A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
Can you hear me now? HAVE YOU HEARD, THE ATLANTA FALCONS ARE PLAYING THE SEAHAWKS AT CENTURYLINK FIELD ON SUNDAY?
Why are we yelling? Because the lingering – and even deafening – memory from the Falcons’ trip to Seattle last season is the noise generated by the 12th Man.
“It’s a tough place to play, it really is,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said this morning during a conference-call interview. “It’s loud. A great environment. The fans are passionate out there. I think that organization takes pride in playing well at home, so it’s a challenging place to play.”
The Seahawks don’t just take pride in playing well at home, they play better at home. Their first win this season, after back-to-back losses at San Francisco and Pittsburgh, came Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink. The Seahawks won 16 games the previous three seasons, and 11 of the victories also came at the venue they and their fans call home.
And, the fans aren’t just passionate about their team; they believe they have an impact on the game.
“The unique thing about going to Seattle is it’s such a noisy, wild place to play a football game,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “The fans out there are unbelievable and communication is going to be key for us and our success out there this week.”
Tom Cable wasn’t at practice today, but that doesn’t mean the team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach missed practice. Thanks to social media. The club Skyped the 105-minute, full-pads session so Cable could watch it.
Cable is recovering after having back surgery on Monday.
“He had a real serious situation that we needed to take care of and he had a very successful operation and he’s in good shape,” coach Pete Carroll said. “But it’s going to take him a couple of days before he gets out of the hospital.”
So Carroll stepped in, with the aid of social media, to keep Cable in the loop – if not on the practice field.
Cable missed practice last Thursday to get his back examined, but returned for Friday’s practice.
“It really came up late last week,” Carroll said. “It’s been a problem for him for years, but it just got to the point where he had to do some investigation on it.”
The investigation led to the surgery.
“It was a very long surgery, it was all day,” Carroll said. “So he’s been through a lot. We’re pulling for him.”
And, thanks to Skype, Cable is watching – even though he’s not at practice.
IN ’N OUT
Fullback Michael Robinson returned to practice for the first time since spraining an ankle in the season opener, while tackle Jarriel King practiced for the first time since being claimed off waivers on Sept. 4. He also had been out with a sprained ankle.
Robinson picked up where he left off, driving a scout-team linebacker almost 10 yards with a lead block during a full-team drill.
Carroll on King’s return: “That’s exciting to see. This guy is a terrific prospect, so we’re anxious to see what he can do.”
Linebacker Matt McCoy (shoulder and head) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (quad) did not practice because of injuries they got in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Guard Robert Gallery (groin) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) remain sidelined, and Carroll said neither will play this week.
Atari Bigby filled in for Chancellor, while Paul McQuistan continues to work at left guard for Gallery.
Carroll on Chancellor, the team’s leading tackler: “It looks like something that he can get through, but it’s going to be hard right now early in the week. So he’s going to learn from watching the first couple days this week, probably.”
For the Falcons, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (calf), running back Jason Snelling (concussion) and wide receiver Roddy White did not practice; while tackle Sam Baker (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (foot) and defensive end Cliff Matthews (not injury related) were limited.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell watched a portion of practice. He was in town for a function at Microsoft and stopped by VMAC on his way to the airport.
JUST FOR KICKS
Steven Hauschka, who kicked a 52-yard field goal against the Cardinals, hit a 55-yarder in practice as the ball grazed the inside of the left upright.
STAT DU JOUR
The Falcons’ victory in Seattle last season wasn’t just the 12th ‘W’ in their 13-win season. They clinched a playoff berth with the 34-18 outcome.
The players will practice on “Turnover Thursday” starting at 1:30 p.m.
JUST THE TICKET
YOU DON’T SAY
“To be honest with you, I haven’t really been paying attention. There’s a lot on the plate of an NFL quarterback, so I haven’t really seen what other people have been doing.” – Ryan, when asked if he has noticed other teams in the league using more no-huddle offense this season