Hello again football fans! It’s time for our weekly smattering of Atlanta Falcons “Bird Droppings”. Little tid-bits, rants, factoids, and snippets from around the Falcons camp and the rest of the NFL
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff cycled to work 40 miles from Buckhead to Flowery Branch on Friday to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. This was something that Dimitroff, who is a huge cycling enthusiast, had been planning since 2008. “I’d like to probably do this annually if we could,” Dimitroff said. “This is one of those things where you get to ride to work, get the blood flowing. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is about fun. It’s about fitness and about transportation. We are actually covering all three of those today.”
Even with all the regular season success that head coach Mike Smith has had during his tenure in Atlanta, even he recognizes that something needs to change for the team to be successful in the playoffs. “It starts with me in evaluating how I prepare our football team, or we as a coaching staff prepare our football team. And believe me, we’ve done some soul searching,” Smith said. “When you go to the places that we’ve been and not have the success that you want in those situations, it’s tough.” Smith has guided the Falcons to four consecutive winning seasons, and has the best winning percentage of any Falcons head coach in the team’s history, but has yet to taste victory in the post-season.
Former Atlanta fullback Ovie Mughelli met with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday. The Dolphins are concerned about the future of Jerome Messam, who this week underwent his second knee surgery in five months. Mughelli was released by the Falcons earlier this month for salary cap concerns.
Everyone seems to be generating their own list of the 100 top active players in the NFL. Most recently CBS Sports Pete Prisco released his list, which has four Falcons on it. Number 95 on the list is running back Michael Turner. Last year Prisco had Turner ranked at number 52. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, unranked on Prisco’s list last season, came in at number 75. Prisco says Weatherspoon will become the star of Atlanta’s defense. Roddy White came in next at number 61. Last season he was number 36 on Prisco’s list. The last Falcon on Prisco’s list, Matt Ryan, came in at number 48.
Pro Football Focus released their Best Performances from 2011 this week. On the list for defensive tackles, the Falcons Jonahtan Babineaux was ranted number two with his week 11 performance against the Tennessee Titans. They wrote on Babineaux, “Over the past few years there haven’t been many defensive tackles better at getting up field than Babineaux. Tennessee found this out the hard way as the Falcon picked up four pressures and a hit to go with a batted pass and two tackles for loss in the run game. He even managed to draw a penalty as the Titans’ interior was at a virtual loss about how to stop him.”
The Falcons signed third-round draft pick Lamar Holmes to a four-year contract worth $2.63 million. Atlanta has now signed five of their six draft picks. Defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi remains unsigned, however the team is close to reaching a deal with Massaquoi, the fifth-round pick from Troy. The Falcons are at 89 players and will hit the roster max when they sign Massaquoi.
Former Toledo receiver Kenny Stafford, Georgia tight end Aron White and Colorado State linebacker Lee Meisner were signed to free-agent contracts after being invited for rookie minicamp tryouts.Stafford is the nephew of former Minnesota Vikings great Cris Carter. Hopefully Stafford inherited his uncle’s talent for doing nothing but catching touchdowns.
Quote of the Week: Wide receiver Roddy White on his being ranked at number 65 on the NFL Network’s The Top 100 Players of 2012 – “I felt that I should have been at least in the top five (wide receivers); right now I’m fighting to be in the top 10. I’m kind of confused right now.” Who knows, Roddy. Perhaps leading the league in dropped passes had something to do with it? Naaahh. Crazy talk.