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.
ATLANTA - Falcons starters are not expecting a short day against Tampa Bay on Sunday just because they've clinched home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
FLOWERY BRANCH - One week ago, Gabe Carimi was being groomed to be the Falcons' version of John Havlicek who could play backup roles across the offensive line.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Before the Atlanta Falcons decided to sign Devin Hester, they wanted to make sure he wasn't content just returning kickoffs and punts.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Falcons receiver Julio Jones has waited 11 months to return from a broken right foot and regain his Pro Bowl form.
FLOWERY BRANCH - For Matt Ryan, there are none of those annoying questions about his playoff record.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith is waiting to select a backup quarterback.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars had few, if any, concerns at center for a dozen years.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Steven Jackson practiced on Monday for the first time in almost a month, and Falcons coach Mike Smith said the running back is on schedule to be play in Atlanta's season opener against New Orleans.
ATLANTA - A healthy Julio Jones made a big difference for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons' offense.
ATLANTA - From his vantage point in Chicago, Devin Hester saw the Atlanta Falcons as a consistent playoff contender.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has put a strong emphasis since the start of training camp on improving the team's run defense.
FLOWERY BRANCH - Corey Peters battled doubts about his future in the NFL after he tore his Achilles tendon late last season.
FLOWERY BRANCH - When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jake Matthews, they figured he would take over at left tackle someday.
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