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Posts tagged with "Brooks Reed"

Let’s talk about it.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here, we’re at the bye week! Normally I’d bemoan the tediousness of it all, but this time around, I’m just grateful for the chance for Atlanta to take a breather and get healthy.

We are going to use this time to take stock of the Falcons and the NFL through four games, and so we’ll lead things off with an upbeat, hopefully fun question: Who has been the most impressive Falcon through four games?

There are some truly worthy candidates. Julio Jones has been his usual stellar self, Brooks Reed is having a weird resurgent season, Takk McKinley is putting together one hell of a rookie campaign, and Grady Jarrett is a legitimate beast in the middle of the defensive line.

For all that, though, I guess I’d go with Devonta Freeman. He has been absurdly good yet again, with 70 carries for 285 yards, an NFL-leading five rushing touchdowns, and nine receptions for 70 yards over four games. That’s a combined 355 yards and five TDs in an offense that has needed every hard-fought yard, and Freeman still looks like one of the greatest backs in the league. Steve Sarkisian is obviously willing to lean on Free, and that means he’ll probably be one of Atlanta’s best all season.

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Getty Images

As is common with teams which played in the Super Bowl the year before, there isn’t much room for rookies in Atlanta.

In fact, none of their rookies are listed as starters on the unofficial depth chart the team’s PR staff released.

First-round pass-rusher Takk McKinley is actually listed as a third-stringer at defensive end, behind veterans Brooks Reed and Adrian Clayborn.

Of course, McKinley’s been recovering from shoulder surgery and has only recently been given the green light to practice, so it’s not surprising that he’s a little behind. But he’s apparently shown positive signs in camp, and the Falcons are hoping he’s going to become an integral part of their defense.

Third-round linebacker Duke Riley and fourth-round guard Sean Harlow are each listed as backups.

Again, take all these depth charts with a grain of salt, as they’re prepared by PR staffers and not necessarily coaches. But it’s an interesting jumping-off point for discussion with games about to begin.

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There’s three we can think of for a deep, capable team.

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Training camp is here! The Falcons are arriving today and will practice in front of the public tomorrow, which means we can get our sweet, sweet football fix in the coming days. For the Falcons, it’s an opportunity to look at the roster and figure out how they’re going to get down to 53 men and 11 men on the practice squad.

While they do so, they may also cast about the free agent market in search of upgrades. After spending way too much time looking at the 90 man roster over the offseason, here’s our top remaining potential needs for these Falcons. There are very few!

Swing tackle

Andreas Knappe is the early leader, but when you have a bunch of undrafted free agents competing to back up your quality starting tackles, you have to consider it a need until someone emerges. The market isn’t exactly loaded with options, but it’s very likely a decent enough veteran shakes loose between now and September.

Pass rusher

Right now, the team has Vic BeasleyAdrian ClaybornDerrick ShelbyTakkarist McKinley, and I guess Brooks Reed as their most compelling pass rushers who can play defensive end. You’ll note that one of those players is a rookie and two are recovering from major injuries, and only Beasley and maybe McKinley seem likely to be capable of high-end production.

That’s why the Dwight Freeney idea won’t die. The Falcons could definitely stand to add a useful edge rusher, but they’ll likely need to sacrifice depth elsewhere to get it done.

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Our staff leans toward yes.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Kendall Jackson

Yes. The Falcons need sacks.

Matt Chambers

The fans love Freeney, and he had plenty of juice down the stretch to be a worthy addition. I imagine the Falcons will want to get the higher priority Devonta Freeman deal done first, and they reportedly expect it done before camp. Camp is quickly approached, and while we would all love Freeney, I have one concern: the Falcons have made huge improvements to the defensive line. I expect the “starters” to be a rotation of Vic BeasleyBrooks Reed, and Takkarist McKinley, with DE/DT players like Adrian Clayborn, Tyson Crawford, Derrick Shelby playing end a bit more with the Dontari Poe addition. We may also see a few other guys get a chance to rush the passer, like De’Vondre Campbell. Freeney then becomes an expensive third-down specialist who may only play on half the third-and-long situations. I still want Freeney back, but I will completely understand if the Falcons move forward with their current pass rushers.

Dave Choate

I don’t see it happening, at least not to start the year. The Falcons added Takkarist McKinley in the draft class, and they have a rotation of inside/outside defensive linemen who are useful chess pieces for Dan Quinn and Marquand Manuel’s defense. Freeney would be the second or third-best pass rusher once again on this defense, and

Quinn, I believe, wants to see the collection of talent he has in action during training camp and preseason before he brings Freeney on. I think if he’s satisfied, as I anticipate he will be, Freeney won’t end up joining the team. I’d love to see him come back, but at this point, I’m dubious.

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