NFL Nation: Matt Bosher

Live from the Georgia Dome

January, 20, 2013
1/20/13
12:06
PM ET
ATLANTA -- I’m in the Georgia Dome, where things are quiet for the moment.

The gates aren’t open to fans yet and the only players I see on the field loosening up are Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant and punter Matt Bosher.

But the atmosphere is going to change soon enough because the parking lots already were jammed with tailgate parties and I did notice a few fans wearing San Francisco jerseys.

I’ll be back with inactives about 90 minutes before kickoff. Colleagues John Clayton and Mike Sando are here with me and Ashley Fox also should be arriving soon. Also, I'm scheduled to chat about the matchup between the Falcons and 49ers on ESPN Radio at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET.

Be sure to join us in the Countdown Live chat throughout the game.

Explaining Atlanta's onside kick

January, 14, 2013
1/14/13
8:07
AM ET
There was one oddity that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of the final minutes of the Atlanta Falcons' 30-28 victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

After Matt Bryant made a 49-yard field goal to put the Falcons ahead for good with eight seconds remaining, Atlanta attempted what looked like an onside kick. Matt Bosher kicked short and Seattle’s Heath Farwell quickly covered the ball at Seattle’s 46-yard line.

What were the Falcons doing by attempting an onside kick when they already had the lead? Well, it wasn’t supposed to be an onside kick.

“We did not execute exactly how we wanted to,’’ coach Mike Smith said. “These things happen in a ballgame. We were able to go out there those last two plays and get the win.’’

Seattle completed one quick pass. Then, wide receiver Julio Jones, who was inserted at safety for the final play of the game, intercepted Russell Wilson’s desperation pass into the end zone.

Smith wouldn’t go into much more detail about how the Falcons ended up handing the Seahawks decent field position. He implied that the play was supposed to be a squib kick. But he wouldn’t say if Bosher didn’t get the message or if the play just wasn’t executed properly.

Falcons getting Pro Bowl attention

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
2:55
PM ET
ATLANTA -- All throughout a 10-1 start, I’ve constantly heard from Atlanta fans about how the Falcons aren’t getting enough respect on a national level.

Well, maybe that’s starting to change.

I’ve got some updated numbers on Pro Bowl balloting, and the Falcons are pretty well represented. Fan voting continues until mid-December, and coaches and players will vote later in December. Fans, players and coaches each count as one third of the vote.

At the moment, Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez and guard Justin Blalock would be Pro Bowl starters, based only on the current fan vote. Tampa Bay safety Ronde Barber and New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead also would be NFC starters.

But the Falcons have a slew of players that are in the top five at their positions. Let’s take a look at which NFC South players rank in the top five in fan voting:

Quarterback
Running back
Fullback
Wide receiver
Tight end
  • Tony Gonzalez, Falcons, No. 1
Tackle
Guard
  • Justin Blalock, Falcons, No. 2
Center
Defensive end
Defensive tackle
Outside linebacker
  • None in top five
Inside linebacker
  • None in top five
Cornerbacks
  • None in top five
Strong safety
Free safety
  • Ronde Barber, Buccaneers, No. 1
Kicker
Punter
  • Thomas Morstead, Saints, No. 1
Returner
  • None in top five
Special teamer

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 41, Jaguars 14

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
11:18
PM ET

ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons’ 41-14 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The Falcons are 9-5 and very much in the playoff picture. They won with ease and might have put forth their most complete game of the season. There were explosive plays in the passing game and from the pass rush and it all came together in a short week. The best news of all might be that the Falcons can build off this performance because they’ll have a few extra days to get ready for their next game, which might be the biggest game of the season (see below). With the big lead, coach Mike Smith began resting some of his starters late in the third quarter. The extra time off might allow the Falcons to get injured cornerbacks Brent Grimes (knee) and Kelvin Hayden (toe) back in the lineup.

Throwback game: Defensive end John Abraham is 33 and, because he came into the game with just five sacks on the season, there was some talk that age was catching up to him. But Abraham showed he’s got something left in the tank. He had 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and was a major reason Jacksonville couldn’t get anything going in the passing game. Abraham had plenty of help. Defensive tackle Corey Peters and defensive end Ray Edwards also were productive in the pass rush.

Milestone time: Atlanta’s Roddy White went over 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth consecutive season, a franchise record. White also became just the eighth receiver in NFL history to have five straight 1,000-yard seasons with at least 80 catches in each season. White started slowly this year, but has come on strong lately. He caught two touchdowns against the Jaguars and now has at least one touchdown catch in each of the past four games.

What I liked: The Falcons were consistently good throughout the game. I don’t think you could say that about their previous 13 games.

What I didn’t like: Rookie punter Matt Bosher was having a good game, until he had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Troubling trend: Running back Michael Turner was held under 100 rushing yards for the fourth consecutive game. Since his arrival in Atlanta in 2008, Turner has had only one other four-game stretch in which he failed to reach 100 yards.

What’s next: The Falcons play the Saints in a "Monday Night Football" game in New Orleans on Dec. 26.

Halftime observations on the Falcons

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
9:54
PM ET
ATLANTA – The Falcons hold a 27-0 lead on the Jacksonville Jaguars at halftime. Let’s run through some observations on the first half.
  • The Falcons were extremely efficient on their first offensive drive. Matt Ryan completed all four of his pass attempts for 57 yards and capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Julio Jones. It was the 90th touchdown pass of Ryan’s career.
  • The pass rush, which hasn’t been a point of pride most of the season, looked pretty good early in the game. John Abraham sacked Blaine Gabbert on Jacksonville’s first offensive play. Defensive tackle Corey Peters had a sack that was negated by a penalty. Abraham forced a Gabbert fumble late in the second quarter with yet another sack. Linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered the fumble to set up an Atlanta field goal at the end of the half. Abraham now has seven sacks on the season.
  • Rookie punter Matt Bosher struggled early in the season. But the Falcons stuck with him and that’s starting to pay off. Bosher has been kicking better recently. He got off a booming punt early in the second quarter that was muffed by Jarett Dillard. Sean Weatherspoon recovered the ball at Jacksonville’s 5-yard line and Michael Turner scored on the next play.
  • Cornerback Brent Grimes missed his third consecutive game after having what the team described as minor knee surgery. But Grimes is on the sidelines in street clothes and appears to be walking well. The Falcons, like a lot of teams are pretty guarded about injuries, but I’m guessing there’s a decent chance Grimes could return for the next game, Dec. 26 in New Orleans.
  • Peters suffered a knee injury sometime in the first half. He left the game briefly, but returned.
  • Receiver Roddy White caught a touchdown pass late in the second quarter. White now has a touchdown catch in each of the past four games.

NFC South Stock Watch

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
1:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Matt Bosher, punter/kickoff specialist, Falcons. The rookie has struggled mightily. But at least for the moment, it appears as if the Falcons will stick with him. They invested a draft pick in Bosher, so they may be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But this team can’t afford too many more 18-yard punts like the one Bosher had Sunday night. If things don’t straighten out quickly, he could be gone.

2. Thomas Davis, linebacker, Panthers. This one’s tragic. Davis tore his ACL for the third time in less than two years. He’s a great player and an outstanding locker room guy. But Davis’ contract is structured so that the Panthers have the right to exercise an option for the remainder of the deal on the first two days of the 2012 league year. There’s an $8 million bonus tied to that option. I can’t see any way the Panthers pick up that option now.

3. Thomas DeCoud, safety, Falcons. Atlanta started veteran James Sanders in DeCoud’s place Sunday night. That came after DeCoud had struggled throughout the preseason and in the season opener. He still got some playing time against the Eagles, but didn’t do anything outstanding. Sometimes benching a young player can serve as a wakeup call. But if Sanders is a steady influence in the secondary, DeCoud might just fade away.

RISING

[+] EnlargeJimmy Graham
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesJimmy Graham provides a big target for quarterback Drew Brees.
1. Peria Jerry, defensive tackle, Falcons. During the preseason, the Falcons talked a lot about how they had seen bursts of explosiveness from their first-round pick in 2009. Jerry’s career had been stalled by a knee injury in his rookie season. But we all got to see one of those bursts Sunday night. He blew past a blocker and hit Michael Vick before he could hand off. Jerry’s hit forced a fumble that defensive end Ray Edwards picked up and returned a long way to help set up an Atlanta touchdown.

2. Jimmy Graham, tight end, Saints. He had six catches for 79 yards against the Bears. With top receiver Marques Colston out with an injury, Graham is giving the Saints a presence in the middle of the field. He also is showing incredible raw athletic ability and should only get better as his first season as a starter goes on.

3. LeGarrette Blount, running back, Buccaneers. After barely using Blount in the opener, the Bucs kept him involved against the Vikings. He carried 13 times for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Just imagine what this guy could do with 20 or 25 carries.

Falcons keep kicker Matt Bryant

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
8:26
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons are expected to go with rookie Matt Bosher as their punter. They won’t go for inexperience in their place-kicking game.

Veteran kicker Matt Bryant has agreed to terms on a deal that will keep him with the team, a league source told ESPN.com Thursday night. Details of the deal were not immediately available.

By keeping Bryant, the Falcons should have stability in their place-kicking game as they let punter Michael Koenen walk via free agency. Koenen used to handle kickoff duties and that role likely will fall to Bosher, a sixth-round draft choice.

But Bryant handles field goals and extra points and is coming off perhaps the best season of his nine-year career that also has included stints with the Buccaneers, Dolphins, Colts and Giants. Last season, Bryant made 28 of 31 (90.3 percent) field-goal attempts and was perfect on 44 extra points.

Falcons sign three draft picks

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
3:27
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons just announced they have signed three of their draft picks to contracts and added an undrafted free agent.

Matt Bosher, a punter/kicker selected in the sixth-round, Andrew Jackson, an offensive lineman taken in the seventh round and defensive end Cliff Matthews, another seventh-round choice, have agreed to four year contracts.

The Falcons also signed undrafted free agent Jacob Harfman, a punter from the University of Southern California. Harfman and Bosher will likely compete for the punting job. Bosher also can handle kickoffs, and the presence of these two means the Falcons likely will let punter/kickoff specialist Michael Koenen leave via free agency.

Place-kicker Matt Bryant remains an unrestricted free agent. Although Bosher and Harfman each have done some place kicking in the past, neither has a consistent track record like the veteran Bryant.

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