Little discussion post for the masses this evening. Huzzah! I want to talk about playing time. In particular, I want to talk about the defensive ends' playing time for the rest of 2013.
We talked about the Falcons' deliberate choice to involve Stansly Maponga and Malliciah Goodman as much as possible against the Buccaneers in week 7. Going forward, I thought we could reasonably expect more of the same. And assuming the Falcons consider drafting a defensive end in the first or second rounds of next April's draft, somebody's got to go.
If the roster didn't change at all, the Falcons would have 6 defensive ends under contract in 2014. Kroy Biermann is, of course, out for the year, but I'm not convinced the Falcons would part with him, if only because he's a hybrid defensive end/linebacker.
Consider that Osi Umenyiora played 47 defensive snaps against the Cardinals - that's 87 percent of the total. He's obviously our featured guy at this point. Maponga and Goodman played 4 (7 percent of the total) and 11 (20 percent of the total) snaps respectively, considerably less than they played against the Bucs. Finally Jonathan Massaquoi played 14 (26 percent of the total) snaps and Cliff Matthews played 7 (13 percent of the total) snaps. Keep in mind that the Falcons occasionally kick a defensive tackle outside, but for the purposes of this discussion, we're just talking defensive end playing time.
I think the Falcons have to make some choices before they prepare for the draft in 2014. They need to decide what members of their current defensive end rotation are worth keeping around. Not easy decisions, but necessary ones nonetheless. To do that, they will need to see these fellas play. No other way to get there.
But how much should each man play? This is where you come in. Break it down in the comments!