Archive for October, 2010

Depth chart: Nicholas elevated to No. 1 for Cincy game

Pierre Thomas flips into the endzone on the Falcons.  (MATT BUSH/HATTIESBURG AMERICAN)

Pierre Thomas flips into the endzone on the Falcons. (MATT BUSH/HATTIESBURG AMERICAN)

FLOWERY BRANCHStephen Nicholas, who has started against San Francisco and Philadelphia, was elevated to the first team on depth chart released by the team for the Cincinnati game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith announced on Monday that rookie Sean Weatherspoon’s right knee sprain was not responding and that he’d sit out the Bengals game.

Nicholas led the Falcons in tackles against the 49ers with 13. Against the Eagles, he had six tackles, including one for a loss.

Here’s a look at the depth chart.

OFFENSE

WR 12 Michael Jenkins 83 Harry Douglas 14 Eric Weems

LT 72 Sam Baker 74 Will Svitek

LG 63 Justin Blalock 79 Mike Johnson

C 62 Todd McClure 61 Joe Hawley

RG 73 Harvey Dahl 79 Mike Johnson

RT 77 Tyson Clabo 75 Garrett Reynolds

TE 88 Tony Gonzalez 87 Justin Peelle 81 Michael Palmer

WR 84 Roddy White 86 Brian Finneran

QB 2 Matt Ryan 8 Chris Redman 4 John Parker Wilson

RB 33 Michael Turner 44 Jason …

Continue reading Depth chart: Nicholas elevated to No. 1 for Cincy game »

Dunta Robinson fined $50,000 by the league

SPORTS FBN-FALCONS-EAGLES 17 PH

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson was fined $50,000 for his hit on DeSean Jackson by the NFL on Tuesday.

Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, is looking into ejecting and suspending players who make helmet-to-helmet hits in the future.

“Future offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension,” Anderson wrote in a letter sent to Robinson.

Robinson, who suffered a concussion on the big hit he put on Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson on Sunday,  will not likely be cleared in time to play against Cincinnati.

“I think that we all know Dunta, he’s been in this league a long time,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Monday. “He’s a guy that plays the game very, very hard. That was a bang-bang play in terms of the contact. From my vantage point, it looked like there was no helmet-to-helmet contact. But it was a bang-bang play. I’m glad that both of those guys are going to be all right. It was a big time hit.”

The …

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Weatherspoon out; Robinson likely to miss Bengals game, too

Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins (12) pushes off Eagles defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins (12) pushes off Eagles defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

FLOWERY BRANCH –Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who suffered a right knee sprain against Cleveland,  will not play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

“He’s not responding as quickly as we thought,” Smith said. “We are going to rule him out for this week and hopefully get him back after the bye week.”

Cornerback Dunta Robinson, who suffered a concussion on the big hit he put on Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson on Sunday,  will not likely be cleared in time to play against Cincinnati.

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on Monday, March 8, 2010. D. Orlando Ledbetter, dledbetter@ajc.com

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on Monday, March 8, 2010. D. Orlando Ledbetter, dledbetter@ajc.com

“Right now, Dunta is in the league concussion protocol,” Smith said. “He will have to go through it this week and we’ll have to wait and see if he’s cleared by an independent doctor. That’s where we are with  him physically.”

Smith went on to address the play.

“I think …

Continue reading Weatherspoon out; Robinson likely to miss Bengals game, too »

Falcons calling Hometown Huddle for fitness

Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) discusses the importance of keeping fit with kids. (By PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) discusses the importance of keeping fit with kids. (By PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH– The Falcons will visit four different metro Atlanta schools to promote good health and fitness as part of the “NFL Play 60″ campaign on Tuesday.

At the schools, the players will be involved in a varietiy of activities including, jump rope, shuttle run, push-ups and sit-ups. The Falcons are only NFL team that is involving its entire team.

The Falcons will also be visiting four other public stops, where they will surprise fans, sign autographs and thank them for their support.

During the 12th annual NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle, a series of volunteer projects implemented on the same day in NFL cities nationwide, teams will be rebuilding playgrounds, hosting youth football clinics, and helping kids stay active for 60 minutes a day as part of “NFL PLAY 60”, the League’s youth health and fitness campaign.

Get instant updates on …

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Video: Falcons didn’t stop the explosive plays

Continue reading Video: Falcons didn’t stop the explosive plays »

The Aftermath: What the players were saying . . .

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

PHILADELPHIA – Free safety Thomas DeCoud is a stand up guy.

He took the blame for the 83-yard touchdown. He was suppose to get over the top of Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, but he heard his teammates yelling “reverse” and his instincts took over.

He took a peak and Maclin took off. (You love it when the players face the media music. Baseball players love to go hide in the lounge area  when they don’t want to talk. DeCoud stood tall in the pocket. The Cal grad was articulate in explaining what happened to the Falcons defense. He gets a media gameball.)

Here’s what he and other players had to say to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game:

THOMAS DECOUD, safety.

ON THE MACLIN PLAY: “I read my key on the play and that was to read No. 1 (receiver). I was going over the top of him. Then I heard the rest of the team yelling ‘reverse.’ I looked back and he took off. …

Continue reading The Aftermath: What the players were saying . . . »

History suggests Falcons are headed for a 9-7 campaign

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) scores a touchdown in front of Philadelphia defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) scores a touchdown in front of Philadelphia defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

PHILADELPHIA –  History suggests that the Falcons are headed for a 9-7 season.

This was the third season that the Falcons have opened with a 4-1 mark.

After the other 4-1 starts, the team finished 9-7.

Last season, they went 4-1 before losing consecutive games at Dallas and at New Orleans. A rash of injuries started to set in and the team finished 9-7.

The Falcons started 4-1 in 1995, before losing to the St. Louis Rams 21-19 to drop to 4-2. They never got on a roll and finished 9-7, but went to the playoffs where they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 37-20.

The Falcons best start was in 1986 when they opened the season 5-1-1, before losing five straight and closing out the season 7-8-1.

The franchise went 5-1 twice. In 2004, they went on to finish 11-5 and reached the NFC championship game. In 1998, they went 14-2 and went to the Super Bowl.

The Falcons have never …

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Eagles declare Michael Vick as the No. 3 QB

Eagles coach Andy Reid declared Michael Vick as the "emergency" No. 3 quarterback.  (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Eagles coach Andy Reid declared Michael Vick as the "emergency" No. 3 quarterback. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

PHILADELPHIA — Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has been declared inactive for today’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

Weatherspoon missed the San Francisco game with ankle injury he suffered against the New Orleans Saints.

This will be the second game he’s missed. He suffered the injury last week in the third quarter against Cleveland.

Stephen Nicholas has been announced as the starter.

Also, inactive for the Falcons are cornerback Dominique Franks, running back Gartrell Johnson III, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis.

John Parker Wilson was designated as the third quarterback for the Falcons

For the Eagles, Michael Vick was declared as their third quarterback. Vick was limited in practice on Friday, before Philadelphia coach Andy Reid …

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Falcons at Eagles: 3 key matchups

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)

Three key matchups

Falcons CB Dunta Robinson vs. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson: Robinson has been strong in run support, but receivers have gotten open deep. Last week, Joshua Cribbs was open deep, but Jake Delhomme overthrew him. Jackson has just five catches for 43 yards over the last two games. However, he had 135 and 153 yards receiving in each game that Michael Vick started at quarterback. “I’m just not really having the opportunity to make these huge plays like I’ve been doing,” Jackson said.

Falcons MLB Curtis Lofton vs. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy: The Eagles rank first in the NFL in yards per carry with 5.3, thanks in part to Vick’s scrambles. McCoy has five rushing touchdowns, which is second in the league. The Eagles average 130.4 rushing yards per game. Lofton and the Falcons are swarming to the ball on defense and held Cleveland to 40 yards …

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Injury Report: Weatherspoon is questionable for Eagles game

Stephen Nicholas (54) will replaced Sean Weatherspoon in the starting lineup in he can play against the Eagles. Here, Nicholas is flying over the top of the pile of Falcons as they stop the 49ers' Frank Gore (21) in the first quarter. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

Stephen Nicholas (54) will replaced Sean Weatherspoon in the starting lineup in he can play against the Eagles. Here, Nicholas is flying over the top of the pile of Falcons as they stop the 49ers' Frank Gore (21) in the first quarter. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon did not practice on Friday and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

He has not practiced since suffering a right knee sprain  against Cleveland.

If Weatherspoon is unable to play, Stephen Nicholas will start at strongside linebacker against the Eagles.

Also, defensive end John Abrabam (stiff back) and tight end  Justin Peelle (groin) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Brian Finneran (knee) and linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee) were listed on the report, but fully participated in practice.

Out  = definitely will not play

Doubtful  = at least 75% chance will not play

Questionable = 50-50 chance will …

Continue reading Injury Report: Weatherspoon is questionable for Eagles game »