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  1. link 3 Matchups to Watch During Falcons at Seahawks Posted 22 hours ago Andrew Hirsh atlantafalcons.com Twitter The Falcons will look for the their fifth-consecutive win on Sunday when they face off against the Seattle Seahawks. Here are three matchups to watch from CenturyLink Field. WR Jones versus CB Sherman Richard Sherman has yet to face a wide receiver this season of Julio Jones’ caliber. Likewise, Jones has not faced a cornerback as well-regarded as Sherman in 2016. If Sherman follows Jones around on Sunday — and reports say that’s likely — it’ll be the biggest individual matchup of the game. "Richard’s a great guy,’’ Jones told ESPN. "We hung out a few times. We have respect for each other’s games. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a great battle. He’s not going to shy away from competition, and neither will I. It’s going to be fun. It’s going be a great matchup. "Just a very intelligent guy. He studies a lot of film. You can’t give him any indicators pre-snap. He will take full advantage of that. And just his length and ball skills.’’ Sherman enters Week 6 with two interceptions, good for third in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, QBs have targeted him 20 times this season, completing only eight of those throws for 108 yards and a touchdown. Jones’ 517 receiving yards and three touchdown catches both rank third in the NFL. Atlanta’s front seven versus QB Wilson Russell Wilson has been hindered by a couple lower-body injuries this year, but following Seattle’s bye week, he said he’s “feeling great” and is expected to impact the run game. The three-time Pro Bowler averaged 607.5 rushing yards per season from 2012-15 and has proven he can burn opponents with his legs. It’ll be up to Atlanta’s front seven to contain Wilson — in the pocket and in open space. "He looks great and that’s a great sign for us,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said about Wilson. “The threat that he poses is always a benefit and has always been a benefit to our running game. He’s averaging one yard a carry right now, that’s not the guy we know. So as he comes back to full speed and he can be the factor, then it affects everything.” The Falcons linebackers will be important in pass defense, too. Tight end Jimmy Graham recently found his stride, registering 12 catches, 213 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. Seattle’s LBs versus Atlanta’s RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have combined for an astounding 1,000 yards this year, and 430 of them have come through the air. Both of Atlanta’s running backs are threats in the passing game — as the Broncos learned a week ago — and if Matt Ryan can get the ball to them on Sunday, the Seahawks will have a hard time slowing down the NFL’s most productive offense. Seattle linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright will likely spend a lot of time covering Freeman and Coleman. In four games, the two have allowed 24 completions on 35 targets for 222 yards, per PFF. “Teams usually split out running backs and send them on seam routes but never throw it to them,” Wright told The Seattle Times. “But this team actually sends these guys vertical and (Ryan is) actually looking at them like a number one target. “We definitely have our hands full. But it’s going to be fun for us.”
  2. may want to give a click but its posted below too http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/McClure-Mack-Has-Been-Unbelievable-for-Falcons/6fe85813-0836-4478-9e3d-e89a25b1db41 Andrew Hirsh: Thanks for taking the time to chat. Now that we’re five games into the season, what are your overall thoughts on the Falcons’ offense? Todd McClure: It’s just unbelievable, the weapons they have on offense and the way Matt is able to spread the ball around. It’s hard for a defense to decide who they’re going to try to stop, and when they try to stop Julio, he’s able to get it to Tamme and Sanu and the rest of those guys. And the running back combination — I mean, it’s just unreal. It’s kind of a pick-your-poison offense. Pick the guy you want to stop, and the rest of the guys are going to go make plays. It’s fun to watch. Really fun to watch. AH: The Falcons enjoyed a lot of offensive success during your career. It’s still early, but where do you think this group ranks among the offenses you’ve seen in Atlanta? TM: It’s got to be up there. Like you said, it’s early in the season, but, I mean, you look at where they’re ranked in first in the league. I can’t ever remember being first in that many categories. In 2004 we led the league in rushing, but they’re at the top of the league in a bunch of categories. And I hope that trend continues. AH: You know as well as anyone how important the center position is in the NFL. How have you felt Alex Mack has played so far? TM: He’s been unbelievable. Alex was a guy that I watched while I was playing. I would turn on game film if we were playing a common opponent, I’d see how he played against those guys. I love his energy. You hear guys talk about his focus and his leadership. I’m a little biased and think a lot of things start at that center position, and Alex is an unbelievable player. As you can tell, the offense is reaping the benefits. AH: Why do you think Mack is such a good fit in the outside zone blocking scheme? TM: Compared to a lot of centers, he’s an athletic, slender-built guy that can move. He knows his angles and is really good with his hands. And to run that zone scheme, you have to have a guy who can climb to that second level and get his hands on a linebacker. You watch Alex play, and he does that a lot. He’s able to get to that second level, and it creates those big runs. AH: How do you think his presence in the middle affects the guards and tackles around him? TM: It affects them a bunch. The center — I know it’s a cliche — but he’s the quarterback of the offensive line. When you’re confident in your center who you trust, when you’ve got one voice, and he comes up and he sets the protection calls and makes the calls at the line of scrimmage, everything just moves so much more fluid. Alex does a great job of that. AH: As someone who played with Ryan for many years, how much do you think it helps him to have that steady presence at center? TM: It helps him a bunch. The center can take a lot off the quarterback’s plate. I used to help Matt with watching the play clock, letting him know when it’s getting close. Because he has a lot going through his mind: Getting the play in through the earpiece, trying to call the play, making sure he has the right personnel in the huddle. And the little things — every little thing you can take off his plate, it makes it easier for him to go out and execute and get the ball in his playmakers’ hands. When he can trust that his center is going to put him in the right protection, get the right calls, then he doesn’t have to micromanage or worry. He can just do what he’s paid to do. And it’s obviously working well for him this year. AH: What do you think is the most important quality Mack has brought to the Falcons? TM: Just his leadership. I don’t know this for a fact, but you can tell — this is my observation — he’s a guy that studies a lot of film and knows his assignments and plays with a lot of confidence. When he goes out there and does that, it kind of spreads throughout the rest of the offensive line. They may see the way he studies film, the way he prepares, and sometimes when you do that as a leader of a group, the rest of the group will follow. And I’d imagine Alex is the same way.
  3. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/McClure-Mack-Fits-in-Perfectly/87b54d7d-3fc6-4501-829b-d62b88df36de
  4. A native of Rockdale County, Falcons DT Grady Jarrett has committed himself to improving his local community. That work was recognized this week at the Georgia State Capitol. When Grady Jarrett was coming of age in Conyers, Ga., State House Representative Pam Dickerson began using her influence to curb bullying in Rockdale and Newton counties. Currently serving her third term in office, Dickerson, a longtime friend of Jarrett’s mother, has teamed up with the defensive tackle to improve the area he once called home. Now a professional athlete whom kids can look up to, Jarrett has become a prominent voice at Dickerson’s anti-bullying rallies—including one at his old stomping grounds, Rockdale County High. Taking the advice he received at RCHS, Clemson and the Falcons to heart, Jarrett is motivated to encourage students to be themselves and treat each other with respect. In his mind, this opportunity was meant to be. “It’s been an amazing connection,” Jarrett said of his relationship with Dickerson. “I always had interest in doing work in the community, and with her having this platform and knowing me on that level, it was just a great partnership for me to be able to use as a platform to let everybody know what’s going on.” Jarrett’s endeavor received some well-deserved recognition on Tuesday, when Dickerson invited him to the Georgia State Capitol in downtown Atlanta. There, he spoke to the House of Representatives about his off-field contributions and the importance of fostering a compassionate environment in local schools. “It was cool to be able to speak to the leaders of the state of Georgia. It was awesome to let them know what I have going on,” he said. “I’m extremely thankfully to (Speaker David) Ralston and Ms. Dickerson for giving me the opportunity to speak to the House. “Hopefully some ears heard today. It’s been a blessing.” Dickerson, who recently passed the End to Cyberbullying Act—also known as House Bill 131—has known Jarrett for many years. Like his family, she’s taken great joy in watching him become a positive figure in the community. The two plan on continuing their joint effort in District 113, where they’ll keep spreading a simple, yet crucial, piece of wisdom. “The message, like I told them today, is just to love each other,” said Jarrett. “Be that light in a dark place. Have some random acts of kindness. Treat others the way you want to be treated, because at the end of the day, everybody just wants to feel loved.” Photo courtesy of the Georgia State Capitol http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Jarrett-Honored-at-GA-State-Capitol/064d70b9-397c-4c26-a646-15ef82b59966
  5. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Beasley-Breaks-Out-At-Opportune-Time/2972535f-001e-45ce-8f41-1368374ca1d1
  6. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/DT-Mbu-Impresses-in-Falcons-Debut/3246fbd8-655f-4790-9edd-18b0bbab9fcb
  7. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/LB-Wheeler-Enjoying-Fresh-Start-With-Falcons/65b4b243-aa23-4385-ba19-f848a020639a
  8. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Attention-to-Details-Helping-Allen-Succeed-at-FS/19c901c9-a325-4c67-b97c-0e73d3dbddfd
  9. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Five-Stats-to-Know-Through-Nine-Games/4fd8d1f1-a2d8-4209-9c0a-69ba1320e92e
  10. When Devin Hester joined the Falcons last season, many wondered if the best kick/punt returner in NFL history could still be an X-factor at 31 years old. Despite a record-breaking campaign in 2014—one that included 504 receiving yards, two TDs and a Pro Bowl nod—the same question is being asked today. Although this unease is warranted given the nature of football and how it takes a physical toll, Hester, now entering his 10th professional campaign, alleviated concerns on Friday by running back a punt 59 yards against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. His return set up a quick four-yard touchdown drive that gave Atlanta a 14-0 lead. Clearly, he still has it. Perhaps the most encouraging part about this highlight is Hester’s vision. No, he isn’t as fast as he was in 2006, but his ability to navigate the field allows him to remain a legitimate threat. His ability to shed tackles helps quite a bit, too. “On the second drive, the credit goes to Devin and the punt return team for setting us up down there,” Matt Ryan said, via ESPN.com. “We got the ball on the 3 or 4-yard line, whatever it was, three plays and we were able to punch it in." Another reason to believe Hester can be an X-factor in 2015 is the talent around him. Coordinator Keith Armstrong has, by almost every measure, consistently put together one of the NFL’s best special teams units. Friday’s game showed us why. Hester’s big return would not have materialized without a lot of help—specifically from Allen Bradford and Phillip Adams. Just as Hester eluded Tanner Purdum (No. 46), Bradford pushed Joe Mays (No. 53) out of the way, and by doing so allowed Hester to shift right and find a big opening. The former Bear didn’t have a clear path to the end zone, however. Once Hester broke free, Saalim Hakim (No. 19) put himself in position to make a stop. But Adams laid a technically sound block on the Jets receiver, which might have added roughly 30 yards to the return. Every time Hester catches a punt or kick, Falcons whom he can trust to open up lanes are scattered all over the gridiron. Eric Weems, Cliff Matthews and Robert Alford are among those who have proved their worth on special teams; based on the first two exhibition contests, Allen and Bradford should be able to do the same. And it’s not like Hester’s wheels have greatly diminished. According to NFL Network, his top speed on the aforementioned play was 22 miles per hour. For perspective: 22 MPH is equivalent to 10.76 yards per second. So while Hester may not be in his prime anymore, make no mistake—he still has a lot of value. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Hester-Still-an-X-Factor-for-Falcons/ffe21b78-4dd5-47f1-b33c-4d52020053a7
  11. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Durant-Prepared-to-Become-Rock-on-Defense/78aad4dd-ef4f-47b7-8331-c6b952275c76
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