FLOWERY BRANCH - Mike Smith walked into the room, rubbed his white hair and sat down at the podium.
ATLANTA - The Falcons are well aware of just how desperate this city is for its first Super Bowl championship.
FLOWERY BRANCH - When Todd McClure was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, they had just made it to the Super Bowl for the first time.
By CHARLES ODUM
FLOWERY BRANCH - When Matt Bryant is on the sideline, fully aware the game might be decided by his right leg, he'll drape a towel over his head to shut out the world.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Mike Nolan's 3½-year tenure as coach for the San Francisco 49ers offered few highlights on the field.
FLOWERY BRANCH, - A slip of the tongue gave away Atlanta coach Mike Smith's focus.
ATLANTA - It's 2010 all over again for the Atlanta Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Nearly every time Julio Jones reports to work, the second-year Atlanta receiver seeks out position coach Terry Robiskie.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Tony Gonzalez has no intention of pulling a Ray Lewis before retirement.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons know what it takes to win in the regular season.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Last year's playoff disappointment hit so hard that Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith needed to change his staff from the top.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Atlanta Falcons have more than home-field advantage to help their chances against Seattle in the playoffs.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White has gotten over his initial disappointment of missing out on the Pro Bowl for the first time in five years.
ATLANTA - Matt Ryan refused to accept the rationale for why the Falcons were not motivated for their last regular-season game.
BALTIMORE - With each passing week, the Atlanta Falcons - and their offense in particular - have become progressively worse.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Finishing strong is the ultimate goal for any football player.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons have put themselves in quite a bind. Now, even though coach Mike Smith says nothing is off the table, don't look for a bunch of major changes.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Atlanta Falcons are back in familiar surroundings for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have improved their red zone efficiency, statistically speaking, from last year.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Coach Mike Smith says the Atlanta Falcons aren't concerned about the injuries that have reshuffled their offensive line.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Osi Umenyiora still goes online to play video games against his buddy Victor Cruz.
MINNEAPOLIS - Teddy Bridgewater playing with calm and poise beyond his years. Jerick McKinnon running hard between the tackles. Anthony Barr coming up with a big sack in the fourth quarter.
FLOWERY BRANCH - These days, the game looks so much slower to Julio Jones.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Matt Ryan has received plenty of accolades for his mammoth passing numbers in the opening month of the season. Another came Wednesday, when the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was named NFC offensive player of the week.
FLOWERY BRANCH - The Falcons' defense was handed a new challenge on Monday as players returned from their long weekend: How to contain Teddy Bridgewater.
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