Found August 26, 2013 on My Sports Rumors:
Guest Post By Parker Jones The Atlanta Falcons overachieved and underachieved at the same time last season. While they finished with the best record in the NFC at 13-3, they didn’t play well in the playoffs (or really even show up). Seattle nearly beat them, and the team fell horribly flat against San Francisco. So while the Falcons don’t have too much work to do (to remain one of the NFC’s better teams), they know another listless postseason won’t cut it. In fact, many pundits don’t mention the Falcons in the same breath as the 49ers, Packers or Redskins, in terms of NFC favorites in 2013. But maybe getting overlooked is a good thing. Overall, what should we think about heading into a new season? What do the Falcons have going for them? Plenty. They’re one of only a handful of teams that has a true franchise quarterback in place. Matt Ryan put up crazy numbers, throwing for 4,719 yards, with 32 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions. When you’re throwing to Roddy White (1,351 yards) and Julio Jones (1,198), finding success gets a whole lot easier. Tony Gonzalez (a team-high 93 catches in 2012) returns for one more season at tight end. And Stephen Jackson brings his eight-year 1,000-yard streak from St. Louis to replace Michael Turner in the backfield, with impressive youngster Jacquizz Rodgers serving as his understudy. So what went wrong? The team lacked a good pass rush (29 collective sacks, 28th in the NFL) and fell flat defensively in the playoffs. So Osi Umenyiora was brought in from the Giants to bolster the front four. The defense also surrendered too many yards (365.6 per game, 24th in the league) and drafted two cornerbacks – Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford – to hopefully lock down opposing wideouts more regularly. Unfortunately, draft pick Stansly Maponga—an excellent defensive lineman for the TCU Horned Frogs football team last year—hasn’t figured much into Atlanta’s plans, thus far. Is he a bust? A foot injury has hampered him, but he’s played with second-and third-stringers to this point as he competes just to stay on the roster. Having to sit out OTAs and mini-camp with that foot injury did not help his cause. Did the Falcons spend money wisely? It would seem so. Ryan was given a five-year, $103.75 million extension after last season. Jackson was brought in at a veteran’s discount rate, while money wasn’t spent on the aging Turner, John Abraham and Dunta Robinson. What do they need to improve upon to get over the hump? Pass rush, as mentioned above. Also, the running game disappeared in the playoffs last season, leaving Ryan isolated as he was forced to throw every down for much of both playoff games. Jackson – who is also an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield – knows how to win and should help take some of the load off in the big games. How high will the Falcons soar? Quite high. They beat up on a down NFC South last season, but New Orleans and Tampa Bay should return to their winning ways in 2013. Even so, though, the Saints and Bucs don’t have enough to catch up to the Falcons. Atlanta benefits from playing the AFC East in the inter-conference portion of the schedule and should get three easy wins – they actually could claim all four with New England missing some of its firepower. Winning 13 isn’t realistic, but 11 wins and a return to the playoffs seem a sure bet. The post Can Falcons Regroup After Flat Finish Last Season? appeared first on My Sports Rumors.

Atlanta Falcons news: Is Dominique Davis a solid backup QB?

The Atlanta Falcons currently sit at 0-3 this pre-season, and although this useless record means absolutely nothing going into the upcoming regular season, there are a few issues that are developing from the three matchups that have been played so far; namely, that quarterback Dominique Davis has looked a bit shaky during his time on the field. Davis, in his second season with the...

Falcons ready for next step with talented offense

In his second season, Julio Jones had more than 1,000 yards receiving, reached the Pro Bowl and scored two touchdowns in the NFC championship game. So what part of his game is he looking to build on in Year 3? ''All around,'' he said. ''The coaches are doing a good job with me, just moving me around, putting me in spaces to make plays - in the backfield...

Falcons Waive 11 Players

The Atlanta Falcons waived eleven players Sunday in the wake of their 27-23 exhibition loss to the Baltimore Ravens.   Eight of the players were signed as 2013 college free agents by the Falcons this past April 29th. The complete list includes:  TE Tim Biere, FB Devonte Campbell, LB Nick Clancy, TE Colin Cloherty, QB Seth Doege, DE Cam Henderson, T Jeff Nady, RB Donald Russell...

Falcons’ Asante Samuel exits with thigh injury

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel exited last night’s preseason game after suffering a thigh injury, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. #Falcons CB Asante Samuel had a thigh injury. His return is questionable. — D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) August 25, 2013 At the time of his injury, Samuel was questionable to return. He was...

Falcons waive 11 players after another loss

The Atlanta Falcons have waived 11 players after losing their third straight preseason game. The Falcons announced Sunday they have cut tight end Tim Biere, fullback Devonte Campbell, linebacker Nick Clancy, tight end Colin Cloherty, quarterback Seth Doege, defensive end Cam Henderson, offensive tackle Jeff Nady, running back Donald Russell, safety Troy Sanders, center Matt Smith...

Embattled Banks endures Falcons' first round of cuts

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Linebacker Brian Banks and his inspiring story are still standing, as the Atlanta Falcons pared down to the NFL-mandated maximum of 75 players on Monday roughly 30 hours before the deadline.

Falcons' O-line needs work heading into preseason finale

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. For Falcons fans who watched Saturday's preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans, it seemed as if, indeed, the sky was falling. Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked five times in a little more than two quarters. To compare, Ryan was sacked more than that only once in a regular season game last season. That's how quarterbacks get hurt. "We gave up way...

NFC South Preview: Atlanta Falcons Should Be the Class of the Division

In our sixth installment of our NFL Divisional Previews, today we take a look at the NFC South. Teams are listed in the order of their projected finish. Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta looks like they could be the class of the NFC in 2013.  They upgraded at running back with Steven Jackson and will benefit greatly from having Tony Gonzalez in the fold for another season. Look for Julio...

Julio Jones and Falcons improving “all around” game

Julio Jones treated his second NFL season like a veteran. Still, Jones is working to improve every facet of his game before 2013. Jones caught for over 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns in 2012. He was a Pro-Bowl selection and scored twice in the NFC Championship game. But Jones isn’t staying still. When asked, Jones said he was working on his “all around” game. Please click...

Falcons CB Samuel won't play in preseason finale

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Starting left cornerback Asante Samuel will not play in Atlanta's final preseason game against Jacksonville, Falcons head coach Mike Smith told The cornerback, however, remains on track to play in Week 1 at New Orleans. Samuel injured his thigh during the Falcons' preseason loss to the Titans on Saturday, playing only four snaps...

Atlanta Falcons Preseason Takeaways: Four Downs vs Tennesee Titans

The third preseason game of the year is commonly referred to as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. It's the game in which the starters are going to get the most reps, and halftime adjustments will be made by the coaching staff. If what we saw from the Atlanta Falcons last week was a dress rehearsal, they are nowhere near ready for opening night. The Falcons came out and got off to

Atlanta Falcons 2013 NFL Team Preview

Say this about the Atlanta Falcons: They don’t rest on their laurels. Coming up just 10 yards short of the Super Bowl and winning an NFC-best...

Falcons Pre-Season Game Three Wrap-Up: I Need a Flashy Thingy

The third pre-season game is where you get to see your starters for an extended period of time and you generally start to see the team coming together for better or worse. If that's the case, then after this performance by the Falcons, I'm in desperate need of a Neuralyzer. First the good. The Falcons won the first quarter 6-0 and their first three drives took...

Announcing “Chris’ Penn”, our NFC South mailbag!

Howdy, everyone! As Water Cooler Sports continues to grow and our appetite for NFC South ever more ravenous, I think it’s time for me to expand my contributions beyond Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo (GGAG) and Atlanta Falcons beat coverage. With the encouragement of our beloved editor, therefore, I am excited to announce that starting next week, […]The post Announcing “Chris’ Penn”...

Women's Soccer starts and other links

The Women's Soccer team started their season this weekend. They lost to Stanford on Friday and beat BU Sunday.The Falcons waived Nick Clancy. Let's hope he catches on somewhere.BC will stream Addazio's Monday press conferences live throughout the season. I don't expect them to be especially entertaining but it will be nice to have immediate access.Dennis Clifford...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
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.