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: Jake Matthews can't wait to battle cousin Clay Matthews

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The Falcons blew two double-digit leads and got stuffed on a fourth-down gamble in overtime as they fell to the Chargers, 33-30. The AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from the Georgia Dome.

Good morning! 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. MATTHEWS V. MATTHEWS: Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews is looking forward to doing battle with his cousin, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III.

“I’m excited,” Matthews said. “It’s pretty surreal experience to be playing against your family, you’re playing against your blood.”

This will be their second meeting.The Falcons played in Green Bay during Matthews’ rookie season back in 2014.

“The positions that we play, we are one-on-one against each other for most of the game,” Matthews said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a good matchup.”

Jake Matthews, is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Clay Matthew, is the son of Clay Matthews Jr.

“My dad is on my side and wants me to win,” Jake Matthews said. “My uncle wants Clay to win. It will be a good one."

Clay Matthews has three sacks.

“The Matthews family is a great blood line that’s gone on for generations in the National Football League," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Jake is playing very well. Clay is off to an excellent start for us, too.”

2. SAME POINT. This is juncture when things started to turn for the Falcons last season. After opening the season 6-1, the Falcons dropped their next six games.

The Falcons have dropped two straight after jumping out to a 4-1 start.

“We went through some stuff last year,” fullback Patrick DiMarco said.

3. POWER PLAY: The Falcons considered running from a power formation on their failed fourth down-and-1 try in overtime from their 45-yard line against the Chargers.

“We definitely would consider that one as well, to have two shots at it,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “The third-and-one and the fourth-and-one and to not convert was difficult for us.”

Quinn stood behind the stretch play to the outside.

“It was also a really clear example of we do, what we do,” Quinn said. “We had a good look for the play and we didn’t execute it. So, sometimes when you have that fastball, you throw that fastball. We are very good at running that play and we didn’t execute it on that one.

“We had a missed assignment, where we didn’t get the job done. (Devonta Freeman) didn’t really have a chance to get going. The linebacker ran through. It’s a play that we are comfortable running, but we didn’t execute at a really critical time for us.”

4. MOVING ON: The Falcons are trying to move on from the tough 33-30 overtime loss to the Chargers.

“It’s time to move on and go back to work on Wednesday,” DiMarco said. “It just kind of solidified the fact that all of these games are in our hands. Ref calls and turnovers, that’s not going to effect us. We are going to go play our game and go do what we do. We just have to finish a little better.”

5. MORE ON FOURTH AND ONE:  DiMarco would liked to have been in the game to pave the way for Freeman on that failed fourth-and-1 play.

“First and 10, second and whatever, I always want to be out there and play,” DiMarco said. “But I know the game plans don’t always call for that. Especially fourth-and-one, I want to be out there as much as I can. I want to help this team as much as I can.”

6. FREEMAN IS READY: With running back Tevin Coleman likely to miss the Green Bay game with a strained hamstring, Freeman will carry the bulk of the load against the Packers.

“Devonta was a Pro Bowler last year,” DiMarco said. “He can carry the load. Whoever we end up sending in to help out during (Coleman’s) recovery, it’s the next man up. We expect (Coleman) to get back as soon as he can. But in the meantime, we are just going to go out and do what we do.”

7. CROSSING ROUTE BLUES: The Falcons need to fix their problem with crossing routes that was exposed by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers quickly.

We wondered if it was just a matter of players passing receivers off through the zones. But the problem was not that simple.

“A number of different things, one of the very first explosive plays it was a matter of a defender not turning and running with the player who was in the zone,” Quinn said. “On another one it was where he bit up on the one that’s inside in front of him as opposed to letting the one go behind him.

“I wouldn’t say it was necessarily just one thing. We had some man-to-man opportunities that we have what we call we can cut a player, one guy comes in you can take him. We didn’t execute those as well at times so we knew we wanted to play some man-to-man.

“We know we can stand up and do that.,,, We’ll give San Diego their credit too for finding the holes and going to the right spots as well.”

8. GOODMAN JOINS SEAHAWKS: Seattle signed former Falcons defensive lineman Malliciah Goodman on Tuesday. Goodman, a four-year veteran, played in 34 games overall.

Goodman, 6-4, 276-pounds, recently had a tryout with the Seahawks. He had been a free agent since being waived by the Falcons on Sept. 2 He was originally a fourth-round pick in 2013 (127th overall) by the Falcons.

9. DEPTH CHART: The Falcons released their official depth chart for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, which is set for 4:25 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

With running back Tevin Coleman out with a strained hamstring, the Falcons added running backs Terron Ward and Stevan Ridley to the 53-man roster on Tuesday.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk and offensive guard Mike Person were released.

Also, the Falcons added running back Jhurell Pressley to the practice squad.

Ward, who was on the practice squad, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft. Last season, he had rushed 29 for 95 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Ridley was originally drafted in the third round (73rd overall) by the New England Patriots during the 2011 NFL draft. He has played in 61 games, including 52 with New England. He has rushed for 2,907 yards and 22 touchdowns.

(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, 63 Ben Garland

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, 33 Terron Ward, Stevan Ridley

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco


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

DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 91Courtney Upshaw

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,  41 Philip Wheeler

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, 30 Sharrod Neasman

S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael


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 SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT

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Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: 'He picked us apart'

Matt Ryan's late-game interception leads to overtime loss

PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons

GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24

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MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn't win, but they made one guy believe (me)

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud

Matt Ryan's turnovers were costly

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Seattle slows down Falcons' running backs Freeman, Coleman

Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half

Julio Jones: 'It was just a missed call'

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Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call

PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle

GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

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

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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

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GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

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Falcons' rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen

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

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Alford battled; Collins to return

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

GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32

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REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints

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

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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

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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

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Hageman charged is domestic violence case

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