Archive for November, 2010

Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez lead in Pro Bowl voting

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (left) tries to avoid St. Louis Rams cornerback Jerome Murphy after catching a pass for an 8-yard gain during the fourth quarter. AP

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (left) tries to avoid St. Louis Rams cornerback Jerome Murphy after catching a pass for an 8-yard gain during the fourth quarter. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez are getting some love in the fan voting for the 2011 NFC Pro Bowl squad, according to the results released by NFL.com earlier this week.

The league announced the leaders at each position so we don’t know how the rest of the Falcons are doing.  But fan voting continues through Monday, Dec. 20 online and on web-enabled mobile phones by going to NFL.com/probowl.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is tackled by Buccaneers safety Sean Jones after catching a pass with Roddy White on the sidelines. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is tackled by Buccaneers safety Sean Jones after catching a pass with Roddy White on the sidelines. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons have it set up where you can vote through the teams’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/atlanta falcons and you have to click the “Pro Bowl” tab at the top of the page.

(REMEMBER: CHICAGO VOTING RULES …

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John Abraham, Roddy White held out of practice

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) tries to get around the tackle of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson (37) in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) tries to get around the tackle of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson (37) in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons defensive end John Abraham (groin), wide receiver Roddy White (knee), running back Antone Smith (hamstring) and safety Shann Schillinger (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

Coach Mike Smith said Abraham and White were given “maintenance” days and both are expected to return to practice on Thursday. Abraham, who leads the team in sacks with eight, did not play last week against the Rams.

“We are probably going to continue to rest some of these guys as we go through the rest of the season,” Smith said. “Some of the older guys, we’ll start trying to take some snaps off of them as we (move) into the last quarter of the season.”

Schillinger, a key special teams player, suffered a concussion against the Rams and is in the league’s concussion …

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Video: 3 keys vs. Green Bay Packers

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. Green Bay Packers »

Smitty makes plea for fans to be on time, loud for Packers

Falcons coach Mike Smith has asked for some help from the fans to beat the Packers. (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith has asked for some help from the fans to beat the Packers. (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Tell your preacher to let you out of Sunday service early.

Take the MARTA if traffic is your issue.

Cut the tailgate off a little bit earlier.

Basically, as Kim Zolciak sings, “Don’t be Tardy for the Party!”

Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is 18-3 in the Georgia Dome in three seasons, is asking the fans to be on time and loud for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Green Bay Packers.

“I just want to talk a little bit about the upcoming game and how important it is for our fans to get out there,” Smith said. “We want it to be like Thursday night (against the Baltimore Ravens). That was a big advantage for us as a football team to have the fans in the stands, rocking and rolling.”

The Falcons are 8-2 and have the best record in the NFC. Green Bay is 7-3.

“It should be a good game,” Smith said. “The Green Bay Packers are on a roll. They are …

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NFLPA warns Georgia leaders of lockout’s negative economic impact

FLOWERY BRANCH – The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) today wrote a letter to Governor Sonny Perdue, Governor-elect Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed to warn that Atlanta could see more than $160 million in lost jobs and revenue if the owners forego negotiating in good faith and opt to cancel the 2011 football season.

There are 100 days left until the expiration of the agreement that determines how NFL revenue is distributed.

In the letters, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said the players want to keep playing and are happy to keep the current agreement in place, but warned that the owners are taking steps to cancel the 2011 season.

The NFLPA asked Perdue, Deal and Reed to consider the economic impact of a 2011 lockout by the owners and to stress to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank the importance of engaging in good faith negotiations with the NFLPA.

“During one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, NFL owners are preparing to cancel the 2011 season and, in the …

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Falcons-Buccaneers game moved to 4:15 p.m. on FOX

Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) looks for room to run against the Rams. AP

Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) looks for room to run against the Rams. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons game at Tampa Bay on Dec. 5 has been moved from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m on Fox.

The NFL will utilize “flexible scheduling” on Sundays in Weeks 11-17.  Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots in those weeks and give teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon 4:15 p.m. time slot on CBS and FOX.

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Justin Peelle makes an impact

Falcons tight end Justin Peelle (87) crosses the goal line in front of St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl (43) to score a touchdown during the third quarter. AP

Falcons tight end Justin Peelle (87) crosses the goal line in front of St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl (43) to score a touchdown during the third quarter. AP

ST. LOUIS — Falcons tight end Justin Peelle, in his first game back since under going sports hernia surgery, had a major impact in the 34-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

With the Falcons trailing 17-16, quarterback Matt Ryan completed a 12-yard pass to Peelle. Two plays later, Peelle caught a 2-yard touchdown pass to put the Falcons ahead for good.

Peelle  had not played since the Philadelphia game on Oct. 17.

He was wide open on the touchdown grab.

“They bit on the run and then two guys went with Tony (Gonzalez),” Peelle said. “There was nobody out there.”

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Video: Matt Bryant helps in win over St. Louis

Continue reading Video: Matt Bryant helps in win over St. Louis »

Lofton, swarming defense kept Steven Jackson under control

Rams wide receiver Laurent Robinson (19. right) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore (25) during the first quarter. AP

Rams wide receiver Laurent Robinson (19. right) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore (25) during the first quarter. AP

ST. LOUIS – Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton led the Falcons in tackles with eight against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

“It just took us a little while to get into the groove,” Lofton said. “But once we got it going, things started working out pretty good for us.”

The Falcons held Rams running back Steven Jackson to 54 yards on 11 carries.

“It took the entire defense,” Lofton said. “Everyone has to keep going after him and keep putting their pads on him. Everyone did a good job of that.”

The Falcons are 8-2 and have the best record in the NFC. They are tied with New England and the New York Jets for the best record in the league.

“8-2 is great,” Lofton said. “It was a nice road win. But we haven’t played a complete game yet, so I guess that’s next. We are in a good spot right now.”

Next up for the Falcons are the white-hot Green Bay …

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Falcons DE John Abraham declared inactive for Rams game

101024 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer during 2nd half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Oct. 24 , 2010. The Falcons beat the Bengals 39-32.   Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

101024 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer during 2nd half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Oct. 24 , 2010. The Falcons beat the Bengals 39-32. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

ST. LOUIS – Falcons defensive end John Abraham, who has a history of groin problems, was declared inactive against the Rams with a groin injury on Sunday.

Abraham leads the Falcons in sacks with eight.

Abraham had groin problems earlier in his career, but had started  55 of the last 56 games for the Falcons, including all 16 games in 2007 and 2008. He started 15 of 16 games last season.

Lawrence Sidbury, who has been inactive for four of the last five games, was announced as the starter for Abraham.

Abraham recorded two sacks against Baltimore to give him eight this season, second most among defensive ends in the league. The New York Giants’ Osi Umenyiora went into this week’s game leading all ends with nine …

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