The lead blogger over at Arrowhead Addict, Patrick Allen, has a great feature called “The Morning Fix.” In it, he links to a collection of different articles from around the web. In his case it’s focused on the Chiefs. In my case, it will, obviously, be focused on the Falcons.
My goal is to run this each day and hopefully give everyone a wider perspective on the Falcons from around the web. Hit the jump to head down the rabbit hole.
And so it begins.
Handling the elements: Guess what the weather forecast calls for? Yup, more rain. The Dolphins struggled in the mud two weeks ago against Tampa, but thrived in a downpour last week in Jacksonville. Since tonight is a home game, rain also equals mud from the baseball diamond, so it will be interesting to see if the Dolphins can handle the sloppy conditions better this time around.
“I thought I’d just rest, but I was off too long, I got sloppy with my eating, the whole thing,” he said. “By the time I got to training camp, I wasn’t in good shape at all. It wasn’t so much the weight, but my body fat was up. All of camp, I’m trying to catch up. I’m trying to get in football shape while I’m trying to lose weight, and I was just never right.”
The 5-foot-10, 244-pound Turner is a rare commodity, a big man who can run like a guy 30 or 40 pounds lighter. Before he got to Atlanta, he had compiled three runs of 70 yards or longer in only 228 carries. But such talent comes with thoroughbred qualities. Unlike big backs such as Jerome Bettis, Turner’s game is dependent on his ability to break away, not simply break tackles.
“I had no burst,” said Turner, one of a declining number of workhorse backs. Over the past three years, there have been an average of fewer than six backs to get at least 300 carries each season as more and more teams go to the two-back system. From 2000 to 2006, the average was nearly 10 backs a year with at least 300 carries, if not a few with 400.
“There was a lot of talk about Sean being overly loud,” Dimitroff says. “We talked about being more urgent and faster as a defense. We want guys who have that evolving swagger.
“Spoon adds an element we didn’t have last year.”
Weatherspoon is a hit-and-run trash talker who adds the right mix of audacity to a defense led by weakside linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end John Abraham.
“We’re trying to win a championship,” Weatherspoon says. “We feel like we have the pieces. There’s a sense of urgency. Guys are hungry and ready to attack.”
During a goal-line drill in sweltering heat, 5-10, 244-pound running back Michael Turner burst through the hole only to meet his defensive mirror, 6-2, 245-pound Weatherspoon. When Weatherspoon slammed into a pile of linemen, left tackle Sam Baker took exception, and punches were exchanged.
“I’ve never seen a rookie defensive guy come in like Spoon,” Gonzalez says. “Just his whole swagger, it’s going to help us a lot.”
When the Falcons have to deliver the news to a player that he’s being released, Dimitroff and Smith meet with the player in Smith’s office.
“They call each individual in and look them in the eye, and I think it’s done in a professional and first-class way where those guys are hearing it from our general manager and our head coach,” Snead said. “The two leaders of your organization, and they hear it from them first and they deliver the message.”
It’s written in the team’s policy book that no player will leave the organization without seeing Dimitroff and Smith.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a future ring-of-honor player or you are the 80th guy, those two are going to talk to you,” Snead said.
Under the plan, two of the four preseason games for each team would be replaced with regular-season matchups. The NFL switched to 16 games from 14 in 1978.
“When the move went from 14 to 16, there was much debate about it, yet it turned out to be a pretty seamless transition and actually turned out to be good for the players from a financial standpoint,” Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay said.
The league would have to negotiate compensation for an expanded schedule with the players’ union as part of talks on a new labor contract.
“It’s a very big decision,” New York Jets owner Woody Johnson told reporters. “Once you go there, you’re not coming back probably.”