Archive for January, 2012

Falcons presser: Blank was ‘angry’ with season

Falcons owner Arthur Blank let the public know that he was 'angry' with how last season turned out. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank let the public know that he was 'angry' with how last season turned out. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank admitted that he was “angry” after the team’s early exit from the playoffs in a press conference on Wednesday.

Blank, head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke to the local media in the aftermath of a season that saw their Super Bowl hopes come crashing down in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Before the presser, the team had already lost defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to a “family decision” to return to the college ranks and around the same time, offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was being introduced as the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here are some of the other highlights from the press conference that lasted a little over an hour.

– The team stated that it wanted to support transparency, but that it would conduct its search for new coordinators in …

Continue reading Falcons presser: Blank was ‘angry’ with season »

EXCLUSIVE Q&A: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff addresses concerns

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith have been in nonstop meetings. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith have been in nonstop meetings. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Since returning from the playoff loss to the New York Giants, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has gone through two days of non-stop meetings with head coach Mike Smith and other members of the football operations department.

In a wide-ranging Q&A with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday evening, Dimitroff discussed his spending on free agents Dunta Robinson and Ray Edwards, the Julio Jones trade, quarterback Matt Ryan, what the team will be looking for in a new defensive coordinator and how they’ll attain a breakthrough in the playoffs.

Q: As you’ve had some time to reflect, what are your thoughts on how the season ended?

A: We came into this season with very strong expectations both internally and externally. We made some aggressive moves both in the draft and free agency. Our expectations were for us to be very …

Continue reading EXCLUSIVE Q&A: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff addresses concerns »

Mularkey hired as Jacksonville head coach

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)     Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

UPDATE: The Jacksonville Jaguars have confirmed the hiring of former Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey as their third head coach.

The Florida Times-Union is reporting, through a source, that the Jaquars have hired Mike Mularkey as their new head coach. 

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is interviewing for the vacant head coach position with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Les Snead, the team’s director of player personnel is interviewing for the general manager’s post in St. Louis, today.

He’s set to interview with Miami later in the week.

Should Mularkey land the Jacksonville or Miami job, he could take a couple of assistant coaches with him. There has been very little turnover from Smith’s original staff. With former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s swift departure to the college ranks, five of the original 16 members have …

Continue reading Mularkey hired as Jacksonville head coach »

Video: More changes on the way for Falcons

Who should the Falcons blame for their 24-2 loss to the Giants? CineSport’s Noah Coslov sits with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC to ask this and find out what other changes will take place as offensive coordinator interviews in Jacksonville today.

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

Even if Mularkey doesn’t land the job in Jacksonville or Miami, the team could move in a different direction on offense. 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. Rick Neuheisel
5. Brian Billick

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on …

Continue reading Video: More changes on the way for Falcons »

Brian VanGorder leaving Falcons for Auburn

FLOWERY BRANCHBrian VanGorder, the Falcons defensive coordinator for the last four

These two have to get the pass defense figured out.  Here, Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder emphasies a point with head coach Mike Smith during defensive drills with players in the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

These two have to get the pass defense figured out. Here, Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder emphasies a point with head coach Mike Smith during defensive drills with players in the first padded practice at training camp in Flowery Branch on Monday, August 1, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

 seasons, resigned to accept the same post at Auburn on Monday.

“Coach Brian VanGorder has accepted the position of defensive coordinator at Auburn University,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Brian has been an integral part of our success here over the last four years. I want to thank Brian and his family for all that they’ve done for our organization.  I want to personally thank Brian for all of his hard work and all the work that he’s done to make us successful here in Atlanta.”

Smith was a defensive coordinator under former Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio. He would not say if Del …

Continue reading Brian VanGorder leaving Falcons for Auburn »

Video: Atlanta Falcons flop again in playoffs

The Atlanta Falcons lost in the first round of the NFL Playoffs for the third time in four years. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports from MetLife Stadium.

–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: Atlanta Falcons flop again in playoffs »

Q&A: Mike Smith discusses his disappointment

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, right, shakes hands with New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin before their NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, right, shakes hands with New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin before their NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Here’s what Falcons coach Mike Smith had to say after the game.

Obvioulsy, the game [didn't go] the way we wanted [it] to go today. We didn’t make enough plays offensively, defensively or on special teams to get the outcome that we wanted. We struggled in several areas of the ballgame today. They won the battle of the line of scrimmage and that was one of the ‘musts’ we had to accomplish and we didn’t get it accomplished today. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OFFENSE?: We weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone. We pride ourselves on controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought it was evident that we couldn’t get it done throughout the ball game. Even though our quarterback was sacked once or maybe twice …

Continue reading Q&A: Mike Smith discusses his disappointment »

Game story: Falcons outmuscled by Giants, 24-2

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) takes down Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33). AP

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) takes down Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33). AP

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Much to the dismay of the Falcons’ front office and despite their best efforts, the Falcons are not a championship level NFL team.

The Falcons were defeated by the New York Giants 24-2 and rudely escorted from the playoffs at MetLife Stadium before a raucous crowd of 79,909 fans on Sunday.

After playing a gutsy first half, the Falcons were treated like imposters trying to crash a glitzy Broadway party in the second half.

New York wide receiver Hakeem Nicks mocked the team’s tradition by doing the Dirty Bird dance after a 72-yard third-quarter touchdown and the festive Giants fans at the stadium spent parts of the fourth quarter chatting, “Hey, hey hey…Good-bye.”

Last season, the Falcons came out of the regular season winners of the NFC South. Because of some major offseason moves they were considered by some to be a Super Bowl …

Continue reading Game story: Falcons outmuscled by Giants, 24-2 »

Video: Matt Ryan’s press conference

–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: Matt Ryan’s press conference »

Video: Falcons fall to New York Giants

Tom Coughlin, Mike Smith, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan address the media following the Atlanta Falcons’ disappointing loss to the New York Giants in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

–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 fall to New York Giants »