Mike Smith is usually pretty slow in changing up starters. This has been pretty consistent, even early in the Smitty regime. Old punt and kick returner Adam Jennings had to not only play very poorly, but had to have an atrocious game including a crippling phantom muff before someone like Eric Weems ever got a shot. Antone Smith has been on the roster for over five seasons and has barely over five touches.
Smitty just does not like swapping out players. But should this change? The Falcons need a couple of things to fall in place in order to make the playoffs, and regrettably, something like "Kroy Biermann outperforming his career best five sacks at age 29" probably is not going to happen.
Here are a few of my favorites to hopefully grab a starting spot as soon as next Sunday. These guys have outperformed the starters and have loads of upside.
This is kind of a cop out on my part. Peters was having his career best year in 2013 before he was injured, and quickly looked like one of our very best defensive linemen. He is a player who can truly rush the passer while plugging up the run. Tyson Jackson, who I am still not sure has ever actually played a defensive snap for the Falcons, is a clear downgrade to Peters.
Maponga has flashed his unique strength, frequently standing up offensive linemen. Much more of a run plugger than pass rusher, he is tied for 2nd on the team in quarterback rushes. I think he would be a great fit at LDE bookending Jonathan Massaquoi.
The versatile linebacker has showed off his versatility at inside linebacker and looks ready to play now. With bigger bulk than most of our inside linebackers, he has done a better job against the run and has a couple of quarterback hurries and a hit, while easily outperforming Joplo Bartu.
He fumbled away a clear touchdown. He does not really know how to pick up blitzes and struggles in blocking. I do not care because is friggin electric (scouting term). His speed and shiftiness reminds me of Jerious Norwood. As soon as he pulls the corner he can take it all the way to the house. Giving Smith the start is probably the greatest bad idea out there.
Who do you think has earned the start? Seems a number of veterans have not been carrying their weight this year and I did not hit on all the young talent on this roster.