Tag Archives: atlanta falcons

Mama, There Goes That Man! Julio Jones Sets Record For Most 250 Yard Games!

(SL)  — Julio Jones racked up 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns as the Falcons blasted the Buccaneers 34-20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Wide Receiver set a records with his standout performance.

Jones became the first player to record three games of more than 250 yards in a career, surpassed Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most receiving yards and Anquan Boldin for most receptions for a player through his first 90 NFL games.

24131262_1741397529217299_8770975197822633611_nPost game, quarterback Matt Ryan said, “If we could just dial up 250 yards from him every week, it would be a pretty good recipe for success. He’s so explosive. He’s an unbelievable talent and an unbelievable competitor.”23844785_1741397565883962_4312240803940137512_nRyan himself finished 26-of-35 for 317 yards and a TD, while wide receiver Mohamed Sanu had a 51-yard touchdown pass to which Coach Quinn jokingly said he became confident with Sanu at QB after he completed the pass, especially after he wobbled the snap a little.

Sanu’s perfect pass rate left fans calling for him to play various other position all of which Coach Quinn said being the athlete that he is, he could probably do them all.
Tevin Coleman ran for 97 yards and two scores hours after his significant other had twins. The Falcons, who have won three in-a-row to improve to 7-and-4 on the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 27-of-44 for 283 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for Tampa, which slipped to 4-and-7.  Peyton Barber had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the setback. The Falcons will host the Vikings on Sunday while the Buccaneers will hit the road to play the Packers.

And Down She Went….The Georgia Dome Is Officially Gone

(SL) –  After 25 years, the Georgia Dome imploded leaving behind decades of memories. The only stadium to host a Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Final Four is no longer.

The Georgia Dome was the place the Atlanta Falcons called home until last year, when they moved into a freshly built stadium right next door.

When it opened in 1992, it was the largest covered stadium in the world.

Miami Takes Advantage Of Undisciplined Plays To Comeback From 17 And Beat The Falcons

(SL) – What the heck happened? The Atlanta Falcons have some tweaking to do after blowing a 17 pt lead and losing to the Dolphins.
Atlanta got off to a quick start with its usual performance from Devonta Freeman. His speed was hard to contain and he was able to burst through gaining yards and adding to easy field position as the Falcons dominated and shutdown Miami’s run game all together in the first half.
Matt Ryan even connected with Marvin Hall for a beautiful 40-yard Touchdown pass that pretty much made fans wonder where he’s been all this time. Answer: The practice squad and he was promoted a day earlier because of an injury to starting receiver Mohamed Sanu.
22406267_1697220580301661_5276368061980464365_nThe falcons were rolling. Tevin Coleman scored on a 6-yard run, and Matt Bryant was good with the 50-yard field goal.
Miami was struggling and Jay Cutler (who put off retirement)  failed to connect any pass longer than 12 yards and was even picked off by Deion Jones late in the first half. The Falcons would return for the 3rd quarter up 17-0 and then somebody left the gate open.
It was as if they switched roles. Miami came out blazing with 15-plays that moved the ball 75 yards and then Cutler connected with Sills for the 11-yard TD.

Ryan would be haunted by interceptions once again. (He’s thrown 6 in the past 3 games) And undisciplined play would be costly.

22448317_1697220863634966_5097774583085108295_nCutler hit Jarvis  Landry for a 7-yard TD after a roughing-the-quarterback penalty on Grady Jarrett killed an interception by Jones deep in Atlanta territory and set the Dolphins up nicely.

The Falcons also botched a punt. The punter tried to picked it up and run but was tackled short of the first down. The Dolphins were set to move and capitalize on a 49-yard field goal which tied the game at 17.

Cody Parkey kicked a 39-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining and just like the Dolphins led 20-17.  Then…safety Reshad Jones intercepted Matt Ryan at the 6-yard line with 39 seconds left and that was all she wrote.

Jay Cutler was 19 of 32 for 151 yards while Matt Ryan finished 24 of 35 for 248 yards.

Falcons Lose To The Bills 23-17, Loss Of Jones and Sanu Costly

(SL) – One could say that the Falcons got going late, putting their first set of points on the board with a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. But others would say the Bills just came to play. After a scoreless first quarter, both the Falcons and the Bills turned the heat up inside Mercedes Benz Stadium in the second qtr.

After the Falcons put up 3, the Bills would make good use of their next possession on a pass from Tyrod Taylor to Jordan Matthews and take the lead 7-3. Not to be outdone, Devonta Freeman ended the first half with a short TD and it was 7-10.

Second half, there would be an absolute shift in energy and ball control. The Bills opened the scoring in the second half when Tre’davious White scooped up a Matt Ryan fumble and took it in for a touchdown (14-10). This would be the start of several fumbles and bad ball control. And did I mention that two people were noticeably absent.  Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu were out. Jones with a hip injury and Sanu’s hamstring would put them both on the sideline.

The Bills made good on an interception in the third after Matt Ryan attempted to go long and Micah Hyde foiled his plan. Heading into the 4th, the Bills worked their way down to 3rd and 1 inches away from the goal line, but instead of just going for it, they try to apparently pull the Falcons offside a suffered from a delay of game; forcing them to settle for a field goal 17-10.

But all hope was not lost for Atlanta.  After WR Justin Hardy dropped a beautiful pass from Ryan, he would make up for it with 7 minutes left.  Ryan led his team down the field with an impressive drive and Hardy caught a 3-yard TD tying it up 17-17. It was also Hardy’s first TD catch of the season.

Tyrod Taylor, however, continued to blast through, putting the Bills in field goal position and the 56-yard kick was good. 20-17.

But we didn’t dare blink, this was a good one. The Falcons turned right around and off of a monstrous return from Andre Roberts, Atlanta found themselves at the BUF 42 yard line. The celebration would be short lived though, when Matt Ryan threw another interception. The result…. another field goal (55-yards with 3:06 left) by Buffalo and it’s 23-17 with a little less than 3 minutes to go. The Falcons drive but Matt Ryan is unable to connect with anybody and with that fourth and one stop the Bills hand the Falcons their first loss of the season.

Player of the game: Tyrod Taylor 12-20,182 yards and 1 TD

Tom Brady And The Patriots Redefine Momentum As They Come From Behind And Win Super Bowl LI In OT

(Houston, TX) – It took almost 20 years but I think I speak for all dirty birds when I say..’It was worth the wait.’ The Falcons have been consistent all season, redefining their defense and adding to an already beast like offense. A lot of people doubted the authenticity of the Falcons’ talent. But if you are a true fan, then you know that this return has been in the making for quite a while.
Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons take the field prior to Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
It’s been a long week which started for the Falcons on Sunday when they landed in Houston and got ready for the biggest game of their lives. During the walk-through on Saturday, Atlanta felt good. The Patriots arrived on Monday and got to work immediately with a schedule that didn’t hold back and mirrored that of the Falcons. The big question..who would show up on Sunday?
Most of the media tried to shy away from the Brady Scandal that led to him being benched for the first few games this season. And with his return to the Super Bowl, most thought it would be his revenge of sorts. Revenge? Not so sure about that considering the Patriots are a Super Bowl team. They’ve been there done that. Atlanta on the other hand, has had to work. And after rolling through Seattle, Green Bay and at the half of Super Bowl LI, the Patriots, it certainly looks like there’s a new sheriff in town, giving new meaning to the term underdog and clearly marking themselves as the one to fear in the National Football League.
The Falcons jumped out early and that questionable defense that part-time fans like to question stepped up and held the Patriots to just 3 first half points. With a 14-0 lead, Rober Alford intercepted Tom Brady and returned the ball 82-yards for a TD. Atlanta led 21-3 going into the half. Rushing 86 yards in 9 attempts and Passing for 115 yards, New England struggled to stop the Falcons on the ground as well.
Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons
Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots tackles Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Second half, Atlanta seemed to slow down a little bit.. Everything that seemed to be going in the wrong direction for the Patriots, started to change. And then they scored. And after a turnover, a field goal, a TD and a two point conversion, next thing you know it’s 20-28….and the game played on.
Fourth quarter less than 3 minutes to play, you hit the kitchen to re-up on your drink, came back and it was 28-28 with 57 seconds left in the game. What in the entire hell happened? That’s why you love the game. Brady connected with Amendola doubled with a penalty on the Falcons and it’s tied. Atlanta gets the ball, Matt Ryan uses that arm and with 18 seconds left, it’s 3rd down and 6, Ryan is forced to let it loose to no avail. 11 seconds left, Falcons punt and we’re headed into OT.
Patriots win the toss and Tom Brady who had been sacked more than 14 times during the game reset and led a charge that would end up with James White driving and getting his hand in the end zone and New England wins Super Bowl LI 34-28.
Post Game With Tom Brady:

“…It was a hell of a football game.  There was a lot at stake tonight. You know, we played our tails off all season to get to this point and it’s hard to win a game in the NFL. And to beat this team and to get down 28-3, it was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re all going to remember this for the rest of our lives.”

Brady has dealt with a little bit of everything this year and as for the adversity,  “We’ve done pretty good over the last few years, you know? We were in the AFC Championship last year and won the Super Bowl two years ago, so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots. I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

As for  making that dramatic comeback. “We were just trying to get it in. I mean, I don’t think it was – I mean you’re playing with fire if you’re trying to manage the clock when you’re down eight points. So just get it in however you can and James (White) ran it in. What’d he have, three touchdowns tonight? It was unbelievable. What a hell of a game he played. It was awesome.”
Revenge indeed for Tom Brady and a lot of respect for the Atlanta Falcons. Nobody has won more Super Bowls than Tom Brady and he clearly just redefined momentum.

Falcons Wrap Up Final Pre-Super Bowl Practice, Look Ready To Rise Up

(SL) – With one day left before the big game, the Atlanta Falcons wrapped up their final pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday. Julio kept it light to avoid further strain on his toe but all in all the hour and a half practice reflected an excited Atlanta Falcons team ready to Rise Up and get the job done!  Pro Football Writer Peter King breaks it down for us!
By Peter King
The NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, in their final regular pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday, got a terrific red-zone performance from quarterback Matt Ryan on a chilly, breezy afternoon practice at Rice University.
In slightly more than 20 minutes of plays from the 20-yard-line and closer against a scout team defense, Ryan was perfect. No pass from Ryan to any of his wide receivers, tight ends or backs ever hit the ground. The NFL will announce its 2016 Most Valuable Player Saturday night in Houston, and you could see exactly why Ryan is a leading candidate for the award after his pristine performance on Rice’s grass practice field.
“That’s Matt,’’ coach Dan Quinn said after the 79-minute practice. “I am so pumped for him, the way he has worked. It is not surprising the offense feels so good about the plan and has practiced so clean. In the past, I think he has overburdened himself at times, going so deep in the gameplan. This year, he’s really found his rhythm. A week like this, you can see he doesn’t force it to one player. What was it—13 different players caught touchdown passes from him this year?’’
That’s what it was, and many of those shuffled in an out of the first unit on Friday. This was a crisp, decisive and impressive performance by the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2016.
Also Friday, Falcons center Alex Mack (fibula), wide receiver Julio Jones (sprained toe) and pass-rusher Dwight Freeney (calf) practiced on a limited basis and all three were removed from the game status portion of the injury report.
Backup center Ben Garland continued to get some work in Mack’s place Friday, but it was clear from Quinn’s comments that he expects Mack to play and play well against the defensively diverse Patriots. On Thursday, Quinn had said he was “not panicked, but I’m concerned’’ about Mack’s status for Sunday. But he said Friday he watched the tape from Thursday’s practice and had a different feeling.
“I felt good after watching Alex last night,’’ Quinn said, “because I felt good about what he was able to do on the things we’re going to ask him to do in the game. It’s going to hurt, but a lot of guys are playing through stuff. The important thing is Alex’s mind is clear. He needed to test it and have guys go on him full speed, and he was able to do that Wednesday and Thursday.”
The Falcons were a loose group as they wound up the serious portion of their practice week. With the field situated next to a residential area abutting the Rice campus, there was extra security between the edge of the field (with a fence and high hedges) and the neighborhood, so the Falcons could feel secure running a practice as though they were at their home facility. There was only one brief security heads-up: Security officers grounded a drone that was sent airborne by one of the residents in the neighborhood on Thursday.
The team will drive to NRG Stadium to walk around the field and the locker room Saturday, then return to Rice for a final walk-through practice before Sunday’s game.

One Last Presser For Tom Brady And The Pats Before the Big Game

(Houston, TX) – As the NFL gears up for the big game, the pressers keep coming. The Patriots had their last dance with the press and the energy was electric. One man that many wanted to talk to was QB and Super Bowl champ Tom Brady. He’s talked about everything this week from family to football. Brady hasn’t held back and his latest meeting with press was no different. As we all gathered around to throw questions at the Football legend, here’s how it went down:

(on how he maintains normalcy in his life throughout the season) “Well, I talked the other day about compartmentalization. I think it’s just I owe it to the team to be focused on them when I’m at work and when I’m preparing. You just have different facets of your life that you do at the different times. I think over the course of a long career, you get better at those things because you have to. You can’t let everything that’s going on in your life affect the way that you go out and play. Everybody’s dealing with something. It’s life. We work for a long time over the course of the entire season. You’ve just got to learn to deal with it the best you can.”

(on who in his life keeps him grounded) “Yeah, I have lot of people that keep me grounded, both at work and outside of work. I have a wonderful wife and wonderful parents and sisters that have always supported me, so I’m very blessed.”

(on the key to his longevity and sustained success) “I could take the up the rest of this 15 minutes. I think being to seven Super Bowls just means I’ve been a part of seven really great football teams that have made it this far. I think we’ve got to do our best to finish it off, and that’s going to be very tough because we’re playing a great football team. I love this sport and I commit my life to playing it. There’s a lot of decisions that I make based on my lifestyle that help me play at this more experienced age than most. I love doing it as you get older, it gets actually, I think, easier because you have priorities. If one of my priorities is to try to be a great quarterback, everything else kind of falls in line. When I was younger, there were different priorities. When you’re married and you have three kids, you have different priorities. That’s just what happens with life. I’m sure you guys realize that, too.”

(on if the team has been relaxed this week and if there is a point when the team will become more focused) “It’s a little tricky because the week ebbs and flows. There’s a lot. You come off the high of winning the championship game and then you have a week off. Then you kind of get revved up to come down here and then you have, really, two days off and there’s a lot of other obligations. Finally, you get into practice, which is great, and then a lot of families come in tonight. Tomorrow is our last day of practice. It’s been, actually, great to get on the field these past two days and really get to work on the things that we need to work on that are going to try to help us win this game. You can sit up here and talk about those things all day, but ultimately, you have to go out and work on them, practice them and work through the communication with your teammates. I think that’s what the last three days are really about kind of bringing everything that we talked about into focus. There’s a lot of things that we’ve been coached on. There’s a lot of things that, ‘Hey, don’t forget about this or verses this look, we’ll do this.’ A lot of those things you talk about and I think because of the heightened sense of focus and urgency, you’ve got to understand those things, but also once you go out on the field for kickoff, you’ve just got to cut it loose.”

(on how he balances football and family this week and his advice for younger teammates) “I think for our families, it’s great because they’re coming in as fans and they get to enjoy the festivities. I think for the players, we’re busy trying to win a game. For me personally, I don’t plan on doing anything other than getting ready to play football. Obviously, I’ll see everybody at some point, but there’s plenty of time after Sunday to do that. They’ll kind of enjoy the game, enjoy the Super Bowl and all the wonderful things that go along with being here and this week. I know there’s some events for families tonight and all the way through the weekend. I think it’s just staying focused on what our job is, trying to actually regain some of our energy over the course of the next three days that we’ve kind of spent in other places.”

(on how he was able to help Jay Flannelly of Ann Arbor, Michigan) “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s just been a longtime friend. I met him through Jason Carr. He was a good friend of Jason Carr, and actually, Joe Marinaro, who was one of our team captains at Michigan, is from Andover in Massachusetts. Just knowing those guys and being an incoming freshman, I got to meet Jay, and he’s always kind of kept in touch being from Massachusetts.”

(on if he knows if his mom will be able to attend the game) “I’m still hopeful. I’m not sure, but yeah, hopeful. That’s a good word.”

(on if the team has shown energy and focus this week on the finer points of the game plan) “Yeah, there’s a lot of nuances. I think the thing is we have a volume of plays. I’d say it’s a pretty big library at this point, me being in this system for 17 years and having the relationship I have with (Offensive Coordinator) Josh (McDaniels). So we can recall a lot of plays—I mean, thousands and thousands of plays—but again, there’s 70 left. If we’re talking about yeah, it could be a great idea, but the likelihood of calling it in the game is low, you’re just wasting your energy talking about things that probably won’t come up. You can’t really go in just with 70 plays because the situation of the game could change very quickly if you lose any particular skill player because, when you go in with a plan, there’s only a limit of how many guys you can have active for the game. You have to have flexibility within your system, within your call sheets to be able to withstand things that you’re going to have to change or adjustments. That’s part of it. It’s stuff you deal with all season long. It’s not new to the Super Bowl or anything like that, but I think just based on the fact of the finality of this game and this season, we’re trying to really hone in on the ones that we like best. That will really get widdled down here in the next couple of days, but there’s still a good volume of stuff. Hopefully, we can narrow it down and really focus in on those details that we really need in order to execute against a really good defense.”

(on his pregame routine) “Yeah, we haven’t really gotten the schedule. We have to go over, I think, a little bit earlier just for security reasons and so forth. I think we’re going to get our schedule for that. I’ll just kind of work my way back from when that moment is and try to get as much rest as I can during the day. I’ve been sleeping good lately, so I’ll sleep good the night before the game, and hopefully that helps, and just rest all the way up until the time we get on the bus to go. Then we’ll go cut it loose.”

(on how his prior Super Bowl experience can be an asset, especially in the fourth quarter) “Well, I mean, there was a first time for all of us being in this game or being in this situation. The first time I was in it, we had a two-minute situation and we went down and won the game. I think it comes down to how you play this week and not necessarily what happened many years ago. I think just relying on the two weeks of practice that we’ll have had should be enough. We’ve got a whole season that we had to prepare for all these different moments and situations that have come up. Whatever comes up this weekend, we’ll have to be ready for. A lot of those things you try to prepare for over the course of the season so we’re ready for them when they come up.”

(on whether this Super Bowl will have greater significance to him than his previous six) “They all were pretty meaningful. At different points—I mean, they’re all very important and very meaningful. I think they’re meaningful, obviously, for me, for this game. A lot has gone into this game. A lot has gone into it for every player that’s going to be taking the field. When you play in the Super Bowl, and I said the other day, it is once in a lifetime. You can’t take these things for granted. We’ve been very blessed, as part of this organization, for the guys that have been on these teams to make it this far, but it’s a very steep mountain to climb. When you get to this point, walking off the practice field today, there’s two quarterbacks probably in the world that are practicing today preparing for this game. Myself and (QB) Matt (Ryan) should feel very privileged to be able to do that. There’s a lot of guys that don’t have the chance, and I think you do feel very humbled when you’re walking off the field to say, ‘Wow, we had an opportunity to go out and practice and prepare for a game that’s so meaningful to all of us that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.’ I’m just very blessed for that. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to—again, how we remember this week will be determined by the score of the game. There will be great feelings if we win, and I’ve been on the other end of that, too, which those are some crappy feelings that I’m sure the Giants fans still love, but that’s just the way it goes.”

(on what it has meant to him to have Head Coach Bill Belichick as a coach and who will retire first) “That’s a good question. I don’t know what he plans on doing. He’s the best, and I’ve been very lucky to play for him. He’s so focused on coaching and doing anything he can to help us win. There’s no B.S. with Coach Belichick, and I think that’s what players appreciate. When you come into the program, you realize it’s all about football and it’s not a bunch of ra-ra crap that’s not going to matter and has no bearing on preparing you for the game, but it’s just coaches screaming louder and louder and thinking that’s going to emphasize some certain point. I think Coach does a great job of every week putting the urgency on the team and making us understand that we’re going up against a very competitive team that could beat us if we don’t play the way that we should play. Every week, he’s so consistent, and I think that’s a great thing for us as players is to have a leader like that who brings it every day. Whether that’s April or whether that’s early February, his attitude is the same. He’s trying to do and coach the best way that he can in order to get us to go out there and execute at the highest level possible. I love it. He’s certainly a disciplinarian, so in that sense, it’s great because when you’re the quarterback and you coach does that for you, I don’t really have to do any of those things. I can be just like one of those other guys. I’m yelled at just like everybody else, but it’s nice to feel, especially in my 17th year, that I am one of the guys because I think that’s ultimately the best thing for our team. He certainly takes the lead and we all fall in line.”

(on how TE Martellus Bennett’s personality fits within the Patriots’ culture) “Well, I think with Marty, absolutely football is No. 1. He has a high football IQ. I mean, I have so much respect for Marty to come in, being in the different organizations that he has, and he came right in from OTAs, didn’t miss any practices all through training camp. He’s been available every game this season, he’s played several different positions and he’s practiced almost every day, too. I wouldn’t say he’s feeling great at this point in terms of his body, but he’s fought through it. He’s got a lot of mental toughness. He’s obviously got a great personality. He’s got a lot of life to him, so we in the locker room love that.”

(on Bennett’s funniest joke) “I don’t think they’re appropriate for this room.”

(on how Belichick has been able to get the best out of him throughout his career) “His style, I think, is very conducive to just getting the best out of me, so I think it’s a good fit. I probably don’t take compliments very well is something you guys probably know covering us, and he doesn’t give very many compliments out. I think in that sense, he coaches us hard. There’s some throws that I make and you throw it 50 yards downfield and hit the guy in stride, and I’m like, ‘Damn, that was a pretty good throw.’ And I’ll look back at him and he’ll be looking for the next play. That’s just his style. He has a very high level of expectation. He’ll say all the time, ‘I hope my expectation for you guys isn’t better or more than your expectation for yourself.’ I think those types of things really challenge us as players to be at our best every single day, to never take these opportunities for granted and to try to keep reaching a higher level as the season goes.”

(on if he was accustomed to Belichick’s coaching style from his time at Michigan) “Yes. I’ve pretty much been used to that through college and even in high school I had a coach who was pretty tough, as well. So my entire football career, I’ve really had a defensive head coach that’s been a disciplinarian. It’s been great for me. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hear different stories of offensive coaches, and it’s a little different. I mean, we practice outside every day in the crappy weather in Foxboro. It’s great for defensive football, not always great for offensive football, so sometimes I’m like, ‘Coach, how about we go in the bubble?’ And he’s like, ‘Outside.’ He’s just a defensive-minded coach and he wants to make it tough it on us, and he certainly does, and he wants to see if we respond. I think this team has done a great job of responding over the course of a long season and we’re at the finish line, so we’ve just got to make it a great sprint to the end.”

Let The Game Begin, Super Bowl LI Starts With Massive Opening Night

(Houston, TX) – Super Bowl LI officially kicked off in Houston Monday with a mass media opening night featuring both the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, fans and broadcasting networks from all over the world. Each team had an hour to entertain the press. Here are some of the highlights from opening night from both QBs, top receiver Julio Jones and Coach Belichick
 Falcons QB Matt Ryan
(on how he feels) “I feel good. We had a good practice, walkthrough today and to get here and see this deal tonight, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun to be apart of with my teammates.”
(on following an 8-8 season in 2015 with a MVP-caliber campaign and Super Bowl appearance the next year) “I think we’ve come a long way. We’ve gotten better, and that was one of the things we focused on this offseason, trying to find ways to improve as a team, as an offense. I think the addition of some of the players that we picked up – guys like Taylor (Gabriel), Alex Mack, Aldrick Robinson, Mohamed Sanu – just have added to our team and made us a better offense.”
(on the Falcons’ top-ranked offense competing with the Patriots’ defense) “New England has a great defense and watching them on film, their ability to keep people out of the end zone has been unbelievable all year. So we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us, but I think everybody’s looking forward to Sunday.”
(on combating New England’s attempts to take Julio Jones out of the game plan) “We’ve got to move him around a little bit and try to make it difficult for them to tee off on where he’s going to be. Even when he gets double teamed he has made plays for us all year. So we’ve got a lot of guys who can do it and I know Julio is going to have a great game for us.”
Falcons WR Julio Jones
(on the best part about making it to the Super Bowl) “The hard work paid off. That’s the best part of being here for us. It’s any other day for us. We just have to continue to keep putting that work in. There’s nothing spectacular for us that we need to go out here and make stuff up.
(on what a win on Sunday will mean to him) “It’ll be great. It’ll be great. Just looking to celebrate after the game but now just staying in it. The process – don’t want to overlook anything. It’s just one day at a time for me.”
(on the bracelet he wears) “Friends of the family for about nine years now. Christina Jones is a good friend of mine. Through my recruiting process and everything, we became friends going to the University of Alabama. Obviously, you know her brother passed away in a basketball game with no meaning behind it. We didn’t know the cause of it so I wear the bracelet every game now. After the Chiefs game, the family came down and they gave me the bracelet so this signifies just him, me going out there and just playing and leaving it all out on the line.”
Patriots QB Tom Brady
(on how long he can play) “I think as long as I’m willing to make the commitment to taking good care of myself. I got a good routine. It has gotten better as the years have gone on. You (Willie McGinest) taught me. 2004, you said this is what you got to do, and I listened. It’s nice to feel better as the season goes. To be an older player and have the mental experience and then to also feel great physically, I think it’s a great benefit for me. Hopefully I can keep going. I don’t see any end in sight.”
Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks with the media during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(on playing in his seventh Super Bowl) “It hit me today (at) the pep rally. When I saw those fans out there, you realize this is different and this just is special. It’s a special experience. Getting on the plane was great and landing, seeing all the cameras and then getting to the hotel. It has been a long day for us, but I think everyone is excited to be here, get in a little bit of a routine and then focus on playing some football.”
Patriots Coach Dan Belichick
(on best coaching advice he has received) “I have received a lot. I would say probably most of the best advice I have ever received was from my dad. Either what he told me or watching him coach. I would be here all night talking about that. A lot of life lessons. I would say my dad and the things he told me.”
Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 30: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots speaks with the media during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(on advice for Brady) “I think for the entire team we all understand we need to play our best game. We need to do a great job in our execution and in all of the things that are important fundamentally to having good plays no matter what the plays are. Hopefully we can do that as a team. That goes for everybody.”
(on players willing to take less money to play in New England) “We can’t control what the other 31 teams do. We don’t try to control that. We just try to do what we can do. Sometimes that works in the negotiations, sometimes it doesn’t. Each one is different. If a player and a team can agree on a contract, then they sign it. If they can’t they don’t. We don’t really know what anyone else does. We can’t control that anyways. We just do what we can do. Some work out. Some don’t.”
(on his coaching career without Tom Brady) “Tom missed the 2008 season.”
(on the partnership between Brady and himself) “I have been very fortunate to coach Tom. Tom is a tremendous player. He is a tremendous competitor. He prepares extremely hard. He comes to work every day and gives his very best effort. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to coach Tom for these years. I think I have a lot of respect for him. There is a mutual respect there. We each have a job to do. It is very different. All the jobs are important, but we try to find a way to do our jobs and help the team win the best that we can. I think he does a great job of that. That is what I try to do. From that standpoint we have a great relationship. We both want to win. We both want to do what it takes to win. That is our focus pretty much every game. It is not always the same game plan, but trying to get to the same end point.”
Opening night was the kickoff to a long week of several activities for fans to enjoy. There will be one more media event with the coaches and players today. The last one until Super Bowl Sunday. Another highlight of the week will be the NFL Honors Show scheduled for Saturday night and hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. Super Bowl LI Kickoff is Sunday at 6:30 pm.

{Video}The Road To Houston, Falcons Ready For Super Bowl LI

(Flowery Branch) – The Atlanta Falcons are preparing to return to the Super Bowl for just the 2nd time and it was almost 20 years ago when they made their first visit. As the big game approaches throngs of media have been camped out in Atlanta documenting the road to Super Bowl LI, Sports Wire included. We participated in one of the Falcons’ media days and got the latest from Head Coach Dan Quinn and a few of the players.