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 Georgia Dome.

“It’s exciting every time I step on the field no matter what I’m doing,” Adkins said. “I’m definitely going to be excited, but I’m going to do my job. I’ve been there before.”

Adkins has played a lot in the last few exhibition seasons. He played in five games as a rookie, nine games last season and 10 games this season. He had two tackles against Tampa Bay.

“There’s no pressure,” Adkins said. “It’s just the same as preseason games when I’ve taken all of the snaps. So there’s no pressure at all.”

Curtis Lofton will remain at middle linebacker and Sean Weatherspoon at the weakside spot. Peterson had taken over for Stephen Nicholas, who has not played in the last two games with a toe injury, at strongside.

“He’s ready to slide in,” Lofton said. “We won’t drop off or miss a step.”

Peterson, who was in his 13th season, was playing well. He had 13 tackles against Houston.

“No one can replace Pete,” Lofton said. “He brings a certain swagger and nasty attitude. He’s irreplaceable. I love having him out there.”

Adkins was a mainstay at the workouts at Buford High during the lockout that the players were running. He won over Lofton, who was calling the defensive signals there.

“He makes plays,” Lofton said. “He’s been getting a little work here and there. He’ll be ready to go.”

Adkins is soft spoken and doesn’t appear to have the outward swagger of the other linebackers on the team.

“He is one of the quieter guys on D-Block, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be fired up this weekend,” Weatherspoon said. “He played at the U and you definitely have to have a little dark side to you if you played at the U. We look forward to Spence being out there. He’s a run and hit guy and we look forward to seeing that.”

The linebackers knew something was wrong with Peterson after the Saints’ game. He’s set to have a surgery in the future on his arm.

“I knew that he was banged up a little bit,” Weatherspoon said. “He went in the training room a few times. I didn’t know it was that serious. I just wish him the best. It was a season-ending injury right before the playoffs. It is kind of tough on him.”

Peterson sort of adopted Weatherspoon and took him under his wings last season.

“He’s been integral in my development,” Weatherspoon said. “Whenever I’m doing something wrong, he’d pull me to the side. He’s helped me a lot.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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69 comments Add your comment


December 28th, 2011
1:40 pm

This is the first I’ve heard of Mike being hurt.


December 28th, 2011
1:57 pm

Get well soon Mike, unfortunately that was probably his last game in a Falcon’s uniform. Hopefully we’ll get Nicholas back in time for the playoffs and have Hayden back as well. Go Falcons!


December 28th, 2011
2:00 pm

Yeah … what happened to Peterson?

Die Hard Falcon

December 28th, 2011
2:02 pm


Hayden and Peterson were both put on IR today. I guess the mantra is “Next man up”! Go Falcons!!!


December 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

@ Runner we arent getting hayden back hes done for the year

Mr. Panic Button

December 28th, 2011
2:17 pm

If he comes on the team and starts playing lights out…Smitty and his cronies really need to be fired. I never believed they put the BEST player on the field; instead the one with the higher paycheck or seniority. Why has Cliff Matthews been inactive for so many of these games? Because he’s a rookie? I’m sure he’s as good, if not better, than Biermann and Edwards.


December 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

Peterson is a warrior, But the time has come for him to retire. Now let’s see what Adkins has to offer. Hopefully Nich can find his way back into the line-up.


December 28th, 2011
2:45 pm

Let Mike Peterson retire and then hire him as a Line Backer coach or assistant Line Backer coach

rollo lawson

December 28th, 2011
2:55 pm

What is the nature of Peterson’s injury? Nobody knew he was hurt. Or is he. Probably using him as the scapegoat for that performance Monday night. I bet he went off on the coaching staff and they punished him by placing him on IR. If they did, this organization is what I always thought it was, second rate!

Joe Tess Fish House

December 28th, 2011
3:01 pm

Good. Petersens is over the hill.


December 28th, 2011
3:03 pm

“I didn’t see this one COMING!” Mike Smith quote post game interview…WTF???????

Coach Mike Smith= Norv Turner, Wade Phillips…Round peg-Square hole…..

Paranoid bloggers

December 28th, 2011
3:05 pm

Uhhh….Rollo? If you would have read, the above story states Peterson has an arm injury and he will have surgery.

The notion he is being punished is absurd.


December 28th, 2011
3:07 pm

Peterson is the consummate pro but with a great love for the game. We will miss him I’m sure. I hope Atkins is ready to step up.

Great idea Drew, Peterson would make a great LB coach.


December 28th, 2011
3:09 pm

Peterson probably quit after that train wreck Monday Night!lol

The Real Falcon

December 28th, 2011
3:10 pm

I guess Nicholas won’t be back

The Real Falcon

December 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

Peterson is NOT a quitter!


December 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

33.5 vs. 23.8 The 1st # Saints offensive PPG. The 2nd # falcons offensive PPG. That will pretty much tell you the difference in the two teams.


December 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

pete sets an example for all people and players as a great person and teammate. get well” PETE” YOUR FANS AND TEAM WILL MISS YOU,AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU.


December 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

I am off to get my anus bleached….

Me Too

December 28th, 2011
3:29 pm

Mr. P. B.
If he comes on the team and starts playing lights out…Smitty and his cronies really need to be fired. I never believed they put the BEST player on the field;…………..

I think you might be on to something.


December 28th, 2011
3:56 pm

next man up,that’s the patriot way,and should be the falcon way. thanks pete for the effort,and good play.

Dirty Bird Nation

December 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

When is TD & Coach Smith going to open their eyes and see both co-ordators should be let go after this season. BVG defense will never stop the top offenses in the nfl nor will MM offense ever put points on the board against NFL’s defenses. Fire BVG & MM. Get outta town the both of you!


December 28th, 2011
4:45 pm

This story just sounds fishy when you go from the fact that he was looking forward to the next game and NO word was spoken about him being injured during that disaster Monday night to what we hear today as season ending injury.

When exactly did the injury occur? What play? I certainly don’t recall Peterson leaving the game with the injury. Does anyone recall that moment?

Just asking?


December 28th, 2011
4:50 pm


Did Ray Edwards go on Injured Reserve also the week before we played the Saints or sooner than that because he sure has been a No Show all season. Same for Peria Jerry – what a bunch of losers and waist of money on both.


December 28th, 2011
5:24 pm

saints made sure the failclowns will be0-3 in the post season with matty melt and smitty


December 28th, 2011
5:34 pm

Adkins will be another no name that TD hs drafted, we would be better to play without him and get someone from out of the stands.

[...] end after a slow recovery. Due to a lingering toe injury from starter Stephen Nicholas, the team is expected to start Spencer Adkins at strongside linebacker for the regular season finale this weekend against the Tampa Bay [...]


December 28th, 2011
5:43 pm

SPENCER ADKINS going to represent DA U well…going to bust some heads


December 28th, 2011
5:53 pm

Why not start Akeem Dent he’s a beast


December 28th, 2011
6:02 pm

HardyFalcon, TD has done pretty good picking draft picks. Outside of Samantha Baker the picks have worked out. I think Jerry’s better days are ahead. He’s been slow coming back from a bad knee injury a couple of years ago. Now TD’s free agent acquisitions are another story. He has not hit on a good high priced free agent yet since Michael Turner. Edwards and Robinson are non factors this year.

Sav Fan

December 28th, 2011
6:12 pm

It does not matter who starts -the Falcons are one and done in the playoffs-the NO disaster will take years to erase


December 28th, 2011
6:24 pm

wow ! u may lose 2 the buc’s… now thyat’s when u may move out of ALT. maybe NOLA, home of the world champ, for the second time… com’on down – we have a big pot of falcon gumbo…. ahaaaaaa L O S E R’ S ahaaaaaaaaa cry baby’s ur new name falcan’t = loser’s lol lol lo lo lol lol


December 28th, 2011
7:48 pm

We already lost to the bucs so did you nimrod


December 28th, 2011
7:50 pm

The Panthers may put brees in the dusty grass on his well you know


December 28th, 2011
8:01 pm

@ Mr. P. B…. Hell yeah! I have been wondering the samething. In preseason Matthews was showing what we needed…. A FREAKIN PASS RUSH!!!


December 28th, 2011
11:39 pm

Last year (2010) when the ‘birds lost on MNF it was a disappointment. But it wasn’t as discouraging because it was a great, close, “traditional” NO vs ATL game. Tight, physical and exciting. But this past Monday night loss …..it really has me (and a lot of fans) really searching!? It is like all the work the falcons have allegedly put into everything over the past four years has practically gone for naught! I still have a glimmer of hope they can do SOMETHING this year in the Playoffs. At least get Matt Ryan his first playoff win……maybe? I am not ready to jump ship just yet. But Arthur Blank is a smart man and if the falcons DON”T get past the first WC weekend he’ll make a few headrolling adjustments. That Monday night game was another embarassement on the National stage!! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!

Jay Dubu

December 29th, 2011
12:57 am

“Falcons want playoff rematch with the Saints”… Stop It!!!!

The Saints just beat the Falcons like a drum, and the players want a rematch? They have beat the Falcons the last three meeting between the teams.

They’ll be prepared for the next meeting with regular time off, but they were unprepared with 10 day off.

Falcons must think that eventually, they’ll win one.


December 29th, 2011
12:58 am

“saints made sure the failclowns will be 0-3 in the post season with matty melt and smitty” failclowns? matty melt? those jokes are as old as the dinasaur sperm between your teeth you f-ing loser. thats all you got is the saints and coming on the falcons blog to throw out those hilarious little nuggets. if you were at least insightful or even slightly funny we might be able to tolerate your presence on our blog- now matter how lame it is that you have nothing better to do than troll around another teams blog. you should take a dose of humility like your hero brees and show some respect. im sure your probably wearing his jersey now you pathetic jerk off.


December 29th, 2011
1:42 am



December 29th, 2011
6:40 am

BVG and Smith have got to quit acting so scared of the top QBs it not only gets you beat it gets you killed. I knew we were in trouble when I heard him say You cant stop Brees you can only try and slow him down. Thats code for Zone defence. Lets see the Rams stoped him, Seattle stoped him in the playoffs last year. Every 3rd down and more than 3yds Ryan was under heavy pressure, and guess what? We did not go (9 for 9) on 3rd down. Yet every 3rd and long Brees was in,it was rush 3 or 4 and play zone, Smith and BVG are scared to bring pressure on 3rd and long against the top QBs. Guess what?when you get to the playoffs the team you are playing is going to have a top QB. They live for getting zone defences to carve up!!! They Hate getting knocked on there cans against man defence with heavy pressure. Yes they will beat you with a couple of long balls, but hey ill live with that rather than watching Brees or Rogers stand back there for 4 to 8 seconds looking were the next hole in the zone is coming. Could bringing pressure work worse? The other great thing about hitting the QB other than just sacks is fumbles and INTs, look when you get hit a few times you start getting happy feet and good things start happening for the defence. When was the last really Great zone defence. The great DC in the NFL live for 3rd and long, yet we dread it why? Its because 3rd and Long we PLAY SCARED!


December 29th, 2011
8:04 am

We were done before both guys came down with season ending knee surgery.

Pilar Sanders

December 29th, 2011
8:33 am

Bottom line is that this coaching staff is inept and over their head. Cant Blank dismiss them via the internet?!

Big Dude

December 29th, 2011
9:08 am

If the Falcon’s Owner or GM fail to make major coaching changes at the end of the season, then I’ll change my allegence elsewhere. I don’t associate with losers. Thats why I gave up on the Braves. Life is too short to be frustrated all the time.


December 29th, 2011
9:52 am

@mancave….Thank you for confirming to me that most New Orleans fans forgot to finish high school and continue living with their parents. Even when you’re obnoxious on here we all just laugh at your stupidity.


December 29th, 2011
10:44 am

big dude do you really think anyone gives a Sh** if you change your allegence. You are typical fairweather fan.


December 29th, 2011
11:03 am

Big Dude… I understand that my favorite teams will not win all the freaking time. I still pull for the Falcons whenever they play. So you can take that crap and go be a New Orleans fan. I wouldn’t want to cheer for any team with you. You’re such a downer.


December 29th, 2011
11:07 am

By the way guys. Every year we don’t win a super bowl, just remember there are fans of 30 other NFL cities feeling the same thing. After remembering what kind of teams we had in the 90’s, I’ll take this winning record any day of the week.


December 29th, 2011
12:22 pm

Remember that “Smitty” was Falcons’ fourth-fifth choice as a coach . . . while he should be commended for helping to right the ship, he has, in my opinion, taken these birds as far as possible . . . Falcons have no vertical downfield passing game, which in a quarterback/pass-oriented league is anathema…Falcons will never beat a team like the Saints because as soon as their DBs get aggressive, the refs will call “defenseless receiver” calls (a load of crap) . . .Where was Harry Douglas during MNF game? Why didn’t Falcons take more strikes downfield? Please don’t tell me “Saints’ defense wouldn’t allow it” because the way rules are, you can always pick up easy pass interference calls . . .Michael Turner is a tip-toeing through the tulips joke . . . he tip toes all of his 260 pounds and can’t make short yardage (remember OT game) situations work for Falcons . . . Bottom line is, Falcons offense is average and defense is below average . . . playoffs? playoffs? playoffs? Did you say playoffs??? wild-card, one and done, back to the draft board . . . anybody seen big free agent acquisition Edwards? Anybody seen Peria Jerry? Falcons better be real careful because Saints are very good and Panthers are on the rise . . . http://www.shermancrockett.com

Brothas Hunt2

December 29th, 2011
12:29 pm

I am a Falcons Fan from Thomasville, Ga. I live in Maryland now in the heart of Redskins /Deadskins and Ravens country. The falcons coaching staff is inept at best and they do not have the ability to adjust their gameplan nor do they understand player recognition/match ups during the game.

Observation during the Saints game on MNF: When Darren Sproles entered the game Drew targeted him. I predicted several plays to Sproles from my living room on Monday night. We should have blitzed a LB or SS everytime Sproles was lined up in the backfield given his size. The Falcons would have turned Sproles into a blocker and taken away at least one target from Brees. Either way that would have been a winning matchup for the Falcons. Case and point, the Saints brought pressure againts us when they saw Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield which resulted in a holding play on Quizz because he got over powered.

The main point here is that the Falcons players and coaches always wait and react to what other teams do vs dictate the action on defense. Last point: all of our defensive tackles are the same size just slightly over 300lbs. In the current defensive scheme (loose zone), they are built to run to the ball and make a tackle. We do not have any beef or heft in our defensive line to push or clog up the pocket.

Think about this…name one defensive tackle on our current roster that opposing teams say they have to double team? We have not had a player on our defensive line over 340/350 lbs since big Grady Jackson. We need players on the D-line along the mold of Haloti Ngta Ravens (HT 6-4, WT 330lbs) or Terrance Cody Ravens (HT 6-4, WT 354 lbs). I have come to the realization that we will not get out of the first round mainly because we play scared and too conservative on defense and offense.


Jay Dubu

December 29th, 2011
12:50 pm

Some of the fustration with the Falcons is that they won the division last year with 13 victories, and were the #1 seed in the NFC. The expectations were that they would improve on last year’s performance with the additions made in the off-season. They even began to get some respect from the national media “experts”, some of whom, were picking them as Super Bowl Contenders.

I think we as fans listened too muck to the “experts”, and maybe even the Falcons’ players themselves, listened to the media too much.

They have been inconsistant all season long, and the defensive schemes that employ have been exposed by good QBs during this season.

I just don’t see this defense contributing to the Falcons’ playoff success by shuting down any playoff possible teams other than the Giants and maybe Detroit.