Found October 03, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. When the Falcons host the New York Jets Monday, the game, in some ways, will serve as a tale of two linebacking corps. The Jets, whose starting group is comprised of Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, David Harris and Calvin Pace, are part of the NFL's No. 2 defense, which also ranks third in sacks. Pace, the 11-year veteran, has 2.5 sacks while Davis and Harris each have one. Jets head coach Rex Ryan threw verbal bouquets at each player on Thursday as did Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Rex Ryan called Harris "one of the most underrated middle linebackers in football" and Davis "one of the fastest linebackers in the league." With seven new starters, the Jets defense's performance has improved over last year's disappointing output. "I think when you put the Jet decal on, there's certain expectations and accountability that comes with it when youre playing on defense," Rex Ryan said, "and thats something we've always prided ourselves on." Said Matt Ryan: "The front seven is extremely physical. Theyre in a 3-4 scheme, but they play some four-down and some three-down fronts; and theyre really good against the run. They're stout. But they're really good pass-rushers, too." Meanwhile, on the Falcons' side, it's hard to know who the linebackers are these days, as injuries have ravaged the unit. Kroy Biermann, who played some outside linebacker in 3-4 alignments, is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Top linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot) remains out for at least six more games. Starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent was seen wearing a walking boot on his right foot, and the Falcons have already ruled him out for Monday's game. Even undrafted rookie Paul Worrilow, who played 32 percent of the snaps in Atlanta's Week 3 loss to Miami, and then started last week, did not practice on Thursday with a knee injury, leaving his status potentially up in the air. Consequently, in their base 4-3 alignment, the Falcons could start the threesome of Stephen Nicholas, a long-time starter who lost his job earlier this season, undrafted rookie Joplo Bartu and veteran Omar Gaither, who did not join the team until Sept. 17 two games into the season. As a sign of his fading stock, Nicholas backed up the rookie Worrilow last week and remains there on the team's unofficial depth chart. Neither Nicholas nor Bartu played a single snap in the season opener. For the year, Bartu has played the most at 66.4 percent of the snaps. Nicholas has played 15.3 percent and Gaither just 3.7 percent. It's possible that Jamar Chaney, also signed on Sept. 17, would be active for the first game. Head coach Mike Smith was asked if linebackers coach Glenn Pires has the hardest job on the staff right now. "He's got a tough job in terms of getting guys ready, Smith said. "We've got two linebackers that just joined us two weeks ago and they've got an opportunity to go out and play, so were going to have to get them up to speed and Glenn's been, to say it's a little clich, but he's been burning some midnight oil with these guys to get them up to speed as quick as possible. And we've got to figure out what they're capable of doing, in terms of our entire scheme." Pires said he's been trying to get the two new linebackers, Gaither and Chaney, up to speed with extra meeting time before breakfast and whenever else in the day he can squeeze it in. Pires downplayed the injury situation, saying it's "nothing unusual for me at all" during his 18 years in the NFL and that you just keep rolling. Gaither (eighth NFL season) has rarely seen the same three linebackers start all 16 games. In terms of making the transition, Gaither credited Pires and his approach, calling him a "great coach." "I'm not just saying that to blow smoke," Gaither said. "I've been around a few coaches. He's certainly one of the better ones. He does a great job explaining things to you. Hes patient but firm at the same time and hes going to make sure you know what you're doing. Worrilow said that Pires has not changed his demeanor in meetings or on the practice field. "He's been the same," Worrilow said. "He's always hammered us with everything we need to do. He prepares us well. That hasnt changed." Gaither, in fact, said Pires probably deserves a lot of the credit for putting the two undrafted rookies in a position to start. "Those guys are playing due in part to him," Gaither said. "You have two rookie linebackers start, I think, last week third or fourth week of the season I don't think that happens too often in a lot of places so I think thats a testament to him and his coaching ability." That's one opinion of Pires' coaching; the coach's own opinion is more exacting, though. Asked to evaluate his group, Pires was unsparing. "Our bottom line is to win games," he said. "We're not going to be happy with anything or anybody until were winning games. To answer that question, not good enough. Weve got to win games for the team and thats all were concerned about."

Jets will be without Santonio Holmes for a couple of weeks

New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss multiple games because his hamstring injury is worse than initially thought, according to a league source. The Jets haven’t revealed a prognosis, but the fear is that he could miss up to a month.Stephen Hill (concussion) also is expected to sit out next Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, meaning the […]

Falcons working overtime to get backup LBs ready for Jets

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. When the Falcons host the New York Jets Monday, the game, in some ways, will serve as a tale of two linebacking corps. The Jets, whose starting group is comprised of Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, David Harris and Calvin Pace, are part of the NFL's No. 2 defense, which also ranks third in sacks. Pace, the 11-year veteran, has 2.5 sacks while Davis and Harris...

Dirty Bird is down but not out

If you want to get through rush hour traffic in Atlanta you have a few options: you can carpool with your buddies at the office, public transportation is always a great way to save on commuting and you also get to reduce your carbon footprint at the same time, or you can go through the Atlanta Falcons secondary. To be fair, Asante Samuel has been banged up. Both Brent Grimes and...

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets Preview

A win versus the New York Jets can build a little bit of momentum heading into the bye week.  (John Bazemore) For the first time under the current regime, the Atlanta Falcons find themselves two games under .500. Last week’s 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots put the Falcons on a two-game losing streak, which hasn’t happened since 2009. With the New York Jets coming to...

Rex Ryan Scraps Plan to Give Geno Smith Colored Wristbands to Help Him Prevent Turnovers Mark Sanchez-Style

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Red light. Green light. Forget it. A few hours after saying the New York Jets are considering using a wristband with plays designated by color — red, yellow and green — to help struggling quarterback Geno Smith, Rex Ryan decided against it. “To be honest with you, I don’t plan on doing that now,” Ryan told ESPN NY 98.7 on Wednesday. The Jets, trying...

Jets’ draft strategy hurts offense

It looks as if the Jets will be without their top two wide receivers this week. Santonio Holmes (hamstring) won’t play according to a source and Stephen Hill (concussion) likely is out as well. Here is where the Jets’ 2013 draft strategy comes under question again. The Jets used their two first-round picks on defensive players making it four straight years they went defense...

Jets WR: Tebow’s aura makes him worth signing

  Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America Tim Tebow is not currently on an NFL roster. While Tebow is not your traditional quarterback he does bring something to a potential employer. Aura. Recently the New York Jets signed David Nelson who had planned to work out with the quarterback next week. The two had previously played together at the University of Florida, winning...

Santonio Holmes: ”I Can’t Throw The Ball To Myself And Catch It”

You want to know what’s better than a diva wide receiver explaining why he didn’t have any catches? An injured wide receiver explaining why he only had one catch. Two weeks after Hakeem Nicks told the media he can’t throw the ball to himself, following a blowout loss to the Panthers, injured Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes just did the same thing. Holmes was asked about...

Wilkerson, Coples fined for hit on Jake Locker

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports and Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News,  Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson are being fined for their hit on Titans quarterback jake Locker.  Both players will appeal. Despite Jake Locker saying there should be no fines on the hits that injured him, @mowilkerson was fined $15,785 on it. It's being appealed — Jason La Canfora...

Falcons Injury Report, AKA The Walking Dead

Injuries are part of the game but man does the game hate the Falcons this year. I'm not going to list all the injuries the Falcons have had this season because, quite frankly, I just don't have that much time but let's take a look at this weeks injury report.   First of all, starting left tackle Sam Baker and starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent will not...

Santonio rips Jets: ‘I can’t throw it to myself’

Santonio Holmes’ hamstring is balky but his tongue was as sharp as always Thursday. Asked to explain a seeming lack of production Sunday with Geno Smith he paraphrased another star receiver — the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks. “I played 49 plays and all I know is that I had one catch. That’s all I can attest for’’ said Holmes who added what could be viewed as a thinly veiled...

David Nelson poised to make immediate impact

Injuries sustained by Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill in this past Sunday’s game, may sideline the team’s top two receivers for Monday night in Atlanta. With both Holmes and Hill uncertain of return for this week’s matchup against the Falcons, the Jets’ front office signed third year receiver, David Nelson.

Mike Francesa dragged out the "I advised Mike Holmgren" on Jets head coaching job story again

NY Jets insider Mike Francesa hasn't spoken of the time Mike Holmgren sought a seat with him to ask his advice when he might have become the head coach of the New York Jets since, you know, 2008. Must be the chambray collar polo. At least here the story has remained, you know, the same. Not like when Mike explained how he, Terry, the Mets and Jay Horwitz all called each other...

Falcons WR Roddy White suffered setback vs. New England

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. suffered a set back in his recovery from his high ankle sprain. He played his most action of the season against New England. He played 74 of 76 (97 percent) of the offensive snaps. “Yeah and I learned a very valuable lesson from that” White said. “I ain’t where I need to be yet.” Asked if he was 100 percent White said “I don’t know...

Falcons Defense Not Creating Turnovers

With one-fourth of the NFL season in the books, the Atlanta Falcons sit at 1-3 with more questions than answers. Through four games, the Falcons are averaging just 2.5 less points per game than their opponents and they haven't lost by more than seven points this season. The Falcons aren't that far off, but all that matters in the NFL is the win and loss columns. ...
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