July 27, 2012; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) during training camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Today, the Falcons released the first line dance order of the season, and the usual suspects are at the forefront. This here list uses a tier list called "strings". I guess a string is like a line. Either that or they're using strings in their routine; a different method that was first employed by the Atlanta Thrashers of the 2000s, a team that literally nobody remembers.
See? Now this post is less boring than it would've been had I written it normally. In any case, take the jump with me and let's carefully examine the line dance order and these so called "strings"
Well, the first thing that about anyone with eyeballs will tell you is that highly regarded.....err.....insulted LT Sam Baker is first string. This isn't the first season that the Falcons have given us the "Sam Baker is healthy this year" line, and it's debatable whether this year will be any different than previous years. However, as the Braves have shown with Ben Sheets, it is possible to do amazing things in spite of injury. I'll hold judgment until I see Baker in real game time.
I did a little research on the Titans. I don't know if this practice today was at full speed or not, but the Titans were a very average team last season. Football Outsiders had both their offense and defense rated at 15th in 2011. One of the first comments I heard out of this practice was that the offensive line was opening up good holes for the RBs. The Titans defensive line was ranked 17th against the run and so far down the list in passing I stopped trying to find them once I hit Division 1-A college football.
Basically what that means is that, assuming things are similar there, they tested us reasonably in run defense, and they held up white flags in pass rush. It's a nice test to see different looks and different schemes and whatnot, but it might not've been the best test. Regardless, it's better than nothing.
Next on the WTF (What the Falcons) meter is RGGR currently on first string over high draft pick Peter Konz. I think this could change by the end of the preseason. RGGR was somewhere between Omega Suck and Ultimate Suck last season and was yanked so fast you'd think they'd have used that big wooden cane hook thing you saw in those old Bugs Bunny cartoons. To see him at first string RG is either a testament to how hard he worked in the offseason OR how screwed we are at right guard.
Nothing else really on offense. I think we'll only carry one fullback, namely Ewing, but we'll see. Not sure how the 3rd string stack works. If it's based on who's name is higher, then Quizz's brother is in trouble and JPW must have the same pictures as Robert James, which brings me to...
Robert James, the Time Wizard who is probably went back in time to some frat party Mike Smith was at and took pictures so that Smitty can never live it down. The scary part of what I see on defense is that if either OLB goes down, we are royally F'd (Falcons'd), and if an OLB and Dent go down, we're stuck with Father Time and the Time Wizard on the field at the same time. Someone start cooking up a Black Hole Generator, or buy a lottery ticket, one.
One thing that actually really gets me down is how many quality defensive linemen we have. It's a testament to what Smitty did in JAX with all those good DL he had, like Stroud and Henderson. I've heard good things out of Travian Robertson, but we have so many potentially good DEs, I think we should consider rotating some of them inside, similar to how the Giants have rotated DEs inside in the past to great effect, at times.
I hate to risk putting either Massoquoi or Nzegwu on the practice squad, though I haven't heard anything out of Nzegwu since training camp started. Since I can't be there to observe all these things myself, I have to rely on Twitter, which is what it is.
I find it weird that Dunta is ahead of Asante, even though that's probably not how it'll go on the field, but whatever.
I've been mulling this over for a few minutes, and the KR/PR situation could actually be great for our DE problem. We have at least three potential kick returners already on the roster, which frees up a spot for a player that wasn't what Weems was, and that includes one of the fringe DEs. Ideally, I would love for a player like James Rodgers to make the squad as the team's dedicated special teams guy, but it looks like they're not going to go that route, which is alright. That spot that Weems took up can open up a spot for a guy like Nzegwu, a project DE who has enough raw talent to run down the field on a kickoff and destroy somebody. Can't most people do that?
Can we call Nzegwu "Alphabet"? He has like every letter of the alphabet nobody uses in his name. It's a good thing, don't worry. Alright, if Father Time, Time Wizard, and Alphabet all tackle the same guy on a kickoff return, what happens? (By the way, this could totally happen, since MoPete, James, and Nzegwu would all be on special teams if Nzegwu makes it)
I don't know. Looks like Quizz and HD will be our kickoff and punt returners, respectively. I know HD can handle punt returns, but I am curious to see how well Quizz's top speed holds up in the long distance of kick returning. Last #32 we had returning kicks was pretty fast.
In any case, there's the first breakdown of the first line dance. I doubt this will be the final line dance list, but it's an interesting one, nonetheless.