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Falcons update from yesterday - Yahoo sports


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I know there has already bees some discussion about the use of Norwood, however, though there were a few other interesting notes I figured I'd share:

Falcons Team Report

Yahoo! Sports

Jun 6, 1:25 am EDT

Buzz Up Print

Inside Slant

Everyone with the Falcons, everyone who has scouted them and everyone who has played against them knows how dangerous tailback Jerious Norwood is. Game-breaking speed, adept elusiveness, great hands and he doesn t fumble.

Yet, in two seasons, two different coaching staffs couldn t figure out how to best utilize him.

He hadn t earned enough respect to unseat Warrick Dunn in that span but he did show enough game-breaking potential to get enough touches to provide Atlanta s impotence offense some vitality.

It seems, at least this offseason, that new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and head coach Mike Smith, have devised a scheme to finally take advantage of the 5-11, 204-pound speed-burner who s averaged 7.7 yards each time he s touched the ball.

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The coaches are putting me in a variety of spots in a variety of sets, Norwood said. They re going to line me up at receiver, running back, shoot, maybe some quarterback. They re going to put me in some one-on-one matchups to get me in the open field.

Norwood has 202 carries for 1,246 total yards. All three of his rushing touchdowns have come on runs of more than 60 yards. Surprisingly, the sure-handed Mississippi product has just 40 catches for 379 yards.

In theory, Norwood will back up starter Michael Turner, who Atlanta signed to a six-year, $39.5 million contract to leave San Diego. In reality, he could be in the backfield with Turner. Then things could get fun. He could remain set, go in motion and operate out of the slot or even end up as a wideout.

Whatever matchup he gets, he ll either have a size or speed advantage on the person trying to defend him.

He s a guy that can cause all kinds of problems for defensive coordinators, Smith said. Not strictly because of his speed but because of the potential matchup problems he can create. Jerious is a special athlete that can do a number of different things.

This type of optimism about Norwood s potential contribution is nothing new. That s why Norwood isn t banking on anything until it actually conveys to the regular season.

I m still going to keep the same mentality that I have since I ve been here, which is compete, be the best I can be so when my time comes I can deliver, Norwood said. Until then, I ll just play my role.

Notes, Quotes

" CB Chris Houston returned to OTA drills this week after missing the past 2 1/2 weeks with a knee bruise. In a move that sent a message to all players, the new coaching staff did not insert Houston back into his regular role as the starting right corner. Instead, rookie Chevis Jackson is working with the starting unit for now.

Though Houston likely will return as the starter, coaches not simply giving his job back to him upon his return fortified the message that every position is up for competition and if you want it, you have to earn it.

" Former TE Alge Crumpler, who was released after the season and signed a two-year contract with Tennessee, got an early read on Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan. The veteran and now $72 Million Man trained at the same facility in Arizona last winter and routinely went through passing drills with each other.

I had a chance to catch balls form him, Crumpler said. He s a quality kid. He s got a good arm and he should be a good quarterback in this league.

" PK Jason Elam has missed several OTA workouts with the permission of the team. Elam had a personal trip planned well before signing a free-agent contract with the Falcons and it was considered a non-issue once offseason workouts kicked off. Coach Mike Smith said even if Elam were at OTA workouts, he would be doing very little, if any, kicking.

We re not doing a whole lot of field goal work anyway, Smith said. Jason knows how he to be prepared. He ll be ready. This is not his first rodeo.

Quote To Note: It s something he s seen through our eyes so he s got insight and he s got experience and some wisdom that can help the tight ends out. TE Ben Hartsock on offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who played tight end for nine seasons with Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

Strategy And Personnel

With starting WR Roddy White sitting out of OTAs with a hamstring injury and veteran WR Joe Horn not attending workouts because he wants to be traded, veteran Michael Jenkins has re-emerged.

The 2004, first-round draft pick was moved into the top three rotation of receivers out of necessity and the big target seems to be making the most of the opportunity.

Jenkins reminded the new coaching staff that he is a very good blocker in the running game and, at 6-4, a dangerous receiving threat inside the 10-yard line. Jenkins has caught 10 touchdowns in the past two seasons, more than any other wide receiver on the team.

Even so, Jenkins appeared slotted to be the No. 4 WR, even after Horn decided to stay away following the team s second mini-camp, which came after the draft. White and Laurent Robinson were the top two WRs and third-round draft pick Harry Douglas was being used in the slot.

That s a far dip for Jenkins, who started from 2004-2006. His role changed under Bobby Petrino last season, who opted to use Jenkins in the slot, despite Jenkins being a more straight-line speedster that excelled near the sideline.

Though Jenkins could end up being the No. 4 receiver, his job security appears safe because he is such a good special teams player. With Jenkins in the lineup, the Falcons also could use big WR sets that feature White (6-0), Robinson (6-2) and Jenkins.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offer)

" PK Morten Andersen (not tendered as UFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: QB Matt Ryan (1/3): $72M/6 yrs, $34.75M guaranteed.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

" FS Erik Coleman: UFA Jets; $10M/4 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.

" K Jason Elam: UFA Broncos; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.

" DE Simon Fraser: Not tendered as RFA by Browns; terms unknown.

" TE Ben Hartsock: UFA Titans; $9M/4 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.

" CB Von Hutchins: UFA Texans; $9M/4 yrs, $2.5M.

" FB Corey McIntyre: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

" DT Rashad Moore: Not tendered as RFA by Patriots; terms unknown.

" DT Kindal Moorehead: UFA Panthers; terms unknown.

" C Alex Stepanovich: UFA Bengals; terms unknown.

" RB Michael Turner: UFA Chargers; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

" DT Tim Anderson: UFA; terms unknown.

" LB Michael Boley: RFA; $2.017M/1 yr.

" OL Tyson Clabo: ERFA; terms unknown.

" DE Chauncey Davis: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.

" QB Joey Harrington: FA, had been released by Falcons; $1M/1 yr, $300,000 SB.

" P Michael Koenen: RFA $1.47M/1 yr.

" QB Chris Redman: UFA; $4M/2 yrs, $2.75M SB.

" NT Montavious Stanley: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

" TE Courtney Anderson: UFA Bills; terms unknown.

" TE Dwayne Blakley: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.

" DT Rod Coleman (released).

" S Chris Crocker: UFA Dolphins; 1.15M/1 yr, $300,000 SB.

" TE Alge Crumpler (released).

" RB Warrick Dunn (released).

" WR Jamin Elliott (released).

" OT Wayne Gandy (released).

" CB DeAngelo Hall (traded Raiders).

" QB Byron Leftwich (released).

" S Omare Lowe: UFA Seahawks; $605,000/1 yr.

" CB Lewis Sanders (released).

" LB Marcus Wilkins (released).

" OLB Demorrio Williams: UFA Chiefs; $16M/5 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.

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" CB Chris Houston returned to OTA drills this week after missing the past 2 1/2 weeks with a knee bruise. In a move that sent a message to all players, the new coaching staff did not insert Houston back into his regular role as the starting right corner. Instead, rookie Chevis Jackson is working with the starting unit for now.

Though Houston likely will return as the starter, coaches not simply giving his job back to him upon his return fortified the message that every position is up for competition and if you want it, you have to earn it.

I like that....a lot

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Thank for the post, its a good read :)

Im glad we arent talking about jenks sitting. Even if he is the 4th guy he has talent and is should be good fit if a wr goes down with injury. While white had a break out season last year i always thought jenks was better. But they are both young and only getting better. if ryan doesn't start he will be able to work with potential starting wr`s and build some timing with them.

Classy of crump not to take cheap shots. It would be easy to do after being cut and seeing a rookie get paid like ryan. But it should be kinda expected after what we paid vick.

Im hoping anderson has a break out season though. Its hard playing DE but a year of experience should be paying off. Him and abe should make a good duo.

Houston while not handed a job should be primed as well. He got picked on alot last season and that experience should pay off with him as well. I for one hope he does start. Before anyone complains about our cb`s lets not forget we had burnt toast back there 2 seasons ago and he sucked.

Im so excited about this season. All this young talent and new coaching staff. I cant wait for preseason to actually see them take the field.

If there is 1 thing i wanna see this year. IT`S PLAY FOR ALL 4 QUARTERS. I think seeing a team give up mid game was worse than loosing.

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danight (6/7/2008)
Thank for the post, its a good read :)

Im glad we arent talking about jenks sitting. Even if he is the 4th guy he has talent and is should be good fit if a wr goes down with injury. While white had a break out season last year i always thought jenks was better. But they are both young and only getting better. if ryan doesn't start he will be able to work with potential starting wr`s and build some timing with them.

Classy of crump not to take cheap shots. It would be easy to do after being cut and seeing a rookie get paid like ryan. But it should be kinda expected after what we paid vick.

Im hoping anderson has a break out season though. Its hard playing DE but a year of experience should be paying off. Him and abe should make a good duo.

Houston while not handed a job should be primed as well. He got picked on alot last season and that experience should pay off with him as well. I for one hope he does start. Before anyone complains about our cb`s lets not forget we had burnt toast back there 2 seasons ago and he sucked.

Im so excited about this season. All this young talent and new coaching staff. I cant wait for preseason to actually see them take the field.

If there is 1 thing i wanna see this year. IT`S PLAY FOR ALL 4 QUARTERS. I think seeing a team give up mid game was worse than loosing.

I would have liked to see Houston in Deon's camp shown on NFL network....even if we are cover 2

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It's really got to mess with a young guy's head to have been under two different coaches, one of which was a whacko.  He probably doesn't know how this has impacted his development, but hopefully we will see him fast forward in his development under our new coach.

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Dr Reality (6/7/2008)
It's really got to mess with a young guy's head to have been under two different coaches, one of which was a whacko. He probably doesn't know how this has impacted his development, but hopefully we will see him fast forward in his development under our new coach.

Yep, now just imagine if you're the QB under that type of change....Washington Redskins, Falcons, and others. Winning teams seam to have consistency in coaching and in the core group of key players.

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Jenkins is a great special teams player?  I don't even remember seeing Jenkins on ST.

The new coaching staff must really like Harry Douglas if Jenks drops all the way to 4.  I don't expect to see Joe Horn in the Falcons uniform this year.

As for Houston I don't like his size or his ability to play the ball and I like Chevis Jackson better.  I have seen Houston start now I want to see Jackson and it seems as if Brent grimes may have the LC locked up already.

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1.  Norwood as a versatile, all over the field exposing great match-ups for the Falcons is something I've thought Norwood was born for.  That said, in order to truly expose those match-ups, you have to get Norwood the ball in a veriety of ways and places.  It's encouraging to see that the coaching staff sees this.

2.  Jenkins as a #4 WR seems about right.  Once he starts pop-up tipping INT's to the defense he'll be relegated to running plays.

3.  While it's a bit of a message to not give Houston that starting gig back, in truth, we are talking about a guy who is only in his 2nd year and has 0 career INT's.  He doesn't really have that much more league stature than Chevis Jackson at this point anyway.  I bet Roddy White gets that starting gig back when he returns on hi first play.  But it's a good sign nonetheless.

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Dr Reality (6/7/2008)
It's really got to mess with a young guy's head to have been under two different coaches, one of which was a whacko. He probably doesn't know how this has impacted his development, but hopefully we will see him fast forward in his development under our new coach.

It could be a positive though. Its like any job where 1 boss total sucks and the next one you get along with. If you enjoy your job and take pride in it, then you will probably work harder to excel at it. If it was me id rather have a new boss instead of guy who is only there to build his own resume.

But like free agents, you just adapt. The plays and styles aren't that much different and you see vets say the same thing every year after a trade. You put in the work and learn the system then grow as a team.

Winning erases all memories. Half of winning is covering the basics. its creating turn overs, not making turn overs, protect the qb and pressure the other teams qb. Like the colts D. They didnt have a ton of huge name stars, they just had a group of guys who went out there and got better and played their hearts out. Then the D got so good it took focus off the O. Yes the pats had a good team last year with a ton of stars on it and they still came up short in the game that counted the most. Like the browns. The saints only 2 years back went through a major over haul as well and ended up in the playoffs the next year.

Hopefully this is it for coaching changes though and we will stick with this so the new guys and get into a rythem and build some chemistry. Great teams do seem to have stability at coaching but those teams are usually pretty good as well.

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TheDirtyWordII (6/7/2008)
1.  Norwood as a versatile, all over the field exposing great match-ups for the Falcons is something I've thought Norwood was born for.  That said, in order to truly expose those match-ups, you have to get Norwood the ball in a veriety of ways and places.  It's encouraging to see that the coaching staff sees this.

2.  Jenkins as a #4 WR seems about right.  Once he starts pop-up tipping INT's to the defense he'll be relegated to running plays.

3.  While it's a bit of a message to not give Houston that starting gig back, in truth, we are talking about a guy who is only in his 2nd year and has 0 career INT's.  He doesn't really have that much more league stature than Chevis Jackson at this point anyway.  I bet Roddy White gets that starting gig back when he returns on hi first play.  But it's a good sign nonetheless.

The reason he has 0 career interceptions is because he was raw in his coverage abilities when we drafted him. He had good coverage, but he couldn't get his head around when the ball was coming toward him and I believe, if he had his head turned towards the ball, he would have been bound to have a minimum of two interceptions. We drafted him because of his physical attributes and he shut down Dwayne Jarrett and Robert Meachum, two talented receivers, in college. I believe that, with this one year below him, he'll grab three interceptions this year.
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The reason he has 0 career interceptions is because he was raw in his coverage abilities when we drafted him. He had good coverage, but he couldn't get his head around when the ball was coming toward him
exactly. That was weakness coming out of college. People say he should have stayed another year.

 Weaknesses:

Houston could have benefited from another year at Arkansas to improve his technique. He is still raw and relies on his physical skills too much. With his confidence comes an overly aggressive style of play that can leave him susceptible to double moves. He is not the best at supporting the run, as he is not as aggressive in run support as he is in the passing game. He is not the best open field tackler. Despite great athleticism, he does not have elite ball skills. - http://www.warroomreport.com/draft/rankings/cb/houston.htm

He has just one year as a starter, thus lacks the experience of several of his peers in the draft and still has plenty to learn at the position. Although he is often in position to create a turnover, Houston is not the playmaker on the field you would expect in terms of interceptions (having just three last season).http://www.fftoolbox.com/nfl_draft/profile...rospect_ID=1183

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Can't wait until the real regular season starts, so fans can see what the team is really about.

These reports will never inform anyone of nothing, they stink and I could write one weekly of the nonsense given, like many Falcon fans here on this board. Hope the staff has a clue and molds this team into winners, they have been wimps for three years now so here's to a tougher mindset.

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