Archive for January, 2011

Falcons 2011 Opponents

January 16th, 2011 Comments off

Now that the 2010 season is officially over, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2011. The league released the teams’ opponents earlier this month. The dates and times for these games won’t be determined until April when the league releases the official schedule.

Home: Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers*, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints*, Philadelphia Eagles*, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans.

Away: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears*, Detroit Lions,  Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts*, New Orleans Saints*, Seattle Seahawks*, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

* indicate 2010 playoff team.

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Rodgers rips through Falcons

January 16th, 2011 Comments off
AP from Yahoo! Sports

Rodgers celebrates after a TD pass

The Falcons first playoff win under Mike Smith continues to be elusive as their season comes to a very bitter end with a 48-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Even as the top seed, the Falcons prove to be but a minor obstacle to the red hot Packers who seemed unstoppable for almost the entire game.

Matt Ryan had a decent performance marred by two second quarter interceptions. He finished the game 20 of 29 for 186 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons running game got off to a pretty good start until the scoreboard eliminated it from the gameplan. Michael Turner finished 10 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Michael Jenkins and Roddy White tied for the team lead with 6 receptions each for 67 and 57 yards, respectively. Brian Finneran caught 4 passes for 47 yards. Tony Gonzalez was irrelevant for most of the game, ending up with only a single catch for 7 yards, the lone pass thrown his way. He would exit the game on that play with a leg injury. The Falcons struggled to protect Ryan, as he was sacked 5 times on the game, the most he’s ever been in his three year career.

The Falcons began the game able to move the ball somewhat, with a 9-play, 34-yard drive that ended in a punt. Three plays later the defense was able to force a turnover. Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings over the middle for a 30-yard gain, but Stephen Nicholas was able to strip the ball from behind. It was recovered by Brent Grimes giving the Falcons the ball back at the Packers 48-yard line. They turned that into points with a 7-play drive capped off by a 12-yard run from Michael Turner. But the Packers answered back with a 13-play, 81-yard drive that chewed up 8 minutes of clock to tie the score. The Falcons looked poised at the start of the second quarter as Eric Weems took the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a score to give the lead right back to Atlanta. But Green Bay managed another long drive, this time 10 plays for 92 yards. The Falcons got the ball back with little more than 6 minutes remaining in the second quarter, and were moving the ball down the field. They got the ball to the Packers 14 yard line before a false start on Harvey Dahl followed by a sack on Ryan by Charles Woodson halted their drive. Ryan underthrew a pass to Michael Jenkins in the endzone, which he slipped on and it was picked off by Tramon Williams. The Packers offense once again made the Falcons pay with a 7-play, 80-yard drive to put up more points and take their first lead with only 48 seconds left on the clock. A pooch kick by the Packers gave the Falcons fairly good field position to try and move the ball with under a minute to try and get some points before the first half came to a close. Facing a 2nd & 19 from the Packers 35-yard line with 10 seconds to go, the Falcons tried to work the sideline, but Williams intercepted his second pass by jumping the out and going 70 yards for another score as time expired. The Packers then put the game out of reach with a 12-play, 80-yard drive to start the second half. The Falcons had a three and out due to a Jenkins catch on the sideline that was reversed instead of getting them a first down. The Packers continued to move the ball at will on the Falcons defense with a 50-yard drive for another score. The Falcons finally started to show some live after that point with a scoring drive of their own as Ryan hit Roddy White for a 6-yard score to begin the fourth quarter. The Falcons attempted an onside, but Brian Finneran recovered the kick just one yard too early. The Falcons were able to get their first stop on defense of the night as a Packers missed a 50-yard field goal four plays later. But the offense was unable to capitalize with a botched snap to Ryan giving the Packers the ball right back five plays later. The Packers turned that turnover into 3 more points to take a 45-21 lead with just 6:34 left. Michael Jenkins would fumble on a 4th & 1 attempt by the Falcons, which would lead to 3 more points as the Packers were content to simply run out the clock at this point in the game to cap off the 27-point victory.

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Owens could be tested vs. Packers

January 14th, 2011 Comments off

Falcons cornerback Brian Williams was listed as doubtful for tomorrow evening’s playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Williams missed the entire week of practice due to a knee injury and very likely will miss the game. In Williams likely absence, Chris Owens will likely get the majority of reps at nickel cornerback. Owens last extensive playing time came in a Week 7 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he started for an absent Dunta Robinson. Owens struggled mightily in that game. For the first five games of the season, Owens served as the team’s nickel corner, but following his struggles against the Bengals got very limited playing time on defense being relegated primarily to special teams. Owens could see many matchups in the slot against top Packers wideouts Donald Driver and/or Greg Jennings. Traditionally, Driver has manned that role in the past, but late in the season the team began to work Jennings into the role more extensively. Jennings was the team’s leading receiver this year with 76 receptions, 1,265 yards, and 12 touchdowns earning a Pro Bowl bid.

Williams was joined by several other Falcon players on the injury report, all of whom were listed as questionable. All of those players however were able to fully participate in Friday’s practices, giving optimism that all will suit up on Saturday despite their status.

Among them were: defensive end John Abraham (groin), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), safety Thomas DeCoud (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), center Todd McClure (ankle), and wide receiver Roddy White (knee). All except McClure, were limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday. McClure had a full participation on Thursday.

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2011 Draft scouting has begun!

January 11th, 2011 Comments off

The Atlanta Falcons 2010 season is not quite over as we’ve come to football in 2011. Most Falcon fans have their attention solely fixed on this weekend’s upcoming matchup and what its outcome could mean for the Falcons potential to be playing a certain game in Dallas come February. We here at, while with one eye on the playoffs, our keeping our other on this spring’s upcoming draft.

And with that in mind, I would like to announce that the very first scouting report has been posted in our forum specifically designated for profiling this spring’s top draft prospects. A frequent and very much appreciated contributor that goes by the appropriate sobriquet “Mr. Offseason” has posted a praising profile of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Last year, our scouting reports subforum featured 374 prospects that were broken down by a few of our forum members. We hope this year we might even eclipse that number.

More reports and profiles will be posted in the coming days, weeks, and months as we gear up for the off-season and this April’s draft, so be sure to check back frequently on the forums for updates. But let’s just hope that the offseason doesn’t come too soon, and there is still Falcon football 3.5 weeks from now.

If you’re curious to know what other thoughts Mr. Offseason has on this year’s draft, you can check out his personal scouting blog and his featured articles at NFL Draft

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Can the Falcons stop James Starks?

January 10th, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images - Yahoo!

The Eagles defense swarms Packers RB James Starks

I imagine when the line comes out today or tomorrow, the Falcons will only be favored by one or two points in this game. Considering Vegas gives the home team an automatic three points and the Falcons are one of the teams with one of the more widely known home-winning records, such a low line is actually an indicator that Vegas thinks Green Bay is the superior team.

The emergence of running back James Starks is a worrisome development for the Falcon faithful. When the Falcons took on the Packers in Week 12, Green Bay had no real running game. In that game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the team’s leading rusher with 12 carries for 51 yards. The Falcons rushed three for much of that game, which allowed Rodgers ample room to step up in the pocket and scramble for first days down all day. Among the Packers running backs, Brandon Jackson had a paltry 10 carries for 26 yards. The Packers were one dimensional on that November day in Atlanta, and it greatly helped the Falcons achieve victory.

In the following week, Starks emerged with 73 yards on 18 carries. It wasn’t a mind-blowing statline to the conventional fan, but one has to remember that it was the best single total by a Packers running back since Brandon Jackson’s 115-yard performance in Week 5. And with Stark’s 23-carry, 123-yard performance on Sunday afternoon against the Eagles, it doesn’t seem like the Falcons can count on the Packers being one-dimensional again.

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Moneyball – Final Reg. Season Stats

January 7th, 2011 Comments off

Well, because of the playoffs, this is not the final installment of Moneyball. I’ll wait to have the final numbers after the Falcons postseason is over.

But here are the final regular season stats. You can see the previous stats by clicking the following links:

1st Quarter
1st Half
3rd Quarter

The glossary and rules can be found here. The numbers in parentheses () represent that stats that each player accrued in the past four games.

Matt Ryan80 (22)69 (12)24 (2)6 (1)29 (7)75 (15)9 (2)3 (1)$157.00 ($34)
Chris Redman1 (1)0000000$1.00 ($1)

2-point conversions: Ryan (2)

5+ yd
MIchael Turner63 (14)31 (8)18 (3)10 (3)11 (2)11 (4)4 (2)$182.00 ($44)
Jason Snelling18 (2)6 (0)7 (1)5 (0)4 (0)2 (1)1 (0)$49.00 ($3)
Matt Ryan8 (2)2 (1)1 (1)7 (1)000$20.00 ($6)
Ovie Mughelli2 (1)01 (0)5 (2)000$8.00 ($3)
Gartrell Johnson01 (0)01 (1)000$3.00 ($1)
Jerious Norwood1001000$2.00
Michael Jenkins0000100$1.00
Harry Douglas0000001 (1)-$1.00 (-$1)

Roddy White32 (8)25 (4)7 (0)11 (0)3 (0)10 (3)3 (2)$107.00 ($16)
Tony Gonzalez14 (2)14 (1)3 (0)5 (1)06 (2)7 (1)$41.00 ($7)
Michael Jenkins12 (5)10 (4)1 (0)4 (1)2 (0)2 (1)2 (1)$33.00 ($11)
Jason Snelling3 (1)5 (1)7 (2)1 (0)03 (1)1 (1)$21.00 ($5)
Harry Douglas6 (1)4 (1)4 (2)3 (0)1 (1)1 (0)4 (0)$17.00 ($6)
Brian Finneran1 (1)6 (1)1 (0)2 (1)03 (0)1 (0)$15.00 ($3)
Justin Peelle5 (3)2 (0)2 (2)001 (0)0$11.00 ($5)
Ovie Mughelli3 (1)1 (0)5 (1)001 (0)1 (1)$10.00 ($1)
Eric Weems1 (0)2 (1)1 (0)0000$4.00 ($1)
MIchael Palmer2000010$4.00
Michael Turner2 (1)03 (0)0002 (1)$3.00 ($0)
Jerious Norwood0010002-$1.00

2-point conversions: White (2)
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Moneyball – Week 17 Review

January 6th, 2011 Comments off

A good year overall for the Falcons.Their play down the stretch was solid, and I definitely like their chances going forward.

Offensively, this was not a great performance for the Falcons. A fumble by Turner in the redzone, two failed fourth down conversions. They were able to move the ball at will vs. the Panthers for most of the game, but just didn’t finish a few drives. But they still managed 31 points, so there isn’t too much to complain about. Ryan had some inaccuracy issues early in the game, but overall had a strong performance. He was able to spread the ball to a bunch of receivers. As for the blocking, it was pretty good, but nothing special. Baker looked bad on a few plays. Blalock had a nice game. Hawley got his first extensive action but was just so-so in garbage time. I was a little disappointed with how inept the 2nd team offense looked in the fourth quarter, as it was a performance straight out of a preseason game. But hopefully we will never have that many backups on the field again, at least not until August.

Matt Ryan$12$2$0$0$0-$1$13.00
Jason Snelling$0$3$2$0$0.5$0$5.50
Michael Turner$0$9-$1-$1$0-$2$5.00
Roddy White$0$0$5$0$0$0$5.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$1$0$0$4.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$2$1$0$0$3.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$3$0$3.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$2$0$0$0.5$0$2.50
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$0$0.5$0$2.50
Harry Douglas$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1.5$0$0$1.50
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1.5$0$0$1.50
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Chris Redman$1$0$0$0$0$0$1.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0-$2$0-$1-$3.00

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Mularkey set to interview with two teams

January 4th, 2011 Comments off

ESPN reports that Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has been contacted by both the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos to interview for their vacant head coaching spots. Mularkey is set to interview with the Broncos on Friday and the Browns at an undisclosed time later this week as well. The Falcons are off this weekend due to a first round bye in the playoffs.

Mularkey has been the Falcons offensive coordinator the past three seasons and has been instrumental with the development of quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons offense ranks 5th in the league in scoring offense this year, and have two Top 10 finishes during Mularkey’s stint running the offense. He has previous experience, serving as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004-05, where he compiled a 14-18 record.

This is not the first time that Mularkey has been on other NFL teams radars since he’s been the Falcons offensive coordinator. He turned down an opportunity to interview with the Detroit Lions two years ago.

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Moneyball – Week 16 Review

January 4th, 2011 Comments off

I’m late with this review. I’ll blame the hectic holidays for the main reason why it’s being posted a week later than it should have been. But also I think I was slightly depressed to re-watch this game, so I procrastinated a bit over this past weekend.

Not a very good game for the Falcons offense. Ryan had an OK game, but he didn’t get a ton of help from the ground game, his receivers, or the blocking up front. Haven’t looked it up, but it seems like collectively this was one of the worst blocked games we’ve seen from the front five. Both tackles Baker and Clabo had their struggles all night, and Peelle didn’t contribute much out on the edge either. Turner was basically a non-factor for most of the night. White was blanketed for most of the second half, and while Jenkins had one of his better games, it wasn’t enough to overcome his absence. Gonzo was practically invisible after destroying the Saints in Week 3. The offense wasn’t clicking and it just seemed like their inability to get much of anything moving on the ground was the primary culprit. There were too many third and longs that the passing game had to convert, and guys weren’t stepping up there.

It’s been beaten to death on this site’s forum, and I’m sure many others over the past week, but Mike Smith should have went for it on the 4th & 6 with under 3 minutes to go. I won’t go into detail here, but I just wanted that to be on the record.

Matt Ryan$6$3$0$0$0$0$9.00
Michael Turner$0$4$0$0$0-$2$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Roddy White$0$0$3-$1$0-$1$1.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$2$0$0-$1$1.00
Jason Snelling$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Todd McClure$0$0$0$2$0-$2$0.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$2-$2$0$0$0.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0-$1$0-$1-$2.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00

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Falcons take division crown with win over Panthers

January 2nd, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images from Yahoo! Sports

Weems scores on 55-yard punt return

The Falcons clinched their No. 1 seed and an NFC South division crown with a 31-10 beatdown of the Carolina Panthers to close out the 2010 regular season. The Falcons finish with a 13-3 record, their second best in franchise history. This is the second time the team has won the NFC South, their first crown coming in 2004.

Matt Ryan led the way, completing 22 of 32 passes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan finishes the year with career highs of 3,705 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. He was pulled at the start of the fourth quarter and replaced by Chris Redman who finished the game completing 4 of 6 passes for 20 yards. Michael Turner had a nice day on the ground with 67 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, but also fumbled inside the redzone for the second week in a row. Jason Snelling was his primary sub late in the game with 8 carries for 17 yards. Roddy White caught 6 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. With those numbers, he claims the single-season franchise record for receptions and receiving yards, finishing with 115 receptions and 1,389 yards. Tony Gonzalez added 6 receptions for 53 yards and a score. Michael Jenkins also contributed with 5 catches for 52 yards. It was not the sharpest day for the Falcons offense, only converting 4 of 11 on third downs, and missing both 4th down conversion attempts. But an early lead allowed them to coast for much of hte game before they were able to pull most of their starters at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Three of those failed third down conversions came with the backups on the field.

The Falcons offense kicked off the game strong with a 10-play 77 yard drive that ended with Ryan hitting Gonzalez for six. A three and out by the defense created good field position as the Falcons were able to drive from midfield into the redzone in five plays. But Turner fumbled the ball at the Panthers 13-yard line and was recovered by the Panthers at the 3-yard line. But another three & out led to Eric Weems returning a punt 55 yards for a score to take a 14-0 lead 8 minutes into the first quarter. The Falcons defense forced another three and out, leading to another drive starting at midfield. The Falcons drove all the way to the Panthers 4-yard line, but Ryan missed Roddy White in the endzone on a fourth down conversion.  The Panthers took over, but Mike Goodson fumbled six plays later which was recovered by Mike Peterson at their own 25-yard line. The Falcons would begin another long drive, but were stuffed on a QB sneak on a 4th & 1 at the Panthers 26 for another turnover on downs. Two possessions later the Falcons got the ball back after a fourth down stop at the Panthers 40-yard line. Ryan led them on a 7-play, 60-yard drive in the final two minutes of the half, hitting Roddy White on a 14-yard touchdown strike to take a 21-0 lead into halftime. The Panthers got their act together a bit with a field goal on their opening drive in the third quarter to prevent the shutout. That drive’s success was largely due to a 60-yard run on an end-around to Brandon LaFell. The Falcons answered back with a field goal of their own. Clausen was intercepted four plays later by Dunta Robinson, his first of the season. The Falcons answered with a 9-play drive for 54 yards, which was capped off by a 3-yard scoring run from Turner. After another stop by the defense, the fourth quarter began with the Falcons substituted most of the key starters for reserves. Neither team saw much offensive success at that point, with three missed third conversions for the Falcons, and two from Carolina before the Panthers got the ball back with 3:21 on the clock. The Panthers started to move the ball after the two minute warning and were able to get a garbage time touchdown on a 2-yard toss from Clausen to Jeff King to get their first touchdown of the game with just 24 seconds left on the clock. The Falcons would kneel down to end the game.

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