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  1. Dan Quinn plans to have officials at Falcons practices Vaughn McClure, ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn has a plan for cutting down defensive penalties during the 2015 season. Quinn said he intends to have officials at practice regularly to make sure his players get a better sense of when they cross the line. Last year, the Falcons were whistled for 14 defensive holds and five illegal contacts, the two main points of emphasis in officiating. They gave up 11 first downs as a result of those infractions. Starting cornerback Robert Alford had four such penalties alon
  2. Falcons should be relieved to escape harsh punishment from NFL By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons were expected to get stung by the NFL. Instead, they got off somewhat unscathed. On Monday, the league announced a $350,000 fine and the loss of a fifth-round draft pick in 2016 as punishment for the Falcons for piping in crowd noise to the Georgia Dome over the past two seasons. Former director of marketing Roddy White, who was fired due to the incident, was determined to be directly responsible for the violation. Although no one else was cited for having knowledge of the situation
  3. Dan Quinn not panicking over nickelback spot By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons entered free agency with thoughts of upgrading the nickelback position. Right now, they find themselves without a reliable or experienced third cornerback to fill such a role. Last season, Robert McClain, Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas competed for time at the position. McClain signed with New England this offseason while Wilson and Arenas remain on the street after not being re-signed. The Falcons targeted Walter Thurmond from the New York Giants, but Thurmond ended up signing with Philadelphia. Falc
  4. Randy Gregory should remain on Falcons' draft board By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The news of the day, so far, is draft prospect Randy Gregory's admission to the NFL Network's Kim Jones that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine Gregory, from Nebraska, is one of the top-flight pass-rushers the Atlanta Falcons have kept a close watch on through the draft process thus far. They probably plan to conduct a private workout with him, if they haven’t already. And being that Clemson’s Vic Beasley and Missouri’s Shane Ray have visits lined up to Atlanta, there’s a strong possibility Grego
  5. Falcons riding with Southward, Godfrey at free safety -- for now By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn realizes he has to get the free safety position solidified, and for now, he'll do that by sticking with a couple of players currently on the roster. Quinn said the team has to ride with veteran Charles Godfrey and second-year player Dezmen Southward at the position. "No. 1, we have Charles and Dez we're going to talk about at free safety," Quinn said. "Both of those guys have history at the position. And we're going to continue to look, as we go through this draft, at
  6. Could Rob Housler be Falcons' answer at tight end? By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com A couple of tight end targets got away from the Atlanta Falcons to start free agency. Will another one end up elsewhere? A source told ESPN.com that former Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler "visited" the Falcons on Friday. It's unclear whether Housler remains in town or intends to sign. Discussions are ongoing, according to the source. The Falcons already watched Niles Paul re-sign with the Washington Redskins and Lance Kendricks re-sign with the St. Louis Rams. In fact, Kendricks said Friday he turned down
  7. Adrian Clayborn eager to earn it with Atlanta By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Adrian Clayborn knows he has something to prove. The former first-round pick of Tampa Bay flashed his potential in the past, yet didn't reach his own standards in four seasons with the Buccaneers. The defensive end began his career with 7.5 sacks in 2011, when he started all 16 games. Then, Clayborn tore his ACL in his right knee during Week 3 of the 2012 season. And last season, Clayborn played in just one game after tearing his biceps. Now, Clayborn is fresh off agreeing to a one-year, free-agent deal with Atlanta Fa
  8. Falcons hosting Morgan, Clayborn for pass-rush help By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons are putting together a plan to address their pass-rush woes. One league source confirmed that former Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan remains on his visit with the Falcons this morning, while another source said former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn is on his way to Atlanta to visit the team. Although it remains unclear if either player will agree to a contract, the Falcons need to at least corral one of the two. Getting both would be a significant upgrad
  9. Quiet Falcons will make their moves, eventually By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com While all the big splashes were going on around the NFL involving the likes of Ndamukong Suh and LeSean McCoy, the Atlanta Falcons remained relatively quiet during the start of the free-agent negotiating period. Word from various agents is the Falcons aren't going to pay top dollar for a pass-rusher, which has been the indication from the start, despite the pressing need. But the team will address the issue, maybe with a second-tier guy or two. Names such as Philadelphia's Brandon Graham, Tennessee's Derrick Morgan,
  10. Thursday, March 5, 2015 Clemson's Vic Beasley has NFL's attention By Vaughn McClure CLEMSON, S.C. -- Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is obviously a little biased when talking about his former teammates, but he sounded convincing when he made a bold claim about draft-bound pass-rusher Vic Beasley. "There's nobody that matches him in the country," Boyd said Thursday during Clemson's pro day. "I think that he's an instant-impact player in the NFL. People talk about [Florida's] Dante Fowler and how he could be the No. 1 defensive player taken. But I think it would be a mistake not to take
  11. How the McCoy-Alonso trade might affect the Falcons By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The big news this week, of course, was ESPN Insider Adam Schefter's scoop on the Philadelphia Eagles trading running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The move could have a ripple effect for the Atlanta Falcons, with the free-agent negotiating period set to begin Saturday. Linebacker is a priority position for the Falcons going into free agency, along with edge rusher and safety. The Falcons were expected to at least look into New York Jets linebacker David Harris. However, the vo
  12. Where Falcons stand with cap following release of Steven Jackson By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons cleared some cap space Thursday with the release of veteran running back Steven Jackson. Jackson had one year left on his contract. By cutting him, the Falcons saved $3.75 million in cap room. As of Thursday afternoon, before the announcement of Jackson's release, the Falcons stood $23,163,843 under what is projected to be a $143 million cap, according to ESPN Stats and Information. That number included the combined $1,442,500 cap figures for two players who signed extensions this
  13. Antone Smith: Who wouldn't want to be a Falcon? By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com He was no doubt the Atlanta Falcons' MVP through the first half of last season. Now, Antone Smith is just waiting to see what his NFL future holds. The diminutive running back, who has averaged 49 yards per scoring play on seven career touchdowns, continues to patiently wait for news on a new a contract. While nothing has been relayed to Smith personally just yet, word at the NFL combine last week was Smith indeed is one of the players with an expiring contract the Falcons have prioritized to bring back. But there al
  14. Dante Fowler looking forward to reuniting with Falcons coach Dan QuinnBy Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com INDIANAPOLIS -- University of Florida pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr., who was recruited to the Gators by new Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, said he is looking forward to reuniting with Quinn at this year's NFL combine. Fowler met with members of the Falcons' personnel department during his first two days in town, but he hadn't seen Quinn as of Friday morning. "I love him,'' Fowler said of Quinn, who was Florida's defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012. "Coach Quinn, he's a great guy. He took m
  15. Retired Ryan Clark to train Falcons Robert Alford By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford should get plenty of helpful advice from a knowledgeable source as he prepares for the 2015 season. Long-time NFL defensive back Ryan Clark, who officially retired from the NFL on Wednesday to become a full-time analyst for ESPN, will train Alford in Louisiana starting in three weeks. "All the advice and things I do have to offer him he's going to get, from helping him watch film to helping him understand where he was beat on certain plays, to how he can im
  16. Countdown to Combine: Atlanta Falcons RBs By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com A closer look at the areas the Atlanta Falcons could address in the draft. We got started Monday with a look at the pass-rushers, who are scheduled to work out Sunday in Indianapolis. Then we examined the receivers, scheduled to work out Saturday. Lastly, we'll dissect some of the running backs. Position of need: Running back. The Falcons need to upgrade in the backfield and that's likely to start with the release of veteran Steven Jackson. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan brings with him an emphasis on the outside
  17. Three things we learned at Combine: Falcons By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com INDIANAPOLIS -- The Atlanta Falcons tandem of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are scheduled to address the media at the NFL combine on Thursday. However, there was some scattered talk about the Falcons during the first day of access. Here are three things we learned about the Falcons from Day 1: Quinn is well-respected by other NFL coaches: Quinn has developed a strong reputation around the league, particularly for his work as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator the last two seasons. And
  18. How much will Falcons be willing to invest in pass-rushers? By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Everyone knows the Atlanta Falcons desperately need to improve their pass rush. Having the league's worst third-down defense and ranking tied for 30th in the league with 22 sacks in 2014 simply emphasized the point. The question is, how much will the Falcons invest to make the necessary upgrades to improve the pass rush? I asked owner Arthur Blank if the Falcons would be willing to pay a high price for a elite pass-rusher. "I think we've always been willing to invest whatever to get the best players we
  19. Now it's time for the Falcons to build Dan Quinn's roster By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- New Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn knows how to control a room. He's also savvy enough not to come across as a control freak. When asked Tuesday about being a first-time head coach, yet having the power to control the makeup of the 53-man roster, Quinn made a point of emphasizing that general manager Thomas Dimitroff would be his right-hand guy throughout the process. "Thomas and I are going to collaborate," Quinn said. "For he and I to be this close and connected, that was an
  20. Dan Quinn has final say on roster Updated: February 3, 2015, 1:31 PM ETBy Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- New head coach Dan Quinn will have the final say over the Atlanta Falcons' 53-man roster, owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday. Quinn, the former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator, agreed to a five-year deal to coach the Falcons on Monday. Blank said building the roster will be a collaboration between Quinn, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and assistant general manager Scott Pioli. The Falcons announced a change in the front-office structure in January that designated
  21. Cant post text but here is the iink http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/11683/players-excited-to-work-alongside-new-falcons-coach-dan-quinn
  22. Players excited to work alongside new Falcons coach Dan Quinn By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com Atlanta Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow knows plenty about his new head coach, Dan Quinn. Worrilow's friend and former college teammate at Delaware, Marcus Burley, played nickelback in Quinn's Seattle Seahawks' defense this past season. Worrilow already picked Burley's brain about Quinn. "Marcus had nothing but good things to say about (Quinn)," Worrilow said. "Energy-wise and passion and everything ... it's all positive. I'm excited just to get things started. I know everybody here is anxious to impr
  23. Quick glance at five early Atlanta Falcons' coaching candidates By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons began their head-coaching search Monday by requesting permission to talk to five coordinators: Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. McDaniels, Quinn, and Gase can be interviewed immediately due to playoff byes. Here is a quick snapshot on each: TERYL AUSTIN
  24. On Rex as our next head coach: I can't see how Blank doesn't hire Rex Ryan right away! I may be bias on my thoughts but in my eyes as a falcon fan when you add every problem we have Rex is the perfect candidate to turn this franchise back into a superbowl contender. However I am reasonable and I do understand why some fans hate the idea of Rex being our next coach: -He's not a good offensive coach -He's not a good offensive developer for young players or even veterans -His offenses have always seemed to struggle since he's been a head coach -Last he talks a bit too da** much But my counter t
  25. Background on Falcons' coaching candidate Rex Ryan By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com The Atlanta Falcons might have their most anticipated interview of any head-coaching candidate on Tuesday when former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan comes to town. Ryan Ryan is believed to be the favorite of Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who will make the final decision. Ryan's showmanship is sure to win over Blank, if it hasn't already. His brother, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, says he has more football knowledge than any coach in the league. The Falcons previously interviewed former Bills coach Doug Marr
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