2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Five things to know from Falcons-Titans

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-25 02:56

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans are busy trying to learn how to win games. The Atlanta Falcons are happy they have a couple more weeks left before the regular season.

Jake Locker played one of his best games yet, throwing for 133 yards and a touchdown in helping Tennessee beat the Falcons 27-16 Saturday night. The Titans (1-2) also showed some of the aggressive defense they've been honing with assistant coach Gregg Williams and coordinator Jerry Gray by sacking Matt Ryan five times.

The Falcons (0-3) remain winless this preseason with the finale Thursday night against Jacksonville. Preseason records don't matter once September begins, and Atlanta won 13 games last season to earn home-field throughout the NFC playoffs. Time now is of the essence for fine-tuning with the season opener Sept. 8 at New Orleans.

``We know what our number one goal is, and that's to be as prepared as we possibly can for the opening game there in New Orleans,'' Atlanta coach Mike Smith said.

Five things we learned:

1. WHO NEEDS TRAINING CAMP?: Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez rejoined the Falcons earlier this week after spending time with his family and watching videos of practice at night on his iPad. Ryan threw two passes to Gonzalez, and the tight end caught both for 21 yards. Ryan went to Gonzalez on the second play of the game to help get him comfortable, and he said he was happy.

``Just that, `He's still got it' I guess, that I can still go out there and get open,'' Gonzalez said. ``I've been happy with my progress since I've been back. I took care of myself those two weeks that I wasn't here. I made sure I was conditioning and working out and preparing myself for when I got back here to try to hit the ground running. I didn't want to let my teammates down.''

2. TITANS' PASS RUSH: The Titans tied for ninth last season with 39 sacks, but they deserved an asterisk next to that ranking because 14 of those came against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tennessee has been criticized heavily this preseason for struggling to get off the field and giving up too many touchdowns - just like last season when the Titans gave up a franchise-worst 471 points. Against a team that played in the NFC championship game, they got to Ryan over and over with three of the five sacks coming on third downs.

3. ACTION JACKSON: Steven Jackson certainly is settling into a good rhythm with his new teammates in Atlanta. He ran 12 times for 51 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. That is a good sign for the Falcons who ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing offense in 2012. Jackson said playing for a team expecting excellence definitely makes the work easier.

4. BACK IN THE SWING: Rob Bironas had Titans fans worried when a kicker who is the third-most accurate in NFL history missed two of three field goals in his preseason debut a week ago at Cincinnati. Worry no more. Bironas connected on a 39-yarder and then a 53-yarder in the second quarter showing what a week of work can do for a veteran.

5. VETERAN LEADERSHIP: The Titans signed safety Bernard Pollard for his leadership and his nasty attitude on the field for a young defense. But the veteran now has been flagged twice in three games for personal fouls, though his teammates helped limit his penalty when he was late coming in on Julio Jones at the end of an 11-yard reception. Munchak said there's the fine line of wanting aggressiveness but not 15-yard penalties. ``He knows he's got to be careful,'' Munchak said. ``He's a smart enough player to know how to prevent that.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group