Archive for September, 2012

UPDATE: Coach Mike Smith addresses Abraham’s arrest

Police arrest Falcons defense end John Abraham. (Photo: Special to the AJC.)

Atlanta police arrest Falcons defense end John Abraham. (Photo: Special to the AJC.)

UPDATED

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith addressed the arrest of defensive end John Abraham on Tuesday.

“Anytime anyone in our organization shows up negatively in the paper we are very disappointed as an organization,” Smith said. “There are certain policies and procedures that we have to follow in terms of the NFL and this is a legal process and we’re going to let the legal process and run its course.”

Smith would not say if Abraham will be disciplined and added that he expected him to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

“Our discipline policies are something that we keep internally,” Smith said. “There are certain guidelines that are set by the NFL and NFLPA that were collectively bargained. Anything that we do, we’ll keep that internally.”

Abraham was the second player arrested over the past week. Running back Michael Turner was arrested for driving …

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Falcons tight end Michael Palmer (shoulder) out Sunday against Carolina

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons coach Mike Smith said reserve tight end Michael Palmer will miss Sunday’s game against Carolina because of an unspecified shoulder injury.

“He will definitely be out for the game this week,” Smith said today during his news conference.

Palmer suffered the injury during Atlanta’s 27-3 victory at San Diego yesterday. He had played six snaps up to that point and had one catch for one yard. For the season, Palmer (Parkview High School) has two catches for seven yards.

Blocking tight end Tommy Gallarda is the other player behind starter Tony Gonzalez on the 53-man roster. If the Falcons decide to add another tight end to the roster they could sign Chase Coffman off the practice squad.

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Atlanta Falcons: Grades for 27-3 win over the Chargers

Members of Mariachi Real de San Diego wait to perform before an NFL football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons as part of Hispanic Heritage celebration in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Members of Mariachi Real de San Diego wait to perform before an NFL football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons as part of Hispanic Heritage celebration in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO — Here are the Falcons’ grades for the 27-3 win over the San Diego Chargers:

A — QUARTERBACKS: Matt Ryan directed touchdown drives of 10 and 17 plays. Atlanta is the only team in the NFL to score a touchdown on its opening possession in each of its first three games of 2012. Ryan completed 75 percent of his passes. He moved the action around to eight different receivers, but saw his franchise-record streak of 272 pass attempts without throwing an interception snapped. Luke McCown made his Atlanta debut.

C-plus — RUNNING BACKS: Turner finished strong and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Rodgers averaged 3.2 yards per carry. “He ran the ball very well,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said of Turner. “His shoulders were downfield and he …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Grades for 27-3 win over the Chargers »

Video: Falcons sharp in win over Chargers

The Falcons clicked offensively and defensively in Sunday’s 27-3 win over the Chargers. Are they now the team to beat in the NFC? CineSport’s Brian Clark & The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D.Orlando Ledbetter discuss.

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

Continue reading Video: Falcons sharp in win over Chargers »

Turner finds comfort in return trip to San Diego

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner looks on as the Falcons play the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner looks on as the Falcons play the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

 

SAN DIEGO — It was a long week for Falcons running back Michael Turner, who played against the San Diego Chargers after being arrested on Tuesday for driving under the influence in Gwinnett County.

But after rushing for 80 yards and scoring a touchdown against his former team on Sunday, Turner was all smiles in the Falcons’ locker room.

“This was probably the best place for me to be, in San Diego,” Turner said. “Getting out here early, I got a chance to see some old friends and just reflected on the good times. It brought back some good memories. This trip couldn’t have come at a better time for me.”

After his arrest, Turner took full responsibility for his actions. He spoke to the media, apologized to the team and fans and said that he planned to let the …

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Tony Gonzalez led Falcons in receiving against the Chargers

By Kirk Kenney

SAN DIEGO —Upon his arrival at Qualcomm Stadium for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez saw a Gameday magazine sitting at the foot of his locker room stall.

“I see the cover and it says, ‘Antonio Gates is the standard by which all tight ends are measured,’ “ said Gonzalez. “That gets me going a little bit and makes me want to go out there and play the best I can.”

As if Gonzalez needed any additional incentive.

Call it the tale of two tight ends, one that someday will be recounted in Canton on the steps of the Hall of Fame.

Gonzalez and Gates don’t meet face-to-face as often as they did when Gonzalez was playing in the AFC West for Kansas City, but the competition remains spirited between two of the best players ever to play the position.

“We’re a whole lot different as to how we influence the game,” said Gates. “I’m more of a down the field guy, red zone. Tony’s liable to have 15 catches for 70 …

Continue reading Tony Gonzalez led Falcons in receiving against the Chargers »

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud turns in big game

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud made it look easy against the Chargers on Sunday. (Associated Press)

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud made it look easy against the Chargers on Sunday. (Associated Press)

By Kirk Kenney

SAN DIEGO — Atlanta came into Sunday’s game as the NFL’s leader in takeaways.

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud single-handedly took it upon himself against the Chargers to keep it that way in Atlanta’s 27-3 victory at Qualcomm Stadium.

DeCoud recovered a second-quarter fumble and he added two interceptions — including one in the second quarter that required replay before he was rewarded.

The effort — along with a fumble recovery by teammate William Moore — gave the Falcons 11 takeaways on the season. Four of them are compliments of DeCoud, who also had an interception against Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.

“That’s one of the things William and I have taken to heart as safeties, especially in this new system,” said DeCoud. “You’ve got to get the ball back, and we have a lot of opportunities to do that. It’s evident in our play right …

Continue reading Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud turns in big game »

What the Falcons were saying . . . .

MIKE SMITH, Falcons head coach

On safety Thomas DeCoud: Thomas had an outstanding game. He was doing a very nice job there in the back end and had some opportunities to make plays and when they came his way he was able to make the plays. That’s what you have to be able to do. Those were two very athletic plays on the turnovers.

On Matt Ryan’s play: Matt had a very good game. I think out entire offense had a good game. I believe Matt was 30 of 40, 75 completion percentage. I know there’s a throw or two he would’ve like to have back but I thought it was really efficient play by our offense. The game plan that our offense put together was outstanding and the guys went out and executed it.

MATT RYAN, quarterback

On if the offense got tired on the 17-play drive: I felt OK. I was a little winded. It was warm out there. It felt a lot like Atlanta. I felt good enough and that’s one of the things we started out huddling in that drive then wee up-tempo’d it later. It kept them …

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Falcons Ticker: Pam Oliver asks the brave questions

Pam Oliver was out at practice last week to interview Asante Samuel inside the team's indoor facility.

Pam Oliver was out at practice last week to interview Asante Samuel inside the team's indoor facility.

Listening to NFL on Fox studio host Curt Menefee tease a pregame segment on the Falcons, whom he termed “Angry Birds,” this had to be good.

“Our Pam Oliver grills the Falcons about something no one else even has the guts to even bring up!” Brown said Sunday before a commercial break.

That’s great because there are so many pressing, sensitive questions for the Falcons. For instance: Did Michael Turner go drinking after the game Monday because even he was desopndent over his numbers in the first two games?

Alas, Oliver’s “grilling” amounted to telling Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel that the Falcons have an “image problem” because “people” think the team is “soft.” You could tell that was the tough question by how the producers used editing and ominous music to desperately make it seem like a tense interview.

“My first couple days here, they …

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Falcons throttle Chargers 27-3 to remain undefeated

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)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan turned in one of the greatest days of his five-year NFL career on Sunday against the Chargers in a battle of unbeaten teams.

With Ryan operating at near peak performance and the defense confounding San Diego’s offense, the Falcons defeated the Chargers 27-3, before 61,297 fans, to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2004.

“I really liked the way all three phases of the team played today,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “They performed extremely well.”

The Falcons used their passing attack to build a lead and then turned the game over to running back Michael Turner, who had a tumultuous week that included being arrested for driving under the influence, to close out the game.

Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and one …

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