Archive for November, 2011

Video: The stars at night, are deep and bright, deep in the heart of Texas

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports from the Falcons practice facility as they prepare for this week’s pivotal matchup with the Texans.
–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.

Continue reading Video: The stars at night, are deep and bright, deep in the heart of Texas »

Brent Grimes to have knee surgery on Thursday

Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) of the NFC, right, celebrates with Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) of the NFC after Grimes made an interception during the second quarter. AP

Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) of the NFC, right, celebrates with Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson (24) of the NFC after Grimes made an interception during the second quarter. AP

 

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, who went to the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate, is set to have surgery on his right knee on Thursday. 

Falcons coach Mike Smith said that the “procedure” would cause Grimes to miss a couple of weeks.

Grimes was having a strong campaign. He’s sixth on the team in tackles with 37, according to the coaches’ file review stats. He also has 12 passes defensed, an interception, forced fumble and three special teams tackles.

Also, cornerback Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe) is “very doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

Dominique Franks is set to start at left cornerback and move inside when the Falcons play nickel. Christopher Owens will move to left cornerback in the nickel.

Owens and Franks were competing for the …

Continue reading Brent Grimes to have knee surgery on Thursday »

Updated: Svitek to remain starter at left tackle; Baker had surgery

Will Svitek will remain the starter at left tackle although Sam Baker has returned from a back injury.

Will Svitek will remain the starter at left tackle although Sam Baker has returned from a back injury.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Will Svitek will remain as the Falcons starter at left tackle. Coach Mike Smith made the depth chart change official Wednesday.

Svitek took over at left tackle when Sam Baker, who started the seasons’ first six games, missed four games with a back injury. Baker was activated for last week’s game against the Vikings but played only on special teams.

“It’s good to be at one spot,” Svitek said. “Before I moved around between the different tackle positions, a little guard, special teams, tight end. Definitely it’s an advantage playing at one spot right now.

“It’s great from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. Mentally I can just focus on the plays at left [tackle] and look at the different [defensive] looks that I will get. From a physical standpoint, switching sides changes your footwork. People don’t always realize that.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith …

Continue reading Updated: Svitek to remain starter at left tackle; Baker had surgery »

Mularkey getting offense ready to face No. 1 defense

 FLOWERY BRANCH  – Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is getting his unit ready to face the No. 1 ranked defense in the league.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

The Houston Texans are giving up just 268.4 yards per game and are second in the league in points allowed at 16.3. They have held five straight opponents to 14 points are less.

In our weekly chat on Tuesday, we talked about how some of the key players are doing, the no-huddle attack, Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the Texans’ playmakers.

ON HIS ASSESSMENT OF MATT RYAN’S PLAY AGAINST THE VIKINGS: Very good. He had a high completion percentage. It could have been higher. . . Matt is just operating at a really high level right now and putting us in good situations in our no-huddle. He’s really done a great job with that. He spends a lot of time preparing and you can see it show up on film.

ON RODDY WHITE PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL: Roddy probably had his most complete game of the year. I …

Continue reading Mularkey getting offense ready to face No. 1 defense »

Ryan Winterswyk signed to the practice squad

 

Bowling Green quaterback Tyler Sheehan (13) is sacked by Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk (98) while Bowling Green's Brady Minturn (70) is late with the block during the first half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley)

Bowling Green quaterback Tyler Sheehan (13) is sacked by Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk (98) while Bowling Green's Brady Minturn (70) is late with the block during the first half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Tight end Ryan Winterswyk was signed to the Falcons practice squad today.

“We’ll see where it goes from here,” said Jason D. Bernstein, who represents Winterswyk for XAM Sports.

The former Boise State defensive end was with the Falcons in training camp. He suffered a severe high right ankle sprain and needed six weeks of rehabilitation.  To make room for Winterswyk, the Falcons released tight end Tommy Gallarda, who was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 12.

“He’s 100 percent now,” Bernstein said. “He worked out for them today and it went well.”

Winterswyk, of La Habra, Ca., started his career as a walk-on at Boise State.

He was a three-time All-WAC player at defensive end and …

Continue reading Ryan Winterswyk signed to the practice squad »

Video: Falcons have a tough test to pass vs. Texans

CineSport’s Noah Coslov asks the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter about the upcoming matchup against the Houston Texans and how to execute against their #1 ranked defense.
–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.

Continue reading Video: Falcons have a tough test to pass vs. Texans »

Pope High alum T.J. Yates to start vs. Falcons

T.J. Yates, who starred at Pope High and set 37 records at North Carolina, at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

T.J. Yates, who starred at Pope High and set 37 records at North Carolina, at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Taylor Jonathan Yates, who played at Pope High before going on to star at North Carolina, will start against the Falcons on Sunday, according to John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.

The Texans are set to workout Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia today. Garcia, who is about 58 years old now,  has worked in their system before with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp. (Well, Garcia is actually just 41 and Knapp was always gracious with his time to the AJC when he was here.)

The Texans, who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since starting play in the league in 2002, used a 2-to-1 run-to-pass ratio with Yates playing the second half against Jacksonville. He had not dressed for the previous 10 games.

Yates, who was selected in the fifth round of the draft, is playing because of injuries to quarterbacks Matt Schaub (right …

Continue reading Pope High alum T.J. Yates to start vs. Falcons »

Rewind: Ryan’s precision passing pays off

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards is all smiles walking on to the field after defeating his former team, the Vikings, 24-14 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards is all smiles walking on to the field after defeating his former team, the Vikings, 24-14 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The game that was

 

The Falcons, for the second outing in a row, did not show the requisite killer-instinct of a championship level team. They built a big lead against the Vikings and then let them hang around before pulling out a harder-than-necessary 24-14 victory.

What we learned

1. The short passing game works. To combat Minnesota’s strong front seven, the Falcons worked their short passing attack and Matt Ryan was lethal. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons sprinkled in a little of their no-huddle attack to set tempo. Ryan spread the ball around to seven different receivers and would have had his third straight 300-yard game if Julio Jones would have hauled down a long pass and not have interfered with a defender.

2. …

Continue reading Rewind: Ryan’s precision passing pays off »

Falcons get big stops to beat Vikings 24-14

The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders kick up their heels performing during a time out in 1st half action against the Vikings. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders kick up their heels performing during a time out in 1st half action against the Vikings. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

For the second consecutive outing, the Falcons built a nice lead only to nearly let it slip away. Instead of routing the Minnesota Vikings, they settled for a 24-14 victory Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Cornerback Christopher Owens helped save the game with a tackle on Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, who raced 104 yards on a kickoff return before he was pulled down on the Falcons 3 with 6:28 to play. The Vikings came away with no points.

“The most pivotal play in the ballgame, in my opinion,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon moments later had one just as crucial with a stop on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1.

After catching Harvin, Owens sacked Christian Ponder for a 2-yard loss. On second and third downs, the Vikings tried to plow Harvin up the middle; he gained 3 and 1 yards, settingup the …

Continue reading Falcons get big stops to beat Vikings 24-14 »

Video: Falcons hold off Vikings

The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter takes a look at how the Falcons were able to pick up their 2nd straight victory after defeating the Vikings 24-14 Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
–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.

Continue reading Video: Falcons hold off Vikings »