Atlanta Falcons: Two huge shakeups could ensue before week one
The Atlanta Falcons were known as a very shy, reserved team under the guidance of former head coach Mike Smith. Smith liked to play things safe and took that a little to far at times which ultimately led in his leave. The current NFL doesn’t take too kindly to playing it safe, and new head coach Dan Quinn isn’t going to let that happen to his Falcons.
Dec 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons guard Jon Asamoah (75) is introduced before their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Georgia Dome. The Steelers won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest surprise to come out of training camp thus far is the demotion of starting right guard Jon Asamoah. Asamoah started 15 games for the Falcons at right guard in 2015 and was arguably the Falcons’ best offensive lineman. It came as a big shock when it was announced on the Falcons’ depth chart that veteran Chris Chester would be starting in his place while Asamoah would see snaps with the second unit, but we now know why.
Asamoah isn’t a great scheme fit under offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan’s offense. The Falcons’ offensive line is learning a sort of old-school type of play of zone blocking. Many of the current men on the roster haven’t run this type of scheme in a long time, and some may have never run in it at all. In order to run this style, you need to be quicker than the average lineman, which is something Asamoah is not. So, what will the Falcons do with him? My guess is he won’t be in a Falcons uniform for very much longer.
Asamoah is making 4.5 million dollars a year and is entering into his second year of a five-year contact with the Falcons. Asamoah would fit right in on a lot of offensive lines in the NFL and could bring a solid return in a trade with someone. Whether that be for another offensive lineman, or a completely different position, that would be up to Quinn, Shanahan and Demitroff to decide on. But, the point being, Asamoah very well could be shipped off before the Falcons’ home opener on Monday night football against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Another big headline surfaced just last night. According to Dianna Russini of ESPN, the Falcons are reportedly interested in veteran quarterback Rex Grossman to take over as the Falcons’ backup behind Matt Ryan. This comes as surprise, but after some thought, it makes perfect sense.
Aug 24, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman (8) takes the field before the game against the Buffalo Bills at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Grossman is very familiar with Shanahan being that he played in his offense while with the Washington Redskins and played under his scheme while they were both apart of the Houston Texans in 2009. The familiarity is second nature and could provide the Falcons with a serviceable backup.
Current backup quarterbacks T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree are believed to be in a major battle for the backup spot, but with the addition of Grossman would likely put that battle to rest immediately. Yates has struggled mightily ever since coming over to the Falcons last summer in a trade for linebacker Akeem Dent and Renfree has never lived up to the hype after being drafted by the team.
Grossman has 12 years worth of experience and would be an absolute fantastic pick up for the Falcons if they choose to do so. Both Asamoah and Grossman are at the top of headlines for the Falcons at the moment and others may soon follow. Don’t expect Quinn to sit around and let good deals slip through his fingertips like Smith did. It’s a new era in Atlanta. Nobody is safe.