Archive for October, 2011

TV, radio: Falcons at Lions, 1 p.m. Sunday

Dave Archer (left) and Wes Durham before the Falcons played the New York Jets on Dec. 20, 2009. (By Jeff Schultz/JSchultz@ajc.com)
Dave Archer (left) and Wes Durham before the Falcons played the New York Jets on Dec. 20, 2009. (By Jeff Schultz/JSchultz@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s the TV and Radio info for the Falcons (3-3) game against the Detroit Lions (5-1) which is set for 1 p.m. Sunday night at Ford Field in Detroit.

RADIO COVERAGE: Star 94 (94.1 FM/790 AM): Play-by-play: Wes Durham, Color Analyst: Dave Archer, and Sideline: John Michaels.

TV COVERAGE BY FOX: Play-by-play: Sam Rosen, Color Analyst: Brian Billick, and Sideline: Laura Okmin.

NATIONAL RADIO BY WESTWOOD ONE: Howard David and Tony Boselli.

SATELLITE RADIO:  SIRIUS: 134 (Atl.), 86 (Det.). XM: 225 (Det.). 

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Injury report: Sam Baker could miss Lions’ game

 

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons starting left tackle Sam Baker missed his second day of practice with a lower back injury on Thursday.

If Baker is not ready to play against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Will Svitek would get the start.

Baker had been playing well after a slow start to the season. He had tough matchups in the opener against Chicago’s Julius Peppers and in the second game against Philadelphia’s Trent Cole.

After the line had given up 13 sacks in the first three games, Falcons coach Mike Smith  said the staff was considering shaking up the starting line. The week before the Seattle game, Baker and Svitek were splitting time with the first-team.

ew season, bigger beard. Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker has let his beard grow out, sporting some additional length on his chin. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FILE PHOTO: Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker let his beard grow out, sporting some additional length on his chin last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

When the Falcons got off to a good start …

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5 reasons why the Falcons must beat Lions

 

Andrew, Allen and Denise McMillan are big supporters of Matthew Stafford. (This was taken during Stafford's first mini-camp with the Lions in May of 2009.)  (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)
Andrew, Allen and Denise McMillan are big supporters of Matthew Stafford. (This was taken during Stafford’s first mini-camp with the Lions in May of 2009.) (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The 2011 season hasn’t started quite exactly the way the Falcons envisioned.

“They haven’t had what they would consider a great start to the season,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said.  ”But we can’t let them get on track.”

But they haven’t fallen completely off the map like say Minnesota (1-5), Indianapolis (0-6), Jacksonville (1-5) and Denver (1-4).

Here’s why the game against Detroit is so important.

If the Falcons can beat a team with a winning record they could establish a degree of legitimacy as a playoff contender. (It might be wise to forgot about the Super Bowl stuff, for now. That’s a pipe dream until they start stopping folks on third down. They are last in the league at 49 percent in third down inefficiency.)

The Falcons have victories over …

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INJURY REPORT: Julio Jones doesn’t return to practice

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

By Chris Vivlamore

 

FLOWERY BRANCHJulio Jones led a list of Falcons who did not practice Wednesday. Jones’ injured left hamstring kept him out of last week’s game against the Panthers. The Falcons have a bye week following Sunday’s game against the Lions and should the rookie wide receiver miss that game he would have three weeks of recovery time.

Falcons coach Mike Smith would not rule Jones out of Sunday’s game.

“Julio is the kind of guy who is going to push the envelope,” Smith said. “He wants to get back in there. We are going to have to make sure the people in the athletic performance department and the doctors make the final decision. … We’ll just have to see how the rest of the week goes in terms of his availability for the …

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Video: How to handle Lions defense

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter breaks down what the Falcons need to do in order stop the new-look Detroit Lions.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Detroit’s Jim Schwartz moving on from fracas

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz works the sidelines in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns in a preseason NFL football game Aug. 19 in Cleveland. The Lions won 30-28. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz works the sidelines in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns in a preseason NFL football game Aug. 19 in Cleveland. The Lions won 30-28. ASSOCIATED PRESS

FLOWERY BRANCH

– Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he’s trying to put his fracas with San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh in his rear view mirror on Wednesday in a teleconference call with the Atlanta media.

“Yeah, I was for 49 for 49 on shaking a hand before that,” Schwartz said. “I think I’ll get back to that this week. I mean, I don’t know if there’s a coach I respect more in the NFL than Mike Smith.”

Schwartz and Smith coached against each other in the AFC South and have a strong mutual respect.

“I came up and started at the very bottom,” Schwartz said. “That’s the way Mike did, too. He earned everything he’s gotten in the NFL. He started in quality control and moved up to linebacker coach, moved up to coordinator and did a good job at what he was assigned and ended up as a head …

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Falcons to get ready for loud Ford Field

Maybe Kid Rock will be there Sunday to get the locals fired up. Here, Kid Rock performs at halftime during a Detroit Lions-New England Patriots game at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 25, 2010. (Associated Press)

Maybe Kid Rock will be there Sunday to get the locals fired up. Here, Kid Rock performs at halftime during a Detroit Lions-New England Patriots game at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 25, 2010. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The long-suffering Detroit fans, like my uncles Gerald Sr. and Fred (we just call him Uncle Skippy),  have turned Ford Field into the “Seattle of the Midwest,” according to Falcons coach Mike Smith.

Over the last two games, the fans have made it difficult for the opposing offenses to hear the snap count with a high noise level. Smith credits the Detroit fans with causing 14 procedural penalties.

“We’re going to have to really work on our communication,” Smith said. “We’ll have the noise rolling all practice long this week.”

When the Falcons played Seattle earlier this season they did not commit any procedural penalties. They took the crowd out of the game by going up 27-7 before holding on for a 30-28 victory.

The Falcons will practice this week with …

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Video: Heading into the Lion’s Den

CineSport’s Noah Coslov turns to the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter for a breakdown of the Falcons home win on Sunday and their upcoming game versus the Detroit Lions.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

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Tuimaunei signed to practice squad

S.C. State safety Raefel Bush delivering a shot against Clemson. Bush is from the same school that produced former Steelers great Donnie Shell (1970-73).

S.C. State safety Raefel Bush delivering a shot against Clemson. Bush is from the same school that produced former Steelers great Donnie Shell (1970-73).

UPDATE

Safety Suaesi Tuimaunei, a safety , was signed to the practice squad by the Falcons on Tuesday.

Tuimaunei, 6-1, 205 pounds, played at Oregon State and was the Beavers second leading tackler with 85 tackles (53 solo), five tackles for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.

Originally from Laie, Hawaii, Tuimaunei  was in training camp in 2011 with the Falcons before being waived.

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Defensive back Rafael Bush was signed by the Denver Broncos off the Falcons practice squad on Monday.

Bush was originally signed as a safety, but saw time during training camp at nickel back. He was the longshot candidate in the competition with Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks.

He was released on Sept. 3 and then re-signed to the practice squad  on Sept. 4

Bush was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent from …

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Rewind: Falcons got back to power football

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — In Cam Newton’s homecoming as a professional, the Falcons intercepted three passes and finished strong to post a 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win, coupled with Tampa Bay’s victory over New Orleans, leaves the defending NFC South champions one game out of first place.

What we learned

1. The run game still works: The Falcons put on a power-running display with 35 runs for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Turner led the way with a season-high 139 yards on 27 carries (5.1 per rush). The Falcons keyed on working the outside creases of the Carolina defense and cut Turner loose on some toss sweeps. He ran with authority, barreling over defenders as he finished all of his runs strong.

2. Harry Douglas can make the big catch: Douglas, the fourth-year wide receiver, started for the injured Julio Jones and was a few missed …

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