FLOWERY BRANCH – This will be a busy week for the Falcons with the start of the free agency, the aftermath of Roddy White’s release and the team’s use of gender-based questions at the NFL scouting combine are all Wendy Williams styled hot topics.
Here are five things to expect this week:
1. SHANAHAN ON HOT SEAT: Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is being charged with running off wide receiver Roddy White by his agent Jonathan Feinsod. Shanahan also had problems in Washington with veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb near the end of his career. He brought in Rex Grossman (remember him) to take over for McNabb. Coach Dan Quinn contends that he didn’t consult Shanahan before releasing White. It was noted that Shanahan would arrive in Flowery Branch with some major baggage back in Jan. 2015.
2. MORE GENDER QUESTIONS: The Falcons asked Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple if “he liked men” at the NFL scouting combine. Michael Sam, a former prospect who is openly gay, wanted to know “why?” Also, we hope to learn more about how widespread the questioning was of the 60 prospects the Falcons had opportunities to interview. An assistant coach could be up for a suspension or reprimand and the league is “looking into the matter.
3. LAURINAITIS TO VISIT: Linebacker Jim Laurinaitis, who was cut by the St. Louis Rams, is scheduled to visit on Monday and Tuesday. He has already visited the Saints. He’d be middle linebacker competition for Paul Worrilow.
4. MAJOR SPENDING NOT EXPECTED: The Falcons, who are $33 million under the salary, have said they won’t be major spenders in free agency. Look for more value and scheme-fit signings in free agency. Fans want the Falcons to go after big-time center Alex Mack and defensive end Mario Williams, but the team plans to be prudent.
5. TEAM’S OWN FREE AGENTS: We ranked the Falcons’ 12 prospective free agents. There are no major issues. Most will get to test the free agency market although the team wants to re-sign Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield. The biggest issue for the team is what level to tender restricted free agents Worrilow, Ryan Schraeder and Nate Stupar, which will be done today. Also, the team will not re-sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham. They will sign a younger kicker and start developing a heir-apparent to Matt Bryant.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter joins CineSport’s Noah Coslov to identify the players that the Falcons may be able to land with the 17th pick in the Draft & discuss impressive players on offense.
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