Archive for November, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: Greg Schiano has Bucs playing until the final whistle

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano shouts from the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano shouts from the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

FLOWERY BRANCH — When Tampa Bay turned its head coaching reigns over to Greg Schiano, a former head coach at Rutgers, few took notice.

The hiring of college coaches by NFL teams has worked out for only a few, such as Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer.

The list of college coaches who have faltered miserably in the NFL includes iconic names such as Lou Holtz, Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier. Also, there was Bobby Petrino, who walked out on the Falcons after 13 games in 2007.

It looked as if the Bucs had made a bad move as they stumbled to a 1-3 start, and Schiano got into a tiff with New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin for rushing their kneel-down formation.

But Schiano, who spent three seasons in the NFL as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears (1996-98), has …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Greg Schiano has Bucs playing until the final whistle »

GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Falcons (9-1) at Buccaneers (6-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday

QB corner: Matt Ryan discusses the Bucs

Over the past two weeks, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has had a career-high in passing yards and interceptions.

tlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes from the pocket in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

tlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes from the pocket in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

He passed for 411 yards against New Orleans and followed that performance by throwing five interceptions against Arizona.

“You have to be able to put them behind you in the right way and not let them take away from what you want to do as you move forward,” Ryan said of the five picks.

Here’s a brief Q&A involving Ryan and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Q: What do you make of Tampa Bay’s defense that is first against the run and last against the pass?

A: I think statistics like that sometimes jump out at you, but they’ve played with a lead in a lot of different games, and …

Continue reading GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Falcons (9-1) at Buccaneers (6-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday »

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones returned to practice; Weatherspoon out with illness

081612 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons (20) Brent Grimes (from left), (11) Julio Jones and (32) Jacquizz Rodgers exit the tunnel and take the field to warmup for their preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

081612 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons (20) Brent Grimes (from left), (11) Julio Jones and (32) Jacquizz Rodgers exit the tunnel and take the field to warmup for their preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who is battling a right ankle injury, returned to practice on Thursday.

Jones, who suffered the injury against New Orleans, has not practiced since Nov. 9. He was limited at practice.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who is also coming back from an ankle injury, did not practice because of an illness.

Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh), safety Charles Mitchell (calf) and cornerback Asante Samuel (right shoulder) did not practice.

Defensive end John Abraham (back), defensive tackle/end Jonathan Babineaux (neck), kicker Matt Bryant (back), wide receiver Kevin Cone (groin), cornerback Christopher Owens (thigh), running …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones returned to practice; Weatherspoon out with illness »

Atlanta Falcons: Veteran safety Chris Hope helping out on special teams

FLOWERY BRANCH — Veteran safety Chris Hope, a former Pro Bowler, is the leading special-teams tackler with nine.

“After being a starter for 10 years of my 11 years, it’s hard to be patient and sit back and just wait for an opportunity to contribute more,” said Hope, who was signed on June 29. “One thing that makes a good team great or successful in this league is that you have to have guys that are willing and able to play roles.”

Hope, a former standout at Florida State, played at Pittsburgh and Tennessee.

“Everyone is not going to be excited about their roles all of the time,” Hope said. “But you have to play your role and you have to excel at it. That’s one thing that I’ve learned since I’ve been a rookie and I’ve kept that with me. It’s OK not to like role, but you have to be able to accept it and excel at it.”

With the rash of missed tackles by the safeties, Hope could be an option if the problems persist.

“Roles change all of the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Kroy Biermann served as emergency linebacker

FLOWERY BRANCH — With Sean Weatherspoon out for the past three games, defensive end Kroy Biermann was the emergency linebacker.

“We only had four active linebackers on our roster,” Smith said. “Two injuries would have put us in a position where Kroy Biermann would have had to play linebacker in an emergency situation.”

Biermann is playing a hybrid position. He’s more of a traditional defensive end in the 4-3 defense. When the Falcons use the 3-4 or 3-3-5 alignments, he’s more of an outside linebacker.

“We ask him to rush the passer,” Smith said. “We ask him to cover backs. We ask him to cover tight ends. We ask him to close the middle of the field. You just don’t know where he’s going to be.”

LATEST NEWS

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Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Kroy Biermann served as emergency linebacker »

Video: Falcons discuss the resurgent Tampa Bay Bucs

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from Falcons practice on Wednesday.

LATEST NEWS

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
OTHER LATEST NEWS

Video: Falcons will try to regroup against the Cardinals, who have loss 5 in a row

Julio Jones held out of practice with an ankle injury

LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on struggling run game: ‘Mike Turner . . . had no chance’

COACHES ALL 22 FILM REVIEW: 6 key plays in the 31-27 loss to the Saints
Falcons pull out 19-13 victory over Cowboys to improve to 8-0

Get instant updates on …

Continue reading Video: Falcons discuss the resurgent Tampa Bay Bucs »

Video: How to slow down Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin

What do the Falcons need to do defensively to prevent the Buccaneers from big runs? CineSport’s Noah Coslov and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss this and preview the game vs. the Buccaneers.

LATEST NEWS

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
OTHER LATEST NEWS

Video: Falcons will try to regroup against the Cardinals, who have loss 5 in a row

Julio Jones held out of practice with an ankle injury

LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on struggling run game: ‘Mike Turner . . . had no chance’

COACHES ALL 22 FILM REVIEW: 6 key plays in the 31-27 loss to the Saints
Falcons pull out 19-13 victory over …

Continue reading Video: How to slow down Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin »

Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon returned to practice; Julio Jones walks through

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH :  Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon fires up teammates during warmups for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.  CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

060612 FLOWERY BRANCH : Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon fires up teammates during warmups for team practice at Flowery Branch on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

AFTER PRACTICE INJURY REPORT

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, dressed in a work jumpsuit, announced his return to practice from an injured right ankle on Wednesday.

“This is just my coming back to work suit,” said Weatherspoon, who missed the last three games. “That’s all that it is. I got a chance to get out there with the guys a little bit for the walk-through. I’m feeling pretty good, so I’m looking forward to practice.”

Weatherspoon, who is third on team with 60 tackles, was limited in practice.

“We just wanted to ease him back in,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I would anticipate if there is not (a setback) from today’s practice that he’ll be a full participant (Thursday).”

Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh), wide receiver …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon returned to practice; Julio Jones walks through »

Atlanta Falcons: Offense to be ready for Tampa Bay’s kneel down attacks

OC Dirk Koetter is in search of that perfect game.

OC Dirk Koetter is in search of that perfect game.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons plan to be ready if the Buccaneers try to rush their victory formation on Sunday.

Earlier this season, the Bucs, under former college coach Greg Schiano, caused a stir when they attacked the New York Giants kneel down formation and hit quarterback Eli Manning.

“Absolutely,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said when asked if the Falcons are ready for a kneel down attack. “It’s on film. They’ve proven that they are going to play hard every play and we’ve got to be ready to do that same.”

Koetter is impressed with Tampa Bay’s front-seven.

“Their whole front is relentless,” Koetter said. “These guys don’t quit until they hear the whistle. They play extremely hard. That jumps right off the tape at you. This is going to be a team, for us to be successful, we’re going to have to out-work their front.”

As far as the kneel down . . .

“I hope we get in that situation,” …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Offense to be ready for Tampa Bay’s kneel down attacks »

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan hopes to rebound from 5 interception day

FLOWERY BRANCH — Matt Ryan is in uncharted territory.

In 74 previous NFL games, he had never thrown more than three interceptions, and that happened only twice.

So, rebounding from his five-interception game against Arizona on Sunday will be a first-time NFL experience for the fifth-year quarterback.

“You can’t worry about it,” Ryan said. “Part of playing this position in this league is knowing that there will be times when you make mistakes and fall flat on your face. You just have to get up and keep playing and keep throwing.”

As the Falcons (9-1) have transitioned to a pass-first offense, Ryan doesn’t appear to have a viable alternative to slinging passes around the field when the Falcons face upstart Tampa Bay (5-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

“We’ve got to move on,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “We know that Matt is going to bounce back from that. He just has to forget about it and move on to the next one.”

But, Ryan …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan hopes to rebound from 5 interception day »