2006 Season: 7-9
Head Coach: Jim Mora Jr.(fired)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Knapp(fired)
Defensive Coordinator: Ed Donatell(Fired)
Pro-Bowl: DeAngelo Hall(CB) and Alge Crumpler(TE)
Talk about an up and down offense. The Falcons ranked #1 in rush ypg with 183.7 and they ranked dead last in pass ypg with just 148.2. Michael Vick started the season great but he fizzled mid way through the season and seemingly killed any hope for the Falcons to make the playoffs. Even though he did post the worst completion percentage of his career as a starter, he still managed to have his best overall season. Vick threw for 2,474 yards, 20 tds and 13 ints, Vick also became the first quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards(1039). Warrick Dunn also rushed for 1,000 yards and chipped in with 4TDs. Jerious Norwood completed the Falcons triple threat, he rushed for over 600 yards and 2 TDs in his rookie season. One of the biggest weakness of Atlanta is their receiving core, although Alge Crumpler made it to the Pro-Bowl, he had just 56 receptions and an impressive 8 touchdowns, which both led the team. Michael Jenkins had a disappointing season with only catching 39 passes for just 436 yards and 7 tds. Obviously the biggest need is a WR that can actually catch the ball, I don't have the exact statistic if front of me, but i'm sure the Falcons led the NFL in dropped passes.
Atlanta's defense was much like the offense in a sense, they could stop the run, but couldn't defend the pass. This mostly was because of the lack of another corner back playing well to compliment DeAngelo Hall, who made the Pro-Bowl with 58 tackles and 4 interceptions. They had great play from their linebackers, Keith Brooking had 136 tackles 2.5 sacks, Demorrio Williams had 90 tackles and 1 sack and Michael Boley racked up 85 tackles and 3 sacks in his sophomore season. A big weakness in the secondary is safety. They have Lawyer Milloy, who had a great season making 98 tackles and 2 sacks but Milloy isn't getting any younger and he could retire in a year or two. So they desperately need a replacement for Chris Crocker who had a significantly worse season than his good 2005 season.
Atlanta was one of the many teams that had to go through multiple kickers before settling on one. It was till Morten Andersen came out of retirement that Falcons had a steady kicking game. Andersen hit 87% of his FG attempts, that was his best season since 1985. Punting the ball is a totally different story, Matt Koenen had an average of 42.1, that ranked 26th overall. Allen Rossum once again, took over both kick returns and punt returns. On kick returns he averaged 23.5 and surpassed 1,000 yards, that was good enough to rank him number 20 in the league, punt return wasn't as good, he averaged just 7.8 ypr.
Their biggest need lies on defense. They are likely to take a safety with the 10th overall pick, either LaRon Landry of LSU or Reggie Nelson of Florida. They would like to replace Chris Crocker and then work on a replacement for Lawyer Milloy most likely next off season. The Falcons would also like another defensive tackle. Besides Grady Jackson getting older and Jordan Babineaux the only really "depth" they have at DT, expect them to go after one in the 2nd round. Also, wide receiver remains an issue for Atlanta, expect them to address that need this year because of the great WR class this year. They also might look to add depth at their O-line.
Positions that must be addressed during the draft.
2. Defensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Offensive line
5. Corner Back
It's basically a coin flip between who Atlanta will take. It's out of LaRon Landry(LSU) and Reggie Nelson(FLA). Landry is the better of the two in my opinion, he is a great tackler that has great size and excellent instincts for the game. But he lacks in speed which may be the only reason the Falcons don't take him. Nelson is a great athlete with good speed and a nose for the ball. He is also a big hitter and is great against the run, but he doesn't have alot of experience at the D-1, he spent the first two years of his college career at a junior college.
Atlanta needs depth here and also someone that can start. I think the more talented DTs will have been long gone, but there is always one that slips into the second round. That guy could be Quinn Pitcock(OSU). I have mentioned him before as being extremely strong, good speed and a solid tackler, also great against the run. All things the Falcons are looking for. They could also be tempted to take someone like Ray McDonald, who is a defensive end, but is versatile enough to play well at defensive tackle.
They have plenty of speed at wide receiver, but what they don't have is someone with great hands. That should be their goal to get in the 3rd or later rounds, someone with great speed and soft hands. Dallas Baker(FLA), who is great in the red zone and has great hands. Another player that would be a perfect fit is Joel Filani out of Texas Tech. He caught 91 balls, 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Not a huge need here, they would just like to add depth in case of injury. They will probably end up taking at least two guys on the offensive line. Maybe Kasey Studdard(TEX), Ken Shackleford(UGA) or Stephon Heyer out of Maryland.
Again, not a big need here, more or less a 3rd or 4th type guy here. Maybe someone in the later rounds, possibly second day they would go after someone at corner. Kenny Scott(GT), John Talley(DUKE) and C.J.Wilson(BAY) would be good in the ATL.
The Falcons should be a playoff team, possibly a division winner. The NFC South is likely to be one of the most competitive so they will have a tough time, but they have a very talented team, hopefully Bobby Petrino can get them playing good football like they did at the beginning of the season. Also I should mention, Jerrious Norwood is going to be the starter in 2007, the Falcons loved the way he played this year.
Monday, February 12, 2007
2006 Season: 7-9