Atlanta Falcons blog 

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

REPORT CARD: Defense didn’t show up vs. Vikings

  • 12:16 am Monday, September 29th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

MINNEAPOLIS — The Falcons defense stunk up TCF Bank Stadium.

At halftime, owner Arthur Blank was discussing the team’s porous play with general manager Thomas Dimtroff in an animated exchange.

This is clearly not what Blank expected when he allowed the football men to sign defensive tackle Paul Soliai to a five- year, $33 million contract and defensive end Tyson Jackson to a five-year, $25 million contract. The Falcons were supposed to be bigger and better in the trenches against the run.

After four games, they are not. The first quarter of the season is over and the Falcons’ rebuilt defense is not [More]

Q&A: Bridgewater ready for first NFL start vs. Falcons

  • 2:47 pm Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Minnesota Vikings were hoping to bring rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater along slowly this season.

But when starting quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a broken foot against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Bridgewater was pressed into service. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 150 yards and had a passer rating of 83.3.

Bridgewater, who starred at Louisville, was selected by the Vikings in the first-round (32nd overall) of the NFL draft.

He will make his first NFL start against the Falcons on Sunday.

Here what he had to see to the Atlanta media during his conference call on Wednesday:

Q: How [More]

Q&A: Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer on facing the Falcons

  • 12:51 pm Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH —  Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, who was with the Falcons as the defensive coordinator in 2007, knows a thing or two about managing a team through a crisis situation.

Back in 2007,  the Falcons lost quarterback Michael Vick to a federal dog-fighting investigation.

Zimmer, in his first season as Minnesota’s head coach, has lost his star running back Adrian Peterson because he’s been indicted for child abuse in Texas.

In a conference call with the Atlanta media on Wednesday, here’s what Zimmer had to say:

Q: How are you managing the crisis situation surrounding running back Adrian Peterson?

A: Some things have [More]

Mock 4.0: Falcons to select Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

  • 12:28 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter
Taylor Lewan, NFL Draft, NFL, Atlanta Falcons, offense, Michigan Wolverines, college football, football

We purposefully didn’t do 10,000 mocks during the extended pre-draft process this year.

That time was better spent on researching players, keeping track of the private workouts and doing as many interviews and conference calls as possible.

We are going to call this one Mock 4.0 and reserve the right to put up the Final Mock by 12 noon Thursday before heading out to Flowery Branch for the festivities.

Here’s how the first round of the NFL draft will proceed on May 8:

1. HOUSTON: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – They are on record with wanting to trade the pick. The price is [More]

Louisville’s Marcus Smith to work out for Falcons

  • 3:10 pm Monday, March 17th, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons didn’t directly address their lack of a pass rush in free agency.

However, they have taken four defensive ends in recent drafts — Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi, Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga — and hope to get Kroy Biermann back next season from Achilles surgery. However, they appear ready to address the pass rush in the draft.

Lousiville’s Marcus Smith, a 6-foot-3, 252 pound defensive end/linebacker, said that he has a workout scheduled with the Falcons on Wednesday, according to Jody Demling, who’s at Louisville’s Pro Day. (He’s the publisher of Cardinal Authority, a http://Scout.com  site.)

Smith, who played from Columbus Hardaway High, is projected as a [More]

NFL combine: Top performers of Day One

  • 5:39 pm Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 by D. Orlando Ledbetter

INDIANAPOLIS — A quick look back at the first day of the combine workouts:

Inside the numbers: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s wing span, finger tip to finger tip, was measured at 83 inches.

He’s fast: Tennessee State tight end A.C. Leonard had the fastest 40-yard dash time of the tight ends. He ran 4.5 seconds.

He’s strong: North Carolina center Russell Bodine lifted 225 pounds 42 times.

For the record: “I believe I did work hard. You pull out any practice tape from last year, you’ll see that. That’s what I told them. I’ll tell everybody that. I will always be working hard.” [More]