Falcons: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - Printable Version
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Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - Polar Bear Jones - 01-25-2012 02:55 PM
Falcons questions: Fixing five mistakes starts with Sam Baker
1:12 pm January 25, 2012, by Jeff Schultz
Last week in the opener of this cyber mini-series, I looked at the possibility of the Falcons parting ways with Michael Turner, who despite finishing third in the NFL in rushing this season was showing signs of wear and might not be worth the $5 million in salary he is due next season. It stirred a lot of debate and, honestly, I was surprised by how many folks wanted him traded or cut.
Today, I’m focusing on five mistakes (or generally perceived ones). Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff hasn’t made a lot of them, but there are five high-profile ones (actually, four by Dimitroff and one by then-general manager Rich McKay). Dimitroff didn’t ask for my advice, but hey, I’m not charging or anything. This time, I’ll have a series of polls so you can weigh in with your votes on each player (I neglected to put up a poll on the Turner blog).
Since the Falcons’ No. 1 concern in my view is the offensive line, let’s start with . . .
• Mistake No. 1: Tackle Sam Baker: In Dimitroff’s first draft in 2008, he traded two second-round picks (34th and 48th) and a fourth-rounder to Washington for the Redskins’ first-round pick (21st overall), third- and fifth-rounder. Baker was taken with the first pick. The thinking: He would be the left tackle to protect the blindside of the just-drafted quarterback, Matt Ryan. It’s hard to know how much of Baker’s problems have been because of back injuries but we know he hasn’t been good. He got beat out this season by Will Svitek. Baker has one year left on his contract at $2.576,250. With option bonuses, his cap hit next year actually would be $3.7 million. The Falcons can find a cheaper backup. Easy call: Cut him.
• Mistake No. 2. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry: He was the Falcons’ first-round pick (24th overall) in 2009, getting a five-year, $10.35 million contract with $7.55 million guaranteed. He has two sacks in three seasons and, also partly because of injuries, he just hasn’t been good enough to make an impact and win a starting job. Jerry’s base salary next season is only $845,000, though he carries a cap hit of $1.95 million. Money’s really not the issue. It’s more like: How long can the Falcons wait? More than likely, they’ll see if they can do better in the offseason before making a decision. Tough call: Stall.
• Mistake No. 3. Cornerback Dunta Robinson: He was signed in 2010 for six years, $57 million with $25.5 million guaranteed. As investments go, this would’ve been like if Arthur Blank expanded Home Depots to include a seafood buffet. Robinson never was known as a shut-down cornerback, but he certainly figured to be the best defensive back on the team and he hasn’t been (that’s Brent Grimes). He has a base salary of $6 million next season. I know. You think: Cut him! Not so fast. Of that $6 million, $5 million is guaranteed. Add signing bonus proration and these are your choices: $7.75 million to keep him, $$6.75 million to cut him. It’s not worth it. Painful call: Keep him.
• Mistake No. 4. Defensive end Ray Edwards: He played better down the stretch but still wasn’t nearly the player the Falcons expected him to be or worth the five-year, $30 million contract. Edwards clearly was affected by his late-summer knee surgery, but to what degree? In many games he seemed to disappear. His alibi: He was doing what coaches asked him to do, which explains the low sack production (3½). If that’s true, we’ll see if things change under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. But like Robinson, Edwards isn’t going anywhere. The Falcons would take a $3.55 million hit just to cut him and $4.555 million if he plays. Besides, it’s too early to jump ship. Easy call: Keep him.
• Mistake No. 5. Fullback Ovie Mughelli. Actually, it was then-general manager Rich McKay, at the urging of Bobby Petrino, who gave Mughelli a six-year, $18 million contract in 2007. Can he block? Yes. Did it hurt the Falcons when Mughelli was injured this season? Yes. But $3 million a year for a fullback who seldom runs or catches the ball is absurd. The cap hit will be minimal if he’s cut. The $3,733,335 hit if he plays is crazy. There are cheaper blocking backs out there. Easy call: Cut him.
There you go. The cyber-floor is yours, and the polls are up.
By Jeff Schultz
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - swanlee - 01-25-2012 05:01 PM
Ovie a mistake? wow that is a reach, he may not catch but he was not brought here to do anything but bulldoze people and he has been great in that regard.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - Anomaly - 01-25-2012 05:05 PM
(01-25-2012 05:01 PM)swanlee Wrote: Ovie a mistake? wow that is a reach, he may not catch but he was not brought here to do anything but bulldoze people and he has been great in that regard.It's the AJC, you shouldn't expect good informative articles.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - FormerKCfan - 01-25-2012 05:22 PM
Ohhhh, man. Do I have a post based on this drabble! Not yet, because I have to be sure of my facts and dates but to advise of the upcoming, it will be about Hunt Jr./Pioli vs Blank/Dimitroff. A little around the horn on the response but apt. Stay tuned. --Former
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - Beef - 01-25-2012 06:13 PM
Baker, Jerry, & Robinson were absolutely unforseen busts for us. You get some right, you get some wrong. To expect perfection is unreasonable, especially in the world of draft picking.
I agree with his suggestions though. Cut Baker, let Jerry stay unless something better falls into our lap, and let Robinson stay. BUT, I still think Robinson needs to move to either NB or FS. I don't care about the fact he's getting paid $7.75M. It's moot. He's a $6.75M cap hit either way we slice it. And just because he's making $7.75M shouldn't mean we HAVE to play him at outside CB. If we can put a better player out there and upgrade NB or FS at the same time, then do it. He's going to cost us money no matter what anyway.
As for Edwards, it's dumb to consider him a mistake after one season under a shitty defensive scheme that made the entire pass rush predictable and easier to defend otherwise. Our DT's are average, our blitz packages were below average and predictable as fuck, and our pass coverage was very inconsistent. If Nolan can even marginally improve those 3 things, our DE's are going to be a nightmare. The athleticism is absolutely there. But when those other things are lacking, it doesn't matter how great you are, it's simply easier to defend against you.
And Schultz's take on Ovie is just laughable. Turner isn't a 1000 yard RB without him, much less 1300+. Ovie fit Mularkey's shitty scheme perfectly and he did his job as good as a FB can possibly do. And for that, he was worth the cost.
That said, Ovie, like Turner, is one of the roots to our issue with predictability. You line him up in front of Turner and everyone on the planet knows exactly what's coming. Which, IMO, makes our entire offense predictable. Because when Ovie is not in there, we're more than likely passing and everyone knows that too. So get rid of Ovie and get rid of Turner and we fix that problem, IMO.
On a side note, I freaking hate Schultz.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - juraitwaluzka - 01-25-2012 06:37 PM
Quote:BUT, I still think Robinson needs to move to either NB or FS. I don't care about the fact he's getting paid $7.75M. It's moot. He's a $6.75M cap hit either way we slice it. And just because he's making $7.75M shouldn't mean we HAVE to play him at outside CB. If we can put a better player out there and upgrade NB or FS at the same time, then do it. He's going to cost us money no matter what anyway.
I really really like this idea.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - phocis850 - 01-26-2012 01:04 AM
I'd like to see Ovie around for one last year. Cuz I'm sure Turner will be here and he is pure horse shit without a blocker.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - swanlee - 01-26-2012 09:59 AM
Even though he is over paid, I'm still not calling Dunta a bust. He is playing out of his skillset in the zone but still has not been a complete flop and he is a great hitter. Let him play man, let him hit the WR in the first 5 yards to throw the guy off his route and I think we will like his play alot more than the zone crap BVG made him play. and as far as price goes we paid market value for him it is as simple as that. Even in the soft zone crap we played he still was able to destroy WR's coming over the middle and he put his body on the line by trying to kill WR's near him.
That part of why I'm not a Dunta hater, even when he is put in a scheme that goes against his assets he still makes huge hits and is reckless trying to punish opponents. He is not a soft player and he did not get pissy or quit on the team when they used him wrong.
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - Paprika Neck - 01-26-2012 04:05 PM
i'm on board with the dunta to free safety come up to play nickle
RE: Fixing 5 mistakes. By Jeff Schultz - pauliwood - 01-26-2012 07:34 PM
Ovi is a huge fan favorite, the ajc on the other hand....