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#pounditSunday, October 25, 2020

Articles tagged: Atlanta Falcons

Falcons reportedly will not fire Dan Quinn during bye week

Dan Quinn

The Atlanta Falcons won’t be making a coaching change right now despite their multitude of issues.

There had been some speculation that the Falcons might make a change during their Week 9 bye, but according to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, owner Arthur Blank will be keeping Quinn for at least one more week.

Quinn is essentially holding down his job on a week-by-week basis right now. The Falcons are 1-7 and things aren’t getting any better, particularly for their beleaguered defense. At least for this week, however, there will be no change coming, and Quinn looks set to take the reins next week at New Orleans.

Matt Ryan returns to Falcons practice

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons have given no indication that veteran quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) could or will be back on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, but he took a step in a positive direction on Friday, participating in the portion of practice that was open to the media.

Ryan had been sidelined for the team’s first two practices this week, recovering from a high ankle sprain that knocked him out of a Week 7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

After appearing in a boot to start the week, expectations were relatively low that Ryan could make it back this week or at any point in the immediate future, but if he’s already out there practicing, it should give the Falcons and their fans some much-needed optimism.

Ryan and the Falcons have vastly under-performed this season, going 1-6 over the first seven weeks of the season and having to face questions about potential coaching staff changes.

Ryan’s return likely wouldn’t stop that speculation, but it would provide Atlanta a better opportunity to win than if they were to ride things out on the back of Matt Schaub, who will start in place of Ryan in the event the veteran is unable to go.

Patriots reportedly acquire Mohamed Sanu from Falcons

Mohamed Sanu

The rich get richer — at least in New England.

Less than 12 hours after their 33-0 beatdown of the New York Jets, Bill Belichick and the Patriots were back at work tweaking their roster as if they don’t already have enough firepower at 7-0 and in complete control of the AFC East.

However, still looking to add a top-end wide receiver following the disaster that was Antonio Brown, the Patriots sent a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to the disintegrating Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Mohamed Sanu, reports ESPN.

Shortly after learning of the trade, Sanu sent out a tweet thanking the Falcons organization and their fans.

A 2012 third-round pick out of Rutgers, Sanu spent four years with the Cincinnati Bengals before joining the Falcons in 2016. And in 110 career games, he’s hauled in 377 receptions for 4,300 yards and 25 touchdowns with his best season coming in 2018.

In addition to his ability as a receiver, the multi-talented Sanu is often featured in trick plays as he’s capable of taking off with the ball as much as he is capable of throwing it. He presents a unique Swiss army knife for Belichick & Co. and will only make the already powerful Patriots that much more dangerous.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7

Week 7 of the NFL season brought us more lopsided scores than close games, and some huge games with playoff implications — such as the Cowboys’ victory over the Eagles, the Colts’ win over the Texans, and the Ravens’ win in Seattle. Many teams or individuals failed to get the job done during the week and were big disappointments.

Here’s a look at the 10 biggest disappointments of Week 7.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

The way this game went, Chargers fans are probably feeling the team may have been better off had Gordon never returned from his holdout. Gordon had just 32 yards on 16 carries. He fumbled twice, including one at the goal line to lose the game. He’s averaging just 2.25 yards per carry since his return. Worse, he’s taking valuable carries away from Austin Ekeler.

Chicago Bears

The Bears got Mitchell Trubisky back in their 36-25 loss to the Saints, but it didn’t serve as a big improvement over Chase Daniels. The game started with a safety on Chicago’s first possession, then a punt, and then a lost fumble in Bears territory. It was a 12-10 game in the second and then Chicago went totally silent. They had punts on five of their next six possessions and lost a fumble on the other. 17 total rushing yards and two lost fumbles is not a formula for success. It’s no surprise Trubisky got booed as a “welcome back” from the fans.

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5 NFL teams in need of a turnaround

Baker Mayfield

Just over a quarter of the way through the NFL season, some teams have begun to separate themselves from the pack. Others are coming to terms with the fact that they won’t be winning much this season. For some teams — hi, Miami! — that’s expected, if not welcomed. For others, though, it’s an unwelcome reality that they want to change.

Here are five teams very much in need of a turnaround, either now or in the very near future.

5. Denver Broncos

This one counts as more of a long-term turnaround. Vic Fangio’s head coaching career has gotten off to a terrible start, as a defense led by Von Miller has somehow managed to be toothless and underwhelming, particularly in the pass rush. That doesn’t even mention the offense, where Joe Flacco simply is not a trustworthy quarterback anymore. The Broncos have needed a rethink for a while, and it looks like they’re finally accepting that. It’s the only way they’re going to turn it around long-term anyway.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries feel like the norm for the Chargers, and getting Melvin Gordon back should help the offense. Losing to the aforementioned Broncos, however, is a big red flag considering how lackluster Denver’s season had been up to Week 5. The Chargers still seem to be trying to figure out what will actually make them click, which is worrisome this late in the season. It’s not too late, and we know what these players are capable of, but the wins have to come soon.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury has ensured that 2019 is going to be a hard slog no matter what. Still, it’s somewhat surprising just how limited the Steelers have become. Their only win is over the similarly hapless Cincinnati Bengals. The big disappointment is that their defense has not really carried them after losing so many key pieces on offense. They took the Baltimore Ravens to overtime, which is encouraging, but they need to convert these efforts into some wins.

2. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have been a disaster, particularly on defense. That’s a real black mark for head coach Dan Quinn, who got the job on the strength of his resume as a defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Quinn’s seat gets hotter with each passing week, and it’s never been hotter than it is right now after giving up 53 points to the Houston Texans. Atlanta is one big Julio Jones play away from being winless, and they never seemed to truly recover from that Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. They’re coming to a crossroads, and it feels like major changes may be looming.

1. Cleveland Browns

What has happened here? The Browns, subject of so much hype and expectation during the offseason, are 2-3 following an embarrassing blowout Monday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Baker Mayfield looks devoid of confidence, he has failed to gel with Odell Beckham, and the offensive line is a disaster. Injuries on defense, particularly to the secondary, haven’t helped matters either. The Browns are still only one game off the pace set by the division-leading Ravens, and the talent is there to turn this around. But this has to change fast — and there’s no fixing that offensive line on such short notice.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 5

Dak Prescott

More bad kicking, more quarterbacks with turnovers, and some very surprising results marked Week 5. Did anyone expect the Green Bay Packers to come out and obliterate the Dallas Cowboys in the first half on the road, for instance? Did anyone see Denver grabbing their first win of the season on the road against the Chargers? Did anyone see Kirk Cousins having a pretty good day passing? How about the Chiefs losing at home to the Colts? Some may have seen these results coming, but most wouldn’t have bet on it.

What were the most prominent disappointments of Week 5? Here’s a look.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

Whatever was going right for the Cowboys’ offense has started to go dreadfully wrong. Prescott ended up throwing for 463 yards in his furious bid to rally Dallas back from down 31-3, but he turned the ball over three times and the offense didn’t start clicking until it was far too late. There are definitely growing questions about the Dallas offense, though Prescott still flashed his talent in the defeat. Turnovers were still a big problem, and that must change going forward.

Kansas City Chiefs’ offense

Where was this unit all Sunday night? The typically explosive Chiefs offense was held to just 13 points at home in a stunning loss to the Colts. KC started off the game with two scoring drives but then punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt and turnover on downs before finally grabbing a late field goal. Patrick Mahomes was sacked four times and hit eight times; the Chiefs have some work to do on the offensive line.

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10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 4

Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL’s Week 4 included a game in which two teams scored 95 combined points, a late rally to keep the Kansas City Chiefs unbeaten, and the highly-awaited debut of a rookie quarterback in Washington. It also brought its fair share of disappointments — and some of them had to do with those exact storylines.

Who underwhelmed in Week 4? Here are 10 big disappointments.

Dallas Cowboys’ offense

The Dallas Cowboys’ offense looked pretty awesome the first few weeks of the season as they started off 3-0 and scored over 30 points in every game. On Sunday night in New Orleans, their offense went missing. Dak Prescott failed to throw a touchdown for the first time all season. His 6.8 yards per attempt was his lowest of the year. The rushing game was arguably worse and went for just 45 yards on 20 carries. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for just 35 yards on 18 carries with a long of six. Both he and Jason Witten lost fumbles in consecutive possessions before halftime. When they needed big drives late in the game, they ended up punting twice. A 12-10 loss was a rude awakening for a team that had been great through three weeks.

Los Angeles Rams

What happened here? The Rams scored 40 but gave up 55 to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has been inconsistent at best. Jameis Winston went for 385 yards and four touchdowns. A lot of that was set up by quality field position owing to four turnovers by Jared Goff, including three interceptions and a late fumble that was returned for a Tampa Bay touchdown. This will raise a lot of new questions about Goff and the defense, and they’ll have to respond.

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10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 1

Mike Tomlin

The NFL is back, and so are the letdowns. For every exciting winner on Sunday, there was a loser — unless you’re the Detroit Lions or Arizona Cardinals, who managed to tie. The week had its fair share of goats, from teams with high expectations falling flat on their faces to a cavalcade of blown double-digit leads in second halves around the NFL.

Here are the ten biggest disappointments of NFL Week 1.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Woof. What an ugly season opener for the Steelers. They were skunked in the first half and fell behind 20-0. They mustered very little in the second half and only got their points thanks to a poor decision by Mike Tomlin. Tom Brady ate up their zone defenses, utilizing deep threat Phillip Dorsett for four catches, 95 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh’s offense lacked punch, running the ball for just 32 yards and throwing for 255. It’s almost as if losing Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown made them worse.

2. Cleveland Browns

After an offseason of hype and aspirations of a division title, this was absolutely not how the Browns envisioned things going in Week 1. They were outcoached and outmatched by the Tennessee Titans, who picked off an overwhelmed (and hurt) Baker Mayfield three times. Perhaps the biggest issues for the Browns were their offensive line and the team’s discipline. Mayfield was sacked five times and the Browns took a remarkable 18 penalties for a total of 182 yards. Six of them resulted in first downs. That can’t happen on a team that expects to contend.

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Julio Jones, Falcons agree to richest WR contract in football

Julio Jones

Julio Jones has been seeking a contract extension from the Atlanta Falcons all summer, and the star wide receiver finally got his wish one day before the start of the regular season.

Jones and the Falcons have agreed to a three-year extension worth roughly $66 million, according to multiple reports. The new deal will make him the highest-paid wide receiver in football.

Jones previously did not commit to playing in Week 1 without a new deal in place, but it seemed unlikely that the Falcons would ever let it get to that point. He also exhibited some “bizarre” behavior in practice this week that led to speculation that he could either be upset about his contract or battling an injury, so we now know it won’t be the former.

Jones, 30, has dominated opposing defenses throughout his career. He had 113 catches for 1,677 yards last year and has surpassed 1,400 yards receiving in each of the last five seasons.

Dan Quinn: Julio Jones contract situation not distracting Falcons

Julio Jones

Despite a lot of optimism over the offseason, Week 1 looms with no new contract for Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones.

Jones, who would make $9.4 million this season on his current deal, has sought a new contract, and the Falcons have repeatedly said that they’re willing to give it to him. However, no deal has been reached, creating a potential distraction ahead of the team’s season opener.

Coach Dan Quinn stated Wednesday that he understands the interest in a Jones extension, but said it has not become an issue within the building.

It isn’t clear whether Jones would sit out games if nothing is signed by the weekend. He reported to training camp and has said he trusts the organization’s word, so it may not be a situation where he must be signed if the team wants to see him play. Atlanta needs him, as the 30-year-old is coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 1,677 receiving yards.

The team’s GM has maintained that a Jones deal will get done for some time now. The clock is ticking, but that optimism doesn’t appear to have waned.