Archive for January, 2011

Pro Bowl: DeAngelo Hall was named the MVP

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter. AP

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter. AP

Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) of the NFC, right, celebrates with Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) of the NFC after Grimes made an interception during the second quarter. AP

Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) of the NFC, right, celebrates with Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) of the NFC after Grimes made an interception during the second quarter. AP

Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) runs after an interception during the first quarter of the NFL Pro Bowl. The former Falcon was named MVP of the game.  AP

Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) runs after an interception during the first quarter of the NFL Pro Bowl. The former Falcon was named MVP of the game. AP

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Pro Bowl: Matt Ryan enjoyed the NFC receivers

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter the NFL football Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter the NFL football Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Twice during the Pro Bowl telecast on Fox, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was shown gawking over his talented Pro Bowl receivers.

Who could blame him for wanting Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson?

After throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald, they showed Ryan on the sideline telling some teammates that he liked throwing a high pass to Fitzgerald and how he’d love to have him. He could be a free agent in 2012. If he gets the franchise tag in 2012, he’s set to make $23 million.

Ryan later, was asked who he was most impressed with. Ryan said Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, because he’s so big and fast. The former Sandy Creek High and …

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Pro Bowl: Shots of Smitty and Ryan from Honolulu

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Ware, left, listens as Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, right, gives instructions during the NFC football squad's NFL Pro Bowl practice held at Kapolei High School, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Ware, left, listens as Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, right, gives instructions during the NFC football squad's NFL Pro Bowl practice held at Kapolei High School, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Just some random Pro Bowl shots and notes.

MATT Ryan at Pro Bowl

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during practice on January 26, 2011 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

I wonder if the players will get some time to tour the Pearl Harbor memorial site and see the USS Arizona site. I’ve been to Hawaii twice (to cover a basketball game and honeymoon) and that was an extremely moving experience.

The Dole Plantation tour is also pretty neat.

  • The AFC team will feature two 4,700-yard passers in San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning.
  • Last season’s Pro Bowl was the third highest scoring game in history with 75 points. The two teams score 82 points in 2000 and 107 points in 2004.  The AFC won …

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Pro Bowl: Abraham is the team photographer

John Abraham and Roddy White at the Pro Bowl.

John Abraham and Roddy White at the Pro Bowl.

I’ve been shooting @RoddyWhiteTv tweets asking for photos from Hawaii.

But he’s just a tweeter. It appears that @JohnAbraham55 is the budding photographer. So I’ve got a collection of his arrival shots of the Falcons in Hawaii.

The Falcons have nine players representing for the NFC in the league’s all-star game that will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu.

Here’s Abraham’s photo gallery.

Roddy White checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Roddy White checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli  at the Pro Bowl.

Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli at the Pro Bowl.

Abraham's gear.

Abraham's gear.

Brent Grimes checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Brent Grimes checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Eric Weems checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Eric Weems checking in at the Pro Bowl.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Super Bowl XLV: Christina Aguilera to sing National Anthem

Christina Aguilera will sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV. (Associated Press)

Christina Aguilera will sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV. (Associated Press)

Christina Aguilera is set to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLV.

Christina

Christina Aguilera (Associated Press)

I watched one of those VH1 Behind the Music deals on Aguilera over the summer and came away with a newfound respect for her voice. Also, I have a special place in my heart for those former Mouseketeers.

Her singing is definitely underrated. She should do a good job with the Anthem, but I don’t expect her to touch the Whitney Houston version, which is No. 2 all-time behind Marvin Gaye’s NBA All-Star game version.

Also, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas should do a good job at halftime. Just glad they are not rolling out another rocker in a wheelchair to do the show. (Although Prince was pretty hot in Miami at XLI and Mick and the Stones were awesome at XL in Detroit).

This is what I think they call progress.

Fergie, the lead singer of Black Eyed Peas, will perform at halftime. (Associated Press)

Fergie, the lead singer of Black Eyed Peas, will perform at halftime. …

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Senior Bowl: Boise State WR Titus Young making some noise

Boise State receiver Titus Young is turning some heads at the Senior Bowl. (Associated Press)

Boise State receiver Titus Young is turning some heads at the Senior Bowl. (Associated Press)

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff checked in via cell phone from the Senior Bowl last night.

We had some off the record things to clear up and on the record, he wanted to assure the Falcon fans that the team will make a very thorough and detailed search for the next quarterback coach to replace Bill Musgrave, who left to become the coordinator in Minnesota.

The team recognizes that quarterback Matt Ryan is at a critical stage in his development and that he is the franchise quarterback that they feel will eventually take them to the Super Bowl.

There is no timetable for the search, but it will kick into overdrive when the coaches return from the Pro Bowl next week.

NFL.Com’s Jay Feller wrote a piece from an interview on Sirius Radio on how TD is dealing with the playoff loss and how he’s ramping up for the draft.

The Falcons are picking 27th and several onlookers down in Mobile …

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Falcons sign Robert ‘The Beast’ James to a two-year deal

Robert "The Beast" James gives chase in an exhibition game against Jacksonville on Sept. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Robert "The Beast" James gives chase in an exhibition game against Jacksonville on Sept. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

The Falcons continued to address some of their contract situations in what will be a busy offseason for players and head coach Mike Smith, who’s set to get a contract extension likely upon his return from the Pro Bowl.

Falcons linebacker Robert James was signed to a two-year contract, the team announced on Tuesday.

James, 5-11, 224 pounds, was originally drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. James spent most of the 2010 season on Atlanta’s practice squad.

He spent the 2008 season on injured reserve and was a member of the Falcons practice squad before being elevated to the active roster for the season finale at Tampa Bay in 2009.

The Falcons signed seven of their practice squad players to reserve/future contracts on Jan. 18.

They signed tight end Marquez Branson, center Rob Bruggeman, wide receiver Tim Buckley, …

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NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has A.J. Green as No. 1 WR

If the Liberty Bowl is A.J. Green's last game at UGA, will he be remembered as the best receiver in school history? Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Georgia's A.J. Green's is considered the top wide receiver in the NFL draft. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Mike Mayock unveiled his top five draft prospects at each position to help kickoff the NFL Network’s exclusive broadcast of the 86th annual East-West Shrine Game.

Mayock is down in Mobile this week looking over the players at the Senior Bowl.

He currently has Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green as the top receiver available in the draft.  Georgia linebacker Justin Houston is Mayock’s third rated linebacker.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, of Westlake High, is the third rated quarterback behind Missouri’s Blaine

All-SEC outside linebacker Justin Houston (left) is leaving Georgia with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss this past season, ranking second in the SEC. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

All-SEC outside linebacker Justin Houston (left) is leaving Georgia with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss this past season, ranking second in the SEC. Johnny Crawford / jcrawford@ajc.com

Gabbert and Washington’s Jake Locker.

Here’s list of the top five players by postion.

Quarterback

*1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

2. Jake Locker, Washington

*3. Cam Newton, …

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Senior Bowl: Dimitroff on NFL Network recap show

Thomas Dimitroff on the NFL Network set down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Thomas Dimitroff on the NFL Network set down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.

While almost half of the team and the coaching staff is in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, Falcons general Thomas Dimitroff and most of the scouting department is down in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl.

Dimitroff and his buddy Scott Pioli (Kansas City’s GM) took some time on the NFL Network set to answer a few questions. <—- Video

Pioli, who clearly likes to hear himself talk, stole most of the air time from T.D.

Pioli was slated to buy dinner Monday night, but he couldn’t get Dimitroff (a vegetarian) to partake in some sauced up hog meat at Dreamland.

Dimitroff told Mayock that the Falcons scout all of the players, but only get serious about system specific players. Otherwise, if the player doesn’t fit their system, he wouldn’t get a lot of consideration.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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White, Abraham, Turner and Mughelli selected All-Pro

First-time All-Pro Roddy White as the rest fo the Falcons Pro Bowl contingent leaves for Hawaii on Tuesday.

First-time All-Pro Roddy White as the rest fo the Falcons Pro Bowl contingent leaves for Hawaii on Tuesday.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White and defensive end John Abraham were named to the Associated Press’ All-Pro team on Monday.

Falcons running back Michael Turner and fullback Ovie Mughelli were named to the Associated Press All-Pro second team.

Kicker Matt Bryant (4), running back Jason Snelling (1), right tackle Tyson Clabo (1), left tackle Sam Baker (1) and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (1) also received votes.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALL-PRO

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

Quarterback–Tom Brady, New England.

Running Backs–Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Arian Foster, Houston.

Fullback–Vonta Leach, Houston.

Tight End–Jason Witten, Dallas.

Wide Receivers–Roddy White, Atlanta; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis.

Tackles–Jake Long, Miami; Joe Thomas, Cleveland.

Guards–Logan Mankins, New England; Jahri Evans, New Orleans.

Center–Nick Mangold, New York Jets.

Kicker–Billy Cundiff, Baltimore.

Kick …

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