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Atlanta Falcons Blog

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

5 things to know before tonight’s Falcons at Saints kickoff

NEW ORLEANS -- Here are 5 things to mull over before tonight's 8:30 p.m. kickoff between the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) and the New Orleans Saints (0-2) at the Superdome.

1. WILL THE FALCONS GO NO-HUDDLE:  The Falcons, according to the official gamebook, ran 25 no-huddle plays in their 35-28 win over the Oakland Raiders and amassed 528 yards last week. T he Falcons plan to use the no-huddle on a case-by-case basis, even though magical things happen when quarterback Matt Ryan runs the no-huddle. "There are really no absolutes in football,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “It has to do with what you’re going against and situations. You’ve got to be able to adjust to anything.”

2. JONES TO PLAY. Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones returned to practice from his calf injury and pronounced himself ready to play against the Saints on Monday Night after Saturday’s practice.

3. NEAL TO PLAY. Rookie strong safety Keanu Neal was drafted to add a physical presence to the defense and help cover running backs and tight ends. Neal, who suffered a right knee injury in the third exhibition game against Miami on Aug. 25 , returned to practice after knee surgery and will make his NFL debut against the Saints.

4. THE MORELLI CREW: The game will be called by the Pete Morelli crew. R: Pete Morelli (135) ; FJ: Doug Rosenbaum (67), U: Bryan Neale (92), SJ: Boris Cheek (41), HL: Steve Stelljes (22),  BJ: Greg Steed (12), LJ: Carl Johnson (101),  RO: Tommy Moore. Morelli is working with an entirely new crew after his folks had a disastrous 2015 season.

5. SERIES RECORD: This will be the 94th regular-season meeting. The Falcons lead series 48-45. The Saints have won four of the past five meetings in the Superdome, including last season’s 31-21 victory on a Thursday night game. This has become a lopsided series. New Orleans has won the last two meetings, eight of the last 11 and 15 of 20 since 2006, starting with that game 10 years ago.

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and Noah Coslov preview Falcons-Saints on Monday Night Football by getting into the Falcons offensive rhythm and how to fix the defense.



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. 54 O'Brien Schofield

LB 45 Deion Jones, 41 Philip Wheeler, 53 LaRoy Reynolds, 55 Paul Worrilow,

LB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 56 Sean Weatherspoon

CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin

CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole

S 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie

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


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 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.