Archive for February, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Dimitroff’s 2012 draft plan

In the team’s 2011 season in review, they reveal general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s 2012 draft plan:

“It doesn’t matter where we are in the Draft, it doesn’t matter
where our needs may be. I really want to have a firm grasp.
You never know where you’re going to see those players later.
It could be in free agency, it could be because of a cut early.
Who knows, so I make sure I’m looking at everyone.”

– Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff on his approach to the 2012
draft.

The Falcons will not select until the 55th pick over. They traded away this year’s first and fourth round picks and a part of the 5-for-1 mega deal with Cleveland last season. The Falcons will also pick in round three, five, six and seven. They are slated to pick 22nd in each round.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Atlanta Falcons: Here’s the offseason depth chart

The Falcons sent out their 2011 season in review on Tuesday, which included the unofficial depth chart.

Here are some of the nuggets from the review and I take a little stab at how the offseason depth chart looks with 17 prospective unrestricted free agents.

–Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have posted 10-or-more wins and earned playoff berths in three of the last four seasons. Smith is the first coach in franchise history to post multiple 10-win seasons and his 43-21 overall record is the best four-year mark in club history.

–in 2011, the Falcons set a franchise record for most total net yards gained in a season with 6,026 yards. The Falcons broke the record that was set by the 2008 squad, which posted 5,779 total yards.

–Quarterback Matt Ryan broke the franchise record for passing yards in a single season with 4,177 yards passing. Ryan broke QB Jeff George’s club record of 4,143 yards set in 1995.

–Ryan also set a franchise mark for 300-yard passing games …

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Atlanta Falcons: Offseason program altered by CBA

Falcons coach Mike Smith looks up at the scoreboard in the first quarter of play. AP

Falcons coach Mike Smith looks up at the scoreboard in the first quarter of play. AP

Because of changes in the collective bargaining agreement, the Falcons will have a much different schedule this offseason.

“We’re not going to start until April 23,” Falcons coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The mandatory minicamp can’t take place until the last two weeks of the offseason program.”

Here’s the Falcons’ offseason schedule:

*A rookie minicamp is scheduled for two weeks after the draft, which will be held April 26-28.

*The offseason training program starts April 23 with weight lifting and meetings.

*Coaching sessions will start in Weeks 3-6 of the organized team activities.

*Mandatory minicamp is set for June 19-21.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Mike Mayock: Janoris Jenkins is a first-round talent

INDIANAPOLIS — NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn’t have a tight end with a first-round grade.

UGA’s Orson Charles and Stanford’s Coby Fleener are generally considered the top tight ends in the draft. Clemson’s Dwayne Allen is the third rated tight end.

After that trio, there’s a big dropoff.

A couple of other highlights from this take:

–Janoris Jenkins is a first-round talent if you can get over his character issues.

–Andrew Luck is no comparision to Peyton Manning.

–Mayock wants to know how much a player loves the game.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Atlanta Falcons: Lofton’s value rises with Brooks deal

 

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton (50), who could become a free agent, forces Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne (7) to throw an incomplete pass during first quarter NFL preseason football action in Miami, Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton (50), who could become a free agent, forces Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne (7) to throw an incomplete pass during first quarter NFL preseason football action in Miami, Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

UPDATE: San Francisco signed linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a six-year, $44.5 million contract with $17.5 million of it guaranteed, his agent Greg Williams told the Associated Press. Here’s a story on Brooks going from party boy and getting cut in Cincinnati to being baptized last week and inking his new deal.

INDIANAPOLIS – The market is starting to set for Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who can become an unrestricted free agent on  March 13 if the Falcons do not sign him to a contract extension.

 Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Monday that the Browns have signed linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to a five-year contract worth $42.5 million. A total of $19 million is guaranteed.

So now, …

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NFL COMBINE: Brandon Boykin has fractured right leg

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin, who suffered a small fracture in his lower right leg at the Senior Bowl, took his physical exams and will meet with teams at the NFL scouting combine.

He plans to hold his own personal Pro Day in April after he recovers from his injury.

Here are some notes and quotes from Boykin’s interview on Sunday with the media at the combine:

Height: 5-9
Weight: 182
Agent: Kevin Conner, Universal Sports Management (Atlanta).
Training: Athlete’s Performance in Pensacola, Fla.

Q: What all have you done so far?
A:
Yesterday I started off with hospital visits. After that I had a meeting and then went to the train station and interviewed with coaches for about two hours. Woke up this morning and did the urine test, blood test and all that type of stuff. Then more doctor examinations.
Q: What is the key for you at the combine? What do you hope to show the teams?
A:
The key for me is showing my intelligence. Showing my knowledge of the game. Not …

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NFL COMBINE: Tech’s Stephen Hill runs 40 in 4.3 seconds

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill said he planned to set the track ablaze at the NFL scouting combine and he came through with the promise.

Considered a fourth-round prospect before the combine, Hill improved his draft status by running the 40-yard dash in a dazzling 4.3 seconds on Sunday.

His second run was a 4.31 seconds, both are the fastest times so far at the combine.

Since declaring for the draft Jan. 5, Hill spent most of his time at the IMG training facility in Bradenton, Fla. He worked out with other draft hopefuls such as quarterback Russell Wilson from Wisconsin, quarterback Kirk Cousins and Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.

Now, he likely won’t have to run the 40-yard dash at Tech’s pro day on March 6. He also spent time getting tutored by former Falcons wide receiver Terance Mathis, who was helping him with his …

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What we learned from Falcons coach Mike Smith

INDIANAPOLIS — Falcons head coach Mike Smith spoke with the media at the NFL scouting combine on Saturday morning.

Some of the highlights: Ray Edwards had another knee surgery after the season, he’ll stay out of the John Abraham negotiations and he believes that Mike Mularkey will do a great job in Jacksonville.
Q: Where are you all at in the offseason process as you are looking at the players at the NFL scouting combine?

A: First, I beg to differ when talking about the offseason. It think it’s the non-game playing season. Just like for you guys, you haven’t had an offseason yet. We are in the process, like all teams, of building our roster and it starts with free agency. We’ve been through the evaluation process. [We’ve looked at] not only the free agents on our football team, but the free agents across the league. Then the second step is to start the negotiating process. That is something that is going on with the members of our team. When free agency opens . . . …

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What we learned from Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

 

 

OPENING STATEMENT: Obviously this is the roots of personnel and we’re all excited to be back here, those of us with a personnel background. We had an interesting 2011 season. 2012 is now upon us and our focus is definitely on building our football team. The Atlanta Falcons are focused on being a better football team in all facets of the game. We have had a lot of changes already within our organization from a coaching standpoint [and] organization standpoint. We had some very fine football people leave our organization. We said at our post-season presser that there were going to be some changes and they weren’t going to be tweaks, they were going to be significant changes. That’s come to fruition so far and quite honestly we haven’t even kicked off our player acquisition and player moves. There is a lot still to be done within our organization at this point.

Q: Where are the Falcons with their post-season evaluations, considering that free agency is around the …

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Falcons’ negotiations with Abraham hit ‘do or die’ stage

 

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards dunks fellow defensive end John Abraham during a postgame interview following a his best performance of the year in a 41-14 victory over the Jaguars at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards dunks fellow defensive end John Abraham during a postgame interview following a his best performance of the year in a 41-14 victory over the Jaguars at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

INDIANAPOLIS — John Abraham’s six-year reign of terror on quarterbacks in the NFC South could be coming to an end.

The Falcons are set to meet with Abraham’s agent Rich Rosa here on Saturday or Sunday for a “do or die” negotiation, Rosa told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday morning before the NFLPA agents meeting.

While the sides have not discussed years and numbers yet, the initial discussions have not gone well. If a contract extension can’t be worked out, Abraham would become a free agent on March 13, when the league’s new business year starts.

The Falcons want to protect themselves if Abraham’s play slips. Abraham, who made an $8 million base salary last season, turns 34 in …

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