Archive for December, 2011

Mike Smith’s heart is fine after more tests

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith went through additional health testing on Friday and announced that his heart is in fine condition, but did not reveal the discovered ailment. 

“I want to be as transparent as I can be,” Smith said on Monday. “I did have a follow-up appointment and follow-up testing on Friday. The follow-up appointment revealed the cause of the problem that I was having in Charlotte. I want to tell you that it’s not my heart. My heart is fine. I am fine.

“The doctors have devised a medical plan to deal with the issues and I can assure you again, it’s not my heart. I am fine and I want to talk about the football team.”

After the Charlotte incident, Smith said he may have to make some lifestyle changes.

“It will not be anything that affects how I coach the football team,” Smith said. “I just want it to come to a conclusion. The testing and such that took place on Friday, we’ve got a way to deal with it and we’ll move forward with that.”

Continue reading Mike Smith’s heart is fine after more tests »

UPDATE: Brent Grimes returns to practice

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes intercepts Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes intercepts Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

UPDATE:  As expected, left cornerback Brent Grimes returned to practice on Tuesday. Here’s  the story on his return. CLICK HERE!

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ secondary could be at full strength for their matchup with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ vaunted passing attack.

Starting right cornerback Brent Grimes, who has missed three games after having knee surgery, is set to return to practice on Tuesday. Also, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, the team’s top nickel back who was out with a dislocated toe, could return to practice by Thursday.

“We are hoping tomorrow to have Brent Grimes back out on the field practicing,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Monday. “That will be a plus. I do not know about Kelvin Hayden for tomorrow, but maybe it will happen on Thursday.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at

Continue reading UPDATE: Brent Grimes returns to practice »

Final day of Pro Bowl voting for the fans on NFL.com

 

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 – Balloting for the Pro Bowl will conclude today following the conclusion of Monday Night Football (Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers, ESPN, 8:30 p.m. (ET). The teams will be announced at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 27 on a special NFL Total Access 2012 Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network.

Last season, seven Falcons — Quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Roddy White, running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez, fullback Ovie Mughelli, defensive end John Abraham and specialist  Eric Weems — were named to the NFC team. Right tackle Tyson Clabo and cornerback Brent Grimes went as alternates.

This season, there are no Falcons leading at their position in the fan voting.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with 1,263,045 votes, leads all …

Continue reading Final day of Pro Bowl voting for the fans on NFL.com »

Video: Falcons secure 4th straight winning season

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter breaks down the Falcons 41-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome on Thursday night.

–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 secure 4th straight winning season »

INJURY REPORT: Nicholas returns, leaves with new injury

Falcons linebacker (56) Sean Weatherspoon comes up with the fumble by the Jaguars' Jarett Dillard on a kick return, setting up a touchdown run by Michael Turner for a 17-0 Falcons lead during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons linebacker (56) Sean Weatherspoon comes up with the fumble by the Jaguars' Jarett Dillard on a kick return, setting up a touchdown run by Michael Turner for a 17-0 Falcons lead during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas, who missed the past two games with a quadriceps injury, returned to the starting lineup but suffered a knee injury.

Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters limped off the field early in the second quarter. The doctors looked at his right knee and put on a brace on it before taking him to the locker room.

Peria Jerry took over for Peters at his the tackle spot next to Jonathan Babineaux. Peters returned with 8:04 left in the second quarter.

Linebacker Curtis Lofton got his right ankle re-taped in the second quarter.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a shoulder injury.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page …

Continue reading INJURY REPORT: Nicholas returns, leaves with new injury »

Mularkey’s ‘audition’ for Jacksonville job goes well

Roddy White wide receiver catches a Matt Ryan pass in front of Jaguars cornerback Ashton Youboty during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Roddy White wide receiver catches a Matt Ryan pass in front of Jaguars cornerback Ashton Youboty during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

If Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey were auditioning on Thursday night for the vacant Jacksonville head-coaching job, he had a great showing.

With Jack Del Rio dismissed by the Jaguars, Mularkey and former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman are on the short list as replacement candidates, according to a recent ESPN report.

Mularkey wants to be a head coach again. He was the Buffalo coach in 2004-05 and posted a 14-18 record.

Mularkey and Bill Musgrave, who left last season to become Minnesota’s offensive coordinator, have been lauded leaguewide for their fast development of quarterback Matt Ryan and for turning the Falcons’ offense into one of the league’s top units.

Mularkey is attractive because of his background in coaching power football. Jacksonville also needs someone to develop quarterback Blaine …

Continue reading Mularkey’s ‘audition’ for Jacksonville job goes well »

GAME STORY: Falcons dismantle Jaguars, 41-14

Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert (11) has been sacked 4th-most in the NFL this season. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert (11) has been sacked 4th-most in the NFL this season. Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

This time, with the bright national TV lights shining on them, the Falcons didn’t mess around with a team holding a losing record.

After sleepwalking for a half against Carolina on the previous Sunday in a network game, they pounced on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and didn’t let up, winning 41-14 on Thursday night before 68,856 at the Georgia Dome and an NFL Network audience.

“Playing on a short week in the NFL is never an easy proposition,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “But I really felt like out team handled it very well. I think it showed the way that they worked in the ball game. We started fast and I thought that we playe well for most of the ball game.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones put on a passing clinic, and the defense, led by veteran defensive end John Abraham, throttled the Jaguars’ offense and its rookie …

Continue reading GAME STORY: Falcons dismantle Jaguars, 41-14 »

UPDATE: Team denies Mike Smith has ‘persistent chest’ discomfort

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons denied a report that coach Mike Smith has had “persistent chest

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the local media on Monday after going to the hospital with chest pains in Charlotte. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the local media on Monday after going to the hospital with chest pains in Charlotte. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

 related discomfort” on Thursday.

“He feels fine,” said Reggie Roberts, the team’s vice president of communications.

Following Sunday’s Falcons-Carolina game, Smith, 52, had chest pains and was taken to a hospital before the team’s charter flight left for Atlanta.

Smith had undisclosed tests and arrived back in Atlanta at 3 a.m. He was at the team’s facilities around 3:30 p.m. and held a team meeting at 4 p.m.

“He spent the week preparing his team for the nationally-televised game against Jacksonville,” Roberts said. “Smith had a previously scheduled appointment. It was made after he left the hospital in Charlotte.”

The Falcons (8-5) are set to play the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) at 8:20 p.m. …

Continue reading UPDATE: Team denies Mike Smith has ‘persistent chest’ discomfort »

NFLN analyst Mike Mayock talks some football gospel

 

Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The regulars, who stop by the blog, know that my man NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is a favorite in this spot.

(He was on the money during the Matt Ryan draft and we’ve been sticking with him every since.)

Mayock speaks the football gospel.

He’s been out here the last couple of days watching practice. He’ll be your color analyst when the Falcons (8-5) play the Jaguars (4-9) at 8:20 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

Also, quarterback Matt Ryan will sit down with Deion Sanders during the pre-game show at 6 p.m. on the NFL Network.

In addition to being televised on NFL Network, folks without cable and see it locally on WATL.

Here are some of the highlights of our little football chat:

MAYOCK ON THE NFC PLAYOFF RACE: I think if you’re in Atlanta you’ve got to be pretty happy because you control your own destiny. I think what happened last week worked out to their benefit. I think the bottom line for Atlanta is that they …

Continue reading NFLN analyst Mike Mayock talks some football gospel »

Marines collecting Toys for Tots at Falcons’ game

First Lady Michelle Obama debuts the 2009 White House Christmas decorations Dec. 2 in Cross Hall at the White House. She is accompanied by Marines as she promotes the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

First Lady Michelle Obama debuts the 2009 White House Christmas decorations Dec. 2 in Cross Hall at the White House. She is accompanied by Marines as she promotes the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 FLOWERY BRANCH –  The Falcons are asking fans to bring new unwrapped toys or make a donation   to the United States Marine Corps’ 2011 Toys for Tots Drive, which will be held at the Falcons home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

The Marines will be at all Georgia Dome gates from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

–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 Marines collecting Toys for Tots at Falcons’ game »