NFC South: Tim Toone

Saints make roster moves

August, 27, 2013
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The New Orleans Saints apparently are holding out hope that outside linebacker Victor Butler might be able to return later this season.

They placed Butler on the physically unable to perform list. That means Butler, who tore his ACL in the offseason program, could be eligible to return after Week 6. That still seems like a long shot, but the Saints know Butler’s medical situation better than we do.

In addition to placing Butler on PUP, the Saints placed linebacker Will Smith, receiver Joe Morgan and linebacker Chris Chamberlain on injured reserve. The Saints also waived linebacker Eric Martin, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and receiver Tim Toone.

The Saints also claimed cornerback Jumal Rolle off waivers from Buffalo. That leaves the roster at 75. Teams have to get down to 53 players by Saturday evening.

Around the NFC South

July, 24, 2013
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Let's take a run through some news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

D. Orlando Ledbetter continues his countdown of the top 25 Falcons with tight end Tony Gonzalez at No. 2. If you’re going by lifetime achievements, Gonzalez might even be worthy of No. 1 ahead of quarterback Matt Ryan. But, at this point in his career, I’d rate Gonzalez after Ryan and receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

The Falcons released wide receiver Tim Toone.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

One reason I admire Carolina coach Ron Rivera is that he’s a realist. As he candidly tells Scott Fowler, Rivera knows this is a crucial year for him. I think it’s pretty fair to say that anything less than a playoff berth isn’t going to satisfy owner Jerry Richardson.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Larry Holder reports that linebacker Victor Butler, safety Roman Harper and cornerback Patrick Robinson will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Butler tore his ACL during the offseason program and is expected to eventually go on injured reserve. The injuries to Robinson and Harper aren’t believed to be as serious and they could return during camp.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

On his list of five players who must come through this season, Roy Cummings includes the usual suspects like quarterback Josh Freeman, but he also brings up a good point by listing safety Mark Barrron. The team’s top draft pick last year, Barron didn’t shine as a rookie. He should have a better chance to stand out this year. The arrival of free safety Dashon Goldson will allow Barron to spend more time in the box, where he’s at his best.
ATLANTA – Although listed as questionable Atlanta defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux are expected to start Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.

Both are on the active roster.

The inactives for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, receiver Tim Toone, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn, tackle Lamar Holmes, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Travian Robertson are inactive.

William Moore out for Atlanta Falcons

December, 22, 2012
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DETROIT -- Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury.

The Falcons just announced Moore will be inactive for Saturday night’s game with the Detroit Lions. Chris Hope is expected to start in Moore’s place at strong safety.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, guard Phillipkeith Manley, tight end Chase Coffman, receiver Tim Toone, guard Harland Gunn and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

Roddy White active for Falcons

December, 16, 2012
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White
ATLANTA -- Wide receiver Roddy White, who was listed as questionable with a knee injury, will be active for Sunday’s game with the New York Giants.

But starting safety William Moore (hamstring) will not be active. Chris Hope is expected to start in his place.

The other inactives for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, receiver Tim Toone, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn, tight end Chase Coffman and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.

Inactives for the Atlanta Falcons

November, 29, 2012
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ATLANTA – Defensive tackle Peria Jerry will be inactive for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night against New Orleans.

Jerry will miss his second consecutive game with a quadriceps injury. Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux will start at defensive tackle, but rookie Travian Robertson will move into the backup rotation with Vance Walker.

Also inactive for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, receiver Tim Toone, safety Charles Mitchell, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.

Sean Weatherspoon returning for Falcons

November, 25, 2012
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will make his return Sunday against the Buccaneers after missing three games with an ankle injury.

That should help a run defense that has struggled in his absence. Receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) had been listed as questionable, but they are active and expected to start.

The inactives for the Falcons are quarterback Dominique Davis, safety Charles Mitchell, receiver Tim Toone, offensive lineman Phillipkeith Manley, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and offensive lineman Harland Gunn.

The inactives for the Bucs are cornerback Eric Wright, running back Michael Smith, safety Cody Grimm, linebacker Najee Goode, offensive lineman Cody Wallace, defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo and receiver David Douglas.
There are a lot of injury issues in the NFC South this week. Let's take a look at the latest on the most significant injuries:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons have a star-studded cast of players listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with Arizona. Receiver Julio Jones, who has not practiced all week due to an ankle injury, highlights the list. If Jones can’t play Sunday, the Falcons likely would start Harry Douglas and use Drew Davis or recently signed Tim Toone as their third receiver. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) did not practice all week, has missed two straight games and is listed as questionable. In the cases of both Jones and Weatherspoon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons take a cautious approach and sit them, especially since the game is on turf and against a struggling opponent. The Falcons also are listing defensive end John Abraham (back) and running back Michael Turner (groin) as questionable. But both participated in Friday’s practice on a limited basis.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Although he practiced this week, there still is uncertainty if running back Darren Sproles will be able to play Sunday. Interim coach Joe Vitt said Sproles experienced some swelling in his hand and is listed as questionable. Running back is one position where the Saints have plenty of depth and they can continue to use a rotation of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory if Sproles isn’t ready to go. Right tackle Zach Strief (groin) has been ruled out for Sunday. That means it’s likely Charles Brown will start in his place.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Despite missing Thursday’s practice receiver/return man Armanti Edwards (groin) is probable for Sunday. Coach Ron Rivera also said Jeff Byers will start at right guard Sunday. There had been speculation that Jeremy Bridges, who was signed earlier this week, might move immediately into the starting lineup. But Rivera said Bridges still needs to work on conditioning.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Guard Jamon Meredith (ankle) participated in Friday’s walk-through, giving the Bucs some hope he might be ready to go. Cornerback Eric Wright also practiced after missing Thursday’s session due to what coach Greg Schiano said was a personal reason.

NFC South afternoon update

November, 14, 2012
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Time for an afternoon run through the top news and notes from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, could be ready to return Sunday against Arizona. Weatherspoon didn’t practice Wednesday, but coach Mike Smith indicated there’s a chance he could get some practice time Thursday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) did not practice. Smith said Jones’ status will be evaluated again Thursday, but his injury could be one reason why the Falcons signed receiver Tim Toone on Tuesday night.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Although his first stint with the Panthers was marred by some off-field problems, offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges said he’s calmed down now. Bridges, who previously played for the Panthers from 2006 through 2008, was re-signed Wednesday and become an immediate starter at right guard, a position where the Panthers have had some problems. Defensive end Thomas Keiser was placed on injured reserve to open the roster spot for Bridges.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Although running back Darren Sproles (hand) returned to practice Wednesday, right tackle Zach Strief (groin) sat out. It’s beginning to look like Charles Brown will get another start at right tackle.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

With strongside linebacker Quincy Black out for the rest of the season, coach Greg Schiano said the team likely will go with Adam Hayward as his replacement. That makes the most sense because Hayward has more experience than rookie Najee Goode and Jacob Cutrera. Hayward also has shown some flashes as a backup and on special teams.

Falcons tinker with roster

November, 13, 2012
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The Atlanta Falcons shook up their roster a bit Tuesday evening, but it wasn’t anything as major as when they released defensive end Ray Edwards on Monday night.

They had Edwards’ roster spot to work with and another came available as the Falcons placed reserve tight end Tommy Gallarda on injured reserve.

To fill those two spots, the Falcons signed wide receiver Tim Toone and promoted tight end Chase Coffman from the practice squad. They also signed tight end Andrew Szczerba to the practice squad.

Toone was with the Falcons in the preseason but was waived-injured on Sept. 6. Toone’s presence possibly could help free up wide receiver Harry Douglas to handle punt returns. Dominique Franks has been doing that without much success and Douglas has had some past success on punt returns. Although Toone has never played in a regular-season NFL game, it also is possible the Falcons consider him as a punt returner. Toone earned the Mr. Irrelevant title by being the last player chosen in the 2010 draft and had some long punt returns in college.

The loss of Gallarda hurts because he was often used as the team’s blocking tight end. Starter Tony Gonzalez doesn’t get asked to do a lot of blocking, so Coffman will be asked to share blocking duties with backup Michael Palmer.

Dominique Franks back with Falcons

September, 6, 2012
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Dominique Franks, a somewhat surprising cut by the Atlanta Falcons last week, is back with the team.

The Falcons just announced they have re-signed Franks, a cornerback and punt returner and waived/injured wide receiver Tim Toone.

Franks had a strong preseason as a punt returner and appeared to have won that job. He also seemed to be in the competition for the fourth cornerback job with Christopher Owens. But, once Owens got healthy, it became obvious that the Falcons believe his cover skills are better than Franks’. They released Franks last Friday and planned to go with receiver Harry Douglas as their punt returner.

But I think there’s at least a decent chance we could see Franks as the punt returner.

Around the NFC South

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
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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."

Observation deck: Falcons-Dolphins

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
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I think we got a pretty good glimpse Friday night of what the Atlanta Falcons’ offense is going to look like with Dirk Koetter as the coordinator in a 23-6 preseason victory against the Miami Dolphins.

The starters got their most extensive playing time of the summer. I think it’s fair to say, the Falcons showed signs of everything they’ve talked about for months.

They aren’t completely putting running back Michael Turner on the shelf, but the Falcons sure look like a team that’s intent on relying more on the passing game than it has in recent seasons. In the time the first-team offense was in the game (the starters didn’t return after a touchdown drive with 6:48 left in the third quarter), the Falcons had 249 yards of total offense -- 204 of those coming through the air and 45 on the ground.

Turner carried 10 times for 35 yards and Jacquizz Rodgers had four carries for 4 yards. As they’ve promised, the Falcons took more shots downfield in the passing game.

Matt Ryan completed 18 of 26 passes for 220 yards and the highlight of his night was a third-quarter touchdown pass to Roddy White. The 20-yard pass was perfectly thrown into the corner of the end zone and White made the catch despite strong coverage. Ryan also hit Julio Jones on a 49-yard pass in the first half.

Turner and Rodgers didn’t get a lot of opportunities on the ground, but both were involved in the passing game. Turner, who isn’t known as a big receiving threat, had three catches for 36 yards and Rodgers had one catch for 18 yards.

Some other observations on the Falcons:
  • Atlanta’s first-team offense also had a pretty strong outing. After allowing Reggie Bush to gain 18 yards on his first carry, the Falcons did a nice job against the run. Cornerback Dunta Robinson and Kroy Biermann each tackled Bush for losses early in the game and cornerback Asante Samuel stopped him for no gain on a third down to force the Dolphins to punt. The pass defense did a pretty nice job against rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed 11 of 27 passes for 112 yards.
  • The defensive highlight of the night was an interception by safety Thomas DeCoud in the first quarter. It came on a Tannehill pass that was tipped by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and the interception led to an Atlanta field goal.
  • Rookie left tackle Lamar Holmes got his first playing time of the preseason in the second half and promptly was called for a false start. Once again, I don’t think Holmes is an immediate threat to beat out Sam Baker for the starting job.
  • Rookie quarterback Dominique Davis continued his bid to make the team with a gorgeous 39-yard touchdown pass to Tim Toone in the fourth quarter.
  • Oh, by the way, preseason results don’t matter. But this one had some significance. The win snapped Atlanta’s seven-game preseason losing streak, which had been the longest active losing streak in the NFL.

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