Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner arrested for DUI -

ATLANTA (AP) â€" Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was jailed on charges of drunken driving and speeding early Tuesday, just hours after he scored a touchdown in the team’s win over the Denver Broncos.

Turner, 30, of Suwanee, Ga., was booked into the Gwinnett County jail in metro Atlanta just after 5 a.m. Turner spent barely two hours behind bars before he was released on $2,179 bond, jail records showed.

A Gwinnett County police officer pulled over Turner’s black Audi R8 on Interstate 85 northeast of Atlanta after clocking the car at 97 mph â€" 32 mph over the speed limit, said Cpl. Edwin Ritter, a police spokesman.

‘‘The officer made contact with the driver who identified himself as 30-year-old Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons,’’ Ritter said in a news release. ‘‘The officer could smell an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the driver and proceeded to conduct a DUI investigation.’’

Ritter said the officer arrested Turner after a field sobriety test. The police incident report was not immediately available.

Hours before his arrest, Turner and the Falcons celebrated a 27-21 home victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

‘‘First and foremost, any time a player sheds negatively on our football team and on our organization, we are very disappointed,’’ coach Mike Smith said. ‘‘This is a legal matter, and it’s very well-defined how we have to proceed with it through the league, and we'll let this process run its course.’’

Tuesday was the players’ day off, but Smith said he met in his office with Turner.

‘‘He knows that we are disappointed in the decisions that he made after the ballgame last night,’’ Smith said.

Smith declined to say whether Turner will be suspended when the Falcons (2-0) visit San Diego (2-0) on Sunday.

‘‘There are certain parameters that are set in place by the collective bargaining agreement and the NFL and the NFLPA,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Those guidelines will be followed in terms of what we can and cannot do.

‘‘If there’s going to be any internal discipline, that discipline will stay internally. That will be conversations that we have with Michael and the conversations that we've already had this morning.’’

Turner scored the Falcons’ first touchdown against Denver after jumping over a pileup of Atlanta and Broncos linemen in the first quarter. It was Turner’s 51st touchdown for the Falcons, a franchise record.

Turner, who played at Northern Illinois during his college career, joined the Falcons in 2008 after four seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Last year, he rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Associated Press writer George Henry contributed to this report in Flowery Branch, Ga.end of story marker

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Atlanta Falcons Offense Remains No. 1 in NFL POP Score Rankings - Bleacher Report

The Atlanta Falcons defeated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 27-20 on Monday Night Football and in the process also retained their No. 1 ranking in the weekly NFL POP Score Rankings for offensive efficiency.

After Week 2 of the NFL season, the Falcons have a league-leading POP score of 3.0, the San Diego Chargers are second in the rankings with a 2.7 POP score and the Tennessee Titans are the 32nd ranked offense with a 1.05 POP Score.

POP score is based on the simple premise that it is the offensive team’s objective to score a touchdown (or at the least, kick a field goal) in each possession. POP score stands for Points per Offensive Possession.

Here’s how it works: The Falcons in Week 1 had nine possessions in their game. On four of the possessions, they scored a touchdown. On four of their possessions they kicked a field goal. They punted once. They scored 24 points on their four TDs (extra points are not included in Pop score); 12 points on their four field goals.

The Atlanta offense scored 36 points on nine possessions. By dividing the 36 points by the nine possessions, you get a POP score of 4.0. Maximum POP score is 6.0, which would indicate that a team scored a touchdown every time they had an offensive possession.

Following are the POP scores for each team through the first two weeks of the season. Also noted in parentheses is the number of scores (field goals or touchdowns by the offense) and the number of offensive possessions.

1. Atlanta 3.0 (13 scores in 20 possessions)

2. San Diego 2.7 (12 scores in 20 possessions)

3. San Francisco 2.68 (11 scores in 19 possessions)

4. Pittsburgh 2.67 (9 score in 17 possessions)

5. New York Giants 2.43 (11 scores in 21 possessions)

6. Buffalo 2.4 (8 scores in 20 possessions)

7tie. Baltimore 2.35 (12 scores in 23 possessions)

Hi-res-hi-res-152258052_crop_exactScott Cunningham/Getty Images

7tie. Washington 2.35 (11 scores in 23 possessions)

9. Houston 2.22 (11 scores in 23 possessions)

10. New York Jets 2.17 (8 score sin 18 possessions)

11. Detroit 2.1 (10 scores in 20 possessions)

12. Denver 2.05 (7 scores in 19 possessions)

13. Minnesota 2.0 (10 scores in 21 possessions)

14. New Orleans 1.96 (9 scores in 23 possessions)

15. New England 1.91 (10 scores in 22 possessions)

16. Chicago 1.88 (9 scores in 24 possessions)

17. Cincinnati 1.8 (8 scores in 20 possessions)

18. Tampa Bay 1.77 (9 scores in 22 possessions)

19. St. Louis 1.71 (9 scores in 21 possessions)

20. Carolina 1.65 (6 scores in 20 possessions)

21. Kansas City 1.64 (7 scores in 22 possessions)

22. Dallas 1.59 (5 scores in 17 possessions)

23tie. Arizona 1.57 (8 scores in 23 possessions)

23tie. Seattle 1.57 (8 scores in 21 possessions)

25tie. Green Bay 1.5 (7 scores in 22 possessions)

25tie. Indianapolis 1.5 (7 scores in 22 possessions)

27. Miami 1.43 (6 scores in 23 possessions)

28. Philadelphia (7 scores in 27 possessions)

29. Cleveland 1.32 (8 scores in 25 possessions)

30. Jacksonville 1.23 (6 scores in 22 possessions)

31. Oakland 1.09 (6 scores in 22 possessions)

32. Tennessee 1.05 (5 scores in 20 possessions)

Biggest gainers this week: New York Giants (up 13 spots); Carolina (up 10 spots); Pittsburgh (up 10 spots)

Biggest losers this week: Dallas (down 13 spots); Jacksonville (down 13 spots); Chicago (down 12 posts)

NFL POP Score league average through Week 2: 1.87

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Mathews could test run defense - Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

10:00 am September 19, 2012, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 17, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga.,: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shows his frustration with running back Willis McGahee, right, after Manning is sacked by the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of their game in the Georgia Dome Monday night in Atlanta, Ga., September 17, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

September 17, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga.,: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shows his frustration with running back Willis McGahee, right, after Manning is sacked by the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of their game in the Georgia Dome Monday night in Atlanta, Ga., September 17, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH â€" San Diego running back Ryan Mathews, who suffered a broken clavicle  on Aug. 9 on his first preseason carry, could return to face the Falcons at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

He was cleared for contact last week, but didn’t play in the 38-10 rout of Tennessee.

Mathews, who played for Falcons offensive line coach Pat Hill at Fresno State, has averaged 4.7 yards a carry in two seasons in the NFL. He rushed for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games last season.  

The Chargers averaged just 1.6 yards per carry in their season-opening win over Oakland. With backup Jackie Battle carrying the load, they had 18 carries for 82 yards â€" a 4.6 average â€" with two touchdowns against the Titans.

The Falcons have not stopped the run against Kansas City or Denver.  

Denver running back Willis McGahee rushed 22 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons, who played 66 of 67 snaps against the Broncos in their nickel defense.

Overall, the Broncos rushed 27 times for 118 yards. The Chiefs rushed for 152 yards on 33 carries against the Falcons in Week 1.

The Falcons are giving up 135 yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL.

“We’re giving up too many rushing yards right now for our liking,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve got to be able to line up and stop the run when people are going to try to run the football. I think they were effective running the football. That was their answer to our disguise and the looks that we were showing them.”

The defensive line should be able to help more if they can take their normal rotation against San Diego.

Defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker had a sack each against Denver. Defensive end Kroy Biermann led the linemen with five tackles.

“There were only certain times that we could rotate in a no-huddle drive,” Smith said. “Basically if we put a guy out there, he was going to be out there for that drive. We didn’t have the capability to be running guys in and out like we normally do when the team is huddling.”

The Falcons’ defense held the Broncos to 4-of-12 (33 percent) on third-down efficiency.

Linebackers Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon combined for 18 tackles to lead the defense against the Broncos.


Falcons improve to 2-0 with 27-21 win over Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos

Falcons running back Michael Turner charged with DUI

Cornerback Christopher Owens is in the concussion protocol

VIDEO: Matt Ryan discusses win over Denver

Secondary puts Peyton Manning back on his heels


TV, Radio: Broncos vs. Falcons, 8:30 p.m. on MNF

INJURY REPORT: Weatherspoon, Clabo are questionable; Kuper out for Denver

Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer

Brent Grimes out for the season

Video: What loss of Grimes means

Falcons offense makes it look easy

Still room for improvement in run game

Matt Ryan, Dirk Koetter form bond on and off the field

Atlanta Falcons: The 3 Biggest Early Season Storylines - Bleacher Report

Despite signs of a promising year after dominating in preseason, the Atlanta Falcons didn't generate as much media buzz as, say, the New York Jets.

But two weeks into the regular season, you can bet the media's paying attention now.

Strong performances in their season opener against the Chiefs and against the Broncos Monday night have the Falcons 2-0 and atop the NFC South heading into Week 3.

While there are still 14 more games to go, these past few weeks have provided plenty of storylines involving the team.

Here are the three biggest thus far.

Mike Nolan's Defensive Turnaround

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Falcons hired Mike Nolan with one goal in mind: fix the defense.

Two weeks into the season, he definitely looks on his way to doing just that.

Atlanta has seen a number of improvements come under Nolan, none greater than in takeaways; the Falcons stand tied for first in the NFL in the category with seven (five interceptions, two fumbles).

Leading the charge in the turnovers department is safety William Moore, who looks to be a perfect fit in Nolan's free-to-roam defense, as he has been responsible for two of those takeaways and a number of bone-crunching hits.

A big reason for his success and that of the rest of the secondary has been the result of an improved pass rush. A mix of creative blitzes and consistent pressure from the defensive line has led to six sacks for the Falcons, sixth highest in the league.

This defense was once notorious for its passiveness and soft zone coverages. Intense, ball-hawking and aggressive better describe what it is today.

Matt Ryan's Hot Start

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Guess who has the league's best quarterback rating through two games this season?

If you said Matt Ryan, you guessed right.

The fifth-year signal-caller couldn't be off to a much better start to a season, completing 70 percent of his passes, throwing five touchdowns to no interceptions and adding another score on the ground.

Ryan looks born to lead Dirk Koetter's up-tempo, three-wide offense, first putting his intelligence on display with his pre-snap reads and adjustments, then showcasing his physical talent as he executes it to near perfection.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact he's done so without the help of a stable running attack. The Falcons have gained just 151 yards on the ground in two games, seventh lowest in the league. Forty-four of those have come from Ryan alone, while running back Michael Turner has accounted for just 74 of themâ€"a major drop-off for the former workhorse and offensive centerpiece.

At 30 years old, it's clear that Turner's time has passed. Ryan's time is now.

The big question now is what will he do with it.

Injuries and Distractions

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The Falcons haven't been hit by many injuries and distractions at this point in the season.

But the few that have occurred may have a major impact.

Aside from the loss of potential starting rookie fullback Bradie Ewing in preseason, a season-ending injury to Pro Bowler Brent Grimes in Week 1 reduces the Falcons trio of starter-quality cornerbacks down to just two.

It has gone from bad to worse with nickelback Chris Owens suffering a concussion Monday night. That forced the Falcons to depend on the inconsistent Dominique Franks and rather inexperienced Robert McClain to man the slot for most of the gameâ€"and perhaps for many more to come.

But the most devastating news is the most recent: Michael Turner's arrest for DUI and speeding a mere hours after helping the Falcons outlast Denver Monday night.

As a first-time offender, Turner may avoid a harsh ruling by commissioner Roger Goodell. But his arrest won't be looked upon lightly by a franchise that emphasizes proper conduct and leadership as much as the Falcons and team owner Arthur Blank.

Suspension or release isn't out of the question, especially with Turner's disappointing performance so far this year. 

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