Posted on: October 3, 2009 10:04 pm
Just filling the void of the early bye week with this one...
After three weeks, we've seen some interesting signs - both good and bad. Here are ten observations, in no particular order:
Tony Gonzalez is everything we hoped he'd be. Wow...
The young secondary isn't as bad as we feared, but they still have a long way to go. Brian Williams and Tye Hill may prove to be our CBs of the near future. And yes, I'll go ahead and say it: I'm not expecting to see Chris Houston in a Falcons uniform beyond 2010, if he even lasts that long.
Jason Snelling can play. It's scary to think that Petrino actually cut him to make room for (gulp) Artose Pinner, who was allegedly Petrino's short yard specialist. Yeah, right... nice move, Coach Booby. Snelling is much better all around and excels in short yardage situations. He can block and catch passes out of the backfield too.
The Falcons are still overusing Michael Turner. For heaven's sake Smitty, give the man more rest. 350+ carries a season is too many.
Eric Weems is getting it done as a return man. If he keeps this up he'll stick on the roster purely for his special teams play, regardless of whether he ever blossoms as a wideout. (And as hard as he's been working the last two years, I'm not ready to count him out even at WR.)
We're still undersized in the middle of the d-line, with or without Peria Jerry. I hoped our braintrust would have solved this problem by now. The smoke and mirrors approach to disguising it can only go so far, as the Falcons saw in the wild card loss to the Cardinals.
The preview rags all said the linebacker group would be a problem. HA! Stephen Nicholas, Mike Peterson and Curtis Lofton are looking pretty good early on. (While I'm picking on the previews, the so-called professional analysts also unanimously claimed the Falcons had depth problems on the o-line. Who comes up with this nonsense, and have any of these guys ever even been to the complex??)
Any questions about whether Chauncey Davis would take away Jamaal Anderson's starting job are now officially moot. They're both duds. (Kroy Biermann is part of the answer, but even with his added bulk he's still too small for a lot of snaps in run defense. The Eagles game will be a big test for him. The Philadelphia o-line pancaked him non-stop in last year's game.)
Thomas DeCoud is turning into a beast. In camp and preseason LAST year, he looked lost - hesitating, misreading plays, and missing open field tackles. This year he's coming on strong and showing that he truly deserves the starting spot. Even if William Moore had been healthy all preseason, Decoud probably would have won the job.
We have weapons beyond belief on the offensive side of the ball, but the play calling has suddenly become more conservative than the FOX News Channel. And this three man rush prevent defense has got to go. It almost cost the team the game against the Panthers. Sooner or later it will turn a W into an L. If we're going to put an end to this back-to-back thing, we can't afford to let games slip away.
Posted on: September 24, 2009 4:59 pm
Don't expect to see Jerious Norwood on the field this weekend. He hasn't practiced all week. Otherwise, everyone is fully participating. The remaining Falcons are essentially at full health.
For the Patriots, Wes Welker did not practice on Wednesday due to a knee problem and was limited today. Jerod Mayo is still out from his own knee situation. The Patriots haven't given out any information on how long Mayo is expected to be sidelined, but I don't think the Falcons will see him on the field. New England has a bunch of other guys limited this week, but I'm guessing they'll all play - including Welker.
One positive side to the injury to Peria Jerry = Trey Lewis will DEFINITELY be on the 45-man active roster and in the rotation. The significance is that Lewis is the team's nose tackle for their 3-4 package. That part of the defensive playbook was put on the shelf for the first two games since the team elected to keep Lewis on the inactive list. But with Lewis on the field, the team can throw some blitzes at Tom Brady that the Pats will not have seen before from game film.
The alignment we might see: Lewis, Jonathan Babineaux and Jamaal Anderson in three point stances as the down linemen, with John Abraham and one of the linebackers rushing from the second level.
First guess at the inactive list = John Parker Wilson (third QB), William Moore (hamstring), Vance Walker, Jerious Norwood (head), Will Svitek, Garrett Reynolds, Spencer Adkins, Tye Hill.
At some point, Tye Hill and William Moore will replace other players on the active list (possibly Christopher Owens and Lawrence Sidbury), but there's a strong chance the Falcons will wait until after the bye to start working them. Moore is practicing, and I'm told he's at about 85-90% health - which is where a lot of players are after two weeks of full contact anyway. But he's still way behind on his reps and would be limited to special teams duty if he got on the field. There's not much advantage to putting him in and taking out one of the other guys from those units, so Moore is likely to stay on the inactive list for this game.
It's a lot closer with Hill. He's essentially ready for man coverage assignments. The question is whether he has the playbook down well enough to trust him with the zone schemes, where one slip can quickly become a touchdown for the opposing team. (Imagine him releasing Randy Moss to a safety who isn't there. Not a pretty thought...)
But considering the Patriots have three dangerous WRs and a dangerous tight end, it's possible that the Falcons will elect to go with more man coverage combined with blitz packages. (There isn't much to lose since Brady, Welker and Watson can rip the soft zone to shreds anyway.) If so, activating Hill would be a very good move. Personally, I'd start him in place of Chris Houston.
Posted on: September 19, 2009 3:07 am
I posted the play by play defensive line personnel for last year's week two game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don't track it for every single game, but I do from time to time just to get a feel for the Falcons defensive scheme.
In the season opener against the Miami Dolphins, it should be noted that while Jamaal Anderson was officially the starter, it was Kroy Biermann that got the bulk of the reps in passing situations. Anderson mainly played on first and second downs.
Chauncey Davis was re-signed under the promise that he would be in serious competition for the starting job. Based on playing time, it looks like he's been relegated to the #4 DE spot.
Also, this year's fourth round draft pick Lawrence Sidbury was on the active roster. He mostly played special teams, but he did get on the field for the last two defensive plays. That was an interesting time to make his debut - his first play was with the Dolphins going for it on fourth down.
Last season the team masked its defensive line weaknesses by mixing up schemes, throwing in a variety of blitzes, 3-4 alignments, 3-3 nickel packages, etc. They played Jamaal Anderson as the nose tackle in the 3 man front, occasionally brought Stephen Nicholas up to the line, and did other unusual personnel moves - including the seven man Gritz Blitz.
At least for this game, the Falcons stuck with the four man front and rarely blitzed. They did mix things up between man coverage and zone coverage assignments, but for the most part they stuck with the cover two and the four man rush.
Here's the defensive line personnel for each play:
First defensive series
1-10 MIA 32 = 98 94 95 55
2-07 MIA 35 = 71 94 95 55
3-05 MIA 37 = 71 94 95 55 = Kroy Biermann forced fumble
Second defensive series
1-10 MIA 12 = 55 94 95 98
2-10 MIA 12 = 71 94 95 55 = pass complete, 10 yard gain
1-10 MIA 22 = 98 94 95 55
2-08 MIA 24 = 71 94 95 55
3-05 MIA 27 = 71 94 95 55
1-10 MIA 33 = 71 94 93 55 = 14 yard run up middle vs nickel
1-10 MIA 47 = 98 94 93 71
2-08 MIA 49 = 98 94 93 71
3-04 ATL 47 = 71 94 95 55 = sack by Abraham
2nd quarter, Third defensive series
1-10 MIA 14 = 98 93 94 92
2-06 MIA 18 = 98 94 93 92 = pass complete, 16 yard gain
1-10 MIA 34 = 98 94 93 92 = direct snap to Ronnie Brown
2-06 MIA 38 = 98 93 94 92 = Pat White in game, runs
3-06 MIA 38 = 55 94 95 71
Fourth defensive series
1-10 MIA 36 = 98 94 93 92
2-03 MIA 43 = 98 94 93 92 = Pat White incomplete pass
3-03 MIA 43 = 71 94 95 55 = the "leg" catch - pass complete, 15 yds
1-10 ATL 42 = 55 93 95 71
2-05 ATL 37 = 55 93 95 71 = trick play double pass, 21 yard gain
1-10 ATL 16 = 98 95 93 55 = Peterson forced fumble, Williams return
Fifth defensive series
1-10 MIA 18 = 71 94 95 55
End of first half
3rd quarter, Sixth defensive series
1-10 MIA 16 = 98 94 95 55 = 9 yard run up middle vs nickel
2-01 MIA 25 = 98 94 95 55
3-05 MIA 21 = 71 94 95 55
Seventh defensive series
1-10 MIA 26 = 98 94 95 55 = Jamaal flushes QB, Abraham sack
2-10 MIA 26 = 92 94 95 55
3-09 MIA 27 = 92 94 95 71 = sack by Biermann
Eighth defensive series
1-10 MIA 20 = 98 94 93 92
2-11 MIA 19 = 98 94 93 92
3-05 MIA 25 = 55 94 93 71 = pass complete, 14 yard gain
1-10 MIA 39 = 98 93 94 92
2-06 MIA 43 = 98 94 93 92
1-10 ATL 49 = 98 94 93 92
2-02 ATL 41 = 98 94 95 71
1-10 ATL 38 = 98 94 95 71
2-09 ATL 37 = 98 94 95 71 = nullified by offensive pass interference
2-19 ATL 47 = 92 95 93 55 = interception by Peterson
Ninth defensive series
1-10 MIA 14 = 92 95 93 55 = 14 yard run up middle vs nickel
1-10 MIA 28 = 92 95 93 55 = Lofton forced fumble
4th quarter, Tenth defensive series
1-10 MIA 28 = 98 93 95 92
2-05 MIA 33 = 98 93 95 92 = pass tipped by Jamaal
3-05 MIA 33 = 71 95 93 55
Eleventh defensive series
1-10 MIA 24 = 98 94 95 92
2-10 MIA 24 = 98 94 95 92
3-10 MIA 24 = 71 94 95 55 = pass complete, 21 yard gain
1-10 MIA 45 = 71 94 95 55 = pass complete, 10 yard gain
1-10 ATL 45 = 71 94 95 55
2-05 ATL 40 = 71 94 95 55
1-10 ATL 31 = 71 94 93 55 = Peria Jerry banged up, does not return
2-05 ATL 26 = 71 95 93 55 = Abraham offsides, no play
1-10 ATL 21 = 71 93 95 55 = TD pass nullified by holding, no play
1-20 ATL 31 = 71 95 93 55
2-13 ATL 24 = 98 95 93 71
3-04 ATL 15 = 98 95 93 71
4-04 ATL 15 = 98 95 93 90 = only a three man pass rush
1-09 ATL 09 = 98 95 93 90 = TD pass to Ricky Williams
Posted on: September 18, 2009 1:17 am
I didn't post any of the pass logs from this year's exhibition games, so this could use some explanation.
The QB pass log is a tool that I mainly use in preseason. The idea is that the official stats really don't tell the whole story about a QB's performance.
It really came in handy last year in preseason, when Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley were the two choices for the #3 QB. Harrington had much better official statistics, but Shockley had a much better pass log. The coaches grade the game film rather than the box score, and D.J. won the job. If you looked at the pass logs, it was no surprise.
How it works: you grade each throw for accuracy and for whether the throw was made under duress. It doesn't have to be a complicated grading system. "Pressure" vs "no pressure" and "accurate" vs "off target" will suffice. I add a "close" option for accuracy, which I use for cases where the throw isn't perfect but the receiver might have had a chance to make a play.
I usually don't factor in the distance (mainly to keep things simple), but this year's preseason demonstrated that maybe I should. (Chris Redman had great stats and a great pass log - but never even attempted a deep pass.)
So this time around I added a quick "short" vs "deep" notation as well. I was thinking about adding a mid-range category, but decided to skip it for this game. I said anything 15 yards or more downfield (in the air - not counting yards after the catch) is deep, less than that is short.
Pressure vs no pressure is subjective. So is accurate vs close vs off target. If you review the film, your results might be a little different from mine. (Please do feel free to watch the video again yourselves and let me know about plays where you disagree.)
Also - I include throws on plays called back by penalties. I do NOT grade shovel passes (though I do grade regular screen plays), passes that were intentionally thrown away, or spikes to stop the clock.
Here's what I saw from Matt Ryan's passes against the Dolphins in week 1:
First Atlanta drive
01) no pressure, accurate, short throw - complete to Tony Gonzalez
02) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Jerious Norwood
03) pressure, off target, short - incomplete to Justin Peelle, but negated by pass interference penalty
04) no pressure, off target, deep - incomplete to Roddy White; would have been touchdown but ball was underthrown
05) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Norwood (2 yard pass, 8 yard run after the catch)
06) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Michael Jenkins (3 yard pass, 8 YAC)
07) pressure, off target, deep - incomplete to Gonzalez (TG went 19 yards; the pass went 24 yards)
08) no pressure, accurate, short - pass defended, intended for Roddy
09) no pressure, off target, deep - intended for Jenkins but short and behind him
10) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Roddy for seven yards
11) intentionally thrown away - not graded
Q2 - Third drive
12) no pressure, accurate, deep - complete to Jenkins for 22 yards
13) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Roddy for 12 yards
14) pressure, off target, short - tried to dump off to Michael Turner
15) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Roddy
16) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Gonzalez
17) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Gonzalez
18) no pressure, accurate, short - one yard TD to Ovie Mughelli
19) no pressure, close, short - incomplete to Gonzalez
20) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Jenkins
21) shovel pass - not graded
22) no pressure, off target, deep - missed Norwood on easy TD after defender fell down.
Q3 - Sixth drive
23) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Roddy (pass was behind line, and Roddy ran for six yards after the catch)
24) no pressure, off target, deep - questionable play call to throw the bomb on 3rd and 1. Roddy got past both the CB and safety, but the ball was badly underthrown and should have been intercepted.
25) no pressure, accurate, short - ten yard gain by Norwood, but it was 3rd and 16
26) intentionally thrown away - not graded
27) no pressure, accurate, short - pass defended, intended for TG
28) pressure, accurate, short - Dolphins on all-out blitz; Ryan throws it four yards to TG, who runs 16 more yards for the touchdown.
Q4 - Ninth drive
29) shovel pass - not graded
30) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Gonzalez
31) no pressure, off target, short - overthrew Roddy
32) no pressure, off target, short - threw on run and missed Roddy
33) no pressure, accurate, short - 2 yard pass to Ovie Mughelli, who ran for 19 more yards
34) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Roddy for 3 yards
35) no pressure, accurate, short - complete to Jenkins but lost yardage
36) no pressure, accurate, short - 1 yard pass to Norwood, 11 YAC
37) no pressure, accurate, short - pass defended, intended for TG
Eleventh drive - no passes thrown.
Totals = 37 passes thrown (36 officially + 1 negated by penalty). 33 passes graded (2 thrown away, 2 shovel passes).
With no pressure: 22 were accurate, 1 was close, 6 were off target. (4 of the 6 off target throws were deep passes.)
Under duress: 1 was accurate, 3 were off target.
Deep passes: 1 was accurate, 5 were off target.
It's pretty clear that Matt Ryan is deadly with the short stuff (22-1-2 when not pressured) but hasn't found his touch yet on the deep stuff (but at least he hit one of them - he missed everything 20+ yards in preseason.)
It's also pretty clear that the Falcons offensive line is doing an outstanding job in pass protection. 29 of the 33 graded throws were not under duress. The two throwaways both had enough time to make a play, but no one was open. The downside was the two sacks allowed, and at least one of the throws under duress came because of a miscommunication up front. But that's still a fine performance overall for the first game of the year.
Posted on: September 12, 2009 6:43 pm
The Atlanta Falcons gave up their 2010 seventh round draft pick to the Rams for Tye Hill. They had earlier given up their second round pick to the Chiefs for Tony Gonzalez.
But in addition to the regular seven draft picks per team, the league also awards 32 compensatory draft picks to offset player losses due to free agency. The league has a proprietary (translation: secret) formula it uses to determine which free agents count and in what rounds the resulting compensatory draft picks will fall.
Some keys: not every player counts. The secret formula includes factors such as salary, playing time, postseason results and other awards/honors - with both the old and new teams. Reverse engineering of the formula has found that by far the biggest factor is the salary received with the new team.
Also, only players that are true unrestricted free agents and who sign with their new team during the unrestricted free agency period count. The signing period typically starts March 1 and runs through July, subject to minor calendar-related adjustments. (This year's period opened on Feb 27 and ended July 27.)
Players who were released by their former clubs do not count. Players who sign after June 1 that were not tendered offers by their former clubs also do not count.
Compensatory picks are based on NET loss of free agents. If you lose four players that count to other teams but sign three, you have a net loss of one compensatory free agent. You would typically expect to receive one compensatory pick.
No matter how many players you lose, you can receive at most four compensatory picks.
The formula places values on the players as well as counting them. It's possible to get an extra pick if you sign the same number of guys as you lose - if the value of the guys you lose is much greater than the value of the ones you sign. But the picks awarded this way will only be late seventh rounders.
Also note that there are always 32 and only 32 picks awarded. If the formula determines that more than 32 are deserved, only the highest ranking 32 will be awarded. If the formula comes up short, the remaining picks will be given to the teams that would be selecting first if there were an eighth round of the draft. (That happened this year - and the Raiders and Chiefs got the final two picks of the draft as a result.)
It can get a little fuzzy as to which free agents count and which don't, and in what rounds the resulting picks will fall. The key factor appears to be the salary with the new team. Best guess = guys with salaries below $800k will not count at all. Guys above $900k probably will. For the ones right in that $800-900k territory, playing time will decide it.
Here are the Falcons players, both coming and going, and how they might affect the Falcons draft in 2010:
Mike Peterson - reportedly signed for 2 years, $6.6 million. He counts as a player signed by Atlanta and will have a value around the 6th round.
Grady Jackson - reportedly signed a 3 year deal with the Lions for $8 million. (Congratulations to the big man. Falcons fans wanted him back, but we can understand our team not competing with that kind of offer.) Best guess is he'll count as a seventh rounder, but he may be on the borderline of the 6th round..
Lawyer Milloy - will not count. He signed with the Seahawks far too late. (The idea is that these extra picks offset your losses in free agency. If you don't even bother to tender him an offer, you didn't really lose him. You threw him away.)
Brett Romberg - apparently signed a two year deal at an average of $800k per year. The salary should be too low to count, and even if it's close, he's not a starter. Unless someone gets hurt, he won't play enough snaps to count at all.
Verron Haynes - was out of the league last year. Does not count.
Will Svitek - was released by the Chiefs last year. Does not count.
Domonique Foxworth - signed a 4 year, $27 million deal with the Ravens. My best guess is that he'll count as a 4th rounder, but there's a possibility he'll end up counting for a 3rd round pick.
Keith Brooking - signed a 3 year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys. I think the borderline between 6th and 7th round picks will be around $2.5 million per year, so I suspect Brooking will count as a 7th rounder.
Michael Boley - signed a 5 year, 25 million deal with the Giants. He'll be right around the borderline between a 4th and 5th. I'll be optimistic and say a 4th, but playing time could drop him to the 5th - so root for him to start every game after this week and play nearly every snap.
Jeremy Newberry - signed June 15, then retired. I'm 99% certain he doesn't count.
Marty Booker - signed in August. Does not count. (Ditto for Robert Ferguson and Jamie Winborn.)
I see four players who left Atlanta that will count and only one incoming player. The Mike Peterson signing will offset the Grady Jackson loss, leaving Atlanta three compensatory picks: a fourth rounder, a second fourth rounder or fifth rounder, and a seventh rounder.
We'll still feel the impact of losing the 2nd rounder in the Tony Gonzalez trade, but with potentially two extra picks coming at the end of round four, the Falcons still have the freedom to trade their own 5th and/or 6th round picks for extra help if needed.
Posted on: September 11, 2009 8:40 pm
After the third preseason game, the Falcons coaching staff expressed optimism that William Moore would be back on the practice field soon. They announced right away that he would be held out from the exhibition with the Ravens as a precaution but did not express any concern about him missing time during the regular season.
Well, we saw last year just how ongoing those hamstring issues can be with Laurent Robinson - who ended up playing WR for all of five quarters during 2008. And it may be starting again with Moore - he was completely out from practice all week and is listed as out for the opener against the Dolphins.
Considering he's still not even practicing yet and that he didn't get a single rep during the entire preseason, don't expect to see him on the field at all for the Falcons until after the bye.
Even then, the odds are growing every day that he'll only play special teams this season - as was the case with the injury-free Thomas DeCoud last year.
Posted on: September 4, 2009 2:37 am
I was glad to have the chance to see this one in the Dome. I travel a lot and miss most of the home games. The new vid screens are sweet.
I recorded the broadcast but haven't watched it yet. From my vantage point, I didn't get to see detail of the backup offensive linemen (Adam Speer, Ryan Stanchek, Jose Valdez, Ben Wilkerson, Mike Butterworth) who are in the hunt for the last roster spots and/or practice squad jobs. I know the mop-up unit as a whole didn't look as good as the regular second unit, but that's obviously no surprise.
I'll have to watch the broadcast tomorrow to see how well each one of them did individually.
Quick takes from the Dome: the offensive play calls were way too basic and conservative. The defense did pull some blitzes, but those seemed pretty tame as well. The two that I remember most were both delayed blitzes that were too slow in developing to have any chance of success. Again it felt like the coaching staff kept things simple to evaluate how well the kids did the basics.
I may change my mind on that one after watching the TV broadcast, but that's how it felt - this was all about evaluations, and the coaches didn't put much effort into actually trying to win this one. Some fans booed when the team ran on third and long to end the opening drive. I understand their frustration - everyone in the Dome knew that was the end of the night for the starters, and it felt like the coaches were packing it in just to get them off the field.
Christopher Owens had a bad game. A *really* bad game. I know lots of fans want the Falcons to start him instead of Brent Grimes, but he proved he isn't ready. He's a fine prospect, but you really don't want rookies or even second year players to start in the secondary if you can avoid it. (Yes, the Falcons are doing it. But that's exactly why we've all complained about the secondary for the last two years...)
Chris Houston had another off game. I'll bet we'll soon start hearing speculation that Tye Hill will replace him instead of Grimes. Don't blame Houston for that first TD pass though. Mike Peterson had the coverage on that one and got torched.
I've posted a few times that Keith Zinger struck me in practice as the most improved Falcons player since last season and that I wouldn't be surprised if he landed the #3 job. I say he nailed it tonight. Tony Gonzalez starts, Justin Peelle is the #2, and Zinger is the #3. Considering Zinger was the fifth string TE even for the Rams game, that's a nice accomplishment.
Robert Ferguson may have lost his roster spot. Eric Weems stepped up and had another solid game. Ferguson didn't.
If the Falcons only keep five WRs, Weems made a pretty strong case that he should be the #5. Also, Weems and Chandler Williams have been the main candidates (virtually the only candidates) for the punt return job. So the Falcons will either have to (a) keep six WRs, (b) keep Weems or Williams instead of Ferguson, or (c) find another punt returner that hasn't had many reps in preseason. After this game, Ferguson can only hope for (a) - and then hope he's the #6 instead of Troy Bergeron or Williams.
Vance Walker has played well enough to win a practice squad spot, but it's tough to say he's going to make the roster. Thomas Johnson has had the inside track as the fourth DT and has been pretty solid, but Walker also had good game and is getting better every day. He clearly beat out Tywain Myles and Jason Jefferson, and he's making it extremely tough to cut him.
The twist is that whoever wins the fourth DT job will be on the inactive list every week unless someone else gets too banged up to play. If the coaches figure that Walker will have a few more weeks of practice before he sees action, they might choose to keep him rather than risk losing him to another team by putting him on waivers and sending him to the practice squad.
Kroy Biermann bulked up in the offseason and it showed. He may have been playing against the second unit, but he had a monster game. (If a second string DE plays lights out against the second unit OL, that still counts as a good performance.) I say the Falcons will use one of the extra roster spots to keep all five defensive ends.
Maurice Lucas had a sack tonight, but I don't know if he's earned a practice squad job. I'm guessing the sack won't make a significant difference - if he hadn't won it already, he still hasn't won't it after this game.
I saw Jamie Winborn make two solid plays and botch one pretty badly. Offhand, I really don't remember too much from Spencer Adkins or Robert James. They each had a few tackles but nothing that stood out (either good or bad) in my mind.
Coy Wire and Tony Gilbert are set as the #4 and #5 LBs. Winborn probably has the edge for the #6 spot. Adkins and James are both eligible for the practice squad if they don't make it as a seventh linebacker or beat out Winborn for the sixth spot.
I'll have to watch the broadcast in detail, but NONE of the backup safeties really jumped out at me during the game live.
Finally, on the QBs - John Parker Wilson started out rough and looked a little gun-shy. But he got it together and had a couple of really solid drives. He showed he has some solid potential - it was pretty obvious why Mike Mularkey says he really likes the kid.
I still feel JPW and DJ are both good candidates for the #3 job but that neither of them is ready for real game action. Bulldog and Crimson Tide fans will feel differently about it, but frankly it doesn't matter which one wins the #3 spot. If either one of them sees the field this year, it's a disaster.
So it's Redman as the #2 unless the team picks up someone from outside the organization. And as I mentioned in a thread on the Falcons message board, Smitty was asked point blank after practice yesterday if Redman would be the backup QB again this year. Smitty dodged the question.
I thought that was rather interesting. Considering Redman was highly respected as the backup last season and that Smitty said he had a great game against the Chargers, it's hard to understand Smitty not being willing to say Redman is his #2. I say the team might be considering an upgrade after the Saturday roster cuts. This year's #2 QB might be someone not currently in the Falcons organization...
Posted on: September 2, 2009 2:31 am
Since we just acquired a CB from the team we played the week before, it seemed pretty obvious to double check and see how well the guy did against us.
Executive summary: he did well in pass coverage, but he couldn't tackle a running back to save his life.
If by chance you still have a copy of the video (you DO record and save every single Falcons game, right?) here are the plays to review:
13:00 remaining Q1, 2nd and 3 at Rams 27 - Michael Turner runs around the right side for a 9 yard gain and a first down. Hill lined up on the defensive left/offensive right side, covering Roddy White. He attempted to tackle Turner but missed. (A CB attempting to bring down MT seems almost unfair, so it's hard to blame him too much for that one.)
7:20 Q1, 1st and 10 at ATL 30 - Hill has coverage on Roddy. The ball was thrown past them out of bounds. It's possible that Matt Ryan saw the coverage and threw it over their heads intentionally. Regardless, Hill was on Roddy like a suit. That one had almost zero chance of being caught.
4:14 Q1, 2nd and 10 at Rams 25 - Hill lines up on Michael Jenkins. The Rams did a lot of zone coverage, and it appears that Hill was on the outside zone on this play. When Jenkins broke to the middle, Hill let him go. Chris Long was the defender in coverage on him when Jenkins caught the short pass. (Or at least it appeared that way - if that play was supposed to be man coverage, Hill should have stayed with him. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. It wasn't his play.)
3:33 Q1, 1st and 10 at Rams 14 - Hill was the DB with the one-on-one coverage on Tony Gonzalez. TG gets the touchdown. Big surprise, huh? Hill was right there with Gonzalez, but the throw was positioned so that TG could fend him off. He did just that. Six points for Atlanta.
Trent Green said he loved to throw to TG in those situations, because NOBODY could beat Tony in single man coverage. The linebackers weren't quick/agile enough to keep up with him, and the DBs weren't big enough to avoid being screened out by him as Hill was on this play.
That was the ONLY pass that Atlanta completed against Hill. Ryan and Shockley only threw it his way twice, choosing to take on Bartell or Wade (the nickel corner) instead.
14:42 Q2 - 1st and 10 at ATL 9 - Hill misses a tackle on Norwood. I can understand bouncing off of Michael Turner. But if you get your hands on Norwood, you ought to be able to get him down. Or at least hang on until help arrives.
13:57 Q2 - 2nd and 15 at ATL 19 - D.J. Shockley throws a pass to Marty Booker. Booker botches the catch, tipping the ball into the air. The refs say that James Laurinaitis made the interception. (Note - he didn't. The ball hit the ground, and Road Warrior Junior secured it on the short hop. I have no idea why Smitty didn't throw the red flag.)
Hill was NOT the one in coverage on Booker. He had the outside zone. But he was running in towards the ball and had as good a shot at it as Laurinaitis, who collided with him while making the "catch".
8:19 Q2 - 1st and 10 at ATL 16 - Hill AGAIN misses a tackle on Norwood. This time Jerious put a pretty lame move on Hill and ran right past him. Hill didn't even attempt to make the hit.
And that was the last play where Hill had any significant involvement. Quick take: he was considered good enough by the Rams to start. He was good enough that the Falcons QBs went elsewhere on all but two throws, and he didn't allow separation on either of those.
So he had a nice game in coverage. Or at least he was better against us than our CBs were against the Rams, and far better than our guys were against the Chargers. Perhaps he really is an upgrade - as long as we're not counting on him to play run defense. That part of his game was ugly with a capital Ugh.