Player Profile: Brent Grimes

Despite his small stature Grimes sure can jump

Cornerback Brent Grimes is listed at 5′ 10″ but if anyone has ever met Brent Grimes you would know this might be a little bit of an exaggeration. Grimes has been told all his life that he was too small for football. That is why his only option after highschool was to go to a Division II school in Shippensburg, PA. Grimes played outstanding in this small school racking up 27 interceptions over his four years, which is a NCAA record for most interceptions while in college. However, despite this impressive fact Grimes did not get drafted in 2006 because he was too small and he came from a small school. This did not stop Grimes though and he tried out for NFL Europa where he had short stint with the Amsterdam Admirals, but Grimes wanted to play in the NFL. In the May of 2007, Grimes was signed to the Atlanta Falcons practice squad where he continued to impress the coaches. Coach Smith has always admitted that Grimes was definitely the most athletic player he has on the team. With this athleticism Grimes finally made his debut on December 17, 2007 against the Arizona Cardinals where he racked up 11 tackles. In 2009 when the Falcons were struggling with their pass coverage Grimes stepped into the starting role and picked off 6 passes over the season, which tied for fifth in the NFL. Though Grimes has had trouble playing against bigger receivers because of his size he has managed to make up for it with a lethal combination of speed, agility, and an amazing vertical jump. Grimes ball-hawking abilities have started to get him some recognition and has improved his game each year he has been with the Falcons. Grimes has already totaled 11 tackles and a pick this year, but what has really stood out are the numerous pass deflections that he has made. Personally I am thrilled that we have Grimes on this team and I am looking forward to seeing some more interceptions from him in the future.

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Falcons win 16-14

The high-flying Falcons are now 3-1

Another nail biter for the Falcons and I was seriously worried about my health in this one. But in the end Matt Bryant sealed the game with a field goal with only 0:02 left and my heart was finally allowed to slow down after a grueling 3 hour game against the San Francisco 49ers . The offense was so-so, the defense bent, but didn’t break, and the special teams were decent except for one play. Now let’s go further into the analysis.

First off the offense. I would also like to note that aside from the Steelers this is probably the best front seven we have seen this year. The Falcons offense has had one problem this year and that has been consistency. One drive the Falcons are breaking big runs, converting 3rd downs, and passing the ball efficiently the next is a three and out, fumble, or interception. Yesterdays game was no exception and I cannot seem to pinpoint this inconsistency to the O-Line or Matt Ryan and the other skill players. For example, Roddy White had maybe one catch in the first three quarters, but once we needed that last field goal when time was running down he was unstoppable. Not only was White essential in catching the ball (7 catches for 104), but kept the game alive when in the last two minutes Matt Ryan threw an interception and Roddy White sprinted back downfield to catch Nate Clemons and strip the ball where Harvey Dahl recovered it on the 9 yard line. This allowed the Falcons to reattempt our game winning drive where White had some key catches. White earns game MVP solely based on his last two minutes of playtime. Matt Ryan got the job done when it counted, but it would be nice to see some more touchdowns instead of field goals. It was also nice to see Harry Douglas get his first touchdown in two years after having to recover from his knee surgery.

Grade: B

Defense did a good job overall making plays and stopping the 49ers when it mattered, but Frank Gore caught 7 catches and led the 49ers with 70 yards. They killed us on check downs, screens, and short passes. Maybe it would have helped if Sean Weatherspoon was in the game, but I doubt it. Curtis Lofton had another amazing game racking up 8 tackles, a sack, and an interception, but he seemed to be one of the problems with the pass protection breakdown on Gore. Good to see William Moore playing up to his potential with another interception, forcing a intentional grounding, and making some hard hits. The D-Line was getting pressure all game, but couldn’t seem to bring down Alex Smith. Let’s fix that Mike Smith. Ok thanks. Brent Grimes continues to surprise me by locking up on his assigned receiver and had two amazing pass deflections. If the Falcons D can just stop the big plays we will be one of the best defenses in the league.

Grade:B+

That blocked punt is the only bad thing to say about the special teams. Eric Weems continues to hold a good return average both in punts and kickoffs. Matt Bryant made all three of his kicks including the game winner. Not else much to say about that.

Grade:B+

Overall: B+ and I’ll take a B+ in any situation as long as it gets me the win. Good to come out with that win and let’s hope the Falcons are starting to focus on next week’s game against the Cleveland Browns, which is probably our easiest game of the year. I’m also looking forward to seeing if John Abraham can bring his A-game against former Panther’s quarterback Jake Delhomme.

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Who Dat? Falcons 27 Saints 24 F/OT

Turner runs over a Saint defender to reach the endzone

Wow what a win. A thrilling overtime win that I almost left the room for sure of a Falcon’s loss. However, I was not counting on the Saint’s kicker to miss a 29 yard field goal to give the Falcons another shot at a win. We drove down the field and despite some penalties Matt Bryant was able to make his kick in overtime. Let’s breakdown each unit and analyze how they did Sunday afternoon.

QB: Matt Ryan had a near perfect game. He made plays not only on 3rd down, but on 4th down. He looked calm in the pocket even with Saint pass rushers swarming around him and was able to move outside the pocket and make the throws that were asked of him. Matty Ice had a beautiful pass to Roddy White for a touchdown and another great TD pass to Tony Gonzalez. Ryan also showed his will to win on a crucial 3rd and inches in the first half on a QB sneak where the line got pushed back, but he was able to wiggle outside and then stood up a Saint’s DE and pushed for the first down.

WR/TE: The receiving core was once again spectacular even with the defense placing two defenders on Tony G and Roddy White. Gonzalez had a great first half and was a constant target for Ryan. Roddy White while quiet in the first half came through strong in the second half. It would have been good to involve Harry Douglas a little more, but Ryan seemed to get it done without his help

Running Backs: Turner and Snelling did a great job of bearing the load of the Atlanta running game. Offensive Coordinator Mike Murlarky called for run plays almost 50 times and these two backs did a good job of keeping drives alive. They also made some nice catches with some yards after the catch. The averages for both the backs wasn’t great, but our run game kept the ball out of Dree Brees’s hands and that’s all I ask

O-Line: As a complete unit the offensive line did a slightly above average job. They kept Matt Ryan up straight most of the game, but the running lanes didn’t really seem to be there most of the day. Sam Baker on the other hand might have his third strike of the season. Two more penalties and a terrible attempt that led to the only sack of the game. I don’t know what else to say about him.

D-Line: Great job by Babineaux and Abraham with a sack each and Abraham even showed some gumption after getting poked in the and suffering a scratched pupil, but refused to come out of the game. Hell that’s why we have two eyes isn’t it? Also great job on bottling up Pierre Thomas and the Saint’s run game

LB’s: Props to Mike Peterson and his forced fumble, Weatherspoon and his seven solid tackles, and Curtis Lofton being his usually tackling self.

DB’s: Did they best they could to bottle up one of the best passing teams in the NFL, so even though Brees threw for almost 400 yards they kept him out of the endzone when it mattered and even managed to grab two interceptions (DeCoud and Grimes). Robinson stopped Colston and had a great tackle for a loss, so I was happy with his performance. However, whoever was defending Lance Moore has some work to do.

Special Teams: Matt Bryant made both of his field goals and that is about the only thing good to say about the special team’s effort. Punt and kickoff coverage was terrible and DeCoud had that freak punt catch his foot that turned the ball back over to the Saints. Shann Schillinger did manage a nice tackle on the last kickoff, but that’s streching for something nice to say

All that matter’s is that we won and we are on top of the Division. Now bring on the Niners.

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Week 2: Falcons 41 Cardinals 7

Snelling didn't only carry Cardinal defenders on his back, but also the Falcon's run game

After a terrible loss in  Week 1 the Falcons come back strong against the Arizona Cardinals blowing them out 41-7. This is one of my favorite activities when I get to right about the Falcons with so many positives to mention and struggling to think of some negatives. This is the kind of win that makes me proud to be a Falcon’s fan, so let’s breakdown this week’s win.

Jason Snelling the Falcon’s third string running back and 7th round pick four years ago once again came into the game and was a reliable back up when Turner and Norwood went down with injuries early in the game. He rushed for 129 yards for two touchdowns and had over 50 yards receiving with a receiving touchdown. You can not ask more from a back up running back. Norwood’s injury came on the opening kickoff when he just fell down to the turf and then was later carted off the field. It is being reported that it is a knee injury and is questionable for next week’s game. This isn’t good, but I have come to expect this from our injury prone tailback. Turner’s injury came later in the game and doesn’t to seem as serious because Coach Smith said Turner was ready to go again, but the score of the game gave us no reason to chance a re-injury. But congrats to Snelling and I hope to see more carries in his future.

Matt Ryan was back to the good old Matty Ice again with 225 yards passing and three TD’s to go along with a 60% completion rate. Very impressive for the third year quarterback to come back after a poor performance last week. A lot of this had to do with the improved performance of the O-line, which kept Ryan up throughout the game and opened up running lanes to keep the run game going. Sam Baker (considered the weakest link in the line this year) had a pretty good game as I kept a close eye on his protection skills throughout the game. However, Baker did have one excruciatingly  bad drive where he had three penalties called on him (2 False starts, 1 holding), but the rest of the team persisted and ended up with a touchdown even with the penalties being called.

Roddy White had another good game with 7 catches for 78 yards and a TD. It was good to see Brian Finneran get his first TD since 2008 after having to go through two torn ACL’s and I’m glad we have such a good possession receiver on our roster. The Cardinals had Gonzalez blanketed pretty well and I wish we had given some more looks towards Douglas who only had three catches, but made some nice moves to gain some extra yards on a few of his grabs.

The defense was unstoppable! Well, except for that 80 yard run by Hightower for a touchdown, but besides that they were UNSTOPPABLE. Defensive MVP for this week would definitely have to go to Sean Weatherspoon who had 9 tackles and a very impressive sack. Weatherspoon was flying around the field and seemed to be involved in every play in some form or fashion. Also nice work by the secondary who had three interceptions (Owens, Moore, Franks) and kept the league’s best receiver in check. Robinson was nipping at Fitzgerald’s heels the entire game and had a couple of nice pass deflections and a really head-jarring tackle for a loss. Props to William Moore for his first career start at Strong Safety and for making some really nice tackles even if one of them occurred out of bounds, but I’ll let that one slide because of the great tackling and a great interception. Also it was good to have Babineaux back from his one game suspension and have that added pressure on the quarterback, which accounted for a sack and a fumble by Mr. Babineaux himself. However, the rest of the D-line seemed to get pushed around yesterday, so hopefully we see our sack numbers rise next week as we face the Saints who are going to be passing it a lot more.

Good work this week and let’s get ready for the true test for the best NFC South team when we face the Saints in the Superdome. Hopefully I’ll be writing with only good things to say, but this is going to be one of hardest tests this year and having this week’s win should help us go into the game confident that we can control the clock with our run game, keep Brees in check, and pull out the win.

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Week 1: Game review

Congrats on 1,000 career receptions

An overtime loss was pretty heartbreaking, but the Steelers played good football and the Falcons have some work to do before Arizona comes to the Dome. Our defense looked good at times, but our offense couldn’t overcome the Steeler defense. Let’s breakdown the game and see where the Falcons went wrong in today’s 15-9 loss.

I’ll get started by examining our defense’s effort in today’s game. First off we were facing a Steeler offense with an injured offensive line, a third string quarterback, and receiver corp that had a lot of question marks. The Falcon’s D held the Steeler’s rushing attack for most of the game and kept Dennis Dixon corralled for most of the game, but still seemed to give up those third and long plays. Also the pass rush was almost non existent even though the Falcons managed 3 sacks, but aside from those three sacks Dixon had all the time in the world in pocket. Our pass coverage was ok, but Dunta Robinson looked rusty and Brent Grimes was having a hard time bringing down the ball carrier, so I’m still a firm believer that Chris Owens should be our second starting cornerback. For the linebackers I have nothing but compliments with a good first start for Sean Weatherspoon with 8 tackles, Mike Peterson and a crucial interception, and Curtis Lofton being a beast with 11 tackles and a sack. The defense did about all that I expected from them holding the Steelers to three field goals in regulation time, but allowing that last touchdown run in overtime was just heartbreaking.

And the offense… I wish I had more positives for this next segment, but it would be a stretch to say that our offense was adequate. What was the deal with Michael Turner today? He looked slow, tired, and scared. Less than 40 yards on 17 carries is not the performance I was expecting from our starting tailback, but it might have been due to the horrible play of the offensive line. Sam Baker looked overwhelmed the entire game and the line allowed very little time for Matt Ryan to make any throws, running lanes seemed to get swallowed up by Black and Yellow, and there were way too many penalties from this unit. Matt Ryan looked decent in his third year as our starter, but third downs were not his friend today and couldn’t seem to be able to throw to anyone else except for Roddy White who in my opinion had the only good game from the offense. It was good to see Harry Douglas on the field today and made three great catches and congrats to Tony Gonzalez on finally getting his 1,000th catch.

Well this week is over and let’s hope Mike Smith is ripping the team a new one, so we don’t look so anemic in Week 2 against the Cardinals. We did not look like a playoff team today, but I think we have a lot of potential and with a great coaching staff we can still hope to finish this season strong. See you next Sunday.

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Player Profile: Kroy Biermann

Chad Pennington doesn't stand a chance

Many people have never heard of Kroy Biermann and in my opinion he is one of the most underrated players on our team. He was a fifth round pick (154 overall) in 2008 and has shown an exceptional motor and power to get to the quarterback in the chances that he has been given. Kroy Biermann was drafted out of Montana where he played 52 games racking up 32 sacks and 220 tackles playing all four years in college even as a true freshman. He won the Buck Buchanan his senior year, Big Sky defensive MVP, and was first team All-American for Division I football. His draft stock fell due to lack of size (241 lbs), but the Falcons saw his intelligence, raw power, and versatility and decided to take a chance on him.

Biermann saw little playing time in his rookie year, but still managed to get two sacks and 14 tackles. However, after a full NFL offseason training regiment Biermann put on a good bit of muscle to compliment his 6’3″ frame and the added time with the Falcons D Line coach made a huge difference in Biermann’s second year. Biermann racked up two sacks in our 2009 opener and managed to finish the season tied for second for most sacks on the team with 5. Biermann won the starting job in Week 6 taking over the always disappointing Jamaal Anderson.

After adding no further DE’s during this year’s offseason it is safe to say that Coach Mike Smith has full confidence in the third year DE from Montana. Biermann is now listed at 265 lbs, so the size problem is no longer an excuse and Biermann has shown his speed and quickness during the first three preseason managing 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in limited playing time. These results have me excited for this upcoming year when last year’s pass rush was almost non-existent. So what can we expect from Biermann this year? I’m hoping at least double digit sacks from him, but a lot of this depends on our pass coverage this year, so the results might not reflect Biermann and the D line’s effort for this year. Be back after our final preseason game.

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Preseason game #3: Likes and Dislikes

Final Score 16-6. Falcons win. Dolphins lose.

Well strike up another win for the Falcons in this year’s preseason. I know it is just the preseason, but it is still nice to get in the winning state of mind for the regular season. If their was one word to describe our performance it would have to be, “Defense.” The Falcons first team defense held Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to 14 yards rushing and kept Miami’s well-known wild cat formation to less than 10 yards. The defense looked fast, smart, and well-prepared and I was happy to see. The Falcons have a few kinks to work out, but the overall performance by both the offense and defense have wiped most of the doubts from my mind. Continuing on I will now give you want I liked about the game and what I disliked about the game.

Likes:

  • Kroy Biermann had his third sack in the preseason with added pressure from a corner blitz. He also had the first hit on the running back when the Falcons defense stopped a crucial conversion attempt on 4th and 1. Is it too much to ask for him to have had his third forced fumble as well?
  • Michael Turner looked ready for the regular season, running for 47 yards in limited playing time.
  • Veterans Mike Peterson and Erik Coleman, both of whom have been questioned about being physical ready for the start of the season showed some fire with some hard hits and an interception tipped from Peterson to Coleman
  • Ryan to White for a TD. One of the best plays of the game
  • Harry Douglas and Jerious Norwood looked great for playing in there first preseason game of the year due to past injuries
  • Rookie Sean Weatherspoon had some nice plays and made no apparent rookie blunders
  • Backup QB, Chris Redman had a nice drive ending in a TD to Brian Finneran

What made me shudder

  • Turner’s fumble. Fumbles became a problem last year for him and lets just hope that it was a preseason fluke
  • Roddy White had some key drops, one of which could have been a 50 touchdown
  • Matt Bryant missing an extra point
  • Matt Ryan has looked especially nervous in the pocket this year and had some overthrown balls, and that “what were you thinking” interception.
  • Chevis Jackson is not a starting cornerback. He gave up some easy passes to Brandon Marshall and looked out of place throughout the entire game. Let’s hope that Dunta Robinson is back for the final preseason game, so we can see our investment in action.

I don’t usually take much stock in preseason games, but the good definitely outweighed the bad, so I don’t think we have any reason to be worried. For more information on the 3rd preseason game between the Falcons and the Dolphins I would look here. Looking forward to the next preseason game already and hopefully I will get a player profile posted in a couple of days.

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