Latest NFL injury news:

Falcons show results from bye week changes

The SportsXchange

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith promised intense scrutiny of the entire football operation during the team's bye week.

While some changes were necessitated by injuries, others were not as the team wanted to move past it's disappointing 1-4 start.

"We talked during the bye week, if you had a Falcons logo on your helmet you were expected to step up and make plays," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "Whether a young guy, old guy, we all needed to do that, and I thought we did that."

The Falcons improved to 2-4 with a 31-23 victory over Tampa Bay.

"We made a lot of corrections in the bye week," Smith said. "They didn't all show up this week, but we are going to continue to work and take it one day at a time, one game at a time."

Some of the changes were more obvious than others.

The Falcons moved defensive coordinator Mike Nolan down to the field and out of the press box. The goal was to get better communications with the players and help some of the younger players through any assignment issues.

In addition to moving rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant to nickel back to replace Robert McClain, the Falcons went to heavy eight-man rotation along the defensive line.

Three of the four starters had their playing time reduced as reserves Malliciah Goodman (35 of 86 snaps; 42 percent), Cliff Matthews (21 snaps/ 25 percent), Stansly Maponga (21 snaps/25 percent) and Jonathan Massaquoi (17 snaps/20 percent) played at least 20 percent of the snaps.

Here's the snap count for the starters -- Jonathan Babineaux played 69 snaps (83 percent), Osi Umenyiora (65/78 percent), Corey Peters (59/71 percent) and Peria Jerry (49/59 percent).

Before the bye week against the Jets, Babineaux and Umenyiora played 98 percent of snaps. Peters played 70 against the Jets, so his snaps basically stayed the same and Jerry played 67 percent.

On offense, the Falcons stayed with their three-receiver formations for most of the day.

Drew Davis (41 of 46 snaps/89 percent) and Darius Johnson (35/76 percent) played significant snaps. Brian Robiskie played two snaps and Kevin Cone played one snap.

"I thought we put together a very good plan to utilize the strengths of our players," Smith said. "I thought the coaching staff did a great job."

The Falcons were able to get better pressure on the quarterback with a deeper defensive line rotation.

"We had a rotation that was a little bit different in terms of who was actually participating," Smith said. "We were going to look at everything, and there were a lot of changes out there on the football field, on the sideline, in the press box. We looked at everything."

With Julio Jones and Roddy White both out for the first time this season, Darius Johnson, who was called up from the practice squad, played a lot as the No. 3 receiver.

"He's done a very good job," Smith said. "He has earned the right to go out there and play. He had a crucial catch for a first down in the game. He is a very athletic, not a big receiver, but athletic receiver with good speed. It was good to see him get his first catch in the National Football League."

On Sunday against Arizona and quarterback Carson Palmer, who has been interception-prone this season, the Falcons are hoping they can continue to improve their turnover differential numbers.

"We only had one, it's a start," Smith said. "We had some opportunities, we had some ball disruption. I thought there were a couple other opportunities to take the ball away. There was a ball on the ground on a sack they ended up recovering, which we would have liked to get that turnover, but it is a step in the right direction in terms of what we want our defense to do."
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (2)

Recommended for You

  • Former Titans kicker Bironas killed in car crash

    Rob Bironas, who worked his way through odd jobs and the Arena Football League before becoming one of the NFL's most accurate kickers, died in a car crash. The former Tennessee Titans player died Saturday night when he lost control on a curve in his 2009 GMC Yukon Denali and crashed after 11 p.m.…

    The Associated Press20 mins ago
    Sun, Sep 21
    10:00 AM PDT
    Tennessee at Cincinnati
    Preview Game
  • Why did suspended Jameis Winston suit up for game? Because he's a kid

    It is the look that Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher made when he confronted his supposedly suspended star quarterback before Saturday night's game against the Clemson Tigers. Jameis Winston, you see, was not acting very suspended. Fisher's back is to the camera and Winston appears to be…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • Despite shedding 20 pounds in 24 hours, Mark Hunt delivers massive KO

    A UFC source who asked not to be identified told Yahoo Sports a day before the weigh-in at UFC Fight Night 52 at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo that Mark Hunt had to cut 19 pounds to make the heavyweight limit of 265. Hunt, who was 284 the day before the weigh in, worked the weight off and…

  • Sprint car driver killed in Wisconsin

    BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) -- Sprint car driver Scott Semmelmann was killed in a wreck during practice for a race Saturday night at Beaver Dam Raceway. Beaver Dam Raceway general manager Carolyn Mueller and Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series President

    The Associated Press
  • RealGM: Zoran Dragic in advanced discussions to leave BC Unicaja for NBA

    Slovenian basketball player Zoran Dragic, a 25 year old 6'5" shooting guard, has said several times that he wants to go to the NBA if a team can make a solid offer and get him out of his current contract with BC Unicaja, Malaga. When Marc Stein first reported the Phoenix Suns heavy interest in…

    SB Nation
  • Tennis-Injury ends Azarenka's season

    Victoria Azarenka will miss rest of the tennis season as she tries to make a full recovery from injuries that plagued her year, the former world number one said on Sunday. The two-time grand slam champion withdrew from this week's Wuhan Open in China with a foot injury and later announced she would…

  • Rumor: Evan Turner will be officially signed by Sept. 30

    To the surprise of no one, Evan Turner will officially (finally) be signed and introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics, ...soon.  This isn't really news actually, but it is nice to hear some confirmation of what we already knew. Source says #Celtics signing of Evan Turner will be…

    SB Nation
  • Former NFL kicker Bironas dies in Nashville car wreck

    Former Tennessee Titans’ kicker Rob Bironas died late Saturday in a single-vehicle car crash in Nashville, police said on Sunday. Bironas, 36, lost control of the SUV he was driving at a high rate of speed around a curve in the road, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a statement.…

  • Play

    FSU's Jimbo Fisher Sheds Light on Jameis Winston Suspension

    Jimbo Fisher details the decision process surrounding the suspension of quarterback Jameis Winston following Florida State's 23-17 win over #22 Clemson.

    ACC Digital Network
  • Man charged with killing NFL player Peterson's son released on bond: report

    (Reuters) - A South Dakota man charged last year with killing NFL star Adrian Peterson's 2-year-old son has been released on $2 million bond, U.S. media reported on Saturday. Joseph Patterson was released from a South Dakota jail on Friday

  • Lions-Packers inactives: Ziggy Ansah, George Johnson are active

    The Detroit Lions had a few defensive linemen declared as questionable for Sunday's game, but they're all active. Going into Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, there was some concern that the Detroit Lions would be without defensive ends

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    10:00 AM PDT
    Green Bay at Detroit
    Preview Game
  • View

    Photos of the day - September 20, 2014 (36 photos)

    A security man guards during the Miss Egypt competition pre-final at the Saladin Citadel in Cairo, potatoes display images of U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin created by cartoon artists at a food fair in Krasnoyarsk

    Yahoo News
  • Roman Reigns rushed to hospital for emergency surgery; out of WWE Night of Champions

    WWE issued the following statement via their website and mobile app just a short time ago. NASHVILLE, Tenn. - has learned that Roman Reigns has undergone emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia. Reigns had been in Nashville to promote

    SB Nation
  • Steve Stricker to wield wedge to win Whistling Straits tickets

    Steve Stricker may be a part-time pro golfer these days, but his wedge game is still as sharp as the best in the world. During halftime of the Oct. 11 game at Camp Randall Stadium against Illinois (curiously, Stricker's alma mater), Stricker will hit a 135-yard shot from the video-board platform to…

    Devil Ball Golf
  • Florida vs. Alabama, The Postgame Vent: Get it all out, Gators

    Sigh. Alabama beat the hell out of Florida this afternoon. You need to vent. I know. The Postgame Vent is meant for that. The rules of the Postgame Vent: Don't wish harm on anyone. This shouldn't really have to be explicitly stated, but, well,

    SB Nation
  • Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United: Reds throw away a two goal lead in miserable fashion

    United found themselves on the wrong end of one of the Premier League's most inexpicable comebacks, as Louis van Gaal's men made themselves look ridiculous. United arrived in Leicaster hoping to win two games in a row for only the second time in 2014; For a few, brief seconds, it looked as though…

    SB Nation
  • Matt Schuab deactivated for Patriots game, non injury related

    Derek Carr beat out Matt Schaub for the starting QB job in Oakland to start the season, and now Schaub isn't even going to be the back up QB this week. With this move being made as a non-injury related move it means that Schaub is healthy but they have still chosen to deactivate him in favor of…

    SB Nation
  • Lance Stephenson did NOT try to ruin Roy Hibbert's wedding day

    The Pacers center married his fiancee is true. Lance Stephenson making vicious comments about his former teammate is not true. In the early evening on Saturday, we learned that Pacers center Roy Hibbert married his long-time fiancee, Valerie a little over a year after their initial plans to tie the…

    SB Nation
  • View

    Roger Goodell apologizes during press conference (12 photos)

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl. At a news conference Friday, Goodell made his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved

    Yahoo Sports