Falcons: Exclusive Q&A with TD - Printable Version
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Exclusive Q&A with TD - The Don™ - 01-10-2012 09:47 PM
Q: As you’ve had some time to reflect, what are your thoughts on how the season ended?
A: We came into this season with very strong expectations both internally and externally. We made some aggressive moves both in the draft and free agency. Our expectations were for us to be very productive on both the offensive and defensive sides [of the ball]. We had a solid regular-season by finishing 10-6. We had an opportunity to get into the second season and once again, unfortunately, we came up short in the playoffs. That leaves us all, once again, with a bad taste in our mouths.
Q: How would you evaluate the money spent over the last few years in free agency on cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end Ray Edwards?
A: First of all, we were aggressive with the acquisition of Dunta Robinson. Our expectations were for Dunta to come in here and have a presence as a physical corner, help us make plays on the ball and prevent teams from racking up a lot of yards against this defense. Dunta has shown that he can produce for us. Unfortunately, this year our defense was inconsistent and at times so was Dunta. I still believe that we’re getting solid production out of Dunta Robinson in his game. With Ray Edwards, our thought was to bring a defensive end into our organization who brought elements of grit, toughness and competitiveness. We feel strongly that he has done that. He was outstanding [against] the run. He had a presence that we haven’t had at left defensive end in the run game this year. As per his pass rush numbers, obviously both he and we would have liked his pass rush numbers to up around the eight to 10 area. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to fruition. But again, we’re confident that Ray can come back next year with one more year under his belt; with a different system and produce for us.
Q: How do you evaluate the offensive line, especially considering a comparison to a year ago?
A: Unfortunately, for the offensive line we started out with challenges. We struggled in Chicago early on in the season and Matt [Ryan] was exposed to a number of hits that he shouldn’t [have been] exposed to. With that said, we settled down well. We made appropriate adjustments along the way during the season. That enabled us to protect Matt better with each game. We finished sixth overall in sacks allowed so we definitely saw a marked improvement as the season progressed. With that said, we still need to develop as an offensive line. We need to make sure that we get the toughness and physicality out of the offense that we desire from year-to-year. It’s a very, very important part of our offense. We need to continue to protect our franchise-quarterback and we need to continue to move the defensive line so that we’re able to provide holes and opportunities for our run game; be that six inches or six yards.
Q: What’s your view of Matt Ryan in comparison to the league’s best – Aaron Rodgers, Peyton and Eli Manning and Drew Brees?
A: I’m very impressed with Matt Ryan and how he continues to grow from year-to-year. I think he continued to grow this year. I thought he had a fine season. As you know, Matt had the franchise-mark for passing yards this year. I thought he navigated through some difficult times and some challenges with some of our inconsistencies with our offense this year. He stayed positive and he continued to produce well. I think in my mind, there is no doubt that Matt Ryan is one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Q: Can the running game be what you need it to be with Michael Turner, considering all of his carries over the last few years?
A: Michael continues to produce well for us. He amassed over 1,300 yards for us for the second straight season. When we have called his number, he’s stepped up and got the tough yards. We’ll always continue to evaluate our running game to see what we need to [improve in order] to have a multi-faceted and versatile football team; both in the run and the pass game.
Q: In hindsight, was giving up all of the (five) picks for Julio Jones worth it?
A: We said when we made the very aggressive move on Julio Jones, that this was not only a move for the here-and-the-now. This was a move for long term success of this organization and I believe 100 percent in what we did being the right move for this organization at this time in our evolution. Obviously, Julio Jones had a standout season for a rookie. He had more touchdown grabs — [eight] — than any rookie this year. Despite missing three games, he had the most prolific season for a Falcons rookie in our team history. We are very confident that he’ll continue to grow with Matt in this offense. He’ll continue to be a standout football player and help us produce for years to come.
Q: Can this defense, as constructed, compete for the Super Bowl title?
A: I believe that our defense has continued to improve since 2008. Obviously, there are still areas that we can improve upon. We need to continue to pressure the quarterback. We need to continue to get our hands on balls and capitalize on interceptions. With that said, I love the tenacity of this defense. I’m encouraged by the direction of this defense. Like I’ve said since the very beginning in 2008, we will always continue to look to see where we can upgrade our talent across the depth chart and specifically on the defensive side of the ball.
Q: What will you all look for in your new defensive coordinator?
A: I appreciate everything that Brian VanGorder has done for this team over the last four years. He’s put his heart and soul into helping to create a very aggressive and passionate defense. I personally appreciate that. Moving forward, this defense needs to continue its growth and evolution as a passionate and fiery defense, one that is going to fly to the football, disrupt, be opportunistic and capitalized on opportunities to turn the game around; flip the game in critical situations. We’ll look for a coordinator who will compliment Coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field. Obviously, that coordinator is going to work hand-and-hand with Mike Smith in helping to create a very aggressive defense. Our hope is that we will, in the very near future, land that individual who we think is very appropriate with his approach to helping this defense grow.
Q: What has to happen differently for the Atlanta Falcons to have a breakthrough in the playoffs?
A: As a general manager, it’s my responsibility to step back and analyze what went on throughout the football operations. Not only on-the-field, but off-the-field as well; in the personnel department and from a coaching perspective. I believe that myself and Mike Smith will have [many] discussions, along with Arthur Blank to discuss what we need to change and what we need to adjust moving forward. This team needs to continue to be much more focused and consistent on offense in all facets of the game. Both in the offseason and in-season. We need to be an opportunistic football team through and through. I am, as well as Mr. Blank and Mike Smith, are very driven to make the adjustments needed to provide the fan base with a team that they can be proud of.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - The Don™ - 01-10-2012 09:52 PM
The bolded part about Turner intrigues me. You know TD is not gonna say anything blatantly but is TD hinting at the possibility of getting an all around type RB?
The part about being an aggressive defense is no different than what I heard in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. I'm gonna take the "see it to believe it" approach with that one. Although, I have optimism that we are gonna get more aggressive next season. Less zone, more man. Better blitzes. Just my hunch.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - atljbo - 01-11-2012 01:48 AM
Yea.. Those turner comments (near the end) said alot to me.
Also Mort said the falcons would love to get Spags
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - The Don™ - 01-11-2012 02:23 AM
(01-11-2012 01:48 AM)atljbo Wrote: Yea.. Those turner comments (near the end) said alot to me.First time I heard that. I wonder if we can convince him to come here instead of the Eagles.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - RnB - 01-11-2012 03:16 AM
Thanks for the article.
As for your bolded parts, not really much there in my eyes. The comment about the running game didn't indicate to me that we would have a different starting running back. However, if we don't re-sign Snelling it could open up the gate for some sort of change at RB. Whether that is using Quizz more and Turner less or signing/drafting another versatile RB, who knows? Until we see what sort of offensive change we have, and how we handle Snelling, its hard to say where Turner fits in or if his role will change next season.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - atljbo - 01-11-2012 03:21 AM
This draft is deep at RB
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - FullMetalFalcon23 - 01-11-2012 05:11 AM
Very deep at RB I was reading up on some of them and prolific backs in college are going to be available through into the end of the fourth judging in the grades that the most elite backs are being given. Of course though the run on the players could be very different. It is mad to think that 5 years ago Rogers could have been a low 1st or high 2nd rounder with his production versatility and durability. Definitely has been a shift in the level of talent and readiness of players. I don't think that the poor early success of recent 1st round running backs helps either, but if it is a position we want to address now or next year it certainly helps us to get a quality starter running back from day one in their career without burning a first. Of course all this I dependant on having a better o line to run and pass from.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - Tigz - 01-11-2012 08:21 AM
Aggressive defense ya right he talks one thing but has put out a vanilla defensive throughout the years.
Exclusive Q&A with TD - juraitwaluzka - 01-11-2012 08:50 AM
(01-11-2012 08:21 AM)Tigz Wrote: Aggressive defense ya right he talks one thing but has put out a vanilla defensive throughout the years.
BVG is gone. There is a much better chance now than there was a few days ago.
RE: Exclusive Q&A with TD - keithbrooking56 - 01-11-2012 10:19 AM
I respect TD but his constant proclamations about our having an "aggressive" defense really make me question what games he is watching. Our bland vanilla approach with almost no blitzing is "aggressive"? Er, ok...