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Archive for November, 2008

Game #9 VS New Orleans Saints Game Review

November 29th, 2008 Comments off

This was an impressive win over a long-time division rival that was great to watch. The offense executed very well and the defense performed very well for the most part, especially in pass coverage. The game was not as close as the 34-20 final score would seem to indicate.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (27/96, 1 TD), Norwood (6/17), Ryan (2/-2) and White (1/2). Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner, 12 and Norwood, 3. New Orleans keyed on the run and still the ground game was effective.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 16/23, 248 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Bad passes, 2 Passes Defended and 1 Drop. Virtually the same performance from last week. Great to see the consistency and development.

Drops (1): White.

YTD Drops (20):

White – 7
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 3
Finneran – 3
Turner – 1
Peele – 1
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1

Receiving: Norwood (2/88, 1 TD) led the team in yards. Jenkins had the most catches (6/72) and White turned in his normal solid day (5/68, 1 TD).

Run blocking: Very solid as is the norm.

Pass blocking: No sacks and moving Gandy, Clabo and Weiner around at the tackle spots seemed to help.

Sack responsibility (0): None

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 3.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 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: Really wasn’t all that good, fortunately Brees threw it 58 times.

Pass Defense: Despite giving up 422 yards, the defense came away with 3 INT’s (Jackson, Houston and Coleman) and 1 of the 2 TD’s was a jump ball garbage time TD at the end of the game.

Sacks (1): The lone sack is credited to John Abraham (what else is new!)

Special Teams:

Norwood had 2 kickoff returns (there was also 1 touchback and 1 onside kick gone horribly wrong out of bounds):1-from the 3, 18 yards. 2-from the 1, 55 yards. 1 solid return and 1 great return.

Douglas had 2 punt return opportunities (1 punt went out of bounds): 1. from the 25, 25 yards; 2. from the 12, 8 yards. You know, a 25 yard return and 2 consecutive weeks of no muffed punts just sounds excellent to me.

Koenen had 4 punts: 1-31 yards to the 10, downed. 2-33 yards to the 9, no return. 3-33 yards to the 10, no return. 4-44 yards to the 24, no return. 3 inside the 10 and no return yards. Excellent day.

Koenen had 7 kickoffs: 1-to the -2, 26 yard return. 2-to the 3, 20 yard return. 3-to the 3, 20 yard return. 4-to the endzone, touchback. 5-to the -4, 41 yard return. 6-to the endzone, touchback. 7-to the 11, 20 yard return. Kicks seem to be deeper now.

Field Goals: 2/2 Good from 22 and 27.

Special Teams coverage: Outside of 2 kickoff returns it was very good.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan (248 yards, 2 TDs)

Defensive MVP: Domonique Foxworth (5 tackles, 3 passes defended and just seemed to be all over the place)

Special Teams MVP: Kroy Biermann (3 tackles)

Goat of the Week: None, for consecutive weeks.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS. Denver Broncos, November 16th!

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Game #8 AT Oakland Raiders Game Review

November 29th, 2008 Comments off

Great to see the team rebound from the heartbreaker in Philly. Quite simply, this performance was nothing short of dominating. From first downs (ATL 30 to OAK 3), Total net yards (ATL 453 to OAK 77) to the 24-0 on the scoreboard, it was clear that the Falcons were in complete control from the very beginning.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Turner (30/139), Norwood (14/63, 1 TD), Snelling (8/47), Ryan (4/1) and Douglas (1/2). Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner, 19; Norwood, 7 and Snelling, 6. Dominating rushing performance outside of a few short yardage opportunities missed due to the line not getting a good push up front.

Breakdown of passes:

Ryan: 17/22, 220 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 2 Bad passes, 2 Thrown away and 1 Busted play. Very efficient play and really showing his development.

Drops (0): None

YTD Drops (19):

White – 6
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 3
Finneran – 3
Turner – 1
Peele – 1
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1

Run blocking: Very dominating except for several short yardage situations where they failed to get a push up front as mentioned above.

Pass blocking: No sacks until the 4th quarter. Not as good as it has been but with Baker out, that was expected.

Sack responsibility (3): First sack was on Norwood for missing a block. The second sack was on Ryan as he was untouched stepping up in the pocket and stripped by Warren. Final sack was on Gandy.

YTD Sacks (12):

Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 3.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 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: Outside of 2 QB runs, the Raiders got next to nothing on the ground.

Pass Defense: Allowed only 31 yards passing. It doesn’t get better than that.

Sacks (4): First 3 sacks go to Abraham and the final one was a “team” sack as Russell simply fumbled untouched.

Special Teams:
Norwood had 1 kickoff return: from the endzone, 47 yards nullified by holding penalty on Wire.

Harry Douglas is our new punt returner and he had 2 opportunities with 4 others either being downed or out of bounds: 1. from the 24, 6 yards; 2. from the 21, 7 yards.

Koenen had 2 punts: 1-33 yards to the 19, no return. 2-Blocked.

Koenen had 5 kickoffs: 1-to the 5, 16 yard return. 2-to the 2, 21 yard return. 3-to the -4, 24 yard return. 4-to the -2, 23 yard return. 5-to the 3, 39 yard return (unnecessary roughness on Biermann tacked on 15). Good to see 2 of the kicks in the end zone.

Field Goals: 1/2 Good from 48 and missed from 51.

Special Teams coverage: Outside of the last kick return and the blocked punt, very solid.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends).
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.

Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan (220 yards, 2 TDs)

Defensive MVP: John Abraham (5 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 tackle for loss, 3 hurries, 1 fumble forced)

Special Teams MVP: Ovie Mughelli, 2 tackles.

Goat of the Week: None, which might be a first.

Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: VS. New Orleans Saints, November 9th!

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Falcons place Hartsock on IR, re-sign Rader

November 26th, 2008 Comments off

The Atlanta Falcons have placed starting tight end Ben Hartsock on the IR. Hartsock reportedly injured his toe during the Carolina game last week.

Jason Rader was re-signed shortly after Atlanta had just released him a couple weeks ago.

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Jenks and Babs get extensions

November 25th, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons announced today that they have signed wide receiver Michael Jenkins and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux to contract extensions. Both players were poised to hit free agency this upcoming off-season, but their solid play this season merited the team doing their best to prevent their potential departures.

Per the AJC, Jenkins received a four-year extension worth $20 million. Jenkins has started 7 games this season at wide receiver and is the team’s second-leading receiver with 33 catches for 498 yards (15.1 avg) and 3 touchdowns.

The AP reports that Babineaux received an undisclosed five-year deal. He has started every game this year at defensive tackle and currently has 25 tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery. His 7 tackles for loss this season is currently tied for third most in the league.

UPDATE: NFL.com’s Adam Schefter reports that Babineaux’s contract is a five-year, $25 million deal.

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Abraham, Jackson OK to play, Baker not

November 25th, 2008 Comments off

Carroll Rogers of the AJC reports that the Falcons expect defensive end John Abraham to suit up against the San Diego Chargers this upcoming weekend. Abraham suffered a stinger against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago and has been limited since, although he has played in and started both games since.

Rogers also reports that offensive tackle Sam Baker is not expected to play this week against the Chargers, but that his rehabilitation is going well per head coach Mike Smith. Per Rogers, there is a possibility that Baker may be able to make it back on the field before the end of the regular season, with a shot at playing in any of the final three games.

Defensive tackle Grady Jackson should be available for the Falcons for at least another week. Jackson had a hearing for his appeal of a four-game suspension meted out by the league in October this past Friday. But per the AJC, Jackson’s representatives aren’t expected to hear back from the league whether or not his suspension will be lifted until after December 1, meaning that he should not miss the Chargers game on November 30.

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Vick pleads guilty to state charges

November 25th, 2008 Comments off

AP D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that Michael Vick entered a guilty plea to state dogfighting charges in Sussex County, Virginia. Vick is currently incarcerated stemming from his guilty plea from federal conspiracy charges.

Vick signed a plea agreement and will receive a three-year suspended prison sentence and a $2500 fine along with four years of probation. The fine will be waived if Vick pays court costs and maintains good behavior for the length of his probation.

Vick is scheduled to be released from federal prison in July 2009 but could become eligibile to have an early release six months prior and enter a halfway house.

Vick is still technically on the Falcons roster, but is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL. There has been no word on a possible timetable if and when he can be reinstated by the league. Falcons owner Arthur Blank indicated earlier this month that he believes Vick should be reinstated and that he would encourage other NFL owners to sign him if available.

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Douglas, Turner big in win over Panthers

November 23rd, 2008 Comments off

AP The Falcons showed resiliency this week with a 45-28 win over the Carolina Panthers. They are now 7-4 and are within a game of the NFC South division lead as the Panthers drop to 8-3. Atlanta started with a strong 17-0 lead. The Panthers were able to cut the game to 24-21 with 11 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. But the Falcons responded, driving 74 yards on 7 plays to go up 31-21. After holding the Panthers on the subsequent drive, Harry Douglas was able to put the nail into the coffin with a 61-yard punt return touchdown.

Matt Ryan led the Falcons with 259 yards, completing 17 of 27 attempts. Michael Turner had a big game with 4 touchdowns along with 117 yards on 24 carries on the ground. Douglas added his own rushing score on a 7-yard scamper. Douglas tied for the lead among receivers with 4 catches with 92 yards receiving. Roddy White and Michael Jenkins both had 4 catches for 70 and 48 yards, respectively.

Defensively, the Falcons got off to a very promising start, keeping the Panthers offense out of the endzone and only allowing 1 third down conversion on 7 attempts in the first half. Erik Coleman led defenders with 9 tackles. John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack), Jonathan Babineaux (2 tackles), Michael Boley (7 tackles), Keith Brooking (7 tackles), Chauncey Davis (4 tackles, 2 sacks), Domonique Foxworth (4 tackles), Chevis Jackson (4 tackles), Curtis Lofton (5 tackles), and Lawyer Milloy (4 tackles) had noteworthy games.

Jason Elam connected on his lone field goal attempt of 23 yards. Michael Koenen had 4 punts for an average of 43 yards. Jerious Norwood averaged 15.7 yards on 3 kickoff returns. Douglas had 3 punt returns for an average of 31 yards with the touchdown.

Next week the Falcons will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. The Falcons have won four straight against the Chargers. All-time, the Falcons are 4-0 on the road against the Chargers and 6-1 overall.

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Foster done for year

November 21st, 2008 Comments off

The AJC reports that the Falcons have shut down offensive tackle Renardo Foster for the rest of the season. Foster was placed on the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list at the beginning of the season due to him recovering from a knee injury he suffered last season. The Falcons had until this week to make a decision on whether to activate him or to place him on injured reserve. The team chose the latter option, meaning his 2008 season is over before it really began.

The team also signed defensive end Willie Evans to the practice squad to fill the void left by Eric Weems. The team would have re-signed Brandon Miller to the practice squad, but he was claimed by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Falcons also released their final injury report, listing ten players as questionable for this week’s game and three players as out. Sam Baker (hip/back), Kindal Moorehead (foot), and Laurent Robinson (hamstring) were listed as out.

Brent Grimes (knee/ankle), Ben Hartsock (back), Chris Houston (ribs), and Jerious Norwood (rib) were all listed as questionable, but did not miss any practice time all week. Roddy White sat out Wednesday and Thursday practices due to a bruised back, but did have full participation on Friday despite being listed as questionable. Grady Jackson (knee) missed Friday practice due to his appeal of his four-game suspension. Todd Weiner, the most likely candidate to replace Baker in the starting lineup once more, was limited the past two days due to a knee injury. If Weiner cannot go, then Wayne Gandy will likely start on Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers.

Jackson to discover fate

November 20th, 2008 Comments off

Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson will have a hearing for the league to hear his appeal tomorrow. Jackson has been suspended four games by the NFL due to a violation of the league’s steroid policy. Jackson took an illegal substance called Bumetanide, which can be used for weight loss as well as a masking agent for steroids.

Jackson tested positive for Bumetanide due to his taking of StarCaps diet pills. Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the company that manufactures StarCaps for false advertising and unfair business practices per the AJC.

While Jackson was suspended shortly after his positive test was first revealed in October, he has been able to still play for the Falcons since due to his appealing the suspension. After his hearing on Friday, he and the Falcons will know if his suspension will be dropped or upheld. If the suspension is upheld, Jackson won’t miss this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers. But instead will begin serving his suspension the following week and will not be available to play again until the final game of the season versus the St. Louis Rams on December 28.

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Falcons shore up depth at WR

November 20th, 2008 Comments off

The AJC reports that the Falcons cut defensive end Brandon Miller today from the roster and promoted practice squad wide receiver Eric Weems to the roster in his place.

Miller was added to the team’s roster last week when they opted to release Adam Jennings, who had been underperforming as a punt returner. Miller had spent the first ten weeks of the season on the team’s practice squad, as did Weems.

Weems addition to the roster was to shore up depth at wide receiver. Roddy White missed practice on Wednesday due to a back injury. Although the AJC reported earlier that White is not expected to miss time. Laurent Robinson also missed practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury and is not expected to play this weekend against the Carolina Panthers. Brian Finneran was also listed on the team’s injury report as limited in practice on Wednesday due to an injured hamstring as well.

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