Archive for June, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Safety Chris Hope agrees to terms

Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams, center, runs as he is chased by Tennessee Titans' Chris Hope, left, and Michael Griffin, right, in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams, center, runs as he is chased by Tennessee Titans' Chris Hope, left, and Michael Griffin, right, in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Falcons and veteran safety Chris Hope, a former Pro Bowler, agreed to contract terms on Friday.

Hope, 31, was a third-round draft pick (94th overall) in 2002 by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Florida State product played four seasons with the Steelers before playing the next six seasons with the Titans. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2008 season.

Hope, 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, has 20 career interceptions.

Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan expressed concern about the depth at safety behind starters William Moore and Thomas DeCoud during minicamp.

Hope started 109 of 147 games over his career.

In 2011, Hope played in 10 games with two starts and made 33 tackles with one interception, one pass defense and two fumble …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Safety Chris Hope agrees to terms »

Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with offensive assistant Andrew Weidinger

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed minicamp we chatted with offensive assistant

Andrew Weidinger

Andrew Weidinger

Andrew Weidinger, who received a promotion this offseason after serving four years as assistant to head coach Mike Smith and helping running backs coach Gerald Brown.

Weidinger, who turns 30 on July 10th,  is one of the behind the scenes coaches, who keeps things running smoothly by managing data, doing research, completing daily practice scripts, schedules and calendars. He’s one of the “logistics” guys.

Weidinger joined the staff in 2007 as a personnel scout. Prior to joining the Falcons, he spent seven seasons at the University of Arizona, where he worked in a number of positions, including assistant director of football operations.

Here are excerpts from the Q&A with Weidinger:

Q: Explain your role on the staff?

A: Well, I’m at the bottom of the ladder. I do whatever I can to help out. The last few years, I worked with the running backs and helped out Coach Smith …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with offensive assistant Andrew Weidinger »

Atlanta Falcons: WR Cody Pearcy waived

The Falcons waived wide receiver Cody Pearcy on Thursday.

Pearcy, 5-11, 160 pounds, was originally signed as an undrafted college free agent on April 30.

He played at Huntingdon in Montgomery. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper had him as the 38th rated wide receiver eligible for the draft.

Pearcy participated in the team’s rookie camp, organized team activities and minicamp, which concluded last Thursday.

Pearcy is Huntingdon’s all-time leader with 147 receptions, 2,632 receiving yards, 25 touchdowns and 17.9 yards per reception average.

In 2011, he caught 46 passes for 766 yards and eight touchdowns.

–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 Atlanta Falcons: WR Cody Pearcy waived »

Atlanta Falcons: Akeem Dent helps at Kids & Pros camp

The campers at the Kids & Pros football camp gather up before being dismissed for lunch at Grady High on Wednesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

The campers at the Kids & Pros football camp gather up before being dismissed for lunch at Grady High on Wednesday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent, an Atlanta native, spent the first week of his summer vacation giving back to city.

The former Douglass High and University of Georgia standout worked the Kids & Pros football camp

Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent taking a break from working at the Kids & Pros football camp at Grady High. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent taking a break from working at the Kids & Pros football camp at Grady High. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

 Monday through Wednesday at Grady High School.

Dent led the agility drills and tackling station. Also, he spoke to the group of more than 200 campers after lunch on Tuesday.

The Falcons broke minicamp last Thursday and will not report for training camp until late July. Some players left for tropical locations, but Dent stayed around to work.

“It’s been great to come out here and work with this group of kids,” Dent said. “We just want to get them active and playing …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Akeem Dent helps at Kids & Pros camp »

DVR Alert: Matt Ryan apparently snubbed in Top 100

 

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completes a pass during the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completes a pass during the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

 

BIRDLAND — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, in an apparent snub by NFL players, apparently has not made the league’s popular Top 100 list.

The Top 10 players of last season will be revealed tonight at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network.

Host Lindsay Rhodes will be joined by NFL Network analysts Warren Sapp and Marshall Faulk to recap the 90 players that have been revealed thus far and discuss who will be tabbed the best player in the NFL.

The list – which has Tim Tebow rated 95th and Peyton Manning rated 50th even though he didn’t play last season — was voted on by the players themselves.

Running back Michael Turner (88), wide receiver Roddy White (65) and tight end Tony Gonzalez are the only Falcons already named. White was not real pleased with his selection, either.

Despite throwing for a …

Continue reading DVR Alert: Matt Ryan apparently snubbed in Top 100 »

Atlanta Falcons: Corey Peters to help childhood cancer group

Pictured from L to R: Ried Crowe, Co-Founder of Rally; Rafael Bush, Denver Broncos; Dean Crowe, Founder and CEO of Rally; Corey Peters, Atlanta Falcons and Rally Spokesperson; Joy Posthauer, Rally Board of Directors; Christen Patterson, Rally Program and Event Coordinator; Karen Filos and Doug Filos.

Pictured from L to R: Ried Crowe, Co-Founder of Rally; Rafael Bush, Denver Broncos; Dean Crowe, Founder and CEO of Rally; Corey Peters, Atlanta Falcons and Rally Spokesperson; Joy Posthauer, Rally Board of Directors; Christen Patterson, Rally Program and Event Coordinator; Karen Filos and Doug Filos.

Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters was announced as the local spokesperson for the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research at the Braves game on Tuesday.

Peters will help Rally’s mission to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. The Rally Foundation is a national non-profit organization based in Atlanta.

As one of his first roles within the childhood cancer research organization, Peters will serves as honorary chair for the spring fashion show, Rally On the Runway, featuring girls that have fought or are fighting cancer.

Peters was named the 2011 Falcons man of the …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Corey Peters to help childhood cancer group »

Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with defensive assistant Mark Collins

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed minicamp, we chatted with defensive assistant Mark Collins, who’s set to

Defensive assistant Mark Collins.

Defensive assistant Mark Collins.

enter his second season with the Falcons after coaching 11 years in the collegiate ranks.

The former four-year starter at defensive end and outside linebacker at East Tennessee State has made coaching stops at ETSU, Michigan, Elon, Georgia Southern, Georgia and Louisiana-Monroe.

He was a graduate assistant during Georgia’s 11-2 season in 2007. The Bulldogs enjoyed a No. 2 ranking in the final Associated Press poll after they won their last seven games of the season, which included a 41-10 victory over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

He was on Brian VanGorder’s staff at Georgia Southern and was a part of two Big Ten championships and back-to-back trips to the Rose Bowl while at Michigan.

Here are excerpts from the Q&A with Collins, who’s been working closely with coordinator Mike Nolan and the position coaches to install in the …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with defensive assistant Mark Collins »

Atlanta Falcons: Vick shares downfall at Rookie Symposium

BIRDLAND – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick shared his powerful story about his fall from grace at the NFL’s Rookie

Former Falcons QB Michael Vick talks with Falcons owner Arthur Blank prior to the Falcons playing the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome Sunday, December 6th, 2009. It was Vick's first time back at the Georgia Dome since his conviction on dogfighting charges. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Former Falcons QB Michael Vick talks with Falcons owner Arthur Blank prior to the Falcons playing the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome Sunday, December 6th, 2009. It was Vick's first time back at the Georgia Dome since his conviction on dogfighting charges. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Symposium on Monday in Aurora, Ohio.

I don’t have to rehash it all for you all since we went through that nightmarish downward spiral in excruciating detail together.

He pointed out that things really hit home for him on draft day, when the Falcons selected Matt Ryan to be his replacement.

Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reported on the speech.

And then there was this: It was the day the Atlanta Falcons would draft quarterback Matt Ryan to replace him.

“I remember it vividly,” Vick told a roomful of rookies at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium on Monday. “Can you …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Vick shares downfall at Rookie Symposium »

Video: Q&A with ST coordinator Keith Armstrong

FLOWERY BRANCH — Replacing Eric Weems, the former Pro Bowl special-teams player who signed with Chicago during free agency, will be a priority in training camp.

“Harry Douglas has done a nice job for us,” special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong said. “You guys remember the touchdown he had for us versus Carolina a few years ago. He’s obviously a threat to score, and he has a pretty good chance to be our punt returner.”

Dominique Franks and James Rodgers will be in the hunt for the punt-return job. Running back Antone Smith has a shot at the kickoff-return spot.

“Dominique Franks has the ability to become a punt returner,” Armstrong said. “He did a nice job in college at Oklahoma. James Rodgers, Jacquizz’s brother, has been pretty solid out here at minicamp. He catches the ball clean and has some experience as a punt returner.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan …

Continue reading Video: Q&A with ST coordinator Keith Armstrong »

Atlanta Falcons: 5 things we learned from minicamp

061312 FLOWERY BRANCH: Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith circles his troops for some "coach speak" at the conclusion of team practice in Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Mini-camp for the team will begin next week.   CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061312 FLOWERY BRANCH: Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith circles his troops for some "coach speak" at the conclusion of team practice in Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Mini-camp for the team will begin next week. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Before the players were dismissed on Thursday, Falcons Coach Mike Smith had a final message for them.

They have a chunk of off time before reporting for training camp in the last week of July.

“It was the same message that we give every year,” Smith said. “You want guys to be careful when they are out. They need to unplug a little bit, but at the same time it’s not unplugging like at the end of the season.”

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones outjumps cornerback Christopher Owens to make a two handed grab during the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones outjumps cornerback Christopher Owens to make a two handed grab during the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

He wants the players to continue to work out.

 

“They need to …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: 5 things we learned from minicamp »