Archive for May, 2010

Minicamp update: Matt Ryan Q&A after first practice

Matt Ryan talks to the media after Friday morning's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Matt Ryan talks to the media after Friday morning's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a Q&A with the media after the first practice.

Q: Good to be back?

A: The routine of football, coming in and meeting. I think we did a pretty good job of it this morning. It definitely feel a little bit rusty, but it really felt good to get out and start getting ready for 2010.

Q: Thoughts about the offseason moves, the draft and now getting everybody on the field. How’s that been for you?

A: It’s been good. I think we made some really good additions to our football team. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Dunta Robinson a bunch in the first couple of months of the offseason. I’ve been impressed with his work ethic and what he’s going to bring to the football team. I’m excited about the additions. I certainly think we’re going to be better in 2010.

Q: Coming off back to back winning seasons, what is overall feeling of the team?

A:

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Minicamp update: Secondary shines in first practice

Defensive backs waiting for their turn in the one-on-one drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Defensive backs waiting for their turn in the one-on-one drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons first practice of minicamp is in the books. It went exactly 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Falcons coach Mike Smith used a message from former David Lipscomb coach Don Meyer in his talk to the team Thursday night practice.

He noted that there were three things that you can never work too hard on:

1. Attitude

2. Effort

3. Technique

Here are some of the highlights from the Friday morning practice:

* Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon lined up at strongside linebacker. He was nicknamed the “Baby Lion” by Mike Peterson and was seen carrying his mentor’s helmet to the locker room.

* Cornerback Dunta Robinson lined up on the left side and Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens alternated on the right side. “It went pretty good,” Robinson said about his first practice with the Falcons. “There were a couple of mental errors. I’m still trying to learn the new defense. But that’s a …

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SW DeKalb’s Eric Ward gets tryout with the Falcons

Quarterback Eric Ward, who guided Richmond to the football championship subdivision (I-AA) national championship in 2008, is trying out with the Falcons. He played high school football at Southwest Dekalb.

Quarterback Eric Ward, who guided Richmond to the football championship subdivision (I-AA) national championship in 2008, is trying out with the Falcons. He played high school football at Southwest Dekalb.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons will give six players tryouts during the team’s three-day minicamp that is underway.

Here’s a look at the tryout players:

  • Eric Ward, QB, Richmond, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds: Is from Atlanta and played at Southwest DeKalb. In 2008, he set single-season school records in passing yards (2,808), completion percentage (64.1), attempts (359), completions (230), while tying for seventh in TD passes (17).
  • R.J. Webb, WR, Furman, 6-2, 205: Is from Pickens, S.C. Is a big threat who battled knee injuries throughout his career at Furman.
  • Arman Shields, WR, Richmond, 6-2, 185: Is from Gonzaga High in Washington, D.C.
  • Steven Stone, DE, Vanderbilt, 6-5, 267: Is from Conway, Arkansas. Suffered a foot fracture last season. Entered last season with 25 consecutive …

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Minicamp action to be fast and furious

Dunta Robinson tackling against the Cleveland Browns.

Dunta Robinson tackling against the Cleveland Browns. He will take the field for the first time today in an official team practice.

FLOWERY BRANCH –Falcons coach Mike Smith, who’s in his third year and is the first coach in team history to post back-to-back winning season, doesn’t want the veterans to have a sense of entitlement.

Expect the tempo to be fast and furious when the mini-camp opens today.

“I told the guys when we started the offseason conditioning program, we are familiar with one another and this is year three,” Smith said. “The thing I want to guard against is complacency because we know one another. They know the routine that we do in terms of the offseason and in terms of weightlifting and on the field work. So we are going change some things up and our offseason evaluations and how we do things. It’s not going to be status quo in terms been doing in the first two years.”

He said the changes will be subtle and really just points of emphasis in different areas …

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Falcons coach Mike Smith set to meet with the team tonight

Falcons coach Mike Smith needs the defense to step up on third downs. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

Falcons coach Mike Smith was fired up about meeting with the team Thursday night. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith was amped up on the eve of the team’s minicamp.

“Hey, let’s get taped up and strapped up and ready to go,” Smith said at end of our chat on Thursday.

The rookies were starting to arrive and he’s set to meet with the team later this evening.

He’s got a plan for the new players. He gave up a preview of his speech/information session.

“What we are going to try to accomplish in these first five practices, is overload our rookies to see how they handle it,”

Falcons coach Mike Smith (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Falcons coach Mike Smith (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Smith said. “Then we’ll comeback in nine days and go through a rookie mini-camp. We’ll go through camp with these guys twice.”

Smith will use his “whole, part, whole” theory in dispensing the information.

Give them everything, then break it down and then see how much they’ve retained.

“It’s going to be a good evaluation period for …

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Moore, Babineaux to be held out of minicamp

Atlanta Falcons tight ends coach Chris Scelfo offers some encouragement to defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux as he warms up for the Saints at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. Babineaux was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana during a routine traffic stop Thursday night. (Curtis Compton,ccompton@ajc.com)

Atlanta Falcons tight ends coach Chris Scelfo offers some encouragement to defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux as he warms up for the Saints at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. (Curtis Compton,ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons safety William Moore suffered a minor pectoral injury and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux suffered a minor shoulder injury and will be held out of the team’s mandatory mini-camp which starts on Friday.

Moore was cleared late last week to take part in the team’s minicamp, but then suffered a injury while lifting weights.

Moore, who’s expected to compete for the starting strong safety position, is coming off a rookie season that was  marred by hamstring and knee injuries. He was a second round draft pick in 2009 and played in just two games before being placed on injured reserve.

Babineaux was arguably the team’s top defensive linemen last season. He had 58 tackles, six sacks, 13 tackles for losses and 10 quarterback hurries.

Both …

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5 questions for Falcons’ minicamp

DOUBLE TAPPED - Washington Redskins quarterback # 17 Jason Campbell is hit from both sides as he is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end # 55 John Abraham, left, and defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux, right, for a sack during 2nd quarter action knocking him out of the game on the play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009.  (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

DOUBLE TAPPED – Washington Redskins quarterback # 17 Jason Campbell is hit from both sides as he is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end # 55 John Abraham, left, and defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux, right, for a sack during 2nd quarter action knocking him out of the game on the play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND – Here are five questions the Falcons must answer at minicamp, which starts on Friday and runs through Sunday. The practices on Saturday are open to the public.

1. Is John Abraham ready to turn in a bounce back season? His sacks decreased from 16.5 to 5.5 last season, but Falcons coach Mike Smith believes much of that had to do with the porous coverage in the secondary.

2. Is Kroy Biermann or Lawrence Sidbury ready to take over for Jamaal Anderson at left defensive end? “You can always get stronger and work on being a better athlete,” Biermann said when asked about his offseason focus. …

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Biermann working on his dance moves for Alzheimer’s Association

Defensive Kroy Biermann is working on his ball room dancing moves for a good cause.

Defensive Kroy Biermann is working on his ball room dancing moves for a good cause.

BIRDLAND — Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann has been working on his dance moves.

No, he doesn’t plan to dance around offensive tackles this season.

But he does hope to help raise funds for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in a “Dancing with the Stars” type competition that will be held 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 at The Foundry at Puritan Mill.

The event, which has Ambassador Andrew Young serving as the honorary event chair, is called the “Dancing Stars of Atlanta.”

Biermann is currently training with and will perform with a professional dancer from the Daza Dance Academy and Academy Ballroom.

“I’ve got a great partner,” Biermann said. “She really knows what she’s doing. I think we’ll come up with a pretty good routine.”

Biermann was set to leave for his final practice in Alpharetta on Wednesday. He didn’t want to give up too much about the routine, though.

“It’s …

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Falcons safety William Moore cleared for mini-camp

Falcons owner Arthur Blank welcomes safety William Moore to last season's mini-camp, May 8, 2009.  (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Falcons owner Arthur Blank welcomes safety William Moore to last season's mini-camp, May 8, 2009. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons safety William Moore has been cleared to practice  and will participate fully in the team’s mini-camp that opens on Friday and runs through Sunday.

“He’s ready to go,” Falcons coach Mike Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Moore’s first season was marred by hamstring and knee injuries. He was a second round draft pick in 2009 and played in just two games before being placed on injured reserve.

In August, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He returned to practice on August 25.

He was inactive for the first three games and played on special teams against San Francisco and Chicago before being placed on injured reserve on Oct. 27 with a season-ending hamstring injury.

Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (knee), cornerback Brian Williams (knee) and wide receiver Harry Douglas (knee) will not participate in the mini-camp or …

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Ex-Falcons to help raise funds for Kids & Pros, Inc.

Atlanta Falcons' Jeff Van Note does the job blocking Ted Hendricks of the Oakland Raiders. (Bud Skinner / AJC staff) 1975

Atlanta Falcons' Jeff Van Note does the job blocking Ted Hendricks of the Oakland Raiders. (Bud Skinner / AJC staff) 1975

Former Falcons greats Jessie Tuggle, Jeff Van Note and Buddy Curry will be on hand for the Falcon Nation Charity Organization’s Lunch With Legends at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11 at the Cheyenne Grille in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, 2391 Peachtree Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30305.

Tickets for the event are $40. The proceeds will benefit Kids & Pros, an Atlanta based a non-profit organization.

Kids & Pros was formed by Curry and Bobby Butler in 2002.

It is a character development based football skills camp aimed at the 7-13 year old. Kids & Pros provides many underprivileged children an opportunity to learn about life issues and football skills through training and learning from former NFL players. Kids & Pros has conducted 32 camps throughout the Southeast and has reached more than 5,300 children.

Tuggle, Van Note and Curry will take part in a …

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