Archive for July, 2012

Samuel takes offense with notion he’s in a steep decline

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons new cornerback Asante Samuel (center) shares a laugh between plays with wide receivers Julio Jones (left) and Harry Douglas (right) in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons new cornerback Asante Samuel (center) shares a laugh between plays with wide receivers Julio Jones (left) and Harry Douglas (right) in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel wouldn’t confirm if he has Oct. 28 highlighted on his digital calendar.

But clearly he has taken note of a newspaper report that Eagles coach Andy Reid felt his skills were in steep decline.

“No comment,” Samuel said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ll see who’s in steep decline.”

It was noted that the Falcons travel to play Reid and the Eagles in October.

“We’ll figure out who’s in steep decline then,” Samuel said.

The Falcons sent a seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire Samuel on April 25. He was signed to a three-year, $18.5 million contract.

Before Samuel gets a chance to settle the score with Reid and the Eagles, he is winning over converts in red and black.

When …

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Video: Peter Konz shines in short yardage drill

Vivlamore reporting from Falcons training camp.

FLOWERY BRANCH — The first score from Falcons training camp is in.

Offense 2, Defense 1.

The Falcons ended Tuesday’s afternoon practice by running three goal-line plays, from the 3-, 2- and 1-yard lines. After the defense stopped the first attempt, the offense scored on the final two plays. Running back Dimitri Nance ran behind rookie draft pick Peter Konz for the two successful ventures into the end zone.

“We wanted to give them a real competitive finish to the day,” coach Mike Smith said. “… I think there was some good execution down there on the offensive side. There was good hard running. It wasn’t like they walked in. They went behind our young offensive lineman.”

The starters were not involved in the plays. The sides were made up of rookies and young second- and third-team players.

The Falcons had well-documented issues last season in short-yardage situations.

- Chris Vivlamore

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The …

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Atlanta Falcons: Dominique Davis draws some praise

 

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons fourteen year veteran center Todd McClure sports taped fingers taking the line to snap the ball during team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons fourteen year veteran center Todd McClure sports taped fingers taking the line to snap the ball during team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis, who was overwhelmed during rookie minicamp, was singled out for some praise by Smith.

“He’s done some nice things,” Smith said. “He’s got a strong arm. He’s very athletic. He’ll get an opportunity to play in the [exhibition] games. He’s been a very pleasant surprise.”

Davis, who was a redshirt freshman at Boston College when Matt Ryan was a senior, was signed as an undrafted free agent. He finished his college career at East Carolina.

While Smith didn’t single out any other  undrafted players, he said several are off to good starts.

“There’s been a number of guys,” Smith said. “You’ll see in the preseason games when the young guys get in there and have an opportunity to play; they know that they’re …

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Atlanta Falcons: William Moore goes on hit parade

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and Harry Douglas (left) run some pass interference on wide receiver Julio Jones (right) during a receiving drill in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and Harry Douglas (left) run some pass interference on wide receiver Julio Jones (right) during a receiving drill in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons safety William Moore forgot about the no-hitting lecture that coaches gave the players on Saturday.

He leveled wide receiver Marcus Jackson with a big hit, causing Smith to remind his safety about the hitting rules.

“No, Will, no” Smith said.

Cornerback Asante Samuel chimed in, “We just wanted to let y’all know that we had on some pads over here.”

Smith said he wants all players left standing after a play.

“Our No. 1 goal as a staff and football team is to get to the opener as healthy as we can,” Smith said. “We know that is impossible to have everyone healthy, but we’ve got to limit those exposures and limit the chances of a guy getting hurt.”

But he wasn’t too upset about Moore’s hit.

“There are some …

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Atlanta Falcons: Training Camp Today

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons offensive players cool down and hydrate next to a fan under a large tent during a mandatory water break at team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons offensive players cool down and hydrate next to a fan under a large tent during a mandatory water break at team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons went through a brisk walk-through practice in just under an hour Tuesday morning.

With cloudy skies and a nice breeze, the players received a break from the heat.

The afternoon practice is open to the public. Gates open at 2:30 p.m., with the practice starting at 3:30 p.m.

Fans might want to check the practice hotline before driving out because of the threat of rain. Here’s the practice Hotline number: 770-965-2752.

Cornerback Asante Samuel will talk with the media after the afternoon practice session.

We’ll see how things are going for the chatty cornerback.

A look ahead:

Wednesday – The players have their first day off.

Thursday – Walkthrough: 10:40 – 11:25 a.m. (closed to the public). Practice: 3:30 – 6:05 p.m. Roddy …

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Atlanta Falcons: Koetter says Ryan a Top 10 quarterback

 

 

 

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Matt Ryan (from left) confers with wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones after an offensive series at practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

073012 FLOWERY BRANCH: Matt Ryan (from left) confers with wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones after an offensive series at practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

 

 

FLOWERY BRANCH—Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter doesn’t know what the players around the league were thinking when they left Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan off the NFL Network’s top 100 list.

“How he’s won as a starter in the league, we think he’s a top 10 quarterback,” Koetter said. “His play backs that up.”

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski ranked Ryan as the 11th quarterback in the league.

Koetter, who has replaced the departed Mike Mularkey, clearly has been pleased with Ryan and the rest of the offensive unit.

“We have an excellent group of players on the offense,” Koetter said. “Players, offensive staff and coach [Mike] Smith are fun guys to work with. We have a lot of talent and a lot of guys that can make explosive plays. I like how these guys are …

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Atlanta Falcons: Competition at wide receiver heating up

072912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie (far right) and head coach Mike Smith look on as wide receiver Kevin Cone, from Georgia Tech, hits the pads during practice in Flowery Branch on Sunday, July 29, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

072912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie (far right) and head coach Mike Smith look on as wide receiver Kevin Cone, from Georgia Tech, hits the pads during practice in Flowery Branch on Sunday, July 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – Behind wide receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas, there is a lot of competition.

Last season Eric Weems was the fourth wide receiver and Kerry Meier was the fifth. Meier will try to slide up into the fourth slot, leaving one and potentially two roster spots open.

“Kerry has done a really good job,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Last year, coming off a knee injury, he came back in and did a good job. He played in some spot roles for us. But I think this year his confidence is back in his leg. I’ve been really impressed with him through the spring and through the start of training camp.”

Wide receivers Kevin Cone and Drew Davis, who were on the practice squad last season, have been playing …

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Atlanta Falcons: Meet South Forsyth’s Adam Nissley

Tight end Adam Nissley going through a punt block drill with special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong on Sunday, July 29, 2012. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Tight end Adam Nissley going through a punt block drill with special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong on Sunday, July 29, 2012. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Tight end Adam Nissely, an undrafted free agent from South Forsyth High and Central Florida, is off to a bumpy start with the Falcons.

On the first day of minicamp back in June, he got into a scuffle with defensive end John Abraham. During the kickoff coverage drill on Thursday, he drew the ire of special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and he jumped offsides.

“This has been the experience of a lifetime, to come out and play and learn football from the best guys in the NFL,” said Nissley, who was also recruited by Wake Forest and Southern Mississippi.

He redshirted in 2007 and went on to play four seasons for the Knights. He was used mostly as a blocking tight end, but caught 38 passes for 465 yards and two touchdowns.

After he was not selected in the NFL draft, Nissley had calls from the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Rest begins for veteran players

Falcons veteran Tony Gonzalez catches a few passes before Monday's afternoon workout but the veteran tight end did not participate in the workout. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons veteran Tony Gonzalez catches a few passes before Monday's afternoon workout but the tight end did not participate. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

 

Vivlamore reporting from Falcons training camp.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Roddy White warmed up for Monday’s afternoon training camp practice with a spectator standing nearby. Tony Gonzalez was present but wore just a jersey and shorts. It was obvious the 15-year veteran would be watching this workout.

Owner Arthur Blank approached White and asked why the wide receiver wasn’t wearing the white bucket hat with the Falcons logo that has become the fashion statement of the camp.

“Because I have to work today, unlike some of these old guys,” White joked as he motioned to Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was given the afternoon off as has been the plan of coach Mike Smith with the older players on the team.

“We’ve got a plan for a number of guys [who will sit out],” Smith said. “Tony was the first one to take a day off. You’ll see some of the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Team counting on Weatherspoon’s play-making ability

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH :  Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon fires up teammates during warmups for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COMFalcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon fires up teammates during warmups for a practice at Flowery Branch. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting from Falcons training camp.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Sean Weatherspoon is on the move – defensively speaking.

The Falcons linebacker is adapting to the new scheme being installed by coordinator Mike Nolan during training camp.

“I’m moving around a lot more, playing in the middle, playing on the outside, doing a lot more things off the edge as well,” Weatherspoon said after a recent practice. “There is definitely a difference. But at the same time, it’s all about going out there and … being efficient in whatever role I’m in.”

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) fumbles the ball, stripped by Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56). (Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) fumbles the ball, stripped by Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56). (Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

The biggest benefit, said Weatherspoon, will be the chance to chase quarterbacks more frequently. He tied for second on the Falcons last season with four sacks, …

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