Posts Tagged ‘Mike Smith’

Smith attends Georgia Tech pro day

March 6th, 2012 Comments off
Mike Smith/Dean Buchan/Georgia Tech

Mike Smith stands with Bears head coach Lovie Smith

Georgia Tech’s Asst. Director of Media Relations Dean Buchan tweeted a photo indicating that Falcons head coach Mike Smith was on hand to view the pro days of the school’s prospects earlier today. As reported by the AJC yesterday, Smith was also on hand to see the University of Georgia’s prospects. As mentioned this past Friday, the Falcons have consistently sent some of their top representatives to the pro days of the two biggest local schools over the years, and apparently the tradition continues.

The biggest name among Georgia Tech’s prospect is wide receiver Stephen Hill, who was one of the players that emerged during last month’s Combine in Indianapolis after he clocked the second-fastest 40 time at 4.36 seconds officially.

Yesterday at Georgia, the Falcons could have been checking out tight end Orson Charles. Charles did not run a 40-yard dash at the Combine last month, instead waiting for yesterday’s pro day. He did not light it up, running a mediocre 4.75 time.

Other notable pro days today include that of Illinois and Arkansas. There has been no official confirmation that the Falcons sent representatives to either, but it is likely since there are reports that 29 teams showed up in Champaign to see Illini prospects work out, and 27 teams were represented at Arkansas pro day.

For Illinois, the biggest name is likely first round defensive end Whitney Mercilus, who led the nation in sacks this past year. Non-Combine participants who hope to improve their draft stock include defensive back Tavon Wilson and running back Jason Ford. At Arkansas, they have a trio of wide receivers in Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs that headline their prospects. Defensive end Jake Bequette and linebacker Jerry Franklin are also prominent names. Franklin was not invited to the Combine.

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 13 “Hue Jackson Salad”

January 15th, 2012 Comments off

Ryan and I are back to recap the big coaching changes that have already occurred in this early 2012 off-season, and discuss our thoughts on Mike Mularkey, Brian VanGorder, and the many candidates that could potentially replace them. We also discuss whether or not the Falcons disappointing finish in 2011 rests on the shoulders of the coordinators, or more on those of the head coach. We argue whether or not these changes on the coaching staff can lead to dramatic upswing in the team’s fortunes in 2012. We also break down which Falcons free agents we believe will stay or go, and I go on a heated rant about the rumors surrounding Brent Grimes future in Atlanta. We both talk about potential trades and whether Roddy White and Michael Turner have played their last games in Falcon uniforms. Ryan runs down his free agency and draft day wishlists, and to finish we each share what teams if any we are rooting for in the rest of playoffs.

Ep. 13: Hue Jackson Salad [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 32 minutes

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 18 Review

January 10th, 2012 Comments off

I know I’ve said this a couple of times already this year, but this was really hard game to re-watch. It felt like getting a prostate exam. The Falcons just looked inept on offense in this game, and seemed like some 6-10 team that had won a door prize to get into the playoffs, rather than the 10-6 team we saw most of the year.

Matt Ryan did not play well in this game. He was late on throws and reads, and seemed unwilling to try and challenge downfield. It looked like the Falcons gameplan was to feature a lot of short passing to offset the lack of a running game in the hopes that getting the ball out of his hands quickly would slow down the Giants pass rush. Well it really didn’t work too well. Roddy White did not play very well, with three drops. Julio Jones had a nice day, but the reality is that the Falcons did not really try to feature him. Gonzalez made some nice catches, but he too seemed to be not heavy into their game plan.

Much of their gameplan centered on feeding Michael Turner, which was certainly expected. But the Falcons offensive line struggled to move the pile and Turner was for the most part a non-factor. The Falcons offensive line is probably the real culprit of this loss. THey got their butts kicked by the Giants front, and nothing signifies this more than they two 4th & 1 stuffs on the sneaks where they got no push. But don’t always forget that the Falcons had a 3rd & 2 and 3rd & 1 that the line could not convert either.

Personally, I really don’t have a major issue with Mike Smith’s decision to go for it on either fourth down instead of kicking the field goal. I tend to favor coaches that are a bit more aggressive on fourth down. What I do have issue with is that the Falcons did not convert. They were asked to “man up” and they got punked. And regardless of whether the Falcons net 6 points on those two series, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Giants were punking them throughout the day. So while it would have made the score closer had the Falcons kicked those field goals, I certainly don’t think it would have really had any impact on the outcome of the game.

The bigger coaching decision I have to question is why the Falcons did not call a timeout at the end of the first half in their two-minute drill after Ryan inept-looking scramble. After that play, 18 seconds ticked off the clock. Why did Smith nor Ryan not call a timeout then? That’s two or three plays that the Falcons could have had at the end of the half to try and put some points on the board.

Michael Turner$0$6$0$0$0$0$6.00
Julio Jones$0$2$3$0$0$0$5.00
Matt Ryan$6-$2$0$0$0$0$4.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$4-$1$0$0$3.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Jason Snelling$0$1$0$0$0.5$0$1.50
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Mike Cox$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Roddy White$0$0-$1$0$0$0-$1.00
TEAM OFFENSE$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00

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Falcons-Giants Preview

January 6th, 2012 Comments off
Getty Images from Yahoo! Sports

Giants Top WR Victor Cruz

There are a few questions that the Falcons must be able to answer on Sunday if they want to win their first playoff game under Mike Smith and beat the New York Giants.

1. Can the Falcons stop Victor Cruz?

The biggest potential mismatch for the Falcons in their secondary is their nickel corner on Victor Cruz. Cruz is the Giants top receiver, leading the team in catches (82), yards (1536), and touchdowns (9). The Falcons will be putting Dominique Franks in the nickel. Franks has had his moments in recent weeks, but has also had his issues working at the nickel. A notable issue was last week against the Bucs, where Franks was beat by Preston Parker for a 48-yard completion while working out of the slot. Plays like that cannot happen this week. The Falcons don’t need Franks to shut down Cruz, but just contain him similar to the Redskins did in Week 15 where he only caught 5 passes for 44 yards, which was one of the weaker performances of Cruz all year long.

2. Can the Falcons slow the Giants pass rush?

The other matchup that could cause potential problems for the Falcons is trying to slow down the Giants pass rushers: Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora. Tuck hasn’t had quite the season he is used to having with 5 sacks, but he’s still a tough matchup for any right tackle, and Tyson Clabo will have his hands full. Last time the Falcons played the Giants, Clabo gave up two pressures to Tuck. But the biggest question probably comes from the Falcons left tackle Will Svitek and whether he can face Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. Pierre-Paul led the Gaints with 16.5. Umenyiora managed 9 sacks in 9 games, and came back in Week 17 after missing several games with an ankle injury to get a pair of sacks in a key game against the Cowboys. Svitek started strong when he first subbed in for Sam Baker at midseason, but down the stretch his play tailed off.

The Falcons are probably going to have give each of these guys a bit more help, by playing a few more times in max protection, where tight ends and backs stay in to chip and help slow those guys. Which will put more emphasis on the Falcons receivers to separate and get open.

3. Can the Falcons pound Michael Turner?

One the ways the Falcons can help slow down the Giants pass rush will be if they can effectively run the ball. Turner had a strong performance against the Bucs in Week 17, but the Bucs were one of the league’s worst run defenses. The Giants are better, but not exactly a strong in run defense. So the potential is there for the Falcons to be able to control the clock and tempo with a running game. The issue the Falcons face is that prior to the Bucs game, Turner had five pretty mundane performances, including two road games against Houston and New Orleans, where he was virtually a non-factor. That cannot be the case against the Giants, where the Falcons are going to need Turner to have success early, and be able to carry that through the rest of the game.
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Smith returns to Atlanta after hospitalization

December 12th, 2011 Comments off

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Mike Smith

It was reported after the Falcons win on Sunday afternoon over the Carolina Panthers, that Falcons head coach Mike Smith experienced chest pains before the team was set to get on their charter flight back to Atlanta. Smith was hospitalized, but the team released a statement that he was not experiencing an emergency matter and that he was not experiencing a heart attack. Smith stayed overnight for tests and was released from the hospital earlier Monday morning and returned to Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is expected to be at the team’s facilities today in Flowery Branch and will address the media tonight.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 11 “Lot O’ Gripes”

December 9th, 2011 Comments off

Ryan and I are back after a long lay-off to talk about the Atlanta Falcons chances down the stretch as they chase a wildcard spot in the NFC. A lot of frustration has been building in the weeks since we last got together to talk Falcons football, and in this extended episode we vent much of it. Topics of discussion are the recent loss to the Houston Texans as well as some of our expectations for the team’s upcoming game against the Carolina Panthers. Both of us wonder if the Falcons, particularly their offense is ready to take the next step forward. We discuss whether there should be a change at the running position, and whether certain veteran players including an unnamed Pro Bowl wide receiver might potentially be on the trading block after the season.  We also discuss whether the Falcons coaches are doing everything they can to get this team playing their best as the postseason looms. I give my typical anti-Peria Jerry and Reggie Kelly rants, and Ryan voices his displeasure over many of the moves the Falcons have made in recent off-seasons. We both ponder whether the Falcons problems stem from them having too many weapons.

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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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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 8 “Screw You Guys”

October 13th, 2011 Comments off

We are now available on iTunes!

Ryan and I are back to discuss more Atlanta Falcons football. This week, we discuss some of the issues that plagued the Falcons offense and defense during the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, which I compare to getting a prostate exam. We also get into what twe expect with Julio Jones being injured as the Falcons take on the Carolina Panthers. This game could be a litmus test to the Falcons playoff chances and whether Cam Newton’s rookie season stacks up against that of Matt Ryan. The bulk of our discussion this week however centers on the Falcons draft picks under Thomas Dimitroff and whether they have been all that they’re cracked up to be. Ryan brings up the question of whether Mike Smith is suffering from a “Jim Mora Effect” along with other issues that plague the team’s coaching staff, such as getting other players not named Tony and Roddy getting involved on offense.  And as usual we have a laundry list of players that we feel the need to rag on this week. Also we see if we can lure Carlton Powell onto the podcast, and wax nostalgic over the heyday of internet stalking.

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Are the Falcons a playoff team?

October 10th, 2011 Comments off

If they are, I think we have only seen glimpses of it. I think that was on display in the first halves of each of the past two games against Seattle and Green Bay. Particularly Green Bay, where the offense looked dynamic and the defense looked stout.

Is that Falcon team going to be able to show up for more than just two quarters in any game? Are the Falcons going to make a habit of starting strong, but then at halftime when it comes to making adjustments they will struggle?

If that is the case, then it’s hard to see this team being a playoff team. The Falcons offense scored six second half points against Seattle and none against the Packers. That does not sound like a team on the verge of making the playoffs.

The season is long, and they have 11 more games to get their act together, but are they going to have to go 8-3 in those games in order to do so? I guess we will get a real measurement of where this team is at in the next few games, as we play the Panthers and Saints at home, and the Lions and Colts on the road. The Lions and Saints definitely look like teams thus far that are on the verge of the playoffs. And while the Panthers and Colts are near or at the bottom of the league, we will get a good measuring stick to see if the Falcons belong in either one of those groups by how strong they look against the latter and/or how timid they look against the former.

I believe Falcon fans have been waiting for five weeks to see the playoff-caliber football team that we were all told was in Flowery Branch. We are still waiting…

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Smitty gets 3-year extension

February 3rd, 2011 2 comments
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Mike Smith

Jay Adams of Atlanta reports that the team has announced a three-year extension signed by Falcons head coach Mike Smith.

Smith was entering the last year on the original four-year deal he signed with the Falcons when they hired him prior to the 2008 season. In three years as the Falcons head coach, he has compiled a 33-15 record, with two playoff appearances and a division crown. A year ago, he became the first coach in the team’s 44-year history to record back to back winning seasons. And with last year’s 13-3 mark, he has extended that streak from two to three seasons. He is 17 wins away from passing Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in franchise history. Now he will have three more years to achieve such a mark.

The Falcons have been actively working to get general manager Thomas Dimitroff an extension as well according to reports.

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