Archive for December, 2011

Curtis Lofton fined $15,000 for hit on Colston

Bears running back Kahlil Bell (32) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, right, and linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. AP

Bears running back Kahlil Bell (32) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, right, and linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton was fined by the league for a hit on New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston on Friday.

Lofton was penalized on the second-quarter play for unnecessary roughness. Colston was deemed a defenseless player.

Lofton leads the team with 153 tackles, according to coaches’ film review stats.

–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 Curtis Lofton fined $15,000 for hit on Colston »

INJURY REPORT: Grimes doesn’t practice, questionable

The Falcons' defense slowed down Green Bay and New Orleans this season, but they need to get cornerback Brent Grimes back, according to Mayock.  Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons' defense slowed down Green Bay and New Orleans this season, but they need to get cornerback Brent Grimes back, according to Mayock. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons starting left cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) and backup quarteback Chris Redman (illness) did not practice on Friday and were both listed as questionable for the game on the team’s official injury report.

Defensive end Ray Edwards (knee, limited) saw his first practice action of the week , but was listed as questionable for the game.

Grimes had knee surgery and missed three games before playing on Monday against the Saints. He finished with seven tackles and two passes defensed.

Wide receiver Kerry Meier (groin, did not practice) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe, did not practice) were listed as doubtful.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas (groin/shoulder, limited), tight end Tony Gonzalez (not injury related, full), wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle, full), tight end Reggie Kelly …

Continue reading INJURY REPORT: Grimes doesn’t practice, questionable »

Roddy White closing in on 100 catches

Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams (34) runs for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Roddy White catching a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons receiver Roddy White, who led the league last season with 115 catches, is closing in on the century mark.

White has 96 catches for 1,227 yards and is closing in on his second consecutive 100-catch season.

Rookie wide receiver Julio Jones, who has five 100-yard receiving games, needs 117 yards to give the Falcons two 1,000-yard receivers.

White is a first alternate for the Pro Bowl.

–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 Roddy White closing in on 100 catches »

Matt Ryan is becoming an ‘elite’ QB, Smith says

Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. AP

Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. AP

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith believes that fourth-year quarterback Matt Ryan, who became the second quarterback in team history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season, has reached elite status among NFL quarterbacks.

“His maturation process continues to accelerate and he’s becoming, in my mind, one of the elite quarterbacks in this league,” Smith said.

Ryan needs 73 yards passing against Tampa Bay on Sunday to break the franchise’s record for most yards passing in a season.

Ryan, who has passed for 4,071 yards, is set to break the record of Jeff George, who passed for 4,143 yards in 1995.

“That’d be a great honor and an individual honor for Matt,” Smith said. “But again, all those individual honors take a bunch of other guys. There are guys that have got to catch the ball and guys …

Continue reading Matt Ryan is becoming an ‘elite’ QB, Smith says »

Ex-Falcon Chris Draft is mourning the loss of his wife

Chris Draft

Chris Draft

Former Falcons linebacker Chris Draft is mourning the loss of his wife LaKeasha Monique Rutledge Draft, who passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

Draft made this post on his website, “My wife, (La)Keasha Monique Rutledge Draft passed away today at 12:04 pm. RIP Sweetie.”

Draft’s media manager, Sidmel Estes, confirmed the passing and stated that the services will be held in South Carolina on Saturday at 1 p.m. with Pastor Olu Brown, of Impact United Methodist Church in Atlanta, officiating. Also, Edwin Turnipseed, a support pastor at Impact, will participate in the ceremony.

Draft , a sixth-round pick out of Stanford by the Chicago Bears in 1998, went on to play 12 years in the NFL. He played for the Falcons from 2000 to 2004. He also played for San Francisco, Carolina, St. Louis and Buffalo.

The civic minded Draft, a California native who elected to make Atlanta his home, has been a tireless worker with kids in the community through his …

Continue reading Ex-Falcon Chris Draft is mourning the loss of his wife »

Video: Falcons look to bounce back

The Falcons host the Buccaneers on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. in the final week of the regular season. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from practice on Wednesday.

–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 look to bounce back »

Former Tech star Kevin Cone added to 53-man roster

FLOWERY BRANCH — Former Georgia Tech standout Kevin Cone, who’s been on the Falcons’ practice squad, was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday.

Also, linebacker Robert James was added to the roster. The Falcons had room after placing linebacker Mike Peterson (torn tricep) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe/turf toe) on injured reserved.

The Falcons also added linebacker Matt Hansen to the practice squad. He played strong safety while he was with the team in training camp, but he was a linebacker in college at Rhode Island.  

Cone was late to football. He didn’t start playing until his junior year at St. Pius X. He started his college career at Shorter College before transferring to Georgia Tech.

He also played basketball and ran track in high school.

Cone is probably the only wide receiver with just five catches during his senior season, who is on an NFL roster. He drew raves for his blocking in Tech’s vaunted triple-option attack.

Continue reading Former Tech star Kevin Cone added to 53-man roster »

Injury report: Tight end Reggie Kelly limited in practice

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons tight end Reggie Kelly who took a vicious hit to the back in the Saints’ game was limited in practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Kerry Meier (groin), defensive end Ray Edwards (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) did not practice.

Also, veterans Todd McClure, John Abraham and Tony Gonzalez were rested in practice.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas (groin and shoulder), cornerback Brent Grimes (knee), wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (ankle), running back Michael Turner (groin) and tight end Michael Palmer (knee) were limited in practice.

“We anticipate tomorrow that the majority of those players that were limited will be back,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

He also said that he’s hopeful that the Falcons will get Nicholas back for the playoffs.

Continue reading Injury report: Tight end Reggie Kelly limited in practice »

Spencer Adkins to start for Mike Peterson

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) makes a touchdown catch past Atlanta Falcons linebacker Spencer Adkins (59) during 4th quarter action for a 28-3 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) makes a touchdown catch past Atlanta Falcons linebacker Spencer Adkins (59) during 4th quarter action for a 28-3 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 19, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Reserve linebacker Spencer Adkins will start for Mike Peterson, who was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

Adkins, who has been inactive for five games this season, will make his first NFL start.

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL draft from the University of Miami.

“I’ve been ready,” Adkins said. “I’ve been watching these guys that I’ve been behind. I’ve learned from them. I have just been preparing myself for this time.”

He will continue with his roles on the special team units.

“I just have some extra baggage that I have to take care of,” Adkins said.

He knows that he will have to manage his emotions when the Falcons face Tampa Bay at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday at the …

Continue reading Spencer Adkins to start for Mike Peterson »

Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy says he will play to win

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, front right, calls a play against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, front right, calls a play against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy can do the Falcons a real solid.

Word out of Green Bay is that Packers head coach will play to win the game against the Detroit Lions. (Guess he doesn’t like them very much or something like that.)

My guys up there are not exactly sure what that means — playing to win. They are not sure if he’ll play his starters just a little bit or let them go the whole way.

My folks could see him playing it like a preseason game and yanking his studs at halftime.

The big question is whether if he’s going to allow wide receiver Greg Jennings, tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive linemen Ryan Pickett and running back James Starks to play, all of whom are coming off injury.

The speculation is that Jennings, Bulaga and Pickett will play a little and …

Continue reading Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy says he will play to win »