Archive for April, 2010

An early look at the Falcons’ three-deep depth chart

Dominique Franks is projected win the return duties in the three-deep depth chart. (Associated Press/ Sue Ogrocki)

Dominique Franks is projected win the return duties in the three-deep depth chart. (Associated Press/ Sue Ogrocki)

BIRDLAND – Falcons head coach Mike Smith is not going to release an “official” 2010 depth chart until training camp according to the team’s website.

But now that most of the major offseason moves have been made, we’ll set up the template for them.

Rookies aren’t handed anything in this early depth chart, except for rookie returner Dominique Franks, he was projected to win the kickoff and punt return jobs.

Sean Weatherspoon, the first round draft pick, is listed No.2 behind both Mike Peterson and Stephen Nicholas.

Here’s what’s in my notebook as the three-deep depth chart that I’ll take out to mini-camp next week:

THREE DEPTH CHART

OFFNESE

QB – 1. Matt Ryan, 2. Chris Redman, 3. John Parker Wilson.

Others: D.J. Shockley.

RB – 1. Michael Turner, 2. Jerious Norwood, 3. Jason Snelling.

Others: Antone Smith and Dimitri Nance.

FB - 1. Ovie Mughelli. 2. Jason Snelling, …

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Falcons sign two more players from the Big 12

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford (14) makes a pass as Baylor defender Trey Bryant, right, gives chase in the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday,  Oct. 4, 2008 in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford (14) makes a pass as Baylor defender Trey Bryant, right, gives chase in the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008 in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Falcons continued to add to their college free agent class when they signed defensive tackle Trey Bryant and defensive end Rajon Henley on Thursday.

Bryant, 6-foot-2, 315 pounds, played at Baylor. Last season, he had 24 tackles, 1.5 for losses and one sack. He was named to the Big 12’s academic honor roll last fall.

Henley, 6-3, 244, played at Texas Tech. He played in 46 games over his career and registered 7.5 sacks.

The Falcons have dipped heavily into the Big 12 during and after this draft. The Falcons drafted three players from the Big 12, in Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks and Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier.

After the draft, in addition to Bryant and Henley, they’ve signed Colorado long snapper Justin …

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Falcons, AMB associates set for Community Day

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff pushing  a wheel barrel at last year's "All Associates Community Day."

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff pushing a wheel barrel at last year's "All Associates Community Day."

Birdland — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will be busy on Friday.

They won’t be breaking down film on the 2011 draft prospects.

No, they won’t be gasing up Arthur Blank’s jet and flying off on a big scouting trip to Montana to find the next Kroy Biermann or Shann Schillinger.

Dimitroff and Smith will have a rake in their hands sprucing up the landscape at the Walters Boys and Girls club in Gainesville or a paint brush helping school children at the Challenge Child in Gainesville paint the exterior and interior

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and his wife, Julie, help out at the “All Associates Community Day” last year.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and his wife, Julie, help out at the “All Associates Community Day” last year.

of their school.

It’s “All Associates Community Day” on Friday for the entire organization of Arthur Blank’s businesses from the Falcons and Family Foundation Office.

Employees from the Atlanta Falcons, …

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Falcons Q&A: Meet sixth round pick Shann Schillinger

Stephen F. Austin running back Romonté Hampton is tackled at the Griz 2-yard line by free safety Shann Schillinger after being stripped of the ball by Griz linebacker Alex Shaw (not pictured) during the first quarter on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2009 in Missoula. (Associated Press)

Stephen F. Austin running back Romonté Hampton is tackled at the Griz 2-yard line by free safety Shann Schillinger after being stripped of the ball by Griz linebacker Alex Shaw (not pictured) during the first quarter on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2009 in Missoula. (Associated Press)

NAME: SHANN SCHILLINGER, Age 23

POSITION: Free safety

SCHOOL: Montana (Baker, Mont.  High School)

HT, WT: 6-foot, 202 pounds

DRAFTED: Sixth round, (171 overall)

JERSEY NO: 39

Q: How do you pronounce your name?

A: “It’s Shann, just like Can, I guess.”

Q: What was it like getting drafted by the Falcons?

A: “It’s truly a great organization. It’s truly an honor. Mr. (Thomas) Dimitroff has done a tremendous job. Coach (Mike) Smith has done a great job down there. I’m honored to be a part of the program and part of the franchise. I’m going to do everything in my power to try to help them win games. I’ll do everything that I can to be successful and hopefully that will result in a lot of wins.”

Q: Have you …

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Falcons Q&A: Meet fifth round pick Kerry Meier

NAME: KERRY MEIER, Age 23

Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier pulls in a 26-yard touchdown reception over Missouri safety Justin Garrett on Saturday in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' loss to the Jayhawks at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.    ¦  ED ZURGA/The Associated Press

Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier pulls in a 26-yard touchdown reception over Missouri safety Justin Garrett on Saturday in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' loss to the Jayhawks at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008. ¦ ED ZURGA/The Associated Press

POSITION: Wide receiver

SCHOOL: Kansas (Pittsburg, Kan. High School)

HT, WT: 6-foot-2, 224 pounds

DRAFTED: Fifth round, (165 overall)

(His brother Dylan died the Monday before the draft in a hiking accident in Arkansas. Dylan played quarterback at Kansas State. The funeral was on Monday.)

AP story on the funeral.

Q: What was it like getting selected by the Falcons?

A: “I was ecstatic. When I first saw the area code pop up, I wasn’t familiar with who it was, but I picked up the phone and they said the Atlanta Falcons. I was the happiest man on this planet. It’s something that you really can’t put into words right now. But I’m so excited to be where I am today and have the opportunity to …

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Falcons Q&A: Meet third round pick Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson (Associated Press)

Mike Johnson (Associated Press)

NAME: MIKE JOHNSON,  Age 23

POSITION: Guard

SCHOOL: Alabama (Pensacola, Fla. Pine Forest High)

HT, WT: 6-foot-6, 318-pounds

DRAFTED: Third round, (98 overall)

Q: Were you surprised to be drafted by the Falcons?

A: “I knew that they were interested. I had already visited the complex and had a good session with coach (Paul) Boudreau and coach (Paul) Dunn. But it was really a dream situation, one I didn’t think would come true. When it did, I couldn’t have been happier.”

Q: Describe your style of play?

A: “I play with a good pad level. I’m able to get a lot of movement up front. I make a lot of holes and I feel like I’m versatile. I can play center, guard or tackle, where ever they want me to play. I’m willing to work hard and do that. I’m just going to get in there and bust my butt. It’s one of those things where I feel blessed right now because I’m so happy. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and that’s one thing that I am, a harder …

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Dimitroff: Falcons will not pursue Big John Henderson

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson, right, rushes Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel for the sack during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, in Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville won 24-21. (Associated Press).

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson, right, rushes Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel for the sack during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, in Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville won 24-21. (Associated Press).

UPDATE, WED, April 28, 3:57 p.m.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said that the Falcons will not attempt to sign defensive tackle John Henderson, who was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday.

Dimitroff was a guest of Adam Schein and Rich Gannon on Sirius radio and was asked about Henderson, who played in Jacksonville under Falcons head coach Mike Smith and defensive line coach Ray Hamilton.

“At this point we will not,” Dimitroff said when asked by Schein if the Falcons were interest in Henderson. “I think that’s probably the logical assumption but we feel like we have a young and evolving defensive line and where we are right now I would say that we will not go in that direction.”

UPDATE, WED, …

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Falcons Q&A: Meet third round pick Corey Peters

Corey Peters was a three-year starter for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Corey Peters was a three-year starter for the Kentucky Wildcats.

NAME:  COREY PETERS, Age 21.

POSITION: Defensive tackle

SCHOOL: Kentucky (Louisville Central High)

HT, WT: 6-foot-3, 300-pounds.

DRAFTED:  Third round, (83 overall)

Q: When did you visit the Falcons?

A: “When I visited the Falcons it was the last possible date. Last Thursday was the cut off (for visits) so it was like Wednesday or Tuesday. They did not come up to Kentucky to work me out, but we’ve been in contact. I felt like they were extremely interested. I’m so excited.”

Q: Who’s your agent?

A: “My agent’s name is Greg Linton.”

Q: What’s your max on lifting 225 pounds?

A: “I did it 26 times on my pro day.”

Q: How do you see yourself fitting into the Falcons defense?

A: “I’m extremely comfortable playing in the 4-3. Here at Kentucky we play the 4-3 and we played some three-technique as well as some shaded nose. I’m extremely comfortable. Fifty percent of the time we were using three-technique and fifty …

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UPDATE — Falcons sign 15 college free agents

Tarleton State's Garrett Lindholm kicked a 64-yard field goal in college.

Tarleton State's Garrett Lindholm kicked a 64-yard field goal in college.

 

UPDATE

FLOWERY BRANCH – Tarleton State kicker Garrett Lindholm, who booted a 64-yarder in college, was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted rookie free agent. In all, the team announced 15 signings.

Lindholm, who is  5-foot-7, 185 pounds, 64-yarder was the third longest in NCAA history. Here’s some youtube.com video on Lindholm.

Here’s a look at the rest of the players the Falcons signed:

Leroy Banks, TE, Southern Miss, 6-foot-3, 243-pounds: Started his career at Coahoma Junior College. He is from Memphis Whitehaven High.

Tim Buckley, QB, Alcorn State, 6-1, 185: Led the Braves vaunted attack last season.

Rafael Bush, S, S. C. State, 5-11, 195: He was highly productive for the Bulldogs, making 222 career tackles and scored three touchdowns as a senior. Was a former walk-on. Played both safety and cornerback in college. He made the S.C. State all decade team and is set to graduate with a degree in …

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Q&A: Falcons’ Dimitroff holds post-draft briefing

Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Sean Weatherspoon (shown with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff) addresses the media during a press conference Friday at the team's facility in Flowery Branch. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Sean Weatherspoon (shown with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff) addresses the media during a press conference Friday at the team's facility in Flowery Branch. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here’s part of the Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff post-draft media briefing.

He talks about all of the pick and addresses why the team did not draft a defensive end.

1 Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri 19th

3 Corey Peters DT Kentucky 83rd

3 Mike Johnson OL Alabama 98th

4 Joe Hawley OL UNLV 117th

5 Dominique Franks CB Oklahoma 135th

5 Kerry Meier WR Kansas 165th

6 Shann Schillinger S …

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