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  1. Dante Fowler credits learning how to be a pro as the biggest reason for why he was able to take the next step in his career Kelsey Conway ATLANTAFALCONS.COM REPORTER Despite the limited in-person interaction Dante Fowler Jr. has been able to have with his new teammates and coaches, he's made quite the impression. "He brings a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm," Deion Jones said of his new teammate. "I love his dog mentality." When Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn assessed their roster following the 2019 season, they knew they needed to bring in someone who played with an edge and could rush the passer. And that's why they felt comfortable signing Fowler to a three-year deal with a reported $48 million in March. Not only is the arrow pointing up in terms of Fowler's play on the field, his personality is infectious and exactly what Atlanta's defense needs. The Falcons finished the 2019 season ranked No. 29 in the league in sacks with 28. For the last two seasons, Atlanta has struggled to consistently generate a pass rush and that's why Fowler's acquisition could be viewed as the most important one of the offseason. Five years into his NFL career, it appears Fowler has found his footing in terms of the type of player and teammate he wants to be. Within the first few minutes of his Tuesday press conference, his confidence and excitement level was evident. Success hasn't always come easy for Fowler by any means. It took being in the right place surrounded by the right people for him to finally become the player he always knew he could be. Fowler credits "learning how to be a professional" as the biggest reason for his improved play in the 2019 season. In his second year with the Los Angeles Rams, Fowler recorded a career-best 11.5 sacks and tallied 58 tackles with 17.5 of them for a loss. The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft had the benefit of watching and working with Aaron Donald – arguably the league's best defensive player – on a daily basis for the last two years. From the way he, Eric Weddle and Ndamukong Suh watched tape and approached meetings, Fowler took notes. "I saw how they carried themselves as professionals and that's why they were All-Pro's and Pro Bowlers," Fowler said. AP Photo/ Ryan Kang Starting with the moment he suffered a season-ending ACL injury during his first minicamp practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars to being traded to the Los Angeles Rams in late October of the 2018 season, Fowler has proven no matter what adversity he's faced with, he'll find a way to succeed. Fowler doesn't shy away from expressing his personal expectations and what his definition of success looks like. The 26-year-old is aware his legacy will be defined by how many sacks he gets each season. "In order to be the best edge rusher in the league, you have to put up double-digits [sacks] every year," Fowler said. "That's my job, that's my goal to be consistent every year. I want to have more than 11.5-12.5 [sacks] every year." Fowler acknowledges how close he is to being a Pro Bowl-caliber player, and he also knows the opportunity he has now with the Falcons might be the best place for him to reach that level. Falcons coach Dan Quinn is praised for the way he features his players and the roles he puts them in to succeed. It's a perfect pairing in a sense for many reasons. Fowler wants to put his hand in the dirt and stand up and rush the passer and that's exactly what Quinn needs him to do. "I feel good … I know what my expectations are," Fowler said. "I know what I'm going to do, and I'm just ready to ride with my boys." Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and safety Ricardo Allen – two of Atlanta's best players on defense – have been impressed with Fowler's approach. "Being a teammate with him has been awesome and I look forward to him adding to our defense," Jarrett said. "I know he'll be able to do a great job for us and I'm ready to go wreck it up with him." Allen also noted the way he's seen Fowler interact with his coaches speaks to his professionalism. "To be able to see someone listen and say, 'Yes sir,' after he talks to every coach and try to do the things he may not be comfortable with, I can play with someone like that," Allen said. After months of uncertainty on all levels it appears one thing the Falcons will be able to count on is the best version of Fowler on a daily basis. "I still have some more work to do, I'm going to keep sharpening my knife every day," Fowler said. https://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/dante-fowler-jr-learned-how-to-be-a-pro-and-turned-his-nfl-career-around?fbclid=IwAR2PcIxAeM7ru9duBDX48JuZZ-0PavWIdwy_EV1Xjk75KXo665Bsbcq2nyM
  2. My brother's real name is LeRowne Harris. Me, him, my mom and my older brother, Wayne, all lived in the same house. 3317 9th Street. Unity Park, that's the name of our apartment complex. That was our thing. 3317. That's us. It was two bedrooms. My mom in her room and me and my two brothers all slept in the same bed. Two here, one at the head. Really just getting it out of the mud, for real. Rome, my brother, has four children, one daughter and three boys. I call them my kids. I tell people I have like four kids. I try to take good care of them as if they're my own. He was a great, caring father. He was a really, really good football player when he was young. The best kid in town when he was 8 or 9 years old, all the way up until high school. We played for the same little league team, Cataract Little Loop football. He had all of these records, and when I was coming up playing football it was always like, "Yo, your brother Rome was really like that." I could never see it. I'm looking at my brother like, no … y'all are definitely gassing this man. My dad would tell me he was everywhere. Everywhere on defense, everywhere on offense. He played running back and linebacker. He was a really good player. He did his thing, was probably one of the best players out there. He went to Niagara Falls High School and played his freshman year and sophomore year. My brother actually dropped out of high school in tenth grade and really just started trying to, where we're from, in that environment, trying to survive. Niagara Falls isn't the worst place to live but it's not the best, either. My brother was the example of being a product of your environment. I was young and my brother – that was my football role model, as far as who I wanted to be like as a football player. He literally put the football in my hands. "This is what you're going to do." He was supposed to, give or take, be "The One." He was better than I was when we were the same age, as far as like little league. He was supposed to be the one that was supposed to go do big things. My favorite memory was one time he saw me at the corner store where all the drug dealers and **** hangout. I was out there just chilling. I was walking, I wasn't even doing anything, and he made me go home. I was tight. I was crying and ****. I wanted to hangout. I wanted to be up there with my friends, or whoever I thought were my friends at the time. He was like, "No, go home." He always kept me away from that. Even though he was doing what he was doing, he always made sure that I didn't go down that path. My brother was like, "Your path is school and football. That's it." He made sure there wasn't another path. Whether he was in jail or not, he always made sure there wasn't another path I was going to go down. That's a memory of mine that I'll always remember, because if I didn't have anybody to tell me, "Yo, go home." There's no telling where my life could've gone. THE PROTECTOR My pops is the greatest father, but my brother was like another father figure. Stuff sounds different coming from your parents than it does coming from your sibling. My dad might tell me some stuff and I'm like OK, that's just my dad being my dad. But my brother, for whatever reason, I just had the upmost respect. Whatever he said, it was like, alright. Bet. He is the only person that I let, grown man, 19- or 20-year-old Qadree, call me "Qady." That's a childish name. My mom sometimes calls me that, and I'm like, "Mom. Don't call me that." If you know me know me, like from Niagara Falls, everyone calls me "Qad." That's what everyone knows me as, but my brother called me "Qady." I used to be like, "Rome, what bruh?" He was just like another father figure in my life to honestly keep me away from trouble. It's like, "Look, even though you may know or see something that I'm doing, I'm not letting you succumb." He kept us all the way away from that. My brother, in our family, was the protector and enforcer. Nobody messed with us because of him. That's just how it was. We were always good wherever we went. NEVER FORGOT MY 'WHY' My motivation when I was growing up were these two things: I always promised my mother, "Yo, I'm going to buy you a big house." That was my promise to my mom. My second motivation was getting my brother away from all of this madness. Get my family out of Niagara Falls. That's what drove me 99 percent of the time. I just felt like the only reason he was doing that was to survive. Being in Niagara Falls, the city sucks you up. I call it "the city where they don't make it out" because there are so many people that are supposed to make it out and supposed to go somewhere, but they don't. They just become another, "What if?" I didn't want to be that. It was like, "Yo, I'm going to get my moms a crib and I'm going to get my family and my brother away from all of this. We're going to be good." My thing was like, OK, to do that, I have to get to the NFL. Football was all I played. I didn't play another sport growing up. It was football 24/7 and that was it. I try to tell people, I just feel like wherever I am, I'm supposed to be here. At a young age, this was my goal. My "why" never really changed. I never forgot what my "why" was. OCTOBER 14, 2017 It was Pitt's homecoming. We were playing NC State. They had a really good team. ACC game, homecoming, big deal. My dad, little brother, my sister, all of my family came to the game. They were driving down. I want to say the game was at noon. October 14, 2017. I didn't know this until after, but my brother was actually killed at like 10 that morning. It's a three-hour drive from Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh. My dad and them found out on the way to the game and they didn't want me to know. My dad wanted me to focus on the game. I mean, who is going to play a game after they hear that? It was weird because I'm in the locker room, I'm super hype before the game and I'm listening to music, doing my thing. I didn't know why until after, but my coach came and took my phone from me. I swear. I'm like, "Dang, why is coach trippin?" He played it off. Coach LaSala, Chris LaSala. That's my dawg, that's my man. Out of all the people at Pitt, that's one of the top three most respected in the building. If Coach LaSala comes up to you and asks you to do something, you're going to do it. It was right before we went out for warm-ups, so I had no idea. I just thought coach was trippin. We went out, played the game, we lost. I don't even remember the score. After the game, Coach Narduzzi came and got me and told me my family was here. I was like, my family is here? Why the **** is my family in the locker room? I didn't think anything of it, because my dad is like that. He would always find his way down to the field. My little brother used to come in the locker room after the games because we would sign him up as a recruit. It was never anything new for my little brother to be there, but my whole family in the locker room? I didn't even know what was going on. I walked into a little office there and everyone is crying. My dad's exact words were, "Rome was shot and killed this morning outside of Coastal." It's a gas station. I used to go there all the time. My immediate reaction was like nah, nah, nah. I just kept saying, "Not my brother. Not MY brother." My brother was, to me, invincible. Any type of problem, he could handle. Nobody wanted to fight my brother. You know what I'm saying? My brother didn't take L's. Man, that was the first time I dealt with death that wasn't from a natural cause. My grandparents had passed away, but I never had somebody that I knew, that was really close to me that had been killed. This was my first time dealing with death where someone took the life of a person that I'd loved. I just kept saying, "Nah, you can't be talking about Rome." I remember crying and crying and crying. My family is in Pittsburgh, and being the person that I am, I wanted my dad to be able to go home. His son just died, he had to make arrangements, he needed to go home. I'm like, y'all go home and I'm going to stay here in Pittsburgh. Coach Narduzzi was like, "Do you want to go home?" But I wanted to stay thereEveryone at Pitt showed so much love. All the coaches, all my teammates, I'm forever grateful for them. They took care of me that day. I stayed in Pittsburgh before the funeral. We had a game that next week. I practiced the whole week. The game was on a Saturday and the funeral was that next Thursday. I went home for the funeral and we had a game the following Saturday. We were playing Duke at Duke. I had to go to the funeral on Thursday and fly out to Raleigh on Friday, the night before the game. THE WALK The only reason I remember everything about the funeral is because I wrote about the funeral. A lot of people don't know this about me, but I'm into poetry, writing, creative writing, just putting **** down on paper. Whatever is on my mind. It started with what I wrote after the funeral, then it turned into something that I started to do more and more. If I'm upset or down about something, I'll write about it. I have a little journal. I used it for more of a coping mechanism. Being who I am, I didn't want to put any more pressure on anybody. I didn't want to talk about it with my dad. Not because I couldn't, but because I didn't want to. I didn't want my dad to be worried about me. He's coping with it himself. My mother's coping with it her way. I didn't want to have to add more. I wanted everyone else to be strong, so I didn't want people to see me vulnerable. How do people not see me vulnerable? I had to be vulnerable with myself. The first thing I wrote, I was on the plane after the funeral to North Carolina after our game, and I just picked up my phone and wrote a "Letter to Death." Then a wrote another one titled "Walk," where I said, "Come with me on the longest walk of my life." I don't know if this is just me, but when I go to funerals, it's so crazy the difference being outside of the church and then stepping into the church. When you're outside the church, it's OK. You can breathe, but as soon as you step foot into that church it's like a wave hits you. I wrote all of this **** down. It's about this walk I went on. The walk was literally from the car to the aisle where the casket is. For whatever reason, that walk feels like it is forever. It's probably only 10 steps, but this **** felt like an eternity. It was never going to end. I wrote about that. Whenever I found out the news, yeah I cried, but honestly it was a lot of denial. The next day I woke up and I was fine. I was in denial because I didn't really feel it or want to believe it. When I went to the funeral, I literally had my dad, who is like 6 feet, 260 pounds and I had my uncle Steve who is 6-foot-4, 330. I had him on one arm and my dad on the other arm and I couldn't walk. I couldn't walk down the aisle. My legs were completely numb, to the point where they were carrying me. It was crazy. That's when it hit me. I was overcome by so much emotion. Seeing my mother like that, it was like ****. That **** is hard to put into words. It's not something you really can explain. The way I explained it in the piece I did was that it literally felt like waves. It's like, BOOM, one wave. BOOM, another wave. When I say waves, it's like the feeling you get when you get a "We have to talk" text. It's like that over and over. It's like your stomach is just turning and turning and turning. You're sick to your stomach the entire time. I remember that. One thing the pastor said that helped me days after, and even today, it's the only part of the funeral service I remember … he said no matter how dark the tunnel is, there is light on the other side. After that, my goal was to find what that light is. Something good has to come from this. FOCUSING ON FOOTBALL I played in the Duke game after the funeral. It was crazy. I wanted to. My coaches and Pitt put "RH" stickers on our helmets of my brother's initials. The crazy part is, our fullback got hurt. We didn't have a fullback, so I had to play fullback low key. My buddy Darrin Hall (pictured below), he had a record day. He had the longest rushing touchdown from scrimmage in Pitt history during that game. I was in on that play, I was blocking for him. He had a great day, like 200 yards rushing. We got the win, they gave me the game ball. I still have that. AP Photo/Gerry Broome That's why I stayed. I didn't go home the week we had practice because whenever I was at football practice, if I had any type of stress or emotion or emotional stress, I can get that out on the football field. If I would just have been home and around everyone that loved my brother just as much as I do, I feel like it would've taken me into a depressed state. I didn't want to be in that. I'm not going to lie, I blamed myself a lot. I had this whole plan with my mom and getting my brother out of the hood. I was mad at myself because I was like ****, I was too late. I didn't do what I needed to do to get to the league quick enough to get my brother away from this. I was a red shirt junior, so I had been in college for four years. I felt like I failed him in that way. That's how I was thinking the whole time. After all of this, a lot of it was me blaming myself. If I had done this, or I had done that. I felt like I could've prevented it. I was in a really emotional state for a while. One thing my dad hated is that I put so much pressure on myself. That's why I was thinking like that. I put so much pressure on myself to do everything right and take care of everybody too. But you can't take care of everybody, you can't save everybody. You can try. I still try really hard to this day. My dad tells me I can't put that much pressure on myself, but I still do. I feel like it makes me better. If I'm putting more pressure on myself than any coach or anybody can put on me … I have higher expectations for myself than anyone has for me. After that, it was like no shortcuts. That's what got me to this point. That was the light at the end of the dark *** tunnel. That summer I grinded hard as (expletive). THIRTY After my brother passed away, I started getting videos of him that I'd never seen before. Someone sent me a picture of him and he had on number 30 in a red jersey. I was like, oh ****, 30. I'm going to wear 30 next season. I texted Coach Narduzzi and told him I wanted to change my number to 30 to honor my brother. He was like, "Yeah, great call. No problem." I actually didn't tell anyone about it, not even my dad. I wanted it to be a surprise. When camp came around, my dad came to a scrimmage and when he saw me in 30 I told him it was my new number for Rome. He was rocking with it. That same summer is when I wrote the letter to the guy who was sentenced for killing my brother. My dad sent out a text to me and all my siblings. He was like, "Hey, the sentencing is on this day if you guys want to write something to say and sent it to me, I will read it in court." Nobody else wrote anything. The night before the sentencing, I was on the phone with my dad, and I was going back and forth with it because I was in Pittsburgh. I thought about it for a while and decided to write something. My dad said just to send it to him and he'd read it for me. I wrote it that night before our first day of camp. This is where people kind of mix it up, and I let people run with it and tell the story they want to tell, but initially, it wasn't a forgiveness letter. In the letter, I never once said I forgive the person. It was more so like, I don't hate this person. My uncle asked me a question years before this happened, he asked me if every life was precious? I thought about that **** hard. This made me think about it because, is a murderer, a rapist or any type of bad person's life still precious? I feel like being a man of faith and believing in God and trusting in God, yes, I do think every life is precious because we were made by God. God created us. That alone makes your life precious. Everybody gets to choose what they believe is right or wrong. Whether you agree with it or not, you still have that choice. You have these choices every single day and I think that's such a powerful thing God gives us, the power to choose. Another thing God teaches is love. Love thy enemies as much as you love your family or loved ones. Spread love and love everyone. Obviously, there's hate and evil in the world, but you can combat that with love. If you read the letter, it never once said I forgive you. It was never a forgiveness letter. I never even told anyone that, people just took it as, "Oh he's so strong, he forgave his brother's killer." Like nah. Never once was there an "I forgive you" in that letter. "I don't hate you," that's what it says. I remember saying I don't hate you, I hate what you did. I can't hate one of God's children. If anything, it's like, I'm going to show this person I don't hate them. I hope they become better from this. I hope they rehabilitate from this and find something that makes them a better person. When I wrote that, I went to sleep and woke up and felt like that was behind me. He was sentenced, the trial was over. I was so happy. It was a short thing, he took a plea deal for 25 years. I could focus on football. It was like I wrote that, it's done. Now I can close the book on that and start this new chapter of my life. A NEW CHAPTER I think I was a good football player before all of that. I was motivated, but this drove my motivation and my desire to succeed through the roof. That's why my senior season, not just football, but senior season of college and everything was so much fun. Everything was really good and that's because I was so locked into my future. I was happy each game, each practice and it was just mad fun. We went to the ACC championship and we won the Coastal Division that year. I had the most fun ever playing football. I felt like when I put on that 30, it gave me superpowers. I was playing out of my mind. It felt so good. Every single day in practice, when I put that jersey on, I felt like that's how superman feels when he takes his glasses off and goes from Clark Kent to Superman. Coming from the inner city of a place, when you get drafted, it's like everybody made it. The whole hood just got drafted. Niagara Falls, I love my city to death. People are always like, "Where would you rather live?" Niagara Falls is home for me. There's no place I'd rather be than home. That city embraced me. Everybody that was there wanted to see me succeed. When I got drafted, it was like, yo, everybody just made it. Everybody just got drafted. It was super crazy. The whole city was just lit. A NEW CHAPTER I think I was a good football player before all of that. I was motivated, but this drove my motivation and my desire to succeed through the roof. That's why my senior season, not just football, but senior season of college and everything was so much fun. Everything was really good and that's because I was so locked into my future. I was happy each game, each practice and it was just mad fun. We went to the ACC championship and we won the Coastal Division that year. I had the most fun ever playing football. I felt like when I put on that 30, it gave me superpowers. I was playing out of my mind. It felt so good. Every single day in practice, when I put that jersey on, I felt like that's how superman feels when he takes his glasses off and goes from Clark Kent to Superman. Coming from the inner city of a place, when you get drafted, it's like everybody made it. The whole hood just got drafted. Niagara Falls, I love my city to death. People are always like, "Where would you rather live?" Niagara Falls is home for me. There's no place I'd rather be than home. That city embraced me. Everybody that was there wanted to see me succeed. When I got drafted, it was like, yo, everybody just made it. Everybody just got drafted. It was super crazy. The whole city was just lit. WE DID IT Any time I get to put on that number, I always feel like he is with me. Every step of the way. I just feel like every touchdown I score, anything I did, it felt like me and him. We were both doing it. It's like he was there the whole time. Every time I run out of the tunnel, I say the same prayer, I ask him to watch over me and just be with me. Every single time. That's what I do right before kickoff every single time. I can only imagine the stuff we'd be doing if he was here. When I do something, it's like, "Yo, I know he would've (expletive) with that." If he was here right now, I'd just be like, "Bro, we did it." Something simple. Honestly, that's probably all that it would be. Everything we said we were going to do, we did it. It would be those three words. Me personally, by myself, I did nothing. Everything I achieved was because of "we" and everyone. He's a huge part of that. https://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/in-his-words-by-qadree-ollison?fbclid=IwAR1W9wFmwql8w_DaCaIMatcZiDqXu9I-X5g1vwwoUEmDF8O-jZrfcwxEbUs
  3. William B. Carver 9 hours ago The Atlanta Falcons were serious about bolstering the defensive line in the offseason. Among adding defensive line free agents and drafting more lineman, they also retained a key starter from last season. Tyeler Davison, the former Saints defensive tackle is coming back for his second year in Atlanta after a contract extension in March. Davison’s 2019 impact Davison played a vital role in the Falcons 2019 defensive line. He started 12 of 16 games, recording 55 tackles, 26 of those were solo and one sack. Davison was part of the defensive front that turned their defensive play around in the second half of the season under defensive coach Raheem Morris. Davison was a key element in the run stop and played a good amount of snaps on special teams. Davison’s 2020 outlook Like 2019, Davison will find himself playing a vital role up front along side Grady Jarrett. The defensive interior will be tasked with stopping the run and creating a pass rush. Davison will likely share the load with Deadrin Senat as well as rookie Marlon Davidson. If they can keep the opponent’s offense one dimensional that might free up newly acquired pass rushers Dante Fowler Jr. and Charles Harris. The pass rush will be the focal point of the 2020 defense . That may be more important now than ever with the NFC South adding another Hall of Fame quarterback. The added depth that Davison provides will allow coach Morris to rotate in fresh players on the defensive line for his various coverage schemes. Look for Davison to take a lot of snaps between defense and special teams. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-2020-season-preview-tyeler-davison-nfl-news-schedule-2020-updates-football
  4. William B. Carver 16 hours ago A familiar face is returning to the Atlanta Falcons. LaRoy Reynolds is back. The former Cincinnati Bengal, last played for Atlanta in 2017. Reynolds, a linebacker, has been a career special teams player and can provide depth and experience to a young linebacker group. 2019 Season Reynolds had a bleak 2019 campaign while playing in 15 games for the Bengals. He recorded six total tackles , five of which were solo. Reynolds took majority of his snaps with the special teams unit. 2020 Outlook Just like in his previous years, Reynolds looks to fill depth when needed but primarily will be featured among the special teams. Reynolds hasn’t had a high impact year since he played with the Falcons in 2016. Reynolds played 16 games and started 3 games totaling 30 tackles, 18 of which were solo. He also played in the playoffs that year and eventually the Super Bowl. So, he will be providing a level of experience that only Deion Jones has at the linebacker position. If anyone has ever heard Reynolds mic’ed up, you can see, he is a high intensity player. Reynolds spoke with reporters back in March about his return to Atlanta, “The timing was perfect, I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to relocate. I just take it as a blessing because I could have been anywhere like the last two years. Just to be able to be here again and feel like I’m home, it’s just a great feeling. It feels like I’m where I need to be.” With eight linebackers on the roster as of now, Reynolds is likely to make Atlanta his home throughout 2020. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/laroy-reynolds-atlanta-falcons-news-2020-season-preview
  5. Malik Brown 6 hours ago With so much success the Atlanta Falcons had in 2016, it was inevitable for them to go to the big game. All of their success came from help of the offense, which has been one of the best the NFL has seen the past decade. In the 2016 playoffs, the Falcons took down the Seahawks in the Divisional round, and then handled the Packers in the NFC Championship. Julio Jones went to work on the Packers that game, finishing with 180 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons then marched into Super Bowl 51 to face the New England Patriots. With the Falcons have the No. 1 scoring offense and the Patriots having the No. 1 scoring defense, it was bound to be a competitive game. For three quarters, it wasn’t competitive. The Falcons had all the momentum. With them being up 28-3, the game should have basically been over. Unfortunately, the Falcons ran out of gas and Tom Brady came alive. The Patriots stormed back, and the score was 28-20 with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Coming in at No. 1 in our top 11 Julio Jones moments, we have his amazing catch late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. How It All Started With the Falcons getting the ball back, the best bet for them was to run the clock out and kick a field goal. With 2nd and eight ensuing at the Patriots 49 yard-line, the line collapsed in front of Matt Ryan as he tried to find a receiver. As he scrambled out the pocket, he threw a deep pass near the sideline to Jones. With Eric Rowe draped over Jones and in position to intercept the ball, Jones went over his head and caught the ball. As he’s leaning out of bounds, he toe-tapped the sideline to make sure the pass was complete. The catch was probably one of the best catches ever seen in a Super Bowl, but it didn’t help the Falcons win the game. We all know the story too well, with the Patriots overcoming a 25-point deficit and winning the game in overtime. Regardless of the outcome, this had to be one of Jones best plays in his career. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-news-julio-jones-super-bowl-catch-highlight-patriots-2020-season
  6. Malik Brown Jul 4, 2020 2016 continued to be a great year for the Falcons offense. They broke records, outscored opponents by large margins, and looked unstoppable on some Sundays. Matt Ryan had an MVP season, also while throwing touchdowns to 13 different receivers in the process. Julio Jones was still Ryan’s favorite target that season, and they both made history one specific week. It all began week 4, when people around the NFL knew that the Falcons offense was no joke, and also realized Jones was probably still at the peak of his career. After only having one catch for 16 yards the week before against the New Orleans Saints, Jones came back the following week and put up 300 yards on the Carolina Panthers. Coming in at no.2 in our top 11 Julio Jones moments, we have his historic game in 2016 against the Panthers. How It All Started Ryan was on a mission to find Julio early. The reason may have been because of who was guarding him. James Bradberry didn’t stand a chance against Jones, as he beat him on comeback routes, streak routes, slant routes, and almost any play you can run. Bradberry then was injured, which means it was up to Daryl Worley to try and stop Jones. The Panthers made sure to have help over the top most of the time, but the way Ryan used his eyes to bring attention away to Jones helped. Not only was it Ryan’s eyes, but Jones exquisite route running helped him get past Worley. Both of those factors played into him being wide open down the field early in the first. Panthers In Trouble Once the Panthers realized Worley wasn’t the answer, they switched Bene Benwikere on Jones. That was the worst mistake possible. Out of all the corners that lined up against Jones that day, Benwikere got worked the most. Whether it was man or zone coverage, Jones continued to feast on the Panthers defense. Late in the fourth quarter with less than four minutes remaining, Ryan found Jones open on a crossing route. He gave Benwikere a slight stiff arm, and outran every other defender trying to catch him as he went in for a 75-yard touchdown that put the Falcons up 41-26. The Falcons won the game, and Jones finished the game with 12 catches for 300 yards and touchdown. A day later, Benwikere was cut from the Panthers. You hate to see it. Jones reminded us this day that he could whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-julio-jones-panthers-week-4-benewikere-highlights-2020-nfl-news
  7. Malik Brown Jun 30, 2020 As we’ve stated again and again, Julio Jones seems unstoppable. He does amazing things and you wonder if he’s even human at times. In this countdown, we’ve seen some big catches, big games, and big hits from Jones himself. 2015 started off well for the Falcons, but they ended up falling apart towards the middle of the season. Unfortunately, their division foe Carolina Panthers were having a historical year with an energized defense and Cam Newton having an MVP season. The first time these two teams faced each other that year, the Panthers obliterated the Falcons 38-0. They were undefeated all season, until they played the Falcons a second time around. Coming in at no.3 in our top 11 Julio Jones moments, we have the Julio Jones catch on the Panthers. How It All Started It was a grinded out game into the third quarter, with the Panthers leading 10-7. The Falcons were holding their own, but it seemed like all they needed was a big play to grab the momentum of the game. It happened with less than three minutes in the third quarter. The Falcons were lined up five-wide with Jones in the slot. Matt Ryan dropped back, but with pressure coming towards him he scrambled out the pocket. As he scrambled, he points at Jones letting him know the ball is coming his way. Jones is double covered down the field, but that didn’t seem to phase Ryan, nor Jones. Kuechly vs. Jones Ryan launched the ball downfield, and while it’s in the air, one of the defenders fell to the ground. Which means it was up to Luke Kuechly to stop Jones. With Kuechly in front of him, Jones went up and grabbed the ball. Kuechly fell. Jones turned around and sprinted his way into the endzone for an amazing 70-yard touchdown. The crowd was hype, the team was hype, and Jones was hype. So hype that he dabbed after the touchdown. The Falcons went on to beat the Panthers and gave them their first loss. Sadly for them, it had to come in the hands of one of the most epic catches during that season. If you thought that catch was amazing, wait until you see what we have left for our top two moments from Jones… https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-julio-jones-panthers-catch-kuechly-highlights
  8. Malik Brown Jun 28, 2020 The Falcons had a prolific offense in 2016. Under Kyle Shanahan’s system, the Falcons had the best offense in the league at the time, and nobody could stop them. It also helps when you have Julio Jones on your team. The Falcons went 11-5 that season and found themselves in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. We’ve seen what Jones is capable of doing when the bright lights are on, and he didn’t disappoint this time around either. Coming in at No. 4 in our top 11 moments from Julio Jones, we showcase his performance against the Packers in 2016. How It All Started The Falcons already held a 10-0 lead before Jones got going. In the second quarter, Matt Ryan dropped back for a play action pass and hit Jones down the middle of the field for 17 yards. A few plays later, Ryan found Jones down the field again on a play action pass for 20 yards as he tapped both of his feet inbound before falling out of bounds. With seven seconds left in the second quarter, Ryan hit Jones for a five-yard touchdown to put the Falcons up 24-0 heading into the half. What happens in the third quarter may have been the best play of the game. Play Of The Game On second and 8, Jones shrugged Ladarius Gunter off of him while catching the ball. Gunter then tried to tackle him and fell flat on his face. Jones ran down the sideline where he was met by another defender, but he stiff armed him as he fell flat on his face as well. Jones made his way into the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown. The Falcons went up 31-0 and looked like they weren’t turning their backs. The Falcons went on to win the game and the NFC title, and Jones finished with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Julio was amazing in this game and in 2016 alone, and two more of his top 5 moments come from this season. Stay tuned to see what they are…. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-julio-jones-packers-2016-nfc-title-highlights-
  9. The Atlanta Falcons love playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For the past few seasons, the Falcons have gotten the best of the Bucs. All with the help of Julio Jones. Not only do the Falcons get the best of them, but Jones has had some of his most impressive games against them. No matter who the Bucs throw at Jones, he’s going to get what he wants, whenever he wants. Week 12 of the 2017 season is a great example, as Julio went off for another 250+ yard game and manhandled the Bucs. Coming in at no.5 in our top 11 Julio Jones moments, we have his spectacular game against his divisional foe. A Game To Remember The Falcons were wearing their black throwbacks this day, which means good things were bound to happen. In the second quarter, Mohamed Sanu was in the shotgun for his patent “12 Gauge” play. He usually hands it off to the running back or takes it himself. Not this time. Sanu jumbled the ball in hands, got control, and launched a pass downfield to Jones in the endzone for a 51-yard touchdown. The best part of that touchdown was the celebration, as Jones played “red light, green light” with the Falcons offense. Jones wasn’t done there. 5 minutes later, Ryan threw a pass down the sideline to Jones as he tight roped and stretched his arms out to the pylon for a 25-yard touchdown. Jones continued to dominate throughout the game, doing it all for the Falcons. He caught passes from the slot, screen plays, and reverse tosses. He went over defenders’ heads for the ball, made them fall in the process, and made an embarrassment of the entire defense. The Falcons won 34-20, and Jones finished with 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns. This was his third 250+ yard game, as no other player in NFL history has had more than one. Jones continues to break the record books, and as we get down to the final moments you’ll see that more history is being made. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-julio-jones-tampa-bay-bucs-2017-highlights
  10. 6:00 AM ET Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer The Atlanta Falcons and coach Dan Quinn enter a pivotal, must-win season coming off back-to-back 7-9 campaigns. If the Falcons hope to be contenders, a potentially high-powered offense led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and newcomer Todd Gurley has to do its part. There’s a chance the Falcons could start 11 former first-round draft picks on offense, depending on if James Carpenter wins back the left guard job and Laquon Treadwell catches on as the third receiver. None of that really matters if the Falcons don’t move the ball and score points under offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Here’s a position-by-position look at whether the Falcons are better, worse or the same as the 2019 team on offense. Quarterbacks Additions: None Losses: None Returners: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Kurt Benkert, Danny Etling Snaps played 2019: Ryan (1,004), Schaub (92), Benkert (none), Etling (none) Better, worse or same? Same Ryan, 35, enters his 13th NFL season still playing at a high level, having thrown for 4,100 or more yards and averaging a 66.7% completion rate the past nine seasons. With Koetter entering his second season since rejoining the team, it should bode well for the chemistry between Ryan and Koetter and the progression of the offense. Ryan and the offense stumbled out of the gates last season as Ryan threw eight interceptions during a 1-6 start. Of course, having solid protection and a strong running game would help his cause, but Ryan knows he has to avoid turnovers and hit on more explosive plays. Schaub’s 460 passing yards in place of an injured Ryan (ankle) against the Seahawks last season showed he’s still a capable backup at age 39. Benkert, coming off injury, could push for backup consideration based on his arm talent and high confidence, but Schaub is the seasoned vet with 93 career starts. Running backs Additions: Todd Gurley (Rams), Mikey Daniel (undrafted) Losses: Devonta Freeman (free agent), Kenjon Barner (free agent) Returners: Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Qadree Ollison, Craig Reynolds, Keith Smith (fullback) Snaps played 2019: Gurley (750), Hill (225), Keith Smith (182), Ito Smith (137), Ollison (53) Better, worse or same? Better (assuming Gurley can stay healthy) Folks are anxious to see if Gurley, the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, can experience a resurgence after being released by the Rams. Well, it will depend on how the Falcons manage the former University of Georgia star’s health. Yes, Gurley passed his physical, but the Falcons are aware that there’s a left knee condition that needs to be monitored -- whether that means limiting reps in practice or in games. Gurley played in a wide-zone offense in L.A., so it would make sense for Koetter and the Falcons to move back toward that to ignite the running game and set up play-action. Gurley won’t have to carry the full load, and some players believed Hill deserved a shot to be the featured back based on his tough running and steady improvement. Ito Smith, who flashed during his first two seasons, told ESPN he was fully cleared at the end of January from last year’s season-ending neck injury. When healthy, Ito Smith is a great asset in the passing game and as a change-of-pace runner. Ollison is that big power back who could help in short-yardage situations, as his four touchdowns of 3 yards or fewer in 2019 indicated. Veteran fullback Keith Smith is an underappreciated blocker. Wide receivers Additions: Laquon Treadwell (Vikings), Chris Rowland (undrafted), Jalen McCleskey (undrafted), Juwan Green (undrafted) Losses: Justin Hardy (free agent) Returners: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Christian Blake, Olamide Zaccheaus, Brandon Powell, Devin Gray Snaps played 2019: Jones (763), Ridley (660), Gage (487), Blake (321), Treadwell (165) Zaccheaus (84). Better, worse or same? Same Jones’ yearly production, with six straight seasons of at least 80 catches and 1,300 receiving yards -- not to mention an NFL-best 96.2 receiving yards per game for his career -- proves why he’s such an elite receiver and arguably the best of them all. The sometimes-overlooked part of his game is his ability to draw added coverage and open up other opportunities for teammates to win one-on-one matchups. But the emergence of Ridley has created a pick-your-poison scenario for opponents, with Ridley’s speed, quickness and outstanding route running possibly elevating him to superstar status this season. Ridley just needs to stay healthy and shake off any timing errors that were part of his maturation. Gage obviously grew as a player last season after the team traded Mohamed Sanu. Gage can separate well but needs to improve at getting yards after the catch. The Falcons would like to see former Vikings first-round pick Treadwell find himself now that he's in new surroundings. Treadwell will have to perform well in camp to overtake Zaccheaus and Blake, with Zaccheaus maybe holding an edge right now among the three because of special teams. Rowland might end up being the surprise of the bunch with his return ability in a competition with Powell and Zaccheaus. Tight ends Additions: Hayden Hurst (trade, Ravens), Khari Lee (XFL), Jared Pickney (undrafted), Caleb Repp (undrafted), Losses: Austin Hooper (Browns), Luke Stocker (free agent) Returners: Jaeden Graham, Carson Meier Snaps played 2019: Hurst (435), Graham (195), Meier (24) Better, worse or same? To be determined. The sting of losing Hooper seemed to hurt a lot less when the Falcons acquired Hurst, who didn’t get a chance to live up to his full potential with the Ravens as Mark Andrews emerged as the top guy. Ryan has spent extensive time with Hurst this offseason and already offered the ultimate praise for his new target, saying, “He is, for sure, one of the fastest and most athletic tight ends that I’ve ever played with." Now it’s up to Hurst to show that he can do it consistently as the team’s primary Y tight end (more blocking responsibilities). Hurst is not a great blocker, but based on tape, he seems to at least make a good effort. Graham flashed last season and could spell Hurst on occasion. Both Lee and Meier have the opportunity to develop into the type of blocking tight end the Falcons thought they had last year in Stocker. The Falcons could use an offensive lineman in that blocking tight end role, with the NFL allowing that extra lineman on game day. Offensive line Additions: Matt Hennessy (third round/draft), Justin McCray (Browns), Hunter Atkinson (undrafted), Austin Capps (undrafted), Scottie Dill (undrafted), Justin Gooseberry (undrafted) Losses: Wes Schweitzer (Redskins), Ty Sambrailo (Titans) Returners: Alex Mack, Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, James Carpenter, Jamon Brown, Matt Gono, John Wetzel, Sean Harlow Snaps played 2019: Matthews (1,028), Mack (1,021), McGary (1,002), Carpenter (562), Brown (551), Lindstrom (253), Gono (39), Wetzel (18). Better, worse or same? Better With Matthews at left tackle, Mack at center, Lindstrom at right guard and McGary at right tackle, the Falcons should have four of the five starting spots settled for Week 1. The question is, who will start at left guard? Hennessy, believed to be the heir apparent to Mack at center, will begin his NFL career competing for the left guard job. Last year, the veteran Carpenter was the initial starter, but he didn’t perform up to expectations while dealing with injuries. Both Carpenter and Brown were significant free-agent signings before last season and neither panned out, with Brown falling into the doghouse by season’s end and Carpenter ending up on IR. Some believe Gono should have every opportunity to compete for a starting role at guard based on his steady progress or, at least, have a chance to be the swing tackle. The 34-year-old Mack, who remains the anchor, will evaluate his playing future after the season, with his contract expiring. Lindstrom, who came back from a season-opening broken foot as a rookie last year, is ready to take the next step in Year 2. Both Matthews and McGary have to do a better job in protection, particularly McGary against speed rushers. https://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/35385/better-worse-or-the-same-falcons-offense-counting-on-todd-gurley-hayden-hurst
  11. TIM DANIELS JUNE 26, 2020 Scott Cunningham/Getty Images Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said Wednesday the team's offensive talent is on par with the star-studded group that helped lead the organization to the 2012 NFC Championship Game. Ryan discussed the current weapons at this disposal, led by one of the NFL's best wide receiver duos in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, compared to that 2012 roster during an appearance on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast (via Will McFadden of the Falcons' official website): "We had a pretty good unit in 2012 with Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez—those guys were all pretty good. I've got to imagine that this is right up there with them. "You're talking about Julio in his prime, Calvin Ridley going into year three coming into his own. You've got Todd Gurley, who is hungry who wants to prove it this year. Hayden Hurst, another guy, first-round draft pick who just ended up in a spot where, the way they were running the football, it was no fault of his own [that he didn't have the stats]." Atlanta is coming off a disappointing 2019 season that saw the club miss the playoffs with a 7-9 record. The offense remained effective, however, ranking fifth in yards per game (379.7) and third in passing yards (294.6) thanks in large part to the trio of Ryan, Jones and Ridley. Devonta Freeman was the team's leading rusher at 656 yards, though. So the front office signed Gurley, the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, with the hope he could bounce back after lingering knee issues plagued his final few years with the Los Angeles Rams. The Falcons acquired Hurst in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to replace Austin Hooper, who signed a four-year, $42 million contract with the Cleveland Browns in free agency. A full-strength Gurley is an upgrade over Turner, who earned two Pro Bowl selections but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry during the 2012 season. That said, Hurst can't quite match Gonzalez, who posted 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns in the penultimate season of his career. All told, it's a fair overall comparison, though Ridley is still on a proving ground compared to White, a member of the team's Ring of Honor. "It's got to be right up there, I think so," Ryan told Long about the current Falcons offense. "I've been lucky, I've had some great guys that I've played with." Atlanta's outlook is still dependent on improvement on the other side of the ball, though. It ranked 20th in total defense (355.8 yards allowed per game) during the 2019 campaign. The Falcons used their first two draft picks on defensive players, selecting Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell and Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson, and signed defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency. Their high-powered offense paired with the upgrades on defense give them a great chance to post a bounce-back season, though playing in the stacked NFC South may limit their record's upside. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2897803-matt-ryan-says-current-falcons-team-right-up-there-with-2012-squad
  12. Malik Brown 14 hours ago Julio Jones is a man amongst boys. He can single handedly put the team on his back and keep them competitive throughout the game. 2014 was a year that the Falcons had an expectational offense, but the defense was probably the worst in the league. That means it was up to the offense, and Jones, to win them games. Coming in at no.6 in our top 11 moments from Julio Jones, we have his performance against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. How It All Started The Falcons didn’t have much of a fighting chance coming into this game. They were playing against one of the best teams in the league, and it was a cold weather game. If you didn’t know, the Falcons aren’t a good outside team. The odds were against them, but that didn’t stop Jones from going off on the Packers defense. Jones had 4 catches in the first half and was already nearing 100 yards at the end of the second quarter. It didn’t matter because the Packers were up 31-7. Second Half Heroics In the first play of the second half, Matt Ryan threw deep to Jones as he split two defenders and was eventually stopped at the Packers three-yard line for a 79-yard gain. The Falcons were able to capitalize and bring the Packers lead down 31-14. With the score being 34-17 to start the fourth, the Falcons offense had to act fast if they wanted to win. On first and 15 at the Packers 22-yard line, Ryan lobbed a pass up to Jones near the end zone, and Jones stepped in to make the score 24-34. Sadly, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense were hitting on all cylinders as well that night and scored a touchdown right after. Just Not Enough Jones continued his dominance with the Falcons down 40-24, but he was eventually slowed down towards the end of the game. That allowed other players to step up, and the Falcons brought the game within 6. If Jones could play defense too that night, they could’ve gotten the stop they needed at the end of the game, but the Packers were able to run the clock out to win the game 43-37. Jones finished the game with 259 yards and a touchdown, and it was the first of his 200+ yard games. Even though it came as a lost, Jones showed everybody in the league that he can take an entire pass defense by himself. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-news-nfl-julio-jones-alabama-moments-top-plays-highlights
  13. Getty Qadree Ollison #30 of the Atlanta Falcons. While you usually see NFL players thanking their parents for their success with their dream car, Falcons’ running back Qadree Ollison went above and beyond this Father’s Day. Ollison purchased a house for his dad to show his appreciation. “We love and appreciate you for everything you’ve done for us! You’ve sacrificed so much for our family! WE THANK YOU,” Qadree tweeted Sunday night. Ollison Made His Dad Feel Proud Qadree’s dad, Wayne, had no idea that he would be getting a gift this big and while he wished Qadree would have spent the money on himself, he couldn’t help but be excited. “I’m excited about him going out and doing that for me, but I always try to tell my kids that they should always try to build and do for themselves,” Wayne Ollison told Buffalo News. “The fact that he’s humble and the kind of kid he is, it makes me feel proud as a father that he’s willing to go above and beyond to make sure everyone is taken care of. “I work every day and do my own thing. The fact he sees that and wants to show his love for me, it makes you proud as a father that you instill something positive in him, that he’s doing something selfless.” Qadree Understood His Dad’s Sacrifices Wayne, a father of four sons and a daughter, made plenty of sacrifices while trying to get his kids the best education they could get and Qadree understood that. “It’s emotional,” said Wayne. “When you’re raising young men, especially, they understand the importance of doing things the right way. They may not always agree with you. Qadree had to make some sacrifices when I said, ‘hey, you’re going to a private school in Buffalo, because this is what is best for you.’ He was 14 years old and you’re telling him, ‘I’m taking you to a school in Buffalo where you don’t know people but this is what’s best for you.’ “Him understanding that and seeing how that played a part in being how successful he is, that makes you feel so good. I’m a blue-collar worker, and I made sacrifices for my children to go to school. It wasn’t easy. He understood that.” Qadree’s First Season in Atlanta Ollison will be entering his second season as a Falcon this year. Atlanta selected Ollison in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, with the 152nd pick. The 6-foot-2-inch, 228-pound rookie came out of the University of Pittsburgh where he ran for a total of 2,859 yards and 29 touchdowns. Ollison, mostly in short-yardage situations, looked promising last season after being inactive for the first eight games of the season. To sum up 2019, he rushed 22 times for 50 yards and four touchdowns. He should see the field me this season consider Todd Gurley will be closely monitored on touch count, giving Ollison and Ito Smith some more time in the backfield. https://heavy.com/sports/2020/06/falcons-running-back-buys-dad-house/
  14. Malik Brown 9 hours ago Before Julio Jones was known as the best wide receiver in the game, he was making a name for himself in just his second year in the league. The Falcons have always had a potent offense, but 2012 was a different beast. They had Roddy White, Julio, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, and Michael Turner. Pick your poision. This offense led them to a 13-3 season and a trip to the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. Julio knows when the bright lights are on, and at no.7 in our top 11 Julio moments, he gave the 49ers some problems. How It All Started Julio jumped right out of the gate with a 13-yard pass from Matt Ryan. Minutes later, Ryan found Julio wide open down the field for a 46-yard touchdown. From there, it looked like whoever was matched up against Julio this game would be in some trouble. From Dashon Goldson to Tarell Brown, nobody had an answer for him. On 3r and 10 late in the first, Ryan found Julio, but Goldson was in position to intercept the ball. Julio didn’t allow that, and snatched it out of his hand for the first down. But it gets better. Early in the second quarter, Julio made a double move on Brown down the field and caught a 20-yard pass with Brown draped all over him. The Falcons, and the crowd, had the Georgia Dome rocking as they went up 17-0 after Julio’s score. A Complete 180… Of course we all know the Falcons are bad at keeping leads, and the 49ers came back in the second half and won 28-24, advancing them to the Super Bowl. The last play of the game was a pass to Julio, but he was nowhere near the end zone to make a play. Despite a disappointing loss, Julio finished the game with 182 and two touchdowns, and his stock grew larger with his performance. From then on, Julio began to cement himself as one of the top receivers in the league. https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/atlanta-falcons-news-julio-jones-49ers-top-moments
  15. By Kelsey Kramer Updated Jun 20, 2020 at 2:56pm GettyTerrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens. 37-year-old NFL veteran, Terrell Suggs is still on the loose with hopes to play in the 2020 season and the Atlanta Falcons could benefit greatly by adding his experience to the pass rush. Adding a veteran that “old” might not seem ideal, but Suggs isn’t just any kind of veteran. Suggs, a Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer would bring a lot of knowledge to Atlanta. The Falcons have brought in an older vet before to show the rookies how it’s done and have been quite successful with it. In 2016, the Falcons snagged Dwight Freeney for on a smaller deal who helped turn the young defense around. That same year the Falcons made it to the infamous Super Bowl LI where they blew it but still, won a notable NFC championship win. The then, 36-year-old played 18 out of 19 games and had two starts. He played 415 snaps with four sacks. When Freeney who was a former first-round pick by the Colts in 2002 came to Atlanta, Falcons 24-year-old LB Vic Beasley had a breakout season and owed it all to Freeney’s mentorship. “He’s meant so much to me,” Beasley said of Freeney in an interview with ESPN. “Bringing him on this team and into this organization has been a great help. He just preaches a work-hard mentality and competes at a high level and the way to prepare yourself each and every week.” Beasley recorded a career-best of 15.5 sacks. Takk McKinley Could Benefit From Suggs Like Beasley The Falcons came to the conclusion in April that they won’t be picking up defensive end Takk McKinley‘s fifth-year option. Here’s what the Falcons said in their official statement on their decision: “We have decided to not move forward with a fifth-year option for Takk and at this time are taking a wait-and-see approach in terms of future contracts. Takk has shown the ability to produce at a high level and we look forward to his production in 2020.’’ McKinley now has to prove himself if he wants to stay in Atlanta and Suggs could act as a personal coach for him. The 24-year-old so far has recorded 16.5 sacks with a 7.0 career-best in 2018. Suggs has the ability to coach him to rack up even more as Freeney did for Beasley. Suggs’ Canton Worthy NFL Career After 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Suggs split last season between the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs where he ended the year with a second Super Bowl ring. With two tackles and one quarterback hit, Suggs contributed to the Chiefs’ 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers and his second Super Bowl win of San Franciso. After recording 6.5 sacks last season, the seven-time Pro Bowler now ranks 8th all-time with a total of 139. A one-year deal of Suggs’ veteran leadership would step up the Falcons’ pass rush game and help McKinley keep his job in Atlanta. https://heavy.com/sports/2020/06/should-falcons-sign-terrell-suggs/
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