Atlanta Falcons News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/25/15: Fixing the defense remains a priority for the Atlanta Falcons. They signed Adrian Clayborne, formerly of the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to help solidify the defensive line. Clayborne was decent for the Bucs, but missed most of last season with injury. The team also signed tight end Jacob Tamme away from the Denver Broncos. Tamme had a couple productive years with Peyton Manning, but was relegated to a backup role in recent seasons. He does not replace the long-retired Tony Gonzalez, but could be a useful piece and put up half a dozen touchdowns or so in the right system.
3/18/15: For those that were unaware, the Atlanta Falcons have not been good on defense in recent years. And by saying 'not been good', that means 'very bad'. The Falcons, under new head coach Dan Quinn, former defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, are trying to build up the defense. They signed defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schoefield last week, as well as cornerback Phillip Adams. There are also rumors that the Falcons are interested in former Carolina Panther defensive lineman Greg Hardy, but that still remains up in the air as his situation may not be clear yet.
3/11/15: The Atlanta Falcons cut veteran running back Steven Jackson a couple of weeks ago, and that was an expected move. But who is the new number one back in Atlanta. Devonta Freeman sees himself as the new "man" in the backfield. Freeman is a similar bruising runner to Jackson. He was successful at Florida State, but did not contribute much last season - about 250 yards on 65 carries. He will need to do much better in his sophomore campaign if he is going to be the starter. Of course, any help from the running game would go a long way to making the Falcons a competitive team again.
3/4/15: As expected, the Atlanta Falcons released veteran running back Steven Jackson. SJax39 was brought in two years ago to hopefully be the missing piece of the Falcons offense, but injury, age and rotating personnel limited his effectiveness. He finished his time with Atlanta with 1,250 yards on 347 carries and 12 touchdowns. Jackson is 16th all time in rushing yards after having a standout career with St. Louis Rams on some historically bad teams. He has 11,388 yards rushing for his career, more than Hall of Famers John Riggins and O.J. Simpson. Hopefully he will get on with another team and get back to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie year in 2004.
2/25/15: The Atlanta Falcons know they have a hole at the running back position. Steven Jackson is on his last legs and will cost nearly $4 million against the salary cap if he is not cut. Devonte Freeman and Jacquizz Rodgers have skills, but neither really took control of the position last season when they had their chances. It turns out that the Falcons may be interested in Justin Forsett. Forsett has bounced around the league for years but had a breakthrough year in Baltimore last season. He says he wants to stay with the Ravens, but the Falcons may be able to offer the money and playing time he wants.
2/18/15: The Atlanta Falcons really have not had a strong running game for the past three seasons, and that is including the last two seasons with Steven Jackson. Obviously, the St. Louis Rams got all the good years from SJAX39. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan says that any type of running back can be successful in his system. With Jackson set to make almost $4 million and not getting any younger, there is a good chance he will be gone soon. Other options include Devonta Freeman, Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith. Smith had a nice stretch last season with seven touchdowns on 44 carries before he broke his leg.
2/11/15: The last time that Atlanta underwent a major civic redevelopment was in preparation for the 1996 Summer Olympics. A lot of buildings and sporting facilities were built for the games, which was only 19 years ago. They are doing it again, first with a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves. That will be outside the city in Gwinnett County (though Turner Field is still a serviceable ball park in downtown). Next is the new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. But Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs), which are essentially a cover charge for the right to buy season tickets, are not going so great as of yet. The stadium will not open for a few more years, but they should win some games to get a bit more interest.
2/5/15: The worst kept secret in the NFL was finally revealed last Monday when the Atlanta Falcons named Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their new head coach. Officially, Quinn was hired on Monday, but it has been long believed that Quinn had the job a few weeks ago. NFL rules would not allow the Falcons to formally hire Quinn until his season was over, and that took until the Super Bowl. The Falcons still have a pretty good offense with Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones, but need real help on defense - and that is Quinn's specialty. d 1/28/15: If everything goes as expected, the Falcons will hire Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn after the Super Bowl. They are also expected to hire Raheem Morris as their defensive coordinator, a role he has never held before. Many may remember that Morris was supposed to be a defensive coach in Tampa before several events unfolded and he became the head coach. That did not go well for Morris or the Bucs, and he has spent the last few years in Washington as defensive backs coach. But that all was a few years ago and Morris is probably a better coach now than he was then.
1/21/15: The rumors have been swirling around for weeks, and there is nothing official at this time, but it looks like Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be named as the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Quinn has interviewed and probably would have the job today if it wasn't for that darned success of the Seahawks. Quinn cannot formally be hired until his season is over, and that will not be until after the Super Bowl. He will be taking over one of the better jobs available - a top notch offense, a weak division and a high draft pick are some of the benefits.
1/14/15: Atlanta does not seem to be in any rush to hire a new head coach. That could change at any time, but for now, the Falcons seem to be content weighing their options. It was believed that Rex Ryan was the favorite, but reports imply that ownership may have been turned off by his brashness. That kind of attitude plays well in New York, but not necessarily in the South. Todd Bowles is set for a second interview, which may well mean he will get hired. That would make sense, as the Falcons are rumored to be looking for a defensive-minded coach to improve their biggest deficiency.
1/7/15: The Falcons gave head coach Mike Smith a pass after a very disappointing 2013 season, chalking it up to many major injuries. Unfortunately for Smith, 2014 was not much better, even with a generally healthy team. So, with a 6-10 record and a defense that leaked like a mesh pipe, the team gave Smith his walking papers. But this could be the best job available this offseason. The offense is good and they have their franchise QB in place. Additionally, they play in the NFC South, which was terrible this season. There are several candidates out there to turn the defense around, but none has a bigger name than Rex Ryan.
12/3/14: The media has not given the NFC South much respect this season, and for good reason. However, the Falcons beating Arizona and the Saints beating Pittsburgh (on the road, no less), should get them a little notice. Atlanta controlled the game with the Cardinals. They jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead and never looked back. QB Matt Ryan threw for 361 yards and two TDs (one INT) while Steven Jackson regained his form (if only for a day) with 101 yards on the ground. The Falcons are tied for first with the New Orleans Saints, whom they beat in Week 1 and will see again. But first, the Monday Night Game at Green Bay this Monday.
11/19/14: Against all odds, the Atlanta Falcons have taken over first place in the NFC South. They share a 4-6 record with the New Orleans Saints, but currently have the top spot because they own the tie-breaker with New Orleans. They are riding a two game winning streak, which is enough to own the weakened division this year. Atlanta had a convincing 16-3 fourth quarter lead on the host Carolina Panthers last Sunday, but allowed two late touchdowns before kicking the winning field goal. Atlanta is back home on Sunday to host the 6-4 Cleveland Browns, who are coming off a loss to the Houston Texans.
11/12/14: The Falcons got a little bit better and the Buccaneers got a little bit worse last Sunday. Atlanta beat Tampa for the second time this season, and while it was not laying down 56 like last time, it was still a win. In fact, two of Atlanta's three wins this season have come against Tampa. We had a Steven Jackson sighting, though. He ran 16 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. The defense did their part, intercepting Josh McCown twice and limiting the Buc's ground game to only 92 yards. Atlanta plays at Carolina this Sunday
11/5/14: The Falcons are struggling. The loss in London two weeks ago is still a sore point for the team and their fans. They gave up a 21-0 lead in the second half to fall 22-21. Saying there is a problem does not fix it, and there may be some fixing to do after the season is over. The coaching staff and front office got a pass after last season because of injuries. Listening to owner Arthur Blank, however, may mean something different this offseason. The crazy thing is that the Falcons are not out of the NFC South chase yet. Sure, they are 2-6, but the Panthers and Saints are struggling as well. A nice win streak, and this team may be back in business.
10/29/14: This is obviously not Atlanta's year. The Falcons were in London last Sunday to 'host' the Detroit Lions. They built up a 21-0 lead and looked in control of the game. The Lions got to within two points, but Atlanta had the ball with less than two minutes remaining, while Detroit was out of time outs. That should be enough to finish the game, but a holding call stopped the clock, then a dropped pass (rather than a run) stopped it again. The Lions got the ball back and marched down the field for a field goal attempt. Matt Prater missed the kick, but there was a delay of game flag, so he got another chance and kicked the winner for Detroit. Final score: 22-21. The Falcons are now 2-6 on the season and have a bye this Sunday.
10/22/14: To say the Atlanta Falcons season has been disappointing would be an understatement. The offense, which seems loaded with QB Matt Ryan and WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones just is not clicking for some reason. Owner Arthur Blank has noticed and seemed to subtly indicate that changes would be made if the team does not improve. Things did not improve last Sunday as the host Baltimore Ravens blew out the Falcons 29-7. The good thing for the Falcons is that the NFC South is surprisingly weak this season, and a nice string of wins could get them back into playoff contention. Atlanta (2-5) host the Detroit Lions this Sunday in London.
10/15/14: Things have not been going too well for the Atlanta Falcons recently as they have now dropped their last three games. The most recent loss was to the visiting Chicago Bears 27-13. While Matt Ryan had a decent game with 271 yards passing, one touchdown and an interception. But the Falcons could not get the running game going, totaling only 42 yards. The defense also could not stop the Bears offense and Matt Forte racked up 157 total yards and two scores. Atlanta is now 2-4 and heads up to Baltimore to take on the Ravens this Sunday.
10/8/14: The Atlanta Falcons fell to 2-3 on the season after being upset by the New York Giants, 30-20 last Sunday. The Falcons hung tough against the surging Giants for three quarters, but had nothing left in the fourth quarter, where the game was decided when the Giants scored 13 unanswered points. While the passing game was effective - Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards - the running game was limited to a total of 90 yards for the entire team. The good news is that the NFC South title is still within reach. Atlanta is back at home on Sunday to host the Chicago Bears.
10/1/14: The regular season is a quarter of the way finished, but Atlanta remains an enigma. The Falcons blew out the Buccaneers in Week 3, 56-14 and had 10 days to prepare for the slumping and distracted Minnesota Vikings. However, this time it was the Falcons giving up the big points in a 41-28 loss. QB Matt Ryan threw for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns, but also had two picks. But it was the Vikings' running game, without Adrian Peterson, that was the difference. Minnesota racked up 241 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Atlanta is now 2-2 on the season and heads north to face the New York Giants on Sunday.
9/24/14: Thursday night games often favor the home team and defenses because of the quick turnaround. Atlanta did not need much help from their defense as their offense and special teams absolutely overwhelmed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday night. Matt Ryan was strong with and 87.5% completion rate and three touchdown passes. WR Julio Jones was a monster with nine catches for 161 yards and two TDs. Devin Hester recorded his 20th kickoff return for a touchdown, as the Falcons easily won 56-14. Atlanta is now 2-1 on the season and heads up to Minnesota this Sunday.
9/17/14: The Falcons earned a lot of praise for battling back from a 13 deficit and finally beating the rival New Orleans Saints in Week 1. But, considering the Saints just lost to the Cleveland Browns and the Falcons were easily handled by the Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps it is time to pump the brakes. QB Matt Ryan passed for only 231 yards, one TD and three interceptions. The running game was non-existent as well, with the team combining for less than 100 yards. So it is back to the drawing board for the Falcons who have a short week and play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.
8/28/14: The Atlanta Falcons are looking for a bounce back season. After a few years of being among the better teams in the NFL, they regressed significantly last season when most of their offensive weapons went down with major injuries. The band is back together again (except for the retired Tony Gonzalez), and, assuming good health, should reassert themselves as a top team. If there is one concern, it continues to be the defense. The offense looked sharp against the Titans, but the defense did allow a few big plays that they cannot afford to during the regular season.
8/21/14: The Falcons stumbled and suffered through last season as the team was simply decimated by injuries. The only plus sides of that season was the experience given to young, developing guys and the relatively high draft spot they earned. The Falcons used their first round draft pick on offensive tackle Jake Matthews. They may have to use him on the left side earlier than expected as incumbent Sam Baker suffered a patella injury (knee) in the preseason. Baker is expected to miss the entire season, so it looks like Matthews will get his chance early to protect Matt Ryan.
8/14/14: This is really for the fantasy football managers out there. One of the worst kept secrets in the league is that Falcons running back Steven Jackson is aging and has been injured a lot over the last few years. The Falcons selected former Florida State star Devonta Freeman in the draft, and he is doing a great job. Freeman is currently behind Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers on the depth chart, but has the chance to move up. He is a physical north-south runner that excels after contact - similar to Jackson. It really seems like a matter of time before he is the starter in Atlanta.
8/7/14: Congratulations to Falcons great Claude Humphrey and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Atlanta drafted Humphrey with the third overall pick in 1968. He spent 11 seasons in Atlanta and a final season in Philadelphia. While he never made the postseason with the Falcons, he did make the Pro Bowl six times in the 1970's. Humphrey was the oldest man inducted into the Hall of Fame and had the longest to wait. He retired some 33 years earlier from a pro career that had 122 sacks. So while it may have been a little late in coming, congratulations are certainly due.
7/31/14: Not too long ago, the number 7 on a Falcons' jersey was a hot commodity. That was when QB Michael Vick was young, was a rising star in the NFL, and was before his legal issues for running an illegal dog fighting operation. But the number 7 has not been worn by any Falcon since Vick's release (back in 2007) until now. The new owner of the number 7 is wide receiver Jeremy Ebert. Ebert is not a well-known player, but did appear in five games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He would likely have to change his number in regular season if he makes the team, and may be wise to do so.
7/24/14: One of the challenges of the salary cap is building a balanced team. The Falcons have spent a lot of money and draft picks in developing perhaps the best QB and receiving corp in the NFL. That has come at the expense of the defense (very reminiscent of the Mike Martz days in St. Louis). Atlanta has beefed up their defensive line this season and hopes to put more pressure on opposing QBs - particularly Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons also hope the massive Ra'Shede Hageman can step in right away and contribute as a rookie.
7/17/14: When the injuries hit last season, and they hit the Falcons very hard, the team simply did not have the depth to overcome the adversity. At the same time, it would be about impossible for any team to overcome injuries to two of the best wide receivers in the league. Both Julio Jones and Roddy White are healthy again, so it seems reasonable that the Falcons will get back to their place among the top teams in the NFL. The NFC South should be a very strong division this season, too - even competing with the NFC West as the best in NFL. The biggest difference between the two is that the West is built on defense and the South is built on offense.
7/10/14: It was a crushing blow to the rebuilding Falcons defense when starting linebacker Sean Weatherspoon tore his Achilles tendon last month. The team added former Texan Tim Dobbins to bolster depth, but are still on the lookout for another option. Linebacker Will Witherspoon (imagine the odds on the name alone) is looking for work and has been in contact with Atlanta (and St. Louis) about a return. Will Witherspoon has over 150 NFL starts under his belt and could play either inside or outside linebacker. Considering the time of year and limited market for available linebackers, Atlanta may be wise to bring him in
7/3/14: It is fair to say that the Falcons 2013 season was a disaster, but much of that was due to the fact that the team had so many devastating injuries that they were not playing with their real team. It is about time for 2014 and health has returned to key players like Julio Jones and Roddy White. So while the focus may be pointed directly at the offense, the defense has work to do too. Cornerback Desmond Trufant wants more takeaways this season. That has not been a standout skill of the Falcons in the past, but playing in the pass-happy NFC South should provide them with plenty of opportunities to help out their offense.
6/26/14: Falcons QB Matt Ryan, obviously, has no competition for his starting position. In fact, outside of Falcons fans, most people would be hard-pressed to name another QB on the roster. Those would be Jeff Mathews and Sean Renfree, and now T.J. Yates. Not anymore - Dominique Davis. Davis was released by the team after they acquired Yates from Houston in a trade. Davis had the most experience of any of them, but that did not matter. One thing that Yates has is a playoff win. A few years ago, he led the Texans to their first ever post season victory while starter Matt Schaub was injured.
6/19/14: Fans of the Atlanta Falcons will get to look behind the curtain this summer as the team has volunteered to be on Hard Knocks. Had the Falcons not stepped up to be in the spotlight, then the NFL could have named a team to be on the hit show. NFL fans love the show, and team owners probably like the publicity. Coaches, however, tend not to like being followed by cameras throughout training camp. Atlanta should be an interesting choice as they have a potent offense with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, which should make for compelling viewing.
6/12/14: The bad news, right now as the Falcons are in OTAs, is that Julio Jones - the team's best wide receiver - is still feeling the effects of a foot injury. The injury is forcing him to be a limited participant in OTAs and he will not be able to take full part in practice for a while. That being said, there is some good news. Jones expects to be fully healed and at full speed for training camp. Jones knows the offense and is talented enough that this should be enough time for him to get ready for the season. And even if he is, say, 80%, he is still better than 80% of the wide receivers in the NFL.
6/6/14: Legendary tight end Tony Gonzalez is (theoretically) retired, and that leaves a big hole in the Falcons offense. The Falcons (or someone else) may try to persuade him to play again next season, but it seems like a longshot at best. In the meantime, the Falcons have to find a replacement. The candidates at this time include Levine Toilolo, Bear Pascoe and Mickey Schuler. The great thing about Gonzalez was his ability to catch like a wide receiver, which gave Matt Ryan three quality options, along with Julio Jones and Roddy White. Whoever gets the job must earn Ryan's faith if he is going to be successful.
5/29/14: The Falcons have been relatively quiet of late, perhaps their players have been too busy attending to the brutal number of injuries they sustained last season. The team did come to terms with running back Devonta Freeman from Florida State, who was selected in the fourth round. Freeman is a powerful runner, similar to a young Steven Jackson. He carried the ball 404 times for 2,255 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 30 touchdowns in three seasons at FSU. Like Jackson, he runs hard and is very strong, and no one wants to tackle him. If he is paired with SJ39, then teams will not get a break from a very punishing running style.
5/22/14: Falcons' GM Thomas Dimitrov is nothing if not honest. When asked how he would grade his draft he simply said that everyone thinks they get an "A" immediately following the selection process. He also discussed their efforts to move up to number one overall to take Jadeveon Clowney (which did not happen). Finally, he spoke about how good they feel with taking offensive tackle Jake Mathews with the sixth overall pick and how it is important to protect the huge investment that the team has in QB Matt Ryan. Linemen are not the sexy pick for fans, but they are the cornerstone of the offense.
5/15/14: Going into the draft, the Falcons did not need a new QB or wide receiver - which takes some of the bigger offensive names off the board. They needed defensive and offensive line help. But, picking sixth and the top two defensive players in Jadaveon Clowney (picked by Houston) and Khalil Mack (picked by Oakland) off the board, the Falcons made the prudent choice and selected the best offensive lineman available in Jake Mathews. Mathews comes from a great lineage, with his father being a hall-of-famer and his cousin is Clay Mathews (Packers). He also protected Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M.
5/8/14: If the Falcons want to make a move to the top of the draft so they can select Jadeveon Clowney, then time is quickly running out. Perhaps it will be a draft day move. There is a good chance that the Houston Texans will not take Clowney with the first overall pick. In that case, the Falcons may try to trade with St. Louis for the second overall pick. It would be a costly move, but Atlanta has shown in the past that they are willing to make a big move for a big time player. It also helps that Clowney seems to want to go to Atlanta and stay somewhat close to home.
5/1/14: Several weeks ago, consensus top player in the draft (Jadaveon Clowney) seemed to openly petition the Atlanta Falcons to move up in the draft and take him. Many experts now believe that the Houston Texans will take him first overall, but would be willing to trade for the right price. Whether the Texans want Clowney is unknown, but they are doing a good job of selling that opinion. So now there are a lot of scenarios involving a Falcons/Texans trade. One of the more interesting ideas is picking him, then trading with Atlanta, similar to what the Giants and Chargers did with Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers.
4/24/14: Falcons fans are very anxious to know what the team is going to do with their first round draft pick. Obviously, defense is a priority and the best defensive player (according to the 'experts') is lineman Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney has expressed interest in going to Atlanta. The problem, of course, is that he most likely will not be available when the Falcons have the sixth pick. That leads to a lot of speculation that Atlanta will trade up (perhaps with St. Louis at number 2). Of course, this is all a moot point if the Texans, with the first overall pick, want Clowney.
4/17/14: Falcons' starting QB Matt Ryan recently said, during a radio interview, that he is glad that owner Arthur Blank has passion for the team and that he is thankful for Blank's outburst that the team did not stick up for Ryan after he took a cheap shot from Saints' safety Kenny Vaccaro last season. Ryan also said he did not recall being upset with his teammates after the hit. Of course, Blank has a lot of money and expectations tied up in Ryan, so of course he is going to be upset when his team leader takes a licking. So while the support is appreciated, Ryan, himself, has no ill will toward his teammates.
4/10/14: It is always fun when one team presents an offer sheet to a restricted free agent or a transition tagged player. It is even more fun when the two are long time rivals in the same division. Such is the case with Atlanta and New Orleans. The Falcons presented an offer sheet to restricted free agent safety Rafael Bush. The Saints have the right to match that offer or will lose him to the Falcons. While the RFA market is usually pretty stagnant, often times, the team holding the original rights will try to retaliate by doing the same to the offering team. And, many times, the players that the teams are fighting over are not in teams' plans. It is just another form of gamesmanship between rivals. And that is always fun.
4/3/14: Aside from the astonishing level of injuries the Falcons suffered last season, the defense was a prime reason that the team could never get anything going. Addressing the talent level on the defensive side of the ball has been a prime focus of the team this offseason, and may conclude with the Falcons taking defensive tackle Jadaveon Clowney in the draft (if they can trade up because he probably will not be available with the sixth pick). In a related story, the Falcons re-signed cornerback Robert McClain, who was the team's only restricted free agent. McClain started six games last season and had 66 tackles.
3/27/14: The Falcons are an interesting team in that they seem to be able to find great talent and value in the draft, yet cannot make good free agency decisions. As for the draft, just look at some of the great players around such as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Free agency seems to confuse the team. Guys like Pat Williams and Osi Umenyiora were busts, and the jury is still out on Steven Jackson (Tony Gonzalez did work out well, though). Atlanta just signed kick returner Devin Hester, and they hope they got it right. Hester is probably the best kick returner of all time, and that would be a nice weapon next season.
3/20/14: The Falcons' front office is among the savvier in the NFL. One of the things that makes them so effective is they understand when they have made a mistake and go about correcting it rather than sticking to a bad decision. They realized that their defense was terrible last season and have purged the ranks. In free agency, they signed defensive tackles Paul Soliai (formerly with the Dolphins) and Tyson Jackson (formerly of the Chiefs). They still may have their eyes on Jadeveon Clowney in the draft, but might have to trade up to get him.
3/13/14: Atlanta is in an interesting spot this offseason. They are the type of team that could go from worst to first. They still have a highly potent offense when healthy, and they should return everyone except Tony Gonzalez to the skill positions. The defense is suspect at best, though Matt Ryan showed that he covers up a lot of mistakes with his offense. Atlanta also has a high draft pick, and that could become immediate defensive help. They do need to do some work with the salary cap, but to date, they have not asked Osi Umenyiora to take a pay cut, though that may be required soon.
3/6/14: This all seems too perfect. The Falcons can quickly become an elite team in the NFL with a little help on defense - particularly the defensive line. They know this and want to improve that area. Highly touted prospect Jadeveon Clowney would fill that need immediately. He also seems to want to go to Atlanta. There is a good chance that he will not be available when Atlanta picks, but St. Louis is willing to trade down. The Falcons and Rams have a good relationship as well. Nothing has happened yet, but it would not be surprising to see the teams swap picks and Clowney to end up in Atlanta.
2/27/14: There has been a lot of posturing this past week at the Combine between four young men that are considered to be at the top of the draft charts. Each of them - QBs Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater, as well as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney - is making his case to be the number one overall pick. Clowney now says that he wants the Atlanta Falcons to trade up for him. Atlanta holds the sixth pick and is open to moving up. They could find a trade partner in St. Louis with the second pick. The Rams already have a great front four and may well not be interested in adding Clowney.
2/20/14: First round picks often get second, third, and even fourth chances. So is the story with offensive lineman Gabe Carimi. Carimi was a first rounder in 2011 with the Bears. He did not play particularly well in his time in Chicago, and Jay Cutler was constantly sacked and eventually injured. That is not all on him, that entire offensive line was bad. That helped get Lovie Smith fired . Carimi ended up in Tampa last season. When Lovie Smith was hired, he did not want to keep Carimi and cut him a few weeks ago. Now Atlanta is taking a shot with him, and maybe he can help protect Matt Ryan.
2/13/14: Former Falcons and Chiefs tight end legend Tony Gonzalez took to the airwaves last week and he had a lot to say. He publicly stated that Falcons QB Matt Ryan is not 'elite'. That was enough to get the media wheels churning. Of course he did say that Ryan is very good and basically on the cusp of being 'elite'. He just needs some more experience. Gonzalez also said that while he was open to a trade last season, he never asked for one. The last interesting item is that TG left the door open to coming back next season with a contender, perhaps midway through the season.
2/6/14: The Falcons may be up against the salary cap going into this next season, so it only makes sense to restructure some contracts so they can get some other players. Atlanta still has a very strong offense that is among the best in the league when they are healthy, so defensive talent is at a premium this offseason. Sometimes it is hard to get veterans to restructure their contracts, but it looks like they have a taker in WR Roddy White. White says he wants to be only with the Falcons and the two sides are working on a restructured deal that would benefit both sides.
1/30/14: Brian Cox was a quarterback's worst nightmare for years when he was with the Dolphins and Jets. He has made the transition to coaching and his new gig is as the defensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons. He wants to make quarterbacks afraid when they face the Falcons defensive line. Cox believes that getting into a QB's head is a big part of being successful - to the point where QBs make bad decisions so they will not get hit. That kind of aggressiveness has been missing from Atlanta for several years. If Cox can deliver, then the Falcons can get back to the top of the NFC South.
1/23/14: No one expected the Falcons to fall to 4-12 this season, and no one expects that to happen again. The offense getting healthy probably gets them four more wins on its own. But to get over the top, the Falcons will need to improve their defense significantly. Atlanta owns the sixth pick in the draft and will be able to find a quality player at that position. But the speculation now is on the Falcons wanting Jadaveon Clowney - the star defensive tackle from South Carolina. To land him, they would likely need to trade up. The St. Louis Rams have the number two pick (via Washington), so there may be a deal to be made.
1/16/14: The Falcons, of course, had a season to forget. They were plagued with big injuries to key players all season, and that had a lot to do with their 4-12 record. Of course, offensive and defensive line play was weak, and the Falcons seem to recognize the need to toughen up. Enter former NFL star Bryan Cox. Atlanta has hired Cox as their defensive line coach in order to improve the area. The Falcons may also be interested in drafting Jadaveon Clowny out of South Carolina to give them a better pass rush. They may have to trade up to the second spot (owned by St. Louis, via Washington) to get him - and that may be expensive.
1/9/14: For all the Falcons fans out there that are shocked and disappointed in the 2013 season, here is the good news. Yes, the Falcons had/have a roster that can contend for a Super Bowl (though they need some help on defense). They also have good leadership and coaching. The season was derailed by major injuries, and the Falcons still played tough. If they were going to have a lost season, then it is best that it was very, very bad. They are in prime position to pick up key pieces to the defense through the draft now.
1/2/14: The NFL and the Atlanta Falcons are saying goodbye to the greatest tight end who ever played, Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez came back for one more season with the Falcons. The situation seemed perfect as the Falcons seemed geared for a deep playoff run back in August. However, major injuries devastated the team and they could never rebound. Atlanta finished the season at 4-12, losing the last game 21-20 at home to Carolina. The good news is that the Falcons will be back and healthy next season. They still have a tremendous offense and a high draft selection to help bolster the defense.
12/26/13: When the schedule makers slated the Falcons at San Francisco in Week 16 they probably imagined that it would be a contest between two NFC powerhouses in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game. The 49ers are a top tier team, of course, but the Falcons have struggled all year due to injury. In short, it was not the match up that was expected. San Francisco won the final game in Candlestick Park 34-24, though the Falcons did make it interesting. It was not over until a very late pick six sealed the game. Atlanta finishes up their season this Sunday against Carolina.
12/19/13: The Falcons earned their fourth win of the season by coming back against Washington to win 27-26 last Sunday. Washington is in complete disarray at this moment with what appears to be a lame duck coach and sitting their starting quarterback. The Falcons defense forced seven turnovers in the game which resulted in 20 points. The Falcons' offense was not too potent - Matt Ryan only threw for 210 yards and one TD, but they were effective enough to get the points they needed. Atlanta plays on Monday Night when they visit the 10-4 San Francisco 49ers.
12/12/13: The Falcons fell to 3-10 last Sunday with a 22-21 loss in Green Bay. Atlanta seemed to have everything going well for themselves early on. The Falcons led the Packers by 11 points at halftime. However, the Packers rallied. The key play was when the Packers' defense forced a Matt Ryan fumble and then scored the go-ahead touchdown just four plays later, early in the fourth quarter. While the record is terrible, most believe that head coach Mike Smith will get a pass for this season considering the incredibly high amount of injuries on the team. Atlanta has a good chance for the win this Sunday when they host Washington (3-10).
12/5/13: Atlanta got a big win to make them feel happy for a week by beating the Buffalo Bills in overtime 34-31. The Falcons are a very talented and well-coached football team when healthy. The problem is that they have been injured all year and have put in a lot of second, third and fourth string players to fill out the roster. This was the game that the Bills play in Toronto once a year, which may have been an advantage for the Falcons. The game was sparsely attended and many of those fans were Falcons supporters. Also, they played in a dome rather than in the Buffalo cold, which all favor Atlanta. But no matter, a win is a win.
11/28/13: Very few people thought the Falcons would only have two wins after twelve weeks of the NFL season, but that is exactly what has happened. The Saints swept the season series against the Falcons with a 17-13 win last Thursday. QB Matt Ryan actually had a decent night except for no touchdowns. He was 30-39 passing for just under 300 yards. But the Falcons simply could not score against the Saints and are now in the cellar of the NFC South. Atlanta is on the road and in cold weather this weekend. They play the Bills (4-7) in Buffalo on Sunday.
11/21/13: The good news is that the Falcons scored four touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. The bad news is that they gave up 41 points in another loss that dropped them to 2-8 on the season. Atlanta trailed 24-6 at halftime and 38-13 after the third quarter. The Falcons had no answer for third string running back Bobby Rainey who ran for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns. Atlanta has had a miserable year and is completely decimated with injuries. The only real good news is that the season is close to over and Atlanta will have a good draft pick. It will be a short week for the Falcons as they host New Orleans on Thursday.
11/14/13: The season just cannot end soon enough for the Atlanta Falcons. The team had high hopes for the season after making it to the NFC Conference Championship Game last season. This year is completely lost due to injuries everywhere. The Falcons suffered yet another defeat last Sunday, this time to the Seattle Seahawks, 33-10. Atlanta had no answer for Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. They also have almost no offense with most of their skill players out injured. The Falcons do have a chance to get a win this weekend as they head south to play Tampa this Sunday.
11/7/13: This is turning out to be a lost season for the Atlanta Falcons with most of their star position players injured. The Falcons suffered their sixth loss of the year last Sunday at the hands of division rival Carolina 34-10. Atlanta's offense had no answer for Carolina's defense. Matt Ryan was limited to 219 yards and a touchdown. He also had three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Steven Jackson was back on the field but only managed 57 yards as the Falcons fell to 2-6 on the season. It does not get any easier this weekend as the Falcons host the 8-1 Seattle Seahawks.
10/31/13: The nightmare that is the 2013 season continues for Atlanta. The only good news is that at this pace they will have a good draft pick and should have their selection of top tight ends to replace the retiring Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons defense allowed three touchdowns in the second quarter to Arizona, including an 80 yard run to rookie Andre Ellington. Matt Ryan came into the game with three interceptions in the first six games, but threw four against the Cardinals. The Cardinals picked him off five times last year too. Atlanta is 2-5 on the season and stays on the road with a visit to the rejuvenated Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
10/24/13: The Falcons have been decimated by injuries, making Tony Gonzalez' farewell season a complete nightmare. However, it always feels good to beat a division rival, and that is what the Falcons did by rolling over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 at home. It was only the second win of the season for Atlanta, but that is two more than Tampa. QB Matt Ryan was 20-26 for 273 yards and three touchdowns, despite being without Julio Jones and Roddy White, ending his impressive consecutive games played streak. Atlanta (2-4) heads west to face the Arizona Cardinals (3-4) on Sunday.
10/17/13: The Atlanta Falcons are not the team that everyone expected them to be this year. They are 1-4, with the lone win coming at home over the St. Louis Rams. The Falcons are very injured at this point. Steven Jackson has not played since Week 2. Roddy White has battled a high ankle sprain all season rendering him mostly as a decoy. The worst news is that wide receiver Julio Jones is out for the year with a foot injury. Reports indicate that he broke a screw in his surgically repaired foot and will not be able to return. The team needs this bye week to get some semblance of health.
10/10/13: The Falcons lost a heartbreaker as time expired on the Monday Night Game this past week. Atlanta scored a touchdown with about two minutes left, giving them a one point lead. However, Geno Smith marched the Jets down for the winning field goal. The Falcons are on a bye this week, but may be in trouble when they return to action. Star WR Julio Jones may be finished for the year with a foot injury. Steven Jackson remains sidelined. Roddy White needs some rest for his high ankle sprain. The team is now 1-4, which would have been unthinkable a month ago.
10/3/13: Atlanta just does not look the same without their wide receivers at full health. They lost 30-23 to New England in the Sunday Night Game, but this was more of a defensive failing. QB Matt Ryan threw for 421 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 pick. The running game continues to struggle without Steven Jackson, and it is hoped that he will return soon. The Falcons' defense allowed both Julian Edleman and Kenbrell Thompkins to tally over 100 yards on the day as they were picked apart by Tom Brady. The loss drops the Falcons to 2-2 on the season, and they are staring up at the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons have another prime time game hosting the Jets (2-2) on Monday Night.
9/26/13: The Falcons did not expect to be 1-2 at this point, but losses to the Saints and Dolphins have put them in a bit of a hole. The Falcons have been short-handed. Roddy White has a high ankle sprain, Julio Jones is a bit banged up, and Steven Jackson has been out for a couple of weeks. Still, they had a chance against the host Dolphins last Sunday, but QB Ryan Tannehill threw a one-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Sims for the game winning score with just 38 seconds to play. The Falcons will try to get back on the winning track in Week 4 when they host the 3-0 Patriots on the Sunday Night Game.
9/19/13: Atlanta rarely loses two in a row in the Matt Ryan era, and this past Sunday was no exception. After dropping their opener in New Orleans, the Falcons opened up their home schedule with a visit from the up and coming St. Louis Rams. Atlanta built up a big 21-3 lead early, though let the Rams back into the game late when St. Louis went to a no-huddle offense. Ultimately, Atlanta hung on to the win to even their record at 1-1. Atlanta now heads south to visit the 2-0 Miami Dolphins on Sunday, in a classic trap game.
9/12/13: This was not the start that the Falcons had envisioned. Atlanta played their first game as a conference tilt, on the road, against the resurgent New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense was historically bad last season, giving up 900 more yards than the next closest defense - so this should have been easy. However, WR Roddy White was hobbled with an ankle sprain and used mostly as a decoy. The Falcons were only able to manage 17 points against the revamped New Orleans defense. Atlanta gets a chance to rebound on Sunday when they host the St. Louis Rams.
9/4/13: Week One is upon us, and many are looking forward to watching the high flying offense from the Atlanta Falcons. The offseason addition of former St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will give them a better ground game, better pass protection, and a nice swing pass outlet. The only concern right now is wide receiver Roddy White's ankle sprain. His status for Sunday against the New Orleans Saints is unclear, but the sprain is apparently not of the 'high' variety, so White should not miss significant time. The Falcons are the defending NFC South champs, and have all the talent to keep that title and advance in the playoffs.
8/29/13: The Falcons' offense is highly regarded this season, many consider it to be the best in the league. It may well be as there are no shortage of talented weapons around QB Matt Ryan. So the question is really how will the defense be this season? If the defense can be average, the offense can win games. That is why it is particularly concerning that starting cornerback Asanti Samuel left a preseason game against Tennessee with a thigh injury. Samuel had five interceptions last season and will be asked to do more this time around. Losing him for any significant time could be brutal for the Falcons.
8/22/13: Atlanta is hoping a that an injury to wide receiver Roddy White is not serious. White left a preseason game with a knee injury and did not return. He is part of a dynamic Atlanta offense that features Matt Ryan at QB, Steven Jackson at running back, Tony Gonzalez at tight end, and White and Julio Jones as the primary wide receivers. This is a potent attack that will lose some punch if White is out for any extended amount of time. Defenses can double up on Jones without the threat of the complementary receiver. That being said, Atlanta's offense will still be among the best in the NFL.
8/15/13: The Falcons have to be in Super Bowl or Bust mode at this point. The team has all the offensive weapons that anyone could want - starting with QB Matt Ryan, WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, tight end Tony Gonzalez, and newcomer RB Steven Jackson. That is not quite the "Greatest Show on Turf", but it is the closest the NFL has seen since 2001. The offense is a given. The real question is if the defense can be better than average and keep the team alive in the playoffs - or will they let the team down again.
8/8/13: If it were 2008 then this may be a pretty interesting proposition for the Falcons: Shawn Merriman said that the Falcons should sign him as a linebacker and that he promises double digit sacks - and that would allow the team to use Osi Umeniyora in his natural position on the defensive line. Again, intriguing five or six years ago, but Merriman has not been relevant since then. The Falcons, for their part, have not responded to the suggestion and seem happy with what they have on the roster or can pick up later on after training camp cuts are made.
8/1/13: The Falcons are experimenting with new signee Osi Umenyiora as a stand up linebacker in practice. Osi played nine years with the Giants (winning two Super Bowls) and is renowned as one of the better straight- ahead pass rushers in the league - coming out of a three point stance. The Falcons are not saying if they will use him as a line backer in games, but Osi seems to like trying it out in practice. If nothing else, it gives them flexibility on the roster and allows Osi to get the feel for another position - which can only help him at his regular job as a defensive lineman.
7/25/13: Right tackle in Atlanta is an important position - you have the responsibility of keeping franchise QB Matt Ryan upright, which keeps the offense moving. The Falcons released veteran Tyson Clabo in a financial move, and must depend on either Lamar Holmes or Mike Johnson for the job. Johnson may have the edge here. He has been a reserve for a few years since he came out of the University of Alabama, but chances are that he has the skills needed to be a starting offensive lineman in the NFL. Here is hoping the Falcons made the right decision.
7/18/13: The Falcons are depending on second year defensive end Johnathan Massaquoi this season. The defensive line is considered one of the Falcons' question marks going into the season. While the team was adequate in this area last season, they were far from dominating. Everyone knows that the offense carried the team, and that should be the same formula for 2013. That being said, the Falcons released veteran defensive lineman John Abraham in the offseason. However, if Massaquoi can continue his development, then there should be very little drop off this season, and improvement in the futue.
7/11/13: The Falcons are learning something the St. Louis Rams learned a long time ago. Steven Jackson does not need much time to prepare for the season, and does not need a lot of work in preseason games. Jackson has played enough that his football IQ is through the roof. He will get the system pretty quickly. He also has thousands of carries under his belt, so additional grind is not something he needs. Finally, Jackson keeps himself in outstanding shape in the offseason, so conditioning is not an issue. This also allows his backups to get their share of reps in case they are called up on later in the season.
7/4/13: The Falcons had the best record in the regular season last year and made it to the NFC Championship Game. That would be a successful season by most accounts, but the team wanted more. The offense was terrific all year. How could it not be with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. However, the two weak points were the running game and the defense. The running game is sound now with Steven Jackson. The defense remains a question mark. Atlanta will have to prove that they have a good enough defense to win, otherwise it may be time for a big change in the roster.
6/27/13: The Falcons may be scary good this year. The addition of running back Steven Jackson give them the ground credibility that they lacked last year. And he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Tight end Tony Gonzalez is returning for his swan song. While he was excused from earlier workouts, that is good news for tight end Chase Coffman out of Mizzou. Coffman has stepped up his game and is likely to be the number two TE. Even head coach Mike Smith has been impressed, calling him out individually for his great work thus far.
6/20/13: Falcons' tight end Tony Gonzalez convinced everyone, including himself, that last season was his final go-round in the NFL. The Falcons took their time in convincing Gonzalez to return for one lat season, and they also agreed to make accommodations so he could spend more time with his family. Such is the case next week. Gonzalez will be excused from mini-camp, presumably to be with his family. To be fair, it is probably best for the team too. What more is the 17 year veteran going to learn in a mini-camp? Also, it gives the young backup guys a chance to develop their skills and relationships with the QB, which could help down the line.
6/13/13: Atlanta signed free agent Osi Umenyoura in the offseason to bolster the defensive line, but the common thought is that the team needs a bit more help to replace the released John Abraham. Veteran Richard Seymore and the team have been in talks, but the hold up is apparently money. Seymore is 33 and is reportedly open to retirement if he cannot get a contract that he wants. The Falcons released Tyson Clabo this week, freeing up about $6 million in salary cap space. That may be the money they need to sign Seymore and open the season with a respectable defensive front seven.
6/6/13: The St. Louis Rams did very few things right draft-wise between 2002 and 2012, but one they did nail was Steven Jackson. Jackson left the Rams after nine seasons, totaling over 1,000 yards in the last eight. He also averaged over 4 yards per carry and was one of the best receiving backs in the league. Now in Atlanta, he will certainly bolster an offense that ranked 21st in rushing last year. As a five star combo with QB Matt Ryan, WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White, and TE Tony Gonzalez, this may be the most explosive offense in the NFL this season, and that includes the Packers and Saints.
5/30/13: It is hard to handicap the NFC South as each team has shown flashes of brilliance in the recent past. Atlanta won the division last season, and in fact had the best record in the NFL. They are led by a powerful offense featuring franchise QB Matt Ryan, two outstanding WRs in Julio Jones and Roddy While, the best tight end to ever play in Tony Gonzalez, and now have a top end running back in Steven Jackson. Jackson has quietly put together an impressive career playing on terrible Rams teams. But his presence alone will keep defenses honest and open up the passing game. His best years may be behind him, but he is still good for 1,500 total yards and a few touchdowns.
5/23/13: It looks like the Falcons are going to bring Brian Banks onto the roster as a linebacker. The Falcons are particularly thin at linebacker, which is fortunate for Banks. Banks made headlines several years ago and went to prison for sexual assault. After five years in prison, he was exonerated and freed. However, he had lost several years of freedom and football development. Before his arrest, he recruited to play at USC under Pete Carroll as a high school junior. That he was able to get a tryout with an NFL club is impressive, but making the team is even more special. Hopefully his second chance will work out and he can have a long and successful career in the NFL.
5/16/13: Unlike the AFC East, which the Patriots win just about every year, it is very difficult to handicap the NFC South. Tampa has been the most visible mover, especially since they acquired Darrelle Revis to shore up their secondary. Carolina finished strong last season, and the Saints are back to full strength. Many forget that the Falcons won the NFC South as well as had the best record in the regular season last year - and even went to the NFC Championship Game. They may be better on offense now that former St. Louis Ram Steven Jackson is in the fold.
5/9/13: Atlanta was not considered to have a particularly strong defense last year, so it may be surprising to hear that they team ranked fifth in the league in defensive scoring. This will be year two under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, and they should be improved. With their offseason moves and draft, they should be even faster and more opportunistic. The Falcons surrendered 299 points last year, and that has to improve. They need to replace John Abraham's backfield pressure and find a way to stop the run at the goalline. Should they be able to, this overlooked unit may get the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
5/2/13: Atlanta had a big need at cornerback with the free agent departure of Brent Grimes to the Miami Dolphins. More than that, though, they need help all around on defense, and that was where all four of their picks went to. They selected cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (Washington, No. 22) and Robert Alford (SE Louisiana, round 2, pick 28) with their first two picks. They added Malliciah Goodman (defensive end, Clemson, 4th round, 30th pick) and safety Zeke Motta from Notre Dame with one of the last picks in the draft. The Falcons lacked picks because they traded so much away a couple years ago to draft Julio Jones at 6.
4/25/13: It seems like much of the league has forgotten about Atlanta. They did have the best record in the NFC last year and made it to the NFC Championship Game. The ditched an aging Michael Turner with Steven Jackson and even convinced Tony Gonzalez to return for another year. They will have more competition this season since the Saints are restored and the Bucs have added Darrelle Revis. However, they are still the class of the NFC South, and should repeat as division champs in 2013 regardless of the changes and upgrades of their division rivals.
4/18/13: Atlanta continues to roll. It is more of the same on any number of the streets named Peachtree. The Braves won their 10th straight game, as Justin Upton continues his assault on National League pitching. The Braves swept the Cubs and Marlins and Nationals. Now comes word that there are at least five firms bidding on a new stadium for the Falcons. The Georgia Dome is old and dark, and the team should have a better venue to play in. It will take a few years to build, but considering the advancements in stadium design, expect that the new building should be a great location for many years to come.
4/11/13: With the Saints coming back in full force and the Panthers on the rise and the Bucs maybe getting Darrelle Revis, people may forget about the Atlanta Falcons. That would be a mistake. Atlanta had the best record in the league last year and made it to the NFC Championship game. This year, they have a hungry Steven Jackson. SJ39 may not be the runner from five years ago, but he is big, strong, and runs violently. He will get the extra yard or two that Michael Turner could not. Expect a strong year out of the Falcons, they do not have many holes.
4/4/13: The Falcons and Osi Umenyiora made it official late last week, with the two sides agreeing to two year, $8.5 million deal. Umenyiora has been one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL for a number of years and won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. He never felt that he got the contract respect he deserved there, and has a contentious relationship with management. As a free agent, he said he chose the Falcons because they were the most talented team. They were also the team that wanted him the most after releasing John Abraham earlier in the off season.
3/28/13: Reports out of Atlanta are that the Falcons and pass rush specialist Osi Umenyiora will come to terms on an agreement. Osi lives in Atlanta, and the chance to play at home for a contender must have been appealing. Osi has had contract issues with the Giants for several years. He restructured his contract prior to last season, which gave him the opportunity to be a free agent. At 31 years old, he has spent his entire career with the New York Giants and won two Super Bowls. He is a fearsome pass rusher who should easily replace or surpass the released John Abraham.
3/21/13: Atlanta is not giving up on winning the Super Bowl next February by any means. The Falcons managed to coax the greatest tight end ever, Tony Gonzalez, out of his retirement for one last run. Apparently Gonzalez got used to winning in the playoffs (well, one game, which was the first in his 17 year career), and the team made arrangements so he can go back to California to fulfill some fatherly obligations. Also, the Falcons signed superstar running back Steven Jackson, the best player all time on bad teams, to a three year deal. SJ39 is expected to be the feature back, and he is hungry for some post season success.
3/14/13: Atlanta's major releases have been well documented, including John Abraham and Michael Turner. But it looks like they are bringing someone back for once. Tony Gonzalez, the all time greatest tight end in NFL history, had previously announced his retirement, though he never submitted papers to the league. The Falcons, apparently, were able to coax him back into one more season. The team will be flexible on some family commitments that Gonzalez has made, and TG sounds like he wants to play one more year and get that elusive Super Bowl, after earning his first playoff victory last season.
3/7/13: Change is coming in Atlanta. Fast. The Falcons released three high profile veterans this past week in Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, and John Abraham. The team needs to clear out salary cap space and these moves save nearly $16 million. Turner and Robinson were expected to be released and will likely sign on somewhere else that needs some veteran help. Abraham wasa bit of a surprise considering he was the main pass rushing threat on the Falcons defense. The team will have to fill his shoes somehow, and may try to bring him back at a reduced salary.
2//28/13: Atlanta still has running back Michael Turner on the roster, but chances are that is only temporary. The Falcons are expected to waive Turner and the $6 .9 million he is owned for next season. Cutting Turner will put Atlanta $8 million to $9 million under the cap - enough room to bring in an established back, or work on beefing up the defense. Turner split carries with Jaquizz Rodgers and only finished with 800 yards. His age, now he his 31 years old, is starting to catch up with him and he will likely sign on as a back up for a limited term contract - similar to the way his mentor Ladanian Tomlinson finished his career with the Jets.
2/14/13: Some important news surfaced this week that Falcons' QB Matt Ryan suffered a sprained left AC joint in his shoulder late in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers. Atlanta came up just 10 yards short in the big game, which was a great battle between a terrific offense and stout defense. No surgery is needed, at least at this time, but the recovery period is about four weeks. Had Ryan pulled off the comeback (and he has earned a reputation as a clutch quarterback), then he would have been playing in the Super Bowl injured.
2/7/13: Atlanta finished with the best record in the NFC this season and earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That lasted until the NFC Championship Game when San Francisco earned the right to play in the Super Bowl. Even with a 13-3 record, the Falcons were lightly regarded by many fans and experts. They did not play the tough defense that wins in the playoffs. They also had a deceivingly easy schedule since the the NFC South was in a down year. They even got Denver early in the season before that team had gelled. Strengthening the defense and finding a new runnning back seem to be the priorities this offseason.
1/31/13: Backup running back Jaquizz Rodgers may get the starting tailback job in Atlanta next season. Michael Turner has held that title for the past five years, and had some pretty good seasons. But 2012 was tough on Turner - acquired from San Diego where he was LaDanian Tomlinson's backup - and he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry totaling 800 yards on the season. Quizz is a more elusive runner, and is expected to get the bulk of the carries next season if the Falcons decide to cut Turner, as is widely expected. Quizz is much smaller, but the Falcons do not seem concerned at this time.
1/24/13: Atlanta entered the NFC championship game as 4 point underdogs to the visiting 49ers, and that was the final spread. The 49ers battled back from 17 points down to win 28-24. Atlanta was on fire in the first half, putting together one of the best 30 minutes in conference championship game. They led by 10 at the half, but could not add anything to the final score in
Eagles vs. Falcons: Two Birds Flying in Different Directions
Philadelphia Eagles Tickets Atlanta Falcons Tickets Regardless of who won the game, an undefeated record would have been broken by someone during yesterday's (10/28) Eagles/Falcons game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Going into Sunday, Eagles’ coach Andy Reid was 13-0 in games following a bye week, and the Falcons were 6-0 in the…Read more
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Atlanta Falcons Past Games Schedule and Atlanta Falcons Scores
|Dec 28, 2014||Carolina Panthers - Atlanta Falcons||34 - 3|
|Dec 14, 2014||Pittsburgh Steelers - Atlanta Falcons||27 - 20|
|Dec 8, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Green Bay Packers||37 - 43|
|Nov 30, 2014||Arizona Cardinals - Atlanta Falcons||18 - 29|
|Nov 16, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Carolina Panthers||19 - 17|
|Nov 9, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27 - 17|
|Oct 19, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Baltimore Ravens||7 - 29|
|Oct 12, 2014||Chicago Bears - Atlanta Falcons||27 - 13|
|Oct 5, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - New York Giants||20 - 30|
|Sep 18, 2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Atlanta Falcons||14 - 56|
|Sep 14, 2014||Atlanta Falcons - Cincinnati Bengals||10 - 24|
|Sep 7, 2014||New Orleans Saints - Atlanta Falcons||34 - 37|
|Aug 23, 2014||Preseason: Tennessee Titans - Atlanta Falcons||24 - 17|
|Aug 16, 2014||Preseason: Atlanta Falcons - Houston Texans||7 - 32|
|Aug 8, 2014||Preseason: Miami Dolphins - Atlanta Falcons||10 - 16|