Found December 26, 2012 on Fox Sports South:
Three members of the Atlanta Falcons who have already secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and are currently tied for the best record in the NFL were named to the Pro Bowl team, but none came on the defensive side of the football. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, playing in what is expected to be his final season, highlighted the trio, earning his 13th berth to the game. Gonzalez, whose 88 catches are tied for eighth in the league, is the Falcons' only player who was named a starter. The other two are quarterback Matt Ryan, who earned his second Pro-Bowl berth, and second-year wide receiver Julio Jones, who earned his first trip to the game. Jones has 76 receptions for 1,142 yards and 10 touchdowns. That means the biggest snubs for the Falcons likely were defensive end John Abraham, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and safety Thomas DeCoud. Abraham's 10 sacks are tied for 15th in the NFL but his six forced fumbles with turnovers a key to the Falcons' success this season tie him for third in the league. Both safeties on the San Francisco 49ers Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson were named starters in the Pro-Bowl while DeCoud, who is tied for fifth in the NFL in interceptions with six, did not make it. Only one other safety in the NFL (the New York Giants' Stevie Brown) has more interceptions than DeCoud. The 49ers, 10-4-1 and currently third in the NFC, had nine players make the team, including six on defense. All five of the linebackers to make the NFC team play in a 3-4 alignment. Weatherspoon, who plays in the Falcons' 4-3, does not. Weatherspoon, according to stats compiled by the Falcons' coaches, has 101 tackles, which ranks third on the team. He was inactive for three games this season with an injury. More Falcons' players still could be named to the team as others drop out because of injury. In 2010 when the Falcons finished 13-3 and also earned the NFC's top seed in the playoffs, they ultimately had seven players earn Pro-Bowl berths. Weatherspoon was asked earlier in the day if he were bracing himself for a possible snub. "I don't know," he said. "I'm just focused on this week's game with Tampa and doing what we need to do If I make it, I'll be happy. If I don't, it won't bother me much." Regardless, the Falcons were focused on going deep in the playoffs on Wednesday and hopeful that no matter who was named to play in the Pro Bowl, they would have to opt out. Falcons right tackle Tyson Clabo made the team as an alternate in '10-'11 season. He said the players don't worry about it too much. "It's obviously a very big honor and all that but you can't put too much time worrying about stuff like that," he said. "We have big goals and aspirations. Hopefully, whoever makes it will have to decline the invitation."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Gonzalez still strongly considering retirement

Tony Gonzalez hasn't changed his stance on retirement since the first day of training camp. The 13-time Pro Bowl tight end remains 95 percent certain he will walk away from football after the season, though everything still hinges on whether the Atlanta Falcons advance deep into postseason as a No. 1 playoff seed. At 36, Gonzalez continues to make enough big plays that he was...

Gonzalez still considering retirement

Tony Gonzalez is still 95 percent sure he will retire at the end of the season. Just don't try to pigeonhole the 13-time Pro Bowl tight end into giving more information about his future, no matter how many light years away. ''I see what you're trying to do,'' Gonzalez said with a smile Thursday. ''Jedi mind trick.'' Gonzalez and the Atlanta...

Falcons' Hope plans to appeal 30K fine for hit

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Falcons safety Chris Hope said on Wednesday that he will appeal the 30,000 fine that the NFL levied against him for an unnecessary roughness foul he received on Dec. 16 against the New York Giants Victor Cruz. Oh, yeah, Hope said of his decision to appeal. Im not looking into it right now. Pure focus is on finishing the season strong and making sure we get the...

Atlanta Falcons: How They Can/Can’t Win it All

Out of all of the teams in the playoffs currently, none gets more disrespect that the Atlanta Falcons. Sporting the league’s best record and being undefeated at home has done little to impress the national pundits who clamor for the Packers, Niners and even Redskins more than Atlanta. A close loss to division rival New Orleans and one really bad showing in Carolina are the only...

Falcons’ defense has evolved this season

While calling it “championship-caliber” may still be somewhat of a stretch, the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive unit is playing much better this year than it had the first four years of Mike Smith’s coaching tenure. You probably couldn’t tell by looking at the statistics though. The Falcons rank 23rd defensively and have given up a lot of yards this season. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE »

Anatomy of a Play: Roddy White's 44 Yard TD Reception

Let's take a look back at the play that resulted in a Matt Ryan 44 yard TD pass to Roddy White against the Lions this past week. The Falcons started out by lining up in 22 personnel with 2 TEs, 2 backs, and 1 WR out wide (White).  The Lions come out in a cover one scheme which means they’ll have one deep safety and everyone else will be playing man. Originally Atlanta stacks...

NFL Picks, 2012 season, Week 17

With a convincing win over Detroit on Saturday night, the Atlanta Falcons took another step toward a championship by locking up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. So why isn’t anyone buying Atlanta? The 13-2 Falcons have been dominant against teams they should beat this season, but have not played the most difficult of schedules. That’s not their fault – you...

Falcons' Ryan closing regular season on hot streak

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons disagree with the idea they have little to play for in Sunday's regular-season game against Tampa Bay. Ryan threw seven touchdown passes with no interceptions the past two weeks while completing 80 percent of his passes. Coach Mike Smith says that ranks as the fifth-year quarterback's best back-to-back games. The Falcons (13-2) have home...

The Friday Blitz: Snubs & Finishing the Drill

This weekend, the Falcons play a game that virtually is unimportant…that is at least how the media is handling the week 17 matchup between the Falcons and the Bucs. I believe that it is important that our “healthy” starters play to win this Sunday. The Falcons have the wildcard week to rest up; I do not want to see a team in January that looks lost or unprepared. Come into...

NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 17

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams. The Atlanta Falcons have flown back into the top spot after locking up home-field advantage throughout...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.