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Archive for October, 2009

Falcons lose Moore for season

October 27th, 2009 Comments off

To make room for running back Aaron Stecker, the Falcons placed rookie safety William Moore on the injured reserve. Moore had been sidelined most recently with a hamstring injury.

Moore was a second round pick for the team this past April, and marks the second of this year’s draft class to wind up on the injured reserve. First round pick Peria Jerry was injured in the team’s second game.

Moore had only been active for two games, and recorded two stops on special teams vs. the Chicago Bears, his lone production for the season. Moore had knee surgery in August, and missed much of the summer, eventually losing his competition for a starting safety position to Thomas DeCoud.

The team also adjusted their practice squad today. Cornerback Glenn Sharpe was placed on the practice squad-injured list, and the team added safety Eric Brock to replace him.

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Falcons set to add Stecker

October 27th, 2009 Comments off
Aaron Stecker

Aaron Stecker

ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas reports that the Falcons will add free agent running back Aaron Stecker to the roster today. Stecker is a 9-year veteran that has spent the last five seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

Pro Football Talk reported last week that the team had worked out Stecker among other free agent running backs. The team’s interest in running backs likely stems from recent injuries to Jerious Norwood and Ovie Mughelli, which has forced the teams’ third running back Jason Snelling to pull double duty at both running back and fullback. Also among those players the team worked out was Antone Smith who was added to the practice squad last week.

Stecker played in 6 games with the Saints last season, rushing for 43 yards and making 9 catches. He had a 100-yard game against the Falcons in 2007, in which he had career highs with 115 carries, 448 yards, and 36 receptions. Stecker served primarily in a role as a third down back with the Saints until the team added Reggie Bush in 2006 that coupled with his increasing age made him less valuable over the past three seasons. Prior to joining the Saints in 2004, he spent four seasons as a reserve running back and kickoff returner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Falcons disappointed in Dallas

October 25th, 2009 Comments off
AP/D.McWilliams

AP/D.McWilliams

The Falcons lost their second game of the season in a 37-21 loss on the road to the Dallas Cowboys. The Falcons got behind early, and were unable to make enough ground to pull out the victory.

Matt Ryan had a tough day, completing 19 of 35 passes for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the ground, Jason Snelling led rushers with 68 yards on 7 carries. Michael Turner added 50 yards on 18 carries and a score. Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 50 yards and a score. Tony Gonzalez (4 catches, 37 yards) and Eric Weems (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 touchdown) also contributed. The offense started strong with an opening 80-yard drive for a touchdown. But followed up with two three-and-out drives and then their next two drives ended in turnovers, before ending the half with another three and out. The Cowboys capitalized with 14 points scored in the final five minutes of the second quarter to take a 17-7 halftime lead.

Defensively, the Falcons alowed 426 total yards, including 311 in the air. In the second half the defense was unable to get many stops, as the Cowboys scored on 3 of their 4 second half drives. Erik Coleman led defenders with 13 tackles. Thomas DeCoud (10 tackles, 1 sack), Brent Grimes (3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Chris Houston (4 tackles), Thomas Johnson (1 tackle, 1 forced fumble), Curtis Lofton (5 tackles), Stephen Nicholas (3 tackles), and Mike Peterson (4 tackles) had noteworthy games.

Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 46 yards with 1 inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems averaged 4.5 yards on 2 punt returns and 26 yards on 3 kickoff returns. Special teams coverage gave up a 73-yard punt return which essentially was the nail in the coffin. That score put the Cowboys up 3-14 with less than 9 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and essentially out of reach. The punt return came after head coach Mike Smith opted not to go for a 4th and 2 on the team’s own 28-yard line.

Next week the Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints (6-0) on Monday night. The Falcons have lost five straight to the Saints in New Orleans. Their last victory in New Orleans came in 2002 with a 37-35 win. Their last road victory over the Saints came in 2005, in a game that was played in San Antonio due to Hurricane Katrina. Six of their last 8 games vs. the Saints on the road have been settled by a single score.

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Moneyball – First Quarter Stats

October 24th, 2009 Comments off

Here are the compiled stats from the Falcons first four games, based on Moneyball measures.

PASSING
1stD
3rd Conv
20+
40+
TD
Poor Throws
INT
Skd
Total
Matt Ryan261811171720$52.00
RUSHING
5+ yd
1st D
3rd Conv
10+ yd
YAC (5+)
TD
Total
Michael Turner1691444$44.00
Jerious Norwood501100$7.00
Jason Snelling202120$6.00
Matt Ryan002001$4.00
Ovie Mughelli000010$1.00
RECEIVING
1st D
3rd Conv
20+
40+
YAC
TD
Drop
Total
Roddy White6421133$18.00
Tony Gonzalez5720123$16.00
Michael Jenkins9040002$11.00
Jason Snelling0210110$7.00
Ovie Mughelli1010110$5.00
Jerious Norwood1200200$5.00
Brian Finneran3100000$4.00
Marty Booker0310000$4.00
Justin Peelle1000001$1.00
BLOCKING
KB Run
KB Catch
KB 1st
KB 3rd
KB TD
KB Pass
SA
QBPA
Miss Blk
Total
Todd McClure0002000.01.51$8.00
Justin Blalock2010000.02.52$7.00
Tyson Clabo1020000.01.03$6.00
Harvey Dahl00210.501.02.02$5.50
Justin Peelle1020200.00.01$4.00
Sam Baker0000001.01.03$3.00
Ovie Mughelli10100.500.00.00$2.50
Roddy White1110100.00.00$2.00
Jerious Norwood0000010.00.01$1.00
Jason Snelling1000100.00.01$1.00
Brian Finneran0010000.00.01$0.00
Tony Gonzalez0000100.00.05-$4.00
DEFENSE
TFL
Tk 3rd
FF
FR
Miss Tk
Miss TD
TOTAL
Kroy Biermann111100$17.00
Mike Peterson3.513010$13.50
John Abraham010000$9.00
Jonathan Babineaux2.500200$6.50
Thomas DeCoud000.5020$5.50
Thomas Johnson100000$5.00
Stephen Nicholas300000$5.00
Chauncey Davis200000$3.00
Curtis Lofton3.50.50020$2.50
Brian Finneran000000$1.00
Trey Lewis010000$1.00
Roddy White001000$1.00
Todd McClure000100$1.00
Coy Wire000000$0.50
Brian Williams110120-$1.00
Lawrence Sidbury000010-$1.00
Erik Coleman1.500.5000-$3.00
Chris Houston200001-$3.00
Brent Grimes00.50120-$4.50
DEFENSE
Sack
QBP
QBH
PD
PD (3rd Down)
INT
Blown Cvr
Blown Cvr TD
TOTAL
Kroy Biermann27400000$17.00
Mike Peterson01013101$13.50
John Abraham24300010$9.00
Jamaal Anderson04310000$8.00
Jonathan Babineaux02000000$6.50
Thomas DeCoud01131010$5.50
Thomas Johnson12100000$5.00
Stephen Nicholas01100000$5.00
Chauncey Davis00100000$3.00
Curtis Lofton0110001.50$2.50
Peria Jerry01100000$2.00
Brian Finneran00010000$1.00
Coy Wire0000000.50$0.50
Brian Williams00110160-$1.00
Erik Coleman00100022-$3.00
Chris Houston00001150-$3.00
Brent Grimes00010040-$4.50
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Falcons re-sign Fudge

October 20th, 2009 Comments off

The Falcons re-signed safety Jamaal Fudge today to fill the roster spot vacated with the injury to cornerback Brian Williams. Fudge was cut by the team before the start of the season in a move to free up the spot that Williams would take.

Fudge played in 11 games last year for the Falcons and finished the season with 11 tackles.

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Williams out for the season

October 19th, 2009 Comments off
Brian Williams

Brian Williams

The Falcons announced that starting cornerback Brian Williams was placed on injured reserve today, after suffering a torn ACL and other related knee damage in last night’s game vs. the Chicago Bears. Williams, an acquisition picked up from the Jacksonville Jaguars has served as the team’s starting corner since opening day. Williams finishes the season with 18 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and a blocked punt.

The loss of Williams presents a large void in the Falcons young secondary. Williams was replaced by Chevis Jackson last night, who consequently was picked on for a touchdown pass on his first play on defense. Jackson, a third round pick in 2008 filled the role as a nickel corner for much of last season, but has gotten limited playing time thus far this year. The team also will look to veteran Tye Hill and rookie Chris Owens to help fill depth. Most likely, nickel corner Brent Grimes will fulfill Williams’ role as starting left corner.

The Falcons have an available roster spot that will be filled in the very near future according to head coach Mike Smith. Cornerback Glenn Sharpe is currently on the practice squad and could be promoted. Also the league’s trade deadline is tomorrow night, meaning it’s possible, albeit slim according to some sources, that the team could try to swing a last minute deal.

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Let’s make a deal

October 19th, 2009 Comments off

The minute I mention the word trade, I’m sure it’s only going to take a few seconds before Glenn Dorsey’s name pops into the head of someone out there. Why? Truth be told, the majority of Falcon fans wanted the team to draft him back in 2008 instead of Matt Ryan, and the notion that the team can still land their “franchise” defensive player along with their franchise quarterback is appealing to many.

There are rumors out there that Dorsey (along with every other Chief not named Matt Cassel) is on the block. This past summer, it looked like the Chiefs would be willing to move to Dorsey for next to nothing in order to get some return on their investment, but I don’t think that is the case anymore. Dorsey is the Chiefs best end as of today and is coming off a strong seven-tackle performance vs. the Redskins. Dorsey has 22 tackles on the season. For comparison, their other starter and first round pick Tyson Jackson has only five. The disparity isn’t that much different between that of John Abraham and Jamaal Anderson on our own roster. And when put in those terms, I don’t believe the Chiefs will simply give Dorsey away for anything less than a second round pick.

The Falcons are probably not in a position to really make any trades. The team has already dealt away next year’s second round pick. And while I think the team will get compensated with some early picks for next year’s draft because of our free agent losses this past off-season, it’s not the same. Even with an extra third and/or fourth rounder, the team has to be weary about falling into the trap that Rich McKay did in 2006 and start dealing all their draft picks away for veteran players to get them over the hump. The crappiness of the ’06 draft is one of the reasons why the team was so bad when Dimitroff took over. Draft picks are precious, particularly those from the first few rounds.

Which is why if the Falcons are looking to make any moves on this trade deadline, they are probably best trying to offer player for player deals instead of player for pick deals. Which then begs the question of which current Falcon players offer the most trade value.

Despite improved performances this year and especially the past two games, the Falcons could still look to deal Jamaal Anderson if they think they can get good value for him.

The only other players on the roster that the Falcons could afford to move and get something in return is either of the two reserve backs: Norwood and Snelling.  They might try to flip one of the reserve corners: Jackson or Hill, but with Brian Williams injury status from last night up in the air, that probably isn’t a smart move.

I think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that we make a deal before tomorrow night’s trade deadline. And if the Falcons were, I think the best move might be to move Norwood for a cornerback, particularly if the early prognosis on Brian Williams injury isn’t too promising. If we get lucky, maybe the Texans GM Rick Smith gets drunk tonight and decides to deal us Dunta Robinson for Norwood straight up. A deal that packages Anderson and Norwood for Dorsey is a popular one on the forums is probably the most realistic (if you can use that term when speculating on Falcon trades). Dorsey is a heck of a talent, but is he really as promising as he looked a year and a half ago? Are we sure that latent Top 5 potential is still there and will emerge once he arrives in Atlanta? Or are we simply ignoring the facts that Dorsey has been a fairly average player since he’s entered the league under some false hope that Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff can turn everything to gold. Maybe we were just simply all wrong that Dorsey was as good a talent as we thought he was in April 2008.

Who knows? I’m sure Thomas Dimitroff has an idea. And it’s why he gets paid millions of dollars (at least I hope he does because if he doesn’t, he deserves a raise), and I just run a website.

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Falcons leap over Bears

October 19th, 2009 Comments off
AP/D. Martin

AP/D. Martin

The Falcons fought the Bears to another fantastic finish with a 21-14 victory at home on Sunday Night Football. The Falcons defense came through with a stop at their own 10-yard line with 30 seconds left to preserve the victory.

Matt Ryan led the way completing 19 of 33 passes for 185 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Michael Turner had 30 yards on 13 carries on the ground with a touchdown. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez shared the lead with 4 catches each for 56 and 52 yards, respectively. Both players snagged scores. Ryan spread the ball around as five other receivers had at least two grabs. The Falcons offense got off to a rocky start with three and outs on their first three drives. But they bounced back in the second quarter, as Ryan led them on two scoring drives to go up 14-7 at the half.

The Falcons defense gave up 373 yards, but was able to make stops and force turnovers at pivotal points in the game. They forced two Matt Forte fumbles at the goalline in the third quarter to prevent the Bears from tying the score. They intercepted Jay Cutler twice, the second of which allowed the offense to capitalize and get their first score. Curtis Lofton and Erik Coleman shared the lead with 9 tackles.  Lofton also had a tackle for loss and forced a fumble. John Abraham (4 tackles, 0.5 sacks), Jonathan Babineaux (3 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble), Thomas DeCoud (5 tackles, 2 interceptions), Brent Grimes (4 tackles), Chris Houston (6 tackles), and Mike Peterson (6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended) all had noteworthy performances.

Jason Elam had no field goal attempts on the evening. Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 47.4 yards. Eric Weems had a good day as a returner, taking his lone punt return for 20 yards and also averaging 39 yards on 3 kickoff returns. That included a 62-yard return in the fourth quarter which set up the Falcons go ahead score. Coy Wire added 2 tackles on special teams, as well as recovering one of the team’s forced fumbles on defense.

Next week the Falcons travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys (3-2). The Falcons last matchup with the Cowboys was a 38-28 loss in 2006. Prior to that they won their last two matchups against the Cowboys.

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Moneyball – Week 5 Review

October 16th, 2009 1 comment

A strong performance for the Falcons, taking advantage of a lot of early opportunities.

Here are the offensive numbers. There was a holding call that did not get attributed to any player officially. I gave it to Blalock from the looks of it.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
PLAY
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$16$0$0$0-$1$2$17.00
Matt Ryan$12$2$0$0$0$0$2$16.00
Roddy White$0$0$13$0$0-$3$2$12.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$3$0$0$2$5.00
Jerious Norwood$0$5$0$0$0-$2$2$5.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$2$0$0$0$2$4.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$2$2$0-$1$2$4.00
Jason Snelling$0$2$0$1$0-$1$2$4.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0$0$2$3.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0-$1$2$3.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$1$0$0$2$3.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$1$0$0$0$1$2.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1$2.00
Marty Booker$0$0$0$0$0$0$1$1.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$1$0-$2$2$1.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$0$0$0$1$1.00
Brett Romberg$0$0$0$0$0$0$1$1.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$0$0$0$1$1.00
Keith Zinger$0$0$0$0$0$0$1$1.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$1$0$0-$3$2$0.00

Defensively, the team was disruptive. It was interesting to see them in nickel almost every snap. Brent Grimes played almost every snap from my count. The team got a lot of pressure on Shaun Hill, but several times I didn’t give any defender credit because it seemed like Hill had happy feet and was anticipating the rush more so than actually feeling it. Hill basically played scared. I think Hill is a good player, but the San Fran offense was completely out of sync and not at all prepared for this game.

PLAYER
DEFENSE
SPECIAL
PEN
PLAY
TOTAL
Kroy Biermann$5$0$0$2$7.00
Jamaal Anderson$4$0$0$2$6.00
Mike Peterson$3.5$0$0$2$5.50
Michael Koenen$0$4$0$1$5.00
Brian Williams$2$0$0$2$4.00
Coy Wire$0.5$2$0$1$3.50
John Abraham$1$0$0$2$3.00
Jonathan Babineaux$1$0$0$2$3.00
Thomas Johnson$1$0$0$2$3.00
Curtis Lofton$1$0$0$2$3.00
Thomas DeCoud$0$0$0$2$2.00
Jason Elam$0$1$0$1$2.00
Chris Houston$1$0-$1$2$2.00
Trey Lewis$1$0$0$1$2.00
Stephen Nicholas$0$1$0$1$2.00
Erik Coleman-$0.5$0$0$2$1.50
Brent Grimes-$0.5$0$0$2$1.50
Sam Baker$1$0$0$0$1.00
Chauncey Davis$0$0$0$1$1.00
Tony Gilbert$0$0$0$1$1.00
Chevis Jackson$0$0$0$1$1.00
Todd McClure$1$0$0$0$1.00
William Moore$0$0$0$1$1.00
Chris Owens$0$0$0$1$1.00
Roddy White$1$0$0$0$1.00
Lawrence Sidbury-$1$0$0$1$0.00

Noteworthy Stats from Week 5:

Dropped Passes (2): Gonzalez
Poor Throws (6): Ryan
QB Pressures Allowed (1): Blalock
Missed Blocks (5): Baker, Dahl, Clabo, Gonzalez, Snelling
QB Pressures (6): Anderson (2), Biermann (2), Peterson (1), Williams (1)
Missed Tackles (2): Grimes (1), Sidbury (1)

I’ll post the stats from the first four weeks next week.

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Ryan is an MVP

October 12th, 2009 Comments off
Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan

Oh, not for the league. At this point, the only thing that is going to stop a guy named Manning from winning that award this season is a visit from Tonya Harding’s ex-husband.

But in the context of the Atlanta Falcons, it’s no doubt who is their most valuable player this season. Last year, while Matt Ryan got the love from the media, Michael Turner was the team’s most valuable player. For a handful of games, Matt Ryan really didn’t need to show up just because Turner was bulldozing through subpar NFL defenses.

But this year with the quality of competition the Falcons face being a level or two higher, Matt Ryan is the one that has stepped up his game. Yahoo! Sports Michael Silver is on the bandwagon. Ryan isn’t getting quite the buzz league-wide, mainly because there are more compelling stories at quarterback such as Brett Favre, the Mannings, the return of Tom Brady, and Jay Cutler-Kyle Orton dichotomy. But that could change next week. The Falcons get to play in primetime against Cutler and the Bears, and if Ryan has another strong performance coupled with a Falcons win, then the slurp fest of Ryan may reach Bacchanalian levels.

Ryan isn’t putting up ridiculous numbers yet, but in terms of Falcons history, he might be on pace to having the greatest season for a Falcon quarterback ever. He’s on pace for 3,908 yards, which would be second most ever to Jeff George’s 4,143 in 1995. He’s on pace for 28 touchdowns, which would only be third behind Steve Bartkowski’s 31 and 30-score seasons in 1980 and 1981. And he has a passer rating of 102.9, which would eclipse Chris Chandler’s 100.9 mark from 1998 as the best ever in team history. And his 66.7 completion percentage would only be second to Bartkowski’s 67.3 mark from 1984.

I don’t know whether that illustrates just how good a quarterback Matt Ryan is becoming or how mediocre Falcons passers have been in the past. I’d rather believe it’s the former.

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