“It is a pity that, as one gradually gains experience, one loses one’s youth”. – Vincent Van Gogh.
Vinny did not know a thing about Football but luckily for Falcon Nation, T.D, Smitty and staff
surely do as a look over the roster they have assembled that has created recent success and high hopes
for the upcoming season and quite possible for the next decade. A run similar to the Braves of the Mid nineties would not be a stretch. I can’t remember a better mix of veteran leaders and athletic youth on a Falcon Roster, perhaps never.
I’ll start dissection on offense, because the game today is all about that side of the ball and Atlanta
has one that can match up with anybody. The squad is led by veterans Ryan (27), White (31),
Tony G. (37), new add Steven Jackson (30). If you look at the age they are not that old, even by football standards, but if you look at their production last season they could pass as a few years younger and that carries weight when leadership is shown by veterans not only filling a roster spot but actually leading.
The four performed at a high level last year and give the Falcons over Forty years of experience.
They all have tread on the tires still and none are close to being done with great careers except maybe Tony G, but that is because he Would and not because he Should. The rest of the starting group and back ups are Julio (24), H.D who at (28) should be entering , we hope, his prime, Jaquizz Rogers (23), and Dom Davis (23), whom I believe a good back up. Throw in the Mix Drew Davis (24), Antone Smith (28), Ewing (23), and even Ronnie Wingo (22) who at 6’ 3” and 230 lbs has time to learn on the practice squad, you have young pieces to sustain long tough seasons of the NFL.
The offensive line on a football team benefits from working together and becoming a cohesive unit.
Blalock is the ‘old’ veteran and won’t turn (30) until the end of the season. With baker (27), Johnson (26),
Reynolds (25), Hawley (24), Konz (23), Holmes (23), and Manley (23) the line may not showcase a perennial all-pro but as a unit they are rather young, have some experience, (none are technically rookies), and the Falcon Brass must see the group with upside which is why the position was left out of the draft.
I’d also like to see Alec Savoi (22) out of McNeese St. stick the practice squad, because anyone young and the size of Garrett Reynolds deserves the chance. Get them to gel and years of great offense will follow.
Van Gogh also once said, “ Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
He never designed a defensive unit but it fits for the Birds. The Atlanta defense was in need of
an injection of youth, which one would think brings a little more speed, athletic ability and a foundation for the future. They addressed this in the April draft. Atlanta brought in a veteran, Uminyiora (31), signed established stars Moore (27) and DeCoud (28), along with last years signing of Asante Samual (32) to lead a young secondary of McClain (24), Trufant (22), Alford (22), Thompson (22) Motta (22), Schillinger (26).
Remember – it is a offensive league, and one that relies on the passing game. Need a secondary for sure !!!
These were all non tabloid headline moves but yet a series of small ones slowly put together.
The defensive line still has solid Babs (31) and a good, not great, assembly of experience and youth, in
Biermann (27), Jerry (28), Peters (24), Massaquoi (24), Robertson (24), Matthews (23), and Goodman (23).
I wish Neal Huynh gets a good look for a squad slot because defensive linemen can always be needed especially when (22) and come in at 6’ 4” and 315 lbs. Nolan will be at test to best fit the pieces assembled, and if he can get some pass rush with schemes and personnel deployed Atlanta will have a good year.
With a linebacker crew consisting of only one age of (30) Nicholas, they have experience and youth in
Spoon (25), James (29), Dent (25), Schiller (24), and Banks (27) whom will have the enthusiasm and desire of a twenty year old. Rookies Clancy (23) and Bartu (22) can fight for a practice squad slot.
Under Nolan, I trust “young mistakes” to be few and will be outweighed in years to come when the ‘kids’ get some experience. With the Atlanta offense, any improvement on defense will fill the wish list nicely.
In the Kicking game, sometimes overlooked but very important, Bryant plays like Tony G, much younger than (37) and Bosher (25) has many years of solid booting. The kicking game is even one area Atlanta has the advantage in over the Vegas favorite Forty Niners.
T.D, Smitty, and the Falcon staff may never be great painters, but they sure have assembled a football team Roster Mix that is a Masterpiece heading into camp.