Archive for August, 2011

Todd McClure is out with knee surgery

 
110804 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, left, suiting up for practice for the first time, and center Todd McClure, right, prop their feet up on a golf cart while waiting for offensive line practice to begin at training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, August 4, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110804 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, left, suiting up for practice for the first time, and center Todd McClure, right, prop their feet up on a golf cart while waiting for offensive line practice to begin at training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, August 4, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons center Todd McClure had right knee surgery today and may miss the season opener. Coach Mike Smith said surgery was a “minor procedure.”

“Todd McClure, this morning, had a minor procedure done on his knee,” Smith said. “We don’t know the exact timeframe of him coming back. It was a very minor procedure. It was done this morning. I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to Todd or the doctors yet but we will be able to update that next week.

 McClure has started 166 of the last 168 games at center, including a streak of 144 starts heading into the 2011 season.

“We will make a determination [if he can play in the …

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7 reasons to ‘Back away from the ledge’

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones said he looked up too late for the ball. (Associated Press)

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones said he looked up too late for the ball. (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – Here are my seven reasons to back away from the ledge.

I’m sensing that the Falcon Nation did not have a very good weekend after the 34-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday night. (I went to see my neighbor/season-ticket holder George. He normally likes to talk Falcons, but he was paying bills. Anybody would rather talk football than pay bills!)

It seems like folks are ready to jump off of buildings and bandwagons. Why? The Falcons, the defending NFC South champs, haven’t even reached the season-opener yet.

I watched the game again on the NFL Network on Sunday and came away with

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display at the Super Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display at the Super Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

seven reasons to back away from the ledge:

  1. Jacquizz Rodgers can run without blocking. He made guys miss in the backfield and still was gaining yards. So, hmmm, what would he do with some blocking?
  2. Chris Redman …

Continue reading 7 reasons to ‘Back away from the ledge’ »

Ray Edwards not pleased with his first outing

PITTSBURGH – Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards did not have a tackle or a sack in his debut against the Steelers on Saturday.

Here’s what he had to say after the game:

ON PLAYING AFTER MISSING THE FIRST TWO GAMES:  It felt good. I’m trying to get the cobwebs off. I have to get my legs back underneath me. I’m going to study the tape and see what I need to work on.

ON THE PASS RUSH: It felt good. We got some good pressure, but there are some other things we need to work on. We have to get more pressure, get more sacks and get more quarterbacks down.

ON HIS PLAY: I don’t know if they were too happy with my performance today, but I’m going back to the drawing board to see what I can do.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Q&A: Mike Smith after the loss to Steelers

 

Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

Matt Ryan completed 22 of 42 passes for 210 yards with a TD and an interception in a loss to Pittsburgh. (Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH – In the post-game interview, Falcons coach Mike Smith was not pleased with the defense giving up touchdown passes of 77 and 44 yards in the Falcons 34-16 loss to the Steelers on Saturday night.

Here’s what Smith had to say after the game:

OPENING STATEMENT: It was very obvious that we didn’t play to the standard that we need to play to be the team that we want to be. We made way too many mistakes offensively, defensively and on special teams. We gave up too many explosive plays there in the first half in the passing game. But I did like the way that our guys battled back after falling behind 10-0. You can’t open the game off with a kickoff return to the plus-35 with a penalty. We weren’t really able to turn the momentum in our favor. We obviously have a lot of work to do over the next 14 or 15 days. We will get ready and that’s …

Continue reading Q&A: Mike Smith after the loss to Steelers »

GAME STORY: Steelers 34, Falcons 16

The view from the pressbox at Heinz Field. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

The view from the pressbox at Heinz Field. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

PITTSBURGH — Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards had a quiet debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 34-16 defeat Saturday night.

The Steelers improved to 2-1 and the Falcons dropped to 0-3 during the exhibition season.

Edwards, the team’s prized free-agent signee, did not play in the first two exhibition games because he was recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Edwards, who played well into the third quarter, did not record a sack or a tackle, but his presence may have led to sacks by defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker.

“I don’t know if they were too happy with my performance today, but I’m going back to the drawing board to see what I can do,” Edwards said.

After Edwards signed with the Falcons on July 29, Falcons coach Mike Smith noted that his presence would help the entire defensive line and not just right defensive end John Abraham, who finished with 13 …

Continue reading GAME STORY: Steelers 34, Falcons 16 »

5 things you want to see vs. Pittsburgh?

 

110801 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud flys to block a ball in a simulated punt drill during the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011.     Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110801 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud flys to block a ball in a simulated punt drill during the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — What are the five things you want to see in the Falcons’ dress rehearsal against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Field?

Here’s my list:

1. How do defensive end Ray Edwards and John Abraham look playing together?

2. Can they spring running back Michael Turner against the defense that was ranked No. 1 in the league against the run?

3. How will they get Roddy White involved in the offense?

4. How will cornerback Dominique Franks perform in his second start?falcons.0802

5.  How will they get tight end Tony Gonzalez involved in the passing game?

Feel free to leave us the 5 things you would like to see.  

Here’s the story on how the Falcons used their regular-season trip to Pittsburgh last season as a spring board …

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Q&A: Smith on Ray Edwards’ much-anticipated debut

 

 

 

Pittsburgh QB Dennis Dixon (10) finished 18 of 26 for 236 yards with an interception and had several other potential interceptions dropped. Um, he won't be starting this time around. - AP Associated Press

Pittsburgh QB Dennis Dixon (10) finished 18 of 26 for 236 yards with an interception and had several other potential interceptions dropped. Um, he won't be starting this time around. – AP Associated Press

 

 

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons head coach Mike Smith addressed the media after practice on Thursday.

The big news was that defensive end Ray Edwards doesn’t have his own play count for the Pittsburgh game. He’ll go as long as the rest of the starters, but will be monitored closely.

Edwards, who is set to make his debut with the Falcons, has recovered from a mysterious offseason knee surgery. (His second boxing match was canceled and we don’t know if he did it preparing before the second fight or if he did it working out or if he did it standing in line in Cincinnati waiting for some Skyline Chili or if he did it square

110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, left, leaps up to celebrate his interception of Miami Dolphins Chad Henne with defensive end Chauncey Davis, right, during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, left, leaps up to celebrate his interception of Miami Dolphins Chad Henne with …

Continue reading Q&A: Smith on Ray Edwards’ much-anticipated debut »

MEET THE ROOKIES: CB Darrin Walls

 

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

 

FLOWERY BRANCH – We know there are two games left in the exhibition season, but I think it is safe to award cornerback Darrin Walls the MVP of the undrafted rookie free agent class.

Christopher Owens, who’s in a battle at nickel back, suffered a hamstring injury Tuesday and did not practice Wednesday.

With Dunta Robinson (hamstring) not expected to play, Walls, from Notre Dame, will move up to the third cornerback spot if Owens can’t play against the Steelers.

Walls, a native of Pittsburgh, grew up a Steelers fan. I didn’t ask him, but he probably still has a Terrible Towel somewhere back at his parents’ house.

“To play against a team I watched growing up makes it more special,” Walls said. …

Continue reading MEET THE ROOKIES: CB Darrin Walls »

VIDEO: Falcons ready to go Click, Clack

Continue reading VIDEO: Falcons ready to go Click, Clack »

Ray Edwards to play vs. Steelers

 

 

We'll have to wait another week to see the Falcons new defensive end tandem duo in action. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons new defensive end Ray Edwards is set to play against the Steelers. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

 

 

 

FLOWERY BRANCH — Defensive end Ray Edwards, barring any last minute change, will make his debut with the Falcons against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

“Right now, we are anticipating that Ray will be going this week,” said Falcons coach Mike Smith after practice on Wednesday. “We’re going to get our first snaps with him. In terms of the number of snaps, we’ll wait and see if there are any set backs from today’s practice, but I doubt that. We look forward to seeing him out on the field.”

Edwards, the team’s prized free agent signee, has recovered from knee surgery.  

Edwards, a former Minnesota Viking, signed a five-year contract, worth $30 million, with $11 million guaranteed on July 29.

The Falcons hope that Edwards will balance the field and provide a pass rush opposite Pro Bowler John Abraham.

Abraham led the Falcons with 13 sacks and …

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