Atlanta Falcons


Where to watch, listen to Falcons at Steelers

Here’s where you can find the Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) game which is set for 4 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field. TV:  Atlanta’s CW69 (WUPA-TV). AT&T U-Verse 1069. Charter 709. Comcast 810. DirecTV 69. Dish Network 6376. Play-by-play: Justin Kutcher. Color: Coy Wire. Sideline: D.J. Shockley. LOCAL RADIO: 92.9 The Game — Play-by-Play: Wes Durham. Color...



5 things to know about the Falcons on Friday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Friday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Friday: 1. Practice schedule. The Falcons hold practice at 12:20 p.m. today.  2. Rookie watch. Take a quick look at how the rookie class is doing. 3. Game day. The Falcons are set to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at 4 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field.  4. Poe’s story is told. There is a story associated with Dontari Poe’s upbringing...
Atlanta United puts the “Oh!” in locker room

Atlanta United puts the “Oh!” in locker room

Michael Parkhurst is a professional soccer veteran with more than 21,000 minutes logged and 240 appearances in MLS alone. He’s made several more in leagues in Europe. So, when asked what he wants to see in Atlanta United’s new locker room at the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium when the team sees both for the first time Saturday, his answers are a little more pragmatic than expected...
Quinn, Tomlin reunite to celebrate teaching ball 

Quinn, Tomlin reunite to celebrate teaching ball 

On the schedule, it’s only the second exhibition.  For Falcons coach Dan Quinn it is a major coaching reunion. He’ll get to take his defending NFC championship football team and play one of his closest and favorite coaches in the NFL in Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. The Falcons are set to face the Steelers at 4 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field. Quinn and Tomlin go back to his first coaching...
Clayborn happily elbowing his way back into action with Falcons

Clayborn happily elbowing his way back into action with Falcons

Adrian Clayborn didn’t play much in the Falcons’ first exhibition game, but the seventh-year defensive end looks forward to playing more Sunday in Pittsburgh, and he’s quite pleased to be playing at all.  Defensive line coach Bryant Young feels very much the same. Missing the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship game last season was absolutely unpleasant for Clayborn, and it...
Five things we learned at Falcons practice

Five things we learned at Falcons practice

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Here are five things we learned about the Falcons on Thursday:  1. While practicing for about one hour, 40 minutes in shorts rather than pants, the team focused on ball security and third-down situations ahead of Sunday’s exhibition game at Pittsburgh. Coach Dan Quinn said that once again, the team is not installing game plans on either side of the ball, although...
Falcons’ defense should benefit from Poe’s long journey to NFL

Falcons’ defense should benefit from Poe’s long journey to NFL

Defensive tackle Dontari Poe played for Kansas City when the Chiefs rallied to defeat Matt Ryan and the Falcons last season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) FLOWERY BRANCH – There is a story associated with Dontari Poe’s upbringing that is more Hollywood schtick than fact. It goes that this big kid from a tough upbringing in an open sore of a neighborhood...

High-tech tickets and other gadgetry at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Great news, Atlanta Falcons and United fans. If you’re headed to a home game this season, there’s literally no way you can lose your ticket. Of course, if you don’t already have tickets and were hoping to score a deal from a scalper, you’re pretty much out of luck. “No paper tickets!” as Scott Jenkins, general...
What Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say Thursday

What Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say Thursday

Some excerpts from Falcons coach Dan Quinn’s news conference before Thursday’s practice: On the practice plan:  “It’s a fun day for us where we really dedicate this time to the ball. That’s everything for us, and through the first preseason game we’re sitting at a turnover margin of zero, so not where we want to be in that aspect. “The important things...
Fans react: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Chick-fil-A to be open for one Falcons game

Fans react: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Chick-fil-A to be open for one Falcons game

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the realization caused a stir this week.  Like all other Chick-fil-A restaurants, the Chick-fil-A inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be closed on Sundays when the stadium opens. Since the Falcons play seven out of eight home games on Sundays, the Chick-fil-A inside the stadium will be open for the Falcons’ Dec. 7 game against the New Orleans Saints...
A look at the Falcons’ 2017 rookie draft class 

A look at the Falcons’ 2017 rookie draft class 

The Falcons are set to play their second exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 4 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field. The Falcons received major contributions from the 2016 rookie class on their way to the Super Bowl last season. The draft class had four starters on defense in strong safety Keanu Neal, nickel back Brian Poole, middle linebacker Deion Jones and weakside linebacker De’Vondre...
Quinn’s odds of winning coach of the year 

Quinn’s odds of winning coach of the year 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was a top candidate for the coach of the year honors last season, but The Sporting News award went to Kansas City’s Andy Reid. The Pro Football Writers of America and the Associated Press coach of the year awards went to Dallas coach Jason Garrett.  Below are the odds of Quinn winning the award this year, courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV): Bill...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Thursday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Thursday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Thursday:1. Practice schedule. The Falcons hold practice at 2:20 p.m. today. Falcons coach Dan Quinn will speak to the media before practice at 1:30 p.m.  2. Stadium tour: Stadium officials expect more than 50,000 Falcons and Atlanta United season-ticket holders to attend an open house Saturday, and the stadium will hold its official opening with...
Quinn says Devonta Freeman (concussion) could return soon 

Quinn says Devonta Freeman (concussion) could return soon 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he believes running back Devonta Freeman will finish the NFL-mandated concussion protocol over “the next couple of days” before returning to practice.  “I don’t have an update as of yet, but I’m thinking that would be soon,” Quinn said Wednesday. “It’s not going to be a long-term issue.”  Freeman was forced...
Ryan says ‘same offense’ with Sarkisian means easier transition

Ryan says ‘same offense’ with Sarkisian means easier transition

The record-breaking Falcons offense of 2016 pushed aside memories of the sputtering Falcons offense of 2015. Quarterback Matt Ryan followed what might have been his worst season with his first league MVP campaign. Coordinator Kyle Shanahan went from oft-criticized play-caller to prime head-coach candidate.  The Falcons said they were so much better on offense in 2016 because they better meshed...
Falcons sign running back Pressley to replace Daniels

Falcons sign running back Pressley to replace Daniels

The Falcons signed running back Jhurell Pressley on Wednesday after reaching an injury settlement with running back B.J. Daniels. Pressley spent time on the Falcons’ practice squad last season. The Vikings signed him following the 2016 draft, and the Packers claimed him off waivers in September. Pressley has yet to play in an NFL game. Daniels (hamstring) was in contention for the No. 3 running...
Report: Louisville, Ole Miss to face off in 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

Report: Louisville, Ole Miss to face off in 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

Louisville will play the Ole Miss in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, according to FBSchedules.com. The two teams’ 2021 season opener will be played on either Aug. 28, Sept. 4 or Sept. 5 and the game will be broadcast on CBS or ESPN/ABC. If neither team meets in a bowl game or the College Football Playoff over the next four seasons, the 2021 Chick-fil-A...
Cover 9@9: Bosher plans to keep booming punts, kickoffs

Cover 9@9: Bosher plans to keep booming punts, kickoffs

061113 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons punter Matt Bosher gets off a punt during team practice on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Flowery Branch. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, the defending NFC Champions who will open the exhibition season at 7 p...
LEADOFF: What we saw on latest visit to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

LEADOFF: What we saw on latest visit to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Hundreds of media members toured Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday and saw a $1.5 billion building that looks just about ready for action.  And the action arrives soon: Stadium officials expect more than 50,000 Falcons and Atlanta United season-ticket holders to attend an open house Saturday, and the stadium will hold its official opening with a Falcons-Arizona Cardinals exhibition game Aug. 26...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday:  1. Today. The Falcons hold practice at 2:20 p.m. today. Falcons coach Dan Quinn will speak to the media before practice at 1:30 p.m.  2. Freeman update. Running back Devonta Freeman was placed in the league’s concussion protocol on Sunday and will not play against Pittsburgh on Sunday. 3. Stadium tour: Several members of...
Mercedes-Benz Stadium approaches ‘finish line’ 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium approaches ‘finish line’ 

The concession stands are being stocked. The Falcons’ logo adorns midfield. There is a lot of cleanup still to do. Hundreds of media members toured Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday and saw a $1.5 billion building that looks just about ready for action. And the action arrives soon: Stadium officials expect more than 50,000 Falcons and Atlanta United season-ticket holders to attend an open house...
Before football begins: 5 teams, 5 questions (and what about Chaney?)

Before football begins: 5 teams, 5 questions (and what about Chaney?)

Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney needs improvement from quarterback Jacob Eason and the offense as a whole. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC file photo) It’s that time of year again when nobody really knows how good their football team is and coaches are going to extremes to limit media access and make sure as little information as possible gets out to evil, unicorn-blood-drinking...
Can’t wait to see Joshua Dobbs in Black and Gold

Can’t wait to see Joshua Dobbs in Black and Gold

Steelers fourth-round draft pick Joshua Dobbs, who played at Tennessee and Alpharetta High. (Steelers.com) FLOWERY BRANCH — Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs, formerly of Tennessee and Alpharetta High, fought through some tough times in his NFL debut on Friday. Dobbs, and the Steelers, are set to host the Atlanta Falcons at 4 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field. Dobbs, starting for...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday:  1. Today: The Falcons are off today. They are scheduled to return to practice at 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday and start their regular-season practice routine.   2. Freeman update. Running back Devonta Freeman was placed in the league’s concussion protocol on Sunday and will not play against Pittsburgh. There is no timetable...
Official depth chart: Garland remains listed as No. 1 right guard 

Official depth chart: Garland remains listed as No. 1 right guard 

Ben Garland remains listed with the first-team at right guard in the second official depth chart released by the Falcons on Monday. Garland and Wes Schweitzer have been rotating with the first-team offense for the offseason and training camp. The Falcons must replace Chris Chester, who retired over the offseason. Falcons coach Dan Quinn and offensive line coach Chris Morgan said the battle will continue...
Photos: The top left-handed QBs in NFL history

Photos: The top left-handed QBs in NFL history

Since Sunday was International Lefthanders Day, we have ranked the top quarterbacks to play the position with such a distinction. Where does former Falcon Mike Vick rank? How about Tim Tebow?
Mack, Poe were stars of training camp 

Mack, Poe were stars of training camp 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn praised several players who had strong training camps, including center Alex Mack and defensive tackle Dontari Poe. “I thought Alex Mack has thrown a great camp,” Quinn said on Monday. “He looks as quick and as strong as ever.” Tackles Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder also had strong camps. “Jake, in this last game and I know he only played nine...
Quinn happy as Falcons’ break training camp

Quinn happy as Falcons’ break training camp

The Falcons held their final practice of training camp on Monday. The players are free to leave the team facilities and return to their homes. “Our aim was to throw the best camp that we’ve had yet and I believe that we’ve done that,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Monday. “We are a lot closer to the style of ball that we like to play. We still have a lot of work to...
NFL Network show pays tribute to ’91 Falcons

NFL Network show pays tribute to ’91 Falcons

The NFL Network’s “Timeline” series will devote one of its five episodes in 2017 to the 1991 Falcons team that included the likes of Jerry Glanville and Deion Sanders. Atlanta finished the 1991 season at 10-6, the franchise’s best mark since they went 12-4 in 1980 and took a trip to New Orleans in the Wild Card Round where the Falcons notched the franchise’s first...
5 things we learned at Falcons’ practice on Monday

5 things we learned at Falcons’ practice on Monday

Here are five things we learned at Falcons’ practice on Monday.  1. Freeman update. Running back Devonta Freeman was placed in the league’s concussion protocol on Sunday and will not play against Pittsburgh on Sunday. 2. Jones’ is ready. All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s recovering from offseason foot surgery, announced himself in shape and ready for action. ...
The 10 best quotes of ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair’s career

The 10 best quotes of ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair’s career

With reports of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s hospitalization over the weekend, take a moment and read of of Flair’s best quotes. Initial reports stated Flair was hospitalized for routine monitoring, but ESPN reported on Sunday Flair had been admitted to an intensive care unit. Here are 10 of Flair’s best quotes: “I'm Ric Flair! The stylin', profilin', limousine...
Julio Jones: ‘I’m in shape. I’m ready to go’

Julio Jones: ‘I’m in shape. I’m ready to go’

Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones announced himself fully recovered from offseason foot surgery. “I’m in shape. I’m ready to go,” Jones said after practice on Monday. Jones had surgery to remove a bunion, a bony bump on his left foot that caused him to miss substantial practice time late last season. He was brought along slowly in training camp and had his plays in practice increased...
Falcons have no timetable on Freeman’s return

Falcons have no timetable on Freeman’s return

The Falcons plan to be extremely cautious with running back Devonta Freeman, who was placed in the league’s concussion protocol on Sunday. Freeman, whom the team made the highest paid player at his position last Wednesday, left practice about an hour and 20 minutes into the session with what was thought to be a “heat” related issue. He walked off the field under his own power with...
Devonta Freeman held out of Monday’s practice

Devonta Freeman held out of Monday’s practice

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman speaking to the media on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) FLOWERY BRANCH –Running back Devonta Freeman, whom the Falcons made the highest paid player at his position last week, was held out of practice on Monday. Freeman started practice on Sunday, but left about an hour and 20 minutes in the practice. He walked...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Monday 

5 things to know about the Falcons on Monday 

 Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Monday: 1. Today’s practice. The Falcons are scheduled to practice at 9:25 a.m. It’s the last practice of training camp. 2. Freeman update. Running back Devonta Freeman left practice early because of a “heat” related issue on Sunday. Check back later today for an update.  3. National Anthem issue. Falcons coach Dan...
Quinn on Lynch’s anthem protest 

Quinn on Lynch’s anthem protest 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was asked to address Marshawn Lynch’s decision to sit during the National Anthem in his first game with the Raiders on Saturday. “Everything with us we will try to discuss as a team,” Quinn said. “I’m sure that was the case with Marshawn Lynch, he’s a fantastic teammate. I’m sure that was one that he discussed with their guys too, knowing...
What Dan Quinn had to say on Sunday 

What Dan Quinn had to say on Sunday 

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after Sunday’s practice:  Opening Statement: “It was great to be back on the field today. We had corrections that we spoke to you guys about on a conference call on Friday. We went back through and had a walk-through Friday night. The players had off yesterday and we wanted to come back out and go for it today. We had a big red...
Jones chides Campbell for his size 14 shoes

Jones chides Campbell for his size 14 shoes

Middle linebacker Deion Jones chided fellow linebacker De’Vondre Campbell for not scoring a touchdown after his spectacular interception against Miami.  “He’s been able to see everything,” Jones said about Campbell, who had offseason Lasix surgery. “We call him ‘New Vision.’ It was a great play. I told him if he didn’t wear a size 14 (shoe) he would...
Neasman took two years off before chasing his football dream 

Neasman took two years off before chasing his football dream 

After Sharrod Neasman’s high school football career was over at Braden River High School in Bradenton, Fla., he still loved football. But football didn’t immediately love him back. There was no cable television network at the school to show him flip around some ball caps and make his college decision.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t have any offers even after personally shopping...
Injury Report: Freeman has ‘heat’ issue

Injury Report: Freeman has ‘heat’ issue

Falcons Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman , who recently signed a five-year contract extension, left practice with a “heat” related issue on Sunday.  He walked off the field under his own power with a member of the training staff alongside. He left about an hour and 20 minutes into the practice and did not return. “I didn’t think he was going to come back,” Quinn...
Hageman having a strong training camp

Hageman having a strong training camp

Defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, a former second-round pick, is quietly having a strong training camp for the Falcons. “I’m very encouraged by him so far,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Sunday. “He can move like a lighter player, but he plays at 320 pounds. He has the movement of a much lighter guy.” He had two tackles over 17 snaps against the Dolphins. &ldquo...
Falcons increase Julio Jones’ practice time 

Falcons increase Julio Jones’ practice time 

The Falcons increased practice time for wide receiver Julio Jones on Sunday. The All-Pro wide receiver is recovering from offseason foot surgery. He had been working for 5 plays are under in the team’s 11-on-11 drills. Jones did not play in the exhibition opener against the Dolphins and is not expected to play until the third exhibition game. “It was great for us and the team, getting...
5 things we learned at Falcons’ practice Sunday

5 things we learned at Falcons’ practice Sunday

The Falcons held their first practice since losing the exhibition season-opener 23-20 to Miami on Thursday. Coach Dan Quinn was already looking to the Sunday and Monday practices when he chatted pre-game in Miami with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re going to go hard for two days and then get ready for the game,” Quinn said.  He said he didn’t like the long break...
Are Panthers cautionary tale for Falcons or just team on decline?

Are Panthers cautionary tale for Falcons or just team on decline?

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stretches during practice at training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP photo) SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Ron Rivera is fond of an old saying: “Don’t draw me a map unless you’ve been there.” He and his football team have been where the Falcons are today. Carolina ran through the 2015...
6 things we learned from the Falcons’ 23-20 loss to the Dolphins

6 things we learned from the Falcons’ 23-20 loss to the Dolphins

It was your typical exhibition opener. The Falcons starters played well Thursday, while the reserves fell apart. The backup defenders, including Super Bowl starter Jalen Collins, gave up a 99-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as Miami rallied to a 23-20 win at Hard Rock Stadium.  Here are six things we learned from the game: 1. Campbell is coming along. De’Vondre Campbell, who is making...
LEADOFF: Georgia Dome’s lower seating bowl demolished

LEADOFF: Georgia Dome’s lower seating bowl demolished

Here’s an update to our story last Sunday about the ongoing demolition of the Georgia Dome: The concrete lower seating bowl is going, going, gone.  Tens of thousands of lower-bowl and middle-bowl seats already had been removed as of our recent visit inside the doomed Dome, leaving expanses of scarred concrete. Plans called for the lower-bowl structure to be demolished this month, and...
What Devonta Freeman had to say after the 23-20 loss to the Dolphins 

What Devonta Freeman had to say after the 23-20 loss to the Dolphins 

Here’s what Falcons running back Devonta Freeman had to say after the 23-20 loss to the Dolphins on Thursday: On the offense improving. “We’re just trying to work every day trying to get better. You know take it one day at a time, one game at a time and play football; it’s all football it’s simple at the end of the day.” On improving as a runner or receiver. &ldquo...
What Dan Quinn had to say about the loss to the Dolphins 

What Dan Quinn had to say about the loss to the Dolphins 

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 23-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday:  Opening statement. “Before we begin tonight I’d like to recognize a guy from South Florida, who means a great deal to me and that’s Jason Taylor. For him to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past week, all of us who know him are really proud of him...
Report card: Dolphins 23, Falcons 20

Report card: Dolphins 23, Falcons 20

Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 23-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins in their exhibition season opener on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium: Run offense:  Tevin Coleman was stopped on a third-and-2. Freeman had a carry for 3 yards. Fifth-round pick Brian Hill, who declared that the Falcons picked the best running back in the draft, made an uninspiring pro debut with 10 yards on nine...
Do the Falcons have a kicking controversy? 

Do the Falcons have a kicking controversy? 

Do the Falcons have a budding place-kicking controversy? Veteran kicker Matt Bryant missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter against the Dolphins on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium. Rookie Mike Meyer made a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter. 
Among recent champions, Spieth looks better than Garcia in PGA

Among recent champions, Spieth looks better than Garcia in PGA

Jordan Spieth crouches near his ball on the first fairway during first round action of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club Thursday in Charlotte. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer) CHARLOTTE — There is a point in any great athlete’s career when he’s suddenly in the club — famous to even the famous. Jordan Spieth’s moment came last month. In Cabo San...
Falcons to hold McKinley out of first exhibition game

Falcons to hold McKinley out of first exhibition game

Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan warming up. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) MIAMI— The Falcons are going to hold first-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley out of the exhibition game against Miami tonight, Coach Dan Quinn told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution before taking the field for warm-ups. Quinn said McKinley has been splitting repetitions with Adrian Clayborn and...
Dimitroff pleased with post-Freeman deal situation

Dimitroff pleased with post-Freeman deal situation

With the Devonta Freeman deal done, the Falcons’ front office now plans to turn its attention to the 53-man roster.  On Wednesday, the Falcons signed Freeman to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension, which included $22 million in guaranteed money. The deal made him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, with an average salary of $8.25 million. “That was really important...
Present-day Falcons could take something from “Grits Blitz” of 40 years ago

Present-day Falcons could take something from “Grits Blitz” of 40 years ago

A classic throwback defense: The 1977 Falcons “Grits Blitz.” While working on a package of stories looking at the Falcons 1977 “Grits Blitz” defense 40 years later, I took a big breath and dove into the deep end of the worldwide web to see what kind of historical respect this bunch receives. Would a defense that still holds the modern-day record for allowing the...
Grits Blitz defenders know firsthand the toll of football

Grits Blitz defenders know firsthand the toll of football

RICHMOND, Va. – Along with the legacy of mayhem and the record for protecting the end zone as they would their own homes, there is a shadow that follows members of the Falcons’ 1977 Grits Blitz defense.  Aging voices that delight in the retelling of old glories go soft and wistful when talk turns to Ray Easterling. He was their free safety, filled to overflowing with all the careless...
Remember 40 years ago, when Falcons Grits Blitz dominated on D?

Remember 40 years ago, when Falcons Grits Blitz dominated on D?

Ask a current Falcons defender about “The Grits Blitz” – the 1970s gang that momentarily brought NFL offense to a standstill – and receive in return a 100-yard stare.     “Sounds like something fast, I don’t know,” Falcons safety Keanu Neal said, taking a valiant stab. It has been 40 long years since the only part of a Falcons team worth...
Where the Grits Blitz players are, 40 years later

Where the Grits Blitz players are, 40 years later

Catching up with coaches and notable starters from the 1977 Falcons Grits Blitz defense:    Coach Leeman Bennett, 79: Long retired from coaching, Bennett and his wife split their time between homes in the Jacksonville area and in Cumming. Six years a head coach in Atlanta and two more in Tampa, Bennett started a car dealership, a bank and was the Peach Bowl selection committee chairman after...
Grits Blitz leader discovered higher calling

Grits Blitz leader discovered higher calling

When Greg Brezina tells old football stories, the one he spins the most has nothing to do with actually playing football. The former Falcons linebacker has lost track of the number of times he has retold the one about the chapel service before the Rams game in Los Angeles in 1971. He basically was a mess at that time. Hollow at his core, and drinking in an attempt to fill up the void. His wife, Connie...
5 players to watch against the Dolphins

5 players to watch against the Dolphins

Here are five players to watch when the Falcons face the Dolphins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hard Rock Stadium in their exhibition season opener: 1. Garland vs. Suh. Ben Garland is slated to get the start over Wes Schweitzer at right guard and will face Miami’s Ndamukong Suh. So, we’ll know if he’s ready after the first series of the game. Schweitzer will also get some action. Miami&rsquo...
Matt Ryan’s game plan for the Dolphins

Matt Ryan’s game plan for the Dolphins

Falcons quarterback Ryan is set to play against the Dolphins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hard Rock Stadium. He’ll likely play one series. Newly signed quarterback Jay Culter will not play for the Dolphins. “For me it’s about going out there and trying to start fast,” Ryan said. “Whenever you get this first (exhibition) game, we’re knocking the rust off when we first get...
LEADOFF: Two UGA players ranked in SI’s top 100

LEADOFF: Two UGA players ranked in SI’s top 100

Good morning. This is LEADOFF, an early look at Atlanta sports.  This is the time of year for prematurely ranking everything about the coming college football season. Yesterday, we told you  where CBS Sports ranks this state’s four FBS-level teams among  130 programs nationwide. And just in case that compilation left you wondering where individual players rank among the nation&rsquo...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Thursday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Thursday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Thursday:    1. Gameday. The Falcons open their exhibition season against the Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hard Rock Stadium. Quarterback Matt Ryan is slated to play, while wide receivers Julio Jones (foot) and Taylor Gabriel (lower leg) will be held out. Jones and Gabriel will warm-up.  2. Freeman’s big pay day. Under...
Falcons buck trends by paying Devonta Freeman big

Falcons buck trends by paying Devonta Freeman big

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman got paid. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com) The Falcons went against the grain in two ways by signing Devonta Freeman to a contract extension that includes $ 22 million in guaranteed money. They paid a running back big money, which doesn’t happen often anymore in a league that values the position less. And the Falcons paid a running...
Fans react: Falcons’ Freeman becomes the NFL’s highest-paid running back

Fans react: Falcons’ Freeman becomes the NFL’s highest-paid running back

The Atlanta Falcons and running back Devonta Freeman agreed on a five-year, $41.25 million contract on Wednesday. The deal that made Freeman the NFL’s highest-paid running back included a $15 million signing bonus and $22 million in guaranteed money. The four-year League veteran out of FSU was set to make $1.838 million on the last year of his rookie contract before he agreed to terms...
Falcons ensure roster stability with Freeman contract extension

Falcons ensure roster stability with Freeman contract extension

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) reacts during NFL football training camp Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) The potential biggest distraction of Falcons’ training camp never really left the station. The team reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension with Devonta Freeman. The life of the contract would be worth ...
5 things Dan Quinn wants to see in the first exhibition game

5 things Dan Quinn wants to see in the first exhibition game

The Falcons are set to open the exhibition season against the Dolphins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Here’s are the five things that Falcons coach Dan Quinn wants to see in the game: 1. Offensive tempo. The quarterback rotation will be Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matt Simms and Alex Torgerson.  Ryan will likely play just one series.  Wide receivers Julio...
Falcons reach 5-year, $41.25 million contract extension with Devonta Freeman

Falcons reach 5-year, $41.25 million contract extension with Devonta Freeman

Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have made it a practice to re-sign their core players. If players produce on the field, they are rewarded monetarily with a contract extension. Running back Devonta Freeman, who was set to make $1.838 million on the last year of his rookie contract, agreed to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension Wednesday. “We are very pleased that...
Cover 9@9: Don’t expect Julio Jones until Game 3

Cover 9@9: Don’t expect Julio Jones until Game 3

Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, the defending NFC Champions who will open the exhibition season at 7 p.m. Thursday against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. 1. JONES’ RETURN: At the end of practice on Monday, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu were playing a...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday 

5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday 

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday:   1. Today’s schedule. The Falcons have a walk-through today before traveling to Miami. There is no media availability. 2. Jones out. Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who had offseason foot surgery and has been limited in practice, will not play in the exhibition season opener at 7 p.m Thursday at Miami.  3...
Stephen A: ‘Without question’ NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick

Stephen A: ‘Without question’ NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick

2016 AP YEAR END PHOTOS – San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, left, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) FLOWERY BRANCH — ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith...
Manuel elated to call his first game in his hometown 

Manuel elated to call his first game in his hometown 

Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel paused and reflected on the milestone. He’s getting ready to call his first NFL game in his hometown of Miami when the Falcons face the Dolphins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium.  “Blessed,” Manuel said. “Truly blessed. I’ve been blessed to be around this game almost 15 years professionally.” Manuel, 38,...
Grade this Falcons helmet redesign

Grade this Falcons helmet redesign

As seen in past summers, a designer has reworked all 32 NFL helmets.  Designer Ultimate Effects’ take on the Atlanta Falcons’ logo turned the flying bird into an image reminiscent of the Seattle Seahawks -- in black and red.  This is how the revamped look compares to other teams in the NFC South: During the inaugural season of Mercedes-Benz Stadium the Falcons will wear...
Ben Garland to start at right guard against Dolphins

Ben Garland to start at right guard against Dolphins

Ben Garland will start at right guard in the Falcons’ exhibition season opener at 7 p.m. Thursday against the Miami Dolphins. “I think that’s fair,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “Coming into camp both him and Wes (Schweitzer) were right in the middle of it.” Garland and Wes Schweitzer are battling to replace former starting right guard Chris Chester, who retired...
Quinn pleased with McKinley’s development 

Quinn pleased with McKinley’s development 

The Falcons have not made a decision as to whether rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley, the team’s first-round draft pick, will play in the exhibition opener at 7 p.m. Thursday against Miami.  “I’m pleased with his progress from scheme-wise, assignment-wise and speed-wise,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday. “You can see the improvement taking place. For most...
Julio Jones will not play against Dolphins 

Julio Jones will not play against Dolphins 

All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones of the Falcons, who had offseason foot surgery and has been limited in practice, will not play in the exhibition season opener at 7 p.m Thursday at Miami.  “Some will do some significant work before the game, but won’t play. Julio and Taylor (Gabriel), we won’t play them, but they’ll get some pregame work with Matt (Ryan),” Falcons...
5 things we learned from Falcons’ practice on Tuesday

5 things we learned from Falcons’ practice on Tuesday

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan receiving some instruction at practice on Tuesday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter) FLOWERY BRANCH –Here are five things we learned at Falcons practice on Tuesday: 1. Taylor signed. The Falcons were down a running back after B.J. Daniels suffered an undisclosed injury and signed running back Kelvin Taylor after his workout. He is...
Football Outsiders: Falcons have fifth-best young talent in NFL

Football Outsiders: Falcons have fifth-best young talent in NFL

Falcons coach Dan Quinn’s defense has a lot of promising young talent. (AP Photo) It’s unlikely the Falcons will repeat their record-setting offensive numbers in 2017 so they’ll have to be better on defense (and have good injury luck) to get back to the Super Bowl. Dan Quinn turned a bad defense into a respectable one in 2015 ...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday 

5 things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday 

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Tuesday: 1. Collins move not imminent. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was clearly upset with Jalen Collins’ violation of one of the team’s core rules, “protect the team.” However, he said no move to release Collins was imminent  2. Garland listed on first-team. Ben Garland was listed as the first-team...
What Julio Jones had to say on Monday 

What Julio Jones had to say on Monday 

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here’s what Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones had to say on Monday:  On what he was working on with Mohamed Sanu after practice: “We were just working without the ball and on hand placement. Things like that.” On how he’s been feeling on the field: “Everything has been great. I don’t have any complaints or anything like that...
What are Beasley’s odds of winning defensive player of the year?

What are Beasley’s odds of winning defensive player of the year?

September 11, 2016 ATLANTA: Falcons Vic Beasley Jr., who did not have a stat on the sheet from the game, lines up to rush in the second half against the Buccaneers in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons All-Pro outside linebacker Vic Beasley’s odds of winning the NFL defensive player of the...
Garland No. 1 at right guard on Falcons’ first official depth chart 

Garland No. 1 at right guard on Falcons’ first official depth chart 

Ben Garland is listed with the first-team at right guard in the first depth chart released by the Falcons on Monday. Garland and Wes Schweitzer have been rotating with the first-team offense for all of training camp. The Falcons must replace Chris Chester, who retired over the offseason. Falcons coach Dan Quinn and offensive line coach Chris Morgan said the battle will continue through the exhibition...
Ryan on Sarkisian: ‘We’re a lot further along’

Ryan on Sarkisian: ‘We’re a lot further along’

After 10 days of training camp, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has already seen some growth in his relationship with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. While the NFL MVP said he’s had a great relationship with Sarkisian from the start, the time the two have spent together has allowed them to learn how the other thinks. “We’ve gotten a better feel for how he calls plays...
Collins’ breach of trust with team irks Quinn 

Collins’ breach of trust with team irks Quinn 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn did an open-field Devonta Freeman-like spin move when asked last week if cornerback Jalen Collins was in hot water with the NFL. He knew his player was being investigated and the appeal process was churning.  Collins also denied that he had any issues with the league office after being asked why he, a starter in the Super Bowl, was practicing with the third team. ...
Falcons don’t plan to move Kazee to cornerback 

Falcons don’t plan to move Kazee to cornerback 

In light of the Jalen Collins’ 10-game suspension, the Falcons don’t plan to move free safety Damontae Kazee to cornerback, the position he played in college at San Diego State.   Kazee, a fifth-round pick, has been impressive at his new position.  “Not at this time,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said when asked he planned to move Kazee to cornerback on Monday. &ldquo...
Falcons don’t plan to immediately release Collins

Falcons don’t plan to immediately release Collins

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team is considering its options and noted that the release of cornerback Jalen Collins was not imminent “today or tomorrow.”  “The disappointment for having a second, repeat offense is stronger,” Quinn said on Monday. “This just came through yesterday. Some trust has been broken. We’ll take all the time that we need to make...
What Jalen Collins had to say about his suspension

What Jalen Collins had to say about his suspension

Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins, who was suspended by the league for 10-games, briefly addressed the media on Monday. Collins will not be paid and will miss out on $546,141 in salary. Here’s what Collins, who was also suspended for four games last season, had to say:  “So, I addressed the team and talked to DQ (Dan Quinn). Everybody knows what’s going on. I know I let a lot...
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