Archive for September, 2012

Book corner: 100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

Book Cover

The book cover of 100 Things Falcons Falcons Should Know & Do Before They Die.

SAN DIEGO – My pals Ray Glier and Knox Bardeen have written a book titled, “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.”

Glier is a freelance journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, USA Today, MSNBC, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Miami Herald, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among other publications.

Bardeen (thanks for the kind words in the Acknowledgments section) has covered the Atlanta Falcons beat since 2009. He previously worked for AOL’s FanHouse and currently is the Rapid Reports Correspondent covering the Falcons for CBS Sports. He lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

The book is billed as the ultimate resource for true Falcons fans.

The book is full of interesting facts about the team and list the No. 1 thing to know as “Finally, a Super Day.” In the first chapter they look at the team’s first and only trip to the Super Bowl, a 34-19 loss to the Denver …

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Falcons inactives for today’s game vs. the Chargers

The 50-yard line at Qualcomm Stadium.  (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

The 50-yard line at Qualcomm Stadium. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

SAN DIEGO — Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis, cornerback Christopher Owens, running back Antone Smith, offensive center/guard Joe Hawley, offensive tackle Lamar Holmes, defensive ends Jonathan Massaquoi and Cliff Matthews were declared inactive for the game against the San Diego Chargers today.

For the Chargers,  safety Brandon Taylor, cornerback Shareece Wright, running back Ronnie Brown, linebacker Jonas Mouton, defensive tackle Antonio Garay, offensive tackle Jared Gaither and tight end Ladarius Green were declared inactive.

SOME PREDICTIONS

From the Press Box at Qualcomm:

–Jeff Schultz, The Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist – Falcons 27, Chargers 24

–Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated — Chargers 23, Falcons 20.

–Nick Canepa, Union-Tribune columnist – Chargers 31, Falcons 24.

–Kevin Acee, U-T columnist – Falcons 24, Chargers 20.

–Michael Gehlken, UT beat reporter – Falcons 27, Chargers …

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Falcons are looking for first 3-0 start since 2004

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons owner Arthur Blank should not start printing playoff tickets after the team’s 2-0 start.

Usually, a 2-0 start in the NFL is an extremely positive indicator of success. In addition to Atlanta and San Diego, who play at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and San Francisco are 2-0.

The Falcons have not opened a season 3-0 since 2004, when they started 4-0 on their way to a 11-5 season.

Four of the past six Super Bowl winners started the season 2-0. All six of the most recent Super Bowl runner-ups started the season off 2-0, including New England last season.

However, the …

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Falcons safety William ‘Willie Mo’ Moore says he’s no Deion on the mic

Falcons safety William “Willy Mo” Moore knows there have been so many athletes-turned-bad-rappers over the years that hip-hop fans instinctively roll their eyes at all such endeavors.

But Moore says he’s serious about his music and hopes listeners will keep an open mind before judging. Moore already has fans among Falcons teammates, especially in the corner of the locker room known as the ‘D block,’ where Moore is known to entertain on ‘Freestyle Fridays.’

We talked to Moore about his music.

Q. Have you been rapping for a long time?

Oh, no doubt. In college [at Missouri] I used to go to the studio a lot. I used to open for a lot of big names [like] Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Ja Rule when he was hot. I started back in middle school, way back when. It’s been a passion of mine for a long time. What I’m trying to do, it’s not about making money on the side or anything like that. It’s about breaking down the wall. They say athletes want to be entertainers and entertainers want to be …

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New rule means no free play for too many men on the field

Sorry, coach, those are the rules. (Photo: John Bazemore / AP)

Sorry, coach, those are the rules. (Photo: John Bazemore / AP)

Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Falcons, serves on the NFL’s competition committee which is, in part, responsible for rule changes and clarifications. In a regular feature as part of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s football coverage, McKay will break down a rule or issue facing the league each week.

This week: The rule change for too many men on the field.

Broncos coach John Fox ranted at officials about a lot of calls during his team’s game against the Falcons on Monday, but one penalty in particular seemed to set him off.

The Falcons broke the huddle in the second quarter and as quarterback Matt Ryan approached the line of scrimmage, the Broncos were penalized five yards for having too many men on the field. Fox, who lost a challenge to the call, wouldn’t address the officiating after the game, but it appeared he believed the Broncos should have had more time to get the extra man off the field.

That may …

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Atlanta Falcons: Ray Edwards ready to help stop the run

FLOWERY BRANCH – With the Falcons primarily using their nickel defense in the first two games,

 Ray Edwards borrows a camera from a sports photographer to snap some photos of his teammates during a recent minicamp. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Ray Edwards borrows a camera from a sports photographer to snap some photos of his teammates during a recent minicamp. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

defensive end Ray Edwards’ snaps have been cut dramatically.

Edwards played on 28 of 69 snaps (41 percent) against the Chiefs. He played on 16 of 73 snaps (22 percent) against the Broncos. Overall, he’s played on 30.9 percent of the same this season.

Kroy Biermann has played a hybrid end and linebacker in the nickel and moves around a lot. Edwards plays primarily in the 4-3 base defense.

Biermann played 49 of 69 snaps (71 percent) against the Chiefs and 61 of 73 (84 percent) against the Broncos. Overall, he’s played on 77.4 percent of the snaps.

Edwards was a starter and rarely left the field last season. But he’s fine with the new role.

“I’m adjusting great,” Edwards said. “I have no problems. I’m fresh. I’m ready to roll. There is …

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Falcons fantasy injury report: Mathews is questionable

Dominique Franks slices his way through Raven defenders for a long return during first quarter of an exhibition game last month. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Dominique Franks slices his way through Raven defenders for a long return during first quarter of an exhibition game last month. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (concussion) and running back Antone Smith (hamstring) have been declared out for the game against the San Diego Chargers at 4:05 p.m. Sunday on the team’s official injury report.

Chargers offensive tackle Jared Gaither (back) and cornerback Shareece Wright (foot) were also declared out for the game on their official injury report.

With Owens out, Dominique Franks will take over at nickel back for the Falcons. Franks played 82 percent of the snaps (60 of 73) against Denver. Smith plays on several of the special teams.

Starting right tackle Tyson Clabo (hip) and weakside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (thigh) were limited in Friday’s practice and were listed as questionable for the game. Under league rules, the questionable designation means there’s a 50-50 chance …

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Falcons vs. Chargers: By the numbers

FALCONS VS. CHARGERS BY THE NUMBERS

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

3 – Chargers tight end Dante Rosaio set a career high with three touchdown catches last Sunday. They were his first touchdowns since Sept. 28, 2009 for Carolina against Dallas. Rosario’s three-touchdown performance was the first by a Chargers’ tight end since Antonio Gates had three against Kansas City Oct. 30, 2005.

51- Philip Rivers’ interception in the second quarter against Tennessee was his first in 51 pass attempts this season. Rivers also had a stretch of 10-straight completions during the first and second quarters.

31 – Chargers rookie tight end Ladarius Green registered his first …

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Falcons vs. Chargers: 4 key matchups (Abraham v. Harris)

 

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

Falcons DE John Abrham vs. Chargers LT Mike Harris: Abraham has 113 sacks, most amongst active players. He should have a favorable matchup against Harris, an undrafted rookie free agent with two career NFL starts. Harris (6-foot-5, 318) played at UCLA. The left tackle spot has been an issue for the Chargers since Marcus McNeill suffered a season-ending neck injury in a home loss to the Raiders last season. Abraham posted a sack/strip against the Chiefs. He moved into sole possession of second place on the team’s sack list with 59.5. Abraham played 71 percent of the snaps (49 of 69) against the Chiefs and  78 percent (57 of73) against the Broncos.

  Falcons RB Michael Turner vs. Chargers LB Takeo Spikes: Turner is off to a slow start this season. He has rushed 28 times …

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McClain’s turn in secondary

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, for one, is not surprised to see Robert McClain’s rapid ascension from obscurity to opportunistic playmaker.

“Playing in this league nine years, I understand anything can happen on any given Sunday,” Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “If you are up, you’ve just got to be ready because you never know what can happen.”

It’s cliché because, sometimes, it’s true. Just look at the serious of circumstances that led to McClain making a big play for the Falcons against Denver on Monday and now possibly filling a key role Sunday at San Diego.

Odds were McClain would be cut before the season. Instead, he made the team after a strong preseason.

Because of Atlanta’s depth at cornerback it seemed likely McClain would be on the inactive list most weeks. Then Brent Grimes suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the season-opening game and McClain was elevated to the active roster for Monday’s game against Denver.

Still, Grimes didn’t figure to see …

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