Archive for January, 2011

Roddy White apologizes to the fans on Twitter

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 apologized to the fans via his twitter.com account on Sunday.

He wrote, “I want to apologize to all the falcon fans for our horrible performance last night it was not good and I’m sorry”

White turned in one of the best season in NFL history.

He led the league with 115 catches and set a new franchise mark for most catches in a season.

But after the game, he was terribly disappointed.

“You always think about your legacy and you’re judged by what you do in the postseason,” said White, who caught six passes for 57 yards. “I haven’t done anything yet. So we have to prepare ourselves for next year.”

The four turnovers jolted the offense out of sync.

“They came up with crucial turnovers when they needed them and they kept us out of the end zone,” White said. “After they got ahead, they kind of came after us a little bit. …

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Falcons set to pick 27th in the NFL draft

Maybe the Falcons will pick Ironhead's little boy, Cameron Heyward (Whitfield Academy/Peachtree Ridge) in the NFL draft. (Associated Press)

Maybe the Falcons will pick Ironhead's little boy, Cameron Heyward (Whitfield Academy/Peachtree Ridge) in the NFL draft. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – With the Patriots, who were the No. 1 seed in the AFC, also losing in the divisional round,  the Falcons moved up from the 28th spot to the 27th spot for the 2011 NFL Draft.

The Patriots selected Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty with the 27th pick last season.

Some of the players who could be available at 27 include:

Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Mike Smith: ‘We coached a very poor football game’

110115 Atlanta - Falcons head coach MIke Smith reacts as his quarterback Matt Ryan walks off the field after throwing his first of two interceptions to the Green Bay Packers during 2nd quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

110115 Atlanta – Falcons head coach MIke Smith reacts as his quarterback Matt Ryan walks off the field after throwing his first of two interceptions to the Green Bay Packers during 2nd quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith met with the media on Sunday to discuss the playoff loss to the Packers.

He said, “The sky was not fallen” and thinks the Falcons will rebound from the worst lost in playoff history.

“We coached a very poor football game,” Smith said.

Here’s what Smith had to say:

OPENING STATEMENT: “After watching the tape I felt like we did some very uncharacteristic things in terms of doing the things you’ve got to do to win a football game. I really felt like there was a big momentum swing after we ran the kickoff back for a touchdown. On that next drive, there were three penalties that continued the drive. We had illegal contact on a sack in the …

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Falcons coaching staff to coach NFC team in Pro Bowl

110115 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems returns a kickoff for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers for a 14-7 lead during 2nd quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

110115 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems returns a kickoff for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers for a 14-7 lead during 2nd quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

With the game Pro Bowl being played the week before the Super Bowl, the Falcons coaching staff will coach in the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

The Falcons had seven players selected for the game and have two first alternate.

Running back Michael Turner, fullback Ovie Mughelli, quarterback Matt Ryan, tight end Tony Gonzalez, wide receiver Roddy White, defensive end John Abraham and special teamer Eric Weems were all selected for the all-star game.

Also, right tackle Tyson Clabo and kicker Matt Bryant are alternates and could go if players in front of them get injured or reach the Super Bowl.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Mike Smith said it was a ‘tough night’ for the Falcons

110115 Atlanta -  A dejected Atlanta Falcons head football coach Mike Smith says " it was a very discouraging night for our football team but we will learn from it" during his post game press conferance after losing to the Packers 48-21 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

110115 Atlanta – A dejected Atlanta Falcons head football coach Mike Smith says " it was a very discouraging night for our football team but we will learn from it" during his post game press conference after losing to the Packers 48-21 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith did not make any excuses for the teams poor showing against the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s what he had to say:

OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously, it’s extremely hard in this league to get the outcome that you want when we play the type  of football that we played today. It was very uncharacteristic in terms of turnovers, proteching the football and winning third down on defense. It was a tough night for our football team. We had way too many mistakes. We ran into a real hot quarterback, playing at a high level. We obviously had a real tough time stopping them. Their offense did a very good job. Then when you turned the offense …

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Know Your Falcons: New Year’s Resolutions

The Atlanta Falcons share some of their new goals for 2011, and you can bet some of them has a lot to do with the Super Bowl. (Video by Ryon Horne/AJC)

More Video: Who’s the easiest to prank | Off the field competition | Hidden talents

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INJURY REPORT: Williams DNP, Christopher Owens is up

101128 Atlanta - The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform between the 1st and 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.  Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

101128 Atlanta – The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform between the 1st and 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons appear set to face Green Bay’s high voltage passing attack, which was fifth in the league while averaging 257.8 yards, without their top nickel back.

Brian Williams, who suffered a knee injury in the season finale against Carolina, did not practice on Friday. He has not practiced since suffering the injury and it would be unlikely for head coach Mike Smith to put him on the field without any practice in two weeks.

Williams is officially listed as doubtful for the game, meaning that the team is 75 percent certain that he will not play.

Defensive end John Abraham (groin), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (limited), wide receiver Roddy White (knee) and safety Thomas DeCoud (ankle) all fully

Atlanta Falcons' Chris Owens, right, intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills' Terrell Owens, left, in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

Atlanta Falcons' Chris Owens, right, …

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Atlanta’s Zac Brown Band to sing national anthem

Thomas Dimitroff’s ability to evaluate and secure talent apparently does not end with football players.

It sounds like the Falcons general manager and music enthusiast had a hand in landing the Atlanta-based Zac Brown Band to perform the national anthem for Saturday’s divisional playoff game against Green Bay.

The country group, which won a Grammy in 2010 for best new artist and was nominated last month for four more, got to know Dimitroff through a business contact. Band members sat in Dimitroff’s box for the Falcons’ wins over Baltimore and New Orleans.

“He was basically buttering us up the entire time to sing the national anthem,” band member Clay Cook said. “He was just taking really, really good care of us. Maybe that’s the way he is.”

The band was glad to oblige. Band members’ Falcons roots go back to the 80’s. Though they’ve been on tour, they’ve managed to watch almost all of their games this season. They plan on singing in their Falcons gear.

Said Cook, “We’ll wear …

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2002 flashback: Falcons 27, Packers 7

This has nothing to do with this Saturday’s game, but I thought you’d be interested. I’ve been doing the Falcons playoff memories stories this week, which featured Wallace Francis, Jeff Merrow, Chris Hinton, Moe Gardner and, Saturday, T.J. Duckett. In making sure I got somebody for Saturday, I also reached out to former linebacker Artie Ulmer, who I spoke with Thursday.

Ulmer, you may remember, recovered Mark Simoneau’s blocked punt in the 2002 wild-card game in the Falcons’ 27-7 win over the Packers, which was the first time a visiting team won a playoff game at Lambeau Field. I helped cover the team then and that certainly ranks as one of the most memorable games I saw. (Least memorable? Most of the 2003 season.) It was stunning how the Falcons went into Lambeau and just took the game from the Packers. Anyway, Ulmer was always a good interview when I covered the team then and was no different Thursday.

“I just remember them talking about no one had ever won at Lambeau Field …

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Falcons to fans: Please arrive early

Falcons fans coming to Saturday’s game are encouraged to arrive early, and will have an incentive – beyond, you know, making it on time – to do so. The first 60,000 fans in the Georgia Dome will receive a Falcons Rise Up flag specially designed for the game. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Besides the weather potentially causing delays, the Atlanta Boat Show is at the Georgia World Congress Center and the Hawks are playing at Philips Arena.

The team is also encouraging fans who don’t have pre-paid parking passes to take MARTA to the game. The good folks at MARTA presumably also think this is a fine idea.

The team will move its Falcons Landing to the orange lot from its usual spot because of the weather. The orange lot is on Georgia Dome Drive.

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