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02.09.2019 03:10
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Fact: Dirk Koetter’s light bulbs change themselves" />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyeshe Falcoholican Atlanta Falcons communityFollow The Falcoholic online:Follow The Falcoholic on TwitterFollow The Falcoholic on FacebookLog in or sign upLog InSign UpSite searchSearchSearchThe Falcoholic main menuFanpostsFanshotsLibraryFalconsOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 321 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Library FalcFans Podcast on The FalcoholicContact The FalcoholicFalcons StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Falcons NewsYahoo Falcons Team PageYahoo Falcons ReportYahoo Falcons Depth ChartYahoo Falcons TransactionsYahoo Falcons PhotosOdds About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub ✕Should Falcons fans worry about Dirk Koetter’s checkered history with running backs? New Black Damontae Kazee Jersey ,22commentsFact: Dirk Koetter’s light bulbs change themselves EDTShare this storyShare this on FacebookShare this on TwitterShareAll sharing optionsShareAll sharing options for:Should Falcons fans worry about Dirk Koetter’s checkered history with running backs? TwitterFacebookRedditPocketFlipboardEmailPhoto by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesI remember when Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter first joined the Falcons. I remember researching some of the teams he’d coached, and in particular, the pass-happy vertical attack he brought to Arizona State in the early 2000s. But the Falcons aren’t Arizona State, and this isn’t 2001. After the Falcons re-hired him seven months ago, Koetter made a solemn promise. He promised balance, because the modern game demands it. And he promised to help Dan Quinn’s team get back to running the ball. To be clear, it’s a self-serving promise, because downfield plays are Koetter’s joie de vivre. If Koetter can successfully run the ball on third down, then he can successfully run play-action a few plays later. It’s a means to an end for him. Do you zealously follow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? I didn’t think so. So let me catch you up: they haven’t fielded a respectable rushing attack since Enron went on trial. I can’t lay all of that at Koetter’s fee. During Koetter’s first year as head coach (2015), the Buccaneers ranked fifth in team rushing. (That was Doug Martin’s last good year, for what that’s worth.) In the years since, they’ve consistently been among the league’s worst in team rushing. Again, how much of that slump is Koetter’s fault is up for debate. But at a minimum, let’s acknowledge that Koetter comes back to Atlanta with work to do. The wildcard here is, in a word, “talent.” And in that sense, 2019 ought to look a little different than 2012-2014. When healthy, Devonta Freeman can gobble up rushing yards like Pac Man after a one too many Redbulls. Behind him on the depth chart are at least a couple guys Koetter ought to find interesting. What’s more, the Falcons just spent two first round picks on offensive lineman, not to mention the free agent additions of Jamon Brown and James Carpenter. If Koetter can’t find success rushing the ball with this offense, then it is his fault. But that’s not always been the case. When Koetter came to the Falcons in 2012, they handed him a 30-year-old Michael Turner, still capable of bowling opposing defenders over from time to time but not the same guy that ushered franchise quarterback Matt Ryan into the league. In 2013, because they wanted to get creative, the Falcons once again handed Koetter a 30-year-old running back, this time in the form of a guy that resembled Steven Jackson but hardly played like him. (Then again, with a starting offensive line consisting of Jeremy Trueblood, Garrett Reynolds, Peter Konz, Justin Blalock Damontae Kazee Jersey 2019 , and Lamar Holmes, most running backs would struggle.) A year later, the last year of Koetter’s first run as the Falcons offensive coordinator, they gave us a special treat: they let Steven Jackson start fifteen games, while Devonta Freeman rode the pine. (Although, to be frank, some of that was on Koetter.) So ... should you worry? Yes and no. There’s no denying Koetter’s preference for elite talent. If it’s there, he uses it, but if it isn’t, then he’s falls back on what he knows: throwing the ball. So what opportunities can Koetter create that aren’t singularly dependent on talent? Can Koetter, if he needs to, scheme his way to a better rushing attack? In a best case scenario, the sheer talent of the offensive skill players and offensive line carry Koetter past his own deficiencies. If that doesn’t happen, then Koetter’s ability to establish and maintain a rushing attack will really be put to the test. And those deficiencies? Well, in time they will show themselves, bubbling to the top whether we like it or not. Your thoughts, Falcoholics? It’s not the most fun part of the offseason, but every year, the Falcons make cuts. In a league where a single bad year can get you the axe and cap space is at a premium no matter how much it increases, good players (or at least formerly good players) are going to hit the bricks. We’ll dive in on each of these players in the weeks ahead, but for now, here’s a look at some of big name potential cuts for this football team that you’ll want to monitor closely this spring and summer. T Ryan SchraederLet’s take a moment and appreciate what Schraeder has accomplished as an undrafted free agent. He was a part-time starter in 2013 and 2014 before taking over full-time at right tackle in 2015 and not looking back. He put together a three season run as a terrific offensive lineman before the wheels came off in a major way in 2018, and for a dude who had to claw and fight just to make the team in the first place, that’s extremely impressive.At minimum, though, the Falcons are likely going to approach Schraeder about a re-structure. By cutting him in 2019, they’ll save $5.2 million and suffer a dead cap hit of $2.5 million this year and $1.2 million next year, and that money could go toward other needs along the offensive line. Schraeder will be 31 this year, which is not necessarily a sign that his career is winding down, but he’s coming off a 2018 where he was benched for and outplayed by Ty Sambrailo Black Brandon Fusco Jersey , which is a massive red flag. Unless there was a lurking injury the Falcons are aware of and we aren’t, he feels like a mortal lock to be re-doing his deal or seeking a starting job elsewhere. Who would replace him? Chances are good the Falcons will draft a tackle or lean on Ty Sambrailo for a year, though the latter will have to re-sign. DE Brooks ReedReed has been a valuable rotational defensive end since joining the Falcons all the way back in 2015, but the returns haven’t been truly stellar. Reed is rock solid against the run but is an iffy pass rusher, and he’s heading into his age 32 season with seven sacks (and, to be fair, 18 quarterback hits) in his last three seasons. The Falcons can save $3.9 million against a dead money hit of less than $1 million if they part ways with him in 2019, and with the defensive end position delivering a couple of disappointing seasons in a row in general, they’d likely be wise to do so. Reed is a free agent in 2020, however, so it’s possible the Falcons keep him around as a veteran bridge regardless of what they do at the position.Quite simply, they don’t have a replacement for him on the roster today, so we’ll see how free agency and the draft shake out. DE Vic BeasleyI don’t think the Falcons will outright cut Beasley, but stranger things have happened. He’s staring at a fifth year option worth $12.8 million, an exorbitant total for a player who had one of the worst seasons of any Falcon in 2018. You keep waiting for things to click for Beasley, a tremendous athlete with great speed and bursts of impressive production, but he keeps getting washed out of plays and failing to make an impact as a pass rusher. If the team is serious about revamping both lines, they simply can’t pay Beasley that money.That said, Dan Quinn had indicated they’d like to keep Beasley around, because he’s only 27 and he’s still shown flashes of being the player Atlanta hoped they were getting with a top ten pick. Axing him would save them nearly $13 million outright, but I expect the Falcons to try to talk extension with Beasley, getting him something incentive-heavy that lands closer to what Brooks Reed is making now than what Beasley himself is supposed to make in 2019. If that fails, don’t be stunned if the team moves on.CB Robert AlfordThere isn’t a more obvious cut candidate on this list than Robert Alford. Full stop.Start with his 2018 season, which was his worst since probably 2013 or 2014. Alford still made plays—he’s too good not to—but in between there were stretches of awful coverage, paired with the penalties you can excuse when he’s playing well and are magnified when he’s not. Alford is going to be 30 heading into 2019, and the dropoff from a great 2017 to 2018 was so dramatic that you’re worried about his future if he wasn’t nursing a secret injury.Even if Alford played reasonably well in 2018, though, his contract leaves him in danger. The Falcons can save $7.9 million against $1.2 million in dead money by cutting him this year, with $8.5 million in savings versus $600,000 in dead money in 2020. That’s easily the most the Falcons will be able to save by cutting a single player in this spring or summer outside of Vic Beasley Brandon Fusco Jersey 2019 , and Alford’s 2018 won’t help his case.Finally, consider the team’s own rhetoric. The Falcons just drafted Isaiah Oliver in the second round, Brian Poole is an affordable restricted free agent in 2019, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been good enough in limited duty to return on another affordable, one year deal. Yet the team is openly talking about cornerback as a position they need to address. Given that Desmond Trufant’s contract and second half improvement make him virtually uncuttable heading into this season, there’s only one player in that cornerbacks corps who the team could be thinking about replacing with an early round selection. Unless the team finds a way to work out a re-structure that dramatically reduces him cap hit, I think it’s basically destined to happen. I really hope Alford can catch on with another team and fare well, because I think up until last year he was chronically underrated and underappreciated in Atlanta. The Falcons will still have Trufant, Oliver and Poole in place even if they don’t make any additions at the position, and it’s a mortal lock that they will add. They should be fine next year one way or the other. K Matt BryantEvery time we add Bryant to a list like this, it looks foolish in hindsight. This year, Bryant was good as ever when healthy, so there’s no real compelling reason to cut him.That said, there are reasons he belongs on a list of potential cuts, even if I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen. The first is the Falcons signing Giorgio Tavecchio to a two year deal in 2018 and holding on to him even when Bryant was healthy, which is at least vaguely ominous. The second is Bryant’s 2018 injuries, which only cost him three games but limited him in at least one other. Given that he’ll be 44 years old in 2019, I doubt anyone in Flowery Branch is taking those injuries lightly.The team would save $3 million or so against $1.3 million in dead money in 2019, and would save $3.5 million vs. $666,668 in 2020 if they were to move on. There’s no urgency to do so if the team believes Bryant will stay healthy and effective, and frankly he’s done nothing in recent years to suggest that he won’t keep kicking like the ageless wonder he is well into the back half of his 40s. It’s possible that Tavecchio is just hanging around as insurance until the start of the season for Atlanta, but I do know one thing: The Falcons aren’t going to hang on to two kickers again for the whole of the 2019 season. You may ask where a handful of players are, including Mohamed Sanu. The reality is that Sanu is a very productive member of the offense, and while the Falcons will save $4.6 million by cutting him, they have little incentive to do so with a cap crunch not looming. That may change in 2020, when the team can part ways with Sanu (or re-structure him, if he’s amenable) to save $6.5 million, but I think he’s safe for this year. Others like Devonta Freeman and Desmond Trufant were laid low by injury or a shaky half year, but the team will actually lose money by cutting tem this year due to the structure of their deals.Weigh in on this list and tell us who you think is mostly likely to stick around and go.

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