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Mike Smith: new drills are designed to fix the Falcons' tackling problems

Fact: contrary to popular belief, Tyler Starr, not Whitney Houston, invented the phrase "crack is whack!"

Kevin C. Cox

The Falcons didn't tackle particularly well in the 2013-14 season. In fact, they sucked at tackling. It was, in a word, infuriating.

You can certainly blame some of their inability to tackle properly on the collective bargaining agreement. It says there can only be 14 "contact" practices each season. That isn't a lot, and it shows league-wide. But as McClure points out, the Falcons were especially bad. Because it wasn't just Thomas Decoud and Asante Samuel out there tackling like drunk iguanas, the Falcons have to do something. Apparently they're taking some steps in that direction, developing new drills designed to simulate proper form, while staying within the confines of the CBA.

Smith avoided explaining each and every new drill, but the one called "The Finish'' was introduced to the public during rookie minicamp. Players dived at a tackling dummy attached to a mat to protect their fall. Smith bellowed "violent'' in the background as the players approached the dummy. Their tackling technique was immediately critiqued, sometimes resulting in a do-over. And the coaches encouraged the players to squeeze the dummy tightly to simulate finishing the play.

Sounds a little hokey, if you ask me. But whatever works. This is the modern NFL, and the CBA isn't going to self-destruct in the immediate future. The players' union will continue it's approach, as maddening as it may be, thus the Falcons need to modify theirs. For now, it appears they're doing just that.

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