Archive for September, 2010

Video: Players like Smitty rolling the dice on 4th down

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Practice report: Spoon misses second day with ankle injury

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon  puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith moved the team’s practice indoors on Thursday.

“It was pouring down rain when we started practice today,” Smith said. “We looked at the radar and that told us it was going to rain all day.”

He gave us some updates on the injured players, a rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon didn’t practice for the second day:

ON WR MICHAEL JENKINS: “We would like to get him back as quick as possible. It’s going to be him being cleared by the doctors. He is participating in practice again this week. That participation is much more than what he did last week. He will get evaluated here at the end of the week and we’ll make a decision as we get closer to game time. He has …

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The Falcons lead the league in red-zone scoring

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes in the first quarter against the Saints. Associated Press

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes in the first quarter against the Saints. Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons have scored a league-high 61 points in the red zone.

Not counting Ryan’s four kneeldowns at the end of the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals on Sept. 19, the Falcons have scored on 11 of their 12 red-zone drives.

They have scored seven touchdowns and four field goals.

“In the preseason, we were getting down there, and they had some stops,” running back Michael Turner said. “But we were stopping ourselves.”

The Falcons are followed in red-zone scoring by Indianapolis (58), Tennessee (56) and San Diego (53).

“The preseason helped us to get some things cleaned up a little bit,” Turner said. “We’ve had some opportunities to come up with some touchdowns. I’m glad during the regular season that we are getting it done.”

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Is Falcons coach Mike Smith the Riverboat Gambler?

Falcons coach Mike Smith sporting the team's secondary "ATL" logo hat after Monday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith sporting the team's secondary "ATL" logo hat after Monday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith has not been shy about going

The Riverboat Gambler

The Riverboat Gambler

for it on fourth down over his three seasons as head coach.

Under Smith, the Falcons have converted 25 of 41 fourth-down attempts (61 percent), which is sixth in the NFL over that period.

This season, the Falcons have converted three of five fourth-down attempts, including two in a 19-play touchdown drive against the Saints.

Last season, the Falcons ranked fourth in the NFL in fourth-down efficiency, converting 16 of 23 attempts for a 69.6 percentage.

“Coach Smith has had a lot of confidence in the offense in going for it on fourth downs,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “The biggest thing as a player, you want to make the most of it. It’s good that they are not hesitant to make those kind of calls.”

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Falcons to honor ex-Pro Bowlers, including Hall, Vick and Crumpler

Former Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, now with the Washington Redskins, gets a warm welcome from Falcons assistant head coach Emmitt Thomas as he returns to the Georgia Dome as a rival during pregame warmups. Things would get messing later.  Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Former Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, now with the Washington Redskins, gets a warm welcome from Falcons assistant head coach Emmitt Thomas as he returns to the Georgia Dome as a rival during pregame warmups. Things would get messing later. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com


FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons plan to honor all of the former Pro Bowl players during Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome.

The team, through a spokesman, denied a report on ProFootballTalk.com which stated that they didn’t plan to honor defensive back DeAngelo Hall, who got into a sideline tussle with the Falcons head coach Mike Smith last season.

The Falcons will give each player, more than 30, their jerseys, a helmet and a football. They plan to send the gifts to Hall, Michael Vick and Alge Crumpler, all former Pro Bowlers who play with other teams now.

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Sean Weatherspoon misses practice with an ankle injury

100813 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon  puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon puts pressure on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle (12) during 1st half action in the exhibition season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who opened the season as a starter and is the tied for the lead as the team’s top tackler, suffered an ankle injury and missed practice on Wednesday.

He was carted off the field on Sunday in overtime of the 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

“In the ball game, he left the game with cramps,” head coach Mike Smith said. “But 24 hours after the game he was starting to feel the ankle. When the adrenaline wore off he had an ankle issue and we’re hoping that we’ll get him back out tomorrow and get him some reps.”

Weatherspoon and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton lead the team with 27 tackles each.

Safety Erik Coleman, who has missed the last two …

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Relive the win through radio announcers Durham, Archer

THE THRILL OF VICTORY: The Atlanta Falcons bench reacts after winning their NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 27-24. Associated Press

THE THRILL OF VICTORY: The Atlanta Falcons bench reacts after winning their NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 27-24. Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons reconvene Wednesday morning and I’m certain there will be lots of talk about moving on to the next game.

But for the fans who still want to relive the thrilling 27-24 victory over the rival New Orleans Saints, you can listen to some of the radio highlights from team announcers Wes Durham and Dave Archer on DaveFM and the Atlanta Falcons Radio network. Click here.

Also, here’s the link to the AJC’s rewind film review of the game.

BTW, at the end they radio highlights they encourage the fans to be on time for the game on Sunday. It’s a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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Falcons to sport their throwback jerseys vs. 49ers

falcons.0921FLOWERY BRANCH – Since the Falcons and the 49ers used to be division foes in the old NFC West, it makes perfect sense that they break out the throwback jerseys for the first time this season at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Falcons will sport their throwback uniforms on Sunday against Tampa Bay. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

Falcons will sport their throwback uniforms on Sunday against Tampa Bay. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

The Falcons will wear the 1966 throwback uniforms. The Falcons were 2-0 when they wore their throwback uniforms in 2009.

The Falcons defeated Carolina 28-20 on Sept. 20 and Tampa Bay 20-17 on Nov. 29. Both games were played at the Georgia Dome.

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NFL Network to replay Falcons win tonight

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes in the first quarter against the Saints. Associated Press

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes in the first quarter against the Saints. Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH – The NFL Network is going to re-air the Falcons’ thrilling 27-24 overtime victory over the defending Super Bowl champs at 9:15 p.m. tonight.

They will replay the game and fit it into a 75-minute time slot. The showing will also feature interviews from the locker room.

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Look ahead: 49ers are not Road Warriors

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White had a career-high 210 yards receiving and two touchdowns against San Francisco last season. Paul Sakuma, AP

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White had a career-high 210 yards receiving and two touchdowns against San Francisco last season. Paul Sakuma, AP

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith did his best Lou Holtz impersonation during Monday’s press conference.

When it was over, you were convinced that Smith had a healthy respect for the 0-3 San Francisco 49ers.

He wasn’t all over the top with it, but he noted that when the Falcons beatdown the 49ers last season that running back Frank Gore didn’t play, wide receiver Michael Crabtree didn’t play and the since-departed Shaun Hill was the quarterback.

While Gore, Crabtree and quarterback Alex Smith don’t exactly make you think of Roger Craig, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, they are upgrades.

“Last year’s game in San Francisco will have no bearing on the outcome of the game this week,” Smith said. “It will have no bearing whatsoever. They’re a completely different football team.”

The 49ers were predicted to win the NFC West, but have …

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