Go Colts; Yeah, I’m Thinking About Division Standings Already

coltshelmet.pngsaintshelmet.pngSo, now that they’ve finally decided to stop playing crappy country music, the NFL season has begun with the Colts and the Saints getting things underway.  And, against my better judgment, I’m going for the Colts because the Saints are in the Falcons’ division (except for Reggie Bush; he’s on my fantasy team, so I hope he lives in the end zone).

First Quarter Update: Sweet!  Colts go up 7-0 (with a touchdown pass to somebody else on my fantasy team, Marvin Harrison).

But then Jason David, the corner who got burned by Harrison, comes right back and causes Reggie Wayne to fumble and scoops up the fumble to take it to the house and tie it up at 7-7.

Second Quarter Update:  Saints 10, Colts 7.

Halftime: Tied 10-10.

Third Quarter Update: Addai goes in to make it 17-10 Colts.

Touchdown, Reggie Wayne.  Colts 24, Saints 10.  Looking good.

Ok, no more updates.  If you care, I’m sure you’re watching.  Looks like the Falcons will get an immediate opportunity to take a division lead.

Warrick Set To Git-R-Dunn Despite Missing Most Of Preseason

DunnWarrick Dunn will start at running back for the Falcons despite playing only 14 plays in the Falcons’ preseason, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

In other roster news, here’s the injury report from the AJC article:

Safety Chris Crocker (knee) did not practice and defensive tackle Rod Coleman took part in what is now called “limited participation.”

Also, Jason Snelling, the only draft pick cut on Saturday, is now back on the practice squad.

And Jimmy Williams is going to start at free safety.

Last Minute Roster Moves

The Falcons today cut running back Jason Snelling and linebacker Jordan Beck.  Snelling is the only member of this year’s draft class to not either make the team or be placed on injured reserve.

The Falcons signed defensive tackle Remi Ayodele, guard D’Anthony Batiste, and running back Artose Pinner.

Still no word on what, if anything, the Falcons might do about shoring up the quarterback position.  The Falcons did say over the weekend that they had no interest in Byron Leftwich, who was cut by the Jaguars on Saturday.

[Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]


scissorsThe Falcons made 22 roster moves to reach the mandated 53 players today, including trading Rossum to the Steelers.  Here is the news from the official Falcons page.

And here is the updated Falcons roster:

Abraham, John 55 DE 6-4 258 29 9 South Carolina
Anderson, Jamaal 98 DE 6-6 280 21 1 Arkansas
Babineaux, Jonathan 95 DT 6-2 286 25 4 Iowa
Beck, Jordan 52 LB 6-2 233 24 3 Cal Poly
Blakley, Dwayne 85 TE 6-4 257 27 5 Missouri
Blalock, Justin 63 G 6-4 329 23 1 Texas
Boley, Michael 59 LB 6-3 236 24 4 Southern Mississippi
Brooking, Keith 56 LB 6-2 245 31 11 Georgia Tech
Clabo, Tyson 77 G 6-6 314 25 3 Wake Forest
Coleman, Rod 75 DT 6-2 285 30 10 East Carolina
Crocker, Chris 25 S 5-11 192 27 6 Marshall
Crumpler, Alge 83 TE 6-2 262 29 8 North Carolina
Davis, Chauncey 92 DE 6-2 277 24 4 Florida State
Dunn, Warrick 28 RB 5-9 180 32 12 Florida State
Forney, Kynan 65 G 6-3 307 28 8 Hawaii
Foster, Renardo 79 OL 6-7 338 22 1 Louisville
Gandy, Wayne 72 T 6-5 308 36 15 Auburn
Hall, DeAngelo 21 CB 5-10 197 23 5 Virginia Tech
Harrington, Joey 13 QB 6-4 220 28 7 Oregon
Harris, Antoine 41 CB 5-10 240 25 2 Louisville
Henderson, Taurean 22 RB 5-10 210 24 1 Texas Tech
Horn, Joe 87 WR 6-1 213 35 13 Itawamba (MS) JC
Houston, Chris 23 CB 5-11 188 22 1 Arkansas
Irons, David 30 CB 5-11 188 24 1 Auburn
Jackson, Grady 90 DT 6-2 345 34 12 Knoxville
Jenkins, Michael 12 WR 6-4 217 25 5 Ohio State
Jennings, Adam 81 WR 5-9 181 24 2 Fresno State
Koenen, Michael 9 P 5-11 195 24 4 Western Washington
Lewis, Trey 97 DT 6-3 320 22 1 Washburn
Mallard, Josh 94 DE 6-2 259 27 3 Georgia
McClure, Todd 62 C 6-1 286 30 10 Louisiana State
McIntyre, Corey 38 FB 6-0 244 28 4 West Virginia
Milloy, Lawyer 36 S 6-0 210 33 13 Washington
Milner, Martrez 88 TE 6-4 260 22 1 Georgia
Mughelli, Ovie 34 FB 6-1 255 27 6 Wake Forest
Nicholas, Stephen 54 LB 6-3 225 24 1 South Florida
Norwood, Jerious 32 RB 5-11 204 23 3 Mississippi State
Ojinnaka, Quinn 76 T 6-5 292 23 3 Syracuse
Prater, Matt 6 K 6 5-10 23 2 Central Florida
Redman, Chris 8 QB 6-3 223 29 5 Louisville
Robinson, Laurent 19 WR 6-2 195 22 1 Illinois State
Sanders, Lewis 29 CB 6-1 210 29 8 Maryland
Snelling, Jason 44 RB 5-11 232 23 1 Virginia
Stanley, Montavious 96 DL 6-2 308 25 2 Louisville
Stone, Daren 39 S 6-3 217 21 1 Maine
Stutz, Boone 47 LS 6-6 260 24 2 Texas A&M
Taylor, Tony 46 LB 6-0 237 23 1 Georgia
Weiner, Todd 74 T 6-5 297 31 10 Kansas State
White, Roddy 84 WR 6-0 208 25 3 UAB
Wilkerson, Ben 67 C 6-4 305 24 2 Louisiana State
Wilkins, Marcus 50 LB 6-2 231 27 7 Texas
Williams, Demorrio 51 LB 6-0 232 26 4 Nebraska
Williams, Jimmy 24 S 6-2 216 23 2 Virginia Tech
Williams, Travis 45 LB 6-1 213 24 1 Auburn

The Falcons open the season against the Vikings. 

Note: You will notice that Billy Cundiff is not included in the above roster; apparently he’s been dumped in favor of Matt Prater, who had several nice kicks in the Ravens game. 

Atlanta Falcons v. Baltimore Ravens

baltimoreravens.jpgFalcons HelmetThe Falcons will wrap up the preseason tonight against the Baltimore Ravens at 7:30.  The game will telecast locally by WXIA.  The starters will be resting, while everybody else will be looking to make the final cut, with the Falcons having to cut the roster down to 53 by tomorrow.

Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino indicated that the starters would sit against the Ravens. He also said that players on the bubble of making the team could improve their position with a strong showing. They’ll get their chance.

There will be depth chart shuffling and roster spots won and lost in the final four quarters of the Falcons preseason.

“That’s a great chance for the young guys trying to make those last few spots on the final 53,” Amey said.

The Falcons have to trim their roster to 53 by Saturday, making Friday’s game a last ditch effort to make an impression.

[Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]

The article indicates that one key position where there will be competition for the final slots is wide receiver, with Otis Arney and Adam Jennings, among others, competing for precious roster slots.

We’ll check in periodically tonight with game updates, and tomorrow we will report the final 53-man roster as soon as the Falcons make it available.

First Quarter Update: Baltimore 7, Atlanta 0.  The non-starters generally looking like non-starters; nobody’s winning a job yet.

Second Quarter Update: Atlanta 7, Baltimore 7.  Redman looked better on that last drive, and the defense did a great job of getting the ball right back for the offense.

Fourth Quarter Update: Atlanta 10, Baltimore 10.  Missed a big chunk of the game so that I could eat dinner.  Bramlet looked pretty good on the tying drive.

The backup kicker, Prater, puts the Falcons up 13-10 with 3:19 to go.

The 3rd (or 4th or 5th?) team defense will attempt to hold the 13-10 lead against their Raven counterparts for the final 2:00; Ravens have the ball near midfield.

And they do so, accentuating it with an interception.

Final: Atlanta 13, Baltimore 10

The Falcons finish the preseason 3-1.  And of course that means absolutely nothing.  But we’re cautiously optimistic.

Some rumors jumping around about what the Falcons might do tomorrow and after tomorrow (we’ve heard rumors of either Byron Leftwich or Chris Simms coming, and Rossum possibly getting cut).  Stay tuned for more on the roster tomorrow.

Atlanta Falcons v. Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals HelmetFalcons HelmetThe Atlanta Falcons take on the Cincinnati Bengals tonight in the third preseason game of the year for each team.   

We are going to be watching and “liveblogging” it (we always wonder about that term when we’re not actually there; just so there’s no confusion, we’re going to be watching the game on television and composing this blog post as we watch).  We are going to be paying particular attention to the QB race.  Presumably the job is Joey Harrington’s absent some colossal failure or injury, but we’ll be looking to see if Chris Redman can create any reason to question that assumption.

Update: After a quarter, the Falcons lead 7-0, and Harrington looks impressive.  He is 6 of 6 passing, with 76 yards and a touchdown, thrown to Adam Jennings.

2nd Quarter Update: The Bengals have mustered an impressive, almost 10-minute drive to tie it up 7-7.

But Rossum returns the ensuing kickoff to the Bengals 40!

And in three plays, Harrington takes the Falcons into the end zone with a 12-yard pass to Jerious Norwood.  Harrington is 8 of 9 with 117 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Harrington is really looking sharp.

Halftime: Atlanta 14, Cincinnati 13 (The Bengals missed the would-be tying extra point after a TD with 2:00 to go).

Third Quarter Update: You can tell we’re getting close to the regular season, because Harrington is still out there in the 2nd half.  Roddy, Roddy, Roddy….gotta catch that dude.  Falcons settle for a field goal after White drops a pass in his bread basket in the end zone.  Atlanta 17, Cincinnati 13.

Ovie Mughelli caps off an impressive first drive for Chris Redman with a 1-yard TD run.  Redman for 2 for 2 for 24 yards in the 8 play, 63-yard drive.

Fourth Quarter Update: The quarter begins with a combination of blown coverage by the Falcons and a nice pass from Doug Johnson leading to a long Bengals TD.  Bengals fail on a two-point conversion attempt; Falcons 24, Bengals 19.

Note: As far as we can tell, no Bengals players have been arrested during the game so far.

Final: Atlanta Falcons 24, Cincinnati Bengals 19

Falcons move to 2-1 in the preseason.  We feel much better about the QB position after tonight, though there’s still not much depth in the event of injury.  The defense could have looked better, but didn’t look bad.  Overall, we’re pleased by what was a solid Falcons performance.

Arthur Blank, Rich McKay Respond to Vick Plea; Vick Apologizes

Blank on SidelineArthur Blank held a press conference this afternoon to respond to Michael Vick’s plea agreement, which was accepted earlier today by the federal judge in Richmond. 

Blank said that terminating Vick right now is “not in our team’s best interest.”  Unclear what that means.  I guess it means they haven’t figured out how to take care of all the legal ins and outs yet. 

Rich McKay spoke also, specifically addressing the salary cap implications of Vick’s suspension.  He specifically stated that the Falcons will be seeking to recoup the $22 million in signing bonuses already paid; a demand letter was filed this morning according to McKay.

For Vick’s part, he offered what I actually found to be an impressive and seemingly sincere apology. The text of the apology from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution follows the jump.

PICTURE: Rick Steward/Getty Images via SI.com

Continue Reading

Atlanta Falcons News Roundup

Recent Falcons news items:

“Judge Accepts Vick’s Guilty Plea” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

“NFL Preseason Preview – Cincinnati (0-2) at Atlanta (1-1)” [Kansas City Star]

“Falcons Focus On Games, Not Vick” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

“Falcons Place QB D.J. Shockley, WR Jamin Elliott On Injured Reserve” [USA Today]

“Roster Falling Into Place Before Cuts” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Vick Files Plea, Gets Suspended By NFL

Michael VickLike we said in our introductory post, we don’t really want this blog to be dominated by Michael Vick news.  However, events on the ground require us to allow it to be so dominated, at least for now.  Of course the two big Vick stories of the day are:

1. Vick files plea agreement in federal court.

 Here is the pleading itself, via ESPN.  The long and the short of it: a) Vick admits to killing dogs and gambling, or at least that these things were involved in the dogfighting operation, contrary to earlier ESPN reports; and b) the sentencing recommendation from the prosecution is 12-18 months of prison time.

The judge will actually hear and decide whether to accept the plea on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

2. The NFL suspends Vick indefinitely.

Read about Vick’s suspension after the jump.

Continue Reading

Atlanta Falcons React To Loss of Michael Vick

Michael VickFrom yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“To me … he needs to worry about his life,” said Dunn, who keeps in regular contact with Vick. “As an ex-teammate, right now he definitely wants the guys on this football team to move on and move forward. You can’t stay in a certain place. He expects us to go out and play hard. Do we wish he was here? Of course but he circumstances say otherwise.”

“Mike and I came in at the same time so I think I’m a relevant source,” said Crumpler, who was selected in the second round of the 2001 draft, a round later than Vick. “Mike’s very human. This whole ordeal has kind of dehumanized him the last couple months. He is hurting. I do know that. He’ll have to get through this. Who knows that the future is going to hold but I myself am not going to judge the man.

“Our team definitely has to deal with it and we’re going to deal with it. I can’t say what our future record’s going to be. To me, that doesn’t matter. What matters is we come in, do what we’re suppose to do, play hard and we build on this process. It’s not going to be an easy process. It’s not been an easy process for myself. It’s not been an easy process for my teammates.

“There is no blueprint for this. This is, by far, one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to witness and read about and have it affect my teammates on a daily basis.”

“Our stance as a team has been to support Mike but to stay together as a team,” Harrington said. “The team has done a very good job, and the organization, of being very open and honest from the beginning. We’ve fielded all questions and we’ve been able to stay together as a team and move on because of that.”

Petrino, who took the Falcons’ job in January, has a short history with Vick but in the time they spent together at mini camps and offseason workouts, he said he grew to admire Vick and his work ethic. Petrino said he wasn’t mad with Vick or upset that he probably won’t ever get to coach him.

“I’ve got a lot of emotions going on but the hardest thing for me is in the time period I worked with Michael he gave us everything that he had,” Petrino said. “He was at every meeting, in every workout, he spent extra time on his own. So I’m disappointed in the entire situation, no question about that.”

Brooking said keeping the team focused is a challenge — but it’s also a must.

“We have the leaders to realize that no matter what comes our way we have to move forward and keep those blinders on,” Brooking said. “We owe it to [owner Arthur] Blank, coach Petrino, this man sitting here beside me (Dunn) and we owe it to our fans to move forward.”

The consensus seems to be disappointment combined with the need to move on.  I couldn’t agree more.

More on the Vick situation after the jump.

Continue Reading