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Posts Tagged ‘Mughelli’

Falcons to work out free agent fullbacks

October 25th, 2011 Comments off

Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network tweets that the Falcons are working out free agent fullback Jason McKie and Mike Karney today. The Falcons apparent interest in McKie is likely related to the knee injury Ovie Mughelli suffered in the Falcons win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

While the severity of Mughelli’s injury has yet to be disclosed, it does not appear to be season-ending and Mughelli himself tweeted Sunday evening that he would be back soon and the injury looked worse than it actually was. According to ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas, the Falcons interest in a free agent blocker likely indicates that Mughelli will miss an extended period of time.

McKie and Karney are noted for their physical blocking style, similar to Mughelli. Reserve running back Jason Snelling filled in for Mughelli after he suffered his injury on Sunday, and at various times in the past has done the same. In 2009, when Mughelli was sidelined for two games, the Falcons used Verron Haynes instead of Snelling primarily as the fullback, and likely will use either veteran pickup in a similar manner. The Falcons will have time to get McKie, Karney, or any free agent fullback up to speed in the offense since they have a bye this week.

McKie last played a game with the Chicago Bears in 2009. McKie spent six seasons with the Bears, including the final four where he served as their starter at fullback. He was cut by the Bears after the 2009 season, and then signed by the Saints the following spring. He was cut by the Saints at the end of 2010′s training camp. The Baltimore Ravens would sign him in November, where he spent six weeks on the team’s inactive list. But the team cut him at the outset of this past summer’s training camp.

McKie was originally an undrafted rookie out of Temple, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. He spent some time that year on the Eagles practice squad before joining the Dallas Cowboys active roster at the end of the year. He would be cut by the Cowboys the following summer before being claimed by the Bears.

Karney spent the past two years with the St. Louis Rams, after five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. He was cut by the Rams this past summer. He helped clear running lanes for Deuce McAllister while with the Saints in the latter part of his career.

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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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Falcons Need Periphery More Involved on Offense

October 12th, 2011 Comments off

On Sunday night, Falcon fans were treated to two things. The first was what a dynamic offense looks like in the form of the Green Bay Packers, and the other was glimpses of the same from the Falcons.

Aaron Rodgers connected with 12 different receivers over the course of Sunday Night’s game. Matt Ryan and the Falcons with 7. That’s not a low number, as 6 or 7 targets in the passing game is fairly typical at this level of competition.

The glimpses of this dynamic Falcon offense came on their first two series where they got five different receivers involved. They ran the ball as well, getting Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers opportunities there along with their usual handoffs to Michael Turner. The Falcons ran the rub route for Harry Douglas to success on 3rd down, something that should be used more often. Later in the game, Eric Weems even got a reception, his first of the year. The Falcons used misdirection very effectively and it caught the Packers defense off-balance early on. After those two drives, the Falcons did very little misdirection plays and I would say non-coincidentally the offense stagnated.

The Falcons have to try and get more weapons involved on offense to make it harder for opposing defenses to defend. One of the issues that teams have to deal with when they play the Packers is that you have to defend the entire field. If you focus on Jermichael Finley or Greg Jennings, then Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver, or James Jones are bound to hurt you. Players like John Kuhn, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, and Alex Green have gotten a few touches on offense and also can become reliable outlets for Rodgers when those other more dynamic players are unavailable.

The Falcons should treat some of their lesser players similarly. Everyone knows about Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, and Julio Jones. The Falcons made some strides Sunday night with plays designed to Jason Snelling and Harry Douglas. Jacquizz Rodgers should be more involved than he was last week because he seems to be successful nearly every time he touches the ball. But what about players like Michael Turner, Ovie Mughelli, Michael Palmer, and Eric Weems? They aren’t dynamic options, but in the same mold as Kuhn, Crabtree, Williams, and Green they can add something to the offense when those other more dynamic threats like Gonzo and Jones are covered.

One of the things that hurt the Falcons on Sunday was their inability to stay on schedule and be successful on first down. They started too many drives 2nd & 10, 2nd & 8, and 2nd & 12, which tends to force you to go to your more tried and true options to try and get into a 3rd and manageable situation. Thankfully for the Falcons, they were very successful on those 2nd & Long situations getting the ball in the hands of many of those tried and true playmakers. But it is worth noting that on a 2nd & 13, Jason Snelling got 17 on a screen pass, and Rodgers got 11 on a pitch on 2nd & 12 early on. That suggests that going to White or Gonzo is not always necessary as the Falcons did on half of their 12 second downs where they had 6 or more yards to go to the sticks. On those 6 plays to either Gonzo or White, they were successful on 50% of them. On the 6 plays that did not go to that pair, they were successful on 83%. Those 6 other plays included two runs by Turner, his two best of the night for 8 and 15 yards, a 3-yard catch by Douglas, a 16-yard slant by Jones, and the previously mentioned plays by Snelling and Rodgers.

So it does seem that looking away from Gonzalez and White on occasion has been beneficial to the offense. Pretty much every game the Falcons have played this year, half of Ryan’s pass attempts go to those two players. Which is understandable because Ryan’s rapport is strongest with them and they are the two most reliable options in any given situation. But is that making the Falcons too easy to defend is the question that needs to be asked. Mularkey and Ryan need to put in more effort to throw the ball to other players. Whether that is Jones, Rodgers, Snelling, Palmer, Weems, or Reggie Kelly really does not matter. But I’m betting that regardless of which Falcon player is on the receiving end of those passes and designed plays, it will be beneficial to the offense like it was at various times this past weekend.

Moneyball 2011 – Week 4 Review

October 4th, 2011 Comments off

This is a tale of two halves. In the first half the Falcons looked really sharp. Their running game was effective, they made some nice throws down field, and converted their third downs. In the second half, their running game evaporated and thus they had difficulty converting on third downs, and Ryan missed on a lot of his throws downfield.

The Falcons defense got soft, and their inability to get pressure with their front four throughout the game allowed Tarvaris Jackson to pick them apart. The Falcons could not move the ball on the ground against the 8-man fronts that the Seahawks were showing in the second half as well.

The Falcons that were playing in the first half looked an awful lot like the 13-3 team that was playing last year. But in the second half, they looked like the same old 1-2 Falcons that went into this game. Thankfully, their first half lead was big enough that they were able to hold off the Seahawks.

Ryan had a good first half, but he missed too many throws downfield in the second half. He overthrew receivers and just wasn’t that accurate with most of his throws as the game wore on. Turner had a good start, running harder than we’ve seen to date, but that diminished as the game wore on and the holes closed up. The Falcons just can’t seem to get the ground game going when they need to this year, and that has to change if this team wants to get back into the thick of the hunt for the division crown. Jacquizz Rodgers had some nice runs, and it might be time for the Falcons to give him a greater look. Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez had good games for the most part. But Roddy’s drops continue to be an issue, particularly when they have come late in games in critical situations.  The blocking was better, as Ryan had pretty good protection all game long as the Falcons only gave up one pressure. The run blocking was good in the first half, and Garrett Reynolds had his best game with 3 key blocks, two of which came on third down conversions by Turner. Although his false start late in the game was really bad. Nothing kills critical drives as much as stupid false starts and blocking penalties.

It was nice to see Ovie Mughelli finally show up, registering his first key block of the season. But he also missed another block and dropped a pass, so a less than stellar performance overall for him.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$11$5$0$0$0$0$16.00
Michael Turner$0$15$1$0$0$0$16.00
Julio Jones$0$0$8$0$0$0$8.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$4$1$0$0$0$5.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Roddy White$0$0$4-$1$0$0$3.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$4$0-$1$3.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0-$1$0$0$0-$1.00
Reggie Kelly$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00

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Moneyball 2011 – Week 3 Review

September 27th, 2011 Comments off

The tale of this game is the failure of the Falcons offensive line. The Bucs pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage with their front four. Brian Price was a monster, and Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy each made their shares of plays. Garrett Reynolds was the only positive earner mainly because I don’t deduct for multiple pressures given up, as he gave up three. I don’t know if the Falcons have ever had a game where basically all five of their blockers should have been in the red. Justin Blalock struggled against Price, after being far and away our best blocker in the first two outings. I gave him credit for a half-sack on Mason Foster’s sack in the third quarter, where McClure botched the snap. I gave McClure the other half credit because of that botched snap.

The ground game was non-existent mainly because the Falcons struggled to get any real push, but because of how sluggish a runner that Michael Turner looked in this game. Turner looked his age in this one, and if he’s going to continue to play as slow as he has this year, the Falcons are going to have to resort to new ways of manufacturing rushing yards, such as a lot of dink and dunk throws to Harry Douglas, Julio Jones, and Roddy White and try to get those guys in space. The team might also want to try and mix in Jacquizz Rodgers a lot more.

Matt Ryan put up some numbers thanks to some earnings when the Falcons went into no-huddle or the two-minute drill, but he did not have a good game. Ball security seems to be an issue in the pocket. If you’re wondering why he went to Jacquizz Rodgers instead of an open Tony Gonzalez on that fourth down play at the goalline that was broken up by Corey Lynch, it was because Gonzo was covered by Ronde Barber who had broken up two passes already on that drive, and had an outstanding game overall, Pro Bowl caliber. The Falcons receivers had good games with Roddy White and Julio Jones both doing some good things after the catch. I don’t know the exact number, but I think Jones had around 40 or more yards after the catch. Roddy’s 3 drops are a little disturbing, although I think fatigue had a lot to do with the last one where he was wide open near the goalline.

I think the Falcons could have done a better job on their play-call on 3rd & 15 just before they opted to kick the field goal down 6 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They could have had a play that had a better checkdown for Ryan over the middle that would have allowed them to still get 7-8 yards to make it a much more manageable 4th down if they decided to go for it, instead of practically sending all 3 of their receivers into the endzone.

And what the heck has happened to Ovie Mughelli? Besides that TD grab vs. the Eagles (which was about as mundane as TD grabs get), he has been very very quiet this year.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTALS
Matt Ryan$11$2$0$0$0-$4$9.00
Julio Jones$0$0$8$0$0$0$8.00
Roddy White$0$0$7$0$0$0$7.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$2$2$0$0-$1$3.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Michael Turner$0$1$0$0$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0-$0.5$0$0-$0.50
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Antone Smith$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0-$1-$1$0$0-$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0-$1.5$0-$2-$3.50

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Four Falcons honored with All-Pro selections

January 24th, 2011 Comments off

The Falcons continued to garner postseason honors with four members being named to the Associated Press’s All-Pro team. Wide receiver Roddy White and defensive end John Abraham were both named first team All-Pros, while running back Michael Turner and fullback Ovie Mughelli earned second team honors.

White was also named to the PFW/PFWA All-NFL team earlier this month. This is the first time White has been honored by the Associated Press. He held the most votes among the wide receivers with 47 out of 50 AP voters casting him on their ballots. Abraham earned his 2nd 1st-team All-Pro honors, last receiving it in 2001. He received 21 votes for second most among defensive ends.

Turner had the third most votes among running backs with 8, but also received one vote as a fullback. Mughelli had 13 votes, second most among fullbacks.

Also receiving votes from the Falcons were kicker Matt Bryant, running back Jason Snelling, offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Sam Baker, as well as defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and cornerback Brent Grimes. Bryant received 4 votes out of 50 AP voters, fifth-most among kickers. Snelling received 1 vote, placing him seventh among fullbacks. Both Clabo and Baker received a vote each, with twelve other offensive tackles receiving more votes. Babineaux also had a single vote, placing him tied for sixth among defensive tackles. Grimes had 3 votes, seventh-most among cornerbacks.

Turner is All-Pro

January 9th, 2009 Comments off

Running back Michael Turner was the only Falcon player to be named to the Associated Press’s annual All-Pro team. Turner came in second place among voting at the running back position, garner 40 votes behind Adrian Peterson’s 45 votes.

Several other Falcons received votes however. John Abraham had 17 votes, coming in fourth place among defensive ends. Roddy White had four votes and was sixth in the voting at wide receiver. Fullback Ovie Mughelli, guard Harvey Dahl, center Todd McClure, and kicker Jason Elam eached garnered a single vote at their respective positions.

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Falcons sign Mughelli

March 2nd, 2007 Comments off

property of NFL Players.com Needing to upgrade the blocking at the fullback position, the Falcons targeted the player widely considered the best blocker in the free agent class.

Mughelli’s signing likely ends the tenure of Justin Griffith as a Falcon. Mughelli and Griffith were considered top fullbacks in the 2003 draft class. Mughelli was drafted by the Ravens 13 spots behind where the Falcons took Griffith.

In his first season as the starting fullback, Mughelli was touted for his hard-hitting and fierce blocking style. He caught 21 passes with 2 touchdowns, and also rushed 12 times for 50 yards (4.2 avg). He started 5 games in 2005, but mostly as a replacement for injured Alan Ricard.

Petrino’s offense prefers a more physical lead blocker than Griffith would provide. Mughelli gives the Falcons that. He is also a skilled special teams player, having recorded 30 tackles on special teams the past two seasons.

John Clayton of ESPN.com reports that Mughelli received a six-year contract worth $18 million with a $5 million signing bonus. It makes him the highest-paid fullback in the league.

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