Falcons Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/6/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

New York Giants

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/18

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/28/18

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: TE Nick Keizer

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Falcons Place DE Derrick Shelby On IR

The Falcons place defensive end Derrick Shelby on IR with groin injury, per a team announcement. To take his place, the team promoted defensive back Ryan Neal to the active roster. 

The Falcons released Shelby in March only to re-sign him to a cheaper deal three weeks later. Shelby started the bulk of last season for Atlanta, but he’s been more of a rotational player this year. In seven games (three starts) Shelby recorded ten total tackles and zero sacks.

Even without the 29-year-old, the Falcons have a number of other options at DE. Former first-round picks Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley will continue to start on the edge with Bruce Irvin, Brooks Reed, and Steven Means in support.

At 4-7, the Falcons’ playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread. If they fall to the Ravens on Sunday, they’ll punch their ticket for a top 20 pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Deion Jones

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said linebacker Deion Jones looks excellent but stopped short of saying Jones will be ready for Week 13, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones was activated off injured reserve in advance of Week 11, but he still has yet to see the field. After originally suffering a foot injury in Week 1, Jones hasn’t played since, and his — and other key defenders’ — absences have contributed to Atlanta’s disappointing 4-7 record.

Deion Jones To Miss Week 12

  • The Falcons activated Deion Jones last week but did not deploy him against the Cowboys. The acclaimed Atlanta middle linebacker will also miss the Falcons’ Thanksgiving game in New Orleans, being declared out in advance of the NFC South rivalry matchup. Jones suffered a foot injury in Week 1 and spent two months on IR. He’s on Atlanta’s active roster now, and it’s possible the Falcons are giving him an extra 10 days to prepare for a Week 13 return. However, at 4-6, the Falcons can ill-afford any more losses if they want to preserve their fleeting playoff hopes.

NFL Reinstates Jalen Collins, Darius Latham

The NFL has reinstated former Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins and former Raiders defensive tackle Darius Latham, the league announced. Both of their suspensions wrapped up on Tuesday, clearing the free agents to sign with an NFL team.

Collins, a former second-round pick, flashed potential in his time with Atlanta. Unfortunately, multiple suspensions have derailed his career, including his most recent 10-game ban. Collins started eight games for the Falcons and played in 24. He also started all three of Atlanta’s games in the 2016 playoffs, including Super Bowl LI.

If not for his red flags, the 25-year-old likely would have been a first-round choice in 2015. He also might be a starting cornerback in Atlanta today.

Latham made a bigger impression for the 2016 Raiders, playing in 14 games and starting two, than he did last season. Thanks in part to his four-game suspension, Latham ended up playing in just three contests last year. He made 17 tackles as a rookie and has yet to record a sack. This year, the Raiders cut him just before Day 1 of the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Activate Deion Jones

The Falcons have had awful injury luck this year, but finally got some good news today. Linebacker Deion Jones will be activated off injured reserve, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM (Twitter link).

The team waived offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo in a corresponding roster move. The news couldn’t come at a better time for the Falcons, as their defense was shredded by Baker Mayfield and the Browns this past week. Jones went down with a foot injury all the way back in Week 1, and hasn’t played since.

A 2016 second round pick, Jones had blossomed into one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. He was great at covering running backs out of the backfield, and the Falcons have been shredded by opposing backs in the passing game since he went down. In the one game he played this year, Jones had nine tackles, an interception, and two passes defended.

Jones is one of a slew of Falcons defensive players who have had extended absences. Safety Ricardo Allen is done for the year with a torn achilles, and Keanu Neal was lost for the season with a torn ACL he suffered in Week 1. Atlanta is still a ways away from full health, but this is a massive boost to the defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Pursued DE Bruce Irvin

The 49ers “went hard” after free agent Bruce Irvin after he was released by the Raiders, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Irvin ultimately signed with the Falcons, but San Francisco was one of roughly 10 clubs that inquired on the veteran defensive end, per Maiocco.

Irvin on Wednesday told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com both the Steelers and Patriots offered him more than the $1.5MM he’ll collect from Atlanta, while reports also indicated the Seahawks expressed interest in adding Irvin. But the 31-year-old preferred to return home to his native Atlanta, so any other proposals weren’t all that attractive.

On paper, the 49ers are something of a curious fit for Irvin, as they’re certainly not in contention for a playoff berth with a 2-7 record. San Francisco, which ranks eighth in adjusted sack rate but just 17th in pressure rate, also has a young crop of rushers available on the edge, including Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, so Irvin wouldn’t have been looking at a full complement of snaps.

However, if the 49ers believe they’ll need additional edge defenders in 2019, they may have been interested in signing Irvin for something of a trial run. Irvin should already be familiar with San Francisco’s scheme (it’s similar to the defense he ran with the Seahawks earlier in his career), but the 49ers could have gotten a chance to see how he fits into the club’s front. Irvin only signed a one-year deal with the Falcons, so San Francisco could certainly target him when he hits the open market again next spring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.