The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and Liz Gonzales chat about what to expect from the Falcons in the air, on the ground and on the other side of ball against the Panthers.
FLOWERY BRANCH — After posting a thrilling 45-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons (2-1) will host the Carolina Panthers (1-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Friday:
1. Practice. The Falcons practice today at 11:35 a.m.
2. From one Falcons QB to a former Falcons QB. Matt Ryan wasn’t feeling Brett Favre’s comments about him needing to take the team deeper in the playoffs. He was diplomatic, but you tell he was seething.
3. Injury report. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, who sounded like he had a cold on Wednesday during open locker room, was held out of Thursday’s practice with an “illness,” according to the team’s official injury report. Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the previous day. Linebacker Paul Worrilow (groin surgery) and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (ankle) remained out. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (hamstring) returned to full participation after being limited on Wednesday. Wide receiver Julio Jones (calf), wide receiver Justin Hardy (shoulder), running back Tevin Coleman (ankle) and defensive end Brooks Reed (shoulder) were all limited. Ryan is listed on the report with a thumb, but fully participated.
4. Jon Gruden on Falcons pass rush. Before the Falcons faced the Saints, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden called out the Falcons’ pass rushers. He noted that they have to beat some blocks and get to the quarterback.
5. Award corner. Ryan was named the NFC’s offensive player of the month and rookie starting middle linebacker Deion Jones was named the defensive rookie of the month on Thursday.
GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32
GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28
GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24