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  1. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14123/plenty-of-memorable-plays-for-atlanta-falcons-receiver-julio-jones
  2. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/171080/healthy-william-moore-key-for-atlanta-falcons-defense
  3. Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer FLOWERY BRANCH,Ga. -- Ricardo Allen probably didn't hear it, but the Atlanta Falcons' free safety got a standing ovation from one section of the crowd following a minicamp interception. Well, the cheering actually came from one boisterous spectator in particular -- his wife, Grace. But Allen deserved a rousing applause for the way he performed in camp and throughout the entire offseason. In fact, the second-year player from Purdue, cut last year after training camp then re-signed to the practice squad, is in position to secure an improbable starting role after not playing a single snap as a rookie. "That's not my thing," Allen said when asked if he should be the starter. "I just go out and play every day. That's not my decision to make. At the end of the day, it's the coach's decision. So I'm just going to come out and compete against myself every day and better myself. And whenever I get my named called or my number called, I'll be ready." The 5-foot-9-inch, 187-pound Allen was by far the most pleasant surprise of the offseason. He came to the Falcons as a fifth-round draft pick expected to compete for maybe the third cornerback spot. The previous coaching staff thought Allen was a highly intelligent player from the outset. What caused hesitation was Allen's 4.6 speed and lack of ideal size. Allen eventually was elevated to the 53-man roster by season's end yet he never reached the field. His only claim to fame was a segment on HBO's "Hard Knocks" when he suffered uncomfortable swelling to his private area and suddenly developed an unfortunate nickname. Allen wasn't too discouraged about his rookie campaign despite the setbacks. "You've just got to take it for what it is," Allen said. "It's a blessing in disguise. You know, God has a plan for you. Yeah, it was a downfall for us. We looked at it as a setback. But you know, everybody who is at the top right now was once at the bottom. So you've just to keep going." The Falcons experimented with cross-training Allen at safety last season, although nothing materialized. He constantly stayed late after practice working to refine his technique. Meanwhile, the free safety situation played out much differently than expected. First, the Falcons didn't re-sign Dwight Lowery. Once Dan Quinn was named head coach, most figured the Falcons would pursue a lanky, speedy safety in free agency. They brought in veteran Darian Stewart for a visit, but Stewart committed to the Denver Broncos while in Atlanta. Then a high-priced target, Ron Parker, re-signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. And when D.J. Swearinger was released by the Houston Texans, the Falcons put in a claim but lost out to Tampa Bay, with the Buccaneers first in the claiming order. Second-year player Dezmen Southward, who has the speed and size but not the ball skills, was moved from free safety to cornerback, leaving veteran Charles Godfrey as the No. 1 option before organized team activities. Quinn said Godfrey, Allen and strong safety Kemal Ishmael would compete for the spot, but Godfrey watched Allen surpass him on the depth chart. Ishmael filled in for a recovering William Moore (shoulder) at strong safety throughout the offseason. Allen called his move to safety much easier than playing cornerback. "I've always been a smart player," he said. "So it's just about learning the details and stuff like that and actually noticing what's about to happen to you." Moore is impressed with Allen's emergence. "Ricardo, No. 1, he reminds me of Ishmael last season ... how he showed up to camp, he showed up with something on his mind to get better and that's exactly what he did," Moore said. "No. 1, he's a heck of an athlete. No. 2, he's got his playbook, it seems, down pat. He spends a lot of time in the film room. Ricardo has showed up." If Allen continues his torrid pace when the Falcons reconvene for training camp starting July, he should find himself next to Moore for the Monday Night Football opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. "They brought me in for a reason last year," Allen said. "I've just got to take it and go with it -- be more confident and believe in myself."
  4. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/13092810/qb-matt-ryan-believes-atlanta-falcons-make-playoffs-2015
  5. FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons starting left tackle Jake Matthews, who underwent surgery in January to repair a torn Lisfranc ligament in his foot, was back on the field for Tuesday's session of organized team activities. Matthews appeared to run without issue as he participated in early drills. He underwent surgery Jan. 5, and was given a four-month timetable for recovery. There was some belief that Matthews would be held out until training camp in late July. Matthews' return wasn't the Falcons' only encouraging news on the injury front. Starting strong safety William Moore returned to practice for the first time since undergoing significant right shoulder surgery in the winter. Starting center Joe Hawley was back at practice for the first time since tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee. And rookie cornerback Jalen Collins, who underwent foot surgery prior to the draft, went through individual drills wearing a helmet. Also back from injuries were center/guard Peter Konz, who suffered an ACL injury last season, and outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who missed some time recently with a groin injury. Matthews, Moore, Hawley, Reed, Collins and Konz all were limited. They were all but absent during full-team drills. Missing from practice again was starting right guard Jon Asamoah, who was held out with an ankle injury, according to coach Dan Quinn. With Asamoah sidelined and Matthews and Hawley limited, the first-team offensive line consisted of Ryan Schraeder at right tackle, Chris Chester at right guard, James Stone at center, Mike Person at left guard and Lamar Holmes at left tackle. Tackle Sam Baker, still recovering from last year's significant knee injury, was nowhere to be seen. Quinn previously said Baker's rehab has been taking place inside the facility. Also, rookie first-round pick Vic Beasley was on the field with a helmet but did not see much action. Quinn said Beasley was limited by a shoulder injury. Linebacker Marquis Spruill, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, was held out of practice. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/13044680/jake-matthews-atlanta-falcons-returns-action-foot-surgery
  6. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13879/julio-jones-likely-to-keep-same-business-approach-for-minicamp
  7. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13871/atlanta-falcons-devin-hester-not-stressing-about-offensive-role
  8. Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13765/falcons-oc-kyle-shanahan-talks-qbs-from-matt-ryan-to-johnny-manziel Kyle Shanahan coached the league's leading passer back in 2009 in Houston's Matt Schaub. He coached a quarterback with one of the league's lowest passer ratings last season in Cleveland's Brian Hoyer. In seven years as an NFL offensive coordinator, Shanahan coached two quarterbacks who have won the Heisman Trophy in Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel. He also coached a six-time Pro Bowler in Donovan McNabb. Now in his first year as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator, Shanahan gets to work with a player in Matt Ryan who has four consecutive, 4,000-yard passing seasons to his credit. Ryan continues to impress Shanahan on a daily basis. "He has all those intangibles," Shanahan said of Ryan. "He's a big guy who is tall in the pocket. The protection doesn't need to be great and he still makes the play. He can make any throw. "What I've noticed best about Matt is how good he is with his eyes. He manipulates the defense every play. I think I call a play against a coverage that a guy shouldn't be open on, but he is open because Matt looks people off and helps get people open. It makes it a lot easier to call plays." Shanahan also pointed to Ryan's underrated athleticism. "We're not going to run the zone read too much, but he's one of the more athletic quarterbacks I've had in terms of his quickness in the pocket and moving around," Shanahan said. "I don't know about his 40 or his making people miss but in the pocket, he's very athletic to me." Having a quarterback the caliber of Ryan should help Shanahan implement his offense without issue. Not all such transitions have been seamless. Shanahan spoke about the other quarterbacks he's designed his offense around previously, starting with his first stop: Matt Schaub (Houston Texans): "Schaub was my first guy that I had. He was extremely accurate and very good at going through a progression. He didn't need very good protection. If you didn't block for him well, he still got rid of it. He was great at not taking sacks. He's a guy I felt comfortable to throw the ball with every time, and I think we led the league in passing and were toward the bottom in rushing. It was because with Schaub, you could do three-step drops and count on it as a pass play because he would get rid of it. I thought Schaub was a very good player at that." Donovan McNabb (Washington Redskins): :Donovan had an extremely big arm. He could throw the ball down the field far. You had to protect more and make sure those edges weren't short, but there was no receiver who was too deep for him. He let it go, and that was fun to toy around with because he made some big plays." Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins): "I loved Rex because he was so tough. Rex would hang in there, get the crap knocked out of him every week. He never flinched. He'd hang in there and take all the hits. He didn't mind the pressure on him. He'd let it sling every time. Sometimes, I'd have to tell Rex that he was letting it sling around a little too much and that you might have to take a sack here or throw it away. But the thing I loved about Rex is how much he competed. Every time that he was in the game, I felt like we had a chance. If he was going to throw three picks, I felt like there was a great chance he was going to come back and throw three touchdowns. He was a real fun guy to have." Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins): "Robert as a rookie, he was the first time I had to deal with a guy from a different system. He played in a system, with the zone read, that was just different football than in the NFL. I knew he was going to be our guy, so I spent a lot of time really studying and trying to put together an offense that fit him but still fit into our system. That was really fun for me. It was tough at first because I was studying stuff that I wasn't always that into. We got like a 200-play cut-up of every zone-read clip that Cam Newton had, (Tim) Tebow had. We went back to a few that Vince Young had. Even a guy like Tyler Thigpen, who did a few in Kansas City. Then I tried to develop how we could do it. We did it all out of the pistol so we could run the rest of our offense. It was fun to put something together that made sense, but we weren't totally sure if it would work. Once we went through that season, it did work. It was a lot of fun. And we were No. 1 in the NFL in yards per play. We were able to be a top-five rushing team. We had a lot of explosive passes off the play-action. It was a very fun year, and Robert was very good at it. He was uniquely fast and had a big arm. He had world-class speed. The zone read was a track race to the sideline, so it made him special at it.'' Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins): "Kirk's one of the sharper guys I've been around. He processes things so fast. He lets it rip. He's as tough as can be. Like what I said about Rex (Grossman), he'll hang in there and doesn't flinch. Kirk has a chance to be a great quarterback some day." Brian Hoyer (Cleveland Browns): "Hoyer was very similar to Schaub. He was experienced; great touch and went through his progressions. He was new in the offense. I think if we would have stayed together longer, I think he could have gotten better at it. But Hoyer's a very solid quarterback who I think we'll have a good chance to play at Houston this year." Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns): "Johnny was similar to Robert Griffin III -- different type of athlete, but in terms of where he came from. He came from a college that was very Oregon-like; not as much with zone read, but a lot of quarterback runs, spread-out system and not a lot of pocket play. We had to try and think of things that Johnny could do to make plays, but you've also got to teach him how to play quarterback. There's a fine line. But it was a challenge, just like Robert, just in terms of you've got to let those guys be them. They won Heismans being them. You don't want them coming to the NFL and you saying, 'Hey, you can't be you anymore.' So you've got to try and think of a system that allows them to be them, but still teaches them what they need to do to be successful. The difference with Johnny was, Johnny was quick. He didn't have the speed Robert (Griffin) had, but Johnny could break people off. And that's what his strongest asset was. I never had a guy who could make people miss like that. And the hardest thing, when you make people miss though, you get hit a lot because you're not going to the sideline. You're in between the tackles. That was the challenge with him. Johnny was going to be less designed runs but more scrambles."
  9. Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer Three probable offensive line starters weren't even on the field as the Atlanta Falcons resumed organized team activities this week. Left tackle Jake Matthews continues to recover from January surgery to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear. Center Joe Hawley remains on the mend from an ACL and MCL tear. And right guard Jon Asamoah was held out two days this week with an undisclosed injury. Not to mention tackle Sam Baker is nowhere to be seen coming off last year's season-ending knee injury and center/guard Peter Konz is still far from returning from an ACL tear. In other words, new offensive line coach Chris Morgan already has the challenge of finding five capable bodies to work with the first-team offense. At least he has a familiar veteran presence with the recent signing of ex-Redskins starting right guard Chris Chester, a player he helped coach while he was the assistant offensive line coach in Washington under new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. "Chris can play anywhere in the inside three," Morgan said of Chester. "He's got experience at all those positions (right guard, left guard, center). When I was with him in Washington, he snapped for us all the time. It's just good to get another guy in here to compete." Once the line returns to full strength, it probably would make the most sense to have the versatile Chester fill the need at left guard. Mike Person is currently manning the position. Hawley would no doubt step back in as the starting center ahead of James Stone. The Falcons are likely to keep Asamoah's veteran presence at right guard even if he's not the ideal fit to get out and run in an outside zone-blocking scheme. Ryan Schraeder is set to be the right tackle opposite Matthews at left. When asked about Asamoah at right guard, Morgan spoke in general terms. "All these guys are working hard," Morgan said. "All these guys are competing. All these guys are doing everything we ask. They're learning the system. They're practicing hard." Morgan downplayed being without the likes of Matthews and Hawley at this stage. "These guys are working hard," Morgan reiterated. "The guys who are out here, it's just the next man up. And they've done a good job with that so far."
  10. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13613/falcons-tyson-jackson-hires-personal-chef-to-drop-weight-fit-scheme Falcons' Tyson Jackson hires personal chef to drop weight, fit scheme 2h EmailComment Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer Falcons defensive lineman Tyson Jackson never felt like he was overweight last season, but Jackson believes he needs to be much lighter to be productive in coach Dan Quinn's defense. The 6-foot-4 Jackson, who said he was as heavy as 322 pounds last season in a 3-4 hybrid look, has hired a personal chef with the goal of slimming down to 305 pounds. He currently weighs 318 pounds. "I just started recently, and constantly, week by week, I want to trim down," Jackson said. "I got my personal chef at the end of March. I know Matt Ryan used her, and a couple Falcons in the past have used her, too." Tyson Jackson said he needs to drop 13 pounds to reach his desired playing weight. Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Jackson, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Falcons last season that included $11 million guaranteed, said he pays his chef $2,700 a month. "You can do either one of two things: She can purchase the food for you and come to your house and prepare it, or you can purchase the food yourself and she can self-teach how to cook everything," Jackson said. "She cooks in bulk loads." The weight-conscious Jackson obviously wants to show he can be an asset after a lackluster 2014 debut with the Falcons. The previous coaching staff was convinced he'd be the ideal run-stuffer; a massive specimen who would eat up blocks, freeing up linebackers to make plays. But his impact was minimal as the defense struggled as a whole. Jackson, who started all 16 games, finished with 22 combined tackles, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits while playing 47.3 percent of the defensive snaps. In the new defense, Jackson lines up at defensive end in a 4-3 under front that incorporates some 3-4 principles. It's a role he's not accustomed to but willing to tackle as he strives toward his desired weight. "Playing this 4-3 style of defense, there's no reason to be heavy because you're not two-gapping no more," Jackson said. "Everything is ball, key and get-off. So, that's pretty much the reason for [losing weight]." Quinn addressed the value of Jackson shedding some pounds. "Tyson's always been somebody that has had such great strength," Quinn said. "That's one of the things, when we've watched him through the years, you say, 'Man, is he strong and plays with length.' "And then in this system ... he'll stunt more and move more than maybe some of the traditional 3-4 teams that Tyson's been a part of through the years. So, as that goes and the movement, you have to give up some of the size and the bulk. It's one of the things he's worked at hard going through the spring. I know going through the next phase (organized team activities), with us being out on the field, that's a good time for guys to really work their conditioning. So he has been, for sure." All that being said, Jackson will have to prove his worth to Quinn and the new staff. The Falcons now have depth along the defensive line, which decreases Jackson's value. He's unlikely to be called upon much to rush the passer, with players such as Jonathan Babineaux, Adrian Clayborn and Ra'Shede Hageman manning the interior in passing situations. If the Falcons were to cut Jackson before June 1, it would cost an extra $2.55 million against the cap. If he's cut after June 1, it would be a $2.25 million cap savings because the prorated signing bonus from 2016 and beyond doesn't accelerate into '15 for a post-June 1 cut. Quinn appears willing to give Jackson a chance. And Jackson currently has Cliff Matthews and rookie Grady Jarrett behind him at defensive end, with Jarrett the guy likely to push hard for extended playing time. The fact that Jackson was once Kansas City's third-overall pick in the 2009 draft doesn't mean much anymore. He simply has to produce. "Going into this season, I want to prove to myself that I still have it and that I can still play at a high level," said Jackson, who turns 29 on June 6. "I just want to compete and put myself in a position where I can help my team."
  11. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13632/falcons-cornerback-robert-alford-intent-on-taking-game-to-new-level
  12. Link to article: http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/13456/falcons-owner-arthur-blank-happy-with-chemistry-between-coach-general-manager
  13. Thursday, April 23, 2015 Falcons take long look at Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi By Vaughn McClure Last year, the Atlanta Falcons selected Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth-overall pick in the NFL draft. Could the Falcons select a player off that same offensive line this year? It's a possibility. The Falcons recently hosted Aggies offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi at their facility, according to a league source. The 6-foot-5-inch, 306-pound Ogbuehi took over the starting left tackle spot after Matthews' departure. Ogbuehi was well on his way to becoming a first-round pick until he tore his ACL in the Aggies' Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia. He had surgery on Jan. 16 and an ACL recovery is typically seven to 10 months. The belief is Ogbuehi will be ready for training camp based on his progress thus far. He only participated in the bench press at this year's NFL combine, completing 23 reps of 225 pounds. Some draft projections have Ogbuehi going in the second or third round as a result of the injury. The Falcons, in need of athletic and versatile offensive linemen, might have to seriously consider the possibility of adding a player with first-round talent. Former Texas A&M offensive line coach B.J. Anderson raved about Ogbuehi's abilities. "I love the kid," Anderson said. "He's a really long, athletic kid. He plays with great athleticism. He's got great length. He's got the ability to play inside and out. In 2012, he was my starting right guard. He moved to right tackle, then he moved from right tackle to left tackle. So he's played a lot of positions, which will be very beneficial to him in an NFL camp. He's used to playing out of a right-hand stagger and a left-hand stagger." Anderson utilized both outside and inside zone blocking schemes with his linemen, and Ogbuehi used to clear holes for Johnny Manziel. The Falcons are implementing an outside-zone blocking scheme under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. "With his length and athleticism, he's perfect for that scheme," Anderson said. "Ced's like a long, athletic tight end who plays with power. He's very quick on his feet." Anderson is confident Ogbuehi will come back stronger off the ACL tear. "It killed me to see what happened to that young man in the bowl game," Anderson said. "I know he's been working his tail off to get ready for the draft. That's just the type of kid he is. He's a complete football junkie. He's got a great work ethic." The Falcons also have looked into top tackles such as Miami's Ereck Flowers, Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings and Colorado State's Ty Sambrailo, to name a few. Right now, the Falcons have a handful of offensive linemen still on the mend from serious injuries: Matthews (Lisfranc ligament tear), center Joe Hawley (torn ACL, MCL), tackle Sam Baker (knee), tackle Lamar Holmes (toe) and center/guard Peter Konz (ACL). The team also released veteran Justin Blalock, leaving a void at starting left guard.
  14. The Atlanta Falcons have signed seven players from other teams since the start of free agency with the additions of Brooks Reed, Adrian Clayborn, Justin Durant, Leonard Hankerson, <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" data-cke-saved-href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13449/o"href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13449/o" brien-schofield"="">O'Brien Schofield, Mike Person and Phillip Adams. We previously showed the contract details for Durant, Hankerson and Person. Here are the details for Reed, Clayborn, Schofield and Adams, according to ESPN Statistics and Information. BROOKS REED, OLB (5-year contract) Base salaries: $2,200,000 (2015), $2,500,000 (2016), $4,100,000 (2017), $4,500,000 (2018), $4,500,000 (2019). $2.1 million of 2016 base salary guaranteed for injury only at signing. $2.1 million becomes fully guaranteed on third day of league year. Signing bonus: $4,700,000 Cap numbers: $3,140,000 (2015), $3,400,000 (2016), $5,040,000 (2017), $5,400,000 (2018) , $5,400,000 (2019) Roster bonuses: none Escalators: $1 million escalator if makes Pro Bowl 2015-2018. ADRIAN CLAYBORN, DE (1-year contract) Base salary: $1,000,000 Signing bonus: $750,000 Cap number: $3,000,000 Roster bonus: $1,250,000 ($250,000 on first game of league year; additional bonus of $62,500 per game active) O'BRIEN SCHOFIELD, OLB (1-year contract) Base salary: $745,000 Signing bonus: $255,000 Cap number: $1,700,000 Roster bonus: $700,000 (roster bonus of $43,75o per game active) PHILLIP ADAMS, CB (1-year contract) Base salary: $745,000 Signing bonus: none Cap number: $585,000 Roster bonus: none
  15. As of Friday morning, NFLPA records showed the Atlanta Falcons with $23,855,200 in cap space. The contracts for newly signed players Brooks Reed, Justin Durant, Leonard Hankerson and Mike Person are in the system while the contracts for Adrian Clayborn, O'Brien Schofield and Antone Smith are not in the system. Durant's contract includes provisions obviously based on his injury history. He can earn much more money by remaining healthy. According to ESPN Stats & Information, here is how the contracts for Durant, Person and Hankerson break down (Reed's details not available just yet): JUSTIN DURANT, LB (3-year contract) Base salaries: $1,400,000 (2015); $1,750,000 (2016); $2,000,000 (2017) Signing bonus: $1,250,000 Cap numbers: $3,666,666 (2015); $3,416,666 (2016); $3,716,668 (2017) Roster bonuses: $1,850,000 (2015, roster bonus of $805,000 if plays 65% and on roster last game of season in 2015, additional roster bonus of $65,625 per game active, max value $1.05M); $1,250,000 (2016, roster bonus of $78,125 per game active, max value $1.25 mil, escalator of up to $1.35 mil available based on playtime and playoffs); $1,300,000 (2017, roster bonus of $81,250 per game active, max value $1.3 mil, escalator of up to $1.65 mil available based on playtime and playoffs). MIKE PERSON, G (3-year contract) Base salaries: $745,000 (2015); $1,000,000 (2016); $1,105,000 (2017) Signing bonus: $500,000 Cap numbers: $911,666 (2015); $1,116,666 (2016); $1,271,668 (2017) Roster bonus: none LEONARD HANKERSON, WR (1-year contract) Base salary: $745,000 Signing bonus: $255,000 Cap number: $1,000,000 Roster bonus: none
  16. Vaughn mcclure @vxmcclure23 · 4m 4 minutes ago I'm told that ex-Seahawk pass-rusher O'Brien Schofield is in Atlanta now for his visit with the Falcons. Team already signed Adrian Clayborn
  17. We should find out more in the next few days about the five-year contract signed by new Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Brooks Reed, a contract reportedly worth $22 million. We do have the contract details for three players the Falcons signed to extensions before the start of free agency: wide receiver/special-teamer Eric Weems, safety Charles Godfrey and quarterback T.J. Yates. Here are the breakdowns: ERIC WEEMS (2-year deal) Base salaries: $870,000 (2015); $885,000 (2016) Signing bonus: $425,000 Cap numbers: $1,132,500 (2015); $1,147,500 (2016) Roster bonus: $3,125 per game active, max value $50,0000 (2015, 2016) T.J. YATES (1-year deal) Base salary: $1,125,000 Signing bonus: $375,000 Cap number: $1,500,000 Roster bonus: none CHARLES GODFREY (1-year-deal) Base salary: $800,000 Signing bonus: $50,000 Cap number: $1,137,500 Roster bonus: $350,000 max (roster bonus of $100,000 if on 53-man roster first game. Additional roster bonus of $15,625 per game active, max value $250,000. Counting $187,500 against cap based on 2014)
  18. Here's the link http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/12070/dan-quinn-wants-sean-weatherspoon-to-be-signed
  19. No decision on NFL investigation into Georgia Dome noise: The Falcons are still waiting to hear word about the NFL's probe into why fake crowd noise was pumped into Georgia Dome over the last two seasons. A decision on the matter is expected soon, and the team faces a fine and potentially the loss of a draft pick. Dimitroff was asked if he is concerned about the potential penalties for the violation, which owner Arthur Blank confirmed occurred. "Obviously if it affects football operations and it affects a potential draft choice, that's something that we'll have to be focused on on how we're going to deal with that," Dimitroff said. "And that's not minimizing the financial impact, if something like that comes about. We're just waiting patiently." Quinn likes what he sees from current group of safeties: Quinn spoke highly of William Moore, Kemal Ishmael, Dwight Lowery and even Dez Southward in dissecting the current group of safeties. Moore is coming off a shoulder separation. "I've always loved the toughness that he's played with and the tackling," Quinn said of Moore. "Really he and [ishmael] both made a big impression on me in terms tackling and effort. Kemal did a good job, too. I can't wait to get a chance to work with these guys and show them how we can feature them in this system." Quinn likes Southward's speed and length and his versatility to play safety or corner. And Quinn is familiar with Lowery, who is set to become a free agent. "I had a chance to work with Dwight during my time at the New York Jets, so he was actually on the team there, and I think his versatility is one of his real strengths," Quinn said of Lowery. "He's a guy he's played corner, he's played nickel, he's played deep safety, he's played down." Dimitroff wants to see Matt Bryant re-signed soon: Kicker Matt Bryant, who becomes a free agent in March, is no doubt a priority to be re-signed. There has been dialogue between the team and Bryant's camp, but nothing substantial at this point in time. "There's no questions that we've had a lot of discussions with Matt's people and, yeah, I think Matt's a heck of a football player and he's done some really good things for us," Dimitroff said. "Hopefully, that will come to fruition. We're anchored in there. ... We're hoping that's finished expeditiously, yes." No set target date for Matthews return: Jake Matthews, who has surgery in January to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear in his foot, is expected to make a full recovery. Dimitroff sounded optimistic in talking about Matthews' status. Since the Falcons have a new coach in Quinn, they can begin the offseason program on April 6. "Jake is healing very well," Dimitroff said. "He's one of those guys (who) knows his body, takes really good care of how he approaches his body. So I'm not concerned about his recovery at all. He decided to go through the procedure he went through because he thought it was the best way to get himself back healthy and ready to go at the beginning of the year. And we have no concerns that way." When pressed on Matthews' targeted return date, Dimitroff said, "Jake will start to move around and I think he'll be in situation where we'll have to map it out through the spring and decide when he comes back when it is. We don't know right now." Shembo on the move: Second-year player Prince Shembo struggled to make the transition to inside linebacker as a rookie. Quinn said that after viewing tape, he envisions Shembo playing outside linebacker. Shembo, who dealt with knee injuries this past season and had one knee drained, said he talked to Quinn and will be back in his comfort zone playing the same role he did during his college days at Notre Dame.
  20. The Atlanta Falcons were granted permission to interview Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Marquand Manuel for their defensive backs coach position, a league source told ESPN.com. Manuel, who spent eight seasons in the NFL as a strong safety, worked as a defensive assistant under new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn for two seasons in Seattle, where Quinn was the defensive coordinator. Manuel also was a coaching intern under Quinn when Quinn was the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. The Seahawks tried hard Tuesday evening to keep Manuel, according to the source. Now, it appears Manuel joining the Falcons is inevitable. His interview is scheduled for Friday. Quinn already hired former Washington Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris as his assistant head coach/defensive pass-game coordinator. After his introductory news conference, it was made clear Quinn was still in the market for a defensive backs coach. The team announced the additions of Richard Smith as the defensive coordinator and Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator. Quinn retained special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, defensive line coach Bryan Cox, wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, former assistant offensive line coach Wade Harman -- now the tight ends coach -- and assistant special-teams coach Eric Sutulovich. The other new additions include running back coach Bobby Turner and offensive assistant Mike LaFleur. If Manuel is hired, the Falcons would be left with at least five coaching positions to fill: quarterbacks, linebackers, outside linebackers, offensive line and assistant offensive line. Fox Sports' Alex Marvez reported Quinn will bring Seahawks assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan as his offensive line coach. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/11735/falcons-granted-permission-to-interview-marquand-manuel-for-db-coach
  21. Dan Quinn discusses biggest coaching influences Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is expected to be introduced as the Atlanta Falcons' next head coach Tuesday, has drawn his share of media attention this week leading into Sunday's Super Bowl. ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss caught up with Quinn and asked which coaches have had the biggest influence on him as he prepares to take the next step up the coaching ranks. AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenDan Quinn's coaching influences reach back to his days at Hofstra."Oh man, there's been a bunch," Quinn said. "When I first started coaching in college, there was a guy by the name of Joe Gardi. He was the defensive coordinator for the [New York] Jets during their early 1980s when they had the 'Sack Exchange.' We had a terrific staff there at Hofstra. So when we were first getting going there into coaching, what a great mentor [Gardi was] for all the young guys who were a part of his staff." Gardi, who died in 2010, was the head coach at Hofstra from 1990-2005. Quinn coached at Hofstra from 1996-2000, starting as the defensive line coach and ending as the defensive coordinator. Quinn went from Hofstra to the pros, catching on with the San Francisco 49ers in 2001 as a defensive quality control coach. "When I first got into the NFL, my first coaching job was with the 49ers and Steve Mariucci was the coach," Quinn recalled. "There was guy there by the name of Bill McPherson who had been on the 49ers' staff for a long time and won five Super Bowls with them. He was probably the biggest influence on me early on, from a defensive standpoint. At the time, he was a 70-year-old guy who took a 30-year-old guy under his wing and helped train and teach me. So I had a great appreciation for that." Quinn was with the 49ers from 2001-04, ending as the defensive line coach. He then went on to become the defensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins. "I went to the Miami Dolphins and learned a great deal from Nick Saban, who was the coach there at the time," Quinn said. Of course, Quinn couldn't go without mentioning his current boss, Pete Carroll. "Coach Carroll has had a huge impact on me," Quinn said. "[He's] always finding, 'Is there another way to do it? How else can we challenge? How else can we go?'" Carroll's coaching style has helped the Seahawks make it to consecutive Super Bowls, with one title already under their belts. Maybe Quinn can bring the same time of coaching influence to the Falcons. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/160424/dan-quinn-discusses-biggest-coaching-influences
  22. Alex Marvez @alexmarvez · 26m26 minutes agoSource tells @NFLonFOX that @Atlanta_Falcons DBs coach Joe Fanna leaving to @nyjets. Danna & Todd Bowles worked together for @MiamiDolphins
  23. vaughn mcclure @vxmcclure23 · 6m6 minutes agoFrom what I hear, Falcons denied initial request for ST coach Keith Armstrong to reunite with college teammate Todd Bowles with Jets. Looks like the Falcons brass will try to carry over our best coaches (Armstrong, Tice) to the next regime.
  24. Although they entered Week 17 with a chance to win the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons were doomed early in the season when they suffered through a five-game losing streak and 2-6 start en route to a 6-10 finish and the firing of coach Mike Smith. Losing linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (Achilles) and five offensive linemen to season-ending injuries surely didn't help matters. Not to mention the Falcons failed to address their most glaring need on defense -- a pass-rusher -- and it showed. The whole theme of getting bigger, tougher and stronger that was emphasized in the preseason and portrayed on HBO's "Hard Knocks" ended up being just a facade as the Falcons got beat up on both sides of the line of scrimmage in their most important game: the season finale against Carolina, where they were pummeled 34-3. OVERALL: F It was inexcusable to go 6-10 after getting Julio Jones back healthy from last year's season-ending foot fracture and after supposedly bolstering the offensive and defensive lines -- although the Falcons did lose five offensive linemen to season-ending injuries. Blown double-digit leads against the Lions and Giants and horrendous clock management against the Browns threw away three winnable games. Coordinators Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan both had their struggles, although Nolan had a lot less talent at his disposal. OFFENSE: C- That might seem harsh for a team that finished in the top five in red zone percentage and in the top 10 in passing yards and total offense. But the Falcons failed the final exam with a poor offensive showing in the season finale with the division title on the line. DEFENSE: F Yes, strides were made at the end of the year and corner Desmond Trufant is going to be a perennial Pro Bowl pick very soon. That being said, the Falcons still finished last in the league in six defensive categories, including total yards per game (398.3), passing yards per game (279.9), and third-down defense (46.8 percent). The Falcons allowed 6,372 total yards -- 2,098 more than the top-rated Seahawks. Team MVP: Julio Jones. Earlier in the season, it was running back Antone Smith, simply based on Smith being the lone bright spot on a team that was struggling. But then Smith broke his leg and was done for the season. As the Falcons started to turn things around and as Jones shook off an ankle injury, he started to dominate. Jones' franchise-record 259 receiving yards against the Packers on "Monday Night Football" showed the world just how great he can be. Jones, named to his second Pro Bowl, finished the season with a franchise-record 1,593 receiving yards and six touchdowns. And he missed the game against the Steelers with an oblique injury. "I just have to get back healthy and focused on next year," he said. Best moment: Pro Bowl return man Devin Hester setting the NFL record with his 20th career return touchdown, a 62-yard punt return against Tampa Bay in Week 3. Hester high-stepped his way to the end zone with his mentor, former Falcon Deion Sanders, in the building for NFL Network. The play also happened in front of Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, who brought Hester into the league with the Chicago Bears and has maintained a close relationship with him over the years. Worst moment: The Falcons blowing a 21-point lead to the Lions in London, which resulted in a 22-21 loss on Matt Prater's game-winning 48-yard field goal. The tide turned in the Lions' favor when Matt Ryan threw a third-quarter interception right into the hands of a defender. Jones had a key drop late in the game. 2015 Outlook: The Falcons are set to have a new coach after seven seasons under Smith, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff remains. Owner Arthur Blank doesn't want to take mediocrity into his new Atlanta Stadium. He just wants wins, with no excuses. Smith was a great guy whom the players appreciated, but Blank no doubt wants a coach who's going to be stern to all the players, from the top guys on down. Dimitroff has to secure a pass-rusher or two and continue to invest in the offensive line. Finding quality linebackers also has to be a priority, as well as a pass-catching tight end. By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/11106/atlanta-falcons-season-report-card
  25. Good news. Healthier than last week and every rep he gets in with Ryan can only help. I expect the beast to go off Sunday By Vaughn McClure | December 26, 2014 12:28:54 PM PST FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones returned to practice Friday for the first time since suffering an oblique injury at Green Bay Dec. 8. Jones missed the game the following week against the Steelers due to the injury but was back in action last week against the Saints. He played 48 of 65 snaps in the Saints game and caught seven passes for 107 yards. The Falcons had no doubt about Jones being ready for this Sunday's showdown with the Panthers for the NFC South title. Having him back at practice probably is an indication Jones is healthier than he was last week. Also at practice Friday, running back Steven Jackson remained sidelined with a quadriceps injury, although he did some work on a side field. Jackson won't play against the Panthers. Cornerback Josh Wilson, who missed the previous two days with a hamstring injury, returned to action and participated in special-teams drills at the start of practice.
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