Falcons headlines

Jones, Sarkisian building stronger bond 

Jones, Sarkisian building stronger bond 

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is developing a stronger bond with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Last season, they were both feeling each other out as Jones was coming back from toe surgery. Sarkisian first called a play for Jones in the season opener, without the benefit of much practice. The relationship between Sarkisian and his most explosive weapon apprarently will be much better this...
Falcons part-owner Barker named to Pro Football Hall of Fame board of trustees

Falcons part-owner Barker named to Pro Football Hall of Fame board of trustees

Brian J. Barker, a limited partner in the Atlanta Falcons franchise, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame board of trustees recently at the annual meeting in Canton, Ohio. Barker, founder and chairman of AFS Logistics, was elected along with Brian S. Belden, James A. Porter, John A. Sirpilla and Robert A. Zmudka. Barker became a limited partner of the Falcons in 2012.  Barker founded...
What Jones told Ridley before his NFL debut 

What Jones told Ridley before his NFL debut 

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had some advice for first-round pick Calvin Ridley before he made his NFL debut against the Jets last Friday.  “Calvin was going to be ready regardless,” Jones said on Tuesday. “One of the things I told him, don’t hang his head on…everybody is always like his debut. That debut. Don’t compare yourself or try to out (perform)...
Quinn, Dimitroff met to discuss cut down to 53-man roster 

Quinn, Dimitroff met to discuss cut down to 53-man roster 

With three exhibition games to play, the Falcons’ brain trust has started looking at different scenarios for the cutdown from a 90-man roster to 53-man roster. The Falcons are set to host the Kansas City Chiefs at 7 p.m. Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The team must cutdown to 53 players by 4 p.m. Sept. 4.  “It’s actually a fun part of the puzzle with Thomas (Dimitroff) and...
Benkert on first NFL action: Made some, missed some

Benkert on first NFL action: Made some, missed some

Now that Kurt Benkert has NFL experience -- if you count preseason games -- the Falcons’ undrafted rookie quarterback will confirm that the players are bigger and the game is faster. Yet he wants to slow down. And he doesn’t need two college degrees to figure that out.  He learned in the Falcons’ 17-0 loss to the Jets Friday night in MetLife Stadium, where on the first play...
Riley remains upbeat after uneven outing against the Jets 

Riley remains upbeat after uneven outing against the Jets 

Falcons second-year linebacker Duke Riley is trying to bounce back after a rough outing against the Jets. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he saw some improvement in Riley, but also said there’s still room for more improvement.  Riley allowed five receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown, according to profootballfocus.com. He also had a missed tackle. Last season, Riley missed eight tackles...
Tweetcap: Quinn eager get back to practice 

Tweetcap: Quinn eager get back to practice 

The Falcons were set to return to practice with a “pretty long list” of things to work on, coach Dan Quinn said on Monday. The Falcons loss to the New York Jets 17-0 on Friday and Quinn was “disappointed” in the effort.  The Falcons are set to host the Kansas City Chiefs at 7 p.m. Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  “At the game, even though you have good week...
INJURY REPORT: Kicker Matt Bryant to test injury on Wednesday 

INJURY REPORT: Kicker Matt Bryant to test injury on Wednesday 

Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, who has an undisclosed injury, will kick off to the side on Monday, according to the Falcons. » More: Falcons depth chart vs. Chiefs Bryant will test his leg on Wednesday and a determination will be made about his availability for the game against the Chiefs at 7 p.m. Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  David Marvin missed a 42-yard field attempt at the buzzer...
Winner: Best sports fans in Atlanta | Best of Atlanta

Winner: Best sports fans in Atlanta | Best of Atlanta

Our city is full of some of the most passionate sports fans in the whole country, if not the world. Last week's Best of Atlanta poll discovered the most dedicated sports fans for each of our beloved teams. Think of the fans that show up in great numbers for their favorite team, represent those teams and players in signature garb or even the fans that remain committed −whether the team wins or...
Falcons might finally have a great defense under Dan Quinn

Falcons might finally have a great defense under Dan Quinn

It was just an exhibition game, and the first one at that. No real reason to worry about the Falcons looking so bad while losing to the Jets on Friday night.  Instead, I came away thinking about safety Damontae Kazee’s performance. It seemed as if Kazee was in on every play for a stretch of the first half. He was the latest to feature Falcons coach Dan Quinn’s brand: young, fast and...
Falcons release official depth chart for Chiefs’ game 

Falcons release official depth chart for Chiefs’ game 

The Falcons released  their official depth chart for the second exhibition game on Sunday. The Falcons are set to play the Chiefs at 7 p.m. Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  Wes Schweitzer remains listed as first-team right guard ahead of offseason acquisition Brandon Fusco. Schweitzer played eight snaps in the exhibition opener against the Jets. Fusco played 11 snaps.  “We&rsquo...
Falcons sign defensive back, cut offensive lineman 

Falcons sign defensive back, cut offensive lineman 

The Falcons signed defensive back Ryan Neal and released offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun on Saturday. Calhoun was signed after a tryout on July 30. He was previously released by the Texans.  Neal, 23, was released by the Eagles after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Southern Illinois. Neal’s brother, Mike Neal, played six seasons (2010-2015) with the Green Bay Packers...
Falcons’ Celestin knows his deceased dad was watching his NFL debut 

Falcons’ Celestin knows his deceased dad was watching his NFL debut 

Long after most of the fans departed and were driving home on the New Jersey turnpike, Falcons linebacker Jonathan Celestin got his big opportunity against the Jets in the fourth quarter on Friday. Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel called a blitz through the gap between the center and guard.  Celestin, who was signed after a workout on July 30, shot through and sacked  Jets rookie quarterback...
Falcons’ McKinley ready for full participation in practice 

Falcons’ McKinley ready for full participation in practice 

Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who has been slowed after shoulder surgery, had a brief, but strong showing against the Jets on Friday. McKinley played four snaps. He flashed his speed and power with one tackle and a quarterback hit.   “He played strong,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Saturday. “No setbacks for him. He’ll basically be up to full speed here...
Duke Riley showed signs of improvement against Jets 

Duke Riley showed signs of improvement against Jets 

Falcons linebacker Duke Riley showed signed of improvement against the Jets, coach Dan Quinn said Saturday. Riley started and made three tackles. He played 40 snaps on defense and 10 on special teams.   “I would say, I saw improvement, and I would say there is more (room for improvement,)” Quinn said. “The reason I’m saying that is because in practice I’ve seen...
Dan Quinn might finally have a great Falcons defense

Dan Quinn might finally have a great Falcons defense

It was just an exhibition game, and the first one at that. No real reason to worry about the Falcons looking so bad while losing to the Jets on Friday night.  Instead, I came away thinking about safety Damontae Kazee’s performance. It seemed as if Kazee was in on every play for a stretch of the first half. He was the latest to feature Falcons coach Dan Quinn’s brand: young, fast and...
Seven things we learned from the Falcons’ 17-0 loss to the Jets 

Seven things we learned from the Falcons’ 17-0 loss to the Jets 

It was only the exhibition opener, but Falcons coach Dan Quinn was clearly disappointed in the effort and the play of his team in the 17-0 loss to the New York Jets on Friday. Quinn, normally upbeat and positive, was decidedly downcast after the game.  Quinn thought the rookie class was ready to play, but felt they were “tight” and didn’t play well. He said the team was &ldquo...
Falcons perplexed by new helmet rule 

Falcons perplexed by new helmet rule 

The Falcons thought they were prepared for the NFL’s new rule that outlaws lowering a helmet to make a hit.  The team reasoned that because they are a rugby-style tackling team that leads with a shoulder, they would be nearly immune from the new rule. However, early in the exhibition opener against the New York Jets on Friday, the rule came up on some unexpected plays.  On a kickoff...
What the Falcons had to say after the 17-0 loss to the Jets 

What the Falcons had to say after the 17-0 loss to the Jets 

Backup rookie quarterback Kurt Benkert made his NFL debut in the Falcons’ 17-0 loss to the Jets on Friday at MetLife Stadium. Benkert came on in the third quarter after Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub played. His first pass went for a 27-yard gain by wide receiver Dontez Byrd. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 125 yards and had one interception. Wide receiver Devin Gray had four catches for 83 yards...
Falcons’ Quinn: ‘I don’t like the sloppiness’ 

Falcons’ Quinn: ‘I don’t like the sloppiness’ 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was not pleased after the 17-0 loss to the Jets on Friday at MetLife Stadium. He felt the rookies played tight, the overall play was too sloppy and they racked up too many penalties, including two lowering of the helmet calls.  Overall, the Falcons had 10 penalties for 71 yards and did not score on two red zone drives, which has been a point of emphasis this offseason...
Report card: Jets 17, Falcons 0 

Report card: Jets 17, Falcons 0 

Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 17-0 loss to the New York Jets in their exhibition season opener on Friday at MetLife Stadium. Run offense: Tevin Coleman started for Devonta Freeman, who was held out of the game by coach Dan Quinn. Coleman had three rushes for 8 yards. Ito Smith didn’t take a firm hold of the third running back spot and was called for a lowering of the helmet...
All Falcons, Jets stand during national anthem 

All Falcons, Jets stand during national anthem 

All of the Falcons and New York Jets stood during the national anthem before their exhibition game on Friday at MetLife Stadium. No players were seen running out of the locker room after the anthem was played.  The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline...
Jones, Freeman to be held out against Jets 

Jones, Freeman to be held out against Jets 

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman will not play in the exhibition opener against the Jets at 7:30 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium, according to the team.   Both players are healthy, but are “coaching decisions” for this game. “You know I’m going to be ready to go when the season starts,” Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution...
Grady Jarrett: From ash to hellfire

Grady Jarrett: From ash to hellfire

Grady Jarrett was used to rejection. He had been told “no” more than most in a short lifetime, been overlooked at every level, learned to fend for himself. And yet, his slip in the 2015 NFL draft was still a shock. “I kinda prepared him for that,” Jarrett’s college coach, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, told the AJC last week. “I said, ‘Grady, you’re not...
Two NFL players kneel during national anthem

Two NFL players kneel during national anthem

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Kenny Stills and two other Miami Dolphins protested during the national anthem before Thursday's exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Receivers Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist, as he did during the anthem last season with the Los Angeles Rams....
The road to Atlanta’s Super Bowl: Five updates

The road to Atlanta’s Super Bowl: Five updates

The Super Bowl will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, less than six months from now. It will be the third time that Atlanta has hosted the event and the first time in 19 years. As planning continues and the NFL season approaches, here are five updates on the road to Super Bowl LIII. In the Super Bowl’s first 52 years, no team has played in the game on its home field. The Falcons...
Five things to watch when the Falcons play the Jets on Friday night

Five things to watch when the Falcons play the Jets on Friday night

Don’t expect to see the Falcons’ starters for many plays during the exhibition season opener against the New York Jets at 7:30 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the veterans will play on a case-by-case basis. Last season, in the exhibition opener against Miami, they played one series, but it was a costly one as Devonta Freeman suffered...
Meet the 2018 AJC Super 11

Meet the 2018 AJC Super 11

For the first time since the Super 11’s inception in 1985, there are no running backs on the AJC’s list of the best high school players in the state. There are no quarterbacks, either, but that’s happened before. The state produced the two best high school quarterbacks in the country last year, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. The running back situation might be a sign of the times...
Chris Hinton, GAC

Chris Hinton, GAC

Position: Offensive lineman/defensive lineman Height, weight: 6-4, 280 Class: Senior College choices: Committed to Michigan. 2017 season wrapup: Hinton is a two-way player who was named first-team all-state on defense. He recorded 40 tackles, including more than 10 for losses. On offense, he paved the way for a unit that averaged a Class AAA-best 45.6 points per game. Hinton is rated as the No. 2...
Campbell is not done, but he has come a long way 

Campbell is not done, but he has come a long way 

Nothing has been easy for Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Along his football journey, Campbell has been questioned. He’s been doubted. He’s been told he wasn’t quite good enough. He was too slow. Too skinny. Not strong enough. His hips couldn’t turn on a swivel. All of this is why his Twitter handle is @Came_Along_Way. “It’s just the epitome of the...
Saubert has attention of coaching staff 

Saubert has attention of coaching staff 

Falcons second-year tight end Eric Saubert has caught the attention of the coaching staff with a strong training camp.  Saubert will get plenty action when the Falcons face the New York Jets in their exhibition opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  “I’m certainly looking to see how Saub looks,” head coach Dan Quinn said after practice...
Falcons’ quarterback rotation set  for exhibition opener vs. Jets 

Falcons’ quarterback rotation set  for exhibition opener vs. Jets 

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has his quarterback rotation set for the exhibition opener against the New York Jets at 7:30 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.  “We’ll certainly get some work with both Matts, Schaub and Matt Ryan in the first half,” Quinn said after practice on Wednesday. “Then as it gets into the second quarter, we want to take a good...
Takkarist McKinley available against Jets 

Takkarist McKinley available against Jets 

Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who’s been battling back from shoulder surgery, will dress in the exhibition against the New York Jets on Friday, according to head coach Dan Quinn.  McKinley has had a shoulder bruise after undergoing offseason surgery. He’s been limited from most 11-on-11 action during training camp. “He was good,” Quinn said after practice on...
COVER 9@9: A closer look at the official depth chart

COVER 9@9: A closer look at the official depth chart

1. Hardy the return man: Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy is listed as the top kickoff and punt returner on the team’s official depth chart that was released on Tuesday. Hardy, who was a fourth-round pick out of East Carolina in 2015, returned punts in college, but not kickoffs. He has returned three kickoffs in the NFL. He’s the safe pick in the mode of the dependable Eric Weems. ...
The Bow Tie Chronicles: Here’s the defensive game plan vs. the Jets 

The Bow Tie Chronicles: Here’s the defensive game plan vs. the Jets 

In the 68th episode of The Bow Tie Chronicles podcast, Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell discusses the defense’s mission in the exhibition opener against the New York Jets, which is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Also, second-round pick Isaiah Oliver stops by to discuss his transition from Colorado to the NFL.  We also discuss...
Falcons’ Freeman happy, healthy and fully expecting to run afoul of NFL’s new rule

Falcons’ Freeman happy, healthy and fully expecting to run afoul of NFL’s new rule

The new NFL rule governing helmet contact both confounds and covers everyone. No one may initiate contact with the helmet, period. On either side of the ball. So, those who were once ruled to be the victims of a heinous foul now may be called the culprits. What if you’re a particular Falcons running back, short in stature, long on aggression, known to play a little human demolition derby when...
With new deal in hand, Falcons Allen waxes inspirational

With new deal in hand, Falcons Allen waxes inspirational

Tuesday, the Falcons held their usual morning training camp practice session and a motivational seminar broke out. Leading the session was Ricardo Allen, the safety newly given a three-year, $19.5 million deal. Put him in a Holiday Inn ballroom and you’d have to pay good money to hear what he was saying about the new contract and the journey of a one-time practice squad guy to newly enriched...
Falcons release first official depth chart

Falcons release first official depth chart

The Falcons released their first official depth chart of the preseason on Tuesday. It included items of note. Wes Schweitzer is listed as first-team right guard ahead of offseason acquisition Brandon Fusco. Duke Riley is listed as a first-team linebacker after being moved to mostly special teams as a rookie last year. In the battle for the open fullback position, Ricky Ortiz is listed with the first...
Next in line for breakout second season, Takk McKinley has to get healthy

Next in line for breakout second season, Takk McKinley has to get healthy

As Takk McKinley strolls up to the podium Monday afternoon after training camp, frustration emanates. Asked how he feels, McKinley summons just one word. “Good,” he says. He then repeats that twice more, pausing in between. Frustration is forgivable for the second-year defensive end out of UCLA — coined next in line for the breakout second season that seems to have become an annual...
Ryan and offense emphasizing improved goal-line efficiency ahead of season

Ryan and offense emphasizing improved goal-line efficiency ahead of season

When the three consecutive whistles sounded to signal the end of practice Monday afternoon, quarterback Matt Ryan and his receivers knew where they were going. It’s where they’ve honed so much of their attention thus far at training camp: the goal-line. After all, that’s where last year ended. It would seem only fitting it would be where the bulk of this one started. Ryan lined up...
Falcons give Ricardo Allen three-year extension

Falcons give Ricardo Allen three-year extension

Two down, one to go. The Falcons announced on Monday that have reached a three-year contract extension with safety Ricardo Allen. The deal is reportedly worth $19.5 million. Allen is the second of the team’s stated three priorities for contract extension that included defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and left tackle Jake Matthews. Jarrett is now the only left without a new deal after Matthews...
Bryant, Sambrailo to miss Falcons’ exhibition opener

Bryant, Sambrailo to miss Falcons’ exhibition opener

The Falcons will be without kicker Matt Bryant (undisclosed) and offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo (hand) in Friday’s exhibition game at the New York Jets, the team announced Monday. Bryant did not participate in Monday’s practice. The team indicated it did not believe the issue was a long-term issue. David Marvin, from Georgia, is the other kicker on the Falcons roster and will kick against...
Veteran newcomers fitting in nicely with the Falcons  

Veteran newcomers fitting in nicely with the Falcons  

In free agency, the Falcons looked to add some quality veterans to the team. Their biggest splash was signing guard Brandon Fusco to a three-year, $12.75 million deal. The Falcons also added veterans in cornerback Justin Bethel, safety Ron Parker, defensive tackle Terrell McClain and tight end Logan Paulsen. With the Falcons set to play their first exhibition game against the New York Jets at 7:30...
What Dan Quinn had to say after Saturday’s practice 

What Dan Quinn had to say after Saturday’s practice 

The Falcons completed their Red-White scrimmage Saturday. The Red team held on for a 24-17 lead after opening a 24-2 lead.  Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after practice:  Opening statement: “What a awesome day for us. This is our fourth year of doing the Military program. So, today we had 24 families from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). A bunch...
Falcons all stand for national anthem on Military Day 

Falcons all stand for national anthem on Military Day 

With the team honoring military members, all members of the Falcons stood while the national anthem was being performed before practice Saturday. On July 27, Falcons owner Arthur Blank called the NFL’s national-anthem dilemma “complex” while also adding that players should be able to exercise their Constitutional rights under the First Amendment. After some players begin...
Oliver learning from his daily messages from Manuel 

Oliver learning from his daily messages from Manuel 

Rookie cornerback Isaiah Oliver doesn’t know when he’s going to get his message of the day. A week into training camp, the second-round pick from Colorado knows that defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel is going to have a “teaching” moment for him. “He gets an earful from Quan once a day,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Friday. “I would say (Desmond Trufant)...
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