Archive for March, 2010

Atlanta Falcons announce exhibition season schedule

The Atlanta Falcons released their 2010 exhibition season schedule on Wednesday.

The schedule, which includes one nationally televised game, is not finalized.  They have the teams, but not all of the dates and times for the games.

The Falcons will open the exhibition season at home against Kansas City. The date has not been set.

The second game  is against New England on Aug. 19 at the Georgia Dome and will be televised nationally by Fox.

The third game will be at Miami with the date and time to be determined.

The Falcons will play at Jacksonville on  Thursday,  Sept. 2 in the exhibition season finale. It will be the their second visit to Jacksonville over the last three seasons. The two teams have met six times overall  in the exhibition season with the Falcons posting a 3-3 record.

Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have posted 2-2 marks during the exhibition seasons in 2008 and 2009. The Falcons have not suffered a losing exhibition season record since the 2004 season.

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons announce exhibition season schedule »

Alabama’s Rolando McClain is set to visit Falcons

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season?  (Associated Press)

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season? (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – The Falcons have spent a great deal of the offseason trying to fix the secondary.

They signed cornerback Dunta Robinson to a six-year, $57-million contract. They  brought in coach Tim Lewis to basically coordinate the secondary. They traded cornerback Chris Houston to the Detroit Lions.

With the draft inching closer, it’s become clear that the linebacker unit will receive some attention during the NFL draft, which is set for April 22, 23 and 24.

On Monday, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain is set to visit the team. He revealed that he will visit the Falcons, Jacksonville and the New York Giants on Sirius radio on Tuesday while chatting with Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News and  Jim Miller.

The Falcons are allowed to bring in 30 players for pre-draft visits. They can bring in an unlimited number of  local players.

In most of the Mock Drafts, …

Continue reading Alabama’s Rolando McClain is set to visit Falcons »

Jason Elam to sign with the Denver Broncos, retire

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

Former Falcons kicker Jason Elam, who played at Brookwood High School, will sign a one-day contract with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday so he can retire as a Bronco, according to the team.

In 2008, Elam helped to stabilize the Falcons’ field goal kicking.  Overall, he made 29 of 31 field attempts and was a major factor in the Falcons 11-5 season and trip to the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Last season, Elam developed a hitch in his kicking swing and struggled mightily. He made 12 of 19 field goals before being released on Dec. 1.

After playing for Hawaii in college, Elam played in a franchise-record 236 games for the Broncos.

Elam played 15 seasons for the Broncos from 1993 to 2007. He shares the record for the longest field goal in NFL history. He tied …

Continue reading Jason Elam to sign with the Denver Broncos, retire »

5 things you don’t know about Curtis Lofton

Curtis Lofton being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who's a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Curtis Lofton being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who's a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton is set to serve as the honorary chair of the Rally Foundation’s Fashion Funds the Cure Atlanta today at Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza.

Here are five things you don’t know about Lofton:

1. What’s on his I-Pod: The new Miley Cyrus album. (Don’t laugh. He was serious!)

2. Favorite former Falcons: Jesse Tuggle

3. Favorite restaurant in Atlanta: Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante at Atlanta Station.

4. First sport he played: Basketball. “There aren’t too many 6-0, 245 pound guys in the NBA,” Lofton said.

5. Which player he likes to joke with: Fullback Ovie Mughelli.

To find out more about the Rally Foundation and its inaugural Fashion Funds the Cure Atlanta, including sponsorship and ticket information, visit: http://rallyfoundation.org/index.php/fashion_funds_the_cure.

You can …

Continue reading 5 things you don’t know about Curtis Lofton »

Curtis Lofton helps Rally Foundation fight cancer

Curtis Lofton is determined to help fight cancer with the help of the Rally Foundation.

Curtis Lofton is determined to help fight cancer with the help of the Rally Foundation.

BIRDLAND – In high school, Curtis Lofton saw what his coach Jeff Myers was going through as his daughter was fighting leukemia.

Witnessing those family struggles have motivated Lofton to become involved in the Rally Foundation’s inaugural Fashion Funds The Cure Atlanta at 6 p.m. today at Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza.

Lofton has rounded up 16 Falcons to attend the event with the proceeds to benefit the Aflac Cancer Center & Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta through the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.

“I tackle some of the toughest and meanest football players in the NFL, but that is nothing compared to what these kids tackle every day with cancer,” said Lofton. “The mission of Rally has become so important to me, and I will continue to be involved with this event as it grows each year.”

Tickets for the event are $100. Guests will have the …

Continue reading Curtis Lofton helps Rally Foundation fight cancer »

Mike Mayock: Georgia Tech WR Thomas headed to Falcons

 

D. Orlando Ledbetter posing after doing segment on the NFL Network. (Photo by Brian Cearns)

D. Orlando Ledbetter posing after doing a segment on the NFL Network. (Photo by Brian Cearns)

BIRDLAND – Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is one of the hard luck stories of the 2010 draft.

He can’t workout for teams because he suffered a broken foot while running in the three-cone drill in February. He had a screw surgically implanted in the foot to help it heal.

Last season, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a stress fracture and was not able to workout at the NFL scouting combine. He went to the San Francisco 49ers with the 10th pick of the draft.

Thomas needed a good showing at the combine to solidify his first round status. Now, he might not get a chance to show off his speed and pass catching ability before the NFL draft, which will be held April 22 to 24.

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock.

The question on Thomas is whether if he can run an NFL route tree. At Tech, he ran a bunch of streaks. There’s not a lot of game tape of him coming out of …

Continue reading Mike Mayock: Georgia Tech WR Thomas headed to Falcons »

Mock 5.0: Tim Tebow is off to New England

cinnci-hardknocks-bengalsHardKnocksVille — It’s official, the Falcons will not be featured on HBO’s acclaimed show “Hard Knocks.”

The New York Jets announced that they accepted the cable station’s invitation.

For some reason, the Falcons are a little skittish about allowing HBO unfettered access during training camp.

Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals were portrayed. You knew that coach Marvin Lewis’ job was on the line. You got to see Andre Smith meet president Mike Brown after his holdout, while wearing shorts and flip flops. Got to see some old friends, Jim Lippincott and running backs coach Jim Anderson get some air time.

So I asked my AJCFalcons followers on twitter if they’d like for the Falcons to be on the show in the future.

FMV007 tweeted back, “Not until we win some playoff games. . . ”

ATLJBO22: “It would be fun to see, but I don’t think it’s Thomas Dimitroff’s thing….”

yaboiJD: “HELL YEA!!!”

fballfantinaj: “No. I don’t think so. I think they need to concentrate at camp, not have …

Continue reading Mock 5.0: Tim Tebow is off to New England »

Come out and help pick the Falcons Taco Mac Insider

Will quarterback Matt Ryan be the mystery guest?

Will quarterback Matt Ryan be the mystery guest?

BIRDLAND — The three finalists will be performing around town next week with a chance to become the official “Insider” on the team’s website at area Taco Mac restaurants.

The finalists will compete in three skills competitions next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Fans can attend at each event to cheer on the contestants, talk a football with a celebrity judge and get autographs from a mystery Falcons player.

In the skills challenge, the finalists will interview the mystery player “on the fly,” not knowing the interview subject until just before the event. Fans can watch the interviews on http://www.atlantafalcons.com/insider and vote for the team’s first Taco Mac Insider!

On Monday at the 573 Main Street, Atlanta location, I will serve at the “celebrity” judge.

On Tuesday at the 2607 Peachtree Parkway, Suwanee location, Randy Waters of 11 Alive, WXIA will be the celebrity judge.

On Wednesday at the 5600 Roswell Road, Sandy …

Continue reading Come out and help pick the Falcons Taco Mac Insider »

Q&A Smitty: Michael Turner’s load to get reduced

Mike Smith calmly asks DeAngelo Hall to take a long walk off a short pier. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mike Smith calmly asks DeAngelo Hall to take a long walk off a short pier. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

BIRDLAND – Falcons head coach Mike Smith spoke to the media at the NFC coaches breakfast at the league meetings in Orlando on Wednesday.

Smith talked about reducing Mike Turner’s work load, the new overtime rule, cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Chris Houston, defensive ends John Abraham and Jamaal Anderson, the continued improvement of quarterback Matt Ryan and having the defending Super Bowl champs in his division.

(A special thanks to the Pro Football Writer’s of America, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Sportsxchange.com for providing a transcript of Smith’s interview.)

Here are some excerpts for his session:

Q: What do you think about the overtime rule?

A: I’m in favor of it on a couple of fronts. It’s an improvement from the rule we had. The main reason I like the rule is it puts the onus on teams to score touchdowns. Ultimately, that’s what this game’s all …

Continue reading Q&A Smitty: Michael Turner’s load to get reduced »

Falcons coach Mike Smith is in favor of new OT rule

Falcons coach Mike Smith and vice president of communications Reggie Roberts at the combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Falcons coach Mike Smith and vice president of communications Reggie Roberts at the combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

BIRDLAND – Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is in favor of the new modified sudden death overtime rule that was passed at the league meetings on Tuesday in Orlando.

After having breakfast with the assembled writers in Orlando Wednesday morning, Smith was a guest with Randy Cross and Peter King on Sirius Radio.

“I really like the idea that we kept the element of sudden death in play,” Smith said on the Opening Drive show. “I’m real excited that you’re not going to lose a ball game by a team going down and kicking a field goal.

“I think ultimately, with the game of football the idea is to score touchdowns. If you go down and score a touchdown in sudden death, then you win. If you don’t, the other team has an opportunity to go in and score. There is a chance that both teams are going to get the football and I really like that.”

Cross asked Smith about …

Continue reading Falcons coach Mike Smith is in favor of new OT rule »