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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 2 Recap – Big Balls

August 13th, 2014 2 comments

Hard KnocksAs I did a week ago, I’m here for you folks that either missed last night’s episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons, or those that saw it and just want to read my take on it.

The second episode opened showing the team’s release of fullback Roosevelt Nix and players’ reactions to it. That was followed up by showing general manager Thomas Dimitroff riding his bike with Lance Armstrong. At least as far as I’m concerned, while TD’s bike-riding may be interesting to outsiders, it may be the dullest aspect of his personality. How and why people find a 47-year old man riding a bike and palling around with Lance Armstrong to compelling television is beyond me.

But anyway, the show then began to showcase several of the Falcons 2014 draft class, including Ra’Shede Hageman getting some tough love and hard-coaching from Bryan Cox. We got to see the Falcons work against the Tennessee Titans in their scrimmage from last week and were privy to the mixed messages that Mike Smith seems to be sending to the team about fighting. Although in this instance, it seemed more clear that Smith was okay with his players fighting other team’s players versus teammates.

We got to see how some of the rookies spent their off days from camp practice. Hageman and Marquis Spruill swam with a giant whale shark at the aquarium, while Ricardo Allen and his girlfriend went zip-lining. We also were witness to Spruill’s unfortunate knee injury from last week. Aside from Spruill’s injury, I enjoyed these parts the most since we got to see the rookies as human beings blowing off a little steam away from the practice field.

The show closed showing some of the highlights from the Falcons preseason win over the Miami Dolphins last week. Bryan Cox closed out the show in fine fashion with a cigar smoke-laden conversation with outside linebackers coach Mark Collins, discussing some of the Falcons players but more importantly Cox’s examination of the darkness of men’s hearts.

Next week’s show promised a preview of the battle for backup quarterback, with undrafted rookie Jeff Mathews’ arm likely being featured.

Other highlights of the show:

  • A Sean Weatherspoon cameo that also showed his mentoring of Prince Shembo, who looks hungry enough to have Joplo Bartu looking over his shoulder.
  • Cuteness overload with Tyler Starr’s son. Although, a tip to Tyler, teach your son to run with proper form. Apparently, athleticism skips a generation.
  • How Ricardo Allen earned the nickname that headlines this recap.
  • William Moore and Roddy White’s perpetual war of trash-talking.

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 73 “Harry Douglas Wears Women’s Deodorant”

August 11th, 2014 No comments

FalcFans.com

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 73

Allen and I are joined once again by The Falcoholic’s training camp correspondent, Jeanna Thomas, to discuss the past week of Atlanta Falcons practice and their preseason win over the Miami Dolphins. We give our thoughts on what things stood out to them in the first game and how certain rookies looked in their debut including Jake Matthews and Devonta Freeman, as well as various position battles throughout the roster. We then give praise for the first episode of Hard Knocks before jumping into a brief preview of the Falcons second preseason contest against the Houston Texans. Allen and I finish up with their usual around the league segment, reviewing the past week’s preseason games and previewing this week’s.

Episode 73 – Harry Douglas Wears Women’s Deodorant [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 29 minutes

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

Jeanna writes for The Falcoholic and can be found on twitter: @jeannathomas.

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 – August 11, 2014

August 11th, 2014 4 comments
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Did the Falcons show toughness against Miami?

The Atlanta Falcons played their first preseason game on Friday night against the Miami Dolphins and won. That alone might be a cause for celebration and instill the belief that this year’s Falcon team is different from its predecessors.

That’s probably a stretch given the fickle and irrelevant nature of the preseason. The reasons why teams win preseason games are usually because some third-string player that is probably not going to make the team makes a big play or a mistake in the fourth quarter that decides the outcome. In the case of the Falcons-Dolphins game, the outcome of the game could be reduced to the tackle by Falcons safety Sean Baker that saved a touchdown, and the botched snap by Dolphins quarterback Seth Lobato. Two players with NFL careers that may just be footnotes in team media guides. Two instances that don’t quite apply to how the Falcons 2014 regular season is going to shape up. I’m certainly not expecting Baker to make a touchdown-saving tackle on a screen to Brandin Cooks Week 1.

Nonetheless, there are reasons to be positive if you so choose, and there are also reasons to be negative based off the Falcons first preseason action.

Some of the positives are that the Falcons’ play in the trenches was fairly strong. Working against the Falcons starting defensive line on the first two series, the Dolphins were successful on just two of seven (28.6 percent) running plays. That’s a sign that the added beef up front for the Falcons has improved. On the opposite side of the ball, the Falcons themselves were successful on four of their eleven (36.4 percent) runs with the starting offensive line. Not great by any means, but certainly competent.

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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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FalcFans Weekly – July 20, 2014

July 20th, 2014 Comments off
US PRESSWIRE

Julio Jones

Once again recapping the highlights that was the past week of the Atlanta Falcons.

In case you missed anything on FalcFans.com this past week, here are all the links to catch you up:

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

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 69 “Legion of Zoom”

June 27th, 2014 Comments off

logoAllen and I are joined by third wheel Rashad James to discuss all the big news from the month of June surrounding the Atlanta Falcons, including the injury to Sean Weatherspoon, pickups of Tim Dobbins and T.J. Yates, and their future appearance on HBO series’ Hard Knocks. Other topics include: Brandon Flowers, Matt Ryan, Harry Douglas, D-Block, NFL Top 100 players, San Diego Chargers fanhood, the best wide receiver duo in the league and the Miami Heat.

Episode 69 – Legion of Zoom [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 9 minutes

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

Rashad can be found on twitter with the handle: @100K_Jay.

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 – June 16, 2014

June 16th, 2014 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Weatherspoon

Once again, the Atlanta Falcons have lost linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a major injury. This time it is for the rest of 2014 due to a torn Achilles heel which he suffered last Tuesday during practice.

There seems to be three presiding theories on what Weatherspoon’s impending absence will mean to the Falcons.

There’s the conservative theory that losing Spoon is not a huge loss. The presences of second-year linebackers in Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu will allow the Falcons defense to navigate the loss of its leader to a competent level.

This theory makes sense given Worrilow and Bartu had to perform the same task a year ago as undrafted rookies. They certainly will be better prepared to fill Spoon’s shoes with a full year under their belts.

But it still does not adequately encompass the loss of Spoon on the field. Which creates the second theory: that Spoon’s absence will have a dramatic negative effect on the team’s defense in 2014.

That is also somewhat fair given the simple fact that neither Worrilow and Bartu are Sean Weatherspoon.

Falcons Have a Leadership Void That Needs to be Filled

Weatherspoon was the defensive leader for a reason. That being that he is one of the team’s best players on the field and has a natural outgoing personality that makes him capable of adopting a leadership role. Neither Worrilow nor Bartu are of Spoon’s talent level on the field, and while Worrilow especially, has shown solid leadership traits, he is not the defensive leader.

Leadership in the National Football League often comes simply from the fact that you’re the best player on the field. Leaders are supposed to rally the troops and when the team needs it and have to be the guys to step up in the face of adversity. Simply put, you can’t lead from the bench.

That being said, it would be more advantageous for the Falcons if Desmond Trufant was the second-year player that stepped up and took on a leadership role in Spoon’s absence versus either Worrilow or Bartu. Trufant was the team’s best defender a year ago and he’ll need to have possibly an even better second season to follow up. Other players like William Moore, Jonathan Babineaux, Osi Umenyiora, Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Massaquoi will also have to step up in the locker room as well as produce on the field.

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