FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — For most of last season, all they could do was watch.
Watch as the Atlanta Falcons tried desperately to fill their spots.
ATLANTA FALCONS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 22, Flowery Branch, Georgia
LAST YEAR: Atlanta closed season with three straight wins that came far too late to save lost season. Coach Dan Quinn...
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a four-year, $57 million contract extension with linebacker Deion Jones.
The new deal, which includes $34 million in guaranteed salary, was...
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Defense looked to be a rising strength for the Atlanta Falcons in their 2016 Super Bowl season and especially in their return to the playoffs in 2017.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons coach Dan Quinn saves some of his highest compliments for defenders who never take their eyes off the ball.
Not surprisingly, Quinn raves often about third-year linebacker Deion Jones. The only problem is that Jones, a Pro Bowl alternate pick last season, missed 10 games with a broken foot, and the once-sleek defense fell apart without its signal-caller.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Falcons were struggling again, and quarterback Matt Ryan was looking for something to spark the team.
Ryan got just what he wanted from his teammate, linebacker Deion Jones.
"That was awesome to get us going," Ryan said. "I felt like the energy that really got everybody into it, and from that point forward we played really well."
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have placed defensive end Derrick Shelby on injured reserve.
Shelby, who has a groin injury, becomes Atlanta's seventh former starter to land on IR. Six players currently are on IR.
The IR list includes linebacker Deion Jones, who came off injured reserve on Nov. 14 but has not yet been active for a game after missing two months with a broken right foot. He has a chance to play Sunday against Baltimore.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones has been ruled out of Thursday night's game at the New Orleans Saints.
Jones came off injured reserve last week after missing two months with a broken right foot. He was inactive against Dallas last Sunday.
Coach Dan Quinn said earlier in the week the goal was to have Jones regain full confidence in his foot so he could take advantage of his full potential.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones is still not ready to play and will be inactive Sunday against Dallas.
Kicker Matt Bryant had a good week of practice and will be on Atlanta's game-day roster after missing the last three games with a sore right hamstring.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons linebacker Deion Jones has been moved to the active roster and is eligible to play for the first time since breaking his right foot in Week 1.
Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday that the team will see how he looks in practice this week before deciding if Jones will be in uniform Sunday when Atlanta (4-5) hosts Dallas (4-5).
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Dan Quinn says losing six starters to injured reserve never forced him to lose faith in the Atlanta Falcons, even before three straight wins revived the team's playoff hopes.
The Falcons (4-4) have recovered from a 1-4 start despite losing both starting safeties, both first-team offensive guards, running back Devonta Freeman and linebacker Deion Jones.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Injuries have piled up at a staggering rate for the Atlanta Falcons.
They've lost both starting safeties and both starting guards for the season. Their best linebacker, Deion Jones, won't return for another two weeks at the earliest.
Their top running back, Devonta Freeman, is out until December. Their placekicker and career franchise scoring leader, Matt Bryant, is iffy to return this week at Washington.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have added more depth to their offensive line after placing right guard Brandon Fusco on injured reserve.
Fusco suffered a broken right ankle in Sunday's win over the New York Giants, and the team announced Tuesday he would miss the remainder of the season.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons right guard Brandon Fusco will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken right ankle in Monday night's win over the New York Giants.
Coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday Fusco suffered the fracture late in the second quarter of the 23-20 win .
ATLANTA (AP) — Something has to give when the Atlanta Falcons' porous defense faces the New York Giants' sluggish offense on Monday night.
The Falcons rank last in third-down percentage, second-worst in scoring average and third-worst in average yards allowed. They've been hit hard by injuries and won't get their defensive captain, middle linebacker Deion Jones, back for another four weeks.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons coach Dan Quinn says defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has been cleared to play after an ankle injury sidelined him for two games.
Jarrett, the team's best interior lineman, will start Monday night when Atlanta (2-4) hosts the New York Giants (1-5). Reserve end Derrick Shelby, out since Week 2 with a groin injury, is also expected to return.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is going on injured reserve, another major setback for a team that already has lost several key players.
Coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday that Freeman's groin injury was more serious than initially thought, forcing him to undergo a surgical procedure.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The injury plagued Atlanta Falcons will be without defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and running back Devonta Freeman for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jarrett is sitting out his second straight game with a sprained ankle, while Freeman is sidelined yet again with a foot injury. The Falcons (1-4) have lost three in a row.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Takk McKinley says nobody feels sorry for the Atlanta Falcons' injury-ravaged defense.
The second-year pass rusher makes a good point. Atlanta earned a playoff berth the past two years with a mostly healthy defense, but it's a different story this season.
The Falcons (1-3) are reeling now that Grady Jarrett, their best interior lineman, is the fourth defensive starter to miss Sunday's game at Pittsburgh (1-2-1).
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed defensive tackle Michael Bennett in a move which could reflect a new injury concern with starter Grady Jarrett.
Jarrett left the final drive of the Falcons' 37-36 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday with an ankle injury. Coach Dan Quinn said Monday that Jarrett is still being evaluated.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have placed free safety Ricardo Allen on season-ending injured reserve with a torn Achilles tendon.
Allen was carted off the field in last Sunday's overtime loss to New Orleans, becoming the third defensive starter to go down for Atlanta. Strong safety Keanu Neal tore his ACL in the opener and is out for the year. Linebacker Deion Jones underwent foot surgery and is sidelined until at least Nov. 18.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons lost yet another starter to a season-ending injury Monday.
Yet a team with Super Bowl aspirations is hoping that safety Ricardo Allen's torn Achilles tendon won't derail their season.
"We will not play the role of the victim with injuries, and we've got a locker room full of tough competitive guys, and I expect us to play well," coach Dan Quinn said Monday, a day after Allen injured his leg against the Saints.
ATLANTA (AP) — Falcons starting safety Ricardo Allen will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, dealing another blow to Atlanta's already injury-ravaged defense.
The team made the announcement a day after the Falcons' 43-37 loss to the Saints in overtime. Allen was carted off the field in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The fourth-year veteran from Purdue is the leader of the Falcons' defense. He has played both safety spots and nickel cornerback.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have lost offensive guard Andy Levitre to a season-ending triceps injury, the third starter to go down in the first two weeks of the season.
Levitre left Sunday's victory over the Carolina Panthers with what was initially described as an elbow injury. After further examination, it was determined that he's done for the year because of a triceps problem.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons will be missing another key starter for Sunday's game against Carolina.
Two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman was ruled out after missing the entire week of practice with a knee injury, another blow to a team that was already reeling from injuries to defensive stalwarts Keanu Neal and Deion Jones.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons came into the season with such high expectations.
Then, a jarring dose of reality.
As if a carbon-copy loss in Week 1 wasn't bad enough, two significant injuries on defense have left this team reeling as it prepares for Sunday's home opener against division rival Carolina.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve on Tuesday, taking a second 2017 Pro Bowler from the defense in less than a week.
The move with Jones comes after coach Dan Quinn on Friday announced safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.
ATLANTA FALCONS (11-7)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Falcons practice facility, Flowery Branch, Georgia
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have started their offseason conditioning program with some must-see TV.
"We're looking at film from last year, figuring out how we can get better," linebacker Deion Jones said on Tuesday. "We're off to a good start."
There is plenty to self-scout after the Falcons fell short in 2017. Yes, they won six of their last eight to finish the regular season at 10-6, advanced to the playoffs and knocked off the Los Angeles Rams in a road wild-card game.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Falcons know they need to start winning the turnover margin if they want to return to the playoffs.
Starting this Sunday at New Orleans would be a good time.
Falcons linebacker Deion Jones jumped to make a game-clinching interception in the end zone to help the Falcons hold off the Saints for a 20-17 win on Dec. 7 in the first matchup.
ATLANTA (AP) — Deion Jones can't wait to face the New Orleans Saints again in two weeks.
The Falcons' standout middle linebacker keeps putting up impressive numbers against his hometown team, and he made the play of the game in a 20-17 win Thursday night over the Saints.
ATLANTA (AP) — Drew Brees went for the win.
He wound up with a loss.
Brees' pass in the end zone was picked off by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who made a soaring grab with 1:25 remaining to preserve Atlanta's 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Brees has made a lot of great throws in his 17-year career.
ATLANTA (AP) — The New Orleans Saints were without running back Alvin Kamara and their top two left guards in the second half Thursday night against Atlanta.
New Orleans also lost three starters on defense.
Kamara was hurt when he caught a pass for a 4-yard loss and his helmet collided with Falcons linebacker Deion Jones. Kamara walked into the tunnel to be evaluated. He was later ruled out.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — After being limited by injuries in practice earlier in the week, Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and defensive end Courtney Upshaw are expected to play against the Patriots.
Sanu missed last week's loss to Miami with a hamstring injury. Upshaw has missed three games with ankle/knee injuries. Coach Dan Quinn says the two will have no limitations in Sunday night's game.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons put Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell on a quick learning curve for linebackers last year.
Having shown they could handle added responsibilities as rookies, Jones and Campbell will have their roles expanded this season as the Falcons try to make it back to the Super Bowl.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons grew younger and faster at linebacker last year on the way to the Super Bowl, and they're not finished turbo charging after adding at least one more rookie and another speedy player to the unit.
By drafting LSU's Duke Riley in the third round, and converting former safety KeMal Ishmael to linebacker, head coach Dan Quinn is moving ahead with his plan to make Atlanta's defense one of the NFL's fastest.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed first-rounder Takk McKinley and three more draft picks — linebacker Duke Riley, running back Brian Hill and tight end Eric Saubert.
The Falcons have signed all six draft picks before Friday's start of their rookie minicamp. The team previously signed offensive guard Sean Harlow of Oregon State and safety Damontae Kazee of San Diego State.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons struck familiar themes when they again focused on defense high in the NFL draft and again selected a player from Louisiana State on Friday night.
The Falcons traded down, giving away their second-round pick, to select LSU linebacker Duke Riley in the third round. One year ago, the Falcons took LSU linebacker Deion Jones in the second round. In 2015, Atlanta picked LSU cornerback Jalen Collins in the second round.
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on The Associated Press 2016 NFL awards (all times local):
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa has won the 2016 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in a landslide.
Sitting out the first four games after a protracted preseason holdout didn't damage the third overall draft pick much. He still managed 12½ sacks as the key threat on a San Diego defense that ranked only 16th overall.
OFFENSE — OVERALL (2), RUSH (5), PASS (3)
DEFENSE — OVERALL (25), RUSH (17), PASS (28)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
PASSING — Matt Ryan 4,944 yards, 38 TDs, 7 INT
RUSHING — Devonta Freeman 1,079 yards, 11 TDs; Tevin Coleman, 520, 4
RECEIVING — Julio Jones 83 catches, 1,409 yards, 6 TDs; Mohamed Sanu, 59, 653, 4; Freeman, 54, 462, 2
INTERCEPTIONS — Deion Jones 3; Ricardo Allen 2; Robert Alford 2; Jalen Collins 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Ryan had barely sat down to begin his usual post-kickoff, pregame preparations when he had to rush onto the field. A Rams rookie had fumbled the opening return, and the Atlanta Falcons had the ball at the 3.
"It was a pleasant surprise," said Ryan, who threw a touchdown pass on the first snap.
The whole day was a series of fun surprises for the Falcons, whose playoff chase is picking up steam.