Archive for July, 2012

Countdown to camp: A look at the running backs

With the help of a team trainer, Falcons running back Michael Turner stretches his leg muscles at OTAs on June 13. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

With the help of a team trainer, Falcons running back Michael Turner stretches his leg muscles at OTAs on June 13. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Birdland  – With the Falcons‘ training camp opening on Thursday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day. Today: the running backs.

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, offensive line, offensive linespecial-teams units, wide recievers and tight ends. 

The players report for training camp Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the next day.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: How will the Falcons split up the carries between running backs Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers?

What will be the ratio that the running back carries are split between Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers?

  • Turner 90 percent, Rodgers 10 percent
  • Turner 80 percent, Rodgers 20 percent
  • Turner …

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Atlanta Falcons: Lofa Tatupu out for the season

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH :  Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu stretches for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH : Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu stretches for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

On a day when the Falcons’ fans received their season tickets, they also got some bitter news.

Former Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who was trying to make a comeback after sitting out last season, had pectoral surgery Tuesday that will knock him out for the 2012 season, according to head coach Mike Smith.

With the Falcons looking to replace leading tackler Curtis Lofton, Tatupu and Akeem Dent worked out with the first-team defense during the offseason.

Tatupu suffered the injury Thursday in the weight room and went to specialist Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

“We got a second opinion,” Smith said. “The second opinion confirmed the first opinion. He had a procedure done today and he will be out of the season.”

In other injury news, Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas (big toe) and offensive tackle Lamar Holmes (foot) …

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Video: Players report for training camp today

Mike Smith, Matt Ryan and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons begin training camp on Thursday. CineSport’s Noah Coslov & The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss some of the decisions to be made at camp.

–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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Countdown to camp: A look at the tight ends

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Birdland  – With the opening of the Falcons‘ training camp on Thursday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day. Today: the tight ends.

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and was followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, offensive line, special-teams units and wide receivers.

The players report for training camp Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the next day.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Can future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez continue to play at a high level?

How many catches and touchdowns will tight end Tony Gonzalez have this season in the new offense?

  • 100 catches, 10 touchdowns
  • 90 catches, 8 touchdowns
  • 80 catches, 7 touchdowns
  • 65 catches, 5 touchdowns

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Tight end Tony Gonzalez signed a …

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Countdown to camp: A look at the wide receivers

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons wide receiver Roddy White makes a reception in front of cornerback Brent Grimes 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 Roddy White makes a reception in front of cornerback Brent Grimes during the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Birdland  – With the opening of the Falcons‘ training camp just days away, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day through Thursday. Today: the wide receivers.

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and was followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, offensive line and special-teams units.

The players report for training camp Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the next day.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Will Julio Jones continue to blossom in his second year in the league?

Who will lead the Falcons in pass receptions in 2012?

  • Roddy White
  • Julio Jones
  • Tony Gonzalez
  • Harry Douglas

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Falcons wide receiver …

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Falcons re-sign linebacker Mike Peterson

 
 

 

 

Here's Mike Peterson (53) stretching as the Falcons opened their first 2009 minicamp in Flowery Branch.   CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Here's Mike Peterson (53) stretching as the Falcons opened their first 2009 minicamp in Flowery Branch. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

 

UPDATE — Linebacker Mike Peterson, who played the last three seasons with the Falcons, re-signed with the team Monday.

 

 

Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Peterson, 36, was a starter in 2009 and 2010 before shifting to a reserve role last season. He  received a $50,000 signing bonus and a base salary of $910,000 in 2011. He was not tendered an offer, when his contract expired on March 13.

In 2011, he started five games and played in 15 before going on injured reserve with a torn triceps that required surgery.

He was originally selected as a second round (36th overall) draft choice by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft. Peterson, one of the most-respected players in the locker room, currently has 1,607 career tackles.

The Falcons were thin at linebacker after releasing Matt Hansen and with Lofa Tatupu suffering a …

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Atlanta Falcons: Lofa Tatupu likely to miss start of camp

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH :  Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu stretches for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH : Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu stretches for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who’s trying to make a comeback after sitting out last season, suffered a serious pectoral injury in the weight room this past Thursday and likely will not be available when the team opens training camp on Thursday.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith informed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz of the injury early Saturday. The team later reported it on their website.

Tatupu, who was signed to a two-year, $3.6 million contract in March, was slated to compete with second-year linebacker Akeem Dent, of Douglass High and the University of Georgia, for the vacated starting middle linebacker spot. Tatupu received a guranteed $600,000 signing bonus and has a $1.25 million playing time escalator clause in his contract.

Former middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, …

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Countdown to camp: A look at the special teams

Birdland – With the opening of the Falcons‘ training camp just days away, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day through Thursday. Today: the special team units.

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and offensive linemen.

The players report for training camp next Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the following day. 

Here’s a look at the cornerbacks:

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Who will replace Eric Weems as the kickoff and punt returner?

Who will replace Eric Weems as the punt returner and kickoff returner?

  • Harry Douglas and James Rodgers
  • Harry Douglas and Antone Smith
  • Dominique Franks and James Rodgers
  • Dominique Franks and Antone Smith

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Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong must find a replacement for the versatile Eric Weems, the former Pro Bowler player who …

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Atlanta Falcons: Linebacker Matt Hansen waived

Mike Peterson (53) chases down a play. Could the Falcons, who didn't tender Peterson, bring back the veteran? (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

Mike Peterson (53) chases down a play. Could the Falcons, who didn't tender Peterson, bring back the veteran? (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

Linebacker Matt Hansen was released by the Falcons on Friday.

The release was termed by the team as a non-football injury. Hansen announced on twitter.com after minicamp in June that he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon and would miss at least the next four months after undergoing surgery.

Hansen, 6-1, 230 pounds, was originally signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on July 26, 2011 as a safety. He was later signed to the Falcons practice squad on September 28, 2011 as a linebacker.

Hansen’s departure leaves the team with 89 players, one below the training camp roster limit of 90. The Falcons will likely fill that spot before the players are to report on Wednesday.

The Falcons recently worked out veteran tight end Daniel Graham. Graham, 33, played with the Titans last season. He has also played with the Patriots (2002-06) and …

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Countdown to camp: A look at the offensive line

Birdland – With the opening of the Falcons‘ training camp just days away, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take a look at some key positions every day through Thursday. Today: the offensive line.

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

The 10-day “Countdown to Camp” series started out with the defensive line and followed by the linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties.  

The players report for training camp on Wednesday and take the field for the first practice at 10:40 a.m. the next day.

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Can new offensive line coach Pat Hill whip the unit into shape in his return to the NFL?

Who will win the starting right guard position?

  • Peter Konz
  • Vince Manuwai
  • Garrett Reynolds
  • Mike Johnson

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 In addition to having new coordinators on both …

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