2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons to focus on themselves after 1-3 start

By GEORGE HENRY - Associated Press
    2013-09-30 18:47

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Roddy White and Osi Umenyiora say that the Atlanta Falcons can fix their mistakes.

Coach Mike Smith says the team has no other choice after stumbling to a 1-3 start.

In losing consecutive regular season games for the first time in six years under Smith, the Falcons have a myriad of problems to correct.

Several starters are injured. Atlanta's red zone offense and defensive sacks per pass attempt both rank 28th in the NFL. The Falcons' defense ranks second-worst in third-down efficiency.

Quarterback Matt Ryan seems to be getting hit consistently in the pocket, and his throws are too often hurried.

``We had some protection issues, we had some routes that weren't run right, we had some drops, we had some missed throws,'' Smith said on Monday. ``I can assure you we are addressing it as a coaching staff with our team.''

White and Umenyiora say they're looking forward to practice Tuesday when Smith will have the starting offense and starting defense work against each other.

Atlanta gets an extra day of work this week with the New York Jets (2-2) visiting the Georgia Dome next Monday night.

White, along with defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, is the longest-tenured Falcon at nine years and doesn't like to think too much about the last time Atlanta was 1-3.

That was the infamous 2007 season under first-year coach Bobby Petrino, who quit after losing 10 of 13 games. It was also the year that quarterback Michael Vick was sent to federal prison on dogfighting charges.

White never imagined that the current team would lose three of its first four after beginning the season with Super Bowl aspirations, but he believes players can draw from the bitter experience of Petrino's tenure and avoid a similar lapse in morale.

``You just don't panic,'' White said on Monday. ``You are what you earn in this league, so we're 1-3. You just go out there and correct the problems that you have and get ready for the next game. We know at 1-3 that we can't get back to .500 after one game.''

The biggest problem facing Ryan, White, fellow starting wideout Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez is in the red zone.

With running back Steven Jackson sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Falcons seem like a one-dimensional passing attack deep in opponent territory.

In Sunday's 30-23 loss to New England, they scored just one touchdown in six trips to the Patriots' 20-yard line.

White was particularly frustrated by two critical incompletions. On a fourth-and-two at New England 7, Ryan was flushed to his left and threw on the run to White near the left goal line marker, but the ball sailed too far outside.

On the last offensive play from scrimmage, Ryan's pass in the end zone was too slightly too far for White to reach, and cornerback Aqib Talib batted the ball away.

``It's killing us right now,'' White said. ``It's something that we continue to work at, but we've got to do a little more and win some one-on-one battles, especially when it's time for one person to make the play when it's presented.''

Umenyiora, an 11-year veteran in his first season with Atlanta, was part of a pass rush that only hit quarterback Tom Brady twice all night, and the Patriots' star was 6 of 8 passing for 137 yards and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The worst sequence came on the first two plays of the final period. Facing third-and-19 from the New England 12, Brady connected with Kenbrell Thompkins for a 26-yard pass, and the Patriots advanced another 15 yards when safety William Moore was penalized for a hit to the head on the same play.

On the next snap, LeGarrette Blount broke off a 47-yard run that pushed New England's lead to 20-10.

``They had a very good scheme,'' Umenyiora said. ``Play-action throws. Quick passes. It was pretty good.''

Umenyiora was irritated that the defense allowed seven of 13 third-down attempts to be converted, but he believes the team will benefit from a return to fundamental work this week.

``We've got to correct them,'' he said. ``We don't really have too much of an option.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow George Henry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/georgehenryAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Zach MettenbergerOct 21 04:18p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) will start at quarterback when he's healthy, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Charlie Whitehurst has filled in for Locker twice this [ More ]

Bene BenwikereOct 21 04:13p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle) will return as the starting nickel cornerback when he's back from his injury, according to head coach Ron Rivera. If Benwikere can't play [ More ]

Martavis BryantOct 21 04:06p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cut into WR Markus Wheaton's workload in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and QB Ben Roethlisberger took three 'shot' plays down the field [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 21 04:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington had 88 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving in Week 7, and only four players in franchise history since 1960 to have more yards [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Donald BrownOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Michael SamOct 21 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys cut DE Michael Sam from the team's practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Charles GodfreyOct 21 03:13p

The Carolina Panthers released CB Charles Godfrey Tuesday, Oct 21.

LaRon ByrdOct 21 02:33p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent WR LaRon Byrd (Cowboys) and re-signed DT Deandre Coleman Tuesday, Oct. 21.

R. Griffin IIIOct 21 02:13p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will not be ruled out for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, but he has a long way to go in order [ More ]

Brian HoyerOct 21 02:13p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could see some action in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Mike Pettine. However, Pettine said Monday, Oct. 20, that [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 21 02:13p

The Buffalo Bills placed RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) on short-term Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Ray RiceOct 21 01:33p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) will have the appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL heard Nov. 5-6, according to media reports. A decision on whether commissioner Roger [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles C David Molk will remain the center for now, with C Jason Kelce (hernia) nearing a return from his injury.

Shamarko ThomasOct 21 01:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and SS Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) 'have a pretty good chance' of returning in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

Darren SprolesOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee) returned to practice Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Phillip TannerOct 21 01:13p

The Buffalo Bills are signing free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calvin JohnsonOct 21 01:13p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) said he is back to running Tuesday, Oct. 21. Johnson sat out in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints and appears to [ More ]

Terrelle PryorOct 21 01:13p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor (Seahawks) is working out for the New York Giants Tuesday, Oct. 21, according to a person familiar with the workouts. It appears as though Pryor [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 12:53p

Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne's (elbow) injury isn't believed to be serious, but it could cause him to miss a game or two, according to a [ More ]

Phil TaylorOct 21 12:23p

Cleveland Browns DE Phil Taylor (knee) is expected to miss his third straight game in Week 8 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Oct. 8.

A.J. GreenOct 21 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said his return from a toe injury is 'still up in the air' heading into Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Green [ More ]

Le'Veon BellOct 21 12:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell became the first running back in team history to start the year with seven straight games of 100 yards of total offense. Bell ran [ More ]

Antonio AndrewsOct 21 11:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Antonio Andrews was promoted to the 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) said he is still working his way back to pre-injury form, but he looks a lot better than he did in training camp, [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) could miss time with his elbow injury. Beat writer Stephen Holder tweeted that he isn't receiving good vibes from the situation, but it [ More ]

Terrance WestOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West was benched Sunday, Oct. 19, after failing to pick up a first down in two short-yardage situations. He had room to run on both [ More ]

Ben TateOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West were held to 69 yards on 33 carries in Week 7, and head coach Mike Pettine suggested a change [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 21 08:53a

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks due to a shoulder injury, according to sources.

Trindon HollidayOct 21 08:23a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent WR Trindon Holliday (Giants) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Tharold SimonOct 20 11:04p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (ankle) and CB Byron Maxwell (calf) may be able to play in Week 7, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

A.J. GreenOct 20 10:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he will play Sunday, Oct. 26, against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

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