Sunday, July 26, 2015

The 4-3 Under Defense: A Preview of Atlanta's New Scheme

One of last season's most embarrassing moments... Surrendering a 3rd & 25 TD reception in a 22-21 loss against the Detroit Lions

Last season, the Atlanta Falcons defense was frustrating to watch to say the least. Atlanta finished as the worst ranked defense in the NFL and the 3-4 defense coordinator Mike Nolan attempted to run never suited to their strengths. Their struggles defensively forced the Falcons to run a 4-2-5 defense that provided many agonizing moments and made many Falcons fans wonder could they even stop an old lady in a grocery store. After a disappointing 2014 season which the Falcons ended with a 6-10 record, Mike Nolan has bolted to San Diego (no pun intended) and Mike Smith was fired after the 34-3 home finale loss against the Carolina Panthers. Smith’s replacement, Dan Quinn, brings his simple but aggressive approach on the defensive side of the football. Quinn is notable for turning the Seattle Seahawks defense into a Super Bowl caliber defensive unit. Today, we will preview the 4-3 Under defense, a defense that Falcon fans should start familiarizing themselves with as the Quinn era will start in a few weeks.

An outlook on Seattle's defensive scheme under Quinn

4-3 Under Front for Seattle's defense in 2013
The 4-3 Under defense utilizes four defensive linemen and 3 linebackers. Simple enough.  As we can see from the chart, the 4-3 Under employs a 1-Tech Nose Tackle that lines up over the Center and can attack the A gap to the left or right of the Center. A 3-tech Defensive Tackle plays to the right side of the Nose Tackle and would be attacking the B gap. A 5-tech’s responsibility is simply to attack through the C gap. As we discuss the linebacker duties, the Sam linebacker (Strong Outside Linebacker) and Leo ( linebacker, which is a hybrid defensive end would stand up either near the Tight End or Left Tackle respectively ready to drop back into coverage or blitz the opposing quarterback. The Seahawks employed personnel that perfectly complimented the scheme. With Brandon Mebane playing the 1-Tech and eating up blocks, Tony McDaniel and Red Bryant was more effective at getting after the passer or stopping the run. As we continue breaking down the positions, the WILL (Weak Side Linebacker)     plays the A-gap and the MIKE (Middle or Inside Linebacker) focuses on playing the B-gap in blitz situations. The SAM (Strong Outside Linebacker) lines up next to the Tight End and is expected to shed blocks to stop the run or drop back in coverage when necessary. One of the biggest keys to making Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme successful will be the LEO, a linebacker that is designated pass rusher for the team. Seattle has it in Bruce Irvin and Atlanta has it in…well we’ll get to that later. 

Example of Seattle's effective front seven. Richard Sherman Pick Six vs Houston in 2013

Vic Beasley of the Clemson Tigers holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons during the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 30, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As we continue, although this could be hard for many to believe, through free agency and a successful draft, the  Falcons now have the personnel that can successfully run this  defense. Dan Quinn has done a remarkable job of envisioning what he wants his defense to resemble and going after players that were overlooked but still very effective if you can get them to play as one cohesive unit. Now let’s examine how the new defensive scheme will take effect on our beloved Falcons, shall we? 

Although he isn’t an ideal fit for the 4-3, I can see Paul Soliai playing the 1-Tech over the Center. He’ll eat up the blocks for sure but won’t possess the mobility that Brandon Mebane had in Seattle. One of the biggest questions we’ll have entering the season is who will start as the 3-Tech defensive lineman? We have veteran Jonathan Babineaux returning to his former position, last year’s second round selection Ra’Shede Hageman, a 6’6 318 pound defensive tackle whom according to reports from Falcons minicamp last month looked much leaner, faster and aggressive than his rookie season. Despite our struggles last season, Hageman provided flashes of his raw potential. In addition to his weight loss and improved speed, a successful training camp will have myself and many more Falcons fans rooting for Hageman to earn the starting position over Babineaux at 3-Tech. An influx of youth can be a great addition for the aging Falcons defensive line. I’m sure Dan Quinn is impressed with the potential that Hageman brings to the Falcons defense and will utilize his talents in the right position. Our 5-Tech defensive lineman could possibly have Tyson Jackson as the starter. Jackson, who was probably ready to pack his bags and head back to Kansas City after the year he had last year, will have another chance to shine in a new scheme. As the Falcons begin to implement a new defense that at least compliments him as the run stopper we signed last year, I believe Jackson (although similar to Soliai is not an ideal fit for a 4-3) will be designated to playing the 5-Technique. Adrian Clayborn, also great at run support, additionally has a real shot at playing the 5-Tech.

As we discuss the linebackers, here is where Quinn will have an intriguing situation to handle. Sean Weatherspoon would have been a   lock to play the MIKE position; however, his injury history and a couple of tweets questioning his Falcons future ended in Atlanta moving on and Weatherspoon would sign with one of the best defensive teams around the league, the Arizona Cardinals. His departure left us questioning which player will start in the role unless Quinn is sold on third year linebacker Paul Worrilow. Worrilow, is one of the best tacklers in the entire NFL and is easily one of the most hard-working members on the Falcons defense; but, his impact coverage can be considered average at best and he lacks the skills that we saw succeed in Seattle, which leaves the Falcons fan base completely divided about him earning an potential role starting in Quinn’s defense. But for a lack of any better options, I think Worrilow will take the MIKE role. Although he receives a lot of criticism from many fans, he is an incredible cerebral player and can make up for his weaknesses with a high awareness and sense for the ball. Unfortunately, I thought Prince Shembo playing the WILL (Weak Side Linebacker) role but his animal cruelty saga ended his tenure in Atlanta. The acquisition of Justin Durant could open the door for the veteran to start as the WILL linebacker with 2015 1st round selection Vic Beasley playing the LEO role similar to how Bruce Irvin performed in Seattle. 

Dan Quinn and Richard Smith during Mini-Camp in June. (AJC)

In conclusion, there’s a high chance I’m wrong about a lot of my predictions. With training camp looming, Falcons fans will get their first opportunity to see the new additions in action. Also, we’ll see Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith start to figure out how to solve the puzzle that is the Atlanta Falcons defense. With a new look scheme and improved talent, the Falcons defense can’t go anywhere but up the rankings as we usher in the Quinning era. Overall, I feel that we’re in for a treat and it should be a very special beginning to a promising season in Atlanta. RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Guess Writer: Matt (@RevanTyranus)

Four Must-see Falcons Games of 2015

Image via USA TODAY Sports/Dale Zanine

The Atlanta Falcons will begin their 50th training camp in franchise history and the first under Head Coach Dan Quinn this Thursday, which is the first time we'll get a chance to watch the 2015 Atlanta Falcons in full pads and battling for positions as we're getting closer to the start of the regular season. As we are less than 8 weeks away from our home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, we covered four of the most intriguing games for Falcons fans to watch.

1) Eagles @ Falcons: Week 1--September 14th (7:00,ESPN)

Preview of Chip Kelly's fast paced offense

Undoubtedly, the first regular season game of the Dan Quinn era is a must-watch for Falcons fans. The Atlanta Falcons new-look defense--which will pride itself on being fast and physical--will clash with the Philadelphia Eagles fast-paced offense under head coach Chip Kelly. And just to make things more exciting, this contest will be in prime-time on Monday Night Football. 

For now, the Eagles are set to have a training camp battle between Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford for the starting quarterback spot. This battle will continue throughout the pre-season with the winner being the guy that Chip Kelly trusts to give the Eagles the best chance to win; therefore, the Falcons need to be ready for him. 

2) Buccaneers @ Falcons: Week 8-- November 1st (1:00,FOX)

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston practiced for the first time with the team Friday, May 8, 2015 at One Buc Place in Tampa. Photo by JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

The week eight contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be Atlanta’s first face-to-face encounter with quarterback Jameis Winston, the number one overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston should have his bearings in the NFL by the time this mid-season game rolls around which could make this a tough match-up for the Falcons defense.

It’ll be the Falcons priority to make Winston uncomfortable since this dual-threat quarterback, who won a national championship at Florida State, is quite the confident competitor. Also, with the solid receiving tandem of Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, the Falcons secondary will be up for a major challenge as well. 

3) Colts @ Falcons: Week 11-- November 22nd (1:00,CBS)

Andrew Luck TD pass in the Colts win over the Seahawks in 2013

This is one of the more important games, nonetheless, one of the biggest home games for the Falcons because it’ll be the first time quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck cross paths. Additionally, this game serves as a measuring stick for Dan Quinn and company against one of the NFL's elite teams.

Led by quarterback Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts are a very good football team and are considered a Super Bowl favorite in 2015. Andrew Luck; running back Frank Gore; and wide receivers TY Hilton and Andre Johnson should be a tough test for the Falcons defense. Speaking of defense, it should be noted that Andrew Luck went head-to-head and defeated Dan Quinn’s defense in a week five match-up against the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

Expect this game to have a similar flare to the Falcons 2010 match-up against the Baltimore Ravens. As Falcons fans may remember, that game served as the first time Matt Ryan faced off against Joe Flacco. Come November 22nd, Luck and Ryan, who are both considered two of the top tier quarterbacks in the NFL should put on a show for the ages.

4) Saints @ Falcons: Week 17-- January 3,2016 (1:00,FOX)

Antone Smith explosive touchdown in the Falcons 37-34 win over New Orleans last season

Last but definitely not least, the week 17 match-up against the New Orleans Saints is a must-watch for all Falcons fans. 

Ever since the NFL implemented the rule stating all week 17 games must be within your division, the Falcons have only faced either the Carolina Panthers or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season finale. That changes this season as the Falcons will face their fiercest rival from the bayou to conclude the 2015 NFL regular season.

The Falcons will first clash with the Saints in a Thursday night showdown at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in week six; however the week 17 match-up could have playoff implications which will had drama to this contest. And if history is any indication, this game will be close-knit and come down to the wire. 

Anytime Drew Brees and Matt Ryan face off, the Falcons and Saints are in for an intense battle. Atlanta earned their first sweep over New Orleans since 2005 last year so the Saints will be pumped to exact revenge on their rivals this season for sure.

Which games are you most looking forward to this season, Falcons fans?  

--- David Schiele (Deacon_Schiele)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Notable Things to Watch during Falcons Training Camp

July 30th marks the beginning of a new era in Atlanta Falcons football with new Head Coach Dan Quinn. Also, training camp will allow us to answer some of the questions that many have discussed on the radio, throughout social media since OTA’s whether the topics were on the field or off the field. As we are one week away from the first training camp practice of the 2015 NFL season, here are the three most intriguing things that fans should keep an eye on during Training Camp.

Will Free Safety Ricardo Allen Start This Season?

Rookie cornerback Ricardo Allen #37 of the Atlanta Falcons runs drills during rookie minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility on May 16, 2014 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (May 15, 2014 – Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Second year Free Safety Ricardo Allen has been mentioned from the team, writers and fans since the start of Falcons mini-camp and Allen is well deserving of the notoriety. After a position change from corner back to safety, his performance throughout the off-season has benefited him and now he’s possibly on the verge to becoming the Falcons starting free safety in less than two months when we open the season at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. He's shown the instincts, ball skills, and awareness needed to play but still hasn't shown what he can do in game speed or even with full padding on as of yet. His development in the pre-season will be critical to Quinn's defensive plan. 

Will the Falcons sign Julio Jones during training camp? Or will the contract talks continue towards the start of the regular season?

Julio Jones TD vs Green Bay

I love Julio, You love Julio, EVERYBODY loves Julio!!!  As Julio Jones is entering the last year of his contract after receiving a one year extension last year, Jones is due for a large pay day. Last season, despite the Falcons having a tough 6-10 finish to the season, their star wide receiver took flight. Jones set a franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards on a career-high 104 receptions despite missing one game with an oblique injury. After the amazing finish to the season, many expect for Jones to follow up with another great season. Another big reason why many Falcons fans and people around the league are focusing on the Jones contract situation is because he’s the last of the three notable receivers due for an extension to receive a contract. Last week, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant received an 5-year, $70 million dollar ($45 million guaranteed) contract and Denver Broncos' receiver Demaryius Thomas received an 5 year - $70 ($30 million guaranteed) contract as well and similar to Jones, both are considered among some of the league’s top players at their position. Their contracts will help guide Julio’s situation which may end up being anywhere between 5 years for $80 to $90 million dollars. Although the Falcons have expressed their interests to extend his contract, we are still keeping an eye on the situation. Anything can happen in the NFL!

          Will OLB Vic Beasley become the pass rusher of the future for the Falcons defense? 

Vic Beasley earning a sack against Florida State

Over the last few seasons, the Falcons have lacked a formidable pass rusher. During the Mike Smith tenure, Atlanta was looking for someone to make an impact along with defensive end John Abraham; however, the organization failed to successfully address the issue. Pressure on the quarterback was one of the Falcons' biggest problems for the past two seasons as the Falcons finished tied for 30th last season and 29th in 2013 in quarterbacks, which was one of the worst around the league. In this off-season, they've begun to address their pass rushing flaws by drafting Clemson star linebacker and edge rusher Vic Beasley in this year’s NFL Draft. The Clemson product will be Atlanta’s designated pass rusher at the LEO position. This pre-season will be a 4-game showcase for him against pro talent and many Falcons fans are going to be watching him closely to see can Beasley bring the fear to opposing offensive coordinators and impact the revamped Falcons defense as the 2015 NFL season begins. 


Although there are some questions that we all have as the season inches closer, we are all excited to see the beginning of a new era in Atlanta Falcons football as Dan Quinn will look to help our beloved Falcons return to the level of playoff contenders in the NFC and take steps towards bringing the excitement of Falcons football back to the city of Atlanta. The process has just begun so Falcons fans, patience is key! RISE UP!!!!!

-Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An Outlook on the Falcons Defense and Dan Quinn

Former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, second from right, poses for photos with, from left: Atlanta Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff, owner Arthur Blank and team president and CEO Rich McKay after a news conference to introduce Quinn as the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (The Associated Press)

It’s July, training camp is approaching and a dull period of time has passed without football, but it  is finally coming to an end; all NFL teams are gearing up for the new season and the Atlanta Falcons, entering their 50th season will look to take steps back to becoming a Super Bowl contender in the NFC. After the acquisition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, whom enters his first head coaching tenure after two Super Bowl seasons in Seattle will look to change the culture in Atlanta. The Falcons front office responded by having one of the best draft classes we've seen in years and Falcons fans everywhere are ecstatic to Rise Up once again. The beginning of the Dan Quinn era will be fun to watch especially since we’ve added more talent on a defense that ranked among one of the league’s worst in the past two seasons.  


Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant intercepts a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the third quarter. November 16, 2014. Bank of America Stadium.Charlotte,NC

For years, our defense was known for having hard working guys on the defensive side of the ball; however, none were able to take the next step in their tenure in Atlanta and became backup players on other teams around the league and some didn’t receive a second chance after their Falcons days. Desmond Trufant is the shining star of the Falcons defense and he’s well on the way to becoming one of the top corner backs in the league, he’s just a great talent to watch. This season, with the solid addition of talent that we have acquired and entering his 3rd season in the NFL, I think Trufant will have a breakout year. On the other side is Robert Alford, our 2nd round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Last season, Alford’s performance was a bit inconsistent before an unfortunate injury shortened his season. 

As many other Falcons fans are concerned, I want to see more from Alford in 2015. As a corner, his intangibles and potential is there from possessing the speed and physicality to become a successful cornerback in the league; however, his ball skills and coverage can improve tremendously. Falcons fans should look forward to an interesting battle during  training camp and throughout the season as well to see can 2nd round selection, cornerback Jalen Collins challenge Robert Alford for the starting cornerback position.  During his LSU days, scouts knocked Collins for sometimes being caught out of position while attempting to go for an interception or big play which is a result for being talented and confident in his abilities. I could see Collins starting alongside Trufant at some point during the season if he can receive some solid coaching and progress under coordinator Raheem Morris.


Vic Beasley of the Clemson Tigers holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons during the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 30, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Over the last few seasons, the Falcons have lacked a formidable pass rusher. During the Mike Smith tenure, Atlanta was looking for someone to make an impact along with defensive end John Abraham; however, the organization failed to successfully address the issue. Entering this draft, Atlanta’s top desire was drafting a pass rusher; however,  I'm not sure if we fixed that in our selection of Clemson pass rushing specialist Vic Beasley, but we took a step in the right direction. I am confident that Bryan Cox, Atlanta’s defensive line coach can bring the best out of our young talent in the front line. During last year’s episode of Hard Knocks, many Falcons fans including myself was impressed in how tough he was on Ra’shede Hageman. Although Hageman wasn’t the brightest spot on the defensive line all season, he showed many signs of improvement towards the end of the 2014 season.  

During minicamp,  he looked better than he did in his rookie campaign so I'm confident that Cox will have Beasley well coached and prepared so he can reach the level of a dominant pass rusher that the Falcons drafted. Also, I’m looking forward to the guy that many said was the steal of the draft, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. After watching him at Clemson over the past two seasons, Jarrett was arguably the leader of the Tigers defense.  From commanding double teams to causing havoc in opposing passing games and running attacks,  he’s one of the rare elite talents. Most players aren’t usually coming out of college having a solid impact in both aspects defensively, it’s usually one of the two that a prospect can excel. However, it's not surprise considering that he is the son of Falcons legendary linebacker Jessie Tuggle.


As we discuss one of the biggest flaws of last season, the line backing core, Atlanta did a solid job acquiring veterans Justin Durant and Brooks Reed to help fix a core that’s probably one of the weakest on the roster. Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu are great stories of young undrafted free agents to starting NFL linebackers; unfortunately, I'm not sure how much fear they strike into opposing defenses. In my opinion, your linebackers set the tone for your entire defense. Your linebackers should force opposing offensive coordinators to game plan differently. 

Last season, the Falcons struggled having linebackers in space more and saw opposing rushing attacks  line up and run straight up the gut of our defense and destroyed the heart and toughness in a very important place in our defensive unit. Durant will bring that toughness and accountability to a fairly young defense. Also, Durant’s  veteran presence will be essential in helping Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu progress into the fast and physical linebackers to succeed in the NFL.


 In conclusion, the Falcons organization and fan base are ecstatic to see the Dan Quinn era take flight in Atlanta. A defensive minded coach with defensive principles and won’t call plays to confuse our own players while in the process of attempting to confuse their offense. Instead, Quinn is here to bring the fight to opposing teams and a defense who will give sixty minutes of fast and physical football, like we saw with his Seattle Seahawks defense. Falcons fans, we should give the defense time to gel and keep reminding ourselves every week that it's still a process. The effort the Falcons defense provide early in the preseason will be a small microcosm of what we will see in late November and early December as we possibly could contend for a playoff team. Buckle up Falcon fans, this season should be a fun ride!!!

Frazier --- @JustMe_Lo

The Biggest Difference Between Julio Jones' and Dez Bryant's Contract Negotiations

Dez Bryant touchdown at Washington

Julio Jones touchdown reception vs Tampa Bay

As we approach the 2015 NFL season, two of the biggest stories to watch will be the contract talks between 6th year Phenom, the Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and the Cowboys organization and with 5th year star wide receiver Julio Jones of our hometown Atlanta Falcons and the Falcons organization as well. I want to start off by stating that Dez Bryant is an incredible wide receiver, and deserves a lucrative deal because of the impact he brings offensively to the Dallas Cowboys offense. However, although he is a top-5 player at his respected position, some of his flaws  that we've seen at times during Cowboys games could make his contract negotiations very difficult. Then you have Julio Jones, who is arguably another Top 5 wide receiver in the NFL as well, however, Jones expressed in some of the interviews at mini-camp when asked about his contract negotiations with a team first attitude. In Mini Camp, Jones stated in a interview last month during Atlanta's mini camp sessions that "I'm not going to hold out for anything. My teammates need me. I'm being selfish if I'm not here doing what I need to do." Although the two are so similar in their dominance as two of the top receivers in the NFL today, their biggest difference is expressed in three elements: Off-field issues,their performance, and attitude. Each element will be factored into their negotiations.


 If we're being brutally honest, Dez Bryant isn't a "bad person" or "cancer to an organization; however, he's a passionate player that's just constantly remain in trouble  with the law. Coming from a difficult background, one ex-scout calls his situation one of the worst he's ever seen, and from being the center of domestic violence case with his mother to an other incident in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Bryant is making it difficult for the Dallas Cowboys to put trust into him as a franchise player going forward. Sadly, his on-field performance was never truly a concern; however, off the field, you never know what he's capable of doing.

In the case of Julio Jones, he's the complete opposite. Jones is not considered a flashy guy off the field and even from his social media accounts you can notice the difference. At times, we've seen Jones take trips to Brazil, workout in Los Angeles, or a casual photo with a fan  and even hanging out with some teammates as well. From the fans, coaches, and to the front office, Jones personality is exactly you would like to see and hear when discussing one of the biggest stars on your team and around the league. Many have described Jones as a quiet person with a "Kool-Aid smile" and his play simply can talk for him, prime example was his monster games last season against Arizona and in a prime-time game at Lambeau Field against the hot Green Bay Packers. Honestly, you couldn't ask for a better individual off the field and representative of your NFL team. 


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones catches a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL game on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

Without question, Dez Bryant is one of the best and most productive receivers in the league and every Sunday, you’re reminded why he’s well deserving of a lucrative extension from the Cowboys. Last season, Bryant continued to make an impression on the league as the 2014 Cowboys finished 12-4, won the NFC East or the first time since 2009 and came within a controversial pass from advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Bryant finished the season with (88) receptions, (1,320) receiving yards, and (16) touchdown receptions which led the NFL and broke Terrell Owens franchise record of 15 TD scores. Bryant's great season was en route to a 2nd consecutive Pro-Bowl appearance and was chosen as 1st team All-Pro. Although many argue that Dallas' explosive rushing attack with a healthy DeMarco Murray and playing on a team with arguably the offensive line in the NFL was helping inflate his stats, the debate is in the air but he is established as one of the NFL's toughest and elite players

Julio Jones is one of most explosive receivers in the NFL today and a constant nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators on how to contain #11. Last season, despite the Falcons having a tough 6-10 finish to the season, their star wide receiver took flight. Jones set a franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards on a career-high 104 receptions despite missing one game with an oblique injury. He led the NFL with 31 catches of 20-plus yards. Since his rookie season, he amassed twenty one-hundred yard games, ranking fourth best in the NFL since he entered the league in 2011. When healthy, Julio Jones is one of the biggest threat to any secondary in the league. With new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan putting him in mix-match positions and a more balanced offensive attack, I expect yet another Pro Bowl season is ahead for him. Although there are still people who is concerned with his durability, without a doubt, Jones is still one of the most respected receivers in the game today. 



Although he's one of the best receivers in the league today, Dez Bryant isn't the most like-able star around the league, which we are very aware of as football fans nor is he one  the best to communicate with as well. Bryant deserves to be one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, we understand this also BUT he doesn't have to express these feelings to the fans. As an NFL player, I feel that you should  present yourself in a professional manner instead of going to social media or venting to fans. Again, I respect Bryant's game and want him to break the bank simply because he deserves; however, as he enters another year in the NFL, I personally feel that he should work on holding his tongue in certain situations because every action Bryant makes which people aren't approving will lead them to continue to judge him not for his talent and passion to win, but simply due to his flaws.

On the other perspective, Julio Jones immediately settled down any Falcon fans who were concerned that he could take the same approach as well by stating that he wouldn't hold out and be there for his teammates. Jones is showing the staff, fans, and front office the necessary steps to show that he deserves a lucrative contract from attending workouts, OTAs, and now training camp. Sometimes your best statement is simply not making a statement and we're a witness to Jones is exercising that rule to the fullest. During this year's State of Franchise even,t both Owner Arthur Blank and GM Thomas Dimitroff stated that he'll be a Falcon for a long time to come. Hopefully they can and will stick to their words, and I trust they will do exactly what Falcons fans are hoping for in the end.


Julio Jones has an outside shot to break Calvin Johnson's single-season receiving record and the Detroit Lions wouldn't be upset if his mark was surpassed. (12/11/14- AP Photo)

In conclusion, although Dez Bryant and Julio Jones is on the path of being two of the best receivers in our generation, we have seen two different individuals on and off the football field as well. Dez Bryant is an outstanding player but some of the concerns I've listed above could result in his downfall. Two receivers that came to heart for me was Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. Both players were tremendous receivers and gave fans a show from their performance to their antics every Sunday afternoon; however, once they couldn't provide the same impact on a field as they once were capable of delivering, not many teams would take another chance on them. Julio Jones has taken more of a friendly approach to the table. Though he is a team first player, not saying Dez isn't, he's still going to appraised to a big deal. Hope you enjoyed the article and I would love to hear your feedback on the article as well. My predictions on the result of the contract negotiations are listed below, until next time..... RISE UP!!!!!!!!

-Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)


Dez Bryant: Finds a new home.

Julio Jones: 5 year deal between $85-$90 million. Max Offer: 5 years - 100 million.