Archive for August, 2010

‘Housewife’ Kim Zolciak attends morning practice

In other news, Running back Jerious Norwood returned to practice and wide receiver Harry Douglas will play on Thursday vs. New England. Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)
In other news, Running back Jerious Norwood returned to practice and wide receiver Harry Douglas will play on Thursday vs. New England. Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Members of the media were gearing up for a busy Tuesday with the New England Patriots coming to town.

But Monday’s morning practice was full of information and one interesting visitor to practice.

Kim Zolciak of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" was at practice on Monday. ( ELISSA EUBANKS/AJC)

Here’s what happened, not exactly in the order of importance.

  1. Kim Zolciak of Real Housewives of Atlanta, with a posse of four including her little daughter, were at practice in the “family section.” She is rumored to be dating defensive end Kroy Biermann. (Sorry I don’t have any pictures. I had to stay in media box and do my “football” interviews after practice. One media member said she look slimmer than she appears on television. She was wearing a black top and some blue jeans.)
  2. Running back Jerious Norwood returned to practice on Monday. He’s recovering from a hip flexor injury.
  3. The …

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Can Dimitri Nance beat out Jerious Norwood?

FLOWERY BRANCH – Running back Dimitri Nance’s final numbers for the Chiefs game weren’t gaudy.

Atlanta Falcons running back Dimitri Nance (30) does a little "Dirty Bird" dance in the endzone after scoring a 1-yard touchdown run for a 17-3 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs during 4th quarter action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons running back Dimitri Nance (30) does a little "Dirty Bird" dance in the endzone after scoring a 1-yard touchdown run for a 17-3 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs during 4th quarter action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

He has seven carries for 6 yards and scored two touchdowns. He caught two passes for 26 yards.

But he sure looked good buzzing around the field and those scoring two touchdowns.

Before everybody gets all excited, you have to remember that he scored those two touchdowns against the Chiefs reserves. The Chiefs starters were ranked 31st against the rush last year.

“It’s good to see young guys that are new in our system, to come out and have some success,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Dimitri has to continue to not only develop on the offensive side, but be has …

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Falcons release depth chart for New England game

Matt Bryant won the kicking competition over Steven Hauschka to retain his No. 1 spot on the depth chart. (Associated Press)

Matt Bryant won the kicking competition over Steven Hauschka to retain his No. 1 spot on the depth chart. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Kicker Matt Bryant won the  competition with Steven Hauschka and that’s the only major change in the depth chart that was released  Sunday for Thursday’s game against New England.

Also, cornerback Gabe Derricks, who was signed to take one of the open roster spots, was listed as the fourth left cornerback.

Derricks was signed because the Falcons didn’t like the fact that cornerback Chevis Jackson had to finish out the exhibition game against Kansas City. Jackson has been the team’s primary nickel back over the last two seasons and was exposed to the possibility of getting injured late in an exhibition game.

Look for Derricks to get those snaps, now.

Also, with the release of tight end Colin Peek, the Falcons have an open roster spot and are looking at safeties. Former Auburn standout Eric Brock, who was with the team last season, …

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Falcons release Colin Peek and Steven Hauschka

Alabama tight end Colin Peek working radio row at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)

Alabama tight end Colin Peek working radio row at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons released kicker Steven Hauschka and tight end Colin Peek on Sunday.

They also signed cornerback Gabe Derricks, who had been previously released by the team.

Hauschka was in a competition with Matt Bryant to for the field goal kicking duties.

Both missed field goals in the exhibition season opener against Kansas City. Hauschka missed a 53-yarder and Bryant missed a 50-yarder, but it had plenty of distance and was wide right. Hauschka was informed of his released in between practices.

Hauschka opened last season at Baltimore’s kicker. Bryant was cut by Tampa Bay and re-surfaced in the United Football League.

Bryant was signed on Dec. 1 after Jason Elam was released. Hauschka was signed on Dec. 29 by the Falcons.

Hauschka made nine of 13 fields goals for the Ravens. He was cut after missing a 36-yard field goal attempt and having an extra point …

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Coach Mike Smith’s film review of the 20-10 win

100813 Atlanta - Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder react as the defense stops the Chiefs on a second half drive in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta – Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder react as the defense stops the Chiefs on a second half drive in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Watching the film of the first exhibition game is a long process for Falcons coach Mike Smith and the rest of the team.

There were a lot of mistakes, missteps and miscues that have to be corrected.

“We have just started to scratch the surface in making the corrections,” Smith said. “We met this morning for about a hour and half with the players and we probably didn’t get through half of the tape. We are going to spend a good part of (Sunday) and possibly into (Monday) making the corrections. The first preseason game, there are a lot of things we have to get corrected and a lot of things we can improve on.”

Here are some of Coach Smith’s  impressions after his film review:

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder gives the thumbs up as the Falcons take the field for 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

Continue reading Coach Mike Smith’s film review of the 20-10 win »

Players give their take on the game

100813 Atlanta - Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder react as the defense stops the Chiefs on a second half drive in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta – Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder react as the defense stops the Chiefs on a second half drive in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Here’s what some of the players had to say after the 20-10 victory over the Chiefs.

MICHAEL TURNER

On the running game:

“We kind of wanted to go out there and set the tone early. I thought we had a couple of big runs. I thought the O-line had a great push at the beginning. We just didn’t come out with a touchdown.”

On how he felt playing again:

“It felt good. It seems like It’d been forever since I’d been out there.”

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) bulls his way to a first down through a host of Chiefs 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 – Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) bulls his way to a first down through a host of Chiefs in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton …

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Matt Ryan went into the no-huddle early vs. Chiefs

00813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) loosens up for 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

00813 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) loosens up for 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

Quarterback Matt Ryan and the first team offense jumped into the no-huddle  on their second possession of the game.

The drive stalled after Roddy White dropped a flanker screen and left tackle Sam Baker jumped offsides. After getting backed up, the offense has to settled for a 53-yard Steven Hauschka field goal attempt that banged into the crossbar.

It was a sign that the Falcons plan to use the no-huddle more as an attack offense this season. Last season they mainly used in a traditional “hurry-up” mode when they were behind.

“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Ryan said. “We tried to run the ball a little bit. We felt like we had some good schemes.”

Ryan converted on two third downs out of the no-huddle, finding Tony Gonzalez both times. They …

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Mike Smith post game: Weatherspoon has good start

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is flushed from the pocket and takes off running for a 5-yard gain on a quarterback keeper during 1st quarter action against the Kansas City Chiefs in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is flushed from the pocket and takes off running for a 5-yard gain on a quarterback keeper during 1st quarter action against the Kansas City Chiefs in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Coach Mike Smith after the 20-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

STATEMENT

“I felt like we did some really good things on offense, defense and special teams. It was really good to get the win. I like the effort and I liked our intensity. I like the way that the guys played, but we made way too many mistakes. Those are the things that we’ll have to get corrected. In all three phases there were some positive things. I want to keep it all in perspective, this is the first preseason game. Anytime you win in this league it’s good for the guys. It’s good for the coaches. But we have to get back and watch that tape. We have to make corrections. We have to play better …

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Sean Weatherspoon to start vs. the Chiefs

Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon smiles while stretching prior to the first practice. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon smiles while stretching prior to the first practice. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the 19th player taken in the 2010 NFL draft, will start at weakside linebacker in the Falcons exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Georgia Dome.

Weatherspoon will start for Mike Peterson, who started 16 games at weakside linebacker last season. He is out with a calf injury.

“Sean will start at the (weakside)  linebacker for us on Friday night,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Curtis (Lofton) will be our (middle)  linebacker and Stephen Nicholas will be our (strongside) linebacker.”

Over the offseason, the Falcons trained Weatherspoon at both outside linebacker positions. He will be expected to compete for a starting position.

Elwanda Weatherspoon and her son, Sean, the Falcons unsigned first round draft pick. (Brant Sutherlin/AJC)

Elwanda Weatherspoon and her son, Sean, the Falcons unsigned first round draft pick. (Brant Sutherlin/AJC)

Peterson turned 34 in June, …

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Pat Kirwan: Compares Ryan to a young Tom Brady

Mark "STATS" Wallin was in full gear for Tuesday's afternoon practice. Here, he was yelling something to Jacksonville's Kynan Forney, a former Falcon. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Michael "STATS" Wallin was in full gear for Tuesday's afternoon practice. Here, he was yelling something to Jacksonville's Kynan Forney, a former Falcon. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — It was rather quiet at practice on Wednesday, the  first day at training camp that both practices were closed to the public.

There were some sponsors and a few special guests, but the media had the “media box” all to itself for the most part.

Pat Kirwan

Pat Kirwan

But on Tuesday, Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan were on hand to broadcast the “Movin’ the Chains” show on SIRIUS NFL radio.

Well, I’m a big fan the show and got to tell Kirwan, the former NFL exec, so when he was flashing through the media room. I said, “Mr. Kirwan, I really enjoy the show.” He said, “Pat’s fine. We have a lot of fun with it.”

Later, I jumped in the batmobile and got to hear the closing minutes of the show.

Kirwan , who has worked for the Jets, Cardinals and Buccaneers, stated that he thought Matt Ryan was a …

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