Eric Weems turning into special teams’ maven

Green Bay Packers linebacker Matt Wilhelm is called for a face mask penalty as he takes down Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems on a kickoff return during 4th quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Matt Wilhelm is called for a face mask penalty as he takes down Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems on a kickoff return during 4th quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.

FLOWERY BRANCHEric Weems, the return man and special teams hitman, had a big day against the Green Bay Packers.

His big 40-yard return set up the game-winning drive.

After the Falcons scored with 9 seconds left, he went down and got the tackle on Green Bay’s Sam Shields. He leads the team with 10 special teams tackles.

Weems almost broke the return before Matt Wilhelm nearly ripped off his facemask.

“Guys had great blocks,” Weems said. “I was five yards deep, but I knew I was coming out because I had to give the offense great field position.”

Weems has close to breaking a couple of returns this season. He had 55-yard returns against Cincinnati and St. Louis.

“On the field in the huddle, I could tell from the look in the guys’ eyes that they were fired up and ready to go,” Weems said. “We hadn’t made a play all day. The guys were just telling me, bring it out, bring it out. They had my back.

“So I brought it out and the guys made some great blocks. If he wouldn’t have grabbed my facemask there was a good chance that I would have went the distant right there.”

Get updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

57 comments Add your comment

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

November 30th, 2010
7:34 pm

Nearly everyone in the Dome (except for the Packers fans) thought that he was going to run it all the way back. That run definitely help set up the offense for the win. Weems has been great the majority of the season on punts and kickoffs.

bill

November 30th, 2010
7:46 pm

Jim- Who kicked your cat today? Kiss the wifey, and tell her you love her. Then you will feel better.

TLH

November 30th, 2010
7:52 pm

Erics Weems is solid at kick return. I wish Harry Douglas could get some punt return in… Weems doesn’t have enough speed to break one. But he’s legit though. Oh and yea it wasn’t overtime D-led but it’s not that serious. Not sure why Jim blew a gasket. LOL…

This Gets Old!

November 30th, 2010
7:55 pm

I would feel like a total fool if I read any blog just so that I could write FIRST or point out an insignificant
mistake.

billcanoe

November 30th, 2010
7:56 pm

d. Led – I normally like your writing very much, and Weems has done a great job – but you might like to check out the definition of “maven”. I don’t think it really fits here.

bigslow

November 30th, 2010
8:00 pm

dam jim i guess u don’t make mistakes. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK DOL

billcanoe

November 30th, 2010
8:01 pm

On further reflection, “maven” may fit, but not normally found in a sports column. But, otherwise, keep up the good work. I like your insights into the Falcons.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 30th, 2010
8:07 pm

Here’s special-teams’ maven used by someone else, too:
Free agent Kassim Osgood agrees to deal with Jaguars …
Mar 6, 2010 … The Jaguars added another special-teams maven that could earn a role on offense Saturday when they agreed to terms with San Diego …

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 30th, 2010
8:08 pm

Jim and the other hater just got deleted. Don’t know why I had “overtime” on the brain. Everybody knows that sportswriters hate “overtime.”

Stangfloss

November 30th, 2010
8:15 pm

Weems is a very good football player her is really fast but the number 14 makes him look slow.I think he will break a long return for a touchdown in one of the next five games.Rise up people Falcon always rise up! http:airfarecheapsale.com

Stangfloss

November 30th, 2010
8:16 pm

Weems is a very good football player her is really fast but the number 14 makes him look slow.I think he will break a long return for a touchdown in one of the next five games.Rise up people Falcon always rise up! http://airfarecheapsale.com

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 30th, 2010
8:27 pm

Stangfloss: I already have my tickets.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John, ATLHOMER and Zach Blend, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Eric Weems turning into special teams maven http://bit.ly/eIDBui [...]

TNFalcon

November 30th, 2010
9:10 pm

D-Led I’m gonna go ahead & apologize for the abuse you have to endure from some members of this blogging community. Most of us, and I am one, appreciate the information you enlighten us with on a daily basis, and while we all know it was the fourth quarter and not overtime, its an honest mistake. I mean get over yourselves people, lest you’ve never made a mistake of your own, then you should probably take your rightful seat at God’s right hand, and focus your attention on more pressing issues, leaving the sports blogging up to flawed individuals, like me & D-Led.

David Steerman

November 30th, 2010
9:33 pm

I’m a native falcon fan and 2 of my favorites on this team, which is really hard to say since we have a whole team of favorites, is Eric Weems and Brent Grimes. Two guys who’s size would normally restrict them play their hearts out every week and have all year. GO 5-10′ers.

suwaneefalcon

November 30th, 2010
9:52 pm

Weems always brings the ball out like a bat out of hell. Fun to watch and fits the mentality of this team.
GO FALCONS!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 30th, 2010
10:02 pm

TNFalcon — Thanks for your kind words.

truth

November 30th, 2010
10:39 pm

1 int 4 fumbles…….enough said.

stizz

November 30th, 2010
11:15 pm

D led what’s Kevin mcadam doing these days?

Stangfloss

December 1st, 2010
1:04 am

The Falcons will win the Superbowl this year this team will go on a 14 year run like the Braves Matt Ryan and Roddy White will be first ballot Hall Of Famers.

Chamwa

December 1st, 2010
6:27 am

Funny… Us season ticket holders have been complaining about #14 since last season. Very rarely does he have a good return, especially on punts. We have wondered why Douglas is not back there. Eric is great on coverage but is worthless, save one return vs GB, on returns.

Adam

December 1st, 2010
7:59 am

@ Jim………”Used to be a sportswriter… ”

I think that’s a key statement you made that should speak volumes about your editorial acumen as well as your ability to grasp what’s important in a story. If you were great at either, chances are somebody would be paying you to still be doing it.

newgafatboy

December 1st, 2010
8:01 am

Weems gets the job done, but I wouldn’t consider him a threat, he’s quicker than fast, he can make a move to get a good return, but doesn’t have the speed to take one all the way back. I know he’s coming off injury, but I’d like to see Douglas get a few returns. Especially since they’re not using him in the passing game. He has the speed to score every time he touches the ball. I hope they’re just trying to hide him so they can unleash him during playoffs.

States Burr

December 1st, 2010
8:16 am

NewGaFatBoy: It would be nice if Douglas would get “unleashed” as a slot receiver now….

Falcons Decatur

December 1st, 2010
8:34 am

It is nice to see our Special Team getting the job done. Eric Weems is seeing the hold field, and has good vision in finding those wholes. That is going to key when we play teams like Bucs, Saints, and Seahawks. I wish Harry Douglas would get back returning the ball. I think he is going to be unleash soon. Eric Weems needs to continue to give us good field position in these 5 games we have left on the schedule. GO FALCONS!!!!

Native Georgian

December 1st, 2010
8:52 am

I’m DIEHARD -you hear me?!- DIEHARD Falcons! But to consider Weems as one of our weapons as a returner is really pushing the homer envelope! IMO, he’s slightly below average. Now when we’re kicking, oh yeah, he has REAL value there. But as a returner, I’m in the dome longing for Harry Douglass to come back in that role soon.

Native Georgian

December 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Fair catches too much. Too quick to do touchbacks. EVERY returner has had 3 “almost breaks” this year. What am I missing?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
9:43 am

Native Georgian — I think they are coaching him to not screw it up. Wonder if they will get H.D. ready for the stretch run and playoffs. He took a punt to the house v. Carolina when he was a rookie.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
9:50 am

I hate banning folks, but I’ve had to boot quite a few people lately.

Most of y’all know the rules: We talk Falcons football here. I’m deleting all of the nonsensical stuff and banning all of the morons.

Chop Buster

December 1st, 2010
10:11 am

C’mon man! Weems plays on special teams, but there hasn’t been anything special about his performance this year as a KR/PR. Let’s be honest here, he has been average at best and a number of fans have been calling for someone to challenge him for this position. I do have to say that he did return the ball like he was on a mission to get a TD this past Sunday. I’d like to see him do this with a little more regularity before saying he’s turning into a special teams maven.

Falcondawg

December 1st, 2010
10:29 am

You can’t say he’s not a legit returner! He’s sixth in the NFC in return average and that’s with out breaking one for more than fifty, had he broke that one Sunday, he’d be about third in the NFC. Can’t ask for much more than that from someone who almost was cut and makes minimum!!

SawThat1nce

December 1st, 2010
10:33 am

Why wasn’t the Packer player that made that face-mask tackle on Weems fined by the NFL.
It was intentional, very dangerous, and could have resulted in a serious injury.
I think that the Packer player should be fined, just like the players that make the outlaw, helmut to helmut tackles.

SawThat1nce

December 1st, 2010
10:38 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter…….Thanks for cleaning up the blog, and getting rid of all of the younguns, that have been trashing it up.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
10:45 am

SawThat1nce — You’re welcome. They rude and nasty. We have a great football season to comment on.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
10:47 am

Saw – I agree. His hand shouldn’t be anywhere near the helmet. Bad coaching.

Stangfloss

December 1st, 2010
11:08 am

Maybe it worked out better because of the face masked if Weems would have scored there would have been a lot more time left on the clock for Green Bay and the may have scored and won because they were passing the ball very well

Northern Bird

December 1st, 2010
12:42 pm

Great game on Sunday. 9-2 and on the way to 14-2, let’s do this !
Some praise has to be given to our goal line D this year, it has stepped in a few critical situations, and really saved us. Let’s hope everyone stays healthy!!!
D Led, Like the way you are taking care of business, no need for all of the negativity, it’s just annoying to read.

Sid

December 1st, 2010
12:46 pm

Strangfloss…………….in a tie football game?

FrontRow

December 1st, 2010
1:18 pm

Important to keep up the momentum on the ST coverage. The previous Bucs – Falcons game would have been a blowout if not for 200+ yards given up in ST coverage.

FrontRow

December 1st, 2010
1:21 pm

On a side note – D’led why does you username not show up as bold like the rest of the AJC bloggers?

It seems there are multiple users trying to post under some form of your name. If you could, get your tekkie guy to fix that please.

(We banned those fakers. –dol)

Ross

December 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

“Rise up and ban the morons!” Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! :)

Not just Weems – Biermann has been pivotal since returning to the kick coverage.

ATL Shawty

December 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

Weems showing why he earned his roster spot. We still need to punch one in though, hey DOL when is the last time we actually took one al the way back on a kickoff or punt. Please don’t tell me that Harry douglas was the last one, because that is one hell of a drought !

Falcon57

December 1st, 2010
2:12 pm

While I’m very appreciative of the return by Weems Sunday, I agree with D-Led. I think he’s playing not to mess up. What I have mentioned in several blogs is how I’d like to see them use Antone Smith more. He is a mirror of Leon Washington in Seattle and both from FSU. I live in Tallahassee and watched them both through their college days. One reporter even wrote on this website that watching him in practice, he looks like he’s playing at a completely different speed than everyone else. I would like to see them try him on returns like Seattle does with Washington and also screens out of the backfield. Get him in open space and watch the moves as well as the speed.

D-Led, do you have any insight on Smiths’ play or lack thereof?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

Falcon57 — Antone Smith is currently hurt with a hamstring. They like him. But I haven’t seen him do much with the specials. He beat out Dimitri Nance because of his speed. We might get to see him down the stretch if he can get healthy.

Dirty Bird 98

December 1st, 2010
2:26 pm

Hey when is the last time we scored off a kickoff or punt return ?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Dirty Bird 98 — Off the top of my head, it would H.D. punt return against Carolina in 2008.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2010
2:46 pm

Dirty Bird 98 — Memory was working there. It was H.D.’s 61-yard punt return against Carolina on Nov. 23, 2008. (Last kickoff or punt returned for a touchdown by the Falcons).

ATLFalconFister

December 1st, 2010
3:00 pm

Personally, i agree with the point that the coaches as of now, (esp with the way the offense is playing) probably put a premium on ball security. They rather have Weems back there NOT screwing things up, making the right decisions and have the potential for solid returns every single time. As opposed to somebody like Douglas (who by the way is still coming off a MAJOR knee surgery) who might break one to the house every now and then, but A. is an injury concern. B. Doesn’t have nearly the amount of experience as Weems. C. Weems IS A GOOD RETURNER!!!!!!!!!!

Look at the Rankings guys Weems is pretty good. He has consistently hovered in the top ten return yardage categories for punts and kickoffs. Thats pretty impressive considering he “isnt fast enough.”

ATL Shawty

December 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

Thanx DOL I thought I was the only true Falcon fan that remembers our last return for a score on a return.

Mr. Mustard

December 1st, 2010
3:48 pm

Thanks D. Orlando,

The Falcons’ win over Green Bay was one of the most disciplined and complete games I have ever seen a Falcons team perform.

With Matty Ice and Roddy White, along with our outstanding linebackers, we have a team that is cool, calm and well coached.

I cannot say enough about the game planning. Now I hear that Coach Smith has reduced the workload for the road stretch, and he planned it in April.

The results of his planning are showing. 9-2 and atop the NFC! Our Falcons are atop the NFC!