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  1. 2020 Atlanta Falcons Preview: Marlon Davidson Jeremy Johnson Aug 10, 2020 Everyone knows why Marlon Davidson loves the sport of football. If you haven’t heard by now, Davidson spilled one of the most memorable quotes in recent NFL Combine history. “What I love most about the game is that I can literally go out there and hit a man consistently, and pound him, and the police won’t come,” Davidson told reporters in February. “That is really the best moment about ball, is to go out there and really abuse somebody, and then they won’t say nothing about it in the press or anything. It ain’t on no headlines, no handcuffs, no mugshots, no nothing. I’m out here just physically abusing a man.” He’ll need that attitude heading into 2020. Davidson joins the Falcons after being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft in late April. Davidson was primarily an edge player at the Auburn University. When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Davidson as the Falcons’ selection on draft night, he announced Davidson as a defensive tackle. Davidson fits the mold that the Falcons have tried to brand for their interior defensive linemen. Davidson has explosiveness to penetrate in the run game. He has the ability to pressure the pocket from the interior and edge. That versatility makes Davidson a candidate to find his way on the field early in his rookie season. Playing next to Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler Jr. bodes well as far as matching Davidson up in one-on-one opportunities on pass rushing downs. Davidson may be forced to split the early downs with veteran Tyler Davison early in the season. Davison was resigned after acting as a solid starter for the Falcons in 2019. The Falcons haven’t hit the practice field at all for organized team activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be an adjustment period for Davidson. The Falcons need his ability early on, but they won’t have to rush him along. As the season progresses, look for Davidson’s snaps to increase as will his production and effectiveness.
  2. Atlanta Falcons: Trevor Lawrence is worth a blockbuster trade by Jeff Benedict 1 day ago Follow @19JB80 Over the last 20 years, the Atlanta Falcons have made two blockbuster trades. While Matt Ryan has been the best quarterback in franchise history and will undoubtedly be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day soon, the Atlanta Falcons have to give serious consideration to making their third blockbuster trade before the 2021 NFL draft. No one has been a bigger fan or apologist for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan than myself whether it has been one the hundreds of articles I have written or on my former Atlanta radio show which aired on the Falcons flagship station. If you live in the Atlanta area and pay attention to high school football, you have heard about and seen Trevor Lawrence for that last six years. He has been labeled a can’t miss quarterback since he played his first high school game as a freshman at Cartersville high school, just 45 minutes northwest of Mercedes Benz stadium. Not only does a blockbuster trade make sense from a football standpoint for the Atlanta Falcons but it makes sense off the field for several reasons. Atlanta has a history of defending those that don’t have a voice. If you paid attention in middle school, high school or college during any of your US History classes, you know that one of the fundamental foundations of Atlanta is its rich history of civil rights and the countless people that have changed the world for the better. Over the last two months, Trevor Lawrence has used his platform to create a Black Lives Matter march as well as help his college football brethren have their voices heard as University presidents cancel college football. Trevor is not afraid to do what is right and be vocal in a way that not only helps those in need but does so in a way that makes sure that the message is received without any potential distractions. Local kid Professional athletes love to give back to the cities and areas that they grew up in. While he is not from metro Atlanta, he is isn’t too far away and understands the fans, the area, and what needs to be done in order to make the metro area a better place. Earlier in the pandemic, he got the NCAA to provide a waiver that would allow him to raise money via social media that was used to supply food to Bartow County and Clemson area food banks. The type of leader every franchise dreams about Not every gifted athlete is a natural leader and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when you draft a quarterback in the first round, you need him to be one. Looking at Trevor’s history, he is a natural leader that draws people in. He cares for people and realizes that the light he shines upon others is more important than the light that shines upon himself. Not only is he a generational talent on the field but he is a generational leader off the field and those two tangibles rarely align. Players want to play with guys like Lawrence and would flock to Atlanta in order to do so. Next: Three impact opposing players who have opted-out If the Atlanta Falcons have the chance to create a blockbuster trade that includes Matt Ryan and several first-round picks to acquire a quarterback like Lawrence, they would insane not too.
  3. Atlanta Falcons | Aug 5, 2020 By D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution During his Westlake High days, Falcons rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell showed his loyalty to the program during a coaching change. After coach Bryan Love left Westlake for Lamar County, some of the school’s top players considered transferring. Former quarterback Malik Willis and others bolted for Roswell High. Terrell, one of the program’s four top 250 prospects in Georgia, stayed put and played for new coach Kareem Reid. “That was big for me,” Terrell said Tuesday. “I didn’t feel like I needed to leave. There was no reason to leave. I was a leader on the team before they left.” The Lions went on to post a 10-3 season and lost to Willis and Roswell in the playoffs. Willis had committed to Virginia Tech, but ended up at Auburn. He played two seasons and transferred to Liberty. Terrell’s show of loyalty, along with his football skills, impressed the Falcons, who stress a family structure within the locker room. “Just staying there and holding the team down and showing that I’m staying down with the team,” Terrell said. “It meant a lot to the guys, and it meant a lot to me. I never even thought about leaving.” Without key players, the Lions rallied together and had a strong campaign, which included a playoff win over Lowndes, before Terrell went to Clemson. “We made it far in the season,” Terrell said. “We made it to the playoffs. We had a great season that year. Everything fell in place. We were really good.” Terrell went to have a stellar career at Clemson and helped the Tigers post a 29-1 record over three seasons. He finished with 107 career tackles, 20 pass breakups, six interceptions and forced two fumbles over 1,827 snaps in 44 games (30 starts). After starting left cornerback Desmond Trufant was released, the Falcons drafted Terrell with the 16th overall pick in the draft. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the team held a virtual offseason. Terrell, who signed his four-year, $14.3 million contract July 20, was on hand for the first two days of the strength-and-conditioning program Monday and Tuesday. So far, Terrell feels that he’s fitting in well with the team. “I’m just going to come in and learn the cornerback position, all of the other positions and just make myself play faster,” Terrell said. “Just going in daily and working. Just working every day and not making the same mistake from the day before. Just limiting the amount of errors, just getting better and don’t repeat the same mistakes.” Terrell passed his three COVID-19 tests and is getting used to wearing his mask. “Everything has been good, just trusting the process with the virus,” Terrell said. “Wearing our masks when we need to, when we are around each others keeping our distance. Just doing all of the five things right so that we can get on the field and everybody can be corona-free.” Over the offseason, Terrell did work out with some of new teammates. “It wasn’t (anything) mandatory,” Terrell said. “It was just something that we were doing, some of the guys. For me, it was more so just getting the playbook down. Throughout the virus, we just been having to get it virtually with our coaches. Since I was already in Atlanta, it was easy for me to get on the field with the guys and do the calls and actually do it in person.” That work has helped Terrell early in the training camp as he tries to blend in with the veterans. “We are just one tight-knit group,” Terrell said. “We just all communicate well. We are just getting the calls and everything down.” Things are going to start picking up after Aug. 16. The Falcons signed veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard and have dependable veteran Blidi Wreh-Wilson if Terrell can’t get ready to start without any exhibition games. Also, Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver are in the mix for starting spots. “The No. 1 goal going into this camp is definitely earning my keep, earning the respect of my teammates, competing every day and making my presence felt,” Terrell said. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and secondary/defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. have been coaching Terrell virtually. Now, he’s getting some face-to-face instruction in walk-throughs. “A lot of directing,” Terrell said. “Just telling me the ends and outs of the defense, as a person as well.” Their messages have been received. “Just coming and making an impact on the team, being consistent and being a leader, a young leader,” Terrell said. “Also, taking over, not completely taking over the defensive locker room, but also just having a good word and a lot of respect for my teammates.”
  4. By Jason Butt, For the AJC Players may not be in pads, and they may not be hitting. But for Dante Fowler, everything is still moving at a fast pace. Unable to work with his new team throughout the entire offseason, the Falcons defensive end still has absorbed plenty of new information about his new defense. But only now has Fowler been able to apply it on the practice field, albeit in a walk-through atmosphere. While the coaching staff has tried to simulate the installation process as best as possible during the virtual offseason, that’s not nearly the same as being able to act out the plays on the practice field. This week marked the first baby steps the Falcons were able to take to produce new muscle memory among their players. And as Fowler said, it’s a lot of information to process at once. “As far as getting in the playbook, everything is going super fast,” Fowler said. “It’s like the first day of camp. We’re on the field, but we’re going through walk-throughs. It’s going really fast. They’re drilling us and putting the pressure on us to know everything because we got to be on top of our stuff. We don’t have time to teach everything because the other stuff we already went through in virtual meetings. Now that we’re here, we’ll probably do a virtual meeting the night before, and the next day we’re walking through it at 8 o’clock in the morning.” Fowler signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Falcons this offseason with the hopes of bolstering a pass rush that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2019 with 28 total sacks. Fowler, who spent the past season and a half with the Los Angeles Rams, is coming off the best season of his five-year career, which saw him accrue 11.5 sacks. When it comes to his utilization in Atlanta, Fowler’s fit often has been likened to how he was used with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that drafted him third overall in 2015. That comparison has come up since former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley and Falcons coach Dan Quinn both came from Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle. However, Fowler said his role with the Falcons will be similar to how he was used in Los Angeles. Whereas the Jaguars had him rushing the passer from a three-point stance, the Rams opted for a more versatile role. Fowler expects to stand up as a rusher, move around the formation and be placed in situations to, “put my hand in the dirt and pin my ears back.” “The (Rams') coaches got all the potential that they could get out of me,” Fowler said. “They knew the good things that I could do, they knew what was going to put me in the right situations to be elite and a good football player. They weren’t stubborn. They knew whatever they could do to get sacks and make the team better, that’s what they did. I really appreciated them for that, to let me blossom and lead me to being the player I am going to be.” Falcons running back Todd Gurley knows what Fowler can bring to the table as a defender. In college, Fowler wasn’t afraid to scrap with Gurley during the 2013 game between Georgia and Florida, which ended in a 23-20 victory for the Bulldogs. The two got heated with one another during the game, which included a moment where Fowler was caught on camera poking his finger inside Gurley’s face mask. The two have since become friends and spent the past year and a half as teammates on the Rams. Wearing a red and white facemask during his virtual interview with reporters, Gurley said he is thrilled to have Fowler -- who shares the same Aug. 3 birthday -- as a teammate again. “I’m smiling behind this mask because that’s my guy,” Gurley said. “I’ve been competing against him since the Georgia-Florida days and to be able to share a birthday with him and be with the Rams last year and bring our talent all the way to Atlanta, it means a lot. … Always been a great teammate and always been a good guy and a great competitor, too.” Fowler believes he turned a corner in his career last season, seeing that in the four previous years before his 2019 campaign, he combined for 20 sacks. He began his career in Jacksonville with an ACL injury during OTAs and was never more than a third-down pass rusher with the franchise after that. Traded to Los Angeles during the 2018 season, Fowler became a rotational player on a Rams’ team that reached Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium but fell short against the New England Patriots. Last season, as a starter for the first time in his career, Fowler finally felt he was beginning to reach the potential placed on him as a third overall draft pick. Fowler’s goal in 2020 is to further validate his standing as someone who can be considered a premier pass rusher in the NFL. “This is what I have to do this year,” Fowler said. “This is the year to put (the criticism) to rest. I put that on myself. My first few years in the league I had some bumps, some growing and learning curves. That happens to the best of us. I’m happy it happened to me earlier than in my later years. “Some people out here have had a lot of great accolades in the beginning and probably didn’t know how to handle it. Now they don’t know how to handle it and you see what’s going on. I’m happy that it happened to be early in my career. So now that I know that already, I can be a pro for another 10 years.”
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