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Preseason Game 1 At NY Jets Review

August 16th, 2007 4 comments

As with any preseason game, evaluation is more important than outcome and with that comes good and bad so even though we lost 31-16 there were some bright spots.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Norwood (8/29, 1 TD), Snelling (10/48), Harris (3/6), Redman (1/2), Shockley (1/1). 4 of Norwood’s carries went for 4 yards or more. The only negative I saw on Norwood was the short yardage play where he didn’t follow Mughelli. 5 of Snelling’s carries went for 4 yards or more. This guy is a bulldozer. I’m fully confident that he will be our short yardage back. Very straight ahead, bruising runner. Great to see. Harris didn’t impress in his short stint.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 6/9, 88 yards, 0 TD/0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 3 bad throws. The bad throws number was a little above the 25% but not a huge concern because 2 were on taking shots downfield and those are low percentage plays to begin with. Harrington completed 67% of his passes and while not throwing for a TD, managed the game well.

Redman: 8/13, 61 yards, 0 TD/0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 2 bad throws, 2 defended and 1 drop. Tended to dance around in the pocket when he had protection, eyeballed Jenkins on one of the defenses. Still didn’t look bad and the mistakes made can easily be attributed to rust.

Shockley: 5/12, 77 yards, 0 TD/ 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 bad throws, 2 dropped, 1 defended. The INT was the defended pass as it was tipped at the line. Shockley obviously did not have a good night. His worst problem seemed to be throwing it too hard causing his passes to either be uncatchable at times or making it harder than necessary to catch.

Drops (2): R. White (1), Elliott (1) and Milner (1). White seemed to have a lapse in concentration on what would have been a 1st down. Milner definitely should have caught his pass as well. Elliott is iffy because the ball was thrown way too hard for what was needed but still hit his hands.

Sack responsibility (0): NONE!!!

Pass blocking: Wow, night and day different from what we are used to seeing. Protection was outstanding. The entire first unit did really well and Foster (backup tackle) looked really, really good out there.

YTD Sacks (0): NONE

Note: QB 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: Decent. Sometimes it was really, really good and then others it was really, really bad. Jackson and Coleman being out really showed although I thought Shropshire and T. Lewis did well.

Pass Defense: Good pressure but coverage was horrible at times. Houston has to develop and Rossum just flat out stunk in coverage. A lot of the issues were youth mistakes.

2 sacks: Lewis and Shropshire combined for one and Carrington got the other.

Special Teams:

Rossum had 1 kickoff returns for 26 yards. Jennings had 3 kickoff returns: 33 yards from the 4, 34 yards from the 7 (called back on penalty), 40 yards from the 3. Jennings clearly had the better day here.

Rossum also had 2 punt returns: 10 yards from the 19 and 9 yards from the 9. Not impressive.

Jennings had a punt return for 34 yards from the 41. Great return negated by penalties.

I think Jennings should have the upper hand at this point.

Koenen had 4 punts. 1: 54 yards, touchback. 2: 52 yards to the NY 30, returned -2 yards. 3: 51 yards, touchback. 4: 43 yards, to the NY45 out of bounds. Only negative was the 2 touchbacks but given our special teams play, maybe that was smart.

Anderson had 1 punt for 42 yards. Return negated by penalty.

Kickoffs: Cundiff had 4 kickoffs: 1: to the 6, returned 86 yards. 2: to the 9, returned 28 yards. 3: to the 3, returned 46 yards. 4: to the 1, returned for 24 yards. Coverage team stunk and the kicks weren’t deep enough. Koenen will handle this in the regular season.

Field Goals: Cundiff hit 3/3. Good from 45, 41, and 37. Excellent job.

Special Teams coverage: Darren Stone stood out but overall not very good.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Special Teams coverage.
2. Get healthy.
3. Tackling.

Offensive MVP: Laurent Robinson 5 catches. Really made some great catches. Honorable mention to Roddy White and Jason Snelling.

Defensive MVP: Trey Lewis (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks)

Special Teams MVP: Billy Cundiff/Adam Jennings

Goat of the Week: Special Teams coverage

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT Buffalo, August 17th!

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Coleman on the mend

August 16th, 2007 Comments off

Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino indicated in his Wednesday press conference that he was hopeful that defensive tackle Rod Coleman will be healthy enough to play opening weekend of the regular season. Coleman tore his quadricep at the end of April, and the initial prognosis suggested he would miss three to five months.

Coleman resumed practice earlier this week, but is not expected to appear in any preseason games. Petrino indicated the initial prognosis has not changed due considering that this is somewhat a rare injury, and doctors are leery about rushing him back.

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Vick suspension not imminent

August 14th, 2007 Comments off

Contrary to previous reports, the AJC reports that a suspension of Michael Vick is not imminent due to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s plan to remain patient. Goodell’s patience is based upon the findings of special investigator Eric Holder. Holder was appointed by the league to gather information and evidence whether or not Vick violated the league’s personal conduct policy. There has been no formal timetable on when Holder’s report will be issued, but per SI.com’s Peter King, that is at least a week away.

In other Vick-related news, the remaining co-defendants in the federal conspiracy case against Vick have opted to plead guilty. Of the four people named in the federal indictment, Vick now remains the only one who has plead not guilty. ESPN is reporting that Vick and his attorneys are currently weighing their options on whether to change to a guilty plea, and that there is a Friday deadline for such a change to occur. ESPN indicates that the federal government will soon file their superseding indictment after which Vick will face two more federal dogfighting charges along with his current conspiracy charge.

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Vick to be suspended soon

August 12th, 2007 1 comment

Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole reports that a suspension of Michael Vick is nearing. Cole reports that two league sources indicate that either this week or next week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce that Vick will be suspended for the entire 2007 NFL season. Cole indicates that the suspension of Vick may be due to a violation of the league’s gambling policies.

According to Cole’s sources, the league seems intent on announcing Vick’s fate prior to the start of the regular season. Currently, Vick is under an indefinite leave of absence imposed by Goodell. Vick’s trial is due to begin on November 26, 2007.

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Petrino’s debut a loss

August 10th, 2007 Comments off

Getty/J. McIsaac Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino had his NFL debut as a head coach result in a loss 31-16 to the New York Jets. The positives from the Falcons preseason opener included pretty solid efforts from both the first team offense and defense.

Joey Harrington completed 6 of 9 pass attempts for 88 yards. Jerious Norwood rushed 8 times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Jason Snelling led the team with 48 rushing yards on 10 carries. Laurent Robinson and Roddy White both had good games receiving. Robinson caught 5 passes for 49 yards and White 3 catches for 38 yards. Chris Redman came in for Harrington at the beginning of the second quarter. He finished the game with 8 completions, 13 attempts for 61 yards. D.J. Shockley also played, completing 5 of 12 passes for 77 yards and an interception.

Defensively, the Falcons held the Jets offense in check through the first quarter, although the Jets did not attempt a pass until the beginning of the second quarter. The Jets rushed 10 times for only 29 yards in that span. However, as the backups began to circulate into the game, the Falcons would give up 117 yards on 30 carries. Jets backup passer Kellen Clemens had a good game, completing 16 of 22 passes for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively, two rookies seem to shine above the others in the box score. Stephen Nicholas and Daren Stone both finished in the lead with 4 tackles each. Another Falcons rookie Trey Lewis teamed with Darrell Shropshire to tally the team’s lone sack on the night. Lewis finished with 3 tackles, while Shropshire had 1.

On special teams, Billy Cundiff connected on all 3 field goal attempts of 45, 41, and 37 yards. Michael Koenen punted 5 times, averaging 48.4 yards. Adam Jennings had several good returns, but penalties negated some of them. He finished the game with 3 kickoff returns for 87 yards. But the Falcons coverage teams could have used some more work. Jets returners averaged 46 yards on 4 kickoff returns, including an 86-yard run by Leon Washington.

The Falcons will travel next week to Buffalo in their second preseason matchup.

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Is A Winning Season Possible?

August 5th, 2007 3 comments

As you all know by now, Vick was indicted last month on conspiracy charges related to the dogfighting case. I am truly torn on this. Part of me wants him to be cleared and come back, but the other part is ready to move on. I have been defending the guy for years regarding his ability on the field, and he winds up having even more issues off it. I have a Vick jersey, a couple of shirts, and some memorabilia with his image/name on them that I am not willing to display anymore. I was a Falcons fan long before Vick arrived, so it is not like I will be changing allegiances, but I am truly disappointed that the player that I believed would be our best shot of winning a Super Bowl is likely done in Atlanta.

What now? Well, this season is exciting in that there will be a lot of unknowns. We will have a new offense, defense, and several new starters. Jim Mora Jr. managed to take this team to the NFC Championship a few years ago as a rookie head coach, so it would not be unheard of for Bobby Petrino to guide the team to a great season. Personally, I think the team is capable of 10 wins if things fall into place, but anything more than that is very unlikely.

Regarding Joey Harrington, I view him as another Bobby Hebert or Chris Chandler, in that he has been bouncing around in the last couple of years and we are hoping that things ‘click’ for him, as has happened with many veteran QBs after they have enough experience and find a good situation for their skills and personality. If it doesn’t happen, we will be in a good situation to draft Brohm, who played for Petrino at Louisville, and is widely regarded as one of the top QBs in college, and will likely be a first round pick. It is not often that a team can draft a QB and expect him to fully grasp the offense before training camp even starts, so this would be a no-brainer if we were in need of a quarterback next season.

So that’s it, my prediction is 10-6. Am I wrong? Time will tell.

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Falcons put Datish on IR

August 5th, 2007 Comments off

Although previous reports suggested that Doug Datish would only miss a limited amount of time due to a broken wrist, the Falcons ultimately decided to shut him down for the entire season by placing him on injured reserve. The team also opted to preemptively waive guard Toniu Fonoti, due to the fact that the team likes what they have seen from rookie guard Justin Blalock thus far.

Replacing the pair of offensive linemen on the roster will be former LSU center Ben Wilkerson and cornerback Tony Franklin.

Wilkerson was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005 as an undrafted free agent. He missed his rookie year due to a knee injury suffered during his senior year at LSU. He spent most of last year on the Bengals practice squad, but did spend the final six weeks on the team’s roster, playing in three games. The Bengals waived him this past June.

Franklin is an undrafted free agent who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this past May. He was cut on July 25. Franklin had several off-field issues in his four years at Virginia. He was dismissed by the team last spring following serving two suspensions as a junior due to an arrest involving marijuana and violating team rules. He split his time at safety and cornerback while with the Cavaliers, finishing his career with 208 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 12 pass breakups. He also returned 25 kickoffs for an average of 24.4 yards during his collegiate career.

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Datish injures wrist

August 4th, 2007 Comments off

Craig Custance reported in the AJC’s training camp blog that Falcons rookie center Doug Datish is set to have surgery on his right wrist on Monday, having missed practice on Friday due to a fracture.

How much time Datish will miss has yet to be determined. Coach Petrino indicated after practices that he did not expect Datish to miss much time.

Datish had been working behind starter Todd McClure and P.J. Alexander as the third string center for much of the first week of training camp. He was selected by the Falcons this past April in the sixth round, the third of four total choices in that round.

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