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  1. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/17401/multiple-ligament-tears-kept-devin-hester-sidelined-longer
  2. Falcons offense going nowhere fast Quinn's not happy with back-to-back losses Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The explanations continue to sound repetitive, but the solutions have yet to be found. An Atlanta Falcons offense expected to carry the team this season while the defense found its way is suddenly lost in the wilderness. A team boasting arguably the league's top receiver in Julio Jonesand maybe the league's most surprising player in running back Devonta Freemanhasn't scored more than 20 points in three straight games. And franchise quarterback Matt Ryan doesn't look like a $100 million player. And on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, a team ESPN NFL Nation reporter Paul Gutierrez said resembled an NFL Europe roster with three top cornerbacks out, the Falcons looked like they didn't know what in the world they were doing. But the world certainly knew what they were doing with a suddenly predictable offense. Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder even admitted the 49ers "figured us out." Considering how Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been praised for his brilliance, that shouldn't be the case. So how do the Falcons, losers of three of their last four games while averaging just 16.8 points per game in those contests, resolve their offensive issues? Veteran receiver Roddy White think he knows the answer. "I think we just have to play a little bit faster," White said. "We have to up-tempo the ball, get up to the line of scrimmage, run plays and not let the defense dictate what we do on offense, but we dictate what they do on defense." White, who has not been called upon much this season, noted how stagnant the Falcons have been offensively over the last five or six quarters. But it's been a little longer than that. They are 4 of 11 in the red zone over the last four games. And slow starts don't help, with the Falcons not scoring a first-quarter touchdown since Week 4 against Houston. "We're playing methodical football," White said. "Everything looks slow. The tempo's not up. You know what I'm saying? We've got to get ourselves in a groove. And I keep telling people we need to play ourselves into a groove, but we're not doing that. "One drive, we go out there and we play fast and we go down there right before the half and score a touchdown when we feel the pressure is on. And then we just come back out and be methodical and we run the ball and we throw the ball, then we have incomplete passes, a miss here or there, and then third-and-long. When you get in those situations, they just drop back and play zone, rush three people and tackle you before you get to the sticks. That's just NFL football. You've got to stay ahead of the chains. And if you don't, it's an easy way to get beat every week." At least the bye week will give the players a chance to reflect and make adjustments. "I think any time you don't play up to your standards, we're all going to evaluate what we need to do differently," Ryan said. "But from a playcalling standpoint, I thought Kyle called a good game. From a player's perspective, we've got to make it work, and that's always the mindset that I have." Ryan was asked about White insisting the offense needs to play faster and when that will actually happen. "I think it gets done during the bye week," Ryan said. "We have the opportunity to be critical and self-evaluate and find out what we're doing well because I think there are a lot of things we've done well. It's been nine weeks. We also need to find out what we're not doing well and either change what you're doing or just trying to get better at those things. "I think it will be a good opportunity for us, without having a game plan, to take a look at what we do and try and improve." With two games against undefeated NFC South leader Carolina and its suffocating defense still on the schedule, the Falcons better improve fast. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/17316/falcons-offense-going-nowhere-fast I think this article sums it all up. It shows the type of quarterback Ryan is. Ryan is going to run what is called and puts it on the offense to execute. Schraeder says it plain and simple that this Shanahan offense has been "figured out". If the Niners can figure out our offense, think about what a team like Carolina and their defense will do. We may not score at all against them.
  3. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/17169/desmond-trufant-says-falcons-defense-will-let-play-talk-against-49ers
  4. While in college, Hardy said, he never had a playbook.... Wow... FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- For six consecutive weeks, Atlanta Falcons rookie receiver Justin Hardy has been inactive on game day, despite the preseason talk of him being an integral part of the offense. He doesn't pout. He doesn't voice his frustration. The fourth-round draft pick from East Carolina simply goes about his daily business, working to enhance his game. "It's a growing process." Hardy said. "You've got to enjoy this process. Like I've said, I've been in situations like this, and I feel like I know how to handle the situation. I look at the positive in everything. It's a chance to make sure I know everything that I need to know so that when my name is called, I can ball." The Falcons obviously entered the season stacked at receiver, with seven on the 53-man roster. No one was going to replace Julio Jones, Roddy White or Leonard Hankerson, while Devin Hester and Eric Weems both were needed for special teams. Hester suffering a turf toe injury during preseason seemed to open an opportunity for Hardy in the slot, but Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan obviously felt more comfortable with Nick Williams, a player he coached while with the Washington Redskins. Hardy was inconsistent catching the ball during the preseason, but he still showed flashes. He even had a 70-yard punt return, which made you think he could replace Hester in the return game. Instead, the Falcons opted for Weems and Williams. So what did the coaches tell Hardy as the reason for him being inactive? "There is no reason," Hardy said. "It's just one of those things where I'm coming into a new system and I'm just trying to feel my way out." Like Hardy said, he's been in similar situations before. During his first year at East Carolina, he was the scout team quarterback. He finished his college career by catching an NCAA FBS record 387 passes, breaking the mark previously set by Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles (349). While in college, Hardy said, he never had a playbook -- which probably made the transition to the NFL much more difficult, particularly with the variety of route combinations in Shanahan's scheme. "Once you learn how to actually do it, when you know how to study -- like I said, I'm coming from a no-playbook system -- so once I got a chance to learn from the vets how to look over notes, how to look over the playbook, it started coming to me a lot better. Midway through training camp, I learned how to piece concept things together so when I know I have this route, this route complements that route." Hardy reiterated how much veterans such as White and Jones have helped him through the growing pains. "Everybody has helped me through the process," Hardy said. "They told me 'It's a business, but at the same time you have to keep going out there and showing the coaches you can do this. And when your name is called, just make sure that everybody knows you can do it.' "Definitely I showed something (in the preseason). At the same time, this is a team. This is a team sport. Whatever the team needs to go out there and win every time we play, that's what we've got to do." Based on coach Dan Quinn's words, Hardy could be inching closer to a debut, although nothing is guaranteed. Hester's expected return in Week 13 will affect the receiver depth. "I think as much as anybody, we have a Plan B in effect (where) we're trying to work a number of guys -- whether it's on the active roster or on the practice squad -- we kind of treat everybody as one big group, and he, for one, has made a huge improvement in terms of beating man-to-man, beating press at the line," Quinn said of Hardy. "He's chomping at the bit to get his opportunity." http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/16818/falcons-rookie-justin-hardy-patiently-waiting-for-his-chance
  5. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/183370/undefeated-falcons-even-not-at-their-best-still-playing-winning-football
  6. Falcons Brooks Reed (groin) could face surgery; Jake Matthews (back) still sidelined The Falcons had hoped pass-rusher Brooks Reed would immediately contribute to their defense. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said left tackle Jake Matthews and outside linebacker Brooks Reed have been ruled out for Thursday's final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens because of injuries. Reed, who has been dealing with groin and hip injuries since signing a free-agent contract with the Falcons this offseason, is supposed to get a second opinion on his latest groin injury. Quinn said the second option will determine if surgery is necessary, although the team is not ready to go that route just yet. Reed initially said he didn't need surgery. "We certainly are concerned," Quinn said of Reed's injury. "So we're just trying to get it right in terms of him getting the strength back to feel like it's just in the right spot. ... He's got such a toughness and edge-setting pressure. We're just trying to get him where he's feeling at his best." Reed, who last played with the Houston Texans, signed a five-year, free-agent deal that included $9 million guaranteed. If he has groin surgery, that could jeopardize his season, depending on the severity. Fellow newcomer O'Brien Schofield is listed as the backup at strongside linebacker behind Reed. As for Matthews, Quinn addressed the back situation. "I'm not going to go there until they tell me to," Quinn said. "We always have, 'OK, what could be down the road?' But I'm more the other way like, 'He's going to be good,' until he's not." Quinn did not rule out any other player for Thursday night, although wide receiver Roddy White won't play and is still on the mend following arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow. White is expected to resume some type of activity next week with padding protecting the elbow. Running back Devonta Freeman, who has yet to play in a preseason game after straining his right hamstring the first week of training camp, is unlikely to play Thursday night as well. Freeman continues to experience a little pain when he attempts to cut, although he's participated in practice this week. Also sidelined during Tuesday's practice were wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester (turf toe), linebacker Justin Durant (foot), tight end Tony Moeaki (ankle), and running back Antone Smith (hamstring), among others. Linebacker Joplo Bartu (quad) had a helmet on at the start of practice, then went over to a side field for exercises with the athletic performance staff. Also, the Falcons made their 75-man roster limit by the 4 p.m. deadline by reaching an injury settlement with former second-round pick Peter Konz, a center/guard out of Wisconsin. Konz, who recently had knee surgery and was placed on IR last year with an ACL tear, started 28 games in three seasons with the club. Konz was in the final year of his contract and due a base salary of $879,345 this season. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/15529/falcons-brooks-reed-groin-could-face-surgery-jake-matthews-back-still-sidelined
  7. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/175449/falcons-show-pass-rush-potential-behind-vic-beasley-adrian-clayborn
  8. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/15155/rookie-vic-beasley-devin-hester-help-jump-start-falcons-against-jets
  9. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14816/bryan-cox-on-atlanta-falcons-line-were-going-to-send-a-wave-of-people
  10. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14799/falcons-veteran-guard-jon-asamoah-braces-for-demotion
  11. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Jalen Collins didn't make any excuses. The Atlanta Falcons rookie cornerback knows he has struggled so far through training camp. The tongue-lashings he's routinely gotten from secondary coach Marquand Manuel only reinforce the fact. "You just handle it the way you handle any tough practice: take it with a grain of salt, get on the film, see what you did wrong and try to correct it," Collins said. So what has been the biggest issue hindering his play? "It's really all about the eye discipline," Collins said. "If you put your eyes in the wrong place, your body's going to do the wrong thing. You just have to be disciplined with your eyes." Such wasn't the case for Collins last week when he got torched back to back by Leonard Hankerson and Devin Hester in 1-on-1 drills. No one expects Collins to be a lockdown guy on every play, but those two instances illustrate how far he has to go. "When you mess up on the little things over and over, it does get a little bit frustrating," Collins said. "But you've just got to calm yourself down and keep going." His encounters with the team's top player, Julio Jones, also have been an education. "It's really definitely a learning experience to see what other great receivers are going to be like around the league," Collins said. "Going against him, I just try to do my best every time. I try to take something away from it every time." Collins came to the Falcons as a second-round pick out of LSU. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound defensive back possesses the ideal size and length to develop into the type of press cornerback Falcons coach Dan Quinn desires. But Collins already had one obstacle working against him after failing multiple drug tests in college. He said those matters are behind him and he has the support of team owner Arthur Blank. Collins also had to overcome a pre-draft foot surgery, a procedure which limited his offseason participation. He started to feel himself again at the end of minicamp. Now, Collins has to prove himself worthy of serious playing time alongside Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Many assumed Collins would surpass Alford playing on the outside, but Alford's strong offseason and start to training camp would indicate otherwise. As the Falcons prepare for their exhibition opener against Tennessee on Friday, Collins appears to be the fourth cornerback behind Trufant, Alford, and likely nickelback Phillip Adams. "They haven't worked me at nickel any, but just kind of watching and seeing, you kind of learn it," Collins said. "If they need me in nickel, I'll be more than happy to play it." Assistant head coach Raheem Morris, the defensive pass game coordinator, talked about how Collins has handled his struggles. "As a young corner, you see this all the time," Morris said. "You get into this league and guys get faster; routes get more crisp. When you're in practice, you've got to go through the growing pains now. Better now than later. "He's taken (the criticism) like a champ. He's a coachable kid. We loved everything about him in the draft process. Hopefully we can get him going in the right direction." http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14789/falcons-rookie-jalen-collins-learning-on-the-fly
  12. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14716/falcons-oc-kyle-shanahan-staying-patient-with-offensive-line
  13. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14570/falcons-matt-ryan-looking-forward-to-establishing-run-game
  14. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14559/confident-altlanta-falcons-cornerbacks-feel-ready-to-take-on-anyone
  15. vaughn mcclure ‏@vxmcclure23 4m4 minutes agoFalcons sign guard Pierce Burton and cut Harland Gunn
  16. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team remains interested in free-agent offensive tackle Jake Long, who worked out at the facility this week. The Falcons need more depth along the offensive line, particularly at tackle. Long, the first-overall pick in the 2008 draft, is coming of two ACL surgeries. The four-time Pro Bowler also visited the New York Giants and Denver Broncoswithout immediately signing a contract. "I think we're interested in everybody -- not just one specific player -- but anybody ... that can help us perform better. Jake was certainly someone that came in and had an awesome workout here. So Jake, amongst others, are always guys that we're going to keep looking, keep finding ways to compete in that way, too. Every way we can try and make our team better, Thomas (Dimitroff) and I together are going to constantly do that." How the Falcons' offensive line will come together for the regular season remains a question mark. Starting left tackle Jake Matthews (Lisfranc) and starting center Joe Hawley (ACL/MCL) were back on the field coming off significant surgeries. However, both were limited during full-team drills. Starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder suffered what Quinn called a "strain" early in Friday's practice and was held out the rest of the day. Guys such as left guard Mike Person, center James Stone, and right tackle Tyler Polumbus ran with the first team during the practice. Veteran newcomer Chris Chester got some late work at right guard after starter Jon Asamoah rested. Asamoah is coming off a serious ankle injury, but did participate. Quinn spoke about the dynamic of limiting reps for players coming off injury while still trying to develop chemistry in a new, outside-zone blocking scheme. "I think the first thing, it's for the players first," Quinn said. "Let's make sure that we're going to ease them back in terms of a rep count. They'll go just as hard on the plays. They might not go as many. And then we'll add to them as we go. It's kind of line getting acclimated back into something. "For those guys on the offensive line, I couldn't have been more excited to know how hard they worked to rehab. Now that process has begun to get them back fully underway." Quinn and the coaching staff will get a better feel for how the offensive linemen are adjusting to the outside-zone scheme when the Falcons put the pads on Monday. The Falcons have one lineman on the physically unable to perform list: tackle Lamar Holmes, who suffered a broken right foot during minicamp. Holmes remains on crutches and in a boot. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/172845/dan-quinn-says-falcons-still-interested-in-tackle-jake-long
  17. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Although the running back battle between second-year player Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman is sure to be a storyline throughout training camp, Coleman downplayed the significance following Friday's first day of camp. Freeman remained with the first team, while Coleman and Antone Smith worked behind Freeman. Coleman is focused on adjusting from the college to the NFL game . He's already gotten some advice from two established players he worked out alongside this offseason at Bommarito Performance Systems (South Florida):Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. ``It was real good just learning from those guys,'' Coleman said. ``It was real nice to have someone who has done great in the league to learn from.'' Their advice? ``Just have confidence on your back and keep on finishing, and working hard every rep,'' Coleman said. ``That basically what you've got to do.'' Coleman talked about the offense, particularly the offensive line and adjusting to the outside-zone blocking system that relies on running backs making one cut and exploding through the hole. The running game really won't get going in full until the Falcons put the pads on, possibly as early as Monday. ``There's going to be some bumps and bruises, but they're going to pick it up and they're going to get it right,'' Coleman said. ``I'm just here to help them do that.'' Here are a few quick-hitters from practice: Wide receiver Julio Jones said the sight of him getting medical attention midway through practice was nothing to be concerned about. He said he simply was getting his left ankle re-taped. ``You saw me running out there,'' Jones said, indicating all was well. Rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley was a little gimpy at the start of practice. Beasley said he cramped up while on the kickoff coverage unit. ``It was rough,'' Beasley said with laugh, referring to his special teams work. ``[Returner] Eric Weems, he ran across the field, so I had to open up a little bit.'' Cornerback Robert Alford continued his inspired play at cornerback. He was all over the field making plays and showed discipline in the process. At one point during practice, a pumped up Dan Quinn ran over and celebrated with Alford to show how much he appreciated the effort. The unheralded player of the day was cornerback Phillip Adams, who made a nice read and intercepted a T.J. Yates pass during 7-on-7 drills. Adams looks more than capable of adding quality depth to the cornerback position. Safety William Moore (shoulder), left tackle Jake Matthews (foot), cornerbackJalen Collins (foot), center Joe Hawley (MCL/ACL), right guard Jon Asamoah(ankle), linebacker Brooks Reed (groin), defensive end Malliciah Goodman(knee), guard Peter Konz (ACL), cornerback Dez Southward (knee), linebacker Marquis Spruill (knee), and Coleman (groin) all practiced coming off surgeries or injuries, though some were limited. Quinn's musical playlist for practice included House of Pain (Jump Around), N.W.A. (Express Yourself), and Michael Jackson (Beat It). http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14520/rookie-falcons-running-back-tevin-coleman-just-focused-on-himself
  18. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14451/atlanta-falcons-add-demarcus-love-for-depth-at-tackle
  19. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14396/atlanta-falcons-center-joe-hawley-to-be-limited-at-start-of-camp
  20. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14352/atlanta-falcons-position-preview-defensive-backs
  21. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14334/atlanta-falcons-position-preview-linebackers
  22. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14326/atlanta-falcons-position-preview-defensive-line
  23. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14261/atlanta-falcons-position-preview-running-backs
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