It is currently Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:48 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:26 pm 
Offline
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
Posts: 26132
Location: North Carolina
http://falcfans.com/falcons-need-to-be- ... -deal-5533

Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
March 2nd, 2012
Aaron Freeman

The Falcons want to bring back Curtis Lofton, and that is the right decision. But the Falcons have to be careful that they do not overpay Lofton on the open market, because Lofton is not likely to be a core piece on their defense going forward. The reason for that is the league is increasingly become a passing-oriented league. The rule changes favor offenses, and particularly those that can sling the football. And the issue with Lofton is that this is the weakest part of his game.

There are several reasons why the Falcons should want Curtis Lofton back. Firsly, he is coming off arguably his best season as a pro. While he is not a dominant run defender, he certainly is a good one that is a key reason why the Falcons run defense has been so stout the past three years. Secondly, he is also developing into a leadership role. While Mike Peterson has been the leader of the linebacker corps the past three years, his time in Atlanta is at or nearing its end. At some point in the near future, someone else is going to have to step up and Lofton is as good a candidate as any to do so. While Lofton is a bit of a mild-mannered guy off the field than his more loquacious teammate Sean Weatherspoon, Lofton certainly brings an aggressive, physical disposition on the field. Lofton is a good leader by example type and their two personalities can complement each other in the locker room going forward for young Falcons.

Thirdly, Lofton is also a good middle linebacker. He’s not one of the best in the league, as he’s often portrayed as, but he is certainly above average. He is fairly consistent in playing at a solid to good level on a weekly basis. And that sort of consistency is welcomed on any defense, particularly when it comes to the guy that is at a key position such as the middle linebacker. I’ve heard it said that teams should want to reward the best people as opposed to the best players with long-term deals. And Lofton is certainly one of those players.

But before the Falcons lock Lofton up to a highly lucrative contact, they must realize that there are also some limitations. As stated before, Lofton is not the best pass defender. The league has seen the rise of tight ends and slot receivers in recent years, making the middle of the field a fertile ground for explosive passing attacks. While Lofton has improved there in recent years, he’s not helping the Falcons win that arms race. Playing in space over the middle and being stuck on an island against good receivers is not something Lofton does very well. And if he is to be the rock at the center of the Falcons defense for years to come, he will ever increasingly have to perform in those duties. And while Lofton can continue to improve there, he’s never going to reach a point where he is considered an asset in the pass defense. A comparable Falcon of yesteryear was Keith Brooking who was similarly adequate and effective at times, but often times was a liability when it came to the better players he would find himself matched up with.

There has been talk that the Falcons would prefer that Lofton become more of a two-down player. While that could minimize some of Lofton’s deficiencies in coverage, it will make his value to this football team significantly diminished. Two-down linebackers are a dime a dozen in the NFL because the overwhelming majority of guys currently in the league could be considered such. And therefore, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Falcons to make Lofton one of the higher paid players at his position when he could be lumped into that same group.

Basically, Lofton is a good player, but limited going forward. And therefore, the Falcons need to offer him a good, but limited deal. If Lofton balks at such a deal and can make a more lucrative contract elsewhere, then good for him. That will free up the Falcons to invest money where they need to, which is improving the pass defense.

Lofton does not really help the Falcons there, and as evidenced by the teams that have made deep runs in the playoffs in the NFC over the years (49ers, Giants, Packers, Bears), it behooves you to be very strong in that area. In the case of the Packers, they had a really excellent secondary, while those other three teams had really strong pass rushes that took pressure off their lackluster secondaries.

That is the way the Falcons should go, and any money that the Falcons do not pay Lofton, should be geared towards improving their pass rush up front or getting better in the back half of the defense particularly at nickel cornerback.

This is not to say that the Falcons should not re-sign Lofton. But the market for him based on the deal that D’Qwell Jackson signed in Cleveland (five years, $42.5 million with $19 million guaranteed) is probably too rich for the Falcons purposes. The Falcons could spend that same amount of money on a good pass rusher and/or good nickel corner that will help their defense get better where it needs to (versus the pass) more so than Lofton could.

Ideally, the Falcons could re-sign Lofton to a deal that is less than what Paul Posluszny signed last year with the Jaguars. Posluszny unlike Lofton is a competent coverage linebacker, as well as a good run defender. Posluszny signed a deal that average $7 million a year and had $15 million guaranteed. That should be about the most the Falcons are willing to pay for Lofton, if not slightly above that.

Anything more than that, and they are basically overpaying for what essentially is going to be a role player going forward in Lofton. A potentially very good role player, but still a role player nonetheless. If/when the Falcons defense is one of the best in the league, Lofton won’t be a core piece. At least not anymore so than a player like E.J. Henderson was for the Vikings ’09 defense that made it all the way to the championship game. The core pieces on that defense (Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield, etc.), all made the Vikings into a really strong pass defense. Henderson, like Lofton is a strong run defender, but often a liability in coverage. And short of the Falcons having a top-tier pass rush to cover up that fact like the Vikings did, it will expose their defense. The Falcons lack that pass rush today, and investing too much money in Lofton can be prohibitive to building that.

_________________
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:54 pm 
Offline
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
Posts: 26132
Location: North Carolina
That should be 'wary' as opposed to 'weary.' I have difficulty remembering the difference between those two words. :doh:

_________________
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:58 pm 
Offline
Superstar
Superstar

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:31 pm
Posts: 3210
I'm growing weary of your wary ways you wasculy wabbit.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:57 pm 
Offline
Playmaker
Playmaker

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:51 pm
Posts: 379
Location: Estepona, Spain
I've come to the belief that we need to simply let Lofton walk.

The NFL is a passing league now, and your three down linebackers MUST be good in coverage. We already have two LBers that fit that bill in Spoon and Nicholas, so why bring Lofton back into the fold at 6-7m a year, actually making us more vulnerable during nickel/dime defenses?

I think that Dent/Peterson would fill in fine at MLB when we have three LBs on the field and would free up a lot of cap room to sign a player at a different, more pressing position of need.

On another note, the NFL Free Agency bubble is going to explode soon. Contracts are getting seriously out of hand. How can you expect this to continue when signing a single player can take up to 10-15% of your total cap??

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:11 am 
Offline
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:12 pm
Posts: 6301
Location: Planet Claire
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
I'm growing weary of your wary ways you wasculy wabbit.

:lol:

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:03 pm 
Offline
Superstar
Superstar
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:51 pm
Posts: 4933
Location: New York
Stephen Nicholas good at coverage? I think he's more of a liability than Lofton personally.

_________________
Image

I'm a Devin Hester guy.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:29 am 
Offline
Superstar
Superstar
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:59 am
Posts: 2125
Location: Deepinthehearta
Pudge wrote:
That should be 'wary' as opposed to 'weary.' I have difficulty remembering the difference between those two words. :doh:



I have the same problem with "antidote" and "anecdote." This led to a small problem when a friend got bit by a rattlesnake. To make a long story short, I ended up telling him a cute story about a puppy and he was in a coma for 6 weeks.

/hat tip Dennis Miller (pre-wingnut era)

_________________
Fantasy League Champion 2010
Pick Em Co-Champion 2011

We are building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude. We forge our tradition in the spirit of our ancestors. You have our gratitude.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Falcons need to be weary of Lofton’s deal
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:36 pm 
Offline
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:12 pm
Posts: 6301
Location: Planet Claire
Wease wrote:
Pudge wrote:
That should be 'wary' as opposed to 'weary.' I have difficulty remembering the difference between those two words. :doh:



I have the same problem with "antidote" and "anecdote." This led to a small problem when a friend got bit by a rattlesnake. To make a long story short, I ended up telling him a cute story about a puppy and he was in a coma for 6 weeks.

/hat tip Dennis Miller (pre-wingnut era)

Funny even if the formerly funny Miller said it. What happened to that guy anyway? I lost the last shred of respect I had for him when he said, "All I have to do is see the smiles on the faces of children in Baghdad to know we did the right thing." I mean, damn, even if you for some crazy reason agree with the logic of the whole invasion is this acceptable rhetoric for anyone with an IQ over 12?

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  


cron