Cover 9@9: Falcons had no choice but to release Mingo

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith (left) and general manager Terry Fontenot (right) confer during team practice at mini-camp on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2021, in Flowery Branch.
Caption
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith (left) and general manager Terry Fontenot (right) confer during team practice at mini-camp on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2021, in Flowery Branch.

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

1. The No-Spin Zone: Former Falcons outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who was set to be key player on special teams and a part of the rotation on defense, had to be released by a team that is stressing good character.

He’s facing 20 years in prison after being accused of indecency with a child sexual contact, according to multiple reports. If convicted, he’ll have a felony.

The allegations came to light after he posted $25,000 bond in Tarrant County, Texas, and was released.

Mingo was second on the projected depth chart behind Jacob Tuioti-Mariner at outside linebacker.

Mingo, who was signed this offseason as a free agent, was released July 11. His lead attorney, Chris Lewis, called the accusation “a lie” in a statement released to ESPN on July 12.

The allegations were too much for the Falcons to stomach at the early start of the Arthur Smith-Terry Fontenot partnership.

“After being made aware (on July 10) of allegations involving Barkevious Mingo and gathering information on the matter, the Atlanta Falcons have terminated his contract,” the team said in a statement released at 12:06 a.m. July 11.

Pro Football Talk first reported Saturday that the offense is listed as indecency with child sexual contact. Pro Football Talk published that “records in Tarrant County, Texas, show that Barkevious Levon Mingo of West Monroe, Louisiana, posted a $25,000 bond.”

Mingo signed a one-year contract worth $1.25 million with the Falcons on March 25. A total of $1.1 million of the deal was guaranteed.

Mingo was selected sixth overall in 2013 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has put together an eight-year career that has included 40 starts in 126 games.

After his third season with the Browns, he was traded to the New England Patriots just before the 2016 season began. He played against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Since then, Mingo has been with a different team each year.

After his season with New England, he signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts. There, he met and formed a positive relationship with defensive coordinator Ted Monachino.

Following his time with Indianapolis, and after stints with Seattle (2018) and Houston (2019), Mingo rejoined Monachino, who this time was an outside linebackers coach, after signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears in 2020.

Mingo was then approached with the idea of working with Monachino for a third time after the longtime assistant took the Falcons’ outside linebackers coaching job this offseason.

In the NFL, Mingo has 255 tackles and 12.5 sacks.

The Falcons have 89 players on the roster and could sign one more before the start of training camp Tuesday.

If the Falcons didn’t cut Mingo, they new regime would have been seen as paying lip service to wanting players with good character and trying to win the “right way.”

The Falcons recently announced the dates and times for five training-camp practices at their facility in Flowery Branch that will be open to the public.

The Falcons have the fewest open practices of NFC South teams. The Buccaneers (16), Panthers (14) and the Saints (seven) have more open practices.

The Browns and Ravens are having 12 open training-camp practices for their fans. The Rams are having 10 open practices.

The Texans will have five open practices.

The first of the five open practices for the Falcons will be held July 31. Gates will open at 8:30 a.m., with practice scheduled for 9:30.

The four other open practices (following the same time schedule) are set for Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Aug. 4 and Aug. 5. To attend a live practice, fans can get tickets by clicking here.

2. Only five open practices? The Falcons, who have the fewest open training camp dates in the NFC South, need to have more open practices for the fans.

The Buccaneers (16), the Panthers (14) and the Saints (seven) have more open practices than the Falcons.

The Browns (12), the Ravens (12), the Steelers (12) and the Rams (10) also have twice as many open practices than the Falcons.

Even the paranoid Patriots (six) have the Falcons beat.

Like the Falcons, the Texans have only five open practices for their fans, if they have any left after a tumultuous offseason.

The Falcons’ five open practices will be held July 31, Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Aug. 4 and Aug. 5. To attend a live practice, fans can get tickets by clicking here.

Gates will open at 8:30 a.m., with practice scheduled for 9:30.

UPDATE: You can count the Mercedes-Benz open practice, which is set for Aug. 7 to give the Falcons six home open practices. So far, 21,000 tickets have been issued for the stadium practice. You can also count the three open practices in Miami with the Dolphins to get to nine open practices.

The ability for the Falcons to host more open practices was affected by Hall County Schools returning on Aug. 4 and the loss of parking.

3. Protocols: As of a couple of weeks ago, the Falcons had 75 of 89 (84.2%) players vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The NFL Network reported that 13 of 32 teams have reached the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold. With one more player, the Falcons will be the 14th team.

The situation is fluid.

4. Falcons are super long shots: The Falcons are super long shots to win the Super Bowl. Heading into training camp they have a .08% chance to win the Super Bowl and are ranked 26th in the league by OddsChecker.com.

The Falcons have a 1.5 percent chance to win the NFC and have a 10 percent chance to win the NFC South.

The over/under on 7.5 wins is 55.6 percent over and 48.8% on the under.

They are given a 30.3 percent chance to make the playoffs.

“Oddsmakers have decently high expectations for the Falcons,” OddsChecker spokesman Kyle Newman said. “No, they aren’t Super Bowl or even playoff contenders.”

5. 90-man roster analysis: We’ve started out eight-part analysis of the roster heading into training camp with the quarterbacks.

2011, Round 7, Pick 230: Cliff Matthews, defensive end, appeared in 32 games for Atlanta, making 28 tackles and zero sacks. He was released by the Falcons in September 2015. What happened next? Matthews signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2016.
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2011, Round 7, Pick 230: Cliff Matthews, defensive end, appeared in 32 games for Atlanta, making 28 tackles and zero sacks. He was released by the Falcons in September 2015. What happened next? Matthews signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2016.

6. Walsh fellows: Former Falcons defensive end Cliff Matthews, Erick Capetillo, Tessa Grossman and Darryl Jackson will serve as Bill Walsh NFL diversity coaching fellows with the Falcons in training camp, the team announced Tuesday.

Matthews, who was a seventh-round draft pick in the 2011 and played for the Falcons from 2011-2016, is currently the defensive line coach at Reinhardt. He coached at Limestone in Gaffney, S.C. last season. Matthews, who played at South Carolina, coached the defensive line at Northview High School in 2018. He will work with the outside linebackers in camp.

Capetillo is head varsity football coach at Las Vegas High School. He work with tight ends and running backs for the Falcons.

Grossman is a graduate assistant/strength and conditioning coach at Illinois State. Grossman also spent time as an intern strength coach for the Rams in the 2018 season and at California for summer of 2019. She will work with the Falcons’ strength-and-conditioning staff.

Jackson is the secondary coach and special-teams coordinator at Brown. Jackson will work with Falcons’ special teams coordinator, Marquice Williams, who is a former Walsh fellow.

7. Philanthropist of the year: Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank was named the 2021 Sports Philanthropist of the Year as part of the production of the seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards recently by ESPN. The show will be televised at 2 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

8. Cleat update: Falcons Pro Bowl kicker Younghoe Koo, who was at the team’s facilities Monday working out, recently had his car stolen with his cleats in it, confirmed his agent Brooks Henderson. He didn’t want to comment further on the matter and there was no update on the cleats.

He wanted to let the police do their work on the investigation.

Koo took to social media Sunday pleading for the return of his cleats. He posted an Instagram story stating that his black Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from an Atlanta parking lot.

“MFs stole my Jeep smh,” Koo wrote while staring at an empty parking space. “Can you just bring my cleats back, though? I won’t even be mad bro — just bring all my cleats back so I can go kick.”

Koo, who set to turn 27 on Aug. 3, played at Georgia Southern and was signed by the Falcons midway through the 2019 season.

After making 37 of 39 field-goal attempts and 33 of 36 extra-point attempts last season, Koo was named to the Pro Bowl. He was undrafted and started his career in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers in 2017 before he played for the now-defunct Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football. He also spent some time on the Patriots’ practice squad.

Koo signed a one-year contract extension worth $920,000 on March 11, 2021.

051421 Flowery Branch: Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (center) catches a pass while running a drill during rookie minicamp on Friday, May 14, 2021, in Flowery Branch.     ���Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com���
Caption
051421 Flowery Branch: Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (center) catches a pass while running a drill during rookie minicamp on Friday, May 14, 2021, in Flowery Branch. ���Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com���

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

9. Depth chart: Here’s a look at the projected depth chart heading into training camp:

OFFENSE

WR 18 Calvin Ridley, 83 Tajae Sharpe, 88 Frank Darby, 13 Christian Blake, 86 Antonio Nunn

WR 14 Russell Gage, 17 Olamide Zaccheaus, 12 Chris Rowland, 82 Austin Trammell, Jeff Badet

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 74 William Sweet, 72 Willie Beavers

LG 68 Josh Andrews, 77 Jalen Mayfield, 66 Willie Wright, 62 Bryce Hargrove

C 61 Matt Hennessy, 67 Drew Dalman, 65 Joe Sculthorpe

RG 63 Chris Lindstrom, 64 Ryan Neuzil, 75 Kion Smith, 71 Sam Jones

RT 76 Kaleb McGary, 73 Matt Gono, 77 Jalen Mayfield

TE 8 Kyle Pitts, 81 Hayden Hurst, 85 Lee Smith, 87 Jaeden Graham, 46 Parker Hesse, 80 Ryan Becker, 89 John Raine

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 5 AJ McCarron, 15 Feleipe Franks

HB 28 Mike Davis, 30 Qadree Ollison, 84 Cordarrelle Patterson, 36 Tony Brooks-James, 25 Javian Hawkins, 42 Caleb Huntley

FB 40 Keith Smith

DEFENSE

DL 90 Marlon Davidson, 55 Steven Means, 95 Ta’Quon Graham, 79 Chris Slayton

DL 97 Grady Jarrett, 93 Zac Dawe, 94 Deadrin Senat, John Atkins

DL 96 Tyeler Davison, 50 John Cominsky, 99 Jonathan Bullard, 69 Olive Sagapolu

OLB 56 Dante Fowler, 92 Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Shareef Miller

ILB 45 Deion Jones, 51 Brandon Copeland, 53 Erroll Thompson

ILB 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 43 Mykal Walker, 48 Dorian Etheridge

OLB 91 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, 49 Kobe Jones, George Obinna

RCB 22 Fabian Moreau, 20 Kendall Sheffield, 29 Chris Williamson

LCB 24 A.J. Terrell, 33 Tyler Hall, 34 Darren Hall, 38 Marcus Murphy, 41 J.R. Pace

NCB 26 Isaiah Oliver, 25 Delrick Abrams, 35 Avery Williams

FS 23 Erik Harris, 27 Richie Grant, 37 Dwayne Johnson

SS 21 Duron Harmon, 32 Jaylinn Hawkins, 39 T.J. Green, 38 Marcus Murphy

SPECIALISTS

K 7 Younghoe Koo

P 4 Sterling Hofrichter, 9 Dom Maggio

LS 47 Josh Harris

KO 7 Younghoe Koo

KR 84 Cordarrelle Patterson, 12 Chris Rowland, 35 Avery Williams

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