Atlanta Falcons Blog

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

5 things we learned about the Falcons this week

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons continued to give off signals this week that they will focus on improving the defense in the upcoming NFL draft, which is set for April 28-30 in Chicago.

1. Schedule is a beast. The Falcons have two prime-time games. They will play at New Orleans at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and at Tampa Bay at 8:25 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 on NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football.” The Falcons and the 49ers have the highest-strength of schedule rating (.555 based on opponents’ records from last season.

2. Ragland to visit: Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, who would add some nastiness and attitude to the defense, is set to visit the team Sunday and Monday.

3. Big Chuck Smith vouches for Nkemdiche: Former Falcons great Chuck Smith, who trains defensive line players, gave NFL prospect Robert Nkemdiche his stamp of approval. “I have trained (and) consulted Robert Nkemdiche,” Smith wrote on twitter. “He’s a great guy, and I believe in him. We all learn and grow! Gonna be a beast!” Nkemdiche, of Grayson, who was considered the top player in the nation coming out of high school, but is getting mixed reviews after his career at Mississippi. In review of his Ole Miss film, several NFL scouts have noticed his inconsistent play. Teams are also concerned about an arrest after he fell out of window from a Buckhead hotel.

4. The return of Mike Smith: The Falcons will open the season at home against Tampa Bay at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. It will be the return of former coach Mike Smith, the winningest coach in franchise history. He was hired as Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator over the offseason.

5. Offseason spotlight on Hardy and Jarrett.  We took a look at wide receiver Justin Hardy and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett this week.

Here's our exclusive interview with quarterback Matt Ryan from Monday. After the players-only camp, he went to Cabo San Lucas and went Marlin fishing. He didn't catch one, but his friends and family folks on the boat did.

[cmg_cinesport url=""]

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter joins CineSport’s Noah Coslov to discuss the Falcons options in the first round of the NFL Draft and to identify who is making the ultimate decision.


Falcons 2016  Schedule -- Toughest in the league

Former Falcons Jamal Anderson begins serving 12-day jail sentence

Falcons set offseason training schedule

Falcons Jalen Collins suspended for four-games

COUNTDOWN TO THE DRAFT: The plight of Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche


Falcons' Dan Quinn loyal to Shanahan, staff, amid heat

Linebacker Jerrell Freeman won't be joining Falcons

Falcons mulit-level free agency makeover underway

Weatherspoon hopes to revive career, where it started

Falcons, O'Brien Schofield at impasse

Falcons agree to five-year deal with center Alex Mack

Mohamed Sanu: 'I'm not trying to fill anybody's shoes'


Alabama defensive tackles (A'Shawn and Jarran) are NFL-ready

Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox gets into shoving match at NFL combine

Floyd, Jenkins are stellar NFL prospects

Firm helps NFL prospects prepare for newfound wealth -- 7 financial pitfalls they'll face

Ex-Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins has met with the Falcons

Clemson's Shaq Lawson interviewed with the Falcons

Nkemdiche has uphill battle to improve NFL draft status

Nkemdiche would love to play for the Falcons

14 questions with Georgia Tech standout Adam Gotsis

Falcons checking out interior linemen at the combine

18 questions with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff

Quinn still evaluating the roster -- Nothing new on Roddy White

7 players the Falcons are watching at the combine

13 questions with Falcons coach Dan Quinn

5 questions with Duke punter Will Monday (Flowery Branch High)

26 State prospects hope to make impact at NFL combine


Synthetic turf chosen for Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Falcons cheerleader training session on Saturday

Falcons' Smith leaving to run Ohio State's alumni association

5 positions for the Falcons to shore up

Dimitroff, Quinn have activated the '100-day' plan

Stay or go: Pick Falcons' defense

Stay or go: Pick Falcons' offense

Falcons owner Arthur Blank vows to fight cancer, move on Super Bowl bid

Here's what Blank is facing medically

Falcons released safety William Moore, linebacker Justin Durant

Falcons' Matt Ryan picks Panthers win Super Bowl 50

Arthur Blank on Dimitroff, PSLs and Super Bowl bid

Falcons leaning toward keeping Roddy White


Reader Comments ...