Archive for February, 2012

MAYOCK: Tech’s Stephen Hill is a fourth-rounder

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)

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, who has a fourth-round grade from NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, will need to run a super-fast 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine next week.

“It will be interesting to see how fast he is,” Mayock said. “He’s a big kid. I think he was listed about 6-4, 205. I’ll be interested to see how he runs. That will determine where he goes.”

While Hill is athletic and has great jumping ability, the concern is that he will not able to separate for speedy NFL defensive backs.

His 29.3 yards-per-catch average on 28 catches last season was the highest rate in FBS. His career average — 25.5 yards on 49 catches — would have broken the school record had he made one more reception to qualify for consideration. But he also dropped passes he should have caught and could well have improved his stock with a solid 2012 season.

–D. …

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MAYOCK: Matt Ryan needs to step it up

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has been a big supporter of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

When asked about the top quarterbacks taken in the last four drafts and Andrew Luck, the projected top QB selection for 2012 draft, Mayock had some interesting things to say about Ryan, who’s posted at 43-19 regular-season record to go with an 0-3 playoff mark.

The comparison group includes Ryan (No. 3 overall in 2008), Matthew Stafford (No. 1 overall in 2009), Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall in 2010), Cam Newton (No. 1 overall in 2011) and Luck.

“Matt Ryan needs to take the next step,” Mayock said. “To do that, he needs some offensive line help. Matt Ryan is kind of at point now where he needs to make that next step and win some playoff games and become that next-level quarterback.”

Mayock believes that Stafford and …

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DVR ALERT: Third & Long documentary on NFL Network

Bobby Mitchell was traded to the Redskins in 1962, finally integrating the Redskins locker room and finding himself in the Nation’s Capital at a crucial time in the racial history of the United States. (Associated Press)

Bobby Mitchell was traded to the Redskins in 1962, finally integrating the Redskins locker room and finding himself in the Nation’s Capital at a crucial time in the racial history of the United States. (Associated Press)

In honor of Black History Month, part two of the documentary Third & Long: The History of African Americans in Pro Football 1946-1989 airs at 8 p.m. tonight on NFL Network.

(Caught the end of part one last night. They were talking about how the AFL and Al Davis recruited the historically black colleges in the 1960s.)

Former players Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Willie Brown and Bobby Mitchell, former head coaches Tony Dungy and Art Shell, owners Jeffrey Lurie and Dan Rooney, and family members, the documentary looks at the history of African-Americans in professional football from 1946-1989.

The documentary’s executive producer Theresa Moore appeared on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access to discuss the film on Monday.

“It was interesting because I was …

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Roddy White’s tweets about Goodell’s salary go viral

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White will probably do a flip when he finds out that he won't be fined for his comments about commissioner Roger Goodell's salary.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White will probably do a flip when he finds out that he won't be fined for his comments about commissioner Roger Goodell's salary.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White’s tweet about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary caused a firestorm nationally.

On Monday, White, who goes by @RoddyWhiteTV on Twitter.com, sent out a tweet with a link to a ProFootballTalk.com note which referenced the Sports Business Journal’s report on Goodell’s pending salary increase.

White’s tweet: “Roger Goodell is getting over never seen anything like it 20 million for looking over the league with tremendous help I guess the NFL is banking. The NFL is not a company it’s a nonprofit organization that makes a lot of profit.”

The commentators on ESPN’s Around the Horn fired some shots at White. Bill Plaschke pointed out that Goodell is the most powerful man in sports. Tim Cowlishaw ripped White and noted that he led the league in drops last season. (He also led the …

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Dimitroff named to NFL general managers committee

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)

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was named the NFL’s General Managers Advisory committee by the league on Tuesday.

The members of the General Managers Advisory Committee are:

Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers

Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons

Rod Graves, Arizona Cardinals

Tom Heckert, Cleveland Browns

Marty Hurney, Carolina Panthers

Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints

Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions

Scott Pioli Kansas, City Chiefs

Jerry Reese, New York Giants

Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Tannenbaum, New York Jets

–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.

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Roddy, Randy and Julio would be unstoppable

 

Randy Moss making a reception over Falcons CB Christopher Owens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Randy Moss making a reception over Falcons CB Christopher Owens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Randy Moss has been to Flowery Branch before. In August of 2010, Moss practiced at the Branch with the New England Patriots in a joint-practice.

Even though he was a jerk and didn’t want to speak to the media, we probably should not hold that against him. Not so sure about this given the Falcons penchant to steer clear of “challenged souls,” but it could’t hurt to do some due diligence.

I can’t get this three-wide lineup out of my head. Roddy White to the left, Julio Jones to the right and Moss slotted on either side or in motion from one side to the other.

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Patriots QB Tom Brady chats with Falcons QB Matt Ryan before Tuesday's morning practice between the teams in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Then you think about the four-receiver lineup with Roddy, Randy, Julio and Tony Gonzalez. Wow, who’s going to stop that?

Five wides – Roddy, Randy, Juilio, Tony G and …

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Robiskie denied permission to join Mularkey in Jax

Atlanta Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie looks to hook the "big one" as players and coaches pay tribute to 18 wounded military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan during a special fishing outing from Van Pugh Park North on Lake Lanier, Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Each veteran was partnered with one or more Falcons players, coaches, or cheerleader on individual boats for an afternoon of angling on the lake.   Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie looks to hook the "big one" as players and coaches pay tribute to 18 wounded military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan during a special fishing outing from Van Pugh Park North on Lake Lanier, Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Each veteran was partnered with one or more Falcons players, coaches, or cheerleader on individual boats for an afternoon of angling on the lake. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

While Jacksonville was able to raid the Falcons’ coaching ranks for their head coach and quarterbacks coach, the Falcons drew the line when they tried to land wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie.

Former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was hired as Jacksonville’s head coach and ex-quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski was hired as their offensive coordinator. Both were under contract, but the moves to Jacksonville were promotions and couldn’t be blocked.

Robiskie’s move was lateral to the same position and could be blocked.

Vito …

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Caldwell, Polk promoted by the Falcons

David Caldwell, director of college scouting.

David Caldwell, replaces Les Snead as the director of player personnel.

The Falcons moved quickly to internally fill the void created by the departure of Les Snead.

David Caldwell and DeJaun Polk were both promoted on Monday in the wake of Snead being named general manager of the St. Louis Rams. Snead will be introduce as the new Rams GM around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Caldwell was promoted to director of player personnel and DeJuan Polk to director of pro scouting.

“We are pleased to announce the promotions of Dave and DeJuan,” said general manager Thomas Dimitroff in a statement posted on the team’s website. “Both Dave and DeJuan have been vital to our personnel department and have been tremendous assets to our organization. They have been essential in helping construct our team over the last four seasons. Dave has provided great leadership to our college scouting department and has been instrumental in our draft process. DeJuan started in college scouting, but has been a …

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Jim Mora tosses some grenades at the Falcons

Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora, right, and quarterback Michael Vick (7) watch from the sideline late in the second half as the Green Bay Packers seal their 33-25 victory at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Sunday, Nov. 13, 2005. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora, right, and quarterback Michael Vick (7) watch from the sideline late in the second half as the Green Bay Packers seal their 33-25 victory at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Sunday, Nov. 13, 2005. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

Lil’ Jimmy Mora is already running off his mouth in his new post at UCLA.

In an interview with Mike Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mora took some not-so -veiled shots at the current regime.

“The bottom line is this: The last time the Falcons won a playoff game, I was the head coach,” Mora told the AJC. “Kids remember that game, the 47-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams. A lot of kids around Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the Southeast follow the Falcons. They know that was the last time that the Falcons have won a playoff game.

“So kids are interested with that connection to the Falcons, and the parents are interested in that, too. They all wonder why the Falcons haven’t won a playoff game since, and I can’t …

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UPDATE: Les Snead accepts St. Louis GM position

Les Snead, the Falcons former director of player personnel, accepted the general manager position with the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.

The Rams are expected to announce the decision on Monday. George Paton, who was a finalist with Snead, was promoted to assistant general manager with the Minnesota Vikings.

Snead was interviewed by the Rams early in January. The Rams won the derby to hire Jeff Fisher as their head coach. Fisher then focused on hiring his coaching staff before the franchise moved back to its general manager search. In their process, the Rams are known to have interviewed nine candidates.

Snead had a second interview with the Rams on Feb. 1 so that he could interview with Fisher.

Paton and Snead were expected to meet with Rams owner Stan Kroenke this weekend.

Snead broke into the NFL as a scout with Jacksonville under Tom Coughlin. He has been with the Falcons for 13 years and is considered one of general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s top lieutenants. …

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