Archive for November, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Turner, Rodgers and Snelling form RB committee

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH — If the Falcons are moving past their days of pounding away at opponents with running back Michael Turner then it could mean they are just catching up to the times.

The NFL’s era of feeding the ball to one big featured back have faded in favor of spreading the ball around to multiple backs with different styles. For the Falcons, their 24-23 victory at Tampa Bay might have been the beginning of their full embrace of that trend.

Jacquizz Rodgers played 31 offensive snaps against the Buccaneers compared to Turner’s 23. With the exception of Atlanta’s lopsided victory at San Diego, when Rodgers got extra playing time with the game in hand, it was the first time this season Turner didn’t get the most snaps among the running backs.

“We feel like Jacquizz is a very viable option to carry the football and has done a nice job for us,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It has become more of the vogue thing to do, to have a ‘running back by …

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Video: Falcons look to avenge their only loss of the season

The Atlanta Falcons will look to avenge their only loss of the season when they host the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night. The AJC’s Michael Cunningham reports from Falcons practice.

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Continue reading Video: Falcons look to avenge their only loss of the season »

Atlanta Falcons: Curtis Lofton says Saints don’t consider Falcons rivals

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH—To get a taste of the disdain the Falcons feel for the Saints, just mention the fact that New Orleans has won 11 of the last 13 games in the series including a 31-27 victory on Nov. 11.

“We got tired of hearing about it,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said today.

Asked if the Saints and Atlanta’s rivals, Turner said: “I think there is no question about that. You can see the difference in intensity when we play them.”

But, to hear Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton tell it, the seething isn’t as strong on the other side.

Lofton signed with the Saints as a free agent last offseason after playing four seasons with the Falcons. He said he’s noticed a difference in how the Saints perceive the Falcons as opposed to the other way around.

“Being here in this program, I feel like they see it as a divisional game, not a rivalry game,” Lofton said.

The Saints’ dismissal of the Falcons as a worthy rival is the latest chapter in a long history of …

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Atlanta Falcons: Team has no interest in signing Jason Babin

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin (93) celebrates a sack in the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin (93) celebrates a sack in the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons, who released one of their own defensive ends earlier this season, have no interest in signing defensive end Jason Babin, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s plans.

The person did not want to be identified discussing the team’s internal deliberations.

Babin was released by the Philadelphia Eagles today. Babin was having a poor season for the Eagles after posting a career-high 18 sacks last season. He has 5.5 sacks this season. His 36 sacks since 2010 is third in the NFL behind Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware and Minnesota’s Jared Allen.

Babin was available when the Falcons signed Ray Edwards and they did not pursue him. Instead, the Falcons went after Carolina’s Charles Johnson and then went after Edwards.

The Falcons released Edwards on …

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Atlanta Falcons: Samuel, Robinson, Jerry sit out practice

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh) and cornerbacks Asante Samuel (shoulder) and Dunta Robinson (illness) did not participate in practice today.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said Samuel’s status could be in doubt until just before Thursday’s game against the Saints. Atlanta is scheduled to hold a 35-minute walk-through on Wednesday.

“We’re going to have to go up to game time to see where he’s at in making a decision on whether he’s going to be able to play or not,” Smith said.

“Everything is good and (I’m) just taking it day-by-day,” Samuel said.

Robinson was added to the injury report today. He left Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay with a head injury but later returned.

The Saints players who missed practice are tackle Charles Brown (knee), defensive end Junior Galette (ankle), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (back), safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (concussion) and wide receiver Courtney Roby (shoulder/ankle).

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Video: Carolina’s Cam Newton shines in MNF win over Eagles

The Carolina Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 30-22 on Monday night. Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and also scored two on the ground. Newton and Andy Reid spoke after the game.

LATEST NEWS
Falcons hold on to move to 10-1, can clinch NFC South title with win over Saints, Tampa Bay loss to Denver

With Sean Weatherspoon back, run defense flexes its muscle on the Muscle Hamster

Falcons quote board after 24-23 win over Tampa Bay

Turner, Rodgers challenge top rushing defense in the league

OTHER RECENT STORIES

Struggling Falcons survive turnovers, Cardinals in 23-19 victory

Falcons coach Mike Smith admits to challenge flag blunder

Abraham, Babineaux make heads up play to score much-needed touchdown

Falcons quoteboard after 23-19 win over the Cardinals

Matt Ryan discusses his five interceptions

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

Continue reading Video: Carolina’s Cam Newton shines in MNF win over Eagles »

Atlanta Falcons: Tony Gonzalez joined the 14,000 yard club

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez became the eighth player and first tight end in NFL history to record more than 14,000 career receiving yards.

His 62 yards against Tampa Bay pushed his career total to 14,050 yards.

Gonzalez moved into seventh place on the all-time receiving list, passing wide receiver James Lofton, who totaled 14,004 yards in 13 seasons from 1978-1993.

LATEST NEWS
Falcons hold on to move to 10-1, can clinch NFC South title with win over Saints, Tampa Bay loss to Denver

With Sean Weatherspoon back, run defense flexes its muscle on the Muscle Hamster

Falcons quote board after 24-23 win over Tampa Bay

Turner, Rodgers challenge top rushing defense in the league

OTHER RECENT STORIES

Struggling Falcons survive turnovers, Cardinals in 23-19 victory

Falcons coach Mike Smith admits to challenge flag blunder

Abraham, Babineaux make heads up play to score much-needed touchdown

Falcons quoteboard after 23-19 win over the Cardinals

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Tony Gonzalez joined the 14,000 yard club »

Atlanta Falcons: Ryan keeps working his late-game magic

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Julio Jones during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Julio Jones during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan bounced back from his five-interception game against Arizona with a sterling effort against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

While he was intercepted once by the Buccaneers in the 24-23 victory, Ryan was nearly flawless, completing 81.3 percent (26 of 32) of his passes for 353 yards and one touchdown.

Ryan’s average pass distance was 6.6 yards and the short throws led to the high accuracy numbers.

But it was his longest throw of the day that paid off in an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Julio Jones.

“I tried to throw it down there high and outside so he could make a play on it,” Ryan said. “He did. He made a great adjustment. That was a really big play for us.”

Ryan, who led the team on a …

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Atlanta Falcons: NFC South title is within team’s reach

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons are closing in on the NFC South title. Just don’t tell that to coach Mike Smith.

“We’ve got to concern ourselves with what we can do and what we can control,” Smith said Monday after taking the team through an evening walk-through in the Falcons’ indoor facility. “We have to go out and do what we do as a football team and try to take care of the things we can control and not worry about the things that are going on around the league.”

The Falcons (10-1) hold a four-game lead over the Bucs (6-5) with five to play. New Orleans (5-6) and Carolina (2-8 before a Monday night game in Philadelphia) are in the basement.

The Falcons can wrap up the NFC South title with a win over the Saints on Thursday and an ensuing Denver victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Under that scenario, the Falcons would be 11-1 with a five-game lead over the 6-6 Bucs with four games to play.

Don’t expect the Falcons to begin sitting their starters either. They want to earn the …

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Injury report: Asante Samuel, Peria Jerry ailing

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates with cornerback Asante Samuel (22) after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-23 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates with cornerback Asante Samuel (22) after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-23 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) and defensive tackle Peria Jerry (quadriceps) would not have practiced if the team held a full workout on Monday.

The Falcons, because they play on Thursday, were required to release the injury information even though they only held a walk-through practice in the team’s indoor facility.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas (ankle), safety Charles Mitchell (calf), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (knee), tackle Sam Baker (groin), wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin), tight end Michael Palmer (back), defensive tackle Vance Walker (ribs) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) were all limited in practice.

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Continue reading Injury report: Asante Samuel, Peria Jerry ailing »