Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons: Episode 3 Recap

Jake Matthews was told immediately he'd be the left tackle following Sam Bakers injury. (John Bazemore)

Jake Matthews was told immediately he’d be the left tackle following Sam Baker’s season-ending injury. (John Bazemore)

Another episode of Hard Knocks means we’re that much closer to the regular season.

The first few minutes of the third episode of Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons was a first in the show’s history as we’re taken inside the operating room to witness rookie linebacker Marquis Spruill’s ACL surgery.

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Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons: Episode 2 Recap

Rookie linebacker Prince Shembo looks primed to contribute this season. (John Bazemore)

Rookie linebacker Prince Shembo looks primed to contribute this season. (John Bazemore)

The second episode of Hard Knocks opens with a cut: undrafted rookie fullback Roosevelt Nix-Jones is released from the team. Cuts are probably the worst part of being a coach.

Before the joint practice with the Tennessee Titans, Mike Smith warns anyone who fights will be thrown out. We’re then given a nice foreshadow when the camera briefly pans to center Joe Hawley.

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Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons: Episode 1 Recap

Kroy Biermann and Jake Matthews got into a scuffle almost immediately after training camp began. (AP Photo)

Kroy Biermann and Jake Matthews got into a scuffle almost immediately after training camp began. (AP Photo)

Last night’s premiere of Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons was a doozy. After just one episode, I’m now convinced bringing the cameras to training camp was a good decision.

The show on its own is brilliant as it’s always nice to get a behind-the-scenes look at an NFL team’s training camp. Of course, Hard Knocks’ brilliance was amplified by the fact it’s featuring the Falcons.

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Falcons Sign Safety Tyrell Johnson

Tyrell Johnson brings depth and five years of NFL experience to the team. (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Tyrell Johnson brings depth and five years of NFL experience to the team. (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Atlanta Falcons have signed free safety Tyrell Johnson in light of Dwight Lowery’s uncertain status after suffering a concussion during Friday’s scrimmage.

Johnson was drafted in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He started 27 games for them over four years, and last appeared in four games with the Detroit Lions in 2012. For his career, he’s totaled 126 tackles and two interceptions.

To make room for Johnson, the Falcons waived fullback Roosevelt Nix-Jones.

The free safety position is now officially a concern for the Falcons.

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Falcons DT Peria Jerry Opts to Retire

Peria Jerry didn't do much in the NFL. (Steve Mitchell)

Peria Jerry, for all intents and purposes, was a bust.(Steve Mitchell)

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry has decided to retire.

Jerry was selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

His lack of success in the league could be attributed to a knee injury he suffered in his rookie season that made him miss all but two games. However, years removed from the injury, he never became the force the Falcons expected him to be.

For his career, Jerry totaled 67 tackles and 5.5 sacks, with 3.5 of those sacks coming last season.

Atlanta re-signed Jerry this offseason – a move I thought to be surprising – but even if he didn’t retire, I doubt he would’ve made the team’s final roster.

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Steven Jackson Out Indefinitely With Hamstring Injury

Steven Jackson should be ready for Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season. (Kevin C. Cox)

Steven Jackson should be ready for Week 1 of the 2014 NFL season. (Kevin C. Cox)

Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury, head coach Mike Smith said.

The good news is Jackson should be available for Week 1 of the regular season. Also, it’s apparently not the same hamstring Jackson injured last season.

The bad news is Jackson, at 31 years old,  is injured again.

With linebacker Sean Weatherspoon out for the season and now this, it’s not the greatest of starts to the season.

And more silver lining: the Falcons will get a closer look at rookie Devonta Freeman.

Here’s to a speedy recovery for Jackson.

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Falcons Lose LB Weatherspoon for Year With Torn Achilles

Sean Weatherspoon's injury is a big blow to the Falcons linebacker corps. (Stacy Revere)

Sean Weatherspoon’s injury is a big blow to the Falcons linebacker corps. (Stacy Revere)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is out for the year after tearing his Achilles.

He was already working back from a knee injury that ended his season last year in Week 15.

It’s a big blow for the Falcons’ linebacking corps.

Weatherspoon was in the last year of his rookie contract. Unfortunately, I can’t see the Falcons bringing him back unless it’s on a incentive-laden, prove-it deal.

Hopefully the linebacker has a speedy recovery and returns to the field soon.

 

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Falcons Agree to Terms with Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman has a chance to steal carries from Jacquizz Rodgers. (Phil Sears)

Devonta Freeman has a chance to steal carries from Jacquizz Rodgers. (Phil Sears)

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with running back Devonta Freeman.

The Falcons selected Freeman in the fourth round (103rd overall) out of Florida State.

Atlanta has eight of its nine draft picks signed; only Dezmond Southward remains unsigned.

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Falcons Agree to Terms with Matthews, Hageman

Jake Matthews will step in and immediately improve Matt Ryan's protection. (Thomas Campbell)

Jake Matthews will immediately improve Matt Ryan’s protection. (Thomas Campbell)

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with its top two draft picks: offensive tackle Jake Matthews (sixth overall) and defensive tackle/end Ra’Shede Hageman (37th overall).

Atlanta also signed five other draft picks on Sunday: cornerback Ricardo Allen (147th overall) and linebackers Prince Shembo (139th overall), Marquis Spruill (168th overall), Yawin Smallwood (253rd overall), and Tyler Starr (255th overall).

Only safety Dezmond Southward (68th overall) and running back Devonta Freeman (103rd overall) remain unsigned.

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Review of the Atlanta Falcons’ 2014 NFL Draft

Getting "bigger and tougher" was the offseason's mantra. (John Bazemore)

Getting “bigger and tougher” was the offseason’s mantra. (John Bazemore)

The Atlanta Falcons had Super Bowl aspirations going into last season but fell well short with a 4-12 record.

The primary issues? Injuries, and toughness at the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense

Quarterback Matt Ryan was hit a league-high – and career-high – 203 times last season. He was sacked 44 times – again, a career-high, and tied for third in the league.

The Falcons’ front office made it clear what the plans were for both the offseason and the draft: Protect the $100 million quarterback, and get tougher on both sides of the ball.

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