Archive for August, 2010

Corey Peters heard something ‘pop’ in his knee

Rookie defensive tackle Corey Peters will get an MRI on Friday morning to determine the extent of his left knee injury.

Is the path clear for Corey Peters (91) to start the season opener against Pittsburgh? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Is the path clear for Corey Peters (91) to start the season opener against Pittsburgh? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

“I kind of got doubled teamed and my knee popped. . . we’ll see what happens,” Peters said. “You never want to think the worst about certain things. I’m just going to wait until the morning and see what the doctor has to say.”

Peters told cornerback Dunta Robinson that the initial diagnosis was a sprained knee.

“I’m just trying to stay positive about it,” Peters said.  ”There is no real solution yet. I’m going to get it looked at in the morning and I’m going to see what happens.”

If healthy, Peters has a chance to open the season in starting lineup because of the one-game suspension of Jonathan  Babineaux and the return to Peria Jerry, from knee surgery.

If Peters injury is more serious than a sprain then Trey Lewis or Vance Walker would …

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Falcons coach Mike Smith: Biermann pushing for starting spot

Falcons head coach Mike Smith walks the sidelines in a 28-10 preseason game loss to the New England Patriots at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons head coach Mike Smith walks the sidelines in a 28-10 preseason game loss to the New England Patriots at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Some excerpts from Falcons coach Mike Smith’s post game press conference:

OPENING STATEMENT: “Tonight, obviously we didn’t play anywhere near the level we need to play if we are going to be the football team that we want to be. It is the preseason, but we still didn’t play at the level, in any phase of the game, that we want to play. We made mistakes in all three phases. There is a lot of hard work that we have to do and a lot of evaluations that we’ve got to make so that we can play better and improve as a team.

Some of things that stood out; we couldn’t get off the field on third down. They converted on some third-and-12s, third-and-14s. Actually, one of the touchdowns was on a third down-and-12. It was our Achilles heel in the previous season and it’s something that we’ve got …

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Thomas Dimitroff shares his insights on the Falcons

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff chats with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick while Falcons coach Mike Smith appears to be focused elsewhere. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff chats with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick while Falcons coach Mike Smith appears to be focused elsewhere. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – It was a big opening to the preseason for Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

He got see his two best friends in the NFL, Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick.

He was clearly moved by watching the Falcons and the Patriots practice together on Tuesday.

On Monday, I sat down with him in his office for a story.

We talk about what lessons he learned in New England and how he’s brought some of them with him to the Falcons.

Here’s that story.

But there were other insights that the general manager had to share.

KNOW YOUR ROLE, STAY IN YOUR LANE: “The main thing that I’ve talked about since I’ve been here and I want to re-iterate how important it is to implement and that’s that idea of  indisputable role understanding,” Dimitroff said. “I go back to that all the time. I consistently go back to …

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Grimes, Anderson may miss Pats’ game

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) intercepts a fourth-quarter pass intedned for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant (89) during an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) intercepts a fourth-quarter pass intedned for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant (89) during an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Defensive end Jamaal Anderson (left knee) and cornerback Brent Grimes (groin) may not play against the New England Patriots at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Dome.

Both players will be game time decisions, according to coach Mike Smith.

Grimes did not practice against the Patriots on Tuesday. Anderson suffered a helmet hit to his left knee in Tuesday’s afternoon practice. He left and did not return. Both participated lightly in the team’s walk-through practice Wednesday morning.

“He left practice yesterday and he’s a little sore today,” said Smith of Anderson. “But everybody is a little sore at this time in camp. We’ll see where he is. There are a number of guys  and we’ll make a decision a couple of hours before the game on …

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Could Tony Gonzalez play into his 40s like Brett Favre?

100813 Atlanta - GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta – GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN – Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez waffled a bit after last season before announcing that he’d return for the 2010 season.

He’s on record that if there is a lockout next season, that 2010 will be his last season. On Monday he told Alex Marvez of Fox Sports that he may pass on the $8.25 million he’s set to make in 2011, calling it a 50-50 proposition.

Gonzalez, 34, is set to make  $7 million this season. He  caught 83 passes for 867 yards and six touchdowns last season and appears to fine shape.

Here you can check out interviews with Marvez, yours truly and ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the Branch Report, which …

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Practice report: Secondary faces Brady to Moss barrage

Randy Moss making a reception over Falcons CB Christopher Owens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Randy Moss making a reception over Falcons CB Christopher Owens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons secondary had to face New England quarterback Tom Brady without their top two corners backs in the first practice on Tuesday morning.

Dunta Robinson, who signed a six-year $57 million free agent contract, has been out with a hamstring injury. Brent Grimes, who’s been working with the first team defense at left cornerback, did not practice because of a groin injury.

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Brady and wide receiver Randy Moss connected for two touchdowns. He caught one that appeared to be over Christopher Owens. He caught another and then went behind the Falcons players on the sidelines and told them “that’s two today.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith spent the morning watching his defense.

“I thought it went well,” Smith said. …

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Q&A: New England coach Bill Belichick high on Matt Ryan

New England coach Bill Belichick talking to the media Tuesday morning before practicing against the Falcons. (D.Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

New England coach Bill Belichick talking to the media Tuesday morning before practicing against the Falcons. (D.Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – New England coach Bill Belichick spoke to the media before the teams took the field for this morning’s practice.

He had some effusive praise for quarterback Matt Ryan and thinks former Falcons Alge Crumpler has been a great addition to the Patriots.

Here are some excerpts from the media session.

STATEMENT: This is a great set up and Coach (Mike) Smith has been very accommodating. So, we look forward to seeing how this goes.

Q: Are you trying to get the same thing accomplished that you did last week with the Saints?

A: We are just trying to get better. Trying to get better in all phases of the game. We have some individual work, some group work, some team work and some special teams. Hopefully we can be a better football team when we leave here than when we arrived.

Q: When was the last time that you’ve been …

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Grimes, Owens will be tested by Randy Moss, Wes Welker

Will New England's Randy Moss salute the Falcons at Flowery Branch today? (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Will New England's Randy Moss salute the Falcons at Flowery Branch today? (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FLOWERY BRANCH – There will be plenty of interesting matchups in the two practices against the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The most intriguing will be how cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens hold up in man-to-man coverage against New England receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

With Dunta Robinson, the Falcons No. 1 cornerback out with a hamstring injury, Grimes will likely line up across from Moss. Owens may get a shot, too.

In New England’s 26-10 victory over the Falcons last season, Moss caught 10 passes for 116 yards.

The issue for the Falcons during this training camp was to improve the pass defense. With Robinson out, Grimes and Owens have been getting most of the snaps with the first unit.

It will be interesting to see if the extra work has led to some major improvements in their coverage skills. For Grimes,

Cornerback Brian Williams kept a Randy Moss TD off the board here in last season's game. (Winslow Townson/AP).

Cornerback Brian Williams kept a Randy Moss …

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Matt Ryan to help Make-A-Wish Foundation

Matt Ryan (left) makes a wish come true for Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif. (right) at Wednesday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Matt Ryan (left) makes a wish come true for Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif. (right) at Wednesday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is set to meet a youth today before practice in order to help fulfill a wish.

Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif., is scheduled to meet Ryan at 9:30 a.m. before the team hits the field for their 9:45 a.m. practice.

Matthew is currently battling acute lymphatic leukemia and his wish is being hosted by the local Georgia & Alabama chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He will also attend Thursday’s game against New England.

Coach Mike Smith made Higgins the assistant quarterbacks coach for the day and he got to break down the huddle at the end of practice.

“I thought the quarterbacks played very well under his tutelage,” Smith said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, founded in 1980, grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. It’s the …

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Falcons’ book club disbands for this season

Coach Mike Smith did not have a "required" book club gathering for this training camp.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Coach Mike Smith did not have a "required" book club gathering for this training camp. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH –  The book club has this season off.

Last season, the Falcons had a mandatory reading from coach Mike Smith. The team had to read  “The Energy Bus: 10 ways to fuel your work, life and team with positive energy” by Jon Gordon.

Sports book clubs were popularized by Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson when he was with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. He used to assign his teams a book to read.

“We had a book, but it wasn’t mandatory reading,” Smith said. “We had a group of guys read the book. Again, it was another Jon Gordon book. He came in and spoke to the group earlier in training camp, but it wasn’t a mandatory reading and there was no homework assignment.”

Smith and few players read, “Soup: A recipe to nourish your team and culture.”

“We don’t want to do things the same way each and every year,” Smith said. “We wanted to change it up a …

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