Tag:Atlanta Falcons
Posted on: April 15, 2011 7:05 pm

Roddy White, for some reason, rips Alex Smith

Posted by Andy Benoit

Over the last four yearsR. White (US Presswire), Roddy White might be the most improved wide receiver in all of football. Once a bust, the former first-round pick has blossomed into Atlanta’s most dynamic weapon, racking up over 80 catches and 1,150-yards-plus in each of the past four seasons.

But in the NFL, no amount of success gives a player a free pass to take a random shot at one of his peers. That’s an unwritten rule throughout the league.

Thus, it’s bizarre that White would send out this tweet on Friday afternoon: “Why is the 49ers wasting their time with Alex Smith they need to move on better yet try to get luck next year would be good for them”

Though the Falcons have played the Niners each of the past two seasons, there’s no ostensible rivalry between the wideout and the quarterback. The best guess to explain White’s criticism is that thisis a case of a man forgetting that he’s a professional football player first and a fan of professional football second.

This is not the first time White has caused a stir via Twitter. This past season, before the Falcons’ Monday night game at the Saints, White trash-tweeted New Orleans, saying, "The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot [obscenity].”

On that one, he later apologized for taking things too far.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:03 pm

Hot Routes 4.12.11: Brady weeps ... over 'Idol'

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Tom Brady, as you will see about 5,000* times over the next few hours, is going to cry on television soon. A certain four-letter sports network got him to weep on camera about his sixth-round selection back in 2000 and, well, it's a heart-wrenching story about how tough his life's been. Or maybe he just likes to cry a lot? After all, the gents over at Tauntr.com did happen to catch a montage of him sobbing over the recent booting of Pia from "American Idol."
  • According to Tim Leiweke, the CEO of AEG and therefore a primary investor in the downtown L.A. stadium effort, the NFL will "double" its rights fees in the next television contract negotiations. Yowza.
Posted on: April 8, 2011 12:08 am

If no NFL season, Gonzalez probably will retire

Gonzalez Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If a lockout wipes out the season – admittedly, a fairly slim possibility – we might have seen the last game played by one of the greatest tight ends in league history. Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, who would enter 2011 in the last year of his contract, said if the NFL somehow didn’t play the season, he would probably retire.

"Would I sit out a whole season and come back — probably not, honestly," Gonzalez told Sporting News, via Fox Sports. “At this point, at my age, I don’t know if that would be smart of me to do something like that. But I’m enjoying the offseason, working out and preparing like I always do.”

While Gonzalez is coming off a solid year – or what most tight ends would consider a solid year – his 70 receptions was the fewest amount of passes he’d caught since 1998. He still is on the fringes of being a top-five TE in the league, but it’s clear he’s not the same player he was in his prime.

Which means the Falcons better start looking for some help at that position.

Gonzalez’s backup, Justin Peele, is 32 years old and not a long-term solution, but there might be some potential with Michael Palmer, who had career highs in catches (43), receiving yards (507) and touchdowns (four) last season.

Nevada’s Virgil Green – who had a wonderful NFL combine – could be a possibility in the NFL draft, or the Falcons could wait until the later rounds. Green is expected to work out with the Falcons at some point before the draft.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:23 am
Edited on: April 4, 2011 9:23 am

Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Not Matty Ice

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In big news out of Sea Island, Ga., this morning, it looks like Falcons QB Matt Ryan is off the market.

Apparently, Ryan has married his longtime girlfriend Sarah Marshall in a secret out-of-the-way wedding along the Georgia coast. That’s the word from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The best part of the story is that the ceremony took place on an island that’s only accessible via guard house which only lets you in if you’re a resident, a resort guide or an employee. It’s actually where the 2004 G-8 Summit took place, and as the paper points out, “it’s a good place for a private event.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 30, 2011 2:53 pm

Hot Routes 3.30.11 Rusty Smith self confident?

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Posted on: March 28, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 12:19 pm

Arthur Blank pens another letter to fans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Another day, another letter from an NFL owner trying to win the PR battle during the lockout.

This one comes from Falcons owners Arthur Blank and appears on the team website.

Writes Blank, in part:

During the last day of our mediated discussions on March 11, the NFL clubs put a balanced and fair proposal on the table in a good-faith effort to resolve our differences. The proposal included payments to players of approximately $19-20 billion over the next four years, including a 14 percent increase from 2011-2014. In addition, there would be no pay-cut for our players – only a slowing in the growth rate of their compensation. The proposal also included a wide range of other improvements for both current and retired players. Further, we offered to share financial information that goes far beyond the requirements of federal labor law.

In my opinion, the NFLPA walked away from a deal that was more than fair, but I also recognize that they did it in order to file a lawsuit. So instead of working productively through collective bargaining, we are being stalled through the legal process. I can speak for the NFL and its owners in telling you that we all want a quick resolution of the current labor dispute, and we are ready to get back to the negotiating table at any time.

These are the kinds of letters that get the NFLPA riled up and forces the association (in its own mind, anyway) to respond about how the deal the owners offered was the WORST DEAL EVER.

It’s like the dog who chases its tail in a circle until it keels over from dizziness. It’s not getting anybody anywhere. And all we feel is a sense of nausea.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:17 am

Offseason Checkup: Atlanta Falcons

Posted by Will Brinson

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:

It's pretty rare when winning your division and losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions qualifies as a "disappointment," but that's probably the case with the Atlanta Falcons, who really seemed destined to make a run at a championship in 2010.

Alas, destiny came unbound and Green Bay burnt Atlanta to the ground (surely that's not too soon) en route to taking down the Lombardi Trophy. What makes the way in which Atlanta lost interesting is that it was their bread and butter -- old-school, methodical football -- that left them unable to mount a comeback against the Packers

Having said that, this is a Falcons team that's built for the long-haul. Matt Ryan is an All-Pro for years to come, Roddy White is blossoming into one of the best receivers in the NFC (if not the NFL), and the defense as a whole appears full of young playmakers. Sure, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner might not be contributing five years down the road, but that doesn't impact 2011, when the Falcons will be absolutely primed to repeat their success from the previous year.

Speed, Explosiveness, Youth

In 2009, Atlanta was vulnerable to getting torched on big plays, and got gashed by opponents on 20-yard-plus plays 55 times, and 40-yard-plus plays 11 times. They addressed their secondary needs in the offseason, stealing Dunta Robinson away from the Texans (who then became historically bad against the pass, for what it's worth). In 2010, Atlanta gave up just 38 plays of 20+ yards and only six plays of 40+ yards. 

So, yeah, not a problem anymore. But what is a problem? The big plays created on the offensive end. Atlanta ranked next-to-last in the NFL in passing plays over 20 yards with 32, just two ahead of Carolina. You may recall that the Panthers didn't finish No. 1 in the conference. Add in six plays all season of 40-plus yards, and it's clear the Dirty Birds lack some explosiveness in the passing game.

This is partially a result of Mike Mularky's vanilla offense, and partially because Tony Gonzalez can't stretch the field quite as much as he used to. But it's primarily because Atlanta hasn't been able to find a true WR2 to pair with White and give Ryan a deep threat.

1. Speedy WR2 
The M.O. of Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith isn't necessarily to grab a WR early just because they need one. And it's unlikely that one of the true talents in this draft -- think A.J. Green and Julio Jones -- will get even close to the Falcons. It's possible they could use a draft pick on a speedy wide receiver, but it's also possible that they could look to boost their receiving corps through free agency (Santana Moss would fit the bill nicely; he's been wildly inconsistent as a WR1, but his downfield burst would fit well with what the Falcons need, especially as a second wideout). The ideal candidate -- as I noted in the podcast above -- is Steve Smith of the Panthers, but an intra-division trade seems like a pretty unlikely outcome.

2. Defensive End/D-line depth 
Defensively, the Falcons performed well in 2010, ranking in the top five in terms of points allowed and right about the middle of the NFL in terms of yards per game allowed. But they weren't anywhere close to the top in terms of sacks, ranking 20th with 31, 13 of which came from the aging John Abraham. Given the incredible defensive line depth in the 2011 NFL Draft class, it's almost likely that we see the Falcons address their pass-rushing needs with their first round pick in April. 

3. Running Back
Michael Turner has been a fantastic find for the Birds since they signed him as a free agent (especially considering people thought they'd overpaid), and Jason Snelling is a pretty good backup insofar as those things go. But at some point, Atlanta's going to need to find some additional running back depth in order to stay ahead of the curve and not find themselves empty-handed if Turner slows under the weight of excessive carries. They could also use a change-of-pace, third-down back, and the second round is a decent spot for them to address that need.

Atlanta's going to compete with the Saints -- and perhaps the Buccaneers?? -- for the division title in 2011, and it's hard to fathom a situation where they're not the favorites to win the NFC South this year. That's simply based on the fact that they return the entire nucleus of a team that showed it knows how to play a grind-it-out style of football and win close games.

And there's no question that this is a team for whom "winning the Super Bowl" isn't just a silly goal to have simply because football hasn't been played and "everyone's got the same record right now." The only issue for Atlanta, in order to take the next step, it seems is finding some explosiveness that the 2010 rendition of the Falcons lacked. Otherwise, building on the base they've already got means we'll be saying similar things about this team for years to come.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 3:39 pm

Even players worry about health insurance

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NFL Labor
If the NFLPA really wanted to garner some positive PR points,* the trade association would do well to introduce the world to Falcons LB Stephen Nicholas.

*Not that we’re suggesting the players actively pursue PR victories, because, at this point, all anybody cares about is whether they can work with the owners to strike a deal on a new CBA. I’m just saying …

As ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas writes, Nicholas’s son, Stephen Jr., underwent a heart transplant about 2 ½ years ago (Stephen Jr. is 3 years old now and doing fine), but now that the players are locked out, Nicholas isn’t receiving health insurance from the league any more.

Nicholas Which is a problem when your son has a jarring medical history and you’re on the search for affordable health coverage (the Falcons placed a restricted free agent tender on Nicholas, but who knows if that will be part of the new CBA).

“It’s a challenge,’’ Nicholas told ESPN.com. “But my wife and financial advisor did a good job preparing for this, because we knew for a long time there was the possibility of a lockout. We’ve got insurance. It’s expensive, but it’s not unbearable.’’

Nicholas obviously isn’t a huge star and he’s certainly not one of the NFL’s clichéd millionaires. He’s just a guy whose health insurance bill is going to loom larger and larger the longer and longer he doesn’t play.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com