Eagles have always been tough for us. Doesn’t matter if its McNabb, Kolb or Vick, we always struggle with those guys. Good call.

    Hopefully we can start a new era and trounce Vick and company week 2 this year at the Georgia Dome…if there is a week 2.

  14. bengunby says: Jun 15, 2011 12:51 PM

    Um, dogloverssuck, you do realize that that quarterback also didn’t win a postseason game this year either, right?

  15. bigporty says: Jun 16, 2011 11:34 AM

    Ryan went 13-4 this past year without much of a defense. He threw 28 TD’s with only 9 Int’s all while throwing the ball more times per game than anyone else, save Manning and Schaub. But Atl is a running team. Ryan has been outstanding for the Falcons over the last few years, in terms of 4th quarter comebacks. I could reference more than the 2009 Chi game, but it isn’t necessary. Is he a top 5 QB?… probably not. Personally, I would have him at 8 or 9. But to say he is simply a “game manager” or to marginalize his value to his team or the game is just plain silliness. You obviously have not watch this young man play.

  16. svallen says: Jun 17, 2011 9:12 PM

    I think there are some key players the Falcons need to sign this off-season that are free agents (http://www.spotrac.com/free-agents/nfl/atlanta-falcons/) that could potentially be those hidden players that help them get to a Super Bowl.

  17. carolinethedog says: Jun 25, 2011 9:45 PM

    13-3 is impressive. I’m not a Falcons hater by any means. But please, let Matt Ryan win a playoff game before I have to hear about how awesome he is.

  18. wicky888 says: Jul 21, 2011 5:05 PM

    I’m a Falcons fan, but I must agree about the media bl0wing Matt Ryan. It annoys me to death. Hes good and all, but hes not worth all the talk he gets. Want to play a good drinking game? Watch a MNF game (Saints-Falcons) and drink every time you hear Dree Brees or Matty Ice. I guarantee you’ll be sh!t faced by halftime.

    But the only thing worse than the praise Ryan gets is the praise Flacco gets. HE IS NOT GOOD. Their defense wins their games, and they would win more if they ran the ball. Anyone who thinks Flacco leads that team to victory is retarded.

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