2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons hoping for run support vs. Bucs RB Martin

    2012-11-23 16:37

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By GEORGE HENRY
Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - This might not be the best time for the Atlanta Falcons' defense to face Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin, not with Sean Weatherspoon, Asante Samuel and Peria Jerry nursing injuries.

It's Week 12 of the NFL season, though, and no team has a completely healthy roster.

The problem for Atlanta could be matchup issues against a Buccaneers offense that, over the last six weeks, leads the NFL with a 34.2 scoring average.

Without Weatherspon, Samuel and Jerry, the Falcons (9-1) would be missing starters at middle linebacker, left cornerback and nose tackle on Sunday at Tampa Bay (6-4).

Considering how well Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is syncing with receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, the Falcons still have one top priority - to stop Martin and prove that they're not as bad as the whopping 5.2 yards per carry they've allowed over the last two games.

Atlanta gave up runs of 40 and 52 yards to Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling in last week's narrow win at the Georgia Dome. In a loss two weeks ago at New Orleans, Chris Ivory broke off a 56-yard TD run.

``We've had a few more balls get on the second level of the defense, so the secondary has been challenged a little bit more,'' Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. ``That's a concern because they don't always come clean all of the time. Sometimes we miss some plays in the backfield, and that's concerning. But then when they get on the second level, a secondary's guy has a job to do. He's got to be a good tackler.''

Samuel, right-side starting cornerback Dunta Robinson and safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore have had mixed results in run support. Sometimes they knock ball carriers down, sometimes they whiff.

``Everybody gives up 5-, 10-yard gains,'' Nolan said. ``But when you're missing two and three tackles at 10 yards, and then they keep going, that's a concern.''

Martin will be the first running back Atlanta has faced this season that's been playing at an elite level for several weeks. The former Boise State standout has 1,019 yards from scrimmage over the last six games, helping him join Eric Dickerson (1983, Los Angeles Rams) and Edgerrin James (1999, Indianapolis) as the only rookies with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in a six-game span.

``He's a pretty powerful young guy running the ball,'' Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson said. ``I think he breaks a lot of tackles because of his size, so we're definitely going to have to gang tackle him and run to get to the ball.''

Atlanta coach Mike Smith was pleased that Weatherspoon and Samuel returned to practice Friday, even it was in a limited role.

Though Jerry misses his third straight practice with a quadriceps injury, all three starters are listed as questionable for Sunday. Reserve defensive tackle Vance Walker (ribs) is listed as questionable, too.

A right ankle sprain has sidelined Weatherspoon for the last three games. He returned to practice on Wednesday, but missed Thursday's session with an undisclosed illness.

Samuel is nursing a sore shoulder after he and Jerry were injured in last week's home win over Arizona.

Two other defensive starters, right end John Abraham (back) and Jonathan Babineaux (neck), are listed as probable after fully participating on Friday.

Containing Martin, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,000 yards rushing, won't be easy.

``He's a very good back,'' Nolan said. ``He reminds me a lot of (Ray) Rice at Baltimore. He's very comparable. He does a great job out of the backfield (catching passes) and does a great job in the backfield (running the football). He breaks a lot of tackles. He's sturdy. He's strong. He's tough. He runs hard. We're all very impressed with him.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow George Henry at http://www.twitter.com/georgehenryAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

Morgan BurnettJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) and SS Tanner Miller (undisclosed) are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Micah HydeJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is working with the first-team defense at strong safety beside FS Micah Hyde Thursday, July 31.

Lardarius WebbJul 31 09:23a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back), DE Brent Urban (knee), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), OG Will Rackley (concussion) and WR Jeremy Butler (undisclosed) are out of practice Thursday, July [ More ]

Terrell SuggsJul 31 09:03a

Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata and LB Daryl Smith are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Nate GarnerJul 31 08:53a

Miami Dolphins C Nate Garner is working with the first-team offense again Thursday, July 31, over C Shelley Smith.

A.J. HawkJul 31 01:53a

Green Bay Packers LB Brad Jones has been working ahead of LB A.J. Hawk as the lone linebacker in the dime defense in practice.

Matt CasselJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater saw reps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday, July 30. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, QB Matt Cassel appears to lead the [ More ]

Christian PonderJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder's reps were cut during practice Wednesday, July 30.

Josh GordonJul 30 11:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage III of the NFL's substance-abuse program, and a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension. For Gordon, only two options exist: [ More ]

Rod StreaterJul 30 11:43p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) participated in warmups and drills Wednesday, July 30, but he sat out team sessions. Streater suffered a concussion Monday, July 28, and has [ More ]

Joique BellJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he looked good cutting and accelerating with ease during [ More ]

Rob SimsJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions OG Rob Sims (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he held his own working against DT Nick Fairley [ More ]

Allen RobinsonJul 30 10:13p

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (and fellow rookie WR Marqise Lee) have seen plenty of opportunity at training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and [ More ]

Marqise LeeJul 30 10:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (and fellow rookie WR Allen Robinson) have seen more reps in training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and WR Ace Sanders (personal) sidelined. [ More ]

Carl NicksJul 30 08:03p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released OG Carl Nicks (toe) Wednesday, July 30, with an injury settlement.

David WilsonJul 30 06:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) tweeted that he is fine after leaving practice early Tuesday, July 29. Wilson said he passed all physical examinations and will find out more Monday, Aug. 3.

Jim LeonhardJul 30 05:53p

The Cleveland Browns signed SS Jim Leonhard (Bills) Wednesday, July 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Aldon SmithJul 30 04:43p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is not participating in practice Wednesday, July 30, as he attends a hearing at the Los Angeles City Attorney's office regarding an April [ More ]

Fred JacksonJul 30 04:13p

The Buffalo Bills have signed RB Fred Jackson to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jason GarrettJul 30 03:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) will undergo surgery for a broken foot Thursday, July 31, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

LaMichael JamesJul 30 03:03p

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James (elbow) will wear a brace on his dislocated elbow and should be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Brent UrbanJul 30 02:23p

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (leg) and DT Timmy Jernigan (back) appear to have suffered injuries during practice Wednesday, July 30. Urban was helped off the field after suffering the injury.

Tyron SmithJul 30 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith has agreed to terms with the team on an eight-year contract extension worth $98 million, according to a source.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group