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Falcons #12 Atlanta Falcons
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Falcons Pulse

Falcons Regular Season & Wild Card Recap
The Falcons, last year, were one of teams at the bottom of the league. They ended the season with a 4-12 record. They also haven't had a winning season since the 2017 season or been to the playoffs since 2014, where they lost in the divisional round to the Redskins.

Now, in 2023, under the new General Manager, Daulton Nissen, they have worked their way to a 10-6 record, and won 5 of 6, of their divisional games. The team started out 3-0, but then lost three straight, they then bounced around .500. The Falcons haven't lost since Week 14, and have had some great final four games. They made a hard playoff push and secured the second wild card spot.

They played the 11-5 Washington Redskins, and went into their territory and shut them out until the fourth quarter where they only gave up a passing touchdown. HB Joe Mixon had 137 rushing yards on 24 attempts, QB Bo Callahan only missed on 8 passes and threw one TD and for 214 yards. ROLB Tyler Williamson had his breakout game and had and interception, 7 tackles, and 2 sacks. They are currently riding a 5 game win streak heading to Minnesota for the divisional round. In those 5 games, the team has averaged 34.6 points per game, and given up only 18.4 points per game, defensively. But, Minnesota routed the Falcons in week 4, so this is time for the Falcons to redeem themselves.

GM Nissen was at the podium after the win against the Redskins. When asked about the first playoff win in almost 10 seasons, he said, "It feels good to have pushed this team to where they are at this point in the season. The team was in place when I took the job, they just needed to be guided in the right direction, I don't know if people expected us to be where we are at today."

When asked about advancing to the Divisional round, he replied "We are working hard every day. Every guy in that locker room wants to come out and prove that they aren't the same team we were in week 4 and they wont leave without a fight."
Forum Discussion (by D_Nissen on 03/20/2018) Replies - 0 :: Views - 25
Falcons Week 3 Recap
The Falcons returned home after winning in Chicago and went straight to work for their big divisional game against the Panthers. Both teams heading into the week were 2-0.

The game had a nice pace for their offense throughout the game, but more so was the defense once again up to help get another W. MLB Raekwon McMillan led the team with 9 tackles, one for a loss, he also picked off the Panthers once. Doing so as well was, CB Kendall Fuller and SS Andre Burgess. DE Robert Quinn came up with the only sack recorded for the defense. They shut down the Panthers in the redzone allowing them only two FGs on four attempts down there for them. The only TD that was given up was a kick return for 101 yards in the 3rd quarter.

The offense was shut down pretty much all day. RB Joe Mixon finished the day with 42 yards on 21 attempts, although, he did have one rushing touchdown. QB Bo Callahan, as well, had a solid game finishing the day 18-28 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns were caught by WR Billy Crockett.

GM Nissen was asked about the win and how the team has turned around from last year.

"The win was a big, divisional win for us, early in the season. One of us was gonna be sitting a top the South at the end of the day. We wanted to be that team. One part of our offense wasn't working today, the defense made the stands they had too, causing turnovers and the offensive players stepped up to get points on the board. It was a great win today. As far as the turnaround for the team, these guys were all very talented when I showed up, they just needed to be pushed in the right direction. I think we are finding our groove and want to continue this little win streak we are on."
Forum Discussion (by D_Nissen on 11/27/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Falcons Week 2 Recap
"Chicago is a hard place to win in. You have the weather to deal with, you have the wild fanbase, it'll be a fun game.", GM Nissen says before the game today.

The Atlanta Falcons came out a little slow and lackadaisical with the ball in the first quarter. QB Bo Callahan threw an INT in the redzone and the FB Dennis Palumbo fumbled as well.

The 2nd quarter was where the Falcons took the lead and had a very strong quarter scoring 17 of the teams 20 points in that quarter. Both teams had trouble converting on third down, Bears going 5-16 and the Falcons going 5-14. It was definitely a defensive game win here for the Falcons. They stood tall and kept the lead the offense built up earlier.

LE Robert Quinn had 6 tackles, two of those being sacks. He also had a forced fumble in today's game. CB Kendall Fuller led the team with 7 tackles. He also scooped up a fumble to give the offense the ball.

QB Bo Callahan finished the day 14-31 for 209 yards. throwing two TD's and 1 INT. WR Ryan Broyles was, yet again, in the right spot, making his only grab of the day a 47 yard TD. WR Rock Pritchett caught the other one from Callahan. HB Joe Mixon had another solid game today as well, carrying the ball 24 times for 92 yards. Mixon had a 22-yard run in the final 5 minutes of the game to help keep the final drive for the Falcons going, which ending up leading to a FG by K Gadhi Mendel to go up by a TD in the final minutes of the game. The defense yet again stopped their offense, resulting in a T.O.D., leading to a Falcons victory.

After the game, GM Nissen spoke at the podium.

"I thought we played a good game. There is some room for more improvement on both sides of the ball, but the boys squeezed the W out today. Now its time to go back home and prepare for a tough divisional game next week against Carolina."
Forum Discussion (by D_Nissen on 11/20/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Falcons Week 1 Recap
The Falcons came out in their home opener, trying to get the new GM his first W with the team, and they did just that. One the first drive of the game for the Saints, it looked like they would march down the field and score, but CB Jamar Taylor came up with a huge INT in the endzone.

Bo Callahan and the offense had a great, efficient first drive, driving down the field and hitting WR Ryan Broyles for a 5 yard TD.

That's when the game started to get interesting. Both teams were plagued by injuries, both losing their starting QB for the game. Falcons QB Callahan finished 8-10 with 84 yards and a TD. The back-up, Reginald Hart came in and went 4-15 for 83 yards and a TD. He did hit a 47 yard bomb to WR Billy Crockett to stretch the lead. Crockett finished with 3 receptions for 84 yards and one TD. HB Joe Mixon had 22 carries for 115 yards in his GZL debut.

The Falcons D also made a stand, holding the Saints to only 7 points and 1-4 in the redzone. FS Ed Parrish picked another on off in the redzone in the final quarter to help seal the deal. DE Quinn had two sacks in the game with FS Terrence Brooks also recording a sack.

In the press conference after the game, GM Nissen was up at the podium. After being asked how he thinks the team played in the season opener, he said, "I think they did a great job of not losing sight of the W, even with all injuries both teams had. I think there's always room for improvement, but this is a good stepping stone for this team, on paper and moral wise. It's still early, we'll get healthy and start to prepare for Chicago next week."

Everyone is back in action for the Week 2 match up for the Falcons.
Forum Discussion (by D_Nissen on 11/13/2017) Replies - 1 :: Views - 15
New GM in Town
With new GM Daulton Nissen joining Atlanta, we may see a turn around over there. He had some comments from his first press conference as the Falcons new GM.

When asked what he thinks about the team, he responded with, "I think the team is very well rounded, this team should be winning games. Bo is an excellent QB, in the right offense he should succeed. Also, Ian Coyle drafted a stud rookie HB that should be a threat this year. I'm excited to see these wide receivers get open. The defense can be solid this year. Quinn and Ogbah should be able to get to the opposing QB and hopefully force some turnovers. Im excited for the opportunity to be the new GM." He also added, "Once everyone is on the same page, this team can win some games. I have a few ideas for the team that I think will put this team in the right direction."

He was asked if he thinks there are any certain areas that needed to be improved, he replied, "I think there are a couple position moves we can do that'll make the defense more well rounded, but I still believe this defense can be very strong for us either way."

Asked if he is worried about the cap trouble the team may encounter, he said, "It's something to keep an eye on. It's in the back of my mind."

Outside the press conference he had some comments about being the son of Titans GM, Tim Nissen. "It'll be fun. Should bring a little bit more grit in the league to be the best. But you learn from the best, so who knows who will come out on top."
Forum Discussion (by D_Nissen on 10/11/2017) Replies - 5 :: Views - 57
Atlanta Off-season review
2021 Recap

To say that last season was a disappointment is a bit of an understatement. This team is chock full of talent on both sides of the ball, but couldn't seem to get the results on Sunday's. The result was a 3-13 season, just 1 win better than the previous season. QB Bo Callahan led the league in passing yardage, but also gave up 19 interceptions, resulting in a pedestrian 75.3 passer rating for the season. He will need to clean up the mistakes if the Falcons are to improve upon last season's results. He is the driving force behind this offense.
Cubby Williams had a good third season, although for the third year in a row, his yardage totals have decreased. He ended this year with 1305 yards and 9 touchdowns (top 10 for rushing TD's). This drop in yardage has more to do with playing from behind than anything; he still has a healthy 4.6 ypc total.
WR Ronyell Conway and Aaron Dobson both flirted with 1000 yard seasons, with Conway reaching it and Dobson falling just short. Callahan did an excellent job distributing the ball around the field. It's rare that a QB leads the league in passing and not a single one of his receivers cracks the top 10 in receiving yardage. Perhaps more impressive 10 of the 11 players that caught a pass from Callahan also caught at least one touchdown from him. This distribution tends to make it more difficult for teams to shut down any one weapon.
To improve upon last season's record, the Falcons will need to do a better job of protecting Callahan and improve on a terrible 30% 3rd down conversion rate to finish more drives with points.

On defense, we had some bright spots but the team gave up a whopping 28.3 points per game and lost the time of possession race by almost 4 minutes per game. The league-wide highlights include MLB Benardrick McKinney finishing 3rd in tackles with 138, including 18 for loss, and DE Robert Quinn finishing 7th in sacks with 12, adding 11 tackles for loss and 2 fumble recoveries.
Rookie CB Rollo Salsbury had a good showing with 4 picks and 79 tackles along with a team leading 21 passes defended. He was pressed into a starting role early in the season due to injuries. DE Emmanuel Ogbah came into his own last season, contributing 8 sacks opposite Robert Quinn.
With all of the talent on the defensive side of the ball, it's hard to guess the reasons for the poor numbers. A large portion comes from sheer chances; we gave up the ball 7 times more than we were able to get back in turnovers. In addition, the offense failed on third down 70% of the time, resulting in a situation where the defense was on the field a lot more than they really needed to be. Opposing passers were able to post a 91.6 passer rating against us as well, showing that we really weren't able to make a significant impact on the passing game in disrupting the opposing QB.

2022 Off-season:

The Falcons came into the off-season with many expiring contracts; several of them being big name veterans for the Falcons. Due to the Falcons’ recent string of losing seasons, most of them were not interested in re-signing with the Falcons. The Falcons were able to extend OT Michel Millen’s contract, locking him up for the next 5 years (5 years $56.83 Million, $16.4 Million guaranteed). The other three guys they were interested in bringing back were MLB Benardrick McKinney, OT Bo Schneider, and SS Andre Burgess. The only way to get that done would be to declare them as match eligible and hope that another team offered them a contract palatable enough for the Falcons’ front office to match. Through this process, we were able to retain the services of both McKinney (5 year $35.05 Million, with $14 Million guaranteed) and Burgess (5 years $27 Million, with $10.8 Million guaranteed), while letting Schneider go.
The Falcons parted ways with WR Michael Farmer, FB Steve Faust, and CB Matthew Diaz. Faust and Diaz were cut to shave salary at positions with considerable depth. They were both starting to show their age and regressing. Farmer was cut to save a little money but also to free up a roster spot for another player that could contribute more.
Also lost to free agency were FS George Iloka, CB Tomas Lopez, LB’s Cyrus Guerra and Nate Irving, DT Desean Curry, C Randy Barrett, OG Derek Newton, and WR Cornell Vogel. These losses were simply due to expiring contracts. This left a lot of salary cap space to sign a few free agents of our own and prepare for the draft.

In pre-draft free agency, the Falcons were able to sign RG Stafon Martin to a 5 year deal worth $5.5 Million, MLB Denzel Perryman to a 5 year $12.25 Million deal, FS Ed Parrish to a 5 year $12 Million deal, and DT Salvatore Price to a 5 year $13.35 Million deal.
Martin was signed to provide depth at OG. We like his raw physical tools. He is 28 and still sub-par in AWR and blocking skills, but can provide decent depth for us. We liked his price point and hoped to find a solid starter in the draft.
Perryman has never had a chance to start in his 3 years with the Dolphins, but he has all of the right physical tools to make an impact. We like to have quick guys at LB and Denzel fits that task. He is a little raw, but at only 26, we have time to develop a little bit at a decent price.
Parrish is yet another guy, at 27, that has not been given a chance to play much. We like safeties that look like corners. His speed and agility will come in handy assisting over the top as well as covering slot receivers and tight ends. We like his large frame as well, at 6’0” he will help with deflections when coming over the top.
Salvatore Price was brought in for one reason, to be a run stopper for us. His massive strength and 345 lb frame will play well in the middle of the defensive line. This was an area that we needed to work on, finishing in the bottom third of the league in rushing yards allowed per game. At 25, he’s got some years in the tank to develop.
All of these signings were designed to fill some gaps some guys that have a little experience and some good physical traits. The rest of the holes would be filled via the draft.

For the draft we found a willing trade partner in the Seattle Seahawks. They were looking to move up to the #1 spot to pick their coveted WR. While a WR of Nix’s caliber would certainly make just about every team better, we felt that we needed to look at the future and salary implications that come from picking several years in a row in the top 10 of the draft. We were able to come to a deal that would give the Falcons a future 2nd round pick along with 1.7, 2.27, and WR Rock Pritchett in exchange for the pick. Rock hasn’t really made much of an impact in Seattle, never topping 1000 yards through 6 seasons. He has the potential to do great things with Atlanta though. He completes a trio of Conway (6’4”), Pritchett (6’3”) and Dobson (6’3”) that will prove challenging to match-up with for defenses. Callahan shouldn’t have much trouble finding a target out there with this group.

The trade for Pritchett made WR Anthony Perez expendable. The Falcons were looking to fill a hole at OT after losing Schneider to Free Agency. This made another deal possible. The Falcons didn’t really see drafting a starting OT as a viable option. The Seahawks again made a good trade partner. We were able to move back in the first round to 1.20 while picking up an additional 5th round pick and OT Arie Kouandjio. We think Kouandjio will fit in perfectly on our line. He’s already posted back to back seasons with nearly 100 pancakes and will step in to make an immediate impact. We will have to work him into our re-sign plan for next season, but we will deal with that as it comes.


1.20 – MLB Raekwon McMillan 6’2” 240 lbs | 83 SPD | 82 AGI | 83 ACC | 82 TAK
We like McMillan’s overall physical toolkit. He comes in with above average tackling ability from the get-go. He doesn’t jump out in any one trait, but he will work well in our system. In addition, he will benefit from McKinney’s leadership and shouldn’t be pressed into a starting role from day 1.
2.1 – OG Tony Strapp 6’6” 300 lbs | 63 SPD |94 STR |80 ACC |82 PBK |85 RBK
We were debating between Strapp and McMillan for 1.20 so to say we were pleased he was still available at 2.1 is an understatement. Strapp will step in and start from day 1. We love his aabove average strength and he comes in with polished blocking skills right away. He has good feet and quickness as well.
2.27 – SS Fish Simpson 6’1” 210 lbs | 90 SPD | 66 STR | 86 AGI | 88 ACC
We like big bodied safeties. Simpson fits our mold. He has good speed and athletic skills, decent strength and will help disrupt the passing game with his reach.
3.1 – OLB Andy Simms 6’4” 219 lbs | 88 SPD | 85 AGI | 88 ACC
Andy will be an interesting project. We took a chance here on athletics alone. His combo of SPD/AGI/ACC is unmatched in the league. On the downside, he is not strong at all. It will be interesting to watch his play and see how much of an impact that has. This could end up being a bust, but could also be a fantastic find.
4.1 – CB Tyler Stone 6’2” 177 lbs | 93 SPD | 82 AGI | 85 ACC
We took a chance on the skew with this pick and I think we still ended up with a solid match-up corner. For a taller CB, his speed is pretty solid. He will match-up nicely with some of those taller WR’s out there that don’t have burner speed.

Our late picks didn’t produce much excitement as there was a mix-up at league headquarters and the picks weren’t submitted until the end of the 6th round due to some other team’s missing their time slot. We didn’t go back to see what could have been, we just selected the players that were still available from our draft board. We did sign most of them as depth, but they weren’t super exciting.

With just over $11 million in cap space, we may still add some players in post draft free agency, but we might also just hang tight and keep the space available in the event of injuries.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 02/08/2017) Replies - 2 :: Views - 50
Falcons Day 1 Draft Report
Atlanta has been fairly quiet this off-season, not having any Free Agents that were needing to be tagged as match eligible and choosing not to delve too deeply into pre-draft free agency. They did however make a couple moves to bring in additional draft picks as GM Coyle made the conscious decision to re-fuel the tanks. The first trade started as an inquiry from the Raider's front office, seeking the Falcons 6th overall pick in the draft. In scouting the draft class, the Falcons had decided that there were several pieces worthy of first round selection, but with a somewhat weaker draft class compared to the last few years, they were not too keen on the price they would be paying. This was compounded when they considered that they have picked at the top of the last couple drafts in a row and need to be cap conscious over the next few seasons. So when Garth made an offer allowing the Falcons to drop back to 17 and pick up the 27th pick as well in the first round, the Falcons pulled the trigger. This deal must have been the topic of conversation at the Pearce family Thanksgiving table, because not two days later, Wade Pearce came calling with another deal that the Falcons couldn't turn away. They were able to acquire veteran Corner Janoris Jenkins and a 4th round pick for one of the Falcons' three 2nd round picks. We felt that with the move toward youth, having a few extra veterans around, especially ones that can be cut or traded without a cap hit, would be a smart move.

So let's take a look at what the Falcons got for their effort, shall we?

1.17 CB Kendall Fuller - Virginia Tech 5'11" 195lbs 95 SPD | 95 AGI | 95 ACC | 68 CTH | 70 AWR

Our original plan included taking Hargreaves III at 1.6, who we had as 1A to Fuller's 1B. When we pulled the trigger on the trade with the Raiders, we were hoping that one of our top 3 CB's would fall to us at #17. Fuller did. He is very much on par with the talent of Hargreaves. We love his 95 across the board physical tools. A tiny bit disappointed at the sub 6'0" frame, but he's got the tools to make it work. What we REALLY loved was that he's coming in already at 70 AWR, making the transition to the pro game that much quicker. He will slot in from day one at nickle most likely and get excellent mentor bonus' from Jenkins and Diaz.

1.27 DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma State 6'4" 275 lbs 85 SPD | 74 STR | 80 AGI | 83 ACC | 71 TAK | 70 AWR

We loved seeing Ogbah's name still on the draft board when our second first round pick came up. He will contribute right away, opposite Robert Quinn to give the Falcons two scary bookends on the defensive line. We love the speed and snap off the ball. The high end AWR only makes him better and he will still benefit from mentor bonus with Quinn to develop even faster.

2.2 WR/KR Tyler Lockett - Kansas State 5'10" 182 lbs 94 SPD | 95 AGI | 93 ACC | 81 CTH | 70 AWR | 97 KR

Tyler Lockett really fits our long term plans as a slot receiver with return game capabilities. We have Dri Archer returning kicks successfully right now, but this gives us two options there. Lockett also comes in with decent hands, better than some of our veteran guys, so he will be able to contribute right away we feel.

2.22 TE Mo Idlewild - Iowa 6'6" 255 lbs 75 SPD | 80 STR | 74 AGI | 74 ACC | 70 CTH | 65 AWR | 60 RBK/PBK

Mo was our #2 TE. OJ Howard was our first choice, but he was taken a few picks earlier. We felt that with Gronk still able to produce in the passing game, we could use a good blocking TE. Enter Idlewild, who will fill that role nicely. He comes in with some polished blocking skills and will work nicely in the two TE sets that we will run.

3.6 HB Michael Ortiz - South Carolina 5'10" 201 lbs 98 SPD | 94 AGI | 96 ACC | 70 CAR | 63 AWR

Mike brings another speedster to be a change of pace from Cubby. His strength won't turn into many broken tackles, but if he can get the edge, he'll be trouble. At this point in the draft, we were looking to plug some holes with some guys with physical skills. We were happy with this pick.

3.21 P Cecil Garza - San Jose State 6'2" 211 lbs 96 KPW | 80 KAC

Not much to write home about here. A strong legged punter, strongest in the class. Garza probably would have been around a round or two later, but our top picks were drying up at the time and we were on the clock, so we filled a need. Pretty happy with the pick considering that punters won't miss extra points or chip shot field goals with sub 90 KAC. He will need some work to avoid the flubbed punts here and there, but it's not nearly as game shattering as a poor KAC Kicker.

4.6 OLB Rocco Bianchi - Florida 6'2" 220 lbs 81 SPD | 66 STR | 79 AGI | 80 ACC | 66 TAK | 70 AWR

We liked seeing a 70 AWR OLB still around in the 4th and we jumped on him. This guy will play mostly special teams to start with, but we see him with some upside as an outside rusher and even decent in pass coverage on some of the TE's and Backs with his decent physical skills. He won't run over many linemen, but he can get to the QB or rusher with an open lane.

Overall, we're pretty happy with day one. Had some good success with early picks and, given good skew results, may have some winners in the second half of the day too.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 12/29/2015) Replies - 1 :: Views - 29
Falcons 2019 report
Atlanta- After a disappointing 2018, the ’19 squad looks to rebound into a respectable campaign. It’s a bit of a rebuilding year as some of the stars of yester-year age and regress in physical tools and our young up-and-coming stars grow into theirs. After losing many of our key players to injury for extended periods of time last year, the training staff was fired and the Falcons brought in a new crew. They hope to see fewer injuries and quicker recoveries going forward.

The changes are all over the squad. After a strong start to 2018, HB Mario Fannin missed the last 6 games with an injury. This pre-season, the Falcons were offered a 2nd round pick for the aging and regressing running back. Figuring this was the best value they were likely to get for Fannin, and having drafted his replacement in the 2019 draft, the Falcons pulled the trigger. Fannin likely has 2 more solid years in the tank, but wasn’t going to contribute a mentor bonus to the younger Running Backs on the team and he ate up a chunk of salary. The Falcons are hoping that despite the drop-off in awareness, rookie Cubbie Williams will step right in and be a big part of the team’s offense. To replace Fannin on the roster spot, the Falcons signed veteran DeMarco Murray for depth.

QB Bo Callahan continues to be the face of the offense. Last year he was left on his own as one of his top targets, TE Nolan Victorino, missed most of the season with an injury. This left Callahan with a physically talented, but relatively raw, corps of receivers. This produced spotty production, but it was inconsistent and there were a lot of drops out there. To help with this, the Falcons brought in veteran TE Rob Gronkowski both for his reliable hands and excellent physical tools in the running game. He also creates mis-matches with smaller safeties and slower linebackers. The Falcons also signed veteran WR Brandon Tate. He brings super reliable hands and decent physical skills to provide a much needed safety blanket for Callahan.

The offensive line remains mostly unchanged, as the Falcons felt that they have a pretty good squad right now, though many are aging. They did go out and bring in veteran guard Logan Mankins to help shore up the RG position where Bryan Bulaga and Derek Newton were falling short. The Falcons are hoping that this will help keep a little pressure off Callahan while also providing a push in the running game to help out youngster Cubbie Williams.

On Defense, there weren’t a ton of immediate changes. Most apparent was the loss of veteran MLB Curtis Lofton. He was starting to see some regression hits and the Falcons felt the money he would demand was more than they were willing to pay, especially while rebuilding. Second year linebacker Benardrick McKinney showed that he could handle the position last year and has earned the starting spot this season. The Falcons re-signed OLB Jovan Belcher to a short-term deal as well.

There weren’t any changes on the Defensive line, the Falcons feel they are in a pretty good spot with Shevin Vickers, Peria Jerry, Robert Quinn, and Everson Griffin shoring up the line.

The defensive backfield also saw limited movement, only adding some depth through the draft. This is an area of opportunity. The Falcons weren’t able to lure any of the big names to the team through free agency and most of their top targets in the draft were taken ahead of their pick in the 2nd round. This will be one of the big areas of focus for the Falcons in the upcoming offseason as they feel this is definitely the biggest soft spot on their roster.

The Falcons weren’t able to keep K Joshua Day in free agency and ended up needing to add one through the draft. They found a gem in the late round in K Gadhi Mendel. He had an underrated leg in the pre-draft workouts and came into camp sporting a howitzer. However, pre-season determined that he needs a lot of polish on his accuracy. With that in mind, the Falcons brought in long-time veteran Stephen Gostkowski to handle kicking duties for at least this season while Gadhi gets some reps. P Kevin Huber and KR Dri Archer will continue in their respective roles.

The season is now two weeks old and there have been some positives and some negatives. The Falcons are 0-2, losing to the Eagles and the Buccaneers. Both were tightly contested games with the Bucs game looking like more of a blow-out than it actually was. Bo Callahan and the passing game played really well, amassing over 400 yards of offense in week 1. In week 2, the running game came alive with Cubbie Williams rushing for over 150 yards. The defense allowed a lot of yards in both games. It will be up to the offense to keep the pressure off the defense this season as we continue to re-tool the roster.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 07/30/2015) Replies - 1 :: Views - 30
Falcons Season in Review
2017 Recap

The Falcons had a rough go of it in 2017. The year started off with the usual excitement around the clubhouse. Newly drafted, and future franchise, QB Bo Callahan showed up early for off-season workouts and looked like a seasoned pro. The pre-season presented the usual ups and downs of a team bringing along a rookie QB to be the future. Callahan had two good games and then two poor games. The plan was to bring him along slowly during the season and let him take this season to learn behind veteran leader Matt Ryan for the full season before maybe taking the reigns in 2018. This plan held true for about 6 weeks. At this point it became painfully obvious that Matt Ryan's confidence had taken a major blow with the drafting of Callahan and he played like garbage so prove it. At this point, the Falcons started considering making a move to let Callahan get some reps with the starting squad and start his development as a starting QB. Over the next couple weeks the Falcons continued to drop games they should have won and generally just playing poorly on offense. Sitting at 3-5 after week 10, GM Coyle made the decision to officially pull the plug on Matt Ryan. Part of that decision was that the Oakland Raiders had just lost RGIII for the season once more, along with their back-up QB. Sensing some desperation, GM Coyle reached out to the Raiders' GM and had worked out a deal to amnesty Matt Ryan with a promise of a first round pick in the 2018 draft in return from the Raiders. This plan fell on it's face when the final numbers were tallied and the Amnesty would have put the Falcons over the Cap Penalty maximum of $20M by a mere 380k. There was no budge in the league rulebook to make this happen, so the deal never happened and Ryan stayed put. This allowed Bo to benefit from the Mentor program however, so not all was lost. Others on the team continued to play well. HB Mario Fannin was on pace to beat out his fantastic 2016 campaign until falling to a season ending injury in week 12. At that point he had already eclipsed the 1100 yard mark and had 7 touchdowns through 11 games. Really a fantastic season at that point. Eugene Nalen stepped in and performed decently in his stead, but we couldn't get a running game to average over 5 ypc for the rest of the year. This, combined with constantly playing from behind, allowed teams to focus on stopping the pass and though Callahan had some good games, he struggled at times. The wide receiver group had some struggles as well, as WR Anthony Perez had a relapse in terms of his butter fingers, dropping a team high 17 passes. He still ended up with almost 1000 yards and 6 touchdowns, but that will need to improve this next season if the Falcons are to have a better season. Perhaps the biggest story outside of Callahan was the resurgence of DE Robert Quinn, who rebounded from a poor 2016 to rack up a league leading 13 sacks! The defense actually played fairly well in spurts. New cornerback Matt Diaz had an excellent season, as did OLB Jovan Belcher, who helped out with excellent pass coverage, deflecting 17 passes, uncommon for most linebackers.

Off-season Recap:
The Falcons have been fairly quiet this off-season. They ended up with a virtual stable full of RFA's, but retained all six. TE Nolan Victorino earned a 3 year deal, DT Shevin Vickers also earned a 3 year deal, OT Jordan Mills was signed only to his tender 1 year contract, WR Anthony Perez signed a 5 year deal, HB Eugene Nalen was signed only to his tender 1 year deal, and the same goes for OG JC Tretter. The best of that class are locked up for the next few seasons and should progress nicely.
Pre-Draft Trading and UFA:
The Falcons loaded up on draft picks, going into the draft with the maximum of 10 picks. They made some deals to move some of the 5 or 6 5th round picks, picking up a couple 3rds and 4ths in the process. The Lions traded a 3rd (Texans) for DT Terrell McClain and a 5th (Chiefs). A deal was finally struck to Amnesty QB Matt Ryan. The Patriots had made an offer of a 2nd and a 3rd round draft pick for Matt Ryan and GM Coyle had to weigh that (and the resulting 9M cap hit and 10 GZQ cost to remove his NTC) with simply spending 5 more GZQ to send him to Amnesty and eliminate his Cap Hit at the cost of only receiving one draft pick, and hoping that the Patriots would still send a 2nd . The wasn't much other interest in Ryan out there, so it was a calculated risk that Coyle felt was in the best interest of the team. This was also considering that the Falcons already had 10 picks at this point and would need to jettison two picks either back to the Patriots in a trade or someone else to allow for the one or two picks to come over for Ryan. In the end, it worked out. The Patriots sent a 2nd to the Falcons for Ryan in Amnesty and then traded with the Falcons again to free up draft pick space. The Falcons found themselves in a bit of a squeeze for the salary cap going into the draft and so, didn't make any moves in regards to pre-draft UFA.
The Falcons were left without a 1st round pick this season due to the trade they made last season for 1.7 pick QB Bo Callahan. They still feel that this was a wise move despite the fact that they essentially gave up 1.5 for him this season. They ended up with 3 second round picks, 2 third, fourth, and fifth round picks, and a seventh rounder. With young faces all over the offensive side of the ball, GM Coyle seemed to focus primarily on the defensive side of the ball.

2.4 SS Andre Burgess – 6'1”|200 lbs|90 SPD|90 AGI|86 ACC|66 CTH
The Falcons really like Burgess' athletic ability here. He reads like a corner on paper and will do well in coverage, an area that the Falcons really struggled in last season. He also brings some nice ball skills and will intercept a fair share of passes. His large frame and excellent vertical will help him knock down some passes and be disruptive in the passing game. We would have liked him to be a bit stronger and he may even play more as a free safety rather than strong safety in many situations.
2.8 MLB Benardrick McKinney – 6'5”|245 lbs|83 SPD|74 STR|80 AGI|80 ACC|83 TAK
With Veteran LB Curtis Lofton aging in the middle of the linebacker group, the Falcons were looking for an heir apparent. They feel that they have found him in McKinney. He's big, he's strong, he's fast and he's already polished. Not a whole lot to get uber excited about, but he'll get the job done and he'll do it for many years.
2.27 C Randy Barrett – 6'4”|320 lbs|92 STR|62 ACC|81 PBK|79 RBK
This was probably a slight miss for the Falcons, as he's not the most athletic Center out there, however he does have excellent strength and fairly polished blocking skills for a rookie. He will likely provide some depth for Jason Brown and may find some play time in garbage snaps.
3.4 CB Tomas Lopez – 5'10”|188 lbs|94 SPD|89 AGI|88 ACC|64 CTH
Tomas came into camp looking every bit the nickleback Corner. He's got good speed and decent hands to go with his average agility and acceleration. He comes in with slightly above average smarts too and will be able to contribute in dime and quarter situations.
3.18 WR Cornell Vogel – 5'7”|187 lbs|96 SPD|96 AGI|91 ACC|73 CTH
The Falcons pulled the trigger on Vogel as a slot burner with above average hands. He's got the speed and agility that's needed for this position. We like this pick a lot.
4.4 OLB Cyrus Guerra – 6'2”|229 lbs|82 SPD|81|AGI|83 ACC|75 TAK
We liked the all around athleticism that Guerra brings to the team. His strength isn't great, but he's got size and athletic ability to play the outside and cover most TE's and HB's.
5.4 DT DeSean Curry – 6'2”|285 lbs|89 STR|61 AGI|72 ACC|76 TAK
Curry brings the traditional line of a nose tackle. He's a bit light for our tastes at NT, but he's got decent strength and acceleration. He will back-up our other two DT's for now.

Our other draft picks didn't manage to make the team in training camp and were cut prior to the season starting.
Post draft UFA:

As in pre-draft UFA, the Falcons didn't put many feelers out in Free Agency. They did sign QB Max Hall to back-up Bo Callahan in the event of an injury, but they hope it doesn't come to that. The Falcons do have to deal with CB EJ Biggers and C Jason Brown still holding out to this point and don't have a ton of cap space to do so. GM Coyle is hoping to be able to bring both along and get them on the field.

2018 Season Predictions:

The Falcons would, of course, like to see a winning season this year like any other team out there. Expectations are a bit tempered in the face of a 2nd year QB starting, some young guys starting at key positions. We plan to continue our success against the Buccaneers of course, and traditionally have played well inside the division. The Saints have a new GM and played well for him last season. They were also able to re-tool a bit in the draft and look pretty strong going into 2018. The same could be said of the Panthers. If we're honest, it's probably going to continue to be a road to rebuilding the Falcons this year. The tight cap made it really hard to improve the team outside of the draft. Outside of the division will largely depend on which divisions the NFC South pulls this year. This year will be about finding gameplans that work with the team we're building and finding out which players will step up and become the leaders of the team going forward. Some of the veteran guys are going to sit back and mentor some of the younger guys and teach them the ways of the GZL. The team is positioned well going into next season, retaining all of their draft picks and will only have a $2 million cap hit compared to their$12.73 million hit this season. GM Coyle is willing to plow through this season without high expectations, knowing that they will be able to re-tool next off-season. That's not to say that he will be mailing it in this year. The Falcons are fighters and will scratch and claw every step of the way, especially inside the division.

On Offense, Look for Callahan to have a strong second year. He's coming into the year in great position, already at 80 AWR and 89 THA. Look for HB Mario Fannin to return to his excellent form from the last two seasons, averaging over 5 ypc. The team will lean on the running game to provide balance and keep the pressure off Callahan early in games. We will work with the receiving corps to improve their hands and help Callahan keep a better completion percentage, improving his rating along the way. The line will need to play well, building on their ability to protect the QB last season, only giving up 20 sacks. This will be a huge key in keeping Callahan healthy and upright. This was also a big key to keeping a high completion percentage, fewer rushed throws means more completed throws.

On defense, we will continue to play well. Quinn should continue his excellent rebound and post another 10+ sack season. Lofton will continue to lead from the middle and will post 120+ tackles. Diaz will continue to post top 20 CB numbers in deflections and interception versus completions. The young guys like Andre Burgess and Leonard Johnson will struggle at times, but they will have their good days too. Veteran leaders like George Iloka, Alterraun Verner and Jovan Belcher will need to show their leadership on the defensive side of the ball and we will have success.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/08/2015) Replies - 1 :: Views - 17
It is officially Bo Callahan time!
News out of Atlanta this week, Matt Ryan is set to be released by the Falcons! Under the Amnesty clause in the GZL Collective Bargaining Deal, Matt Ryan enters a 24 hour waiver-like process in which other teams are able to 'bid' a draft pick to claim Ryan before he hits the open market. Rumors were surrounding Ryan's future in Atlanta when the Falcons made the surprise move to trade up in last May's draft to select Heisman Trophy winner Bo Callahan with the 7th overall pick. GM Coyle intended to simply keep both players on the roster and lean on Ryan's experience and knowledge to mentor Callahan, bringing him along slowly to take the reigns in a year or two. What happened was that Ryan's confidence seemed to get rocked by the selection and he has played very poorly in the first half of the season. Coyle stated last week on GZL Radio that he was content to sit on Ryan this season to pick up the Mentor bonus to go with playing time progression for Callahan. Things seem to have changed in the front office. Matt Ryan is far from over-the-hill. In fact, at age 32, he's still got at least 3-4 seasons before he starts to see major YP related regression.

For the Falcons, the future is now in the hands of Bo Callahan. He has played well in the past two appearances, filling in when Ryan has had to miss some series' due to injury. He was hit or miss in the pre-season with two stellar games and two poor games. The Falcons hope that he is able to find his groove quickly and give this team a much needed boost going into the second half of the season.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 09/23/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 20
Falcons Bye Week Report

The Falcons go into their bye week with a disappointing 2-4 record this season. The offensive unit has struggled to find itself after playing fairly well last season behind Veteran QB Matt Ryan. Ryan is really struggling this season, recording just a 60.6 QB Rating through 6 games and a 5:7 TD:INT ratio. GM Coyle isn't sure why Ryan is struggling so badly this season, not much has changed on the offensive side of the ball since last season. There have been a couple changes along the offensive line, so it's possible that the secret lies there. In fact, the team is playing 3 new starters on the offensive line, including C Raymond Snow, RG Bryan Bulaga, and RT Bo Schneider. The stat sheet shows that they have only allowed 1 sack total between the three of them, but during the Seahawks game, we noticed a lot of QB pressure from that side of the line, resulting in errant passes, passes thrown as Ryan was being hit, and just hurried throws. Perhaps this is the answer for the woes that the team is seeing. When the ball is getting to the target, we are seeing a higher than normal number of drops from WR Anthony Perez, who already has 7 drops in 6 games. This has prompted the staff to run additional hands drills during practice this week, hoping to improve this troubling development. Despite the drops, Perez still leads the team in catches. A major bright spot this past week was the play of Rookie signal caller Bo Callahan, who came in and finished the game after Ryan was knocked out of the game with a minor injury. Bo came in and finished with a nearly perfect passer rating of 142.8, completing 71% of his passes for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns against no interceptions. If the Falcons continue to struggle to win games, there is a high likelihood that Callahan will see some starts as the season progresses. In his two other short appearances this season, Callahan was 0 for 6 with an interception, so not all is rosy and perfect.

The defense has been pretty horrible. Again, not many changes with only some minor changes in the crew. The results have been lackluster however. Perhaps the biggest issue is that opposing passers are having a field day against the Falcons with a combined 96.3 passer rating. The Falcons lost a little bit of size in their DB, shipping CB Dre Kirkpatrick off to the Jaguars in the off-season for CB Matthew Diaz, losing 2 inches, but gaining a solid veteran who can mentor the younger guys. Diaz has actually played pretty well, leading the team with 4 INTs and 9 Deflections against only 12 catches allowed. The real disappointments in the defensive backfield have been E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson, both of whom have played fairly poorly. On the positive side, DL Robert Quinn and Peria Jerry are having excellent starts to their seasons, combining for 41 tackles, 10 sacks, and 9 TFL. Perhaps the most noticeable absence is felt at LOLB, with Lorenzo Morales starting in place of departed veteran Sean Weatherspoon. The Falcons certainly miss his sure tackling and run support. That doesn't mean that Morales is playing poorly, he just hasn't contributed at the same level of Weatherspoon yet. He'll get there.

This could mean that we're in for a rebuilding season this year. Indeed if the Falcons continue to drop games, it's likely that some of the younger guys will get to see some field action much quicker than anticipated. This is something that was unexpected coming into this season after having a successful rebound year last season. GM Coyle is hoping to get the ship turned around after a terrible start. The silver lining, he says, is that they've played a pretty tough schedule so far, having already faced the very strong Bucs twice (split the match-ups), Super Bowl Champion Seattle, and perennial powerhouse Green Bay in the first 6 weeks. The second half of the season contains some more favorable match-ups but still has some smattering of tough teams. The team does hold a winning division record at this time, halfway through that schedule and face the Panthers after the bye week, a team also struggling to find itself after competing for the division title last year.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 08/31/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
Falcons Pre-Season review

The Atlanta Falcons ended the Pre-season with a 2-2 record, and all four games really reflected what first round selection Bo Callahan was able to accomplish. He played poorly in the two losses, and played pretty well in the two wins. Starter Matt Ryan played the first two games before being told to come in street clothes for the final two games. This strategy was deliberate since Ryan has dealt with some long injuries over the past two seasons despite being fairly resilient when it comes to his injury history. Callahan's level of play in the two losses was pretty bad. He was a combined 13/39 for 153 yards and threw 4 picks with QB Ratings of 18.7 and 17.7 in the two losses. It was a completely different story in the two wins, going 26/47 with 466 yards and throwing 4 touchdowns against 2 picks with ratings of 93.7 and 106.4. He had two first half games and two second half games and the results were split. Other notables on the offensive side of the ball were first round selection RT Bo Schneider, who was a surprise during training camp, allowing the Falcons to cut the expensive and poorly performing RT Sam Baker and bring in veteran mentor OT David Stewart to mentor both LT Michael Millen and RT Schneider this season. Schneider led the team in Pancake blocks in the pre-season with 20. WR Anthony Perez emerged as the Falcons' top deep ball threat amassing impressive stats in his four games. He ended the pre-season with 26 catches for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball there were a lot of changes this off-season. Several younger guys are being given their shot at glory in some key positions and we'll primarily look at those players here. DT Shevin Vickers came in supplanting the aging Terrell McClain and picking up a couple sacks and 8 tackles in limited duty. Another change on the defensive line was RE Michael Buchanan taking over for RE Everson Griffen. Buchanan also picked up 2 sacks to go with his 10 tackles, again in limited snaps. OLB Lorenzo Morales finally emerged from the shadow of OLB Sean Weatherspoon this season with the Falcons dealing Weatherspoon early in training camp. Morales played some limited snaps as well, picking up 13 tackles including 4 for lost yardage. He'll get some mentoring from veteran OLB Cory Hodges, whom the Falcons brought in to provide depth and also just to mentor the younger guys. The final big change was at Safety with [url=http://gzl-football.com/player.php?id=3695&skin=lp]SS Bud Cochran accepting a deal from the Lions in the off-season, the Falcons drafted SS Jersey Harbinger to replace him. Harbinger was consistent, picking up 19 tackles in 4 games. He'll take a little work to get where we want him, but he'll have the opportunity to play a little this season.

It's always tough to gauge how well your team will play coming out of the pre-season schedule. Some teams elect to rest a significant portion of their squad, some choose to 'go for it all' and play their starters for significant snaps. The Falcons saw a bit of both in their games. Unfortunately they also saw a number of injuries on both sides of the ball, but significantly in the Wide Receiver corps, with both Marcus Wheaton and Ryan Swope missing time. Swope has mostly healed up and is probable for week 1, while Wheaton expects to miss at least 2 more weeks with a Sprained Elbow. CB Leonard Johnson again saw time in the training room this year already with an Abdominal Tear. This after he lost significant time last season (he only played 6 games) with injury. It's a bit off-putting as he has a pretty high Injury rating on paper. Hopefully he'll play the whole season this year.

The schedule this season reads pretty well. The Falcons face the Defending Champ Seachickens in week 5, but don't have to play the rest of the NFC West this year. The NFC South drew the NFC North division and AFC North this season. Significantly, they play 5 of their 6 intra-division games before week in the first 9 weeks of the season. This stretch will define the division in many ways and there should be a clear leader at that point. It'll be interesting to see if the Buccaneers return to form this season as it was really a battle between the Panthers and the Falcons for much of the year in '16 until the Bucs snuck back in at the end of the year. For the Falcons it really comes down to good game-planning and keeping the key guys healthy for the season.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 07/20/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 15
Atlanta Pre-Season Sneak Peak

The Falcons had a bit of an issue with Cap space going into this off-season. This made them have to make some tough decisions. They were busy in draft trading, moving up to 1.7 to take QB Bo Callahan, a future franchise QB to replace Matt Ryan in a few seasons. They mostly grabbed depth with their draft picks, with only SS Jersey Harbinger and KR Dri Archer currently looking at starting positions. In player trading activity, they moved expensive veterans CB Dre Kirkpatrick and OLB Sean Weatherspoon, allowing them to free up necessary cap space to make some changes. This also allowed some younger guys to get a chance to shine like OLB Lorenzo Morales. We're hoping that CB Leonard Johnson can stay healthy this season and he'll challenge for the #2 spot depending on the match-ups, being a slightly smaller, but speedy CB. We are still hoping to bring in 2-3 guys to round out some depth and one of them will be a new Punter with Koenen going to the Bears in the off-season.

Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 07/10/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 26
Falcons Draft Report

1.7 The Falcons entertained a few offers for 1.7, but ultimately held their resolve and selected QB Bo Callahan out of Wisconsin. Bo brings some impressive physical skills to Atlanta. He fits the typical 6'4" QB frame and brings impressive strength, both core strength and arm strength to the position. He has above average awareness as well, giving him the ability to step right in and play well if needed. The Falcons plan to bring him along slowly, giving Matt Ryan a chance to mentor the young QB and give him a chance to be successful when he finally takes the reigns in a couple seasons. With some of the impressive talent that was still available at 1.7, it's a bit surprising that the Falcons drafted a back-up so high. GM Coyle defended his decision, "We traded up to 1.7 with the hopes that we'd have a chance at a Franchise defining player. In my opinion, a franchise defining player doesn't need to be an immediate starter. We knew there was a better than average chance that Bo would fall to us at 1.7 since there was a lot more hype around the WR's and defensive players in this draft class. There were certainly some of those guys available in Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Both could have been great picks and nobody would have faulted us for taking them. In the end, we looked at the past couple years and the biggest thing that kept us out of the play-offs was losing Matt Ryan and not having someone to take over. Now we didn't draft Bo to be our injury replacement, but he can do it if needed. We drafted Bo knowing that Matt only has 3 or 4 good years left in the tank. We had a chance to draft a replacement early, didn't have to pay top 5 draft pick money for him, and we think Bo has all the abilities to be a great QB in the GZL."

With their pick at 1.24, the Falcons selected OT Bo Schneider from the University of Virginia. The Falcons admittedly reached a little bit to grab Schneider, but felt that it was better to reach a little bit to nab a player they didn't think would be around towards the end of the 2nd round when they picked next. Schneider's speed leaves a little to be desired, but could be improved to hit 60 or 61. His immediate blocking skills will also need some work. That said, his athleticism is fantastic with high agility and acceleration scores, he will get off the ball quickly and be able to move his feet. His relatively high strength score should help to delay some of the better DE's in the division and the league. We really like his size and the reality is that he doesn't need to play right away. He can mentor behind Sam Baker for a year or two and gain the tools that are needed. We think he'll be ready to step in and take over when Baker's time is through. Besides nobody protects Bo better than Bo.

Going forward, look for the Falcons to start addressing some needs with the rest of their picks. They currently don't have a SS under contract, and they also want to improve some positions on the OL. At 1.24, they will likely still go with the best available player though.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 07/01/2014) Replies - 3 :: Views - 75
Atlanta Offseason

Atlanta rolled into the off-season with much of their team still intact and ready to make a run next year. GM Coyle told us that he has some specific goals for the off-season. These include working on the Offensive and Defensive line as well as perhaps some change in the Linebacking corps. Overall, the offense played really well last season. A breakout season for HB Mario Fannin has eliminated the immediate need in the running game. The Falcons are hoping that he can keep it up next season, but may look to find his understudy in the draft. The passing game did well while QB Matt Ryan was under center, but in the games he missed, they were terrible. Look for the Falcons to try and address this problem by either working hard to groom Saracen to be able to step in and play or by signing a quality veteran back-up. The Wide Receiver group looks pretty solid, but this is a very deep Rookie class coming up, and if the right guy falls to the Falcons, they will not hesitate to pull the trigger. Overall the defense played decent this past season, and as we mentioned above, the front 7 will definitely be the focus this off-season. But we also need to replace SS Bud Cochran in the event that we can't convince him to stay.

Coyle has already been quietly busy, re-signing FS George Iloka to a long-term deal and restructuring DE Robert Quinn to keep him a Falcon for the rest of his career. We also made RFA tenders to FB Steve Faust, C Raymond Snow, and DE Michael Buchanan. The annual Coaches draft validated the Falcons' season with both their Offensive AND Defensive Coordinators getting tapped to take over Head Coaching jobs for other teams. The Falcons inked Mike Sherman and Jon Barry to come in and replace the departed pair. The Falcons recently sent notice out to the league of some players they are shopping around, so more moves may be on the horizon.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 06/14/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 18
Falcons Year in Review

Atlanta- This season, much like last season, was a tale of two teams. One led by QB Matt Ryan, and the other led by back-ups. The Falcons were 8-4 with Ryan but only 1-3 without him. Those 4 weeks without Ryan cost the Falcons a play-off spot. True, they had a golden opportunity to still clinch the division in week 17 fall into their laps only to squander it, but they should have had it wrapped up by that point. Matt had a pretty solid year with a 2:1 td to int ratio and was only sacked 15 times all season, an area of emphasis for GM Ian Coyle when he took over a team that gave up over 70 sacks the previous year including the one that resulting in a season ending injury for Matt Ryan. The year before that they gave up 36 sacks. Rookie Michael Millen showed up all season long, ending up the season in the top 10 for all linemen in Pancake blocks with 94, while only giving up 3 sacks all season. It was a huge upgrade from last season's starting LT Jordan Mills, who only managed 60 pancakes while giving up 8 sacks. A big area of focus for the upcoming off-season is finding a replacement for the sieve otherwise known as RT Sam Baker. Baker has given up 34 sacks in the past 2 seasons after only allowing 18 combined in the previous 5 seasons as a starter.

Another huge bright spot, and perhaps the team's Offensive MVP for the season, was the breakout performance from HB Mario Fannin. Long labeled as a bust, he broke out this season with 1623 yards rushing and 9 TDs and 5.22 avg per carry. All of this while holding onto the ball pretty well, only fumbling 3 times all season. This marks the most production out of Fannin since his Rookie season when he only rushed for 1279 yards. The Falcons gave him the contract he wanted last season, and he delivered!

Everyone was dying to see how the controversial off-season trade of WR AJ Green would turn out. Many GMs around the league blasted the Falcons front office. In the end, Green had a very similar year in New York to what his 2015 looked like in Atlanta. A down year with only 1067 yards, 4 touchdowns and 14 drops. Pretty pedestrian for his 'on-paper' ratings. In return, the Falcons got WR Anthony Perez, WR Markus Wheaton, and the Jets 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft (will be between 2.2 and 2.4). Perez ended the season with 1080 yards, 8 touchdowns and 85 catches. He was on pace to best Green in drops as well until Matt Ryan went down for 4 weeks with an injury, resulting in some loss of rhythm with his QB, he ended with 18 drops vs 85 catches. As a seeming bonus, Wheaton added on 572 yards and another 5 touchdowns playing in the slot and did an pretty decent job returning kicks for most of the year. Another off-season of progression should give us a formidable trio of receivers in Shaw, Perez, and Wheaton. WR Ryan Swope also had a decent season in a limited role for the first season doing something other than just returning kicks. He proved to be an occasional home run threat for the Falcons. As an interesting side-note, all four of the Falcons' current receivers were drafted in 2015.

On the defensive side of the ball, we saw some limited improvements. As a team the Falcons gave up 8 fewer points per game, 50 fewer rushing yards per game, forced 8 more turnovers and had a better Opp. Passer Rating. We lost CB Leonard Johnson and MLB Curtis Lofton for significant portions of the season. Lofton still managed a respectable 57 tackles in 7 games, but his injury seemed to bother him a bit down the stretch. Johnson was injured in week 6, and didn't see the field the rest of the season. He would have been ready to go in the play-offs, but unfortunately the team couldn't get there. When Johnson went down, the team found itself really thin in the defensive backfield. They were able to go out an sign CB Adam Jones to give them some nickel and dime coverage help, and were able to work out a deal with the Chiefs to bring in CB EJ Biggers for a 4th and a 6th round draft pick. Biggers came up big for the Falcons. He's a big, speedy guy who came in and provided good backend tackling with 59 tackles, while also deflecting 22 passes and intercepting another 5. He's still fairly young and will likely push Johnson to the nickel spot next season. CB Dre Kirkpatrick had another outstanding year with 65 tackles, 6 picks and 35 deflections. Our Defensive MVP has to be S George Iloka though. The guy was all over the field making tackles (63), deflecting passes (20) and just generally being disruptive (3 TFL, 1 FF), which is what any good safety does. In the off-season, the Falcons plan on bolstering the front seven, potentially bringing about a scheme change to help take some tackling pressure off the back half of the defense and shore up the middle of the field.

Lastly our special teams were pretty fantastic this season. Kicker Josh Day was nearly perfect 43/45 on Field Goals, and Punter Michael Koenen put 26% of his punts inside the 20 and averaged 46.9 yards per punt.

Next season look for GM Coyle to continue building on the successes the team found this year and to shore up the defense. We hope to continue our dominance of the Buccaneers and hope to see a division title come our way.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 05/26/2014) Replies - 1 :: Views - 34
Atlanta Semi-Weekly

The Falcons have been excellent on the Road so far this season, but that luck ran out this week in Carolina. The Panthers young rookie HB Gerard Campbell had his breakout game of his career having finally convinced the front office of the Panthers to give him the starting job. He didn't disappoint, running for almost 200 yards on a pretty good Falcons run defense including an 80 yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter. The Falcons tried to keep it close and were never down by more than 10. Matt Ryan was mostly pedestrian, throwing for almost 300 yards, but throwing one interception and zero touchdowns. Mario Fannin continued to play well in this offensive scheme, tallying another 125+ yard game and rushing for two touchdowns. It just wasn't enough to win this game this week.

This game also saw CB Leonard Johnson go down with a broken wrist. Early signs are not good. It looks like he may miss the rest of the regular season, but should be back in time for the play-offs, should the Falcons make it to the big dance. The Falcons were in talks with a couple veteran CB's to potentially come in and contribute in his absence. The front office has also been in contact with a couple teams about potential trades.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 02/19/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 19
Atlanta First Quarter Report

Atlanta - With the first quarter of the season in the books, the Falcons find themselves perched at the top of the NFC South in a tie with the Buccaneers at 3-1. After a close opening week loss to the Seahawks, the Falcons have gone on the road to win 3 games in a row including stealing one in Tampa to give them the early season division lead. Last week they went to New York to face a Jets team and a familiar face in the recently traded A.J. Green. Much was said this off-season when the new Falcon front office sent Green to the Jets for a couple prospects and a pick in the next draft. Four games in, it would appear that the Falcons got the better end of the trade. Markus Wheaton and Anthony Perez have combined for 34 catches, just over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, compared to Green's 13 catches for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns. For his part, GM Coyle is happy with the trade. "Look, AJ is a fantastic player with some great years left in the tank. Honestly, we wanted to get some breathing room under the cap both for filling the roster and also anticipating this coming off-season with the number of guys we have with expiring contracts. This deal got us a couple more potential studs that are on longer term deals, and saved us a ton of cash. That allowed us to bring Jovan (Belcher) back in, and that was much needed as we lost Curtis Lofton in week 1 for most of the season. We needed that veteran leadership in the front 7, Jovan brings that."

The Falcons offense has been adequate so far this season, although they've struggled with turnovers early. Ryan has already thrown 6 interception to go with his 8 touchdowns. The passing offense has struggled at times to consistently move the ball. Luckily, Mario Fannin has been a bright spot, averaging just over 110 ypg and nearly 5.5 ypc through 4 games. Perez is among the league leaders in catches, but is averaging a paltry 8.5 ypc. The Falcons will need to find a way to get him open down the field if they want to make the next step. Ryan Swope has been a bright spot in his first real season seeing any significant action outside of special teams. He's been a spark plug in the 4 WR set, already connecting on two 70+ yd touchdown plays.

The defense has played pretty well as well. Near the league leaders in team sacks with 8, the line has been off to a somewhat slow start with Robert Quinn getting his first sack only this week, coming off 10+ sacks each of the last few years. Dre Kirkpatrick is playing hard in the secondary, currently second in the league in interceptions with 3, including one taken back for a td. Newly acquired DT Terrell McClain also has a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery. There has been a little bend at times, but the Falcons find themselves in the top 10 for Scoring defense, Total Yards allowed, Pass Defense, and Run Defense. If they can keep up those numbers, they will keep the team close enough to give them a chance to win any game they play.

Up next, the Falcons head back home to face the Detroit Lions and their fearsome passing attack. The Lions are coming off a big win in Dallas last week, and are always a threat to topple any team.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 02/06/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 21
Falcons prepare for a mid-air collision course with Philly

Atlanta - The Atlanta Falcons took the practice field again today in preparation for this week's game against the Eagles. There were no notable players missing from workouts other than Curtis Lofton, who is still out with a back sprain. "I have been seeing a specialist, and they have me on a medical regimen aimed at getting me back on the field by the end of the season. I'm hoping to be healthy enough to be a full participant in the play-offs should we get there this season," Lofton said when questioned after practice. Following their upset victory over the Buccaneers, Coach Coughlin gave the team Tuesday off. "Everyone in the league and media thought that we would lose to Tampa. We played the reports over and over during practice heading into Sunday to give us the fuel we would need to win that game. Our coaching staff had a great game plan set and we stuck to our gut despite some last minute doubts from Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. We came in and executed our game plan and came out with a win. We did struggle a bit on offense when we didn't have field position in our favor, and that's something we're working on this week. Most importantly, we were able to capitalize on our red zone opportunities and get touchdowns. Coming away with 7 points instead of 3 is a huge advantage," Coughlin said.

Look for the offense to find a way to get WR Markus Wheaton, WR Ryan Swope, and TE Brett Brackett more involved in the game plan this week. "We wanted to get a more balanced attack this week to get RB Mario Fannin more involved this week and we were able to do that. We also were able to do a better job at protecting Matt (Ryan). However, we ended up sacrificing some explosiveness to do so. We didn't get enough 3 and 4 WR looks out there, and as a result, our longest play from scrimmage was only 25 yards. We have to find a balance between keeping our run/pass mix balanced, while also taking shots down the field," said Mornhinweg.

The team brought in veteran LB DeMeco Ryans on a 1 year deal to fill in for the injured Lofton, and provide that veteran presence as the defensive signal caller.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/26/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 24
Atlanta starts the 2016 season with a disappointing loss

Atlanta - The 2016 season started out with a 3 point defeat at the hands of the perennial NFC West powerhouse, Seattle Seahawks. This game really turned out to be the story of what could have been. The Falcons started out with a touchdown on their first drive, a 75 yard bomb from Matt Ryan to Ryan Swope in the slot. From there, they struggled to keep up the momentum, turning the ball over 3 times on three interceptions, including one that was taken back 38 yards for a touchdown by Steven Yates. The first half ended up being a nightmare, losing OLB Sean Weatherspoon and MLB Curtis Lofton in the first half with injuries. Lofton left the game just before half-time with a back injury that's expected to cause him to lose significant time this season. Weatherspoon's injury was significant enough that he didn't return to the game, but not serious enough that he'll miss any future games at this point. After missing a FG at the end of the half, the Falcons went into the locker room down 24-7. This FG that doinked off the upright would come back to haunt the Falcons later.

In the second half, the Falcons offense was finally able to sustain some drives and rack up the yardage against a conservative Seattle squad that just wanted to drain the clock and get out of town. Ryan ended up with a league high 393 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, including 1 each to newcomers Markus Wheaton and Anthony Perez. Perez was held in check most of the game by Rookie Corner Bernie Freeman, who was able to break up quite a few passes and intercept another in a good showing. Injuries continued to plague the Atlanta defense with another big injury to Robert Quinn keeping him out for most of the 2nd half. He seemed to be in high spirits after the game and said he doesn't expect to miss the game next week. The Falcons were able to tie up the game late, and looked to be in position to win after a fumble by Rookie WR Rock Pritchett at the Seattle 30. Unfortunately, the call was overturned (rightfully), and Seattle was able to drive down the field in the last minute to get in position to kick a 51 yard field goal for the win as time expired.

We spoke with Head Coach Tom Coughlin after the game. "We had a terrible first half. Matt had some rust having not played the last two games of the pre-season and missing significant time last season with injury. That was our decision to hold him out the last two weeks, but we won't second guess it. He played very well in the second half. It's hard to tell how much of it was conservative defensive playcalling with a lead from Seattle, and how much of it was our offense playing well. We felt we had a good week of preparation going into the game, things just got out of hand early when we kept giving the Seahawks excellent field position. You can't win games when you repeatedly give your opponent the ball with a short field. Even so, we were in good position to win this one at the end, but our injury depleted defense couldn't get the stops we needed, and we gave them a good look at a long field goal."

GM Ian Coyle told us that they will evaluate Lofton's injury a bit more over the next couple days, but it looks like he will be out for most of the season, and the Falcons may need to hit the waiver wire to pick up a suitable replacement. If he is indeed lost for the bulk of the season, it's a big loss. Lofton lead the game in tackles today with 11, despite missing all of the second half.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/15/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 21
Atlanta Pre-Season Wrap-up

Pre-season - The Falcons finish up the pre-season with a 3-1 record. Most importantly, they escaped any major injuries to starting players. Newly acquired WR Anthony Perez had a great pre-season, showing the naysayers one of the reasons why GM Coyle went ahead with the A.J. Green trade. Perez ended the pre-season with 20 catches for 445 yards and 4 touchdowns with only 1 drop as the featured WR. This was even more impressive when factoring in the Falcons sitting QB Matt Ryan out of the last two games. Rookie QB Matt Saracen showed flashes of promise as a young back-up, but also showed brutally that he is a rookie in game 3 against the Chargers, throwing 4 picks in the first half.

Key Off-season additions - WR Anthony Perez via trade, LT Michael Millen via draft, CB Alterraun Verner via FA, WR Markus Wheaton via trade, C Jason Brown via FA

Key Off-season departures - WR A.J. Green via trade, CB Jose Bell via FA, WR Roddy White via FA.

Commentary - There was much discussion surrounding the biggest of the Falcons' off-season moves, trading A.J. Green to New York for Wheaton, Perez, and a 2nd round pick. The Falcons were in dire financial straits with 16 expiring contracts at the end of the season, including Green's, 7 of whom were current starters. The move with Green saved the Falcons about $7m this season, while also picking up two young, promising players and adding a pick in next season's draft. After an off-season in which the Falcons had to let Roddy White, Jose Bell, and Jovan Belcher leave in FA due to cap restrictions, new GM Coyle wasn't about to let that type of thing happen again this season. Already this pre-season, Perez has shown that he has the potential tofill the void left where Green was playing. Rookie Mike Millen and veteran Jason Brown shore up the leaky sieve known as last year's offensive line, and both performed well during the pre-season. Verner will fill in nicely as a nickel back with decent size and great hands.

Offensive Starters -
QB Matt Ryan
RB Mario Fannin
FB Steve Faust
WR Cameron Shaw
WR Anthony Perez
TE Brett Brackett
LT Michael Millen
LG Chris McDonald
C Jason Brown
RG Derek Newton
RT Sam Baker

Defensive Starters -
LE Robert Quinn
DT Peria Jerry
DT Shevin Vickers
RE Everson Griffen
LOLB Sean Witherspoon
MLB Curtis Loften
ROLB Jovan Belcher
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
CB Leonard Johnson
FS George Iloka
SS Bud Cochran

Projections- This season will depend largely on how healthy we can stay. The NFC South is pretty strong with the perennial favorite Buccaneers keeping the division title on lock-down for the past several seasons. If we're able to stay healthy, I believe that we can pull out a wildcard berth this season. A 10-6 record is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/09/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 30
Falcons start the pre-season with a win

Kansas City- It's been an eventful off-season for the Falcons and new GM Ian Coyle. Several new faces to the team, a fairly solid draft, and the big news coming this week with the trade of A.J. Green to the Jets. There were a lot of grumblings around the league that the Falcons gave more than they received. That remains to be seen, but we got a little glimpse tonight in the first week of the off-season.

The Chiefs started out running all over the place with Peyton Hillis racking up some impressive yardage totals in the first half, finishing with 70 yds on the ground on only 12 carries. E.J. Manual played well, finishing the half with a 112 passer rating, but the drives kept stalling. All the Chiefs could muster was two 40+ yard FG's in the first half with the regulars out there. Unfortunately Manual's one mistake was costly as a fumble was recovered by Atlanta and turned into a touchdown.

The first half for the Atlanta starters started out rather rough. We ended up 8/14 on third downs, but at least half of those missed third downs were in the first half with the starters on the field as we just couldn't convert. The first two FG's both capped off drives that stalled inside the 15 yard line. The singular TD came on a Matt Ryan to Mario Fannin pass from 8 yds out inside the final 2 minutes of the half as Ryan directed a very nice no huddle offensive drive after the turnover.

The new faces showed up big in this game. WR's Anthony Perez and Markus Wheaton came over in the deal for A.J. Green and ended up leading all ATL receivers in yardage. Perez caught a long bomb from Ryan, and Wheaton extended a couple drives with clutch catches. Alterraun Verner, a free agent addition, stepped up with 4 tackles and a big interception in the second half. Jovan Belcher, re-signed as a free agent, recorded 5 tackles and a fumble recovery. Finally, first round selection Michael Millen had a solid first game with the starters, recording 5 pancakes and allowing no sacks. Rookie back-up QB Matthew Saracen had a solid game as well.

The offensive line allowed only 1 sack all night against a very good Chiefs defense. This is one area that Coach Coughlin focused on this off-season, adding Millen and picking up veteran C Sam Baker to shore up a line that allowed the most sacks last season.

In the end, the Falcons shut out the Chiefs in the second half and added 3 more FG's to beat the Chiefs 19-6. The Falcons won the turnover battle 3-0, and held the Chiefs to 40% on 3rd down. They also shut them out in the Redzone.

Next up for the Falcons is a home game against the division rival Panthers. The front office will review the game film and will likely make some adjustments after struggling in the first quarter. If things go well, look for the Falcons to sit some of their starters for a game or two in a bid to keep them healthy for the regular season.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/07/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
A.J. Green on the verge of being traded?

Atlanta - Rumors have been swirling around the GZL offices this off-season about new Falcons GM Ian Coyle putting star wide receiver A.J. Green on the Trading Block. Sources have reported that there are at least 10 teams that have expressed interest in making a deal for Green, with a few front runners out there. An unidentified source close to the Falcons has told us that Coyle has narrowed down his choices to the Jets, the Chiefs, and the Chargers in no particular order. We sent an email to the Atlanta GM to ask about the situation surrounding this move.

"Green is certainly an excellent receiver. We'd love to keep him. The reality is that he's in the last year of his contract, and there are other, younger players we'd like to keep around. We feel that if we can find the right deal here, it will allow us to get a little younger at some key skill spots and potentially pick up an extra draft pick in the process. Getting 3 potential starters out of a single guy is a no-brainer. Green will still be a great player for a few more seasons for sure. We felt that this was an opportunity to sell high so to speak, so we put his name out there to see what kind of interest we could garner. It turns out, there was a lot of interest!"

Coyle mentioned that he'd like to get a deal done before the start of pre-season, so we'll know one way or the other by the end of the week likely.
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/05/2014) Replies - 3 :: Views - 51
Falcons pull GM Coyle from Retirement

AP- The Falcons have struggled to replace former GM Matt Davis after a disastrous 2015 campaign that saw the Falcons go from 10-6 in 2014 to 3-13 in 2015 under the tutelage of Davis. Injuries derailed the team last year and things just never recovered. Interim GM David Bauer came in to handle draft duties while the club searched for a long-term solution at GM. Enter GM Ian Coyle. Coyle last served as Commissioner and GM of the TNL Broncos for many years before the league went defunct. Coyle retired at that time, but when Commissioner Anthony Fernandez had an opening for GZL, he quickly shot off an email to Coyle to gauge his interest in returning.

"The Falcons have a solid foundation to build on with a great QB/WR combo, a solid defensive front 7, and talent scattered throughout the other positions. I haven't had a chance to dig into the roster in depth just yet, so there may still be room for some moves to be made this off-season. We simply have to decide if it's time to try to win now, or to cut some aging talent and start a rebuild." Already Coyle has been busy, signing Center Bruce Owens, Cornerback Alterraun Verner, and Linebacker Jovan Belcher. "We had a huge need at Center, and Owens is still young (26). He's stong and agile for the center position, something that will be needed to protect a QB who missed most of last season with injury." "Verner brings some much needed depth in the defensive backfield. He will be playing the Nickel position, bringing some speed, size, and most importantly great hands to the solid group of defensive backs." "Finally, Belcher was someone who, while nearing the dreaded age 30 drop off, still has a ton of ability and talent as an outside rusher with some excellent coverage and tackling skills. I felt it was a mistake to have let him go in the off-season."
Forum Discussion (by I_Coyle on 01/03/2014) Replies - 5 :: Views - 78
2015 Atlanta Falcons TC

2014 - Evasive Successes Seduce our Hearts Once More

In Matthew Davis' 4th year as GM of the Atlanta Falcons, miracles seemed to be possible for quite some time... Unfortunately this is one of those stories that doesn't have a happy ending for Falcons Faithfuls.
After losing starting MLB and defensive signal caller, Curtis Lofton, for over half of their regular season, the Falcons were fighting an upfield battle from Week 1. To make matters worse, the Falcons only saw their home stadium once until week 10 into the regular season!

With such a tough starting stretch and one superstar down, the front office wasn't surprised to find themselves in the black hole of the (1-6) record they faced walking into week 9 at Carolina. However, with another MVP-caliber season on the shoulders of QB Matt Ryan, the Falcons swept their remaining 9 games in a REMARKABLE (9-0) turnaround to finish (10-6) on the season and also clinch the AFC South Division title for the first time in GZL history. Even though they finished strong, emotions had to be held in check as the Falcons found themselves matched against the deadly and highly respected division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Team MVP
QB Matt Ryan

Breakout Player
LB Sean Weatherspoon
Key stats: 109 Tackles* (9 for loss), 4 Sacks, 5 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovered*, 6 Passes Deflecte*

Team Rookie of the Year
CB Leonard Johnson
Key stats: 69 Tackles (3 for loss) | 2 Sacks | 1 Fumble Recovered | 3 Interceptions | 20 Deflections | 1 Defensive TD

Offensive MVP
QB Matt Ryan
Key stats: 382 completions* | 665 attempts | 57.44%| 4,981 yards (7.49 YPA*) | 85 yards (longest completion)* | 37 TD's* | 11 INT's | 35 Sacks | 92.8 QB Rating*

Defensive MVP
DE Robert Quinn
Key stats: 43 Tackles* (6 for loss) | 13 Sacks* | 1 Forced Fumble* | 3 Fumble Recoveries*

*- Denotes Career High (or low, where applicable)

QB Matt Ryan was named team MVP after another great season in 2014. He followed up another near-MVP-worthy year with an impressively efficient statistical season.

Breakout player of the year went to LB Sean Weatherspoon, who filled in amazingly for the injured MLB Curtis Lofton. What was most impressive however, was the force of the hits Weatherspoon was dishing out. He set a regular season record for forced fumbles (5) along with Cowboys' LB Sean Lee and Vikings' DE Pierre Allen in a fumble-filled season all around apparently!

2011 First round selection HB Mario Fannin again stepped up his game to try and silence critics after posting . He finished with an impressive 1,314 yards off 283 carries for 4.64 yards per carry average. He had 9 TD's and likely would have been the breakout player, but he lived up to criticisms on one main area.. he also put the rock on the ground 5 times in 2014, and this is no more acceptable than any other year. Management still may look for a change at the position.

Even though LB Sean Weatherspoon took the breakout player of the year with his record-setting season, it was 3rd year Defensive End Robert Quinn that stole Defensive MVP Honors. He finished with a career high 13 sacks (Tied 2nd among league leaders) and solidified his presence as a Captain of this team for years at the young age of 24!

A very impressive playmaker, that did what was asked week in and week out. On a struggling unit, missing its leader, he was a backbone and presence that could be relied on every time it counted. Clearly the Front Office is smiling at this First-round-success-story.

CB Leonard Johnson easily took the award for Rookie MVP, although there was little competition. The only other rookie that saw sufficient playing time was FB Steve Faust. Michael Buchanan did an extraordinary job at filling it at OLB in the spot of Sean Weatherspoon when he slid inside for injured Curtis Lofton, but lost his spot when Lofton came back near the end of the season. The Falcons still have high expectations for Buchanan and rumor has it that they are searching for ways to increase his role on the team.

In 2014, the Falcons really came together in more ways than just through their offensive passing attack. It showed when 9 of their great players were awarded visits to last years Pro-Bowl. Still, it was evident that the offense is the key in Atlanta as 7 of the 9 players were from the offensive unit, including the Kicker Joshua Day. The NFC Pro Bowl players from the Flacons is as follows:

QB Matt Ryan
HB Mario Fannin
FB Steve Faust
WR A.J. Green
WR Roddy White
TE Brett Brackett
K Joshua Day
DE Robert Quinn
LB Sean Weatherspoon

All players are highly talented and very deserving of their spot amongst the elites of the Pro Bowl selections. These in particular, illustrate the greatness that is possible when they are firing on all cylinders. GM Davis has focused on the defensive side of the ball with his high selections so far, will his plan work out to balance the team and allow them to dominate in both ways or will it lead to a balance that just falls short of what is needed to win? Only time will tell...

2014 Defense

Pts/Game: 26.2 (25th)
Last year: 23.6 - 13th (+2.6pt/g)
Total yards: 393.6 (31st)
Last year: 374.6 - 26th (+19yd/g)
Pass y/game: 293.4 (32nd)
Last year: 265.2 - 30th (+28.2yd/g)
Rush y/game: 100.2 (6th)
Last year: 109.5 - 12th (-9.3yd/g)
Redzone %: 70% (1st)
Last year: 80% - T-4th (+10%)
TOP: 23:30 (5th)
Last year: 25:05 - 25th (-1:35)
Sacks: 45 (5th)
Last year: 41 - T-8th (+4)
Takeaways: 34 (2nd)
Last year: 23 - 21st (+11)

2014 Offense

Pts/Game: 31.6 (2nd)
Last year: 26.2 - 12th (+5.4pt/g)
Total yards: 403.2 (2nd)
Last year: 391.5 - 4th (+11.7yd/g)
Pass y/game: 299.2 (3rd)
Last year: 309.6 - 1st (-10.4yd/g)
Rush y/game: 104.0 (22nd)
Last year: 81.9 - 30th (+22.1yd/g)
Redzone %: 89% (T-6th)
Last year: 89% - T-5th (+/-0%)
Turnovers: 19 (7th)
Last year: 27 - T-17th (-8)
TOP: 25:27 (24th)
Last year: 23:58 - 24th (+1:29/g)


This year the Falcons came in with all their original picks (29th of each round), except for their 2nd round selection. They held the Chargers 7th (7.32) as well. They put [1.29] on the block for 10 minutes before going ahead with their draft plan. No trades were made leading up to the draft due to insufficient negotiations and/or cap space issues.


[1.25] WR Cameron Shaw - Auburn

Key Attributes: 6'5" - 218lbs - 23 YO - 72 OVR - 90 Spd - 72 Str - 50 Awr - 88 Agi - 88 Acc - 69 Cth - 93 Jmp - 63 Btk - 77 Inj

2015 Expectations: **Position Battle #3 WR**

[2.25] WR Ryan Swope - Texas A&M

Key Attributes: 6'0" - 205lbs - 23 YO - 75 OVR - 94 Spd - 70 Str - 55 Awr - 93 Agi - 93 Acc - 71 Cth - 88 Jmp - 50 Btk - 85 Inj

2015 Expectations: **Position Battle #3 WR**

[3.25] TE Nolan Victorino - Ole Miss

Key Attributes: 6'4" - 247lbs - 22 YO - 78 OVR - 86 Spd - 73 Str - 65 AWR - 84 Agi - 82 Acc - 76 Cth - 81 Jmp - 45 Pbk - 49 Rbk - 88 Inj

2015 Expectations: #4 WR/#2 TE

[3.28] DT Shevin Vickers - New Mexico

Key Attributes: 6'4" - 306lbs - 21 YO - 78 OVR - 66 Spd - 90 Str - 64 AWR - 59 Agi - 75 Acc - 73 Tak - 71 Inj

2015 Expectations: #2 DT

[3.32] HB Eugene Nalen - Colorado State

Key Attributes: 5'10" - 222 lbs - 22YO - 76 OVR - 87 Spd - 74 Str - 59 AWR - 81 Agi - 86 Acc - 60 Cth - 76 Car - 86 Btk - 42 PBK - 42 RBK - 85 Inj

2015 Expectations: #2 HB

[4.25] OG J.C. Tretter - Cornell

Key Attributes: 6'4" - 307 lbs - 24YO - 71 OVR - 65 Spd - 91 Str - 49 AWR - 60 Agi - 75 Acc - 76 PBK - 79 RBK - 75 Inj

2015 Expectations: OL Depth

[5.25] OT Jordan Mills- Louisiana Tech

Key Attributes: 6'5" - 316 lbs - 22YO - 75 OVR - 86 Spd - 54 Str - 71 AWR - 55 Agi - 78 Acc - 81 PBK - 83 RBK - 85 Inj

2015 Expectations: OL Depth

[6.25] WR Greg Hutton - Northern Arizona

Key Attributes: 5'9" - 177 lbs - 23YO - 78 OVR - 93 Spd - 56 Str - 63 AWR - 89 Agi - 96 Acc - 74 Cth - 67 Car - 50 Btk - 94 Jmp - 42 RBK - 85 Inj

2015 Expectations: KR/PR, WR Depth

**NOTEWORTHY: [5.29] DeQuan Menzie and [6.29] Joey Chesnut were rumored to be released according to early reports. Calls have not been returned in regards to why the players were let go so shortly after signing a contract.

2015 Free Agency

The Falcons Front Office was feeling familiar with their cap situation again this year. Too tight to effectively go after anyone, they were stuck to draft their upcoming replacements this year, unless they want to look at moving some of the heavier paid players on the team (Roddy White and Jovan Belcher have been rumored to have been shopped around the league for potential suitors)

Roster Movement

2015 Training Camp

LG J.C. Tretter +1 ACC (75-->76)
WR Cameron Shaw +1 SPD, +1 ACC (90-->91),(88-->89)
WR Ryan Swope +1 SPD, +1 ACC (94-->95),(93-->94)
DT Shevin Vickers +1 STR (90-->91)
CB Leonard Johnson +1 SPD (94-->95)
C Raymond Snow +1 STR (87-->88)
WR Greg Hutton +1 AGI (89-->90)
P Tress Way +1 KPW (93-->94)

2015 Projected Starting Lineup

KEY = 2014 Pro Bowler | Returning Starter | New Starter | Rookie


RCB Dre Kirkpatrick | FS George Iloka | SS Bud Cochran | NCB Jose Bell | Leonard Johnson
ROLB Jovan Belcher | MLB Curtis Lofton | OLB Sean Weatherspoon
LE Robert Quinn | DT Shevin Vickers | DT Peria Jerry | RE Everson Griffen

LT Jordan Mills | Chris McDonald | C Raymond Snow | RG Derek Newton | RT Sam Baker
WR Roddy White | WR A. J. Green | *WR* Cameron Shaw / WR Ryan Swope | TE Brett Brackett
HB Mario Fannin | QB Matt Ryan | FB Steve Faust

K Joshua Day | P Michael Koenen | Ryan Swope

*- Denotes Position Battle in training camp and preseason.

2015 Offensive Keys

In 2015 the Falcons Offense will be looking to finally make HB Mario Fannin a legitimate starter in the GZL. They are tired of the "project" status he has had since being drafted in 2011. They got a taste of his abilities in the post-season last year, and now they want to see that on a regular basis. Fanin has the size and the home-run capability, now he just has to be consistent and reliable when called on. The Falcons want to continue their aerial dominance, however, and don't want to lose the momentum they made last year in the passing game. As a unit we are looking to turn high yardage into high point-yield as well or it will continue to mean nothing.

Look for the O-line to continue to improve and develop as most of them have spent at least 3 years together as of this season. With the repitition and chemistry, they should be able to keep up Matt Ryan like never before and give clear lanes for Mario Fannin to take advantage of. Look for WR's A.J. Green and TE Brett Brackett to continue to put up big numbers and hopefully even set some career high's for themselves in 2015.

2015 Defensive Keys

Defensively the Falcons are aiming at getting better in just about every single category. While they are the true epitome of "bend-but-don't-break" as of last season, they want to bend less and continue not to break as well.

The D-Line has been called out this season to shore up their run-stopping abilities. With the acquisition of RE Everson Griffin, they feel they have a much better chance of doing so. They return the other 6 of their front 7 and both up-and-coming safeties will be able to mix in some more complicated schemes as they develop their feel for the offenses they face and keep up their good progression thus far. The Falcons front office understands the youth in their secondary, but don't expect anything less than top 10 statistics even so. GM Davis tends to have a high value on defensive talent, so nobody is safe if they aren't performing. Look for the youngsters to be pushed to aggressiveness and hopefully the tactics will pay off.

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 07/08/2013) Replies - 2 :: Views - 55
Falcons Start (1-6); Still Win Division Title!

If you don't believe in miracles, then please be prepared to reconsider your stance ladies and gentleman... After starting the season with an abysmal (1-6) record, watching division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers pull away among some of the top teams in the league during that stretch, and suffering a key loss to star MLB Curtis Lofton, the Atlanta Falcons now find themselves as the #3 seed in the NFC Post-Season Playoffs.

After losing their first 4 games of the season, all of which were oddly enough on the road, the team was happy to come back home and score a win vs. Indianapolis in Week 5. After dropping two more road losses in weeks 6 and 7, making that 6 of 7 road games to start the season for anyone that was counting, the Falcons were finally able to "right the ship" and go for 9 straight wins, finishing with a miraculous (10-6) record after starting with such hopelessness.

GM Matthew Davis :
It feels great... After starting (1-6), there isn't a whole lot of good things that come to mind about your team's chances of making something of the season. But our guys hung in there. I can't even begin to say how proud I am of this team. They never let it get to them, they knew what they were capable of doing, and... It's great, it just really is a great feeling.

These were the words of GM Matthew Davis when asked about the miracle-turnaround. Under the arm of QB Matt Ryan, the Falcons lead the league in scoring offense (32.6) and also rank #3 in total offensive yards per game (407.1) and #3 in offensive passing yards per game (301.5).

Despite being generally young on defense, a revamp taken over by GM Davis since taking over the team, the Falcons finished with the #7 rushing defense (101.6 ypg) and tied for 4th in defensive sacks (42) in the league and #3 in takeaways (31), as well as #1 in turnover differential (+15).

However, it is MUCH to early to rest on their laurels now. The Falcons host another stat Giant for the first round of the playoffs. Division Rival, and NFC juggernaut, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that is among the best every year, is always a contender and one commanded by one of the few GM's that ALWAYS gives himself a chance to compete at the top levels. The Falcons would never make the mistake of overlooking this opponent, so it really will be a show to watch. The Falcons split the season series between the Bucs (1-1), but the Bucs were pretty consistent throughout the season in 2014. It will be a tough matchup, but one that the Falcons are preparing very hard for.

Notable of the season, QB Matt Ryan finished 2nd in passing yards (behind only Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman with 4,981 yards, just 19 shy of 5,000! He also finished with the 5th best QB rating (92.8) after improving on his already impressive 32 TD's-12 INT's last season by throwing 37 TD's to just 11 INT's in 2014! Surely, these numbers and his impressive 9 game winning streak to finish the season and win the division will net him plenty of MVP candidate coverage.

Former 1st round HB Mario Fannin stepped up to criticisms by disbeliever's delivering his best season yet and finishing 7th in rushing yards (1,314) and rushing TD's (9).

Receivers A.J. Green and Roddy White finished #6 (1,499) and #7 (1,464), respectively, in receiving yards this year. Combining for 16 TD's and 221 receptions, these two are clearly one of the best tandems in the league.

On defense, 3rd year Defensive End Robert Quinn made a splash racking up 43 tackles (6 for loss), and 13 sacks, which ranked 2nd in the league.

Stepping up while Lofton was forced to sit injured, LB Sean Weatherspoon set a league record for forced fumbles (5), surprisingly enough he set it with 2 others in a what turned out to be a very uncanny season for the stat. Weatherspoon also finished with a team high, 109 tackles (9 for loss)and 4 sacks.

2nd year Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick also impressed with 35 deflections (5th most in the league) and 87 tackles which was 2nd leading on the team. LB Jovan Belcher also racked up an impressive 21 tackles for a loss, finishing the season with 72 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 2 interceptions.

In case, the offensive and defensive performances weren't enough, even the special teams made their mark among the leagues top performers.

Young soon-to-be star Kicker Joshua Day set the season record for field goals made (46) with Arizona Cardinal's Josh Brown. Clearly "Josh's" rule the Kicker market. Both kickers attempted 48 field goals each, however, Day made 53 of his 53 extra-point attempts (5th ranked among GZL Season Record-holders, 2nd ranked among the league in 2014).

Punter Michael Koenen impressed even after celebrating his 32nd birthday. The wily-ol' veteran kicked himself 68 punts, netting 3,245 yards and 2nd ranked 47.72 yards per punt average.

The stats are strong this year, and the numbers paint a good picture for Falcons fanbase. Dominance in the second half of the season was the only way Atlanta had a hope of being near the playoff picture, it sure is nice to see such a turnaround develop. All is not perfectly bright and shiny, however. Veteran UFA acquisition this offseason, WR Roscoe Parrish suffered what many are calling a season-ending shoulder tear in the teams week 17 win against the NFC's top ranked Green Bay Packers. The win clenched the division for the Falcons, however it may be at a steep price. Parrish finished the season with 32 catches for 577 yards and 5 TD's. He was a reliable presence from the slot, and will be missed in the playoffs. Rumors have been spreading of a potential FA signing to fill the void left by his injury, but the Falcons still have not placed Parrish on the injured reserve, so there still might be some small hope left for his chances if Atlanta makes it to the Super Bowl.

In all, the Falcons are definitely happy to be escaping with even just a playoff berth, a division title was certainly a miraculous bonus. Let's see if they can continue with their impressive run and build off the train-sized momentum they have accumulated over these last 9 weeks in the playoffs. GM Davis knows everyone's record is 0-0 now that he has brought his team back to the playoffs. Let's just hope it wasn't all for a one-and-done fizz-out!

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 05/26/2013) Replies - 6 :: Views - 56
2014 Falcons TC - Keep Rollin'

2013 - Making Strides...

In his 3rd season with the Atlanta Falcons, GM Matthew Davis seemed to have finally got something figured out with his team. After taking over the team in an unconventional replacement just before the start of the 2011 season, GM Davis had a good team on the verge of greatness at his fingertips. While the public seemed to agree that Davis would resurrect the franchise and push them over the edge, Davis seemed to be lost in the shuffle and failed to even get them to the playoffs during a 7-9 2011 campaign. 2012 was an even bigger disaster as his team posted just 4 wins and secured the third overall pick. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was their man, and he was pretty impressive in his rookie debut, but not dominant. Overall, the Falcons continued to do JUST ENOUGH all season long. Flying high on the shoulders of MVP Candidate QB Matt Ryan most of the season, the Falcons put up big numbers and did just enough on defense to keep them above .500.

Winning 4 games down the home-stretch, the Falcons walked into week 17 with a "win and in" scenario. Facing division rival, New Orleans Saints, the Falcons felt confident in their ability to bring home the #5 seed. However, GM Ricky Lung and his Saints felt their spoiler-role was just too enticing as they handed the Falcons their second worst loss of the season, 41-27. Still, miraculously, the Falcons backed their way in with a little help after posting a 9-7 record and winning the 5-team tie for the 2 wildcard spots.

The Falcons kept their heads up and their minds focused. The idea was to go to the Super Bowl and bring home the hardware from day 1. How they got there didn't matter, their record was 0-0 once they were in as far as they were concerned.

In the Wild-Card Round, the Falcons faced the dangerous St. Louis Rams. Posting 52 points between both teams by halftime, a shootout was in the works. However, the Falcons were able to seal the deal with some good defense holding the Rams to just 9 points for the remaining 2 Quarters and secured a 42-33 win. Ryan was nearly flawless as he posted a 157.1 QB Rating in the game. Throwing for 356 yards, with 19 completions on 25 attempts, he also threw 3 TD's and 0 Int's in the game. Star WR's Roddy White and A.J. Green combined for 257 of those yards and all 3 of those TD's. 2011 First Round Draft Pick HB Mario Fannin also showed up BIG TIME in the game posting 141 yards rushing on 22 carries and 2 TD's on the ground. Even though opposing star QB Sam Bradford posted 342 yards passing and 2 TD's with 0 Int's and a 111.9 QB Rating, it still wasn't enough to keep up with the explosive Falcons offense that was dominating.

Following their WC Victory, the Falcons headed over to their close rival and Division Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their Divisional Round Playoff Game. The Bucs came in as heavy favorites to make it to the Super Bowl after a 12-4 campaign and the second best record in the regular season for the league. However, the Falcons proved this is why the game still needs to be played. Previously in the year, the Falcons and Bucs split their two divisional games with a 23-14 Falcons loss and a 24-16 Falcons win in weeks 6 and 14 respectively. Anything could happen, and both GM's knew it. After going down 23-7 by halftime, many marked the Falcons off saying "The Bucs are on FIEAAAA today!". But coming out after the half, the Falcons team looked possessed and determined to redeem the respect lost by their play in the first half. They marched out to a 14-0 3rd Quarter and put the Bucs away with a shutout in the 2nd half after 24 unanswered points altogether. Ryan struggled in the game, mostly in the first half, as he posted just a 75.4 QB rating and getting sacked 5 times. Fannin was able to continue his post-season surge as he put up 137 yards on 20 carries and another 2 TD's. It was, however, the defense that truly shined on the day as they accounted for 3 turnovers in the contest, all interceptions. They put out opposing QB Josh Freeman jus after halftime but he finished with a 50.5 QB rating and backup Mark Steele had an abysmal 13.2 rating once he took over. HB LeGarrette Blount tried for all he was worth, but only mustered 77 yards on 21 attempts and one TD. Managing the second half, and having the good fortune of seeing star QB Josh Freeman leave the game led to the "perfect storm" that allowed the Falcons to surge into the Conference Championship against the talented Detroit Lions.

Featuring one of the best offensive passing attacks in the league, even more so than the electric Falcons, the Lions/Falcons game was expected to have some major fireworks. However, on game day, only the Lions were able to come out firing on all cylinders. They scored 14 before the 1st Quarter was over, and never needed to score another point to best the Falcons. Matt Ryan never found his groove and Mario Fannin was pulled back to earth. The Lions were efficient and only gave up FG's to the Falcons as they took out the Cinderalla-story in a 24-9 beating. Ryan finished with a 51.3 QB rating after 2 interceptions and no TD's. Fannin had 49 yards on 16 carries and no TD's. A.J. Green was the lone bright spot on the day for the Falcons offense as he pulled in 8 receptions for 122 yards. Nobody could guard Megatron as he grabbed 10 catches for 168 yards and a TD. QB Matthew Stafford threw for 403 yards on the day with 1 TD, no Int's and a 102.7 QB Rating.

While the Falcons fell short of the SB, they are happy about the success. It is believed that the surge has envigorated the front office and the Falcons are headed in a brighter direction after the 2013 season. They have a lot of talent, aren't too old in most major areas, and have a nice group of young talent to develop. They look to bring back as many as 20 out of their counted 25 starters. Expectations will certainly be high for the 2014 season.

Team MVP
QB Matt Ryan

Breakout Player
WR A.J. Green
Key stats: 126 Receptions*, 1,690 Receiving Yards* (13.41 YPC), 8 TD's*, 13 Drops, 251 YAC*, 13 Tackles (ST's)*, 20 Pancakes*, 0 Sacks Allowed*

Team Rookie of the Year
FS George Iloka
Key stats: 77 Tackles (1 for loss) | 2 Fumbles recovered | 2 Interceptions | 12 Deflections

Offensive MVP
QB Matt Ryan
Key stats: 374 completions* | 674 attempts* | 5,004 yards* (7.42 YPA*) | 83 yards (longest completion)* | 32 TD's* | 12 INT's | 31 Sacks | 87.7 QB Rating*

Defensive MVP
MLB Curtis Lofton
Key stats: 118 Tackles (16 for loss) | 4 Interceptions* | 14 Deflections

*- Denotes Career High (or low, where applicable)

QB Matt Ryan was named team MVP after a great 2013 season. He restored faith in the franchise and easily had the best year of his career.

While a career year for him, it was also a HISTORICAL year for a few guys in 2013. He finished 3rd in passing yards for the league, but now ranks 4th ALL-TIME for passing yards in a season record. Also 2nd ALL-TIME for attempts and completions in a season. Tony Romo went on a tear last year as well or he likely would have came running away with a few records himself. His efforts not only earned him team MVP honors, but also left him in a heated race for league MVP! Great job MATT!!

WR A.J. Green also had a career year. He finished with an impressive stat line that would normally net MVP considerations, but lacked on the TD's that normal stats like this would come along with.

Green finished with what would have been a season record on the ALL-TIME list for receptions in a season, but Miles Austin finished with a WTFOMG 156 receptions that blew away Green by 30. Green's 1,690 receiving yards also lands at #4 All-time for a season as well. If only Ryan hadn't had so many TD's or if Green had more himself, he might have been a viable option for the team MVP himself.

MLB Curtis Lofton took the show back for Defensive MVP as the solid performer in our middle. We didn't have an extremely good showing from just about anyone in 2013 on defense, so the award was more or less in honors of his consistency and presence for our team. He was the team leader in tackles and tackles for a loss as well as interceptions.

A very impressive playmaker, that did what was asked week in and week out. On a struggling unit, he was a backbone and presence that could be relied on every play. Certainly it is an honor to have someone like that commanding the D.

FS George Iloka surprisingly took the award for Rookie MVP despite 3rd overall pick, CB Dre Kirkpatrick having a pretty decent season himself. Iloka's stat line went:

While Dre certainly had a lot of tackles (76, 3 for loss), a sack and a forced fumble, he also gave up almost 50 catches on the season and Iloka was selected 35th overall. For the value and the fact that Iloka is now a solid starter in the lineup and Kirkpatrick was no league D-MVP himself, the Falcons front office couldn't help but feel Iloka deserved the edge. They are also not displeased with either of their two performances and feel this might motivate Kirkpatrick to really take flight this season with motivation.

In 2013, it was no secret that the Falcons had a heavy reliance on their electric offense. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that all 4 of the players who had the honor of making the roster for the NFC Pro Bowl came from this one unit. They are as follows:

QB Matt Ryan
WR A.J. Green
WR Roddy White
TE Brett Brackett

All players are highly talented and very deserving of their spot amongst the elites of the Pro Bowl selections. These in particular, illustrate the greatness that is possible when they are firing on all cylinders. GM Davis has focused on the defensive side of the ball with his high selections so far, will his plan work out to balance the team and allow them to dominate in both ways or will it lead to a balance that just falls short of what is needed to win? Only time will tell...

2013 Defense

Pts/Game: 23.6 (13th)
Last year: 25.8 - 24th (-2.2pt/g)
Total yards: 374.6 (26th)
Last year: 355.6 - 15th (+19yd/g)
Pass y/game: 265.2 (30th)
Last year: 245.4 - 23rd (+19.8yd/g)
Rush y/game: 109.5 (12th)
Last year: 110.3 - 8th (-1.8yd/g)
Redzone %: 70% (1st)
Last year: 82% - T-9th (-12%)
TOP: 25:05 (25th)
Last year: 25:12 - 25th (-0:07)
Sacks: 41 (T-8th)
Last year: 33 - T-18th (+8)
Takeaways: 23 (21st)
Last year: 22 - T-19th (+1)


Pts/Game: 26.2 (12th)
Last year: 20.7 - 27th (+5.5pt/g)
Total yards: 391.5 (4th)
Last year: 354.2 - 20th (+37.3yd/g)
Pass y/game: 309.6 (1st)
Last year: 266.2 - 3rd (+43.4yd/g)
Rush y/game: 81.9 (30th)
Last year: 88.0 - 30th (-6.1yd/g)
Redzone %: 89% (T-5th)
Last year: 72% - 31st (+17%)
Turnovers: 27 (T-17th)
Last year: 38 - 32nd (-11)
TOP: 23:58 (24th)
Last year: 23:48 - 26th (+0:10/g)


This year the Falcons came in with all their original picks (29th of each round), except for their 2nd round selection. They held the Chargers 7th (7.32) as well. They put [1.29] on the block for 10 minutes before going ahead with their draft plan. No trades were made leading up to the draft due to insufficient negotiations and/or cap space issues.


[1.29] CB Leonard Johnson - Iowa State

Key Attributes: 5'11" - 196lbs - 24 YO - 74 OVR - 93 Spd - 60 Str - 50 Awr - 94 Agi - 93 Acc - 67 Cth - 90 Jmp - 54 Tak- 94 Inj

The 2014 draft class was pretty healthy when it came to CB's. So it wasn't surprising to see the Falcons content to move down if it were possible. When no great offers came through within time, GM Davis pulled the trigger on the short-ish Leonard Johnson. Johnson packs a pretty good punch in a smaller frame. at 5'11" and 196 lbs. he won't be the biggest player outside the hash marks, but he can certainly hold his own. He is very strong and stocky for his size, something Davis covets, especially in a smaller CB. He has phenomonal hands and big-play ability as well as fantastic athletic abilities overall. He isn't the best tackler or smartest guy out there, but the Falcons front office seem content to go with a smaller developmental player with the likes of former 3rd overall pick Dre Kirkpatrick being able to cover the taller or more deadly receivers at this point. Johnson will likely be the starter at some point, but when that is may be up in the air still. CB Jose Bell is expected to compete in training camp and be the expected #2 guy in the preseason at this point.

2013 Expectations: **Position Battle #2 CB** or Nickle

[3.29] FB Steve Faust - Vanderbilt

Key Attributes: 6'2" - 245lbs - 23 YO - 85 OVR - 83 Spd - 67 Str - 69 Awr - 79 Agi - 84 Acc - 73 Cth - 76 Car - 55 Jmp - 80 Btk - 45 Pbk - 49 Rbk - 82 Inj

Faust comes on to the Falcons as a luxury pick. After a decent, but definitely upgradeable showing from HB Mario Fannin in 2013, the Falcons identified the need for a true starting FB. Given a very good lead blocker and potential receiving option in the passing game, they felt this was a great spot for one of the better FB's in the draft class. He can fill the lane and take on most linebackers and inside defenders head on and has good enough speed to get him to the edge before Fannin turns on the jets. He should take over from day one as the starting FB.
2013 Expectations: Starting FB

[4.29] LE Michael Buchanan - Illinois

Key Attributes: 6'4" - 240lbs - 22 YO - 80 OVR - 83 Spd - 72 Str - 57 AWR - 74 Agi - 82 Acc - 39 Cth - 58 Jmp - 71 Tak - 89 Inj

Buchanan was almost the guy at [3.29]. He is a big presence, has great spd/str combo for this late in the draft and can potentially play as a big LB for the Falcons within time. Selected to potentially take over as an OLB, the front office is very high on Buchanan when he came into camp. He offers a cheaper option on a salary-strapped team, with higher upside than current Jovan Belcher. Look for him to potentially get the nod within a year or two if all goes as planned by Davis.
2013 Expectations: LB/DE Depth

[7.29.] P Tress Way - Oklahoma

Key Attributes: 6'1" - 215lbs - 23 YO - 70 OVR - 52 Spd - 68 Str - 52 AWR - 56 Agi - 57 Acc - 18 Tak - 93 KPW - 73 KAC - 92 Inj

Tress Way was selected at the end of the draft with the hope that his BIG leg, may be even a little better than expected by training camp and he would be the sure starting punter within just a few seasons with some accuracy work. He came in at almost exactly the same as predicted and now sits on the cusp of a dilemma. The Falcons like him, but don't know if they like him enough to develop and keep on the roster in the meantime. It will be interesting to see how Davis handles the situation, but it won't be one that decides the fate of the team for sure.
2013 Expectations: Possible Punter of the future

[7.32] C Raymond Snow - USC

Key Attributes: 6'3" - 311 lbs - 22YO - 65 OVR - 54 Spd - 87 Str - 53 AWR - 63 Agi - 80 Acc - 77 PBK - 68 RBK - 65Sta - 89 Inj

Mr. Irrelevant. But boy could the Falcons feel that is anything farther from what they view him as. Snow has elite athleticism for a lineman and great size to go with it. He isn't the fastest, but he has a burst that is pretty amazing as it is. He is, however, pretty unbelievably bad at blocking at this point and dumb as well. If the Falcons can coach him up, he could be a starter in 3 years. IF they can't... well he will be finding himself on the bench for his career.
2021 Expectations: OL Depth

**NOTEWORTHY: [5.29] DeQuan Menzie and [6.29] Joey Chesnut were rumored to be released according to early reports. Calls have not been returned in regards to why the players were let go so shortly after signing a contract.

2014 Free Agency

The Falcons Front Office was pretty aggressive this year in the Free Agency. Having a LITTLE more room to breathe with regards to cap space, they chose to go after their two RFA's the Front Office goofed on and forgot to offer a contract, TE Brett Brackett and K Joshua Day. Surprisingly these 2 phenoms at their positions didn't get a single bid by the end of the bidding timeframe and they both escaped with easy contracts and back with their original team. The Falcons felt it would be a MASSIVE loss to lose Brackett and almost as much so to lose Day. Without that to worry about, the Falcons targetted their 3rd down run game and their run defense as well as slot receiver and KR/PR. For that they went to DeShawn Wynn as a HB, DE Everson Griffen in place of DE Cliff Matthews, and WR's Roscoe Parrish and Armanti Edwards. With that they feel they are improved by quite a bit coming into 2014. Now to make sure everything is smooth and on track for the cap...

Roster Movement

2014 Training Camp

This offseason the Falcons look ahead to a bright future. Who knows what players will be here in just a few seasons or how the organization will be at that time, but for the here and now, the players are focused on one thing. The next chance they have at winning a SB and being the best team of the season. 2014 can't start soon enough and every player in Atlanta is hard at work to make sure they have every reason to get that last "Umph" that might send them to a SB berth.

After coming so close in 2013, they are trying to improve every weakness they exhibited last year, meanwhile getting even better at what they considered their strengths at the same time.

With such a progressive mindset, expectations are at their highest they have been in years. GM Davis is all smiles at team facilities when he has been seen, and he looks content with what they have out there right now.

Drills were a bit unorthodox this year, as is customary in a Davis camp. Catching 300lb. lineman seemed to be the idea from what onlookers could tell from the stands. Gaining strength or maybe reactions, they players seemed to be having a blast watching each man step up and try out his brawn. The younger Offensive Lineman seemed to really be given a lot of chances at the workouts. Meanwhile speed training continued amongst many of the younger players especially the secondary. Being able to stay on a guys face in 2014 will certainly help coverage skills and shore up that bad pass defense they had 2013.

LG Chris McDonald +1 STR (88-->89)
RG Derek Newton +1 ACC (77-->78)
LE Michael buchanan +1 SPD (83-->84)
DE Robert Quinn +1 SPD (87-->88)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick +1 SPD (94-->95)
CB Leonard Johnson +1 SPD (93-->94)
FS George Iloka +1 SPD (91-->92)
SS Bud Cochran +1 SPD (90-->91)
CB Jose Bell +1 SPD (93-->94)
P Tress Way +1 KPW (93-->94)

2014 Projected Starting Lineup

KEY = 2013 Pro Bowler | Returning Starter | New Starter | Rookie


RCB Dre Kirkpatrick | FS George Iloka | SS Bud Cochran | *LCB* Jose Bell / Leonard Johnson
ROLB Jovan Belcher | MLB Curtis Lofton | OLB Sean Weatherspoon
LE Robert Quinn | DT Jonathan Babineaux | DT Peria Jerry | RE Everson Griffen

LT Tyson Clabo | Chris McDonald | C Dante Magana | RG Derek Newton | RT Sam Baker
WR Roddy White | WR A. J. Green | WR Roscoe Parrish | TE Brett Brackett
HB Mario Fannin | QB Matt Ryan | FB Steve Faust

K Joshua Day | P Michael Koenen | Roscoe Parrish

*- Denotes Position Battle in training camp and preseason.

2014 Offensive Keys

In 2014 the Falcons Offense will be looking to finally make HB Mario Fannin a legitimate starter in the GZL. They are tired of the "project" status he has had since being drafted in 2011. They got a taste of his abilities in the post-season last year, and now they want to see that on a regular basis. Fanin has the size and the home-run capability, now he just has to be consistent and reliable when called on. The Falcons want to continue their aerial dominance, however, and don't want to lose the momentum they made last year in the passing game. As a unit we are looking to turn high yardage into high point-yield as well or it will continue to mean nothing.

Look for the O-line to continue to improve and develop as most of them have spent at least 3 years together as of this season. With the repitition and chemistry, they should be able to keep up Matt Ryan like never before and give clear lanes for Mario Fannin to take advantage of. Look for WR's A.J. Green and TE Brett Brackett to continue to put up big numbers and hopefully even set some career high's for themselves in 2014.

2014 Defensive Keys

Defensively the Falcons are aiming at getting better in just about every single category. While they are the true epitome of "bend-but-don't-break" as of last season, they want to bend less and continue not to break as well.

The D-Line has been called out this season to shore up their run-stopping abilities. With the acquisition of RE Everson Griffin, they feel they have a much better chance of doing so. They return the other 6 of their front 7 and both up-and-coming safeties will be able to mix in some more complicated schemes as they develop their feel for the offenses they face and keep up their good progression thus far. The Falcons front office understands the youth in their secondary, but don't expect anything less than top 10 statistics even so. GM Davis tends to have a high value on defensive talent, so nobody is safe if they aren't performing. Look for the youngsters to be pushed to aggressiveness and hopefully the tactics will pay off.

Until next time....

ENJOY my new tatoo....

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 01/13/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 42
2013 Falcons Training Camp

2012 - One to forget

It's going to take some time to forget the dissappointment that was the 2012 season for the Atlanta Falcons. To sum it up, the Falcons lost, and lost badly. Unable to mesh and produce through a unified effort, pesonal accolades seemed to be the only thing of importance to many of the players. Personal stats don't win football games.

All-in-all, the team failed to move the chains consistently, turned over the ball too often, and couldn't keep anyone out of the end zone or get in it themselves. Despite having all the talent that would suggest the Falcons should be a legitimate contender in 2012, it was a rare sight to see the Falcons meet any expectations of their true potential.

Positive notes included the career high stats of receptions and receiving yards by sophomore A.J. Green. Green also led the GZL in each category.

Rooke DE Robert Quinn, also the 10th overall selection in the 2012 draft, played remarkably well and showed a lot of promise. SS Bud Cochran, while not posting All-pro numbers, satisfied Front Office with his hardwork and progress throughout the tough season.

Look for the Falcons to tear down their coaching philosophies and figure out how to put their guys in a better position to succeed in 2013. If not.... a few could find ther way out of ATL pretty soon...

Team MVP
WR A.J. Green

Breakout Player
DT Jonathan Babineaux

Team Rookie of the Year
DE Robert QuInn

Offensive MVP
WR A.J. Green

Defensive MVP
DT Jonathan Babineaux

In in 2012 three players from the struggling Falcons made the honor of making the roster for the NFC Pro Bowl:

WR A.J. Green
TE Brett Brackett
DT Jonathan Babineaux

2012 Defense

Pts/Game: 25.8 (24th)
Total yards: 355.6 (15th)
Pass y/game: 245.4 (23rd)
Rush y/game: 110.3 (8th)
Redzone %: 82% (T-9th)
TOP: 25:12 (25th)
Sacks: 33 (T-18th)
Takeaways: 22 (T-19th)

2012 Offense

Pts/Game: 20.7 (27th)
Total yards: 354.2 (20th)
Pass y/game: 266.2 (3rd)
Rush y/game: 88.0 (30th)
Redzone %: 72% (31st)
Turnovers: 38 (32nd)
TOP: 23:48 (26th)


Falcons Send:
ATL Future (2013) 2nd
CB Brent Grimes

San Diego Chargers Send:
SD Future (2013) 7th

This year the Falcons attempted to move the 3rd overall pick but could not find a suitor in time that was willing to pay the price needed. In the second rund they saw talent falling and decided to pull the trigger on a deal with Mr. John Stanley and his Chargers. CB Brent Grimes and an early 5th along with their 2012 2nd round pick were sacrificed for the rights to [2.17] and a future 7th. Grimes, who was made expendable with [1.3] selection of Dre Kirkpatrick, was more of a sore against the salary cap than anything. Moving him was all but guaranteed as it stood, this move gives the falcons the needed cap space and gets a valuable player at the same time.


[1.3] CB Dre Kirkpatrick - Alabama
Key Attributes: 6'2" - 190lbs - 22 YO - 77 OVR - 92 Spd - 60 Str - 58 Awr - 92 Agi - 93 Acc - 60 Cth - 92 Jmp - 68 Tak- 97 Inj

The BIG pick this year for the Falcons. To those that know GM Davis' reputation, this comes as no surprise that it is another defensive player for the 2nd year in a row since Davis took over the team. In fact, of his first 4 first and second round picks, they have all been defensive players, just some food for thought.

Kirkpatrick offers a massive body, and doesn't give up anything to speed and atheleticism. To combat the influx of faster and taller receivers in the GZL, Kirkpatrick will be looked at for the future of the Falcons franchise. He is a rare talent, matching size with speed and strength, he has very little that you could argue as a true weakness, and has the potential to be one of the best in a very short time. He will start from day 1 opposite Dunta Robinson. There really isn't any way the Falcons can do worse against the pass on defense right?
2013 Expectations: Starting CB

[2.3] FS George Iloka - Boise State
Key Attributes: 6'4" - 219lbs - 21 YO - 78 OVR - 90 Spd - 62 Str - 62 Awr - 84 Agi - 92 Acc - 63 Cth - 90 Jmp - 62 Tak - 82 Inj

Iloka rounds out the new Falcons secondary. A unit that now features 3 top picks by new GM Matthew Davis. Those 3 picks also include two 6'4" frames, and another 6'2". Tell me these guys won't be winning any jump balls! While its good to have the size, it's even better to match that with athleticism. None of those talents have under 90 speed, and all of them have the ability to make big-time plays on defense.

Iloka is strong, athletic, and not that bad of a tackler. In fact, even his rookie awareness isn't that low. With some work on his durability, the Falcons feel they got a real star here with this pick and couldn't believe he fell in their lap at [2.3]. Pairing him with the 3rd overall pick in this year's draft and [2.10] pick from 2012, SS Bud Cochran, the Falcons should have such a strong secondary in 2 or 3 seasons, they should be in much better shape to contend with the elites. Iloka will fill a void at FS from day 1.
2013 Expectations: Starting FS

[2.17] LG Chris McDonald - Michigan State
Key Attributes: 6'5" - 300lbs - 23 YO - 78 OVR - 66 Spd - 87 Str - 58 AWR - 66 Agi - 82 Acc - 80 PBK - 84 RBK - 82 Inj

Moving CB Brent Grimes and a 2nd in 2014, the Falcons saw their guy falling and new they needed another interior lineman. McDonald is a project, but the Falcons aim to add some stength to this big guy, and work on his technique extensively in the coming seasons. He has athleticism for an interior OL that rivals some of the best OT's out there, and he has a body that matches as well. With recent cuts due to cap space issues, McDonald will be started from day 1. Ready for it Matt Ryan??
2013 Expectations: Competing for Starting LG

[4.3] FB Kyler Reed - Nebraska
Key Attributes: 6'3" - 230lbs - 22 YO - 69 OVR - 80 Spd - 66 Str - 52 AWR - 75 Agi - 82 Acc - 73 Cth - 62 Car - 74 Jmp - 61 Btk - 52 Pbk - 49 Rbk - 90 Inj

While Reed played TE at Nebraska, he showed up to Falcons Training Camp much slower than he ran at the combine. The Falcons have been experimenting with him at FB but have not fully ruled out keeping him as a receiving TE. He offers a decent size and good speed, but he isn't going to be winning any weightlifting competitions. With nobody else to play FB, he may get the start from day 1!
2013 Expectations: Starting FB

[6.3] QB Brock Osweiler - Arizona State
Key Attributes: 6'7" - 242lbs - 21 YO - 69 OVR - 74 Spd - 64 Str - 52 AWR - 71 Agi - 79 Acc - 75 Car - 72 Btk - 93 Thp - 68 Tha - 96 Inj

Osweiler is an interesting project player that, given a LOT of love, could actually be a star franchise QB one day. The Falcons have thought of working on him, but they won't be sacrificing anything on starter and current face of the franchise, Matt Ryan. Look for Osweiler to sit and possibly be thrown in garbage situations over the years until a decision is made on him.
2013 Expectations: QB Depth

[6.31] SS LaDarious Mayweather - Oregon State
Key Attributes: 6'0" - 211lbs - 23 YO - 67 OVR - 93 Spd - 58 Str - 53 Awr - 87 Agi - 87 Acc - 46 Cth - 81 Jmp - 67 Tak - 83 Inj

Needing depth at S, the Falcons got a really good talent here late in the 6th. Mayweather has speed among the elite at the position and he isn't a small guy either despite this fact. He has no hands, but he can make tackles and get across the field. He gives the Falcons Front Office a lot to be faithful in should one of their young star S's go out for a short period.
2013 Expectations: S Depth

[7.3] CB Shaun Prater - Iowa
Key Attributes: 5'10" - 190lbs - 22 YO - 67 OVR - 84 Spd - 62 Str - 53 Awr - 95 Agi - 93 Acc - 57 Cth - 83 Jmp - 46 Tak - 91 Inj

Coming in undersized, but with a chip on his shoulder, Prater ran awfully for the first week of voluntary team activities. Day 1 of Training Camp saw him packing his bags and heading out. He couldn't bring down a fly despite how strong he was for a little guy, and could barely outrun the kicker. Good luck somewhere else!
2013 Expectations: CUT

Roster Movement

Training Camp

The Falcons enter Training camp with looks of terrified children about to get beat on their faces. GM Matthew Davis is not happy about 2012 and wants evryone to know it. Expect a few deaths this year out of their camp as Davis "weeds out" the weak. No man is safe on the roster, so it will definitely be exciting.

On offense, the big 4 of the passing attack (QB Ryan, WR Green, WR White, and TE Brackett) all are working hard at being the best passing offense in the league next season. Nothing is holding them back, so they better...

HB Mario Fannin has expressed that this season he wants to establish faith that he is the man at HB and that nobody should be left questioning if it was smart to not go after HB Trent Richardson in the draft.

On defense, the unit has been held together quite well, the Falcons have slowly made the secondary a future strength, and the front 7 stands as solid as ever. If they can't improve in 2013, I would expect fireworks in the offseason coming from their GM's head.

Special training sessions featured a lot of committed young players this year. Notably OG's Newton and McDonald were seen working hard on the weights, and WR Green was once again working on all aspects of his speed. Both young safeties, Cochran and Iloka joined him this year. DE Robert Quinn was also seen in the workouts, so its clear they are pushing themselves. We'll see how it pays off!

2013 Projected Starting Lineup

As it stands right now, without any further trades being processed this is the projected starting lineup for the Atlanta Falcons.
QB:Matt Ryan
HB: Mario Fannin
FB: Kyler Reed
WR #1: Roddy White
WR #2: A.J. Green
*WR #3: TBD
TE: Brett Brackett
LT: Tyson Clabo
LG: Chris McDonald (R)
C: Dante Magana[/url]
RG: Derek Newton
RT: Sam Baker

LE: Robert Quinn
DT #1: Jonathan Babineaux
DT #2: Peria Jerry
RE: Cliff Matthews
LOLB: Sean Weatherspoon
MLB: Curtis Lofton
ROLB: Jovan Belcher
CB #1: Dunta Robinson
CB #2: Dre Kirkpatrick (R)
*Nickel CB: Jonathan Wilhite / Jose Bell
FS: FS George Iloka (R)
SS: Bud Cochran

K: Joshua Day
P: Michael Koenen
*- Denotes Position Battle in training camp and preseason.

2013 Offensive Keys

Matt Ryan will be under a microscope this year. If he can't perform to expectations and rack up more than high yards, he will likely be on the move. GM Davis doesn't have time for those games. WR's White and Green are expected to make TD's and care not about their receiving yards this year. TD's will be their savior, if any. The offense is seeking to implement a successful rushing attack to compliment the pass as well. Hopes are that the Falcons will have a top 10 offense by seasons end. We'll see about that..

2013 Defensive Keys

I wouldn't call this the shining point of the team any longer.. the Falcons took massive leaps backwards last season especially after losing #2 CB Grimes and #4 Rookie CB Jose Bell didn't help things either. With an upgraded secondary with rookies Kirkpatrick and Iloka, expectations are higher, but some bumps are understood to be coming. If the Falcons can remain strong on that front 7, hopefully the secondary can manage what they can this season to keep the team from losing should it find itself in the lead late.


Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 07/13/2012) Replies - 1 :: Views - 25
Falcons Training Camp

2011 - Feeling the Pain

The start of a new beginning.. 2011 marked the new reign of GM Matthew Davis. A defensive minded GM that likes to focus on a dominating D, to mask even the most pathetic offenses. With his inheritance of the Falcons, came a potent passing attack behind young star Matt Ryan and WR's Roddy White and rookie A.J. Green. However, rookie HB Mario Fannin also added a new dynamic to the Falcons with a potential rushing attack. However, the initiation of Davis also came with a season ending injury to QB Matt Ryan as well, just before GM Davis' reign began. With that, it was a brutal year. One where the team felt the pain of losing such a great signal caller. Despite the loss, they Falcons still came out at a respectable 7-9 and look forward to better years ahead with more hopes of staying healthy along the way.

Team MVP
MLB Curtis Lofton

Breakout Player
ROLB Jovan Belcher

Team Rookie of the Year
HB Mario Fannin

Offensive MVP
RT Sam Baker

Defensive MVP
MLB Curtis Lofton

In in 2011 only one player from the struggling Falcons made the honor of the Pro-Bowl:

LT Sam Baker

2011 Defense

Pts/Game: 17.9 (1st)
Total yards: 308.9 (1st)
Pass y/game: 192.4 (1st)
Rush y/game: 116.5 (12th)
Redzone %: 79% (12th)
TOP: 24:33 (10th)
Sacks: 35 (18th)
Takeaways: 27 (T-7th)

2011 Offense

Pts/Game: 18.1 (30th)
Total yards: 297.4 (32nd)
Pass y/game: 188.6 (30th)
Rush y/game: 108.9 (26th)
Redzone %: 80% (T-22nd)
TOP: 24:25 (T-14th)


Falcons Send:
ATL Future 3rd

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Send:
TB Future 6th

This trade gave up a late 3rd, 5th and future 3rd for [3.1] and a future 6th. A lot? Sure! But for who? We will see shortly in the Draft Analysis! Then we can decide if it was worth the payment!


[1.10] DE Robert Quinn - North Carolina
Key Attributes: 6'4" - 265lbs - 21 YO - 88 OVR - 86 Spd - 75 Str - 62 AWR - 83 Agi - 87 Acc - 74 TAK- 90 Inj

Robert Quinn was expected by many to be the first DL off the board. Falling to the Falcons at [1.10] was the best news imaginable for Atlanta Fans! Quinn has a great body, and is the premier pass-rusher everyone wants on teir team. Young and talented, there is nothing this kid can't do. He also has the strength to offer great run support for a guy with his athletic abilities. Atlanta coaches are excited to gain his talents and only hope he can bring a much needed franchise face to this unit.
2012 Expectations: Starting LE

[2.10] SS Bud Cochran - Memphis
Key Attributes: 6'4" - 221lbs - 22 YO - 73 OVR - 88 Spd - 63 Str - 62 AWR - 71 Agi - 91 Acc - 62 CTH - 65 Tak - 86 Inj

6'4", 221lbs, this guy has the size. Bud Cochran out of Memphis University will be asked to fill an immediate hole at SS for the Falcons. The Front Office was very open in the offseason about their less than spectacular Seconday, Cochran is an immediate upgrade and should fill the hole more than adequately for a long time to come!
2012 Expectations: Starting SS

[3.1] LT Derek Newton - Arkansas State
Key Attributes: 6'5" - 311lbs - 22 YO - 73 OVR - 64 Spd - 89 Str - 63 AWR - 44 Agi - 77 Acc - 82 PBK - 81 RBK - 73 Inj

The Falcons were rumored to be trying to snag Newton since around [2.20]. To watch him keep falling absolutely shocked the Falcons front office. Had they needed OL more pressingly, they would have chose him at [2.10]. Newton has a big body, decent speed, and workable strength. His quick first step puts him in talks for a first round grade, however, Newton lacks any turn-of-direction mobility. His one flaw seems to have made him far this far. The Falcons clearly weren't worried, and scooped him up with a trade to the Bucs for [3.1]. Look for him to fill in immediately at RG if he outcompetes Dante Magana, and possibly be a future OT later down the road.
2012 Expectations: Competing for RG

[3.20] DT Juan Lee - Purdue
Key Attributes: 6'5" - 311lbs - 23 YO - 77 OVR - 67 Spd - 91 Str - 59 AWR - 58 Agi - 62 Acc - 81 TAK - 79 Inj

Again, a guy with the raw attributes -- Size, strength, speed, tackling abilities. But his athleticism was always the question. The Falcons don't think they care at this point. Late in the third they find Lee able to compete against current starter Peria Jerry. Lee will be asked to occupy blockers so their solid LB corp can earn their money and come up and make plays. A good find this
2012 Expectations: Competing for #2DT

[3.20] LOLB Cory Hodges - Pittsburgh
Key Attributes: 6'4" - 258lbs - 25 YO - 73 OVR - 81 Spd - 70 Str - 62 AWR - 81 Agi - 84 Acc - 57 CH - 72 TAK - 81 Inj

Hodges features the prototype LB's body. He has decent straight line speed, albet a bit on the low side. He has below-average strength for his position, but I isn't a huge issue at this point. His superior athletic ability gives him an added edge, but between Belcher, Lofton, and Weatherspoon Hodges will likely be on the bench for a year or two before actually competing for a starting job.
2012 Expectations: OLB Depth

[4.10] MLB Nate Irving - North Carolina State
Key Attributes: 6'1" - 240lbs - 22 YO - 69 OVR - 85 Spd - 69 Str - 62 AWR - 78 Agi - 83 Acc - 61 CH - 80 TAK - 90 Inj

Irving is a lot like Hodges, but has his own unique talnts himself. He features good weight, but standing at 6'1" he is a bit undersized for the normal mold of a Davis picked LB. Nonetheless, Irving is only very slightly less strong than Hodges but has the more acceptable speed most want in their LB's. Irving, however, specializes in the middle where most guys tend to be a bit bigger and stronger. The pass-rush-type of guy that Irving is, tends to favor an outside LBer. Look for Irving to be optimistic in his opportunities and look to gain the trust of the front office in the coming years in hopes of getting a starting spot when he learns GZL game speed.
2012 Expectations: LB Depth

[4.27] CB Jose Bell - Arkansas St.
Key Attributes: 6'0" - 191lbs - 23 YO - 71 OVR - 92 Spd - 54 Str - 57AWR - 86 Agi - 91 Acc - 53 CTH - 85 JMP - 67 TAK - 87 Inj

On the Falcons board and radar way back at pick [2.10], the Front Office was stunned to see Bell here at [4.27]. At 6'0" and 191lbs., he possesses great size. With good starting speed, acceleration, and manageable agility, they are still stunned he made it this far. They feel they may seriously work hard to get Bell up to starting potential over the next few years and smile that they have little pressure to accelerate his advancement since very little was invested in him.
2012 Expectations: CB Depth

[5.10] LOLB Enrique Webb - Georgia Tech
Key Attributes: 6'1" - 249lbs - 23 YO - 70 OVR - 84 Spd - 72 Str - 57 AWR - 83 Agi - 80 Acc - 60 CH - 65 TAK - 89 Inj

The final pick of the Falcons. Webb at [5.10] offers great price for a very decent talent. Heavier and the same size as [4.10] Irving, Webb has a lot of similarities to Irving. Playing the outside certainly goes for his quickness as well, but his inferior tackling ability hurts his value right now. His acceleration could be worked on, but at least he is stronger than the previous two LB's selected.
2012 Expectations: LB Depth

Roster Movement

Training Camp

The Falcons enter Training camp hoping to improve very much on last years finish. They bring back QB Matt Ryan, a better, more experienced O-line. An improved defense behind Quinn and Cochran pick-ups. The front office expects only to improve on both sides since no steps backwards occurred in the Falcons' eyes. In training camp, WR A.J. Green was seen working extra after every practice working on speed and acceleration. Rookies Robert Quinn, Bud Cochran, Jose Bell, and Deek Newton have really been seen working hard after practices themselves to improve physically. Also second year HB Mario Fannin was seen working on his already world-class speed as well. This team, will certainly feature some real speedsters all-around.

2012 Projected Starting Lineup

As it stands right now, without any further trades being processed this is the projected starting lineup for the Atlanta Falcons.
QB:Matt Ryan
HB: Mario Fannin
FB: Ovie Mughelli
WR #1: Roddy White
WR #2: A.J. Green
WR #3: Harry Douglas
WR #4: Kerry Meier
TE: Brett Brackett
LT: Tyson Clabo
LG: Justin Blalock
C: Todd McClure
*RG: Derek Newton (R) / Dante Magana
RT: Sam Baker

LE: Robert Quinn (R)
DT #1: Jonathan Babineaux
*DT #2: Peria Jerry / Juan Lee (R)
*RE: Cliff Matthews / Tim Crowder
LOLB: Sean Weatherspoon
MLB: Curtis Lofton
ROLB: Jovan Belcher
CB #1: Dunta Robinson
CB #2: Jonathan Wilhite / Brent Grimes
*Nickel CB: Jonathan Wilhite / Brent Grimes / Jose Bell (R)
FS: Thomas DeCoud
SS: Bud Cochran (R)

K: Joshua Day
P: Michael Koenen
*- Denotes Position Battle in training camp and preseason.

2012 Offensive Keys

Matt Ryan will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to improve on last years anemic offensive numbers. Few believe he will have trouble doing so, as long as he stays healthy. The improved rushing attack behind Fannin, and he added experience of WR's Green and White should lead to a solid monster to try and tackle by opposing defenses. Falcons front office will be very disappointed if this unit cannot produce in 2012 if injuries don't bring them down again.

2012 Defensive Keys

The Falcons take an already impressive (statistically) unit and improve it at SS and DE. LB depth was addressed as well as DT, so fresh guys should be in all game. It will be interesting to see if they can keep up the high level of statistical output for a second year in a row as well. Falcons management expects just as many great things from this unit as their offensive front. Certainly, expectations for the team are at an all-time high!

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 12/22/2011) Replies - 13 :: Views - 145
Falcons Flyer - September Recap Weeks 9-12

Monthly Record: 1-3


Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
23 - 10

Atlanta Falcons vs Chicago Bears
17 - 27

Atlanta Falcons @ Oakland Raiders
20 - 27

Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs
13 - 20

With the season 3/4 of the way over, the Falcons find themselves staring an early offseason right in the face. September started off well taking on the Seattle Seahawks and escaping with a win on their home turf, a very tough environment. However... things drastically went south the remaining four games of the month as the Bears, the Raiders, and the Chiefs all laid in to the very beat up Falcons. No running game, and certainly no passing game was existent, and the defenses only held because teams didnt have to score much more. The Front Office is very frustrated with the play of these young players, but have their eyes set on securing the future.

With virtually no opportunity for a playoff berth, the Falcons have been very disappointing at this point in the season, and a lot of that can be attributed to the face of the Falcons Franchise being gone for the majority of the year. QB Matt Ryan will likely miss the remainder of the year as well and the Falcons are staring a top ten pick in the face. Hopefully GM Matthew Davis can make a splash this offseason and add some more talent to this young team.

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 09/29/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 19
The Falcons Flyer - New GM, AGAIN...

ATL is home to its 4th GM in just a two season stretch. Familiar story to the league, will it end in familiar fashion as well?? We at ATL Insider Sports Magazine bring in newly appointed GM Matthew Davis to answer the tough questions many have on their minds.

ATL Insider: "Thank you for joining us Matthew."

Davis: "Thank you for having me."

ATL Insider: "So you have obviously heard of the struggle of keeping a solid GM with the Falcons has been. What do you believe can anwer this problem, and what makes you capable of being a part of that solution?"

Davis: "Well, to me, some guys have found themselves at a point in there lives that isn't conducive to running a good organization and giving it the time and energy it needs to be successful. This can happen for a lot of different reasons. I am too competitive. I bring too much pride, to walk away. I won't let that same story happen on my watch."

ATL Insider: "That's pretty invigorating! Sounds like you have the fire, but what else can you bring to the team? Afterall, you won't be playing the games, its up to your players to win."

Davis: "Another good question. Well as I settle down and get o know the players I look at quite a few things. I look at our veteran presence, I see where our strengths are, and I identify our weaknesses last. In the early going I will make it my task to find how to best illustrate the teams strengths, and when I am more comfortable, begin to try and mask those weaknesses or improve them directly via trade, FA, or drafting."

ATL Insider: "You bring up the draft, what will be your focus if you started today in the draft room?"

"Well this is no easy one to answer. A draft, as you know, takes months of preperation from many personnel. I am a defensive minded guy to begin with and that shows in my past GM'ing history (see Jaguars RZL). Not only does that work to my favor, but I feel its immediately evident that the team is in decent shape on the offensive side of the ball and may not need a ton of work early on. This will give me the opportunity to seek out and acquire talent for our defense. I'm an 'All-around' type of guy, that likes each player to be able to contribute, not just skill positions. It should be a great experience with such a project in front of me."

ATL Insider: "Sounds like a solid plan, and we have seen some major transformations where you come from. Do you expect more of the same here?"

Davis: "Actually no. I felt I had a major overhaul on my plate with my only other positon with the RZL Jaguars. They had a lot of veteran talent and almost no talent outside of the secondary on defense. My eyes bled watching that defense. I feel the Falcons have a great mix of experience on the offense, and will allow me to be much more focused where and how I build the other side of the ball. Most of all, the Falcons have a great young QB in 'Matty Ice' and our two top picks this year in WR Green and HB Fannin will ensure we can focus on surrounding them with able bodies to progress and hopefully win in the short term. Matt's injury is going to be tough to push through, but I have faith in the other 21 players to give teams a good run."

ATL Insider: "So again, your focus seems on building a franchise rather than running a previous one, despite your constant approval of what is here already, is that correct?"

Davis: "No. I guess this is the hard part of being a GM and only the greats do it well. I ca only hope to be in that conversation at some point in time. But a great GM must always struggle to build while continuing to compete at the elite level. So to more directly answer your questions...

I am confident the Atlanta Falcons can win today. I am commited to bringing them to a high level in a great and competitive division featuring great teams and even better GMs. I look forward to the competition and battles ahead of me, and expect one thing. Success."

ATL Insider: "Well said! And thank you for your time."

Davis: "Thanks."

Forum Discussion (by M_Davis on 08/26/2011) Replies - 5 :: Views - 59
2011 Falcons' Rookie Cards
Forum Discussion (by B_Laurenson on 06/26/2011) Replies - 6 :: Views - 65
2011 Training Camp - Atlanta Falcons
Forum Discussion (by B_Laurenson on 06/19/2011) Replies - 21 :: Views - 180
Falcons - 2011 Draft Recap
Forum Discussion (by B_Laurenson on 06/14/2011) Replies - 3 :: Views - 62
Falcons Coach Fights For His Job
After a severely disappointing opening season in the GZL, Falcons' Head Coach Mike Smith seems to be fighting to keep his position.

Below is a piece of leaked communication between Smith and the Falcon's Owner...

Forum Discussion (by B_Laurenson on 05/25/2011) Replies - 7 :: Views - 70
Again?? Falcons Bring in Another GM
Forum Discussion (by B_Laurenson on 04/11/2011) Replies - 5 :: Views - 61
Falcons update
It’s been 4 weeks since Gm Trevor Gleockler has taken over as GM of the Falcons. The Falcons have lost 4 games in a row and have no chance of playoffs this year. The season started out with high hopes and has gone into the toilet. Falcons were 3-3 when GM Gloeckler. After losing 4 in a row Falcons fans are wondering why Arthur Blank brought this GM Gloeckler in. Falcons did have some injuries that have held them back. They injuries in the secondary that held them back as well as the biggest lose with Roddy White being hurt.

Falcon’s offence has not been what they hoped it would be. Injuries to White and Green –Ellis not living up to expectations has lead to a less than powerful offence. The Falcons rank 28th in the running game and only avg 19 pts game. This is allowing teams just to focus on the passing game and not have to worry about the run game. Falcons passing offence in ranked 5th in the GZL. This allows teams to pin their ears back and rush Matt Ryan all day long.

Falcons have the 25th ranked rush defense allowing 142 yards a game. The Rams showed this last week with Steven Jackson gaining 223 yards and 2 tds. The Falcons do boast the 1st ranked passing defense in the GZL. Since getting everyone back and healthy it seems like the Falcons need more time to gel together as a defense.

Fans have been looking for GM Gloeckler to do something with this team. Rumors have it Gm Gloeckler has asked some Gms about possible trades but nothing has come of it. With playoffs out of reach do they Falcons make deals to improve their team now or wait for the draft and see what happens?
Forum Discussion (by T_Gloeckler on 03/23/2011) Replies - 2 :: Views - 29
Falcons Report
Has change been good for the Falcons? Since Gm Trevor Gloeckler has taken over the team is 0-3. Gm Gloeckler watched this team play now for 3 weeks. He has seen some things he likes and some he doesn’t. The team had injuries to its star receiver Roddy White which has really hurt the Falcons offence. Falcons have not been able to keep the chains moving like they did with White in the line up.

Injuries in the secondary have not helped either as both SS T. Decoud and CB B. Grimes missed 3 weeks with their injuries. The team has just seemed out of sync while these players were hurt. Falcons hope having them back will help improve this team’s play on defense and get them back to the winning ways.

In Game vs. Bengals Palmer torched the Falcons secondary for 3 tds and 235 yards in the air. Falcons also suffered a blow when Matt Ryan went down for the game and Redman came in to take over. Falcons seemed to struggle with Remain running the show. Redman seemed to be able to gains yards but not covert on 3rd down when it matter the most.

The game vs. the Buccs should have been a win. Falcons had the ball late in the game and were driving fore the winning touchdown when Ryan threw a floater up for grabs the buccs defense grabbed it to end the game and the chance to win the game vs. a division rival.

Vs the Ravens the Falcons could not stop the rushing attack of Rice and McGhee. T together they combined for 218 yards and 2 touch downs on 31 carries. Falcons just could not seem to stop the thunder and lighting attack. Also falcon’s oline did a bad job protecting Matt Ryan. He was rushed and hurried all day and had no time to throw the ball. Ryan was sacked 4 times by the end of the game the worst performance of the oline as a whole on the year.

Gm Gloeckler will have to make a choice soon on his team and which way he wants them to go. Will he make changes or stick with what he has and make changes in the offseason. There was talk of the Falcons possible winning the division and making playoffs. With team sitting at 3-6 the chances are slim to none and some tough choices will have to be made.
Forum Discussion (by T_Gloeckler on 03/15/2011) Replies - 1 :: Views - 37
Falcons hire new GM
The Falcons have ended the search for a Gm today. The Falcons have hired Trevor Gloeckler to run the team. Trevor Gloeckler has tones of experience as he has been a GM for various team for the last 10 ten years. He has been in league such as the XML, XML2, TWR, RZL and other up start leagues. He has even been a GM for a Pro Hockey team before for 2 years! Gloeckler will report to President Rich McKay who was the Falcons former GM before they hired Travis Robbins. McKay will handle the bussiens side and report to Arthur Blank.

Rumors have it that Trevor Gloeckler came in second when the Falcons GM job was given to Travis Robbins. A second team asked for an interview with Trevor Gloeckler but he declined it saying his first choice was to be the GM of the GZL Falcons as he has been a life time follower of the Falcons organization. It had always been a dream of his to be some how involved with the team.

The minute Travis Robbins stepped down Arthur Blank made a phone call to Trevor Gloeckler to offer him the job. It took only seconds to Trevor Gloeckler to expect the Job as the Falcons New GM.

“Iam extremely excited to have the opportunity to become part of the Atlanta Falcons organization,” Gloeckler said. “Iam looking forward to working with Mr. Blank and Rich McKay, two highly respected men in the world of professional football”.

Gloeckler directs all aspects of football operations and, working with the head coach of the Falcons, has final authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the NFL Draft, trades, terminations, and related decisions. He also handles coordinating other football-related activities with the head coach.
Forum Discussion (by T_Gloeckler on 02/18/2011) Replies - 8 :: Views - 73
Dunta Robinson Praised

The Atlanta Falcons
Falcons organization praises Dunta Robinson

The Atlanta Falcons spent the good portion of the start of this season with their eye on the week three matchup against New Orleans and Drew Brees, knowing that the team were heavy favorites starting the season. The 31-25 victory over the Saints has lifted the morale of the coaches, players and the fan base alike after watching the Cardinals stomp all over them the week before.

With this win, the Falcons sit tied in their division at 2-1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are playing far better than just about any one expected who didn't know the track record of their General Manager, Anthony Fernandez.

In all the game against the Saints started absolutely the best way possible. Although holding these Saints from getting yardage is nearly an unthinkable notion, the Falcons were able to hold them to just 2 field goals in the first half and 4 field goals in the first three quarters. While scoring 28 points of their own. The game looked over at 28-12 going into the 4th quarter. However, with Drew Brees on the field, it isn't over until the clock strikes 0, and he proved that yet again, getting hit team back into the game with a finale score of 31-25.

The only reason the Falcons were able to hold onto this win to just about anyone who watched this game was from the play of CB Dunta Robinson. The Saints turned the ball over 3 times in the game, all to Dunta Robinson who grabbed his first 3 interceptions of his career in the GZL all in the same game.

Interesting Stats:

Saints had more first downs than the Falcons, with 19 over the Falcons 17. If Jerious Norwood didn't return the second half kickoff for a TD... this could be a very different game...

With a 133 and 100 QB rating in the past 2 weeks, Drew Brees was held to a 58 QB rating this week.

Duna Robinson's first 3 interceptions were from Drew Brees, and Drew Brees' first three thrown interceptions were to Dunta Robinson.

Next up, the Falcons will be facing the San Fransisco 49ers who are ranked #1 in the rankings.

Forum Discussion (by T_Robbins on 01/25/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 24
Atlanta Falcons Hire GM Travis Robbins.

The Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have announced the hiring of General Manager, Travis Robbins for their team in the GZL.

Travis is best known for his General Management of the San Diego Chargers over at the long running RedZone League, but has been a participant in other leagues as well, starting his career years ago at the United Simulation League and has since participated in the Western Hemisphere Football League and Against All Odds football league, as well as a brief stay in the United States Football League

General Manager Robbins has been described as a draft first, and trade later type, usually shipping out players through trades, but only really acquiring them through the trade. When questioned why this is, he was very clear, "It's easier to train a player the instincts required to play for my team, but it's much harder to change how a player plays halfway through his career, when he's already set in his ways."

Atlanta Falcons fans need not worry about there favorite players, because Mr. Robbins has promised that there won't be any stripping the Falcons down to their bare bones to build again, "The Atlanta Falcons are ready to compete this season, with only a few moves that need to be made to take this division for good. I'm a firm believer that a General Manager must try to work with what is handed to him, and not create a 5 year plan to get a team into the playoffs." We, on the outside are a little skeptical about that statement when the likes of Anthony Fernandez and Ricky Lung are among the division with Travis and the Falcons.

We hope that the Atlanta Falcons can come out winning right out of the gate during the opening of the GreenZone league, and we wish the first and newest manager of the Atlanta Falcons, Travis Robbins, the best of luck.
Forum Discussion (by T_Robbins on 12/11/2010) Replies - 1 :: Views - 44

All Team News Stories

At A Glance

GM D_Nissen
Head Coach B.Ruud
Offensive Coordinator Sean Payton
Defensive Coordinator L.Tatupu
Special Teams Jeremy Bates
Salary $169.46M
Cap Penalty $3.65M
Cap Room $890K


NFC South
#6 Buccaneers y-Buccaneers 10-6-0 0.63 5-1
#12 Falcons x-Falcons 10-6-0 0.63 5-1
#18 Saints Saints 7-9-0 0.44 1-5
#24 Panthers Panthers 5-11-0 0.31 1-5

1 Sep 10 vs Saints Saints #18
Won 26-7
2 Sep 17 at Bears Bears #25
Won 20-13
3 Sep 24 vs Panthers Panthers #24
Won 27-13
4 Oct 1 at Vikings Vikings #2
Lost 3-45
5 Oct 8 at Broncos Broncos #30
Lost 17-24
6 Oct 15 vs Packers Packers #5
Lost 13-37
8 Oct 29 at Panthers Panthers #24
Won 23-21
9 Nov 5 vs Chargers Chargers #4
Won 38-31
10 Nov 12 at Buccaneers Buccaneers #6
Lost 13-24
11 Nov 19 at Saints Saints #18
Won 23-20
12 Nov 26 at Chiefs Chiefs #21
Lost 14-20
13 Dec 3 vs Lions Lions #1
Lost 13-32
14 Dec 10 vs Eagles Eagles #10
Won 26-23
15 Dec 17 vs Buccaneers Buccaneers #6
Won 29-24
16 Dec 24 at Cardinals Cardinals #28
Won 51-14
17 Dec 31 vs Raiders Raiders #23
Won 34-24

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