Archive for November, 2011

Roddy White puts together back-to-back 100-yard games

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White eats his chin strap as he is helped up after taking a hard hit on a reception against the Vikings. White left the game shaken up on the play, but was able to return. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White eats his chin strap as he is helped up after taking a hard hit on a reception against the Vikings. White left the game shaken up on the play, but was able to return. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

By Chris Vivlamore

 

As the Falcons continue their push toward the playoffs, they need Roddy White.

Their No. 1 receiver, who entered the season with four straight 1,100-plus yard receiving campaigns, has struggled at times. He has been plagued by leg injuries and dropped passes. He had just one 100-yard game in the first nine contests.

He’s starting to put those troubles behind him, especially in the last two games. That’s good news for the Falcons (7-4) as they play meaningful second-half games.

So Roddy, what does it feel like to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games?

“It means I feel like I’m in a groove and finally starting to put things together,” White said after the Falcons’ 24-14 victory over the Vikings Sunday.

White …

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Q&A: Falcons coach Mike Smith addresses win over Vikings

Falcons head coach Mike Smith fights back a smile as his team improves with a 24-14 victory over the Vikings. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons head coach Mike Smith fights back a smile as his team improves with a 24-14 victory over the Vikings. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith didn’t want to dwell on the team’s lack of killer instinct after the 24-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

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

OPENING STATEMENT:  Did we make it exciting enough for you? As we know, playing in the NFL is always going to be a three-hour battle. Your opponent’s record when you’re playing has no bearing on the outcome of the game, from the beginning to the end. That was a hard-fought football game, and I thought we played through the ebbs and flows, especially in the second half of the game. We did a good job of keeping our composure as a football team and I think we showed our resiliency. We obviously made some mistakes that we have to address. We did improve in some areas that we had some shortcomings in last week’s game. As a coach and as a football team, you’re …

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Falcons pull out 24-14 win over Vikings

For the second consecutive game, the Falcons built a nice lead only to let it whittle away before pulling out the win.

They had a chance to rout the Minnesota Vikings, but eventually had to settle for a 24-14 victory Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Cornerback Christopher Owens helped to save the game with a tackle on Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, who had broken free on a kickoff return. Also, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon had a key stop on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

The Falcons, who have won five of their last six games, improved to 7-4. The Vikings, who were playing without their star running back Adrian Peterson, dropped to 2-9.

Behind the hot passing of Matt Ryan, the Falcons held a 17-0 lead at halftime.

Ryan completed 14 of 18 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns to help the Falcons take control of the game in the first half.

After an exchange of punts, the Falcons got into gear.

The offense relied heavily on running backs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling to …

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Updated: Jones, Baker active for today’s game vs. Vikings

Wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) was in the starting lineup today against the Vikings. Also, left tackle Sam Baker (back) will be available.

Jones was injured against New Orleans and missed last week’s game against Tennessee. He missed two games earlier this season with another hamstring injury.

Baker, who started the first six games, missed the past four games with his injury. When announcing the injury, the Falcons expected Baker to miss three to four weeks. He returned to practice prior to last week’s game against Tennessee. Will Svitek started at left tackle.

Safety William Moore (quad), who missed the past two games, returned. However, James Sanders started at safety.

The Falcons inactives are: CB Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe), CB Darrin Walls, LB Spencer Adkins, C Brett Romberg, OL Kirk Chambers, DT Carlton Powell and DE Cliff Matthews.

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Julio Jones listed as questionable, expected to play

Julio Jones, who left the game with a hamstring injury, wears a pair of hot pink gloves for breast cancer awareness while catching a pass during pregame warmups... Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Julio Jones, who left the game with a hamstring injury, wears a pair of hot pink gloves for breast cancer awareness while catching a pass during pregame warmups… Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s recovering from a hamstring injury, fully participated in practice on Friday and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jones, who was injured against New Orleans and missed the Tennessee game, is expected to play.

Cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe) and Brent Grimes (knee) did not practice on Friday. Hayden will not play against the Vikings, while Grimes was listed as questionable.

Also, defensive tackle Vance Walker suffered a groin injury and was limited in practice and is listed as questionable.

Left tackle Sam Baker (back) was listed as questionable.

Safety William Moore (quadriceps), left guard Justin Blalock (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle) and defensive tackle …

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Vikings plan to be ready for no-huddle attack

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. (Associated Press Photo/Andy King)

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. (Associated Press Photo/Andy King)

FLOWERY BRANCH — After the Falcons played three quarters in the no-huddle offense last week, the Vikings are getting ready for the attack.

“Oakland last week was almost all no-huddle,” Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier said. “Green Bay started the game in the no-huddle. We’ve seen it and we know that Atlanta is a no-huddle team. We are familiar with the no-huddle offense.”

Frazier, who was interviewed for the Falcons’ head coaching job when it went to Mike Smith, is impressed with the Atlanta offense.

“They seem to have found their identity,” Frazier said. “It seemed like (earlier in the season) they weren’t sure what direction they were going. Now, it seems as if everything revolves around Michael Turner, who is an outstanding back.”

Frazier credits Ryan with making the no-huddle work.

“Matt is running that offense,” Frazier said. “The way they control tempo in that …

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Julio Jones looked sharp in his Thanksgiving Day return

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) can't make the catch as New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) can't make the catch as New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones appeared sharp in his limited return to practice on Thursday.

“It felt good to get back out there, running routes,” Jones said. “I thought I was going to be rusty, but I wasn’t. So, it just felt good to be back out there with my teammates.”

Jones injured his left hamstring against Green Bay on Oct. 9. He missed the Carolina and Detroit games.

He came back against Indianapolis on Nov. 6 and caught three passes for 131 yards and scored two touchdowns. He left the New Orleans game with an injured right hamstring. He didn’t play last week against Tennessee

Falcons coach Mike Smith credited Jones’ rehabilitation to the work of athletic performance department director Jeff Fish and …

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Video: Falcons expect a battle from Vikings

D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports from Flowery Branch on challenges the Falcons will face when they meet the Vikings Sunday.
–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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Julio Jones set to return to practice on Thursday

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

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s been battling a right hamstring injury, will return to practice Thursday, according to coach Mike Smith.

“We anticipate him being out on the practice field tomorrow, “ Smith said. “It will be encouraging to see him out practicing and not out working out with our athletic performance department. He’s done a nice job in his rehabilitation. So, tomorrow we’ll give him an opportunity. If it goes well, we’ll progress to Friday and give him back-to-back days of work.”

Jones injured his left hamstring against Green Bay on Oct. 9. He missed the Carolina and Detroit games. He came back against Indianapolis on Nov. 6 and caught three passes for 131 yards and scored two touchdowns. …

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Vikes hope to have Adrian Peterson vs. Falcons

Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier is hopeful that running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a grade 1

Adrian Peterson after rolling his left ankle last week. (Associated Press)

Adrian Peterson after rolling his left ankle last week. (Associated Press)

 left high ankle sprain last week in the first quarter against Oakland, will be able to play against the Falcons on Sunday.

“We are going to see how he progresses in the next day or two,” Frazier said on Wednesday. “Hopefully on Friday, we’ll see if we can get him out of that boot and see if he can move around some. Then we’ll make a determination from there.”

The grade one sprain is the least severe of the three high ankle sprains.

If Peterson is not able to play, Frazier he will start second-year running back Toby Gerhart. Also,   Lorenzo Booker would see some action.

“You’ve seen where we’ve used [wide receiver] Percy [Harvin] [in the backfield also as well,” Frazier said.

Peterson has rushed for 872 yards on 186 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. Gerhart has 24 carries for 118 …

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