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Found 17 results

  1. https://theathletic.com/2011434/2020/08/20/its-all-coming-back-keanu-neals-return-and-what-it-means-for-falcons/ As Dan Quinn looked out across the practice field on the first day of training camp, he smiled. Maybe it was a smile at being out on the field amidst so much uncertainty as to whether a season actually could happen in 2020. Maybe it was a smile because the weather in Flowery Branch has been relatively mild the past couple of weeks, without the thick humidity August is known for in Georgia. But follow Quinn closely, and you’ll see that his smile forms when his eyes land on one specific player. Back healthy and in a uniform once more, that player is Keanu Neal. “It makes my heart feel good to see him on the field,” Quinn said. It’s easy to understand why after the injuries that have befallen Neal: an ACL tear in 2018, ending his season just as it began, and then a ruptured Achilles just three games into the 2019 season. We don’t have to dwell on what was because Neal isn’t. He stayed ready for his comeback, through every surgery and every rehab session. Still, on that first day, Quinn had to pull him off to the side. “On the first day I was just so excited for him,” Quinn said. “I said, ‘You really worked your *** off to put yourself back on the field, to put yourself into this spot.’” Neal looks a bit different than he has the past two years. Normally, he has been in the 220-225 weight range. At the start of this year’s camp, however, he’s down to 212. Neal said he’s back closer to his rookie weight. He’s lighter on his feet, too. That, Quinn said, was by design, and it was a decision that Neal is feeling the effects of now that the Falcons have started ramping up their live scrimmage reps. “I slimmed down for a reason, just so I could move better,” Neal said. “It’s been working out really well. I’m moving around a lot better. I’m moving around like myself. I am excited with where I’m at.” Physically, Quinn and those around Neal would say you would never know this is the same player who, in back-to-back years, suffered injuries that have altered many careers singularly, let alone together. In 2020, Neal doesn’t look like an injured player. But there still is a little bit of catching up for Neal to do and do quickly, and he knows that. It isn’t his physical shape that he’s focusing on during the first week of padded practice. But as Quinn said, it’s his “football shape” that Neal is honing in on currently. “When I say that, I’m talking about the eyes, the technique, his run fits,” Quinn said. Like anything, football is habitual. It has its moments that for someone playing the game and in the thick of it every day are things they don’t have to think about. The body acts before the mind has to tell it to. It’s like a musician playing an instrument. If the maestro stops playing for two years, when they finally do pick their instrument back up, it’ll take a few minutes to get the feel of the instrument again and to fall back into practice. After two years working back from his injuries, Neal is picking his instrument back up, and he’s returning to maestro form. “Throughout these first couple of practices I have noticed things where I will be in the play, and it will happen and then afterwards I’ll be like, ‘Dang, I could have done this,'” Neal said. Then, the chords start returning to him, and the melody starts to form again. And now? “Recently, I kind of told myself that I have started to get my groove back,” Neal said with a smile. It’s all coming back to him, he said. He’s starting to see the plays form in front of him. He’s starting to fall back into his habits. And Neal doing so is one of the best things that could happen for the secondary. The question now is as Neal returns back to form, what does that mean for the secondary with players like Damontae Kazee and Ricardo Allen having held things down in Neal’s absence? It’s actually not all that complicated, according to Quinn. The coaches know what strength each player has, and they know the situations in which each player thrives. The focus is on fine-tuning exactly when to bring them together. Allen has the “football smarts,” he’s very effective in specific coverages where there’s a disguise. Kazee has terrific ball skills. He has the ability to break out of the middle of the field and make a play. Neal is a natural in man-to-man coverage. He’s an enforcer, someone the Falcons can have down in the box, disrupting an offense. “So, trying to find the moments to put them in the best spaces, that’s what these next few weeks are about,” Quinn said. “Fortunately for us, those are three guys that really work in concert together well — their communication, their ability on the field. So, it’s been good to have all three of them on the field, and that will be the case for a number of different packages.” The coaches and Neal’s teammates have been waiting for Neal’s return. Now that it’s here, there’s much to discuss about what it means for the safeties, but it seems no one is more excited to figure that out than Neal. “It’s just understanding different roles,” Neal said about his position group. “We are all going to play in different spaces. So, it’s going to be cool and unique to see how they use us this year.” Practice notes and observations • Marlon Davidson, Jamon Brown and Evin Ksiezarczyk did not participate in Thursday’s scrimmage. Quinn announced Wednesday that Brown was in concussion protocol. Davidson and Ksiezarczyk were at practice but were in jerseys and shorts observing. Ksiezarczyk had a brace on his left knee but appeared to be moving around without issue. Davidson also didn’t seem to be in any visible discomfort walking around the sidelines. • Chris Rowland and Brandon Powell got the nod on punt and kickoff returns. Quinn said there will be others rotated in to test in those roles, but Thursday’s scrimmage was specifically blocked off for Rowland and Powell to get the majority of those reps. Also of note, Powell did some good things working out of the slot with the second- and third-team offense. He was targeted a few times and made a couple of nice grabs. • After spending much of Wednesday with the second-team offensive line, Matt Hennessy worked primarily with the first team at left guard on Thursday. James Carpenter and Matt Gono spent much of Thursday with the second-team offense. Carpenter and Hennessy, however, switched teams for the final period of practice, which saw the Falcons working on their end-of-game play with around a minute on the clock. • Brian Hill had a solid morning taking handoffs from Matt Schaub. After a nice run to the outside that set up the lone touchdown of the scrimmage, Hill showed he could be shaping up to be a real No. 2 behind Todd Gurley. Asked about Hill, Quinn said he is “100 percent a guy on a mission.” That showed a bit on Thursday. • John Cominsky got a few more looks with the first-team defensive line, particularly in the final few periods of the scrimmage. Allen Bailey was also someone who was in the rotation a bit more on Thursday. • It was noted Wednesday that even with Alex Mack returning to center after a scheduled day off, Justin McCray was still taking snaps at center. That changed a bit on Thursday as McCray spent much of the day at right guard with the second and third teams. • Mykal Walker continues to turn a few heads during his first training camp. Thursday’s practice ended after Blidi Wreh-Wilson broke up a pass intended for Powell. The ball tipped into the arms of Walker for his second interception of camp. It was a moment that also came off the back of another turnover the defense forced in the end-of-game situation. Prior to Walker’s interception, Calvin Ridley lost the ball after catching a short pass from Matt Ryan, and Foye Oluokun recovered the fumble. It was an exciting end to practice for the defense, particularly for the linebackers. Im loving all the positives coming from the defenseive side. If (and thats a big if) Neal can stay healthy, this secondary might just be a force to be reckoned with by midseason.
  2. What up falconsfam? From Pound 4 Pound ATL. I released a song on our YouTube channel. That I believe is a great song and video to get you hype for this 2020 season and those all black home uniforms at the benz. Wanted your brutally honest thoughts. You like it or trash it. Song is called "ATL Blackout". It's not what we usually release on the channel, but wanted to share.
  3. Hi all, after the hit on Redskins TE Jordan Reed. Some may have been trying to label Safety Keanu Neal as a dirty player. I wanted to talk about. And would like your take as well.
  4. Checkout Pound4PoundATL's video on what we saw on the Atlanta Falcons Military Appreciation Day. From our live stream on our channel.
  5. So I saw that article about the secondaries rankings for the season, and we were #5. It made my blood boil with excitement. Since I received so much love from the Freeman highlight video I made, I decided to do one for the secondary. Do yah think we can have the best secondary in the league this year like the Broncos of 2015?
  6. Hope this is allowed if not please delete. I won a Keanu Neal signed panel ball on Twitter which is going to my son. I'm now hoping to find a signed picture to go with the ball so he can put a face with the ball. Anyone able to help me out?
  7. I looked for another thread on this but didn't see it, sorry if I missed it. Keanu Neal forced the 8th fumble of his career last night, setting the NFL record for most fumbles forced by a player in his first two seasons. For some perspective on this, I looked at the stats for Ronnie Lott, one of the most feared hitters of all time. He had 8 forced fumbles through his first 10 NFL seasons. Keanu Neal might be a bit of a one trick pony, but it's a d*mn good trick.
  8. So her is the deal. Both Duke Riley vids ( Games 1 & 2 ) are in final stages of production. Both coming out in the next few days. Keanu Neal is going to be a quick look from the last preseason game. Maybe a new thing I'm trying out here. I have vacation in a few days and these vids will be the last I can do till after my cruise is over. Game 3 TAKK, DUKE, KAZEE ( Comp film from all 3 games) , OG BATTLE, and MAYBE....... A Tevin Coleman Vid coming down the pipe. #StayTuned After that I will try to highlight some of the players that make an impact game to game.
  9. This is what I had to say when we drafted a dude who's name I had barely even heard before our pick. I didn't like it. Guess what, the dude is the next Kam Chancellor lol. If DQ wants Takk, he is gonna be good. All the more if he was willing to give up a third to go up and get him. At this point, we don't have any room to talk. This coach took us to the SB in his second season. In Quinn I trust.
  10. Early on in the season there was a lot of frustration -- some of it understandable -- as to why the Falcons defense was having trouble and what it would take to get better. The answer was simple... TIME. There was never anything structurally wrong with the scheme or the players. It was all just a matter of these young guys getting the reps together, communicating and getting comfortable to trust what they were seeing. The last one is a big one, because no matter how much practice you get, how much film study, how well you are coached, you have to trust what you are seeing in actual live action. When you do that, you can start to anticipate, and all of a sudden those annoying little underneath throws that offense steal an easy 7, 8, 9 yards... suddenly those are gone. Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. I want to look at two plays; one each from the first and second Panther game to illustrate my point. October 2 , 4th Qtr. - Derrick Anderson is in the game after Cam got his head knocked off. Now instead of looking at the entire play, I want to focus on two players here: Olsen for the Panthers, and Neal for the Falcons. By this point, everyone knows what we run so there's no need to draw a Cover-3 for the umpteenth time. You know where everyone is supposed to be. Falcons are in their standard 3 deep. The Panthers have a good call against it on 2nd and 9. They have hooks called to the two inside receivers... one of them being Olsen. Alford drops to his deep 1/3, Weatherspoon drops to the flat, Neal has eyes on the quarterback as the Buzz defender. Anderson wastes no time. He sees where he wants to go immediately. As soon as the flat defender ('Spoon) clears, there's an open hole right there for Olsen to sit down in. Not a terrible play by the Falcons, but you can see where Neal is in relation to the receiver when he makes the catch. This game is won or lost in split seconds. And this just wasn't going to get it. This is where the improvement had to come. December 24th, 2nd Qtr., 1st and 10 Similar concept. The Panthers are trying to attack with that hook, this time to the #2 receiver, Ginn. Ginn pushes up the field. Cam sees it immediately. Ball is about halfway to the target. Do you notice any difference between October and now? For anyone who isn't clear the difference, here it is again... OCTOBER: DECEMBER: October: Neal as the Buzz drops to a depth of about 13 yards. Ball caught in space easily. He rallies to make the tackle. DECEMBER: 1st and 10. Neal drops to a depth right around the sticks. This time he almost arrives with the ball. 5 yard gain. This is what I have been talking about when I say they are starting to play the zones better. This is what I meant when I said the improvement was there irregardless of the competition It's not sexy, or glamarous, and probably goes unnoticed by most, but it's clear as day. Keanu reacted, recognized that route and shot his guns before the ball was even out of Cam's hand. In October, he dropped, saw it... WAITED for the ball, then made his move. The space, even underneath, is starting to be constricted by the learning curve this defense is starting to come through. This is what the coaches are looking for. Split seconds... this game is played in split seconds and even a tenth of a second improvement in reaction time can mean the difference between a 9 yard gain and a 5 yard gain. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.. but not too happy. Ya'll try not to get in too much trouble. I wanna be able to enjoy the playoff run with all by Falcon brothers.
  11. According to PFF's grades, Keanu hasn't been as bad in coverage as some on these boards lead on. https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-top-10-nfl-rookies-entering-week-17/
  12. https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-how-all-31-first-round-picks-have-played-this-season/?utm_content=buffer46f7f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=nfl Love them or hate them. I don't care. It's sonething worth discussing. It's nice to see that Neal is looking more like a steal at 17 than a reach. Troffed baby!
  13. Just a little blurb in Peter King's most recent mailbag wherein he recaps his travels through training camp season. http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/08/23/nfl-training-camp-tour-jacksonville-jaguars-peter-king-mailbag
  14. This is our starting Strong Safety folks... I cannot wait for Scam Newton to take off and have Neal peel off to destroy him... He'll have Scam Newton like:
  15. In free agency, the Falcons brought in Derrick Shelby on the DLine, and Weatherspoon back at LB, Upshaw as DE/LB After telling Biermann, Durant, and Schofield to kick rocks............. They Willy Mo to scram and had not added anything to the secondary. So they wanted and felt like they had to add a starter there first and foremost. (Not saying I agree, but I understand). After that, my only real beef with who they took was not grabbing McGovern or Westerman for the Oline in the spot they took LB Campbell from Minnesota. McGovern/Westerman would have competed and probably earn a starting spot at G for this time, where Campbell is a backup/special teams player at best next year. So, that being said.......here's who I think the starting defense (4-3) will feature D-Line - Clayborn, Hageman, Jarrett (Babs in rotation) and Shelby LB's - Beasley, Weatherspoon, Jones Secondary - Tru, Alford, Allen, Neal. **in Nickel......out comes Clayborn and Hageman, Shelby kicks inside.....Beasley goes to DE and in come the 3rd cb**
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