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Archive for August, 2007

Backups defeat Ravens

August 31st, 2007 Comments off

Getty/Mike Zarrilli Despite a late fourth quarter drive, the Falcons prevailed in their fourth and final preseason matchup by defeating the Baltimore Ravens 13-10. Rookie Chris Houston’s interception with less than a minute to go sealed the win for the Falcons. The Falcons finish the preseason with a 3-1 record. Most of the Falcons starters and top reserves did not play, allowing many of the bubble players to get final chances to make an impression.

Chris Redman got the start, passing for 119 yards. He completed 13 of 23 passes with a touchdown. Casey Bramlet subbed in the third quarter, completing 4 of 7 passes for 68 yards. Jason Snelling led Falcons rushers for the fourth straight week, finishing with 50 yards on 11 carries. Justin Vincent (10 carries for 25 yards), Arlen Harris (8 carries for 18 yards), and Jerious Norwood (7 carries for 11 yards) all received reps as well. Vincent Marshall, Jerious Norwood, and Eric Weems led the team with 3 receptions each for 73, 29, and 19 yards respectively. Sixteen of Norwood’s yards came on a first quarter touchdown reception, the lone offensive score for thee Falcons all night.

Defensively, the Falcons reserves played pretty solid. They limited the Ravens to 45 yards on the ground in 19 attempts (2.4 avg) and also recorded 5 sacks and recovered 2 fumbles. Chris Houston led the team with 8 tackles. Marcus Wlkins (6 tackles, 1 sack), Jimmy Williams (5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Antoine Harris (3 tackles), Paul Carrington (2 tackles, 1 sack), Tommy Jackson (2 tackles, 1 sack), Josh Mallard (2 tackles, 1 sack), and Travis Williams (1 tackle, 1 sack) had notable performances.

On special teams, Matt Prater connected on 2 of 3 field goal attempts, making 33 and 45 yard attempts, but missing a 44-yard attempt. He also handled kickoffs as well, putting 3 of his 4 kickoffs in the endzone with 2 touchbacks. Michael Koenen had 6 punts for an average of 45.8 yards with 3 placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems returned 2 kickoffs for an average of 30.5 yards, and Otis Amey had 4 punt returns for 9.3 yard average.

The Falcons will have to finalize their roster, reducing it from 75 to 53 players by tomorrow afternoon. The Falcons will then travel to Minnesota to face off against the Vikings in Week 1 of the regular season.

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Falcons trim roster to 75

August 28th, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons made nine roster moves this afternoon to get under the league’s mandatory limit of 75 players. The Falcons will make more moves in the coming week, as the team will have to get down to 53 players come next Saturday and establish an eight-man practice squad.

The most notable of the moves may have been the claiming of defensive tackle Montavious Stanley off waivers from the Cowboys. Stanley played for Petrino at Louisville, and was a sixth round draft choice by the Cowboys last season. Last season after being released by the COwboys during training camp, spent a week on the St. Louis Rams practice squad before being signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In three games with the Jaguars, he recorded 4 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He was re-signed by the Cowboys later on in the year and spent the final 4 weeks and a playoff game on their inactive list.

The team placed safety Omare Lowe on injured reserve, who suffered a knee injury early in camp. The team also waived/injured safety Nick Turnbull. If he clears waivers, he will land on the injured reserve list as well.

Five players were released including punter Adam Anderson, defensive tackles Michael Bozeman and Kelly Talavou, safety Jeramie Johnson, and wide receiver Ben Nelson.

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Falcons down Bengals at home

August 27th, 2007 Comments off

AP/John Bazemore The Falcons made their home and Monday Night debut in the preseason with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals 24-19. The Falcons starters saw extensive action, with most playing until the first series in the third quarter, which resulted in a Billy Cundiff field goal to give the Falcons a 17-13 lead.

Joey Harrington led the way, completing 13 of 21 passes for 164 yards and 2 scores, a solid home debut for the Falcon faithful. Chris Redman followed, and completed 8 of 9 passes for 76 yards. Third stringer Casey Bramlet had a few snaps late in the game with the Falcons predominantly running out the clock. But still managed to completed 1 of 2 passes for 12 yards. On the ground, Jason Snelling once again led the team with 26 yards on 8 carries (3.3 avg). Jerious Norwood added 25 yards on 9 carries (2.8 avg). Ovie Mughelli had the team’s lone rushing score from one yard out in the third quarter. He added 3 carries for 9 yards. Warrick Dunn was rather unimpressive in his preseason debut, carrying the ball 6 times for only 8 yards. For the receivers, Adam Jennings led with 5 grabs for 67 yards, including a 28-yard score that put the Falcons on the scoreboard first. Michael Jenkins (4 catches for 45 yards), Roddy White (4 catches for 43 yards), and Jerious Norwood (2 catches for 17 yards, 1 touchdown) also contributed.

Defensively, the Falcons gave up some running room early on, allowing 83 rushing yards on 15 carries (5.5 avg) in the first half. Jamaal Anderson led the team with 5 tackles, including 2 sacks. Michael Boley (4 tackles), Lawyer Milloy (4 tackles), Keith Brooking (3 tackles), Chauncey Davis (2 tackles, 1 sack), Trey Lewis (1 tackle, 1 sack), and Nic Clemons (1 interception) had notable contributions.

Cundiff’s third quarter field goal was the team’s only successful attempt in the game. Punter Michael Koenen had two long attempts of 54 and 53 yards in the second half, missing on both. Koenen also punted 3 times for an average of 34.7 yards. Adam Anderson had 1 punt for 47 yards. Allen Rossum had an impressive 59-yard kickoff return in the first half, his lone shot there. Noriaki Kinoshia returned 2 kickoffs for 40 yards. On punts, Rossum returned 2 for 19 yards, while Adam Jennings had 3 returns for 9 yards.

On Friday, the Falcons will stay at home to host the Baltimore Ravens in their final preseason game. They will kick off the 2007 regular season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings on September 9.

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Preseason Game 2 At Buffalo Bills Review

August 26th, 2007 5 comments

Some things were better and some were worse in this game. In my Things to work on schedule, I’m going to be a bit more detailed this week.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Snelling (12/50), Harris (12/33), Redman (4/12), Shockley (3/18), and Mughelli (2/5). 5 of Snelling’s carries went for 4 yards or more. Although he lacks outside speed, I really like Snelling’s drive and determination. I’m still of the opinion that he will be the 3rd string RB and backup fullback possibly. 4 of Harris’ carries went for 4 yards or more. Just not impressive enough to make the team I think. Redman had 1 nice scramble and Shockley had a couple of nice scrambles until tearing up his knee.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 4/7, 31 yards, 0 TD/1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 1 bad throw, 2 drops. The INT was mostly a result of Harrington’s foot slipping but gets counted as a bad throw. The other play I’d point out is the shovel pass that got Snelling clocked. Roddy White was open and should have been the target but Harrington missed him. It doesn’t show up in the stats but it would get pointed out in the film room as a bad decision. Still a solid showing though.

Redman: 11/21, 90 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 2 bad throws, 4 defended, 2 throw aways and 2 drops. These numbers are a bit sugar-coated in my opinion. The 4 defended passes are largely the result of passes being thrown with way too much touch. I did not come away from this game thinking we had a solid backup option and it wouldn’t shock me if we signed someone to be the #2 QB.

Shockley: 4/5, 46 yards, 0 TD/ 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 1 bad throws. Outside of an impromptu pass to avoid a sack that was almost intercepted, Shockley played well and is largely responsible for the winning TD drive. He was still a little off target (seemingly because of how hard he throws) but the WR’s stepped up and caught the ball. It’s a shame his season ended as I believe he was in position to challenge for the #2 job.

Drops (4): R. White 1 (2), Robinson 1 (1), Cooper 1 (1) and Milner 1 (2). White and Milner’s concentration problems continue. That may just be a problem that doesn’t go away.

Sack responsibility (1): Wilkerson allowed the pressure and Jordan’s man got the sack.

Pass blocking: Overall, very good pass protection. The QB’s are doing a nice job of getting rid of the ball extremely quick.

YTD Sacks (1):

Wilkerson 0.5
Jordan 0.5

Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Much improved. Only 69 yards allowed for the entire game. Nice job.

Pass Defense: Less than 200 yards allowed and even on completions, coverage was very tight for the most part. Very much improved from last week although there were a couple of miscommunications.

3 sacks: Stone, J. Williams and T. Williams all had sacks. Great to see safety blitzes!

Special Teams:

Rossum had 1 kickoff return for 25 yards. Jennings had 1 kickoff return: 48 yards. Amey had 1 kickoff return for 20 yards. Jennings clearly had the better day here again and has to be the leader for the job at this point.

Jennings had the only returnable punt and that was an 8 yard return.

Jennings has really impressed me so far. I have to believe that Rossum is on the ropes, so to speak. 1 more good week from Jennings and I think the battle will be over.

Koenen had 1 punt for 49 yards that rolled and died on the 2. Outstanding job.

Anderson had 2 punts for 41 and 38 yards. Returns negated by penalties. Not a bad job but he has no chance to make the team obviously.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 3 kickoffs: 1: to the 7, returned 19 yards. 2: to the endzone, returned 23 yards. 3: to the goal line, returned 19 yards.

Cundiff had 1 kickoff to the goal line, 24 yard return.

Much better coverage and hang time on kickoffs to allow coverage team to get downfield.

Field Goals: Cundiff hit 2/3. Good from 32 and 46. Missed from 54 badly. Very good job and I think he’ll be just fine in the Dome.

Special Teams coverage: Stone continues his good work as did McIntyre. Coverage was much improved.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Backup QB play. Redman needs to really show something Monday night and even then it may not be enough to stop someone being brought in. Casey Bramlett will look to secure the #3 job.
2. Stay healthy. The starters will probably play the entire 1st half. We MUST stay healthy.
3. Eliminate secondary miscommunication. Safety help over the top has to be there when the corner is expecting it.

Offensive MVP: DJ Shockley. Really did a very good job on the winning TD drive. Honorable mention to Jason Snelling.

Defensive MVP: Darren Stone (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry) and Trey Lewis (2 tackles, 2 QB hurries, 1 batted pass)

Special Teams MVP: Billy Cundiff/Adam Jennings

Goat of the Week: Chris Redman-Not necessarily bad but just left a bad impression.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS Cincinnati, August 27th!

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Vick suspended indefinitely

August 25th, 2007 Comments off

The NFL has levied an indefinite suspension against Michael Vick within hours of the summary of facts being released in his guilty plea on Friday. Vick will officially enter this plea agreement on Monday.

In the summary of facts, Vick admits guilt to most of the facts listed in the initial indictment. Including bankrolling the property in Smithfield and also the purses won or lost at ensuing dogfights, although it does indicate that the purses won off the fights were split mainly between his other co-defendants. It also admits that Vick was involved in the deaths of six to eight dogs this past April, in which he and two others dispatched these dogs by various means.

According to an AJC report the Falcons will begin to attempt to recoup bonus money remaining on Vick’s $130 million contract he signed in 2004. Previous reports suggest the amount of money the Falcons could receive is up to $28 million.

Vick’s suspension will be reviewed upon the completion of legal proceedings. As a result of his guilty plea to federal charges, it is now expected that Vick will be indicted next month on state charges in Virginia.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has provided a copy of Vick’s plea agreement in PDF format.

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Vick pleads guilty

August 21st, 2007 Comments off

Michael Vick has decided to plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges. On August 27, Vick will enter his guilty plea, after initially pleading not guilty back on July 26. On August 27, Vick is expected to sign a statement of facts similar to those signed by codefendants Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace this past Friday. At a later date, Vick will be sentenced. Phillips and Peace will be sentenced on November 30. According to federal sentencing guidelines, Vick is expected to face between 12 and 18 months in prison.

The NFL released a statement following news of Vick’s change in plea:

We are aware of Michael Vick’s decision to enter a guilty plea to the federal charges against him and accept responsibility for his conduct. We totally condemn the conduct outlined in the charges, which is inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons. We will conclude our own review under the league’s personal conduct policy as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have asked the Falcons to continue to refrain from taking action pending a decision by the commissioner.

As did the Falcons:

We are certainly troubled with the news today concerning Michael Vick’s guilty plea to federal charges. It is our understanding that the terms of Michael’s plea will not be available until next Monday, August 27. Additionally, Commissioner Goodell has asked us not to take any action until he has completed his own review of Michael’s situation. Accordingly, we will have no further comment until that time.

Vick was indicted on July 17 by federal authorities, but has yet to face an indictment on local Virginia charges. Evidence about Vick’s involvement with dogfighting is expected to go to grand jury in Surry County at the end of September. He can face up to 40 years in prison based on state charges.

Any suspension of Vick seems likely upon his admission of guilt, although there has been no timetable set for when such a suspension will be meted out.

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Shockley done for the year

August 20th, 2007 Comments off

The AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that Falcons quarterback D.J. Shockley will miss the entire 2007 season due to a torn ACL and damaged MCL in his left knee. Shockley injured his knee Friday night against the Buffalo Bills. At first it was believed to be a sprain, but after further tests over the weekend, it was discovered that had damaged both ligaments.

Wyche reports that the Falcons could explore options about replacing Shockley on the roster, including trades and also may look to add a veteran off the waiver wire in the coming weeks. Teams are required to cut down their rosters to a total of 75 players by August 28 and some quarterbacks may become available then. That will be the day after the Falcons play their next preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. That game may serve as greater evaluation of current backups Chris Redman and Casey Bramlet.

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Falcons angling for QB trade?

August 19th, 2007 Comments off

Although it’s still unknown if the knee injury that D.J. Shockley suffered on Friday night’s preseason win over the Buffalo Bills will sideline him for the entire season, the AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that there may have been preliminary discussion about the Falcons acquiring another quarterback before the start of the regular season.

Shockley’s initial prognosis indicated a sprained left knee, but an MRI taken on Saturday (the results of which have not been revealed) and a Sunday consultation with team trainers and doctors will determine his future.

Wyche reports that the Falcons have had preliminary trade talks with the Philadelphia Eagles in potentially acquiring veteran Kelly Holcomb. Holcomb was a backup in Buffalo the past few years before being traded to Philadelphia this past off-season. He has been the subject of rampant trade rumors this summer due to a glut of quarterbacks in Philly.

Previous rumors proposed that the Falcons could potentially be interested in Washington Redskins backup Mark Brunell and former Denver Broncos Jake Plummer, both of whom have previously worked with head coach Bobby Petrino. Although an injury to Redskins starter Jason Campbell might end any talk of Brunell being moved. Coincidentally, Campbell suffered a sprained left knee in the Redskins preseason contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night.

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Shockley goes down

August 18th, 2007 Comments off

Getty/Rick Stewart D.J. Shockley suffered a sprained knee in Friday night’s preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills. Shockley’s injury occurred late in the game after leading the Falcons down the field for what would eventually be the game-winning drive. Chris Redman finished the drive with a 1-yard scoring pass to tight end George Cooper.

The severity of Shockley’s injuries are currently unknown, but he will undergo further tests and an MRI on Sunday to assess the extent of the damage to his knee.

Shockley has been vying with Redman for the backup quarterback position during training camp and preseason.

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Falcons beat Bills

August 18th, 2007 Comments off

AP/David Duprey Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino didn’t have to wait long for his first win as the team defeated the Buffalo Bills 13-10. The Falcons won with on a 1-yard scoring pass to George Cooper from Chris Redman. Redman replaced D.J. Shockley, who left the game with a leg injury after leading the Falcons on a lengthy game-winning drive.

Joey Harrington started the game, completing 4 of 7 passes for 31 yards and an interception. Redman replaced him early in the second quarter and played through the third period. He led Falcon passers with 90 yards, while completing 11 of 21 passes for a touchdown and an interception. Shockley was 4 of 5 for 46 yards in his lone drive in the fourth quarter. Jason Snelling got the start at running back, and led the team with 50 yards on 12 carries (4.2 avg). Arlen Harris got the majority share of work in the second half, ending the game with 33 yards on 12 carries (2.8 avg). Shockley added another 18 yards on 3 attempts. Leading the receivers for the second game in a row was rookie Laurent Robinson with 4 catches for 54 yards. Adam Jennings added 3 catches for 26 yards and Eric Weems had 2 catches for 30 yards. Cooper’s scoring grab was his lone reception on the night. The Falcons starters got the majority of work in the first quarter, but were held scoreless. One drive ended on a Harrington interception, while another was a three and out. But the team’s first drive ended on a failed fourth down conversion at the Bills one-yard line, as Jason Snelling was dropped for a two-yard loss.

Defensively, the Falcons played much better, particularly the reserve units. In the first half, the Bills managed to only convert 1 of 7 third down attempts, and were only successful on 3 of 13 for the entire game. Rookies Stephen Nicholas and David Irons led the team with 5 tackles each. The Falcons dropped Bills passers three times, with Daren Stone (4 tackles), Jimmy Williams (4 tackles), and Travis Williams (3 tackles) each recording a sack. Trey Lewis (2 tackles, 2 hurries), Antoine Harris (4 tackles, 1 hurry), T.J. Jackson (3 tackles), and Jamaal Anderson (2 tackles, 1 pass defended) all had notable games.

On special teams, Billy Cundiff converted 2 of 3 field goal attempts, connecting on 32 and 46-yarder but missed a 54-yard attempt at the end of the first half. Adam Anderson had 2 punts for 79 yards and Michael Koenen had 1 for 49 yards. Adam Jennings had a single punt return for 8 yards and a kickoff return for 48 yards.

The Falcons will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals next week in Petrino’s NFL debut as a head coach on Monday Night Football in front of a receptive Georgia Dome crowd.

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