Atlanta Falcons Rumors & News

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/17/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Washington Redskins

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/16/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: DL Peli Anau

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: DB Charlie Miller

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Released: LeShun Daniels

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

Falcons Waive RB Brian Hill

With receiver Mohamed Sanu set to miss tomorrow’s matchup against the Dolphins, the Falcons have made a roster change. ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports that the team has promoted wideout Marvin Hall from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team notably waived running back Brian Hill, who was a fifth-round pick in this past year’s draft.

Hill had a standout career during his time at Wyoming, especially during the 2016 campaign. He ultimately compiled 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns on 349 carries, earning him a spot on the All-Mountain West’s first team. The running back garnered interest from multiple teams during the draft process, and he was ultimately selected in the fifth round by the Falcons. It was initially thought that the rookie could serve as a “power back” alternative to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

However, the 21-year-old struggled during the preseason, compiling only 41 rushing yards on 26 carries (1.6-yard average). He made a brief appearance during his team’s Week 4 loss to the Bills, but he’s yet to compile a single carry. Following his release, former undrafted rookie Terron Ward will presumably slide up to the team’s third running back spot.

Hall, 24, has bounced around the league since going undrafted out of Washington in 2016. Besides the Falcons, he’s had brief stints with the Raiders and Cardinals, but he’s yet to see the field for a regular season game. He’ll presumably slide beneath Andre Roberts and Nick Williams on the team’s wide receiver depth chart.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/11/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: K Mike Meyer, DL Jonathan Woodard
  • Placed on injured list: TE Joshua Perkins

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/10/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Promoted to active roster: WR Ed Eagan

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Poll: Best NFC Free Agent Addition?

A quarter of the NFL season is now in the books, which means we can accurately grade each and every free agent signing, right? Right?Andrew Whitworth (Vertical)

Even if that’s not the case, it’s still possible to get a sense of how free agents are playing and whether they’re living up to their contacts through four games. After taking a look at the AFC on Friday, today we examined the best free agent signing on each NFC club before asking you to vote on the top overall NFC addition.

One note: we only looked at newcomers, so free agents that re-signed with their original clubs (Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short or Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones, for example) aren’t included. On to the list!

Arizona Cardinals

  • Antoine Bethea, S: General manager Steve Keim & Co. have made a habit of adding aging veterans — especially on the defensive side of the ball — with success, and the Cardinals have seemingly done so again in the form of Bethea. Playing alongside Tyrann Mathieu and another age-30+ defensive back in Tyvon Branch, Bethea has managed one interception and three pass breakups while helping Arizona to the No. 12 ranking in defensive DVOA. And his three, $12.75MM deal can be easily escaped if he does begin to show signs of wearing down later on in 2017.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Dontari Poe, DT: After narrowly missing out on a Super Bowl title earlier this year, the Falcons decided to run it back, returning in 2017 with much of the same roster. Poe was Atlanta’s major addition on defense, as the club waited until the athletic defensive tackle’s market fell enough to allow it to ink him to a one-year, $8MM pact. Poe, who was regularly playing more than 1,000 defensive snaps with the Chiefs, is on pace to play on roughly 750 defensive snaps this season, and limiting his action could be helping his overall performance. Through four games, the Falcons are 13th in pressure rate, up from 20th in 2016.

Carolina Panthers

  • Julius Peppers, DE: Peppers, now in his second stint with the Panthers, was hardly Carolina’s most high-priced free agent signing this spring. That honor goes to $55MM man Matt Kalil, who has been — perhaps unsurprisingly — underwhelming at left tackle. The Panthers are playing Peppers on a reduced snap count, and the 37-year-old has already put up 4.5 sacks through a quarter of the season. He’s an absolute freak of nature who can still bend the edge with ease.

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

  • N/A: The Cowboys allowed most of their secondary to walk out the door during free agency, and veteran Nolan Carroll was their only real external addition. He’s been one of the worst defensive backs in the league in 2017.

Detroit Lions

  • Ricky Wagner, T: Detroit upgraded at both right guard and right tackle this offseason, swapping out Larry Warford and Riley Reiff for T.J. Lang and Wagner. Although both new Lions linemen have been efficient thus far, the nod goes slightly to Wagner. Both Lang and Wagner are earning the same $9.5MM annual salary, but Wagner is three years younger and under team control for a longer period. Additionally, the Lions average more yards (4.41 to 3.04) when running around the right end than through the center/guard.

Green Bay Packers

  • Jahri Evans, G: In a sequence that is completely out of character, the Packers actually signed a number of outside free agents over the past several months, including cornerback Davon House (a former Packer) and front seven defenders Ahmad Brooks, Quinton Dial, and Ricky Jean-Francois. But the best newcomer is on the offensive side ball, as Jahri Evans has played every snap for Green Bay. A lifelong Saint until 2017, Evans has helped the Packers’ offensive line to a No. 3 ranking in adjusted line yards at a cost of only $2.25MM.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Andrew Whitworth, T: Perhaps no other club made a larger upgrade at one position than the Rams did in going from draft bust Greg Robinson to Whitworth at left tackle. The entire Rams’ offense, including quarterback Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, has gone from looking completely incompetent to leading the league in points scored. Even at the age of 35, Whitworth leads all tackles in pass rush productivity and has allowed only one pressure, per Pro Football Focus.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Mike Remmers, T: The Vikings overpaid for both Remmers and left tackle Riley Reiff, but both deals have allowed Minnesota to return to average along the offensive line, a massive step-up from their 2016 front five. Remmers is earning nearly half of what Reiff is making but ranks slightly ahead of the former Lion in PFF’s offensive tackle rankings. Additionally, Remmers hasn’t allowed a sack this season, and the Vikings have been much better at running right than left.

New Orleans Saints

  • Larry Warford, G: Warford replaced another player on this list (Jahri Evans) and has continued to perform as a solid NFL guard. On an offensive line that’s seen some reshuffling due to injuries to Terron Armstead and Zach Strief, the Saints’ interior — which also includes left guard Andrus Peat and center Max Unger — has remained stable. New Orleans has been excellent at running up the middle, as the club ranks sixth with 4.62 yards per carry behind its center or guards. The Saints control the 26-year-old Warford through the 2020 campaign.

New York Giants

  • N/A: Brandon Marshall has yet to top 70 yards receiving in a game, and managed only two receptions in Weeks 1-2. And the signing of fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison never made sense given how much 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) the Giants run. He’s earning $4.5MM annually and has five total receptions.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • LeGarrette Blount, RB: Although he’s not going match his NFL-leading 18 rushing touchdowns from 2016, Blount has already shown that he’s worth the one-year, $1.25MM deal he inked with the Eagles earlier this year. He’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry thus far, and he figures to be even more involved in Philadelphia’s offense following injuries to Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. Tough as ever, Blount managed 127 of his 136 Week 4 yards after contact.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Brandon Fusco, G: The 49ers and new general manager John Lynch spent a good deal of money this offseason, handing $10MM+ in guarantees to veterans such as wide receiver Pierre Garcon (who’s been average at best) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (who suffered a season-ending injury in August). The most astute signing, however, may have been guard Brandon Fusco, who signed for just $1.4MM total. He’s played every offensive snap for San Francisco and graded as the NFL’s No. 18 guard, per PFF, making him a remarkable value.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Luke Joeckel, G: Joeckel’s one-year, $8MM contract with the Seahawks never made much sense, as the former draft bust hasn’t performed in the NFL and probably didn’t have much of a free agent market. He’s not even playing tackle, which makes the salary all the more confusing. But PFF grades Joeckel as the No. 26 guard in the league, meaning he’s been a starting-caliber offensive lineman through four contests. Plus, it’s hard to fault nearly any single-season pact, no matter the cost.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • DeSean Jackson, WR: Jackson hasn’t been the perfect complemenet to Mike Evans that many projected — while he’s still averaging a robust 17.8 yards per catch, his catch rate is at a career-low 48.3%. Jackson led the league in yards gained off defensive pass interference a season ago, but he’s garnered only one DPI for 15 yards in 2017. Always only play away from a long-distance score, Jackson can still live up to his contract if Tampa Bay’s offense starts clicking.

Washington Redskins

  • D.J. Swearinger, S: In a defensive backfield that’s without Su’a Cravens (left squad list) and DeAngelo Hall (PUP list), Swearinger — who left the Cardinals for a three-year deal in the nation’s capital — has helped stabilize the Redskins’ secondary. Through a quarter of the season, Washington ranks sixth in defensive DVOA under new coordinator Greg Manusky, a 19-spot leap from 2016.

So, what do you think? Which of the free agents has been the best signing through a quarter of the 2017 season? Vote below, and leave your thoughts in the comments section:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Place DE Jack Crawford On IR

The Falcons have placed defensive Jack Crawford on injured reserve with a biceps injury, the club announced today.Jack Crawford (Vertical)

Crawford, whom Atlanta signed away from the Cowboys this offseason, is now the third Falcons defensive lineman to go down with injury in recent weeks. Star edge rusher Vic Beasley is still working his way back from a hamstring issue, while Courtney Upshaw may be close to returning from an ankle ailment. Crawford, for his part, had played on 101 defensive snaps this season but graded as just the No. 87 interior defender among 100 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

With Crawford sidelined, the Falcons auditioned defensive ends Devin Taylor, Jonathan Woodard, Sterling Bailey, Nicholas Williams, Pat O’Connor, plus linebacker Lavar Edwards, on Monday, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Atlanta is on the hunt for defensive line reinforcements, and its workout session comes as no surprise given that head coach Dan Quinn indicated that he and general manager Thomas Dimitroff would soon discuss adding help to their front four.

Taylor, 27, offers vast experience, as the former fourth-round pick appeared in 61 games (18 starts) for the Lions over the past four seasons. While he’s posted 15 sacks during his NFL career, PFF wasn’t complementary of Taylor’s performance in 2016, ranking him as the second-worst defensive end in the league. Taylor signed with the Giants in May but didn’t make it through final cutdowns, and has since worked out for the Vikings.

The Falcons’ defensive front, which currently includes Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe, Brooks Reed, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, and first-round rookie Takkarist McKinley, hasn’t played all that well in 2017, as the unit ranks 21st in adjusted sack rate and 25th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu To Miss Time

Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is expected to miss two-to-three weeks with a hamstring injury, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, while defensive lineman Jack Crawford has a biceps issue which “doesn’t look good,” a source tells McClure. Atlanta is “planning on moving forward” without Crawford, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an indication Crawford could be done for the season.Mohamed Sanu (Vertical)

Sanu’s injury is doubly concerning given that Falcons No. 1 wideout Julio Jones left the club’s Week 4 loss with a hip flexor. Jones is not expected to miss any games, but his health history isn’t exactly promising. Without Sanu, Atlanta will turn to Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, Andre Roberts, and Nick Williams to play more snaps. Through four games, Sanu had managed 16 receptions for 163 yards and one touchdown.

Atlanta’s defensive line hardly withstand another loss, as Vic Beasley will be sidelined for another three weeks or so while Courtney Upshaw is also dealing with injury. Crawford, who signed as a free agent this offseason, has played on roughly 40% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, but graded as just the No. 82 interior defender among 120 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Head coach Dan Quinn will meet with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff about adding defensive line reinforcements, per McClure (Twitter link). The obvious free agent solution could speculatively be Dwight Freeney, who appeared in 15 games for Atlanta in 2016. Quinn said last month that the Falcons are still in contact with Freeney, but the club had no interest in signing him at that time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/27/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • LSs Andrew East and Anthony Kukwa (link)

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 9/26/17

Tuesday’s workout updates (links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle or ESPN’s Adam Caplan):

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans