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Archive for October, 2011

Falcons Highlight of the Week

October 28th, 2011 Comments off

A lot of highlights from the Detroit Lions game, and it was hard to pick a winner. But I had to go with Matt Ryan’s 49-yard pass to Harry Douglas because it involved the drama of Ryan returning to the game after what many feared to be a horrific injury, and on his first pass back in the game hit Douglas down the middle on a critical 3rd down play to keep a drive alive.

The other pick probably would have won had it been a normal game where there was no injury involved with Ryan. That would have been Roddy’s excellent fingertip grab on Ryan’s lob throw into the back of the endzone.

Ryan to Douglas: 49 yard catch & run

Honorable Mentions

Roddy White: 18 yd TD catch

Tony Gonzalez: 30 yard catch

Michael Turner: 50 yard run

Curtis Lofton: Pressures Stafford to end the game

Corey Peters: sack

Sean Weatherspoon: sack

Falcons add Cox and Chambers, place Johnson on IR

October 25th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons announced that they signed fullback Mike Cox and offensive tackle Kirk Chambers to take the roster spots of fullback Ovie Mughelli and guard Mike Johnson, who were placed on injured reserve today.

Cox played three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, making the team first as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech in 2008. He started for two seasons as their fullback, but split reps last year with Tim Castille. He was cut by the Chiefs at the end of this past summer’s camp. In three seasons with the Chiefs, Cox started 17 of 39 games, rushed 4 times for 3 yards and a touchdown, and also caught 22 passes. He is also the elder brother of Lucas Cox, a rookie free agent with the Falcons this past summer.

Cox was chosen among several free agent fullbacks that worked out with the team today. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter, along with Mike Karney and Jason McKie, the Falcons also worked out Lousaka Polite, and ex-Falcons Verron Haynes and Dimitri Nance.

The Falcons will be Chambers’ fifth NFL team. He was with the Detroit Lions this past summer, but was cut at the end of training camp. He finished the 2010 season with the Cincinnati Bengals, however was inactive for 6 out of the 7 weeks he was on the roster. He joined the Bengals after being released by the Bills at the end of the 2010′s training camp after playing three seasons in Buffalo. There, he started a total of 14 games in that span, filling at both tackle positions, as well as spending time at guard. Prior to joining the Bills before the 2007 season, he played two years with the Cleveland Browns, where he appeared in 21 games as a reserve guard and tackle. He was originally a 6th round pick by the Browns in the 2004 draft out of Stanford. Chambers versatility makes him an ideal reserve because he’s started, played, or practiced at all line positions except center. The bulk of his career however, he has played tackle.

Johnson, a third round pick by the Falcons in 2010, lost a competition with Garrett Reynolds for the starting right guard spot this past summer after suffering a concussion early on in camp. He had only appeared in the past two games of this year on special teams.

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Mughelli to go on IR

October 25th, 2011 Comments off
ICON SMI

Mughelli celebrates vs. Carolina

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the Falcons are going to place fullback Ovie Mughelli on injured reserve due to the knee injury he suffered on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. The exact nature of Mughelli’s knee injury has yet to be disclosed. Earlier reports suggested that Mughelli’s season would not end. Per Zach Klein of WSBTV, Mughelli suffered a torn MCL, which is an injury that is rarely treated with surgery, and is known to be able to heal fully inside 6 weeks.

The Falcons brought in two free agent fullbacks: Mike Karney and Jason McKie today for workouts during their bye week.

Jason Snelling likely will be the team’s first option to replace Mughelli in the starting lineup. But if they sign one of those players, it might not be long before they are inserted in the lineup. The Falcons have also made ample use of the two-tight end set in past games where Mughelli has been limited, likely meaning more reps for backup tight ends Michael Palmer and Reggie Kelly.

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 7 Review

October 25th, 2011 1 comment

The Falcons were effective with their ball control attack in this game. The secret to their success was mainly their defense, but more on that later. It was a good day and a good win, and we might look back at it later this season and might say this one salvaged our 2011 season. That is of course, if the Falcons can build off this win after the bye and have some momentum going into the second half of the season.

Michael Turner had a solid day rushing, and Jacquizz Rodgers had a nice run to finish the game. I know I sound like a broken record, but I still wonder why the Falcons don’t use him more. Every time he touches the ball, good things seem to happen.

Matt Ryan did not have a great game. He did well early on third downs, but in the second half his accuracy, touch, and timing started to deteriorate, which is why he had the high number of poor throws (10). It’s been a while since Ryan had that many off throws in a game. He had some nice throws and plays (notably his TD pass to White), but overall it was a very hot and cold, inconsistent performance. I’m sure the ankle injury didn’t really help matters in the second half.

And the Falcons did a fairly good job handling the Lions pass rush. Their problem was the amount of missed blocks in the ground game. Garrett Reynolds really struggled in this game with a bunch of missed blocks and his penalties. Part of it was blocking Suh, part of it was his bum ankle, but most of it was just him not being that good. Outside the play where he stepped on Ryan’s ankle, Svitek had a solid game filling in for Sam Baker.

Congratulations are due to Tony Gonzalez for his his accomplishment as the game’s second leading all-time receiver. He had a solid game. Both White and Douglas also had solid games as well.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Michael Turner$0$10-$1$0$0$0$9.00
Jason Snelling$0$1$2$1$1$0$5.00
Roddy White$0$0$5-$1$0$0$4.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$4$0$0-$1$3.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$4-$1$0$0$3.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$1$0$0$0$3.00
Matt Ryan$1$2$0$0$0-$1$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0-$1$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1
$0$0$1.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$1$1-$1$1.00
Mike Johnson$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Chris Redman-$1$0$0$0$0$0-$1.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$1$0-$1-$2.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0-$3$0-$3-$6.00

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Falcons to work out free agent fullbacks

October 25th, 2011 Comments off

Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network tweets that the Falcons are working out free agent fullback Jason McKie and Mike Karney today. The Falcons apparent interest in McKie is likely related to the knee injury Ovie Mughelli suffered in the Falcons win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

While the severity of Mughelli’s injury has yet to be disclosed, it does not appear to be season-ending and Mughelli himself tweeted Sunday evening that he would be back soon and the injury looked worse than it actually was. According to ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas, the Falcons interest in a free agent blocker likely indicates that Mughelli will miss an extended period of time.

McKie and Karney are noted for their physical blocking style, similar to Mughelli. Reserve running back Jason Snelling filled in for Mughelli after he suffered his injury on Sunday, and at various times in the past has done the same. In 2009, when Mughelli was sidelined for two games, the Falcons used Verron Haynes instead of Snelling primarily as the fullback, and likely will use either veteran pickup in a similar manner. The Falcons will have time to get McKie, Karney, or any free agent fullback up to speed in the offense since they have a bye this week.

McKie last played a game with the Chicago Bears in 2009. McKie spent six seasons with the Bears, including the final four where he served as their starter at fullback. He was cut by the Bears after the 2009 season, and then signed by the Saints the following spring. He was cut by the Saints at the end of 2010′s training camp. The Baltimore Ravens would sign him in November, where he spent six weeks on the team’s inactive list. But the team cut him at the outset of this past summer’s training camp.

McKie was originally an undrafted rookie out of Temple, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. He spent some time that year on the Eagles practice squad before joining the Dallas Cowboys active roster at the end of the year. He would be cut by the Cowboys the following summer before being claimed by the Bears.

Karney spent the past two years with the St. Louis Rams, after five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. He was cut by the Rams this past summer. He helped clear running lanes for Deuce McAllister while with the Saints in the latter part of his career.

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Falcons defense tames the Lions

October 23rd, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images from Yahoo! Sports

Weatherspoon sacks Stafford

The Falcons pulled off an impressive road win against the Detroit Lions by a score of 23-16. The Falcons got off to a very strong start and were helped by a very strong performance by their defense. A few Falcon players reached some impressive benchmarks during the course of the game.

Matt Ryan led the team, completing 20 of 34 passes for 318 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Ryan also rushed for a touchdown on a QB sneak. Ryan left the game briefly with an ankle and knee injury in the third quarter, but only missed two offensive snaps before returning to the game to finish. Michael Turner had a nice game on the ground with 122 yards on 27 carries, including an impressive 50-yard run. In the air, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White shared the team lead with 5 receptions each. Gonzalez had 62 yards receiving, while White had 52 yards and a touchdown. Gonzo moved into second place all-time behind Jerry Rice with career receptions, passing both Marvin Harrison and Cris Carter on the day. Harry Douglas also had a nice day receiving with 4 catches for 62 yards. Matt Bryant connected on 3 field goals of 23, 47, and 40 yards. He also broke the Falcons record for consecutive field goals with 27 straight and counting. The record of 26 was set by Norm Johnson back in 1993. Matt Bosher had a nice day punting with 5 punts, averaging 35.4 per kick and having 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems had a good day on returns averaging 27.3 yards on 3 kickoffs despite having a 104-yard touchdown negated by a penalty. He also had 4 punt returns for an average of 15.5 yards, including a 37-yard return. Special teams was also successful in forcing the team’s lone turnover, as Akeem Dent knocked a Stefan Logan kickoff loose, allowing Jason Snelling to recover.

Defensively, the Falcons were sharp on third downs after a sluggish game a week ago in that realm against the Panthers. The Lions only converted 1 of 12 third down attempts, and their lone success did not come until there was little more 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Falcons were able to get pressure on Matt Stafford, with 3 sacks and for most of the game held wide receiver Calvin Johnson in check. Johnson ended the game with 5 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, but most of his yardage came on a single play, a 57-yard score. The defense held Matt Stafford to only 47 yards passing in the first half, the lowest first half total of his career, and a passer that has been averaging 288 yards per game this year. Curtis Lofton led the unit with 10 tackles. John Abraham (2 tackles, 1 sack), Ray Edwards (3 tackles, 1 pass defended), Brent Grimes (4 tackles, 2 passes defended), William Moore (4 tackles, 1 pass defended), Stephen Nicholas (6 tackles), Corey Peters (3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defended), and Sean Weatherspoon (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended) all had noteworthy games.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 9 “I Am Legend”

October 21st, 2011 Comments off

Ryan and I are back for another episode discussing last week’s win over the Carolina Panthers, and debate how big a win it was for the Falcons going forward.  We disagree about how big a road test that the Falcons will have this week against the Detroit Lions, as Ryan is prepped to serve up a big plate of crow to me this weekend if the Falcons pull out the victory. I don’t have a lot of confidence in some of the matchups, notably Megatron and Suh going against the Falcons. Later, Ryan makes his playoff picks. We also discuss plans for the bye week, Halloween costumes, Ryan’s non-Texas leanings, Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck, and whether Smitty is a better coach when he’s happy or angry.

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Jones Doubtful against Lions

October 21st, 2011 Comments off

Falcons wideout Julio Jones was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report for the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Jones missed last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers, after suffering a hamstring injury during the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers the previous week. Jones did not practice at all this week and looks like he will miss a second straight game.

If Jones misses the game, he will be joined by cornerback Chris Owens, who was listed as out as he still recovers from a concussion he suffered against the Packers. Owens missed last week’s Panther game as well due to the same injury.

Four Falcon players were listed as questionable on their injury report: defensive end John Abraham (groin), offensive tackle Sam Baker (back), center Todd McClure (knee), and guard Garrett Reynolds (ankle). Abraham sat out the Packer game due to the injury, but returned last week against the Panthers. He was able to have limited participation in Thursday and Friday’s practices. If he misses the game, he’ll likely be replaced by Kroy Biermann at right defensive end. Baker missed both Wednesday and Thursday practices, but was back in limited duty on Friday. Baker suffered from durability concerns his first two years in Atlanta, but has managed to start 26 straight games without injury. If he sits out this weekend’s game, he’ll be replaced by offensive tackle Will Svitek in the starting lineup at left tackle. Svitek started twice in place of Baker during 2009. McClure has been in and out of the lineup throughout this year due to a knee injury. His backup Joe Hawley has already started three games thus far this year, pulling his last start against the Packers. Reynolds suffered his ankle injury against the Packers, but has managed to finish that game as well as start last week. Like Abraham, he sat out Wednesday’s practice, but was able to return on a limited basis each of the past two days.

Also listed on the injury repot are defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (Knee), tight end Tony Gonzalez (elbow), safety James Sanders (hamstring), and wide receiver Roddy White (knee). Babineaux, Gonzalez, and White all participated fully in the three days of practice this week, but have been limited by their respective injuries somewhat in past weeks. Sanders missed last week’s game against the Panthers but was able to go fully in Friday’s practice.

For the Lions, running back Jahvid Best has been declared out with a concussion. Wide receiver Rashied Davis (foot) and safety Vincent Fuller (elbow) both were listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report. Cornerback Aaron Berry (groin) and defensive end Willie Young (calf) were also listed as questionable.

Falcons Highlight of the Week

October 19th, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images from Yahoo! Sports

Peters gives the stiff arm

Probably a no-brainer this week. Has to be Corey Peters’ one-handed grab for the INT to pretty much seal the win for the Falcons in the fourth quarter.

Peters does his Vince Wilfork impression

Honorable Mentions:

Harry Douglas 34-yard catch and run

Brent Grimes INT with the William Moore assist

Michael Turner’s 33-yard run

Ray Edwards shows speed off the edge for a sack

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Tuimaunei replaces Bush on practice squad

October 18th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons signed safety Suaesi Tuimaunei to the practice squad to fill the spot vacated by safety Rafael Bush, who was signed to the Denver Broncos active roster earlier today. Tuiamaunei was an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State with the team this past summer. He’ll help give the team another body on special teams.

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