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  1. Jonathan Massaquoi believes he has earned more snaps Nov 4 8:10AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons pass-rusher Jonathan Massaquoi didn't exactly voice his frustration in dramatic fashion, but he did make his voice heard in terms of looking for more snaps during the season's second half. Massaquoi actually put together a pair of strong performances against Chicago and Baltimore, playing 59 percent of the snaps against the Bears (43 of 73) and 76 percent against the Ravens (51 of 67). But in the last game against Detroit in London, his playing time actuall
  2. Mike Tice: Jake Matthews will be back to form in second half of season Nov 6 10:00PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- It's obvious Atlanta Falcons rookie left tackle Jake Matthews hasn't been himself since the start of the season. Matthews suffered a high left ankle sprain in the season opener against New Orleans, an injury that typical takes four to six weeks to fully heal. Rather than rest and recover, Matthews missed just one game and gutted out the last six contests while playing well below 100 percent. The sixth overall pick even tweaked the ankle again during a Wee
  3. Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis pondered the question for a few moments before revealing if any of his defensive backs had been a pleasant surprise through the first eight games. "Somebody that makes me go, 'Wow, I did not see that coming?' Our free safety," Lewis said, referring to Dwight Lowery. "He got hurt in training camp. He had a concussion. And so we didn't have a chance to see him very much in preseason. I didn't know what we were getting. I didn't know whether he could actually tackle or cover or do anything. "He's done a fantastic job. He's an older guy who has bounced a
  4. Falcons have yielded 600-plus yards on just 11 ultra-explosive plays Oct 30 8:55AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com It's one thing to give up a 20-yard gain. It's borderline ridiculous to give up almost half the field on a play in just about every game. Such has been an issue for the 2-6 Atlanta Falcons through the first eight games. They have surrendered 11 plays of 40-plus yards, which is tied for the league lead with the Houston Texans, according to ESPN Statistics and Information. Those 11 plays have totaled 607 yards. "It's been our Achilles' heel," cornerback Desmond Trufant said. "The m
  5. Falcons rookie James Stone has to be front and center Oct 19 10:00PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com BALTIMORE -- Atlanta Falcons center Peter Konz suffered what one source called a "bad" knee injury, meaning the team will have to prepare to move forward with undrafted rookie James Stone at the position. Konz was injured in the first half of Sunday's 29-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He was carted off the field and exited the stadium after the game on crutches. The source said Konz would not make the trip to London for the Falcons' matchup with the Detroit Lions. ESPN Insider Adam Caplan con
  6. Jonathan Massaquoi making impact with more playing time Oct 20 8:00AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com BALTIMORE -- Jonathan Massaquoi obviously didn't want to make too big a deal out of his performance on Sunday considering his Atlanta Falcons lost to the Ravens, 29-7. But there was no denying the significant contribution Massaquoi made in defeat. The outside linebacker/defensive end was as active as he has been all season, finishing with six tackles, a tackle for a loss, and two quarterback hits while also drawing a couple of holding calls. He was able to build on the momentum he gained dur
  7. Sunday, October 19, 2014 Falcons have no chance if offense continues to struggle By Vaughn McClure OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A while back, wide receiver Roddy White said he believed his Atlanta Falcons had enough firepower to average 30 points per game. White should have put this disclaimer behind his statement: only if Matt Ryan has adequate time to throw and get the offense into a rhythm. Such was far from the case during Sunday's 29-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. This high-octane Falcons offense looked rather pedestrian in scoring 20.3 points less than their season average. Ryan, who complete
  8. Sunday, October 12, 2014 Rapid Reaction: Atlanta Falcons By Vaughn McClure ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears at the Georgia Dome. What it means: The Falcons needed this one badly but instead dropped to 2-4. It was their third loss in a row and first at home this season. The Falcons won't be back at the Georgia Dome until Nov. 23 against Cleveland. That means their next four games are on the road, including a "home" game against the Detroit Lions in London (Oct. 26). Things look rather bleak for the Falcons moving forward. Stock watch: Mike Nola
  9. Sunday, October 5, 2014 Falcons blue over red zone inefficiency By Vaughn McClure EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The last thing a sulking Roddy White wanted to hear was anything about how he guaranteed that he would score a touchdown against the New York Giants. Especially after the Atlanta Falcons' offense missed out on two red zone opportunities in the first half, then got stuck in neutral for the final 30 minutes of a 30-20 loss Sunday. A couple touchdowns instead of field goals and maybe we're talking about ending a road losing streak at four instead of extending it to five. A pair of touchdow
  10. Peter Konz on the spot in rebuilt Falcons offensive line Sep 30 6:45PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Center Joe Hawley, with his tendency to mix it up with opponents, set an aggressive tone for the Atlanta Falcons from the very start of the season. The team will sorely miss that aspect of Hawley's character, maybe just as much as his consistent play. With Hawley shelved for the remainder of 2014 following an ACL tear, the onus is on former second-round pick Peter Konz to step in and maintain at least a solid level of play at the center position. Some might consider
  11. Thursday, September 25, 2014 Is Falcons receiver Julio Jones better than ever? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Vaughn McClure FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- If there were any doubts about how Julio Jones would perform coming off a second right foot surgery, the Atlanta Falcons receiver answer those doubts through the first three games. Jones currently leads the NFL in receiving yards with 365. He is tied for third in the league with 23 receptions, and he also has three touchdowns. Jones has a league-leading six receptions on passes thrown 20-plus y
  12. Sunday, September 28, 2014 W2W4: Falcons vs. Vikings By Vaughn McClure Here are a few things to watch as the Atlanta Falcons attempt to end a three-game road losing streak against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium: Devin Hester just set the NFL record for return touchdowns with his 20th against Tampa Bay last week. Now, he will face a Vikings team he tormented often while with the Chicago Bears. In fact, Hester has four career kick-return touchdowns against the Vikings, including a then-record setting 14th kick return score at Minnesota in December of 2010. Hester also set a
  13. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Raving about the talents of Devin Hester seems to be a weekly theme for the Atlanta Falcons. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter continued to gush about his newly discovered weapon Tuesday when asked about Hester increased role in the Falcons' offensive scheme. "The thinking is simple: All players usually get what they deserve," Koetter said. "Devin has played his way into more plays. I've told you before, when Devin signed here, I was thinking, 'Chicago didn't use him. Why are we going to use him?' And Smitty [coach Mike Smith] was talking to (wide receivers coach) Terry
  14. Matt Ryan: Julio Jones better than ever Sep 19 3:10AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had quite an impressive night himself in a 56-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, setting franchise single-game records for completion percentage (87.5 percent) and passer rating (155.9). However, he was more excited to talk about wide receiver Julio Jones than his own marks. Jones, showing no ill effects of an injured ankle he suffered last week in Cincinnati, caught nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, including a falling, over-the-shoulder 40-yar
  15. Corey Peters makes most of his snaps Sep 19 9:15AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com ATLANTA -- Lost in the hoopla surrounding record-setting nights by both Devin Hester and Matt Ryan was the outstanding performance by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters. In looking at the defensive snaps, Peters played 34 of the 60 possible snaps, or 57 percent. He ended up with a sack, four tackles for losses, and two quarterbacks hits in the Falcons' 56-14 thumping of the Buccaneers. Remember, Peters returned on a one-year contract this season after tearing his Achilles last December. If he continu
  16. Falcons should be thankful to have Hester September, 19, 2014 2:50AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com ATLANTA -- As he stood at the podium relishing his new NFL record for return touchdowns, an emotional Devin Hester acknowledged a handful of folks who helped him along the way. The Atlanta Falcons receiver/return man started by thanking God. Then he talked about how his mother, Juanita Brown, encourages him on a daily basis. "Every day before I leave the hotel, I call her and I get a prayer from her," Hester said. "She just motivates me to go out and do what this team is capable of doing and w
  17. Roddy White itching to get back Sep 19 1:34AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Observed and heard in the locker room after the Atlanta Falcons' 56-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Mike Smith said receiver Roddy White was close to playing after injuring his hamstring in last week's loss at Cincinnati. White himself was confident about playing in the game, and Smith implied White probably would have played had it been a Sunday game rather than played on Thursday. As White strolled through the locker room, he yelled out, "I'll see you all next week," as if to say he'll be ready to face
  18. Nolan: No defender playing at high level Sep 18 9:00AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan typically is brutally honest. Such was the case on Wednesday when he was asked to single out a defense player who has performed at a high level through two games. ``We don't have anybody on defense, to this point, that's playing at a high level,'' Nolan said. ``I think they all would say that they want to play better than they've played. Some have played better than others, don't get me wrong. But I think, to a man, I think they would t
  19. Falcons' Paul Worrilow tackles his misses Sep 16 6:10PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Glance at the NFL statistics this week and you'll see Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Paul Worrilow atop the league with 29 combined tackles. It would appear to be a significant accomplishment for a second-year player who came to the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware. But the only number Worrilow sees is four: He's counted four missed tackles for himself through the first two games. One was during Sunday's 24-10 loss at Cincinnati, when Worrilow and strong safety W
  20. http://t.co/N2DbKDZArK FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- To say Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith isn't pleased with the pass rush through two games would be an understatement. How could Smith be anything but discouraged after watching his team become the only one in the league to fail to record a sack after two games? One player got close, but defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux had a sack taken away by a defensive penalty versus New Orleans. And Babineaux is the only Falcon to record a quarterback hit, but that play still resulted in a 76-yard touchdown pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to rece
  21. Physical, mental flubs foil Falcons' defense Sep 14 9:02PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com CINCINNATI -- For a moment, Robert Alford seemed content to dip out of the locker room without uttering a word. Instead, the Atlanta Falcons' second-year cornerback showed his maturity and addressed the big play he surrendered in Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan sent safeties William Moore and Dwight Lowery on the blitz at Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on a third-and-6 from the Bengals' 26-yard line. It left Alford one-on-one against receiver Mohamed Sanu
  22. Falcons have to walk fine line vs. A.J. Green Sep 9 7:10PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- As the Atlanta Falcons prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals, contending with top receiver A.J. Green without picking up penalties will be a point of emphasis. During their Week 1 37-34 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons were whistled for two pass interference penalties, one defensive holding, and an illegal use of the hands. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 25 defensive holds, 15 illegal use of hands, and 14 illegal contacts were called league-wide
  23. Falcons OC downplays sideline move Sep 9 8:40PM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Maybe Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter didn't want to make a big deal about being on the sideline to start the season, but his quarterback certainly thought it worked to the team's advantage. Matt Ryan, coming of a franchise-record 448 passing yards, acknowledged the impact of Koetter's sideline presence during his weekly radio show on 680 the Fan. "Just something that Mike Smith and Dirk talked about and we kind of experimented with it during the preseason," Ryan explained
  24. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/8012/third-down-still-issue-for-falcons-defense FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Last season, the Atlanta Falcons had the league's worst third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 45.93 percent of the time. The numbers didn't exactly improve following Week 1 of 2014. During Sunday's 37-34 overtime win against New Orleans, the Falcons allowed the Saints to convert 8 of 13 on third down for 62 percent. That currently stands second-to-last in the league behind the New York Giants, who allowed the Detroit Lions to convert 10 of 15 (67 percent) on Mo
  25. Falcons snap counts: McClain plays plenty September, 8, 2014 10:35AM ET By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Note: Some of the snap count figures from Sunday's Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints game in terms of which players participated were inaccurate. The following figures take into account how the snap counts were calculated in the final game book as it was posted. Falcons nickelback Robert McClain wasn't overly concerned about Josh Wilson being listed ahead of him on the depth chart, and for good reason. McClain figured he'd get plenty of opportunities regardless. In fact, he was the first and
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