NFC South: Spencer Adkins

NFC South afternoon update

September, 4, 2012
Although a good chunk of the NFC South isn't practicing Tuesday, there still is a lot going on as we get ready for the start of the season. Let's take a run through the headlines:


With the team deciding to keep only five linebackers, the final spot came down to Robert James and Spencer Adkins. James won, in large part because he showed what general manager Thomas Dimitroff likes to call "urgent athleticism." Translation: James is a better athlete than Adkins and the Falcons think he can make some plays as a backup and on special teams.

A lot of people tend to think of the Falcons as a veteran team and that’s true to some degree. But their real goal is to have a mix of older and younger players and they tried to get younger without any making any dramatic moves this offseason. One way they leaned toward the youth movement was when they elected to go with undrafted rookie Josh Harris as their long-snapper over veteran Joe Zelenka.

Newly-signed backup quarterback Luke McCown has a general idea of coordinator Dirk Koetter’s offense because the two were together in Jacksonville the last three years. But McCown is still learning the language because the Falcons are using different terms than what the Jaguars did.


Coach Ron Rivera said he’s optimistic running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) can play in Sunday’s opener. Rivera even implied Stewart might practice Wednesday. If Stewart can’t play, that means more carries for DeAngelo Williams and could mean some time at tailback for fullback Mike Tolbert.

Here’s a story that’s off the beaten path. Carolina receiver Steve Smith will take his cleats off and walk barefoot to the locker room at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. Smith will do this to raise money to buy shoes for needy children. But it does have to be pointed out that Smith just returned from a foot infection that caused him to miss part of the preseason.


Bradley Handwerger writes that temporary New Orleans coach Aaron Kromer says he’s following a formula. You can’t argue with that. What Sean Payton did since taking over the Saints in 2006 has worked pretty well for the Saints.

Wide receiver Adrian Arrington said he’s appreciative the Saints kept him on the roster even though he missed the preseason games with an injury. Arrington has a chance to be the No. 4 receiver. But I’ve got a feeling his fate might have been a lot different if rookie Nick Toon didn’t suffer a season-ending injury.


A lot of people are debating why quarterback Josh Freeman didn’t look sharp in the preseason. Charlie Campbell throws out a theory that makes as much sense as anything else I’ve heard. Campbell writes that Freeman is suffering from a lack of continuity. The Bus changed offensive coordinators before his rookie season ever started. They gave him a quarterbacks coach in 2010 and he had some success then. But Freeman took a big step back in 2011 and that got the whole coaching staff fired. Now, with coach Greg Schiano, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and quarterbacks coach Ron Turner, Freeman is starting from scratch. But, at least this time, he’s got a true No. 1 receiver (Vincent Jackson) and an all-purpose running back (Doug Martin).

Defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry, who was released by the Bucs on Saturday and re-signed Monday, isn’t doing what Amobi Okoye did and attacking Schiano’s character. Instead, Gilberry says he understands the business. Hmm, that might be the reason Gilberry is on the roster and Okoye isn’t.
We’re more than a month away from the start of free agency. Ordinarily, I’d say it’s too early to start projecting specific free agents to land with specific teams.

That’s because a lot of potential free agents will re-sign with their own teams and new free agents will be created as teams make cuts to get in compliance with the salary cap. Also, teams can’t talk to free agents until the start of the league year in mid-March unless they want to run the risk of violating the NFL’s tampering laws.

But D. Orlando Ledbetter writes about one exceptional situation that’s worth watching. That’s linebacker Channing Crowder, who said he already has had some contact with the Falcons. Atlanta just hired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who previously coached Crowder with the Miami Dolphins.

The typical rules of free agency don’t apply to Crowder because he’s in a unique situation. Crowder, 28, sat out all of last season. He announced his retirement shortly after the Dolphins released him last season.

But Crowder explained that situation to Ledbetter. His wife was pregnant and Crowder didn’t want to play somewhere else and move his family. So he sat out the season and worked in radio. Now, he wants to get back into football.

Crowder said he’d love to play for the Falcons and the Nolan connection certainly adds another layer. Crowder, who has played inside and outside linebacker, also could add depth to Atlanta’s linebacker corps.

Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is a potential free agent, although I expect the Falcons to make a strong attempt to keep him. The Falcons are in pretty good shape on the outside with Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas as returning starters. Spencer Adkins and Akeem Dent provide some depth, but the Falcons aren’t likely to bring back veteran Mike Peterson.

He dealt with injuries last season and will be an unrestricted free agent. Peterson was valuable because he was experienced and versatile. But Crowder has those same traits and is younger.

Brent Grimes out for Falcons

January, 8, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes will miss Sunday’s playoff game with the New York Giants due to a knee injury.

Grimes had been listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis. But the team elected to make him inactive Sunday morning.

Dominique Franks will start in Grimes’ place and Christopher Owens will be the third cornerback.

Starting linebacker Stephen Nicholas also will miss the game. That was expected because Nicholas was listed as doubtful with a toe injury and did not practice at all during the week. Spencer Adkins will start in his place.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Kirk Chambers, receiver Kerry Meier and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Grimes questionable for Falcons

January, 6, 2012
The Atlanta Falcons just put out their final injury report for Sunday’s playoff game with the New York Giants.

The Falcons listed 18 players as probable and all of them took part in practice, to some degree, Friday, so we won’t waste time running through guys who almost certainly will play. That narrows the report down to two players.

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) is listed as doubtful and did not practice Friday. He almost certainly won’t play. With veteran Mike Peterson on injured reserve, that likely means Spencer Adkins will start in place of Nicholas.

Cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) is questionable. But there appears to be some hope Grimes can play. He practiced on a limited basis Friday. If Grimes can’t play, the Falcons likely would start Dominique Franks in his place.

The Giants are listing rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich (ankle) as out. Everyone else on New York’s injury report is listed as probable. That includes running back Ahmad Bradshaw. He missed some practice time early in the week with a foot injury, but took part in Friday’s session on a limited basis.

Around the NFC South

January, 4, 2012
Time for a look at the top Wednesday morning headlines from around the NFC South.

Drew Brees’ uniform from the day he broke Dan Marino’s record for passing yards in a season is now on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With Stephen Nicholas still banged up, it looks as if Spencer Adkins could make his second straight start at outside linebacker for Atlanta.

No big surprise here, but the Saints went ahead and officially placed running back Mark Ingram and linebacker Will Herring on injured reserve. Offensive lineman Eric Olsen and linebacker Nate Bussey are filling the roster spots.

As he reflected on the season, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said it became apparent early on that the Panthers got “who we thought we drafted’’ in rookie quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers did a ton of homework on Newton and believed they were getting a player who was potentially special. But I don’t think even the Panthers knew how quickly Newton would explode and put up huge numbers.

Martin Fennelly writes that Raheem Morris’ downfall ultimately was due to his inability to separate himself from the players. That’s very true. Morris had many positive qualities, but he never established himself as an authority figure with the Tampa Bay players. The Bucs were a young team with virtually no leadership and that’s why they fell apart.

Grimes, Nicholas out for Falcons

January, 1, 2012
ATLANTA -- The Falcons will be without injured cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Both players have been declared inactive. Dominique Franks is expected to start in Grimes’ place. Spencer Adkins likely will start in Nicholas’ spot.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback John Parker Wilson, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Kirk Chambers, receiver Kerry Meier and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Checking the injuries that matter most

December, 30, 2011
The final injury reports are out for Sunday’s games, so let’s take a look at the most significant injuries around the NFC South.

The Falcons are listing linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) and receiver Kerry Meier (groin) as doubtful. The Falcons have been getting linebacker Spencer Adkins ready to start this week. Defensive end Ray Edwards (knee) and cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) are questionable. Edwards participated in practice on a limited basis Friday, but Grimes did not. Backup quarterback Chris Redman also is listed as questionable.

The Buccaneers have ruled right tackle Jeremy Trueblood out with a concussion. Receiver Arrelious Benn (neck), defensive end Michael Bennett (toe), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (knee) and defensive tackle Brian Price (ankle) are listed as questionable. Benn and Haynesworth did not practice Friday while Price and Bennett participated fully.

The Panthers have ruled receiver Legedu Naanee (foot), defensive tackle Andre Neblett (concussion) and safety Jordan Pugh (concussion) out for Sunday. Defensive end Charles Johnson (back) is listed as doubtful and did not practice all week.

The Saints said running back Mark Ingram (toe) and receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) will be out Sunday. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) and safety Malcolm Jenkins (neck) are questionable and practiced on a limited basis.

Mark Ingram suffers setback

December, 29, 2011
We’ve got some very significant injury news out of New Orleans and updates on other injuries of note all around the NFC South.

New Orleans running back Mark Ingram, who has missed the past three games with a toe injury, suffered what coach Sean Payton called a setback in his recovery. Ingram aggravated the injury when he returned to practice Wednesday and did not practice Thursday. Receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) missed his second straight day of practice. On the bright side, safety Malcolm Jenkins (neck) and linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday.

The Buccaneers are pretty banged up. Receiver Arrelious Benn (neck), defensive end Michael Bennett (toe), defensive tackle Brian Price (ankle) and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood (concussion) each missed their second straight day of practice. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn (hamstring) also was held out of Thursday’s practice.

Atlanta’s also got some significant injuries. Defensive end Ray Edwards (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) each missed their second straight day of practice. If Edwards can’t play, Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury likely would get increased playing time. With Nicholas injured and Mike Peterson on injured reserve, the Falcons are getting Spencer Adkins ready to start at outside linebacker.

Carolina’s defensive line has some big injury problems. Defensive end Charles Johnson (back) and defensive tackle Andre Neblett (head) each missed practice for the second straight day.

Falcons make roster moves

December, 28, 2011
After putting linebacker Mike Peterson and cornerback Kelvin Hayden on injured reserve Tuesday night, the Atlanta Falcons filled their roster spots Wednesday.

The Falcons have signed receiver Kevin Cone and linebacker Robert James. They also added linebacker Matt Hansen to their practice squad.

With linebacker Stephen Nicholas also injured, the Falcons are expected to start Spencer Adkins in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Tampa Bay. But James has a chance to be active and get some playing time on special teams. With wide receiver Kerry Meier also injured, Cone also has a chance to be active.

Grimes, Hayden out for Falcons

December, 15, 2011
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars just announced their inactives for Thursday night’s game.

The Falcons will be without injured cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Kelvin Hayden. The other inactives are quarterback John Parker Wilson, linebacker Spencer Adkins, center Brett Romberg, offensive lineman Kirk Chambers and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

For the Jaguars, quarterback Dan LeFevour, running back Deji Karim, cornerback Robert McClain, center John Estes, receiver Mike Thomas, receiver Cecil Shorts III and defensive end Matt Roth are inactive.

William Moore out for Falcons

November, 13, 2011
ATLANTA -- Falcons safety William Moore (quadriceps) will not play in Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

James Sanders will start in his place. In addition to Moore, the inactives for the Falcons are defensive back Darrin Walls, linebacker Spencer Adkins, center Brett Romberg, tackle Sam Baker, and defensive linemen Carlton Powell and Cliff Matthews.

Inactives for the Falcons

September, 18, 2011
ATLANTA -- We just got the Falcons’ inactives for Sunday night and there are no major surprises.

Two injured starters, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and center Todd McClure, are both out, as expected. Joe Hawley will start for McClure and Peria Jerry for Babineaux.

The other inactives for the Falcons are cornerback Darrin Walls, running back Antone Smith, linebacker Spencer Adkins, offensive lineman Mike Johnson and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

McClure, Peters inactive for Falcons

September, 11, 2011
CHICAGO -- As expected, the Atlanta Falcons will be without two starters in Sunday’s game with the Bears. Center Todd McClure and defensive tackle Corey Peters, who both are injured, have been declared inactive.

The Falcons said Joe Hawley will start in McClure’s place and Peria Jerry will start for Peters.

The other inactives for the Falcons are cornerback Darrin Walls, running back Antone Smith, linebacker Spencer Adkins, offensive lineman Mike Johnson and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Brian Williams out for Falcons

January, 15, 2011
ATLANTA -- As expected, Atlanta cornerback Brian Williams will miss tonight’s playoff game against Green Bay.

He didn’t practice all week due to a knee injury and has been put on the inactive list tonight. That means Christopher Owens will have to step into Williams’ role as a nickel back. A second-year pro, Owens isn’t nearly as experienced as Williams. Owens runs well, but is undersized and isn’t known as a physical player. The Packers may try to target Owens when he’s on the field.

Also inactive for the Falcons are linebacker Spencer Adkins, offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, tight end Michael Palmer, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.

Atlanta Falcons enter game healthy

December, 27, 2010
ATLANTA -- Although the Atlanta Falcons had listed six players as questionable for Monday night’s game with the Saints, it doesn’t appear that they have any health issues tonight.

The Falcons just put out their list of inactives and it doesn’t look like they did any shuffling due to injuries. It’s their standard list of inactives and includes, cornerback Dominique Franks, running back Antone Smith, linebacker Spencer Adkins, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.