Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cover 9@9: Should the Falcons sign RGIII?

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter joins CineSport’s Noah Coslov to name the free agents the Falcons should not pursue. Plus, they talk about the organization’s culture and Thomas Dimitroff’s role.

1. THE CASE FOR RG III: A couple of folks have suggested on Twitter that the Falcons should sign Robert Griffin III.

The first reaction to them was that the bridge with the Shanahan’s was torched beyond repair.

However, after a quick review, most of Griffin’s problems were with the elder Shanahan, Mike and not Kyle, who’s the Falcons’ offensive coordinator.

As a rookie in 2012, Griffin completed 65.6 percent of his passes and posted a 9-6 record over 15 starts. He tossed 20 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

Kyle Shanahan had to blend some college read-option offense out of the pistol into the offense in order to make Griffin III comfortable. As teams caught up to the attack and Griffin didn’t develop as a reader of NFL defenses, things imploded in Washington in the 2013 season. He was 3-10 as a starter and the Shanahans were fired.

On Monday, Griffin III cleaned out his locker after the Redskins dismissal from the playoffs and he clearly expects to be cut this offseason.

He knows the Falcons offense can could be a decent insurance policy behind Matt Ryan.

He has to work on reading NFL defenses or risk being out of the league like Vince  Young, another former college star who flashed early in his NFL career before flaming out.

2. JONES HONORED: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who was nearly unstoppable at times last season, was named to the Sporting New All-Pro Team on Tuesday.

He was named to the Associated Press’ All-Pro team on Friday.

The Sporting News was voted on by players, coaches and executives. It was his second straight appearance on the Sporting News team.

Jones, who was in his fifth-year in the NFL, caught 136 passes for 1,871 yards and eight touchdowns.

On a 27-yard catch in the fourth quarter against the Saints in the regular-season finale, Jones passed Jerry Rice for second all-time on the single season receiving yardage list (1,848, 1995).

Jones is one of three players all-time to record 1,800-plus receiving yards in a single season and he is one of five Falcons players to record 1,800-plus yards from scrimmage in a single season (1,871).

Jones and Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown each finished the season with 136 receptions, which tied them for second on the NFL’s single season reception list. (Marvin Harrison, 143, 2002).

3. ROOTING FOR JACKSON: It’s going to be easy to root for former Falcons running back Steven Jackson when the Patriots face the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round on Saturday.

Jackson, one of the league’s good guys, was not successful in his two seasons with the Falcons and was released. The Patriots, in an injury bind, signed Jackson on Dec. 22.

Jackson has played in just two playoff games over his 12-year NFL career, both back in the 2004 season. He last playoff game was against the Falcons, who blitzed the St. Louis, 47-17 at the Georgia Dome on their way to the NFC championship game.

4. UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: Chris Chester, RG; Adrian Clayborn, DE/DT; O’Brien Schofield, OLB/DE: Philip Wheeler, LB; Charles Godfrey, SS; Tony Moeaki, TE; Shayne Graham, K (Only if Matt Bryant is OK.); Kroy Biermann, DE; Gino Gradkowski, C/G; Jake Long, OT; Bryce Harris, OT.

5. RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: Paul Worrilow, LB; Ryan Schraeder, RT and Nate Stupar, LB.

6. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Ricardo Allen, FS and Ben Garland, OG.

7. FREEMAN AWARD: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is up for Vizio’s ninth annual Top Value Performer Award, which goes to the player whose performance blew away all expectations.

The list of finalists:

  • Travis Benjamin – Cleveland
  • Allen Robinson – Jacksonville
  • Devonta Freeman - Atlanta
  • Stefon Diggs - Minnesota
  • Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo

Here’s NFL Analyst Charley Casserly’s take on each player.

The Top Value Performer is completely decided by fan votes, allowing fans to rally behind their favorite candidate and vote as often as they’d like at .  Voting is open now, until Tuesday, Jan 19 at 11:59 p.m.

8. CONGRATS TO DURHAM: Falcons play-by-play announcer Wes Durham was named the Georgia sportscaster of the year by the National Sportscaster and Sportswriter Association.

It was Durham's 10th time winning the award.


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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.