Atlanta Falcons blog 

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

Cover 9@9: HBO Hard Knocks’ cameras are rolling

  • 9:00 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

(Welcome all! With the NFL becoming more of a passing league, the “Cover 9” blog will become all of the rage. You can read it here every Wednesday at 9 a.m. throughout the season. We’ll try to get to everything about the Atlanta Falcons. Here’s my first installment of Cover 9@9. – D. Orlando Ledbetter)  

1. Rob Gehring  —

“In the beginning when Steve (Sabol) wanted to do this show, he wanted to show how hard it was to make an NFL roster,” Gehring said. “He always loved the content of these guys at the back end of the roster, the 53rd man. Sometimes [More]

Arians expects Falcons to bounce back; Abraham to keep on ticking

  • 2:00 pm Monday, June 30th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

GREENSBORO – Arizona coach Bruce Arians believes the Falcons, who dipped to 4-12 last season after going 13-3 in 2012, will bounce back in 2014.

In his first season as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Arians led them to a 10-6 record last season, which included a 27-13 victory over the Falcons on Oct. 27, 2013.

The two teams will meet at the Georgia Dome on Nov. 30.

“I’m not looking forward it,” Arians said on Monday, before playing in his Georgia Celebrity Golf outing at Reynolds Plantation. “I thought (general manager Thomas Dimitroff) and (head coach Mike Smith) did a great [More]

What’s next for the Atlanta Falcons?

  • 10:00 am Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith puts a lot of stock into the offseason program.

Now, with the draft and the rookie minicamp over, he can start pointing to the OTAs and training camp.

The rookie minicamp was designed to get those players familiar with the team’s schemes,

verbiage and practice flow.

They’ll go a little deeper during OTAs and then even deeper during the mandatory minicamp, which will consist of five practices over three days.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do with these young rookies that our coming in to catch up with our veterans,” Smith said. “When we can really go out [More]

DEPTH CHART: How to stack Amoeba 4-3/3-4 defense

  • 12:24 pm Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Despite an offseason of picking up parts to better fit the 3-4, Falcons coach Mike Smith continues to point out that the Falcons will remain a 4-3/3-4 team in 2014.

They have used both defenses under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan over the past two seasons. But they clearly have some better 3-4 parts after adding nose tackle Paul Soliai, defensive ends Tyson Jackson and Ra’Shede Hageman and linebacker Prince Shembo.

“We don’t want to be pigeon-holed as ‘this defense’ or ‘that defense’,” Smith said. “I think when you really study how people play defense, and how we play defense [More]

VIDEO: Dimitroff and Smith on picking Matthews

  • 12:35 am Friday, May 9th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter
Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

With the 6th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Atlanta Falcons selected Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews. But that’s not all they wanted:

#Falcons were trying to trade back into the first round for either Ryan Shazier or Dee Ford. Tomorrow, plenty of DEs and SS— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) May 09, 2014

STORY: #Falcons make it a family affair, pick tackle Jake Matthews— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) May 09, 2014

RT @M_Ryan02: Welcome to Atlanta @jake_matthews75! We are all excited to have you as a [More]

8 questions for Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

  • 10:00 am Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter
The long and winding pre-draft process is coming to a close for Falcons officials. (Photos by D. Orlando Ledbetter/

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff will hold his pre-draft press conference at 2 p.m. today at the team facility.

We have some questions for the general manager that I’ll send along with Michael Cunningham and the rest of Team AJC. (Someone has to pick up his freshman student from college today.)

Photos: Top NFL Draft prospects | Dimitroff’s draft deals

The staff members will have videos, blogs and photos posted shortly after the presser. Also, more in-depth stories will post to later in the day. (Feel free to stop back by!)

After Dimitroff gives an opening statement on the uniques and the depth of [More]

Falcons owner Arthur Blank reveals plan to get tougher

  • 2:38 pm Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons owner Arthur Blank spoke before the Rotary Club of Marietta and the Marietta Kiwanis Club at the Marietta City Conference Center on Wednesday.

Afterwards, we talked him about his comments on 680 The Fan concerning his displeasure that players didn’t rush to quarterback Matt Ryan’s defense after he was walloped by New Orleans safety Kenny Vaccaro last season.

(He seemed to get a kick of my new camera phone stand! Check the video!)

The comments to the radio station were not necessarily new, but they continued a theme the team has been ringing all offseason, but in more veiled terms.

Nov. 21, [More]