It’s time to look at which Falcon players have improved their stock and those that have not after the first preseason outing. This is mostly looking at who shined and who did not against the Ravens.
QB Dominique Davis – Davis benefited greatly from the lackluster night by both Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson. Besides Wilson running an effective 2-minute drill at the end of the half, both veteran passers looked very rusty against the Ravens. Davis showed some athleticism, using his legs to extend plays and also showed off his strong arm with some shots downfield. Davis still needs to polish up his footwork, mechanics, and tighten up his accuracy, but if he can build off last week’s performance against the Bengals, he will be in prime position to potentially earn a roster spot.
WR DJ. Davis – The No. 5 wide receiver spot will almost certainly be determined by special teams ability. And Davis stood out against the Ravens, particularly with his excellent open field stop when working as a gunner on a punt returner, tripping up Bobby Rainey in the 3rd quarter to cause a 1-yard loss on a Dawson Zimmerman punt. Kevin Cone looked to have the inside track at the spot, but Davis is making up ground.
OL Peter Konz – Konz had his moments when working at right guard with the second team offensive line, showing ability to get some push. He missed a block while pulling inside on a play, but then helped make up for with a good block downfield when he pulled outside on the next play. Konz had some struggles when he moved to center for the third unit. But if he’s going to make up ground against Garrett Reynolds for the starting right guard spot, he got off to a solid start.
Categories: FalcBlog Dent, depth, Dominique Davis, Hawley, injury, James, Konz, Massaquoi, Matthews, Mike Johnson, Mitchell, Nicholas, Peterson, preseason, Redman, Robertson, stock report, training camp, Wilson
The Falcons announced that rookie fullback Bradie Ewing is out for the season with a knee injury. Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that Ewing suffered a torn ACL. Ewing suffered the injury during last night’s preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Ewing went down during the first quarter while working on special teams. His injury occurred as he was blocking for Dominique Franks on a 45-yard punt return.
Ewing was a fifth round pick by the Falcons this past April, and was expected to compete with Mike Cox for the starting fullback position, after the team decided to release Ovie Mughelli in early May. Ewing’s injury leaves only Lee Meisner as the remaining fullback on the roster behind Cox.
Adam Caplan of the Sideline View reports that Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters will go on the team’s active/Non-Football Injury list. Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC, Peters is set to miss at least 3 weeks with a foot injury that sidelined him throughout the off-season. Once Peters is cleared to practice, he will come off the list.
In other roster moves, the team will add wide receiver Tim Toone and defensive tackle Elisha Joseph to fill the spots on the roster vacated by Lofa Tatupu and now Peters. Toone was the final pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He spent the beginning of his rookie season on the Lions’ practice squad before winding up on injured reserve. He would be cut by the Lions last summer, and wound up spending time with both the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, on each of their respective practices quads. He was cut by the Broncos this past April. Toone played at Weber State and also has experience returning punts. He turned 27 this past February, thanks in large part to spending two years in Africa as part of his LDS mission.
Joseph was an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers last summer out of Temple. Joseph was on and off the Steelers practice squad throughout last season. Joseph played nose tackle both at Temple and with the Steelers. Joseph gives the team some much needed depth behind the injured Peters. In Peters place, Peria Jerry has been getting first team reps.
The Falcons announced today that linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who suffered an injury last week is out for the 2012 season due to a torn pectoral muscle. Tatupu was injured while benching, and saw specialist Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Tatupu will undergo season-ending surgery at some point in the future. The Falcons will have the option of placing him on the injured reserve and free up an additional roster spot for training camp which begins on Thursday.
Tatupu’s sidelining likely makes Akeem Dent the front-runner for the team’s vacant starting middle linebacker position. The team signed veteran Mike Peterson yesterday to add depth and potentially push Dent. Peterson has experience playing all three linebacker positions, and will likely be counted on depth rather than becoming the starter.
Jeff Schultz of the AJC reports that linebacker Lofa Tatupu has suffered a pectoral injury while lifting weights on Thursday. The extent of the injury is not known, but it is expected that he’ll at least miss the opening of training camp next week per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. Ledbetter terms the injury “serious.” Per Ledbetter, a grade one strain requires a few days of recovery. A grade two strain could put a player out for up to six weeks. And a fully torn pectoral muscle requires surgery and presumably would cost Tatupu the entire 2012 season. The severity of the injury will not be known until next week. In the mean time, Tatupu is expected to see noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
Tatupu tore his pectoral in 2009 while with the Seahawks and missed all but five games that season. The Falcons report to camp this upcoming Wednesday and practices begin on Thursday. Tatupu was expected to compete with Akeem Dent for the starting middle linebacker position, as a replacement for Curtis Lofton. With the move to sideline Matt Hansen, the Falcons have an available roster spot for a veteran linebacker if need be.
The Falcons announced late Friday night that they had waived/injured linebacker Matt Hansen. If Hansen clears waivers then he will wind up on the team’s non-football injury list. Hansen suffered a knee injury last month, rupturing his patellar tendon which is expected to sideline him for four to six months to recover. As such, it was likely that Hansen would most if not all of the 2012 NFL season.
Hansen was an undrafted free agent out of Rhode Island signed by the team last summer. He played safety for the Falcons last summer, but upon returning to the team this off-season, he was moved to linebacker, the position he played during his collegiate days.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that defensive tackle Corey Peters is out until the start of camp with a foot injury he suffered earlier this off-season. Peters is slated to miss the remainder of OTAs through June. Peria Jerry is expected to fill in as the starter in the meantime.
Edwards was the obvious pick for this year’s most disappointing player, which is why he will be a key player to watch in 2012. As I mentioned in the linked piece, Edwards was a marginal improvement in 2011 in the pass rush department over the much-maligned Jamaal Anderson. After the season, Edwards’ lack of production was blamed on his bothersome knee that was operated on during last year’s lockout. But one wonders just how much the knee was really bothering him since he missed a total of three practices and was limited in three others all year long due to the knee injury, out of a total of fifty-one.
But regardless of whatever is to blame for Edwards lack of production, the bottom line is that in 2012 he has to step up his play. The Falcons paid him a hefty salary to improve the team’s pass rush. And while the pass rush did take positive steps last year, the Falcons are going to need more of that if they hope to make the playoffs and make a deep run in 2012. The Falcons pass rush has been a problem area for much of Mike Smith’s tenure as the head coach. The Falcons suffered through three seasons hoping that Jamaal Anderson would improve, and Kroy Biermann would emerge as the bookend player to John Abraham. That never happened, and thus when the team signed Edwards, they hoped those issues were over.
That did not prove to be the case in 2011, and needs to be the case in 2012, otherwise Ray Edwards may not last much longer as a Falcon. The team is desperately looking for someone that can take the mantle of the team’s top and most feared pass rusher from John Abraham in the coming years, and Edwards is in prime position. One of the reasons why the Falcons have struggled over the years in beating some of the league’s more prolific offenses such as the Saints and Packers has been because of their inability to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. If the Falcons intend to close the gap on such teams in 2012, they will need to do a better job getting after the quarterback.
The Falcons announced the signing of third round pick offensive tackle Lamar Holmes today. Holmes will ink a four-year deal with the Falcons, exact terms of which are unknown. Holmes signs after the team signed four of their six draft picks last weekend. It leaves fifth round pick Jonathan Massaquoi as the team’s lone unsigned pick. Holmes was held out with a minor foot injury in the Falcons first rookie min-camp over the weekend as well.
While twenty players appeared on the Falcons Friday injury report, the majority of them were able to fully participate in the last two or three days of practice this week. Listed among the players that were not are linebacker Stephen Nicholas and cornerback Brent Grimes. Nicholas is doubtful for Sunday’s playoff game against the New York Giants, while Grimes is listed as questionable. Nicholas (turf toe) did not practice all week, and has missed four of the past five games with that injury. He is expected to be replaced by Spencer Adkins, who got his first career start last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grimes missed both Wednesday and Thursday’s practices with his knee injury, but was able to go on a limited basis on Friday. Missing Thursday practice was considered a precautionary measure by head coach Mike Smith. Grimes missed last weeks’ reguar season finale after returning the week before against the New Orleans Saints. If Grimes is unable to go, then Dominique Franks would likely get the start at left cornerback. Before returning against the Saints, Grimes had missed three straight games, all of which he was replaced by Franks in the starting lineup.
Also listed on the injury report as probable were wide receivers Harry Douglas (groin) and Kerry Meier (groin), safety William Moore (groin), tight end Michael Palmer (knee), and running backs Jason Snelling (knee) and Michael Turner (groin). All except Snelling (limited participation) were held out of Wednesday’s practice. All would go on a limited basis on Thursday. Palmer and Snelling were able to participate fully on Friday, while the others still were limited.
For the Giants, linebacker Mark Herzlich was listed as out for the game with an ankle injury. Defensive end Justin Tuck was added to the injury report on Friday with a shoulder injury, but is probable for Sunday’s game. Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) missed both Wednesday and Thursday practices, but returned on a limited basis on Friday. He is listed as probable along with tight end Jake Ballard (knee), running back Da’Rel Scott (knee), offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (ankle), defensive end Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee), and cornerback Corey Webster (hamstring).
Categories: The Wire Adkins, Douglas, Franks, Grimes, injury, Meier, Moore, Nicholas, Palmer, Snelling, Turner