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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)

In a weekly feature leading up to the playoffs, former Falcons coach Dan Reeves will talk with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter about the team’s march to Super Bowl XXXIII during the 1998 season. Here’s a photo gallery from the magical season.

After 13 weeks, like the 2012 Falcons, Reeves’ team was 11-2 record but some major drama was lurking. Reeves recalls:

“Well, we were in a fight with San Francisco in our division. It was a tight race. We played New Orleans over there and we had to win the game to stay in position in our division. That was big game. Big rivalry. Playing in New Orleans is always a tough place to play.

We won the game and after the game is when I found out that I had a problem with my heart. I just thought they’d probably do some kind of procedure and I’d be back out there the next day.

But then I found out I had to have bypass …

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Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White is game-time decision vs. Giants

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons wide receiver Roddy White sat out practice again today and coach Mike Smith said he probably won’t test his injured knee until just before Sunday’s game against the Giants.

“Roddy felt much better today than he did yesterday,” Smith said. “We are going to be very cautious with Roddy in terms of getting ready for the ball game. He probably will not do a whole lot on Friday or Saturday and then we will get him out there on Sunday and see where he’s at. But it’s hard to keep Roddy White out of a football game.”

Falcons safety William Moore (hamstring) also sat out practice today. Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (ribs), wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) and cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) were limited.

Samuel missed last Sunday’s game at Carolina but said he had a “good day of practice” on Wednesday. He stopped short of declaring himself ready to play against the Giants.

“We will see how it goes,” Samuel said. “I am working every day to get …

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Atlanta Falcons: Asante Samuel ready to return to action

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Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White misses practice with a minor knee injury

FLOWERY BRANCH — Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White suffered a minor knee injury and was held out of practice on Wednesday.

He’s expected to return to practice on Thursday, according to head coach Mike Smith.

White, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (ribs) and William Moore (hamstring) did not practice.

White and Babineaux played against Carolina last Sunday, while Moore was held out. Veteran Chris Hope started for Moore at strong safety.

Also, left tackle Sam Baker (hand), left guard Justin Blalock (elbow), wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) and cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) were limited in practice.

It was Samuel’s first day back at practice since the Falcons played the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 29. He was in the game for three plays against the Saints. He didn’t play at all against Carolina, but was available for emergency duty.

For the Giants, running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a sprained knee, which could keep him out of Sunday’s game against the …

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Atlanta Falcons: Team trying to move on after porous showing

CHARLOTTE — The Falcons were trying to move on from their 30-20 loss to Carolina as quickly as possible.

They face the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

The Giants knocked the Falcons out of the playoffs in the wild-card round last season.

“We have to come out against a real tough football team in the Giants and get this thing rolling,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “It’s only three games left to try to go out there and hit our stride. We can and we will.”

The Falcons stormed out of the gates this season. They were 8-0 before dropping their first game to New Orleans on Nov. 11. They then won three more games before facing the Panthers.

The Falcons know that good teams play well in December and January. In the December standings, they are 0-1.

“That’s something that Smitty always talks about; you want to play your best football in December,” center Todd McClure said of head coach Mike Smith. “Nobody remembers how you played …

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Falcons inactives: William Moore to sit out Panthers game

CHARLOTTE — Falcons veteran Chris Hope will start at strong safety for William Moore (hamstring) today against the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium.

Hope, from nearby Rock Hill, S.C., will make his first start with the Falcons. After playing for Pittsburgh and Tennessee, the former Pro Bowler was signed by the Falcons in June.

Moore was declared inactive for the game along with quarterback Dominique Davis, wide receiver Tim Toone, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Travian Robertson.

Cornerback Asante Samuel, running back Michael Turner and defensive tackle Peria Jerry are set to play after being listed as questionable on the injury report.

Carolina declared the following players inactive: quarterback Jimmy Clausen, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, running back Jonathan Stewart, linebacker James Anderson, guard/center Jeff Byers, tackle Bruce Campbell and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.

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Atlanta Falcons: Samuel, Moore are questionable for Panthers

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) and safety William Moore (hamstring) did not practice on Friday and were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. in Charlotte.

Also, running back Michael Turner (elbow) and defensive tackle Peria Jerry (quadriceps) were limited in practice and were also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh) and running back Michael Turner (elbow) participated in practice on a limited basis. Smith said Turner should be ready to play in the game Sunday.

Missing Friday’s practice for the Panthers were linebacker James Anderson (back, questionable), defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (wrist, questionable), wide receiver Brandon LaFell (toe, questionable) and running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle, doubtful).

Center Jeff Byers (back, questionable) and safety Charles Godfrey (back, questionable) returned to practice, but were limited. Tight end Greg …

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Atlanta Falcons: Asante Samuel (shoulder), William Moore (hamstring) sit out practice again

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) and safety William Moore (hamstring) sat out practice for the second consecutive day.

“Those two guys, we will see if we can get them out here and move around a little more tomorrow,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

Samuel declined comment when approached in the locker room before practice.

“I can’t talk when I’m injured,” Samuel said.

Samuel suffered the injury to his right shoulder against the Cardinals on Nov. 18 and then left Thursday’s game against the Saints in the first quarter after aggravating the injury. Before leaving that game, Samuel appeared unable to lift his right arm above his head.

Smith said because Samuel didn’t last long against New Orleans the team would be cautious for Sunday’s game.

“Most certainly,” Smith said. “He was only able to play three plays, so we are going to definitely be very cautious and make sure he’s ready to go. He wants to be out there playing, I know …

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Atlanta Falcons: NIU alums Turner and Schiller to ESPN’s Herbstreit: ‘Bite me!’

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Here is what Falcons players and Northern Illinois alums Michael Turner and Pat Schiller had to say about ESPN college football analyst Kirk Hebstreit’s harsh criticism of their alma mater’s Orange Bowl bid:

Michael Turner (Photo by Michael Cunningham/AJC)

Michael Turner (Photo by Michael Cunningham/AJC)

Pat Schiller (Photo By Michael Cunningham/AJC)

Pat Schiller (Photo By Michael Cunningham/AJC)

NIU officials sent the T-shirts to Turner and Schiller. The back of the shirts read, “’cause Every Dog has its day!” in reference to NIU’s Husky mascot. NIU, the MAC champion, plays ACC champ Florida State on Jan. 1 in the Orange Bowl.

During a Sunday telecast in which the BCS pairings were announced, Herbstreit said Northern Illinois’ Orange Bowl bid is “a sad state for college football and where we are with the current system. . . . They don’t deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me?”

His comments about NIU start at about 3:20 of the video below.

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Injury report: William Moore misses practice with hamstring injury

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons safety William Moore did not practice today with a hamstring injury.

Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (quadriceps) returned to practice and was limited.

Cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) did not practice and running back Michael Turner was limited by an elbow injury.

“Michael has an elbow that he sustained in the game Thursday night,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

Moore is coming off perhaps his best game as a pro and was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week.

Also, Moore is in the last year of his contract.

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