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Rico Speaks to Andy-Randy

July 23, 2019

Ricardo Allen called in to the 92.9 Midday Show with Randy and Andy minutes after Day 2 of Training Camp practice ended on Tuesday, July 23.

Randy McMichaels and Andy Bunker were at Flowery Branch on Monday and were excited when they saw Ricardo take the field early in practice.  Tuesday, they were back in the studio, taking calls from Ricardo Allen.

 They first asked when Rico knew he was hitting the field actively on Monday.  Rico responded that he found out in their pre-practice meeting when he saw the assignments and his name was on the board, and was naturally very excited.

 Rico said that he felt good throughout all of his off season training and rehab, and was officially cleared for play on the field just before practice began.  He was excited and ready.  Rico was running the team with the plays planned for him.  During his healing process, Rico’s mindset was to get ready and motivate his two babies, to show them to muscle through hard times.  Rico is known for building others up, but really had to focus on himself this off season.  

 Asked about fellow 2018 injured defender, Keanu Neal, Rico stated that Keke looks really good, moving like he always did, feeling comfortable.  He was glad they got to rehab and now hit the field healthy back together.  

Rico stated that this season is even more special.  “You have to put life in perspective when you are injured and out.”  He said that you are so use to the consistency of practicing and playing, then suddenly life slows down and you sit around and think and focus on yourself.  You really appreciate every time you are on the field because you never know when it is the last play.

 Practicing in the rain on Day 2, you are sore from the previous day’s activities, but there were no complaints today, the team is focused, shaking it off and challenging each other, a super focused team.

 Asked about the relationship with Head Coach Dan Quinn and Quinn being the Defensive Coordinator this year, Rico agreed that DQ is more lit and woke this season, he is excited about the season, but on top of every detail and will not let anything go unsaid.  He knows the type of team compiled here.  Rico talks to DQ daily, they are really close as DQ helped develop Rico in his early years with the team.  DQ knows he can depend on Allen, as Rico wants to be called on to make the tough decisions and counted on for the win or the loss. 

Rico has been studying the offense as well as his own defensive responsibilities.  Asked, “how does a defense coordinator prepare for the Falcons?”  Rico said it would be really hard, too many awesome weapons, especially with Devonta Freeman back and more experience for Calvin Ridley, and the line looks really good.

 Rico told Randy and Andy that Damontae Kazee is talking to the receivers to pick their brains and figure out the best way to play at the NFL nickel spot.  Note that Kazee played Safety once Allen went down, and excelled and definitely made a starting spot for himself with his play last season.

#RiseUp

FalconAlley Owt

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Four. More. Years….Of Grady Jarrett

July 16, 2019

 The day after the Atlanta Falcons and Grady Jarrettagreed to a new deal (just hours before the deadline) Jarrett joined Dukes and Bell on 92.9 The Game.

 Jarrett had agreed and signed to play under the Franchise Tag, but negotiations continued to work out a new contract.  He signed a 4-year, $68 million deal, to keep Jarrett in Atlanta until he is at least 30 years old.  There is a $42.5 million fully guaranteed, which will help the Falcons with the salary cap and other negotiations, while obviously benefiting Jarrett as well.  Note that Deion Jones signed a 4-year extension later in the day.

 Carl Dukes and Mike Bell host the afternoon show on 92.9 The Game and hosted an in-studio Q&A with Grady on Tuesday, July 16. 

Grady joins the show, notably in even better shape than last season.  He said he was not stressed about the negotiations, “Everything happens in due time.  I have put the work in and prepared to play under the tag or with the new deal.”

 Grady was prepared to let the process take care of itself.  As soon as the season ended earlier this year, Grady started preparing and training for this 2019 season.  He did enjoy family time, took some vacations and other off the field activities, such as his charity camps as well as other charity events.

 The ever humble Grady is going to focus on the task at hand and continue to improve.  He is “Thankful for where I am at.  Blessed.  I am motivated to perform even more now. So much more out there for me to accomplish – ready to go get it.”

 When asked if he is out to prove he is worth his new deal, he replied that he did not have to prove he was worth it, he has already done that.  Grady stated that, “No one can put more pressure or expectations on me than myself….whatever deal I had.  I am always hungry for more, always want to be better and drive for more.”  He considers himself a “Kid that came from nothing,” so anything he gets he legitimately works for.  

 On becoming a leader on the team, Grady stated that he is definitely a leader on the team.  His first year was a learning year, but he has always been a leader, respected in his role on the team.  “To much who is given, much is expected” that is why God put Grady on this earth.

 During the off season, Grady talked to Head Coach Dan Quinn and Falcons owner Arthur Blank some.  Everything was very respectful on both sides, he had no worries – just had to get the deal done.  He, as Julio Jones has noted, “Mr. Blank said I would be a Falcon for life.”  Grady noted, “If we came up to something we did, if not, we didn’t.  I am still playing the same.  Not taking it personal.”  The talks with DQ in off season were checking in and chatting – not football or contract based.  DQ legitimately cares about his players and just checks in on everyone.

 On DQ calling shots as the Defensive Coordinator, Grady said that he is excited.  He knows the Falcons have great players on every level, with more experience now, with young guys ready to step up.  There are new guys to the team.  And Adrian Clayborn is back.

 Regarding the new offensive line, Grady responded that they defensive line will be a good challenge for them and really pushing the O-Line.  As DQ says, iron sharpens iron, and that will help the defense get better as well.  He noted there is allot more beef on the line now and he is excited to go against these new guys.  However the battles turn out, there are many new guards and tackles acquired through free agency or the draft.  Grady commented that Chris Morgan is the offensive line coach and is out there yelling and getting them in shape.  It looks like the 2 first rounders are ready to come in and work.

Grady provided thoughts on the 2019 D.  He is excited to play with Tyeler Davison that was acquired through free agency from Saints.  They came out of college the same year, both in the fifth round.  Jack Crawford is attacking and looking good.  Big Shede (Ra’Shede Hageman) is back, Grady noted that he missed him as a teammate, the day in and out with Shede and his has picked up where he left off.  Second year DT, Deadrin Senat is hungry for success. Grady commented that having AC back is big.  John Kaminsky, rookie, is going to learn, he goes hard.  Excited to see Takk McKinley and (Clemson teammate) Vic Beasley, Jr. 

Grady said the best way to be good on this team is to be open to learn.  Coach Simpson is doing a great job.  DQ a defensive line guy, so the line knows they are getting good attention too.

 So, with all this new money (realizing as a 5throunder, Jarrett’s original contract was $2.5 million for 4 years) what is Grady going to do for himself?  He plans to pay off his house (purchased last year) and any other debt that he has.  Of course, he plans to take care of his mom top to bottom.  Grady plans to have his business in order, then put it away for his legacy.  Grady said, this is “Such a blessing and I don’t take it lightly.”  He doesn’t compare his deal to others in his position or on his team, he knows he is blessed to be where he is. 

 It is really Grady’s drive and heart that makes him special.  He said, “It’s the things I don’t show and put out there that contribute to my success.”  He recognized and appreciates his nutritionist to his massage therapist and anyone that contributes to what Grady is.

 The 2019 expectations:  Great to have everyone back healthy….Devonta Freeman is ready to tote that pill.  We have one of the best receiving corps in league.  D is happy to be back together.  We really missed each other.  We will do the work day in and day out.  We have a hungry coaching staff.  No excuses.

 Asked when Grady started his post season work out.  With no playoffs, he had extra time and started in January.  He actually originally said July and laughed like he had never done nothing.  Grady said he is as “strong as I have ever been” and works on his nutrition as well.  He does not have a cook, any cooking at home, he cooks himself.  He does have a good nutritionist.  Grady again commented, “Blessed with good people around me.”

 Grady’s work ethic and dedication is evident in everything he says and does, “The more work you put in, the more mutual respect” you have.  He said that the “Brotherhood” the Falcons use is not just a word, it is the action and respect.  “InBrotherhood” is real, when times get hard, you don’t fall apart, you have a sense of accountability to each other.  Tough love is still love, they know they can’t get in their feelings about things, come to each other with respect.

 Returning to the pre-Falcon days, when Clemson University was on the cusp, when they were near the big show, now, they are “dynasty-ish.”  “Clemsoning-good but go down” but Head Coach Dabo Swinneysaid “Clemsoning is winning.” They were always having 10-11 win seasons.  Dabo will tell you (and has nationally) said these teams and players laid the ground work for the champion seasons – and they teams know that and thank those players for that. Grady and Vic graduated and joined the NFL the year before the 2016 Clemson National Championship.  They were on the team with some guys that just one the 2019 Championship as well.  Dabo reminds them “this wasn’t overnight.”  To go to Clemson wasn’t a sexy thing.  The had a top 10 recruiting class, but now turning down 4 and 5 stars.  And players like Grady are an advertisement for that…moving into the NFL and being good, successful, contributing young men.

 Although it was trying waiting for college offers to come in, he admits that going to Clemson changed his life.  He was a 2 star recruit, visited USC, Florida, Alabama and because he was too short or not the right DT prototype, he was not offered anything from them.  After numerous visits, Dabo finally realized what Grady had to offer, and look at him now.  But Grady (and his mother) never doubted himself, what he could do, his heart.  Grady reiterated, put in your work, it is the story you don’t see that makes you.  Grady has always just put his head down and kept working. 

 Asked for final comments on what you would tell kids today (and what he does tell them at his kids camps.  Grady said, “Believe in yourself, no one else will.  When it is hard, keep going.  Keep grinding.  Don’t listen to anyone else.  Put the work in.  Do not worry about others and acceptance.”  You know yourself in your heart of hearts.

THIS is why I love Grady Jarrett so much and he is and has been my favorite Falcon since he arrived in Atlanta.  Also, I’m a Clemson fan.  But that doesn’t skew my judgement.

Thanks to Dukes and Bell for being the first guys to talk to Grady and for a great, long interview.

 

#RiseUp

FalconAlley Owt

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FalconAlley’s Roster

August 30, 2018

Prior to the kickoff of preseason game 4, I compiled my roster.  Not sure why this is so hard.  I even saved some money with 52 on the roster and 5 on the practice squad.  I don’t do fantasy, but do like to go through the roster and compare to DQ’s final.  Let’s see how I do.  First list is bolded…that is my roster, then 5 in italics for the practice squad.

Player # Position Weight Age Years College
Alex Mack
51 C 311 32 10 California
Justin Bethel 28 CB 200 28 7 Presbyterian
Isaiah Oliver 20 CB 210 21 R Colorado
Desmond Trufant 21 CB 190 27 6 Washington
Blidi Wreh-Wilson 33 CB 190 28 6 Connecticut
Robert Alford 23 CB 186 29 6 Southeastern Louisiana
Brian Poole 34 CB 211 25 3 Florida
Derrick Shelby 90 DE 280 29 7 Utah
Brooks Reed 50 DE 254 31 8 Arizona
Takkarist McKinley 98 DE 230 22 2 UCLA
Jack Crawford 95 DL 288 29 7 Penn State
Terrell McClain 99 DT 302 30 8 South Florida
Deadrin Senat 94 DT 305 24 R South Florida
Grady Jarrett 97 DT 305 25 4 Clemson
Ricky Ortiz 30 FB 233 24 1 Oregon State
Andy Levitre 67 G 303 32 10 Oregon State
Ben Garland 63 G 308 30 5 Air Force
Sean Harlow 64 G 284 23 2 Oregon State
Wes Schweitzer 71 G 314 24 3 San Jose State
Brandon Fusco 65 G 306 30 8 Slippery Rock
Matt Bryant 3 K 203 43 17 Baylor
Foye Oluokun 54 LB 215 23 R Yale
De’Vondre Campbell 59 LB 232 25 3 Minnesota
Deion Jones 45 LB 227 23 3 LSU
Duke Riley 42 LB 230 24 2 LSU
Josh Harris 47 LS 224 29 7 Auburn
Vic Beasley Jr. 44 OLB 246 26 4 Clemson
Matt Bosher 5 P 208 30 8 Miami (Fla.)
Matt Ryan 2 QB 217 33 11 Boston College
Matt Schaub 8 QB 245 37 15 Virginia
Ito Smith 25 RB 195 22 R Southern Mississippi
Tevin Coleman 26 RB 210 25 4 Indiana
Devonta Freeman 24 RB 206 26 5 Florida State
Ron Parker   S 206 31 8 Newberry
Kemal Ishmael
36 S 206 27 6 Central Florida
Keanu Neal 22 S 216 23 3 Florida
Damontae Kazee 27 S 190 25 2 San Diego State
Ricardo Allen 37 S 186 26 4 Purdue
Jake Matthews 70 T 309 26 5 Texas A&M
Ty Sambrailo 74 T 315 26 4 Colorado State
Ryan Schraeder 73 T 300 30 6 Valdosta State
Austin Pasztor 68 T 305 27 6 Virginia
Logan Paulsen 82 TE 268 31 9 UCLA
Eric Saubert 85 TE 253 24 2 Drake
Austin Hooper 81 TE 254 23 3 Stanford
Calvin Ridley 18 WR 190 23 R Alabama
Russell Gage 83 WR 184 22 R LSU
Justin Hardy 14 WR 192 26 4 East Carolina
Mohamed Sanu 12 WR 215 29 7 Rutgers
Julio Jones 11 WR 220 29 8 Alabama
Marvin Hall 17 WR 190 25 2 Washington
Justin Crawford 32 RB 200 23 R West Virginia
Ryan Neal 40 DB 200 22 R Southern Illinois
Kurt Benkert 6 QB 215 23 R Virginia
Alex Gray
89 TE 230 27 1 No College
Devin Gray 7 WR 192 23 R Cincinnati
Reggie Davis 13 WR 170 22 1 Georgia
Deante Burton 39 CB 205 24 1 Kansas State
Leon McFadden 29 CB 190 27 4 San Diego State
Mackendy Cheridor
96 DE 236 23 R Georgia State
J.T. Jones 55 DE 245 24 1 Miami (Ohio)
Justin Zimmer 92 DL 292 25 1 Ferris State
Garrison Smith 93 DL 295 26 5 Georgia
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner 79 DT 262 22 R UCLA
Jon Cunningham 91 DT 309 22 R Kent State
Jalston Fowler FB 261 28 4 Alabama
Marcelis Branch
38 FS 180 24 1 Robert Morris
Salesi Uhatafe 62 G 315 23 R Utah
Jamil Douglas 75 G 309 26 2 Arizona State
David Marvin 1 K 215 23 R Georgia
Emmanuel Smith 53 LB 240 23 R Vanderbilt
Anthony Winbush 56 OLB 207 23 R Ball State
Richard Jarvis 49 OLB 220 23 R Brown
Emmanuel Ellerbee 52 OLB 235 21 R Rice
Garrett Grayson 9 QB 220 27 2 Colorado State
Malik Williams
35 RB 215 22 R Louisville
Terrence Magee 41 RB 220 25 2 LSU
Chris Lammons
30 S 190 22 R South Carolina
Secdrick Cooper 35 S 211 23 R Louisiana Tech
Tyson Graham 32 S 210 24 1 South Dakota
Matt Gono 77 T 305 22 R Wesley College
Daniel Brunskill 76 T 260 24 1 San Diego State
Jaeden Graham 87 TE 250 22 R Yale
Troy Mangen 80 TE 251 24 R Ohio U.
Lamar Jordan 86 WR 176 23 R New Mexico
Dontez Byrd 19 WR 180 23 R Tennessee Tech
Christian Blake 15 WR 182 22 R Northern Illinois
Posted in News You Can Use, Uncategorized

FalconAlley at The Draft

 

Article & Photos by Allison Smith

I was not at the actual draft in Dallas, but I was at the Atlanta Falcons’ official Draft party at Mercedes Benz Stadium, “The Benz Nest.”

This was another great event hosted by Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank.  This was a free event for Season Ticket owners, you merely had to register.  Much of the stadium and many food vendors were open, mostly the main level and parts of the 200 level.  Yet another event where you almost didn’t realize there was not a game to be played by the attendance and activity.

Fans were allowed on the field, where the RISEUP sign was displayed, corn hole was set up, along with many football skill games and local radio and other booths were on the field.  Many people stayed on the field the entire time. Several Falcon players were also on the field, signing and taking pictures with fans.

Meanwhile, we were also allowed in the locker room, where my feature photo here was taken.  We followed the tunnel along a short path into the locker room where you could see several jerseys displayed.  Then you could head back out to the field to hang out or back up to the main level to see the sites or grab some food.

I toured the locker room, chatted with several Benz Nest employees and headed back up.  The radio ship of the Falcons, 92.9 The Game was broadcasting the draft and the local commentary leading up to the draft.  Randy McMichael, Carl Dukes, Mike Bell, and Chuck Smith provided insight into the Falcons as well as the other teams ahead of the Falcons.  I was able to chat with Chuck briefly, but had great time with Carl and Mike, speculating, chatting about FalconAlley Football, and about the event overall.  Harry Douglas was on hand for a radio interview, then taking pictures with fans as well.  Many current players were on hand to chat with 92.9 The Game as well.

The players that were on hand, spoke to 92.9 The Game, then signed autographs and took pictures as well. There were some on the field, some in the upper level, and at two stations on the main level of The Benz Nest.  I worked my way back and forth on the main level, so missed some other great guys, but did get some of my favorites.  Unfortunately, the elusive Ben Garland was already in Dallas preparing to announce the 3rd pick, so he was not available, however, there were some big stars at the Falcons Draft event.

IMG_1980
When they say you can have a pic OR autograph….but Grady knows his biggest fan….

Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Takk McKinley, Deion Jones were all on the main level, along with numerous cheerleaders.  I know that De’Vondre Campbell was at one of the special areas upstairs, as I saw his interview, but he was whisked away.  While I missed a picture with Takk, I did see him close up and he seemed like a great guy.  Did get pictures with Grady, Kiki, and Debo.  Got to chat with them for a few minutes, but of course there was a huge line of us fans running around after all of them.

 

Overall, it was a great event.  I did not stay until our pick as it was so late, but did see many of the early picks as they were displayed on the million tv’s throughout the stadium.

Check out my YouTube channel for my announcement and thoughts on the 2nd day picks.  Our FalconAlley Football Facebook page has pictures from the Draft Day event.

Now, we wait and see how the entire draft turns out for our beloved Falcons.

@FalconAlley Owt

#RISEUP

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And Then, There Were 53

090517

Added LB Jordan Tripp (from Green Bay) to the 53
G Jamil Douglas fills final practice squad spot

090417

LaRoy Reynolds LB – placed on IR with pectoral muscle injury.

Courtney Upshaw will be featured in nickel package with loss of Shede.  Jack Crawford and Dontari Poe will step in on other defense packages.

Ty Sambrailo will play both LT and RT. And practiced over the weekend.

– Starting RG is Wes Schweitzer due to more consistency.

090417:  Ra’Shede Hageman released.

10 of the 11 Practice Squad Announced

RB Jhurell Pressley

WR Deante Burton
WR Marvin Hall
TE Josh Perkins
TE Alex Gray
T Daniel Brunskill
DE J’Terius Jones
DT Joe Vellano
DT Taniela Tupou
S Marcelis Branch

090217:  And Then There Were 53

So, apparently there was some big secret going on at The Branch today as 4pm came and went and it was after 5pm ET before we got the Final Falcons Roster.  I didn’t see any huge surprises, especially on the release list.  Several lists with, waived for this and that, injured, suspended, etc.  Jalen Collins is still on the team, al biet suspended for 10 games, but that gives us a buffer for later in the season.  Another surprise, maybe only to me, was Ra’Shede Hageman.  He is on the commissioner’s exempt list.  Which is, I just learned, a holding pattern.  Shede’s domestic abuse charge from August of 2016 was wrapped in the courts, but continues to be reviewed in the league.  So, Shede is on the team, but can’t play right now….don’t get me started on this.

Congrats to everyone that made the team.  I will mark up my roster from earlier in the week, as I think it is going to be pretty close – short of the traded additions I didn’t anticipate.  Of note, RB Brian Hill made the roster, WRs Andre Roberts and Nick Williams, BEN GARLAND is the starting RG!!!  LBs include LaRoy Reynolds and undrafted rookie Jermaine Grace that earned his spot in Thursday’s game for sure.  Another guy that solidified his spot Thursday was Blidi Wreh-Wilson at CB.  

Andre Roberts is the official returner for now, and I am sure he will get some help from Justin Hardy and Nick Williams along the way.

Practice squad will be announced later, so see who earns a spot there.

Below is the current roster.  Again, congrats to everyone…new and old….welcome to The Brotherhood.

 

53 Man Roster
Mack, Alex
Alford, Robert
Goodwin, C.J.
Kazee, Damontae
Olatoye, Deji
Poole, Brian
Trufant, Desmond
Wreh-Wilson, Blidi
Clayborn, Adrian
Crawford, Jack
McKinley, Takkarist
Reed, Brooks
Shelby, Derrick
Jarrett, Grady
Upshaw, Courtney
Coleman, Derrick
Garland, Ben
Levitre, Andy
Schweitzer, Wes
Bryant, Matt
Grace, Jermaine
Jones, Deion
Reynolds, LaRoy
Harris, Josh
Poe, Dontari
Harlow, Sean
Pasztor, Austin
Beasley, Vic
Campbell, De’Vondre
Riley, Duke
Sambrailo, Ty
Bosher, Matt
Ryan, Matt
Schaub, Matt
Coleman, Tevin
Freeman, Devonta
Hill, Brian
Ward, Terron
Allen, Ricardo
Ishmael, Kemal
Neal, Keanu
Neasman, Sharrod
Matthews, Jake
Schraeder, Ryan
Hooper, Austin
Saubert, Eric
Toilolo, Levine
Gabriel, Taylor
Hardy, Justin
Jones, Julio
Roberts, Andre
Sanu, Mohamed
Williams, Nick