Falcons start their offseason program without coaches

Linebacker Coy Wire, the team's player representative, has set up the team's ad hoc offseason program. It was supposed to start on April 11.

Linebacker Coy Wire, the team's player representative, has set up the team's ad hoc offseason program. It was supposed to start on April 11.

For many Falcons,   instead of going to their posh weight room at the team’s facilities in Flowery Branch to start the offseason strength and condition program on Monday, they went to  Ignite, an athletic training facility, to start their ad hoc program.

Because of the NFL labor situation, the players have been locked out of the team facilities.

Linebacker Coy Wire, the team’s player representative, and right tackle Tyson Clabo, the team’s alternate player rep, are coordinating the offseason program. Wire said about 30 players were on hand and that he expects near 100 percent participation.

“We have to take it upon ourselves to continue working in a manner that will allow us to continue to establish ourselves as one of the top teams in the NFL,” Wire said.

The Falcons were 13-3 last season and won the NFC South. They entered the playoffs as the conference’s No. 1 seed before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have been to the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.

“We don’t want to skip a beat,” Wire said.

The players would prefer to be at the team facilities, but are making do at Ignite, which is located in Cumming.

The team is split into two groups. They have workouts at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday is set aside as the make-up day.

The workouts, which are conducted by Jim Launer, a NFL and Celebrity trainer, are designed after the team’s program, which is run by Jeff Fish, the team’s director of athletic performance. Wire, who is involved with Ignite, met with Launer and shared Fish’s philosophy and structure with Launer.

Each day there is a running and movement focus. There is usually a speed and agility focus or some form of plyometrics.

“Then (the workout) also has a strength focus where we’ll go into the weight room,” Wire said. “Each day, we are getting movement and we are getting strength and power.”

Some point to the team’s strength and condition program to explain their six victories in the fourth quarter or overtime last season.

“We’ve been a team that’s healthy and a team that endures through the end in the fourth quarter,” Wire said. “We want to maintain what we’ve been doing.”

Launer was working out middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Shann Schillinger when reached by phone on Monday.

“He’d tell you that his aim is to keep all of the guys healthy,” Wire said. “He wants to get them to a point so when they do return to the Falcons’ facilities and get back in Jeff Fish’s program that it would be as if they’d never missed a beat. He just wants to hand us players back to Fish ready to roll.”

In the past, Smith has allowed veterans like tight end Tony Gonzalez and defensive end John Abraham to workout on their own.

Last season, Abraham spent the two months before training camp working out at Bommarito Performance Systems in south Florida.

“It’s given us a chance to pull together even stronger as a team,” Wire said. “Although it’s unfortunate that there is a lockout, there may be some good that comes from this.”

Wire is hoping the players can continue to bond through the lockout.

“There is something about being away from the facility that we feel less like we are doing something because we have to, but because we want to,” Wire said. “No one is telling us to be there. No one is telling us to workout. But we are all making a choice to do this together.”

Wire and Clabo, along with team leaders on offense and defense, are making plans for the mini-camp and organized team activities if the lockout continues. Last season, the Falcons held mini-camp May 7 through 9.

The OTAs were held May 25 through June 17. Training camp started on July 29.

“If it does go through the time where we start getting into OTAs and mini-camps, we have a field that we can set up,” Wire said. “We are going to have it lined professionally. We are going to have seven-on-seven drills, our walk-throughs . . . again, my goal through all of this is to try to do what our organization would have us do. What we’ve been doing the past couple of years to build this program has worked. The Atlanta Falcons have made progress.

“If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it. We want to try to maintain the philosophical structure as far as the offseason program even though we can’t be there with our coaches and with our strength coach Jeff Fish.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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57 comments Add your comment


April 11th, 2011
5:41 pm


April 11th, 2011
5:45 pm

Good to see the team together and doing what needs to be done


April 11th, 2011
5:45 pm

Dimitroff, Smith, BVG, Snead, and others were in the Raleigh-Durham area today. Any idea who they were looking at?


April 11th, 2011
5:45 pm

Anyone else thing the first thing needs to go? Just wondering lets step up the blog a bit.

Dominic Hughes

April 11th, 2011
5:59 pm

Great job by Coy Wire and Clabo on this. Assuming a deal does eventually get done, it’ll be great if the Falcons are in something close to the kind of shape they normally would be in, rather than the kind of shape some teams could well be in. Love the idea of the players all working out together without coaches there to push them along. Says a lot about this team.


April 11th, 2011
6:07 pm

looking at the job the coaches have done thus far in the playoffs- this could be a good thing for the ‘cons


April 11th, 2011
6:40 pm

DOL, the next just use “reserved”. NOT is all I could think of at the time.


April 11th, 2011
7:02 pm

I would guess either some Tar Heels or maybe Nate Irving from NC State


April 11th, 2011
7:34 pm

Man they are showing real maturity and a hunger for that elusive piece of metal or I should say silver. They will probably work out harder on their own because they are pushing each other.


April 11th, 2011
7:41 pm

Knowing that the players care makes it so much easier to get behind this team. I just hope we have a season.

Loyal Falcon

April 11th, 2011
7:51 pm

I love it! (Almost in tears) Go Falcons!!!!


April 11th, 2011
8:11 pm

D. LED- do you think that this points to Clabo being more willing to sign an extension once the deal gets done?

glad to see the dirty birds holding themselves accountable

Arthur Blank

April 11th, 2011
8:31 pm

Good To see u guys working hard I will try my best to get the others owners to agree to a new CBA.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 11th, 2011
8:35 pm

MightyDawg — Likely Nate Irving, a LB from N.C. State like Chuck pointed out.

Wayne — I don’ t think so. Clabo is a standup guy and has already waited to test the market.

The Grinch

April 11th, 2011
9:30 pm

This is the kind of thing I like to hear. Good job, fellas. Now let’s just hope we can squeeze out some free agency before the season starts.


April 11th, 2011
9:31 pm

Ledbetter: Who is liable if one of these guys were to somehow to sustain a torn MCL? Or were to tear a pec muscle in the weight room. Or tear an Achilles on one of those “movement” drills? Who pays for the medical costs and rehab? I’m sure the owners aren’t going to declare that they will pay for it.

I’m not saying it will happen to one of these falcan’ts, just hoping, and if it does, to one of their starters, …or two!


April 11th, 2011
11:04 pm

@SeenthisB4: I would assume that each player at this level would maintain some type of insurance on themselves, even if they had to pick it up when the lockout began. I don’t know for sure, but that’d be my guess. And I am very proud of the team making this kind of effort, like Coy says, no one is telling them to get in there and work out, they are doing it on their own. I like these guys an awful lot, more and more all the time, matter of fact.

Caught Looken

April 11th, 2011
11:20 pm

Go ahead and mark it down! This team will be Super Bowl Champions in the next few years!

[...] D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that Falcons players have taken it upon themselves to start their own off-season conditioning program. Falcons linebacker Coy Wire and offensive tackle Tyson Clabo organized the event that featured around 30 players. Without a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the players, teams are unable to conduct their regular off-season conditioning and training programs. [...]

[...] the rest here: Falcons start their offseason program without coaches | Atlanta … This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged abraham, camp-working, even-, hoc-offseason, [...]


April 12th, 2011
1:02 am

I get the sense Clabo & Wire will be resigned. Thats great news because we couldnt sign Clabo & Dahl. That being said, it seems to me that Valdez is ready make the transition off the practice suad.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 12th, 2011
3:06 am

Mike Hampton

April 12th, 2011
6:23 am

Mr. Ledbetter,
Your picture on your flag atop your collumns always makes me smile. It looks like you “left a little present” and you’re waiting for someone to find it.

And I’m not trying to imply your collumn is the “present,” although that’s funny too.


April 12th, 2011
6:48 am

The players may have been offered “Cobra”? If not they had months to plan for this. I am sure they all have some private insurance to cover accidents and illness.


April 12th, 2011
6:52 am

@PaulieOldSchool: That’s a big assumption you are making there. In particular, since these are the same guys who want management to pick up the medical costs of the former players who DIDN’T maintain medical insurance on themselves when they left the sport. Perhaps the players union will pay for the temporary medical insurance coverage….oh wait, that’s right, they decertified the union.

I sure would like to know who is liable for the medical costs and rehab if for instance Roddy White were to blow an ACL just because he came down on it the wrong way. And don’t think it can’t happen, last year Carolina lost one of their starting linebackers to a torn knee ligament that he sustained while simply backpeddling in a defensive drill, nobody touched him!


April 12th, 2011
7:07 am

Maybe the owners of Ignite have them covered under a special rider…or maybe they will just sue Ignite….could be a whole lot of scenarios.


April 12th, 2011
7:15 am

I guess the only way to get that answer is to actually have a freak accident happen, like Weatherspoon dropping a weight and crushing the arch of his foot, nothing career ending, just something to slow his development (as if that could get slower anyway!).

[...] to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Falcons started began their first offseason workouts on Monday without coaches. Organized by [...]

The Real World

April 12th, 2011
7:46 am

Who cares gas is almost 4 dollars a gallon. Grow up Atlanta


April 12th, 2011
8:34 am

Hey Y’all:



GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


………………….”ONE HEARTBEAT,BABY!!!!……………


April 12th, 2011
8:51 am

Good job of building team chemistry and keep up the good work. now we hope the milloniare babies can get there heads out their azz and sign a deal and lets play some football.


April 12th, 2011
9:20 am

These leaders….are the reason that I’m against the owners in this labor deal. This was the first deal that was actually a reasonable deal for the players.

They deserved what they were getting.


April 12th, 2011
9:27 am

I expect they are loading Obama’s teleprompter as we speak to end this work stoppage. No one knows labor like this president. He will explain to these owners that the idea of making a profit on an investment is just wrong and not welcome in his new America. The idea of having money left over from revenue off the backs of these poor players is inhumane. His dream is that that one day, all Americans, black and white, can split ALL the profit, and spread the wealth……


April 12th, 2011
9:43 am

This is finally getting me excited about the season. Let’s get a deal done so that free agency can start.


April 12th, 2011
9:59 am

Ah Im back. Sure love dude taint.

Ken Strickland

April 12th, 2011
10:48 am

This is the type of initiative, self decipline and focus that championship caliber players and teams display. It also demonstrates the type of leadership this team has, especially from a backup player. When players can come together during the off season, especially under current circumstances, it can only magifies the unity this team will have on the field and sidelines.

The Falcons are now seen as a team that’s only a player or 2 away from getting to the Super Bowl, and that’s very appealing to a FA that whats to win a Super Bowl and thinks he might be part of that missing piece. This yrs Falcons will enter the season knowing exactly what it can do, and what it needs to do.

Ken Strickland

April 12th, 2011
11:01 am

SEENTHISB4-Based on your silly comments, I will guess your AINTS are sitting on their collective butts and doing nothing to injure and improve themselves. And considering how old so many of your starters are, it’s not a bad idea. Like the old saying goes, YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS.

Face it, we’re going to be much better than we were last yr, we’re going to win the NFC South again, and sweep your SORRY AINTS. The best your BELOVED AINTS can do is finish BEHIND us in the standings and make the playoffs as a wildcard team, AGAIN. Your BELOVED AINTS will be a yr older, not better, and THE AINTS won’t likely be attending anymore Super Bowls or Super Bowl parties in our lifetime.


April 12th, 2011
11:20 am

hey, Taint….SB winners deserve an ‘S’…when the FalCants win one, i’ll change my post name…i’m sure i’ll be retired by then, though…didn’t see, but is Matty Melt working out on his own?…maybe throwing those 20yrd outs to his new wife… falcants….


April 12th, 2011
11:26 am

ken…so harsh…tsk, tsk, tsk….have the falCants ever WON a SB?…oh, yeah…i think we all know the answer to that one…NOPE…falcants…


April 12th, 2011
11:47 am

Wow, has the NFL really screwed itself.

Peter Lemonjello

April 12th, 2011
12:23 pm

@falCants4ever – I’m sure you’d be more comfortable on a Aint’s message board. You wouldn’t have to look up all of those “big” words on google to try and fit in and could keep it real simple! ;-)


April 12th, 2011
12:30 pm

@Peter….just dumbing down for the regulars here…i know it sticks it the craw that the Saints have the SB rings and the falCants don’t…oh, well….falcants…


April 12th, 2011
12:39 pm


Can you find out who showed up for the workouts?
Need some more Falcons news to get me going through this offseason.


April 12th, 2011
12:48 pm

Think I need a second job so I can afford to go to my real job?


April 12th, 2011
1:11 pm

Ken Strickland: All that pontificating you’re doing, doesn’t really add up to much, other than cyber garbage. The fact is that players, organizing their own conditioning programs, is going on all over the NFL landscape, not just in ATL, so there is nothing unique to it. However, the question remains, if one of the players goes down to an injury, who is liable for the costs of recovery? The player? The facility? or do they have a group insurance plan? Or is everybody on their own? My guess is, that everyone is on their own, if they can afford to purchase a private, individual policy, they probably did, and those that did, will probably try to recoup that cost later from their teams. Greedy SOBs.

And I have seen your schedule next year, ATL will be lucky to break even, let alone make the playoffs. Don’t forget, those old men you refer to on the Saints team, well they kicked your team’s butt up and down on their own home field, when the chips were down in December. Then they took a victory photo on the falcan’t emblem at mid field; ‘member that?! LOL!

It’s really nice weather out today in New Orleans, think I’ll head on down to Antoine’s for lunch!

STB4 is out!


April 12th, 2011
1:38 pm

You can follow @IgniteChampions on twitter or Facebook. Launer always posts photos of the guys working out! Pretty cool stuff!


April 12th, 2011
2:09 pm

Don’t forget, those old men you refer to on the Saints team, well they kicked your team’s butt up and down on their own home field, when the chips were down in December.


As I remember it was a one score game…not exactly ‘an a&& kicking’ Aints Fans wanna believe it was.


April 12th, 2011
2:52 pm

@ SeenThisB4 – seriously dude, get a life.

Spending this much time on a blog for another team just shows how lonely and pitiful you really are.

Quite sad.


April 12th, 2011
2:55 pm

I am glad the falcons are working out early because they are going to need all the practice they can get. Among the falcons, the hawks and the braves they can not seem to win the big games during playoffs. Do you think it would help if they read the story about the little train that could?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

Seen — Are you starting some more mess today?

Joe — Thanks for sharing. I spoke to Jim Launer yesterday after making this post. Seems like a nice guy.