Monthly Archives: October 2012

Weatherspoon Has Low Ankle Sprain

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was carted off the field during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles with an apparent ankle injury. Since then, head coach Mike Smith has revealed it’s only a low ankle sprain.

As D. Orlando Ledbetter points out, Smith never announces when a player suffers a severe injury; he talked about Weatherspoon’s injury, so it’s clearly not too terrible. Luckily enough, it wasn’t the dreaded high ankle sprain that keeps athletes out for several weeks.

‘Spoon missing any time would be dreadful for the Falcons, but I’m nearly positive he’ll be available for the Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys.

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Falcons’ Super Bowl Chances

In a quick blurb from ESPN South blogger Pat Yasinskas, the Atlanta Falcons’ Super Bowl chances are outlined:

With a 7-0 record, the Atlanta Falcons have a 52 percent chance of making the Super Bowl and a 32 percent of winning it. They have a 96 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Of the 25 teams to be both 7-0 and the league’s last unbeaten team, 13 have gone to Super Bowl and eight of those teams won the Super Bowl.

No doubt, that’s great news for the Falcons.

 

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Ryan Finally Wins in Hometown: Falcons Defeat Eagles 30-17

Matt Ryan turned in a fantastic performance against the Eagles. (Mel Evans)

It took three tries, but Matt Ryan finally got a victory in his hometown of Philadelphia.

The Atlanta Falcons improved to 7-0 Sunday as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 30-17. The Eagles have now lost three straight games and are currently 3-4. Also, it was the first time head coach Andy Reid has lost coming off the bye week. Coming into the game, Reid was 13-0 in the game following the bye.

The win marked the first time Atlanta has won in Philadelphia since 1988.

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Douglas Out; Peters Activated to 53-Man Roster

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas is out for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Douglas suffered a left ankle and knee injury late in the game versus the Oakland Raiders on October 14. Apparently, the bye week wasn’t enough time for him to recover. On the season, the slot receiver has 16 catches for 149 yards.

The Falcons have also activated defensive tackle Corey Peters to the 53-man roster. Peters suffered a stress fracture in his foot over the offseason and missed minicamp, organized team activities, training camp, preseason, and the first six games of the season. He returned to practice on Monday.

To make room for Peters, the Falcons released cornerback Terrence Johnson.

 

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Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Preview

The Atlanta Falcons look to improve to 7-0 as they travel out to Philadelphia this Sunday to face the 3-3 Eagles. Both teams are coming off bye weeks.

The last time the two teams faced off was last season: a 35-31 Sunday night win in the Georgia Dome for the Falcons. Michael Vick was knocked out the game in the third quarter, and backup quarterback Mike Kafka was forced to finish.

This week, the odds are stacked against the Falcons. The last time Atlanta was victorious in Philadelphia was in a 1988 – a 27-24 win. Yes, the Falcons haven’t beaten the Eagles in Philadelphia in 24 years.

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DT Corey Peters Returned to Practice Monday

Corey Peters will give the Falcons a much-needed boost in run defense. (Curtis Compton)

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters returned to practice Monday. Peters suffered a stress fracture in the offseason and was placed on the PUP list.

The Falcons have 21 days to either activate him or put him on injured reserve.

Once Peters gets into football shape, he will provide a huge boost for the Falcons run defense. Currently, the Falcons are ranked 28th against the run.

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Falcons Working on Eliminating Missed Tackles

The Falcons have to start tackling better. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Week 7 bye came at a great time for the Atlanta Falcons. It gave the team an opportunity to refocus and fix some glaring issues. More specifically, it gave the Falcons an opportunity to work on tackling fundamentals.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Falcons have missed 52 tackles through the first six weeks of the season. They’re on pace for 138 missed tackles, which is 31 more than they missed last year.

The Falcons are missing tackles because they aren’t wrapping up for the most part. The biggest culprits are Thomas DeCoud, Dunta Robinson, and Sean Weatherspoon; they often take a chance to lay the wood rather than just bring the ball carrier down.

According to Jay Adams, multiple Falcons addressed the tackling issue on Monday during an open locker room session.

DeCoud gave his input:

“I think, now, we have the technique of tackling. Once we make contact, we know how to do that. But I think now it’s more so just our path to the ball. The speed of the game is a lot faster and it’s faster than it’s ever been before, so guys can eat up angles or make you wrong once you get on your way to the ball, so it’s more about the path to the ball and making sure we have the correct angles once we’re entering contact.”

Ray Edwards simplified it:

“All of us have been playing football since we were probably 10 years old. We know how to tackle. We’ve just got to do it.”

And Weatherspoon chimed in:

“We’ve got to tackle. We’ll have the opportunities. We’ll be faced with some of the things that we’ve been faced with in the games previously, so they’ll watch tape and see things they think they can do against us and it’ll just be up to us to go out there and make sure we hit them whenever we have those opportunities.” 

There’s no doubt in my mind the Falcons will start tackling a lot better in the second half of this season.

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Despite 6-0 Mark, Falcons are Still Disrespected

If you didn’t know anything about the NFL, you’d think the Atlanta Falcons are currently one of the worst teams in the league. The Falcons’ 6-0 record is continually overlooked and discredited. A couple of NFL.com writers – Adam Rank and Ian Rapoport – even dubbed the Falcons as “frauds.” Gregg Rosenthal has the Falcons ranked sixth in his power rankings.

Eddie George isn’t buying the Falcons, either.

Seriously?

Analysts are in love with reminding the audience how the Falcons have won close games the past three weeks. Here’s a bit of a news flash: good teams win close games and bad teams lose close games. The isn’t college football where you want to blow out your opponent so you can be ranked accordingly. In the NFL, a win is a win is a win.

Bill Parcells said you’re as good as your record says you are, and he’s absolutely right. You can attempt to take away from a win or do whatever you wish, but the fact of the matter is almost doesn’t count, no matter how badly pundits want you to believe otherwise.

What’s more baffling is how people – notably Colin Cowherd and Tedy Bruschi – attempt to say the Falcons’ close wins shouldn’t count, but in the same breath, attempt to make the New England Patriots look better than their 3-3 record reads. The Patriots have lost three games by a total of four points, but you’d think they were undefeated. So, what you’re telling me is it’s better to lose a close game rather than win?

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Don’t get me started on the whole “Falcons don’t deserve respect until they win in the playoffs.” Well, in order for the Falcons to get a playoff win, they first have to get to the playoffs.

It’s time to cut the crap and give the Falcons a little bit of credit for being the only undefeated team in the league.

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Michael Turner Frustrated with Falcons Running Game

Michael Turner rushes against the Denver Broncos. (John Bazemore)

Since Dirk Koetter was hired, there was speculation as to how running back Michael Turner would fit in the up-tempo offense. Turner, who is a power back, gets better the more he touches the ball. Under former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, Turner often received 20+ carries a game. This season, he has averaged 14 carries per game. Against the Oakland Raiders yesterday, Turner had 11 carries for just 33 yards.

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlights Turner’s frustration:

“I’m not sure why it’s going like this,” Turner said. “It’s great to be 6-0 and everything. But we can’t just assume we’re always going to be able to get an interception or a last-minute field goal every time. At some point we’re going to have to run the ball. We’ve got to be able to knock it in [the endzone].”

The running back’s concern is legitimate. The Falcons’ rushing offense is ranked 25th in the league, averaging 86.5 yards per game. On the season, Turner has 357 yards and three touchdowns.

What’s disturbing, though, is Turner’s implied disconnection from the offense when asked about the confidence the team has in him:

“You would have to ask them that. That’s not something they would tell me. It’s their team, their scheme, their offense. I’m just here to try to help them win.”

Let’s hope the Falcons remember how to run block during the bye week.

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Falcons Squeak By Raiders, Remain Undefeated

Matt Bryant has been money in clutch situations this season. (Kevin C. Cox)

The Atlanta Falcons improve to 6-0 after beating the Oakland Raiders (1-4) on a 55-yard field goal from Matt Bryant.

It was an ugly, ugly game for the Falcons. Somehow, they overcame three interceptions from Matt Ryan to emerge victorious and win another game they probably shouldn’t have won.

The Raiders, who hadn’t intercepted a pass all season, picked Ryan off twice in the first quarter and once more in the second quarter.

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