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Posts Tagged ‘Edwards’

Falcons Midseason Superlatives

November 10th, 2011 Comments off
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Corey Peters: up and coming

Here are my picks for the Falcons players most deserving of these superlative awards through the first half of the 2011 season:

Offensive MVP: Tony Gonzalez

This was tough because in recent games, Michael Turner is probably the most valuable player on offense. When Turner runs well, the Falcons tend to win. But I thought Gonzo is deserving because he’s been consistent throughout the entire first half of the season. Turner was pretty average through the first 4 games of the year, although part of that could be blamed on the changes up front. But he just didn’t look like the same Michael Turner that he has been in the past month. He’s now running harder than he was early on, and thus part of his struggles were on him. With that said, Gonzo has been money throughout the year, particularly in the redzone where he is basically our entire redzone offense. Another reason for putting him here, is because I was one of those people that thought after last year, Gonzo was done. Still a solid, productive tight end, but no longer one of the best at his position. Boy, has he shown me I was dead wrong. He still has the best hands in the business, and while his explosiveness isn’t what it once was, he still has made a number of big plays at critical moments in games.

Defensive MVP: Sean Weatherspoon

If you had to pick one Falcon defender that is truly deserving of making the Pro Bowl this year, then it’s definitely Spoon. He’s been playing lights out all year long, making plays vs. the run, as a pass rusher, and in coverage. He’s been a valuable every down defender. While Spoon hasn’t been perfect, like Gonzalez on offense he has made his presence known in virtually every game. While he flashed this level of ability early on as a rookie, he’s taken things to a brand new level. And if he maintains this level of play in the second half of the season, he should definitely be on his way to Hawaii. If I had to choose a runner-up, it would probably be Brent Grimes. But he’s not having quite the impact he was having a year ago, partially because teams are not throwing at him as often as they did a year ago. But Grimes is staying playing at a fairly high level, just isn’t getting as many opportunities to make those big, game-changing impact players like he was a year ago.

Special Teams MVP: Matt Bryant

Who else would you pick? “Money” Matt Bryant has been everything his nickname indicates he should be.

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Falcons Highlight of the Week

October 19th, 2011 Comments off
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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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Moneyball 2011 – Week 6 Review

October 18th, 2011 Comments off

Michael Turner had a solid game, and looked like the old Michael Turner throughout this game, breaking tackles and getting yards after contact. Ovie Mughelli looked back to be in his old form. Granted, it did come against a horrible Panthers run defense, but it’s still somewhat promising for the rest of the year. The Falcons dominated a run defense that they should have dominated. Despite this however, I think the Falcons still need to get Jacquizz Rodgers more involved on offense.

Matt Ryan had a nice solid game managing the game, although he continues to struggle throwing the ball down the field with 3 of his 4 poor throws being deep passes.

Tyson Clabo’s negative score is the result mainly of Charles Johnson getting the better of him in the second half several times. It was nice to see Harry Douglas have a solid game catching the ball and even contributing as a blocker. If Ryan had hit him with two of those deep passes, we might be saying Who?-lio today (yes, I know a very bad pun).

Mularkey’s play-calling on 1st down needs some tweaks. Throughout the second and third quarters the Falcons force fed Turner the rock on first downs, and it netted almost no positive results. He needs to do a better job keeping this team on schedule on first down and needs to do a better job mixing up his play-calling then. Maybe if he’s that intent on running the ball on first down, that would be an excellent time to switch things up by feeding Rodgers instead? But other than that, the Falcons did an excellent job executing the rest of his game plan and he did make a couple of very good play calls (34-yard catch & run to Douglas on 3rd & 12 was one of them) today, so he deserves some credit. And Mughelli and Michael Palmer also made some plays in the passing game, so they were more involved this week than past games.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Michael Turner$0$22-$1$0$0$0$21.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$1$3$5$0$0$9.00
Matt Ryan$6$3$0$0$0$0$9.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$4$1$0$0$5.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$1$1$0$0$2.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$0$0$0$0$2.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Jason Snelling$0$1$0$0$0$0$1.00
Roddy White$0$0$2$0$0-$2$0.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00

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Matchup Breakdowns: Week 5

October 7th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons will host the undefeated Green Bay Packers for the third time in the past 316 days this weekend on Sunday Night football. The Falcons did beat the Packers in their first matchup last November thanks to a strong rushing attack, and some redzone miscues by the Packers. But they were thrashed in their playoff matchup last January, 48-21, with the Falcons defense forcing no punts in the game, and the game being practically over by halftime.

The Falcons are hoping to get some revenge this week, and need something to kick-start their sluggish start to the 2011 season. Their offense has been out of sync most games, and the defense has been hit and miss at times. A win over the Packers could galvanize this team to a very strong finish.

But a win won’t be easy. Many consider that the Packers are the league’s best team. Their offense has been unstoppable this year, ranking 1st in scoring offense and 5th in total offense this year. That is thanks in large part to the MVP-caliber season that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been having, sporting a passer rating of 125 through 4 games. The Falcons are going to have to find a way to slow down Rodgers if they want to have any chance to win this game.

Controlling the clock and limiting the Packers opportunities on offense might be the best method. Which requires the Falcons offense to be firing on all cylinders, something the team has yet to see for a full four quarters this year.

But anyway, here are some of the notable matchups I see this week.

Matchups I Like

Falcons WRs vs. Packers secondary

There aren’t a ton of matchups that favor the Falcons in this game. But in last year’s playoff game, the Packers put Charles Woodson in the slot often against Tony Gonzalez, effectively taking Gonzo out of the game. If they do the same thing this year, then the Falcons will get an opportunity to match up the emerging Julio Jones or Roddy White against the Packers third best corner: Sam Shields. Particularly Jones, with his size could be a tough out for a smaller corner like Shields, particularly after the catch.

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Falcons Highlight of the Week

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

Unlike last week, the Falcons had many good plays against the Eagles that would merit being the highlight of the week. But it has to go to Tony Gonzalez for his one-handed grab in the back of the endzone to give the Falcons the lead headed into halftime.

Gonzalez’s acrobatic TD catch

Honorable Mentions:

Turner’s 61-yard run

Ray Edwards’ fumble recovery

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 2 Review

September 20th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons did not have their most stellar performance against the Eagles, but they made plays at critical points in the game to pull out the victory.

Offensively, Matt Ryan did not really get going until the fourth quarter, where he earned $7 of his $9.50 passing the ball. Michael Turner had a good start with $7 in the first half, but went quiet until his big runs late in the game. Tony Gonzalez was money in this game with his two touchdown grabs and ability to move the chains. Roddy White and Julio Jones were fairly quiet for most of the game, although they had some key catches at certain points in the game. But at least from the Eagles perspective, they should feel happy about their two highly paid corners containing both White and Jones pretty much the entire night.

Up front, the blocking was hit and miss just like last week. Sam Baker really struggled going against Trent Cole, which was the same issue he had a year ago. Reynolds gave up an early sack but had a fairly solid game the rest of the way. Clabo also struggled on the outside getting beat by Jason Babin several times. Blalock was the best up front, and Hawley had his really good moments as well as his share of mental errors and mistakes. If and when McClure returns, the Falcons can iron out many of the inconsistencies.

The Falcons inability to move the ball on the ground in the third quarter was a big reason why the Eagles were able to get back into the game and take a 10-point lead then.

Ryan saw a lot of pressure throughout the game from the edges, but some of it was on him getting happy feet in the pocket after he took a couple of early hits.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Michael Turner$0$9$2$0$0$0$11.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$9$1.5$0$0$10.50
Matt Ryan$9.5$1$0$0$0-$1$9.50
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$3$0$0$0$0$3.00
Roddy White$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Julio Jones$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Reggie Kelly$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$1.5$0$0-$1.50
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$0$0-$2-$2.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$2.5$0$0-$2.50

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Matchup Breakdowns: Week 1

September 7th, 2011 Comments off

I’ll try to post a handful of matchups that favor the Falcons as well as their opponents for each game they play this year. The Falcons open the season against the Chicago Bears, a team that has a similar style and mentality as they do, which is to run the football and play good defense. While the Falcons want to be a more explosive team, they still aren’t likely to veer to far from that sort of identity.

Despite having eccentric Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator, the Bears in the latter half of the season began to play to their strengths, which is one of the reasons why they won their division and finished as the NFC’s second seed behind the Falcons. That strength is their defense, and offensively they decided to be more conservative and not put the turnover-prone Cutler in situations where he had to bear the load.

Icon SMI

Abe poised for a huge game vs. Bears

The Falcons will want to get into a position where the Bears will be forced to throw the ball frequently, that way the Falcons defense can potentially create turnovers by preying on the Bears inexperienced offensive line and Cutler’s propensity to make mistakes.

Defensively, the Bears biggest weakness is their secondary, and if this game becomes an aerial battle, the matchups favor the Falcons.

Matchups I Like

 

Falcons pass rush vs. Bears O-line

As I wrote in August, I think the Falcons pass rushers should be licking their chops to face this Chicago Bears front. While the Bears did show some improvement over the course of the preseason as their new unit tried to gel together, it’s probably not enough where this matchup tilts anywhere close to the Bears favor. John Abraham will be facing J’Marcus Webb, a player that he should give major fits due to his ability to go right past him with speed or through him with power. On the opposite side is Ray Edwards, and he’ll face rookie Gabe Carimi. Edwards should have some veteran savvy to throw his way, being able to use his speed to get around the edge as well. Throw in Kroy Biermann getting some looks as well on either side of the line and you have a lot of heat coming off the corner for the Falcons all day to get pressure on Jay Cutler.

And a player that should not be forgotten in this matchup is Jonathan Babineaux. At left defensive tackle, he’ll be matched up against new right guard Lance Louis, who struggled in a handful of starts last year. Back in 2009, Babineaux routinely dominated replacement level guards, and if he intends to get back to that sort of level this year, then doing the same against Louis can be a very good tone setter for this season.

The average NFL offensive line gives up slightly more than 2 sacks per game. It should not be surprising if the Falcons are able to double or even triple the average production against the Bears defensive line.
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Scouting Report: Ray Edwards

August 28th, 2011 Comments off
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Ray Edwards

Pros: Has good, strong athletic build. Shows comfort and range to drop into shallow coverages to cover backs and tight ends in the flat on the zone blitz. Uses his quick first step to challenge the edge and most effective when he can line up wide in a 9-technique and pin his ears back to get after the quarterback. Has the sort of edge speed that is a difficult matchup for the majority of right tackles in the league. Occasionally flashes the technique and hand use to use rips, spins, and bull rush to beat the blocker. Has a decent power move inside.

Cons: Tends to rely on his speed to beat the tackle, and not that effective when you can chip him or the blocker gets his hands on him. Doesn’t do a good job using his hands and technique to disengage on the edge. Lacks the elite edge speed to dip the shoulder and turn the corner on a consistent basis. Struggles too often at the point of attack against the run. Will get pushed off the ball by the double team and struggles to get off blocks. Results in him not making many plays against the run. At times will get too far upfield, taking himself out of plays. Has an inconsistent motor at times.

2011 Outlook: Edwards is a gifted athlete that is looking to prove skeptics wrong in his first year with the Falcons. Many thought he was the player that benefited the most playing on a stacked Vikings defensive line. The Falcons are hoping that Edwards added ability on the left side of their line will make several other players up front better.

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Spotlight Players vs. Steelers

August 27th, 2011 Comments off
ICON SMI

Ray Edwards

Here is another look at five players to keep your eyes on during tonight’s preseason matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

1. DE Ray Edwards

This will be the first action for the fans to get a look at the team’s lone free agent pickup in Edwards. He will have a chance to shine going up against the questionable pass protecting Steelers offensive line, although if he is facing Willie Colon, then he’ll see the team’s best pass protector for most of the night. A strong performance certainly can be a good launching point to a breakout 2011 season for Edwards, who is looking to prove he is legitimately one of the league’s premier pass rushers.

2. QB Matt Ryan

Little was made of Ryan’s mediocre at best performance against the Jaguars last week. Mainly because he is Matt Ryan, after all and has little to prove at this point in his career. With him set to earn his most extensive playing time against the Steelers tonight, having a bounce back game is not necessary, but certainly would be a positive. Ryan will be tasked with picking apart the league’s best defense for most of the night, and a strong performance will go a long with to instilling confidence in the cohesion of the offense as well as be a feather in Ryan’s cap as he gets some much needed revenge against a team that made him look mediocre in the 2010 regular season opener.

3. CB Darrin Walls

Walls will get a big opportunity tonight against the Steelers thanks in part to injuries to Dunta Robinson and Chris Owens. Walls will get opportunities in the Falcons nickel package with the starters where he will be tested with the explosive Steelers receivers such as Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Jerricho Cotchery. Walls is likely to land a spot on the Falcons 53-man roster at this point, but a strong performance certainly will cement his status on the team as someone to look out for in the future as a solution to some of the Falcons secondary woes.

4. OG Garrett Reynolds

Reynolds seems to have sewn up the starting right guard position this summer, although it’s debatable whether he achieved that on his own merit or thanks to a timely injury to Mike Johnson. Reynolds could put such doubts to rest with a strong performance against the physical 3-4 front of the Steelers. The Falcons historically under Mike Smith have struggled to push the pile and run the ball against 3-4 teams. Reynolds can hopefully change that. He’s expected to be matched up with Steelers Pro Bowl left end Aaron Smith for much of the night, who is returning from a knee injury. He’ll also be tested as a pass protector, as the Steelers crave the blitz and potentially find himself on the other side of LaMarr Woodley and/or James Farrior’s onslaught.

5. CB Dominique Franks

Franks had a bad outing against the Jaguars last week, and really needs a strong performance against the Steelers to solidify his status as the team’s new nickel back. He’ll get an opportunity as he’ll start in place of an injured Dunta Robinson and Chris Owens. Unlike against the Jaguars unproven young receivers, he’ll be tested against Mike Wallace and Hines Ward, along with others like Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, and Arnaz Battle. Franks cannot really afford another lackluster performance, otherwise it could mean that the Falcons seek an outside option to address their nickel concerns.

Edwards, Johnson return to practice, Peters goes down

August 14th, 2011 Comments off

Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards and guard Mike Johnson returned to practice on Sunday, although neither qualified as a full participant. Edwards practiced in pads for the first time since joining the Falcons on July 29. Johnson is expected to participate fully in practice beginning tomorrow according to Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com. Johnson has been out of practice since Sunday, August 6, when he suffered a concussion. Both Edwards and Johnson missed Friday’s night preseason opener against the Dolphins.

Two other players that missed the Dolphin game: tight end Marquez Branson and defensive tackle Vance Walker are expected to return to practice Monday according to Knox Bardeen of CBS Sports.

Starting defensive tackle Corey Peters was injured during practice today, and was carted off the field with a left leg injury according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. There has not yet been an update on the extent of his injury.

The team also announced that Akeem Dent, Justin Peelle, and John Parker Wilson are likely going to be out for Friday night’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wilson suffered a concussion during the Dolphin game in the third quarter. Dent and Peelle also played, but had limited snaps. Trey Lewis returned to practice today after injuring his arm against the Dolphins.