THE BRANCH – Farewell to Jason Elam.
He was a consummate professional to the media while with the Falcons. He didn’t run and hide in the cafeteria just because things weren’t going perfectly.
Even on Sunday, when he knew he’d played his last game for the Falcons, he talked the AJC’s Ken Sugiura.
“You always feel pressure,” Elam said. “I feel pressure in practice. If you don’t feel pressure, it’s a sign you don’t really care and you need to get out.”
During his slump Elam’s kicks were hooking to the left when the “operation” was not perfect. So when he lined up on the left hash mark to kick that 43-yarder on Sunday, you suspected that it was going to be wide. The offense could have helped him out by running something to the right side, but teams need their kickers to be near automatic from 48-yards on in, according to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
“It’s been frustrating,” Elam said. “It really has been. I’m just trying everything I can, all these little mechanical things to make sure that I get the ball going straight and it didn’t happen again.”
Long snapper Bryan Pittman didn’t help Elam much. He was low on snaps and then he’d shoot a high and hard one back there. Long snapper Michael Schneck, who is out with cracked ribs, hit the same spot on just about every snap. He was near robotic.
“I didn’t notice the snap at all,” Elam said.
What about the timing?
“It was fine,” Elam said. “Again, it’s all about consistency and I’ve got to figure out a way to be more consistent, bottom line.”
THE BOOK ON REDMAN: Chris Redman was a longshot to make the team in 2007. A series of injuries had him out of football and he was selling life insurance back home in Louisville.
Most thought he was just in camp to help Bobby Petrino install his offense. But Redman finished out the 2007 season as the starting quarterback.
He was a survivor of the season from the brink that saw former starting quarterback Michael Vick sent off to prison and Petrino leave for a college head coaching job at Arkansas.
So it was understandable that Redman was elated that someone he had a history with, Mike Smith, landed the Falcons head job. Redman wasn’t deterred when the Falcons selected Matt Ryan with the third pick of the 2008 draft.
He made the team, but didn’t play one single snap last season. This season, he played at the end of the San Francisco victory on Oct. 11 and took a couple of kneel downs.
Redman looked liked he’d been playing all season when he entered the Tampa Bay game last Sunday.
“You just have to be ready,” Redman said. “That’s just part of being a backup. When you don’t have that many practice snaps, you just have to take mental reps. It’s definitely different than getting out there and doing it yourself.”
Every pass wasn’t on the mark. There were even a few clunkers.
“During the game I could tell that some of the patterns were a little off between me and Roddy (White) and some of the guys, but everybody hung tough with me and we pulled through,” Redman said.
Smith credited quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for shifting to a workable offensive package in mid-game for Redman.
“Coach Musgrave is just so good on the sidelines,” Redman said. “He’s just so calming. He’s been there before. He knows what it takes to get a guy ready.
“We were just running through what we had been seeing and just staying positive. We knew that we had a chance.”