Top Falcons News
Falcons' Austin Hooper: Reaches first Pro Bowl
Hooper was named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday after Zach Ertz withdrew from the event, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Hooper enjoyed his best professional campaign by a mile in 2018, establishing new career highs in receptions (71), receiving yards (660) and touchdowns (four). As a reliable middle-of-the-field target for Matt Ryan, Hooper found himself well inside starting range among fantasy tight ends, but a plethora of options in the Falcons passing attack prevented him from becoming a truly elite option. With top wideouts Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu all set to return in 2019, Hooper appears poised to once again provide utility, albeit with a lower ceiling than most of the other top talents at the position.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Takkarist McKinley: Doing well after mental evaluation
McKinley is spending time with family in California after his friend summoned police Tuesday out of concern for the defensive end's mental well being, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
No charges were filed as a result of McKinley's visit with police Tuesday, and Falcons spokesman Brian Cearns noted Wednesday that McKinley has been in "constant communication" with the team and seems to be in a "good spot." Unless the Falcons suggest otherwise in the weeks to come, McKinley is expected to be in attendance for OTAs.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Takkarist McKinley: Undergoing mental evaluation
McKinley was detained by Los Angeles police on Tuesday after his friend grew concerned for his well-being and called 911, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. It was reported that McKinley cooperated and left with police without being booked for any sort of crime.
McKinley's status remains unclear. Reports said he was spending time at a Los Angeles hotel when his friend became concerned and called local police. In a statement released Tuesday, head coach Dan Quinn reflected on the situation by saying, "Anytime a situation occurs that (could be) related to mental health issues we take it very seriously. We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist (McKinley) as our players' mental and physical well being are always our top priority."... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Michael Bennett: Signs reserve/future deal
The Falcons signed Bennett to a reserve/future contract on Thursday, Kelsey Conway of the team's official site reports.
Bennett played two games with Atlanta in 2018 before being waived on Oct. 30, and he now rejoins the team. The 25-year-old defensive tackle will work to carve out a depth role with the Falcons this offseason.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Matt Ryan: Reuniting with Dirk Koetter
Ryan will receive play calls from Dirk Koetter in 2019 after the former Buccaneers head coach was named Atlanta's offensive coordinator Tuesday.
Koetter previously held the same post between 2012 and 2014, during which the Falcons twice finished as a top-eight scoring offense. Over that three-year stretch, Ryan turned in a 86:45 TD:INT with at least 4,600 passing yards each season. Though the Falcons' 2018 season didn't go as planned, it was through no fault of Ryan, who reached the 35-touchdown plateau for the second time in his 11 professional seasons. His reunion with a familiar and proven offensive mind bodes well for his chances to remain a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2019.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Blidi Wreh-Wilson: Quiet 2018 campaign concludes
Wreh-Wilson picked up four tackles and two pass deflections in three appearances for the Falcons this season.
Atlanta's drafting of Isaiah Oliver in the second round of April's draft compressed Wreh-Wilson's role within the Falcons defense, as he fielded just 30 defensive snaps this season compared to 65 last year. Accounting for a decrease in special teams involvement as well, Wreh-Wilson saw a 50.7 percent reduction in snap count between 2017 and 2018. With his contract expiring over the offseason, Wreh-Wilson's future with Atlanta remains up in the air.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Kemal Ishmael: Key special teams contributor
Ishmael recorded 21 tackles, one pass deflection and one recovered fumble for the Falcons this season.
The veteran Ishmael saw a significant drop-off in his defensive involvement in 2018, failing to record a start for the first time since his rookie season, and fielding just 63 defensive snaps compared to 115 in 2017. He was, however, a crucial component to Atlanta's improvement in kick coverage, playing 74.6 percent of the special teams snaps for a Falcons unit that improved from 32nd in yards allowed per kick return last year to 17th in 2018.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Jordan Richards: Logs 12 starts in fourth pro season
Richards accounted for 39 tackles and three pass deflections for the Falcons in 2018.
Richards stepped in for an Atlanta secondary that was ravaged by injuries, filling a vital role after starting safeties Keanu Neal (knee) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) went down early in the year. A former second-round New England pick who was traded to Atlanta within a week of the season opener, Richards nearly doubled his previous career high by picking up 12 starts for a Falcons defense that ranked 27th against the pass in 2018. Richards' rookie contract expires this winter, leaving the front office with a decision to make on a player who ranked as the NFL's 64th-best safety this season, according to Pro Football Focus.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Bruce Carter: Modest debut campaign with Atlanta
Carter accounted for 16 solo tackles and five assisted tackles for the Falcons in 2018.
The veteran linebacker has become less and less of a defensive factor over the latter stages of his career, logging just four starts across his past four seasons with the Buccaneers, Jets and Falcons, compared to 32 starts during four years in Dallas. A surprising 70.1 percent of Carter's snaps for Atlanta this season came on special teams, as he picked up his most tackles since 2015 despite suiting up for only 11 games. With his contract expiring this winter, there is potential for Carter to be playing elsewhere next year as Atlanta looks to continue infusing youth into the roster.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Justin Bethel: Spurs special teams improvement
Bethel recorded 12 solo tackles and two assisted tackles for the Falcons in 2018.
Bethel dealt with an early season knee issue that held him out of game action for Weeks 4 and 5 after he suited up for 99 consecutive contests to begin his NFL career. He was completely obsolete defensively in his debut campaign with the Falcons, fielding zero defensive snaps after logging 452 last year with Arizona. Bethel did, however, help transform the Falcons' struggling kick coverage unit from 32nd in 2017 (26.2 yards allowed per return) to 15th with 22.7 yards allowed per return in 2018.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Desmond Trufant: Anchors secondary in 2018
Trufant accounted for 66 tackles, 12 pass deflections and one sack for the Falcons this season.
Trufant did not record an interception in 2018, partially due to opposing passers electing to target the Falcons' lesser-polished defensive backs. The 28-year-old ranked as the team's best cover man this season according to Pro Football Focus, grading as the No. 35 player at his position while no other Atlanta cornerback ranked inside the top 80. Trufant was a key reason for the Falcons' improvement against the pass during the latter half of the season, as Atlanta held opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 250 yards passing in six of the final eight games of the year, compared to one such performance between Weeks 1 and 9.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Deadrin Senat: Solid rookie campaign comes to close
Senat collected 30 tackles, two tackles for loss and three QB hits for the Falcons in 2018.
Senat did not end up settling into a feature role during his rookie season out of South Florida, logging just two starts and playing 34 percent of the snaps for a Falcons defense that ranked 25th against the run in 2018. With Terrell McClain's contract expiring this winter, however, it's foreseeable that Atlanta will embrace the youth movement and make Senat a more integral part of the team's identity defensively. Senat was a dominant run stopper during his collegiate career, and showed enough potential during his debut NFL campaign to merit increased playing time moving forward.... See More ... See Less
Falcons' Keanu Neal: Fifth-year option to be exercised
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons plan to pick up Neal's (knee) fifth-year option for the 2020 season, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Neal missed almost the entirety of the 2018 season as he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 against the Eagles. The 2016 first-round pick may not be ready for Organized Team Activities in the spring, but he's expected to be good to go for training camp. The 23-year-old has started all 31 games he's appeared in with the Falcons and was a Pro Bowl replacement in 2017 after compiling 116 combined tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception. The team has until May 3 to provide Neal with official notice they are exercising the option.... See More ... See Less
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