SportsFan // Outlet Shop
Telephone

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

(800) 767-5849

  • RSS Feed
Posts of category  "Falcons"

Falcons fans sound off about the offense, empty seats and wonder what’s causing the injuries

Editor’s note: Today’s edition will be updated later on this afternoon with more questions, so please check back.

Good morning and welcome to Straight from the ’Beek! We’re into the Falcons’ bye week and you’ve got questions. Just remember that all opinions you see in this space are mine, unless otherwise noted.

And we’re off.

Larry from Hampton, GA

If you had success running the football and it’s fourth-and-1, isn’t it a no-brainer to run the football and get the first down? You say that you have to rely or trust the coach’s decision. As you see it didn’t work out in the Super Bowl as well as this game. Still trusting the coach’s decision?

Matt: Yes, I am, Larry. You can’t judge a coach on one play.


Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Hey Matt, love your column and your insights. Thanks for doing this. I do have a question, but first I have a comment. I knew someone was going to come on here on Monday and talk about Julio Jones always being hurt. My Steelers fan friends tell me that’s why Antonio Brown is better than Julio Jones, but he’s not. No. 11 is the best WR in the NFL. Injuries, especially to wide receivers, happen. The Falcons didn’t lose that game because 11 got hurt. Which leads me to my question. Besides turnovers, what else do you think the Falcons need to do better when they come back after their bye to get better? A 3-1 record is good but they could easily be 1-3 or 2-2 right now. They have to start playing better.

Matt: Julian, they have to get healthy. By the end of Sunday’s game, a total of eight players were out because of various injuries. Aside from turning the ball over and creating more turnovers, the Falcons need to start tackling better, too. There were a lot of missed tackles. You might as well throw in catching the ball, too. For whatever reasons, there have been a lot of tipped and deflected balls by the receivers – and some of those have led to turnovers. The good news is that everything I just mentioned is correctable. And the bye week could not be coming at a better time.


Jerry from Cuthbert, GA

Did you notice that Duke Riley is looking confused and missing a lot of tackles? Looks like he’s in over his head. Thanks for the ear.

Matt: Hey, Jerry. You’ve got to remember Duke Riley is a first-year player and every game is on-the-job training for him. The good news is that he has lots of speed, plays fast and puts himself in position to make plays more times than not. Yes, he’s missed some tackles, but like I noted above, that’s correctable – and he’ll only get better in time.


Hayse from Nashville, TN

Hey Beek, I’ve been a fan all my life and a season ticket holder since Vick’s rookie year. I drive down from Nashville for the games and, for years, I flew in from Utah. I say this to establish some fan credibility before I ask this question. So, my question is, what do we have to do to A) Get our fans to the games? B) Get to their seats on time? I’ve never consistently seen so many empty seats over the years and it seems like it takes an NFC championship to get the house packed. It’s just frustrating to me to see the support that Atlanta United is getting and the Falcons (and Braves) games barely seem half full. It’s embarrassing and needs to stop!

Matt: Thanks for the question and the Falcons are lucky to have to loyal fans like you. I’ll be very honest here – I have no idea what’s going on with the fans – and I find it surprising, especially coming into Sunday’s game with a 3-0 mark. But one reader (below) offers at least one reason why, Hayse.


Rob from Canton, GA

I have been following the Falcons for many years, watching players such as Jeff Van Note, Steve Bartkowski, etc., In watching the Falcons I have never noticed a killer instinct with them, like other teams. For example, the Super Bowl last year, it looked like the team and coaches thought to themselves that we had it wrapped up. New England wanted it worse than us. What is it going to take to get this Falcons team with a never-let-down attitude? Also, I can give you one reason why the seats are empty. People like me who had season tickets for over 50 years never saw our Falcons win a Super Bowl, and I will not get season tickets again until they really want to play and never quit, for both the team and coaches. They all need to look at themselves and ask the simple question, am I really playing or coaching to the best of my ability? Just an old man venting!

Read more…

Let’s talk about it.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here, we’re at the bye week! Normally I’d bemoan the tediousness of it all, but this time around, I’m just grateful for the chance for Atlanta to take a breather and get healthy.

We are going to use this time to take stock of the Falcons and the NFL through four games, and so we’ll lead things off with an upbeat, hopefully fun question: Who has been the most impressive Falcon through four games?

There are some truly worthy candidates. Julio Jones has been his usual stellar self, Brooks Reed is having a weird resurgent season, Takk McKinley is putting together one hell of a rookie campaign, and Grady Jarrett is a legitimate beast in the middle of the defensive line.

For all that, though, I guess I’d go with Devonta Freeman. He has been absurdly good yet again, with 70 carries for 285 yards, an NFL-leading five rushing touchdowns, and nine receptions for 70 yards over four games. That’s a combined 355 yards and five TDs in an offense that has needed every hard-fought yard, and Freeman still looks like one of the greatest backs in the league. Steve Sarkisian is obviously willing to lean on Free, and that means he’ll probably be one of Atlanta’s best all season.

Read more…

Falcons owner Arthur Blank discussing his plans before the Lions’ game on Sunday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) 

Falcons owner Arthur Blank stood next to head coach Dan Quinn on the field during the National Anthem before Sunday’s game with the Detroit Lions.

Defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe elected to kneel while holding hands with defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel (standing to the right of Jarrett) and Adrian Clayborn (standing to left of Poe).

Eight members of the Detroit Lions elected to kneel also.

“It’s just a physical and symbolic representation of what I said yesterday,” Blank said before the game about standing with his team.

Blank was fine with whatever the players elected to do.

”What they do is their choice,” Blank said before the game. “I’m supportive of our players. I’m certainly supportive of their rights to express their freedom of speech. I don’t think…the people that fought for this country going back several hundred years primarily weren’t fighting for geography. They were fighting for way of life, and part of that is reflected in the freedom of speech and the ability to speak up and speak out on issues.

Blank was not pleased with the comments of President Donald Trump about players who have elected to kneel during the National Anthem.

“It’s unfortunate that the president chose to go in that direction and speak out the way he has,” Blank said. “Love conquers and that kind of divisiveness and calling out accomplishes nothing, satisfies nothing.”

Blank was not one of the seven NFL owners who dontated $1 million to Trump’s campaign. Blank was a strong supporter of  President Barack Obama.

Players around the league have been protesting social and racial injustice in the country.

“The issues that they point to are legitimate issues,” Blank said. “They need to be talked about it. We need to make progress as a country moving forward with them. We don’t do it by creating walls. We don’t build walls. That doesn’t create better listening or better responses or connections.”

Blank noted that the Falcons are one of the busiest teams when it comes to doing community service.

“I think our players love this country,” Blank said. “They not only play this game, but they work their fannies off physically and financially giving back in a variety of ways to our communities throughout the national football league. We are the first to step up and do very significant things. They do it day in and day out. I see it every day with our players.”

Read more…

The Falcons dealt with this the whole offseason, and you saw it, because it was impossible to miss it—28–3, 28–3, 28–3. And riding shotgun to all the taunting was the idea that the mother of all Super Bowl hangovers was coming as a result of the mother of all Super Bowl collapses.

Two weeks in, not so much. And the Falcons have handled all of this so well, because they haven’t run from it. As recently as last week, players—all the way up the chain to Matt Ryan—were speaking freely about overcoming the past. There wasn’t a ceremonial burial of a football, or an embargo on talking about 2016. Instead, the players and coaches have hit what they had coming right between the eyes.

And the reason why is simple. They did what few NFL teams have the stomach to when things go sideways—behind the GM they’ve stuck with for a decade and a head coach they’ve invested in, they believed in their course and stuck to it.

You can start, too, with one thing that actually changed. Atlanta handled its biggest offseason defection—Kyle Shanahan leaving to coach the Niners—by asking every candidate they interviewed, “can you run his offense?” In essence, screaming to the players, stay the course. The man Quinn found, Steve Sarkisian, has background with Pete Carroll, another sign of how Atlanta was building on the program, not tearing it down. So while the pilot was different, the script wasn’t and, at least on Sunday, neither was the result. Matt Ryan and company rolled up 257 yards and 24 points in the first half alone against Green Bay.

If they looked unaffected by all the noise, that makes sense too, because it had been impressed on the players that they’d been through a smaller version of this before. During Dan Quinn’s first season with the Falcons, the team saw a 6–1 start evaporate into an 8–8 finish—and that loomed over the 2016 offseason. The same way 28–3 will come up this year every time Atlanta has a lead, the 2–7 meltdown served as a caveat to every early-season win they had last year. And the Falcons were able to plow through all of that on their way to the Super Bowl.

And then, finally, there’s Quinn himself, a coach who was the king of the 2015 coaching carousel in large part because of his ability to reach players and lead, qualities that equipped him for the aftermath of the letdowns of both the ’15 season, and Super Bowl LI.

We don’t know yet whether or not the Falcons are going to be where they were last year, with a shot to win the franchise’s first world title. But what we should’ve known all along was simple—they most certainly were equipped to handle all that was coming their way.

Read more..

This team is so locked in that every game is just a business trip. That trip, of course, ends with someone forced into a lake of fire and under the watchful eye of an ancient demigod.

Dan Quinn has gone through a lot. In order to win games, he had to make sacrifices to a potentially evil metal falcon’s lake of fire. That has been pretty tough, but not nearly as tough as losing two separate Super Bowls to the New England Patriots thanks to his offensive coordinators.

“Never again,” says Quinn. The sadness that previously haunted him is entirely gone. One more season of sacrifices could lead him to that Lombardi trophy. “Time to crack a few eggs,” says Quinn, as the elevator door opens nearly 500 feet below the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

“This feels a little weird, Dan, but at least you aren’t taking me into the old indoor training camp building again to push me into the…”

Robert Alford sniffs the air, and knows the strong smell of sulfur means he’s in for trouble. Can he escape the lost souls stuck in the fire? This is a new location for him, so he might run out of his normal cheats.

Alford!!! He’s been a mix of his terrible early 2016 and his fantastic late 2016. Ultimately, too many bad penalties and plays made him the worst player on the field against the Green Bay Packers.

So far, Quinn has sent both Wes Schweitzer and Alford to the lake of fire. 14 more and we are into the playoffs!

Read more…

Friday’s Early Bird Report includes the Falcons’ hangover cure and the Lions’ plan for Julio Jones

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Falcons (2-0) are busy putting the final touches on their preparations for the Detroit Lions (2-0), a matchup that will kick off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. With the weekend nearly upon us, here are the final pieces of news for this inter-divisional showdown.

Today’s Early Bird Report includes the Falcons’ hangover cure; the Lions’ plan for Julio Jones and the two teams’ different approaches to injury reports.

Enjoy!

 

FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

 

Sports Illustrated: Falcons not suffering from a Super Bowl hangover

Remember that hangover everyone expected to have after last year’s Super Bowl? Turns out the Falcons didn’t get the memo. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote a piece about Atlanta avoiding any type of let-down over the first two weeks of the season.

Breer believes there’s one key reason why the Falcons have continued to roll right along:

“They did what few NFL teams have the stomach to when things go sideways — behind the GM they’ve stuck with for a decade and a head coach they’ve invested in, they believed in their course and stuck to it.”

ESPN.com: Lions’ plan for Julio? Know where he is every play

Containing Julio Jones is a nearly impossible task for NFL teams, and the Lions are the next team who will attempt to do so. Former Atlanta linebacker Paul Worrilow is now in Detroit, and he spoke with ESPN’s Michael Rothstein about some of the things Jones can do.

“The way he’ll go after a long ball, you think it’s out of reach, you know,” Worrilow told Rothstein. “You wouldn’t just think much if he didn’t go after it, because it might be too far away.

“But he’s taking off. He’s going for it. He might lay out in practice, just athletic stuff like that.”

Sports Illustrated: Julio named one of the top 50 fittest male athletesFalcons fans have known for a long time just how incredibly athletic Jones is. Everyone else has caught on. In a recent feature, Sports Illustrated ranked the top 50 fittest male and female athletes in sports and the Falcons’ star receiver came in at No. 18 on the list.

Said SI, “Who can’t Julio Jones outrun? The man is a Speed Machine, making him even more of a nightmare for opponents who are already dreading his incredible ball control and vertical abilities that contributed to his 1,409-yard season in 2016. (Mohamed Sanureferred to the 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver as an ‘alien,’ which would honestly explain a lot.) If there’s some kind of physical talent that Matt Ryan‘s most lethal weapon does not possess, then, well, you could’ve fooled us.”

Read more…

They join the protest started by Colin Kaepernick.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett joined the ranks of NFL players protesting during the national anthem on Sunday, taking a knee prior to the Week 3 matchup between the Falcons and the Lions. Their teammates stood with locked arms in a show of solidarity.

Eight Lions players knelt during the anthem.

For players like Colin Kaepernick and his former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, and so many others who have joined the protest, the choice to kneel during the national anthem represents opposition to ongoing oppression of black Americans in the United States.

Players’ decisions to protest during the anthem has been met with mixed sentiments, from support for the cause to a “stick to sports” mentality. That was the gist of comments from President Donald Trump, who suggested that team owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels.

Arthur Blank released a statement denouncing Trump’s perspective, and Steve Wyche reported that Blank would join the team on the field on Sunday for the anthem to show his support for his players.

“Creating division or demonizing viewpoints that are different than our own accomplishes nothing positive and undermines our collective ability to achieve the ideals of our democracy,” Blank’s statement read.

Kaepernick continued his protest all last season to demonstrate that the liberties and rights represented by the national anthem and the American flag should be enjoyed universally by all Americans.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers and remains unemployed. Many believe he is being blackballed due to his protest, even though he said he did not plan to continue kneeling this season.

After Brandon Marshall remained kneeling for the anthem prior to the Broncos’ Week 1 Thursday Night Football matchup last year against the Panthers, he emphasized that he was simply standing against oppression.

“I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America,” Marshall said, according to Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. “I’m against social injustice.”

Read more…

 

The Falcons have played two exhibition games at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will host the Packers tonight in their first regular-season home game. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC)

Remember when the Falcons faced the Saints in the final game at the Georgia Dome in January, but then there was another game?

And then another?

Well, Sunday’s Falcons-Packers game will be the ‘second’ home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it appears the franchise saved the best for last.

A sellout crowd, national TV audience and the NFL commissioner are among the highlights of the first regular-season NFL game in the $1.5 billion facility – and it just happens to feature the teams that met in the ‘final’ Georgia Dome finale.

The Falcons played two exhibition games at MBS in August, the ‘first’ home opener against the Cardinals Aug. 26 and the Jaguars on Aug. 31.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re going to the game, what to expect once you get there and of course the game itself:

Read more…

They weren’t able to against Chicago, but we like their chances better.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta had a relatively lame week running the football, thanks to mixed luck with blocking, a stout Chicago defensive line, and a less than stellar effort by Devonta Freeman and (in particular) Tevin Coleman. It’s safe to say I don’t expect that to be the case very often.

Will it be against Green Bay, though?

I do think Atlanta can pull down about 100 yards against Green Bay, but I don’t think this is the week that the ground game really explodes. Mike Daniels and that stout Packers line can be problematic, the team has a decent young set of linebackers, and they swarm to the ball pretty effectively. The Seahawks got about 80 yards behind a bad offensive line and did so only carrying the ball 18 times, but 40 of those yards were tied up in two carries by Russell Wilson. Atlanta won’t have it easy, but they should be able to get theirs.

Let’s hear your prediction for the game ahead for the likes of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and then use this as your open thread for the night.

Read more…

“All Gas, No Brakes.”

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Facons excel at coming up with new ways to motivate themselves under Dan Quinn, and one of the ways they’ve done so is multiple slogans, mantras, and inspirational sayings that help to rally the team together. Personally, I’m a fan of the latest one.

The “All Gas, No Brakes” slogan neatly wraps up Dan Quinn’s entire philosophy, but it actually originated with linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. The Falcons are a team that wants to fly around the field, never stop running, and maybe play right up to the whistle and juuuuust a little beyond. Ricardo Allen lends us some more context below.

Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen talks about the team’s latest slogan of “All Gas, No Brakes” going into Sunday… http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0700392767691430344-4 

 coach Dan Quinn breaks down the “All Gas, No breaks” slogan the team has embraced. LB LaRoy Reynolds came up with it.

After a little bit of a sluggish effort against the Bears, especially on the offensive side of the ball, this particular motto is a good one to embrace against an aggressive, attacking Packers team. Green Bay put up 21 points in the NFC Conference Championship Game (against 44 points for Atlanta!) and just 17 points against the Seahawks in Week 1, so speedy, effective play on both sides of the ball could make this one easier than expected.

Just, you know, don’t drive like that.

Read more…

Page 1 of 241 2 3 24