Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

COVER 9@9: Falcons need to lock-up Schraeder

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter is in Seattle and joins Noah Coslov to compare this year’s start to last year’s and get into how the Falcons will attack the Seahawks’ defense on Sunday.

Good morning from Seattle! The Cover 9@9 is a weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, we published 9 items at 9 a.m. each Wednesday morning.

1. SHOW SCHRAEDER THE MONEY: The game against the Denver Broncos and Super Bowl most valuable player Von Miller was a big one for Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder.

The former undrafted player from Valdosta State took a major step forward to earning a long-term contract with the Falcons.

Schraeder, who battled Miller and held him to one sack and four hurries, showed his worthiness against top-flight competition.

“It was a good battle,” Schraeder said. “He’s a good player. I felt good all day. He threw that spin move on me. He had a good move, but I felt good about what we did as a unit. Coming out, I felt we ran the ball well at times. We protected really well overall. I felt really good coming out of it.”

Schraeder, 28, signed a one-year $2.553 million contract last season after the Falcons placed a second-round tender on him.

It’s going to cost some cash to lock up Schraeder.

Philadelphia signed right tackle Lane Johnson to a five-year, $56.2 million deal in 2016. Kansas City signed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to a five-year, $33 million deal and San Diego signed right tackle Joe Barksdale to four-year  $22.2 million deal.

Schraeder was signed in 2013 and has started 35 games over four seasons. He’s played in 47 games.

The name of the game in the NFL is to get young players for cheap, but it doesn’t make sense to not reward those players after the team has invested in their development.

Schraeder knew it was a big day in Denver and he’ll have another big challenge in Seattle’s Michael Bennett on Sunday.

2. MATTHEWS UPDATE: Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews believes the team is just getting started

on a big run.

“There’s still more that we can get better at, that’s the exciting part,” Matthews said. “We just have to continue doing that.”

3. TAMME’S FANTASY UPDATE:  Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme nearly scored on the Falcons first possession against Denver.

“I wish I would have been about three inches back when I caught that ball, but Devonta (Freeman’s) fantasy owners will be pleased with me,” Tamme quipped. “They’ll be happy.  That was a big drive. We wanted to (play Denver) and compete. Show what we are about. That first drive really set a big tone for us.”

4. VIEW FROM THE SECONDARY: Right cornerback Desmond Trufant is excited about the defense’s improving pass rush, which netted six sacks against Denver.

“They were hunting up front,” Trufant said. “They did a great job. The defense as a whole that was probably our best game. We just have to keep building on what we did.”

Defensive end Dwight Freeney talked about pass defense being synced up. He pointed out you need the rush from the middle and the outside to go along with the coverage from the secondary.

“I’m so excited,” Trufant said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be. We’ve got great talent up front and great talent on the back end. It’s like the first time that we put it all together and showed what we can do. We just have to keep staying consistent with it.”

5. PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE: The Falcons added linebacker David Tull, who played at Chattanooga, to the practice squad on Tuesday.

Left-footed punter Michael Palardy was released to make room.

Tull, who a three-time Southern Conference defensive player of the year, had a tryout with the Falcons on Sept. 20.

With punter Matt Bosher nursing a right hamstring injury last week, the Falcons signed Palardy to the practice squad.

Parlardy handled punts, field goals and kickoffs as a senior at the University of Tennessee in 2013. Coaches voted Palardy second-team All-SEC as a kicker that season.

6. FALCONS LEGIT: Our Michael Cunningham handle's the AJC's power rankings. He has the Falcons up to No. 7. "I don’t care that the Broncos had at Paxton Lynch at QB. It’s impressive that the Falcons went to Mile High and put that D on skates."

7. REPEAT OF LAST YEAR: Some folks are not getting riled up about the Falcons. They know the Falcons went 5-0 and 6-1 last season before falling off a cliff and finishing 8-8. Cunningham tells us why this year's team is different.

8. TALE OF THE TAPE: Here are some numbers to ponder:

9. DEPTH CHART: Falcons linebackers De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), Deion Jones (ankle) and Paul Worrilow (groin) are set to return to practice on Wednesday coach Dan Quinn said on Monday.

“We are going to start practicing them on Wednesday,” Quinn said. “They were able to do a good participation in the run today as opposed to walk-throughs, which they did last week. They’ll participate in practice on Wednesday. Then, we’re going to take them all the way through the week….we’re going to take all the time that we need to determine if they can help us over the weekend.”

(The team calls it an ‘unofficial’ depth chart. But if they are releasing it, for our purposes that makes it pretty official.)



WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 14 Eric Weems

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 68 Mike Person

C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland

RG 65 Chris Chester, 71 Wes Schweitzer

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 76 Tom Compton

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Joshua Perkins

WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 19 Aldrick Robinson, 18 Taylor Gabriel

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco


DE 50 Brooks Reed, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 93 Dwight Freeney

DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 90 Derrick Shelby

DT 97 Grady Jarrett 91, Courtney Upshaw

DE 94 Tyson Jackson, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman

LB 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 41 Philip Wheeler

LB 45 Deion Jones 55, Paul Worrilow, 53 LaRoy Reynolds

LB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 54 A.J. Hawk

CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 32 Jalen Collins

CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole

S 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie

S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 38 Dashon Goldson


K 3 Matt Bryant

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 26 Tevin Coleman, 14 Eric Weems

PR 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher

GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies

What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver

Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense

Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks

Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles

What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos

Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos

GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 48-33 win over the Panthers

Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons

Falcons' rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen

What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

Alford battled; Collins to return

Early view in NFC South isn't what most expected; Falcons on top

GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 45-32 win over the Saints

Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game

REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons

Falcons' Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home

AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?

GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons' win over the Raiders

Trufant's heads-up play saves the day

Tight ends help to power offense

Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013

Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less

JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win

What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders

GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons' loss to the Bucs

No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush

Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury

Falcons have a case of the "no-huddle" blues

REPORT CARD: Falcons can't 'gift' opponents 17 points

FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action

AJC'S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?

Hageman charged is domestic violence case

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.