Cornerback Robert Alford, defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and right tackle Ryan Schraeder are all on the hot seat against the Panthers.
During the 38-0 “dabfest” in Charlotte last season, Alford, Ra’Shede Hageman and Schraeder all hit the lowest points of their young careers.
Alford appeared to run out of bounds and give up on a deep pass that led to Ted Ginn’s 74-yard touchdown catch and waltz.
Hageman and defensive line coach Bryan Cox got into a shoving match on the field.
Schraeder had to be pulled after playing after the whistle late in the game.
The Falcons melted down as the Panthers partied and snapped pictures with their fans.
Alford and Schraeder have since worked on their games enough to land lengthy contract extensions. Hageman, a former second-round pick, is starting to show faint signs of a turnaround.
Hageman has two blocked extra-point attempts and had a sack last week against San Francisco.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn prides himself and lauds his staff for developing players. But they haven’t been able to get through to Hageman, who’s been inactive for four games and is likely playing only because of Derrick Shelby’s injury.
They’ll need him to show up against Carolina’s rushing attack, which is powered by running back Jonathan Stewart.
“(Playing the run) is certainly one of Ra’shede’s strengths,” Quinn said.
Coming out of Minnesota, Hageman’s motor was questioned by several draft analysts. In his third year, the 6-foot-6, 320-pounder is still trying to find a consistent level of play.
“It was good to see him battle,” Quinn said of Hageman’s play against the 49ers. “I think his play over the last few weeks has really improved. It’s been difficult for him at times, whether he was inactive or playing. He’s the one that made the real (decision). ‘I’m putting a line in the sand to see how good I can get and how good I can play.’ I’m pleased for him.”
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC