Your daily collection of Falcons and NFL news and notes from around the Web.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Let's take a few minutes away from friends, family and turkey and breeze through some of the day's top headlines.
After missing the last three games, Sean Weatherspoon may finally be ready to return to action. Coach Smith said on Wednesday that the talented line backer should start practicing again this week, and could suit up for Sunday's contest in Tampa Bay.
"We're anticipating him participating in practice this week, and we just have to see how he progresses," Smith said in a conference call with the Tampa Bay media. "But we're very optimistic in what he's done in his rehabilitation and doing what he needs to do to get back out there."
As Dirk Koetter said earlier this week: if there's any quarterback that can come back from a five interception performance, it's Matt Ryan. The Buccaneers allow more passing yards against than any team in the NFL right now—quite a change from the highly skilled Cardinals' secondary. Expect Ryan to rebound in a big way this Sunday and continue his campaign for offensive MVP.
"I've got good players around me - that's the biggest part," Ryan said on Wednesday. "I thought our defense played awesome last week. They kept us in it, and that's what it's all about. It's about winning games, but as a quarterback you need to do your part, too. I've just got to find better passing lanes, and that's on me. I've done a good job of that in the past. I just didn't do a good job of that last week."
Following the surprise dismissal Ray Edwards, five-year veteran Kroy Biermann has been moved up to the starting role at left defensive end on Coach Nolan's depth chart. After proving his value this year through his versatility and strong work ethic, Biermann has certainly earned this promotion.
“I approach my job the same every day and that is to come here, work hard, get better and do whatever I can to help this team win,” Biermann said. “Being asked to do multiple positions and cover kicks and play the game of football, however I can contribute and help this organization, I’m glad to do it.”
Often lost among the talk of Sean Weatherspoon's injury, Akeem Dent's development and the defense's general mediocrity, Stephen Nicholas is having himself a heck of a season. The 2007 draft pick is third on the Falcons in tackles for a loss (5) and has racked up 72 tackles in total. Additionally, he's caught an interception and sacked the opposing quarterback twice in 2012—both in the last two weeks.
"I'm out there more," Nicholas said. "I'm out there and able to play a little more. Also, our coaches do a good job every week. They put us in position to make plays and we go out there and make plays...There isn't really much I haven't seen now. For the most part, I'm just trying to be a leader out there and do the things that I can help this team win."
"Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that,'' Turner said. "It's just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just clean it up."