Archive for October, 2011

Smith wants Falcons to eliminate the penalties

Falcons coach Mike Smith is seeing too many of these yellow flags on the field.

Falcons coach Mike Smith is seeing too many of these yellow flags on the field.

By Chris Vivlamore

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith said he and his staff underwent an extensive self-examination during the early part of the bye week. The group specifically looked at three areas of deficiency: offensive first-down efficiency, third-down defense and penalties.

The Falcons are tied for 15th in the NFL with 47 penalties, for 388 yards, through seven games. They’ve been called for 58 infractions, and 11 have been declined. They committed 11 penalties for 80 yards against the Lions.

Last season the Falcons had the fewest penalties in the league with 58 through 16 regular-season games.

“We have not been able to overcome penalties,” Smiths said. “That’s one of the reasons we haven’t been able to sustain drives as we would like.”

Smith said the team has seen a spike in the areas of personal fouls, offensive holding and defensive offsides.

“In my mind, those …

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Meet the new Falcons: Mike Cox, Kirk Chambers

Kansas City Chiefs' Mike Cox (42) dives into the endzone for a first quarter touchdown against the Denver Broncos in an NFL football game on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski )

Kansas City Chiefs' Mike Cox (42) dives into the endzone for a first quarter touchdown against the Denver Broncos in an NFL football game on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski )

FLOWERY BRANCH  – Fullback Mike Cox, who played at Georgia Tech in 2004-07, has received help from his brother regarding practicing with the Falcons. Lucas Cox, who also attended Tech, was in training camp earlier this year.

“I was on the phone with him last night, with a few questions that I had,” Cox said. “He’s definitely been a huge help. He was looking over the stuff with me when I went home. He’s been a huge help.”

Kirk Chambers was signed to help provide depth along the offensive line with Sam Baker [lower back] injured. Chambers stayed in town after being added to the roster to study film. He likes the nasty attitude of the offensive line.

“I can be a little spiteful on the field,” Chambers said. “I enjoy that style of play. When I watched the film, I …

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Julio Jones returned to practice on Monday

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who missed the last two games, returned

110812 Atlanta - Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta – Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

to practice on Monday.

Jones suffered a hamstring injury against Green Bay on Oct. 9. He didn’t play in the subsequent games against Carolina and Detroit.

Jones went on a rehabilitation run on the Monday before the Detroit game, but was not able to return to practice. The Falcons are hopeful that Jones does not have a setback after his action on Monday.

Jones has 25 catches for 358 receiving yards. He is third among rookies in catches and yards receiving.

Cincinnati’s A.J. Green leads the rookies in catches and yards with 33 catches for 516 yards.

Cleveland’s Greg Little is second in catches with 29. Seattle’s Doug Baldwin in second in yards …

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Fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered torn MCL

 

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a torn MCL in his right knee and will finished the season on injured reserve. (Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a torn MCL in his right knee and will finished the season on injured reserve. (Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

By Chris Vivlamore

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee on a hit from Detroit safety Louis Delmas in the 23-16 victory on October 23.

Mughelli was placed on injured reserve, ending the fullback’s season

Delmas hit Mughelli’s knee during a tackle in the fourth quarter following a 4-yard reception. Mughelli did not return after the injury and was on crutches following the game.

The Falcons signed Mike Cox last Tuesday to replace Mughelli.

Cox, who played at Georgia Tech, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs in 2008. A 6-foot-2, 252-pounder, he played in Kansas City for three seasons. He is the brother of Lucas Cox, also of Georgia Tech, who was in training camp with the Falcons this year.

Mughelli, who made the Pro Bowl last season, had four …

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Are the Falcons the Raiders of the NFC South?

 

The Falcons and the Lions, two of the most penalized teams in the league in 2011, combined for 21 penalties in their raucous 23-16 affair last Sunday. AP

The Falcons and the Lions, two of the most penalized teams in the league in 2011, combined for 21 penalties in their raucous 23-16 affair last Sunday. AP

BYE WEEK VILLE – The Falcons committed 11 penalties for 80 yards against Detroit.

The Falcons are fourth in the NFL with 50 penalties. Last season they were the least-penalized team in the league with 57 infractions.

Detroit leads the league with 71 followed by Chicago (56), Washington (54) and Atlanta (50). Jacksonville and New England also have 50 penalties.

The Oakland Raiders, the perennial bad boys of the league, are eighth with 46 penalties.

The Falcons and the Lions combined for 21 penalties and 164 yards in that 23-16 smash-dancing fest last Sunday.

[Note to self.  . . . make sure to ask Smitty what the bye-week "drill down" revealed about the 50 penalties in seven games.]

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Falcons have dome-field advantage for playoff run

Ryan passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the team's 23-16 victory.  (Associated Press)

Ryan passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the team's 23-16 victory. (Associated Press)

BYE WEEK VILLE – Just wanted to pass along this bye/vacation week nugget for you all before I get back to working on my golf swing.

The Falcons, the defending NFC South champs, may have already played the toughest part of their schedule. When they return to practice on Monday, they will have a clear “dome-field advantage” over their final nine games.

Since 2008, quarterback Matt Ryan owns an NFL-best 26-6 record (81.2 percent) in games played in domed stadiums.

The Falcons play seven of their last nine games in domes. They could play eight, because Houston’s stadium is retractable.

Here’s the schedule:

Nov. 6 — @Indianapolis — Lucas Oil Field (Dome)

Nov. 13 — New Orleans – (Georgia Dome)

Nov. 20 — Tennessee – (Georgia Dome)

Nov. 28 — Minnesota – (Georgia Dome)

Dec. 4 — @Houston – Reliant Stadium (Retractable)

Dec. 1 2–  @Carolina – Bank of America Stadium …

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Injured knee puts Falcons’ Mughelli out for season

The Falcons will place Ovie Mughelli on injured reserve, ending the fullback’s season.

Mughelli injured his right knee during Sunday’s victory in Detroit. Lions safety Louis Delmas hit Mughelli’s knee during a tackle in the fourth quarter following a 4-yard reception.

Mughelli did not return after the injury and was on crutches following the game.

The Falcons signed Mike Cox on Tuesday to replace Mughelli. Cox, who played at Georgia Tech, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs in 2008. A 6-foot-2, 252-pounder, he played in Kansas City for three seasons. He is the brother of Lucas Cox, also of Georgia Tech, who was in training camp with the Falcons this year.

Mughelli, who made the Pro Bowl last season, had four receptions for 25 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had two carries for one yard. He has cleared the way for much of running back Michael Turner’s 621 yards this season. Mughelli injured his right knee in the season opener against the Bears, …

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Q&A: Smith’s bye-week state of the team address

"Rodney" White celebrates with Tony Gonzalez after catching a 18-yard touchdown pass against the Lions.  AP

"Rodney" White celebrates with Tony Gonzalez after catching a 18-yard touchdown pass against the Lions. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith chatted with the local media on Monday.

He also noted on his radio show today on NFL Sirius radio that Matt Ryan had an MRI on Monday and everything – his ankle and knee – checked out fine.

Here are some excerpts from the press conference:

 OPENING STATEMENT: Sunday, I thought was a good day for our football team. We needed to start a streak. We’ve kind of been on a yo-yo in terms of wins and losses. We wanted to start a streak and we were able to get that accomplished by getting a victory on the road. There were a couple of other things that we needed to try to improve on. One was our third down efficiency and I thought that our guys

Falcons RB Michael Turner tries to break through the tackle of Lions DB Amari Spievey. (Associated Press)

Falcons RB Michael Turner tries to break through the tackle of Lions DB Amari Spievey. (Associated Press)

responded very well to the challenge that we put before them this week as a staff …

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Dunta Robinson pleased with fine reduction

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson was notified last Friday by the league that his fine for a hit on wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was reduced from $40,000 to $25,000, according to his agent Jason Chayut.

“He is pleased with the reduction,” Chayut said on Monday. 

Robinson was originally fined $40,000 for striking Maclin with his helmet. He appealed the decision. The play occurred in the Falcons’ 35-31 win over the Eagles on Sept. 18.

Robinson also had a fine reduced from $50,000 to $25,000 last season for hit on Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Video: D Comes Up Big in Motown

CineSport’s Josh Thomson turns to the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter for a breakdown of the key moments in the Falcons 23-16 win over the Lions.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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