Archive for August, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Competition for roster spots is fierce

Offensive lineman Justin Blalock (from left), Tyson Clabo and Garrett Reynolds triple team defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux rushing to apply pressure in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 27, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Offensive lineman Justin Blalock (from left), Tyson Clabo and Garrett Reynolds triple team defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux rushing to apply pressure in Flowery Branch on Friday, July 27, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — As the Falcons are set to enter the fifth season under the current regime, making the roster has become much more difficult for the team’s current and former draft picks.

Through careful drafting and free agent moves, no longer is there a guaranteed roster spot for all of the team’s draft picks. Over the first four drafts under Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith, 29 of 32 draft picks made the team or the practice squad.

Only running back Thomas Brown (sixth rounder in 2008), cornerback Wilrey Fontenot (seventh rounder in 2008) and cornerback William Middleton (fifth rounder in 2009) did not spend any regular-

Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive back Shann Schillinger runs after intercepting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle in the third quarter. Schillinger is a native of Baker, Mont., and played college football at the University of Montana. (Photo by Jimmy Cribb, Atlantafalcons.com)

Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive back Shann Schillinger runs after intercepting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle …

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Atlanta Falcons: McCown signed, Redman released (updated)

Luke McCown when he was playing with Jacksonville. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

Luke McCown when he was playing with Jacksonville. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

The Falcons shakeup at quarterback continued with the signing of Luke McCown and release of backup Chris Redman Tuesday. The move comes two days after the Falcons waived John Parker Wilson, who was the No. 3 quarterback the last three seasons behind Matt Ryan and Redman.

McCown (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) played the past three seasons for the Jaguars, where new Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was on staff. In eight games, including two starts, McCown completed 42 of 78 passes for 418 yards. He signed with the Saints prior to training camp and was released Monday when the team trimmed its roster to 75 players.

McCown, 31, was a fourth-round draft pick (No. 106 overall) by the Browns in 2004. For his career, he has appeared in 20 games, including nine starts, completing 184 of 316 passes for 2,035 yards with nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also …

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Atlanta Falcons: Reynolds still not given starting nod at right guard

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

There are still position battles to be won as the Falcons head into their final exhibition game Thursday at Jacksonville. Several, in fact, according to coach Mike Smith.

Although Garrett Reynolds has been at right guard with the first-team offensive line all training camp, Smith would not name him the opening day starter Tuesday.

“No he does not,” Smith said when asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution if Reynolds had won the spot. “There is going to be an opportunity for some guys to still compete. We had a combination of rotations with the offensive line [in last week’s exhibition game against Miami] and we’ll do it again this week.”

Falcons right guard Garrett Reynolds, shown taking a break at a recent practice, has yet to officially be named the starter at right guard. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons right guard Garrett Reynolds, shown taking a break at a recent practice, has yet to officially be named the starter. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Rookie Peter Konz, the team’s first draft pick, played at right guard with the  starting unit for a couple series against the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Depth chart for Jacksonville game (Updated)

 

 

051112 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons new quarterback Dominique Davis hands off on his first day of practice with the team on the start of mini-camp in Flowery Branch, Friday, May 11, 2012.   CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
051112 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons new quarterback Dominique Davis hands off on his first day of practice with the team on the start of mini-camp in Flowery Branch, Friday, May 11, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis was officially moved to the No. 3 spot behind Matt Ryan and Chris Redman in the final “unofficial” depth chart for the exhibition season that was released by the team on Monday.

Luke McCown has since been added to the roster and the team has released Redman. We are going to slot McCown, the veteran, as the No. 2 quarterback.

The Falcons (1-2) face former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night at EverBank Field.

Rookie left tackle Lamar Holmes, who made his NFL debut against the Miami Dolphins, is listed as the No. 2 left tackle behind Sam Baker and the No. 3 right tackle behind Tyson Clabo and Mike Johnson.

Holmes played well against the …

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Corey Peters suffered a stress fracture while working out

Corey Peters in action here last season against the Detroit Lions. AP

Corey Peters in action here last season against the Detroit Lions. AP

UPDATED: FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive end Corey Peters suffered a stress fracture in his foot while working out this offseason before the team’s offseason training program started, Falcons coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

“Corey was injured when he was working out before the (team’s offseason program starter) off-campus,” Smith said. “Of course, they can’t workout here. He was working out here in town and suffered a stress fracture in his foot. That’s what happened. It happened before we started our offseason program.”

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FLOWERY BRANCH — We are still getting questions about defensive Corey Peters’ status for the 2012 season.

The Falcons are being secretive about the injury and his agent has gone into the witness media protection program.

The Falcons will not reveal the specific injury to Peters, who was placed on the non-football injury list with a foot …

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Atlanta Falcons: Starters likely to rest against Jax

Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) runs over Miami Dolphins linebacker Jared Ordick. Turner finished with 35 yards on 10 carries. MCT

Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) runs over Miami Dolphins linebacker Jared Ordick. Turner finished with 35 yards on 10 carries. MCT

FLOWERY BRANCH — Some starters will play a quarter against Jacksonville, while others will get the night off.

In the last two exhibition finales under Smith, the Falcons have heavily rested their starters.

In his first two seasons, he elected to briefly play the starters in the last game.

Last season, the Falcons dropped the exhibition finale 21-7 to Baltimore on Sept. 1. Starters Matt Ryan, Dunta Robinson, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez, John Abraham, Tyson Clabo, Roddy White, Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux did not play.

In 2010, Ryan and all 21 of the starters did not play in a exhibition finale at Jacksonville, a 13-9 loss.

In 2009, the Falcons played most of their starters in a 20-3 loss to Baltimore. Only Abraham and center Todd McClure were held out of the game.

In 2008, the starters played briefly in a 10-9 win over Baltimore.

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Practice report: Falcons drop the gloves in heated battles

After order was restored, the Falcons took off their pads at practice today.

After order was restored, the Falcons took off their pads at practice today.

FLOWERY BRANCH — In their last padded practice of the exhibition season, the Falcons’ energy spilled over into some major hits and two fights on Monday.

On the first play, linebacker Mike Peterson set the tone with a hard hit that dropped running back Michael Turner.

A few plays later, right guard Garrett Reynolds had his helmet ripped off when he was in the middle of fight.

The final straw came when safety William Moore made a big hit on running back Antone Smith and a wild melee erupted, forcing head coach Mike Smith to call the team into a big circle.

“I just needed to politely remind them of the number one goal of our training camp is to make sure that we get everybody to the first game healthy,” Smith said. “I love their enthusiasm. I love their energy. I love their passion. But it was just something that I needed to remind them about.”

There were no apparent injures from all of the …

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Douglas not forgotten man in Falcons offense

Harry Douglas will see plenty of action for the Falcons as part of a three wide receiver set this season. Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com

Harry Douglas will see plenty of action for the Falcons as part of a three wide receiver set this season. Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

Harry Douglas might get lost this season – and that’s a good thing for the Falcons offense.

The Falcons have a number of highly regarded receiving weapons at quarterback Matt Ryan’s disposal in wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez. A defense’s dilemma in trying to stop them all may well be Douglas’ opportunity.

“Teams are going to double them,” Douglas said. “I always have to be ready, no matter what. Teams can’t double all three of them. … Like coach [Mike] Smith always says ‘You have to step up to the plate and do your job.’”

Douglas will be a key component of the Falcons offense as they have often operated from three wide receiver sets during the preseason. With White and Jones being deep threats and Gonzalez working the middle of the …

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Video: Falcons make cuts, have holes to fill

Who do the Falcons have to replace defensive tackle Corey Peters over the first six games of the season? CineSport’s Noah Coslov and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Atlanta Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss this and Atlanta’s cuts to get the roster down to 75 players.

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Coordinators hand out their exhibition mid-term reports; backups need to step it up

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Falcons thin at left tackle after Will Svitek goes down; out for season

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Akeem Dent returns to practice; will play against Miami

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

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Are Ryan’s preseason numbers a sign of things to come?

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Matt Ryan is entering an important part of his career as an NFL quarterback. If preseason statistics are any indication – and they may or may not be – the Falcons signal caller is off to a good start.

In three exhibition games, Ryan has completed 45-of-60 passes (75 percent) for 549 yards (183 yards per game) with three touchdowns, one interception and a quarterback rating of 112.4. His passing percentage, total yards, yards per game and 11 completions of 20 or more yards leads all quarterbacks this preseason heading into Sunday’s games. His rating and number of completions are second.

Impressive? Yes.

A sign of things to come this season? Stay tuned.

Falcons coach Mike Smith, while impressed with Ryan’s numbers, cautions that teams are not game planning during the preseason. The reads a quarterback must make are not as involved as they will be in the regular season.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez says Ryan, who is …

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