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TRAINING CAMP PRACTICE SCHEDULE DATE GATES OPEN Jul. 30 8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. Jul. 31 8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. Aug. 1 9:35 a.m., 3:45 p.m. Aug. 2 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3 8:30 a.m. Aug. 4 1:30 p.m. Aug. 5 8:30 a.m. Aug. 6 10:15 a.m. Friday Night Lights 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 Mock Game 12 p.m. Aug. 9 8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. with Jacksonville Aug. 10 8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. with Jacksonville Aug. 15 9:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. Aug. 17 8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m. with New England

PRESEASON SCHEDULE Aug. 13 vs. Chiefs 8:00 p.m. (WXIA) Aug. 19 vs. Patriots 8:00 p.m. (FOX) Aug. 27 @ Miami 7:00 p.m. (WXIA) Sept. 2 @ Jacksonville 7:30 p.m. (WXIA)

HOW TO GET TO FLOWERY BRANCH From the south: Take I-85 north. Exit to the left on I-985 toward Gainesville. Take exit 12 (Spout Springs Road). Turn left off the exit ramp onto Spout Springs Road. Go under I-985, travel 1/4 mile and turn right on Thurmond Tanner Road. Proceed on Thurmond Tanner Road for about one mile to the stoplight, then turn right on Atlanta Highway (Ga. 13). Go about a mile on Atlanta Highway (which becomes Falcon Parkway) past the Wrigley plant on the left and back over I-985. The Falcons complex will be on the left (4400 Falcon Parkway). From the north: Take I-985 south. Take exit 12 (Spout Springs Road). Turn right off the exit ramp onto Spout Springs Road. From here, use the same directions as above.

LOOKING FOR AUTOGRAPHS?

Autographs will be available to Falcons fans on a first-come, firstserved basis for 15 minutes following practice. Autographs can be obtained on the fan viewing hill or on select days at the Falcons’ merchandise booth. Players will not sign autographs after the combined practices with Jacksonville and New England.

FALCONS HOTLINE

770.965.2752


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WHERE TO PARK ...

Training camp parking is available at the Hog Mountain Sports Complex and Flowery Branch High School across the street from the Falcons’ training complex. After the Hall County school year begins on Aug. 3, parking will be available at the Hollis Transportation Lot located one mile from the training complex. Please follow directional signs. A complimentary shuttle service will be provided from this location. There is no general parking available at the training complex. Fans with disability parking permits will be allowed to park at the training complex. Disability permits must be properly displayed for law enforcement officials to grant entry. A designated seating area will also be provided for fans with disabilities.

WHAT YOU CAN BRING TO CAMP ...

Hats, jackets, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, blankets, umbrellas, lawn chairs and strollers. Coolers are NOT permitted at Falcons Training Camp, unless they are being used to carry critical medical supplies (e.g., insulin for diabetics). Alcoholic beverages and glass containers are prohibited. In addition, please do not bring noisemakers, loud radios, large signs or inappropriate attire. Backpacks and bags larger than 8.5 inches wide by 13 inches long by 5 inches deep are not permitted at training camp. All people, bags and purses are subject to inspection. Any individual who refuses an inspection will be denied entry.

HOW ABOUT A CAMERA?

Still cameras with lenses less than 12 inches and without flash attachments are permitted during all training camp workouts. No flash photography will be permitted at any time. No audio or video recording devices are allowed, including camcorders and cellular phones with video capabilities.

WHAT IF THERE’S BAD WEATHER?

Check the Falcons’ website at www.atlantafalcons. com for updates or call the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Hotline at 770-965-2752. Practice times are subject to change without notice.

CAN I BUY FALCONS MERCHANDISE?

Get your training camp and Falcons merchandise at the Falcons365 trailer at the camp as well as at Friday Night Lights. The trailer will be open before, during and after practice. (The lost and found area is also at Falcons365.)

FOR THOSE WHO ARE HUNGRY ...

Food and beverages will be available for purchase at each practice session. The main concessions are on the top of the spectator hill.

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BEAT THE HEAT ...

In an effort to ensure comfort for all fans who attend a Falcons practice during training camp, the club has a 10-by-10-foot area at the top of the spectator hill for fans to get out of the sun and cool off.

FOR YOUR SAFETY AND SECURITY ...

For your safety and protection, Atlanta Falcons security personnel — along with the Flowery Branch Police Depar tment, Hall County Police Depar tment and other local law enforcement officials — will be present at training camp. In serious cases of rowdy behavior or profane/ abusive language, security will first issue a warning. If the disruptive behavior continues, the fan will be subject to removal or arrest. Multiple violations may result in the individual being banned from the Falcons complex.

THERE IS FIRST-AID HELP ...

A Falcons first-aid station will be set up adjacent to the training camp fan field’s main entrance. Authorized medical personnel from the Falcons and Hall County will be available one hour before each practice through one hour after each session.

THE INFORMATION BOOTH ...

Any questions about training camp may be directed to associates in the Falcons Training Camp Fan Shop near the fan field’s main entrance. In addition, any Falcons staff member can assist you.

ARE THERE ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS?

The Atlanta Falcons invite youth ages 17 and under to experience Youth Weekend at Falcons training camp in Flowery Branch on July 31 and August 1. Activities both days include the Kids Only Autograph Zone and Look Like a Pro, where kids will have the opportunity to try on authentic equipment used and worn by Falcons players. There will also be unique activities taking place on each day, such as Show Your Spirit (July 31, 7:30-8:30 a.m.); Football Flurry (July 31, 2:45-3:45 p.m.); Hats Off (August 1, 8:30-9:30 a.m.); and Jersey Frenzy (August 2, 2:45-3:45 p.m.). The Kids Zone opens one hour prior to each practice session.

SPECIAL GUESTS AND VIPS ...

Special guest, VIP and sponsor check-in sites are located near the main building entrance of the Atlanta Falcons training complex.

IS SMOKING ALLOWED?

For the comfort and health of all fans, the Falcons training complex is a smoke-free environment. There is no smoking allowed anywhere on the grounds or inside the buildings.

WHERE CAN I FIND DAILY UPDATES?

Check the list of daily activities on the club’s Web site (www.atlantafalcons.com) or inquire about events in the Falcons Training Camp Fan Shop. The Training Camp hotline number is 770-965-2752.

For the third year, Allstate Friday Night Lights (at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, 7:30 p.m.) will once again bring the team to the fans. The event includes a fan fest with interactive inflatable games and face painting, and a post-game autograph session and spectacular fireworks show. During the live scrimmage, Coach Smith, Falcons quarterbacks and certain position players will wear broadcast microphones so fans can get an in -depth look “inside the huddle.” Mock Game August 7, 2010

The intrasquad mock game is open to the general public and kicks off at 12 noon in Flowery Branch.

CAMP PARTNER In 2007, Russell Athletic and the Atlanta Falcons announced an agreement that includes title sponsorship of the team’s three-week preseason training camp at its in-season training facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. The four-year agreement designates Russell Athletic as an official sponsor of the Falcons. Other deal points include designating Russell Athletic as a preferred supplier of promotional apparel and premium items, presenting sponsor of all preseason games on WXIA-TV and its affiliates, plus radio spots during 20 Atlanta Falcons games on Falcons Flagship radio station DaveFM, and dominant signage presence throughout the interior of the Georgia Dome including the high-profile branded fan zone where fans will receive one-of-a-kind Russell Athletic apparel. Russell-branded products will also be available for purchase at all Falcons home games. The Falcons Training Camp Guide was produced and published by Score Publishing, a division of Score Atlanta. The publisher is I.J. Rosenberg, editor is Stephen Black and creative art director is DJ Galbiati. The photos in the Guide were taken by Falcons team photographer Jimmy Cribb. Score is a full-service marketing company and can be reached at 404-256-1572 and SCOREATL.COM.


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Score Atlanta Founder and Publisher I.J. Rosenberg sat down with Falcons owner Arthur Blank for a chat about the state of the franchise and what changes fans can look forward to during training camp and the 2010 season. It is safe to say that Mr. Blank expects more from the team this year. Describe how you felt after the 2009 season with the team not making the playoffs after an appearance the year before, but with the franchise, for the first time in its 44-year history, collecting back-to-back winning seasons. ARTHUR BLANK: I felt disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs. I felt very good about where the team was and the fact that we had broken the – let’s not say it was a curse – record we weren’t very proud of, not having back-toback winning seasons during that period of time. So, I think it speaks to the direction of the franchise. I think you look at it within the context of what we’re trying to do, which is build and sustain a winning organization over a long period of time. You start having back-to-back winning seasons even though you don’t make the playoffs – and you’re always disappointed about not making the playoffs – and unfortunately we were out of the playoffs early. In spite of that, we won the last three games, and I think that speaks volumes about the character of our players and coaches and their commitment to the organization, the fans and themselves as well. Head Coach Mike Smith has not only been a big addition on the field, he has become very popular off it. Has he surprised you in any way in his all-around abilities to coach, motivate and be a community player? BLANK: I think what we had hoped we were getting in Mike we got in spades. He obviously is a football coach, he cares about winning games. This organization also cares a great deal about the community and having coaches involved and the players involved, and I think a good example is the work he does every year for Children’s Miracle Network. It’s an idea that he developed on his own, and it raises a lot of money every year. The coaches are involved, the players are involved, and it has become very popular in Atlanta. But whenever we ask him to make an appearance, he does it not because he has to do it, but because he wants to do it. He understands at the end of the day that, an expression I often use is, we have 22 young men playing sandlot football without our fans.

So Smitty understands how important it is to support our community. I’m thrilled with him for all of those reasons. When you hired Thomas Dimitroff to be the team’s general manager, he came here with a strong scouting background but little if any front office experience. How would you grade him after two years as the team’s GM? BLANK: I would grade him very highly. I think he’s done a really fine job when you look at the quality of our draft the last three years he’s been involved, I think it’s been excellent. We’ve had a couple injuries with the first couple picks last year, as you know, but our first-year players have largely played up to our expectations. I think Thomas works extremely well with the coaches. When building the roster, it’s very, very important that they both see things more or less the same way. (Team President) Rich McKay has been very helpful to Thomas with contract negotiations and things of that nature. One of the keys to success in the NFL is to keep your general manager and your head coach and coaching staff intact and your personnel department intact. They draft, they get free agents, they build the roster over a period of time. We get to see you a lot during the regular season games, but what is your routine like during training camp? BLANK: We spend the majority

of our summer, as you know, at our ranch in Montana. I come back in July and I’ll try to attend about half of our practices at camp. I do it to get my own sense of evaluation, but it’s primarily to show support for our coaches and our players, to get to know the rookies, and even veterans again, and spend some time with them and talk about their lives and their careers, etc. I’ll spend some time with our fans and our staff. So it’s an important time for me to get my own personal pulse of the organization and team and where we are and to be responsive to anybody who needs me. More and more fans are coming up to Flowery Branch to watch camp, and over the last couple of years, you have made some great strides in getting more people up there. Again, talk about how important that is for the organization to put a lot of resources behind it. What can fans expect this year at Flowery Branch? BLANK: We brought camp back to Flowery Branch in 2005, and that turned out to be a wonderful decision for the organization and for Atlanta and for our fans. The whole notion was to bring it back to be closer to the fans and families and make it easier for them to connect with the team and players. Each year we’ve tried to improve upon the fan experience and I don’t think this year will be an exception. What’s a little different this year is that we’re going to have some joint practices which we haven’t had at

our facility in the past. We have three practices this year that are open to the public, two with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the 9th and 10th (of August), and one with the Patriots on the 17th. One of the things that you’ve done that has been a huge hit has been the scrimmage at the high school. You held it at Mill Creek two years ago, last year at Brookwood and this year’s is going to be at North Gwinnett. We can expect more than 10,000 fans there. This event has to be really exciting for you guys. BLANK: It is exciting, IJ. It’s a scrimmage, coaches wear mics, there are fireworks after the scrimmage even though it’s not July 4, and it’s all free. Smitty is very hands-on with this event. It was actually his idea originally. In one of our meetings with (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell we talked about this and he was so excited about it he was going to try to attend this year but won’t be able to do that. I think it’s an idea that he would like to see us document more of and share around the league. I think it’s a great way to have our players get connected with their roots, and it’s a wonderful way to give back to the community in a different setting. The players enjoy playing a game on a Friday night. It reminds them of their games in high school. And the fans appreciate it and the atmosphere is really electric. I’m looking forward to it. Every year I end with this question: what are your expectations for the Falcons on the field in 2010? BLANK: I can’t tell you what our record is going to be because I don’t know what our record is going to be. I will tell you that I’m going to be disappointed if the team isn’t better than last year. There’s no question our quarterback is going to be better, and our coaching staff has been together for three years with a couple exceptions. We’ve continued to draft well over a three-year period of time. We continue to make great moves in free agency. We continue to put more and more on the players in terms of their opportunities, in terms of the playbook on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. So I think we have the leadership in place. The team is becoming more and more cohesive. I think people throughout the building are thinking more about championships and less about winning a game. They understand that while I appreciate the backto-back winning seasons, I’m really into rings and trophies and not for myself, but really for Atlanta. So my expectations are for our team to be better, that we compete and compete hard, and I’d be disappointed if our record isn’t better than last year.


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FALCONS OFFENSE QB

Matt Ryan (No. 2, 6-4, 220) — The 25-year-old Exton, Penn., native again put up solid numbers in his second season (2,916 yards, 22 TD, 14 INT) after a sensational rookie year in 2008. The former Boston College Eagle will look to lead Atlanta to its second playoff appearance in three years. Backups: Chris Redman (No. 8, 6-3, 221) — Redman, an eight-year veteran out of Louisville, started two games for Atlanta last year in Ryan’s absence, completing 58 percent of his passes. The veteran backup led the Falcons to a comeback win over Tampa Bay in 2009. … John Parker Wilson (No. 4, 6-2, 211) — The former Crimson Tide signal-caller was picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and did well enough to make the squad. Wilson served as the second-string quarterback in Weeks 13 and 14.

RB

Michael Turner (No. 33, 5-10, 244) — Despite missing five games due to injury, Turner rushed for 871 yards (4.9 ypc) and 10 touchdowns in 2009. The former Northern Illinois Huskies star must stay healthy in order to return to his 2008 Pro Bowl form. Backups: Jerious Norwood (No. 32, 5-11, 209) — Norwood played in 10 games for the Falcons last season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. … Jason Snelling (No. 44, 5-11, 229) — Snelling, a powerful runner out of Virginia, filled in well for Turner, rushing for 613 yards in 14 games. ... Antone Smith (No. 35, 5-9, 190) — Smith starred at Florida State in college. … Dimitri Nance (No. 30, 5-10, 218) — Nance led Arizona State in rushing the past two seasons.

FB

Ovie Mughelli (No. 34, 6-1, 252) — A punishing blocker, Mughelli started in seven games last year after paving the way for Michael Turner’s 1,600-yard campaign in 2008. The Wake Forest grad excels on special teams as well as in the running game. Backups: Dan Klecko (No. 49, 5-11, 275) — Klecko is the son of legendary defensive lineman Joe Klecko, who started for the New York Jets. Klecko played college ball at Temple before being drafted by New England in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. As backup fullback for the Patriots, Klecko played for two Super Bowl championship teams. The native of Chester, Penn., has logged time as both a defensive tackle and a fullback in the NFL.

TE

Tony Gonzalez (No. 88, 6-5, 251) — The 14-year veteran out of Cal became one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets as he finished second on the team last year with 83 receptions for 867 yards and six touchdowns. Gonzalez is known as one of the best tight ends in NFL history. Backups: Justin Peelle (No. 87, 6-4, 250) — Peelle, a former Oregon Duck, started eight games for the Falcons last year and caught 12 passes for 115 yards. … Keith Zinger (No. 89, 6-4, 268) — The Leesville, La., native is an excellent run blocker and played in 15 games last year after spending 2008 on the practice squad. … Michael Palmer (No. 81, 6-5, 260) and Colin Peek (No. 47, 6-6, 255) — Both are rookie free-agent acquisitions.

WR

Roddy White (No. 84, 6-0, 208) — White, a native of James Island, S.C., continued his Pro Bowl-caliber play with a team-high 85 catches, 1,153 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns last season. The UAB product should see fewer double teams with Harry Douglas’ healthy return. Backups: Eric Weems (No. 14, 5-9, 191) — The speedy Bethune-Cookman product made a major impact on special teams for Atlanta, averaging 25.3 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return. … Andy Strickland (No. 15, 6-0, 187) — The Falcons signed this Aiken, S.C., native to the practice squad in 2009 after a productive career at Wofford. … Brandyn Harvey (No. 17, 6-4, 205) and Tim Buckley (No. 16, 6-1, 185) — Both are rookie free-agent acquisitions.

LT

Sam Baker (No. 72, 6-5, 312) — The Southern California product is blossoming into one of the league’s best tackles. The former Trojan was co-offensive lineman of the year his senior year in college. Baker was drafted by Atlanta in the first round of the 2008 draft. As a rookie, Baker helped pave the way for the Falcons’ dynamic rushing attack, which averaged 152.7 yards per game. The Tustin, Calif., native has started 19 games in his two years with the team. Backups: Will Svitek (No. 74, 6-6, 300) — Atlanta signed the versatile five-year veteran away from Kansas City in 2009, and the Stanford grad made 13 appearances with two starts. He was part of the 2006 Chiefs offensive line that paved the way for running back Larry Johnson, who rushed for almost 1,800 yards on the year along with 17 touchdowns.

LG

Justin Blalock (No. 63, 6-4, 333) — The former All-American out of Texas started 14 games at right guard his rookie season before switching to the left side in 2008, where he has started all 32 contests since. Blaylock started on the Falcons’ 2007 offensive line as a rookie. Backups: Quinn Ojinnaka (No. 76, 6-5, 305) — A Seabrook, Md., native, the 26-year-old has appeared in 39 games and started in 12 in his four seasons with Atlanta. Playing only on special teams in 2008, Ojinnaka rebounded to start five games last season at guard. Ojinnaka was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 draft out of Syracuse. … Jose Valdez (No. 65, 6-6, 310) — The second-year man signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent and did not appear in a game last year.

C

Todd McClure (No. 62, 6-1, 301) —The 12-year veteran out of LSU has started 134 of 136 games at center in his career with Atlanta and has paved the way for 1,000-yard rushers in five different seasons (Jamaal Anderson in 2000, Warrick Dunn in 2004-06 and Michael Turner in 2008). Backups: Brett Romberg (No. 66, 6-2, 298) — After 18 starts in six seasons with Jacksonville and St. Louis, Romberg played in nine games for Atlanta last year. … Joe Hawley (No. 61, 6-3, 297) — The Falcons’ fourth-round selection this year started in 33 games at UNLV. … Blake Schlueter (No. 69, 6-2, 279) — Schlueter joins Atlanta after a stint in Denver. … Rob Bruggeman (No. 67, 6-4, 293) — A former Iowa Hawkeye.

RG

Harvey Dahl (No. 73, 6-5, 308) — Widely known as one of the NFL’s most aggressive players, the Nevada product was signed off the San Francisco practice squad in 2007 and quickly inserted himself into the starting lineup, earning 27 starts the past two years. A four year veteran, Dahl was signed by Atlanta in 2007, then helped the 2008 unit set a franchise record of allowing just 17 sacks on the year. Backups: Mike Johnson (No. 79, 6-5, 312) — The two-time All-American at Alabama is an intelligent blocker and could see action his rookie season. Johnson was a solid contributor for Alabama last season helping Mark Ingram win the Heisman Trophy and the Tide win the national championship.

RT

Tyson Clabo (No. 77, 6-6, 332) — Another practice squad veteran, the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon joined Atlanta’s active roster in 2006 and has started 53 games at right tackle, including all 32 the last two seasons. Clabo has seen time on several NFL teams, including Denver, New York Giants and San Diego, and played in NFL Europe for the Hamburg Sea Devils. In 2005, he was picked up by Atlanta, where he has become a steady and reliable lineman. Claybo has also seen starting time at both guard positions during his time with the Falcons. Backups: Garrett Reynolds (No. 75, 6-7, 310) — The massive UNC product impressed in limited action at tackle (four games) during his rookie season.

WR

Michael Jenkins (No. 12, 6-4, 215) — The former Ohio State Buckeye caught 50 passes, including one touchdown, in Mike Mularkey’s offense last season. Backups: Harry Douglas (No. 83, 6-0, 182) — A Jonesboro, Ga. native, Douglas had an amazing rookie season (23 catches, 320 yards) before going down with an ACL tear prior to his second season. … Troy Bergeron (No. 11, 6-2, 195) — After a productive career with the Georgia Force, the Columbus, Ga., native spent 2009 on the Falcons’ practice squad. … Brian Finneran (No. 86, 6-5, 206) — Finneran continues to be a solid blocker and veteran leader for Atlanta. … Kerry Meier (No. 80, 6-2, 224) and Ryan Wolfe (No. 19, 6-2, 210) Meier and Wolfe are both rookies.

K

Matt Bryant (No. 3, 5-9, 200) — Atlanta signed Bryant, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, during the 2009 season. The Baylor product has made 145 of 178 career kicks (81.5 percent), including seven of 10 last season in five games for Atlanta. Despite holding kickoff duties with previous NFL teams, Bryant will not kick off for the Falcons. The Orange, Texas, native has kicked for the New York Giants, Indianapolis, Miami and Tampa Bay. Backups: Steve Hauschka (No. 6, 6-4, 210) — The North Carolina State product has made 10 of 15 career field goals and 27 of 28 extra points in the NFL. Hauschka has also played for Baltimore and Minnesota during his professional career.

KR

Eric Weems (No. 14, 5-9, 191) — A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Weems handled kickoff return duties for the Falcons last season, totaling 1,214 return yards. He averaged a solid 25.3 yards per return and will likely handle those duties again this season. Also a punt returner, Weems tallied 270 yards last season. Weems was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Bethune-Cookman in 2007. … Jerious Norwood will be the other return man. The Mississippi State product has accumulated 2,987 kickoff return yards thus far in his career, the third-best total in franchise history. He also has a 25.5-yard career return average, which is second in franchise history. Norwood was a third-round draft choice by the Falcons in 2007.


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FALCONS DEFENSE DE

John Abraham (No. 55, 6-4, 266) — At his best, Abraham is a sack machine who routinely draws a double team from opposing offensive lines. In 2008, Abraham broke the Falcons’ single-season sack record with 16.5. The 11-year pro totaled 5.5 sacks last season. Abraham played college ball at South Carolina. Backups: Kroy Biermann (No. 71, 6-3, 260) — Biermann developed into a solid rotation player last season. He’s an underrated pass rusher who will come up with a big play when it is least expected. … Lawrence Sidbury (No. 90, 6-3, 265) — The former Richmond Spider will be especially dangerous on passing downs, as he is quick off the edge. Sidbury returned a fumble 11 yards for a score last year.

DT

Peria Jerry (No. 94, 6-2, 290) — Jerry was the team’s 2009 No. 1 draft pick, and will look to dominate the interior of the line. A space eater in the middle, he showed a knack to get into the backfield and force a loss at Ole Miss. Backups: Thomas Johnson (No. 93, 6-2, 305) — Johnson made some plays when called on last season, and will certainly see time as Atlanta rotates its front four. Johnson tallied 20 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble last year. … Vance Walker (No. 99, 6-2, 293) — The Georgia Tech alum started one game last season and played in 10.

DT

Jonathan Babineaux (No. 95, 6-2, 288) — Babineaux has turned into a solid contributor, making 58 tackles last year. He also led the team in sacks with six and had two forced fumbles. Backups: Trey Lewis (No. 97, 6-3, 323) — After suffering a devastating knee injury in 2008, Lewis returned to the field last season. Now he will fight for a spot on the roster. … Corey Peters (No. 91, 6-3, 295) — A massive rookie picked by Atlanta in the third round, Peters will fight for playing time with a host of other defensive linemen. The Kentucky product is a solid run-stopper.

DE

Jamaal Anderson (No. 98, 6-6, 283) — A former first-round draft pick from Arkansas, Anderson will get the starting nod this season. Over the past year, Anderson has been playing defensive tackle as well and may rotate in along with Babineaux and Jerry. Backups: Chauncey Davis (No. 92, 6-3, 274) Davis was very productive last year, finishing fourth on the team in sacks with four. ... Emmanuel Stephens (No. 96, 6-3, 255) — The rookie free agent amassed 40 tackles over two seasons at Ole Miss. … Rajon Henley (No. 64, 6-3, 244) — The undrafted rookie joins the Falcons after notching a career high in sacks at Texas Tech in 2009.

OLB

Stephen Nicholas (No. 54, 6-3, 232) — Nicholas won the starting job last year and performed admirably in that role. A University of South Florida alum, Nicholas started 13 games last season, saw action in all 16 games and had three sacks and 80 tackles. Backups: Sean Weatherspoon (No. 56, 6-1, 239) — Weatherspoon was drafted in the first round to fill a hole at linebacker, and has the credentials to play right away. He was a highlyproductive player in college and continued to impress in pre-draft workouts. … Spencer Adkins (No. 59, 5-11, 246) — The former Miami Hurricane played sparingly in five games last season and accumulated three tackles. Adkins will look to contribute at linebacker and special teams in 2010.

MLB

Curtis Lofton (No. 50, 6-0, 248) — The former Oklahoma Sooner has quietly turned into one of the top inside linebackers around. He’s a monster in the middle where he has become a tackling machine that makes life difficult for opposing backfields. Look for him to snag a spot in the 2010 Pro Bowl. Backups: Robert James (No. 51, 5-11, 218) — James has been on the roster the past two seasons, but playing time is fleeting behind Lofton. … Bear Woods (No. 45, 6-0, 245) — Woods’ non-stop motor will help him challenge James for the role of Lofton’s understudy.

OLB

Mike Peterson (No. 53, 6-1, 238) — The 12-year veteran started the 2009 season with a bang and ended up with 140 tackles, second-most on the team. Over his career, Peterson has totaled more than 1,500 tackles. Peterson has also played for the Colts and Jaguars during his career. Backups: Coy Wire (No. 52, 6-0, 228) — The coaches love using Wire on passing downs, as the Stanford grad is very effective in coverage. Wire has been the special teams captain for the Falcons the last two years. … Weston Johnson (No. 43, 6-3, 233) — Johnson was a fantastic player at Wyoming. He had 106 tackles, 13 of them for losses, and three interceptions last year.

LCB

Dunta Robinson (No. 23, 5-10, 182) — No offseason acquisition may be more important than Robinson, who is one of the best corners in the NFL. A steady player with a great resume, Robinson should go a long way in making the Falcons’ secondary one of the best in the league. The Athens native has totaled 13 interceptions and four sacks during his seven-year career. Backups: Christopher Owens (No. 21, 5-9, 181) — Owens showed flashes of brilliance during the 2009 season, and could see some time in nickel or dime situations. … Chevis Jackson (No. 22, 5-11, 185) — Jackson made several crucial plays his rookie year, and is an excellent option for the dime package. The LSU product totaled 29 tackles in 15 games last season.

RCB

Brian Williams (No. 29, 5-11, 202) — Williams is recovering from a knee injury and gives Atlanta a second reliable corner opposite Robinson. The nine-year veteran out of N.C. State has played in 107 games and has nabbed 18 interceptions in his career. Backups: Brent Grimes (No. 20, 5-10, 185) — Grimes stepped up last season to make six picks. He’ll be used largely in nickel situations. … Dominique Franks (No. 24, 5-11, 194) — Franks could see significant playing time in his rookie year out of Oklahoma. Due to his supreme athleticism, he might also be called upon to return kicks. Franks was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

S

Thomas DeCoud (No. 28, 6-2, 205) — DeCoud was a pleasant surprise last year after stepping into the starting role. He made a career-high 113 tackles, grabbed three interceptions and forced two fumbles, showing he could get it done in a variety of ways. With an improved secondary, expect DeCoud to have even better numbers in 2010. Backups: Matt Giordano (No. 27, 5-11, 200) — A member of the 2007 Colts Super Bowl champions, Giordano provides quality depth at safety. Giordano has totaled 79 tackles and three interceptions in 60 career games. … Shann Schillinger (No. 39, 6-0, 202) — The sixth rounder was under the radar at Montana, but has the size and speed to develop into a solid special teams player as a rookie.

S

Erik Coleman (No. 26, 5-10, 206)) — Coleman is a big hitter with seven years experience and led the secondary with 139 tackles in 2009. Coleman has started 32 games since joining the club in 2008. Backups: William Moore (No. 25, 6-0, 218) — Moore, a product of the University of Missouri, saw action on special teams as a rookie before being sidelined by an injury. … Rafael Bush (No. 36, 5-11, 195) — The athletic Bush scored three times last year at South Carolina State. … Gabe Derricks (No. 38, 6-3, 202) — He’s got the size, but he will have to really impress in training camp to make the team.

P

Michael Koenen (No. 9, 5-11, 199) — Koenen has become one of the games’ top punters, and a legitimate weapon in crunch time as he has consistently excelled in pinning opponents deep in their own territory. His booming leg also allows him to take kickoffs, and he’s no stranger to making a tackle either. Last season, he averaged 42.6 yards per punt and had 18 punts go inside the 20. Koenen set a franchise record with five touchbacks against Carolina last season. The Texas A&M product also serves as the team’s kickoff specialist. He helped the Falcons finish second in the league in 2007 and 2008 in average opponent’s field position following a kickoff. He also helped the team set an NFL record in 2008 with 49 total punt return yards by opponents.

PR

Eric Weems (No. 14, 5-9, 191) — Weems was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and has blossomed into a dangerous return man. Last season, Weems returned 27 punts for 270 return yards. The Bethune-Cookman product also caught two touchdown passes last season at wide receiver. Backups: Harry Douglas (No. 83, 6-0, 182) — During his rookie season, Douglas was a revelation returning punts, including a 61-yard touchdown return against Carolina. It was Atlanta’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2004. During his rookie season, Douglas was named NFC Special Teams player of the week after his performance against the Panthers.


T h e 2 0 1 0 A t l a n ta F a l c o n s T r a i n i n g Ca m p G u i d e

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff enters training camp after an offseason that saw the Falcons sign free agent Dunta Robinson and select seven draft picks. Now entering his third season, Dimitroff expects to see the team he built reach new heights. I.J. Rosenberg sat down with the GM just before training camp. The signing of Dunta Robinson is huge for the secondary. How competitive was the market for him and why do you think he chose Atlanta over other teams? THOMAS DIMITROFF: Dunta was a very important acquisition for us this season. He adds an element of skill, leadership and competitiveness that we value a great deal here in Atlanta. There were other teams involved who were coveting him as a potential player for their team. The idea that Dunta could come back to the area that he’s from, play in front of an Atlanta crowd and a hometown crowd was something that was very attractive to him. Not to mention the idea of playing for a head coach like Mike Smith and a coaching staff that truly believes in treating these players like men and respecting their abilities at all levels. Heading into the OTAs you were sort of unsure which side of the field he would play. Has that been determined yet? DIMITROFF: He’ll be playing both sides of the field. It’s completely contingent on situations and the scheme going into each week. That’ll be determined as we go forward. You’ve signed most of your draft picks so far. Is “signability” something you focus on when evaluating potential draftees? DIMITROFF: It’s always something we contemplate. We know who the agents are for the respective players we have drafted. We realize in the very end, the slotting system will dictate a fairly expeditious signing and rarely are we concerned that we’re not going to have our players on the field at the beginning of training camp. We’ve been very fortunate here. Everyone has been signed here since the beginning of 2008 and we don’t see there being any issues going forward for this class. What areas do you think the team needs to improve on heading into this season?

DIMITROFF: A big focus for us is, we feel like we continue to add depth at all positions and we feel quite comfortable with every position on the field. We know, as a team, that we need to continue to be more consistent at so many levels, and you combine the element of consistency with our past mantra of urgency and speed and we truly believe that we will continue to move toward being a perennial playoff contender.

Head Coach Mike Smith enters his third season at the helm after compiling a 2012 record, including the franchise’s first back-to-back winning seasons. With healthy stars like Matt Ryan and Michael Turner returning, the expectations for 2010 are high. Score Atlanta publisher I.J. Rosenberg spoke with Smith prior to training camp.

What are some things you look for in training camp?

How do you prepare for training camp?

DIMITROFF: I step out on the field and I really try to determine the level of focus, the level of passion, the level of — as odd as this may sound — the level of enjoyment of the football players because I want to make sure our team is fresh and driven to continue to improve at every stage on the football field whether it’s in the pass game, the run game or on special teams. I take a very macro look and approach to my training camp views on the practice field. Did you feel you met the team’s needs in the draft? DIMITROFF: I feel we definitely met our team needs in the draft. We aimed to improve our pass defense. We feel that we’ve done that with the drafting of Sean Weatherspoon but also the drafting of Corey Peters. Though he’s not a college addition, Dunta Robinson has really affected what we do on our defense and how we accomplish things in our pass defense. And quite often, we look at our free-agent signings as a part of our draft. So that was very important for us. That, as well as the addition of a couple offensive linemen that will continue to add depth to a very solid offensive line. And sprinkling in a couple skill players that we really feel have a chance at the roster on this team. We feel very comfortable where we are in our direction as it pertains to this year’s draft. What are your expectations for the 2010 season? DIMITROFF: I think expectations … they should be high. This is a good football team in my mind with some very solid talent at every position. Our goal is to move ourselves into being significant in this league and being a perennial playoff contender.

MIKE SMITH: Through the entire offseason, we have been spending time evaluating everything that we do, schematically and logistically. Right after the draft, we start planning every minute of our training camp. We have 1,457 snaps that will be scripted this training camp that our players will run. (There are) certain situations that we definitely have to emphasize, but all of the periods of training camp have been set. When we leave out of here for vacation, we have everything done, so when training camp arrives we’re not spending time with our script and our planning. We have it in a box, and we pull that box out and we get going. What areas do you think the Falcons need to improve upon the most? SMITH: Well, I think that one of the areas as an entire team — whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams — that we have to improve on is that we have to become more consistent. When I say consistent, I mean from play to play, from day to day, and from game to game. I don’t believe, as a football team last year, we were as consistent as we needed to be. That has been one of the points that we as a coaching staff have addressed with our team. We have to become more consistent as a coaching staff as well. I think that you’ll see lots of areas of improvement. I think we’ve added a lot of players over the last three years that are going to give our fans a chance to see a very productive football team. The offensive line is returning all five starters for the first time since you’ve been here. That’s gotta be nice.

Smith: Yes, that unit, I think, has been very, very consistent for us but to have five returning starters to open up holes in our running game and to protect our quarterback is very, very important. I think they are a very underrated unit. There are no “superstars” on that line, but as a unit they play as well as anybody in the National Football League. They set a record last year for the number of sacks given up per pass attempt and, of course, they have been very effective running the ball. They are the attitude setter for our offense. We’ve said from the very beginning that you have to win the line of scrimmage, and to win the line of scrimmage you’ve got to be able to move people off the line. Our five offensive linemen are at the core of that. With the Saints winning the Super Bowl last year, does that motivate your team at all? SMITH: I think anytime you start a season, the division champion, regardless of how they finished the previous year in the postseason, they’re the team to beat. With the Saints winning the Lombardi Trophy last season, it will motivate not only the Atlanta Falcons, but every team that plays them. We’re very familiar with them, they’re very familiar with us, and I have found out very quickly in my two years here that that is probably the biggest rival game that we have on our schedule. I know that they spend a lot of extra time preparing for us, and we spent a lot of time this offseason preparing for them. What are your expectations for 2010? SMITH: We have very high expectations in terms of what we want to do, but we’ve always talked internally about our goals. The thing that I can say is that our guys are going to come out each and every day, work hard and do everything in our power to put the best team out there on the field. Our goals that we’ve set are something that we want to keep internal, but this is a group of men who know how to work and know how to have fun. I think they are going to come out and play very, very well in 2010.


T h e 2 0 1 0 A t l a n ta F a l c o n s T r a i n i n g Ca m p G u i d e

Atlanta Falcons 2010

Regular Season Schedule

Compiled By Brian Penter

Sept. 12 1:00 p.m. FOX Sept. 19 1:00 p.m. FOX Sept. 26 1:00 p.m. FOX

@ Pittsburgh Heinz Stadium Pittsburgh, PA

vs. Arizona Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

@ New Orleans

The Falcons open the 2010 season in the Steel City, where Pittsburgh will surely be anxious to get back on the field after a long offseason. Ben Roethlisberger will begin a six-game suspension, which means QB Byron Leftwich will likely get the start. The Steelers will be without last year’s leading receiver, Santonio Holmes, after trading him to the Jets. The Arizona Cardinals come to the Dome for the 2010 home opener. Former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart takes over the reigns at QB after Kurt Warner’s retirement. He’ll be without WR Anquan Boldin (84 rec.), but still has all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald (13 TD catches) to play catch with. These two teams last played in the 2008 NFC wildcard game, which the Cardinals won 30-24 in overtime. The Falcons’ first divisional game is a road trip to New Orleans for a matchup of the defending Super Bowl Champs. Drew Brees will once

Louisiana Superdome again pilot the high-flying Saints offense, which led the league in scoring at nearly 32 points per contest last season. Safety Darren Sharper returns New Orleans, LA to lead an excellent defense.

Oct. 3 1:00 p.m. FOX

vs. San Francisco

Oct. 10 1:00 p.m. FOX

@ Cleveland

Atlanta heads north in Week 5 to take on the new-look Cleveland Browns. A familiar face will be leading the Browns’ offense, as former division Cleveland Browns Stadium rival Jake Delhomme takes over at quarterback. Matt Ryan will look to attack a young Cleveland secondary, which could have two rookie starters Cleveland, OH in CB Joe Haden and FS T.J. Ward.

Oct. 17 1:00 p.m. FOX

Lincoln Financial Field He’ll look for big-play receiver DeSean Jackson. Former Falcons’ star Michael Vick threw and ran for a touchdown in last year’s meeting, a 34-7 Philadelphia, PA Eagles win in Atlanta.

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

@ Philadelphia

Oct. 24 1:00 p.m. CBS

vs. Cincinnati

Nov. 7 1:00 p.m. FOX

vs. Tampa Bay

Nov. 11 8:20 p.m. NFLN

vs. Baltimore

Nov. 21 4:05 p.m. FOX

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

@ St. Louis Edward Jones Dome St. Louis, MO

Head coach Mike Singletary brings his San Francisco 49ers to the Dome in Week 4. The 49ers will try to pound the ball on the ground behind Frank Gore (1,120 rush yards in ’09). San Francisco’s passing attack is led by NFL Combine legend TE Vernon Davis (13 TD rec in ’09) and WR Michael Crabtree. The Falcons travelled to the Bay Area last season and dominated the Niners 45-10.

The City of Brotherly Love plays host to the Falcons in Week 6. With Donovan McNabb gone, Kevin Kolb is handed the keys to the Eagles’ offense.

The 2009 AFC North Champs come to town in Week 7. The Bengals are led by an offensive trio of Carson Palmer (3,094 pass yds in ’09), Cedric Benson (1,251 rush yards), and Chad Ochocinco (1,047 rec yards). The Bengals also boast one of the league’s best defenses, yielding just 301 yards per game in ’09. Atlanta will look to extend its three-game winning streak over their divisional rivals from the south. The Bucs are looking to improve on their 3-13 record from last season. To do that, second-year QB Josh Freeman will need to improve his touchdown-interception ratio (10:18 in ’09). Cadillac Williams leads the Bucs’ ground game. The second half of the season begins with a visit from John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens added a new target for third-year QB Joe Flacco in WR Anquan Boldin. Michael Oher moves to the blind side, after playing right tackle in his rookie season. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will once again anchor a veteran defense. The Falcons’ defense should be licking their chops when they head to St. Louis to take on rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, the expected starter after Marc Bulger’s departure. The Rams were the worst team in the NFL last year, winning just a single game and scoring an NFL-worst 10.5 points per game. The Falcons defeated their former NFC West rivals 31-27 in 2008, the last meeting between the two teams.

Nov. 28 1:00 p.m. FOX

vs. Green Bay

Dec. 5 1:00 p.m. FOX

@ Tampa Bay

The Falcons get another shot at the young Bucs in Week 13. Last year, Atlanta won 20-10 in Tampa Bay in the final week of the season to earn Raymond James Stadium their first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. Number 2 overall pick Gerald McCoy could be the anchor of the Bucs’ defensive Tampa Bay, FL line by this point in the season.

Dec. 12 1:00 p.m. FOX

Bank of America Stadium the Panthers on the road last season, the Falcons lost 28-19, in part to Matt Ryan’s two interceptions. Muhsin Muhammad hurt the Falcons in the air Charlotte, NC with 91 receiving yards.

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

@ Carolina

Dec. 19 4:00 p.m. FOX

@ Seattle

Dec. 27 8:30 p.m. ESPN

vs. New Orleans

Jan. 2 1:00 p.m. FOX

vs. Carolina

Qwest Field Seattle, WA

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA

Aaron Rodgers and a high-powered Packers offense provide a tough Week 12 matchup. Behind Rodgers (4,434 pass yds in ’09), the Packers were the thirdhighest scoring team in the NFL at nearly 29 points per game. Defensively, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk lead a talented defense. In the last meeting, the Falcons beat the Packers 27-24 on the “Frozen Tundra” in 2008.

Matt Moore is the Panthers’ projected starting quarterback, but if he struggles, we could see rookie Jimmy Clausen at the helm. Despite outgaining

Matt Ryan leads the Falcons to Qwest Field in Week 15 for a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks and new head coach Pete Carroll. Matt Hasselbeck enters his tenth season as the Seahawks’ starter, looking to bounce back after a 5-11 campaign in 2009. He’ll welcome talented rookies OT Russell Okung and WR Golden Tate to an offense that struggled last season. The Super Bowl champs come to the Georgia Dome in the Falcons’ only Monday Night game of the season. This will likely be the biggest matchup of the season, with the NFC South championship potentially being on the line. The Saints won a tight game in Atlanta last year, when LB Jonathan Vilma stuffed RB Jason Snelling on a late 4th-and-2 in Saints’ territory. The regular-season finale brings the division rival Panthers to town in what the Falcons hope to be a final tune-up for the approaching playoffs. The Panthers’ offense will be led by two 1,000-yard rushers in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Falcons will look to win the game on the ground, as the Panthers’ pass defense was fourth-best in the NFL last season.


T h e 2 0 1 0 A t l a n ta F a l c o n s T r a i n i n g Ca m p G u i d e

Rise Up Atlanta

G

et ready to “Rise Up’’, Falcons fans! That is the rallying cry for the team’s new marketing campaign. Fans will be seeing it on billboards, in television and radio spots, in newspaper ads and all over the internet. “It’s more than a marketing campaign, it’s a movement,’’ said Jim Smith, the team’s chief marketing officer. “We want the fans, the team, the community and the players to all ‘rise up’ together to

win a Super Bowl.’’ The campaign includes some very creative radio spots about individual players as well as television commercials emceed by movie star and tough guy Samuel L. Jackson. The spots with Jackson were filmed with a local choir at the Georgia Dome. “Samuel L. Jackson does a great job of bringing everyone together,’’ Smith said. So “Rise Up’’ everyone.

NEW FALCONS 2010 NFL DRAFT PICKS ... OLB Sean Weatherspoon Drafted: First Round, Pick No. 19. College: Missouri The Skinny: Weatherspoon will help the Atlanta defense cover tight ends and backs. DT Corey Peters Drafted: Third Round, Pick No. 83. College: Kentucky The Skinny: Peters was a three-year starter at Kentucky. OL Mike Johnson Drafted: Third Round, Pick No. 98. College: Alabama The Skinny: Johnson played both guard and tackle in college. OL Joe Hawley Drafted: Fourth Round, Pick No. 117. College: UNLV The Skinny: Hawley started at both guard and center at UNLV. CB Dominique Franks Drafted: Fifth Round, Pick No. 135. College: Oklahoma

The Skinny: Franks is a speedy corner who has the size to play. WR Kerry Meier Drafted: Fifth Round, Pick No. 165. College: Kansas The Skinny: Meier set a KU school record for career receptions with 226. S Shann Schillinger Drafted: Sixth Round, Pick No. 171. College: Montana The Skinny: Schillinger is a speedy safety who had 10 interceptions in college.

FREE-AGENT SIGNEE …

CB Dunta Robinson The Skinny: He played with the Houston Texans during his first six NFL seasons.

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS …

WR Tim Buckley, S Rafael Bush, S Gabe Derricks, WR Brandyn Harvey, LB Weston Johnson, RB Dimitri Nance, TE Michael Palmer, TE Colin Peek, DE Emmanuel Stephens, WR Ryan Wolfe and LB Bear Woods.


Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Guide 2010  

Training Camp Guide for the fans during the Falcons training camp in Flowery Branch. Includes feature articles, interviews, photos, roster,...

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