Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Falcons are feeling no pain for playoffs

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Falcons are feeling no pain for playoffs

    By Dan O'Neill
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    01/11/2005

    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora opened his Tuesday news conference with news he particularly enjoyed sharing.

    "In terms of injuries, which is usually the first question, we will, for the first time in modern NFL history or NFL Falcons history, list no one on our injury report today," a grinning Mora said. "Everyone practiced and everyone is healthy to play and that's a positive. So we're excited about that."

    So much for the bye-week blues. Theorists, especially those favoring the Rams this weekend, have put forth the proposition that a team with a week off - particularly a certain team coming off a season-ending loss at Seattle - is a team without momentum, a team without its rhythm. In other words, down time can make a team vulnerable. But history, not to mention Mora's injury report, paints a contrasting picture.

    Fact is, over the past 15 years, NFC teams with the bye week leading into the divisional playoffs are 27-3, or 90 percent successful in shaking the rust. On the AFC side, teams coming off byes are 22-8 in their postseason opener. Overall, that computes to a rather decisive 49-11 over the same 60-game period.

    "I think having the week off is definitely a positive for us," said fullback Fred McCrary. "The big thing is, you don't spend the time trying to change too much, you know. You don't want to be Einstein and think up some magical game plan, there isn't one. You just go with what got you there."

    McCrary acknowledged something is to be said for rhythm, but he added: "Anyone who has watched us practice knows we practice fast. We simulate the game speed as close as possible. So as far as being in a rhythm, it shouldn't hurt us too much. We shouldn't be too far off."


    Home-field edge

    Linebacker Keith Brooking is looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night. While some believe playing indoors helps the Rams, the Falcons were 7-1 at home during the season and Brooking said there is no question which team the field will favor.

    "I know one thing, 70,000-plus fans will be in the Georgia Dome on Saturday night and they will be cheering for us," he said. "Not only does it help us from a motivational standpoint, we feed off the energy and everything, but it creates a lot of problems for the other team.

    "Our fans are screaming and hollering at the top of their lungs. I've never played in a louder place; I can't even hear myself talk at times. It's tough for the opposing players to go through their checks and be on key with everything that is going on. So I think that is definitely in our favor. That's what we fought for over 16 games this year."


    "Mutual respect"

    Going back to Mora's days as defensive coordinator with the San Francisco *****, a rivalry has developed between the Atlanta coach and Rams mentor Mike Martz. However, Mora insists the relationship is contentious only on a friendly, professional basis.

    "I just enjoy coaching against teams that he coaches," Mora said. "I have tremendous respect for him and the way he coaches offensive football. I love the fact that he's always in attack mode. He gets criticized for it at times, but I think it's unfounded criticism. I think the proof is in the pudding and he's had great success."

    Mora added he wouldn't be surprised if "Mad Mike" concocts some special offensive treats for his Falcons.

    "It's always fun to see what he's going to come up with," Mora said

Related Topics

Collapse

  • Varg6
    Mora Fired from Falcons...
    by Varg6
    Mora fired as Falcons coach Click here to find out more!
    NFL.com wire reports


    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (Jan. 1, 2007) -- Atlanta fired coach Jim Mora on Monday, just two years after he led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game.

    The decision to dump the fiery coach followed two straight disappointing seasons. The Falcons lost six of their final eight games in 2005 to miss the playoffs, and they finished 7-9 this season by losing seven of the last nine contests.

    Owner Arthur Blank made the announcement at the team's suburban training complex.

    Atlanta went into the final weekend with a slim chance to slip into the playoffs with a .500 record. That ended Saturday night when the New York Giants won at Washington; the Falcons closed the season Sunday with a meaningless 24-17 loss at Philadelphia.

    Mora's final game was in the same stadium where the Falcons lost to the Eagles for the NFC championship at the end of the 2004 season, coming up one victory short of the Super Bowl.

    The 45-year-old Mora, son of longtime NFL coach Jim Mora, went 26-22 in three seasons as Atlanta's coach.

    A former defensive coordinator in San Francisco, the younger Mora led the Falcons to the NFC South title in his rookie season. The team slumped to 8-8 a year ago, then endured his first losing record.

    "This was an extremely difficult decision for us," Blank said in a statement before holding a news conference to announce the decision. "We had the highest hopes and aspirations for a long run with Jim as our coach, but we feel this decision is in the best long-term interests of our franchise. I have great respect for Jim's passion for the game, and we wish Jim and his family all of the best."

    Mora had two years left on his contract, which was extended before this season. He could not immediately be reached for comment; a message was left on his cell phone.
    -01-01-2007, 10:36 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams' season closes with a rush
    by RamWraith
    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

    ATLANTA - At the end of this draining night in Georgia, inside the visitor's
    locker room in the lower reaches of the Georgia Dome, the Rams' traveling
    football show was ready to close down. Down the hall in the upbeat Atlanta
    Falcons locker room, little kids with footballs and Michael Vick jerseys darted
    back and forth getting autographs from their hometown heroes. Players checked
    their cell phone voice mails, and perused the gaudy stat sheet that gave all
    the gory details of their 47-17 rout of the Rams in Saturday night's NFC
    conference semifinal playoff.

    The Falcons' dazzling show is still playing to rave reviews this morning. The
    NFC South champs are on their way to the NFC Championship Game, and they are
    brimming with a verve and confidence that only dominant victories like this can
    bring. Yet here inside the Rams' subdued visiting quarters, the show was
    closing down for the season. Equipment men packed all the pads and helmets,
    jerseys, tape and footballs into large trunks and shoved them onto waiting
    moving vans. The glum-faced front-office brass milled quietly around the room,
    shaking hands with players and offering soothing words of comfort. The players
    quietly stuffed their belongings into expensive leather carry-alls, then tried
    to make sense of this abrupt and decisive destruction at the hands of the
    Falcons.

    "I just knew we were going to do better than that," Leonard Little said as he
    leaned against his locker stall. "I swear, we practiced against every single
    play they ran. We knew every scheme they threw at us. I just don't get how it
    turned out so bad."

    From start to finish, there was scant evidence that the Rams had a clue that
    they knew what they were doing against the Falcons. If you believe in
    premonitions, maybe the Rams should have known what was in store for them from
    the beginning of the stunning pre-game pyrotechnics that were so hot they could
    singe eyebrows from 50 yards away.

    The Falcons came jogging out of the Dome end zone tunnel for pre-game
    introductions to the dazzling fanfare of exploding fireworks, giant
    flame-throwing torches and throbbing hip-hop music that was so loud and so cool
    that it turned this rowdy place into a giant domed dance club.

    Oh, if only that was the extent of the explosions. But unfortunately for the
    Rams, the biggest bangs and most devastating detonations on this night were not
    reserved solely for the pre-game festivities. From start to finish, the Falcons
    detonated creative pyrotechnics in all of the very familiar weak spots of the
    Rams.

    We all...
    -01-17-2005, 04:54 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams' season closes with a rush
    by RamDez
    Rams' season closes with a rush
    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

    ATLANTA - At the end of this draining night in Georgia, inside the visitor's
    locker room in the lower reaches of the Georgia Dome, the Rams' traveling
    football show was ready to close down. Down the hall in the upbeat Atlanta
    Falcons locker room, little kids with footballs and Michael Vick jerseys darted
    back and forth getting autographs from their hometown heroes. Players checked
    their cell phone voice mails, and perused the gaudy stat sheet that gave all
    the gory details of their 47-17 rout of the Rams in Saturday night's NFC
    conference semifinal playoff.

    The Falcons' dazzling show is still playing to rave reviews this morning. The
    NFC South champs are on their way to the NFC Championship Game, and they are
    brimming with a verve and confidence that only dominant victories like this can
    bring. Yet here inside the Rams' subdued visiting quarters, the show was
    closing down for the season. Equipment men packed all the pads and helmets,
    jerseys, tape and footballs into large trunks and shoved them onto waiting
    moving vans. The glum-faced front-office brass milled quietly around the room,
    shaking hands with players and offering soothing words of comfort. The players
    quietly stuffed their belongings into expensive leather carry-alls, then tried
    to make sense of this abrupt and decisive destruction at the hands of the
    Falcons.

    "I just knew we were going to do better than that," Leonard Little said as he
    leaned against his locker stall. "I swear, we practiced against every single
    play they ran. We knew every scheme they threw at us. I just don't get how it
    turned out so bad."

    From start to finish, there was scant evidence that the Rams had a clue that
    they knew what they were doing against the Falcons. If you believe in
    premonitions, maybe the Rams should have known what was in store for them from
    the beginning of the stunning pre-game pyrotechnics that were so hot they could
    singe eyebrows from 50 yards away.

    The Falcons came jogging out of the Dome end zone tunnel for pre-game
    introductions to the dazzling fanfare of exploding fireworks, giant
    flame-throwing torches and throbbing hip-hop music that was so loud and so cool
    that it turned this rowdy place into a giant domed dance club.

    Oh, if only that was the extent of the explosions. But unfortunately for the
    Rams, the biggest bangs and most devastating detonations on this night were not
    reserved solely for the pre-game festivities. From start to finish, the Falcons
    detonated creative pyrotechnics in all of the very familiar weak spots of the
    Rams.

    We all knew this...
    -01-16-2005, 03:47 AM
  • RamWraith
    'New Look' Falcons Brace for Rams
    by RamWraith
    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    For the second consecutive week, the Rams will face a team in transition. While Arizona spent its offseason getting used to new coach Dennis Green, Atlanta was warming up to new coach Jim Mora Jr.

    After beating Green’s Cardinals 17-10 in the opener, St. Louis travels to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Sunday at noon. Atlanta is also 1-0, beating San Francisco 21-19 in its first game.

    Mora replaced Dan Reeves and then Wade Phillips, who coached the final three games, after a 7-9 campaign in 2003. The Falcons named Mora head coach and Executive Vice President on Jan. 9. Although Atlanta’s players aren’t too familiar with Mora, St. Louis certainly is. Mora comes to the Falcons from San Francisco, where he was the defensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

    That time with the ***** gives the Rams a working knowledge of many of the things Atlanta will attempt to do. For example, during last season’s San Francisco-St. Louis game in San Francisco, the ***** threw zone blitz after zone blitz at the Rams on their way to a 30-10 win.

    St. Louis began to adjust at halftime and quarterback Marc Bulger threw for 378 yards, but he was sacked five times and the Rams rushed for only 9 yards. At the time, Mora said San Francisco’s defense was finally faster than St. Louis’ offense.

    Mora laughed about it in good nature when asked about the comment.

    "Don't bring that one up," Mora said, jokingly. "I saw that in the paper this morning and I said. 'Ah, I know they are going to ask me about that one.' I don't think they need that quote out of me to get motivated."

    Mora is probably right. The Rams have plenty of motivation for the meeting with Atlanta, without thinking about something that happened when Mora coached elsewhere. Going to 2-0, winning its first road game, continuing to run the ball effectively and playing solid defense again is just some of the motivation St. Louis has.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he didn’t take offense to Mora’s comments.

    “I think they were a lot faster than what they have been,” Martz said. “When he made that comment, they had improved their defense significantly.”

    Besides, Mora is playing with a different hand. He takes over an Atlanta defense that finished last in the NFL in total defense in 2003. There is some talent on the Falcons’ defense, but they are switching to a more common 4-3 defense from a 3-4.

    Mora’s defense will get a big test this weekend on the fast track at the Georgia Dome. The Rams rolled up 448 yards against Arizona with a dominating performance from the offensive line and a punishing running game.

    The Falcons had plenty of problems with St. Louis’ offense last year when the Rams rolled to a 36-0...
    -09-19-2004, 08:42 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams have Georgia silence on their minds
    by RamDez
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    09/18/2004

    Isaac Bruce (left) and Torry Holt figure to see one-on-one coverage when the Falcons blitz.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)


    Advertisement

    ATLANTA - From 1995-2001, when Atlanta was part of the NFC West, the St. Louis Rams played before almost as many empty seats as occupied ones on their annual treks to the Georgia Dome.

    In 1996, for example, 26,519 spectators watched the Rams beat the Falcons 34-27 behind three touchdown passes from Tony Banks to Eddie Kennison.

    Even in 1998, the Falcons' Super Bowl season, a mere 37,996 made their way into the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome to watch the Falcons improve to 6-2 with a 37-15 thrashing of the Rams.

    But this Sunday, the Rams will see something entirely different in the Georgia Dome. Excitement. Energy. Michael Vick. And a packed house.

    "I know it's going to be loud," Rams wide receiver Torry Holt said. "I know they're going to be excited. It's their home opener. Hopefully, we can go down there, stay focused, and come out of there with a 'W.' "

    New Atlanta coach Jim Mora is telling everyone within shouting distance to show up wearing Falcons red. Adding to the festivities, Atlanta will christen its Ring of Honor on Sunday honoring former Falcons greats.

    Last week, the Falcons ended a 10-game losing streak in San Francisco. This Sunday, they'd like nothing better than to end their seven-game losing streak to the Rams.

    "Usually, when we went there, that stadium by the end of the game would be a pro-Rams stadium," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "I don't expect it to be that way this year. I expect it to be a hostile crowd for four quarters. They're excited about their football team, obviously. They're excited about their quarterback."

    And excited about playing the Rams. Isn't everybody? They are, after all, the NFL's winningest franchise since the start of the 1999 season.

    "There are a lot of people that don't like us out there," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We know that. So we've just got to go out there and try to play our game. Try to get off to a good start, silence the crowd early, and go from there."

    The Rams' very best teams since the move to St. Louis have at least held their own on the road:

    The '99 Super Bowl championship team went 5-3 away from home.

    The '01 Super Bowl runner-up squad was 8-0.

    Last season's 12-4 squad broke even at 4-4.

    So any road victory is a good victory. And with subsequent away games this season against Seattle, Miami, Green Bay, and Carolina, the Rams would love to fly out of Georgia with a 2-0 record.

    "Like Coach (Mike Martz) said earlier in the week, the same passion and emotion
    ...
    -09-19-2004, 03:40 AM
Working...
X