Atlanta Falcons Bird Droppings: Minding the Children, Ranking the QB, and a Big NO to the Saints

The Atlanta Falcons have gone to full pads, and so has this column.  Strap up and dig in for this week’s Atlanta Falcons “Bird Droppings”.  News, notes, rumors and oddities from around the Falcons camp and the rest of the NFL.

The coaches gave a “no-hitting” lecture on Saturday, but apparently Falcons safety William Moore only checked the Cliffs Notes.  Moore pancaked wide receiver Marcus Jackson and caused head coach Mike Smith to give him a subtle reminder. “No, Will, no!” Smith barked.  Smith said he wants all players to be left standing after a play.  “There are some guys that you have to remind them,” Smith said. “It’s like your children. You have to stay on them. Guys get ramped up and they get going and that’s a good thing.”

Falcons franchise quarterback Matt Ryan has taken a lot of heat over his disappointing performance against the New York Giants in last year’s playoffs, but offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has a different view. Koetter believes Ryan is one of the ten best players in the league, and that Ryan is going to lead an explosive offense this season.  “How he’s won as a starter in the league, we think he’s a top ten quarterback” Koetter said.  Others, including the players who voted in the NFL Network’s top 100 players in the league, didn’t have Ryan among the 13 quarterbacks who made that list.

Cbssports.com’s senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco seems to have high hopes for the Falcons this season.  He went week by week through Atlanta’s schedule, and predicted the Falcons to finish 12-4.  As for the playoffs, he has Atlanta winning in the wild card round against the Philadelphia Eagles, but losing in the divisional round to…you guessed it…the New York Giants.  If it happens, that could be an interesting playoff rematch.

Despite repeated requests from the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons refused to grant the Saints and sculptor Brian Hanlon permission to use the Falcons’ symbol or former Atlanta punter Michael Koenen‘s name in the statue titled ‘Rebirth’.  The statue was erected to commemorate the infamous 2006 Monday Night Football game that marked the Saints return to the Superdome after the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, and depicts the Saints Steve Gleason blocking Koenen’s punt.  Falcons president Rich McKay said about the statue controversy, “We never intended to offend the New Orleans fans and we certainly didn’t intend to make light of the moment, which was truly special,’’

And finally, our training camp injury update.  So far it’s been tough for the defense.  LB Lofa Tatupu – Pectoral (Out for Season, Released), LB Matt Hansen – Knee (Out 4-6 months), DT Corey Peters – Foot (Out 3-4 weeks)


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