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

LaMichael JamesJul 21 11:46a

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James could have trouble making the roster this year, according to ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. Williamson believes RB Frank Gore, RB Carlos Hyde, RB Marcus [ More ]

Ray-Ray ArmstrongJul 21 11:42a

St. Louis Rams LB Ray Ray Armstrong has impressed coaches and was already poised to push for an expanded role before LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar's arrest. Armstrong could have an [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 21 11:12a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd's (back) recovery from back surgery has gone as expected. However, it's unknown if he'll be limited at the start of training camp.

Christine MichaelJul 21 11:05a

Seattle Seahawks RB Christine Michael's work this spring has done nothing to dismiss the thought that he will receive regular carries this season. It's still not known how many [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 21 11:03a

New York Giants rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. is viewed as an outside receiver despite standing just 5-foot-11, and he might push WR Rueben Randle for the No. 2 job opposite WR Victor Cruz.

Rashad JenningsJul 21 11:02a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings is still considered the lead running back, despite RB David Wilson's (neck) clearance for contact.

Justin HunterJul 21 11:02a

Tennessee Titans WR Justin Hunter is drawing big comparisons to retired WR Randy Moss from WR Michael Preston. 'Not only is the sky the limit, I think he's going [ More ]

Jeremy HillJul 21 10:44a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill could split carries with RB Giovani Bernard this upcoming season and receive over 200 carries, in the opinion of Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson.

Marcell DareusJul 21 10:42a

Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus has drawn the ire of Bills general manager Doug Whaley after reporting to camp out of shape. 'It's cause for concern,' Whaley said. 'You [ More ]

Demetrius HarrisJul 21 10:41a

Kansas City Chiefs TE Demetrius Harris looks like a player ready to contribute this season, according to head coach Andy Reid. Meanwhile, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com believes Harris could [ More ]

Dante RosarioJul 21 10:36a

Chicago Bears TE Dante Rosario is the leading candidate to be the team's No. 2 tight end this year, according to Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. TE Matthew Mulligan, TE [ More ]

David WilsonJul 21 10:32a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said that he has been cleared for everything.

Joseph RandleJul 21 10:30a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the inside track to win the No. 3 running back job, and would likely take over the every-down role if something were to happen to RB DeMarco Murray.

Joe McKnightJul 21 08:22a

Kansas City Chiefs RB Joe McKnight (knee) had arthroscopic knee surgery after minicamp ended last month and is close to returning to practice.

Chad HenneJul 21 03:12a

Although the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff is still high on QB Chad Henne, coach Gus Bradley said QB Blake Bortles could start a preseason game. It would be late [ More ]

Dee MillinerJul 20 11:42p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner can become a shutdown corner in the NFL, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'I think he's got a chance to be,' Ryan [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 20 11:32p

Buffalo Bills LB Brandon Spikes started at middle linebacker Sunday, July 20, in place of LB Kiko Alonso (knee). LB Keith Rivers and LB Nigel Bradham started alongside Spikes [ More ]

Chris SneeJul 20 09:52p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (elbow) will announce his retirement Monday, July 21, according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano.

EJ ManuelJul 20 09:52p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel went 4-for-4 on passes to WR Sammy Watkins during team drills Sunday, July 20.

S. HendersonJul 20 09:42p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) suffered a hip injury Sunday, July 20, and his status going forward is not yet known.

Marquise GoodwinJul 20 09:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (undisclosed) missed practice Sunday, July 20, after dealing with a medical issue. He is expected to return to practice tomorrow, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR Sports Radio 550.

Marcell DareusJul 20 06:22p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus failed his conditioning test, which is why he was put on the inactive list.

Bradie EwingJul 20 05:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars FB Bradie Ewing will battle FB Will Ta'ufo'ou for the starting fullback spot in camp.

Storm JohnsonJul 20 05:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Storm Johnson will enter camp as the fourth running back, but the team is excited about his potential. 'Storm is going to run at the same [ More ]

Jordan TodmanJul 20 05:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Jordan Todman is viewed as a change-of-pace back, along with RB Denard Robinson, according to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. 'Those two guys are truly change-of-pace backs,' [ More ]

Michael BowieJul 20 05:02p

Seattle Seahawks OT Michael Bowie has had an uneven spring with coaches saying he could have been in better shape. He'll compete with OT Justin Britt at right tackle.

Tharold SimonJul 20 04:52p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill, DT Jesse Williams and CB Tharold Simon will take on larger roles in their second season in 2014. Hill could be a potential starter in nickel packages.

Zach MillerJul 20 04:52p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson will be TE Zach Miller's backup this season, but he's likely to see increased playing time.

Jo-Lonn DunbarJul 20 03:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar and NBA free-agent Donte Greene were arrested Sunday, July 20, for fighting with each other outside the Dream Nightclub in Miami Beach, Fla. [ More ]

Tom CoughlinJul 20 10:32a

New York Giants owner John Mara said head coach Tom Coughlin is not on the hot seat, but also added that Coughlin has not earned the right to leave [ More ]

D.J. WilliamsJul 20 03:42a

The New England Patriots have signed free-agent TE Nate Byham (Buccaneers). Byham will likely compete with TEs Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams for a chance to back up Rob Gronkowski.

Winston GuyJul 19 10:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars SS Winston Guy is considered the leading candidate for the starting free safety job but will have to compete with FS Josh Evans (foot) for the job during training camp.

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