Archive

Archive for October, 2007

Leftwich promoted as starter

October 17th, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons announced today that quarterback Byron Leftwich will start this weekend against the New Orleans Saints. He takes over for Joey Harrington, who has been the starter through the first six weeks leading the Falcons to a 1-5 record. This move seemingly became an inevitability when head coach Bobby Petrino opted to bench Harrington in the fourth quarter two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans. Leftwich, then the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart entered the game. It only seemed a matter of time before a more permanent move was made.

Petrino explained in his Wednesday press conference that this move is expected to be permanent. Harrington will move to the No. 2 position, while Chris Redman who has served as the backup for the entire year will move to No. 3.

Categories: News Tags:

Giants roll over Falcons

October 16th, 2007 Comments off

AP/John Amis The Falcons lost to the New York Giants on Monday Night football by a score of 31-10, in which they were soundly beaten on both sides of the ball. Very few positives result from a loss which takes the Falcons to 1-5 on the season.

Joey Harrington led the team passing, completing 18 of 39 passes for 209 yards and an interception. On the ground, Jerious Norwood had 6 carries for 87 yards, including the team’s lone score on a 67-yard scamper in the first quarter. Warrick Dunn added 8 carries for 15 yards. Roddy White and Norwood both led receivers with 4 receptions each for 64 and 51 yards, respectively. Offensively, the Falcons struggled, only able to convert 3 of 13 third downs (23%).

On defense, the Giants had little issue moving the ball early on in the game, carving up the Falcons for 491 total yards. The Giants also nearly held the ball for twice as long as Atlanta, with a time of possession of 39:38 compared to the Atlanta’s 20:22. DeAngelo Hall and Lawyer MIlloy both led the team with 11 tackles each. Hall also had an interception. Keith Brooking (8 tackles), Chris Houston (5 tackles), Demorrio Williams (6 tackles), Michael Boley (5 tackles, 1 interception), Grady Jackson (4 tackles), and John Abraham (1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) had notable performances.

On special teams, Morten Andersen connected on 1 of 2 field goals, making a 47-yarder but was short on a 48-yarder in the 2nd quarter. Michael Koenen had 7 punts for an average of 39.7 with 3 inside the 20-yard line. Jerious Norwood averaged 17.4 yards on 5 kickoff returns.

Next week the Falcons will square off against division rival New Orleans Saints (1-4) in the Super Dome. The Falcons were swept by the Saints last season and have lost three of their last four against the Saints on the road.

Categories: News Tags:

Game #5 AT Tennessee Titans Review

October 15th, 2007 Comments off

Nothing but wasted opportunities and a game where the the o-line reverted back to prior form. Harrington started off okay but the pressure really got to him in the 3rd quarter and you could tell he was rushing throws. Norwood really needs to get more carries and Mughelli needs to be on the field more. The other thing I question is with 1-G on the 1, why not sneak Leftwich 4 straight times? As big as he is, he’s bound to break through once.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (10/27), Norwood (6/23), Pinner (1/49), Mughelli (1/1), White (1/-2) and Leftwich (1/1). Effective Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 2; Norwood, 3. Both had 2 catches for minimal yardage.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 16/31, 87 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Defended, 2 Drops, 2 Throw aways and 7 Bad Passes. First half was okay but the pressure really got to him midway through the 3rd quarter and ended up being replaced after rushing several throws in a row.

Leftwich: 2/8, 28 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Bad Passes, 1 Defended, 1 Dropped (iffy in my opinion). Jenkins had to jump and it was noted he should have caught it but because it was high and he technically didn’t get hands on it it could have very easily been called a bad pass.

Drops (3): White, 2 and Jenkins, 1.

YTD Drops (11):

Jenkins 4
Horn 2
White 3
Norwood 1
Dunn 1

Run blocking: Horrid. Tennessee was in the backfield all day. The o-line got very little push nor did they open holes.

Pass blocking: Horrid. See the above. The MAX time Harrington/Leftwich had was 3 seconds.

Sack responsibility (2): Blalock on the first sack and Foster on the last play of the game.

YTD Sacks (18):

Scheme 1.0
Norwood 1.5
Gandy 1.0
Forney 1.0
Harrington 4.5
Weiner 1.5
Blalock 3.5
McClure 2.0
Dunn 1.0
Foster 1.0

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: Wasn’t all that great in the 1st half but did lock it down in the 2nd half. Overall a very good effort considering Tennessee’s running offense.

Pass Defense: TE’s, RB’s and whoever Sanders is covering continue to be a problem. Other than that, very good. I didn’t have to change this at all this week.

Sacks: None

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns: 1. from the 0, 23 yards; 2. from the -1, 76 yards; 3. from the 10, 45 yards and there was also 1 touchback.

Jennings had 1 punt return for 0 and 2 fair catches.

Koenen had 6 punts: 1-51 yards to the TEN 26, 7 yard return. 2-38 yards to the TEN 45, no return. 3-45 yards to TEN 18, no return. 4-32 yards to the TEN 17, 28 yards. 5-39 yards to the TEN 45, fumbled return recovered by the Falcons. 6-23 yards to the TEN 12, no return.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 4 kickoffs: 1. to the 8, 34 yard return; 2. to the 5, 18 yard return; 3. to the end zone, touchback; 4. to the -2, 23 yard return.

Field Goals: Andersen went 2/3. Lone miss was from 48 and just short. Koenen went 0/2 from 53 and from 50.

Special Teams coverage: A few good returns but otherwise a very good day.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Lewis Sanders.
2. Get touchdowns and not field goals, make the most out of red zone opportunities.
3. Coverage of TE’s and RB’s. Seems they are wide open far too often.

Offensive MVP: Jerious Norwood, (6, 23 yards)
Defensive MVP: Michael Boley (10 tackles, 1 INT)

Special Teams MVP: Jerious Norwood.

Goat of the Week: Offensive Line.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS New York Giants, October 15th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Coleman could get first action of the season on Monday night

October 12th, 2007 Comments off

Updating this week’s injury report, the Falcons are listing only two players as out for Monday night’s contest against the New York Giants. Those player are offensive tackle Todd Weiner and linebacker Stephen Nicholas. Weiner is expected to miss two to six weeks with a knee injury and Nicholas suffered a high ankle sprain last weekend and will miss two weeks.

Defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux (knee) and Rod Coleman (knee), along with linebacker Keith Brooking (hamstring) and quarterback Byron Leftwich (ankle) are all listed as questionable for the game as well. Babineaux was the only one among the four the participated in Friday’s practice. Coleman had limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday, and Petrino expressed optimism earlier in the week that he’d be ready to play on Monday. This game would mark the first for Coleman this season, as he’s been unable to practice for the most part since April. The extra day of rest should benefit the Falcons, as reports indicate that Leftwich’s injury is relatively minor, and he was held out on Friday so that he could extra rest.

Leftwich was promoted ahead of Chris Redman as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart this week. If Coleman and/or Babineaux are unable to go, Trey Lewis will make his third consecutive start of the season.

As for the players listed as probable on the injury report, they included tight end Dwayne Blakley (chest), safety Chris Crocker (knee), tight end Alge Crumpler (knee/ankle), defensive tackle Grady Jackson (back), and cornerback Lewis Sanders (shoulder). All are expected to play and/or start.

Categories: News Tags: , , , ,

Weiner out as well

October 10th, 2007 Comments off

The AJC reports that offensive tackle Todd Weiner is out 2-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Weiner injured the knee during last weekend’s game against the Titans, missing a part of it, but managed to return at the end when left tackle Wayne Gandy went down with a torn ACL. On Tuesday the Falcons placed Gandy on injured reserve, ending his season. Now they will be without their right tackle for a lengthy period of time.

Reserve guard Tyson Clabo is expected to fill in for Weiner while he is out. Renardo Foster is expected to play for Gandy on the left side. Quinn Ojinnaka is expected to work as a swing tackle, backing up both positions. Clabo started 10 games last season, most of them coming at right guard, but has worked at tackle in the past.

The Falcons will miss Weiner against the Giants this upcoming week. In five career starts against the Giants going up against Pro Bowl defensive Michael Strahan, Weiner has only allowed one sack.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Falcons can reclaim $20 million from Vick

October 10th, 2007 Comments off

NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank ruled in favor of the Falcons after hearing last week their arguments in their attempts to recoup millions in signing bonus money from suspended quarterback Michael Vick. Burbank’s ruling says that the Falcons are entitled to $19.97 million in bonus money that has been paid to Vick over the past three years since he signed his landmark $130 million deal in December 2004.

The ruling is interesting because it breaks with a previous ruling made by Burbank last year in this case of Ashley Lelie. Burbank ruled that the Denver Broncos could not recoup option bonuses paid to Lelie because they were payments for time already earned. Some experts believed that because that most of the payments made to Vick were in the form of roster bonuses, they would be treated the same as option bonuses.

According to Burbank’s ruling, per the Associated Press, the Falcons are entitled to half of the $7.5 million bonus paid to Vick in December 2004, $13.5 million of the $22.5 million roster bonus paid to Vick the following year, and $2.72 million of the $7 million bonus paid to Vick this past year, totalling to $19.97 million.

In his ruling on the Vick case, Burbank indicated that because Vick’s bonuses were payments for future services, which won’t be earned because of his league-imposed suspension.

The Falcons released a statement today:
“We are certainly pleased with today’s ruling by NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank. It is the first step in a process that our club has undertaken in an attempt to recoup significant salary cap space that will allow us to continue to build our football team today and in future years.”

The NFL Players Association has indicated that they plan to appeal the ruling. Now it will be up to U.S. District Court Judge David Doty in Minneapolis to either overturn or uphold Burbank’s ruling. The that there is no timetable for when a decision will be made by Doty, but it could take months, per the AJC.

If it is upheld and when payments are actually received from Vick, the Falcons would receive credit towards the following year’s salary cap in that amount.

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Gandy goes on IR

October 9th, 2007 Comments off

AP/John Russell The Falcons placed injured offensvie tackle Wayne Gandy on injured reserve today. He suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s matchup against the Titans. To fill his spot on the roster, the team promoted Renardo Foster to the starting lineup, and signed Harvey Dahl off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.

Gandy’s injury came on the Falcons final drive, and he was carted off the field as he was unable to leave under his own power. Foster entered the game and was immediately called for holding on what would amount to be the Falcons last chance at tying up the game. Foster filled in for Gandy during the Jaguars game in Week 2, and was also flagged for holding late in that game as the Falcons attempted to tie up the game on their final drive.

Next week, Foster is set to face Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who tallied six sacks two weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles, going up against second-year player Winston Justice who was an injury replacement for William Thomas.

This injury, although not career-threatening could potentially and effectively end the career of 36-year old Gandy. As he was being carted off on the field on Sunday, there were tears in Gandy’s eyes.

Dahl was originally an undrafted free agent out of Nevada-Reno in 2005 with the Dallas Cowboys. He never went to camp with the Cowboys, but was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent most of the ’05 season on their practice squad, although he was inactive on their 53-man roster for the final two games that season. The following spring, he played with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe. In 2006, he played in 4 games with the 49ers mostly on special teams. He was cut this past summer by the 49ers, but spent the first five weeks on their practice squad.

The team also announced that defensive end Kevin Huntley was released from the practice squad. He was added prior to Week 2 of this year.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Titans take down Falcons

October 7th, 2007 Comments off

AP/Mark Humphrey The Falcons record drops to 1-4 as they lost to the Tennessee Titans 20-13. It was a game marred by poor offensive play on the Falcons part despite five Titans turnovers and several big plays on special teams.

Joey Harrington struggled, completing 16 of 31 passes for only 87 yards with an interception that was returned 76 yards for a score. He was replaced by Byron Leftwich in the fourth quarter, who also failed in providing a spark. Leftwich finished the day 2 of 8 for 28 yards and an interception. On the ground, the Falcons really struggled. Artose Pinner led the team with 49 yards on his lone carry, which came on a fake punt. Warrick Dunn added 27 yards on 10 carries with Jerious Norwood carrying 6 times for 23 yards. Laurent Robinson led receivers with 4 catches for 27 yards. Roddy White caught 3 passes for 55 yards. The offense only was able to convert 4 of 18 third down attempts, with their first successful conversion not occuring until the second half. Most of Dunn’s yards came on an 18-yard run that put the Falcons in position to tie the game with little more than 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That run put the ball on the Titans 1-yard line, but a botched pitch from Leftwich to Dunn and 3 incomplete passes by Leftwich culminated in the Falcons being unable to take advantage of that great opportunity.

Defensively, the Falcons forced four turnovers. They limited the Titans to 247 total yards, their lowest allowed output of the season. DeAngelo Hall returned a fumble forced by Jamaal Anderson 56 yards in the first quarter for the team’s lone touchdown. Michael Boley led the team with 14 tackles and had one of the team’s 3 interceptions. Trey Lewis (5 tackles, 1 interception), Demorrio Williams (5 tackles, 1 interception), Grady Jackson (5 tackles), Chris Houston (5 tackles), Keith Brooking (5 tackles, 1 hurry), Lawyer Milloy (5 tackles), and Jamaal Anderson (4 tackles, 1 forced fumble) had notable games. Hall finished with 1 stop and also broke up a pass.

Special teams was able to provide a few sparks that the offense was unable to capitalize on. Morten Andersen made 2 of 3 field goal attempts, coming up short on a 48-yarder. Michael Koenen got 2 opportunities on longer kicks but missed both from 53 and 50 yards. Koenen also had 6 punts for an average of 38 yards. Jerious Norwood had 3 kickoff returns for 144 yards (48.0 avg), almost scoring on a 76-yard return. A fifth Titans turnover was created on a muffed punt by Chris Davis. Dunn’s 18-yard run was set up on a botched punt in which Demorrio Williams came free, which forced Titans punter Craig Hentrich to be tackled for an 8-yard loss.

The Falcons will get some national exposure next week as they face off against the New York Giants at home on Monday Night Football. The road team has won this matchup each of the past 11 outings. The last time the home team has won in this matchup was in 1979, when the Giants won.

Categories: News Tags:

Game #4 VS Houston Texans Review

October 7th, 2007 Comments off

Finally, a win! Great showing by the team this week. The offense is continuing to develop. On defense, Lewis Sanders is the weak link and simply not cut out to be a starter. Hopefully, Chris Houston will be ready soon and even if not, I’d almost rather him take his lumps than have Sanders start.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (18/62), Norwood (9/29), and Harrington (1/-1). Effective Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 7; Norwood, 5. Dunn also had 4 catches for 9 yards and Norwood 2 for 16.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 23/29, 223 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 3 bad passes and 3 passes defended. Harrington really had a great day. Only 1 noticeably bad decision when he tried to force it to Crump and had Mughelli in the flats for a first down at minimum.

Drops (0): None.

YTD Drops (8):

Jenkins 3
Horn 2
White 1
Norwood 1
Dunn 1

Run blocking: Still very inconsistent. There were big gains and plenty of negative yardage plays that need to be eliminated.

Pass blocking: Excellent. Harrington had plenty of time to find his targets.

Sack responsibility (2): First sack goes on Blalock. He came off a block to try to pick up a guy that was beyond the point of picking up which left Okoye free with his back to Gandy leaving Gandy unable to do anything about it legally. Second sack is on Dunn who didn’t pick up Ryans.

YTD Sacks (16):

Scheme 1.0
Norwood 1.5
Gandy 1.0
Forney 1.0
Harrington 4.5
Weiner 1.5
Blalock 2.5
McClure 2.0
Dunn 1.0

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 better. On Dayne’s 25 yard run the referees missed a blatant hold on Demorrio Williams that opened the hole. Brooking had a very good day in the middle.

Pass Defense: TE’s, RB’s and whoever Sanders is covering continue to be a problem. Other than that, very good.

Sacks: Abraham had the lone sack with a fumble forced.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 3 kickoff returns: 1. from the -2, 24 yards; 2. from the -3, 35 yards; 3. from the 25, 9 yards and there were also 2 touchbacks .

Jennings had 1 punt returns for 18 and 1 fair catch.

Koenen had 3 punts: 1-51 yards to the HOU 20, 27 yard return (negated by penalty). 2-49 yards to the HOU 25, -3 yard return. 3-32 yards to HOU 44, out of bounds. Very good day punting despite the last punt being short

Kickoffs: Koenen had 7 kickoffs: 1. to the end zone, 27 yard return; 2. touchback; 3. to the 26, 14 yard return; 4. to the 2, 22 yard return; 5. touchback; 6. to the end zone, 39 yard return; 7. to the end zone, 29 yard return. Great job.

Field Goals: Andersen went 4/5. One attempt got blocked due to Milner being late picking up the corner rush.

Special Teams coverage: Too many return yards on kickoff coverage but not a bad day.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Lewis Sanders.
2. Get touchdowns and not field goals, make the most out of red zone opportunities.
3. Coverage of TE’s and RB’s. Seems they are wide open far too often.

Offensive MVP: Michael Jenkins (6 catches, 64 yards, 2 TD)

Defensive MVP: John Abraham (3 tackles, 1 sacks, 1 fumble forced) and Michael Boley (9 tackles, 1 fumble forced)

Special Teams MVP: Morten Andersen.

Goat of the Week: Lewis Sanders.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT Tennessee Titans, October 7th!

Categories: Features Tags:

Coleman and Hall questionable

October 5th, 2007 Comments off

Despite being able to participate on a limited basis in practice this week, including working with the first team defense, defensive tackle Rod Coleman is not completely back. He is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for this Sunday’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Also listed as questionable is cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who suffered an ankle injury in practice.

Coleman has yet to play a down this season, suffering from a thigh injury in the spring and recently recovering from knee surgery. His normal replacement has been Jonathan Babineaux, but he is suffering from an injured knee and the only Falcon to be listed as out this week. Rookie Trey Lewis replaced Babineaux in the starting lineup last week, and will do so again if Coleman does not suit up.

If Hall does not play on Sunday, then he’ll likely be replaced by Chris Houston. Houston started in place of Hall last week when Hall was benched for the first quarter against the Texans.

In other injury news, tight end Dwayne Blakley who has missed the past two games with a chest injury is listed as probable this week and expected to play.

Categories: News Tags: ,