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Archive for December, 2009

Falcons make roster moves to bolster special teams

December 29th, 2009 Comments off
Steven Hauschka

Steven Hauschka

The team announced several roster moves including signing kicker Steven Hauschka. The team also placed guard Harvey Dahl and cornerback Chris Houston on injured reserve. The team filled their remaining roster position by promoting linebacker Robert James from the practice squad.

in 9 games with the Ravens this season, Hauschka connected on 9 of 13 field goals. He was cut by the Ravens after missing a 36-yard field and having an extra point blocked in a Week 10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

The Falcons need for a kicker became apparent when both kicker Matt Bryant and punter Michael Koenen were injured on Sunday versus the Bills. Bryant hurt his hamstring, and Koenen, the team’s kickoff specialist, suffered an injury to the head. Hauschka also handled kickoff duties for the Ravens this season prior to his release.

According to Scout.com, the Falcons worked out both Hauschka and Nick Folk, formerly of the Cowboys, on Monday. Hauschka worked out for the team back in November when they were seeking to replace Jason Elam. They ultimately replaced Elam with Bryan the following week.

Dahl has missed the past four games with an ankle injury. Houston has been absent from three games with a hamstring injury.

James was a fifth round pick drafted by the Falcons in 2008. Of the nine members of the 11-man draft class that remain with the team, James is the only one who has yet to suit up for a game. He spent all of last season on injured reserve, and has spent the entire season to date this year on the practice squad.

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Roddy shines in Bills rout

December 27th, 2009 Comments off

Roddy White vs. Bills

Getty Images/K.C. Cox

The Falcons dominated the Buffalo Bills at home with a score of 31-3 to take their record to 8-7 and are within a game of breaking their infamous 43-year streak of not having consecutive winning seasons.

Matt Ryan led the way with 250 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, completing 18 of 35 passes. Jason Snelling led rushers with 68 yards on 15 carries. Jerious Norwood added 52 yards on 13 carries. Roddy White led receivers with 8 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Marty Booker added 4 catches for 57 yards and a score. The Falcons offense was able to convert half of their 16 third down attempts and also 3 of 4 fourth down attempts. Injuries to both Michael Koenen and Matt Bryant forced the team to go for it on several fourth downs instead of going for a field goal or punting.

Defensively, the Falcons were able to force three Bills turnovers and limited their offense to 40 yards on the ground and 146 in the air, their best outing of the season. It was the lowest total offensive output for a Falcons opponent since a 77-yard effort by the Oakland Raiders in November 2008. The defense even got a touchdown from them. The Bills offense was led by a first-time starting quarterback in Brian Brohm, and it showed as they were able to only convert 1 of 10 third down attempts. Brent Grimes led defenders with 9 tackles and had an interception. John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack), Jonathan Babineaux (3 tackles, 1 sack), Kroy Biermann (2 tackles), Erik Coleman (7 tackles), Chauncey Davis (1 tackle, 1 forced fumble), Thomas DeCoud (3 tackles), Chris Owens (3 tackles, 1 interception), Mike Peterson (6 tackles), and Coy Wire (2 tackles) had noteworthy games. Lawrence Sidbury ran in Davis’ forced fumble for 11 yards for the defensive score.

Matt Bryant hit on 1 of 2 field goal attempts, making a 51-yarder. But a 55-yarder was blocked in the closing seconds of the first half and ran back for a touchdown. However, after a review by the officials, the touchdown was overturned due to a runner being down by contact prior to a lateral. Punter Michael Koenen was injured on the play. But beforehand Koenen punted 3 times for an average of 43.3 yards with 1 inside the 20. Koenen was replaced by Bryant who had 1 punt for 36 yards. But afterwards the Falcons decided to go for it on all fourth downs. Eric Weems returned 2 kickoffs for 52 total yards and 7 punts for an average of 10.8 yards. Also with injuries to both specialists, defensive end Kroy Biermann was forced into action as a kickoff specialist.

The Falcons will finish up their season next week on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-12). The Falcons beat the Bucs in Week 12 in a hard fought 20-17 victory sans Matt Ryan. The Bucs are coming off a two-game winning streak as are the Falcons. If the Falcons win, they will break their 43-year streak of not having consecutive winning seasons. A loss results in that streak extending for at least another year.

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McKay gets extension

December 27th, 2009 Comments off
Rich McKay

Rich McKay

ESPN.com reports that sources have confirmed that Falcons president Rich McKay has received a five-year extension.

McKay served as the team’s GM and president from December 2003 to December 2007. In January 2008, Thomas Dimitroff was hired as the team’s new general manager and McKay has remained as president. That same month, the Falcons extended McKay’s deal through 2010. Presumably, his new deal will extend his stay in Atlanta through 2015.

McKay serves as co-chair of the league’s competition committee alongside Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, a role he’s served since 1998.

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2010 Mock Draft (Part 1)

December 24th, 2009 Comments off

I’ve been wanting to post a mock draft on here for a while. But I wanted to do one that was fairly accurate without too much projection. So I decided to minimize the number of underclassmen I’d include. I’ve only tried to include the underclassmen that have already declared. There are a handful of exceptions, but all of them are guys that I’m fairly confident will enter or otherwise fill an obvious need that just meant less work on my part racking my brain to figure out what a team might do. The draft order is reflective of the standings after Week 15.

Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh

1. ST. LOUIS RAMS – DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
Some have compared the Rams potentially dilemma of going with the all-world defensive tackle vs. the future franchise QB as the same as the Falcons dilemma in 2008 when they had to choose between Matt Ryan and Glenn Dorsey. The two players involved this time are Suh and Sam Bradford. The difference mainly is that Bradford is injured when Ryan was not. Bradford’s shoulder injury could cost him much of the off-season, and if he cannot work out, then it’s unlikely he will go No. 1. Now in the event of a tie, the quarterback will always win as it was the case with the Falcons in ’08. But if Bradford isn’t a definite bet to be healthy by the start of the season, then it behooves the Rams to wait until the second round to find their passer and not miss out on Suh. The Rams have spent several high picks in recent years on defensive linemen, and that might make them a bit weary about drafting another. But neither Carriker nor Long have paid huge dividends to date, and coach Steve Spagnuolo from his tenure in New York won’t be afraid to add another linemen if he believes it will help. Suh definitely can. He’s a top run stuffer, but also has great potential as a pass rusher.
2. DETROIT LIONS – DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
You can be sure the Lions will address one of their lines with their top pick. While cornerback is probably their weakest position not the roster, they are too high in the draft to select that position this high. Instead, they will try to go and solidify themselves in the trenches. They need a left tackle and a player like Russell Okung would fill a big need, but McCoy is just the better prospect. He’s a disruptive presence in the interior line that isn’t a great run stuffer, but will certainly help the Lions lacking pass rush. He can team with Sammie Lee Hill to add a nice combo of quickness and size.

Read more…

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2010 Mock Draft (Part 2)

December 24th, 2009 Comments off

This is the second part of a mock draft. Click here to view Picks 1 through 16.

Arrelious Benn

Arrelious Benn

17. NEW YORK JETS – WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois*
A player like Florida’s Carlos Dunlap would be a good pick here if he declares. I also thought of Idaho’s Mike Iupati as well under the pretense that he could be developed as either a guard or tackle in New York. But in the end, I went with Benn. Braylon Edwards has played fairly well in New York since being traded, but probably hasn’t done enough to earn the huge extension he’s seeking. But Edwards has indicated that he won’t pout if he has to play under a one-year tender in 2010. Jerricho Cotchery is a nice No. 2 option, but nice is all he is. Benn is a big-time target with loads of upside. He’s probably a bit raw at this point to expect to contribute early, but he has loads of upside and I think could develop into an Andre Johnson-type player. He has the size, speed, and strength to be a force at the next level. He had an inconsistent final year at Illinois, but part of that is to blame on inconsistent quarterback play more than him. Benn represents both an upgrade and insurance policy in New York. Giving Mark Sanchez more options won’t hurt his development whatsoever.
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS – DT Terrence Cody, Alabama
The Dolphins need a wide receiver and despite this being a good class, particulary with several juniors declaring, I’m not sure one fits well in Miami and merits this high a pick. The Dolphins want three things in their wide receiver prospect: size, speed, and polish. They don’t need another project here, so whoever they pick has to be able to come in right away and contribute. And unless Dez Bryant falls this far, I don’t see that player being available.  Maybe someone emerges in the off-season? But anyway, that leaves Terrence Cody. The Dolphins have a need at nose tackle with Jason Ferguson near retirement. Paul Soliai has played well in his absence, but not well enough to run away with the gig. Cody’s weight might mean that ever the disciplinarian like Parcells will shy away from him. But he does fill a need and at least with Soliai already there, they don’t need him to be a starter right away. They can work him slowly into the lineup. Cody is a massive guy that can be a dominant nose tackle at the next level, but only if he can keep his weight in check.
19. TENNESSEE TITANS – LB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
The Titans will almost certainly go defense with their top pick and likely will add someone that can help their poor pass defense which gave up big play after big play this season. That could mean a pass rusher or cornerback, but since without some more declarations from underclassmen, neither of those positions look particularly strong this year. So that likely means they settle for a linebacker. Keith Bulluck’s season just ended due to injury and he will be a free agent in the off-season. The team drafted Gerald McRath last year and he’s worked behind David Thornton most of this year, so he could be an option if they don’t retain Bulluck. But Weatherspoon is a great fit here. He has the ability in coverage that matches the role that Bulluck performs in the defense, and has the speed and range to be a force against the run. He’s a bit undersized and probably needs to bulk up, but he would be a very good fit here.
Read more…

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Hello draft world!

December 24th, 2009 Comments off

Welcome to FalcFans Draft Central. This year, instead of publishing a large PDF file featuring profiles of various draft prospects, we’ve set up a separate site.

And this year, we’ll have analysis from multiple sources and users. We’ll include all draft-related news that involves the Falcons. You’ll find updates about which prospects the Falcons are interested in and workouts.

If it’s Falcons draft related, you’re going to find it here. Stay tuned for more.

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Falcons topple Jets

December 20th, 2009 Comments off
Getty Images/J.Luzzi

Getty Images/J.Luzzi

In what turned out to be a defensive battle, the Falcons were able to edge the New York Jets 10-7, as Matt Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez on a late score after a game-winning drive. The Falcons now keep their hopes of finishing the season with a winning record alive as their record goes to 7-7 on the season with two games remaining.

Ryan had a slow day, but finished the game completing 16 of 34 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. Jason Snelling led the team on the ground with 59 yards on 16 carries. Jerious Norwood added 9 carries for 22 yards. Michael Turner returned and opened the game with a 7-yard carry, but was not seen from that point on. Roddy White led receivers with 4 catches for 33 yards. Gonzalez had 3 catches for 32 yards, including a 6-yard pass from Ryan with 1:38 left in the game. Ryan led the Falcons on a fourth quarter that began with 4:27 left and on their own 27-yard line. The stifling Jets defense prevented the Falcons from moving the ball via big chunks, as the drive started with Ryan connecting on four passes to his running backs. Jason Snelling followed up with a 20-yard dash which got the ball in the Jets redzone to their 7-yard line. Three plays later on fourth down, Ryan hit Gonzalez for the game-winner. Along with his 20-yard run, Snelling caught two passes for 4 yards on that drive. The Falcons offense had difficulty moving the ball throughout the game, as the Jets feature the league’s top-ranked defense, and showed it today. They were stifled on the goalline in the first quarter, unable to score from the 1-yard line on four straight plays, and settling for a Matt Bryant field goal.

Defensively, the Falcons had a strong performance as they forced three Mark Sanchez interceptions. They did give up 226 passing yards, most of which came on a 65-yard strike which as the Jets only score of the game. Mike Peterson led defenders with 13 tackles. John Abraham (1 tackle, 1 sack), Kroy Biermann (7 tackles), Erik Coleman (9 tackles), Thomas DeCoud (2 tackles, 1 interception), Brent Grimes (5 tackles, 2 interceptions), Chevis Jackson (4 tackles), Thomas Johnson (2 tackles, 1 sack), Curtis Lofton (8 tackles), and Chris Owens (7 tackles) had noteworthy performances. Grimes second interception sealed the Falcons win, as he picked off Sanchez with a minute left in the fourth quarter as the Jets attempted to drive.

Special teams also had a noteworthy impact on the game as well. Matt Bryant hit a 24-yarder, but missed a 48-yarder. Michael Koenen had 8 punts for an average of 39.9 yards. Eric Weems returned 2 kickoffs for an average of 13 yards and 1 punt for 8 yards. Chauncey Davis blocked a 37-yard field goal that was the catalyst which led to the team’s game-winning drive.

Next week the Falcons host the Buffalo Bills. They are out of the playoff picture, but are striving to break the franchise’s 43-year streak of not having consecutive winning seasons. The Falcons last played the Bills in 2005, winning 24-21. The Falcons have won their last two matchups against the Bills and are 3-1 all-time when facing them at home.

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Dunn returns to Falcons as minority owner

December 17th, 2009 Comments off
Warrick Dunn

Warrick Dunn

Former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn has rejoined the team, but this time as upper management as it was reported that he has been approved to purchase a minority stake in the organization. NFL owners voted unanimously to approve the deal, which should be finalized by March 1, 2010.

Arthur Blank still maintains a 90-percent majority in ownership of the team. Blank has already sold minority stakes in the team earlier this year.

Dunn played for the Falcons between 2002 and 2007. His 5,981 rushing yards rank second all-time on the team behind Gerald Riggs. Coupled with 1,635 receiving yards, his 7,616 total yards from scrimmage rank third all-time in the franchise. Along with six seasons he played for the Falcons, Dunn also played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from whom he retired following the 2008 season. Including his Tampa totals, he is currently ranked 19th in rushing yards with 10,967 and 15th in yards from scrimmage with 15,306. He was voted to three Pro Bowls and was voted Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2004. Not only known for his accomplishments on the field, Dunn was noted for his off-field contributions and community relations in both Atlanta and the Tampa Bay Area.

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Weems faces DUI charges

December 16th, 2009 Comments off
Eric Weems

Eric Weems

It was revealed today that Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems was arrested for driving under the influence last month in DeKalb County, Georgia. According to county jail records, he was arrested on November 16 and released on $1,100 bond the following day.

This incident was also news to the Falcons organization, as head coach Mike Smith indicated that the team had only become aware of the situation yesterday. Weems issued an apology through the team’s website:

Unfortunately, I was involved in an incident on November 17, 2009. I am embarrassed about the situation and I sincerely apologize to the entire Atlanta Falcons organization and our great fans.

Weems is not the only Falcon player dealing with legal issues, as defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux was arrested last week for possession of marijuana during a traffic stop.

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Mock Draft Muncher – Update No. 1

December 15th, 2009 Comments off

The Mock Draft Muncher has been moved to FalcFans Draft Central:

http://draft.falcfans.com/?p=67

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