Making Sense of the Atlanta Falcons 53 Man Roster


Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The cut down to 53 man rosters is always an exciting but painful experience for NFL fans and teams alike as every year deserving players are ruthlessly dispatched into the unknown world of an NFL free agent. This year has been no different, especially when discussing the Atlanta Falcons as some very good football players have been cut. Now obviously no team can please every fan, cuts always leave someone disappointed, but the Falcons cuts in the last 24 hours seem to have irked the Falcons fan base perhaps more so than in previous years. Having taken a minute to step back and observe the cuts away from the maelstrom that is social media below are my initial thoughts on what I thought were some of the more surprising cuts made today.

Three Quarterback’s On The 53:

I think most fans can agree that the Falcons decision to carry three QB’s on the 53 man roster was a decision not many saw coming or indeed wanted. TJ Yates was signed to be the backup QB this year but has seen himself outplayed by second year man Sean Renfree. The Falcons clearly like Renfree’s long term potential but they obviously also don’t feel comfortable with him being the backup to Matt Ryan. The dilemma the Falcons faced here was that they wanted to hang onto Renfree but with his good play this preseason they obviously felt risking him on waivers was too big a risk to take and as a result they decided to lose a roster spot and carry 3 QB’s on the active roster. Personally I think this is a mistake, Yates hasn’t looked good this preseason and the only thing that seems to be saving him is his history as a playoff winning QB.

Ricardo Allen Cut:

Being a 5th round draft pick many assumed Allen would be a lock for the active roster this year as the Falcons very rarely cut rookie draft picks, I suppose in one way we should commend the team for what is undoubtedly a bold decision. However, what we shouldn’t commend is the fact that cutting Allen is a big mistake, Allen hasn’t been particularly great this preseason but he has made some nice plays and had in my opinion shown more than enough to make him a lock for the roster. The player who I thought would be cut form the cornerback group was veteran Josh Wilson who unlike Allen hasn’t made any notable plays this offseason. Once again it seems as though the Falcons have favored the veteran player with the established name in the league rather than the young up and coming player who could well be claimed by another team. Now many will argue that keeping Wilson over Allen makes sense as if Alford or Trufant go down injured Wilson can step in and play outside. If those people watched Wilson last year in Washington or during the preseason they will understand my pessimism about Wilson’s ability to play the position any better than the rookie. Being a 5th round draft pick Allen will definitely be on other teams radars and if he gets claimed the decision by the Falcons to cut him will look even worse.

No Bernard Reedy On The 53:

Bernard Reedy was quiet in the final three preseason games, too quiet, it looks as though the Falcons will indeed (as I feared) try and sneak Reedy onto the practice squad. Reedy showed both in camp and in the first preseason game his ability to be an explosive play maker, something the Falcons desperately need on the roster. With the Falcons probably running more 3&4 WR sets this year the team could really do with a 5th WR, especially when you take into consideration that Devin Hester will only play limited snaps on offense. A player like Reedy fits the bill perfectly. However, no, the Falcons are instead taking two of the same player with the final two WR spots. Courtney Roby and Eric Weems are essentially the same player, both are ageing veterans who won’t contribute to the offence but will (in theory) make their money on special teams. Roby has a history of being an excellent special teamer, he was a special team captain for the Saints, however, this preseason he has looked very poor on special teams especially as a gunner where on numerous occasions he has shown an inability to get off blocks at the line of scrimmage leaving his side of the field wide open for the returner. In what is becoming a bit of a theme it appears as though the Falcons are taking a player based on his name rather than his actual play.

James Stone Makes The Roster:

When Stone first arrived at camp he wasn’t a very good football player. After 4 preseason games Stone is still not a very good player, although it must be said he did improve. While Stone doesn’t suck as much as he did when he first arrived he never seemed to show enough in games to warrant a spot on the active roster, he looked destined for the practice squad (where he belongs). Stone making the roster was a surprise but the fact that he made the roster over Harland Gunn just makes no sense. Gunn has looked good all preseason both in practice and in games and unlike Stone he can play three positions on the offensive line. With Peter Konz making the roster the Falcons now have two terrible C’s on the active roster, oh joy.

Travian Robertson Cut:

Robertson looked to have finally turned the corner this year as he spent training camp manhandling the Falcons offensive line. Robertson is versatile as he can play both as a DT in the 4-3 as well as NT in the 3-4 where at the moment the Falcons currently have Corey Peters as the backup nose. I have no problem with Peters as the backup NT when he’s healthy but having only just returned from injury last week I severely doubt that Peters would be ready to step in and be a capable backup were something to happen to Paul Soliai. Robertson is eligible for one more year on the PS and for his sake I hope the Falcons pick him up as the big man played his heart out this preseason.

Tim Dobbins Over Pat Angerer:

Dobbins is much like Roby as he arrived in Atlanta with a reputation as a great special team player. Unfortunately for Falcons fans Dobbins hasn’t shown much if any of this special team ability, even more unfortunate for Falcons fans, Dobbins is now on the 53 man roster. Not only has Dobbins not flashed on special teams but he has also looked like a total liability on defense. If the Falcons need to rely on Dobbins on defense this year the team is royally screwed, he really is not good. On the other hand Pat Angerer looked ok this preseason, he looked remarkably better than Dobbins on defense. If Dobbins had looked ok on special teams it would have been acceptable to ditch Angerer for Dobbins, however this isn’t the case as once again the Falcons seem to have taken Dobbins in the hope that he lives up to his reputation from his previous exploits in the league .

Now it is important to note that a lot can and probably will change in the next 24 hours and that many of the players on the roster may not be on it by the time week 1 rolls around, however, for the time being I thought I would try and put my thoughts into words as I try to make sense of what is a series of very disappointing decisions from the Falcons staff. It must also be said that if the Falcons can sign those players cut to the PS I will be a lot less pessimistic about the decsions made today.