NFC South: James Rodgers

Atlanta Falcons cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
6:27
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Most significant move: The Falcons were 13-3 last year and kept most of their team together. That’s why it’s more than a little surprising that four undrafted free agents made the roster. That’s a tribute to the scouting staff. OT Terren Jones, LB Paul Worrilow, LB Joplo Bartu and OT Ryan Schraeder made the team. Worrilow and Bartu should contribute immediately on special teams. Schraeder has shown the ability to play both right and left tackle.

Fan favorite: He was a long shot all the way, but Banks was being followed closely by fans. That’s because he had a unique history. Banks spent five years in prison and later was exonerated. Banks’ attempt to make the team was a great story while it lasted. But it may not be completely over. The Falcons reportedly may offer Banks a position working with the team.

What’s next: The Falcons could be combing the waiver wire for offensive line help. Second-year pro Lamar Holmes is unproven at right tackle and the Falcons, who lost projected starter Mike Johnson to injury, might want to bring in an alternative. Even if Holmes plays well, the line still could use more depth. It also is possible the Falcons could bring in a veteran quarterback because backup Dominique Davis never has taken a snap in the regular season.

Players cut: Waived LB Brian Banks, G Theo Goins, DT Neal Huynh, CB Terrence Johnson, S Charles Mitchell, DT Micanor Regis, T Alec Savoie, LB Pat Schiller, K Jeremy Shelley, CB Peyton Thompson, RB Ronnie Wingo, FB Patrick DiMarco, LB Robert James, WR Darius Johnson, CB Jordan Mabin, G Phillipkeith Manley, G Jacques McClendon, WR Martel Moore, DT Adam Replogle and WR James Rodgers. The Falcons also placed QB Sean Renfree and TE Andrew Szczerba on injured reserve.

DeCoud, Moore going to Pro Bowl

January, 21, 2013
1/21/13
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Atlanta Falcons safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore are going to the Pro Bowl.

The team announced Monday the two alternates have been added to the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster to replace San Francisco’s Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner, who are headed to the Super Bowl.

This is the first Pro Bowl berth for DeCoud and Moore.

Also on Monday, the Falcons announced they have signed eight players to futures contracts. They are receiver Marcus Jackson, guard Jacques McClendon, defensive tackle Micanor Regis, receiver James Rodgers, linebacker Pat Schiller, tight end Andrew Szczerba, cornerback Peyton Thompson and running back Josh Vaughn. All spent at least a portion of the 2012 season on Atlanta’s practice squad.

Around the NFC South

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
9:43
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Let’s take a tour of the Thursday morning headlines from around the NFC South.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Despite piling up 376 yards of offense and 40 points in their season opener, the Falcons aren’t happy with the production they got from their running game. I think it’s a real positive that the Falcons realize this at a time when their passing offense is getting so much hype. I’m all for Atlanta throwing the ball more than previous years, but it’s still important to be able to run the ball in the NFL.

Wide receiver James Rodgers was added to the practice squad. He’s the brother of running back Jacquizz Rodgers. James was with the Falcons in the preseason before being released in the final cutdown.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Joseph Person writes that the Panthers don’t have a lot of warm feelings toward the Saints. That stems back to last season when the Saints beat Carolina 45-17 in Week 17. The Saints played their starters, and some members of the Panthers’ organization felt New Orleans was running up the score unnecessarily as several members of the offense pursued records.

Running back Jonathan Stewart practiced Wednesday and said he’s optimistic he’ll play Sunday against New Orleans. Stewart missed the season opener with an ankle injury, and the Panthers were held to just 10 rushing yards.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

With Devery Henderson dealing with a concussion, Joe Morgan could end up being New Orleans’ third receiver on Sunday. That’s a pretty big step for a guy who was viewed as being on the roster bubble at the end of the preseason. The Saints also re-signed veteran Greg Camarillo for depth, but the Saints might test Morgan out, because he has the potential to get open downfield.

Interim coach Aaron Kromer said many of the Saints, including quarterback Drew Brees, were guilty of trying to do too much in Sunday’s loss to Washington. I think that’s the product of a difficult offseason. The Saints have been hearing a lot of critics say they’ll fold because of the adversity. The Saints need to get back to being themselves, or the critics could end up being right.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Bucs sent backup running back LeGarrette Blount to an out-of-state specialist Wednesday to make sure there were no lingering problems after a big hit in Sunday’s game. Tests showed no series damage. General manager Mark Dominik said Blount had a pinched nerve and is expected to return to practice Thursday.

Left tackle Donald Penn referred to the members of the New York Giants defensive line as “freaks of nature’’. No doubt the Bucs will have their hands full with this group Sunday. But Tampa Bay has a lot of money invested in its offensive line. Even without injured guard Davin Joseph, this line has a chance to be pretty good. We’ll find out how good Sunday.

Around the NFC South

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
10:27
AM ET
Let’s take a Friday morning run through the top headlines from around the NFC South:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Jay Adams writes that Kevin Cone might have pushed himself ahead of the pack for the final receiver spot with a 49-yard touchdown catch Thursday night. But Adams says not to write off Tim Toone and James Rodgers. They can contribute on special teams and that’s going to factor heavily into the Falcons’ decision.

Coach Mike Smith’s decision to sit many of his veteran starters in the final preseason game makes lots of sense. He knows what his veterans can do and believes it’s more important to make sure his team is as healthy as possible for the regular-season opener.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Ron Green Jr. writes that the final roster spot at wide receiver may come down to Seyi Ajirotutu and Armanti Edwards. If Edwards is released, it would be another sign that Carolina’s 2010 draft class was far from the best in league history. Brandon LaFell and Greg Hardy are starters, but Eric Norwood already is out of Carolina, receiver David Gettis and cornerback Brandon Hogan have been hurt most of their careers and quarterback Jimmy Clausen might have trouble staying on the roster. Oh, and don’t forget about the great pick that was Tony Pike.

I know some Carolina fans are thinking the Panthers should go out and get another kicker after Justin Medlock missed two field goal attempts in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. But the folks at Carolina Huddle bring up a good point -- Heinz Field is not an easy place to kick. Medlock’s misses were from 56 and 50 yards. The 50-yarder would have tied the record for longest field goal by an NFL player at that stadium.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Mike Triplett has an overview of the biggest question facing the Saints on cut-down day -- do they keep undrafted rookie running back Travaris Cadet? He’s had an outstanding preseason, but keeping him likely means the Saints would have to carry an extra running back and sacrifice a spot at some other position. The Saints have a history of being creative with their roster. If they're as sold on Cadet as fans seem to be, they’ll make room for him.

The final preseason game and trimming the roster will be among the last acts of assistant head coach Joe Vitt, at least for a while. Vitt is scheduled to begin his six-game suspension Monday. Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will step into the role as temporary coach. Vitt got emotional Thursday night, when discussing his suspension. That’s understandable. Vitt is an emotional guy to begin with and, as he has said repeatedly, coaching football is the only job he’s had as an adult.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Teams don’t have to announce the moves they made to get their roster down to 53 players until 9 p.m. ET on Friday night and my guess is official word won’t come from most NFC South teams until right around that time. But the Bucs reportedly already have told running back Mossis Madu he’s been released. This is not a huge shock. Madu got some playing time last season and wasn’t bad this preseason. But the Bucs already are set at running back. They invested draft picks in Doug Martin and Michael Smith and they also have LeGarrette Blount.

Roy Cummings writes about how former starting safety Cody Grimm appears to be on the roster bubble. Grimm’s had injury problems in his first two seasons and the Bucs used a first-round draft pick on Mark Barron and have moved veteran cornerback Ronde Barber to safety. Ahmad Black also has emerged this preseason. Grimm’s situation is tenuous, but I’ve got a hunch he may stick because he brings some of the intangibles coach Greg Schiano mentions when he talks about “Buccaneer Men."

Falcons add 22 undrafted rookies

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
7:38
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The Atlanta Falcons just announced the signings of 22 undrafted rookie free agents. Here’s the list:

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