THE BRANCH –- The Falcons need to fully disclose the nature and extent of Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner’s ankle injury today when they release the injury report or risk catching the wrath of the league office again.
Understandably, head coach Mike Smith doesn’t want to give the New York Giants a competitive advantage, but the fans, fantasy owners and the league office wants accurate injury information disseminated to the public.
It’s no secret that teams manipulate the injury reporting policy so as not to give the opposition information that they believe would lead to a competitive advantage.
Smith has been awesome with the injury report and has released information above and beyond what’s required by the league policy. But this year as the injuries have mounted, some of that information has started to dry up.
There’s only been one “issue” with Smith’s injury reporting. After Jerious Norwood’s hip flexor, Smith said he was day-to-day. (Y’all know the joke about “aren’t we all day-to-day.”) While the “day-to-day” line was technically accurate, it was misleading. Norwood’s been out for four games. Also, Norwood had already told the media that he’d be out at least one week and maybe two.
The NFL takes this injury reporting stuff serious. Just ask the New York Jets. They received $125,000 in fines for violating the league rules on injury reporting for Brett Favre during the 2008 season. It was deemed that the Jets failed to place Favre on the injury report during the final month of last season even though he had a torn biceps tendon.
Most high ankle sprains take four to six weeks to recover from. Some players recover quicker than others. While covering the Green Bay Packers, Reggie White was a notorious quick-healer from various back and leg ailments.
No matter what’s on the injury report, Turner should be held out of the Giants game because he too valuable to risk additional injury. Then you don’t really need him against Tampa Bay. He’d have two weeks for rehab and therapy and should have a shot in the “Vick Returns to the Dome” Bowl on Dec. 6.
FADING IN THE POLLS: The loss to the Carolina Panthers is hurting the Falcons in the power ranking polls.
They are fading fast, losing their top 10 status across the nation.
In the USA Today poll, the Falcons dropped from 11 to 16.
In FoxSports’ NFL power rankings by Adrian Hasenmayer they dropped from 10 to 13.
“Others, like the fading Eagles, Falcons, Jets and Bears are licking their wounds and checking their guts. Then there are the Bills, who became the first team to fire its head coach this season,” Hasenmayer wrote.
The Falcons slipped five spots from nine to 14 in the ESPN.com rankings.
They dropped from 11 to 14 in Pete Prisco’s CBSsports rankings.
THE BIG PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Falcons can solidify a playoff bid winning three of their next four games. They play at the New York Giants and if that doesn’t work out, they’ll need to sweep three in a row at home against Tampa Bay, Michael Vick and Philadelphia and New Orleans.
If they can get through this valley, the back-end of the schedule – at New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and at Tampa Bay – looks very workable.
Got an e-mail from David Gerard, who’s computer contends the Falcons will have a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs with a 6-1 finish, which would give them another 11-5 and smash 44-year curse.
Here’s the info from Gerard’s computer. He plans to have his website, MakeNFLPlayoffs.com, up soon:
“I am sending you information from my computer program that calculates the chances the Falcons will make the playoffs. If you want more details for how the program works see the attached word document. This would be interesting and unique feature for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Falcons are almost assured of making the playoffs if they win 6 of the remaining 7 games. They have a 97% chance of making the playoffs with 5 wins, a 63% chance with 4 wins and a 10% chance with 3 wins.
During the week, when there are no new NFL games you could publish one of the Playoffs views shown below.
After a win in week 1, the Falcons (1-0) chance of making the playoffs increased from 37.5% (6/16) to 45.9%.
After a win in week 2, the Falcons (2-0) chance of making the playoffs increased to 56.0%.
After a loss in week 3, the Falcons (2-1) chance of making the playoffs fell to 46.6%.
After a bye in week 4, the Falcons (2-1) chance of making the playoffs fell to 44.8%. (New Orleans won)
After a win in week 5, the Falcons (3-1) chance of making the playoffs increased to 52.7%.
After a win in week 6, the Falcons (4-1) chance of making the playoffs increased to 62.3%.
After a loss in week 7, the Falcons (4-2) chance of making the playoffs fell to 51.7%.
After a loss in week 8, the Falcons (4-3) chance of making the playoffs fell to 38.2%.
After a win in week 9, the Falcons (5-3) chance of making the playoffs increased to 57.2%.
Now after a loss in week 10, the Falcons (5-4) chance of making the playoffs has fallen to 42.3%.
The Falcons chance of winning the division has decreased from 9.0% (after week 9) to 3.3%.”
ATLANTA FALCONS AND NEW YORK GIANT CONNECTIONS
• Giants LB Michael Boley was a fifth round (160th pick overall) draft choice by Atlanta in 2005 and spent four seasons with the Falcons.
• Giants RB Danny Ware was a UGA Bulldog and attended Rockmart High School where he was named a 2002 AJC Top 50 player in Georgia.
• Falcons FB Verron Haynes hails from the Bronx, New York.
• Giants WR Derek Hagan competed with Falcons WR Marty Booker and TE JustinPeelle on the Miami Dolphins.
• Falcons DT Thomas Johnson played with Giants S C.C. Brown and QB David Carr on the Houston Texans (2005).
• New York T Kareem McKenzie competed with Falcons DE John Abraham and SErik Coleman on the New York Jets.
• Falcons T Sam Baker, Giants WR Steve Smith and CB Terrell Thomas at were teammates at USC.
• Giants DT Fred Robbins spent time at Wake Forest with Atlanta OT Tyson Clabo.
• Falcons running back Jerious Norwood and Giants CB Kevin Dockery were teammates at Mississippi State.
• Atlanta OT Garrett Reynolds graduated from North Carolina last season and played with New York rookie WR Hakeem Nicks.
• Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey spent time on the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff with Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.
• In 2000, Falcons wide receivers Coach Terry Robiskie was the interim head coach for the Washington Redskins during which time Giants offensive line Coach Pat Flaherty and tight ends coach Micheal Pope also served on the Redskins coaching staff.
• Giants offensive line Coach Pat Flaherty spent time at Rutgers with Falcons assistant offensive line Paul Dunn.