Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

Atlanta Falcons: David Caldwell named Jacksonville’s general manager

FLOWERY BRANCH — David Caldwell, the Falcons’ director of player personnel, accepted the position of general manager with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday.

Dave Caldwell
David Caldwell

“Dave is a very bright, adept and organized talent evaluator,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He has a very sound understanding of team building and player acquisition. Dave has been an integral member of our scouting department and has demonstrated excellent leadership as the director of college scouting and as the director of player personnel. I have complete confidence in Dave, and I know that he will excel in his new role as the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

Caldwell interviewed with the Jaguars three times. He was also had two interviews with the New York Jets for the same position.

Caldwell will replace Gene Smith and have to make a decision on head coach Mike Mularkey.

Caldwell was in his first season as the Falcons director of player personnel in 2012. He …

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Playoff matchup: Falcons’ pass offense vs. Seahawks’ pass defense

eattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman (25) talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 24-23. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

eattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman (25) talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 24-23. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Here is a look at how the Falcons’ pass offense matches up against the Seahawks’ pass defense:

Falcons’ starters: Quarterback Matt Ryan (Pro Bowler). Wide receiver Roddy White and Julio Jones (Pro Bowler). Tight end Tony Gonzalez (Pro Bowler).

Falcons’ key reserves: Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and Michael Palmer. Luke McCown is the backup quarterback.

Seahawks’ starters: Left cornerback Richard Sherman, right cornerback Brandon Browner, free safety Earl Thomas (Pro Bowler) and strong safety Kam Chancellor.

Seahawks’ reserves: Safeties Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos and Winston Guy. Cornerbacks Marcus Trufant, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead.

Matchup to watch: Jones and White vs. Browner and Sherman.

After season-ending injuries to Marcus …

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Atlanta Falcons: View from Seattle: Seahawks busting myths?

Did Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks bust some myths at Washington? (Mark Slocum/AP)

Did Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks bust some myths at Washington? (Mark Slocum/AP)

The Seahawks won 24-14 at Washington on Sunday and, according to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times, busted three “tired, outdated or just flat-out wrong” myths in the process.

Here’s O’Neil’s take with the AJC’s comments:

I. Seattle is wasting a championship-caliber defense.

This was the chorus in September after the Seahawks scored fewer than 20 points in four of their first five games. . . . Well, Seattle’s offense has come a long way since then, its relentless ground game combining with an increasingly aggressive game plan for its effective young quarterback to create an efficient, above-average NFL offense.

Comment: Can’t fade that analysis. Those 42 points the Seahawks hung on the 49ers speak volumes even when accounting for a blocked field goal for a touchdown. Sure, the Cardinals had eight turnovers in a 58-0 defeat but it’s rare for any NFL team to give up that many points (and the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Seattle end Chris Clemons is out for the playoffs

Seattle will be without their top pass rusher Chris Clemons when they face the Falcons. (Associated Press)

Seattle will be without their top pass rusher Chris Clemons when they face the Falcons. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons, the former Georgia standout from Griffin, is out for the divisional playoff game against the Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll updated the media on his availability on Monday.

“We’ll miss him,” said coach Pete Carroll according to the Seattle Times. “[It's] a big loss for us in a lot of ways. Chris has been a great football player, just a symbol of consistency for the years we’ve had them. But he’s been a great leader for us and a tough dude, and a guy we just have become very comfortable with.”

Clemons suffered the knee injury in the second half of Sunday’s 24-14 win over the Washington Redskins. The injury, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and damage meniscus, will require surgery.

Clemons, who was undrafted, has 33.5 sacks since 2010, which is tied for sixth …

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Falcons determined to have a playoff breakthrough

Falcons tight end TonyGonzalez dunks the ball over the goalpost after scoring against the Giants for a 14-0 lead during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons tight end TonyGonzalez dunks the ball over the goalpost after scoring against the Giants for a 14-0 lead during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons right tackle Tyson Clabo said he didn’t have a preference.

To him, it didn’t matter if the Falcons faced Seattle, Minnesota or Washington in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

But given their recent playoff history, Clabo and his teammates will stare across the line at the hottest team in the league … again.

The Seahawks, winners of six straight, advanced to face the Falcons, who are hoping to end a four-game playoff losing streak that dates back to the Jim Mora era.

Last season, the Falcons played the streaking New York Giants. After the 2010 season, they played the transformed Green Bay Packers. Back in 2008, it was the Arizona Cardinals, who rallied late in the season on their way to …

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Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with head coach Mike Smith

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith was upbeat today for his press conference.

(Thanks for letting me asked the first question!!!)

Smith opened with an extremely detailed explanation of Seattle’s offense and defense.

Here are the highlights:

Opening statement: “We had a good week of practice last week. Today we began our preparations for the Seattle Seahawks. Players were in this morning for meetings and weight training. They’ll have tomorrow off and we’ll start our preparation Wednesday for the Seattle Seahawks.”

On what Seattle does well on offense and defense: “They’re playing very good football right now. Over the past seven or eight weeks, they’re playing as well as any team in the League. Offensively, I think it starts with what their quarterback is doing. He does a very good job running their offense. You have to account for him as a running back, so you’re going to have to concern yourself with that. I think he tied QB Peyton Manning’s …

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Atlanta Falcons: Falcons to face white-hot Seahawks at 1 p.m. Sunday at Georgia Dome

Mike Turner Seattle

The Falcons' Michael Turner (center) rushes against Seattle in first half action last season. (Associated Press).

FLOWERY BRANCH – Coach Mike Smith, the winningest coach in team history, has the Falcons poised to make an unprecedented third straight appearance in the NFL playoffs.

The Falcons, the No. 1 seed, will host the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional round at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The Seahawks advanced with a 24-14 victory over Washington on Sunday.

The Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs under Smith, but are determined to reverse the direction of their recent playoff fortunes.

Each time they lost to the team that went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and the last two playoff defeats were to the eventual Super Bowl champion in Green Bay and the New York Giants.

Smith doesn’t have to look too far for a signal that things are going to change.

“Matt (Ryan) has had a great regular season for us this year,” Smith said of his quarterback. …

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10 best Falcons plays of 2012 regular season

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gets a pass off under pressure from Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gets a pass off under pressure from Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Just as in 2010, the Falcons posted a 13-3 record and won seven games by one score or less on their way to winning the NFC South title and earning the NFC’s top seed for the playoffs.

The Falcons blended a potent passing attack with an opportunistic defense to carve out the NFL’s best regular-season record.

The offense, which featured the passing of Matt Ryan, had two 1,000-yard receivers and a 93-catch tight end and led the league in screen passes that went for touchdowns, with six.

Ryan completed 422 of 615 pass attempts (68.9 percent) for 4,719 yards with 32 touchdowns and a 99.1 passer rating. He set franchise records for attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns.

The defense helped the Falcons …

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Atlanta Falcons: Safety William Moore returned to practice on Saturday

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

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons safety William Moore, who missed the final four games of the regular season with a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Saturday.

The Falcons went through their last bye week practice in the team’s indoor facility and Moore, one of the team’s top tacklers, was back in action.

He expects to be 100 percent when the Falcons, who have gone 0-3 in the playoffs under fifth-year coach Mike Smith, put their 13-3 record and No. 1 seed on the line in the divisional round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Smith believes the bye week was beneficial and the Falcons could end up being at full strength for their divisional playoff …

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Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White has fully recovered from his knee injury

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White ran for a 39-yard touchdown during the second quarter against Detroit on a screen pass. (Duane Burleson/Associated Press)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White ran for a 39-yard touchdown during the second quarter against Detroit on a screen pass. (Duane Burleson/Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is over the knee injury that slowed him down late in the season.

He didn’t practice before the final three games, but answered the bell in each one like he has in every game since being drafted in 2005.

“It’s feeling good,” White said of the right knee. “I think the second week was really the turning point for everything. I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel like I can move around and do lateral movements and stuff like that instead of just running straight.”

White didn’t like missing practices, but he was determined not to miss any games.

“It’s was a whole different kind of week,” White said. “I was just prepared physically and mentally to go out there and have a good game.”

Despite another sparkling season, White was not selected to his …

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