Local Sports

Falcons say they’re up to the task of beating Saints, QB Drew Brees

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

The Saints have won six straight, including a 26-23 overtime victory over the Falcons five weeks ago. It came as no surprise that Brees played a nearly flawless game, improving to 9-2 in the NFC South rivalry with 3,332 yards passing and 22 touchdowns. Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, who picked off Brees’ pass in Atlanta’s overtime win last year at New Orleans, understands the difficulties of defending his loaded receiving corps. “He throws to everybody on the field, but he tends to go to mostly to (tight end Jimmy) Graham, (receiver Marques) Colston and (running back Darren) Sproles, so it’s
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Redskins’ Barry Cofield becoming a hit at the nose

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

But now, with two games remaining in his first season anchoring Washington’s defensive line, Cofield looks like a different player. In a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle position is considered the toughest to fill. Coaches had to teach Cofield how to play nose in less-than-ideal crash-course fashion, but they’re more than happy with the results. “The guy is going to be, I think, one of the best noses in the league when he comes back” next season, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. Said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan: “He’s going to make a great nose tackle for years to come.” After
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Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave feeling heat in first season

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

Musgrave also planned to lean heavily on Adrian Peterson, but the star running back missed three games because of a sprain ankle. The Vikings also had high hopes for former Falcons receiver Michael Jenkins, the only player with a previous connection to Musgrave, but Jenkins was lost for the season Dec. 1 because of a knee injury. Veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb was a bust, prompting the Vikings to hand the job to Ponder in Week 7. All have contributed to the Vikings (2-12) sitting at No. 28 in passing offense heading into their game Saturday at Washington. “There’s more that
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Wayne’s late TD catch helps Colts rally past Houston 19-16 for 2nd straight win

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

Wayne made one of his trademark moves to outmaneuver a Houston defensive back with 19 seconds left, freeing himself for a 1-yard touchdown catch that gave the Colts a stunning 19-16 victory over AFC South champion Houston. The five-time Pro Bowler celebrated by flinging his hands into the air, pointing toward the fans he loves and hugging his teammates before heading to the Colts’ locker room for possibly the final time. “I said if this is going to be the last game, I want to go out with a bang. It was great,” Wayne said. “It was a great feeling
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Panther linebacker Senn could go from career special teamer to regular starter

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

“He’s become one of those guys where if he continues to play like this it’s going to be hard to justify not having him on the field,” Rivera said. “Shoot, he could come back next year and be the starter.” That’s pretty big news for a guy who’s been told throughout his football career he’s too small to be an every down player in the NFL. The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Senn has long been touted for his solid special teams play, which is the primary reason the Panthers re-signed him as a restricted free agent last year. He’ll be an unrestricted
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Matt Ryan, Falcons may have found offensive identity just in time to face Saints on Monday night

Dec 23rd, 2011 | By

Matt Ryan is finally getting a change to spread his wings in Atlanta’s no-huddle offense. (Kevin C. Cox – Getty Images) Watching the Atlanta Falcons in 2011 has been the equivalent of stumbling upon a movie late at night while flipping through your television channels. At one point you heard the movie was supposed to be good but you never saw it because you had your doubts. On a whole it’s disappointing. It’s choppy and it leaves a lot to be desired. One minute it’s decent, the next you’re confused by the lack of creativity and focus. There are several
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Undrafted Redskins rookie Smith has daunting assignment: Vikings’ Jared Allen

Dec 22nd, 2011 | By

Helu has kept it up all season, making up stories about Smith getting accessories like subwoofers and satellite radio. When Helu told the story to reporters this week, Smith was beside himself. “Oh, come on, Roy,” Smith bellowed across the locker room Wednesday. “You told them I got big-time? Got tinted windows?” The truth is that Smith only got the rims — the car’s windows were already tinted — and that Helu does the shtick because he says Smith is actually the opposite of flashy. Besides, a newbie at the fringe of the roster doesn’t need to be spending big
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10 NFL holiday wishes: Chargers, Eagles playoff hopes; put a muzzle on Adrian Peterson, Archie Manning

Dec 22nd, 2011 | By

All of a sudden, the Chargers are one of the best teams in the league. It’s too bad they’ve waited until now to show it. (Denis Poroy – AP) Editor’s note: Last week Michael Kun penned a list of 10 NFL holiday wishes. But he’s been a good boy this year, so we gave him 10 more. 1. I wish that my in-laws will understand when I sneak out of the family holiday lunch on Saturday to watch the Giants-Jets game. The winner of the game won’t necessarily make the playoffs, and the loser of the game won’t necessarily be
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Perfect season gone, Packers still have home-field advantage to shoot for vs. Bears

Dec 22nd, 2011 | By

Still, there’s home-field advantage at stake — and, ultimately, a Super Bowl left to shoot for — giving the Packers plenty to play for going into their game Sunday night against NFC North rival Chicago at Lambeau Field. “Yeah, it’s disappointing, but at the same time, it’s not end-all, be-all,” safety Charlie Peprah said. “We’re still 13-1, still control our own destiny as far as getting home field. That’s what, really, we’re focused on. Feeling sorry for ourselves, we let that go already. Everybody’s back and focused.” When the Packers returned to practice Wednesday, coach Mike McCarthy saw a team
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Jabar Gaffney, Redskins’ No. 2 wide receiver, emerges as top option for Rex Grossman

Dec 22nd, 2011 | By

The quarterback and wide receiver attended the University of Florida together, and Grossman is usually careful not to differentiate Gaffney from the team’s other receivers. “Ever since Florida, he’s been my guy,” Grossman said in a minor slip following the team’s 23-10 win over the New York Giants last Sunday. “Not that anybody else on this team doesn’t have amazing skills.” Gaffney and Grossman’s relationship has paid dividends on the field for both players over the years. Gaffney’s four best games as a Redskin have all come in the past five weeks. He posted a season-high 115 receiving yards Nov.
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