Archive for May, 2011

The Ice Man Speaketh: Matt Ryan elated with Julio Jones

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

BIRDLAND –  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was in Houston for Matt Schaub’s charity golf event earlier this week and he’s been in touch with wide receiver Julio Jones.

“I talked to him just via text just after the draft and just said ‘I’m excited to have you, ready to get to work whenever we end up getting to work,’ ” Ryan said to Matt Rybaltowski, the Texans reporter for CBSSports.com.  ”I think it was a great move by Thomas Dimitroff and our staff to kind of move up and get him and fill up one of the spots we felt like we needed to fill. I’m excited to play with him.” (Thanks to Jason Butt, also of CBSSports.com for sending along the quotes).

Most thought the Falcons were looking to improve their defense in a draft that was expected …

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Tony Gonzalez likes the move to pickup Julio Jones

Falcons head coach Mike Smith congratulates tight end Tony Gonzalez on his 4-yard touchdown catch that gave the Falcons a 10-3 lead before the half. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons head coach Mike Smith congratulates tight end Tony Gonzalez on his 4-yard touchdown catch that gave the Falcons a 10-3 lead before the half. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White was moved to make a video after the trade to pick up Julio Jones.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff reported that quarterback Matt Ryan is absolutely ecstatic about the deal.

Now, tight end Tony Gonzalez has checked in.

“Just finished watching a highlight film of Julio Jones. If he can carry that over to the NFL….SCARY,” Gonzalez tweeted on Wednesday.

The Falcons passing attack was compressed last season.

With Jones, the Falcons plan to open up the offense with more throws down the field.

Some numbers compiled by the good folks over at Pro Football Focus illustrate that the Falcons were evolving into a “dink and dunk” offense.

A whopping 92 percent of the Falcons passes last season were thrown less than 20 yards down the field.

  • – 8% of …

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Falcons to help build a playground, work on Beltline clean-up

Smitty painting

Julie and Mike Smith painting a structure at last year's community project.

FLOWERY BRANCH – All of the employees of the Arthur M. Blank Family Businesses, including Falcons president Rich McKay and head coach Mike Smith, will help build a playground at Vine City Park and take part in  a BeltLine clean-up project at Washington Park on Thursday.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff will also be on hand along with about 180 associates from the Atlanta Falcons; PGA TOUR Superstores; Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers; The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; and AMB Group join together each year

Coac Mike Smith working during last year's project.

Coach Mike Smith working during last year's project.

for “All Associates Day,” when they volunteer their time to address a need in the community.

“Our associates really look forward to the opportunity ‘All Associates Day’ provides for us to give back to our local community,” said Penelope McPhee, President of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.  “It’s a day when …

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Goodell, Blank try to calm fears of season ticket holders

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. They are facing an uphill legal battle, according to one attorney. Players could be back at work as early as Monday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. They are facing an uphill legal battle, according to one attorney. Players could be back at work as early as Monday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank discussed several topics in a conference all with some of the franchise’s season-ticket holders on Monday.

Goodell is reaching out to fans to try and explain the labor impasse. He’s spoken with the fans from eight teams so far.

Here’s the transcript from the call:

COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL

FAN FORUM with ATLANTA FALCONS SEASON TICKET HOLDERS

Monday, May 2, 2011

Arthur Blank opening statement:

“This is a unique opportunity for our Falcons fans to speak directly to the Commissioner and I want to thank Roger again for taking time to join us tonight. The call obviously is very timely [due to] the draft last weekend, and the Commissioner can probably give …

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Chauncey Davis to hold fundraiser for his foundation

Atlanta Falcons' Stephen Nicholas, right, Chauncey Davis, second from right, and Curtis Lofton, left, try to tackle New York Jets' Braylon Edwards during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Atlanta Falcons' Stephen Nicholas, right, Chauncey Davis, second from right, and Curtis Lofton, left, try to tackle New York Jets' Braylon Edwards during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

BIRDLAND – Falcons defensive end Chauncey Davis will honor community leaders during a fundraiser for his foundation at the Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station on Thursday.

Two of the honorees include WSB-TV’s Monica Pearson and Enterprise Holding’s Daniel Miller.

Davis is a tireless community worker. He’s speaks to children about alternatives to bullying and about fitness.

“Each year, the Chauncey Davis Foundation works to impact the lives of youth through grassroots programs and interactive projects. After my mother lost her leg due to complications associated with diabetes, I wanted to make a difference that would not only educate young people, but also save and change lives,” said Davis, who …

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21 players with Georgia ties picked in the NFL draft

kris durham

Georgia's Kris Durham wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine. But he had a strong showing at Georgia's Pro Day. Obviously, Seattle was impressed. The Seahawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. (Associated Press).

BIRDLAND – The NFL draft started off with Cam Newton’s name being pulled off Carolina’s draft board.

He was just the first of 20 players with ties to Georgia selected in the NFL draft.

At least one player with Georgia ties was selected in six of the seven rounds.

When NFL teams are able to sign undrafted college free agents several more players will likely be signed.

Here’s a list of the draft picks and some of the  players who are still available:

FIRST ROUND

(1) Cam Newton, QB, Auburn, Westlake High — Carolina

(4) A.J. Green, WR, Georgia –  Cincinnati

(25) James Carpenter, OT, Alabama, Hephzibah High – Seattle

(31) Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State, Peachtree Ridge — Pittsburgh

SECOND ROUND

No local players selected

Alabama tackle James Carpenter, who starred Hephzibah High near Augusta, at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Alabama tackle James …

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The Godfather blesses the trade, pick of Julio Jones

Gil Brandt, the Godfather of the NFL, at the NFL scouting combine. He spent time with Julio Jones in New York and came away impressed with the young man. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Gil Brandt, the Godfather of the NFL, at the NFL scouting combine. He spent time with Julio Jones in New York and came away impressed with the young man. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

BIRDLAND –  I checked in with the Godfather of Football, the legendary Gil Brandt on Sunday afternoon for a story on the trade to get Jones.

Brandt is in charge of the green room at the draft. He helps  to coordinator the players the league invites to the function.

He had a really cool story to report about Julio Jones.

“Jones is a quality, high-character person,” Brandt said.  “To show you just what I mean about the kid, he sat in the back room with the running back (Mark Ingram) until he got drafted. Now, most guys get drafted, they do their (media) duties and they want to run to the party. This guy sat back there all that time until Ingram got drafted.”

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college …

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Julio Jones to wear No. 11 for the Falcons

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND – Falcons first-round draft pick Julio Jones has been assigned No. 11.

You can purchase your jersey here.

Jones wore No. 8 at Alabama. But that number is assigned to backup quarterback Chris Redman. He wore No. 82 in high school. Long snapper Joe Zelenka wears No. 82.

During his press conference on Friday, Jones didn’t really care about his new jersey number. He said that the player inside of the jersey makes the number.

Owner Arthur Blank liked that answer.

Here are the numbers for the rest of the draft picks –  43 Akeem Dent, 22 Jacquizz Rodgers, 5 Matt Bosher, 69 Andrew Jackson and 93 Cliff Matthews.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Video: Falcons Day 3 recap of NFL draft

Continue reading Video: Falcons Day 3 recap of NFL draft »