Archive

Author Archive

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 75 “Another One About Fantasy Football”

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

I am joined by Josh Gamez to talk a little about the Atlanta Falcons and a lot about fantasy football. We discuss whether certain Falcons players are viable fantasy options if you’re trying to win your league this year, as well as discuss some of the more interesting potential players to pick up this year at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Which rookies will step up? Are there any sleepers? Who’s overrated? Josh helps me answer all these questions and more in our chat.

Episode 75 – Another One About Fantasy Football [Download]

Duration: 45 minutes

Josh’s fantasy musings can be found at Fantasy FB Corner and you can find him on twitter: @gamez_time76

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! For Android users, DoubleTwist is a good app to listen as well. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Falcons Re-Sign Eric Weems; Davis to Start Season on PUP

August 21st, 2014 No comments

Getty Images

Eric Weems

The Atlanta Falcons announced today that they had re-signed wide receiver Eric Weems and waived wide receiver Jabin Sambrano. Weems returns to the Falcons after signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2012. Earlier today, Vaughn McClure of ESPN also reported that wide receiver Drew Davis would begin the regular season on the team’s reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list. Davis was placed on the active/PUP list before the start of training camp and was supposed to mix six weeks due to foot surgery, but his recovery has been delayed. Davis will subsequently miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

Weems spent five seasons with the Falcons after joining the team as an undrafted free agent out of Bethune-Cookman in 2007. He played primarily on special teams where he returned both kickoffs and punts from 2009-11. He also shined on coverage teams, earning a bid to the Pro Bowl with 16 tackles along with a touchdown each as a punt and kickoff returner.

The Bears signed Weems to return kicks and allow Devin Hester to concentrate on offense in 2012. But that decision did not work out, and Hester played exclusively as a return specialist in 2013 before signing with the Falcons this past offseason. Instead, Weems’ primary value with the Bears was his ability to cover kicks.

During his Falcon career, Weems also received some reps on offense, catching a total 24 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushing for 53 yards on eight attempts. McClure reported that Weems was set to sign with the Tennessee Titans earlier this week, a team the Falcons play on Saturday in their third preseason action of the summer. But McClure indicated this afternoon that the Falcons swooped in last night to sign Weems to a one-year deal after his Titans deal hit a snag.

Read more…

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Roster Talk: Most Vulnerable Falcons As Cuts Near

August 21st, 2014 No comments

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kimario McFadden

The Atlanta Falcons will have to cut over a dozen players by Tuesday’s league-mandated deadline to get their roster down to 75 players. As the team heads into their third preseason action against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, there are several players that are vulnerable to find their NFL hopes and dreams come crashing down. Let’s examine several of them.

Last year, I made a list of 20 Falcon players that were most vulnerable to be released by the Falcons at the initial 75-player cutdown deadline. The team needed to cut 14 players to get down to the roster limit. They did so, and 12 of the 14 appeared on my list.

I’ll do the same this year, by listing 20 players that I think are most susceptible to be released by Tuesday. Obviously, because the Falcons only have to cut 15 players this year, five of these players should be able to survive for another few days before rosters must be finalized at 53 players by Saturday, August 30.

As I noted last year, occasionally NFL teams will try to sneak a player through waivers by releasing him in the first cuts, so that he can eventually be placed on the practice squad a week later when those are established. That did indeed happen last year with quarterback Seth Doege being among the first cuts and eventually wound up on the Falcons practice squad. But that was more of a technicality since Doege’s presence on the practice squad was really only a result of third-string quarterback Sean Renfree suffering a season-ending injury in the preseason finale. Had Renfree stayed healthy, there’s virtually no chance that Doege would have been signed to the practice squad.

The Falcons also did this before in 2012 when they snuck Chase Coffman through the first cuts and he eventually landed on the practice squad. But the point is that this is not something the Falcons commonly do, and I would bet against it happening again this season.

Quarterback – Jeff Mathews

Mathews saw his first action of the preseason last week, but only played four snaps at the end of the Houston Texans game. If Mathews does not get more snaps in the second half of this week’s upcoming game against the Titans, it’s probably not a strong bet that he’ll make it through the initial cuts. Traditionally, the Falcons have only played two quarterbacks in the fourth preseason game, and it’s a strong probability that T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree will be those two. So basically this weekend might prove to be Mathews’ last chance, and thus he’ll need to get more than one series and perform at a relatively high level to salvage one more shot at the roster.

Read more…

What Is Wrong With Falcons Backup Quarterbacks?

August 20th, 2014 No comments
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Dirk Koetter

It looked like the Atlanta Falcons had finally decided to address their lack of experience at the quarterback position behind starter Matt Ryan this past June when they acquired T.J. Yates via trade from the Houston Texans.

However that decision has yet to pay dividends.

Yates is coming off a very poor performance in the team’s second preseason action against his former team, where he threw two interceptions and had a couple more passes that could have easily been turnovers.

In June, I outlined reasons why the team’s acquisition of Yates was a good move. Those reasons were centered on the fact that Yates had experience as a starter, something the team lacked at the time in reserves Dominique Davis, Sean Renfree and Jeff Mathews, all of whom hardly had any NFL experience.

While by no means did I want to suggest that Yates was a particularly good backup option, he certainly was better than what the team had. And for a Falcons organization that has a tendency to twiddle its thumbs even when there are fairly obvious roster issues, striving for better was at least a step in the right direction if not ultimately the solution.

However, 2014 is a critical year for this team and its coaching staff. At this point for Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who faces scrutiny coming off a 4-12 season, every win that he can get in 2014 matters.

And thus, if having a competent backup quarterback can mean the difference of winning one more game if the team finds itself in the absence of Ryan, then that one decision could ultimately decide Smith’s fate.

Read more…

2014 Falcons Preseason Stock Report – Week 2

August 20th, 2014 No comments
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Worrilow

The Atlanta Falcons lost their second preseason game to the Houston Texans this past weekend in somewhat sloppy and embarrassing fashion, getting outplayed in all three phases of the game. But despite the disheartening loss, there were a few players that raised their stock in bids to earn key roles or roster spots with the team, along with others that must do more to get back into the good graces of coaches and fans alike.

STOCK UP

DE Malliciah Goodman

Goodman is ascending with two solid preseason performances this summer. Showing the ability to penetrate and collapse the pocket, he was the team’s most productive pass-rusher against the Texans. Goodman has also made plays against the run, showing the ability to defeat double teams and disrupt plays in the backfield.

He’s an ascending player, and frankly has played at a level that is deserving of a starting spot if not for the deference given to veterans Jonathan Babineaux and Tyson Jackson. Goodman has appeared in the team’s sub-packages lined up beside Babineaux as an interior pass-rusher. That is possibly a role he could maintain in the regular season given that neither Jackson nor nose tackle Paul Soliai are known for their pass-rushing prowess. But Goodman’s ability to also stuff the run means the Falcons could tinker with the notion of starting him over either veteran. In the case of Babineaux, it would help keep the 32-year old fresher for those passing situations. In the case of Jackson, it may simply result in getting a better player on the field for the majority of snaps.

Read more…

Hard Knocks Episode 3 Recap – Masters of Fundamentals

August 20th, 2014 No comments

Hard KnocksAnother week and another episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons aired last night. It was another good one featuring several montages in the lead-up to the Falcons’ road trip to Houston to face the Texans in preseason.

I’m sure the show was able to clear a couple of rooms to start off, showing doctors performing surgery on linebacker Marquis Spruill’s torn ACL. If you’re a bit squeamish, it might have been a good time to go grab a beer from the fridge for a few minutes. But it was good to see Marquis have a very positive attitude about it, saying that he’d be “right as rain” soon.

It was an injury-filled episode. Not only did we see how players like Steven Jackson, Kroy Biermann and Julio Jones are recovering from their respective injuries, but we also witnessed Sam Baker’s season-ending injury suffered towards the end of the episode in the game against the Texans.

We got to see that the team’s delay on officially moving Jake Matthews to left tackle was just as much a farce as you thought it was. During the Texans game, offensive line coach Mike Tice told Jake that he would be the new left tackle immediately once Baker went down.

William Moore got to showcase his freestyling skills in front of teammates in the trainer’s room. He was outdone in the music department when we witnessed a jam session with ukeleles between Levine Toilolo and Brenden Daley while hanging out by the pool at the team hotel in Houston. Toilolo’s rendition of Mario’s “Just a Friend 2002″ was great.

Wide Geraldo “Amsterdam” Boldewijn was featured heavily on last night’s episode. We learned that he’s super raw as a wide receiver, taking some heat from both wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and quarterback Matt Ryan alike. But at least he can speak four languages.

We got to see Harry Douglas, Roddy White and Julio Jones spend some time at the bowling alley. Harry got to show off his “aerial” technique, although Julio wound up winning the game, beating him by a single point. Roddy was a distant third.

Not only were Roddy’s bowling skills subpar, but his reflexes and hand-eye coordination was lacking in a game where the Falcons receivers were taking turns trying to catch a dollar bill before it hit the ground. I did like the jab that the producers of Hard Knocks took at their practice antics by displaying a sign afterwards that said: “No Children Allowed on the Field.”

T.J. Yates’ struggles to pick up the offense were also featured. That might explain his struggles in last week’s game. Or maybe he just wanted to make his former teammates look good.

Bryan Cox was revealed as an overprotective father when it comes to his daughters. We also got a brief earful of his prolific sex life. Apparently he was getting dirty instead of learning his multiplication tables. He is without a doubt the breakout star of the show.

I’m not sure Matt Ryan has a second career in comedy. Nothing wrong with the joke itself, but he didn’t tell it particularly well. However, I did like the fingertip grab made by the son of the Texans tight ends coach after practice on a pass from Ryan.

Other highlights:

  • Keith Armstrong chewing out Tyler Starr for his “karate moves” in trying to defeat blocks on special teams coverage. Non-Bryan Cox Quote of the night might have been Armstrong’s: “God Bless you, but get down the field!”
  • J.J. Watt enters practice like a boss!
  • Maurice Hagens is not good at removing his pads.
  • Bernard Reedy is not very friendly to rival mascots.
  • Don’t mess with D.J. Swearinger, especially if you’re going to try and sucker punch him like Douglas.

Next week’s episode promises to feature Joe Hawley’s take on the famous scene from the film Ghost and Bryan Cox’s cinematic tastes.

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 74 “The 80th Time”

August 19th, 2014 No comments

Allen and I are joined by The Falcoholic, Dave Choate, to discuss the current state of the Atlanta Falcons following their disappointing preseason performance against the Houston Texans. We discuss the Falcons offensive tackle situation and possible solutions in light of Sam Baker’s injury. Our discussion centers around whether the Falcons current options on the roster: Lamar Holmes and Gabe Carimi, can solidify the spot or does the team need more help. We then get into discussion of the returns of Corey Peters and Dwight Lowery; Kroy Biermann’s waning popularity; and roster battles involving Prince Shembo, Tyson Jackson and Malliciah Goodman. Dave departs, allowing Allen and myself to get into our usual around the league discussion.

Episode 74 – The 80th Time [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Dave is The Falcoholic and can be found on twitter: @TheFalcoholic.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! For Android users, DoubleTwist is a good app to listen as well. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Falcons 2014 Training Camp: Day 17 Report

August 18th, 2014 No comments
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Matthews

The Atlanta Falcons finally broke training camp with a morning practice today. Let’s take a look at the various tweets, articles, reports, news and rumors that surfaced from the last day of camp this morning:

ESPN’s Vaughn McClure hits several things in his recap of the day. First among them is the fact that rookie Jake Matthews is moving from right tackle to left tackle, which was reported first by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC this morning. Matthews played left tackle his final season at Texas A&M after spending three years at right tackle. He was slotted in immediately at right tackle by the Falcons due to the presence of Sam Baker on the left side. But Baker injured his knee in this past Saturday’s preseason action and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Matthews is working through the change, saying this about the adjustment between the two sides:

“Yes, the stagger changes. You go for a long time used to bracing a guy with one leg back. And now you’ve got to flip it around. It’s like almost going from writing with your right hand to your left hand. But I did it in college. I feel pretty comfortable on both sides.”

However, Falcons head coach Mike Smith remain confident:

“I don’t think he’ll blink. We’re not.”

With Matthews moving to the left side, it leaves a void on the right side. That void, for the time being, is expected to be filled by offensive tackle Lamar Holmes. Holmes had been serving as the reserve behind Baker this preseason at left tackle, but the Falcons always envisioned Matthews as a long-term solution on that side of the ball.

However offensive line coach Mike Tice did not express the same degree of confidence in Holmes as Smith did in Matthews.

The team signed free-agent offensive tackle Pat McQuistan earlier today to shore up depth on the right side.

In addition to McQuistan, the Falcons can expect the return of offensive tackle Gabe Carimi to the lineup in next week’s final preseason action against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, August 28. Carimi has experience at right tackle, having played that position under Tice during their shared two seasons with the Chicago Bears from 2011-12.

The Falcons also welcomed back defensive tackle Corey Peters to practice today. Peters has been recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last December. He had been held out of practice on the training camp version of Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list. Peters had a light workload in his first time back in nearly eight months.

In other news, cornerback Javier Arenas is expected to earn the start at nickel cornerback on Saturday against the Tennessee Titans. Per premium website Pro Football Focus, Arenas has earned the least amount of reps among the trio of corners competing for the nickel cornerback spot. Arenas has played 38 snaps through the first two preseason games, with Josh Wilson (65) and Robert McClain (53) earning the most of any defensive back on the team.

Rookie linebacker Prince Shembo is seeing increased reps with the starters, putting him well on track to leapfrog Joplo Bartu as the starter at weak-side inside linebacker by the regular season opener against the New Orleans Saints on September 7.

Injured linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was on hand to cheer on teammates:

Coach Smith indicated that the Falcons will follow tradition and play their starters for the entirety of the first half, and likely for a series into the second in Saturday’s game against the Titans.

AtlantaFalcons.com’s Jay Adams provides his usual five things from the final day of camp, including notes on Matthews, Holmes, Peters, the nickel cornerback spot and the coaching staff’s emphasis on avoiding penalties.

Corey Peters Returns to Falcons Practice

August 18th, 2014 No comments
Andrew Weber- US PRESSWIRE

Corey Peters

ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reported earlier today that Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters returned to practice Monday, prompting his removal from the team’s active/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (or training camp PUP) list. Peters is currently recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last December.

After rehabbing all offseason, Peters was placed on the training camp PUP list before the start of camp at the end of July. Peters indicated earlier in July that he had set a target date that he would be able to play Week 1 in the regular season against the New Orleans Saints on September 7. His return to practice today should make that target date a possibility.

Peters is the first of three training camp PUP players that have been eligible to return to practice due to improved health. The other two are wide receiver Drew Davis (foot surgery) and safety Zeke Motta (neck). The list is designated for players that are injured heading into camp too injured to practice. Once players are medically cleared to return to practice, they are removed from the list.

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Falcons Sign Pat McQuistan; Put Baker on IR

August 18th, 2014 No comments
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pat McQuistan with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012

The Atlanta Falcons signed offensive tackle Pat McQuistan to replace offensive tackle Sam Baker, who was also placed on injured reserve today. Baker suffered a torn patellar tendon in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Houston Texans and will miss the entire 2014 season.

News of the signing came after reports surfaced earlier today that the Falcons would be moving rookie Jake Matthews from right tackle to left tackle to replace Baker. Lamar Holmes, who has been backing up Baker this preseason on the left side, will be plugged in for the time being at right tackle.

A veteran of eight years, McQuistan is the twin brother of Paul, who played with the 2013 Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks. In total, Pat has appeared in 72 career games, starting 11 of them.

He finished last season with the Tennessee Titans, after being added mid-season when injuries hit the interior of their offensive line. He spent two weeks on the roster before earning his release after the Titans replaced him with Kevin Matthews, the older brother of Jake.

In 2012, McQuistan played with the Arizona Cardinals as an injury fill-in, starting three of six games at right guard. He was picked up by the Cardinals after spending training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2011, he was a reserve with the New Orleans Saints, where he served as a blocking tight end and worked on special teams. He was with the Miami Dolphins in 2010, starting eight games mostly at right guard.

McQuistan began his career as a 2006 seventh-round pick out of Weber State with the Cowboys, spending four seasons there as a reserve swing tackle. He earned no starts with the Cowboys, but did appear in 40 games mainly on special teams. The Cowboys traded him to the Dolphins at the start of the 2010 season.

McQuistan is currently listed at 6’6″ 317 pounds. He will compete against Holmes, Ryan Schraeder and Terren Jones for a chance to earn a reserve spot at right tackle. Holmes currently is being given the first crack at replacing Baker in the starting lineup, but by no means has a final decision been made according to the Falcons coaching staff.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,