Training camp is just around the corner, so let’s hit some NFL news from this week. Yes, it’s time for another steaming batch of Atlanta Falcons “Bird Droppings”. Little tid-bits, rants, factoids, and snippets from around the Falcons camp and the rest of the NFL. Check your shoes at the door please.
New Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan had some high praise for linebacker Sean Weatherspoon this week. “He’s a good player now, but he could be a lot better than he is,” said Nolan, “And he will be. No question, because he loves football and he’s exciting to watch and he’s a playmaker, for all those reasons. But he’s done well, but he can still do a lot better.” Last season Weatherspoon had 118 tackles and four sacks, so an improvement over those type of numbers could mean a trip to Hawaii for the young linebacker.
It looks like Atlanta is prepared to shift to a more pass-intensive offense under new coordinator Dirk Koetter. And, receiver Roddy White apparently let on that he’s excited about that prospect during the Falcons recent minicamp. “We look real good right now, I’m not going to lie,” White said. “The past three or four years, this is the best I’ve been around since I’ve been here and seen the cumulative group on the field.” There had been speculation that Koetter’s system would require the number of targets to White to be reduced. We’ll see how that all plays out once training camp begins.
Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent said he has been watching film with teammate and fellow linebacker Lofa Tatupu during this offseason and that Tatupu has been helping him out even though the two will be competing for the middle linebacker job during training camp. “We’re learning together, watching film, making corrections,” Dent said. “He’s helping me out a lot in terms of trying to understand everything. A guy like Lofa, that has been to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro player, it’s been great for me. I’m a competitor. I know he’s a competitor also, but at the end of the day it’s good for the Falcons to have two guys that will be ready to play at any point.” I’d say this is exactly why Atlanta wanted to bring in Tatupu in the first place.
NFL Network’s Jamie Dukes recently commented on Atlanta’s third round draft choice, Lamar Holmes, saying: ‘The Falcons drafted a guy in the third round, and from everything I’m hearing, he’s going to be right tackle ONLY.” If this is indeed true, and the Falcons drafted a Holmes to backup to Pro-Bowler Tyson Clabo, what are the plans at left tackle beyond Sam Baker and Will Svitek? Inquiring minds want to know Mr. Dimitroff.
The Falcons have until July 16th to make a decision on whether or not to extend cornerback Brent Grimes beyond the one-year franchise tag. If the two sides can’t come to terms on a long-term deal by then, Grimes will become a free-agent in 2013 and will be able to work the free agent market. NFL Insider, Jason La Canfora gave the odds of the two sides coming to an agreement as “fair.”
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been selected as the 2012 Jack Horrigan Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). The Horrigan Award is given to the league or team official for qualities and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their job. The award is named for Jack Horrigan, who was a sportswriter for UPI and the Buffalo Evening News, PR director for the American Football League (1963-66) and vice president of public relations for the Buffalo Bills (1966-73). Dimitroff is the second Falcons’ executive to receive the award, as current Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay was honored with the Horrigan Award in 2005 when he was the club’s GM.