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Archive for November, 2007

Crumpler helps Falcons to win

November 11th, 2007 Comments off

Getty Images/Streeter Lecka The Falcons have begun a winning streak, taking down the Carolina Panthers by a score of 20-13. The Falcons record moves to 3-6 and now they have won two straight since their bye week.

Joey Harrington led the Falcons, completing 19 of 26 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. Warrick Dunn rushed for 89 yards on 26 carries, including a 30-yard score in the first quarter to take an early lead for the team. Dunn also caught 3 passes for 51 yards. Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 57 yards. Alge Crumpler caught Harrington’s lone touchdown pass, which was a 30-yard score with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Crumpler ended the day with 2 grabs for 39 yards. Crumpler had missed the two previous weeks with injury and was fairly quiet all game until that big play at the end.

Defensively, the Falcons held the Panthers to 243 total yards and shut out their offense. Carolina’s lone touchdown came on a 27-yard return by cornerback Ken Lucas in the second quarter off a Laurent Robinson fumble. DeShaun Foster, who had averaged 180 yards per game in his past four bouts against the Falcons, was limited to only 59 yards rushing on 20 carries. Chris Houston led Falcon defenders with 8 tackles and broke up 2 passes. Lawyer Milloy (5 tackles, 1 hurry), Keith Brooking (4 tackles, 1 pass defended), Rod Coleman (3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble), DeAngelo Hall (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defended), and Chris Crocker (3 tackles, 1 interception) had noteworthy games.

On special teams, Morten Andersen connected on both field goal attempts of 36 and 47 yards. Michael Koenen had 8 punts for an average of 48.1 yards with 2 put inside the 20-yard line. Adam Jennings returned 3 kickoffs for 67 yards (22.3 avg) and 5 punts for 34 yards (6.8 avg). Most of his punt return yards came on his last return. His 23-yard return put the ball in Carolina territory, which set up the game-winning score by Crumpler just four plays latter.

Next week the Falcons will return home to face fellow division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) for the first time this season. The Falcons swept the Bucs last season in their two contests. But since the two teams have shared the NFC South, the Bucs lead the series having won 6 of 10 games, including 3 of 5 in Atlanta.

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Game #8 VS San Francisco 49ers Review

November 11th, 2007 Comments off

It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win and we’ll take them any way we can get them!

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (27/100, 1 TD), Norwood (6/39), Mughelli (2/2, 1 TD) and Harrington (4/14). Effective Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 11; Norwood, 5. No passes to either back. Dunn had his best day in quite a while. Norwood was hurt a couple of times where his ankle was turned awkardly.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 14/25, 138 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 6 Bad passes, 2 Passes defended and 3 Other. Very mediocre day. Harrington missed a few opportunities to extend drives with either bad choices or bad passes. The passes I put in “other”: Was an obvious miscommunication with White, White being screened by the official and not seeing the pass and Jenkins falling down.

Drops (0): None! We need more like this!

YTD Drops (22):

Jenkins 6
White 4
Crumpler 3
Horn 3
Dunn 3
Norwood 1
Blakley 1
Robinson 1

Run blocking: Was much, much better. If we could get this consistently we’d be in very good shape. Hopefully, this becomes the norm. The only exception is short yardage as we still aren’t getting push up the middle.

Pass blocking: While only 1 sack was registered, we still aren’t getting more than 3 seconds of protection. Sure, that’s enough to get the ball out of your hands but when you look at the top teams it seems their pocket always forms a nice “U” shape and the QB rarely gets pressured before the ball is away. Our “U” tends to cave in almost immediately and the QB is forced to throw instead of choosing to.

Sack responsibility (1): I’ll side with the announcers on this one that Harrington held it too long because it was right at 3 seconds. However, Blakley flat out blew his block to allow the initial pressure and I do believe without that pressure Harrington would have gotten rid of the ball before the sack took place.

YTD Sacks (26):

Scheme 2.0
Norwood 2.5
Gandy 1.0
Forney 2.0
Harrington 6.5
Weiner 1.5
Blalock 5.5
McClure 2.0
Dunn 1.0
Foster 1.0
Clabo 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: Saw several plays where Brooking was blocked out by a lineman sometimes caused by Brooking getting into the LOS too quickly or a lineman getting free off a block. Also, it seems we have an overpursuit or misreading problem as our linebackers tend to react to first move and immediately crash down to the inside and get caught on misdirection to the outside. Could have been a lot better.

Pass Defense: Wasn’t bad at all. We still have those issues of covering backs and tight ends. 98 of Smith’s 149 yards went to tight ends and backs.

Sacks: Abe got 1 and Brooking got 1. Abe also forced an intentional grounding call which I look at as a sack itself.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 4 kickoff returns and no touchbacks: 1. from the 2, 18 yards; 2. from the goal line, 30 yards; 3. from the -3, 25 yards; 4. from the -5, 30 yards (negated by holding call on Harris). Solid day returning.

Jennings had 1 kickoff return from the -4, 28 yards. He seems a lot more confident returning now.

Jennings had 3 punt returns and 2 fair catches: 1. from the ATL 19, no return (invalid signal penalty) 2. from the ATL 12, 19 yards (negated by unnecessary roughness on Irons); 3. from the ATL 35, 23 yards. Very good return yardage overall.

Koenen had 6 punts: 1-50 yards to the SF 26, 15 yard return. 2-40 yards to the SF 24, no return. 3-53 yards to SF 8, 4 yard return. 4-38 yards to the SF 28, 4 yard return. 5-50 yards to the SF 17, 4 yard return return. 6-34 yards to the SF 11, no return. Very good day punting with only 1 subpar punt.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1. to the 1, 20 yard return (negated by holding penalty); 2. to the -2, 24 yard return; 3. to the 10, out of bounds; 4. to the 11, 12 yard return; 5. to the end zone, touchback. Outside of the out of bounds kick, very good day.

Field Goals: Andersen went 2/2. Good from 33 and 27.

Special Teams coverage: 15 yard return and the penalties aside, a good day.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Pass protection.
2. Get touchdowns and not field goals, make the most out of red zone opportunities.
3. Run defense.

Offensive MVP: Warrick Dunn (27 carries, 100 yards, 1 TD)
Defensive MVP: Lawyer Milloy (8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass defended and several key tackles stuffing the run)

Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen.

Goat of the Week: Linebackers in run defense.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT Carolina Panthers, November11th!

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Charges dropped against Babineaux

November 8th, 2007 Comments off

Felony animal cruelty charges against Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux were dismissed on Wednesday according to an AJC report. The charges stemmed from the death of Babineaux’s girlfriend’s dog “Kilo” in February.

According to the AJC report, the charges were dropped after an extensive investigation could not come to a consensus among experts about the cause of death and how the injury occurred. An autopsy revealed that Kilo died of blunt-force trauma to the head, but whether that was inflicted by Babineaux could not be determined.

The dog had a history of unprovoked attacks and a dog trainer had informed Babineaux to spin the dog by its leash when it became aggressive. According to Babineaux’s lawyer, the dog was acting aggressively towards Babineaux and his infant son, and Babineaux engaged in the spinning technique which resulted in the dog’s death from it striking a wall.

Babineaux faced potential suspension from the NFL had he been indicted by a Gwinnett County grand jury.

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Falcons nab second win

November 4th, 2007 Comments off

Getty Images/Doug Benc The rest and recuperation gained during the Falcons’ bye week seemed to have benefited them as they prevailed over the San Francisco 49ers 20-16 to gain their second win of the 2007 season. The changes to the offensive line recently didn’t seem to deter the teams ground attack either, as Warrick Dunn became the first 100-yard rusher for the Falcons of this season as well.

Joey Harrington completed 14 of 25 passes for 138 yards, with an interception. Dunn led rushers with 100 yards on 27 carries (3.7 avg) and a touchdown. Jerious Norwood was injured early on in the contest, and thus was limited to 6 carries, but managed 39 yards (6.5 avg). Ovie Mughelli scored the team’s other touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. He finished the game with 2 carries for 2 yards. Joe Horn led receivers with 4 grabs for 23 yards (5.8 avg). Roddy White added 3 catches for 55 yards (18.3 avg) and Michael Jenkins had 2 catches for 31 yards (15.5 avg).

Defensively, the Falcons held firm limiting the 49ers to 265 total yards. They also forced four 49er turnovers, including 3 interceptions. The final interception by Jimmy Williams on a hail mary by Alex Smith sealed the team’s second win. DeAngelo Hall’s interception on the 49ers previous possession also was instrumental in getting the Falcons a victory. Michael Boley led defenders with 10 tackles, a pass deflection, and also caused a fumble. Keith Brooking (6 tackles, 1 sack), Lawyer Milloy (8 tackles, 1 interception), Chris Crocker (5 tackles, 3 pass deflections), DeAngelo Hall (4 tackles, 1 interception), and John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) all had noteworthy performances.

On special teams, Morten Andersen connected on 2 field goal attempts of 33 and 27 yards in the fourth quarter. Michael Koenen had 6 punts for an average of 39.7 yards, with 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Adam Jennings returned 2 punts for 23 yards, and 1 kickoff for 28 yards.

Next week the Falcons will travel to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons hope to exact some revenge on the Panthers, following a tough loss in Week 3 this season.

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Game #7 AT New Orleans Saints Review

November 4th, 2007 1 comment

Another typical game this season. Started off really well only to lose by less than a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Leftwich looked much better under pressure than Harrington although Harrington did show some good things while in the game. Still not sure why the coaching staff didn’t challenge the call of Roddy White out of bounds at the 7, he looked like he stayed in to me.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (13/28), Norwood (6/38), Mughelli (1/3), Leftwich (3/6) and Harrington (1/0). Effective Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 2; Norwood, 1. Dunn had 1 catch for 1 yard and Norwood had 3 for 1. Although the effective runs doesn’t show it, Norwood is more effective at this point than Dunn. Norwood did not have any negative yardage plays while Dunn had quite a few.

Breakdown of passes:

Leftwich: 15/23, 145 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 5 Bad passes, 2 throw aways, 1 drop. Leftwich was able to go downfield and get rid of the ball quickly. Poor pass protection eventually got him knocked out of the game.

Harrington: 12/18, 128 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Bad passes, and 2 Drops. Not a bad performance in relief just not enough.

Drops (3): Robinson, 1; Jenkins, 1 and Dunn, 1

YTD Drops (22):

Jenkins 6
White 4
Crumpler 3
Horn 3
Dunn 3
Norwood 1
Blakley 1
Robinson 1

Run blocking: Outside of Norwood’s big run wasn’t all that good. It’s a shame I didn’t have to change this one from last week.

Pass blocking: Horrid. It’s pretty bad when a line can’t consistently give even 3 seconds. Didn’t have to change this one either.

Sack responsibility (3): First sack is on Clabo. Second is on Forney. The announcers talked about Harrington holding it too long but he didn’t have 3 seconds. Final sack is on Blalock.

YTD Sacks (25):

Scheme 2.0
Norwood 2.5
Gandy 1.0
Forney 2.0
Harrington 5.5
Weiner 1.5
Blalock 5.5
McClure 2.0
Dunn 1.0
Foster 1.0
Clabo 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: Not horrible but there were key breakdowns especially up the middle on the Thomas TD where the center was allowed to get to Brooking unimpeded by our d-line. Unacceptable.

Pass Defense: Man to man seemed pretty good but zone allowed several mismatches as well as the TE and RB’s to make far too many catches.

Sacks: None.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 2 kickoff returns and 2 touchbacks: 1. from the 2, 20 yards; 2. from the 15, 18 yards. Norwood is explosive but I’d rather have Jennings on all returns and use Norwood’s explosiveness more in the backfield.

Jennings had 4 punt returns: 1. from the ATL 19, 12 yards; 2. from the ATL 41, 15 yards; 3. from the ATL 22, -2 yards; 4. from the ATL 48, 12 yards and 1 fair catch. Very nice day returning.

Koenen had 6 punts: 1-45 yards to the NO 11, 48 yard return. 2-48 yards to the NO 44, 7 yard return. 3-33 yards to NO 13, no return. 4-51 yards to the NO 32, no return. 5-45 yards to the NO 7, no return. 6-43 yards to the NO 10, no return. Much better distance on punts with 1 coverage breakdown.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1. to the 3, 21 yard return; 2. to the 42A onside, Jennings recovered; 3. to the 2, 25 yard return; 4. to the end zone, touchback; 5. to the -1, 32 yard return. Very good day kicking.

Field Goals: Andersen went 3/3. Good from 38, 33, and 21.

Special Teams coverage: Big breakdown on the first punt and the last kickoff. Decent day but definitely needs improvement.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Pass protection.
2. Get touchdowns and not field goals, make the most out of red zone opportunities.
3. Overall defense especially after scores.

Offensive MVP: Roddy White (8, 110 yards, 1 TD)
Defensive MVP: Demorrio Williams (7 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass defended)

Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen.

Goat of the Week: Offensive Line.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS San Francisco 49ers, November 4th!

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Game #6 VS New York Giants Review

November 3rd, 2007 Comments off

This game started off promising but went south quickly after the first quarter. There was a glimmer of hope in the third but that was quickly eradicated when the offense went three and out. Really nothing outside of Norwood went right.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (8/15), Norwood (6/87, 1 TD) and Harrington (1/1). Effective Runs (4 yards or more)-Dunn, 1; Norwood, 2. Dunn had 2 catches for 13 yards and Norwood had 4 for 51.

Breakdown of passes:

Harrington: 18/39, 209 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 8 Bad passes, 5 Defended, 8 Drops. First quarter was very good but it really unraveled from there.

Drops (8): White, 1; Crumpler, 3; Horn, 1; Dunn, 1; Blakley, 1 and Jenkins, 1.

YTD Drops (19):

Jenkins 5
White 4
Crumpler 3
Horn 3
Dunn 2
Norwood 1
Blakley 1

Run blocking: Outside of Norwood’s big run wasn’t all that good.

Pass blocking: Horrid. It’s pretty bad when a line can’t consistently give even 3 seconds.

Sack responsibility (4): First is on Blalock by Robbins. Second on the scheme as everyone was blocking but it was a delayed corner blitz. There was no hot man or RB to block in that spot. Third one is on Norwood for missing a block. Final sack is on Harrington for holding it too long.

YTD Sacks (22):

Scheme 2.0
Norwood 2.5
Gandy 1.0
Forney 1.0
Harrington 5.5
Weiner 1.5
Blalock 4.5
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: Allowed almost 200 yards rushing. Not good at all.

Pass Defense: Over 300 yards passing. Not good at all.

Sacks: Abraham, 1.

Special Teams:

Norwood had 5 kickoff returns: 1. from the 13, 17 yards; 2. from the 16, 17 yards; 3. from the GL; 4. from the 15, 14 yards (nullified by Blakley holding); 5. from the 10, 19 yards.

Mughelli had 1 kickoff return for 18 yards from the 15.

Jennings had 1 punt return for 7 yards and 2 fair catches.

Koenen had 7 punts: 1-34 yards to the NYG 22, no return. 2-55 yards to the NYG 24, 10 yard return. 3-40 yards to NYG 45, no return. 4-37 yards to the NYG 13, no return. 5-34 yards to the NYG 8, no return. 6-50 yards to the NYG 14, no return; 7-38 yards to the NYG 33, no return. Very mediocre distance on punts.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 3 kickoffs: 1. to the 2, 25 yard return; 2. to the 6, 22 yard return (nullified by penalty); 3. to the goal line, 23 yard return. Not great but a good day.

Field Goals: Andersen went 1/2. Good from 47, short from 48.

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

Things that really need improvement:

1. Pass protection.
2. Get touchdowns and not field goals, make the most out of red zone opportunities.
3. Overall defense.

Offensive MVP: Jerious Norwood, (6, 87 yards, 1 TD)
Defensive MVP: Deangelo Hall (11 tackles, 1 INT, 4 passes defended)

Special Teams MVP: Jerious Norwood.

Goat of the Week: Offensive Line.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: AT New Orleans Saints, October 21st!

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Crumpler doubtful vs. 49ers

November 2nd, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons weekly injury report was updated today indicating that Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler is doubtful for this weekend’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers with knee and ankle injuries. Crumpler missed the Falcons Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints due to the same injuries. It was the first time he missed any games due to injury in his entire career. In 2004, he sat out the final two games of the regular season so he could rest for the postseason. Crumpler has battled knee ailments all off-season long as he had surgery in April, and missed most of training camp due to the injury.

The only Falcon listed as out for this weekend’s game is quarterback Byron Leftwich, who suffered a high ankle sprain against the Saints, and is expected to be out for at least another two weeks.

Also on the injury report were linebackers Stephen Nicholas (ankle), defensive tackle Montavious Stanley (knee), and offensive tackle Todd Weiner (knee). All three players were listed as questionable. Nicholas has missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain. Stanley suffered a knee injury in practice this past week. Weiner too has missed the last two games with a knee injury suffered against the Tennessee Titans. Both Nicholas and Weiner managed to have limited participation in practice all week long, which may mean both players could return next week.

Dwayne Blakley should get his second consecutive start in place of Crumpler, if he’s unable to go. Joey Harrington will return to the starting lineup, subbing for Leftwich. Nicholas will continue to be replaced by linebacker Travis Williams as a reserve behind starter Demorrio Williams. Tyson Clabo has filled in for Weiner the past two games at right tackle. And the Falcons signed Tim Anderson yesterday to bolster depth behind Trey Lewis in place of Stanley.

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Falcons add DT Anderson

November 1st, 2007 Comments off

Due to the recent knee injury to backup nose tackle Montavious Stanley, the Falcons signed free agent defensive tackle Tim Anderson. To make room for Anderson, the Falcons released cornerback Brent Grimes, who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on Monday. Stanley’s injury is ironic considering the Falcons released starting defensive tackle Grady Jackson last week. The team reasoned that Jackson’s release was necessary due to the improved health of defensive tackles Rod Coleman and Jonathan Babineaux in recent weeks. Jackson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.

Anderson appeared in 4 games with the Buffalo Bills this year before being released on October 20. He recorded 3 tackles in his time in Buffalo. He was originally a third round pick out of Ohio State in 2004. In 2005, he was the Bills’ regular starter, making 12 starts and finishing the season with 42 tackles and 1 sack. Last season, he lost his starting job to Kyle Williams, but still managed 5 starts and 32 tackles on the year. Reports this spring had the Bills putting Anderson, who was a restricted free agent, on the trading block.

Grimes spot on the practice squad was taken by defensive end Kevin Huntley. Huntley was re-signed after spending 4 weeks on the practice squad earlier in the regular season. It is unknown if the Falcons will release Huntley for a second time to make room for Grimes. The Falcons have yet to specify how long they expect Stanley to be out of commission.

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