–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog
FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons (2-3) will try to circle the wagons against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers (1-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
The one thing that sticks out from our chats with Falcons coach Mike Smith this week is notion that the coaches and players have to work together to right their ship.
“It starts with the coaching staff and the players,” Smith said. “We’re only going to fix this together. We’re not going to fix this individually. It’s not one person, it’s not one thing.”
Man, it sure isn’t one thing. Here’s my little list of 7 things that need some fixing.
FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has a hamstring injury and will not play against Carolina on Sunday, head coach Mike Smith said on Wednesday.
Also tight end Tony Gonzalez (elbow), safety William Moore (shoulder), right guard Garrett Reynolds (ankle), defensive end John Abraham (hip/groin), center Todd McClure (knee) and cornerback Christopher Owens (concussion protocol) all did not practice on Wednesday.
Jones has 25 catches and leads the team with 358 yards receiving after five games.
“He’ll be out this week,” Smith said. “We hope to get him back. He worked out with our training staff today. He did some running around. He’s already back out on the field working. We are hoping that after this week, we’ll get him back the
FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons pursued Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson during free agency, but backed out when the bidding got out of hand.
Johnson, the former UGA standout, signed a six-year, $76 million contract with $32 million guaranteed to stay with the Panthers. The Falcons then turned their focus to former Minnesota defensive end Ray Edwards and signed him to a six-year, $30 million deal.
Johnson has four sacks this season and Edwards has one.
Here are the 2011 regular season averages and NFL rankings for the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons in some key statistical categories:
FLOWERY BRANCH – We’ll get the most anticipated injury report of the season later this afternoon from Falcons coach Mike Smith.
So, this depth chart (see below) likely doesn’t mean very much for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
When the words “wide receiver” and “hamstring injury” appear in the same sentence, there’s a major cause for concern. (I got out of the business of predicting availability because when I covered Reggie White in Green Bay he would always get “healed” personally from God himself. One time, it was a hamstring injury that was healed. I remember a back injury being healed, too.)
So, I’m not sure if Julio Jones has a direct line to heaven or not, but it’s a little early to rule him out for Carolina. The Falcons don’t have to declare his game status until Friday’s
The Falcons could be short-handed for their NFC South matchup with Carolina at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring), safety William Moore (shoulder), right guard Garrett Reynolds and cornerback Christopher Owens (head/concussion) were all injured in Sunday’s game against Green Bay and will not practice on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a couple of days before we really know on the guys that were banged up,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on his weekly radio appearance on NFL Sirius radio. “We’ll definitely be resting those guys on Wednesday and then kind of see where they are on Thursday and Friday.”
Reynolds, who’s started every game this season, returned to the game. Jones, Moore and Owens
FLOWERY BRANCH – The highlight of today’s press conference was coach Mike Smith’s detailed analysis on how the offense got side-tracked against the Packers. (A must read for all you play-calling is weak folks.)
Basically, there’s nothing wrong with the play calling. The offense shot itself in the foot with untimely penalties.
Well read it all for yourself.
Here’s what he had to say:
Opening Statement: Obviously, not the outcome that we wanted last night. We didn’t make the plays that we need to make, in terms of going down the
By Chris Vivlamore
The Packers felt slighted by the Falcons, even after Sunday night’s 25-14 victory.
Green Bay players haven’t forgotten offseason comments made following last year’s playoff game at the Georgia Dome, which the Packers won en route to their Super Bowl championship. The Falcons left the perception that they were the better team last season.
“Now that we abused them, for the second time in a row, at their home, there’s nothing really to do,” Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel following Sunday night’s win. “If they want to play us again, tell them to come up to Lambeau [Field]. That’s it. That’s how we’re doing it.”
Raji said he didn’t consider the Falcons a rival, despite Atlanta’s regular-season victory last season.
“They have a long way to go,” Raji