Tag Archives: Atlanta Falcons

NFL Draft Review: Atlanta Falcons

Ed: Continuing with our NFL draft coverage,  we’ve got the Atlanta Falcons’ draft review. Plenty more teams to come, so keep checking back with us.

First off, I’d like to address the fact that most people are stunned the Falcons didn’t get a solid DB with their first pick.

People have lampooned the Falcons for having a weak secondary, and while it could certainly be bolstered with a good shut-down corner, the defensive numbers really weren’t as bad as a lot of people think they were.

Yes, they were 22nd in the league in pass defense. More importantly, they were fifth in the league in points per game on the defensive side of the ball and had 22 interceptions. They got burned, but they were able to hold when it counted, so while they’ll definitely need to work on it this season, it’s not the end of the world.

Sure, the Packers destroyed them in the playoffs, but they also destroyed pretty much everyone else they played, and don’t forget, the Falcons beat them in the regular season. Now on to the picks.

The Julio Jones (first round, sixth overall) trade-up shocked a lot of people, including myself.

The Falcons gave up a lot to get him, but here’s why it may work out in the end: Jones is a phenomenal, physical receiver that makes the offense a lot more prolific than it was before. Having a deep threat receiver pulls the safeties back, which should provide a lot more room for some shorter routes to White and Gonzalez, the go-to guys on third down, and keep the defense from stacking the box to shut down Turner.

Last year, the Falcons ran a system built on short yardage that ate up the clock. Now, they’ll be more of a threat at all three levels of the field. Having Jones should also spread the defense. Double-teaming either guy isn’t going to seem like a great option for many defenses this season and should cause more than a few headaches for opposing defensive coordinators.

Akeem Dent (third round, 91st overall), who I had the pleasure of watching while he played at UGA, is a solid tackler that while not being able to jump in as a starter over Curtis Lofton, should be able to give him some much needed rest and be a reliable backup.

He was a bright spot, along with Justin Houston, on a team that would have finished even lower without his tough work in the middle.

Jacquizz Rodgers out of Oregon State was an interesting pick that I personally really liked. Rodgers is a small, shifty back that should compliment the power running of Turner and Snelling. His role will more than likely be very limited in his first year, however, but that’s to be expected as he won’t have the ability to block the pass rush as well as the other backs.

That extra speed, however, could prove beneficial when up-the-gut running with Turner just isn’t getting it done.

Matt Bosher, punter out of Miami, was taken in the sixth round at the 192nd overall spot. While I haven’t watched a ton of film on him, he led the ACC in average punt yards (44.7) and averaged 65 yards kicking off the tee. I don’t think he’ll be jumping right in over Bryant or Koenen, but he’s got a hell of a leg and should become a solid addition to the special teams units.

The seventh round brought in two players I’m less familiar with. Andrew Jackson, OG from Fresno State (210th overall) and Cliff Matthews (230th overall). With players taken this deep in the draft, knowing exactly how they’ll pan out is difficult.

That said, I love the players South Carolina has been churning out on the defensive side of the ball, so I think Matthews will more than likely have the skills to build himself into a solid DE and hopefully have time to learn the tricks of the trade before starting his first NFL game.

There’s too much speculation to really know how well this will all pan out until the season starts, if of course it even happens. The only player the Falcons drafted for immediate impact was Jones, but when you’re coming off a 13-3 season, it’s probably okay to stick with a lot of the guys that got you there in the first place.

Overall grade: B.

– El Hammerpuncho


NFL Week 5 wrap-up

NFL Week 5 wraps up on the heels of an instant AFC Monday night classic courtesy of the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

History runs deep between these teams (Monday Night Football in particular) and the latest matchup was no disappointment. Last night’s game came down to final drives in which we saw second-year sensation Chad Henne lead the hydra-headed Dolphincats to a stellar victory over the impressive rookie QB Mark Sanchez, new acquisition WR Braylon Edwards, and the heavily lauded NY Jets defense 31-27. If you missed this game, be sure to catch the replay on NFL Network this week.



In last week’s column, GASB alluded to the potential comeuppance of two unlikely AFC teams in particular: the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals. Week 5 saw both teams strengthen their bids and answer A LOT of questions, doubts, and concerns that were lobbed at them throughout the week, courtesy of a pair of convincing wins over preseason AFC favorites in the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens respectively.

In spite of an incredible victory and impressive on-field play from emerging stars, sports media seems completely pre-occupied with discussing Denver head coach Josh McDaniels’ “fist pumps” following the game and whether or not Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (McDaniels’ mentor in New England) “snubbed” McDaniels post game by not shaking his hand on the field. GASB doesn’t get why either is an issue or up for debate.

A. Understanding McDaniels’ fist pumps: if you were a 33-year old first-year head coach that saw your name and your franchise’s name panned universally for the duration of the offseason, all camps, and even in the days leading up to the New England game, there’s simply a certain catharsis that is going to naturally erupt when all doubters have been vanquished following what is undeniably a massive victory at home over what many believed to be the team to beat in the AFC this year. Especially when surrounded by tens of thousands of fans feeling the exact same way you were in the moment



The fact that it was the Patriots on the losing end was coincidental to that display. You could swap in any of the AFC elite (Colts, Steelers, Ravens) and McDaniels would have had the same joyous display of vindication. For you see, this was the week where the Broncos went out and proved literally everyone wrong. And what better way to energize the fans that will carry you through the rest of the season than to show publicly that you are just as emotional about the team as they are?

B. Sometimes post-game celebrations are too chaotic to find everyone you “should.” Sure, Belichick isn’t exactly known for post-game displays of sportsmanship to begin with… But both coaches are on record as stating that Belichick (and son) ventured over to the Broncos’ locker room after the celebration and congratulated McDaniels personally.

Easy enough. Can we drop it now?

The only purpose these “stories” serve is to distract you from the downright scary facts that:

• Kyle Orton’s professional record as an NFL starting QB is now 26-12.
• Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall are as dangerous as any receiving tandem in the NFL.
• The Denver passing attack is fifth in the league.
• Knowshon Moreno is showing early signs of being exactly who he was advertised to be.
• The Denver defense is ranked No. 1 in the AFC and No. 2 in the entire league.

In case you still haven’t figured it out, it’s time to take the 2009 Denver Broncos very seriously.



GASB NFL rumor of the week: John Gruden to Washington Redskins’ head coaching position following regular season. As likened by Lavar Arrington Monday, “that would be like giving a 90-year old man a steroid shot.”

Great American Sports Blog Defensive Game Ball (Week 5):

JAMES HARRISON (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Three sacks, seven tackles, one assist, one forced fumble in victory over Detroit Lions.

Great American Sports Blog Offensive Game Ball (Week 5):

RODDY WHITE (Atlanta Falcons)
Eight receptions, 210 yards, 2 TD’s in victory at San Francisco 49ers.