Archive for August, 2010

Fox analyst Mike Pereira breaks down new rules

Roddy White doesn't have to worry about defenders "launching" into his head or neck area anymore.

Roddy White doesn't have to worry about defenders "launching" into his head or neck area anymore.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The defenses in the NFL can’t seem to catch a break.

Last season, there were 10 quarterbacks who passed for more than 4,000 yards. Folks are arriving at the conclusion that the NFL has turned into a wimpy passing league.

Some think that with the expansion of the definition of a defenseless player that the defenses don’t really stand a chance.

“This is becoming an offensive slanted league in terms of the rules and such,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

During their recent meeting with NFL official Jerome Boger to go over the rule changes for 2010, Smith, a former defensive coordinator, wanted to make sure his players knew exactly what a “defenseless player” is. Here’s a story on all of the key rule changes.

Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former vice president of officiating who’s joined Fox Sports as their NFL rules analyst, sees some positives and negatives with the …

Continue reading Fox analyst Mike Pereira breaks down new rules »

Falcons release depth chart for Miami game

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure are back to anchor the offensive line. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure are back to anchor the offensive line. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Offensive lineman Blake Schlueter moved up on the depth chart to the slot vacated by the traded Quinn Ojinnaka. The depth chart was released on Monday for Friday’s game at Miami.

Schlueter is listed as the No. 2 left guard behind Justin Blalock. Offensive lineman Mark Ortmann was signed after the depth chart for the Miami game was released.

The Falcons hope to play their starters for 30 to 35 snaps against the Dolphins.

However, if it rains, which is always a possibility in south Florida in the summer, the play-count will be reduced. Miami leaves it dirt baseball infield in place until the Marlins season is over. Rain makes for muddy conditions.

With the addition of Ortmann the Falcons have 79 players on the roster. They will have to cut down to 75 by next Tuesday, so this will be the last game for at least four players.

The Falcons …

Continue reading Falcons release depth chart for Miami game »

Falcons sign OL Mark Ortmann

Falcons sign Mark Ortmann on Monday.

Falcons sign Mark Ortmann on Monday.

FLOWERY BRANCH – A day after trading an offensive lineman, the Falcons signed lineman Mark Ortmann on Monday.

Ortmann, 6-foot-6, 284 pounds, played at Michigan where he played in 36 games and made 25 starts. He made 21 of his starts at left tackle. He also had starts at right tackle and left guard.

Ortmann, according to an AOL Fanhouse report, was caught on tape punching an Illinois player in the groin last season. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Big Ten.

He was originally signed by Carolina on April 24 as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was waived on June 17.

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

Continue reading Falcons sign OL Mark Ortmann »

Troy Bergeron is hoping to land a roster spot

New acquisition Dunta Robinson with a defensive play against receiver Troy Bergeron. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

New acquisition Dunta Robinson with a defensive play against receiver Troy Bergeron. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Troy Bergeron has been the forgotten veteran in training camp.

But he attracted some attention after he caught a 19-yard touchdown pass against New England from quarterback John Parker Wilson.

“That was a bright spot,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He made a couple of guys miss.”

One of the realities of football is that injuries happen. Kerry Meier’s misfortune might be Bergeron’s gain.

He’s had moments in training camp.

“You just have to keep fighting and gut it out,” Bergeron said.

He’s not looking around counting receivers to see if there’s a spot for him.

“I just go day by day,” Bergeron said. “It’s not in my control. All I can do is go out there, play and do some good things.”

Bergeron wants to rack up yards in the NFL like he did in the Arena Football League.

Bergeron wants to rack up yards in the NFL like he did in the Arena Football League.

Bergeron is the former Arena Football League star, who …

Continue reading Troy Bergeron is hoping to land a roster spot »

D.J. Shockley signs with UFL’s Nighthawks

Quarterback DJ Shockley, a former Georgia standout, was a seventh-round draft choice by the Falcons in 2006. He served as the team's third quarterback in 2006 and 2008. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Quarterback DJ Shockley, a former Georgia standout, was a seventh-round draft choice by the Falcons in 2006. He will have to beat out 40-year-old Jeff Garcia in the UFL. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Quarterback D.J. Shockley, who was waived by the Falcons on July 9, has signed with the Omaha Nighthawks, the newest team in the United Football League, the league announced.

Shockley attended the team’s minicamp in July.

Shockley, the former Georgia and North Clayton High standout, was a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2006. He never played a regular-season game for the team.

“When you play quarterback, it’s hard to get into somebody’s [NFL] camp, especially this late,” Shockley said a few weeks after his release. “Then you’ve got to learn the system. … Hopefully, this is a little better situation where I get a chance to compete and all of that kind of stuff. Right now, it seems like the best option.”

The Nighthawks are coached by former Falcons assistant Jeff …

Continue reading D.J. Shockley signs with UFL’s Nighthawks »

CHALK TALK: Film review highlights third down struggles

yNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prepares to take on the Atlanta Falcons in a nationally televised game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prepares to take on the Atlanta Falcons in a nationally televised game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons led the league in a major stat last season.

They allowed teams to convert on third down 45 percent (97 of 214) of the time. Indianapolis (104 of 231) and Jacksonville (94 of 209) were also at 45 percent.

My esteemed colleague Mark Bradley is predicting a 12-4 campaign for the Falcons. He obviously believes they will drastically improve on this woeful third down stat.

In the preseason, the Falcons are experimenting heavily on third down, but nothing seems to be working consistently.

In the first series against New England, they used a 3-4 look twice, but were not able to stop Tom Brady.

On a third-and-7 at New England’s 33, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder put Jonathan Babineaux at nose tackle over center. John Abraham was at left end …

Continue reading CHALK TALK: Film review highlights third down struggles »

Falcons trade Quinn Ojinnaka to the Patriots

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

Offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka was traded to the New England Patriots for an undisclosed draft pick on Sunday, the Falcons confirmed. The deal was finalized and announced on Monday.

Ojinnaka was suspended without pay for one game by the NFL for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. He still must sit out the season opener for the Patriots.

Ojinnaka, who started five games at right guard last season, may participate in all preseason practices and exhibition games.

Ojinnaka, 6-foot-5, 299-pounds,  was a fifth-year reserve. He was drafted out of Syracuse in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. He played in 39 games and made 12 starts for the Falcons.

He was originally drafted to be a cut-blocking tackle in the Alex Gibbs blocking scheme that the Falcons ran under Jim Mora. He started …

Continue reading Falcons trade Quinn Ojinnaka to the Patriots »

With Kerry Meier out, should Falcons go after Vincent Jackson?

Should the Falcons go after San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83), who's holding out and has to serve a three-game suspension. He recently pleaded guilty to his second DUI since joining the NFL.  (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Should the Falcons go after San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83), who's holding out and has to serve a three-game suspension. He recently pleaded guilty to his second DUI since joining the NFL. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

FLOWERY BRANCH — On Twitter.com I presented the following question last night:

“With (Michael) Jenkins hurt and Kerry Meier (knee) out for the year, do the Falcons need to make a move at wide receiver? Send along your thoughts.”

Well, more than 50 people did. Here are your thoughts on the wide receiver position. A certain Mr. Jackson’s name was mentioned several times.

WIDE RECEIVER TWEET FEST

1. ReanuKeeves

Fine w Jenkins obviously but Meier’s out too? Shit RT @AJCFalcons: w/ Jenkins hurt & Meier out for yr, do Falcons need to make a move at WR? 5 minutes ago via

2. irishrebel1666

@AJCFalcons We need to go after VINCENT JACKSON to be a championship team! 10 minutes ago via web in reply to AJCFalcons

3. Peyochi

@AJCFalcons They stink at WR …

Continue reading With Kerry Meier out, should Falcons go after Vincent Jackson? »

Safety William Moore is expected to play against Miami

William Moore is expected back at practiceon Saturday and could play against Miami.

William Moore is expected back at practiceon Saturday and could play against Miami.

A slew of Falcons are set to return to action when the team returns to practice on Saturday.

Safety William Moore, who’s been listed as day to day with a groin injury by Falcons coach Mike Smith, is set to return and could see action against Miami in the third exhibition game next Friday.

“He’s my roommate,” rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. “He said he’s been feeling pretty good. He’s really excited about this upcoming week because he’s going to get an opportunity to get out there. He’s starting to feel pretty good. He’s excited about it.”

Moore, since being drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft, has had a hard time staying healthy. He missed last season with knee and hamstring injuries. He was slowed during offseason workouts and again early in training camp with the groin injury.

“He was talking about it last night and he’s just ready to get out there,” Weatherspoon said. …

Continue reading Safety William Moore is expected to play against Miami »

Here’s what the players were saying after the game . . .

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is forced out of the pocket as he looks to pass against the Patriots during 1st quarter action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is forced out of the pocket as he looks to pass against the Patriots during 1st quarter action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

MATT RYAN

On the offense’s inability to score:

“When we come into these games, we don’t game plan a lot. We basically watch zero tape. It’s an extension of training camp. We are out there working on some things. Trying to improve on some different route combinations and stuff like that. We are trying out some different things that we worked on in the offseason. What we like and what we don’t like. What we are going to take to the regular season and what we are not.”

RODDY WHITE

On the offense:

“It’s just the preseason. The thing is, we’re going out there and we are just not finishing drives. We are moving the ball up and down the field, but are not cashing in with TDs. It’s just two games.”

SEAN WEATHERSPOON

On playing against New England:

“It was good to get out there today and go against a great offense. It was good …

Continue reading Here’s what the players were saying after the game . . . »