NFC South: Trey Lewis

NFC South evening update

September, 2, 2011
On what's been a very busy day across the NFC South, let's go to the headlines to catch up on some other items of interest.

The Carolina Panthers reportedly have shown interest in Pat Williams (and presumably about 100 other defensive tackles). It’s very logical because Williams is known as a run-stuffer and the Panthers are desperate for one. But there’s one small problem with this. It’s likely Williams would face the same two-game suspension that was handed out to Kevin Williams and Will Smith in the StarCaps case. In other words, the earliest Williams could help the Panthers would be the third game of the season. I’d keep an eye on Trey Lewis, who was just cut by the Falcons. I know some people in Carolina’s personnel office who have always respected Lewis’ play.

Steve Reed has his projection of Carolina’s 53-man roster and correctly points out it’s likely the Panthers will bring in at least a few guys from outside.

Stephen Holder has his projection on Tampa Bay’s roster.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his wife have separated.

D. Orlando Ledbetter writes that the Falcons took a medical risk when they signed cornerback Kelvin Hayden. He had a neck injury and was unable to pass physical examinations given to him by other teams. General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons were comfortable with Hayden’s condition.

New Orleans running back Chris Ivory, who missed much of the preseason with a foot injury and surgery on a sports hernia, said he’s ready to test out his body. But it’s possible he’ll be given more time because the Saints could put him on the physically-unable-to-perform list to start the season.

The Saints haven’t announced any roster cuts yet, but it appears defensive back Trumaine McBride has been told he’s gone.

Falcons make roster moves

September, 2, 2011
The Atlanta Falcons just announced some roster moves and there are no major surprises.

There is, however, one big name with one big salary. That’s defensive end Chauncey Davis. As expected, his $3.75 million cap figure and the signing of Ray Edwards made Davis expendable. The Falcons will clear up the entire $3.75 million in salary-cap space.

There were a couple of other veterans released -- defensive tackle Trey Lewis and linebacker Coy Wire. The release of Lewis is a sign the Falcons firmly believe the Peria Jerry’s knee is now healthy. If there's anyone in the Bank of America Stadium offices reading this, please go tell Marty Hurney that Lewis has been released. He's better than any defensive tackle the Panthers have at the moment.

Wire’s release is a sign the Falcons are happy with some younger linebackers who can give them more speed on special teams.

The Falcons also waived tight end Marquez Branson, fullback Lucas Cox, center Paul Fenaroli, safety Matt Hansen, wide receiver Brandyn Harvey, running back Gartrell Johnson, defensive end Tom McCarthy, cornerback Kamaal McIlwain, center Ryan McMahon, safety Rafael Priest, defensive end Kiante Tripp, safety Suaesi Tuimaunei and linebacker Bear Woods. The team also reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Andy Strickland.

Observations on the Atlanta Falcons

August, 27, 2011

There’s a perception that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t have a very strong arm.

If you saw Saturday night’s 34-16 preseason loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, you now know that’s a total myth. In the second quarter, Ryan threw one of the prettiest deep passes you’ll ever see. With the ball at his own 48-yard line, Ryan took a deep drop and heaved a perfect pass a few yards into the end zone.

Julio Jones, who was brought into bring explosive plays and allow Ryan to showcase his arm, slightly beat his man and dove for a pass that couldn’t have been put in a better location.

One slight problem -- Jones dropped the pass. But, hey, it’s a preseason game and the fact he dropped it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is Ryan -- who completed 22 of 42 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and one interception while playing only the first half -- showed himself, his teammates, his coaches and his critics that he’s got a big enough arm to do some deep damage.

The Falcons have made it pretty clear they’re going to throw down field more often this season. Now, they should have the confidence to do it frequently and maybe Jones will hold onto the ball.

Some other observations on the Falcons:
  • The Atlanta defense made Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown look like an All-Pro. He caught two touchdown passes, including a long one where safety Thomas DeCoud completely mistimed a leap to try to intercept the ball.
  • It might be cliché to say a guy is in midseason form. But it’s accurate when you talk about Atlanta receiver Roddy White. How many receivers have 100-yard games in the preseason, unless one of the catches is for 60 or 70 yards? While playing only the first half, White had eight catches for 101 yards and his longest play went for 22 yards.
  • I can’t help but wonder what Atlanta’s defensive line is going to look like after rosters get cut down to 53 players. Defensive ends Ray Edwards, John Abraham and Kroy Biermann are probably locks to make the team. So are defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Peria Jerry. Vance Walker, who had a sack Saturday night, is probably battling Trey Lewis for the final spot. Or the Falcons could carry five defensive tackles. But things get interesting at defensive end after the first three. The Falcons like young ends Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews. They also have veteran Chauncey Davis. But the interesting thing is Davis has a $3.75 million salary-cap figure. That’s way too high a number for a fourth defensive end. I’m guessing the Falcons go with Sidbury or Matthews because they can free up $3 million in cap space for this year by releasing Davis.

NFC South mailbag

August, 21, 2011
Time for a Sunday plunge into the NFC South mailbag.

Jim in Myrtle Beach, S.C. says Cam Newton should sit for a year or else the Panthers run the risk of destroying him forever.

Pat Yasinskas: You could be right and that’s happened to other quarterbacks who were thrown in too quickly on bad teams. But, despite their 2-14 record last season, the Panthers feel they have good personnel on the offense. They do have a good offensive line, two good running backs, a top-notch receiver in Steve Smith and two good tight ends with Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. We’ll see what coach Ron Rivera decides in the coming days. But the Panthers believe they wouldn’t be throwing Newton into a situation where he would have to carry the team. If he can avoid major mistakes and make a few big plays a game, the belief is that he can grow while he’s getting playing time.

Sharell in Raleigh wrote to ask about how the depth of Atlanta’s defensive line might shape up.

Pat Yasinskas: Atlanta suddenly is very deep on the defensive line and that could make it interesting when it’s time to make cuts. Defensive ends Ray Edwards and John Abraham and tackles Peria Jerry, Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux are all going to get a lot of playing time. The Falcons like to rotate defensive lineman and they have a big cluster of backups that includes Trey Lewis as the fourth tackle. Cliff Matthews has had a nice preseason and put himself in the mix with Kroy Biermann, Chauncey Davis and Lawrence Sidbury for the backup spots at defensive end. Davis has a salary-cap figure over $3 million and that could be a factor. If he’s going to be no better than the fourth defensive end, the Falcons might want to keep someone else who will be less expensive.

Nate in Alaska asks why Tampa Bay keeps drawing games in London.

Pat Yasinskas: I think there are two reasons. First, the Glazer family has ties to the United Kingdom. The Glazers own soccer’s Manchester United and, although they might not be beloved by fans, bringing the Bucs to London might help their public profile. Second, the Bucs have been having trouble selling out Raymond James Stadium. If the game against Chicago was held in Tampa, the stadium might be loaded with Bears’ fans and that can be embarrassing. The game in London is pretty much a guaranteed sellout and the crowd won’t be rooting against the Bucs. I don't think the NFL is forcing these games on the Bucs. I think there is a willingness by the team to go overseas.

Mike in Matthews, N.C. wonders if the Panthers still might be making some roster moves.

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, I think the signing of Ryan Kalil to a long-term contract cleared up a good bit of salary-cap space and could lead to more moves. Kalil was counting for the franchise tender of $10.16 million. I haven’t seen specifics of his new deal, but you can be sure it knocked down his cap figure for this season. That should give the Panthers room to make some more moves. I expect them to make a move to go get a cornerback with some experience. I also think it’s possible they could make a move for a wide receiver.

Kevin in Brooklyn, N.Y. asks what I think about the Saints’ chances of winning the Super Bowl this season.

Pat Yasinskas: I’ll do my best to ignore what I saw in Saturday night’s preseason game with Houston because preseason games really don’t mean a lot. I think the Saints have a chance to get back to being a Super Bowl contender. They improved their situation at running back by adding Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. They should be better in the middle of the defensive line with the addition of Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. Any team with Drew Brees at quarterback has a chance to do great things.

Observations on the Atlanta Falcons

August, 19, 2011
If you think the Atlanta Falcons player who will benefit most from the arrival of rookie receiver Julio Jones will be quarterback Matt Ryan, you might be wrong.

It could end up being Harry Douglas. If you didn’t see the Falcons' 15-13 preseason loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night and don’t know what I’m talking about, catch a replay of the game.

There’s a second-quarter play that demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a 76-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Douglas.

It’s the kind of play the Falcons didn’t have nearly enough of last season. In fact, Douglas probably couldn’t have made the same play last season. The difference is the presence of Jones.

With Jones and Roddy White lined up at wide receiver, Douglas lined up in the slot. He ran a slant route and never really was covered. He caught it in the middle of the field and headed for the sideline. He never was touched. But, just in case he needed help, Jones was downfield and ready to throw a block. That wasn’t needed.

Douglas was with the Falcons last season, but he didn’t supply the kind of big plays the Falcons wanted. That’s partly because former starter Michael Jenkins was hurt early in the season and Douglas had to play his position. Douglas isn’t a big guy and isn’t the kind of receiver who can help you as a run blocker and he really isn’t a possession receiver.

The Falcons believe he’s a natural slot guy. That’s where Douglas is playing now and the difference is significant. With White and Jones on the outside, there are going to be plenty of times when Douglas doesn’t draw much coverage. If he makes a few big plays, he’ll get more coverage and that will mean less attention on White.

That will mean more big plays and that’s exactly what the Falcons want.

A few other observations on the Falcons.
  • Defensive end Ray Edwards, who is coming off knee surgery, sat out his second straight preseason game. Without him, the Falcons still got some pressure on the quarterbacks. Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux stood out.
  • Scary moment in the first half when defensive tackle Peria Jerry had to leave the game after colliding with teammate Trey Lewis. Jerry missed most of his rookie season with a knee injury and wasn’t at full strength last season. But the good news is Jerry was just shaken up and returned to the game a bit later. He had one play where he got good pressure on Blaine Gabbert in the second half.
  • Cornerback Brent Grimes continues to have a strong preseason. He had an over-the-shoulder interception deep in the end zone in the first half. He took it out and made several athletic moves before getting stopped around midfield. Although undersized, Grimes might be the best natural athlete to come through Atlanta since Deion Sanders.
  • With cornerback Dunta Robinson sitting out, Chris Owens and Dominique Franks, who are competing for the starting job at nickel back, each got a lot of playing time. Although I was also keeping a close eye on Cam Newton in the Carolina-Miami game, I also kept a watch on Owens and Franks. I saw some good coverage from both at times. Franks did fall in coverage once. But he also knocked down a pass near the line of scrimmage.
  • Second-year linebacker Sean Weatherspoon had a very active outing, highlighted by his fumble recovery in the first quarter. He also looked good in pass coverage several times.
  • Outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas also looked good and may have a chance to take the starting job from veteran Mike Peterson. That’s a bit ironic because Nicholas was playing in his hometown and against a team that many speculated he’d jump to as a free agent.

Atlanta Falcons make roster moves

February, 17, 2011
The Atlanta Falcons announced a couple of minor transactions Thursday night.

They signed defensive tackle Trey Lewis to a contract extension and signed tight end Robbie Agnone. Lewis came to the Falcons in the 2007 draft and appeared in only one game last season. But the Falcons like Lewis’ ability to play the run and view him as a nice backup to Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Peria Jerry.

Agnone spent part of the 2010 season on Atlanta’s practice squad. He previously has been with the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots.

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.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Atlanta Falcons will be without injured running backs Jason Snelling and Antone Smith today.

The two backups highlight Atlanta’s list of inactives. That likely means more work for starter Michael Turner. It also is likely to prompt the Falcons to use Gartrell Johnson as Turner’s backup. Johnson’s had very little playing time this year, but the coaching staff likes him. Keep an eye on Johnson. He could surprise you today.

Also inactive for the Falcons are Dominique Franks, Garrett Reynolds, Mike Johnson, Lawrence Sidbury and Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.

Inactives for the Falcons

November, 28, 2010
ATLANTA -- Just received the official list of inactives for the Falcons and it contains no major surprises. The biggest news is who is active. As expected, defensive end John Abraham, who sat out last week with a groin injury is active and expected to start.

That leaves Lawrence Sidbury, who started in Abraham's place last week, as the biggest name on the list of inactives. Also on that list are defensive tackle Trey Lewis, tight end Michael Palmer, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, running back Antone Smith and cornerback Dominique Franks.

John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.

Lawrence Sidbury starting for Abraham

November, 21, 2010
As we previously reported, Atlanta defensive end John Abraham will not play today because of a groin injury. We’ve got a little update to that. The Falcons now are saying second-year pro Lawrence Sidbury, who has been inactive much of this season, will start in Abraham’s place.

Atlanta’s other inactives are cornerback Dominique Franks, running back Gartrell Johnson, linebacker Spencer Adkins, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson and defensive tackle Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.

Inactives for the Atlanta Falcons

November, 11, 2010
ATLANTA -- As expected, Atlanta receiver Roddy White and center Todd McClure will be in the starting lineup tonight despite suffering minor knee injuries in Sunday’s victory against Tampa Bay.

White and McClure both are on the active list for tonight’s game with Baltimore.

The inactives for the Falcons are cornerback Dominique Franks, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, tight end Justin Peelle, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson has been designated as the third quarterback.

Bucs without three starters

November, 7, 2010
ATLANTA – As expected, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without several injured starters for today’s game.

Center Jeff Faine, tackle Jeremy Trueblood and fullback Earnest Graham are all on the inactive list. Defensive tackle Ryan Sims, defensive end Alex Magee, cornerback Myron Lewis and receiver Sammie Stroughter also are inactive. Rudy Carpenter is the third quarterback.

Cornerback Dominique Franks, linebacker Spencer Adkins, tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, tight end Justin Peelle, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis are inactive for the Falcons. John Parker Wilson is the third quarterback.

Dunta Robinson sitting out for Falcons

October, 24, 2010
ATLANTA -- As expected, cornerback Dunta Robinson will be inactive for the Falcons today.

Robinson is coming off a concussion last week and the Falcons are looking at the long term. After today’s game with the Bengals, they have a bye week, allowing Robinson more time to recover.

Christopher Owens will start in Robinson’s place and veteran Brian Williams likely will be the nickelback. The Falcons also will be without injured linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Stephen Nicholas will start in Weatherspoon's place.

Also inactive for the Falcons are tight end Justin Peelle, tackle Garrett Reynolds, defensive tackle Trey Lewis, running back Antone Smith, guard Mike Johnson and John Parker Wilson is the third quarterback.

John Abraham to start for Falcons

October, 17, 2010
PHILADELPHIA -- I just got the list of inactives for the Falcons.

On the plus side, defensive end John Abraham will play. On the minus side, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will not.

Having Abraham should be a big boost for the Falcons, because he’ll have a favorable matchup with tackle King Dunlap, who is playing for an injured Jason Peters. While Weatherspoon’s absence takes away a bit of speed from the Atlanta defense, there’s not a huge drop off because the Falcons will turn to Stephen Nicholas, a former starter.

The rest of the inactives for the Falcons are cornerback Dominique Franks, running back Gartrell Johnson, offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Trey Lewis. John Parker Wilson is the third quarterback.