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8-1 Falcons Show They're Not Resting On Success


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Found a pretty good article, I thought I would share.

By PAUL NEWBERRY (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press – 1 hour 30 minutes ago

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- They sound like idle words, even for a team with the NFL's best record.

Everyone is being evaluated on a weekly basis. No one's job is safe. If someone isn't performing up to expectations, they can be replaced. Well, the Atlanta Falcons weren't kidding.

Coming off their first loss but still cruising at 8-1, the Falcons made a bold move this week when they dumped big-money defensive end Ray Edwards. In less than two seasons with the team, he had done little to justify a contract that included $11 million in guaranteed money, so the Falcons decided to go in a different direction. The message to everyone else is clear - don't get complacent.

''It's a wakeup call,'' safety Thomas DeCoud said Wednesday. ''The message has been received.''

While it might have been convenient to let Edwards languish on the bench, especially with the team playing so well, coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff decided it's never good to keep an underperforming player on the roster. Edwards had only nine tackles and no sacks this season, his starting job claimed by Kroy Biermann.

''I don't want to get into sending messages and what not,'' Smith said. ''We evaluate every day. We evaluate after every game, from top to bottom. We talk about it all the time. It starts with me. This is a decision that we made. We feel like it makes our team better today and makes our team better in the future.'' With Edwards gone, the Falcons will give more playing time to fourth-year player Lawrence Sidbury, second-year lineman Cliff Matthews and rookie Jonathan Massaquoi, who got his first playing time in last week's 31-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

In the meantime, all the younger players have seen the cruel side of the business. ''It's scary,'' rookie offensive lineman Peter Konz said, managing a weak smile. ''It makes you think. But if you do the right things, get the job done on the field, you don't have to be too worried about it.''

Edwards had not done much right since signing a five-year, $30 million contract with the Falcons just before the start of training camp last season. After combining for 16.5 sacks in his final two seasons with Minnesota, he was supposed to team with John Abraham to give opponents a two-sided nightmare coming off the edge. Instead, after undergoing knee surgery during the lockout, Edwards struggled to regain his mobility and managed just 3.5 sacks in what turned out to be his only full season with the Falcons.

This season, things only got worse. Biermann, the player Edwards was supposed to replace, was much more effective as a rusher and at playing the versatile role required by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (sometimes even dropping into pass coverage). Edwards started four games, but found himself spending more and more time on the sideline. Finally, the Falcons had seen enough.

Even with a $4.5 million hit on the salary cap next season, Smith and Dimitroff made the move.

''We're about winning games here,'' defensive lineman Corey Peters said. ''It's in the best interest to do everything we can to help our team get to that goal. We're not hesitant to make decisions and make changes.'' If nothing else, Smith has always tried to be up front with his players. If someone's not playing up to their ability, he'll tell them. If change is needed, he'll pull the trigger and move on.

''This is not anything new,'' Peters said. ''I'm grateful to be in a place where they're pretty transparent. The let you know what they think of you. That's all you can really ask for.'' While some players surely have more leeway than others - Matt Ryan is not going to be replaced at quarterback, no matter how poorly he plays Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - coaches have always relied on a bit of the fear factor to keep everyone motivated.

Given that most players don't have a lot of guaranteed money in their contracts, the desire to succeed takes on new importance. There's always someone looking for a job. There's always someone eager to take your place. ''That's the way this game goes,'' cornerback Dunta Robinson said. ''You can be replaced.'' In a sign of how quickly things change, Massaquoi had already taken over Edwards' locker space on Wednesday, claiming a more prominent spot among the other defensive linemen.

''Ray was a great friend of mine,'' Robinson said, looking over at Edwards' former locker. ''I hate to see him go. But it's a business. Things like this are going to happen when it's a business.'' Linebacker Mike Peterson said he wasn't surprised at all by the move. ''This organization definitely believes in trying to get better at each position each and every week,'' he said. ''Even when we're winning. Even when we were 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, we were trying to get better each week.''

Safety William Moore heard Peterson's comments as he walked by.

''You better believe that,'' Moore said.

No one doubts it now.

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Hmm I wonder if this is going to be a good or bad tipping point.

Peters didn't get paid while he was out with injury (apparently the FO didn't like how it happend)

Polite gets released

Edwards gets released

Smitty going off after the Samuel pick/celebration.

McClure's comments sounding like he had his tail chewed after the new orleans game.

The team is going to either take all of this stuff to heart and "rise up", or this is when Smith starts to lose the team. I'm hoping they RISE UP.

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I fully expect the Arizona Cardinals to walk into a furnace like atmoshpere on Sunday. I'm telling you this team is going to be on fire.

This could be another 41-7 shellacking like we put on them in 2010, you better believe every guy on our team will "DO HIS JOB" this week and when we face New Orleans again for sure.

Fellow fans, we may be looking back on the evening of Feb 3 after the Super Bowl is over and marking this move as the turning point that brought a Lombardi Trophy to the Atlanta Falcons.... I've seriously got chills right now and I pity the Arizona Cardinals for being our opponent this week.

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Thanks for posting.

''This is not anything new,'' Peters said. ''I'm grateful to be in a place where they're pretty transparent. The let you know what they think of you. That's all you can really ask for.'' While some players surely have more leeway than others - Matt Ryan is not going to be replaced at quarterback, no matter how poorly he plays Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - coaches have always relied on a bit of the fear factor to keep everyone motivated.

I like what Peters had to say. That is that proverbial hammer the media was talking about last week that Jerry Jones doesn't have with Garret. Need to have that hammer to keep the guys in line. I've always wanted to Smith to be more Belichick like and make moves more often to keep guys humble.

I also liked hearing Konz's reaction to it. Maybe this cut will reverberate throughout the whole team and the O-line starts pushing harder , the backs start running harder , and the whole team starts playing tougher.

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Smith isn't losing this team in the slightest. You don't see him scream at players when they make mistakes on the field or blow coverages, he does however lose it when they have avoidable penalties and hurt the team with things they can control. Mistakes happen during plays, they shouldn't happen after plays and that's what Smith preaches. This team knows it and if they like winning, they'll listen.

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Hmm I wonder if this is going to be a good or bad tipping point.

Peters didn't get paid while he was out with injury (apparently the FO didn't like how it happend)

Polite gets released

Edwards gets released

Smitty going off after the Samuel pick/celebration.

McClure's comments sounding like he had his tail chewed after the new orleans game.

The team is going to either take all of this stuff to heart and "rise up", or this is when Smith starts to lose the team. I'm hoping they RISE UP.

well said.

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I fully expect the Arizona Cardinals to walk into a furnace like atmoshpere on Sunday. I'm telling you this team is going to be on fire.

This could be another 41-7 shellacking like we put on them in 2010, you better believe every guy on our team will "DO HIS JOB" this week and when we face New Orleans again for sure.

Fellow fans, we may be looking back on the evening of Feb 3 after the Super Bowl is over and marking this move as the turning point that brought a Lombardi Trophy to the Atlanta Falcons.... I've seriously got chills right now and I pity the Arizona Cardinals for being our opponent this week.

Just a little history here. In 1998, we started the season 4-1. The team looked pretty strong and had just come off a win in NY against the Giants. We had a big division showdown coming at home the next week against the Saints. We'd been running the ball pretty well. But Jamal Anderson knew we could do better. He came out in the papers and ripped his own OLine, challenging them to open more holes.

The team took it to heart. After that, we could run on ANYBODY. We literally ground teams into the ground with the run game. We rode Jamal all the way to the Super Bowl.

I'm not saying this team has the capability to run the ball like that. Probably not. But I DO think this team has the resilience and determination to rise to the challenge. With Ryan and the receivers we have, we don't have to have a devastating running game. We just have to be BETTER at it. We have to run the ball effectively when we NEED to, like Smitty has consistently said.

I think this team will do that.

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The team is going to either take all of this stuff to heart and "rise up", or this is when Smith starts to lose the team. I'm hoping they RISE UP.

Smith has no worries about losing the team because he has the respect of his players. There are no players in the media saying if we would of done this we would of beat NO. They are all saying we beat ourselves and after a lost thats what you want to hear and not the blame game.

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This all sounds good, but if its true than why hasn't Turner been released? He's been the biggest fail on the team. Everything they've done has nothing to do with being able to rush for 1 yard in critical situations.

The team line is that the lack of a run game doesn't fall solely on Turner. So it's him and the line. Maybe if the line improves & Turner doesn't, the axe falls in the backfield next.

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This all sounds good, but if its true than why hasn't Turner been released? He's been the biggest fail on the team. Everything they've done has nothing to do with being able to rush for 1 yard in critical situations.

Best per carry average on the team. If he had the worst...he would be gone. Believe it.

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Turner

@ SD - 14 CAR, 80 YDS (5.7)

CAR - 13 CAR, 103 YDS (7.9)

DAL - 20 CAR, 102 YDS (5.1)

Turner has still got it when the OL does their job.

All highlighted by one big gain. I'd rather him have 8 carries for 32 yards with 4 ypc, opposed to 8 carries for 32 yards and 20 coming in one run. That's not consistent.

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All highlighted by one big gain. I'd rather him have 8 carries for 32 yards with 4 ypc, opposed to 8 carries for 32 yards and 20 coming in one run. That's not consistent.

2-10-ATL 36 - (3:54) 33-M.Turner left tackle to ATL 42 for 6 yards (26-A.Bigby)

2-9-ATL 5 - (9:51) 33-M.Turner up the middle to ATL 9 for 4 yards (90-A.Franklin)

1-10-ATL 39 - (9:43) 33-M.Turner right end to ATL 43 for 4 yards (51-T.Spikes, 32-E.Weddle)

1-10-ATL 32 - (1:06) 33-M.Turner up the middle to ATL 36 for 4 yards (51-T.Spikes, 96-J.Johnson).

1-10-SD 49 - (15:00) 33-M.Turner up the middle to SD 24 for 25 yards (26-A.Bigby).

1-10-SD 32 - (10:26) 33-M.Turner up the middle to SD 25 for 7 yards (26-A.Bigby).

2-3-SD 25 - (9:43) 33-M.Turner left end to SD 7 for 18 yards (32-E.Weddle).

1-7-SD 7 - (8:56) 33-M.Turner right tackle for 7 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Yep. Michael Turner only had 1 good run against the Chargers. That's 8 of his 14 carries against the Chargers that went for at least 4 yards. That's over 50%. That's good enough in my book. Do I need to do the same thing for the Panthers and Cowboys games?

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2-7-CAR 46 - (9:26) 33-M.Turner right guard to CAR 40 for 6 yards (92-D.Edwards).

3-1-CAR 40 - (8:48) 33-M.Turner right tackle to CAR 28 for 12 yards (50-J.Anderson; 20-C.Gamble)

2-6-CAR 10- (5:57) 33-M.Turner right end to CAR 4 for 6 yards (30-C.Godfrey; 59-L.Kuechly).

1-10-ATL 23 - (1:56) 33-M.Turner left end to ATL 40 for 17 yards (41-C.Munnerlyn)

1-10-ATL 40 - (1:07) 33-M.Turner right guard to CAR 49 for 11 yards (30-C.Godfrey).

2-10-ATL 18 - (14:07) 33-M.Turner right tackle to ATL 32 for 14 yards (52-J.Beason)

1-10-ATL 32 - (13:26) 33-M.Turner left end pushed ob at CAR 41 for 27 yards (41-C.Munnerlyn)

That's 7 of Turner's 13 carries against the Panthers that went for at least 4 yards. That's 54%. The amount of hate Turner gets on here is stupid.

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