Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. It's our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, the defending NFC Champions who report for training camp today.
1. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff believes the team has properly dealt with the Super Bowl LI collapse and is ready to move forward.
He likes the roster, which stands at 90 with the retirement of Trevor Robinson. They can add a player because they have an international league exemption for tight end Alex Gray.
He can’t wait for things to get started on Thursday.
He’ll be in position at the back of the end zone getting a wide-angle view of the action.
“The Spring showed that we are so moving forward from what we perceived as the possibility of a post-Super Bowl hangover,” Dimitroff said. “Our focus is not on the past. It’s on moving forward. I know that’s a cliché.”
He likes the approach that coach Dan Quinn took in address the collapse directly and not try to sweep that elephant under the rug or have it hide in a closet.
“I’m so excited about how Dan has managed the football team that way and so did our leaders like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and (Desmond) Trufant,” Dimitroff said. “Everyone is just really, really positive. No one is point fingers.
“No one is focused on that (the collapse), contrary to what has been written, the focus is on the future of this team. Everyone feels really good. We have a young team overall. I think we’re really fired up with all of our energy.”
2. Roster love. Dimitroff in part loves the roster because he sees competitive toughness, athleticism, urgency and speed throughout the roster.
“We’re in a good spot,” Dimitroff said.
3. Freeman deal. Dimitroff was update about getting a contract extension done with running back Devonta Freeman.
“We’ll continue to pay the people that we’ve drafted,” Dimitroff said. “That’s what we like. I think that sends a very good message out there.”
4. Message to Coleman. Freeman’s deal will send a message to running back mat Tevin Coleman. Rarely do teams have top dollar for two running backs.
“You’re making a choice, unless you’re going to be the old regime at Carolina, which paid Jonathan Stewart and DeAngleo Williams very good running back money to split carries to be a time-share, most teams don’t do that,” said CBSSports.com analyst Joel Corry, an Emory grad.
So, what do you do with Coleman in a few years?
“It’s really going to be a zero-sum gain,” Corry said. “It’s one or the other. If you pay Freeman, you are basically telling Coleman to take a walk when his rookie contract is up. He’s not going to want a ton of mileage on him, but at the same time he’s going to want to do enough where he can really hit the market at the right time.
“He’s kind of caught between a rock and a hard place if they pay Freeman.”
5. Xanders joins Rams. Former Falcons executive Brian Xanders is joining Les Snead’s staff with the Los Angles Rams. Both with the Falcons from 1994 to 2007, when Xanders left to become Denver’s assistant general manager. Snead left in 2011 to become the Rams general manager.
6. 2017 ATLANTA FALCONS 90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS
Training camp will be held at the team’s facilities in Flowery Branch for the 13th consecutive season.
Selected practices will be open to the public, but there is not a “Friday Night Lights” event listed. The team has gone into the community for a scrimmage at local high school since first holding the event during the Jim Mora regime at Grady High in 2006.
8. Battles to watch. The Falcons will hold their first practice on Thursday. Here are five position battles to watch.
WR 11 Julio Jones, 14 Justin Hardy, 19 Andre Roberts, 1 Reggie Davis, 17 Marvin Hall
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 66 Kevin Graf, 79 Will Freeman
LG 67 Andy Levitre, 64 Sean Harlow, 72 Cornelius Edison
C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland, 61 Travis Averill, 62 Cam Keizur
RG [71 Wes Schweitzer, 63 Ben Garland], 69 Marquis Lucas
RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 76 Daniel Brunskill, 75 Andreas Knappe
TE 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Joshua Perkins, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 85 Eric Saubert, 49 Darion Griswold
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 18 Taylor Gabriel, 13 Devin Fuller, 15 Nick Williams, 16 Anthony Dable, 87 Deante Burton, 7 Josh Magee
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 4 Matt Simms, 4 Alek Torgersen
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 28 Terron Ward, 38 Brian Hill, 35 B.J. Daniels
FB 40 Derrick Coleman, 39 Tyler Renew
DEFENSEDE 99 Adrian Clayborn, 98 Takkarist McKinley, 96 Martin Ifedi
DT 92 Dontari Poe, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 92 Joe Vellano
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 91 Courtney Upshaw, 74 Taniela Tupou
DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 95 Jack Crawford, 90 Derrick Shelby, 93 Chris Odom
SLB 59 DeVondre Campbell, 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 50 Brooks Reed, Jack Lynn
LB 45 Deion Jones, 53 LaRoy Reynolds, 52 Josh Keyes
WLB 36 Kemal Ishmael, 42 Duke Riley, 56 Jermaine Grace, 55 J'Terius Jones
CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 25 Akeem King, 39 Janor Jones, 38 Taylor Reynolds
NB 34 Brian Poole, 33 Blidi-Wreh-Wilson, 27 Damontae Kazee
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 32 Jalen Collins, 30 Deji Olatoye, 41 Quincy Mauger
S 37 Ricardo Allen, 20 Sharrod Neasman, 35 Marcelis Branch
S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 48 Jordan Moore, 49 Deron Washington
K 3 Matt Bryant, 6 Mike Meyer
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 19 Andre Roberts, 14 Justin Hardy, 13 Devin Fuller, 38 Brian Hill
PR 19 Andre Roberts, 14 Justin Hardy, 13 Devin Fuller, 18 Taylor Gabriel
LS 47 Josh Harris
H 5 Matt Bosher
THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT