Tag:Garrett Reynolds
Posted on: August 19, 2010 1:34 am

offensive personnel - Chiefs preseason game

Initial kick return unit = Eric Weems (KR) with Ovie Mughelli, Stephen Nicholas, Brett Romberg, Corey Peters, Justin Peelle, Kerry Meier, Jason Snelling, Sean Weatherspoon, Chris Owens, ? (Kroy Biermann?)

1st offensive series: starters, with Brian Finneran replacing Michael Jenkins

(my note:  2 TE formations were effective in power running game, with extra TE sometimes acting as a fullback rather than blocking at the end of the line)

2nd offensive series:  Michael Turner is finished, but Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White are still in.  Still the first unit offensive line and regular receivers, with Weems as 3rd WR.

(my note:  Matt Ryan ran some no-huddle on this drive, including plays with a single back.  The running game bogged down without the fullback.)

3rd offensive series:  Chris Redman in at QB.  Brett Romberg in at center.  Rest of starting linemen still in game.  Now seeing Antone Smith and Dimitri Nance at RB.  Snelling now playing FB.

(my note:  the line sure made a mess of this series.  Looked to me like Nance may have missed a play call on 3rd and 15.  I was expecting him to stay in and block, but he went out on a short route instead.)

first PUNT COVERAGE unit:  Michael Koenen and Joe Zelenka as specialists, Dominique Franks and Shann Schillinger as the gunners, with Kroy Biermann, Kerry Meier, Weatherspoon, Mughelli, Snelling, Nicholas, and Finneran.

4th offensive series:  still the other starters and Romberg on the line.

5th offensive series:  new line from left to right = Will Svitek, Mike Johnson, Joe Hawley, Garrett Reynolds, Quinn Ojinnaka.  I wasn't expecting to see QO at RT.


6th offensive series:  still Redman at QB.  Dan Klecko now in at FB. Romberg back at center.  Ojinnaka slides to RG, with Jose Valdez coming in at RT.  Looks like it will be Smith and Nance the rest of the way at RB.

(my note:  Snelling did lead blocking for Smith and Nance in the first half but had no FB for his own carries after Mughelli came out.  Keep an eye to see whether the running game perks up again with a FB in the remaining preseason games.)

7th offensive series:  John Parker Wilson now in at QB.  Hawley and Reynolds return at C and RG, respectively.  Kerry Meier and Troy Bergeron are the main two receivers at this point, with Michael Palmer at TE, Keith Zinger coming in as the second TE, and Brandyn Harvey as third receiver.

(my note:  JPW looks good.) 

8th offensive series:  Quinn Ojinnaka now at LT, Blake Schlueter at LG, Rob Bruggeman at RG.  Still Hawley and Valdez at C and RT.  Bergeron and Meier are the main two WRs, with Andy Strickland and Harvey getting some reps as well.

9th offensive series:  Ryan Wolfe getting some snaps as 3rd WR, with Robbie Agnone getting in as a second TE.

last PUNT:  Brandyn Harvey and Antone Smith were the gunners.

Posted on: January 23, 2010 9:05 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 9:13 pm

Tracking the draft picks, part three

Recap:  a draft pick is an asset in itself.  Each team gets seven of them per year (leaving out the compensatory picks, at least for now).

If you draft players that don't stick with the team, you have more holes to fill.  You end up using picks year after year just to replace the same spots on the roster instead of improving the team.

But if you end up trading the players or receiving compensatory draft picks when they leave via free agency, you have extended the "life" of those picks.  They might not be in the form of the same players, but you still have assets to show for them.  That can be as good (and sometimes better) than re-signing the same players you initially drafted.

A prime Falcons example is the 2004 draft.  I claim that three of the top five drafts in franchise history came in the last decade - and oddly enough, each of our three GMs of the decade had one.

Dan Reeves (counting him as a GM since he had full control over personnel as well as head coaching duties) had the 2001 draft.  Thomas Dimitroff had the 2008 class, which may be remembered as the best draft in Falcons history.

And in between, Rich McKay had the forgotten gem of 2004.

Surprised to hear that draft called a "gem"?  Well, first look at the players selected:  DeAngelo Hall, Michael Jenkins, Matt Schaub, and Demorrio Williams.  That's a two-time Pro Bowl defensive back, a starting wide receiver, a franchise quarterback, and a starting linebacker.  Four starters out of seven picks is an *outstanding* draft class.  

Go back through the annals of Falcons history and count how many of our draft classes produced even three guys who were still starting in the NFL after six seasons.  It's an extreme rarity, at least for Atlanta.  For that matter, it doesn't happen all that often for any team.  Kudos to the scouting department for that one - it really was one of the best drafts the Falcons had ever had.

But the press is quick to dismiss that draft, sometimes even calling it a failure since Jenkins was the only player from that group still with the team heading into the 2008 season.

Not so fast, kemo sabe...   The Falcons have a whole lot more to show for that draft class than just our #2 receiver.

DeAngelo had his famous argument with Petrino in the Panthers game in 2007 and demanded a trade rather than play for yet another rookie coach in 2008.  Ultimately, new GM Dimitroff granted him his wish and dealt him to the Raiders for a pair of draft picks.  (Be careful what you wish for, DeAngelo - you might just get it...) 

The picks received were a second rounder in 2008 and a fifth rounder in 2009.  Thank you ever so kindly, Mr. Davis.  It was a pleasure doing business with you. 

And many fans believe the Falcons made a big mistake trading Matt Schaub.  It's hard to blame them, especially considering how things went in the summer of 2007.  But the part of that story that gets left out is that Schaub was already a restricted free agent, and Arthur Blank's nine figure contract extension to Michael Vick made it clear that Schaub's intended role was purely as a backup.  In other words, Schaub was already as good as gone the moment the 2006 season ended. 

The Falcons offered him a high tender in order to talk trade and control the picks they received.  While they didn't get the highest possible RFA bounty (a first and a third rounder), the Falcons did get two first day draft picks from the Texans - a second rounder in 2007 and another second rounder in 2008.

That 2007 second rounder from Schaub became starting left guard Justin Blalock.

The 2008 second rounders for Hall and Schaub were the second rounders that Atlanta sent in a draft day deal to the Redskins

ESPN reported that the Falcons gave Washington three picks to move up to #21 to take Sam Baker.  Atlanta fans were horrified by the one-sided nature of the trade, leading Dimitroff to go out of his way that night to clear the air and make sure the local media understood that those initial reports were incorrect.  It was NOT a three for one deal.  It was three picks for three picks, allowing the Redskins to move up with two picks while Atlanta moved up with one.

The actual trade bumped the #34 (from the Raiders for Hall) up to #21, landing Baker.  The #48 (from the Texans for Schaub) dropped to #84, with Atlanta taking Harry Douglas.  The other part was that the fourth round pick moved down to the fifth.  I doubt many fans would object - that pick became Kroy Biermann.

And the following year, the Cowboys traded up in the fifth round. (Jerry Jones making trades on draft day?  Big shock, I know.)  Dallas gave us an extra seventh rounder to move down 13 spots.  They acquired our DeAngelo Hall pick and used it to draft DeAngelo Smith.  Atlanta used the picks from Dallas to take Garrett Reynolds in the fifth and Vance Walker in the seventh.

The bottom line... sure, DeAngelo Hall and Matt Schaub are now elsewhere. 

But their draft picks ultimately became left tackle Sam Baker, left guard Justin Blalock, slot receiver/return man Harry Douglas, offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds and defensive tackle Vance Walker.  Add in starting wide receiver Michael Jenkins, and the Falcons head into 2010 with six players on the roster that resulted from the picks of the 2004 draft.  

Posted on: July 26, 2009 7:35 pm

Newberry's retirement

Three quick notes about the announced retirement of Jeremy Newberry:

1)  the attention seems to be on the Falcons losing their backup center.  If you're worried about this aspect of it, don't sweat it.  Newberry was going to be working in camp primarily at guard.  It's true that he would likely have been the backup center on game days, when there are typically only seven active linemen (one tackle and one interior guy in addition to the five starters).  But he's wasn't Atlanta's only option, and the coaching staff isn't particularly concerned about that position.

2)  the silver lining is that the team would have had to release a player to make room to sign draft pick Peria Jerry before camp.  Including Newberry and the as-yet-unsigned Jerry, there were 81 players in the organization.  The roster limit for camp is 80 players.  Somebody had to go.  Newberry's retirement means the team can keep one of the extra candidates at one of the other positions that are up for grabs, such as the backup linebacker spots, #5 and potential #6 WR, #5 and potential #6 running back, etc.

The team has a bunch of prospects, projects, and journeyman type veterans who will compete for those positions.  The more, the better.  Even if all the prospects flop, the opportunity to try them all out during preseason gives the team an advantage.  That came into play last year, when the coaches decided they needed better than the basket full of prospects they had in the secondary (Deke Cooper, Blue Adams, Daren Stone, etc) and traded for Domonique Foxworth during Week 1 of the regular season.  

3)  Most of the mass media believe the Falcons still have depth issues on the offensive line.  Example:


With Newberry, the Atlanta O-line would have been so deep it bordered on silliness.  The goal is to have a few backups who are ready to step in as starters right away if needed, and a few prospects who can contribute on special teams or in rotation now but mainly are developing for the future.

The Falcons certainly have that.  Quinn Ojinnaka finished the 2007 season as the starting left tackle and played well subbing for Sam Baker and Todd Weiner last year.  He's ready to start at either tackle position when needed.  There's also interior lineman Brett Romberg, who has 18 career starts at center and guard and who won a starting job at center for coach Boudreau while both were in St. Louis. 

Newberry and Alex Stepanovich (who was released after the fact to make room for Newberry) would have added to that list, but even so, the Falcons already have a tackle and an interior guy with decent amounts of starting experience to serve as the primary backups on game days. 

Throw in Ben Wilkerson, who won the backup center job for the Falcons out of camp in 2007 and won a backup guard spot in 2008.  He doesn't have a lot of real game experience, since Todd McClure has proven to be an iron man for the last several seasons.  But OC Mike Mularkey did manage to get Wilkerson on the field for some of those unbalanced packages last season.  Wilkerson has shown versatility, has developed pretty so far in practice as a backup guard, and needs no cross-training at center as that's his natural position.  He's a third reserve who is ready right now.

Next, the goal would be to find a few prospects to develop for the future.  Garrett Reynolds appears to be the head of that class for the 2009 Falcons.  Reynolds was a three-year starter at UNC, which should shorten his training curve considerably.  The coaching staff likes his feistiness.

I'm hoping to see G/T prospect Ryan Stanchek paired with Reynolds in training camp.  Stanchek wasn't drafted, but then neither were Tyson Clabo or Harvey Dahl.  Stanchek also has a nasty "punch" block and is known for his ferocious competitive streak.  Like Reynolds, he saw a lot of action in college, starting for four years at West Virginia.  The Falcons team web site says he played guard in college, but it should be noted that by his junior season he had moved to left tackle and was the starting left tackle that blocked for Noel Devine and Pat White last season.

I'd like to emphasize that these guys aren't just bodies for camp.  Reynolds and Stanchek are real, good prospects that are likely to develop into future starters.  They might not be the best options as starting linemen on Day One, but as the potential #8/#9 (or #9/#10) linemen on the roster, they're exactly the types of players you want.  They can contribute on special teams now, have solid potential for 2010 and beyond, and take up the bare minimum amount of cap space.

And of course there are others competing for those jobs in camp.  The current list includes last year's undrafted free agent Mike Butterworth (tackle, Slippery Rock), free agent tackle Will Svitek (Kansas City, originally drafted 6th round 2005), and G/T prospect Jose Valdez (Arkansas - blocked for Darren McFadden in 2007).  All three need some work on their techniques, but we certainly have the right line coach for that.

Bottom line - Newberry's retirement will certainly be noticed during camp, but it's hardly a disaster.  The line had adequate depth before he signed, and at least one of the reserve centers would not have made the roster anyway.  His departure simply opens the door for guys like Ben Wilkerson and Ryan Stanchek.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com