Atlanta Falcons blog 

Atlanta Falcons blog by the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter

Left tackle Sam Baker is off to a strong start

  • 7:32 pm Sunday, July 27th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons left tackle Sam Baker is off to a strong start after recovering from right knee surgery over the offseason.

Some of the other players coming back from injuries — wide receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Kroy Biermann — are on limited practice schedules.

Not Baker.

“I’m feeling good,” Baker said.

He’s adjusting to this third offensive line coach. The Falcons had Paul Boudreau from 2008-2010. He was replaced by Pat Hill and Paul Dunn. After Hill and Dunn were fired over the offseason, the Falcons hired Mike Tice to coach the offensive line.

Tice’s offensive line assistant is Wade Harman.

“It’s good to [More]

Q&A: A pre-training camp chat with Mike Smith

  • 8:00 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Before training camp opens today, we chatted with Falcons coach Mike Smith, the winningest coach in franchise history, who’s determined to rebound from his first losing season.

He was in good spirits during an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He shared some thoughts about the team and gave the fans some key information before things get started today with a closed morning walk-through and an open afternoon practice. 

(Check back later throughout the day as we post stories, notes, blogs and videos on AJC.com from the first day of training camp.)  

Q: How are you all going to make sure [More]

Countdown to camp: Day 5 — Offensive line

  • 6:00 am Monday, July 21st, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — Football is almost back!

Coach Mike Smith, who’s been out in Montana, and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who’s been out cycling with Lance Armstrong, report back to the office today.

The rookies report Tuesday, the veterans Thursday and the first practice is set for Friday.

We started our countdown 10 days out.

Countdown to camp: Day 10 – The new coaches

Countdown to camp: Day 9 – Special teams

Countdown to camp: Day 8 – Defensive backs

Countdown to camp: Day 7 — Linebackers

Countdown to camp: Day 6 — Defensive line

Today, we’ll look at the revamped offensive line.

The Falcons signed guard [More]

Jake Matthews soaking up ‘Life Lessons’

  • 4:28 pm Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons  rookie Jake Matthews, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, has written a blog from the NFL’s Rookie Symposium in Aurora, Ohio.

His blog is titled “Life Lessons To Remember.” Here’s the link!

So far, it’s been a humbling experience for Matthews, who was moved by Donte Stallworth’s speech.

One quote that I heard today that really resonated with me was: “A fool learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” Donte Stallworth said that during his presentation about his DUI charge and that whole incident.

There has been some emotional and financial [More]

Watch: Falcons rookie tackle Jake Matthews on blocking team’s big linemen

  • 1:00 pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–At the conclusion of Falcons minicamp rookie right tackle Jake Matthews talked about blocking the team’s big defensive linemen, fitting in with his new teammates and adjusting to the pro game.

3 questions with Falcons rookie Tyler Starr

  • 6:00 am Sunday, May 25th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed rookie minicamp we asked some of the rookies a few questions so that you can get to know them a little better.

NAME: Tyler Starr

SCHOOL: South Dakota

ROUND/PICK: Seventh, 255th overall

TWITTER: @T11Starr

EXPECTED ROLE:  He’s a developmental outside linebacker in the 3-4 and the Falcons believe he can play in coverage. 

Below on stories and bios on the draft class.

DRAFT CLASS STORIES

Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of [More]

3 questions with Falcons rookie Marquis Spruill

  • 6:00 am Saturday, May 24th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed rookie minicamp we asked some of the rookies a few questions so that you can get to know them a little better.

NAME: Marquis Spruill

SCHOOL: Syracuse

ROUND/PICK: Fifth, 168th overall

TWITTER: @ Sprui11z

EXPECTED ROLE:  He’s expected to contain for a roster spot as special teamer and backup inside linebacker. Below on stories and bios on the draft class.

DRAFT CLASS STORIES

Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of [More]

3 questions with Falcons rookie Dezmen Southward

  • 6:00 am Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed rookie minicamp we asked some of the rookies a few questions so that you can get to know them a little better.

NAME: Dezmen Southward

SCHOOL: Wisconsin

ROUND/PICK: Third, 68th overall

TWITTER: @D_Southward12

EXPECTED ROLE:  He’s expected to compete for the starting free safety spot and the nickel back position next season. He should contribute immediately on special teams with his 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash.

Below on stories and bios on the draft class.

DRAFT CLASS STORIES

Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

[More]

3 questions with Falcons rookie Ra’Shede Hageman

  • 6:00 am Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — During the recently completed rookie minicamp we asked some of the rookies a few questions so that you can get to know them a little better.

NAME: Ra’Shede Hageman

SCHOOL: Minnesota

ROUND/PICK: Second, 37th overall

TWITTER: @RashedeHageman

EXPECTED ROLE:  He’s expected to play defensive tackle in teh 4-3 and defensvie end in the 3-4.

Below on stories and bios on the draft class.

DRAFT CLASS STORIES

Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of FSU’s Devonta Freeman

Falcons [More]

Falcons reach deals with Matthews, Hageman

  • 4:07 pm Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jake Matthews and second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman on Wednesday.

The Falcons selected Matthews with the sixth pick overall in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M. Matthews, a two-time All-American and all-SEC first-team selection, is expected to compete and win the starting right tackle position.

Matthews is expected to help improve the unit that allowed quarterback Matt Ryan to be sacked 44 times last season, third-most in the NFL. The Falcons also averaged 77.9 yards rushing per game in 2013, last in the NFL behind some shoddy run-blocking.

Matthews is the son of Bruce [More]