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Falcons Team Report


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Falcons Team Report

Yahoo! Sports 5 hours, 9 minutes ago

INSIDE SLANT

The Falcons re-established their running game against the Cardinals, but will move forward without Jerious Norwood(notes), who was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

He suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on the opening kickoff of the 41-7 pasting of the Cardinals.

“Unfortunately, since we’ve been here Jerious has had some bumps and bruises and some missed time,” Falcons coach Mike Smith(notes) said. “But he is a very talented football player and he’s been a guy that’s contributed to the success that we’ve had. You like the speed of him as a running back and as a specialist. He’s been able to contribute for us for the last two years.”

Turner, who left that game with a groin injury, likely will be back in the lineup Sunday at New Orleans. Snelling should step into Norwood’s spot.

The Falcons also announced the addition of running back Gartrell Johnson(notes) to the active roster and terminated the contract of linebacker Bear Woods(notes), who was on the practice squad. They signed running back Shawnbrey McNeal(notes) to replace Woods.

Johnson was a fourth-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2009. He had 43 yards on 13 carries for the Giants last season.

NOTES, QUOTES

• Falcons left tackle Sam Baker(notes) has drawn the wrath of the officials early this season. He’s been whistled for four holding calls in the first two games.

“Yeah, they got me for a couple,” Baker said on Monday. “I think it comes down to playing your techniques and playing to the line and not going over it.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith preaches to the team about being aggressive, playing until they hear the whistle and playing on the edge.

“It’s difficult,” Baker admitted. “You have got to be on that line. The refs will warn you. They’ll let you know where that line is going to be for that day. Then you have to take the responsibility to find where that is.”

Smith believes that the rash of holding calls on Baker is related to the new positioning rules of the umpire. He doesn’t want to appear to be making excuses for Baker, but the coaching staff does plan to monitor when the offensive holding calls are made and by which official.

“We have to make sure that we understand how they are calling the game,” Smith said.

Smith would not concede if Baker has a issue with holding.

“I don’t know that there is any issue,” Smith said. “The umpire is definitely in a new position. We’ve got to block better. We can’t have offensive holding penalties.”

• The Falcons had a pre-game ceremony to honor tight end Tony Gonzalez(notes) for making his 1,000th career catch in the season opener at Pittsburgh.

“I almost started crying,” Gonzalez said. “It was just a great moment.”

• Against Arizona, cornerback Brian Williams(notes) saw his most extensive action since coming back from knee surgery. He took over at nickel back for Christopher Owens(notes), who suffered a back injury. He finished with two tackles and broke up one pass.

“Our defensive line put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and that made our jobs easier on the back end,” Williams said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Player Notes

• DT Peria Jerry(notes) is off to a slow start as he battles back from knee surgery. He had one tackle against Pittsburgh and one tackle against Arizona.

• LE Kroy Biermann(notes) made his third career start and recorded his eighth career sack against the Steelers.

• SLB Sean Weatherspoon(notes) has his first career sack and added nine total tackles (eight solo) against the Cardinals.

• MLB Curtis Lofton(notes) had 12 tackles (10 solo) and posted one sack in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

• OLB Mike Peterson(notes) intercepted the 17th pass of his career against Pittsburgh.

• RCB Dunta Robinson(notes) had three tackles and two passes defensed in his second game as a Falcon against Arizona.

• LCB Brent Grimes(notes) had tackles and one pass defensed against the Cardinals.

Report Card Vs . CARDINALS

Passing Offense: B-plus—Matt Ryan(notes) completed 21 of 32 pass attempts for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the game with a 117.3 passer rating, marking the 10th time in his career that he has recorded a 100-plus point quarterback rating and the Falcons are now 10-0 when Ryan posts a rating over 100. Since becoming the Falcons starter as a rookie in 2008, Ryan owns a 14-1 record at the Georgia Dome (.933 pct.).

Rushing Offense: A-plus— Jerious Norwood went down on the opening kickoff. Michael Turner got off to a good start—75 yards on nine carries—before he tweaked his groin. Jason Snelling came off the bench to power the attack. He rushed for 129 yards as the team amassed 221 yards on 45 carries.

Pass Defense: B-plus—The team blitzed the Cardinals into submission, sacking the quarterback twice and forcing two interceptions. The Cardinals didn’t convert any of their eight third down plays.

Rush Defense: C—The Falcons had another miss-fit when they were trying to drop eight men down in the box and Tim Hightower(notes) got loose for an 80-yard run. The team lost to Pittsburgh in overtime when it surrendered a 50-yard touchdown run to Rashard Mendenhall(notes). Those two runs have been the only scores the unit has yielded this season.

Special Teams: C—The grade is so low because they gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown. The play was called back because of a holding call away from the ball. Matt Bryant(notes) was good on 24- and 35-yard field-goal attempts and Michael Koenen(notes) only had to punt twice.

Coaching: B—It took awhile, but the team finally figured out how to block against a 3-4 front. They struggled against 3-4 teams last season and had a tough time running the ball in the opener against Pittsburgh. When the rushing attack is rolling, the offense flows better. Defensively, the plan to harass Derek Anderson(notes) worked to perfection. We can’t give them an A because of all of the penalties and the 80-yard touchdown run. That should have been corrected after they got beat in a similar situation by a 50-yard run in overtime against Pittsburgh.

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Ive watched Gartrell play...and I really have no idea what he brings to the table that Nance doesnt already. But I saw that Nance was activated by the Packers against the Bills. Good for him takin regular season snaps(2 carries, 6 yards).

As for Antone Smith....not a good sign when a team signs a dude off the street to start ahead of you.

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