Falcons linebacker Duke Riley had big shoes to fill coming out of LSU. Just one year removed from the role of college backup Youth Ito Smith Jersey , Riley was frequently (and perhaps unfairly) compared to fellow LSU alum Deion Jones. Because of Jones’ success as a rookie in Dan Quinn’s defense, we assumed Riley could make a similarly successful transition to the NFL. We were wrong. Riley’s rookie campaign was ... lackluster. We’ve talked about this ad nauseum, and you’re likely familiar with the narrative: if Riley didn’t improve dramatically in 2018, he’d find himself on the bench. He didn’t. And he did. Riley actually regressed in 2018 and his PFF grades tell the story. He earned a PFF grade of 54.5 in 2017. His PFF grade precipitously dropped to 44.2 in 2018, 88th among LBs, making him “below average” according to their metrics. He earned a 30.4 grade against the run (94th among LBs) and a 57.6 grade in coverage (52nd among LBs). His best games came in week 7 (83 grade) and week 9 (82.7 grade), while his worst games came in week 5 (27.5 grade) and week 10 (28.3 grade). Rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun outsnapped Riley for the first time in the week 6 game against the Buccaneers Stitched Deadrin Senat Jersey , one week after Riley’s worst game of the season. He apparently (after the coaching staff publicly called him out) got the message and played his best two games in weeks 7 and 9 before rapidly regressing to his mean. Riley’s issues aren’t the sort that are likely to improve with time. No one doubts his athleticism or speed; it’s his mental errors that drive us nuts. For whatever reason, things just won’t “click” for Riley. Riley has two years remaining on his rookie deal and he’s not out of chances yet. He remains an athletic, talented football player. But Oluokun established himself as a quality contributor in 2018, and if Riley wants to carve out a meaningful role in 2019, the clock is undoubtedly ticking.Ron Parker cut by the Atlanta Falcons after Jordan Richards trade, per Ron Parker I’ll freely admit I was excited by the Ron Parker signing earlier this summer. Parker had a track record of quality play as a starter at the safety position and figure to be one hell of a fourth safety, even if his drop-off in play last season for the Chiefs loomed as a bit of a concern.I did not think we’d find ourselves in the present moment Youth Deadrin Senat Jersey , with Parker cut by the Falcons and replaced by former second round safety Jordan Richards, who the Falcons acquired from the Patriots in exchange for a conditional draft pick earlier today. Yet here we are. Parker was likely undone by middling special teams play and middling play on defense throughout the preseason. He had missed tackles, bad angles and poor coverage, and while it’s only preseason, that seemed to be enough to spook the Falcons. Parker may well land on another team and find a backup role, but that preseason performance was not what any of us expected.The Falcons do have one of the better safety trios in the league, regardless of who is #4. Keanu Neal is a physical playmaker Stitched Isaiah Oliver Jersey , Ricardo Allen a savvy and aggressive safety who serves as a safety net of sorts for this defense, and Damontae Kazee looked absolutely brilliant in preseason. Parker wasn’t going to find his way to a ton of playing time on defense, and that as much as his play probably helped make the decision for Atlanta. Richards will flat out replace Parker as Keanu Neal’s backup, and he’ll be a core part of the special teams puzzle. I don’t know that Richards is a better safety than Parker—I’d wager he’s not—but Parker wasn’t able to play as well as I’m sure he would have liked to, and the Falcons decided they’d rather have a younger player with a different skill set. We wish Parker well, wherever he winds up.
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