Archive for December, 2012

UPDATE: Dirk Koetter is staying with the Falcons

Mike Nolan, Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

Mike Nolan, Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

UPDATE: Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has withdrawn his name for consideration for any head coaching vacancies, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

Koetter has signed a contract extension that runs through 2014, according to a Fox Sports report.

Koetter infused new life in the Falcons offense, scrapping the power-run attack for a more pass-friendly attack.

The Falcons finished with two 1,000-yard receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, as quarterback Matt Ryan put up several career-highs.

White finished the season with 92 receptions for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns. He has posted 1,300-plus yards in two of the last three seasons. Jones, who as selected to his first Pro Bowl,  finished with 79 catches for 1,198 yards and a team-high 10 touchdown receptions.

Also, 13-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a team-high 93 receptions for 930 yards with eight touchdowns. Gonzalez posted the …

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Atlanta Falcons injury report: Smith expects Abraham, Robinson to be ready for playoff game

Nov. 13, 2011 - Atlanta: ---WINNING KICK --- Dejected Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, left, and John Abraham, right, walk of the field after the winning field goal kick by New Orleans Saints John Kasay for a 26-23 Saints victory in overtime at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Nov. 13, 2011 – Atlanta: —WINNING KICK — Dejected Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, left, and John Abraham, right, walk of the field after the winning field goal kick by New Orleans Saints John Kasay for a 26-23 Saints victory in overtime at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith said that defensive end John Abraham, who suffered an ankle sprain against Tampa Bay, and cornerback Dunta Robinson, who’s in the league’s concussion protocol, would be available for the team’s playoff game on Monday.

“I can tell you this, on both of the players that left the game yesterday, I fully anticipate that they will be ready to go on Sunday, Jan. 13th at 1 (p.m.),” Smith said on Monday.

Robinson, who stumbled backwards after hitting Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin, will need to be cleared by a independent doctor under league rules.

“He is in the concussion protocol,” Smith said. “He is moving through it …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons injury report: Smith expects Abraham, Robinson to be ready for playoff game »

Atlanta Falcons: Falcons’ run defense will be tested in divisional round

Stephen Nicholas (right) joins fellow linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Akeem Dent during a training camp practice. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Stephen Nicholas (right) joins fellow linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Akeem Dent during a training camp practice. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

The Falcons, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, are set to face either Minnesota (sixth seed), Seattle (fifth) or Washington (fourth) in the divisional round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13th at the Georgia Dome.

If Minnesota upsets Green Bay, they would face the Falcons. If Green Bay wins, the Falcons would host the Seattle-at-Washington winner. San Francisco is the No. 2 seed.

In order for the Falcons to advance past the divisional round, they must stop one of the league’s top rushers. They could face Minnesota and Adrian Peterson (2,091 yards, first in the league), Washington and running back Alfred Morris (1,413 yards, fourth) or Seattle and running back Marshawn Lynch (1,590 yards, second).

The Falcons’ run defense has been spotty all season. They held Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin to 50 yards on 21 carries in their …

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Falcons to open playoffs at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13th

The Falcons, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host the lowest seed to advance at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Georgia Dome, according to the schedule released by the league tonight.

In the AFC wild card game, the Cincinnati Bengals play at Houston at 4:30 pm Saturday. In the NFC, the Vikings play at the Green Bay Packers at 8 p.m. Saturday. If the sixth-seeded Vikings can spring the upset, they would face the Falcons in the divisional round.

On Sunday, Indianapolis plays at Baltimore at 1 p.m. in the second AFC wild card game.

The final game of the weekend will feature the NFC East winner — Dallas or Washington — hosting Seattle at 4:30 pm.

The NFL also announced the times of the Divisional Round games. On Saturday, January 12th, the Denver Broncos will host the lowest remaining AFC seed at 4:30 p.m., while the San Francisco 49ers will play at 8 p.m. ET on the same day.

After the Falcons open the Sunday slate, the New England Patriots will finish off the weekend at 4:30 …

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Atlanta Falcons: Smith calls Abraham injury ‘minor’

Falcons coach Mike Smith said that John Abraham’s left ankle injury, suffered in the fourth quarter of the 22-17 loss to Tampa Bay, is minor.

“The early reports are that it’s minor,” Smith said. “We’re not overly concerned. We’ll definitely have an evaluation (Monday). We don’t know a whole lot more. I did check with the trainer just prior to coming in here.”

Also, cornerback Dunta Robinson left the game in the first quarter with a head injury.

“Dunta, I think, will be fine,” Smith said. “We have two weeks. I don’t know exactly if they’re calling it a concussion. He did not return to the game. I’ll have an update on that (Monday) at the press conference.”
LATEST NEWS

Finishing regular season ‘the right way’

Ryan, Gonzalez, Jones voted to Pro Bowl

Matt Ryan named NFC offensive player of week

Matt Ryan Q-and-A

Safety William Moore to miss fourth straight game

Falcons wait for playoff picture to clear

Pro Bowl teams announced Wednesday

If playoffs …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Smith calls Abraham injury ‘minor’ »

Falcons-Bucs inactives: Moore, Owens head up list

Falcons inactives: Quarterback Dominique Davis, cornerback Christopher Owens, safety William Moore, center-guard Joe Hawley, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn and defensive tackle Travian Robertson.

November 29, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lane Moore (16) makes a catch in between Atlanta Falcons defenders Sean Weatherspoon, left, and William Moore in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

November 29, 2012 – Atlanta, Ga: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lane Moore (16) makes a catch in between Atlanta Falcons defenders Sean Weatherspoon, left, and William Moore in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

Safety Chris Hope will start at safety for Moore.

Buccaneers inactives: Cornerback Eric Wright, running back Michael Smith, linebacker Jacob Cutrera, guard Roger Allen, wide receiver Chris Owusu, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin and defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo.LATEST NEWS

Finishing regular season ‘the right way’

Ryan, Gonzalez, Jones voted to Pro Bowl

Matt Ryan named NFC offensive player of week

Matt Ryan Q-and-A

Safety William Moore to miss fourth straight game

Continue reading Falcons-Bucs inactives: Moore, Owens head up list »

Buccaneers at Falcons: 3 key matchups

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud intercepts Giants quarterback Eli Manning during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud intercepts Giants quarterback Eli Manning during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

By MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

Falcons S Thomas DeCoud/Charles Mitchell vs. Bucs TE Dallas Clark: DeCoud was left off the NFC Pro Bowl squad despite recording six interceptions, second to New York’s Stevie Brown among conference safeties. With the NFC’s top seed wrapped up for the Falcons, DeCoud figures to give way to Mitchell, a 2012 sixth-round draft pick. Clark, 33, no longer is a dominant pass catcher, but he can be effective, and quarterback Josh Freeman has targeted him a lot lately.

Falcons LT Sam Baker/Lamar Holmes vs. Bucs DE Michael Bennett: Baker is healthier than he’s been in a while, and that’s reflected in his play. Baker anchors the Falcons’ strong pass protection. Baker can become a free agent after the season, and the rookie Holmes, a third-round draft pick, …

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GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Buccaneers (6-9) vs. Falcons (13-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome

By Michael Cunningham

QB corner: Matt Ryan discusses the Bucs

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and the passing game have hit their stride in the past two weeks. But he had an interception and a lost

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)

fumble in the first meeting this season, a 24-23 Falcons victory.

Ryan talked about the offense and the rematch with Tampa Bay.

Q: What has to be better for you guys from the first game against Tampa Bay (a 24-23 Falcons victory on Nov. 25)?

A: Certainly one of the things, for me personally, we’ve got to protect the football better. I had two turnovers down there the last time we played. Ronde (Barber) did what he has done throughout his entire career. He’s a ballhawk and made a great play. And then I made a mental mistake in terms …

Continue reading GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Buccaneers (6-9) vs. Falcons (13-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome »

Falcons rewind: Reeves reflects on march to the Super Bowl

The recommended post-bypass regimen? Win the NFC title, do the Dirty Bird. (AJC file photo)

The recommended post-bypass regimen? Win the NFC title, do the Dirty Bird. (AJC file photo)

FIRST PERSON: Dan Reeves

In a weekly feature leading up to the playoffs, former Falcons coach Dan Reeves speaks with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter about the team’s march to Super Bowl XXXIII during the 1998 season. After 15 games, like the 2012 Falcons, Reeves’ team was 13-2, and set to close out the regular season at home. They would face Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome

“We were trying to make sure that we were going to have home-field advantage for that first game. We had already clinched, but it was still an important game. We

wanted to go into it, play well and win the football game. I was of course still out (after heart bypass surgery). They did good, and I think Steve DeBerg played some in that game (a 38-16 victory.)

“We played it like a regular game. Jack Burns, our offensive quarterback coach, called the plays …

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Atlanta Falcons: Thomas DeCoud wins Good Guy Award

Fresh and fun. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud here having some fun with the media. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

Safety Thomas DeCoud, who appears in all of the open locker room sessions and is more than generous with his time, has been selected as the Falcons’ 2012 Good Guy Award winner by the local chapter of Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The articulate and affable DeCoud always takes his time to give thoughtful and helpful responses. Wide receiver Roddy White won the local award last season.

The Good Guy Award is given to a player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs. Decoud will be eligible for the national award which was first given by the PFWA in 2005.

ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on …

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