Mailbag: Atlanta Falcons edition
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The Atlanta Falcons are the final stop for today's team-by-team mailbags.
Greg in CT writes: Those who have questioned the Falcons tepid off season are told to relax that Dimitroff has never been wrong before. How can one (admittedly very successful) draft exempt him from scrutiny? The Falcons were VERY lucky in 2008, especially on defense, and nothing has been done to address defensive deficiencies. I would think after 40 years, Falcon fans have earned the right to be pessimistic. And until Dimitroff has a clear PATTERN of success, it's premature to start comparing the Falcons to the Patriots.
Pat Yasinskas: That's a very valid point. As of the moment, the Falcons haven't done much with their defense. In fact, they've gotten rid of players like Keith Brooking, Grady Jackson, Lawyer Milloy, Domonique Foxworth and Michael Boley. But that was mostly by design. Foxworth was the only one of that bunch the Falcons truly wanted to keep, but he got a big offer from Baltimore that the Falcons couldn't compete with. Brooking, Jackson and Milloy all were near the end of their careers and the Falcons want to get younger at those positions. They haven't done much in free agency so far, but that's mainly because they don't have a lot of salary-cap room. But the wave of big money in free agency is over and I think you'll see the Falcons start making some moves. Thomas Dimitroff had an excellent draft last year, but he can't fill all the defensive holes through the draft. In essence, the Falcons lost five starters on defense and you're not going to get five starters in the draft. The Falcons need to sign two or three free agents who can start for them.
Atljbo in Atlanta writes: Will the Atlanta Falcons go after Leigh Bodden ? I think he would fit in Falcons scheme nicely.
Pat Yasinskas: Oops. In the short time between when I first answered this question and now, Leigh Bodden has signed with the Patriots. So scratch him off the list. I agree he would have been a nice fit in Atlanta, but I'm not sure the Falcons thought he was worth the money and I don't think they were very involved in this one. Von Hutchins, Chris Houston, Brent Grimes and Chevis Jackson are all young cornerbacks with upside. But I'd like to see the Falcons add one experienced cornerback to the mix and I think they'll continue to look for one at a reasonable price.
Pabst in Vegas writes: Falcons signed Mike Peterson, what are your thoughts on this? Back-up? Starter? Improvement over Brooking? Or is this just loyalty from Mike Smith? Thanks, I read the column everyday. Keep up the good work, and go Falcons!
Pat Yasinskas: I'm having a tough time getting excited about the Mike Peterson move. He's only a year younger than Keith Brooking and most of his experience is in the middle. The Falcons are set with Curtis Lofton in the middle, so it's a pretty fair assumption they're planning on using Peterson on the outside. And they're paying him starter money -- a two-year deal that could be worth up to $6.6 million. Mike Smith has history with Peterson and knows his abilities. I'm hoping Smith sees something that's not very apparent to me right now.