Jacob Tamme Would Like to Stay with the Falcons; But May Leave for the Niners

Jacob Tamme could be a factor in the Falcons’ future under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Or Tamme could end up helping his old coordinator establish the offense in new surroundings, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.

Tamme, a veteran tight end who turns 32 next month, is one of 17 Falcons set to become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins March 9. He was an integral part of the NFL’s top-scoring offense until he suffered a season-ending right shoulder injury against Green Bay in Week 8 of the regular season.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons’ primary objective is locking up their own players coming off a Super Bowl run. Where Tamme stands in the pecking order remains unclear, but he wants to return.

“I love being a Falcon, love my teammates, love what we have going on here in this organization,” Tamme said. “I’m interested to see what the future holds.”

Tamme, coming off a two-year contract with the Falcons that had a base value of $2.9 million, didn’t want to speculate about other options, but multiple sources indicated San Francisco is a strong possibility if Tamme doesn’t re-sign with the Falcons. The 49ers are now coached by former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. There’s little doubt Shanahan would love to have a cerebral player such as Tamme on board to help implement his offense, although the 49ers just re-signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension in December.

Tamme was the Falcons’ leading receiver after the first three games of 2016 with 14 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Then, in a 33-32 victory over Green Bay on Oct. 30, he injured the AC joint in his right shoulder, which resulted in season-ending surgery. Tamme said he was told the recovery process would take to five to six months, and it’s been three so far.

“I’m rocking and rolling with rehab and it’s going great,” he said. “I feel like I could play in a month. … Just been focused on the day to day.”

WR Taylor Gabriel Wants to Stay a Falcon for Life

Taylor Gabriel wants to continue his career with the Falcons. The feeling from the team is mutual, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.

The wide receiver is a restricted free agent, meaning the Falcons have the upper hand with him even if another team has the intent to sign him to an offer sheet. However, it seems unlikely to reach that point, considering the Falcons can decide to place a higher tender on Gabriel, which would discourage another team from giving up a first- or second-round pick along with awarding Gabriel a new contract.

The Falcons also have the option to extend Gabriel’s current contract up until it expires on March 9, but their current $926,540 salary-cap figure, according to NFLPA calculations, would make doing so unlikely.

“Of course, I want to be a Falcon forever,” Gabriel said. “Just the camaraderie and the group, from [coach] Dan Quinn to the owner [Arthur Blank]. And everyone has bought into what we have here. Yes, I want to be a Falcon forever.”

General manager Thomas Dimitroff said last week while discussing cornerback Desmond Trufant’s contract status that the focus heading into free agency is re-signing the team’s own players. He included Gabriel in the group despite Gabriel’s restricted status. The Falcons are expected to have between $26 million-$29 million in cap space once the new league year starts (March 9, 4 p.m. ET), based on a projected salary cap between $166 million-$168 million.

“It’s going to be positive for him,” Dimitroff said of Gabriel. “Yes, we want him back as well.”

Falcons Considering Making Marquand Manuel New Defensive Coordinator

The Falcons are strongly considering secondary coach Marquand Manuel to become their next defensive coordinator, sources told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com on Wednesday.

The Falcons confirmed on Wednesday that they would not retain defensive coordinator Richard Smith or defensive line coach Bryan Cox. The team said Smith could return in an advisory role but that he’s exploring other options.

Sources said that Falcons coach Dan Quinn started taking more control of the defensive playcalling during the season, and the Falcons showed improvement late in the season and into the playoffs, but still had some hiccups.

Quinn has praised the 37-year-old Manuel, who played eight seasons at strong safety, for his hands-on approach in developing the secondary. Although Manuel has never held the position of coordinator, he did interview to become the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars last January.

Julio Jones Says Falcons Won’t Have a Super Bowl Letdown Despite Collapse

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had four receptions for 87 yards in the Falcons stunning overtime loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Jones wouldn’t reveal much about how much pain he fought through, only hinting that sitting out was never an option, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reports.

There was a Super Bowl on the line – he wasn’t missing this.

“I’d been there for me, and I found ways to push through it,” Jones said of the pain. “It wasn’t nothing that significant, pulling me out or holding me out of the game, not allowing me what I needed to do out there today.”

While many Super Bowl losing teams collapse the following year, Jones vowed the Falcons would not.

Jones leaned on a message relayed by Matt Ryan in the somber postgame locker room. The MVP quarterback’s message to his teammate was succinct: “Just stay tight. Don’t fall apart.”

“Which we will stay tight,” Jones added, looking to the future. “We’ll definitely stay tight and keep going.”

De’Vondre Campbell Opens Up on Falcons Second Half Defense – “Got Away From Our Fundamentals”

The Falcons squandered a 25-point lead to Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. After holding the Pats to three first-half points, Dan Quinn’s defense surrendered 31 in the second half and overtime.

Rookie linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said the Falcons’ D lost a little bit of their edge in the second half, as Brady diced them up, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

“As a defense, we kind of lost a little bit of our aggression during the game, that we had early in the game,” Campbell said Sunday night. “I just thought we lost it a little bit.”

“I can’t say any specific moment,” Campbell said of Brady’s second-half spark. “I just felt like as a defense we kind of got away from our fundamentals a little bit. We were missing some pretty easy tackles. Credit to them. They went in at halftime and came out … I wouldn’t say a different game plan, they just found a different way to attack us.”

Campbell dismissed the idea that youth played a factor in the Falcons defense — starting four rookies — crumbling down the stretch.

The rookie linebacker added he didn’t think the pass interference called on him to give the Patriots first-and-goal at the 2-yard-line in overtime was correct.

“I felt like I made a great play, but obviously the refs thought otherwise,” he said.

Despite an all-time gut-wrenching loss, Campbell said Quinn preached positive in the locker room after the game.

“Don’t get down on yourself,” he said of Quinn’s message. “We played a really good ballgame. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but I mean that’s life. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to go.”

Depressing Sight: Falcons Super Bowl Winning Merchandise Being Taken off the Shelves

Ugh.

Falcons fans continue to spend today like a hangover after the worst night of drinking ever, not able to even come close to shaking out of the funk of losing a 25-point second half lead to lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots.

One disgusting aspect is what happens to the merch that was going to be sold out all over town today when (if) the Falcons were able to hang on and win the game like they should have.

Well, here’s one tweet that should make you want to weep if you had the Falcons winning the game like they should have.

Note for many this will be graphic in nature.

Worst Ever: Not Much Else Can Be Said About Falcons 25-Point Letdown to Lose Super Bowl to Patriots

The parades were already being planned, people were getting out their credit cards to order shirts and hats, and it looked like the Falcons were more than ready to celebrate their first NFL Championship.

Then, as quickly as they built a 28-9 lead, it all fell apart, and in the end, the Falcons wilted like lettuce in the sun, and Atlanta will have to wait another year to try and celebrate their first championship after a 34-28 overtime loss.

Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston will go down as the hardest day to ever be an Atlanta Falcons fan. The team led 21-0, and in the fourth quarter it looked like they were well in control, and instead of getting the job done, they left just enough of an opening for the Patriots to come back.

James White’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first series of the first overtime was the clincher for the Patriots, who seemed to just get momentum after the Falcons were unable to put the game away in the final quarter of regulation.

They had a great shot to put the game out of reach up 28-20, as NFL MVP Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones with a sensational sideline pass to set up what should have been a game-clinching field goal a few plays later.

Instead, a sack and then a hold pushed them out of field goal range, and the Falcons punted, giving Tom Brady who set records across the board the chance to come on the field and close out the comeback.

Even after the Patriots scored, they still needed a final two-point conversion to tie the game, and not only did they get it, but the Falcons were offsides on the play as well.

Once the overtime started after the Falcons were unable to move the ball in the final minute of the 4th quarter, you knew the outcome in overtime was pretty much decided.

“This is hard one for us,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Sunday night. “There’s not place to put that one.”

The Patriots drove 75 yards on eight plays for the winning touchdown in overtime, and it wasn’t even close, as the Falcons defense was go gassed it looked like they couldn’t stop a high school team by that point.

They were also so deflated after blowing a 25-point lead, they just looked like a shell-shocked team that wasn’t quite prepared for the letdown that was about to happen.

The Falcons had a chance to make the plays, and with a lead like that they should have been easily able to put the game away.

Instead, they likely will be able to get somewhat a measure for revenge in seven months on opening night when they take on the Patriots in New England.

Robert Alford, who had an amazing night with a pick six may have said it best. “God says things happen for a reason. So there’s a reason this happened. I don’t know.”

It’s going to take a long time to figure it out – and for most Falcons fans, they likely never will.

Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan Temporarily Loses Playbook with Super Bowl Game Plan

Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator who led the Falcons to the eighth-highest-scoring season in NFL annals, lost his backpack on Monday while speaking with media members — a backpack containing his team’s Super Bowl game plan, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, Shanahan was scurrying to find a backpack containing the Super Bowl game plan. “I’ve got to find it,” Bell reported Shanahan as saying. (You cannot make this stuff up.)

It turned out Art Spander, the longtime columnist for the San Francisco Examiner, had picked up Shanahan’s backpack by mistake when he finished intervening the soon-to-be minted 49er HC. Spander realized this only when he walked upstairs to the work room and was contacted by a colleague. The computer Spander believed to be in his bag wasn’t there — because the bag wasn’t his.

Spander returned Shanahan’s backpack to NFL security, who returned it to the Falcons’ OC. “That would have been bad,” Shanahan messaged USA Today to say. And it would have. But I need to ask: Was it a great idea to bring a backpack containing a game plan to a public event when you know Patriots people will be in the house, too?

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