Archive for September, 2012

Panthers vs. Falcons: Ex-UGA star Thomas Davis is back

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis saying "hello" to Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets on Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis saying "hello" to Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets on Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis has had a rough career, but he’s returned from his third ACL tear in his right knee.

The former Georgia standout from Shellman could be pressed into starting duty with Jon Beason not likely to play.

“I think we have just got to do a better job of going out and competing,” Davis said. “That’s been one of our biggest issues. We have the talent, we have the guys in place. We have got to go out and put it all together.”

Davis is the first known NFL player to return to action following three ACL reconstructions in the same knee.

Also, Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson is from Hawkinsville and played at Georgia.

Other connections include:

  • Panthers tight ends coach Pat Hoener was a member of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s staff in San Francisco when Nolan was the 49ers’ head …

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Panthers vs. Falcons: 3 key matchups

 

Will defensive coordinator Mike Nolan match-up Asante Samuel (center) against Carolina's Steve Smith in man to man coverage?  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Will defensive coordinator Mike Nolan match-up Asante Samuel (center) against Carolina's Steve Smith in man to man coverage? CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Panthers CB Josh Norman vs. Falcons WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White: Jones and White are both off to great starts. Against the Giants, Norman, a fifth-round pick from Coastal Carolina, gave too much room to Ramses Barden, and his safety help was too deep. The Giants completed 10 of 14 passes for 147 yards on throws of more than 10 yards, according to the website Pro Football Focus. White has 19 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown. Jones has 15 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. “We have got to pick it up a little bit more on the offensive side of the ball,” White said. “There’s still a lot of stuff we are leaving out there on the field that I think we can fix that.”

Panthers DE Charles Johnson vs. Falcons OTs Sam Baker and Tyson Clabo: Johnson, who doesn’t have a sack this season, will move …

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Falcons will be elated to see the regular Zebra stripes

The veteran "Zebras" will be on hand Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

The veteran "Zebras" will be on hand Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

FLOWERY BRANCH — When the Falcons take the Georgia Dome field against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, they will be elated to see familiar faces wearing black and white stripes.

With the labor impasse settled between the NFL and NFLRA, the referees will return to action around the league. Veteran officials worked the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens game Thursday night.

While the Falcons haven’t had any major calls go against them, they could feel the pain of the Green Bay Packers, who lost a game on a controversial “touchdown” call by replacement officials Monday night.

“After that call, I’m pretty happy about it,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “That was the tipping point for the fans and the players. Something had to be done, so I’m glad they were able to come to an agreement.”

For the most part, the Falcons blocked out the replacement referees. They refused to talk about them or even …

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Video: Panthers look to ground Falcons

The Carolina Panthers (1-2) are bracing for a meeting with the unbeaten Falcons (3-0) on Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person reports as Carolina prepares for a big challenge after a long layoff.

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Panthers vs. Falcons: By the numbers

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Panthers vs. Falcons By the numbers

16 – Panthers quarterback Cam Newton rushed for his 16th career touchdown last week, most by quarterback in his first two NFL seasons.

19 – Newton is the only player in NFL history with 20-plus pass (23) and 15-plus rush (16) touchdowns in his first 19 NFL games.

74 — Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams had a 74-yard rushing touchdown in his last meeting with the Falcons.

833 — When Williams has 18-plus rushing attempts the Panthers are 15-3 (.833).

125 – Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith had six catches for 125 yards in last meeting. Has four career games with 125-plus receiving yards against the Falcons.

18.2 — Panthers wide receiver Brandon Lafell is averaging 18.2 yards per catch.

98 – Panthers tight end Greg Olsen had 7 catches for 98 yards …

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With strong pass protection, Matt Ryan is thriving

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

FLOWERY BRANCH — For Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter it was scene out of a bad horror movie on “Monday Night Football.”

And he was not even talking about the phantom “touchdown” at the end of the game. He fixated on Seattle’s defense unleashing a pass-rushing flurry that netted eight sacks in first half.

Koetter, hasn’t had to worry about that, but he had some empathy for Green Bay coordinator Tom Clements. Through three games, the Falcons’ pass protection has been nearly impeccable as quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked only four times.

“To have four sacks after three games [is pretty good], our goal is to keep under one a game,” Koetter said.

An example of how the Falcons have been in sync in pass protection occurred Sunday on Ryan’s 9-yard touchdown pass to …

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Ex-Falcons kicker Morten Andersen on list of hall of fame candidates

FLOWERY BRANCH — Former Falcons kicker Morten Andersen, who made the biggest field goal in franchise history which sent the Dirty Birds to the franchise’s only Super Bowl, is among the 13 first-year eligible modern-era candidates nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

 Some of the other first-year candidates on the list that was released on Thursday include:  Offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden, defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan and defensive back John Lynch.

On Jan. 17, 1999, Andersen booted a 38-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 30-27 victory over Minnesota in the NFC championship game. The kick sent the franchise to it’s first, and only, trip to the Super Bowl.

Andersen, who made the Pro Bowl seven times, is the NFL’s all-time leading scoring with 2,544 points.

George Blanda, Lou “The Toe” Groza and Jan Stenerud are the only kickers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Andersen, a native of …

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Falcons fantasy injury report: Clabo’s hip is improving

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo is recovering from his hip injury and fully participated in practice on Thursday.

He was limited on Wednesday.

Tight end Michael Palmer (shoulder), fullback Lousaka Polite (hamstring), cornerback Christopher Owens (head) and running back Antone Smith (hamstring) did not practice today.

Coach Mike Smith already has ruled out Palmer for Sunday’s game.

Five Falcons participated in practice on a limited basis Thursday: defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (groin), wide receiver Julio Jones (hand) and linebackers Stephen Nicholas (thigh) and Mike Peterson (ribs).

For Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy (hand) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Wednesday’s practice.

Linebacker Jon Beason (knee), guard Mike Pollak (shoulder) and defensive end Antwan Applewhite (knee) did not practice.

Tackle Byron Bell (ankle) was limited on Wednesday, but fully participated on Thursday.

Linebacker Thomas Davis (calf), cornerback Chris …

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Video: Defensive keys for stopping Cam Newton

The Falcons are off to a 3-0 start and host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. CineSport’s Noah Coslov and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter preview the game.Video:

LATEST NEWS

Coordinators Preview of the Carolina Panthers (1-2)

John Abraham silent in wake of his arrest

Thomas Davis doubles down on Ryan Kalil’s Super Bowl bet

Falcons and Carolina Injury Reports for Wednesday

Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School

OTHER NEWS

Vaughan added to the practice squad, LeGree released

Mike Smith addresses John Abraham’s arrest

Tight end Michael Palmer out for Carolina game

Falcons throttle Chargers 27-3 to remain undefeated

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

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Atlanta Falcons: Abraham attributes arrest to ‘bad timing’

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards (right) is sporting a Mohawk these days. It's more than just a hairstyle. He and John Abraham (left) anchor the Falcons defensive line.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards (right) is sporting a Mohawk these days. It's more than just a hairstyle. He and John Abraham (left) anchor the Falcons defensive line. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons defensive end John Abraham attributed his arrest on two obstruction charges in Atlanta on Monday to “bad timing.”

However, when pressed, he would not elaborate on the situation that occurred in front of a high-rise where he owns three condominiums.

“I really can’t talk about the situation because we are still going through some legal things, here and there,” Abraham said. “I’m just happy that everybody that knows me and knows what kind of person I am, know the things that I do, so I’d like to kind of leave it at that. I’m just trying to move on to football, continue to be the leader that I’ve been, do the same things and get ready for Carolina.”

When asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to give his side of the story, …

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