Archive for December, 2009

Should the Falcons play Babineaux vs. Saints?

Jonathan Babineaux on the attack against Washington.  Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Jonathan Babineaux on the attack against Washington. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

BIRDLAND – Let’s keep this real simple. Just want to ask you all two questions.

Should the Falcons play defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux against the Saints and wait while he goes through the legal process? With the franchises’ emphasis on “good character” players, will it make them look like hypocrites if they do play him?

Babineaux

Babineaux less than 72 hours after his arrest.

You know the facts by now and that Babineaux, who does a lot of community work and recently spoke to the Boy Scouts,  has declared that he’s “not guilty.”

Here are the results from the last poll question:  “Should the Falcons play quarterback Matt Ryan or let his injury heal?”

  • No, because it doesn’t matter. Saints will rout them anyway. (36%, 218 Votes)
  • No, don’t risk the $72 million investment. (28%, 167 Votes)
  • Yes, but only if he’s healthy. (26%, 156 Votes)
  • Yes, as long as he can throw off …

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Saints want to know if the Sky is falling

THE BRANCHBradley Handwerger, a webwriter  at WWL in New Orleans, asked me 5 questions about the Falcons.

1.)    WWL: Since these teams played on Nov. 2, Atlanta is 2-3. What has happened to the Falcons, who started out 4-3?

The scene outside the Georgia Dome before the Washington game. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)

The scene outside the Georgia Dome before the Washington game. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)

Ledbetter: The league’s schedule maker was not very kind to the Falcons. They had to play four teams – San Francisco, Dallas, Washington and the New York Giants – who were coming off byes. While they went 2-2 against those teams they were taking those teams best and rested shots. You wondered if injuries would start to mount. They have and that’s certainly been a factor It was very evident in the Philadelphia game when five starters on offense didn’t play including Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.

2.) WWL: Chris Redman got pummeled in his first game as a starter. Should he start in place of Matt Ryan, who has an injured toe, do you expect a better performance …

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Falcons face tough calls on Ryan, Turner

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan injured his toe during the first series of the Nov. 29 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photo by CURTIS COMPTON/CCompton@ajc.com

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan injured his toe during the first series of the Nov. 29 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photo by CURTIS COMPTON/CCompton@ajc.com

THE INFIRMARY –   Last season, you knew the law of injury averages would catch up to the Falcons, but you never thought it would happen all the very next season.

Tight end Justin Peelle, a part-time starter depending on  formation, will be the latest member to miss a start this season.

He suffered a “head”  injury against the Eagles. The league’s shifting policy on concussion injuries is designed basically to protect players from themselves. So he’s down for the Saints game.

There will some news later today on the progress of quarterback Matt Ryan’s turf toe injury and Michael Turner’s high right ankle sprain. Also, looking forward to the update on Todd McClure’s knee. Ol’ Mud Duck is probably just fine and you know he’s going to try to keep his streak of 2,346 starts going.

Michael "The Burner" Turner ran for 151 yards in the last matchup with the Saints.

Michael "The Burner" Turner ran …

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Vick latest Ex-Falcon to make life miserable for franchise

LAST ONE AT THE DOME – Haven’t checked all of the remaining rosters, but I think the Falcons are done with the

Former Falcons QB Michael Vick talks with Falcons owner Arthur Blank prior to the Falcons playing the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome Sunday, December 6th, 2009. It was Vick's first time back at the Georgia Dome since his conviction on dogfighting charges. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Former Falcons QB Michael Vick talks with Falcons owner Arthur Blank prior to the Falcons playing the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome Sunday, December 6th, 2009. It was Vick's first time back at the Georgia Dome since his conviction on dogfighting charges. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

2009 Reunion/Alumni Tour.

They were 3-1 in games against former Falcons this season and none of them turned out well.

It all started with the Dallas game. The Falcons lost and Keith Brooking celebrated like he’d won the lottery.

Then there was the Washington Redskins game. The Falcons won that one, but former cornerback DeAngelo Hall got into a scuffle on the Falcons’ sidelines. Coach Mike Smith and Director of Athletic Performance Jeff Fish ended up getting fined by the league. Hall was not fined.

On to the New York Gaints and Michael Boley. He’s a real quiet guy, but …

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Falcons thinking Eco-Green and Eagles’ green

Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons starting Fullback and Eco-Athlete, is welcomed by Green activist, Former Vice President Al Gore during his recent environmental seminar in Atlanta to discuss "Solutions to the Climate Crisis".  Phot by Chris Savas.

Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons starting Fullback and Eco-Athlete, is welcomed by Green activist, Former Vice President Al Gore during his recent environmental seminar in Atlanta to discuss "Solutions to the Climate Crisis". Photo by Chris Savas.

THE BRANCH — The Falcons are set to play the most important game of the season without their starting quarterback. A defeat to the Eagles and reaching the playoffs will be extremely difficult.

Also, running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Michael Jenkins and right guard Harvey Dahl could miss the big game.

Despite their 12-1 record at the Georgia Dome under coach Mike Smith, no one believes they can beat the Eagles, who are 5 1/2 point favorites. AJC columnist Jeff Schultz picks the Eagles to cover.   All seven of the Sporting News football prognosticators, including my man Clifton Brown (he’s from Philly) are going with the Eagles. At Pro Football Weekly, one of their nine editors,  Mike Wilkening took the Falcons to cover the …

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Farewell to Jason Elam, a standup guy

Falcons kicker Jason Elam was 2 of 3 making this one in the first half, good enough to help the Falcons survive the Buccaneers 20-17 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Falcons kicker Jason Elam was 2 of 3 making this one in the first half, good enough to help the Falcons survive the Buccaneers 20-17 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

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 …

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