Archive for November, 2010

Tight end Justin Peelle returned to practice

Tight ends Justin Peelle and Leroy Banks signing autographs after a recent minicamp practice.  (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Tight ends Justin Peelle and Leroy Banks signing autographs after a recent minicamp practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Backup tight end Jusin Peelle, who’s recovering from sports hernia surgery, returned to practice on Monday.

“Peelle had limited participation today,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He was able to participate in parts of the practice.”

Rookie Michael Palmer has been filling Peelle’s role as the backup tight end to Tony Gonzalez. Palmer caught his first touchdown pass against Tampa Bay.

Peelle had surgery on Oct. 19 and was expected to miss four to six weeks.

“We will see how he handles the work load and see if he makes it through the next couple of days,” Smith said. “He’s done a very good job with our athletic performance department.”

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Falcons coach Mike Smith did some ‘TV scouting’ of Rams

Falcons coach Mike Smith give his remote a workout and did some T.V. scouting on Sunday.  (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith give his remote a workout and did some T.V. scouting on Sunday. (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – With the rare in-season Sunday off, Falcons coach Mike Smith was just like your average football fan.

He was at home in his basement with his remote ready for duty.

During the early games, he was doing some hard-core game surfing.

“I had the chance to flip around and drive my daughter and wife crazy with all of the channel flipping,” Smith said. “I’d just flip back and forth through the games like any normal fan would that has the NFL ticket.”

For the 4 p.m. game, he did some “TV scouting” of the St. Louis Rams vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

“NFL All-Access is really good to have,” Smith said. “I sat down there in the basement and had the opportunity to watch the entire game. I saw two pretty good football teams play yesterday. I was very impressed with the Rams.”

Despite San Francisco’s 23-20 win in overtime, Smith was impressed with …

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The aftermath: What the players were saying . . .

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 – The Falcons got the weekend off after winning their second game in five days.

Here’s what they are saying after the game:

MATT RYAN, quarterback

ON THE GAME WINNING DRIVE: “We had been getting some pressure.

101111 Atlanta; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan converts a key third down on a run to set up a field goal before first half 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 converts a key third down on a run to set up a field goal before first half hosting the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 11, 2010. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

Early in the drive we were getting a lot of zone coverage. After we hit the out route to Mike Jenkins, then they started to pressure it up a little bit. On that pass to Roddy, it was a really good call to get outside the pocket because they brought pressure inside. Ed Reed …

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Mike Smith thanks fans for “Dome Field” advantage

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 coach Mike Smith enjoyed the atmosphere at the Georgia Dome during their 26-21 victory over Baltimore.

“It was electric,” Smith said. “It was the best crowd that we’ve had in the three years we’ve been here. My ears are still ringing from the game last night.”

Smith also thinks the Georgia Dome crowd is knowledgeable.

“Those fans know how to cheer,” Smith said. “They know when to get loud and they know when to get quiet. I think our players feed off of that. It’s really positive energy. I think it helps, it really does.”

The Falcons are 5-0 at home this season. The team is 18-3 in the Dome under Smith.

“In our three years here we are really started to establish a home field advantage,” Smith said.

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Sean Weatherspoon on target to return for St. Louis game

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 – While the rest of the team had Friday off, Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was at the facilities working out with the training staff.

Weatherspoon, the team’s first round draft pick from the University of Missouri, has been out with a right knee sprain since the Cleveland game on Oct. 10. He’s made a great deal of progress and will likely return against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 21.

“We are hoping that Spoon will be ready to go this week,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We saw some progress on Monday and Tuesday, but it just wasn’t enough to put him out there for the ball game this week.”

Weatherspoon did some running on Friday morning.

“He’ll be spending the weekend here …

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Q & A: NFL commish Roger Goodell on ATL Super Bowl bid

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was in town for the Thursday night 2010 season premier on the NFL Network.

On his way to the NFL Network set before the Falcons and Ravens game, he stopped to give an exclusive interview to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Q: What does Atlanta have to do to get another Super Bowl?

A: I met with the Governor (elect Nathan Deal) earlier today. I think this is a great community. But as I mentioned to the people earlier today, the competition for the Super Bowl is really at an all-time high, in a large part because of the new stadiums. The provisions that they have for a new stadium in this great community, I think that’s a pretty powerful force. We have a history of going back to communities when they have those new stadiums.

Q: They are talking about an outdoor stadium. Would that hinder the Super Bowl bid?

A: …

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Prime Time’s Preview: Falcons vs. Ravens

Deion Sanders talking with the media have his Ring of Honor luncheon today. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Deion Sanders talking with the media after his Ring of Honor luncheon today. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Deion Sanders is elated about being inducted in the Falcons Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s game.

“I’m going to want to play,” Sanders said after luncheon downtown in his honor.  ”I want to see if they will activate me. I’ve got one good quarter left in me and it’s a good one, too. They just have to choose it carefully. That’s what I’ll be thinking.”

Sanders, an analyst with the NFL Network,  will be working the game.

Deion Sander's Ring of Honor helmet. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Deion Sander's Ring of Honor helmet. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Here’s how he sees the game.

“They have two similar offenses,” Sanders said. “The defense, you definitely have to give that edge to the Baltimore Ravens. Special teams is probably a draw.”

Sanders knows the Falcons are 17-3 at the Georgia Dome under head coach Mike Smith.

“The Falcons are not joke at home,” Sanders said. “I made that same statement to Ray …

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Injury report: White, McClure questionable for Ravens

Roddy White reacts to making a first down catch after returning to the game. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Roddy White reacts to making a first down catch after returning to the game. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and center Todd McClure were limited in practice on Wednesday and are listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

White and McClure suffered minor knee injuries against Tampa Bay, but returned to the game. They didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday.

Also, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon did not practice, but is listed as questionable for the Ravens game. He has not played in the last three games with a right knee sprain.

Tight end Justin Peelle, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery, will not play against the Ravens.

Wide receiver Brian Finneran (knee ribs), linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), cornerback Brian Williams (groin) and running back Jason Snelling (knee) were limited in practice and listed as probable for the game.

Out  = definitely will not play

Doubtful  = at …

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Video: 3 keys vs. the Ravens

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. the Ravens »

‘The Predator’ eats young tackles like Oher for lunch

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

FLOWERY BRANCH –  One of the more interesting matchups will be Falcons defensive end John “The Predator” Abraham on Ravens left tackle Michael Oher on Thursday night’s game at the Georgia Dome.

Abraham leads the Falcons with six sacks. Oher is the former Mississippi star that they made the movie “Blindside” about.

He’s off to a good start in his career, but Abraham has made it a habit of abusing young tackles. Last season, in the opener against Miami, he tossed Jake Long around like a rag doll.

Earlier this season in the 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 10, Abraham terrorized Joe Thomas.

Abraham is still ticked that he didn’t make the Pro Bowl in 2008 when he set the franchise record with 16.5 …

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