NFC South: Pat Schiller

Atlanta Falcons cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: The Falcons were 13-3 last year and kept most of their team together. That’s why it’s more than a little surprising that four undrafted free agents made the roster. That’s a tribute to the scouting staff. OT Terren Jones, LB Paul Worrilow, LB Joplo Bartu and OT Ryan Schraeder made the team. Worrilow and Bartu should contribute immediately on special teams. Schraeder has shown the ability to play both right and left tackle.

Fan favorite: He was a long shot all the way, but Banks was being followed closely by fans. That’s because he had a unique history. Banks spent five years in prison and later was exonerated. Banks’ attempt to make the team was a great story while it lasted. But it may not be completely over. The Falcons reportedly may offer Banks a position working with the team.

What’s next: The Falcons could be combing the waiver wire for offensive line help. Second-year pro Lamar Holmes is unproven at right tackle and the Falcons, who lost projected starter Mike Johnson to injury, might want to bring in an alternative. Even if Holmes plays well, the line still could use more depth. It also is possible the Falcons could bring in a veteran quarterback because backup Dominique Davis never has taken a snap in the regular season.

Players cut: Waived LB Brian Banks, G Theo Goins, DT Neal Huynh, CB Terrence Johnson, S Charles Mitchell, DT Micanor Regis, T Alec Savoie, LB Pat Schiller, K Jeremy Shelley, CB Peyton Thompson, RB Ronnie Wingo, FB Patrick DiMarco, LB Robert James, WR Darius Johnson, CB Jordan Mabin, G Phillipkeith Manley, G Jacques McClendon, WR Martel Moore, DT Adam Replogle and WR James Rodgers. The Falcons also placed QB Sean Renfree and TE Andrew Szczerba on injured reserve.

Around the NFC South

August, 22, 2013
Time for our morning run through the top headlines from around the NFC South:


Defensive end Osi Umenyiora has switched jersey numbers. Umenyiora, who wore No. 72 while playing for the New York Giants, now is wearing No. 50. Linebacker Pat Schiller had been wearing No. 50, but Umenyiora bought Schiller dinner as an incentive to make the switch.


Scott Fowler points out that the Panthers have scored just one touchdown with quarterback Cam Newton on the field this preseason. That’s why it’s important for Newton to put on a good show in Thursday night’s preseason game with Baltimore. Preseason games are meaningless, but it still would be nice to see Newton and the offense get into a rhythm.


Running back Travaris Cadet, who is fighting for a roster spot, said he has to put his two fumbles against Oakland in the past. Cadet didn’t do himself any favors with the fumbles, but he still has chance to make the roster.

Nakia Hogan points out that undrafted rookie defensive end Glenn Foster has been one of the biggest surprises of the preseason. He leads the team with three sacks and has a chance to stick around as a backup.


Gil Arcia writes that strong safety Mark Barron is prepared for a big season. I think that’s a good possibility. With the arrival of Dashon Goldson at free safety, I think Barron will spend more time in the box, where he’s at his best.

DeCoud, Moore going to Pro Bowl

January, 21, 2013
Atlanta Falcons safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore are going to the Pro Bowl.

The team announced Monday the two alternates have been added to the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster to replace San Francisco’s Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner, who are headed to the Super Bowl.

This is the first Pro Bowl berth for DeCoud and Moore.

Also on Monday, the Falcons announced they have signed eight players to futures contracts. They are receiver Marcus Jackson, guard Jacques McClendon, defensive tackle Micanor Regis, receiver James Rodgers, linebacker Pat Schiller, tight end Andrew Szczerba, cornerback Peyton Thompson and running back Josh Vaughn. All spent at least a portion of the 2012 season on Atlanta’s practice squad.

Around the NFC South

September, 3, 2012
A look at the top Monday morning headlines from around the NFC South:


General manger Mickey Loomis begins his eight-game suspension Monday. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt also starts a six-game suspension and defensive end Will Smith begins a four-game suspension. Aaron Kromer will coach the team in Vitt’s absence. Director of pro scouting Ryan Pace will lead the front office during Loomis’ absence.

After cutting down to 53 players, the New Orleans Saints tweaked their roster Sunday. They claimed cornerback Jerome Murphy off waivers from the St. Louis Rams and released cornerback Elbert Mack. This one is not a huge surprise. Although Mack did some good things in the preseason, Murphy played for New Orleans defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with the Rams.

Check out this photo of a Louisiana man rescuing a framed Drew Brees jersey from his flooded home.


The last time the Falcons faced the Chiefs, who they’ll open the season against Sunday, was in 2008. At that time, Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez was with the Chiefs. It also was the third game Matt Ryan started at quarterback for the Falcons, who won that game, 38-14.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said that veteran defensive end John Abraham again will be on a snap count. The Falcons did that last year to help keep the veteran fresh.

The Falcons filled out their practice squad by signing tight end Chase Coffman, safety Mark LeGree and linebacker Pat Schiller.


Captains Jon Beason and Steve Smith returned to practice Sunday after missing significant time. Smith missed two weeks with a foot infection. Beason missed nearly a month with a hamstring injury. Both are expected to play in Sunday’s opener with Tampa Bay. Running back Jonathan Stewart remains out with an ankle injury and his condition is expected to be evaluated later in the week.

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, who is coming back from his third torn ACL, says he plans to play at a high level. It might seem difficult to imagine Davis being the player he was before the injuries, but I wouldn’t bet against this guy.


Tampa Bay receiver Arrelious Benn, who had been out with an injury since the first day of training camp, returned to practice over the weekend and said he hopes to be ready for the season opener with Carolina. I don’t know if it will happen immediately, but it shouldn’t be too long before Benn is the third receiver behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.

With it looking like a very strong possibility that the NFL will be using replacement referees to start the season, several of the Bucs say they have concerns. Cornerback Ronde Barber said the replacement refs are not incompetent, but aren’t used to working on the NFL level. In a league that says its first priority is the safety of the players, I don’t know that going with replacement refs is the best way to keep everyone safe.

Around the NFC South

August, 16, 2012
Time for a run through the Thursday morning headlines from around the NFC South:


Veteran Mike Peterson will get the start Thursday night at middle linebacker as Akeem Dent recovers from a concussion. But undrafted rookies Max Gruder and Pat Schiller also are expected to get long looks. It might be wise to keep one of those guys around as a backup because Peterson could have to shift outside if there are injuries there in the regular season.

Alex Welch has a list of things to watch from the Falcons in Thursday night’s game and one of them is receiver Harry Douglas. He sat out the opener with an injury, but I’d look for the Falcons to get him involved quickly because they have big plans for Douglas. The plan is to use him exclusively as a slot receiver with Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside. With White and Jones taking most of the attention from defenses, Douglas has a chance at a very productive season.


It’s pretty obvious the Panthers would like to start rookie Josh Norman at cornerback and slide Captain Munnerlyn to nickelback. But Munneryln said he still wants to be a starter. Munnerlyn said he doesn’t mind moving inside on passing downs. It remains possible Munnerlyn could start and move inside on passing downs, but I think the Panthers are going to give Norman every chance to win the job.

Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones have an update on position battles as the Panthers break camp. A critical one is at kicker, where Justin Medlock has been better than Olindo Mare on long field goals. But Medlock needs to show improvement on kickoffs if he’s going to win the job.

It’s not too early to start projecting 53-man rosters. That’s what Carolina Huddle does here.


Quarterback Drew Brees, who suddenly seems very willing to offer his opinion on anything, said he hopes replacement officials aren’t used during the regular season. Brees said he wouldn’t have the same level of trust and confidence in replacement officials as he does in regular officials. Maybe he should have a chat with his buddy, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Although backup Chase Daniel is considered a scaled-down copy of Brees, there’s one big difference between the two quarterbacks. Daniel has the green light to take off and run. It’s something he does well. I’m sure Brees could run more if he was asked, but that’s not something the Saints want.


Ira Kaufman writes that Adrian Clayborn has emerged as the one sure playmaker on Tampa Bay’s defensive line. Clayborn produced 7.5 sacks as a rookie last season. I have no doubt Clayborn can bring that number to double digits if he can just get a little help from his friends up front.

Tom Jones has a list of reasons why Tampa Bay’s training camp was a success. The one that stood out to me is that the players are buying into coach Greg Schiano’s system. I’ve seen no signs that would dispute that. Schiano’s hard-nosed style was a bit of a concern at first because this team was used to just the opposite. But I think unloading Tanard Jackson, Kellen Winslow and Brian Price sent a pretty clear message that players better buy into the system, or else they won’t be a part of it.

Falcons add 22 undrafted rookies

April, 30, 2012
The Atlanta Falcons just announced the signings of 22 undrafted rookie free agents. Here’s the list: