Archive for October, 2012

Video: Undefeated Falcons prepare for Cowboys

The Falcons will try to keep their undefeated season going on Sunday against the underachieving Cowboys at the Georgia Dome. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter reports.

LATEST NEWS

Falcons rough up Vick, Eagles to soar to a 7-0 mark

Video: Falcons soar to 7-0 win over Eagles

Falcons guard Peter Konz shines in first NFL start

Falcons quotes after win over Eagles

Injury report: Weatherspoon suffered an ankle injury

OTHER RECENT STORIES

Is Michael Vick the “Coach Killer?”

Will the Philadelphia fans cheer for Asante Samuel?

Injury report: Harry Douglas is out; Peters may be activated

Falcons at Eagles: 3 key matchups

Falcons at Eagles: By the numbers

Falcons shrugging off critics

Hot start boosts Falcons’ TV ratings

Tony Dungy tells Mike Smith, ‘Get Michael Turner back involved’

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Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) misses practice

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon did not practice today because of a right ankle injury suffered during the game at Philadelphia on Sunday.

Weatherspoon is being treated for a low ankle sprain. Weatherspoon was hurt on a tackle attempt against Eagles running back LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter of Atlanta’s 30-17 victory.

“I think we know where he’s going to be tomorrow in terms of whether if he’s going to be able to go beyond that,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He wasn’t able to come out here and work with our guys on the sideline. When he can get out here and do some stuff on the side then we’ll think he has a chance. If he’s not able to do that, then we think he will not be ready to go.”

Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was asked how he would adjust if Weatherspoon can’t play.

“I might need your help on that,” Nolan quipped. “That’s a game-plan thing. All I can tell you is that’s a tough one. We’ll …

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Atlanta Falcons: Business with pleasure

Birds having fun. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

Fresh and fun. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

By Michael Cunningham

The picture above should give you an indication of the atmosphere in the Falcons locker room.

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud was about to head to meetings before taking the practice field today but he still found some time to show off his “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Halloween costume. He presumably was all business just a few minutes later.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said he likes that this group keeps the mood light when appropriate.

“I’ve said it many times and I’m going to say it again: I know it’s about winning on Sunday, but you win first in the locker room,” Smith said. “You’ve got to have a good locker room. You’ve got to have a good team. You’ve got to have guys that like to have fun. Because if you don’t have fun in a long day–and there’s a lot of long days–it gets tough. These guys know when to snap in and when to snap out. When it’s time to go to work they go to work.

“For some of the …

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UNDEFEATED: Can the Falcons pull it off?

Cover of Mike Freeman's book "Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season."

Cover of Mike Freeman's book "Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season."

FLOWERY BRANCH — Just got to the Branch today, waiting for the open locker room session at 11:40 a.m.

After the game on Sunday in Philadelphia, the lovely Ashley Fox of ESPN.com asked me when the”Undefeated” talk would start.

I told her to wait until the Falcons get to 10-0, which would be a new franchise mark for most wins in a row. They’ve won nine in a row twice, in 1980 and 1998.

Then, I was working on the laptop on Monday and the wife (Queen Led) brought Mike Freeman’s book in from a stack I had in the garage.

I’m going to wait awhile before I track down Mercury Morrris, Don Shula and the rest of the South Florida crew.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy Freeman’s book.

But, the schedule doesn’t look too daunting. Both of the Saints games — Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 29– will be tough. Then there’s the matter of facing the defending Super Bowl champs on Dec. 16 and more than a safety …

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Atlanta Falcons: Konz survived 80-round bout

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive line coach Pat Hill told his charges that Sunday’s game against the Eagles would be like an 80-round boxing bout.

He didn’t mean it literally, but it felt all too real to rookie guard Peter Konz.

“I came out of the game looking like Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed,” Konz said, referring to the fictional fights in the first two “Rocky” films. “I was just bleeding from everywhere a couple of times.”

The Eagles might have bloodied Konz’s lip, but he was still standing. There was the potential for a lopsided decision in favor of Philadelphia’s experienced defensive line, but Konz held his own in his first start.

With Garrett Reynolds slowed by a back injury, Konz, the Falcons’ …

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Atlanta Falcons: Rodgers passes rushing ‘Quizz’

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner runs with the football against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia.

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner runs with the football against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers had 110 all-purpose yards against the Eagles. He had 60 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving and 30 yards on kickoff returns.

Rodgers also broke loose for a third-quarter 43-yard run, the Falcons’ longest from scrimmage this season.

“That was an outstanding run,” Smith said. “He did a very nice job of eluding tacklers. It was blocked well at the first level and when he got to the second level, he made some people miss.”

The Falcons rushed for a season-high 146 yards on 37 carries against the Eagles.

“They were down low and in the box,” said running back Michael Turner, who had 58 yards on 24 carries. “They were coming and guys were lined up in the gaps.”

But the Falcons stayed committed to the run in order to slow down the …

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Falcons used “Big Tackle Three” to stop Eagles’ run game

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, bottom right, lays on the grass after Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) tackled him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, bottom right, lays on the grass after Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) tackled him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

FLOWERY BRANCH — It was abundantly clear early on Sunday that the Falcons’ coaching staff didn’t spend the bye week out on the golf course.

They were in the office, concocting a way to improve their run defense and stop the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Falcons entered the game giving up 143.8 yards rushing per game, but held the Eagles to 92 yards rushing on 24 carries (3.8 yards per carry) in their 30-17 victory.

In obvious run situations, the Falcons used three defensive tackles — Jonathan Babineaux, Vance Walker and Peria Jerry — to knock back the line of scrimmage. Babineaux, normally the “quick tackle,” lined up at defensive end.

“In the bye week, we looked at a lot of different combinations and we …

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Q&A: Smith discusses the aftermath of the win over the Eagles

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, looks on as the special teams huddles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, left, looks on as the special teams huddles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

FLOWERY BRANCH — One his first full day as the winningest coach in team history, Falcons coach Mike Smith spoke to the media on Monday.

Opening statement: “As I stated yesterday, I thought we started really fast in all three phases. It was nice to have a sixteen play drive to start the game, and then defensively, to go out and have a three and out and have a very solid punt return where we flipped the field position and had the ball on the plus side of the 50 or thereabouts and go in and score again. And score on your six first possessions is the way you want to start the game. Guys, played against a very good football team yesterday. That team is one of the more talented teams in the National Football League on both sides of the ball. I thought the …

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Injury update: Weatherspoon received treatment for low ankle sprain

Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a low right ankle sprain against Philadelphia in the fourth quarter and his status for the Dallas game will be updated after practice on Wednesday, according to head coach Mike Smith.

Weatherspoon was at the facilities on Monday to receive treatment from the training staff. He was injured will trying to make a tackle on Eagles running back LeSean McCoy with  9:03 left in the fourth quarter.

“He did not return (to the game),” Smith said on Monday. “Sean is in the training room and we’ll have a more concrete idea of where he’s at after practice (on Wednesday). But he did sustain an ankle injury in the ball game.”

Weatherspoon was taken off the field on a cart as a precautionary measure. He was in good …

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Falcons’ playtime percentage chart vs. Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, bottom right, lays on the grass after Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) tackled him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, bottom right, lays on the grass after Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) tackled him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters hit his 20-play snap count against the Eagles on Sunday.

The Falcons wanted him to play between 15 and 25 snaps  in his first-game back since suffering a stress fracture in his left foot.

He didn’t make any tackles, but he took up blockers.

Also, rookie Peter Konz, who filled in for Garrett Reynolds, took 100 percent (75 of 75) of the offensive snaps against the Eagles.

Here’s the percent of playtime per player on offense, defense and special teams

Offense    Defense   Special Teams

T Clabo T 75 100% 6 24%

J Blalock G 75 100% 6 24%

S Baker T 75 100% 6 24%

P Konz G 75 100% 6 24%

M Ryan QB 75 100%

T McClure C 75 100%

R White WR 69 92% 1 4%

T Gonzalez TE 67 …

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