Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Falcons Aren’t Moving to Los Angeles

A Fox 5 Atlanta report revealed ownership in Los Angeles have interest in bringing the Atlanta Falcons to the city.

It’s not happening.

Los Angeles is interested in nearly every NFL team. Why? Because the city has no NFL team. Remember: Los Angeles already had two NFL teams (Raiders, Rams), and they both flopped.

Secondly, Atlanta is already a good venue for sports and entertainment. Plus, with the Falcons being as good as they are now and having the most support they’ve had since probably 1998, it would be foolish to move them now.

Owner Arthur Blank has made it clear how much he loves Atlanta. Blank’s a man of his word, so I would think he’d be transparent about moving the Falcons.

Rest easy, Falcons fans. The Falcons are remaining in Atlanta.

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Tony Gonzalez Needs to Return for Another Year

Losing Tony Gonzalez would be a big blow to the Falcons offense. (Josh Weiss)

Losing Tony Gonzalez would be a blow to the Falcons offense. (Josh Weiss)

Back in July, Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said he was 95 percent sure this season would be his last season. There’s still a five percent chance he doesn’t retire, and the Falcons hope he returns for another year.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon believes Gonzalez will come back:

“I think he’s coming back. I think if we had a bad year, he wouldn’t come back. But we had a great year, so I think we are right there.”

I feel the same way as Weatherspoon. The Falcons were essentially 10 yards away from heading to the Super Bowl; being so close, yet so far away has to leave both a good and bad taste in the tight end’s mouth.

At 36 years of age, Gonzalez finished the regular season with 93 receptions for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers were his best since coming to Atlanta in 2009. Even at his age, Gonzalez can still play at a high level. With wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White on the outside, it’s nearly impossible to stop Gonzalez one-on-one. It was “Pick Your Poison” with these three.

Ideally, Gonzalez would’ve liked to ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl victory this season, but it’s still a possibility for next season.

Expect Gonzalez to mull this decision over for a few months. If he does come back, the Falcons are in great shape. If he doesn’t, the league will bid farewell to the best tight end to ever play. The Falcons would have a hard time replacing him, and it would be a shame if he’s unable to get that ring.

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Mike Smith Named Coach of the Year by Sporting News

It’s the third time Mike Smith has been selected as Coach of the Year by Sporting News. (Scott Boehm)

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been named Coach of the Year by Sporting News. It’s the third time Smith earned the award; he was also named Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2010.

Smith coached the Falcons to a 13-3 record and a playoff win – the first since the 2004 season. Atlanta failed to make the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t take away from the job Smith did this year. Taking into consideration he had two new coordinators (offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan), and the season is even more impressive.

Over the past five seasons, Smith has racked up 56 wins to just 24 losses. That’s impressive anyway you slice it.

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Revisiting Week 17: Mike Smith’s Decision to Play Starters

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith’s decision to play the starters in a meaningless Week 17 game came back to haunt the team.

I said I was a fan of the decision to play the starters. It was a nice departure from what the Falcons had done in previous years, and as we all know, the Falcons fizzled out in the first game of the playoffs each of the past three times.

In the season finale, defensive end John Abraham ended up injuring his ankle. Smith said Abraham would be fine for the playoffs, but he clearly wasn’t. The defensive end was pulled early in the divisional round versus the Seattle Seahawks. Against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, Abraham didn’t record a single stat.

Abraham is the only player on the defense who can generate pressure on a consistent basis. With him being hobbled, the Falcons weren’t able to get any pressure on Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.

At 34 years of age, Abraham shouldn’t have even dressed for the Week 17 game. He’s too important to the defense, and the decision to play him all game possibly cost the Falcons a chance at playing in Super Bowl XLVII.

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Falcons Blow Three-Score Lead in Loss to 49ers

Julio Jones' monster day wasn't enough to propel the Falcons to the Super Bowl. (John Bazemore)

Julio Jones’ monster day wasn’t enough to propel the Falcons to the Super Bowl. (John Bazemore)

For the second consecutive week, the Atlanta Falcons opened up a big lead only to squander it to their opponent.

The Falcons (14-4) lost 28-24 to the San Francisco 49ers (13-4-1) and failed to secure a Super Bowl berth, which would’ve been the second in franchise history.

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Safeties DeCoud, Moore Added to Pro Bowl Roster

Thomas DeCoud and William Moore thrived in Mike Nolan's system. (Curtis Compton)

Thomas DeCoud and William Moore thrived in Mike Nolan’s system. (Curtis Compton)

Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud and strong safety William Moore were added to the Pro Bowl roster today.

DeCoud will replace San Francisco 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson. DeCoud had a career year, totaling 76 tackles, one sack, and a career-high six interceptions.

Moore, who the last four games of the season due to a hamstring injury, will replace 49ers strong safety Donte Witner. In 12 games, Moore had 75 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, and four interceptions.

And really, these two were Pro Bowl snubs to begin with.

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Matt Ryan to Miss Pro Bowl With Sprained Shoulder

Matt Ryan's shoulder injury isn't serious. (David Goldman)

Matt Ryan’s shoulder injury isn’t serious. (David Goldman)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will miss the Pro Bowl with a sprained shoulder he suffered late in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game versus the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons lost 28-24.

Ryan’s injury isn’t serious. He’s expected to be fully recovered in three to four weeks.

Head coach Mike Smith said Ryan would’ve been able to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks if the Falcons were able to defeat the 49ers.

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Abraham, Babineaux Active

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux are both active for today’s NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. They were listed as questionable throughout the week and were limited in practice.

Both players are integral to the defense, and if both were out, it  would have been detrimental.

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Falcons Injury Report: Abraham, Babineaux Questionable

The Atlanta Falcons Piedmont Healthcare Injury Report published on Friday lists two starters as questionable for Sunday’s NFC Champsionship match-up against the San Francisco 49ers: defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder).

Safety William Moore (hand), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (foot), and cornerback Chris Owens (hamstring) are all listed as probable.

Each player didn’t miss practice, with Abraham and Babineaux being limited.

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Championship Round Preview: Atlanta Falcons Vs. San Francisco 49ers

It’s the first time the Atlanta Falcons will host an NFC Championship Game, and it’s the second consecutive year the San Francisco 49ers will appear in said game.

Last year, the 49ers hosted the championship game and lost 20-17 to the New York Giants. There’s little doubt San Francisco (12-4-1) will look for that extra nudge to get over the hump and earn themselves a trip to Super Bowl XLVII.

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