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State of the Franchise – Safety

Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

The safety position is one spot, where turnover could certainly be coming. Both Thomas Decoud and James Sanders are both out of contract this season and one or both could be leaving the Falcons over the next few months.

One player who will not be leaving in a hurry is starting strong safety William Moore. He continued to be very impressive in 2011 and was on course for a pro bowl berth but sadly his campaign was hampered by injuries through the middle part of the season, preventing him from that honor. Moore can “bring the pain” with his hitting, proven by his two forced fumbles in 2011 and is clearly one of the best all round run stopping safeties in the league. He certainly is not limited in coverage either as he intercepted two passes this year and constantly did a good job covering his side of the field.

Moore will be the starting safety next year without doubt and should continue to star in the Falcons’ secondary for years to come. The only concern at this stage is his health. He has missed quite a bit of time through injury in his 3 year career and if that continues that could evolve into a concern for the Falcons.

Other starter from this past year was Thomas Decoud. Starting at Free Safety, Decoud struggled at times this year when asked to play as the last line of defense in cover 1 or cover 3 looks. His performance in the run game was decent and in general his play wasn’t that bad, but in BVG’s bend but don’t break scheme giving up deep pass plays is a big “no-no” and Decoud was susceptible to giving up those type of plays.
As Decoud is a free agent, his return is uncertain at this point (Check out my analysis of Decoud’s situation and others in the free agency preview). While he could return I am expecting new DC Mike Nolan to try and bring somebody in if he feels Decoud doesn’t fit his system.

James Sanders is also a free agent. Sanders played a very important role throughout the year for the Falcons as the 3rd safety and saw a lot of playing time at both SS and FS due to injuries (William Moore) and poor performances (DeCoud). His versatility should be attractive to the Falcons and they should look to retain him. The prospect of seeing him play after a full offseason with the team (he signed just before the 2011 regular season) should also be appealing for the coaches.

I have to think only one of Decoud and Sanders will be retained. It is tough to say who it will be at this early stage but Sanders on the face of it would likely be the cheaper option.

The final active safety for the Falcons this year was Shann Shillinger. He saw little to no playing time on defense and is viewed as strictly as a special teams player at this stage in his career. Shillinger was a 6th round pick in 2010 and I’m not sure how high his potential is at safety. He is under contract for next year and will be in the fix for a roster spot in training camp.

The Falcons could well be considering their options at safety in March and April this year. In free agency 49ers FS Darron Gholdson is the best option after a terrific 2011 season. Reggie Nelson and Laron Landry will also be considerations.

In the draft, safeties are few and far between. Alabama S Mark Barron is the only real star in the draft but is more of a strong safety like William Moore, which the Falcons are not desperate for.

Where do you see the safety position going in 2012? Stick your thoughts in the comments section below.

Be sure to also check out our other editions of the state of the franchise, with the Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Fullback, Wide Recievers, Tight Ends  & Cornerbacks.

 

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  • http://livefyre rickyneal

    from ricky neal i hear if marcus mcneil is released by charger falcons could show interested

  • http://livefyre rickyneal

    from ricky if falcons bring back william moore back that would be good

  • http://livefyre rickyneal

    from ricky neal i hear if marcus mcneil is released by charger falcons could show interested

  • http://livefyre rickyneal

    from ricky if falcons bring back william moore back that would be good

  • okfine69

    I think the best move at safety would be to go get mario williams. That’s the move that would make everyone in the secondary better.I know we can’t sign him and do much else,but I would rather have him than anyone we have up for free agency(though we really need lofton back).

  • okfine69

    I think the best move at safety would be to go get mario williams. That’s the move that would make everyone in the secondary better.I know we can’t sign him and do much else,but I would rather have him than anyone we have up for free agency(though we really need lofton back).

  • BloggingDirty

    I agree pass rush would make our secondary better. I would love Mario Williams but i would expect the Texans to franchise tag him. To improve our pass rush i think we will look to the draft, get some more young talented athletic players in. Also be on the lookout for Lawrence Sidbury, 2012 could be a breakout year for him.

  • BloggingDirty

    I agree pass rush would make our secondary better. I would love Mario Williams but i would expect the Texans to franchise tag him. To improve our pass rush i think we will look to the draft, get some more young talented athletic players in. Also be on the lookout for Lawrence Sidbury, 2012 could be a breakout year for him.

  • okfine69

    Houston is not going to tag him. Everything I’ve read says they are going to most likely let him hit the market. I like being young,but you have to balance it out with veterans. Not only is he a great player but a leader and a “character” guy(the falcons love those character guys). Everyone knows they like to land one big FA every year(turner,abe,gonzo,edwards,etc.) And this would be great get short term and long term. I wasn’t just throwing something out there,I think it could be a real possibility.

  • okfine69

    Houston is not going to tag him. Everything I’ve read says they are going to most likely let him hit the market. I like being young,but you have to balance it out with veterans. Not only is he a great player but a leader and a “character” guy(the falcons love those character guys). Everyone knows they like to land one big FA every year(turner,abe,gonzo,edwards,etc.) And this would be great get short term and long term. I wasn’t just throwing something out there,I think it could be a real possibility.

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