Archive for January, 2012

Jones, Bosher, Dent make PFW/PFWA’s all-rookie team

110812 Atlanta - Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta – Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, punter Matt Bosher and linebacker Akeem Dent were all named to Pro Football Weekly’s all-rookie team, as voted on by Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Writers of America.

Jones, a first-round pick, finished with 54 catches for 959 yards and eight touchdowns.

Bosher, a sixth-round pick, averaged 42.7 yards per punt, with four touchbacks and he placed 27 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Dent, a third-round pick from Georgia, had 19 special teams tackles.

The Falcons did not place a player on the All-NFL team.

Below, you will find the entire team, which was voted on by PFWA members and Pro Football Weekly editors. The All-NFL team and all individual awards plus All-Conference teams and …

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Q&A: New OC Dirk Koetter shares his philosophy

Dirk Koetter (Associated Press)

Dirk Koetter (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – New Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter participated in a conference call with the local media today.

He met with quarterback Matt Ryan for about an hour during the interview process.

Koetter said he has more film study to do on the Falcons, but stated that he’s a proponent of the vertical passing game, running the football and that he’s been ordered to improve the team’s screen passing attack.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What are your thoughts on being named the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons?

A: (Laughs!) Obviously, I’m thrilled to be named. It’s a chance for me to work inside a great organization with a tremendous coaching staff led by coach [Mike] Smith and a team that’s got a great group of players. Who wouldn’t be excited about that.

Q: Will you bring your offense? Or will you be keeping what’s here? And, where does the no-huddle fit in your operation?

Well, I think probably a …

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Dirk Koetter named Falcons’ new offensive coordinator

Dirk Koetter, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars, agreed to terms to become the Falcons

Dirk Koetter (Associated Press)

Dirk Koetter (Associated Press)

 new offensive coordinator on Sunday, the team confirmed. 

Koetter is set to talk to the media on a conference call at 11 a.m. Monday.

“I am very pleased to add Coach Koetter as our offensive coordinator,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said in a statement issued by the team. “Dirk is a veteran offensive coach who will bring years of NFL experience as an offensive coordinator as well as a fresh set of ideas to our offense. He is bright, he understands the intricacies of the vertical passing game, but he also wants to be able to run the football which is very important in the NFL. I look forward to working with Dirk and have tremendous confidence that he will be a great addition to our team and our coaching staff.”

Koetter, 52, was Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2011. He will replace Mike Mularkey, who left to become Jacksonville’s …

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THE DC SEARCH: Spagnuolo, Nolan are of interest

Former St. Louis Coach Steve Spagnuolo had a great defense in New York. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

Former St. Louis Coach Steve Spagnuolo had a great defense in New York. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

The top two candidates for the vacant defensive coordinator position are Steve Spagnuolo and Mike Nolan.

Despite revamping the secondary and trying to bolster the pass rush, the Falcons struggled to improve their pass defense. Since 2008, they’ve ranked 21st (2008, 220.4), 28th (2009, 241.9), 22nd (2010, 226.6) and 20th (2011, 236.6).

“Moving forward, this defense needs to continue its growth and evolution as a passionate and fiery defense, one that is going to fly to the football, disrupt, be opportunistic and capitalized on opportunities to turn the game around; flip the game in critical situations,” Dimitroff said. “We’ll look for a coordinator who will [aid] Coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field.”

Having previous ties to Smith is not a prerequisite.

“Obviously, that coordinator is going to work hand-and-hand …

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THE OC SEARCH: Names starting to surface

Brian Schottenhiemer was the offensive coordinator the past six seasons for the New York Jets. By Kathy Willens, AP

Brian Schottenhiemer was the offensive coordinator the past six seasons for the New York Jets. By Kathy Willens, AP

The Falcons promised a stealth search for their offensive and defensive coordinators, but the names are already leaking out.

The Falcons would like to have the coordinators in place so that could help work the Senior Bowl in Mobile, with the scouting starting on Jan. 21 and the game on Jan. 28.

But if the candidates are in the Super Bowl, the Falcons wouldn’t be allowed to seek permission until after the game on Feb. 5.

“We are going to bring candidates in,” Smith said. “We have skill-sets that we are going to be looking for in the different candidates.”

Some of the candidates for the vacant offensive coordinator position are Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, Dirk Koetter, Brian Schottenheimer and Brian Billick.

Longshot candidates include Hue Jackson and Mike Martz.

Internal candidates include wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and …

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Real Falcons ‘fans’ need to thank Coach Mularkey

110801 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey signals to the offense while players run through the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011.     Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110801 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey signals to the offense while players run through the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Real Falcons ‘fans’ need to step up and send thank you cards to new Jacksonville coach Mike Mularkey.

What he was able to achieve in his four years of unprecedented success in franchise history should be recognized. He doesn’t deserve having some rocks thrown at him on his way out of town.

Some of you, before disrespecting Mularkey, need to reflect and look at his unit’s accomplishments.

The Falcons had to build the offense from scratch, starting with a rookie quarterback, a rookie left tackle, a free agent running back and a new right guard.

The offense was the backbone of the teams that went 11-7, 9-7, 13-3 and 10-6 and made three trips to the playoffs. The good folks of Cleveland and Buffalo would throw …

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UPDATE: Bratkowski named OC in Jacksonville

Bob Bratkowski (Associated Press).

Bob Bratkowski (Associated Press).

UPDATE: 6:01 p.m.

Mike Mularkey announced the hiring of Bob Bratkowski as the offensive coordinator on Friday.

EARLIER POST

Bob Bratkowski, 56, who served one season as quarterbacks coach for the Falcons, is planning to join Mike Mularkey’s staff as the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, according to an ESPN sourced report.

The Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville, is reporting that Bratkowski will join Mularkey’s staff.

Bratkowski did not deny the reports but in a text to the AJC wrote, “Nothing concrete yet!”

Calls to Bratkowski and Mularkey were not returned. Bratkowski is the son of former University of Georgia great Zeke Bratkowski.

Bratkowski replaced Bill Musgrave, who left to become Minnesota’s offensive coordiantor after the 2010 season.

Under Bratkowski’s tutelage, quarterback Matt Ryan passed for a franchise-record 4,177 yards last season. He broke Jeff George’s mark that had stood since 1995.

Bratkowski served as the …

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Theismann links Schottenheimer to Falcons on 680TheFan

Brian Schottenhiemer was the offensive coordinator the past six seasons for the New York Jets. By Kathy Willens, AP

Brian Schottenhiemer was the offensive coordinator the past six seasons for the New York Jets. By Kathy Willens, AP

Could Brian Schottenheimer, formerly of the New York Jets, be the Falcons new offensive coordinator?

NFL Network’s Joe Theismann, who knows Schottenheimer from his days coaching with the Washington Redskins, linked him to the Falcons in a radio interview this morning on 680TheFan’s morning show, the Rude Awakening with Chris Rude, Sandra Golden and Perry Laurentino.

Here’s part of the interview:

“[Brian] felt like he was saddled and limited by what Mark Sanchez can do in New York,” Theisman said. “Mark is really not that good. He’s a hard-working kid. He wants to be good. But he doesn’t understand the game of football the way Matt does.

“You have to play the position with the knowledge of where you are on the field, what the score is in the game. What [you] can do. What [you] can’t do. What are the things that are required of me. Really, the …

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Roddy White added to NFC Pro Bowl team

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)

Falcons receiver Roddy White catches a touchdown pass against Carolina in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team today, according to the NFL.

White will replace Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is unable to participate due to injury.

White finished the season with 100 catches for 1,296 yards and eight touchdowns.

 He finished second in the NFL, and led the NFC in receptions for the second straight season.

He became just the eighth player in NFL history to record five consecutive seasons with at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards.

This year marks his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl selection as he made the NFC squad in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He joins tight end Tony Gonzalez as Falcons who will represent the club in Hawaii on January 29, 2012.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Video: Atlanta Falcons & Coordinators part ways

Atlana Falcons’ Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey is now the Jaguars’ Head Coach. What do all the changes mean for Mike Smith? CineSport’s Noah Coslov chats with the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Here’s my working list of candidates to replace defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. One thing to keep in mind is that coach Mike Smith pointed out that the team has drafted for a 4-3 defense so you can rule out 3-4 guys.
1. Mike Nolan
2. Steve Spagnuolo
3. Jack Del Rio
4. Raheem Morris
5. Tim Lewis

Here’s my working list of candidates to replace Mularkey. Smith said he wants a balanced attack and doesn’t believe you can be one-dimensional.
1. Dirk Koetter
2. Mike Martz
3. Terry Robiskie
4. Hue Jackson
5. Brian Billick

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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