Archive for the ‘Atlanta Falcons’ Category

Denver Broncos v Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have signed safety William Moore to a five-year contract that will pay him a reported $30 million, $14 million of which is guaranteed. That value sets the early monetary bar for a deep — and soon-to-be rich — safety class that also includes Dashon Goldson, and Ed Reed.

Moore, who was considered the top free agent safety this offseason, has played the last three seasons in Atlanta after the Falcons drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. In 42 career games, he has recorded 158 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 11 interceptions. Four of those picks came this past season, when the 28-year-old also logged much of that career tackle total (110) while being both efficient while creating takeaways, and supporting in run defense.

The Falcons ranked 23rd in the NFL against the pass in the 2012 season, allowing 242.4 yard per game.

steven-Jackson-again2

We bid you adieu, Michael Turner. You’ll be fondly remembered for your inability to run much more than three yards during the final year of your Falcons tenure, and also a complete absence from the passing game. Godspeed, friend.

How will Turner’s departure effect fake football rosters next fall? We’ll probably still be sort of sad.

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I know, I don’t like waking up to startling news early in the morning either. Usually that ends in fluid of some kind surrounding me.

I assure you, though, this isn’t shocking news, or it least it won’t be for more than a second or two. Ready? Alrighty then, here goes…

The Falcons cut Michael Turner, John Abraham, and Dunta Robinson.

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Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons

Bad news for Falcons fans with Michael Turner jerseys.

National Football Post’s Dan Pompei has the info:

The Falcons look to be in the running back market this offseason, according to those who know. Chances are the team will cut ties with 30-year old Michael Turner and look for a younger runner. Turner provides toughness, a solid locker room presence and power on downhill runs, but scouts say his ability to bounce and cut isn’t what it was.

The news isn’t all that shocking considering Turner’s decline in recent years and his $6.9 million price tag next season. The Falcons don’t see Jacquizz Rodgers as an every down back, leading many to believe Atlanta will select their running back of the future in April’s draft. Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball are a few of the names that will be bandied about in the next few weeks.

It's been a slice, Tony.

Let’s begin by going back — way, way back — to a far away, now foreign time when the Atlanta Falcons were more than just leading their NFC Championship game against San Fransisco. They were dominating in any and every way imaginable.

To review:

  • A 20-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones was the opening play of the second quarter. That made it 17-0 for Atlanta, the second straight week they surged out to at least a two-touchdown lead.
  • That Jones score was his second of the day, and already his sixth catch at that point. His other touchdown was a 46 yarder, which came only seven plays into the game.
  • Another fun fact involving the number seven: Jones’ first touchdown came only seven yards short of the longest pass play surrendered all year by the 49ers’ secondary, a category in which they finished tied for first with Buffalo.
  • Jones had 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns by the 14:54 mark of the second quarter while averaging 20 yards per grab. He was the first wide receiver to amass 100 receiving yards during one quarter of a post-season game since Carolina’s Steve Smith in 2005.
  • What’s even more impressive — and now, crushing — is that in the same time frame Matt Ryan had already completed four passes for 20 yards or more. On the season, he was averaged three…per game.
  • Also, after the first quarter Ryan had 162 passing yards, while Colin Kaepernick had one. Yes, just one yard. Not a joke.
  • Taking that further and beyond the first quarter, Atlanta finished the first half with 297 total yards on offense. During the regular season, San Francisco gave up an average of 294.4 yards per game. Also not a joke.

Yet none of it mattered. For the second straight week, the Falcons did everything in their power to lose a game in the second half. This time, it worked.

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Yawn, right? Right.

Welcome to the obligatory, contractually obligated post in which I tell you that the most important injury during Championship Sunday has reached its inevitable pre-game conclusion, one that we saw coming on Monday. John Abraham is officially active.

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The more I think about this game, the more I think that I think there will be a poor ending for Atlanta, and it will become very clear, very quickly.

The Falcons were kind enough to play a quarter of their regular-season schedule this year against highly mobile quarterbacks, and generally those meetings ended badly. Earlier this week I looked back on the carnage that was the Atlanta defense during those games, and although there was a glaring exception (holding Robert Griffin III to just seven rushing yards), the read-option offense used by Carolina led to repeatedly watching Cam Newton go for delightful Sunday jogs into wide open green grass. Over those two games, Newton had 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns, with one of those scores coming on a career long 72-yard run.

Then even if we ignore the success of Newton and to a lesser extent Michael Vick this year against a Falcons front seven that struggled to maintain gap discipline, there’s the matter of John Abraham’s ankle injury, the significance of which can’t be repeated enough during the buildup to this game. A week ago it was the 49ers with a potentially crippling injury in their front four, as Justin Smith was playing through a partially torn triceps (yeah, that still hasn’t healed). Abraham was a limited participant in practice yesterday, and he’ll surely receive minimal work throughout the week before inevitably being slapped with the ol’ questionable/game-time decision tag, and playing a reduced role Sunday.

For the Falcons, that’s downright petrifying, because much of containing — or at least limiting — the damage done by a mobile quarterback in a read-option scheme is done by having a defensive end who can counter with the proper reads, and then react using his quick-footed acceleration, and raw speed. A healthy Abraham can do that, but Abraham won’t really be Abraham at all Sunday. And in truth, Kaepernick has made fools out of some elite edge rushers recently, with Clay Matthews looking like a drunken sailor a week ago when the 49ers QB set the single-game quarterback rushing record.

Now that I’ve ensured no Falcons fan is reading the rest of this post (REMAIN CALM), let’s look at some surface-y numbers, and then do some more ranting and deeper numerical opining.

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