Archive for November, 2011

Q&A: Smith takes ‘full responsibility’ for the gamble

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) is brought down by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tom Johnson (96) and others during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) is brought down by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tom Johnson (96) and others during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Falcons coach Mike Smith said the plan all week was to be aggressive against the New Orleans Saints.

So, in overtime, with just a few inches to go he could not go against what he had been preaching all week and dial-up a punt on fourth-and-inches.

Here’s what Smith had to say after the Saints defeated the Falcons 26-23 in overtime on Sunday:

OPENING STATEMENT: I thought it was a heck of a football game. I felt that our guys played extremely hard beyond 60 minutes. But the bottom line today was that we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make and the Saints made more plays than we did. We are disappointed with the outcome of the game, without a doubt. But this is a very good football team. That is a very good football team over there. …

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Saints defeat Falcons 26-23 in overtime

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston (12) makes the catch as Atlanta Falcons free safety James Sanders (36) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston (12) makes the catch as Atlanta Falcons free safety James Sanders (36) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Falcons coach Mike Smith made a gutsy fourth-down call that backfired, allowing the New Orleans Saints to post a 26-23 victory on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.Smith planned all week to be aggressive against the arch rival Saints.

So, in overtime, with just a few inches to go, Smith could not go against what he had been preaching all week. 

He rolled the dice.

The Saints, with their behemoth defensive tackle Shaun Rogers leading the way, stuffed the Falcons for no gain. Running back Michael Turner was tackled by Rogers and defensive end Will Smith.

With the win the Saints remained in first place in the NFC South and improved to 7-3. The Falcons dropped to 5-4.

Smith repeatedly took “full responsibility” for the decision go for it at the Falcons’ …

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Injury Report: Lofton, Robinson added to list

FLOWERY BRANCH — Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (groin) and cornerback Dunta Robinson (thigh) were added to the injury report on Friday.

Also, wide receiver Julio Jones, who tweaked his right hamstring this week, was limited in practice for the second straight day.  He missed two games with a injury to his left hamstring before returning against the Indianapolis Colts. He had three catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-7 win last week over the Colts.

Safety William Moore (quadricep) and left tackle Sam Baker (back) have not practiced all week. Moore is listed as doubtful and Baker as out. James Sanders appears set to start at strong safety for Moore.

All of the other players on the injury report fully participated in practice and are listed as probable for the game: John Abraham (not injury related), Ray Edwards (knee), Tony Gonzalez (back), Todd McClure (not injury related), Brent Grimes (knee) and Corey Peters (knee).

The Saints have declared linebacker …

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UPDATE: Jessie Tuggle visits ‘D-Block’ show

Jessie Tuggle

Former Falcons great Jessie Tuggle was invited by the linebackers to appears on their show "The D-Block." (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

UPDATE Here’s the video.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Is the Hammer mightier than the Bat?

The New Orleans Saints had their little bat day last week. The Falcons countered with a visit from “The Hammer.”

Former Falcons great Jessie “The Hammer” Tuggle made an appearance on the linebackers’ internet show named “The D-Block” which airs on the team’s website.

Tuggles shared some stories about his days with the Falcons and had some laughs.

“I was impressed that they wanted me to come up here,” said Tuggle, who went to five Pro Bowls and was on the Falcons’ lone Super Bowl squad. “When you sit with a bunch of young guys who really watched me play when I was a player and they were so much younger, I can appreciate it because I know what they are going through preparing themselves for this game this weekend. When you play against a team like …

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Will Svitek working to raise Prostate Cancer awareness

FLOWERY BRANCH – If Fox puts a close up shot of Falcons tackle Will Svitek, you’ll see that he’s growing a mustache.

He’s growing it for a good cause.

“In 2001, my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Svitek said. “It was 10 years ago. He had surgery in 2001 and radiation in 2004. He’s been seven years cancer free.”

Will Svitek is set to make his third straight start at left tackle for the injured Sam Baker.

Will Svitek is set to make his third straight start at left tackle for the injured Sam Baker.

He’s working with “Movember” a non-profit charity that rallies men to grow a moustache during the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. The two beneficiaries are the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LiveSTRONG.

Svitek has choosen to raise funds and talk about prostate cancer.

“It’s something that’s always been special to me,” Svitek said. “It affects 1 in 6 men. It’s highly prevalent and it’s something that we don’t talk about. As men, we don’t want to talk about feelings or issues or health problems. Awareness needs to be out there. If …

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5 keys to win the battle for first-place in the NFC South

 

DeCoud puts a big hit on Drew Brees that led to a touchdown back in 2008. The Falcons will need more of this on Sunday.

DeCoud puts a big hit on Drew Brees that led to a touchdown back in 2008. The Falcons will need more of this on Sunday.

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons (5-3) face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (6-3) with first-place on the line at 1 p.m. Sunday at Georgia Dome.

Here are the five keys to the game:

1. Get New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees on the ground. The Falcons’ defensive line has played the run well, but has not consistently put pressure on quarterbacks. The Falcons’ run defense has given up 96.5 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the NFL. Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters, who have battled knee injuries, are getting healthier and playing stronger. The Falcons have just 15 sacks and are led by John Abraham and Peters, who have three apiece. The Saints have given up 19 sacks this season, which is tied for 13th in the NFL. The Saints’ line collapsed in their upset 31-21 loss to St. Louis on Oct. 30. They gave ups six sacks and had trouble running the ball. In …

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Falcons vs. Saints: 3 key matchups

 

DOUBLE TAPPED - Washington Redskins quarterback # 17 Jason Campbell is hit from both sides as he is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end # 55 John Abraham, left, and defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux, right, for a sack during 2nd quarter action knocking him out of the game on the play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009.  (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

DOUBLE TAPPED – Washington Redskins quarterback # 17 Jason Campbell is hit from both sides as he is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end # 55 John Abraham, left, and defensive tackle # 95 Jonathan Babineaux, right, for a sack during 2nd quarter action knocking him out of the game on the play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

1. Saints Gs Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans vs. Falcons DTs Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters: For folks who know how to watch the game away from the ball, the battle to win the interior of the line of scrimmage will be fiercely contested. (If you don’t, you can get Pat Kirwan’s book: Take Your Eye Off The Ball) Falcons coach Mike Smith said he wouldn’t argue with the contention that Nicks and Evans are the best guard tandem in the NFL. Babineaux, one of the league’s top penetrators, is returning to form after suffering a knee injury. Peters is having a great second year with 16 tackles, three …

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Injury report: Moore, Baker miss practice

By Chris Vivlamore

FLOWERY BRANCH — Starting strong safety William Moore (quadriceps) missed practice again Thursday, putting his status for Sunday’s game in doubt.

 John Abraham, Ray Edwards, Tony Gonzalez and Todd McClure returned to practice. Brent Grimes, Julio Jones and Corey Peters were limited in practice.

Sam Baker (back) did not practice but again worked with trainers on the side.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Video: Falcons prepare for Who Dat Nation

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from Falcons practice as the Birds prepare for Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Falcons have amensia about Saints posing on logo

Former Falcons defensive line coach Bill Johnson posing with some of the Saints on the Falcons logo after Monday Night's game.

Former Falcons defensive line coach Bill Johnson posing with some of the Saints on the Falcons logo last season's Monday Night's game in late December.

FLOWERY BRANCH — In the movie ’Men In Black’ they had this little contraption that would flash a white light and make you forget that you saw aliens.

I think the Falcons used one of those on the players. None of them seem to remember that the Saints  defensive linemen posed with position coach Bill Johnson for a picture on the team’s logo. (Maybe the above photo will refresh their memories!)

The also couldn’t remeber that Remi Ayodele, who’s now with Minnesota, told a reporter that he urinated on the team’s logo after their 17-14 victory. A Falcons official said the team would remember the incident at the time, but the players can’t seem to recall a thing.  They may have been “briefed” by the coaches and/or the communications staff not to discuss it.

Here’s what All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White had to say, “Oh wow, that’s …

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