Archive for November, 2010

Falcons vs. Rams: 5 keys to the game

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) hands off to running back Michael Turner for 1st down yardage during 1st half action against the Buccaneers. Turner rushed for 2 touchdowns in the first half for the early 14-0 lead. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) hands off to running back Michael Turner for 1st down yardage during 1st half action against the Buccaneers. Turner rushed for 2 touchdowns in the first half for the early 14-0 lead. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

As the 7-2 Falcons see if they have an answer for Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, who is 4-1 in the Edward Jones Dome, what if. …

1. The game comes down to the final minutes.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, known as “Matty Ice,” developed a reputation for being cool under pressure in college.

Ryan, who’s in his third season in the NFL, is showing that he’s a cool customer at crunch time as a pro, too.

The 80-yard, seven-play drive in the final 65 seconds against Baltimore will only add to the legend of Matty Ice.

Ryan is impressed with St. Louis’ defense, which is tied for the league lead in sacks with 28.

“In watching their defense you see an athletic defense with a really good defensive line,” Ryan said. “They have a lot of …

Continue reading Falcons vs. Rams: 5 keys to the game »

7 questions with Rams GM Billy Devaney

Rams GM Billy Devaney

Rams GM Billy Devaney

FLOWERY BRANCH – St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney, who worked for the Falcons from 2006 to 2007, appears to have struck gold with quarterback Sam Bradford, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Bradford has the Rams, who play the Falcons on Sunday,  off to a 4-5 start and are in second place in the NFC West.

Devaney was the senior personnel executive in 2006 and as assistant general manager in 2007 for the Falcons.

Devaney, a former scout, also worked in Washington with Joe Gibbs and the legendary Bobby Beathard. He went with Beathard to San Diego. In all, he’s had a hand in helping to build three Super Bowl teams, two in Washington (1983 and 1988) and one in San Diego (1994).

It was good to catch up with “Billy D” over the phone when he took the time to take 7 questions from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Q: How are things going with the rebuilding of the St. Louis Rams?
A:
“Well, it’s certainly …

Continue reading 7 questions with Rams GM Billy Devaney »

Video: 3 keys vs. Rams

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. Rams »

Sean Weatherspoon back from his knee 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 rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who’s been out with a right knee sprain since Oct. 10, returned to practice on Thursday.

“It felt pretty good just to get out there with the guys instead of just watching,” said Weatherspoon, who was limited in practice. “It just made me feel a whole lot comfortable about myself. I was out there running around, cutting and making different movements. It felt pretty good.”

Weatherspoon, whom the Falcons selected in the first round of the 2010 draft with the 19th pick, opened the season as

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)

the starter at strongside linebacker. In the third game of the …

Continue reading Sean Weatherspoon back from his knee injury »

Video Preview: Falcons vs. Rams

Continue reading Video Preview: Falcons vs. Rams »

Coach Madden names line Most Valuable Protectors

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure and Justin Blalock (Sam Baker not pictured) received kudos from Coach John Madden. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure and Justin Blalock (Sam Baker not pictured) received kudos from Coach John Madden. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden has selected the  offensive Line of the Atlanta Falcons as the Week 10 winner of his Most Valuable Protectors award.

Every week between now and the end of the regular season, Madden will recognize one NFL offensive line as theweek’s top performing unit.  Ultimately, the NFL’s best offensive line for the 2010 season will be announced at Super Bowl XLV in North Texas and receive the 2nd annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC

Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau watches his players during a drill. Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com

Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau watches his players during a drill. Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com

trophy.

Madden noted that the offensive line has played well and helped the Falcons win three straight games and seven of their last eight.

This is the second time this season that the …

Continue reading Coach Madden names line Most Valuable Protectors »

Falcons release depth chart for St. Louis game

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH – This will be the 75th meeting between the Falcons and the Rams.

The Rams hold 47-25-2 advantage in the series.

The Birds have won three of their last four meetings with the Rams, including a 47-17 victory in the 2005 NFC divisional playoffs.

The Rams enter this week’s game coming off of a 23-20 loss to division rival San Francisco and sit in second place in the NFC West with a 4-5 overall record.

St. Louis has been impressive at home going 4-1 at the Edward Jones Dome, including four consecutive wins. Since 2008, the Falcons 20-6 record in indoor stadiums ranks second in the

League behind the Minnesota Vikings (21-5).

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 …

Continue reading Falcons release depth chart for St. Louis game »

Falcons move to No. 1 spot in ESPN power rankings

falcons.1112FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons have used a three-game home winning streak to improve to 7-2 and climb to the top of ESPN’s power rankings.

The Falcons’ 7-2 mark is the best in the NFC.

If they are going to stay on top, they will have to prove their  mettle on the road.

The Falcons play four of their next five games on the road.

If you count their last two exhibition games, the Falcons opened the season playing six of eight games on the road.

“We have a part of the season, albeit part of it was in the preseason, that we’ve gone on the road almost twice as much as we’ve been at home,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Playing on the road is a big challenge.”

The Falcons 2-2 on the road this season. They have road victories over New Orleans and Cleveland. They have road losses to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

“This season, so far we’ve had some success on the road,” Smith said. “We’d like to have a little bit more.”

With ESPN’s No. 1 power ranking and with the best record in the NFC, …

Continue reading Falcons move to No. 1 spot in ESPN power rankings »

Matt Ryan nominated for FedEx Air award

101111 Atlanta; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a deep pass in the first half of their game hosting the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 11, 2010. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

101111 Atlanta; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a deep pass in the first half of their game hosting the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 11, 2010. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan who passed for season-high 316 yards against the Baltimore Raves was nominated for the FedEx Air player of the week around.

Ryan completed 32 of 50 passes and had three touchdowns in the 26-21 victory over the Ravens. He tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Roddy White with 20 seconds to play.

New England’s Tom Brady and Philadelphia’s Mike Vick are the other nominees.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx through noon Friday to determine the FedEx Air  player of the week. The winners will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com.

FedEx continues its support of Safe Kids USA by making weekly $2,000 donations in each of the winning players’ names. The funding, …

Continue reading Matt Ryan nominated for FedEx Air award »

Meet Nicholas, win tickets to the Packers game

Here, Stephen Nicholas (54) 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

Here, Stephen Nicholas (54) 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 linebacker Stephen Nicholas is set to sign autographs at Shane’s Rib Shack, 5877 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

There will also be an opportunity for fans to tickets to the Falcons game against Green Bay on Nov. 28.

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

Continue reading Meet Nicholas, win tickets to the Packers game »