NFL Nation: Tim Toone

Saints make roster moves

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
6:00
PM ET
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.
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
12/22/12
7:22
PM ET
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
12/16/12
11:40
AM ET
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
11/29/12
7:12
PM ET
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
11/25/12
11:42
AM ET
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.

Falcons tinker with roster

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
7:26
PM ET
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
9/06/12
11:53
AM ET
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.

Observation deck: Falcons-Dolphins

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
10:44
PM ET
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.

Camp Confidential: Detroit Lions

August, 7, 2010
8/07/10
11:30
AM ET
ESPN.com NFL Power Ranking (pre-camp): 29

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- If the measure of a good team is roster stability, then, well, we know where the Detroit Lions stand. General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz spent most of their first year together operating like an expansion franchise, using their roster to sift through dozens of nomadic no-names and aging veterans while effecting a near-weekly rotation at a half-dozen positions -- left guard, defensive end, cornerback and safety chief among them.

So as they reported to training camp this summer, the Lions were hoping to slow that train and accelerate the installation of permanent building blocks in their lineup. Schwartz remains realistic about the job ahead of him but is certain the Lions are pointing in the right direction.

"Hope isn't a strategy," Schwartz said. "You need good players. I think what we proved last year is that we weren't ready to accept sub-par performance. We were willing to make changes and things like that. I think that was an important statement to make. In a perfect world, all of our positions would be solidified and you would feel good about it every week. Probably 32 NFL teams are going to be dissatisfied with a couple positions ... but I think the sign of a good team is having less spots that you look at and say, wow, what are they going to do there?"

After a few days at Lions training camp, it was evident the Lions are not there yet. But they're closer than they were last year, having upgraded at receiver, running back, tight end, left guard and along the entire defensive line. Questions remain at linebacker and in the secondary, but the Lions are working methodically to narrow that gap.

"We have a big sense of urgency," Schwartz said. "I don't want to say we've been patient. We just haven't deviated from our plan and we haven't gone too much for immediate gratification."

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargeMatthew Stafford
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesThe Lions are counting on Matthew Stafford to make progress from his rookie season.
1. Can Matthew Stafford make the jump the Lions need? Stafford's rookie season wasn't unusual for a highly drafted quarterback. Playing on a bad team, he threw 20 interceptions in 10 games. Injuries cost him six starts. But after surrounding him with receiver Nate Burleson, tight end Tony Scheffler and running back Jahvid Best, the Lions are expecting a much more positive second-year experience.

Stafford spent the early part of the offseason studying the causes of each interception, concluding that the majority of them were "trying to make a play when it wasn't there," he said. He added: "A lot of them were on third-and-long. I've got to be better on third-and-long to trust our backs, to throw a checkdown and let him run and go get it. I have to know that the best teams in this league are 35 percent [conversion rate] on third-and-long. Not everybody's making it every time. The goal this year is to stay out of those as much as possible."

The potential is there. Stafford has spent the entire offseason working with receivers, putting a special emphasis on developing chemistry with Calvin Johnson. He has taken every first-team snap in practice and has a set of skill players that can rival other NFC North offenses.

"We have a lot of weapons this year," he said. "It's up to us to get some rhythm and get it going."

2. Can an overhauled defensive line compensate for uncertainty at linebacker and safety? I like to compare the Lions' defense to an episode of "Hoarders." When Mayhew and Schwartz opened the front door, they found a mass of junk. So they picked one corner, the defensive line, and starting digging their way out.

As training camp opened, the Lions had NFL-caliber starters at right end (Kyle Vanden Bosch) and nose tackle (Corey Williams), along with a potential superstar in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. But remember, the Lions are the only team since the 1970 merger to finish with the NFL's worst defense in three consecutive years. In order to move up significantly in those standings, they'll need their line to be so good that it overshadows inexperience at linebacker and another year of patchwork in the secondary.

"If this defense is going to be good, it's going to be on us up front, and we're just going to have to wreak havoc," Vanden Bosch said. "We're going to have to bring energy to every practice and we're just going to have to keep on pushing each other and make improvements."

As we discussed earlier this week, it's schematically possible for an elite pass rush and strong run-stoppers to reduce the strain placed on other positions. Based on how the rest of the Lions' defense is shaping up, they'll need nothing less.

[+] EnlargeLouis Delmas
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesLouis Delmas has noticed a change in attitude with this year's team.
3. Can the Lions expunge what safety Louis Delmas referred to as a "ho-hum attitude?" If you're keeping track, the Lions have lost 28 of their past 30 games and 37 of their past 40. You often hear about new attitudes in training camp, so take this for what it's worth. After jettisoning a number of veteran players this offseason, Delmas said that now "everyone wants to be here and they want to learn." He added: "That's something I don't think we had last year. Guys were just here. The coaches are motivating us to go out there and get better. We've got a great attitude."

As for low expectations among national observers, Stafford said: "I don't think anyone here believes that. They play the games for a reason. The season hasn't started yet. Everybody is 0-0. Come the first Sunday, it's go out there and prove it and see what we can do."

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew tore an anterior cruciate ligament on Thanksgiving Day 2009. A little more than eight months later, Pettigrew was back on the field doing much more than at least I would have expected. He's practicing at least once per day and participating in some contact drills, even while wearing a brace on his knee.

If he has a hitch in his gait, it's barely noticeable. And on at least one play this week, Pettigrew displayed enough speed to get past linebacker Julian Peterson and catch a nice seam pass from Stafford. "He's had a really good rehab and we don't want to set him back by trying to do too much too soon," Schwartz said. At this rate, it seems quite reasonable to expect Pettigrew to be ready for a significant role in the season-opening game at Soldier Field. That has to be the best-case scenario the Lions could have imagined when the injury first occurred.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Two key parts of any defensive improvement the Lions will have this season weren't on the field for any part of the five practices I watched. Delmas hasn't practiced since the spring because of a groin injury that Schwartz said has healed but impacted his conditioning. But Delmas is an "established" player who probably could get away with missing a portion of training camp after starting 15 games last season. Linebacker DeAndre Levy, however, needs every practice rep he can get while making the permanent transition from the outside to the middle. Levy reported to training camp with tightness in his back, and he was pulled from practice this week. There is no long-term concern at this point, and the Lions must hope nothing develops. At this point, there are no viable internal options to turn to. Levy's backup is veteran Vinny Ciurciu, an undersized career special-teams player.

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesAdditional weapons on offense should open things up for Calvin Johnson.
OBSERVATION DECK

  • Burleson signed a five-year, $25 million contract in the offseason that included $11 in guaranteed money. Then, in one of the first meetings of the Lions' reconfigured receiver position, Burleson stood up to speak. "There's a lot of things that can get between players when new guys come along, especially when money's involved," he said. "So I made an announcement that I've been in the league long enough to know, as a guy who just got paid, I'm going play a lot. So my goal is to prove I'm worth more than what they paid me. I'm here for the team, not to pat myself on the back." In part because No. 1 receiver Calvin Johnson is so quiet, Burleson has taken on the leadership role of this group.
  • Johnson is hopeful that coverages will loosen on him this season, but it will require players like Burleson, making big plays to do it. Burleson doesn't think it will be a problem. "My goal is to come in and make enough plays to where Calvin will get more single coverage and Bryant [Johnson] will make plays," he said. "You hear about [Terrell Owens] and Chad [Ochocinco] in Cincinnati. I'm going to say firsthand that we will be the most-respected receiving corps after it's all said and done." Wow.
  • Suh is one serious man. During a news conference to announce his arrival to camp, a reporter asked a pretty standard first-day question for a top draft pick: "What are you going to treat yourself to after becoming a millionaire?" Most players bite and say they bought a new car, or a house for their mother or some such splurge. Suh? Here's what he said: "I'm treating myself to getting on this field and getting ready." OK then.
  • Vanden Bosch makes it a point to touch the ball on every practice play from scrimmage. Sometimes that happens at the line of scrimmage. But whether the play comes directly toward him or goes 30 yards downfield, he chases without fail. If that means sprinting 40 yards, so be it. Although the Lions didn't necessarily sign Vanden Bosch for that reason, he sets an excellent example for a historically moribund defense. "You don't get any points for that," Schwartz said. "But if I was a professional football player, I would hope that I would practice and I would play the way Kyle Vanden Bosch does. I think it is contagious for sure and I think that it's tremendous leadership. I think it makes the running backs better. The running backs are now finishing their runs deeper down the field because they don't want him catching them."
  • Right tackle Gosder Cherilus, the Lions' No. 1 draft pick in 2008, might be down to his final chance to lock down a permanent starting job. He's sharing repetitions with veteran Jon Jansen, and a decision might not come until the end of the preseason.
  • Linebacker Zack Follett is on his way to locking down the weakside linebacker job a year after he nearly cost himself his career with a poor showing in training camp. "I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off," Follett said. "This year, it's 100 percent different."
  • Poor Chris Houston. As the Lions' erstwhile No. 1 cornerback, Houston finds himself lined up against Johnson in 1-on-1 drills more often than not. That's not even fair. I saw Houston make some decent plays against other receivers, suggesting he deserves to be on the field as a starter. But few teams have a true No. 1 cornerback, and the Lions aren't one of them.
  • With Delmas injured, the same four players made up the first-team secondary during my visit: Houston and Jonathan Wade at cornerback, with C.C. Brown and Marvin White at safety. One thing I'll say is that Wade is feisty, even if he is a bit undersized. Delmas noticed the same thing. "He gave up a big play on Calvin," Delmas said. "And then he came back to us as a group and said, 'We can't do that! I can't do that!' Then he went out and didn't give up another big play. In order to be one of the best secondaries in the NFL, we have to start with that."
  • In an earlier post, I suggested that rookie receiver Tim Toone had looked sharp and ranked him no worse than No. 4 among the Lions' receivers. In the comments section, some of you suggested that second-year receiver Derrick Williams was having a better camp than I gave him credit for. All I can say is that every time I looked, Williams was dropping a pass while Toone was catching one. Regardless, there is a long way to go for both players.
  • One beneficiary of Suh's holdout was second-year defensive tackle Sammie Hill. Schwartz said Hill "has taken the biggest step that I've seen him take." Assuming those weren't just kind words for a player destined to cede his first-team status to Suh, this development offers the Lions a level of depth they didn't have last season.

(Ndamukong) Suh-a-palooza begins

August, 4, 2010
8/04/10
6:23
PM ET
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions wasted no time Wednesday throwing their newly prized prospect into the mix. Rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh arrived at the team's facility at 1:40 p.m. ET, passed a significant conditioning test -- more on that in a bit -- and immediately jumped in with the first team defense when practice began a few minutes later.

[+] EnlargeNdamukong Suh
AP Photo/Carlos OsorioNdamukong Suh worked out against the first team during his first training camp practice.
Some teams at least play out the charade of requiring a high draft pick to "earn" his way up the depth chart. But in this instance, there was no reason to mess around and little time to waste. As we noted earlier Wednesday, Suh is a centerpiece of the most important position group on the team this season. Suh-a-palooza has begun.

"I was running with the ones during [spring practices]," Suh said, "so I kind of came in here expecting it. I was at home with the plays and trying to remember everything. I knew if I was running with the ones, I wanted to be prepared."

During a meeting with reporters, Suh projected the same confident and mature image he carried throughout the draft process. Although his absence ended after a relatively modest five days, he admitted to having heard complaints from Lions fans who had no tolerance for a holdout of any length. It got pretty nasty on Twitter, and Suh said: "It was a tough time."

He added: "Obviously I wanted to be in camp on time, and that's what I said. I wanted to be in camp on time and unfortunately I wasn't. I apologize for that, but as we all know, it's a business. ... You have to look past those things. Obviously I know the fans were excited and wanted me to be in camp. I don't fault them for that. It's unfortunate some things were said, but I'm not going to hold a grudge on it. It is what it was."

None of his teammates appeared to hold grudges either. Some wandered onto the practice field early to cheer him during the conditioning test, which consisted of two sets of 300-yard shuttle runs. The first had to be completed within 65 seconds, and the second by 67 seconds. "No problem," Suh said.

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch pulled him aside to offer some private words of encouragement, and Suh then made it through a nearly two-hour practice in 90-degree heat. (Your blogger made sure to find some shade.) Suh said he weighed in at 305 pounds, but joked that he probably dropped five during the practice. While I wish I could give you some kind of detailed analysis of his practice performance, the reality is players were in shorts and shells. The best thing that can be said is that Suh is in camp, in shape and had enough retention to jump into the first-team defense right away. All's well that ends well.

Let's get to some final camp observations and notes before I head off to Green Bay, the third stop of our training camp tour. Remember, my formal Lions Camp Confidential will post Saturday.

  • Tight end Brandon Pettigrew had an active morning practice, catching two really nice downfield passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Pettigrew sat out the afternoon practice, but that's typical for players recovering from anterior cruciate ligament injuries. "Brandon has been doing a little bit more each day," coach Jim Schwartz said.
  • Receiver Tim Toone flashed a couple times during the morning practice, and on one play, he put a double move on cornerback Chris Houston that left him wide open down the right sideline. This is pure amateur work, but I would put Toone no lower than fourth on the Lions' depth chart of receivers after Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Bryant Johnson. I've thought he looked much smoother than 2009 draft choice Derrick Williams, and I'm wondering if Dennis Northcutt will be the odd man out.
  • The Lions released veteran safety Marquand Manuel, who was buried on a depth chart of middling safeties. He started four games last season.

Lions draft Mr. Irrelevant

April, 24, 2010
4/24/10
5:21
PM ET
Congratulations to Weber State receiver Tim Toone, whom Detroit selected with the No. 255 overall and final pick of the draft. As a result, Toone is this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, opening up a world of dubious opportunities.

The draft, my friends, is over.

SPONSORED HEADLINES