Archive for June, 2010

Ex-Falcons coach Mike Zimmer wins PFWA’s Halas award

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (right) was named the PFWA's George Halas Award winner.  (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (right) was named the PFWA's George Halas Award winner. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, currently of the Bengals, was name the Halas Award winner today by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The Halas Award goes to the individual in the NFL who overcame the most adversity to succeed last season.

Safety Thomas DeCoud "congradtulating" Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2. The hit led to a Falcons touchdown.

Safety Thomas DeCoud "congratulating" Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2. The hit led to a Falcons touchdown.

Zimmer’s wife, Vicki, passed away suddenly on Oct. 8 in the family’s home. The couple had been married 27 years.

Three days later, Zimmer was with the team for their game in Baltimore, which they won, 17-14. For the 2009 season, the Bengals ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense, their highest ranking since 1993.

“Anytime your name is mentioned with George Halas, and all the other people who have won this award in the past, …

Continue reading Ex-Falcons coach Mike Zimmer wins PFWA’s Halas award »

RB Michael Turner 90 percent healed, but still at OTAs

Michael Turner (Associated Press)

Michael Turner (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Baltimore Ravens got busted violating the organized team activity workout rules and will forfeit their final week of practices.

In the two practices that the media has been allowed to witness, the Falcons are not coming close to violating the non-contact rules. There was a little dust-up between Tyson Clabo and Kroy Biermann, but that was about as physical as the practices got.

The Falcons coaches seem to be stressing tempo. Getting in and out of plays and drills with some degree of offseason urgency.

The Ravens “violated the rules concerning the intensity and tempo of drills,” according to the NFL.

There is a fine line that head coach Mike Smith and  the coaching staff must not cross.

“Coach is not killing us out here,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said. “We are just getting the timing down right. The more we can do, the better we are going to do once the season starts.”

Veterans John Abraham and Tony Gonzalez

Continue reading RB Michael Turner 90 percent healed, but still at OTAs »

Falcons to host fishing outing for military veterans

Center Todd McClure and guard Tyson Clabo waited tables earlier this offseason. They are going fishing with military veterans, too.  (By Jimmy Cribb/Atlanta Falcons)

Center Todd McClure and guard Tyson Clabo waited tables earlier this offseason. They are going fishing with military veterans, too. (By Jimmy Cribb/Atlanta Falcons)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Several Falcons will attend a special fishing outing with wounded military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Lake Lanier.

Running back Jerious Norwood, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, center Todd McClure, offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, defensive end Kroy Biermann and wide receiver Brian Finneran, wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, secondary coach Tim Lewis and assistant offensive line Coach Paul Dunn, will take part in the outing.

Also, Falcons cheerleaders will participate.

Each veteran will be partnered with one or more Falcons players, coaches and or cheerleaders on individual fishing boats for an afternoon on the lake.

Following the fishing outing, the players, coaches, cheerleaders and veterans will be treated to cookout. Falcons head coach Mike Smith will be …

Continue reading Falcons to host fishing outing for military veterans »

OC Mike Mularkey is revving up the no-huddle offense

Falcons offensive coordiantor Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan are ready to expand the use of the no-huddle attack.  (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan are ready to expand the use of the no-huddle attack. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

The Falcons are spending part of the organized team activities tuning up and expanding their no-huddle attack.

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey relied on the no-huddle as a quick change of pace attack last season.

When the Falcons jumped into the no-huddle, they never stayed in it for extended periods. Two plays here, two plays there.

An analysis of last season’s play-by-play gamebooks, reveals that the Falcons went into the no-huddle offense 16 times in five different games.

They scored seven touchdowns and two field goals while in the no-huddle.

Mularkey appeared to like going into the no-huddle to jumpstart the offense. The team was trailing on 14 of the 16 times he called for a no-huddle. The one time they were ahead and were tied, was against Tampa Bay in the season finale.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

The …

Continue reading OC Mike Mularkey is revving up the no-huddle offense »

What’s on Spoon’s iPod?: Kings of Leon to Mary Mary

FLOWERY BRANCH – What’s on linebacker Sean Weatherspoon’s iPod?

Erica Campbell, left, and Tina Campbell perform and record together as the gospel duo Mary Mary.

Erica Campbell, left, and Tina Campbell perform and record together as the gospel duo Mary Mary.

“A little bit of every thing,” Weatherspoon said. “I listen to everything from the Kings of Leon to 50 Cent, to Kanye West, Young Jeezy, T.I. I even have a little bit of Carrie Underwood on the iPod. I’m pretty versatile when it comes to that.”

A ride is Spoon’s car can be a musical experience.

“A lot of my friends look at me kind of weird when they get in my car,” Weatherspoon said. “They may hear a Miley Cyrus song come on. You just never know what you’re going to get out of my iPod.”

You can bet that the veterans are going to have some fun with Weatherspoon in training camp. He grew up singing in he church choir and he’ll have the Missouri fight song ready to sing.

“I’ve lead a bunch of (songs),” Weatherspoon said. Like Mary Mary’s ‘Just can’t give up now. I think a lot of the old people call it ‘No ways …

Continue reading What’s on Spoon’s iPod?: Kings of Leon to Mary Mary »

Quinn Ojinnaka suspended for a game over battery arrest

In June 2009, tackle Quinn Ojinnaka (76) and center Ben Wilkerson (67) share a laugh as they walk off the field at the conclusion of team practice. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

In June 2009, tackle Quinn Ojinnaka (76) and center Ben Wilkerson (67) share a laugh as they walk off the field at the conclusion of team practice. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka was suspended without pay for one game by the NFL for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

He will sit out the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12.

“Ojinnaka’s suspension begins on Saturday, September 4,”  according to a statement released by the NFL on Thursday.  “He is eligible to return to the Falcons’ active roster on Monday, September 13 following the team’s September 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Ojinnaka, a fifth-year reserve drafted out of Syracuse in the fifth round of 2006, was charged with simple battery by Gwinnett County police.

Police said Ojinnaka’s wife confronted him about contact with a female friend on Facebook. Police said he tossed her down some stairs and threw …

Continue reading Quinn Ojinnaka suspended for a game over battery arrest »

OTAs: Falcons focusing on making more big plays

100509 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons running back # 33 Michael Turner confers with qaurterback # 2 Matt Ryan perhaps talking about Matt's 25th birtday party. Where's the afterparty?   (Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com)

100509 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons running back # 33 Michael Turner confers with qaurterback # 2 Matt Ryan. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons went through their organized team activities in just over two hours on Thursday at Flowery Branch.

“We are a little further than halfway through,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve got seven more to complete over the next two weeks. I think the guys are continuing to work hard. Their attitudes have been great.”

Smith addressed the questions that some of you submitted:

EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: One of the teams’ focus in OTAs’ is cut down the number of explosive plays on defense and increase the number on offense. (An explosive play is 20-yard gain).

“We gave up way too many explosive plays,” Smith said. “Any time you give up one on defense, you’re going to give up points. It’s going to be a field goal on that drive or a touchdown. Offensively, we want to be more explosive so that we can turn the field …

Continue reading OTAs: Falcons focusing on making more big plays »

OTAs: Falcons going with Celtics in NBA Finals

Celtics imagesFLOWERY BRANCH – Wide receiver Roddy White put on his NBA analyst hat after the team’s organized team activities session on Thursday.

He concluded from a quick survey of the locker room that the Falcons were overwhelmingly in favor of the Boston Celtics. Game 1 is set for 9 p.m. tonight in Los Angeles.

“We are going with the Celtics,” White said.

Running back Jason Snelling backed him up.

“Boston, because I don’t like the Lakers,” he said.

Cornerbacks Brian Williams and Christopher Owens are Laker backers.

But they are clearly in the minority, along with running back Michael Turner.

“Lakers, they are just hoping that Kobe (Bryant) doesn’t win,” Turner said.

Continue reading OTAs: Falcons going with Celtics in NBA Finals »

Falcons receivers not piling up the YAC or redzone scores

Roddy White had another 1,000-yard receiving season and was strong after the catch and in the redzone.

Roddy White had another 1,000-yard receiving season, but can improve on his YAC and inside the redzone.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Let’s put the Falcons receiving corps under the microscope.

There are 18 players on the roster who play either wide receiver or tight end. Likely only nine — 6 WRS and 3 TEs — will make the final 53-man roster.

One of the keys for the offense will be for the receivers to improve their yards after the catch or YAC. They can also increase their productivity inside the redzone.

Roddy White led the team with 392 yards after the catch last season, followed by Tony Gonzalez‘ 240.  But White averaged just 4.6 after the catch and Gonzalez average just 2.9. Michael Jenkins had 126 yards after the catch, but averaged just 2.5 yards after the catch.

In 2008, Harry Douglas averaged 5.0 yards after the catch as a rookie.

For receivers with more than 50 catches last season, Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin led the league in YAC Average at 7.6 yards. Green Bay’s …

Continue reading Falcons receivers not piling up the YAC or redzone scores »

Falcons Cheerleaders recently completed their OTAs

Happy finalists gather as they hear they made the cut. Final auditions will be held Thursday at The View at King Plow. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Happy finalists gather as they hear they made the cut. Final auditions will be held Thursday at The View at King Plow. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – While the football squad has been putting in some offseason work, so have the 2010 Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader squad.

They recently had a retreat and working out he kinks on their “Glamour meets the New South” theme for the 2010 season.

The purpose of the retreat was to help the rookies blend in with the veteran cheerleaders.

They also were up at 7 a.m. every morning for 60 minute full body workouts which included running, squat thrush and jumping jacks.

Here’s a video from the Falcons Insider Niki Noto on the retreat.

Recent posts

At the polls: Fans want John Abraham at OTAs

LB coach Glenn Pires says Spoon is off to a good start

The Rookie Club is set to visit the Shepherd Center

OTAs: Mike Smith looking for some consistency

OTAs: William Moore takes part in first session

Chauncey Davis helping to fight …

Continue reading Falcons Cheerleaders recently completed their OTAs »