Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Falcons at Buccaneers: 3 key matchups

Falcons FS Thomas DeCoud vs. Bucs QB Josh Freeman: DeCoud leads the team with four interceptions, has 46 tackles and one sack. He must be on top of his game against Freeman, who utilizes his big receivers well. DeCoud also will have a role in run support and must not continue to miss open-field tackles. Freeman has been much more effective with a rushing attack. He has guided the Bucs to wins in five of their past six games and has rekindled their playoff hopes. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes in the past six games.

Falcons RCB Dunta Robinson vs. Bucs WR Vincent Jackson: Robinson has played well in coverage, but has been susceptible to square-in routes against the Bucs’ bigger receivers in the past. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are bigger players and will show up on Robinson’s side of the field. Jackson, who signed as a free agent after playing seven seasons for San Diego, has 42 catches for 863 yards and seven touchdowns.

Falcons DE John Abraham vs. Bucs LT …

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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: 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,” …

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Matt Ryan discusses his five interceptions in 23-19 win over Cardinals

CMGd Single Player – AJC

By Michael Cunningham

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s numbers on Sunday at the Georgia Dome suggested he was the losing quarterback.

Ryan had five interceptions and no touchdowns against the Cardinals. His fourth pick, the most egregious, led to Arizona taking the lead with a field goal early in the fourth quarter.

But the Falcons won, anyway, because their defense bailed them out and Ryan managed to patch together one touchdown drive for a 23-19 victory. In doing so Ryan became the first winning quarterback with five interceptions and no touchdowns since Packers great Bart Starr in 1967.

“That’s great company to be in,” Ryan said, smiling. “Bart is one of the greats of all time. It doesn’t happen very often, it really doesn’t. But it comes down to really good teammates that really picked us up today and made the plays when we needed to.”

Ryan washed away his earlier mistakes by leading Atlanta to its only offensive touchdown …

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Atlanta Falcons: Improving red-zone offense could add killer instinct

CMGd Single Player – AJC

FLOWERY BRANCH — All of the key players on the Falcons’ offense, from quarterback Matt Ryan to rookie right guard Peter Konz, believe the key to this season could be tied to scoring more touchdowns when they crash through the opponent’s 20-yard line.

The area is commonly known as the red zone. Some teams have dubbed it the “green zone” because that’s where money is made if touchdowns are scored, especially in the playoffs.

The Falcons, despite ranking 11th in the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency, at 56.4 percent, want to climb higher among the league leaders.

Several NFC teams and possible playoff opponents score at a higher clip in the red zone, including top-ranked New Orleans (71.4), Green Bay (67.8), Tampa Bay (66.6) and San Francisco (61.54). Also, Carolina (62.5) and Detroit (61.7) are scoring touchdowns at a higher rate than the Falcons in the red zone.

Last season, the Falcons scored touchdowns on 51.67 percent of their …

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Atlanta Falcons: Offense is focusing on the red zone offense

CMGd Single Player – AJC

FLOWERY BRANCH — When the Falcons travel inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, that’s usually time for their fans to prepare for a touchdown celebration.

Perhaps, that is why so many fans and players seem to have taken the Falcons’ loss to New Orleans so hard when a potential game-winning drive stalled at the 2-yard line.

The Falcons are one of the top teams in the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency and scoring.

On six of their red-zone trips against the Saints, they scored five times, including three touchdowns.

On the season, their efficiency rate is 56.4 percent, which ranks 11th in the league.

The top 10 teams are New Orleans (71.4 percent), Denver (68.7), Green Bay (67.8), Tampa Bay (66.6), Baltimore (65.5), New England (65.1), Carolina (62.5), Detroit (61.7), San Francisco (61.5) and Houston (56.4).

The Falcons’ red-zone scoring efficiency (touchdowns and fields goals) is 89.7 percent, and they rank second in red-zone …

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Atlanta Falcons: Michael Turner plans to keep on grinding away

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons running back Michael Turner has had some time to reflect on the team’s anemic rushing output against the Saints.

“You’ve got to expect things to get tougher as the year goes on and especially if you’re a good team, people are going to give you their best shot,” said Turner, who rushed for 15 yards on 13 carries and was stuffed on a key third-and-goal from the Saints’ 1-yard line with 1:56 to play “So we have to be prepared for everybody’s best shot.”

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said that Turner had “no chance” on most of his runs as there were free runners at the point of attack.

“That’s what I’m saying,” said Turner when asked if it was tough to run with three defenders in the backfield at times. “Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that. It’s just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just …

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Video: Falcons will try to regroup against the Cardinals

With their perfect season over, the Falcons will try to remain undefeated at home on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter reports.

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Atlanta Falcons: Tomlinson, Faulk weigh-in on Michael Turner, run game

FLOWERY BRANCH – Retired running backs turned broadcasters LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk weighed in on the Falcons running game.

Tomlinson came to the defense of his former understudy Michael Turner on Wednesday and Faulk was accused of nitpicking by the Falcons, who called him after one of his segments aired on The NFL Network.

Tomlinson, during his show with Ross Tucker on SiriusXM NFL radio, was asked about what was wrong with Turner.

What is wrong with the Falcons’ short yardage rushing attack?

  • The offensive line is getting whipped up front.
  • Michael Turner is too slow to the hole.
  • They miss fullback Ovie Mughelli
  • The other team has the cadence.
  • None of the above.

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“He’s going to finish the season with fewer carries than he has ever had,” Tomlinson said. “Obviously, that means that they don’t run the ball as much as they used to.”

Turner paid homage to Tomlinson earlier this season in San …

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Atlanta Falcons: ‘Not worried’ about issues after first loss

Surely, there are a few positives for the Falcons after their first defeat of the season.

For starters, they finally are freed from having to talk about being undefeated, the possibility of finishing undefeated and the increasing public scrutiny that goes along with all of that.

“No,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said the day after Atlanta’s 31-27 defeat at New Orleans on Sunday. “I’d rather much be answering those questions and be 9-0 than answer these questions and be 8-1.”

OK, but it’s not as if New Orleans dominated Atlanta. The Falcons led 10-0 early, regained the lead after falling behind and then lost when they failed to score a touchdown on three chances from the 1-yard line.

The surging Saints and their fans were motivated against their hated rivals. The Falcons had no real running game and Saints quarterback Drew Brees had his usual assortment of big passing plays.

And yet Atlanta came up literally one yard short from winning. So that’s got to be …

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