Posts Tagged ‘Peelle’

Falcons release Peelle

August 19th, 2011 Comments off

Aaron Wilson of tweets that the Falcons have reached an injury settlement with tight end Justin Peelle, resulting in his release from the team.

Peelle hurt his knee during the Falcons preseason opener against the Dolphins, and his future began to look bleek when the Falcons lured free agent Reggie Kelly out of retirement earlier this week to fill his roster position.

Peelle first joined the Falcons in 2008 as a reserve experienced in Mike Mularkey’s offense from their shared days with the Dolphins in 2006 and 2007. He wound up starting much of that season, replacing an injured Ben Hartsock and caught 15 passes. With the acquisition of Tony Gonzalez the following off-season, Peelle returned to his reserve role. He missed three games last season due to a sports hernia, but combined for 22 catches in 28 games with 16 starts during the past two years.

Peelle’s departure creates more opportunity for young tight end Michael Palmer to move up on the team’s depth chart. Kelly is set to sit out Friday’s preseason contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, making Palmer the favorite to be the primary backup to Gonzalez in 2011.

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Falcons add Kelly

August 16th, 2011 Comments off

FOX Sports Alex Marvez tweets that tight end Reggie Kelly and the Falcons have agreed to terms following a workout on Monday.

Kelly, 34, announced his retirement last week after passing on a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but has decided to resume his football career by rejoining the team that originally drafted him way back in 1999. Kelly spent 11 seasons primarily as a blocking tight end in the NFL, playing four with the Falcons and seven with the Bengals. He posted career highs of 31 catches, 340 yards, and 2 touchdowns during his second year in the league, but never exceeded those totals in the years since.

His role diminished last year with the Bengals using their top pick on Jermaine Gresham, after missing the 2009 season following a 31-catch year in 2008. In 14 starts last season with the Bengals, Kelly caught only 10 passes.

The Falcons are likely looking for blocking help at the position, since No. 2 tight end Justin Peelle is injured. The extent of Peelle’s injury has yet to be fully disclosed, although he is expected to miss this Friday’s contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

UPDATE: To make room for Kelly on the roster, the team announced it waived undrafted rookie WR P.J. Gore.

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Falcons looking for tight end help

August 14th, 2011 Comments off

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk cites a source that indicates that free agent tight end Anthony Becht was in Flowery Branch to work out for the Falcons. However, the Falcons did not extend a contract offer to him before leaving this afternoon.

The Falcons may be in the market to get some help at tight end due to a knee injury that Justin Peelle suffered during Friday night’s contest against the Miami Dolphins. Peelle is expected to miss this Friday’s matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Becht was a first round pick by the New York Jets in 2000, the last of four first round picks that included current Falcons defensive end John Abraham. Becht played five seasons with the Jets before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005. He spent his last two seasons playing with the St. Louis Rams (2008) and Arizona Cardinals (2009). He was part of the Cardinals final cuts last summer and has been out of football since.

Becht made his career as a blocker. He had a career high 40 catches for 356 yards in 2003, but averaged only 18.5 catches per season during his ten-year career.

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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 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.

Crumpler should end career in Atlanta

August 3rd, 2011 1 comment

Alge Crumpler

Last Friday, the New England Patriots cut ties with tight end Alge Crumpler. Crumpler’s blocking added quite a bit to the Patriots offense in their multiple tight end formations. Perhaps it is time for the Falcons to give Crumpler a call.

Crumpler was a fan favorite during his seven-year career in Atlanta, during which he made four Pro Bowls. When Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith came in and cleaned house back in 2008, Crumpler’s departure was one of the hardest to bear. He is a shell of his former self at this point in his career (only 6 catches last season), but he could still bring a lot of value to the Falcons lineup.

Crumpler is listed at about 275 pounds, which may be an underestimation in some regards. He functions primarily as a sixth offensive linemen these days. He was the third highest-rated tight end in run blocking last season according to Pro Football Focus, and outranking Justin Peelle in that category each of the past three seasons.

The issue with Crumpler, and it’s probable this is a reason why he was released by the Patriots is durability. He had extensive shoulder surgery last January, and he may not be 100% recovered from going under the knife. If that is the case, then re-signing him now doesn’t make a ton of sense.

But he’s definitely someone that the Falcons should give a call and see where he is in his recovery. If he’s close to being back, then it’s well worth the Falcons bringing him in to push Justin Peelle and eventually replace him as Tony Gonzalez’s top backup. A one-year veteran minimum deal for the 33-year old blocker is a good move. Peelle is 32 himself and entering a contract year anyway, so it’s not like you’re spurning long-term for a short-term gain. Peelle’s blocking abilities have diminished since 2008 when he first arrived  here. In 2009, he missed only 5 blocks. Last year, the number nearly doubled to 9. If the Falcons want to continue to run the ball effectively, and I assume they do, then they should be looking at other options for a blocking tight end.

Crumpler would be exactly that. He may only have another year or two left in him due to the rampant injuries that have slowed him down over the years, but if he had just one good year left, it would be great if he could use it to contribute to the Falcons. After all, if the Falcons refused to add a young heir apparent to develop behind Tony Gonzalez, perhaps they should go the opposite route and go old at the position.

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Camp Battles 2011: Tight End

July 12th, 2011 Comments off

There isn’t likely to be a ton of turnover at this position. Like some of the other offensive positions, the primary focus will likely be on getting Tony Gonzalez ready for the regular season.

Like quarterback, there may be an open competition for who serves as his primary backup. The Falcons are likely keen to see what progress, if any, Michael Palmer has made during this off-season. Palmer flashed ability as a reserve receiver, and any improvements he’s made as a blocker can go a long way to push incumbent backup Justin Peelle. As of the end of last year, Peelle was the superior inline blocker, while Palmer flashed a bit more of a skillset as an H-back. The Falcons make ample use of the two-tight end formation. That may decline somewhat with the introduction of Julio Jones at wide receiver, but it’s not going to be completely scrapped. Which means any competition between the two is important for the success of the offense.

Also in camp are Robbie Agnone and Marquez Branson. Neither player is likely to get a lot of opportunity to make headway as far as a roster spot. Although things could change with the introduction of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, under old rules, it appears both would be ineligible to make the team’s practice squad this fall. So in the case of both, they will need to shine in limited opportunities during the preseason and display enough upside that makes the coaches feel they are worth developing long-term.

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Week 14 Stock Report

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

More looks at which Falcon players have raised or lowered their play in recent games.

Stock Up

Jonathan Babineaux – After a slow start this season, Babineaux’s play has picked up to his usual standards in recent weeks. He’s played well this season and has made his presence and impact known throughout the year but he has not played at the consistently high level he played for most of last season. Recent games have indicated he might be back.

Brent Grimes & Dunta Robinson
– Both Grimes and Robinson had strong games against the Tampa Bay. Grimes is more notable because of his game-saving interception and an interception that was overturned. But Robinson also did his part and arguably had his best game in coverage since joining the Falcons. The Falcons pass defense has been one of their weaknesses throughout this season, but if Grimes and Robinson continue to play at a similarly high level it may wind up being a strength as the games start to get more dire come January.

Stock Down

Jamaal Anderson – After a relatively strong first half of the season, Anderson’s play has tailed off in recent weeks. He’s been practically invisible for much of the past month. Early in the season, he was making his presence known as a run stopper and an occasional pass rusher on his limited opportunities there, but in recent weeks his ability as a run stopper have been on the decline. And without it, there is not much else with Anderson.

Justin Peelle – While Peelle has may his presence known in the passing game since his return, his blocking seems to be much more iffy. The gap between the veteran Peelle and upstart Palmer seems to be have been closed. Before the argument would have been that Peelle is the more reliable blocker, but that reliability has not been apparent in recent games. And if it doesn’t return before the year is out, it may never do so because the Falcons might consider going with Palmer as the primary backup to be not so significant a roll of the dice as it may have appeared to be earlier in the season.

Abe and Spoon questionable vs. Rams

November 19th, 2010 Comments off
Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Team hopes to have both Lofton and Weatherspoon in lineup

The Falcons released their full injury report this afternoon, which listed defensive end John Abraham and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon as questionable for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams. Included on the report were also linebacker Curtis Lofton and tight end Justin Peelle, both listed as probable.

Abraham was the only one of the group that was limited in Friday’s practice with a groin injury. He was also limited on Thursday and did not participate on Wednesday. Weatherspoon who has missed the past four games with a knee injury, fully participated in Friday’s practice giving optimism that he will play this weekend. Peelle has missed three games due to a sports hernia, but fully participated in both Thursday and Friday practices. Lofton was limited on Wednesday with a knee injury, but fully participated in the past two days of practice.

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Peelle out 4-6 weeks with sports hernia

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

Jay Adams of Atlanta reports that Falcons tight end Justin Peelle will miss the next four to six weeks due to undergoing sports hernia surgery on Tuesday. Backup Michael Palmer will move up in the depth chart to take over for Peelle, who’s duties are mostly as a blocker, but he’s added value as a receiver. For the year, Peelle has 3 catches for 26 yards. Palmer has made catches in each of the past two games likely due to increased playing time from Peelle not being 100%.

Also on today’s injury report, running back Antone Smith was held out with a shoulder injury, suffered vs. the Eagles on special teams coverage.  Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon missed practice and has already been ruled out for this week’s matchup vs. the Cincinnati Bengals as he continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered in Week 5 vs. the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons have a bye next week, which should allow Weatherspoon an extra week to rest and recover. Stephen Nicholas is expected to continue starting in place of Weatherspoon.

Cornerback Dunta Robinson also sat out practice due to the concussion he suffered vs. the Eagles. He also received $50,000 fine from the league for his hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson that caused a concussion in both players. Robinson is appealing his fine. Due to league rules on concussions, his status vs. the Bengals won’t be known until he is cleared by an independent doctor. If he misses the Bengals game, Chris Owens is expected to be the starter.

Preseason Week 2 Stock Exchange

August 22nd, 2010 Comments off

It’s time to look at who’s stock is up and down after the second preseason game. The Falcons have just one more preseason game before they much begin to make roster cuts and decisions.

Stock Up

WR Troy Bergeron -
With the season-ending injury to Meier, the Falcons are likely in need for some roster help at this position. And right now, Bergeron is probably the only one of the “camp bodies” at wide receiver that has thus far distinguished himself in preseason games. He’s tied for the lead among all receivers with four receptions, including a nice run after the catch on a 19-yard score vs. the Patriots. Bergeron’s eligibility for the practice squad has expired, so the only way he can stick is to be on the team’s 53-man roster when all is said and done. And right now, he’s given the team the most to date to why he deserves over the other guys who actually can go on the practice squad.

TE Justin Peelle - Not only is Meier’s injury a potential boon for a player like Bergeron, it might also help Justin Peelle. With all the injuries and question marks the Falcons are facing at the wide receiver, there is no question as to what Peelle’s value is. And if those issues linger at wide receiver, the team may be forced to use a lot more two-tight end sets as the regular season begins. And Peelle thus far has shown that he is ready for the increased workload with 4 receptions thus far in the preseason, including 3 vs. the Patriots. To date, Peelle has caught more passes from Matt Ryan than Harry Douglas has, so relatively speaking he is a trusted option that can take pressure off the other receivers as the season nears.

DE Lawrence Sidbury – While Kroy Biermann has garnered most of the headlines and hype this summer, Sidbury has quietly done a good job pressuring the quarterback as well. He got a sack in what was essentially garbage minutes vs. the Patriots, but he’s shown a greater burst and quickness off the edge than he displayed last season and summer, and looks like he is well on his way to being a key contributor in the team’s rotation.

Stock Down

CB Dominique Franks -
This is not in reference to what Franks can do on defense, as he showed some improvement this past week vs. the Patriots in coverage. This is in regards to his special teams production. Franks is in the midst of a competition with Eric Weems over return duties, but thus far has been unimpressive. He has fair caught four punts, and his lone return vs. the Patriots was a 7-yard loss in which he looked amateurish, trying to run to break a big play but rather picking up a loss of yardage. This week vs. Miami may be his last chance to really shine and unseat the much more battle tested and consistent Weems.

S Matt Giordano – While Shann Schillinger made his preseason debut with a couple of tackles and a nice interception, Giordano premiered vs. the Patriots by being the victim on two bad plays where he was caught out of position. One of which resulted in a touchdown. While the fourth safety spot was likely always Schillinger’s to lose, Giordano did little to at least make it interesting and inspire confidence in the coaching staff that a veteran hand like his is necessary. Barring a brilliant performance next week vs. the Dolphins, and a flop on the part of Schillinger it would seem that the job is locked up.

RB Dimitri Nance – While he still may maintain a slight lead on Antone Smith in the competition for the fourth running back position, Nance did little vs. the Patriots to separate himself from the pack. Despite looking promising on two touchdown runs vs. the Chiefs, and thus far being the more reliable of the pair as a receiver out of the backfield, Nance’s fumble vs. the Patriots has made this battle much more even. And while some of the blame may rest on the blocking he’s received up front, his 2.1 yards per carry average is far from impressive. Especially when Smith has it practically doubled.