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  1. The fact that the Falcons lost their opening game doesn’t guarantee they’re going to miss the playoffs again this season, nor that owner Arthur Blank is going to clean house. They lost their season opener in 2016 (to Tampa Bay coaches Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith) and then went on to finish 11-5 and reached the Super Bowl in a year when they were expected to go 7-9. So as tormented Atlanta sports fans project an image of the future that hasn’t happened yet, there’s hope to cling to. The difference between 2016 and 2020 is Dan Quinn was in only his second season as head coach four years ago
  2. https://theathletic.com/2019738/2020/08/24/rookie-rising-how-mykal-walker-has-established-himself-early-in-training-camp/?source=emp_shared_article In the months that followed their names being called in the 2020 NFL Draft, the rookies across the league went to work … remotely. The week training camp opened was the first chance any coach from across the league could get a live look at these new players. The story was no different for Falcons rookie linebacker Mykal Walker after he was picked in the fourth round by the Falcons. He called learning on a computer screen night and
  3. https://theathletic.com/2025113/2020/08/26/this-kids-got-that-it-matt-hennessys-journey-to-a-spot-with-the-falcons/ By Tori McElhaney Matt Hennessy’s very first college snap taken at center was during the first game of his redshirt freshman season against Notre Dame in South Bend in 2017. The game itself wasn’t very memorable. Notre Dame was expected to win and did. Temple lost 49-16, but when Chris Wiesehan returned home, he remembers telling his wife, Renee, that a young Hennessy had impressed him. Better yet, Wiesehan said he told her that Hennessy was going to
  4. https://theathletic.com/2013434/2020/08/24/picking-over-under-win-totals-for-all-32-nfl-teams/ Link has totals for all the other teams, would have been a long post so only posted Atlanta. Also dont know if this writer has even watched a Falcons game, to say the ceiling for the offensive line is "mediocrity" is asinine and shows they know nothing about this team.
  5. In January, coach Dan Quinn had a frank discussion with Takk McKinley about what the Falcons needed from him when training camp rolled around in August. The coaching staff wanted him to be quicker and to be able to use his speed at full capacity at all times in a game. Weighing in between 265 and 270 pounds wasn’t working for him. McKinley said because of the way his body was shaped for much of the season last year that he wasn’t as fast or as quick as he should have been. He felt fatigued toward the end of games. He was wearing down a lot faster. What the Falcons staff challenged McKinle
  6. Raheem Morris learned something early about Takk McKinley. A coach can’t just go up to him and tell him he’s doing something wrong. Emotional players often don’t respond well to attempted corrective measures. It’s best to first get a sense of the man’s mood. Move in slow. Read the room, even if there’s only one person in the room. “People struggle with Takk because of a lack of communication,” said Morris, the Falcons’ defensive coordinator. “But when you coach good players, and Takk is that, you know they’re going to be emotional. Ronde Barber was like that. Not Takk-ish, but emotional.
  7. https://theathletic.com/2008911/2020/08/19/joe-whitt-jr-s-secondary-coming-alive-early-in-falcons-training-camp/ When asked what his first impression of new secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. was, Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver didn’t have to think very long or very hard before coming up with an answer. According to Oliver, the answer jumped out at him right away upon his first few interactions with Whitt. Without a second thought, Oliver immediately had high praise for one of the Falcons’ offseason additions. “He’s probably the smartest DBs coach that I’ve ever come in contact w
  8. 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 o
  9. 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 o
  10. https://theathletic.com/2005756/2020/08/18/what-hayden-hursts-baseball-background-has-to-do-with-falcons-communication/ When it was announced on Monday that the Falcons would not have fans attending games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium through September, it wasn’t much of a shock to anyone. Many teams across the NFL already had said fans would not be allowed in stadiums to watch games. The Falcons had a plan in place to potentially allow 10,000 to 20,000 fans into games, with PSL and season-ticket holders being sent a survey to fill out ranking which of the first four home games they wou
  11. https://theathletic.com/1989140/2020/08/11/twenty-for-2020-ranking-the-falcons-most-important-impactful-players-part-i/?source=dailyemail Editor’s note: Part I of this ranking includes pick Nos. 20-11. Part II will publish Wednesday with the second half (Nos. 10-1) of the list. The Falcons are entering a season in which the team expects to do more, be more. And the Falcons will need to, as questions remain after a lackluster 2019, especially after a 1-7 start. With training camp well on its way, let’s take a look at 20 players whose increased impact from 2019 to 2020 could be
  12. https://theathletic.com/1994663/2020/08/13/falcons-focused-on-their-responsibilities-on-and-off-the-field-during-pandemic/ A small chuckle escaped from behind Grady Jarrett’s mask during his first media availability last week. He was asked what his plans were to build a bubble around himself during training camp as the Falcons — and the rest of the NFL — get back to work on the field. There seems to be merit in what leagues like the NBA are doing amid the pandemic, enacting a bubble of sorts around the league and strictly monitoring who is allowed in and out of that bubble. The NFL do
  13. https://theathletic.com/1984507/2020/08/09/schultz-thomas-dimitroff-on-the-season-under-performance-jobs-on-the-line/ The Falcons are five weeks away from their season opener against Seattle, assuming there is a season to be played. It will be a pivotal year for coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who teamed up for a Super Bowl run in 2016 but have followed that with a second-round playoff exit in 2017 and postseason misses the past two seasons. The Falcons went 7-9 last season but had their playoff hopes buried early by a 1-7 start that nearly cost Quinn his
  14. https://theathletic.com/1978973/2020/08/06/schultz-why-grady-jarrett-is-the-way-he-is-and-why-falcons-need-more-like-him/ Before anybody knew really who Grady Jarrett was, before he helped elevate a floundering college football program to a national force and an NFL team to near Super Bowl champion, he was off the grid. Major college scouts never ventured out to Conyers because Rockdale County High School wasn’t a Georgia program known to produce high-level talent. The program had one winning season in Jarrett’s four years. Nobody was going to come to watch him. So he went to them.
  15. https://theathletic.com/1974546/2020/08/04/dante-fowler-jr-ready-to-meet-expectations-with-intensity-in-2020/ It was 2012 when Dante Fowler Jr. and Todd Gurley faced each other on a football field for the first time. Not yet pros and still a couple of years away from entering the NFL Draft conversation, Fowler and Gurley were gearing up for the annual Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, Fla., as freshmen just looking for something to prove. Fowler remembers that first game against his now friend quite clearly. He remembers it because Gurley racked up 118 rushing yards. Or as Fo
  16. https://theathletic.com/1972022/2020/08/03/todd-gurley-is-not-rushing-through-the-early-days-of-training-camp/ It might be a tad bit ironic that in the midst of a pandemic Todd Gurley’s birthday looks fairly similar to the way it always has. As the first Falcons player made available to the media following the team’s first practice Monday, Gurley was asked about six questions via a Microsoft Teams video chat before calling everyone on the call out for their lack of birthday spirit. “First of all, none of y’all have told me happy birthday yet, so I’m kinda upset with you guys
  17. https://theathletic.com/1958630/2020/07/28/schultz-dan-quinn-needs-a-turnaround-but-its-a-tough-time-to-pull-it-off/ Dan Quinn is all about positivity. This might not seem possible for someone who works in the presumed most dangerous sport during a pandemic and for a team that has failed to make the playoffs the past two years and has had declining win totals in the past three and for an owner who came this close to firing him last season. But Quinn is different. The man could be standing alone on a dusty plain, in the path of stampeding rhinos, and scream to the beasts, “I love yo
  18. https://theathletic.com/1960547/2020/07/29/what-the-falcons-rookies-have-been-up-to-where-theyre-going-as-camp-begins/?source=dailyemail If you’ve been a college student within the past five years or so, or you have a college student in your home, you are likely familiar with Kahoot. If you are not familiar with the term, don’t worry; it has no foundation in any college drinking game (that I know of). What it is, however, is an online classroom of sorts that allows professors to create customized quizzes that everyone in a class can connect to for some game-based learning. Ess
  19. https://theathletic.com/1953310/2020/07/28/ten-things-a-football-nerds-guide-to-the-2020-atlanta-falcons/?source=dailyemail Going into the bye last season, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Atlanta Falcons announced major organizational changes. At 1-7, they were the biggest underachievers in the league. But Dan Quinn shuffled around some members of his coaching staff — most notably moving Raheem Morris from wide receivers coach to secondary coach — and the Falcons went 6-2 in the second half of the season. Owner Arthur Blank announced before Week 17 that Quinn an
  20. https://theathletic.com/1958278/2020/07/28/dan-quinn-breaks-down-policies-and-procedures-as-falcons-return-to-work/ On a video call Tuesday morning, Falcons coach Dan Quinn joked with the 2020 rookies that they weren’t even born when driving laws didn’t mandate seat belts be worn at all times like they are today. “When I was a kid,” Quinn said, “you were climbing from the front to the back, you didn’t need a seat belt. But now, you wouldn’t even think about going anywhere without a seat belt. “Wearing a mask? That’s our seat belt.” Tuesday marked the official return of
  21. New Falcons beat writer for The Athletic https://theathletic.com/1944948/2020/07/22/how-the-falcons-are-planning-for-limited-seating-at-games-in-2020/?source=emp_shared_article Don Rovak said when his family of four goes to Falcons games during the season, it can be split into two demographics of game-goers. His sons, who are 12 and 14 years old, like their space. “Usually the biggest gripe for them is someone tall sitting in front of them,” said Rovak, who is the vice president of ticket sales and services for the Falcons. But his wife falls into another cate
  22. https://theathletic.com/1862904/2020/06/09/schultz-matt-ryan-on-social-justice-colin-kaepernick-and-a-strange-offseason/ These past several weeks of sports’ virtual reality, from team meetings to news conferences, reached Matt Ryan’s home Tuesday. The Falcons’ quarterback met with Atlanta media members Tuesday via his son’s iPad mini. It wouldn’t seem like an ideal backdrop for Ryan to open up, but he had a number of interesting comments, including what moved him to start a GoFundMe page to support the black community (he donated $500,000, and the fund has surpassed $1 million); hi
  23. https://theathletic.com/1836596/2020/05/26/its-a-smart-group-while-young-falcons-dbs-are-confident-heading-into-2020/ In what has been a unique NFL offseason, players mostly have been on their own when it comes to staying in shape and staying up to date with the playbook. A few Falcons teammates wanted to make sure they were up to speed with everything during this time when no players or coaches, outside of those receiving rehab and treatment, are allowed at the team facility. Therefore, a group of receivers and defensive backs organized some practice time against one another
  24. https://theathletic.com/1814404/2020/05/14/dirk-koetter-we-definitely-need-to-run-the-ball-better-than-we-did-last-year/ File this one in the "No Sh*t Sherlock" column.... Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter offered a blunt assessment of the Falcons’ ground game. “We definitely need to run the ball better than we did last year,” he said. Atlanta finished the 2019 season ranked 30th in the NFL with an average of 85.1 rushing yards per game. A couple of factors worked against the Falcons throughout the season. During the first eight games, Atlanta found it
  25. https://theathletic.com/1806911/2020/05/14/brandon-browner-from-the-legion-of-boom-to-inmate-no-bl707/ Long read, but good... Kam Chancellor had the microphone first. “L.O.B., baby,” he announced, “we’re gonna sing this song for y’all.” As Brandon Browner settled beside him, a shirtless Earl Thomas grabbed the mic next. They turned toward Richard Sherman, the man of the hour, and began to croon. “Happy birthday to youuu.” Sherman laughed, then pantomimed choir director hand signals as they continued. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to 2-5
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