Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

UPDATE: Falcons take Jake Matthews

  • 11:30 am Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jadeveon Clowney , left, Sammy Watkins, center, and Khalil Mack may be the top three players drafted tonight. (AP photo)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 44 times last season and hit another 42 times but somehow finished the regular season without having a psychotic break.

Maybe Jake Matthews will help.

The Falcons took Matthews, the 6-foot-5, 308-pound Texas A&M tackle, with the sixth overall pick. He is the son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews and one of seven members of the Matthews family to play in the NFL. Two others: Former Cleveland Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. and Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews III.

The Falcons went into the first round desperate to improve their offensive line or [More]

Texans could deal pick (Clowney, anyone?)

  • 2:19 pm Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jadeveon Clowney will fly off draft board early, but maybe not to Houston. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

I’m tired of waiting for the draft.

I’m tired of sifting through bad rumors about the draft.

I’m really tired hearing about debates over Johnny Manziel. Seeing video posted everywhere (and below) of him throwing a football to a guy on a Jet Ski and people saying, “Wow!” – as if that mad skill will somehow translate to playing in Cleveland in December – didn’t help.

But while we’re waiting for the draft to finally get here (May 8-10), here are a few things I’m 100 percent certain of (at least until tomorrow).

1. HOUSTON IS STUCK: I’m more convinced than ever that the [More]

On Dimitroff, Falcons’ draft board and Umenyiora

  • 3:32 pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows owner Arthur Blank demands success. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I spent some time earlier in the week with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The column, which can be viewed online now at MyAJC.com and is in print in Sunday’s newspaper, mostly focuses on how quickly Dimitroff lost the benefit of the doubt with many in the public after the team went from a perceived Super Bowl contender to finishing 4-12 last year.

Dimitroff has made several changes to his personnel staff and the Mike Smith’s coaching staff. He has issued a strong message to everybody in the team’s Flowery Branch complex: “OK. We’re 4-12. Adapt and deal with it.”

I [More]

Falcons’ forecast: sign guard, draft pass rusher

  • 11:35 am Monday, February 24th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Jadeveon Clowney not surprisingly wowed scouts at NFL combine running a 4.47 40-yard dash. (AP photo)

There is growing speculation about what direction the Falcons will go in the first round of the NFL draft, in part because the scouting combine is going on in Indianapolis and several media members are spasming on Twitter over Jadeveon Clowney’s 40 time. (OMG! He’s fast! Who knew?)

The problem with speculating now is the Falcons, like most teams, can’t be certain of anything in the draft until they get through free agency – which, as a reminder, happens first.

Teams can be begin negotiating with impending unrestricted free agents on March 8. The market officially opens March 11. Obviously if the [More]

Dimitroff: Clowney will be difference-maker

  • 5:22 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admits the team needs more grit.

NEW YORK  — Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff made his annual trip through radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday. When he was finished, Darryl Ledbetter and I had a private audience with him. Darryl will have a full story later on MyAJC.com on some of Dimitroff’s plans this offseason but here are a few comments that stood out to me:

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the full Q&A, posted by D-Led.

– Ignore speculation that he or any NFL team is down on former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney: “I’ll just say what everybody in the country knows: [More]

Should Falcons trade up for Clowney? (Yes)

  • 4:13 pm Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

I just finished a column (posted soon on MyAJC.com) on my three-point plan to fix the Falcons. Actually, it’s not so much a three-point plan as it is three questions about the team going into this offseason’s intended repair job by general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff.

Here’s a link to the full column (subscription).

I’ll share the beginning with you: It focuses on Jadeveon Clowney.

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Most of you know what the defensive end brings to the table, having watched him the last three years at South Carolina. There are two concerns related to Clowney and [More]