Atlanta Falcons

NFC South

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    NO @ ATL

    09/07/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 2

    ATL @ CIN

    09/14/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 3

    TB @ ATL

    09/18/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 4

    ATL @ MIN

    09/28/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 5

    ATL @ NYG

    10/05/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 6

    CHI @ ATL

    10/12/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 7

    ATL @ BAL

    10/19/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 8

    DET @ ATL

    10/26/14

    9:30 am

  • Week 9

    bye

  • Week 10

    ATL @ TB

    11/09/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 11

    ATL @ CAR

    11/16/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 12

    CLE @ ATL

    11/23/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 13

    ARI @ ATL

    11/30/14

    4:00 pm

  • Week 14

    ATL @ GB

    12/08/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 15

    PIT @ ATL

    12/14/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 16

    ATL @ NO

    12/21/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 17

    CAR @ ATL

    12/28/14

    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Atlanta Falcons - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

FalconsInc


 


 


When I think of Georgia, I can’t help think of music: the Memphis blues, and southern fried rock and roll. One group that stands out in my mind is The Allman Brothers Band. In fact, Duane “Skydog” Allman has never received the credit he is due for being an incredibly influential guitar player. Take a listen to Wilson Picket singing “Hey Jude” with Duane on guitar. Eric Clapton give a brief intro.


 







 


 


A little known fact: The song “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd is dedicated to Duane. He died on October 29, 1971. Here’s to a rock legend, taken far too young.


As far as birds go in the southern state of Georgia, perhaps none are watched as often as the Falcons, at least in the NFL realm. Looking to 2014, we start by looking back. Steven Jackson did not have the resurgence that many suspected when he went to Atlanta last year. Now, it is true, during the last five games of 2013, he looked like his old self. In those last 5 games, he had 5 touchdowns, tying several other backs for most TDs during that time span. In total fantasy points scored in those five weeks, he was rated #12. But, I don’t see it as a trend, more of one last flash of yester year. For starters, Atlanta is not a running team. Last year, the most carries he had in a game was 23, after that, it was 16. In the 12 games he played, he averaged just 13 carries. Steven Jackson has likely hit the RB wall. He is entering his 11th season. Last year was the first time since his rookie season that he did not rush for over 1,000 yards. It was also the first time since his rookie season that he did not finish as a top 20 running back (he finished #32 last year, same as his rookie season).In ten years of play, he has played a full 16 game schedule only three times. Last year he missed four games. His fantasy points per game have been on a steady decline. Since 2008, his fantasy points per game have decreased each year. That is precisely the kind of trend to avoid.


 


 


































Year



Fantasy Points per Game



2008



15.34



2009



12.92



2010



12.28



2011



12.12



2012



10.02



2013



9.62



 


Currently backing up Steven Jackson is Jacquizz Rodgers. While he will likely see some more snaps this year, the emphasis is on some. He is more of a change of pace player. At 5’6” and only 196, he is just not a 3rd down back. Last year, the Falcons, who were dead last in rushing, never seemed to get him in space. He had 673 all purpose yards last year. He actually had more yards receiving. Although it is a contract year for Quizz, he just does not have what it takes to rely on him for any fantasy production. Even if Jackson goes down, I don’t see his production increasing. Pyro actually likes the rookie, Devonta Freeman better.


 


Freeman had a successful year at Florida State in 2013. He ran for 1,016 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He had 14 rushing TDs and 1 receiving. He caught 22 passes for 278 yards. He crossed the end zone in all but two games. He looks promising, but is way over valued. Atlanta has the hardest schedule for running backs this season. Freeman, as of early August, is going in the 9th round in 12 team drafts at RB #40. He is going before guys like Carlos Hyde and Christine Michael, both of whom Pyro likes better. Look, if either of those two guys were in Atlanta, they would be starting this year. As on now, if I am taking a Falcons running back, I will hang on for a late flyer with Antone Smith (I am keeping my eye on him to see what he does in the rest of the preseason ).


 


Antone Smith looked amazing, just not on paper. In the Falcons first preseason game, he ran the ball 3 times and gained a total of 5 yards. He also had 1 catch for 5 yards. I know, impressive right? This is why the preseason is so important to watch. If you were just checking the box scores, that is precisely what they showed. However, if you watched the game, you would have seen Smith playing with the ones. He actually got in the game before Freeman. If it wasn’t for sloppy play from his teammates, his stats would have been something else. He had an incredible catch for 34 yards out of the backfield. However, the team lined up illegally, so it got called back. Then, the move of the night was a two cut run that would have been a 76 yard score by Smith if it wasn’t for offensive holding. He was almost caught behind the line of scrimmage. Smith stopped on a dime and cut at a right angle without losing speed. Then, when he broke through, he flipped his hips, causing the linebacker to lock up an ankle, and just like that, he’s gone!


 


 







 


 


I always talk about trends, trying to see them before others. Well, Pyro has been on Julio since he first came out. This year however, the rest of the league has caught on. The one thing going for him that might keep his value down is his injury last year. But just look at his fantasy points per game average since he came into the league three years ago.
























Year



Fantasy Points per Game



2011



11.35



2012



11.43



2013



13.74



 


This is what you want to see, opposite of what Steven Jackson is showing. Pyro loves this guy so much


D-rx has Julio Jones game tape under his mattress. Before he got injured last year, he was on pace for 1,856 yards and 136 receptions. Both Dawg and Houdini have him as a tier I receiver. As of early August, his ADP for 12 team leagues has him going towards the end of the first round. Here is where the value lies, so far, he is the 5th WR off the board in ADPs. Both Dez and A.J. are going ahead of Julio. Personally, if you want to decide between those three, I say just look at their respective QBs. Romo is coming off back surgery. Dawg thinks he might not finish the season. Plus, the Cowboys have the 30th ranked schedule for WRs (Dez does have #3 playoff schedule though, but you have to get there first. Can you say trade bait?). A.J. has Dalton passing him the ball and a new offensive system that is more run heavy. The Bengals have the #28th rated schedule for WRs. Julio is a freak of an athlete who has Matt Ryan tossing him the ball and an offense that is geared towards the pass. Atlanta is rated with the #24th easiest wide receiver schedule this year. 


 


 


JulioIsGone


 


 


Roddy White is the other receiver, making this tandem arguably one of the best dynamic duos in the NFL. Aside from their fantastic claim of two 1,500 yard seasonsthey are for real. White, similar to Jones, was injured last year. That caused a decrease in their stats. But, if you look at Roddy’s last five games in 2013, he was ranked 3rd in yardage for WRs with 502. He ranked as the #8 WR for fantasy points in that same time span (62.2). This is his 10th year in the league. Last year was the first season he did not play in every single game. Last year, he played injured for much of the season, and sat out 3 games. Usually, this means a value pick as owners tend to use a narrow scope in drafting. They generally rely too heavily on last season’s stats. However, right now, his ADP is on par with Pyro’s ranking. As of early August, his ADP is WR #18. I checked the vast majority of the douche canoe sites, and this is a pretty standard rating. Looking at these ADPs, there’s actually more value in guys currently going after Roddy such as Wes Welker, Percy Harvin, and Michael Crabtree. All of whom, are ranked higher by Pyro.


 


 


 


RoddyWhite


 


 


This same ADP shows the 3rd Atlanta receiver, Harry Douglas, going at the start of the 15th round for 12 team leagues. At that stage of the draft, there could be value there. It depends on how you view Douglas. With Gonzalez gone, he could very well see more passes, as they will undoubtedly run a lot of three receiver sets. With the dynamic duo, he will certainly see single coverage, giving Matt Ryan some open looks. However, looking at his career, last year can easily be seen as either a late breakout year in his career, or an anomaly. Last year was his 5th year in the league. In his first four years, the highest amount of TDs he scored in one season is 1. The most receptions was 39. His highest yardage before last year was 498. Then, bam! He more than doubled every major statistical category from the year before. From 2012 to 2013 he went from 59 targets to 133, from 38 receptions to 85, 1 touchdown to 2, from 396 yards to 1,067, and he went from 3.07 fantasy points per game to 7.17. What was the main difference? Well, remember that Roddy White stat, last year was the first year he missed time in his career? It is essentially the same for Julio who played in 13 games his rookies season, 16 in 2012, and then only 5 last year. So, will Douglas have a repeat year? If his stars align similar to last year, then yes. But that requires missed time from the dynamic duo. Personally, I just do not see that happening. If I have Julio, I might take him as a handcuff, but otherwise, in those later rounds, I generally want to go for those guys who might just knock it out of the park and are not relying on an injury to make it happen.


 


How can you replace a name like Tony Gonzalez? Well, how about a name like Levine Toilolo. No, what about a bronco riding Bear Pascoe? Either way, the tight end role is changing in Atlanta. With Gonzalez, they split him out wide much of the time, in order to get the mismatch. This is generally referred to as a “move” tight end. This is something that was specific to Gonzalez. Coach Mike Smith has gone on record saying they will not use the tight end the same way this year. The shift back to a traditional role for their tight end position is very telling. Do not draft Toilolo and think you are getting a Gonzalez replacement. The position is too deep this year. In a standard 12 team league, Atlanta tight ends should not be rostered.


 


Finally, there’s Matt Ryan. Last year, Ryan put up a career high 651 attempts. Considering they have the hardest running back schedule in 2014, and since Steven Jackson is there starter, chances are he will be over 600 again this season, although the Falcons have a tough passing schedule as well (#28).  Last year, when Julio was healthy for their first five games, Ryan was rated as the 6th best fantasy QB. The fact that he ended at #15 for the position should equate to value this year, especially with a healthy dynamic duo. So, will he and Julio be tossing balls like they once did in the school yard?


 


 







 


 


As of early August ADPs, Matt Ryan is rated at #10 at the position. Pyro likes him a little bit better. Collectively, he averages out to a tier III guy for the position. As of the 3rd version of the draft kit, Stagg Party appears to have the most love, putting him as a tier II guy. One quick Pyro promo: a lot can happen in the preseason. If Ryan happens to fall out of favor with the fickle Staggs, you will hear about it. If you order a draft kit, you will automatically be sent the latest versions as soon as they come out.


 


http://pyromaniac.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/copy-of-2014-fantasy-football-draft-kit-v3


 


 


 


 


By Mo 





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The Dirty Birds

the dirty bird dance


 


There have not been that many great teams in the history of the Atlanta Falcons, but the best team had to be The Dirty Birds.  The Dirty Birds were the 1998 Atlanta Falcons who were coached by Dan Reeves.  The Falcons had gone 7-9 in 1997 and were looking for their identity and an edge in 1998.  The answer to both came in the form of Jamal Anderson.   


Jamal Anderson had his best season in 1998.  Anderson rushed the ball 410 times for 1,846 yards with 14 TD’s.  He also added 27 receptions for 319 yards and 2 more TD’s.  Anderson was the glue that held that team together and is also credited for starting the Dirty Bird dance.  He would bounce back and forth pump his arm up and sideways and them flap his wings like a bird, with all his teammates around him joining in the celebration. 


The Falcons also had Chris Chandler, who was known for not being able to finish most seasons, but played in 14 games and went 13-1 as a starter that year.  The other dynamic part of the offense was the M&M boys of Tony Martin and Terance Mathis.  Martin and Mathis were deep threat receivers and thrived in the play action with the running of Anderson.  All of these players would do their version of the Dirty Bird when they scored, whether at home or on the road.  The team finished 14-2 and would advance to Super Bowl XXXIII where they would lose to the Denver Broncos.  The biggest win of the year came in the NFC Championship game over the Minnesota Vikings, who went 15-1 during the regular season. 


The Falcons were double digit underdogs to the Vikings, but they just kept fighting the whole game.  The Falcons scored first, but the Vikings responded with 20 straight points and had the ball with a 27-20 lead in the 4th quarter and Gary Anderson looking to kick the game clinching field goal.  Gary Anderson had not missed a FG attempt all year…until his attempt to ice the game.  The Falcons responded and drove down the field and scored a TD to tie the game at 27-27 and send it to Overtime.  In the OT Morton Anderson the Falcons kicker kicked a 38 yard FG to win the game and shock the world as the Dirty Birds upset the Minnesota Vikings. 


 








 


By Houdini

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The Grits Blitz

the grits blitz


There have been many great defenses in the history of the NFL like the Steel Curtain, Purple People Eaters, Monsters of the Midway, the No-Name Defense and the Doomsday Defense.  When the greatest defenses of all time are discussed there is always one that seems to get left of the list, but the Grits Blitz of the 1977 Atlanta Falcons was one of the greatest defenses of all time. 

In 1976 the Atlanta Falcons were coming off a 4-10 season and decided to clean house.  The Falcons brought in Leeman Bennett, who was an assistant under Chuck Knox with the Rams.  At 39 he was the youngest coach in the NFL.  The other major change in the coaching staff was that Bennett brought along Jerry Glanville who provided the spark the team needed on defense.   

The year before the Falcons best stat on defense was turnovers where they were ranked 7th in the league with 38.  Bennett and Glanville knew that they did not have the talent on the defense, as they had basically the same players as the year before, so they would need a new scheme in order to create an advantage for themselves.  The idea behind the defense was to blitz, blitz and keep blitzing.  The other key to the defense was that you were not blitzing one or two guys in most cases the Falcons were bringing 8 or 9 guys with regularity.  In many ways the Grits Blitz was the precursor to the Bears 46 Defense. 

The defense was so confounding to opposing offenses that the defense became the best defense in the game that year.  The Falcons lead the league in: First Downs Allowed (192), Passing Yards Allowed (1384), Turnovers Forced (48), Turnover Ratio (+23), Rushing TD’s Allowed (5) and the least amount of points given up in a season in the NFL at 129 points. 

Then when you see all these stats that the defense had you have to ask why this team is not mentioned in the greatest defenses of all time.  The answer to that is because they had absolutely no help from their offense.  The offense ranked 26th out of 28 teams and shot the defense in the foot all season long.  When you consider that the team only gave up 129 points during the season and the team finished 7-7 should give only more strength to the argument for the Grits Blitz.  If that defense had an offense that could control the clock and score points there is a good chance the Grits Blitz would be mentioned with the Steel Curtain and the Bears 46 defense.


 







 


By Houdini

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Michael Vick's Dog Fighting Scandal

Mike Vick has two areas where he will forever be remembered by fans of the Falcons.  The first was how he resurrected the franchise after poor performances following the 1998 Super Bowl loss and second for the dog fighting scandal that Vick was involved in and spent 21 months in prison for.  The latter is the one that will stick in the minds of Falcons fans. 

Vick had his best season as a Falcon in 2004 when he led the team to a 11-4 record when he was the starter.  The following 2 years leading up to his incarceration he was 16-16 as a starter.  I am not going to go into the details of the case, but Vick bred dogs to fight on his property for money and was involved in executing dogs that lost or were injured. 
Vick was celebrated in Atlanta before this happened and was the face of the city.  Around the country there were positives feelings everywhere for Vick as an amazing athlete, even if some questioned his skill as a true elite quarterback.  Vick let so many people down with his actions: the Atlanta Falcons, the Falcons fans, the NFL, the city of Atlanta and all of his fans around the world.  This is the legacy that he left and will remain, no matter what he does in the future. 

The Falcons were able to rebound as a franchise when they drafted Matt Ryan and the city was quick to rally around him and the franchise to distance them from Vick.  Mike Vick had everything going for him, but he thought he was above things and made a real poor decision that hurt his personal life, but he also let down all the people who looked up to him, another reason why sports figures don’t make the best role models.  His legacy in Atlanta will always be connected to the dog fighting scandal and a reminder to Vick for the rest of his life what could have been if he had thought first.


By Houdini


mike vick end dogfighting

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Eugene Robinson, Hoe's before Bros

Eugene Robinson at Super Bowl


Eugene Robinson was a long time veteran in the NFL before he signed on with the Falcons before the 1998 season.  Eugene Robinson was in his 14th season and was named to his third Pro-Bowl while playing for the Super Bowl bound Dirty Bird Falcons in 1998.  Everything was going right for Robinson going into the Super Bowl, including receiving the Bart Starr Award for leadership in home, on the field and in the community.  All of this came crashing down for Robinson the night before Super Bowl XXXIII.

Robinson was arrested after he tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer in an area north of downtown that was frequented by prostitutes.  Apparently Robinson was not the only one who was heading to that area.  ''Guys had been going there all week,'' a Falcon starter said. ''It's just that Eugene was the only one who got caught.''  It was estimated that at least 5 other players, some of which were starters, had been going there during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

The next day the Falcons got worked over by the Broncos and it might be fair to say that this incident had a major impact on the game.  Unfortunately, for a player who had a nice career and found glory at the end of his career will be remembered for his biggest blunder over a $40 blow job.  His quote after the game did not help his cause either.  "I really believe I will be found innocent," Robinson said after the game. "However, I am not righteous in the deal.”

By Houdini

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Rankin M. Smith

The Atlanta Falcons, and moreover the entire southeast of the United States owes a debt of gratitude to Rankin M. Smith who founded the Atlanta Falcons and brought the NFL to the South.   This was a bold move for a young insurance executive. 

Smith all along wanted to bring the major sports to Atlanta and the NFL was his #1 target.  Smith and his partners formed “Major Sports, Inc.” with the intentions of bringing professional sports franchises to Atlanta.  They were responsible for getting Atlanta Stadium built in 1965, which was more remembered as Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.  That same year Smith made a deal with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to bring a franchise to Atlanta, for $8.5 Million which was the highest price ever paid for a franchise, at the time. 

The Falcons, despite their poor record drew a ton of fans to see their games.  The South was ecstatic to have a pro team.  The success of the team in the early years led to the expansion to Florida.  Rankin M. Smith was not content with just the Falcons and had some other major accomplishments.  He was responsible for helping to get the Georgia Dome built to host its first Super Bowl in 1994 and also for getting the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996.   Smith left a large footprint in the sports scene in the Atlanta area and will always be remembered fondly in Atlanta. 


By Houdini

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Julia Elliot names the Falcons

When the Atlanta Falcons were founded in 1965 they were not known as the Falcons.  The team owner Rankin M. Smith held a contest for fans to suggest the name for the team.  The winning entry was submitted by Julia Elliott, who was a high school teacher from Griffin Georgia.  There were 40 other contestants who also submitted the name of the Falcons, but as only a high school teacher would she also wrote an essay about the name.  The selling point in the essay was her description of the falcon.  “The falcon is proud and dignified, with great courage and fight.  It never drops its prey.  It’s deadly and has a great sporting tradition.”  That sure sounds like a winner to me.    


By Houdini

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Possibly out Week 16

This week is a crucial game for the Falcons as they battle the Saints for first place, and a loss will send them home for the season. That means missing Julio Jones for a second straight week could be devastating.

Head coach Mike Smith stated about Julio Jones and his progress: “Julio is about where he was yesterday,” Smith said. “Our anticipation is that we’ll have him ready to go this week. It’s going to be important for him to continue to improve. He improved from last week to this week. We need to get him back out there.”

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter mentioned: "We kind of have to have a contingency both ways. We have some ‘what if Julio plays,’ and some ‘what if Julio does not play.’ ... That’s one of the hardest things about not knowing if one of your best guys is going to go."

Pyro's take: This is still a coin-flip on Julio, check in by the end of the week to see if he is go. Koetter seems less optimistic than Mike Smith, and that is telling to me that he looks to be out for this week as well. "Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,428) after setting career highs in yards in consecutive games. Jones also leads the league with 27 receptions of 20 yards or longer."

12/16/14, 07:08 PM CST by Vaaal-verde
Source: atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com

Not Practicing

Harry Douglas has still not been able to practice. He is trying to recover from a right foot injury that’s kept him out of the past three games. Head coach Mike Smith wanted Douglas to be at practice by now, its just that's not what is happening. “It’s a concern anytime you don’t have a guy out there who’s helped you win games,” Smith said. “He’s working hard with the athletic performance people. We hope to get him back sooner rather than later. There’s really no timetable.”

In three games this season Douglas has 12 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Pyro's take: Its never good when a player is out farther than expected, for example, Marvin Jones.The later the season goes, the more serious the situation. Look for Devin Hester to continue to be the number three wide receiver.

10/16/14, 01:28 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.ajc.com

Liking His Offensive Line

The Falcons have had some bad luck with injuries to the offensive line, and with a team that relies on their offense to be dominant, so their vacant defense does not have too, its not a good way to start the season.

For instance, center Joe Hawley and right tackle Lamar Holmes out for the season and left guard Justin Blalock battling a back injury, the Falcons will have a revamped line against the New York Giants.

Peter Konz will step in at center, and Gabe Karimi will be at right tackle, and Harland Gunn will be the new left guard.

Matt Ryan stated that “Mike Tice has done a really good with those guys this entire year,” Ryan said. “We have guys who’ve had more experience playing.”

"Last season, when the offensive line was restructured after several injuries, the unit failed to protect the quarterback. The Falcons allowed pressure on 37.6 percent of their dropbacks, according to profootballfocus.com. The offensive line was given responsibility for allowing 32 of 44 sacks. The quarterback was hit 42 times additional times and hurried 190."

Pyro's take: Even though this unit is better, it would be hard not to have some kind of lift after last seasons trash. Atlanta should continue to protect Matt Ryan enough for him to hit his usual targets of Julio Jones and Roddy White.

10/02/14, 08:29 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.ajc.com

Ryan's song

Matt Ryan took apart the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ryan completed 21-of-24 passes against the Bucs, compiling 286 yards and three touchdowns in the process. Ryan set a new franchise record by completing 87.5 percent of his passes and now has a 68.5 percent completion percentage on the year.

Pyro's take: Matt Ryan is looking good, as he has everything back. Roddy White is healthy, more importantly so is Julio Jones. Harry Douglas is probably the best number three in the game, and could easily be a number two on most teams.

Ryan should continue his dominance against the Vikings, and is an obvious must start.

09/24/14, 05:11 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.ajc.com

Inactive

Roddy White will be inactive tonight against the Buccaneers, Harry Douglas will resume his role. White had not practiced all week with a hamstring issue.

Pyro's take: If you own Harry Douglas he would not make a bad play against a poor Tampa Bay defense.

09/18/14, 06:08 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com

Still not practicing

Roddy White missed another session of practice today. Its the hamstring that is bothering him according to ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure. The timing couldnt be worse as the Falcons are getting set to play the Buccaneers on Thursday night.

Pyro's take: Keep an eye on how White responds, and news on his return. Be ready to insert Plan B.

09/16/14, 03:09 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.nfl.com

Q+A with Julio

Here is a brief excerpt of Julio Jones Q+A with the media. Click on the link for the entire session.

Q. No limitations (with the foot)?
A. No limitations at all.

Q. What stands out about the Saints defense?
A. They are a great defense overall. First of all, their line will get pressure on your quarterback. They are very athletic in the secondary. We just have to pick our spots and connect on them.

Q. What goes through your mind when you get added coverage?
A. I’m doing my job. I’m helping my teammates out. They know I’m going to have double coverage. And I expect to have double coverage. If not, I’m going to go out there and make some plays, make something happen. I have to take my job seriously in those situations. I can’t go out there and take plays off because I’m not getting the ball. I still have to go out there and run full speed to draw that coverage.

Q. What kind of expectations do you have for yourself?
A. Just going out there, playing a full game and staying healthy. I know it’s going to feel good to be back out there on the field in a regular-season game.

Q. How has your role changed coming into this year as opposed to previous years?
A. I don’t think it’s changed. I expect a lot out of myself and my teammates do as well. I just have to go out there and play. Me being back to 100 percent that is all they want to see.

Q. Is there a leadership role or are you more vocal in wide receiver meetings?
A. All of us, we know what we’ve got to do. We play for each other. That is the best thing about being on this team and being in the receiver room. We just play for each other. We don’t put no added pressure on each other or someone say ‘you need to do this or do that.’ We know what we need to do in our room and we are going to go out there and make plays.

Pyro's take: Julio Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and as long as he stays healthy he will continue to shine. I love the team attitude he takes, and the confidence he displays.

He will face the Saints that is a strong defensive team, but he should be started in all formats, no matter who he faces.

09/05/14, 04:54 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.ajc.com

Julio looks healthy and good

Jones, playing in his second game since foot surgery ended his season in October, scored on a 52-yard catch-and-run.

Jones caught Matt Ryan’s short pass after a hard cut. Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh and safety George Wilson closed to make the tackle; Jones shrugged them both off before running away from help defenders for the final 45 yards.

The big game from Jones was a welcome sign for the Falcons. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012 and started strong in 2013 before breaking a bone in his right foot. This game was the latest evidence he’s healthy again.

Pyro's take: Julio is a beast, and he has become a value due to the concern over his foot. If Jones stays healthy he is going to well outperform his ADP which is 19 overall, and sixth amongst wide receivers. This means in 10 team leagues he is falling to owners who picked first or second, which is an amazing value. Julio has the talent to be the number one fantasy receiver when it is all said and done in 2014.

08/26/14, 09:09 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.ajc.com

Roddy White hates preseason games

The Falcons had a long night in Houston, losing 32-7 to the Texans and possibly losing left tackle Sam Baker for the entire season.

So what does receiver Roddy White takeaway from that or any other preseason game?

“Nothing,” White told reporters after the game. “You get nothing out of exhibition games except for a lot of peoples conditioning, what shape they are in, and if they are able to go 60 plays or not. You learn how far your young guys have to go, grasping concepts and things you want them to do, but other than that the veterans go out and play. Everybody just tries to get through this thing and try to stay healthy as possible and make it to game one. Like today, our left tackle got hurt and we don’t know if he is going to be ready for the season or not. It’s stuff like that, that tells you a lot about these games. I know you can get hurt at practice but playing unmeaningful games and getting your left tackle hurt, I just don’t know. I don’t know what you judge from these preseason games. I’m not a fan about them, but we have to play them.”

Pyro's take: Well said Roddy. Here's to hoping the NFL and NFLPA can get together on a deal that works out best for all of us.

08/17/14, 08:09 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Jackson injured again

Head coach Mike Smith announced that tidbit after Tuesday's session, during which Jackson was noticeably absent. Smith said Jackson injured his left hamstring during Monday's practice, which was the first session in pads.

Smith said he doesn't believe the injury is significant and said that the running back is expected to be ready for the Falcons' Week 1 regular season matchup against the Saints at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 7.

Pyro's take: Jackson missed five weeks last season with a hamstring injury, and this is a very inauspicious start to 2014. I hate hamstring injuries, because you can never be 100% sure that they player is not going to re-aggrevate it. This moves SJAX down my tiers.

07/29/14, 08:01 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.atlantafalcons.com

Julio is on the field for the first day of camp

(Head Coach Mike Smith's Press conference)

On WR Julio Jones:

“I thought it was very good. You guys saw it. He was running routes very well. I thought the timing between he and Matt [Ryan] were good. You know we have a plan or prescription that we’re going to try and stay by for the first couple weeks and make an evaluation after that. It was great to see Julio back on the field and when you looked on the other side and saw 84 [WR Roddy White] out there, I know not only me, but I think the quarterback and the whole coaching staff was excited about seeing both those guys.”

Pyro's take: Julio is coming back off of a horrible foot injury, and the Falcons have said they are going to take it easy on him early. That prospect could be an issue for fantasy owners who are thinking about drafting him as a top three receiver. The fact that he is on the field on day one is encouraging. Julio is dynamic, but the health of his foot is worth monitoring.

07/26/14, 02:00 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.atlantafalcons.com

Four more years!

Before the 4-year $30 million dollar extension, White was set to make a $5 million base salary for the upcoming season.

Before the deal, 10 receivers around the league had higher average per year salaries:

Calvin Johnson, Lions, $16.2 mil
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, $16.1 mil
Percy Harvin, Seahawks, $12.8 mil
Mike Wallace, Dolphins, $12 mil
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs, $11.2 mil
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers, $11.1 mil
Brandon Marshall, Bears, $10 mil
Andre Johnson, Texans, $9.6 mil
Greg Jennings, Vikings, $9 mil
Victor Cruz, Giants, $8.60 mil
Roddy White, Falcons, $8.5 mil

Pyro's take: The guy deserves it, and will slip big time in fantasy drafts this season. I have a good feeling about his productivity with his health back (he was top 5 down the stretch once he healed up) and Gonzo retiring.

Don't sleep on Roddy!

07/24/14, 07:04 PM CDT by d-Rx
Source: www.ajc.com

Jackson seems at peace in Atlanta

From Steven Jackson's website:

Having a year under my belt here in Atlanta helps tremendously. My teammates and the coaching staff know what it's like to go through a season with me. They trust me to be where I need to be and to be the leader that I am, and they know what they're going to get out of me on a consistent basis.

For me, it helps to not have to learn a new offense, new personalities, and to understand the way things work around here. That allows for all the anxiety to move to the side, and for football to be the focus. I can come in and be confident in what I'm doing, and that itself allows me to be more patient and more trusting.

Personally, I've spent these last four weeks working on timing. A lot of times when you have the offseason to mull over what has possibly gone wrong or what you can do better, you can become a little antsy, so I've focused on doing the reverse of that. I've tried to become a little more patient.

That starts with trusting my offensive linemen, trusting the scheme and trusting that they're going to do their job, which will allow me to do my job. That's a big thing. When things fall apart, you tend to press more and stress out over things when sometimes all you need to do is take a step back and relax, and allow for the trust factor to come back in.

That way, the offensive line will trust in me, and I will trust in them as well.

Pyro's take: I was quite impressed reading Steven Jackson, and he really seems to have a good sense of what is coming this year. He is embracing his role as a team leader, and veteran in the locker room. There is no doubt his first season in Atlanta was a disaster, but the added competition of Davonte Freeman should help his growth as well. He wants to help the rookie and be that leader.

He is going to fall in fantasy drafts, but he could be a good value. There is so much talent on this team, that he should be able to find a lot of open holes. Last season everything that could go wrong did, if all goes right this season, he will be a steal on draft day.

06/30/14, 10:58 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.sj39.com

Freeman the Future

According to ESPN-Vaughn McClure Devonta Freeman is the back of the future, and may garner some touches playing behind Steven Jackson. Jackson is 31, Mr. McClure went on to say about the future of Freeman "They drafted Devonta Freeman in the fourth round with thoughts of grooming him as the three-down back of the future. If he looks as good in pads as he did in shorts, Jackson might have a battle on his hands."

Pyro's take: Steven Jackson has been banged up ever since he wore a Rams jersey, and being 31 drives the question, how much longer can Jackson make an impact? Devonta Freeman has turned the heads of many people in camp, and of he continues to make strides he can be a factor sooner than later, in an Atlanta offense that can be explosive.

06/28/14, 05:42 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

Ryan and Julio

October 7, 2013 was the last throw and catch between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Julio since, has been recovering from foot surgery, which has eliminated any on-field routine they may have.

Since they cant be on the field together what they have done is look-over mounds of tape, and ingest the playbook to familiarize each other with how they want to attack the opposing defenses.

"Julio's been in this building pretty much every day this off-season and, while he hasn't been able to be out on the practice field with us yet, we've communicated a lot," Ryan said Tuesday. "We've talked a lot — certainly, (we) have watched film together and tried to work on things in the classroom so that, when we do get the opportunity to be out on the field, we can hit the ground running."

Pyro's take: Ryan and Julio must be in sync with their relationship on the field. When time passes staying on the same page gets harder, and both Matt and Julio will need to get acquainted once again. The good news is that it wont take long. Look forward to the pre-season, as both will be involved in a lot of action to speed up the cohesiveness. If Julio Jones and Matt Ryan can stay healthy, the fantasy world will be a much better place for their owners.

06/16/14, 07:59 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.atlantafalcons.com

White arrested for tinted windows

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was arrested in Gwinnett County early Tuesday on a failure to appear warrant, jail records show.

White, whose full name is Sharod Lamar White, was arrested by Gwinnett County police and booked into the Gwinnett County Jail just before 4:30 a.m. He was released about 90 minutes later on $168 bond, according to jail records.

White allegedly failed to appear in court on a traffic charge. The Gwinnett sheriff’s website shows an outstanding warrant for White on a charge of “non-transparent material on windows.”

Pyro's take: This is not the start to the off-season Roddy was looking for. The good news is he is already being targeted in 2014. I also think it would be wise for White to take a lesson from RUN-DMC's "It's Tricky".

"Tinted windows don't mean nothin' (we) know who's inside." -Rev Run



02/18/14, 08:43 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.ajc.com

Julio Jones is on target with his recovery

"He's well on his way," Mike Smith said of Jones following Monday's Senior Bowl practices. "He's met all the marks that they've set for him in terms of the timetable. So we're pleased with what he's done up to this point.

"He's been spending a lot of time back in Atlanta and in Flowery Branch through the middle parts of the week with our athletic performance department. And he is on schedule to be back in the spring."


Pyro's take: Julio is my favorite player in the league, and it was a crushing blow when he went down in week 5 of last season (especially given the catch he made at the time of the injury). He was on fire, 2nd for WRs in targets (Cecil Shorts III has 62 to JJ's 60), while leading WRs in catches, yards and fantasy points at the time of his injury.

F!! It's great to hear that he is on target, but Julio is a risk moving forward, his broken foot happened because of a screw that he had inserted into his foot before the NFL draft in 2011... if this happens again, it could be career threatening.

I'm sending positive vibes The Sphinx's way, heaven knows I want that guy to have a long and fruitful career. We as NFL fans, deserve a guy like him playing 16 regular season games per year.

01/27/14, 01:38 PM CST by d-Rx
Source: espn.go.com

We owe Tony many thanks!

Gonzalez was emphatic that he would remain retired after 17 years in the league, the last five with the Falcons.

“At this point, I am totally at peace with my decision,” Gonzalez said. “I’m looking forward to it, seeing the next chapter in life. I’m excited about it.”

Pyro's take: The first basketball turned TE, ushered in a new Golden Era of Tight Ends. Tony changed a position like few before him have, Lawrence Taylor comes to mind, but his contributions to the changing guard of the NFL are huge. Always a class act that put up numbers consistently at the tight end position that hadn't been seen before.

When you look at his career season stat logs, you aren't blown away - but he produced every season. He had 4 1,000 yard season for Chiefs, and surpirsingly none while playing for the Falcons. But, #88 had 800 yards receiving or more 13 times in his 17 NFL season, which no other tight end even comes close to that type of continued type of production.

Anyway, I'm sure he'll be on TV next season, and giving his Hall of Fame speech 5 Augusts from now... thanks Tony, you are an inspiration to many and a Legend of the game.

01/27/14, 01:21 PM CST by d-Rx
Source: www.ajc.com

Gonzo has three games left to make memories

After saying last season would be his final year, Gonzalez changed his mind in the offseason and came back for a 17th season and continues to post stats that find their way into the record books. This season, he has 65 catches for 678 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. His three-catch game last week against the Packers extends his consecutive games with a catch streak to 208, the second longest in NFL history.

While everyone in Falcons nation would love to see Gonzalez return for another season, he’s made it clear that’s very unlikely. As he winds down this season and plays in his final three games, he will continue to remember every minute he can from his days as a Falcon and an NFL player.

“I’m really just taking every experience with the fellas on the team, sitting in the meeting rooms trying to enjoy them as much as I can,” he said. “As much as I hate them, I’m trying to enjoy them. That’s what you’ve got to do, I think. It’s the NFL, Not For Long, and I’ve been able to play 17 years so nobody ever needs to feel sorry for me. I’ve gotten everything I’ve wanted out of this league, but it’s that time of the year for me and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Pyro's take: Gonzo has a chance to make some nice memories in this game, as the Redskins rank 30th against tight ends on the season. The reemergence of Roddy White and the improved play of Harry Douglas should free Gonzalez up in this game.

The future Hall-of-Fame tight end has caught a touchdown in each of his last two games, although he has only topped 100-yards once this season back in week 4. Since the Falcons are out it I expect Ryan to make this game a Gonzo game. Get him in your lineup.

12/14/13, 06:34 PM CST by Houdini
Source: blogs.atlantafalcons.com

White has banged up knee, but ready to roll

Roddy White, who has battled injuries all season, seemed unconcerned after a knee issue surfaced this week.

White said he simply bruised his left knee in last Sunday's 22-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. It caused him to be limited in practice this week.

"I fell the other day. Well, I didn't fall … I got pushed out of bounds and I landed right on it," White explained. "And it swelled up a little bit. But I'm good to go. I'm fine."

White said the knee shouldn't hold him back as he prepares to face the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

"No, no, it's not going to," White said. "Yeah, I'll be able to play (fast). No doubt about it."

Pyro's take: White has a tasty match-up with the Redskins this week, and I expect him to take advantage of it.

Over the past two weeks Roddy has begun to look more like his old self with 24 targets for 18 catches and 217 yards. He will be just fine this week, and has a good chance to find the endzone for the first time in four weeks.

12/13/13, 05:47 PM CST by Houdini
Source: espn.go.com

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