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Posts Tagged ‘Douglas’

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 75 “Another One About Fantasy Football”

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

I am joined by Josh Gamez to talk a little about the Atlanta Falcons and a lot about fantasy football. We discuss whether certain Falcons players are viable fantasy options if you’re trying to win your league this year, as well as discuss some of the more interesting potential players to pick up this year at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Which rookies will step up? Are there any sleepers? Who’s overrated? Josh helps me answer all these questions and more in our chat.

Episode 75 – Another One About Fantasy Football [Download]

Duration: 45 minutes

Josh’s fantasy musings can be found at Fantasy FB Corner and you can find him on twitter: @gamez_time76

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! For Android users, DoubleTwist is a good app to listen as well. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Hard Knocks Episode 3 Recap – Masters of Fundamentals

August 20th, 2014 No comments

Hard KnocksAnother week and another episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons aired last night. It was another good one featuring several montages in the lead-up to the Falcons’ road trip to Houston to face the Texans in preseason.

I’m sure the show was able to clear a couple of rooms to start off, showing doctors performing surgery on linebacker Marquis Spruill’s torn ACL. If you’re a bit squeamish, it might have been a good time to go grab a beer from the fridge for a few minutes. But it was good to see Marquis have a very positive attitude about it, saying that he’d be “right as rain” soon.

It was an injury-filled episode. Not only did we see how players like Steven Jackson, Kroy Biermann and Julio Jones are recovering from their respective injuries, but we also witnessed Sam Baker’s season-ending injury suffered towards the end of the episode in the game against the Texans.

We got to see that the team’s delay on officially moving Jake Matthews to left tackle was just as much a farce as you thought it was. During the Texans game, offensive line coach Mike Tice told Jake that he would be the new left tackle immediately once Baker went down.

William Moore got to showcase his freestyling skills in front of teammates in the trainer’s room. He was outdone in the music department when we witnessed a jam session with ukeleles between Levine Toilolo and Brenden Daley while hanging out by the pool at the team hotel in Houston. Toilolo’s rendition of Mario’s “Just a Friend 2002″ was great.

Wide Geraldo “Amsterdam” Boldewijn was featured heavily on last night’s episode. We learned that he’s super raw as a wide receiver, taking some heat from both wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and quarterback Matt Ryan alike. But at least he can speak four languages.

We got to see Harry Douglas, Roddy White and Julio Jones spend some time at the bowling alley. Harry got to show off his “aerial” technique, although Julio wound up winning the game, beating him by a single point. Roddy was a distant third.

Not only were Roddy’s bowling skills subpar, but his reflexes and hand-eye coordination was lacking in a game where the Falcons receivers were taking turns trying to catch a dollar bill before it hit the ground. I did like the jab that the producers of Hard Knocks took at their practice antics by displaying a sign afterwards that said: “No Children Allowed on the Field.”

T.J. Yates’ struggles to pick up the offense were also featured. That might explain his struggles in last week’s game. Or maybe he just wanted to make his former teammates look good.

Bryan Cox was revealed as an overprotective father when it comes to his daughters. We also got a brief earful of his prolific sex life. Apparently he was getting dirty instead of learning his multiplication tables. He is without a doubt the breakout star of the show.

I’m not sure Matt Ryan has a second career in comedy. Nothing wrong with the joke itself, but he didn’t tell it particularly well. However, I did like the fingertip grab made by the son of the Texans tight ends coach after practice on a pass from Ryan.

Other highlights:

  • Keith Armstrong chewing out Tyler Starr for his “karate moves” in trying to defeat blocks on special teams coverage. Non-Bryan Cox Quote of the night might have been Armstrong’s: “God Bless you, but get down the field!”
  • J.J. Watt enters practice like a boss!
  • Maurice Hagens is not good at removing his pads.
  • Bernard Reedy is not very friendly to rival mascots.
  • Don’t mess with D.J. Swearinger, especially if you’re going to try and sucker punch him like Douglas.

Next week’s episode promises to feature Joe Hawley’s take on the famous scene from the film Ghost and Bryan Cox’s cinematic tastes.

Hard Knocks Episode 1 Recap – Tough, Smart Football

August 6th, 2014 No comments

Hard KnocksIf you happened to miss the first episode of the HBO documentary series Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons last night, don’t worry. I’m here to help you out and fill you in on what you missed.

I’m not going to give you a shot-for-shot breakdown of the entire hour-long episode, just a brief summary of what you missed and my favorite (and not so favorite) moments.

The first episode basically showed the Falcons in the lead-up to training camp and their first week of action through last week’s Friday Night Lights event. We got to see the off-field lives of several players in what they were doing in the days/weeks leading up to camp, including Bear Pascoe (farming), Steven Jackson (exhibiting art), Tyler Starr (working out and being a father), Harry Douglas (packing) and Kroy Biermann (being a reality TV star).

We saw the coaches meet before camp and emphasize their plan to increase effort and toughness with head coach Mike Smith demanding that they instill “tough, smart football.”

Of course, the first episode made note of the numerous fights that dotted the first week of work. Jacques Smith can certainly attest to how hard Ryan Schraeder hits.

We got a glimpse of what I assume was the rookie talent show, which featured all the rookies getting up in front of the team and performing a skill. Roddy White showed his displeasure with the singing talents of Jeff Mathews and Jacob Pedersen by pelting them with empty water bottles as they exited stage left. Ra’Shede Hageman won’t have a second career in music, but his teammates seemed to enjoy his rendition of R. Kelly’s “Feelin’ On Yo Booty.” Dezmen Southward however stole the show with his impression of special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. Even though I don’t have a clue how Armstrong talks or acts, it was still hilarious.

The show did a nice job contrasting the living situations of William Moore, a veteran who bought a brand new house with his $30 million contract last year, and that of rookie Devonta Freeman. Freeman seemed to find the world’s smallest bathtub to be luxurious somehow.

Other highlights include:

  • I went “icky balooky” for Terrell Owens’ cameo.
  • Peria Jerry telling Mike Smith that he is retiring
  • Roddy was just as much the character you think he is
  • Nothing puts a period on a point better than slurping a Capri Sun.
  • Steven Jackson got to show his leadership. Didn’t realize until now how much older he is than everybody else in the running back room. Must be tough when nearly everybody is between six and nine years younger than you.
  • Donte Rumph’s nickname of “Cupcake” and how he worked to shed it.
  • The show did no favors for Harry Douglas, who revealed that he uses women’s deodorant. Based off perhaps five minutes of screen-time in this episode alone, I’ll have a large repertoire of Douglas jokes for the next several months.

If you get the opportunity, tune in next week since a preview of the second episode promised a Sean Weatherspoon appearance.

Atlanta Falcons Takeaways From Last Week – August 4, 2014

August 4th, 2014 No comments

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Julio Jones (left) and Roddy White will have to carry Falcons offense this year

The Atlanta Falcons are practicing today against the Tennessee Titans. It will be interesting to see if any fights break out between the two teams. The Falcons have been a lot fiestier this summer, and I can’t help but think how Hard Knocks may be affecting things.

I’m a firm believer that you win by what happens on the field. Something may or may not be a distraction in the summer just can’t be used as an excuse for not being able to make plays in October. Losing a loved one could certainly be that type of distraction, but having a few cameras in your face is not.

If Robert McClain struggles against Victor Cruz of the New York Giants in early October, can he really blame Hard Knocks for distracting him in August? In August, McClain wasn’t thinking about Cruz. He was thinking about competing to be the nickel cornerback or trying to learn the safety position. If Hard Knocks was going distract him from anything, it would be to that. McClain isn’t supposed to really think about Cruz until the Monday before the game since it’s a week-to-week mentality in the NFL.

That’s why I’m not saying that Hard Knocks will negatively impact the regular season, but I certainly think it can have a significant impact on training camp and the preseason.

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Ranking the Falcons 2014: No. 24 Harry Douglas

July 17th, 2014 Comments off

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Harry Douglas

I’m counting down the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, and let’s continue with 24th-ranked player: wide receiver Harry Douglas.

To read the methodology I devised to rank the Falcons players, click here.

Total Score: 52/100

Last year’s rank: 31
Player Grade: 54/100
Teams he is starter: 10 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 30 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +1
Positional Bonus: +3

Douglas is coming off a career-best season where he led the team in receptions and receiving yards, thanks largely due to the injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White that kept both out of the lineup for two-thirds of the season.

With tight end Tony Gonzalez drawing double teams last year, Douglas was free to be Matt Ryan’s preferred target for the middle part of the season when both Jones and White were out.

It showed that Douglas’ lack of production over the years had a lot to do with the presences of better players around him like the aforementioned trio.

But Douglas’ extensive action as the team’s de facto No. 1 receiver also showed some of limitations that has plagued Douglas throughout his career. Outside his strong Week 7 performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, very little of Douglas’ production had a positive impact on the team’s ability to win games. Having just two receiving touchdowns were just one indicator of that.

Also, his 100-yard efforts against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8 and Buccaneers in Week 11 were largely thinks to production he had in garbage time when the game was out of hand.

Once White was healthy in the final month of the season, Douglas was once again relegated to being an afterthought in the offense.

However in 2014, Douglas will have to carry a heavier burden since he will be primarily tasked with filling the void left by Gonzalez’s retirement. The Falcons are expected to play a lot more three-wide receiver sets this year to try and compensate for that lost production in the passing game, with Douglas likely seeing as much as action as Jones and White will.

Douglas will have to show that he can be a more reliable and consistent playmaker, particular when the outcome of the game has yet to be decided.

A lot will be on offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to find ways of making Douglas more effective.

Douglas is not as effective when asked to win against man coverage, and should benefit from the presences of White and Jones to draw coverage and open up some throwing windows. Crossing routes and other shorter routes designed to maximize Douglas’ ability after the catch should be in regular usage by Koetter.

It’s going to be an important year for Douglas. His contract runs through the end of 2015, but his cap hit next year of roughly $4.4 million might become a bit prohibitive if his production is subpar this year.

Basically every impact play Douglas makes this year will decrease the chances that the Falcons seek to exploit the $3.5 million cap savings they could reap by cutting him next offseason.

Categories: Features Tags: , ,

Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Preview 2014: Wide Receiver

July 16th, 2014 Comments off

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Julio Jones (left) and Roddy White

The Atlanta Falcons head into the 2014 season with the same basic trio that they have sported for the past three seasons, yet for perhaps the first time ever in that span there are some causes for concern.

The biggest being the health of Julio Jones. Jones is recovering from a foot injury that cost him the final 11 games of the 2013 season and has been rested for all of the offseason.

While the word all offseason long has been that the team is resting Jones in preparation for training camp, there is no guarantee that he’ll even see much action when camp does arrive.

The Falcons have been clear that they won’t rush Jones back, which could lead to him missing all or most of the preseason if he’s not 100 percent within the first week or two of camp. Expectations are that Jones will return for the regular season opener against the New Orleans Saints, but the Falcons probably won’t risk jeopardizing that even if it means playing Jones at 98 percent.

That translates to the possibility that Jones will sit out all of the preseason with the possible exception of the third game against the Tennessee Titans. If Jones is not 100 percent by mid-August, it likely means that he will skip that Titans game and go into the regular season with limited work in pads.

In the meantime, the Falcons should have Roddy White and Harry Douglas to fill any void. White also missed much of the offseason as he was dealing with a family matters due to the murder of his brother. But expectations are that White will be back for training camp and may have a new contract as well.

Douglas is coming off a career-high season in which he led the Falcons in receptions and yards. His play this summer will be a big factor as he is the team’s primary option to fill the void left by the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons are expected to employ three wide receivers significantly more to try and compensate for Gonzalez’s loss. Douglas played in 59 percent of the team’s offensive plays in 2012, but that figure increased to 86 percent in 2013 (per premium website Pro Football Focus). It’s likely that his workload in 2014 will mirror his 2013 one.

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Atlanta Falcons Takeaways from Last Week – July 14, 2014

July 14th, 2014 Comments off
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was snubbed from the NFL’s annual player-voted top 100 list. Ryan ranked 17th on the list a year ago following a career-best season in 2012. But after a dismal season from the Falcons in 2013, Ryan fell completely off the list. It marks the second time in three seasons that Ryan has not been elected by his peers as one of the league’s best 100 players.

As I wrote a year ago, I’ve never been a big fan of the top 100 because I think there is a clear bias in the voting. The fact that Ryan failed to be listed indicates one of those biases, which penalizes good players on bad teams. Exactly half of the players voted on the list played on one of the dozen playoff teams in 2013.

Several positions are poorly represented, indicating another bias. Last year, only six offensive linemen made the list. This year, that number increased to 10, but that still is far too few given the importance of impact blockers. There is still too much of a bias towards “fantasy” players, with 43 of the top 100 being either quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers or tight ends.

The simple fact that Ryan has only made the Top 100 list once in the past three years is very indicative of the lack of respect. Joe Flacco played very poorly last year, yet was voted 58th. We can say that is due to the Super Bowl bias. Simply put, because Flacco has a ring, he’s probably going to be grandfathered onto the list most years. After ranking 43rd in 2013, Eli Manning fell off the list entirely this year. So presumably if Flacco is once again terrible in 2014, then he might find his way off the list. But despite the widespread belief that Ryan is superior to Flacco as a quarterback, the Ravens team success allows Flacco to be among the top 60 players, while Ryan cannot crack the top 100.

But I can forgive that Super Bowl bias somewhat even though I disagree with it. But the one quarterback ranked ahead of Ryan that I struggle to grasp is Detroit’s Matt Stafford. Stafford has been voted onto the top 100 list for three consecutive years, and I’m just curious what his peers are seeing that the rest of us aren’t. Yes, Stafford has a rocket arm, one of the strongest in the league. But besides that, there isn’t much else to like about his game.

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Categories: Features Tags: , , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 70 “Do You Remember Where You Were When Courtney Roby Signed?”

July 8th, 2014 1 comment

Allen and I are joined by The Falcoholic staff writer, Matt Chambers to discuss our favorite NFL team: the Atlanta Falcons once more. Matt’s fifth appearance on the podcast includes discussion of newly signed wide receiver Courtney Roby and the injury to Drew Davis. We also dive into Hard Knocks and training camp storylines along with some possible emerging undrafted rookies. Sean Weatherspoon, Paul Worrilow, Prince Shembo and Sam Baker are also discussed along the way.

Episode 70: Do You Remember Where You Were When Courtney Roby Signed? [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Matt Chambers can be found on twitter: @FalconsM5, and also writes for The Falcoholic.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! For Android users, DoubleTwist is a good app to listen as well. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Atlanta Falcons Takeaways from Last Week – July 7, 2014

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Harry Douglas

The NFC South is expected to be one of the more competitive divisions in all of the football this season. But that is nothing new.

It’s a division so competitive, that no team in its 12-year existence has ever won the division in consecutive years. And I doubt that streak is broken in 2014.

The Carolina Panthers won the division in 2013, being carried by one of the league’s premier defenses and their ability to win a bunch of close games. After losing their two opening games last year by one score, the Panthers won all five one-score games in the second half of the season.

That ability to win close games is often the difference between whether or not you can win the division or not. The Panthers and Atlanta Falcons have benefited from it the most in the years where they have managed to win the division. In years where the Panthers won the NFC South (2003, 2008 and 2013), they have posted a combined 19-6 record in one-score games. The Falcons record is 20-6 in their three division-winning seasons (2004, 2010 and 2012).

Since the division’s creation beginning with the 2002 season, the Falcons have played in the greatest amount of one-score games (100) within the four-team group and also have the best winning percentage (56.5 percent). No team has benefited more from their ability to win close games than the Falcons under head coach Mike Smith.

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Atlanta Falcons Takeaways from Last Week – June 30, 2014

June 30th, 2014 Comments off
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Johnson could be a factor in Atlanta’s future

The Atlanta Falcons made a move this past week, signing wide receiver Courtney Roby. But Roby should instead be referred to as a special teams player, because that is what his role, if any, will be with the Falcons this season. Roby is basically a direct challenger for Drew Davis’ roster spot.

Davis has gotten by over the past few years on his ability as a special teams player. While Davis has made a handful of plays at the wide receiver position, he’s clearly shown to any that are paying attention that he is not a viable candidate to be a significant contributor on offense.

The most important skill that an NFL wide receiver can possess is the ability to separate from coverage. And the simple truth is that Davis has rarely done that in his few years with the Falcons. Most of his catches are the result of broken coverages rather than instances where he simply beat an opposing corner and made a play.

Frankly, that important skill-set has been missing from the majority of Falcons receivers over the years. In truth, only Roddy White and Julio Jones have possessed it in abundance. Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas are decent at it, but by no means special in that regard. Both can do separate, but not on a consistent enough basis that makes them more than quality reserves.

Brian Finneran, Marty Booker, Eric Weems, Darius Johnson and Kevin Cone have also all struggled with this issue during the past six seasons. This issue isn’t helped by the fact that besides Jones, the Falcons have invested very little in terms of the draft in the wide receiver position. Since drafting Douglas in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Falcons have drafted just two wide receivers since: Jones and Kerry Meier. That is a league low when the average NFL team has drafted roughly six (5.8 to be exact) wide receivers over the past six drafts.

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