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Posts tagged with "Ricardo Allen"

“All Gas, No Brakes.”

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Facons excel at coming up with new ways to motivate themselves under Dan Quinn, and one of the ways they’ve done so is multiple slogans, mantras, and inspirational sayings that help to rally the team together. Personally, I’m a fan of the latest one.

The “All Gas, No Brakes” slogan neatly wraps up Dan Quinn’s entire philosophy, but it actually originated with linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. The Falcons are a team that wants to fly around the field, never stop running, and maybe play right up to the whistle and juuuuust a little beyond. Ricardo Allen lends us some more context below.

Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen talks about the team’s latest slogan of “All Gas, No Brakes” going into Sunday… http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0700392767691430344-4 

 coach Dan Quinn breaks down the “All Gas, No breaks” slogan the team has embraced. LB LaRoy Reynolds came up with it.

After a little bit of a sluggish effort against the Bears, especially on the offensive side of the ball, this particular motto is a good one to embrace against an aggressive, attacking Packers team. Green Bay put up 21 points in the NFC Conference Championship Game (against 44 points for Atlanta!) and just 17 points against the Seahawks in Week 1, so speedy, effective play on both sides of the ball could make this one easier than expected.

Just, you know, don’t drive like that.

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ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates a Falcons touchdown with quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the first half of the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. The Atlanta Falcons won the game 44-21. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)

TODD KIRKLAND/ICON SPORTSWIRE

So many things went right for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. With an offense that led the league by averaging more than 33 points per game, the Falcons ran and threw their way to an NFC championship and a Super Bowl appearance.

Although the Falcons fell short against the New England Patriots, they not only kept the core of their team but added some pieces they hope will take them over the top.

Different Falcons stepped up last year, making it tough to name the 10 best Falcons on the roster. Rookie Takkarist McKinley didn’t make the list. Corners Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant also fell short of the top 10.

Here are the 10 best Falcons on the roster.

  1. S Ricardo Allen

Moving from cornerback to safety, Ricardo Allen played a team-high 1,101 defensive snaps at a high level. He finished the regular season with 90 tackles and two interceptions and added two more during the team’s Super Bowl run. He is the playmaker in the secondary.

  1. DT Dontari Poe

Defensive tackle Dontari Poe wasn’t with the Falcons last year, but he gives the squad a former Pro Bowler who can not only clog the middle but get after the passer if healthy. Poe had a career-low 27 tackles last year with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has a chip on his shoulder and the Falcons hope he translates that anger into prime performances.

  1. DT Grady Jarrett

A person who should benefit from having Poe beside him is Grady Jarrett. He broke out in the Super Bowl, sacking Tom Brady three times. That number equaled the amount of sacks he had in the regular season. Jarrett doubled his tackle total from his rookie season of 2015. His mixture of power and speed should help him improve in his third season.

  1. S Keanu Neal

Every team needs a hard-hitting enforcer. Safety Keanu Neal is that man for the Falcons. He doesn’t mind coming down in the box to help in the run game, but he also roams the secondary well. Neal was second on the team with 106 tackles. He forced five fumbles.

  1. C Alex Mack

There are not many offensive linemen who would be considered on a team’s 10 top players list, much alone a center. Alex Mack was the glue to the Falcons’ offensive line last year and got everything started. He was a key reason why the Falcons averaged 33.8 points per game and 120.5 yards rushing.

Atlanta Falcons' Alex Mack plays against the New England Patriots during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

  1. LB Deion Jones

As a rookie last year, linebacker Deion Jones started 13 games. He led the team in tackles, had three interceptions, and led all linebackers with 11 pass breakups. Jones has shown he can play the run as well as the pass. He is the engine of the defense.

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With Falcons training camp set to begin on Thursday, the team got some good news as it prepares for the 2017 season. Starting free safety Ricardo Allen has signed his exclusive rights tender. He’ll make a base salary of $615,000 for the year and will be a restricted free agent in 2018.

Allen was a key component of a defense that matured late in the 2016 season. He personally grabbed two interceptions in the playoffs en route to a Super Bowl appearance. He’s been the starting free safety since Dan Quinn came on board and has been a pleasant surprise, given his draft status and his position change. It’s entirely possible that the Falcons will look to lock Allen up later in the season, so long as he continues to provide quality play in center field.

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Fact: NFL training camp is as blissful as a vacation in the Bahamas

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The smell of fresh cut grass. Shiny new equipment. The sound of a freshly picked playlist by one of the coolest coaches in the league.

It’s that time of the year again. On July 26th, the Atlanta Falcons will kick off another edition of their annual Training Camp chronicles.

This one will be quite interesting. As you all know, the team is coming off an historic ending to their season in a particular game that rhymes with “Trooper” and “Goal” back in February and now their sights will be turned to a new season. As training camp kicks off and carry the team through the preseason and right to Week 1 in Chicago, here are several key items to closely monitor during the festivities:

The Right Guard “Competition”

The right guard spot on the offensive line will see a new starter this season as the team transitions from former starter Chris Chester to a trio of possible names. The “favorite” at this point is second-year guard Wes Schweitzer out of San Jose State. Rookie Sean Harlow will have his name in the contest thanks to his run blocking ability that stands out on tape. The versatile and highly valued Ben Garland may see time at the position as well during camp, but as of now, Schweitzer appears to be the starter to begin the season. Assuming things go according to plan.

Rotation In The Secondary

One of the perks of having a coaching mind such as Dan Quinn’s is the development of numerous ideas to attack opposing offenses. Quinn loves versatility (obviously) and now the Falcons secondary has an abundance of depth that will lead to a combination of activity on the backend. The drafting of rookie Damontae Kazee in the fifth round this year gives the Falcons a nice shot of versatility. His ballhawking skills will be utilized at free safety and as a nickel corner this upcoming season. His talent is refined enough for Kazee to be an actual threat to the starting free safety spot, which is manned by veteran Ricardo Allen.

Last year’s nickel corner, Brian Poole, will also see looks at free safety during training camp and if Quinn wanted to get really creative, inserting Robert Alford ther…….ok never mind.

Basically, with the drafting of Kazee, the emergence of Poole, the solid 2016 outing from Allen, the return of corner Desmond Trufant, and improvement from Alford and Jalen Collins, Quinn and defensive coordinator Marquand Manual has several interchangeable parts in the secondary and training camp may see a little experimentation.

The Evolution Of Young Assets

The Falcons defense received a tremendous boost from edge rusher Vic Beasley this past season as he led the league in sacks with 15.5. How he progresses in his third season will be important for the defense and their long-term success. Strong safety Keanu Neal was also an integral piece to the puzzle this past season as he was second on the team in tackles and added five forced fumbles. Running back Tevin Coleman added pounds to his frame this offseason that will aid his inside running and the ability to run through tackles.

The team has several young pillars that are still at a stage in their career where development is expected. Watch some of the young players mentioned above and a few more that can take that next step in the skill set.

Communication On Offense

Unless you’ve been taking an incredibly peaceful nap since the day after the Super Bowl, it is no secret that there is a new offensive coordinator in town by the name of Steve Sarkisian. During his time at the University of Washington, Southern Cal, and Alabama, Sarkisian has carved a respectable reputation in terms of his knowledge of Xs and Os.

Now he has the privilege (or challenge, however you perceive it) to take a record-setting offense, add his flavor, and possibly have very little drop-off from what former coordinator Kyle Shanahan established prior to his departure.

Where it all starts is communication. From Sarkisian to Ryan, Ryan to his offensive constituents, so on and so forth. One underlying factor in the team’s offensive success last season was the component as a whole being on the same page. If Sarkisian can establish cohesion early, it will make the transition that much smoother.

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