Archive for August, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Here’s a look at the 53-man roster

Falcons rookie long snapper Josh Harris, Auburn University, practices his craft at team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons rookie long snapper Josh Harris, Auburn University, practices his craft at team practice in Flowery Branch on Monday, July 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Here’s a position-by-position look at the roster after the Falcons cut down to 53 players today.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks – Matt Ryan, Luke McCown and Dominique Davis.

Wide receivers — Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Kevin Cone and Tim Toone.

Tight ends — Tony Gonzalez, Michael Palmer and Tommy Gallarda.

Offensive line — Sam Baker, Lamar Holmes, Justin Blalock, Todd McClure, Peter Konz, Tyson Clabo, Garrett Reynolds, Joe Hawley, Mike Johnson and Phillipkeith Manley.

Running backs – Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, Jacquizz Rodgers,  Antone Smith and Lousaka Polite.

DEFENSE

Defensive line: Ends — John Abraham, Ray Edwards, Kroy Biermann, Lawrence Sidbury, Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Massaquoi. Tackles – Jonathan Babineaux, Peria Jeria and Travian Robertson and Vance Walker.

Linebackers – Sean …

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Atlanta Falcons: Roster trimmed down to 53 players

 Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dominique Franks, left, defends against wide receiver Eric Weems during one on one plays at training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, August 4, 2011.     Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dominique Franks, left, defends against wide receiver Eric Weems during one on one plays at training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, August 4, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

In surprise moves, cornerback Dominique Franks and linebacker Spencer Adkins were released by the Falcons on Friday.

With a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan and secondary coach in Joe Danna, the dismissal of Franks is part of major renovation in the secondary.

Franks is the second cornerback from last season’s opening-day roster to be released.  The team reached an injury settlement with Darrin Walls, who made the team last season as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame, when they cut down from 90 to 75 players.

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Offensive line coach Pat Hill confers with (66) guard Peter Konz and center Tyler Horn during the first day of minicamp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM )

Franks played in 11 games last season and made …

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Falcons quotes after the 24-14 loss to Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings (23) fumbles the ball on a handoff from quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) as Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Vance Walker, right, recovers the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings (23) fumbles the ball on a handoff from quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) as Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Vance Walker, right, recovers the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

FALCONS COACH MIKE SMITH

ON QUARTERBACK DOMINIQUE DAVIS: We wanted to get a good long look, an extended look at Dominique. He’d played in parts of three previous games. Wanted to make sure that we get as much tape on him as we can. We played him the entire ball game and thought he handled it fairly well.

ON RUNNING BACKS DIMITRI NANCE AND ANTONE SMITH: Those are guys in the evaluation process, fighting for roster spots. So they got an opportunity to come out here and compete. That’s all you can ask as a player is a fair opportunity to show what you can do.”

DOMINIQUE DAVIS

ON HIS PLAY VS. JACKSONVILLE: It was a learning experience. I got to pretty much SEE …

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Kevin Cone rebounds with a 49-yard touchdown

After catching a pass, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Kevin Cone (12) breaks away from Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Antwon Blake (38) on his way to a 49-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

After catching a pass, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Kevin Cone (12) breaks away from Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Antwon Blake (38) on his way to a 49-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

JACKSONVILLE – Falcons wide receiver Kevin Cone, who played at Georgia Tech, had a key dropped pass on third down that killed a promising drive.

Quarterback Dominique Davis had driven the Falcons from their 1-yard line to the 48. On third-and-10, Cone dropped a pass that would have picked up the first down.

Cone atoned for the miscue with a 49-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

“It was unreal,” Cone said. “I definitely wanted to make up for the drop that I had earlier. Dom threw a great pass and I was just able to make a play out there.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith was impressed the Cone didn’t go into the tank after the dropped pass.

“Kevin had an opportunity to make a …

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Falcons fall in exhibition finale to Jaguars, 24-14

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis (14) scrambles as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith (95) moves in for a tackle during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis (14) scrambles as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith (95) moves in for a tackle during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

JACKSONVILLE — Falcons coach Mike Smith’s primary goal of the exhibition season is to open the regular season as healthy as possible.

So, for the third consecutive exhibition-season finale in Smith’s five-year tenure, he rested several starters, including quarterback Matt Ryan.

With backup quarterback Dominique Davis getting his first NFL start, the reserves were defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-14 on Thursday night at EverBank Field.

With good health being the buzz word of the week, Ryan was on the sidelines in a black warm-up suit, along with wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, tight end Tony Gonzalez, running back Michael Turner, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and defensive end …

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Atlanta Falcons: Redman reflects on his time with the team

 

Quarterbacks John Parker Wilson (from left), Chris Redman and Matt Ryan jog onto the field for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Quarterbacks John Parker Wilson (from left), Chris Redman and Matt Ryan jog onto the field for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

JACKSONVILLE – Former Falcons quarterback Chris Redman was stunned by his release from the team on Tuesday, but he wishes his former teammates well.

“It was a big surprise for me,” Redman said via phone from Louisville on Thursday. “I didn’t really expect it. But the unexpected is part of the NFL. They made their decisions. So that’s the way it is. You have to live with it. We’ll just have to carry on and see what happens with my future. If it’s over, it’s been great.”

One day, Redman, 35, will be able to sit back on his deck and spin a wonderful tale about how he went from NFL starter to selling insurance and back to NFL starter starting on Monday Night Football.

He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third-round (75th overall) of the 2000 draft out of Louisville. He played four …

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SI’s King picks Falcons to win South, lose in playoffs

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) cannno make the catch as Miami Dolphins defensive back Nolan Carroll defends during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday Aug. 24, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) cannnot make the catch as Miami Dolphins defensive back Nolan Carroll defends during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday Aug. 24, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Sports Illustrated’s love affair with the Falcons continues.

Well, sort of.

After picking them to win the Super Bowl last season, SI tabbed the Falcons to finish 11-6, win the NFC South and then be kicked out of the playoffs — again —  in the wild-card round by the Bounty Hunting New Orleans Saints.

You can read more about this diabolical plot in Sports Illustrated’s NFL Preview issue, which hit the newsstands on Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King spent some time with us in Flowery Branch during training camp. (He doesn’t have to stay in the media box with the sponsors, either!) However, the local media must thank him for our new coffee machines. On a previous visit, he couldn’t believe there wasn’t any coffee in the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Here’s a look at who’s on the bubble

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will get to see their new rookies at minicamp, May 11 through 13. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will get to see their new rookies at minicamp, May 11 through 13. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith has no intentions of being a dream killer when delivering news to a player that his services are no longer needed.

He walks that fine line of being truthful, direct and still uplifting when telling players they are being released.

Several players are set to play in the last game of their football careers when the Falcons (1-2) close out the exhibition season at Jacksonville (2-1) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at EverBank Field.

After returning to Atlanta, the Falcons must trim their roster from 75 players to 53 by 9 p.m. Friday night.

Smith, who’s in his fifth year as head coach, meets with each player to share the news.

“You have to be very direct with the guys on the field,” Smith said.

Most starters are not expected to play against the Jaguars, so the players on the bubble will …

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Falcons get early look at Mularkey’s work in Jacksonville

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch. Thought I would share another short note leftover from Tuesday that we didn’t get to after the news of the McCown signing/Redman release.

The Falcons face the Jaguars Thursday in the final exhibition game – and remember who will be on the opposite sideline.

Mike Mularkey.

Mike Mularkey was the Falcons offensive coordinator the past four seasons before leaving for the head coaching job in Jacksonville.

Mike Mularkey was the Falcons offensive coordinator the past four seasons before leaving for the head coaching job in Jacksonville.

Mularkey is the new head coach of the Jaguars after spending the past four seasons as the Falcons offensive coordinator. Here is what Falcons coach Mike Smith said about facing his former staff member.

“I talked with Mike [Monday],” Smith said. “It will be different. I’m used to saying Mike in the headset when I’m trying to talk to the guy upstairs, so it will be different. I think they’ve had a really good training camp. You watch and the guys are playing hard. He’s put his stamp on that team through the offseason.”

Might the Falcons …

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Rodgers not a ‘change-of-pace’ running back

Falcons head coach Mike Smith gives running back Jacquizz Rodgers a low five after he rushed for a touchdown in an exhibition game against the Ravens.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons head coach Mike Smith gives running back Jacquizz Rodgers a low five after he rushed for a touchdown in an exhibition game against the Ravens. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

The Falcons no longer consider Jacquizz Rodgers a change-of-pace running back. They may have drafted the 5-foot-6 Rodgers in the fifth round out of Oregon State last season to give opposing defenses a different look from the stout Michael Turner.

According to coach Mike Smith, Rodgers is an every-down running back. And one the team wants to the get the ball to more often.

“Jacquizz is a player that we’ve got to get him some touches,” Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “We found out very early once we got him here that he is not a change-of-pace back. He’s a guy who can do all the things that you ask a running back to do. You go out and perform and when he’s had his opportunities, he’s done a nice job.

“It is obvious that we need to try to get him the …

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