Archive for January, 2012

SENIOR BOWL: Falcons have found players here

MOBILE – Despite not having a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, several members from the

Tim Tebow got off to a slow start at Senior Bowl workouts a couple of years ago. (Dave Martin, Associated Press)

Tim Tebow got off to a slow start at Senior Bowl workouts a couple of years ago. (Dave Martin, Associated Press)

 Falcons’ personnel department and coaching staff will scout the practices and the 63rd annual Senior Bowl all-star game.

The practices start on Monday and the game, between the North and South teams, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The NFL Network will cover the practices and the game. (CLICK NORTH or SOUTH to view ROSTERS.)

The Falcons traded away their 2012 first and fourth round picks to the Cleveland Browns as part of the deal for wide receiver Julio Jones last year. They retained picks in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

Without a first-round pick, the Falcons hope to uncover a second-round gem. The Senior Bowl is a must stop for all 32 teams in the NFL and a key part of the pre-draft evaluation process.

“It’s always just …

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Terrell ‘T-Sizzle’ Suggs checks in on Dirk Koetter

Terrell Suggs (Rob Carr, Associated Press)

Terrell Suggs (Rob Carr, Associated Press)

Before Terrell Suggs turned in to a terror for the Baltimore Ravens, he played for Falcons new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter at Arizona State in 2001 and 2002.

Our buddy Jason Butt, a former Falcons beat writer from the University of Georgia who now covers the Baltimore Ravens for CBSSports.com, asked Suggs about Koetter for us.

“He’s very inventive,” Suggs said. “He had a lot of practices based on stopping me. I think I ruined a lot of his practices. I got pulled out of a lot of his practices because I was ballin’ in college. But he’s a good coach. He’s going to be good for Atlanta.”

Here’s the Koetter story, where others, including Eagles head coach Andy Reid and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, checked in with us about the Falcons new offensive coordinator.

Falcons’ Koetter follows in father’s footsteps

FLOWERY BRANCH — Back in 1985, Dirk Koetter decided to leave the small town of Pocatello, Idaho, to chase his dream of one day …

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Roddy White wins PFWA’s ‘Good Guy’ Award

 

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White talks to the media whether if it's about Michael Vick or Victor Cruz he's always helpful.   Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White talks to the media whether if it's about Michael Vick or Victor Cruz he's always helpful. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was voted the team’s Good Guy Award winner by the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America for the 2011 season.

 It was a close vote between White and linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Thomas DeDoud.

One voter pointed out that White is always available during open locker room session. White doesn’t care if the team has won or lost a big game, he makes it a point to be available to assist the media. Another voter noted that White is also open and colorful.

A plaque recognizing White will hang in the media room at Flowery Branch.

Numerous PFWA local chapters hand out Good Guy awards to players who show exceptional respect for fans by going above and beyond in cooperating with the media throughout the year. Here were some of them:

Cowboys defensive end …

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Character guys vs. Football Marauders

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) celebrates his touchdown after a fumble-recovery during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. (AP Photo)

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) celebrates his touchdown after a fumble-recovery during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. (AP Photo)

The “Aubibles” section in Pro Football Weekly is a must read.

The quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

One of the Falcons’ issues is how much to weigh “character” into the evaluations in their quest for more “battling” souls. I’ve had trouble coming up with the “proper” name for these type of players, but I think I’ve found my word.

It’s “Marauders!” The Falcons need more of them.

To “maraud” means “to rove and raid in search of plunder” or “to raid or pillage for spoils.”

In this case, the “Football Marauders” would plunder the opposition’s backfield in search of the football and/or the quarterback.

“Someone” around the league believes the Detroit Lions, who were the No. 6 …

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Kiper on UGA’s Charles, Tech’s Hill for 2012 NFL draft

Georgia tight end Orson Charles has an Aaron Murray pass slip though his hands. Brant Sanderlin@ajc.com

Georgia tight end Orson Charles has an Aaron Murray pass slip though his hands. Brant Sanderlin@ajc.com

A total of 65 players, include key players from Georgia and Georgia Tech, have been granted special eligibility for the 2012 NFL Draft on April 26-28 in New York, the league announced on Thursday.

It is the most underclassmen declared eligible for the draft over the last 10 years. That is good news for the Falcons, who do not have a first round pick, because the large number of underclassmen should

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill scoring an 82-yard touchdown. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill scoring an 82-yard touchdown. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

 strengthen the talent pool and could push a good player down to them.  They traded away their first round pick last season in the Julio Jones trade with the Cleveland Browns.

The players, including Georgia tight end Orson Charles and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, submitted a written application in which they renounced their remaining college football eligibility. The deadline …

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Falcons cheer squad ranked 10th; Saints 8th

 110901 Atlanta - The new Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders kick things off performing before the Falcons take the field to play the Ravens in the final exhibition game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.comCurtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

110901 Atlanta – The new Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders kick things off performing before the Falcons take the field to play the Ravens in the final exhibition game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.comCurtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders were ranked 10th in the league in a sports business CNBC.com article by Darren Rovell and Paul Toscano titled “The NFL Best Cheerleading Squads of 2012.”

In the off-season, one of the best ways for teams to generate buzz and get significant page

Shamea -- Ms. June 2012 in the swimsuit calendar -- was also listed in Jezebel Magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans. Falcons cheerleaders Natalie D. and Brandy also made the list.

Shamea — Ms. June 2012 in the swimsuit calendar — was also listed in Jezebel Magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans. Falcons cheerleaders Natalie D. and Brandy also made the list.

 views on their websites is to have a strong cheerleader page. So we went through all 32 teams, including the ones still in the playoffs, and ranked the top cheerleading squads, taking in consideration everything from presentation …

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Q and A with new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan

mikenolan_158939c

Mike Nolan (Associated Press)

C-Viv reporting from Flowery Branch.

Here are excerpts of Mike Nolan’s conference call with the Atlanta media Wednesday after being named the team’s new defensive coordinator. The biggest highlight is he does not plan to switch to a 3-4 scheme, saying the team has been built as a 4-3 scheme and that currently works best with the personnel.

Q. Will you switch to 3-4 defense?

A. It’s my philosophy that you build your scheme around the players and not the other way around. What has been built there is a very solid foundation on a 4-3 defense. In my 25 years in the NFL, 14 years as a coordinator, seven of them have been in a 4-3 and seven have been in a 3-4. I’m very familiar with both. When I’ve been in a 4-3 I’ve frequently used the 3-4 as part of it. It would appear to me that is what is best for that football team.

Q. What do you know about team and its personnel?

A. I have limited knowledge. I’ve looked at some of it. I know they have a solid …

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Falcons hire Mike Nolan as new defensive coordinator

We know that Mike Nolan likes to wear suits. We'll have to see if needs some advice on bow-ties. (Associated Press)

We know that Mike Nolan likes to wear suits. We'll have to see if needs some advice on bow-ties. (Associated Press)

The Falcons hired Mike Nolan, who received his start in coaching from Dan Reeves, as their new defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

He replaces Brian VanGorder, who left the team last week to become Auburn’s new defensive coordinator.

Nolan is considered a 3-4 coach. But Falcons coach Mike Smith’s respect for him from their days together in Baltimore runs deep. They will blend the principles of Nolan’s 3-4 with Smith’s 4-3.

The Falcons hired Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator on Sunday.

 Team owner Arthur Blank expects the new coordinators to bring a new set of eyes and expertise to the team.

“Their ability . . . to be totally objective, cold-hearted and unemotional about the young men that we have on the roster [should be an asset],” Blank said. “[We’ll] bring in some folks that will be able to give us maybe some new perspective, maybe some different …

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Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau released

Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau wants his players to start knocking people on their, um, butts.  Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com

Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau will not return for 2012. Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com

Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau was relieved of his duties on Tuesday.

Also, the team is expected to announce their new defensive cordinator shortly.

Boudreau joined the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff as offensive line coach in 2008 and spent four seasons with the team.

“We would like to thank Coach Boudreau for his contributions to our team over the past four seasons, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Falcons head coach Mike Smith in a release issued by the Falcons.

Boudreau is the third coach from the offensive side of the ball to leave the team.
Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey accepted the head coaching position with Jacksonville last Wednesday. Quartebacks coach Bob Bratkowski left to join Mularkey as his offensive coordinator last Friday.

On Sunday, the Falcons named Dirk Koetter as the new offensive coordinator.

The offense didn’t …

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Kelly getting jump on post-football career

FLOWERY BRANCH – Reggie Kelly has no plans to retire after his just-completed 13th season in the NFL. He is getting a jump on his post-football career – with a touch of southern cooking.

The Falcons tight end has developed a line of salsas, seasonings and sauces inspired by family recipes from his home in Mississippi. According to Kelly, his hot and mild salsas will appear at Walmart in Atlanta, South Carolina and Kentucky starting Jan. 23. The products will be released under the name KYVAN, after Kelly’s children Kyla and Kavan.

“I have a lot of ideas and things I want to do,” Kelly said as the Falcons prepare for Sunday’s playoff game against the Giants. “I’ve been playing football for a long time and I still enjoy playing the game but I know there are a lot of resources that I’m going to take advantage of while I’m playing this game. When I do finally retire, I want to have a smooth transition from the game of football. This will give me that.”

Kelly is an unrestricted free …

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