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 Post subject: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:50 pm 
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With the start of NFL free agency less than two months away and the Atlanta Falcons in the midst of a coaching staff overhaul, the defensive side of the ball is the one that should occupy the front office the most. The Falcons have nine free agents on defense and five of them are starters, as head coach Mike Smith considers the nickel back a starter. The most pressing are defensive end John Abraham, the NFLs active leader in sacks, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and cornerback Brent Grimes, a Pro-Bowler in 2010. Two of the teams top three safeties, Thomas DeCoud and James Sanders, also are free agents. According to ProFootballFocus.com, DeCoud played 965 snaps, second only among the teams free agents to Loftons 1,008. Nickelback Kelvin Hayden, who was injury prone and only played 223 snaps, is the other starter. So what will general manager Thomas Dimitroff do, specifically in regard to Abraham? Some clues might have been provided by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan through what he said in an introductory conference call with Atlanta media members last week. One of the more intriguing quotes from Nolan was about the pass rush. The Falcons ranked 19th in the NFL in sacks in 2011 while Nolans defense in Miami ranked 10th. I would rather have ten guys get four sacks than only four guys get ten sacks each because its a lot more difficult for an offense to look at your entire defense and say, Weve got to block them all guys. That guy might come, that guy might come, Nolan said. Thats a real stress for a quarterback. With that in mind, the Falcons already have invested 7 million in one of their oldest players on the offensive side of the ball, tight end Tony Gonzalez, a player who is a paragon of health. Abraham made 8 million last season. What are the chances that they will do the same with Abraham, who will be 34 next season and has a history of groin issues issues that he said held him back at times in 2011? Now, lets take a look at something else that Nolan said in that conference call. People always talk about having four starting DBs but I think the future is there are really five starting DBs, if these quarterbacks keep doing what they are doing, he said. Under Smith, The Falcons have not finished above 20th in the NFL in pass defense. Nolan echoed comments that Smith has often made in the past about pass defense being an 11-man effort. One thing the Falcons have rarely gotten under Smith and former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and which Nolan sounds like he wants to get more of are so-called coverage sacks, sacks the defense gets when none of the opposing receivers are open. As a result of Nolans comments, it sounds like the Falcons are going to start playing a lot more nickel defense under Nolan. Taking a look at the free agent market, one of the best nickelbacks in the league is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, Tennessees Cortland Finnegan, who was an All-Pro in 2008. Last Friday, Finnegan told The Tennessean newspaper that he was pessimistic the Titans would re-sign him. If the team chose to tag him as their franchise player, he would earn 10.3 million. Now, its possible that Finnegan would want to sign with Detroit, where his former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is the Lions head coach and at least one of his former Titans teammates starts on defense. So if the Falcons are, relatively speaking, going to invest the same amount of money, would it be in an aging defensive end or a 27-year-old defensive back? If youre looking for durability, ProFootballFocus.com says that Finnegan played 1,142 snaps last season which was almost double Abrahams 628. Which provides greater value to a team? Now, consider what Nolan said and that the Falcons have to find a way to defend New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees twice a season. Finnegan isnt the only top free agent defensive back on the market. Baltimores Lardarius Webb also will be a free agent, but considering his team was just a couple of plays away from a Super Bowl berth, it would make sense if he decided to stay with the Ravens. Even if the Falcons dont get a big-name defensive back in the free agent market, it might be surprising if Abraham is back unless hes willing to play for a substantial discount. Its a move that could create a lot of teeth-gnashing among fans, but ultimately it will be judged like all the coming moves -- by whether the Falcons can finally make that big, long-awaited improvement in their pass defense.
Original Story: http://www.foxsportssouth.com/01/25/1...


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Well I'm glad to see someone is connecting the dots about how important secondary play is to defensive success.

I don't want to see Abe go, because without him, I think this pass rush would be atrocious. But Finnegan would be a very good pickup, and if you could couple that with drafting a good DE in Round 2 (such as Marshall's Vinny Curry), you could convince me that the team made the right decision. But as many will point out the draft is a crapshoot, and that strategy is exclusively tied to your ability to find a good pass rusher in Round 2, and I'm not convinced yet this draft is deep enough to think that strategy will work out.

I would love to see a trio of corners that was Grimes, Finnegan, and Robinson, but I know that'll be a cold day in hell that the Falcons would invest that much $$$ in their secondary to make that a reality. I would love to see Finnegan replace Robinson as the starter, and then see Franks slide into the No. 3 spot if need be. But that's probably only slightly better odds because for whatever reason this team seems married to Dunta Robinson. I guess I'd instead have to settle for keepign Hayden at a relatively low price, and put him in competition with Robinson.

This team really screwed itself with that Jones trade, and how ineffective Robinson/Edwards have been. Here's hoping that Mike Nolan has the magic touch to make those moves turn out well for us.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:23 pm 
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I'm still not buying every analyst saying Abraham should leave. People need to realize that they still have something left in the tank and they can still bring it. Abraham is still hungry so I'm not questioning his motivation or desire. I would pay the man and they would be wise too.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
I'm still not buying every analyst saying Abraham should leave. People need to realize that they still have something left in the tank and they can still bring it. Abraham is still hungry so I'm not questioning his motivation or desire. I would pay the man and they would be wise too.


That's the problem. Abraham may still ahve something in the tank but at his age his drop off in performance is going to be massive when it happens. Abraham has never been a beacon of health and that will only get worse as he gets older.

You can't pay Abraham the money he is likely going to demand at his current age and historical health problems. If Abraham wants to comeback for a bargain I'm all for it. But if he wants market value Atlanta has to let him walk.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:38 pm 
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dirtybirdnw wrote:
Emmitt wrote:
I'm still not buying every analyst saying Abraham should leave. People need to realize that they still have something left in the tank and they can still bring it. Abraham is still hungry so I'm not questioning his motivation or desire. I would pay the man and they would be wise too.


That's the problem. Abraham may still ahve something in the tank but at his age his drop off in performance is going to be massive when it happens. Abraham has never been a beacon of health and that will only get worse as he gets older.

You can't pay Abraham the money he is likely going to demand at his current age and historical health problems. If Abraham wants to comeback for a bargain I'm all for it. But if he wants market value Atlanta has to let him walk.


Yeah if we can get Abe for something around a 3 year 15.5 mill deal I am all for it but there will be some players out there that we pursue if he is asking for to much but what we cant do is let Abe walk and not replace him at all. I mean it was clear that he was falling off this year I mean if it wasnt for the Jacksonville & Bucs game we would probably be saying let him walk. I would really like the team to put put a emphasis on a certain group on D, either the front four, the LBs or the Secondary and let that be the heart and soul of the D. It seems that the easiest way to do that would be with the LBs we need to add one stud at OLB and we would have arguably one of the top 5 LB cores in the NFL. I would like it to be the DL but unless we resign Abe, sign either Super Mario or Robert Mathis and P.Jerry returns to pre injury form and Sidbury starts looking like he is back a Richmond thats probably not going to happen. Also in the case that we lose Grimes how would you all feel about throwing a bone at Marcus Trufant I mean he is on the wrong side of 30 but if he can be had for a reasonable price it might be a good pick up with him being a good press corner him and Dunta have similar skill sets so it would be easier to call defenses to their strengths. Plus it seems that the performance of Sherman and Browner have made him expendable in Seattle.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Reezy The Savior wrote:
Yeah if we can get Abe for something around a 3 year 15.5 mill deal I am all for it but there will be some players out there that we pursue if he is asking for to much but what we cant do is let Abe walk and not replace him at all.


Abe is going to get one last payday in the realm of what Gonzo got. Though I would guess Abe would get something like a 2-year $14 million deal. I still think that is too much for a fading star... At most I'd give him 1 year @ $5 million. As Pudge and many others have mentioned the Julio deal is killing us here.

Reezy The Savior wrote:
I would like it to be the DL but unless we resign Abe, sign either Super Mario or Robert Mathis and P.Jerry returns to pre injury form and Sidbury starts looking like he is back a Richmond thats probably not going to happen.


Even in losing Abe I think Atlanta needs to focus on the secondary. Nolan was pretty clear that the Falcons need 5 quality DB's and since Smitty considers nickle a starter you need 3-top notch DB's. Dumping Dunte due to his contract makes no sense but I think you can invest Abe's dollars into a top flight DB and have a top notch secondary.

Reezy The Savior wrote:
IAlso in the case that we lose Grimes how would you all feel about throwing a bone at Marcus Trufant


Atlanta simply can't let Grimes walk... He is our best DB and in a division with 1 elite QB and two rising QB's you need the secondary to be top notch. Which is also why I say Atlanta needs to invest in the secondary. I like the idea of Finnegan from Tennessee which was floated in an AJC article floated in another post.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:30 pm 
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I'm really suprised who many people discount Abe and his impact. He had as many sacks as all of our other D ends combined... read that again, and he did that while not being 100%. He is the only D lineman we have the gets doubleteamed on any sort of consistant basis, and he is still solid against the run. Without a pass rush I don't care if we have a prime Deon Sanders playing opposite a prime champ Bailey, teams will be able to throw on us all day because we will have no pass rush at all, zip zero zilch. It's also fantasy thinking to believe that a late second round draft pick is going to come in and make any sort of pass rush impact in his first year, that almost never happens.

Every time Atlanta's brass listens to the "experts" they do something stupid. We need to get more explosive= we trade two drafts for Julio, we need a better pass rush= we spend 30 million on Ray Edwards who can't pass rush. We need a better corner= we spend a ton on Dunta..... Wake up guys the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Most of these experts have watched alot less Falcons football than we have, they are just regertitating a narrative they heard someone else say.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Glad to see you being the voice of reason here Dave. I still don't think people either realize or give enough credit for how well Abe played this past year. He had his best year since 2008. Yes, I will say it again, he had his best year since 2008.

I'll break it down statistically:

In 2009, for Moneyball, I counted Abe for having 3.5 sacks, 21 pressures, and 7 hits. That's 31.5 "positive pass rushes" (or PPRs). As you are probably mostly aware, I only count a sack for Moneyball if the QB is tackled in the act of passing. If he decides to tuck it to run or it is what is usually considered a "sack-strip" that is considered on a QB Hit, as well as those rare instances when the QB manages to get the ball away just before or during the time he's in the grasp of the defense. And of course a pressure is anytime the guy's pressure causes an incompletion. That year, Abe rushed the QB on 421 snaps. So that means on 7.5% of his snaps, he did something positive.

In 2010, I counted Abe with 12 sacks, 6.5 pressures, and 5.5 hits. That is a total of 24 PPRs. Contrast that with 363 pass rushing snaps, and you see a drop-off in production with only 6.6% of his pass rush snaps being positive. This is why I was so down on Abe last year despite the sack production, because outside of those handful of plays where he got a sack, he really was a largely ineffective pass rusher.

Fast track to 2011, Abe finishes with 8.5 sacks, 15 pressures, and 8 hits, matching his PPR total from 2009 with 31.5. But his total number of pass rush snaps was nearly identical to last year with 362, meaning on 8.7% of his snaps he got positive pressure.

And Dave is right, Abe was really the only guy that consistently showed up down the stretch. You look at the last 8 games, and Abe alone had 17 of his PPRs. The other 3 DEs combined for 15.5. The DTs combined for 18 over that same span, half of which came from Babs.

Our DL is very, very worrisome. After the OL, it has to be the priority that we have to try and upgrade this off-season. I think DE needs to be addressed early in the draft, but this team should definitely look into bolstering its interior in free agency.

Abe might only be a situational pass rusher at this point in his career going forward, but he's still represents what would probably be one of the best situational guys in the entire league. He might lack the youth of Aldon Smith and JPP, but other than those guys you're not going to find many that are better than Abe is currently. That's why after Grimes is under fold, Abe should be the team's 2nd priority to keep.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:04 am 
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I don't think we can sign Abe for a fair price......I do think we'll sign him anyway...... I don't think he'll have a good season in 2012.

How are we going to have sack coverages when their Qb has about 10 seconds to make a pass.....?? Someone swear to me that Blank
didn't sign Edwards....?? I know its not popular to think that, but I see a lot of moves that I can see Blank pushing.....including Julio.

I can see McKay saying to Thomas D. " Your making 5 million, what you gonna do" ?

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:34 pm 
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I love it. :liar:

TD gets all the credit for the good moves, and none of the blame for the bad moves.

I think we can get Abe for a fair price. To me, the fair thing for Abe is probably signing him to a 3-yr. deal, that is really a 2-yr. deal with some sort of option bonus after Year 2. If that deal pays him something somewhere between $8-12M over the first two years, I think that is a very fair deal, and I think Abe would take that.

I don't think Abe is looking for some 5-yr. deal. I think he understands that he's 33, and is not a full-time player, and thus isn't looking for something that guarantees him $15 or $20M or anything crazy like that. I don't think he would turn it down by any means, but I don't think that he is expecting that sort of deal. If he was 30 or 31, it would probably be a different story. But Abe is going to be 34 in May, and he knows he isn't an everydown player anymore.

I think you basically have to do what the Falcons did with Gonzo, which is give him like $6M or so for 2012 to make it worth his while, and potentially the same for 2013. And if you do that, I think he'll be happy, especially if a most if not all of that is guaranteed.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Glad to see you being the voice of reason here Dave. I still don't think people either realize or give enough credit for how well Abe played this past year. He had his best year since 2008. Yes, I will say it again, he had his best year since 2008.
Is anyone really surprised that one of Abraham's best years was his contract year?
The decision to bring back Abraham isn't about what he did last year. It's about what the Falcons think he'll do the next 3 years.


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:59 am 
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SteveH wrote:
Pudge wrote:
Glad to see you being the voice of reason here Dave. I still don't think people either realize or give enough credit for how well Abe played this past year. He had his best year since 2008. Yes, I will say it again, he had his best year since 2008.
Is anyone really surprised that one of Abraham's best years was his contract year?
The decision to bring back Abraham isn't about what he did last year. It's about what the Falcons think he'll do the next 3 years.

This...and Abe should give the Jags QB a tip if he gets a big pay day. Pudge is correct that he is about the only one who showed up down the stretch but with our pass rush that makes him the world's tallest midget. I really like Abe and always have but I don't know what he will be worth at his age. I don't think the fact that he was going gangbusters in the first qtr of the playoff game and then was pretty much shut down is insignificant. His snap numbers will only decrease. He's had lots of injuries and surgeries...been a warrior for us, really. All depends on what he commands but it seems that if they were thinking of keeping him they would have done as they did with Tony. I would think that might perturb guys like Abe, Grimes, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Wow, such vitriol for Abe. He showed up in the Giants game and then tailed off in the 2nd half? And he gets called out for that? Well Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, and Ray Edwards didn't even show up in the 1st quarter. So if that performance means Abe should be shown the door, shouldn't that mean the same for them as well?

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:16 am 
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Pudge wrote:
Wow, such vitriol for Abe. He showed up in the Giants game and then tailed off in the 2nd half? And he gets called out for that? Well Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, and Ray Edwards didn't even show up in the 1st quarter. So if that performance means Abe should be shown the door, shouldn't that mean the same for them as well?

Deion once said that in the NFL you are paid for what you've done--not what you're going to do. While this is true it is also completely bass ackwards. I don't think Abe should be "shown the door" but I think he needs to be paid understanding that his best years are probably behind him and that--as Cyril says--when he begins to truly decline it will be a hard and fast fall. Right now he is no more our DE than anyone else's so whoever hires him will basically be paying more than anyone else was willing to offer...like buying something on Ebay. Is an aging albeit fairly effective DE how we should allocate our funds? We need a pass rush but is Abe the solution or will he likely be a cap hogging part of the problem within two years? It's all about the numbers. If he'd take a reasonable one year deal, hell yeah, I'd say bring him back. But, as with Grimes, I just wonder what was the snag that kept this from happening during the season. He and the team know this is probably his last contract. All this said, Abe has arguably been the best move McKay made.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:53 am 
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I don't think Abe should be "shown the door" but I think he needs to be paid understanding that his best years are probably behind him


Abe's a free man. I'm sure the Falcons will make him a fair offer. I'm also sure someone will make him a bigger offer. It will be his choice on whether he stays or goes.

The anti-Blank and anti-TD crew will say we didn't offer him enough if he bolts. The anti-Blank and anti-TD crew will say we overpaid if he stays.

My guess is this will probably be his last contract and he wants to cash in. He left the Jets for our money, I don't think he'll have a problem leaving here for somewhere else.


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:07 pm 
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I think the reason why a deal has not gotten done with Abe is because the team was looking for every possible reason to let him walk. But they didn't get that.

Ray Edwards was a complete bust, and was marginally better than Jamaal Anderson as a pass rusher this past year. And while Biermann improved, he's basically shown himself to be nothing more than an above average No. 3 DE. And while Sidbury make big strides, he's really no better at this point in time than Biermann is. And while Peters flashed potential as an interior rusher early in the year, he just kind of reverted to be just OK for the 2nd half. And while Babs made his presence known on occasion during that period, he was a far cry from the player he has been in the past few years. And Jerry did little to nothing, and Walker is limited.

And I think what happened is that the Falcons entered this year hoping/wanting that guys like Edwards, Biermann, and Peters, etc. would be able to make the decision for them on Abe, and none of them did.

If Tony Gonzalez is worth $7M for one more year, then I would certainly say Abe is worth the same amount if not more. Now, you can certainly argue that Gonzo is not worth that amount of money, perhaps half that amount, and I would be hard-pressed to really make a good counter-argument. And if that's the case, then it makes Abe's value much more tenuous.

The past 3 years, Abe has consistently given this team 24-32 PPRs (sacks/hits/pressures). And I think it's a safe assumption to assume he can/will give us the same next year. Now, if I'm a betting man I would say it's probably closer to 24 than 32. Now the problem is that the next best guy on the team is probably only giving you 16 or so.

So what are those 8+ plays worth to you? And I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but in regards to pass rush and defense in general it is quite substantial.

And when you look at the FA market and our limited draft options, the Falcons are really backed into a corner.

And rather Johnny, if this move winds up biting us in the ass, it won't because of our decision to pay or not pay Abe, it'll be because of previous moves (Jones trade/Edwards signing) forced our hand one way or the other.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:46 pm 
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And rather Johnny, if this move winds up biting us in the ass, it won't because of our decision to pay or not pay Abe, it'll be because of previous moves (Jones trade/Edwards signing) forced our hand one way or the other.


You may be right sir, but Abe isn't going to sign a one year deal. It's his last pay day and he knows it. So the question is.....do the Falcons overpay to keep him?

I don't think they will. So, bye-bye Abe. Hope Nolan and his 4 sacks from 10 different guys theory works.


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:48 pm 
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Now come on----I'm playing with you; TD gets bitch slapped for getting Edwards unless that injury plays more into it
than they're saying; but I just don't think he gave 100%....

Really really awful!!

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:32 am 
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Yeah ,there was a certain vibe to Edwards that I can't recall feeling off of anyone else I've watched in recent years in terms of effort. Maybe he is hurt and protecting himself or maybe he just doesn't have the personal drive that the Abe's of the world do. This was the first year I heard anyone in the press whisper about players sort of checking out. I truly hope Smitty has not lost the locker room but there's a reason Ray was not wanted back in Minnesota. He's the also the first player in recent years that I can recall going to the press or tweeting to complain about the public's perception of his play. BTW, AngryJohnnyBlank, Home Depot sucks. :wink: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:46 am 
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This was the first year I heard anyone in the press whisper about players sort of checking out.


I missed that. Got a link?

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BTW, AngryJohnnyBlank, Home Depot sucks. :wink: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:59 am 
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I'm thinking it was Schultz in one of the articles after the loss in NY? It was just a passing comment but something like that it would be nice not to get the sense that the players would just as soon be somewhere else. And I didn't read it as being specific to this game. For the most part, all you ever hear about the Falcons locker room is that they are a great bunch of guys but you can bring in a bad apple and spoil the barrel. It was sort of funny reading the article on Chris Doleman in todays AJC recounting his time in ATL fondly. At the time, I recall players being a little taken aback that he showed up with a brief case and there was rumbling that he dogged it while waiitng for a foot injury to heal. He also dissed us a bit once he got to SF when asked the compare the two franchises and said, "Hmmmm...the locker room's about the same size." Hard to blame him though and the injury was probably real. He did play hard and well when he was here. You don't last 15 seasons in the NFL without having a strong win drive but the league is also littered with "professionals" who are only vaguely interested in the team aside from being an adjunct to thier bank account. True of most professions, to be fair.

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/ ... uper-bowl/
This article kind of alludes to it but it isn't the one I'm talking about. Could not find it.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:34 am 
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I didn't notice anyone check out. I will say there was probably some frustration with Mularkey and some play calling, but I don't think Smitty has lost the locker room.....yet.

Of course I could be wrong, but it still seemed to me that they played hard.


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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:21 pm 
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I think they checked out in the 2nd half of the Giants game, but I don't really blame them. When you're down 17-2, and you're offense looks like it belongs to a 5-11 team, I don't get down on players too much. They are after all human.

AS for Ray Ray, it was a terrible first year. I don't buy the knee injury. I'm sure it wasn't 100% for most of the year, but I get tired of the injury excuse. Everybody is hurt and beat up throughout the year. Mario Williams played 14 games with a sports hernia in 2010 and got 8.5 sacks.

I think Ray was too heavy this past year. I think it was the whole boxing thing, he just looked too heavy and inflexible, and didn't move like he did in Minnesota. I think the other issue with Ray, which was apparent when he was in Minnesota is that he's a very one-note pass rusher. He's a speed rusher that doesn't bend all that well (at least not in the way that say someone like Abe does), and really seems to be a guy that needs those wider techniques which he often got in Minnesota (but rarely saw here in Atlanta) to be effective. The reason why I don't think Minnesota was in love with him because they didn't think the gap between him and a guy like Brian Robison was all that big, certainly not as big as the gap between Ray and Jared Allen.

I give him some credit. I thought he was an excellent run defender. But he was an absolute non-factor, and I think it was very telling that at the end of the year, the team pulled him off the field in nickel situations, putting in Biermann on those obvious pass-rushing downs.

Let's hope he plays expired this year with Nolan calling the shots. But Ray Ray tweeting publicly about fans calling him out, calling out coaches for using him incorrectly, it all seems like this thing is going to get worse before it gets better. Ray Ray seems to be the only DE that plays better the more snaps he gets.

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 Post subject: Re: More to think about.....
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
I think they checked out in the 2nd half of the Giants game, but I don't really blame them. When you're down 17-2, and you're offense looks like it belongs to a 5-11 team, I don't get down on players too much. They are after all human.

AS for Ray Ray, it was a terrible first year. I don't buy the knee injury. I'm sure it wasn't 100% for most of the year, but I get tired of the injury excuse. Everybody is hurt and beat up throughout the year. Mario Williams played 14 games with a sports hernia in 2010 and got 8.5 sacks.

I think Ray was too heavy this past year. I think it was the whole boxing thing, he just looked too heavy and inflexible, and didn't move like he did in Minnesota. I think the other issue with Ray, which was apparent when he was in Minnesota is that he's a very one-note pass rusher. He's a speed rusher that doesn't bend all that well (at least not in the way that say someone like Abe does), and really seems to be a guy that needs those wider techniques which he often got in Minnesota (but rarely saw here in Atlanta) to be effective. The reason why I don't think Minnesota was in love with him because they didn't think the gap between him and a guy like Brian Robison was all that big, certainly not as big as the gap between Ray and Jared Allen.

I give him some credit. I thought he was an excellent run defender. But he was an absolute non-factor, and I think it was very telling that at the end of the year, the team pulled him off the field in nickel situations, putting in Biermann on those obvious pass-rushing downs.

Let's hope he plays expired this year with Nolan calling the shots. But Ray Ray tweeting publicly about fans calling him out, calling out coaches for using him incorrectly, it all seems like this thing is going to get worse before it gets better. Ray Ray seems to be the only DE that plays better the more snaps he gets.

That's how he played this year.
:lol:

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