Stephen Molkenbur

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About Stephen Molkenbur

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    Atlanta Falcons
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  1. Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan is reportedly the favorite for the San Francisco 49ers head coaching vacancy, says NFL.com. The 49ers fired head coach Chip Kelly after an abysmal 2016 season, and are the only remaining team with an open position. It now appears clear that they are waiting until Shanahan’s season with Atlanta is over before offering him the job. Under Shanahan, the Falcons offense has flourished. He has brought out the best in many players, most notably MVP candidate Matt Ryan. Ryan, who is having the best season of his nine-year career, has thrown for just under 5,000 yards and holds a league-best 117.1 QB rating during the regular season. He threw 38 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions on the year, a far cry from his 21:16 ratio in 2015. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta’s breakout-star running back in 2015, proved he was the real deal in 2016, rushing for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freeman was also a pivotal part of the passing game. The Falcons also added an additional 849 yards on the ground between Tevin Coleman (520), Terron Ward (151), Taylor Gabriel (51), Stevan Ridley (7), and Mohammed Sanu (5). Matt Ryan also added to that total, gaining 117 yards on the ground, proving he isn’t afraid to get out of the pocket and do what he can to extend plays, something he has not been known for in the past. What Kyle Shanahan has been able to do with Atlanta has been special, and he will definitely be missed if he is offered the 49ers’ job. It definitely begs the question: how would it impact the Falcons next season? Atlanta will be hoping to hold onto their OC for just a few more weeks, as they continue down the road to Super Bowl 51. View full NFL news story
  2. Shanahan Favorite for Head Coach Vacancy

    Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan is reportedly the favorite for the San Francisco 49ers head coaching vacancy, says NFL.com. The 49ers fired head coach Chip Kelly after an abysmal 2016 season, and are the only remaining team with an open position. It now appears clear that they are waiting until Shanahan’s season with Atlanta is over before offering him the job. Under Shanahan, the Falcons offense has flourished. He has brought out the best in many players, most notably MVP candidate Matt Ryan. Ryan, who is having the best season of his nine-year career, has thrown for just under 5,000 yards and holds a league-best 117.1 QB rating during the regular season. He threw 38 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions on the year, a far cry from his 21:16 ratio in 2015. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta’s breakout-star running back in 2015, proved he was the real deal in 2016, rushing for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freeman was also a pivotal part of the passing game. The Falcons also added an additional 849 yards on the ground between Tevin Coleman (520), Terron Ward (151), Taylor Gabriel (51), Stevan Ridley (7), and Mohammed Sanu (5). Matt Ryan also added to that total, gaining 117 yards on the ground, proving he isn’t afraid to get out of the pocket and do what he can to extend plays, something he has not been known for in the past. What Kyle Shanahan has been able to do with Atlanta has been special, and he will definitely be missed if he is offered the 49ers’ job. It definitely begs the question: how would it impact the Falcons next season? Atlanta will be hoping to hold onto their OC for just a few more weeks, as they continue down the road to Super Bowl 51.
  3. Falcons to Host NFC Championship Game

    Atlanta fans should be pleased that Dallas fell to the Packers this afternoon, as it secured home-field advantage in the NFC Championship game. It’s fitting that the final game played at the Georgia Dome will be for the conference title; a place the Falcons haven’t found themselves since 2012. After such a stellar season with so many standout performances, the Falcons genuinely deserve a shot at their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years. To do that though, they’ll have to face a red-hot Packers team led by veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It won’t be the first time Atlanta has played Green Bay at home this season. The Packers came to the Dome for a week 8 matchup that saw the Falcons come out on top 33-32. That day, Ryan went 28 for 35 with 288 yards and three touchdowns. Atlanta also added 90 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Rodgers went 28 for 38 with 246 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a team-leading 60 yards rushing. What Rodgers has been able to do since he snapped out of his slump is extremely impressive. During the Packers recent winning streak, Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdown passes with only 1 interception. In Sunday’s game he went 28 for 43 with 356 yards and two touchdowns. That lone interception was also thrown in Sunday’s contest against Dallas. If the Falcons want to beat Green Bay next week, they’ll need to find a way to stop Rodgers. It’s no secret that when he is playing well, the Packers can put up a ton of points. Luckily for the Falcons, they can too. Atlanta has the highest-scoring offense in the NFL and has been decimating opposing defenses. Matt Ryan has made a legit case for himself in the MVP conversation, but he is only one piece of the puzzle. Yes, he has been enhancing the play of his teammates, but don’t forget what the team has been able to do on the ground this season as well. On the year, Atlanta has almost 2000 combined rushing yards with 20 touchdowns. For a team that has always been known for their aerial attack, seeing such a vast improvement on the ground is tremendous. While these teams are riding explosive offenses into this game, they both have their weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. For Atlanta, those issues lie in the red zone. According to TeamRankings.com, the Falcons allow points in the red zone 71% of the time. On average, they allow 2.8 offensive touchdowns a game. They have, however, found ways to force turnovers and get the ball back into Matt Ryan’s hands. If they want to win the title, they are going to need to find ways to limit their opponents red zone opportunities, something they showed they could do this past weekend against Seattle. Green Bay has had issues in their secondary, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw all over them. On the season, they have given up 4,603 yards through the air to opponents. That’s an average of 288 yards per game, a weakness they do not want to have against a quarterback who threw just under 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns on the year. The NFC Championship game is scheduled for Sunday, January 22nd at 3:05 p.m. on FOX.
  4. Atlanta fans should be pleased that Dallas fell to the Packers this afternoon, as it secured home-field advantage in the NFC Championship game. It’s fitting that the final game played at the Georgia Dome will be for the conference title; a place the Falcons haven’t found themselves since 2012. After such a stellar season with so many standout performances, the Falcons genuinely deserve a shot at their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years. To do that though, they’ll have to face a red-hot Packers team led by veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It won’t be the first time Atlanta has played Green Bay at home this season. The Packers came to the Dome for a week 8 matchup that saw the Falcons come out on top 33-32. That day, Ryan went 28 for 35 with 288 yards and three touchdowns. Atlanta also added 90 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Rodgers went 28 for 38 with 246 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a team-leading 60 yards rushing. What Rodgers has been able to do since he snapped out of his slump is extremely impressive. During the Packers recent winning streak, Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdown passes with only 1 interception. In Sunday’s game he went 28 for 43 with 356 yards and two touchdowns. That lone interception was also thrown in Sunday’s contest against Dallas. If the Falcons want to beat Green Bay next week, they’ll need to find a way to stop Rodgers. It’s no secret that when he is playing well, the Packers can put up a ton of points. Luckily for the Falcons, they can too. Atlanta has the highest-scoring offense in the NFL and has been decimating opposing defenses. Matt Ryan has made a legit case for himself in the MVP conversation, but he is only one piece of the puzzle. Yes, he has been enhancing the play of his teammates, but don’t forget what the team has been able to do on the ground this season as well. On the year, Atlanta has almost 2000 combined rushing yards with 20 touchdowns. For a team that has always been known for their aerial attack, seeing such a vast improvement on the ground is tremendous. While these teams are riding explosive offenses into this game, they both have their weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. For Atlanta, those issues lie in the red zone. According to TeamRankings.com, the Falcons allow points in the red zone 71% of the time. On average, they allow 2.8 offensive touchdowns a game. They have, however, found ways to force turnovers and get the ball back into Matt Ryan’s hands. If they want to win the title, they are going to need to find ways to limit their opponents red zone opportunities, something they showed they could do this past weekend against Seattle. Green Bay has had issues in their secondary, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw all over them. On the season, they have given up 4,603 yards through the air to opponents. That’s an average of 288 yards per game, a weakness they do not want to have against a quarterback who threw just under 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns on the year. The NFC Championship game is scheduled for Sunday, January 22nd at 3:05 p.m. on FOX. View full NFL news story
  5. Falcons Punch Ticket to NFC Title Game

    The Atlanta Falcons exceeded expectations in Saturday’s contest with the Seattle Seahawks. Many fans expected the game to be much like the last few times these two teams have met: hard-fought and down to the wire. What they got, however, was a game in which the Falcons held control over Seattle until the very end, earning them another shot at their first NFC title since 1998. Click below to read the remainder of this article.
  6. The Atlanta Falcons exceeded expectations in Saturday’s contest with the Seattle Seahawks. Many fans expected the game to be much like the last few times these two teams have met: hard-fought and down to the wire. What they got, however, was a game in which the Falcons held control over Seattle until the very end, earning them another shot at their first NFC title since 1998. Lets get one thing straight: this game was never a sure thing. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are a fantastic football team that have shown time and time again that they are capable of greatness. Their defense is one of the best in the NFL, and everybody was wondering how they were going to handle Atlanta’s high-flying offense going into this game. On paper, this matchup looked as if it was going to be exactly what everyone expected. The game was very close at the start, but after a holding penalty called back an 80-yard Devin Hester punt return, Seattle found themselves with their backs against their own end zone. With Seattle winning 10-7 at this point, and gearing up to take control, this penalty should be considered the turning point of the game. Their defense took advantage of the opportunity this penalty awarded them, stuffing the run and putting the pressure on Seattle’s offense. On the second play of the drive, Wilson tripped into the end zone, resulting in a safety that completely changed the momentum of the entire game. Atlanta would go on to score on the subsequent drive, and then again just before the half, with Matt Ryan leading a 99-yard drive to put the game solely in the Falcons hands at halftime. From this point on, Atlanta went off. It was clear that they had shaken off the rust of their first-round bye early, and started racking up the points, turnovers, and yardage both on the ground and through the air. Their offense looked absolutely unstoppable, and made a strong case for themselves that this team could very well be Super Bowl contenders. Matt Ryan went 26 for 37 with 338 yards passing and three touchdowns, adding fuel to the MVP fire. Atlanta had a total of 99 combined yards on the ground, with Freeman being the lone back to find the end zone. Atlanta’s worst ranked red zone defense found life in the second half, disrupting plays and getting to the quarterback often. Wilson was sacked three times, and picked twice by a defense that seems to be roaring up at exactly the right time. Another big thing to take notice of here is that Atlanta didn’t turn the ball over a single time. This is huge, especially in the playoffs for the Atlanta Falcons, a team that has garnered a reputation for being subpar in the post-season. This is a different year, though, and Atlanta looks poised to make it to the Super Bowl. The road to get there, however, will be determined by Sunday’s Divisional Playoff between Green Bay and Dallas. View full article
  7. Atlanta’s high-powered offense works because of its unpredictability. They’ve shown that they can make big plays through the air with stars like Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and breakout player Taylor Gabriel. In the past, when the passing game was all bottled up, the Falcons had no place else to turn. Their running game was never anything too special. That is, until recently. The additions of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are sure to help Atlanta succeed in their post-season run. Both backs bring something unique to the table, which throws off opposing defenses. It’s something that has helped the Falcons grow over the course of the last two seasons, and has a lot to do with their recent success. Other teams in the NFL have taken notice of Atlanta’s potent offense. Seattle is no exception. Speaking to Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said that Coleman and Freeman “might be the best 1-2 running back combo I’ve played probably in my career. Those two guys are really good together. They complement each other well. They both can do some dangerous things running and catching the ball.” It’s a fact that Coleman and Freeman are dangerous both on the ground and in the passing game, so it’s not surprising to see Wright acknowledge it before Saturday’s matchup. What is surprising, however, are the stats that Atlanta’s running backs put up against Seattle earlier this season. Combined, the Falcons backs were only allowed 50 yards rushing on 17 carries. Through the air, the pair added 17 yards on 4 receptions. Seattle pretty much stuffed Atlanta’s run game in week 6. In order to walk away with a win, the Falcons will need to find a way to gain yardage on the ground, and not just rely on Matt Ryan’s MVP-caliber play. Wright’s comments show that the Seahawks know what Coleman and Freeman are capable of. It’s nice to see that talent acknowledged between teams. Be sure to tune into on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. to see how it all plays out. View full NFL news story
  8. Atlanta’s high-powered offense works because of its unpredictability. They’ve shown that they can make big plays through the air with stars like Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and breakout player Taylor Gabriel. In the past, when the passing game was all bottled up, the Falcons had no place else to turn. Their running game was never anything too special. That is, until recently. The additions of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are sure to help Atlanta succeed in their post-season run. Both backs bring something unique to the table, which throws off opposing defenses. It’s something that has helped the Falcons grow over the course of the last two seasons, and has a lot to do with their recent success. Other teams in the NFL have taken notice of Atlanta’s potent offense. Seattle is no exception. Speaking to Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said that Coleman and Freeman “might be the best 1-2 running back combo I’ve played probably in my career. Those two guys are really good together. They complement each other well. They both can do some dangerous things running and catching the ball.” It’s a fact that Coleman and Freeman are dangerous both on the ground and in the passing game, so it’s not surprising to see Wright acknowledge it before Saturday’s matchup. What is surprising, however, are the stats that Atlanta’s running backs put up against Seattle earlier this season. Combined, the Falcons backs were only allowed 50 yards rushing on 17 carries. Through the air, the pair added 17 yards on 4 receptions. Seattle pretty much stuffed Atlanta’s run game in week 6. In order to walk away with a win, the Falcons will need to find a way to gain yardage on the ground, and not just rely on Matt Ryan’s MVP-caliber play. Wright’s comments show that the Seahawks know what Coleman and Freeman are capable of. It’s nice to see that talent acknowledged between teams. Be sure to tune into on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. to see how it all plays out.
  9. In week 6, the Atlanta Falcons traveled to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. An interception thrown by Matt Ryan led to a game-winning 44-yard field goal that put Seattle up 26-24 late in the 4th quarter. Like every time these two teams meet, it came down to the final minutes. Naturally, the Seahawks will be trying to repeat their week 6 success on Saturday, but will be missing one key ingredient: Earl Thomas. Click below to read the remainder of this article.
  10. In week 6, the Atlanta Falcons traveled to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. An interception thrown by Matt Ryan led to a game-winning 44-yard field goal that put Seattle up 26-24 late in the 4th quarter. Like every time these two teams meet, it came down to the final minutes. Naturally, the Seahawks will be trying to repeat their week 6 success on Saturday, but will be missing one key ingredient: Earl Thomas. Thomas was the safety that intercepted the ball during that drive; only one of seven times Ryan was picked during the regular season. This isn’t surprising given his immense star-power. Seattle has been missing Thomas since he broke his leg against the Carolina Panthers in week 13. It’s an injury that has brought a noticeable change to the Seattle defense. In his absence, they have allowed more points per game and have not incepted an opposing quarterback. These recent stats, however, are not easing the Falcons minds in regards to Seattle’s defensive play. While speaking to press this week, Matt Ryan acknowledged Thomas’ absence (and talent) while adding, “I think they’re really good on the defensive side of the ball.” Ryan went on to point out that although Thomas is out, a top player that did not play in week 6 will be suiting up on Saturday: Kam Chancellor. Ryan told press, “Kam’s back in. When we played them, Kam didn’t play for them. He’s such a good player, too. Kind of sets the tone for them in terms of physical style and being aggressive.” It’s obvious that Seattle’s defense is their number one key to success, and if the Falcons want any shot at advancing to the NFC Championship game, they’re going to have to prepare as if that lineup were 100% healthy. In their last contest, Ryan was sacked 4 times. That cannot happen on Saturday if the Falcons want to defeat the Seahawks. Their offensive line is going to have to play their best, and keep Matt Ryan protected long enough for plays to develop. Be sure to tune in to FOX on Saturday, January 14th at 4:35 p.m to see how it all plays out. View full article
  11. The Atlanta Falcons have faced Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks a number of times over the years. Every game the two teams play against each other tends to go down to the wire, often being decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Many elements factor into these close contests, but one thing has consistently plagued the Falcons: Russell Wilson's mobility. NFL.com reports that the Falcons are very concerned about Wilson’s ability to escape pressure and recognize the blitz. There is no argument that when it comes to extending plays, Wilson is one of the best in the league. The Falcons know this, and want to avoid allowing Wilson to frustrate their defense in such a high-stakes contest. To prepare, the Falcons have turned to an unlikely resource: wide receiver B.J. Daniels. Daniels was originally drafted as a quarterback by the 49ers in 2013, and spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad in 2015 before making the switch to wide receiver. The Falcons signed Daniels to their own practice squad just a few weeks ago. They have been using him extensively in practice this week in order to prepare the defense for Wilson’s unpredictability. Daniels told NFL.com that he and Wilson have “very similar styles of play.” He then added, “Russell’s a student of the game. Scramble plays may seem chaotic, but there are rules to it that people practice. It’s not all as chaotic as it seems.” Daniels might just be the Ace in the Hole Atlanta needs to advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2012. Be sure to tune in to the game this Saturday, January 14th at 4:35 p.m. on FOX. View full NFL news story
  12. Falcons Preparing Differently for Russell Wilson

    The Atlanta Falcons have faced Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks a number of times over the years. Every game the two teams play against each other tends to go down to the wire, often being decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Many elements factor into these close contests, but one thing has consistently plagued the Falcons: Russell Wilson's mobility. NFL.com reports that the Falcons are very concerned about Wilson’s ability to escape pressure and recognize the blitz. There is no argument that when it comes to extending plays, Wilson is one of the best in the league. The Falcons know this, and want to avoid allowing Wilson to frustrate their defense in such a high-stakes contest. To prepare, the Falcons have turned to an unlikely resource: wide receiver B.J. Daniels. Daniels was originally drafted as a quarterback by the 49ers in 2013, and spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad in 2015 before making the switch to wide receiver. The Falcons signed Daniels to their own practice squad just a few weeks ago. They have been using him extensively in practice this week in order to prepare the defense for Wilson’s unpredictability. Daniels told NFL.com that he and Wilson have “very similar styles of play.” He then added, “Russell’s a student of the game. Scramble plays may seem chaotic, but there are rules to it that people practice. It’s not all as chaotic as it seems.” Daniels might just be the Ace in the Hole Atlanta needs to advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2012. Be sure to tune in to the game this Saturday, January 14th at 4:35 p.m. on FOX.
  13. With Seattle's 26-6 victory over the Lions on Saturday night, they secured a rematch in Atlanta. You may remember that these two teams met in 2012, a year the Falcons made it to the NFC Championship game, breaking their winless playoff “curse.” Atlanta came away with a narrow 30-28 victory, but both of these teams have changed since then. Click below to read the remainder of this article.
  14. With Seattle's 26-6 victory over the Lions on Saturday night, they secured a rematch in Atlanta. You may remember that these two teams met in 2012, a year the Falcons made it to the NFC Championship game, breaking their winless playoff “curse.” Atlanta came away with a narrow 30-28 victory, but both of these teams have changed since then. For starters, Atlanta was turning the ball over quite frequently back then. The team accumulated 18 turnovers in 2012, 14 of which were interceptions thrown by Matt Ryan. In 2016, the team only has 11 turnovers, and is playing at a much higher level. They have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL right now, and are absolutely lethal through the air. They have developed a much stronger running game than they had in 2012, no doubt due to the additions of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. What's tipping in Atlanta’s favor right now is their total unpredictability. Matt Ryan has shown that all of his receivers are capable of making big plays. This is a far cry from 2012, when the Falcons only offensive weapons were Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and the aging Roddy White. This season, Matt Ryan has thrown a touchdown pass to 13 different receivers. That alone is an NFL record, but goes to show that no matter what, each and every play can break big. Defense is going to be immensely important in Saturday’s game. Everybody knows how elite Seattle’s defense can be. When playing at their best, they can be a quarterback's worst nightmare. This season, they have forced 33 turnovers (11 interceptions; 22 fumble recoveries), only 3 less than in 2012. They were, and are, a force to be reckoned with. Atlanta has never been known for their defensive play. 2012 was a year in which the defense was playing some of their best football, and Falcons fans should take comfort in the fact that 2016 has shown much of the same. The defense is far from perfect, but under Dan Quinn’s leadership, they have shown that they are capable of causing pressure and forcing turnovers. These things will be key against the likes of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin. These teams also met earlier this season in Seattle. 2 points again decided the game, this time in Seattle’s favor. In that game, Ryan went 27 and 42 for 335 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The team rushed for a total of only 52 yards and forced three fumbles. Each time these teams meet, it is a hard fought and highly entertaining matchup. Be sure to tune in to FOX on Saturday, January 14th at 4:35 p.m. View full article
  15. Matt Ryan is up for the 2016 FedEx Air and Ground Player of the Year. FedEx will make a $50,000 donation to the USO in the name of the players that are voted in, by you, the fans! Be sure to give Matt Ryan your support and make your voice heard by clicking on the link below and casting your vote! http://www.nfl.com/voting/players-air-and-ground/2016/YEAR/0 2016 FedEx Air Player of the Year Nominees: Matt Ryan Drew Brees Aaron Rodgers 2016 FedEx Ground Player of the Year Nominees: Ezekiel Elliot David Johnson Le’Veon Bell View full NFL news story