Archive for August, 2010

When is Dunta Robinson going to return to practice?

It might be wise to go ahead a pencil in Brent Grimes as the starting left cornerback. Here, he tumbles after breaking up a pass intended for Jacksonville's Mike Thomas. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

It might be wise to go ahead and pencil in Brent Grimes as the starting left cornerback. Here, he tumbles after breaking up a pass intended for Jacksonville's Mike Thomas. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The two major pillars of the Falcons “secondary improvement plan” have not spent a great deal of time together on the practice fields.

The battle to improve the NFL’s 28th ranked pass defense has gotten off to a slow start in training camp.

Secondary coach Tim Lewis has been working hard in the heat, while cornerback Dunta Robinson is taking care of

CB Dunta Robinson, the Falcons major offseason pickup, will likely not play in the exhibition opener. Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com

CB Dunta Robinson, the Falcons major offseason pickup, will likely not play in the exhibition opener. Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com

his tight hamstring.

Robinson usually goes through a workout with a member of the training staff. Then he works the sidelines during the drills. He’s usually trying to help the young cornerbacks. On Tuesday, he went over to play “peace-maker” in the Roddy White and Rashean …

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Ricky Bryan inducted posthumously into Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Rick Bryan and other Falcons trudge off the field after a game against the Raiders. AJC file

Rick Bryan and other Falcons trudge off the field after a game against the Raiders. AJC file

Defensive lineman Ricky Bryan, who played for the Falcons from 1984 to 1993, was inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma sports Hall of Fame on August 3.

Here’s the story from CowetaAmerican.com

Other inductees were Henryetta’s own Troy Aikman, OSU baseball great Pete Incaviglia, two-time softball gold medalist Michelle Smith and major league baseball’s Don Demeter.

“For Ricky to be honored with other great athletes was such a mixed bag of emotions,” Bryan’s widow, Shelby said. “Just seeing him in the highlights on that screen definitely brought back some memories of those years.”

Bryan died in July of 2009 of a heart attack. He was 47.

Bryan was a two-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma and was selected by the Falcons with the ninth pick in the 1984 NFL draft. While with the Falcons, Bryan was advised to retire in 1989 after he was diagnosed with a spinal …

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Matt Ryan has the offense ready for takeoff

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker gives quarterback Matt Ryan some protection blocking out Jaguars (74) defensive end Aaron Kampman during a controlled scrimmage in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker gives quarterback Matt Ryan some protection blocking out Jaguars (74) defensive end Aaron Kampman during a controlled scrimmage in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was pretty sharp during the Tuesday morning practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He was particularly effective in the redzone period.

“I think as a team, we are definitely getting better,” Ryan said. “Offensively and defensively, you can see that guys are starting to get the rhythm back. It’s good to see.”

Ryan and the rest of the starting offense are not slated to play much against the Kansas City Chief in the exhibition season opener at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Georgia Dome. Last season in the exhibition season opener against Detroit,

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan points out defensive coverage as the Falcons lineup against the Jacksonville Jaguars for combined practice/controlled scrimmage in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 10, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan points out defensive coverage as the Falcons lineup against the Jacksonville Jaguars for combined practice/controlled scrimmage in Flowery …

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Falcons release depth chart for Kansas City game

Atlanta Falcons' Chris Owens, right, intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills' Terrell Owens, left, in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

Atlanta Falcons' Chris Owens, right, intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills' Terrell Owens, left, in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons released their depth chart for the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Georgia Dome.

There were a few surprises.

In the hotly contested cornerback back battle, Dunta Robinson and Christopher Owens are the first team cornerbacks.

Brent Grimes is listed as Robinson’s backup and Brian Williams is listed behind Owens.

With Robinson out with a hamstring and Williams coming back from knee surgery, Grimes and Owens will likely start against the Chiefs.

Brian Finneran is listed as Michael Jenkins backup, so if they stay true to the depth chart he should be starting opposite of Roddy White.

Also, rookie Mike Johnson is listed as Harvey Dahl’s backup at right guard.

Eric Weems, the incumbent, …

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PRACTICE REPORT: Things go relatively peaceful with Jaguars

Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio speaks to the media following the morning practice. D.Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio speaks to the media following the morning practice. D.Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons and the Jaguars went through a relatively peaceful first combined practice Monday morning.

There were two little dust-ups, but no fights of note broke out.

“I saw a little bit of chippiness from our end today, but I told our guys right away that’s not what we are interested in,” Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said. “You are not going to show me that you’re tough by doing stuff like that. We want our guys to come in here, practice hard and be competitive. We are really in a combined practice atmosphere.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith thought the first practice went well. The two teams will hold a special teams practice Monday afternoon.

“It’s great for our personnel department to evaluate our guys against other guys,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity to work against other people.”

JENKINS UPDATE:  Smith said that starting wide …

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Falcons to welcome Jaguars, hope to avoid fights

Jacksonville running Maurice Jones-Drew is set to practice against the Falcons on Monday and Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Jacksonville running Maurice Jones-Drew is set to practice against the Falcons on Monday and Tuesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – For the next two days, the Falcons will host the Jacksonville Jaguars for four practices.

The practices should help the Falcons fine tune some things before the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Georgia Dome.

“It is good for us mentally, and it is good for the players to practice against some other guys,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I think it is good for the evaluation process. That is the biggest thing.”

Counting OTAs, the Falcons have had more than 30 practices against each other. They are ready to see some different colored uniforms.

“They are going to get an opportunity to have to defend different receivers,” Smith said. “They will have to disengage against different blockers, so I think it is really going to be good. I am looking forward to it.”

Smith …

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Jamaal Anderson meets kids from Ala. School for the Deaf

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker blocks defensive end (98) Jamaal Anderson at the line while running a play. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons offensive lineman (72) Sam Baker blocks defensive end (98) Jamaal Anderson at the line while running a play. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Defensive end Jamaal Anderson had a wide grin on his face after practice on Saturday.

He’d just finished talking to about 30 football players from the Alabama School for the Deaf, who had made the ride over from Talladega.

Anderson’s father, Glenn, is deaf.

“I was signing to the kids individually, but when I spoke to the whole group I had an interpreter to relay my message,” Anderson said. “I was just telling them that I appreciate them coming out here. I know they didn’t have to come here.”

Anderson grew up signing and has talked about how his father didn’t use his impairment as an excuse and how he earned a doctorate degree.

“I told them that I was proud to represent the deaf community out here because I feel like nobody in the NFL is doing it,” Anderson said. “It’s a strong feeling in my heart to have …

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WR Michael Jenkins out 4 to 6 weeks with shoulder injury

Michael Jenkins scoring against Texas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Michael Jenkins scoring against Texas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins is out for four to six weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered on Friday night during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage at North Gwinnett High School.

“You are always concerned anytime any of your players goes down with an injury,” said Falcons head coach Mike Smith. “One thing I am certain of is that Michael will work very hard with our athletic performance staff and our training staff to get back out on the field as soon as possible.”

Jenkins is entering his seventh season in the NFL. He was originally drafted by the Falcons as the second of two first round picks in 2004. The 6-4, 214 pound wide receiver has 54 career starts and has played in 92 games.

Jenkins did not practice with the team on Saturday, but said “I’m all right” when asked how the shoulder was feeling.

The team would did not reveal if he suffered a separated shoulder or if it was …

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FILM REVIEW: Coach Mike Smith’s breakdown of the scrimmage

Falcons coach Mike Smith gave us him film review of the intrasquad scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith gave us him film review of the intrasquad scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Before practice on Saturday, Falcons coach Mike Smith broke down the film from the Friday Night Lights scrimmage at North Gwinnett.

Wide receiver Kerry Meier, running backs Dimitri Nance and Antone Smith received rave reviews. However, Smith didn’t like the rash of turnovers.

Here’s his review.

  1. “I thought that Kerry Meier had a couple of very nice catches. He also blocked extremely well. That’s something that our receivers have to do. I think that’s whey we’ve had the success we have had in running the football because we’ve had our downfield blocking. He really stood out.

    Kerry Meier played should up strong in Coach Smith's film review.  Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

    Kerry Meier played should up strong in Coach Smith's film review. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

  2. “I thought that our two offensive linemen did well in the second half. I thought Joe Hawley and Mike Johnson did some nice things.
  3. “Our two young running backs, Dimitri …

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Highlights: More than 12,000 show up for Friday Night Lights

Freddie Falcon with North Gwinnett High Air Force Junior ROTC members before the scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Freddie Falcon with North Gwinnett High Air Force Junior ROTC members before the scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

SUWANEE– More than 12,000 fans came out to North Gwinnett High to see the intra-squad scrimmage.

The crowd probably would have topped 15,000 if it didn’t look like it was going to rain around 5 p.m.

But the scrimmage was tons of fun.

Michael Turner had a wide grin on his face after the signing autographs. It had been awhile since he’d been in some full contact.

He was clearly very happy with his play.

In a scoring system designed by head coach Mike Smith that awarded the defense for sacks, stops and tackles for losses, the offense outscored the defense, 39-22.

Matt Ryan warming up beforet the scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Matt Ryan warming up beforet the scrimmage. D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Running backs Antone Smith and Jason Snelling scored touchdowns for the offense, which could also pick up points for making consecutive first downs and hitting on plays …

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