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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 75 “Another One About Fantasy Football”

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

I am joined by Josh Gamez to talk a little about the Atlanta Falcons and a lot about fantasy football. We discuss whether certain Falcons players are viable fantasy options if you’re trying to win your league this year, as well as discuss some of the more interesting potential players to pick up this year at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Which rookies will step up? Are there any sleepers? Who’s overrated? Josh helps me answer all these questions and more in our chat.

Episode 75 – Another One About Fantasy Football [Download]

Duration: 45 minutes

Josh’s fantasy musings can be found at Fantasy FB Corner and you can find him on twitter: @gamez_time76

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

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.

Breakdown of Falcons Preseason Week 2 vs. Texans

August 17th, 2014 No comments
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Yates

Just like last week, I’m breaking down any and every player that stood out to me (or didn’t) in the Atlanta Falcons preseason loss to the Houston Texans. Since there are so many players, I’ve separated them by position group. Brew a cup of coffee and sit back, because we’re going to be here for a while.

Quarterback

What I Saw: It’s hard to be critical of Matt Ryan’s performance in this game. His numbers weren’t good, but he didn’t play poorly. He missed on the first big throw to Julio Jones down the sideline, throwing too far outside which made it hard for Julio to keep both feet in bounds. He then had two more incompletions because of what I’d call lackadaisical effort by Roddy White. His last incompletion wasn’t an ideally placed pass on an in cut by Jones, but more often than not, Julio wins in those sort of traffic situations.

The Falcons backup quarterback play was erratic at best, and just plain horrible at worst. Sean Renfree had a nice stat-line, but got help from defensive penalties that nullified a couple of bad throws and decisions. Renfree had a couple of overthrows and inaccurate passes that he should have hit on. But he fared much better than T.J. Yates, who had a very rough game with two picks. The first, a pick-six, I’d blame mainly on Julian Jones who didn’t even look for the ball on a miscommunication. The second pick was 100 percent on Yates. It was a 2nd-and-18, and Yates was looking for a first down from Jabin Sambrano, throwing late over the middle. Texans linebacker Max Bullough read the throw the entire way and made an easy pick. On that play, Yates had easier completions on check downs to Tramaine Thompson, Jerome Smith or Brian Wozniak that could have gained a few easy yards and set up a more manageable third down. Obviously, Yates got too aggressive and the Falcons paid for it.

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Falcons 2014 Training Camp: Day 12 Report

August 10th, 2014 No comments
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Lowery

The Atlanta Falcons returned to practice on Saturday, so let’s take a look at the various tweets, articles, reports, news and rumors that surfaced from the 12th day of training camp yesterday:

Vaughn McClure of ESPN has the skinny on Saturday’s practice, which saw the return of safety Dwight Lowery to the field. Lowery had been held out of practice for the past week days due to a concussion he suffered during the Friday Night Lights event. The team also welcomed linebacker Pat Angerer back, who was also nursing a concussion and missed six practices over 10 days. Both players’ returns should bolster depth at their respective positions as they have been problematic in the wake of both players’ injuries. Offensive tackle Terren Jones was also welcomed back from a concussion that sent him to the hospital last week although he did not practice, and worked with medical staff on the sidelines alongside defensive tackle Corey Peters.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, wide receiver Roddy White was held out of practice as he was given a day off. Per head coach Mike Smith, this off day was scheduled in advance of the higher-than-expected workload that White had in Friday night’s win over the Miami Dolphins. White was expected to play eight snaps, but wound up playing 18 due to the length of the Falcons opening drive. He led the team in receptions with four for 27 yards.

In other injury-related news, safety Kimario McFadden (shoulder) and linebacker Jacques Smith (head) also practiced Saturday despite exiting Friday night’s game with injuries. Linebacker Tim Dobbins injured his ankle against the Dolphins and is expected to miss a few days of practice.

Following practice the Falcons signed linebacker Darin Drakeford and waived kicker Sergio Castillo. Drakeford adds depth at inside linebacker despite the return of Angerer to the lineup. He’s a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Maryland that spent time on the practice squads of the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts last season. He was released by the Colts last December and has been out of football since.

Falcons Pull Out 16-10 Win Over Dolphins in Preseason Opener

August 8th, 2014 No comments

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan was nearly perfect in his lone series against the Dolphins

The Atlanta Falcons won their preseason opener in the Georgia Dome against the Miami Dolphins with a tightly-contested 16-10 victory. It halts the Falcons five-game preseason losing streak dating back to the summer of 2012, with their last win being over the Dolphins by a score of 23-6. It also marks the first time since 2010 that the Falcons have won their preseason opener.

Matt Ryan led the team and played only a single series. But he made the most of it, leading the Falcons on a scoring drive while completing all seven pass attempts for 53 yards. He later gave way to T.J. Yates, who completed seven of 16 passes for 127 yards. Sean Renfree also saw second-half action, completing six of 15 passes for 108 yards. On the ground, Devonta Freeman led the team in rushing with 50 yards on 10 carries. Jacquizz Rodgers added 20 yards and Atlanta’s lone touchdown on seven carries. Antone Smith also had an impressive game, although penalties wiped out two big plays of his, including a 76-yard scoring run. He finished with just five yards on his three carries. Roddy White got all of his work on the opening drive, leading the team with four receptions for 27 yards. Bernard Reedy led the team in receiving yards with 61 on a pair of catches. Freeman also had a single catch for 57 yards. Courtney Roby (two catches, 27 yards), Mickey Shuler (two catches, 23 yards), Levine Toilolo (two catches, 19 yards) and Maurice Hagens (two catches, 15 yards) also had notable contributions. The Falcons connected on all three of their field goal tries, with Matt Bryant hitting from 21 yards and Sergio Castillo connecting on kicks from 21 and 34 yards out. Matt Bosher punted four times for an average of 53 yards with one touchback. Castillo had a pair of punts for an average of 46.5 yards. Offensively, the Falcons were able to convert on eight of 17 third-down tries including all three attempts when the starters were in the game. The Falcons also finished with 372 total yards and had a relatively clean game with no turnovers. But they were penalized heavily nine penalties for a total of 82 yards.

Defensively, the Falcons did not look good on the opening drive against the Dolphins starters. They let Miami drive down the field on a 10-play, 73-yard drive for a touchdown. But otherwise, they put the clamps on the Dolphins reserves allowing just 229 total yards and conversions on just five of 14 third-down tries. They were also able to force a turnover which sealed the Falcons victory. Javier Arenas, along with Kimario McFadden, Sean Baker, Jonathan Massaquoi, Prince Shembo and Cliff Matthews tied for team-lead with three tackles each. Arenas added a pass breakup and a tackle for loss, while Baker also broke up a pass. Shembo had a sack and Massaquoi added a tackle for loss. Tim Dobbins (one tackle, one tackle for loss); Nosa Eguae (one tackle, one fumble recovery); Jordin Mabin (two tackles, one pass defended); Robert McClain (two tackles) and Paul Worrilow (two tackles) all had noteworthy games.

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Falcons 2014 Training Camp: Day 11 Report

August 7th, 2014 No comments
From Malcolm Johnson/WGXA

Dylan Hoyt and Roddy White. From Malcolm Johnson/WGXA

Let’s take a look at the various tweets, articles, reports, news and rumors that surfaced from the 11th day of Atlanta Falcons training camp yesterday:

Linebacker Marquis Spruill went down with an undisclosed leg injury yesterday and left practice.

Jay Adams gives us his five things from yesterday’s practice including Dezmen Southward’s return to practice from a knee injury. Southward had missed six days of practice since injuring his knee last week.

Vaughn McClure writes about his own observations from yesterday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters’ return from a torn Achilles might be improving.

Falcons will make a decision soon about whether to increase wide receiver Julio Jones’ workload. Thus far in camp, he’s been on the one day on, one day off practice schedule.

Of course, another fight broke out in camp, this time between former college teams, guard Mike Johnson and cornerback Javier Arenas.

Our good friend, Dylan Hoyt, who appeared on the FalcFans Podcast back in March, got the red-carpet treatment at camp yesterday. If you don’t remember, Dylan famously won a twitter bet with wide receiver Roddy White when Mercer upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament, and will receive Falcons season tickets this season.

Check out these photos from yesterday’s practice.

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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A Closer Look at Roddy White’s Contract Extension

July 30th, 2014 No comments

Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Roddy White

Details of the new four-year contract extension signed by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White have been revealed. White’s deal is a four-year deal that adds three more years onto a contract that was previously set to end after the 2014 season. The total worth of the deal is $23 million, but can be pushed to $31.5 million due to $8.5 million in potential escalators on his base salaries from 2015-17.

White’s deal included a $7.55 million signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed portion of the deal. From his previous contract, there is also $1.325 million leftover in prorated bonus money that will also count towards his 2014 cap figure. His new deal barely affects the Falcons 2014 salary cap. Prior to his extension, White was set to count $6.325 million against the team’s cap. This deal only nets the Falcons cap savings of $112,500 this season.

In 2015, White will receive a $500,000 roster bonus on June 3. He is also due per-game roster bonuses of $46,875 if he appears on the 53-man roster each week. That translates to mean that assuming White makes the roster (a very, very safe assumption) and is not on a reserve list such as the injured reserve, he will earn that bonus each week. Those are worth up to $750,000 if he is on the 53-man roster for the entire season. If White is active on the Falcons 46-man roster each week, he will receive additional gameday roster bonuses of $15,625 which could be worth up to $250,000 for the entire season. White will earn those bonuses if he is active each Sunday, basically dependent on if he’s healthy enough to play each week.

In 2016 and 2017, White’s gameday 53-man roster bonuses increase to $62,500 for season totals up to $1 million. His 46-man roster bonuses will be $31,250 worth up to $500,000 for each season.

Essentially, the deal makes it very likely that White will play at least the next two seasons with the Falcons. In 2016, the Falcons could potentially release a then 34-year old White and save $2.3625 million against their salary cap. The team could save up to $4.5 million in cap space if White is released prior to the 2017 season. The Falcons could release White next offseason, if they designate him a post-June 1 release in 2015 but that seems unlikely. There is a fairly good chance that White will play out the life of his contract, since his cap hits marginally increase from where it stands now. There is expected to be a significant increase in the salary cap limit starting in 2016.

Year
Base Salary
Signing Bonus
Roster Bonus
Gameday Bonuses
Cap Hit
Escalators
2014 $3,000,000 $3,212,500$0$0 $6,212,500 $0
2015 $2,200,000 $1,887,500 $500,000 $1,000,000 $5,587,500 $3,250,000
2016 $2,750,000 $1,887,500 $0 $1,500,000 $6,137,500 $2,625,000
2017 $3,000,000 $1,887,500 $0 $1,500,000 $6,387,500 $2,625,000
TOTALS $10,950,000 $8,875,000 $500,000 $4,000,000 $24,325,000 $8,500,000
Categories: Features Tags: ,

Ranking the Falcons 2014: No. 3 Roddy White

July 24th, 2014 No comments

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Roddy White

I’m counting down the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, and let’s continue with third-ranked player: wide receiver Roddy White.

To read the methodology I devised to rank the Falcons players, click here.

Total Score: 90/100

Last year’s rank: 4
Player Grade: 83/100
Teams he is starter: 32 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 25 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 32 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +1
Positional Bonus: +3

The ink is barely dry on White’s new deal that has been promised since last fall. If the market value I dictated earlier this week is accurate, then it means technically the Falcons overpaid for White. But that may be a small burden to bear to make sure the best wide receiver in Falcons history never suits up for another NFL team.

White’s protege in Julio Jones is considered an elite receiver because he dictates opposing coverage on a consistent basis, something that no longer is the case with White. But that doesn’t mean that White still doesn’t have a ton of value for the Falcons.

Over the last few years, White has morphed into the classic definition of a possession receiver. His primary duty is to keep the offense on schedule and keep the chains rolling. It’s why he has the fifth-most receptions of 10 yards or less over the past six seasons in the NFL. White is still one of the best in the league at this due to his sharp route-running and physical playing style that helps him win at the line of scrimmage.

Those traits may become more important in 2014 due to the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez was a huge asset for the Falcons on third downs and in the red zone over the past five seasons. White was also a huge piece of that puzzle, and alongside Jones will have to take on the bulk of the offensive burden in Gonzalez’s wake.

White still manages to stretch the field from time to time, but he no longer displays the track speed that led to his selection in the first round of the 2005 draft. Most of his big plays over the past few seasons have come against nickel corners, safeties or linebackers. Ryan has done a good job of finding those mismatches and exploiting them. He may have a tougher time doing that this season since Gonzalez’s departure likely will force defense to pay more attention to White.

But nonetheless, White should endure in 2014 as he works to rebound from an injury-riddled 2013 campaign. Hindsight offers us that perhaps the Falcons would have been better able to salvage their season had they rested White’s high ankle sprain at the outset of 2013. White did not appear to be playing at his normal level until a 10-catch, 143-yard effort against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13. But White showed his trademark toughness in trying his best to gut through the injury through the first five weeks, but he was largely a decoy and the Falcons offense could not quite capture their 2012 magic without him at full strength.

While a healthy start to 2014 for White may not get the Falcons offense to their 2012 level, it certainly will bring them a few steps closer as the Falcons strive to quiet naysayers with a playoff-run this season.

Categories: News Tags: , ,

Falcons and White Agree to New Contract Extension

July 24th, 2014 No comments
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Roddy White

The Atlanta Falcons announced what ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported, in that wide receiver Roddy White has agreed to a new three-year contract extension. White, who was entering the final year of his contract agreed to ink a four-year deal worth reportedly $30 million this morning. Other parameters of the deal including $10 million in guaranteed money, with $11 million payout this year and $18 million over the next two years, a substantial increase from those that I predicted Tuesday.

White will turn 33 this fall and this deal should lock him up in Atlanta through the end of his career. White, originally a first-round pick of the Falcons in 2005, is alongside defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux as the currently oldest tenured Falcons on the roster now that they are entering their ninth seasons with the team.

White is coming off an injury-riddled 2013 season where he missed three games. However, White did not appear fully healthy until the Falcons Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, where he caught 10 passes for 143 yards. White finished the year with 63 catches for 711 yards and three touchdowns, his lowest production totals since his second season. Prior to 2013, White had caught over 80 passes for at least 1100 yards and six touchdowns in six consecutive seasons from 2007-12. A four-time Pro Bowler, White has been considered one of the premier wide receivers in the league over the past seven years.

The Falcons had indicated as early as last November that they wanted to extend White’s contract rather than let him hit free agency next offseason. Contract talks were tabled at one point this offseason due to the team allowing White to deal with family issues stemming from the murder of his brother in May.

Categories: News Tags: ,