Tag:Mike Peterson
Posted on: August 17, 2012 12:00 pm

extra details from Falcons vs Bengals

The big fuss last week against the Ravens was that Atlanta used starters and potential starters on special teams, losing Bradie Ewing for the season and Akeem Dent for an unknown amount of time.

Mike Peterson took Dent's place as the starting MLB.  And like Dent, Mo Pete is playing those special teams units.

The first unit KR team:  Jacquizz Rodgers, Mike Cox, Antone Smith, Robert James, Kevin Cone, Cliff Matthews, Peter Konz, Johnathan Massaquoi, Kroy Biermann, Shann Schillinger, and Mike Peterson.  Massaquoi and Matthews flanked Konz as the deep blockers, and two of them would form the wedge (depending on the direction of the return).

The first unit punt coverage team:  Kevin Cone and Antone Smith played as the gunners, with Matt Bosher punting and Joe Zelenka alternating with Josh Harris as the long snappers.  Spencer Adkins, Chris Hope, Shann Schillinger, Suaesi Tuimaunei, Mike Peterson, Kroy Biermann and Mike Cox made up the rest of the unit.  

(I thought it interesting that Tuimaunei was in this group instead of Charles Mitchell.  I'm wondering if the idea was to have Tuimaunei on the field at the same time as Schillinger for direct comparison.  Otherwise, I can't see the reason for putting a likely practice squad prospect in with the first unit.)

The first punt return unit:  Dominique Franks as the return man, with Kevin Cone, Thomas DeCoud, Cliff Matthews, Antone Smith, Shann Schillinger, Jacquizz Rodgers, Robert James, Robert McClain, Darrin Walls, and Spencer Adkins.

The first kickoff coverage unit had Chris Hope, Mike Cox, Cliff Matthews, Robert James, Shann Schillinger, Kevin Cone, D.J. Davis, Antone Smith, Lawrence Sidbury and Dominique Franks, with Matt Bosher as the kicker.

The offensive line units were similar to the Ravens game. The first unit line, from left to right:  Baker, Blalock, McClure, Reynolds, Clabo.  Last week, McClure came out early and Joe Hawley worked with the first unit.  This week, McClure remained with the group throughout the first quarter.

The second unit line had Svitek, Jackson, Hawley, Konz, and Johnson.  For the second week in a row, Johnson only played right tackle.  In minicamp and OTAs, he was in his usual spot as the second unit left guard.  In training camp, he played some at left guard, right guard, and right tackle.

When Konz briefly came out with what appeared to be a hand injury, Philipkeith Manley came in at left guard and Jackson moved to the right side.

The third unit had Bryce Harris, Jackson, Hawley, Konz, and Johnson.  This is a change from last week, when Konz slid in to center, flanked by Manley and Jackson.  If he did bang up his hand, the coaching staff might have opted not to have him handling the ball.

The fourth unit had Harris, Manley, Tyler Horn, Konz and Johnson.  Apparently Konz and Johnson are getting as many reps as possible on the right side.  They worked pretty well together.

Noteworthy line mishaps:  on that pass from Matt Ryan to Jacquizz Rodgers for a loss (the one Ryan should have simply thrown away), Garrett Reynolds was getting beaten on the line, and Quizz helped him out with a double team.  Unfortunately, he didn't spot the outside man coming around to the middle on the stunt.  That defender came free, forcing Ryan to flee the pocket.

And yes, that was our old pal Jamaal Anderson who was in Ryan's face when he threw the ball.  Interesting to see him reunited with Mike Zimmer, who was our defensive coordinator when we drafted Jamaal.

The second unit line also had trouble picking up a stunt, but the Bengals came with a six man rush on that particular play, so it's not too surprising.  Andrew Jackson got beaten on that play (he whiffed badly on a block last week that led to Redman getting decked), but this time his man wasn't the one that delivered the hit.  The outside man who rolled inside on the stunt was the one who leveled Rojohombre. 

Svitek also got beaten on one play, with Redman taking a hit.  That play came immediately after Svitek had been called for a false start, so it might have still been in his mind.  Otherwise, Svitek has played well in both games.

The left side of Harris, Manley, and Horn on the fourth unit is still shaky, which is about what you'd expect from a trio of undrafted rookies.  The big sack on Davis came when Manley was beaten first, leaving Harris facing a hopeless one on two situation.  Davis dug himself into a hole by scrambling backwards rather than outside (where he could have thrown the ball away).  But to his credit, he did convert the first down.

For the second week in a row, Max Gruder came in as the second MLB, ahead of Pat Schiller, though Schiller got more time at the position.  Spencer Adkins and Robert James played the outside LB spots for both of them and remained on the field in the nickel package, with the MLB prospects coming off.

Jerrell Harris and Rico Council were the third pair of OLBs, and both Gruder and Schiller had reps working with them.  James and Adkins continued to play as the nickel package linebackers, replacing the prospects.

Dominique Franks and Darrin Walls came in as the second unit cornerbacks.  Robert McClain joined them for the nickel package, with Franks moving into the slot while McClain took his place outside. Chris Hope and Shann Schillinger played safety with this group. 

Charles Mitchell came in for one series with Hope.  He returned in the final two minutes, paired with Suaesi Tuimaunei. 

That was the only series Tuimaunei had at safety, which is why his appearane with the first unit punt coverage group stands out.

The various DB units are still trying to get it together as groups, having occasional mishaps with communications.  One play had a receiver left wide open for an easy touchdown.  Dominique Franks had released the receiver to the safety in order to cover another receiver in his zone - which is pretty standard for cover two.  But Chris Hope wasn't behind him to pick up the man.  There's no telling who was responsible, but it was a clear miscommunication between the two.

Another pass in the fourth quarter had Orson Charles all alone over the middle for a big gain.  Jerrell Harris started on Charles in the short zone but released him to the safeties - who weren't there.  More than likely Harris was supposed to stay with Charles, but again there's really no telling what the play call was and who had what zone of responsibility. 

The defensive line didn't rack up sacks, but they had consistent pressure throughout the game.

Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews were the second unit DEs (not counting Biermann, who rotated in as part of the first group).  Massaquoi later came in for Sidbury and paired with Matthews for the remainder of the game.

Travian Robertson paired with Vance Walker as the second DTs.  Robertson would continue to rotate in with the third unit, pairing at times with each of Micanor Regis and Elisha Joseph.

Kevin Cone and D.J. (Drew) Davis paired as the second WRs.  Marcus Jackson eventually replaced Cone, working one series with Davis (and with Tim Toone as a third receiver) before James Rodgers replaced Davis.  Kenny Stafford also rotated in during the final two minutes.

Tommy Gallarda had the third TE spot behind Gonzalez and Palmer.  Newly arrived Chase Coffman only made a brief appearance, with LaMark Brown finishing the game.  Dominique Davis apparently got over Brown's tip for an INT last week.  Brown was his favorite target during the fourth quarter scoring drive, including the touchdown pass.

Davis still had subpar play from his teammates, with frequent pressure and four dropped passes.  But at least this week he has a stat line that reflects his stellar play:  11 of 18, 121 yards, 1 TD, and a QB rating of 99.5.  Marcus Jackson dropped one of his passes, Kenny Stafford dropped one, and James Rodgers dropped two, including the one that ended the game for the Falcons.

Odd moment:  the replacement officials called a personal foul on "number 76 in white" at the end of the first half.  Neither team had a #76 on the field for that last play.

Posted on: September 17, 2009 11:49 pm

Ten observations from the Dolphins game

Sure, everyone's heard that Matt Ryan missed several deep passes (including two that would have been sure touchdowns), that Jason Elam had a nightmare of a game, that the Falcons rushing game got shut down, that Kroy Biermann emerged as a star, and that John Abraham is still a beast.

Here's a list of ten more observations that you might not have seen on the 11 o'clock news or the highlights shows...

The positive:
(1) The defense held the Dolphins under 100 rushing yards and under 200 passing yards.  All three levels of the defense stepped up, but especially the linebacker corps.  Last year, safeties Erik Coleman and Lawyer Milloy had 188 combined tackles.  In this game, the three leading tacklers were Curtis Lofton (10 plus 1 assist), Mike Peterson (7 plus a forced fumble and an INT), and Stephen Nicholas (7, including one on special teams).  The safeties only had to make two tackles each.

(2) Matt Ryan racked up a QB passer rating of 98 in spite of having what we would consider an off game.  He struggled badly with the deep pass in the preseason and again in this first game, but he's deadly accurate with the short stuff.  (And even the missed deep attempts helped to stretch the defense.)

(3) The Falcons racked up four sacks on defense - and all were by defensive linemen.  The six and seven man blitz packages weren't needed.  The front four were able to generate pressure all by themselves.   If they can keep that up, allowing the LBs and safeties to defend their zones, this defense will be outright scary by the end of the year.

(4) They didn't give up the big play.  Miami had only seven plays that went for more than 10 yards, and only two for more than 20 yards.  Both of those were 21 yards.  (And one of them was that trick double pass thing.)

(5) The Falcons absolutely stuffed the Wildcat.  My tally showed 4 yards on 3 plays before the Dolphins essentially put that package on the shelf for the day.

(6) They also succeeded in defending the screen pass.  After repeatedly getting burned by screens throughout the preseason (including 94 yards on 4 screens in the first half by the Chargers), the Falcons held their own on several attempted screens by Miami.

And a few things that need work:

(7) Never mind the under 3 yard average by Michael Turner.  A more important problem is that he had 22 rushing attempts, which puts him on a pace for over 350 carries for the season.  That's too many.  Meanwhile, Jerious Norwood only had two rushing attempts, while Ovie Mughelli and Jason Snelling had none.  They need to do a much better job of spreading the load. 

(8) The offensive line gave up a pair of sacks and allowed pressure on a few other plays.  The first sack was purely a miscommunication.  They'll get it together pretty quickly, but they're not where they need to be quite yet.

(9) Atlanta's secondary had zero passes defended.  (The entire team had two - one by Mike Peterson and one by Jamaal Anderson.)  That's okay against the Dolphin receiving corps, but they'll need to step it up when they face the likes of Wes Welker, Joey Galloway, Ben Watson and Randy Moss in week 3 against the Patriots.  By contrast, Miami's DBs broke up several pass attempts by the Falcons. 

(10) The defense had good stats, but the old problem of defending the run up the middle against a three WR package is still there.  Miami simply didn't attempt it very often.  But three of Miami's top ten gains on offense were running plays, and all three were straight up the middle against the nickel defense.  (They were also by different ball carriers.  Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown each had a 14 yard gain, while Polite had a nine yarder.)

Posted on: September 12, 2009 6:43 pm

First look at 2010 compensatory draft picks

The Atlanta Falcons gave up their 2010 seventh round draft pick to the Rams for Tye Hill.  They had earlier given up their second round pick to the Chiefs for Tony Gonzalez.

But in addition to the regular seven draft picks per team, the league also awards 32 compensatory draft picks to offset player losses due to free agency.  The league has a proprietary (translation:  secret) formula it uses to determine which free agents count and in what rounds the resulting compensatory draft picks will fall.

Some keys:  not every player counts.  The secret formula includes factors such as salary, playing time, postseason results and other awards/honors - with both the old and new teams.  Reverse engineering of the formula has found that by far the biggest factor is the salary received with the new team.

Also, only players that are true unrestricted free agents and who sign with their new team during the unrestricted free agency period count.  The signing period typically starts March 1 and runs through July, subject to minor calendar-related adjustments.  (This year's period opened on Feb 27 and ended July 27.)

Players who were released by their former clubs do not count.  Players who sign after June 1 that were not tendered offers by their former clubs also do not count.

Compensatory picks are based on NET loss of free agents.  If you lose four players that count to other teams but sign three, you have a net loss of one compensatory free agent.  You would typically expect to receive one compensatory pick.

No matter how many players you lose, you can receive at most four compensatory picks.

The formula places values on the players as well as counting them.  It's possible to get an extra pick if you sign the same number of guys as you lose - if the value of the guys you lose is much greater than the value of the ones you sign.  But the picks awarded this way will only be late seventh rounders.

Also note that there are always 32 and only 32 picks awarded.  If the formula determines that more than 32 are deserved, only the highest ranking 32 will be awarded.  If the formula comes up short, the remaining picks will be given to the teams that would be selecting first if there were an eighth round of the draft.  (That happened this year - and the Raiders and Chiefs got the final two picks of the draft as a result.)

It can get a little fuzzy as to which free agents count and which don't, and in what rounds the resulting picks will fall.  The key factor appears to be the salary with the new team.  Best guess =  guys with salaries below $800k will not count at all.  Guys above $900k probably will.  For the ones right in that $800-900k territory, playing time will decide it.


Here are the Falcons players, both coming and going, and how they might affect the Falcons draft in 2010:

Mike Peterson -  reportedly signed for 2 years, $6.6 million.  He counts as a player signed by Atlanta and will have a value around the 6th round.

Grady Jackson - reportedly signed a 3 year deal with the Lions for $8 million.  (Congratulations to the big man.  Falcons fans wanted him back, but we can understand our team not competing with that kind of offer.)   Best guess is he'll count as a seventh rounder, but he may be on the borderline of the 6th round..

Lawyer Milloy - will not count.  He signed with the Seahawks far too late.  (The idea is that these extra picks offset your losses in free agency.  If you don't even bother to tender him an offer, you didn't really lose him.  You threw him away.)

Brett Romberg - apparently signed a two year deal at an average of $800k per year.  The salary should be too low to count, and even if it's close, he's not a starter.  Unless someone gets hurt, he won't play enough snaps to count at all.

Verron Haynes - was out of the league last year.  Does not count.

Will Svitek - was released by the Chiefs last year.  Does not count.

Domonique Foxworth - signed a 4 year, $27 million deal with the Ravens.  My best guess is that he'll count as a 4th rounder, but there's a possibility he'll end up counting for a 3rd round pick.

Keith Brooking - signed a 3 year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys.  I think the borderline between 6th and 7th round picks will be around $2.5 million per year, so I suspect Brooking will count as a 7th rounder.

Michael Boley - signed a 5 year, 25 million deal with the Giants.  He'll be right around the borderline between a 4th and 5th.  I'll be optimistic and say a 4th, but playing time could drop him to the 5th - so root for him to start every game after this week and play nearly every snap.

Jeremy Newberry - signed June 15, then retired.  I'm 99% certain he doesn't count.

Marty Booker - signed in August.  Does not count.  (Ditto for Robert Ferguson and Jamie Winborn.)

I see four players who left Atlanta that will count and only one incoming player.  The Mike Peterson signing will offset the Grady Jackson loss, leaving Atlanta three compensatory picks:  a fourth rounder, a second fourth rounder or fifth rounder, and a seventh rounder.

We'll still feel the impact of losing the 2nd rounder in the Tony Gonzalez trade, but with potentially two extra picks coming at the end of round four, the Falcons still have the freedom to trade their own 5th and/or 6th round picks for extra help if needed.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com