Kaleb McGary was the second of two offensive linemen drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the NFL draft. The offensive tackle from Washington is, according to one anonymous executive quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “socially awkward.”
That executive describes him as coming from a small town–Fife, Washington is a town of less than 10,000 but it is a suburb of Tacoma, so it’s not like it’s hours from civilization. Anyway, here’s the story relayed from the anonymous executive, who, by the way, sounds like he is speaking in the 1970’s and does not sound like the most enlightened source.
“You [know] how one day they play country music and one day they play R&B in the weight room,” this executive relayed to the AJC, “it was country day, and one of the blacks turned on R&B. He got pissed off and cut the cord to the whole speaker system in the weight room. All of the whites and blacks were pissed off at him because they couldn’t listen to (any) music. Socially awkward stuff. Not racist. He just has to grow up stuff.”
D. Orlando Ledbetter tried to follow up with McGary on that incident relayed from his freshman year at college, but McGary declined to discuss it.
For another perspective on McGary, below is Race Davis talking about some of the hardships that McGary had to overcome to get to being drafted by Atlanta, and here is the Seattle Times story on his life.
The Atlanta Falcons agreed to a revised contract with Julio Jones prior to the start of last season that was essentially a temporary fix, and they are reportedly on the verge of giving the star receiver the deal he has really been seeking.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, Jones and the Falcons are closing in on a contract extension that would pay the 30-year-old a record $20 million per season.
Jones has had 1,400 or more receiving yards in each of the past five seasons, and he can easily make the case that he is the best in football at his position. He’s had some nagging injuries, but he almost always plays through them and missed just three games during that five-year stretch.
There was some talk last year that Jones could hold out from training camp if he did not receive a new deal, but it ended up seeming like that was just a bluff. Assuming the report about his new contract is true, that certainly won’t be an issue this summer.
The Atlanta Falcons may be bringing back a notable name from the Mike Smith era.
SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Alex Marvez reported Wednesday that ex-Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey interviewed for Atlanta’s offensive coordinator position, the job that he previously held with them from 2008 to 2011.
The 57-year-old Mularkey enjoyed success over those four years, leading the Falcons to multiple top-10 finishes in total offense en route to three playoff appearances and two division titles. However, his reputation took a bit of a hit in Tennessee, where went 20-21 (.488) over three seasons before getting fired following the 2017 campaign.
Atlanta is looking to fill the OC spot after dismissing Steve Sarkisian among several other major coaching staff changes. Mularkey is already familiar with the Falcons’ biggest offensive stars such as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but one has to wonder if there is a higher-upside candidate available.
As several teams ramp up for a playoff race in the NFL, a handful of others are coming to terms with the fact that their seasons are already essentially done. They can play things out and go for the strongest possible finish, but the reality is they won’t be making it to the playoffs in 2018 and should begin thinking ahead to next year. Several of them have major personnel decisions to make, be they at quarterback or head coach or somewhere else.
Some teams need more changes than others after disappointing or ugly seasons. Here are ten in need of serious makeovers before 2019 begins.
This just hasn’t been the same organization since that crippling Super Bowl loss, but the playoffs aren’t even on Atlanta’s radar in 2018. Part of that is down to injuries, but that doesn’t explain everything. The defense hasn’t been forcing turnovers, the team has struggled in the red zone, and most recently, the run game has been reduced to a total non-factor. Steve Sarkisian simply may not be the right coordinator for this offense. They’ve come a long way down from the days of Kyle Shanahan calling plays.
The Atlanta Falcons, just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, sit at 4-8 and look to be on their way to a losing season. If their owner is to be believed, however, that’s not enough to put the job of the coach in danger.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Quinn, as well as general manager Thomas Dimitroff, still has his support as they look to turn the team around.
“I haven’t lost any faith in Coach Quinn or Thomas,” Blank said, via Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. “They’ll do the evaluations that’s needed.”
Injuries have certainly been a factor for Atlanta, and the offensive line is holding the entire offense back. Earlier in the season, the Falcons were scoring points but being let down by their defense, but the offense can’t get going now. There are a number of problems here, but it sounds like Quinn will, at least for now, be given the chance to fix them.
Thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, Week 12 of the NFL season was spread out a bit more, with three games on Thursday. It did nothing to dampen the action, however, with the playoff picture in both conferences generally growing more muddled and more exciting as we head toward the business end of the season.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t disappointments — in fact, there were a number. Here are 15 of the biggest from the weekend.
The Bengals giving up 35 points to the Cleveland Browns can’t be pinned solely on Jackson. They were bad defensively before he got there and his arrival hasn’t changed much. But Jackson appears here mostly because of how thoroughly embarrassing this day was for him. He was trolled by one of former players during the game, and criticized by another after the game. He was brought in to help give the Bengals an advantage against AFC North teams, and instead he’s become the common denominator in the Browns and Bengals’ respective losing ways.
If you like NFL upsets, you probably enjoyed Week 10. Some big names went down, often in surprising fashion, and some lesser teams lost in ways that are going to put their coaches firmly on the hottest of hot seats. One team also suffered a potentially serious injury that could have major implications in the postseason.
Who disappointed in Week 10? Here’s a look at 15 teams, players, and situations.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
The Raiders’ offense remained weak on Sunday, with most of their yardage coming in garbage time. Carr threw for 243 yards, but failed to find the end zone and did nothing terribly positive of note. One play in the fourth quarter may serve as the perfect microcosm of Oakland’s 2018 season. On 4th and 5, Carr seemed to lose track of the game situation and threw the ball away, not realizing that doing so would cause a turnover on downs. That’s the Raiders in a nutshell.
The Oakland Raiders released Bruce Irvin over the weekend after they were unable to trade him prior to the deadline, and it did not take the veteran defensive lineman much time at all to find a new home.
And home is exactly what Irvin has found.
On Wednesday, Irvin agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons. Since he was born and raised in Atlanta, the decision was an easy one. In fact, Irvin says he turned down more money from two other teams because he only wanted to play for the Falcons.
Irvin recorded 18 sacks in two-plus seasons with the Raiders. He was a centerpiece of the ferocious Seahawks’ defense prior to that, and he has been a durable and productive player even on the wrong side of age 30.
Jon Gruden and the Raiders seem intent on tearing down their defense, and Irvin was a casualty of that plan. Given the way star pass-rusher Khalil Mack reacted when Irvin was waived, you can bet he is happy that his former teammate now gets to play for his hometown team.
We’re midway through the NFL season, which means there’s no better time than the present to hand out some report cards. Some teams have performed okay, some are great relative to expectations, and others simply have not performed well enough all season long. We also still have an unbeaten team even after Week 8.
Which teams pass and who fails? Here’s a grade for all 32 NFL teams midway through the season.
Arizona Cardinals (2-6) — D
There’s not a lot to say about the Cardinals. Josh Rosen has looked promising at times and led a nice comeback drive in Week 8, but they don’t have a lot of talent. What they have seemed to be misused under former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Perhaps Byron Leftwich will be an improvement in that role. However, there’s no ignoring the fact that their only two wins have come against a woeful 49ers team with no Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s hard to see many more coming their way.
While teams like the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints could not have scripted much better starts to their 2018 season, there are plenty of others that have ground to make up heading into Week 7. Some teams are facing must-win situations if they want to remain in postseason contention. Others simply need a win to prevent their seasons from spiraling out of control, and to maintain job security.
Here are 10 NFL teams that badly need to win their next game, whether that is in Week 7 or coming out of the bye in Week 8:
Jerry Jones still seems to believe that this year’s team is a contender. They will have to win on Sunday to prove that. Dallas is 3-3 and coming off its biggest win of the season as they demolished the Jags 40-7. The NFC East is up for grabs, being currently led by 3-2 Washington, whom the Cowboys face on the road. Dallas is 0-3 on the road this season, and dropping to 3-4 on the season would make winning the division tough, especially if Philly wins in Week 7. The Cowboys probably are unlikely to grab a wild-card spot, so winning the division is their easiest path to the playoffs. They are unlikely to do so if they don’t beat Washington this weekend.