Archive for January, 2011

INJURY REPORT: Owens could take over at nickel back

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons second-year cornerback Christopher Owens could be on the spot against the Green Bay Packers and their highly rated passing attack Saturday night.

Brian Williams, the team’s nickel back, did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury he suffered in the season finale against Carolina on Jan. 2.

“We’ll know more about Brian [later],” Falcons coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. “Hopefully we can get him out to practice [Thursday] or on Friday.”

Williams missed most of last season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery on his right knee. He was seen at practice with a brace on his left knee.

Owens opened the season as the nickel back, but lost his job when Williams was fully recovered. Williams, a nine-year veteran, has been a force in coverage and as a blitzer out of the slot.

Williams had 35 tackles, one sack, three tackles for losses, one …

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Ticket market softening?

The ticket market for Saturday’s game is apparently weakening. According to ticket re-sale website stubhub.com, average sale price dropped a few dollars to $197 from Tuesday to Wednesday. The cheapest ticket available early Wednesday evening was $83, down from $105 Tuesday.

Of course, if you and 15 buddies want to go in on a fully-catered suite, it’ll only set you back $437.50 each. For DOL, that’s tip money.

Fans are reminded to be wary of counterfeit tickets.

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Mike Smith, Mike Mularkey lauded by The Sporting News

Mike Smith addressing the media after the 31-10 victory over Carolina. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Mike Smith addressing the media after the 31-10 victory over Carolina. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith was selected for the second time in three years as NFL coach of the year by Sporting News. Also, offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was selected as coordinator of the year.

“For Mike I think it’s a well-deserved award,” Smith said. “He’s done a great job of getting our offense prepared each and every week.

Smith was flattered, but passed the credit on to his players.

“Coaching is really about the players and how they perform each and every week,” Smith said. “It’s an honor for me, but

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

I really believe there were a half-dozen coaches who had great years. A number of them are still playing right now.”

The magazine surveyed 617 NFL players, coaches and executives to determine the awards and their all-pro team.

Wide receiver Roddy White and defensive end John Abraham were selected to …

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Looking for far-flung Falcons fans

Are you a Falcons fan in Turkmenistan?

Used to pull for Jim Mora in Bora Bora?

Hoping, at the South Pole, for a Falcons Super Bowl?

I’m trying to see who’s out there from not here. E-mail me at ksugiura@ajc.com, if you don’t mind. Or, if you’ve got clever rhymes, I’m all for that, too.

Thanks!

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It’s a Packer party in Midtown!

A Midtown sports bar will be filled with Packers green and gold Friday evening, as Hudson Grille will host a Packers pep rally. Team president Mark Murphy will attend, as will three former players who live in metro Atlanta, quarterback Don Majkowski, defensive tackle Grady Jackson and running back Dorsey Levens. Jackson, it should be noted, also played for the Falcons.

Restaurant manager Russ Adams said the team contacted him after the playoff seeds were set to see if his facility would be willing to host if the Packers advanced out of the wild-card round. While Adams maintains he supports the Falcons, it’s kind of hard to pass up a restaurant full of bratwurst-eating patrons. The Packers, in fact, will send cheese and brats from team sponsors. (Insert your cheesehead joke here.)

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The MARTA option

Fans are encouraged to take MARTA to the game Saturday. In addition to possible weather-related backups, the downtown area will also be handling the Atlanta Boat Show at the Georgia World Congress Center and a Hawks game starting at 7 p.m. Falcons’ Landing begins at 4 p.m. and gates open at 6 p.m.

Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey said parking lots, sidewalks and streets around the dome have been cleared.

Said Kirksey, “It’s in great shape.”

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GSU coach, ex-Packer Bill Curry is rooting for…

He played for Vince Lombardi and helped the Green Bay Packers win the first-ever Super Bowl. Georgia State coach Bill Curry holds affection for the Packers, but he’ll be rooting for the Falcons.

“I’m a hometown guy,” said Curry, who grew up in College Park. “I’m going to sit there and find myself struggling with the green uniform, but I’ll be pulling for the Falcons.”

With Sundays free of practice and game-planning since the end of the Panthers’ inaugural season, Curry has watched enough of the Falcons to know that he plans to study their running game and hopes to visit with coach Mike Smith and his staff.

While he lauds the play of quarterback Matt Ryan, the offensive line, running back Jason Snelling and “their feisty little secondary guys,” among others, Curry is particularly a fan of defensive end John Abraham.

“I love watching people and what they try to do to stop him because you can’t man up on him,” Curry said. “He will eat you alive like he did in the Saints …

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Snow cancelling player appearances

Snow days have canceled several player appearances this week]. AJC Buzz reports that player appearances already rescheduled once for today may be postponed again. A number of appearances by players, cheerleaders and the mascot Freddie Falcon had been scheduled for Monday. Then the appearances, at several area Verizon Wireless stores, were rescheduled for today. It’s not looking all that great today, either, Buzz reported. The news is now that the appearances may be Friday.

The players originally planning to make the appearances were Curtis Lofton and Kroy Biermann. While the fan visits were scotched Biermann did make a little news this week, plucking fellow player John Abraham from a snow bank after the car Abraham was riding ran off the road close to the team’s Flowery Branch facility. Given the constant changes, it’s not clear which players will be making the re-rescheduled appearances. When we know, you’ll know.

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Know Your Falcons: What’s your hidden talent

Several Falcons were asked: What’s your hidden talent? For answers, watch video below. (Produced by Ryon Horne)

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Falcons have to update Curtis Lofton’s injury status today

Falcons Dolphins Football

Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton was the first starter to be removed from the blowout against Carolina.

Due to the Falcons having a bye, the Falcons have not had to release an injury report until Wednesday.

It will be interesting to see if Lofton’s knee has recovered with the extra time off. He was listed on the injury report and

Green Bay running back James Starks might get to meet a healthy Curtis Lofton on Saturday. (Associated Press)

Green Bay running back James Starks might get to meet a healthy Curtis Lofton on Saturday. (Associated Press)

was held out of some practices over the last quarter of the season.

Lofton, the team’s leading tackling, was listed as questionable (50-50) for games against Carolina, New Orleans, Seattle and Carolina. He went out and played in all of those games that the team thought he had half a chance of missing.

The focus on Lofton’s knee is important because the Packers will return to the Georgia Dome with a running game in form of rookie James Starks, who rushed for 123 yards against Philadelphia.

Stopping the run will be important against the …

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