NFC South: Will Witherspoon

Haslett takes shots at Bucs

October, 28, 2009
10/28/09
3:49
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

One thing I always admired about Jim Haslett when he coached the New Orleans Saints was his willingness to truly say what was on his mind.

It sometimes got Haslett in trouble, but you have to appreciate his confidence and his honesty. Those qualities surfaced again as Haslett, now coaching the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League, took what seemed to be a few shots at the Buccaneers.

Talking about former Bucs kicker Matt Bryant, Haslett said "I don't understand why he's not still playing with the Bucs.''

Haslett continued with a few more shots.

"I think he's an excellent kicker, but there's a lot of things that go on in the NFL,'' Haslett said. "Why did the Rams trade Will Witherspoon? Why do you hire Raheem Morris? It's endless in the NFL right now. I'd like to have our team play a couple of those teams, to be honest with you.''

Observations on the Falcons

August, 22, 2009
8/22/09
2:22
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

I wasn't able to get a television broadcast of Atlanta's 20-13 preseason victory against St. Louis where I live Friday night, but I went for a really long drive and was able to pick up much of the game on satellite radio.

Thanks to the Falcons' radio broadcast team of Wes Durham and Dave Archer, I was able to come up with some audio observations.

  • Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and the rest of the first-team offense are ready for the regular season.
  • Really cool stat from the radio crew: The last preseason meeting between Atlanta and St. Louis came in 1991. Brett Favre, then an Atlanta rookie, was the starting quarterback for the Falcons.
  • According to Durham and Archer, cornerback Brent Grimes played very well. He was around the ball every time it was thrown his way. Then again, he was covering Laurent Robinson, who the Falcons were happy to trade to the Rams.
  • D.J. Shockley got to come in at quarterback after Ryan. Can't say he didn't look good because I didn't see it. But it didn't sound too good. Shockley's first pass should have been intercepted, but Will Witherspoon dropped it, according to the radio crew.
  •  Shockley's next pass was intercepted by James Laurinitis. Looks like another year of Chris Redman as Ryan's backup.
  • According to the radio crew, backup running back Jerious Norwood has put on eight pounds of muscle in the offseason. That's great because the Falcons want Turner to cut down on the 376 carries he had last season. But I still would not expect Norwood to get significantly more carries than he did last year. He might get a few more, but you don't want to take the ball out of Turner's hands too much.
  • Rookie Lawrence Sidbury had two sacks. The Falcons drafted him for a reason. That reason is to give him playing time if third-year pro Jamaal Anderson continues to stumble.

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