Tag:Atlanta Falcons
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:36 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:49 am

Monday Musings: How do you slow Brady?

BALTIMORE -- How do you slow down Tom Brady?

I asked that question to Baltimore Ravens corner Lardarius Webb.

"You have to try and confuse him," Webb said.

Good luck with that. Brady, like the other top quarterbacks, has a way of knowing where he's going with the football before the snap. He's great at those pre-snap reads.

The Patriots don't really stretch the field all that much, but Brady excels at getting the ball to the receiver or tight end with the best match-up. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and receiver Wes Welker are all good at winning against man coverage.

"Tom is playing excellent up there, and what they did to the Broncos last night, I think they sent a message to whoever was coming up there," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. " So, we’ve got our hands full and we’ve got to go up and get ready to play in the AFC championship.”

You can't expect the Ravens to stop Brady. They can only hope to slow him down.

 Look, I've stated my opinion about Tim Tebow's ability to play NFL quarterback the right way. I didn't need his performance against the Patriots Saturday night to convince me that he's far from being able to lead a team from the pocket. The Broncos gimmicked up the offense for him to help offset his inability to throw from the pocket. Until he learns how to do that, and throw into tight windows, there will always be doubts. He didn't lose that game to the Patriots. Hell, John Elway in his prime wouldn't have won that for the Broncos. But expect Tebow to be pushed in training camp by somebody. Or the Broncos will be in a lot of trouble moving forward. 

 The NFL considering full-time officials makes no sense to me. What they need to do is add an extra official on the field. The game is too fast now to just have seven officials on the field. One more would help compensate for the speed of the game advancing to where it is now. Plus, more passing means that the officials have to expand their focus to a wider perspective. So say no to full time officials, but yes to adding one more on the field.

 Lewis wasn't too happy that a Baltimore writer questioned the way he and Reed played the final few games of the season. He took exception to the criticism of their tackling. Truth be known, neither one tackled that well down the stretch. It's hard to believe after 16 years, Lewis still gets worked up over the critics.

 I love the hire of Dirk Koetter by the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator. Koetter and Matt Ryan will work well together. And for those worried about Koetter being too conservative, he was forced to be that way under Jack Del Rio. He often had game plans adjusted by the head coach. That won't happen in Atlanta. This is Koetter's chance to show how good a coach he can be. I bet he excels.

 I like the idea of the Miami Dolphins hiring Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He is a damn good coach whose time has come to be the top man. Zimmer is fiery coach, but his players love him.

 Fear the Texans next year. That is a talented football team. Who knows how good they could have been if Matt Schaub didn't go down? That defense can be special. They do have to decide what to do with Mario Williams? Do they tag him? That would cost $22 million. That's way too high, considering they played without him for most of the season and finished second in total defense. Rookie Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin are both good players at outside linebacker. If Williams hits the market, he will be by far the highest-paid free agent out there.

 Just a thought, but if Jeff Fisher is worth $8 million a year what is Tom Coughlin worth?

 The Saints might lose defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the Rams. He would join good buddy Jeff Fisher, the team's new coach. Here's what I wonder: Do the Saints really care? Williams loves to blitz, and he was undone by it against the 49ers Saturday. His defenses have struggled to defend the pass in New Orleans. 

 Did Alex Smith show what he could do when given the chance to throw against the Saints? Has he been held down his entire career? It's a legitimate question. Smith looked great in the fourth quarter and his last-minute drive was something you'd expect from Joe Montana. He was accurate, throwing into tight windows. Smith has always been a stand-up guy. It's nice to see him having some success. He's a class kid.

 Admit it. When you watched 49ers tight end Vernon Davis lighting up the Saints for 180 yards and the game-winning touchdown, you asked why he doesn't do that more? I think the 49ers need to get him involved in the offense more.

 Memo to those out there touting the Giants as a defensive team: They were eighth in scoring offense and 25th in scoring defense. They are an offensive team that has a pass rush. Period.

 Of the four teams left in the playoffs, the team that finished highest in rushing yardage was the 49ers. They were eighth. You don't run it to win anymore. You just don’t. 

Posted on: September 18, 2011 11:44 pm

Falcons save season?

ATLANTA -- You had them buried.

Called their 13-3 season a fraud. You were ready to mock me for picking the Atlanta Falcons to go to the Super Bowl.

They were down 10 points to the Philadelphia Eagles, couldn't deal with the Eagles offensive speed, had an offensive line getting whipped and a quarterback who looked jumpy.

Staring 0-2 in the face, the Falcons got a break. And they got a victory because of it, beating the Eagles 35-31 at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons won in large part because Mike Vick got hurt.

Vick, the former Falcons quarterback starting in Atlanta for the first time as an opponent, left with his team leading by three and driving to make it 10. They did make it 10, but he never returned.

He left with a neck injury.

The Falcons were rid of their pain in the neck.

And they rallied to prevent an 0-2 start. It wasn't easy, but that's the kind of victory that can keep your big hopes alive.

And keep my Super Bowl pick still a possibility.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 18, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 5:04 pm

Falcons Camp Talk

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the Atlanta Falcons made a big free-agent splash in 2010, signing cornerback Dunta Robinson, nobody could have imagined that he would have been the "other" corner on the roster last season.

But that's what happened. Brent Grimes, the scrappy, little corner on the other side, outplayed Robinson and ended up in the Pro Bowl.

So what's the reason?

It took a while for Robinson to grasp what the Falcons wanted him to do. They wanted him playing more zone than he had in Houston with the Texans. He played off more.

"Sometimes a new system, things that you're not used to, you have to fight through those things," Robinson said during a break from workouts with the Jaguars here. "I never worried about it. I knew things were going to get better, and they did. You just have to stay focused and keep on working. That's what I do."

Robinson, who sat out Wednesday night's practice with a sore hamstring, had one interception, which led to the critics. But he has responded so far with a good camp. He looks much more comfortable than a year ago.

The Falcons have the makings of a good secondary. Robinson and Grimes should be solid on the corners and William Moore and Thomas DeCoud form a nice tandem on the back end. DeCoud didn't play as well as expected last season, but the Falcons coaches think he can bounce back.

The concern right now is the nickel corner. Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks are competing for the job. The Packers picked on Owens in the playoff lost last season and there are many who think Franks will take the job.

---If you are looking for a breakout star for the Falcons, look at linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the team's 2010 first-round pick. He started five games and played in 11 as a rookie last year, but missed time with knee and ankle injuries and had some troubles early on with picking up assignments. He is working at weak-side linebacker this season after playing on the strong side in 2010. "It was a different year because I got banged up," Weatherspoon said. "With the year being in, I feel more comfortable. Sometimes you see things you've never seen before. I learned from that stuff. That will help me." Weatherspoon is a confident player who is also loud. You can hear him a mile away on the practice field. When the Falcons worked with the Jaguars, he was doing a lot of the barking. 

---Running back Michael Turner rushed for 1,371yards last season. He did so with a bad groin, an injury he suffered in the second week. "Just played through it," Turner said. He had surgery to fix the groin in the off-season and said he feels better than ever.  Turner came back in good shape and looked quick in the team's preseason opener.

---You have to love good pranks in the locker room. The Falcons got right tackle Tyson Clabo with a good one. Shortly after Clabo signed his new five-year, $25-million contract, some of his teammates made a mock ATM out of cardboard boxes and put it front of his locker. They even made a mock ATM card and listed his balance at $32 million -- the size of his signing bonus. Clabo, a hard-working, self-made player, will have to make due this year without good buddy, Harvey Dahl, who signed with St. Louis. Dahl, a right guard, played next to Clabo with the same nasty style. They would often argue about who was the dirtiest player. When I saw Dahl in St. Louis a few weeks back, he told me to send a message from him to Clabo. That message: "Tell him he's a ------," Dahl said. I relayed the message just the way Dahl told me to do so. Clabo laughed. The battle to replace Dahl is being waged between Garrett Reynolds, a converted tackle, and Mike Johnson. Reynolds has the early lead after Johnson missed time with a concussion. Reynolds, by the way, is considered a nasty player just like Dahl.

---Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is playing faster than he did last season. That's because he had both knees cleaned out. Lofton, whose plays dropped off some in 2010 after two good seasons to open his career, is clearly playing at a faster speed than last season. He was OK in 2010, but the coaches noticed that he wasn't as quick to the football. So Lofton had arthroscopic surgery on both knees and he looks ready to go.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 27, 2009 1:38 pm

Falcons want to keep Davis


 The Atlanta Falcons are trying to reach an agreement with defensive end Chauncey Davis, to keep him from going to another team.

 Davis, who was a backup defensive end for the Falcons last season, has some pass-rus skills that teams covet. He actually outplayed started Jamal Anderson last season, which is why the Falcons would love to keep him on the roster.

If the money gets out of control, the Falcons will let him walk. They do prefer to retain him.

That will not be the case with linebacker Michael Boley. Sources says the team told Boley that he would not be back, mainly because they were unwilling to pay him what he thought he could get on the open market.

Boley played well in 2007, but his play tailed off last season. He was expected to meet with the New York Giants Friday.

Category: NFL
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