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

Kapri BibbsOct 23 07:02p

The Denver Broncos have declared OG Ben Garland, RB Kapri Bibbs, OT Michael Schofield, DL Mitch Unrein, RB Montee Ball, S Omar Bolden, LB Steven Johnson inactive for Week 8.

Manti Te'oOct 23 07:02p

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Steve Williams, RB Ryan Mathews, CB Brandon Flowers, RB Donald Brown, LB Manti Te'o, LBs Jeremiah Attaochu and Cordarro Law inactive for Week 8.

Perry RileyOct 23 05:49p

Washington Redskins LB Perry Riley (knee) will start as soon as he is healthy enough to do so, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

John SullivanOct 23 05:46p

Minnesota Vikings C John Sullivan (concussion) is still in the testing phase to be cleared for a concussion, but he has not been cleared to this point. Head coach [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 23 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (bicep) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps), [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 23 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 23. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 23 05:42p

Chicago Bears DE Jared Allen (rest), S Danny McCray (knee) and WR Chris Williams (illness) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LBs Lance Briggs (ribs), Jonathan Bostic (back), CB [ More ]

Quentin GrovesOct 23 05:42p

Tennessee Titans LB Quentin Groves (ankle) and CB Coty Sensabaugh (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. DE Ropati Pitoitua (hand) and TE Taylor Thompson (knee) were limited.

Zach MettenbergerOct 23 05:34p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger has been named the starting quarterback for Week 8, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Jake Locker will serve as the backup quarterback.

Sharrif FloydOct 23 05:32p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia) and S Antone Exum (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring), C John Sullivan (concussion), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 23 05:32p

New York Jets OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 23 05:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), FS Dashon Goldson (ankle) and CB Keith Tandy [ More ]

Daryl SmithOct 23 05:22p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) and LB Daryl Smith (non-injury) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Colt McCoyOct 23 05:22p

Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy will start Week 8, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Josh McCownOct 23 05:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

Brandon ThompsonOct 23 04:52p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth (rest) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OG Clint Boling (rest) and CB Leon Hall (back) were limited, while TE Kevin Brock (neck), LB [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 23 04:52p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) sat out of practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 23.

Morgan BurnettOct 23 04:42p

Green Bay Packers S Morgan Burnett (calf) and CB Sam Shields (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. DE Datone Jones (ankle) was limited.

James StarksOct 23 04:42p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 23, after not practicing Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Thomas DavisOct 23 04:33p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), OG Nate Chandler (thigh), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner (knee) and RB Fozzy [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 23 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber (ankle) and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 23 04:22p

New Orleans RB Pierre Thomas (ribs, shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

R. Griffin IIIOct 23 04:22p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) is unlikely to be ready to play Monday, Oct. 27, against the Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden said [ More ]

Mario WilliamsOct 23 04:22p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and FS Aaron Williams (neck) were [ More ]

Rashad JohnsonOct 23 04:12p

Arizona Cardinals S Rashad Johnson (knee) underwent an MRI exam on his patellar tendon Monday, Oct. 20, that came back negative. Head coach Bruce Arians said Johnson is dealing with some tendonitis.

Jack CrawfordOct 23 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Jack Crawford (calf), OT Doug Free (foot) and S Jakar Hamilton (non-injury) all did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Bruce Carter (thigh) and DE Anthony [ More ]

Alan BallOct 23 04:02p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (biceps) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and is considered highly unlikely to play in Week 8, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Toby GerhartOct 23 03:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson will start at running back in Week 8 even if RB Toby Gerhart (foot) is active, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Gerhart will [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 23 03:32p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

John BoyettOct 23 03:32p

The Denver Broncos released FS John Boyett from their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 23.

Gosder CherilusOct 23 03:32p

Indianapolis Colts LB Erik Walden (rest) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23. TE Jack Doyle (knee) was limited during practice, while CB Darius Butler (ankle), OT Gosder [ More ]

Brice ButlerOct 23 03:22p

Oakland Raiders WR Brice Butler could receive more playing time moving forward after making a big play in each of the last two weeks. Butler said he has not [ More ]

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