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44 posts 44 threads Joined: Jul 2019
08-07-2019, 01:54 AM -
Due to crowded depth charts Youth Brett Favre Jersey , cap charges, or just the vagaries of Falcons roster construction, these five players may not be here come September."With the draft dust settled, the next great frontier for the Falcons will be the roster battles, which will allow the team to trim down from 90 players to the mandated 53 in early September. Here in the early going, the draft and late free agency have given us a clearer picture of which veterans might find themselves fighting for their roster lives this summer. Here are five to keep an eye on. RB Brian HillThe writing is more or less on the wall for Hill, who probably needs to snag the fullback job to stand a chance of sticking. The Falcons drafted Qadree Ollison for his size, physicality, blocking skills, and straight line burst, and those are more or less the same boxes Hill ticked when the Falcons drafted him in the fifth round a couple of years ago. With a new offensive coordinator in town, Ollison is clearly intended to be Hill’s replacement and the #3 back at worst. That doesn’t leave Hill much of a chance. TE Logan PaulsenSome will argue for Eric Saubert’s inclusion here, but that doesn’t feel particularly sensible to me. Saubert is still young, still has some upside, and came on as a blocker late in the year, making him a solid third option at worst.Paulsen had a fine year for Atlanta in 2018, but the team already signed Luke Stocker, who also blocks well, is arguably a more productive receiving option, has a little positional flexibility as a dabbler at fullback, and has played under both Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey. Austin Hooper is obviously locked in as the starter and Alex Gray and Jaeden Graham are still lurking as young players who have been marinating on the practice squad Stitched Matt Bosher Jersey , so it doesn’t feel like Paulsen’s chances of sticking around are that great unless this team has really given up on Saubert. G Wes SchweitzerI wouldn’t assume that Schweitzer is a mortal lock for a roster spot, even with Brandon Fusco gone. The Falcons have been curiously (some would argue ridiculously) against the idea of Schweitzer starting, trying to supplant him again and again with players like Fusco and now James Carpenter, Jamon Brown, and Chris Lindstrom. Schweitzer has shown himself to be at worst a passable starting option, but the Falcons just bulked up in a serious way at guard, might find low-price veterans out on the wire later on, and could roll on with Adam Gettis or Sean Harlow as their fourth option to save money. Schweitzer, remember, is in the final year of his deal and could be cut for about $2 million in cap savings.I don’t think you can argue that he should be cut on merit, but roster construction and cap savings could still see him shoved off. DT Ra’Shede Hageman Hageman was going to be on the bubble regardless of what happened in the draft, given how crowded the position is, but he figured to have a leg up on the likes of Mike Bennett, Justin Zimmer, and so forth. With the addition of John Cominsky, who the team envisions as an inside-out player early on, Hageman may very well be pushed off relatively early. This team has Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison, Deadrin Senat, Jack Crawford, Takk McKinley Youth Matt Bosher Jersey , Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Steven Means and now Cominsky pretty well locked in, so Hageman would have to either push hard to be the 10th DL or push his way past Crawford or Davison, which feels unlikely. S Sharrod Neasman File this one in the hope I’m wrong folder for later use, because I cannot for the life of me understand why the Falcons would want to replace Neasman. After he re-joined the Falcons in 2018, he went on to play in 12 games and stabilize the strong safety position, largely taking over for Jordan Richards and playing very well down the stretch. He’s extremely affordable, proven, and a useful special teamer, so there’s no real reason why he shouldn’t be on this team in 2019.Yet the Falcons have, through their draft and free agency moves, signaled that he might not be. J.J. Wilcox was adding to compete for the backup strong safety job, and while he may not actually be a more well-rounded player than Neasman, he brings nasty physicality to a team that seems to be craving it. Free agent additions Afolabi Laguda and Chris Cooper are both plus athletes the team will give a genuine shot too, with Cooper in particular having a potential role due to his ability to play some cornerback. And then there’s the small matter of the team drafting not one but two cornerbacks, which might be part of an effort to have Damontae Kazee spend more time at safety where he excelled a year ago.All of that adds up to a bumpy road for Neasman. He should be able to fend off these guys in a fair fight and I’m hopeful he makes the roster, but I’m no longer 100% confident in that outcome. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Dan Quinn says losing six starters to injured reserve never forced him to lose faith in the Atlanta Falcons, even before three straight wins revived the team's playoff hopes.The Falcons (4-4) have recovered from a 1-4 start despite losing both starting safeties, both first-team offensive guards Stitched Ricardo Allen Jersey , running back Devonta Freeman and linebacker Deion Jones.Sunday's 38-14 win at NFC East-leading Washington showed the Falcons, who play at Cleveland this week, are back as a playoff contender. Even after running back Devonta Freeman and right guard Brandon Fusco were the most recent starters to land on IR, Quinn continued to say the Falcons were a team on the rise who had not peaked."All along I've had real belief in what this '18 team can be," Quinn said Monday. "Although it started under some difficult circumstances, I like the way they've supported each other. I like the toughness they've shown and I feel like we're starting to play like we're capable of playing."The Falcons iced the win over the Redskins by holding the ball for 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, when Washington didn't score. Quinn said the "ability to finish" was a highlight of the game.With Ben Garland starting for Fusco and Wes Schweitzer continuing in his fill-in starting role for injured left guard Andy Levitre, the new-look offensive line played one of its best games.The Falcons converted 10 of 13 third-down plays and scored touchdowns on two of three red-zone possessions. Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards with four touchdowns and one interception — only his third of the season and his first since a Week 2 win over Carolina.Ryan said the Falcons have improved since losing four of their first five games."I think halfway through we were a better football team than we were at the start, and we have to keep it trending in that direction," Ryan said after Sunday's game.Ryan has enjoyed a return to his 2016 form, when he was named the NFL MVP. Led by Ryan, the Falcons have scored touchdowns on 17 of their last 21 red-zone possessions since their opening loss at Philadelphia."I think red zone efficiency has been really good for us," Ryan said. "We didn't do a good job of that in the opener, but since then we've done a pretty good job of that. … When you're scoring touchdowns and taking care of the ball, that's a good recipe for success."Quinn said seeing Julio Jones finally score his first touchdown of the season "was probably the coolest part of the day" in the win over Washington.Jones' teammates rushed down the sideline to celebrate with him following his 35-yard touchdown pass from Ryan."It was a great experience having the team come out there," Jones said.Quinn said Jones "is the most selfless leader probably that any of us have been around.""They were so excited for him because of all the work he does behind the scenes that people don't know about," Quinn said. "… They know what he stands for as a teammate."Atlanta's daunting injury outlook could be improving.The Falcons already have had defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who had a sack on Sunday, return after missing two games with an ankle injury.Jones is eligible to come off IR when the Falcons play Dallas on Nov. 18, though there has been no word on when he'll be cleared from his foot injury. It's not known if Freeman will be able to return from his groin injury when eligible in December.Placekicker Matt Bryant has missed two games with a hamstring injury. More will be known on Wednesday about his chances to return against the Browns.

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