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The Atlanta Falcons have added wide receiver Drew Davis and offensive tackle Bryce Harris to their practice squad.
As NFL teams moved to cut their rosters down to the league mandated 53 on Friday, some familiar faces on the Atlanta Falcons roster were handed their walking papers and are now in search of employment elsewhere. The NFL is a business and nothing is guaranteed, not even contracts.
Training camp and preseason games are the times where players get to prove their value and no one is considered safe. Many established NFL veterans found themselves on the chopping block on Friday and in the case of the Atlanta, Falcaholic blogger Dave Choate thinks that may be a good thing:
The Falcons are now rolling with someone else's Mr. Irrelevant as their fifth receiver and possible punt returner, one of last year's UDFAs as their likely third receiver, a Panthers' seventh-rounder as their fifth cornerback and one of this year's UDFAs as a backup offensive lineman. They're placing an enormous amount of faith in these guys based solely on the talent and potential they see there, not draft position or time with the team or anything like that. I honestly find that encouraging.
The Atlanta Falcons lost their final preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-14. In postgame interviews, Falcons head coach Mike Smith spoke about the performance of rookie quarterback Dominique Davis.
We wanted to get a good long look, an extended look at Dominique. He'd played in parts of three previous games. Wanted to make sure that we get as much tape on him as we can. We played him the entire ball game and thought he handled it fairly well.
Davis, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of East Carolina, threw 14-for-25 for 175 yards and a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Cone. Davis talked about his first full game in the NFL.
It was a learning experience. I got to pretty much SEE everything, every coverage. I got knocked on my butt a couple of times. It was a good experience. That was something to learn from.
Smith also briefly touched upon the battle for roster spots at running back, in particular between Dimitri Nance and Antone Smith.
Those are guys in the evaluation process, fighting for roster spots. So they got an opportunity to come out here and compete. That's all you can ask as a player is a fair opportunity to show what you can do.
Nance later talked about his chances of making the team.
The No. 1 guy is always going to be Mike Turner. We've got Quizz and we've got Snelling. However they want to use me on this team, I'm ready to do it. I'm just a workhorse. I'm ready to do everything.
The Falcons open up the regular season on Sept. 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Atlanta Falcons couldn't get things done late and had their backups generally outplayed by the Jacksonville Jaguars' backups on Thursday night. Atlanta suffered a 24-14 loss in that final preseason game, and will now turn their sights on the regular season. But first, we'll take another look at that game and what stood out the most.
SB Nation's blog for the Falcons, The Falcoholic, took a look at the good and the bad. One of the big positives they found was the play of quarterback Dominique Davis. He had a poor interception on the night, but he also came back with an excellent 49-yard touchdown pass and generally looked like he deserved a roster spot. Dave Choate weighs in on his performance:
The first interception was not awesome, but there's no escaping the fact that Dominique Davis has the most upside of any backup the Falcons have had since pre-injury D.J. Shockley. He throws with poise and finds the open man over and over again, which is more than enough for me to declare that he'll make the final roster. He should be Ryan's primary backup by 2013, especially if he doesn't have to deal with a receivers corps plagued by dropsy.
That's some high praise for a rather unheralded quarterback. At 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday, teams will have to cut down to the regular season limit of 53 players. At that point, we'll know if Davis makes the roster or not. For a negative, the folks over at The Falcoholic were dissatisfied with the lack of "day-seizing" by the backups.
The ultimate upshot of this game may be that the Falcons' depth, when given a chance to really seize the day, by and large did not do so. That's a worrying sign if the Falcons hit injuries, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not the end of the world. It just means that cuts got a little easier.
Having the roster cuts be easier is definitely one way to look at it, but still, it's disappointing when your backups don't show things in the preseason. The final scores are meaningless in the preseason and what it comes down to is what you see on the field. For the Falcons, it was a generally poor outing with a few bright spots here and there. Still, that kind of thing is generally enough when you're talking about the fourth and final preseason game.
In short: Not much. In an example of divergent goals, the Atlanta Falcons started their entire third team, choosing not to risk any player in a meaningless third preseason game. Meanwhile the Jaguars, like many young teams, needed to get as many reps as possible while their new coaching staff evaluated talent. A loss is a loss, and that's never fun... but really if you're thinking this loss reflects any on Atlanta's 2012 season you need to step away from the ledge.
In terms of positive, Jacquizz Rodgers looked good, which is a definite relief. Thus far he looked a little flat this preseason, but tonight he really managed to impress in limited time as he finished with 5 carries for 24 yards and a TD. He looks ready for the season, and should fulfill his potential as a change of pace back.
One of the biggest surprises this preseason has been Dominique Davis. The rookie QB was originally seen as little more than a PS player at best, but has impressed since that time and could be the future backup for the Atlanta Falcons. While he didn't has his best outing last night, he still completed over 55% of his passes at an impressive 7.3 YPA (anything over 7 is good). Ultimately he looks like he has a future in the NFL, and when you get that from an undrafted free agent it's a good sign.
The Falcons finish preseason 1-3, but they achieved their goals. Talent evaluation of their depth was the end game, and we have a better sense for those players. Tomorrow we see the final cut, and from there the season begins in just nine days in Kansas City.
Dominique Davis connected with Kevin Cone for a 49-yard touchdown in the second half, but the Atlanta Falcons were outgunned by the Jacksonville Jaguars in both teams' final preseason game. The Jaguars topped Atlanta 24-14.
Davis was the Falcons' main option behind center on Thursday as Matt Ryan was rested in preparation for the regular season. Davis ended the game 14-for-25 for 175 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons were the early beneficiaries of a mistake on the Jaguars' first play from scrimmage when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert lost a fumble that was recovered at the 5-yard line. The Falcons converted on the field position right away as Jacquizz Rodgers punched the ball in on a 5-yard rush to give the Falcons an early 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars tied the score as the first half came to a close on a Jalen Parmele 14-yard rush. Jacksonville racked up 17 points in the second half, more than enough to stave off the Falcons.
The Falcons struck first in the game, as Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a 5-yard run around the left end after a Blaine Gabbert fumble to begin the game. The one-play, 5-yard drive put Atlanta up 7-0 early after Matt Bryant tacked on the extra point, but the Falcons haven't scored since.
Jacksonville broke through for its lone touchdown as the second quarter was winding down, as a Jalen Parmele rush for 14 yards capped a four-play, 48-yard drive in less than two minutes to tie the score with 3:01 remaining in the first half.
Through the first two quarters, Falcons quarterback Dominique Davis is 5-for-10 for 50 yards while taking all of the snaps at QB, and Rodgers leads Atlanta with 24 yards on five attempts.
In an interview with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Redman reflected on his time in Atlanta and the last five years he spent with the team.
Redman was taken aback when he was released on Monday, but he knows that it is part of playing in the NFL.
"It was a big surprise for me," he said. "I didn’t really expect it. But the unexpected is part of the NFL. They made their decisions. So that’s the way it is. You have to live with it. We’ll just have to carry on and see what happens with my future. If it’s over, it’s been great."
Redman was signed by the Falcons in 2007 after spending the previous two years as an insurance agent , and took advantage of his time in Atlanta. Redman was used primarily as a backup to Michael Vick and Matt Ryan, but did appear in 20 games with the Falcons and started six games for the team.
Atlanta heads to Jacksonville to face former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and the Jaguars.
The Atlanta Falcons are looking at solidifying their fifth wide receiver spot and the spot is likely coming down to Drew Davis and Kevin Cone
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Corey Peters has a stress fracture in his foot. The injury occurred while Peters was working out before the team's offseason training program started, according to head coach Mike Smith.
Corey was injured when he was working out before the (team's offseason program starter) off-campus. Of course, they can't workout here. He was working out here in town and suffered a stress fracture in his foot. That's what happened. It happened before we started our offseason program.
Peters has been placed on the physically unable to perform, non-football injury list. He will miss at least the first six games of the season. The earliest that Peters could return to the active roster would be on Oct. 28 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Right now, former first round pick Peria Jerry is filling in for Peters.
Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds has not been named the starter at right guard, even though he has worked with the first-team offense throughout all of training camp.
In an article from D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons head coach Mike Smith said that Reynolds had not won the starting job as the regular season is less than two weeks away,
"No he does not. There is going to be an opportunity for some guys to still compete," Smith said. "We had a combination of rotations with the offensive line [in last week’s exhibition game against Miami] and we’ll do it again this week."
One challenger to the starting position is rookie Peter Konz, who was a second-round draft pick for Atlanta this year. Drafted as a center from the University of Wisconsin, Konz has worked at both center and guard at training camp and he played a couple of series with the starters against the Miami Dolphins in Atlanta's last preseason game.
Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Dominique Davis has taken advantage of the opportunities given to him in training camp, impressing both coaches and fans alike with his strong play throughout the preseason.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith in particular has been pleased with how Davis has taken advantage of the opportunities given to him,
"He's made plays when he's had opportunities. When you tell your guys you're going to have an open competition, you want guys to come out and compete and that's what he's done. You want to have that competition when you build your roster because that's how you get your strongest roster."
As Davis battles newly signed Josh McCown for the backup quarterback job to Matt Ryan, he knows that he just needs to be consistent and play within himself as he prepares for Atlanta's preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug 30.
"I'm just going in there and keep doing what I've been doing. I'm not trying to do anything extra and just keep working hard."
On Thursday night the Atlanta Falcons close their 2012 preseason campaign in Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. As all teams in the league will be doing, this isn't a game to evaluate starters. Instead this game will be all about depth, as the organization get their last chance to examine players before the last cut in preparation of the regular season.
1. Luke McCown
Chris Redman was never amazing, but it was a little surprising to see the Falcons cut ties with him in favor of McCown, last known for playing in Jacksonville where he was replaced by rookie Blaine Gabbert after posting a QB rating of 39.0 in 2011. This was obviously a move fueled by Dirk Koetter, as he chose a QB who has familiarity with his offense. This is a fairly standard move, but surprising because McCown isn't a talent upgrade.
Tomorrow he should get the lion's share of the reps, and we'll get a sense for how he can run this offense if needed.
2. Defensive Tackle depth
With Corey Peters headed to the PUP list, now's the time for depth players to have their shot to impress. Peria Jerry may get some reps, but this is really time for Vance Walker to step up and show his ability. It's likely the Falcons will monitor cuts to see if they can find a veteran to band-aid the position, but for now it's an opportunity for guys to avoid the cut and prove they belong.
An off-season 'sexy' pick for sleeper of the year, thus fare Rodgers hasn't really leaped out with the exception of a decent performance against Cincinnati. Some are rather prematurely predicting Michael Turner to finally hit the wall of age in 2012, but should they be correct it's vital Rodgers shows that he's ready to be a featured back. We know what he brings to the table in terms of a backfield receiver, but as a between-the-tackles runner he needs to show more. Against the Jaguars he should get a lot of chances to show he can do it.
The Atlanta Falcons are a very good football team, and have been for a few years. Atlanta's success is a consequence of roster construction, and this year, making the Falcons could be harder than it has ever been.
Per D. Orlando Ledbetter:
But with the improved state of the roster, some players from the 2012 draft class will have a tough time making the team over previously drafted players when the Falcons trim the roster from 75 players to 53 by 9 p.m. Friday.
"When you have success and when you draft well, that is going to be part of the conversation every year," Smith said. "The farther that you get into it, I think in Year One and Year Two, it's not necessarily that big of a conversation."
The biggest battle between players drafted by the Falcons is at right guard. Garrett Reynolds, a fifth-round pick in 2009, is trying to hold off a charging Peter Konz, the team's second-round pick in 2011.
Competition is always a good thing, as the Falcons look to produce the best starting team, and the best 53-man roster that they can, prior to Week 1.
For the latest on the Atlanta Falcons, be sure to head over to The Falcoholic and join the discussion.
The Falcons have cut ties with veteran backup Chris Redman and added Luke McCown into the mix at backup QB.
The Atlanta Falcons released the depth chart for the team's final preseason game. Thursday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the last opportunity some players have to make the team.
I thought Lamar, for his first time out there, did a nice job. He's going to get extended playing time this week.
Here is the complete Falcons depth chart for Thursday's game.
LT 72 Sam Baker, 76 Lamar Holmes
K 3 Matt Bryant
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 32 Jacquizz Rodgers, 24 Dominique Franks
PR 83 Harry Douglas, 24 Dominique Franks
H 5 Matt Bosher, 80 Kerry Meier
The Falcons game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff from EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
The specifics around Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters' foot injury are growing cloudier: Despite a report from ESPN that Peters was out for the season with an undisclosed foot injury, coach Mike Smith told the AJC that ESPN's report was "erroneous," and that Peters will be evaluated in six weeks.
However, just what the foot injury is has been a state secret around the Falcons facility:
When asked if Peters was injured in a fall at his house over the offseason, Smith didn’t confirm or deny that story. "He’s on the non-football injury," Smith said. "That’s the designation."
Peters' injury gives former first round pick Peria Jerry a shot to live up to his billing, as the fourth-year DT replaced Peters on the depth chart in preseason and is expected to start when Atlanta opens the season at Kansas City Sept. 9. Peters is on the non-football injury list and must undergo an evaluation before being put back on the active roster.
Big hits from linebacker Mike Peterson and safety William Moore caused tempers to flare in the Falcons' final padded practice of exhibition season, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter.
First, Peterson laid a hit on running back Michael Turner, then Moore hit RB Antone Smith, causing a scrum on the practice field. Falcons coach Mike Smith had to separate the two sides before addressing the players.
"I just needed to politely remind them of the number one goal of our training camp is to make sure that we get everybody to the first game healthy," Smith said. "I love their enthusiasm. I love their energy. I love their passion. But it was just something that I needed to remind them about."
The Falcons close out their exhibition season in Jacksonville on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET against the Jaguars. Falcons starters are not expected to play much, as Atlanta's coaching staff evaluates borderline players before cutting rosters down to 53 players Friday.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas won't be a primary target for quarterback Matt Ryan, but Douglas knows he needs to be ready for his opportunities. Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez will get plenty of attention from opposing defenses, which could give Douglas the chance to make some plays.
"Teams are going to double them," Douglas said. "I always have to be ready, no matter what. Teams can’t double all three of them. … Like coach [Mike] Smith always says ‘You have to step up to the plate and do your job.’"
Douglas caught 39 passes for 498 yards and one touchdown in 2011.
Third-year defensive lineman Corey Peters is not going to play in the first part of the Atlanta Falcons' 2012 season. This has been known for quite awhile, as Peters injured his foot earlier in the summer in Atlanta's offseason program.
Daniel Cox of Atlanta's official website notes that Atlanta's young defensive linemen must step up in Peters's absence, as the Falcons look to start the 2012 season hot.
"It's going to be a big loss for everybody," defensive end John Abraham said. "We've got to pick up after him. We've got some young players that have shown they can step their game up. We're going to try to get them mentally prepared, but physically they're ready."
One of the players that has been a pleasant surprise during the preseason is seventh-round pick tackle Travian Robertson. While his stats aren't eye-popping, he's been active on the line and involved in plays in the backfield.
"Robertson has done a nice job," Smith said on Monday. "We've given reps to the other two defensive tackles (Vance Walker and Peria Jerry) as well behind Jonathan (Babineaux). When you get those opportunities and those reps, you've got to make the most of them."
As a seventh-round draft pick, Robertson is certainly easy to root for -- and a truly fun story worth watching. Hopefully for the Falcons, Robertson makes the most of this opportunity while Peters is on the PUP list.
For the latest Atlanta Falcons news and notes, head over to The Falcoholic and join the discussion.
The Falcons play their fourth and final preseason game on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Atlanta head coach Mike Smith has not yet determined how he's going to sort out the playing time.
"It can go from not playing at all, to playing through the first quarter," Smith said. "It could be certain guys we’re not going to play, certain guys we want to see. It’s something we’ll discuss tomorrow evening in our staff meeting. The guys are preparing like they’re going to go out and all play."
Kickoff of Thursday's game is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m. ET. The Falcons are 1-2 this preseason.
The Falcons have one preseason game left before they turn their attention to the regular season.
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