Falcons Work Out Veteran Receivers, NFC South Teams Looking for First Wins

After going winless in the preseason and continuing in the regular season, this isn’t exactly how the Atlanta Falcons (0-1) pictured the start of the 2013 season. Now on Tuesday, the team may be making one change as it worked out a few wide receivers. The players included veterans Lavelle Hawkins, Mohamed Massaquoi and Courtney Roby, reported ProFootball.com.

Roddy White

Roddy White

The tryouts come as Falcons wide receiver Roddy White continues battling a high ankle sprain incurred in the middle of August. He did play on Sunday (2 receptions for 19 yards) but has admitted he’s not 100 percent, anticipating a few more weeks before he’s back to his true playing self.

Fortunately, the Falcons have the other part of the receiver duo, Julio Jones, healthy. Last week against the New Orleans Saints (1-0), Jones had seven catches for 76 yards and one touchdown. Fifth-year receiver Harry Douglas added four receptions for 93 yards but it appears that the Falcons want some short-term depth for White.

The team has released its depth chart for Week 2 and Jones, Douglas and Kevin Cone, who has spent time on special teams, have been listed as the receivers.

Looking at the second game, the Falcons will host the St. Louis Rams (1-0) for its home opener. New running back Steven Jackson will be reunited with his former team where spent the last nine seasons. He jumped over to the Falcons in hopes of joining a Super Bowl-contending team. So far this doesn’t seem to be working out and if the Falcons fall to 0-2, history will not be on their side to get there this year.

With teams having an 0-2 start, only 22 league teams (11.5 percent) since 1990 have landed at the playoffs and only three have rallied from their deficits and won the Super Bowl. This includes the Dallas Cowboys (1993), the New England Patriots (2001), and the New York Giants (2007).

Current Super Bowl odds have the Falcons at 18/1 but first they need to get a win. Vegas thinks this could be the week (-7.5, 47.5 o/u).

In other NFC South News…

It wasn’t a great first week for the division as the Saints were the only winners. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) lost 17-18 to the New York Jets (0-1). Questions are still swirling over whether Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is the best choice.

The fifth-year player entered the season without a captain designation in this contract year. After Sunday’s game, the future is looking less bright as Freeman completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown and one pick.

Josh Freeman

Josh Freeman

This week could pose a greater challenge against the Saints and their improving defense. In his last game against them on Dec. 16, 2012, Freeman had four interceptions in a 41-0 loss. This came against last season’s worst defense.

Meanwhile Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a stellar game, throwing for 307 yards with four touchdowns. For the Saints, the shutout win was their first in 17 years.

Both teams are likely to remember this stat.

Should Freeman not win this week, his next game looks even more challenging: Week 3 against the New England Patriots.

Will the Bucs be 0-3? The chants could begin for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who is a still a work in progress.

Vegas lacks faith in the Bucs, even as they play on their home turf and give the Saints another win (-3.5, 47 o/u).

For another NFC South team, the Carolina Panthers will hope for its first win against the Buffalo Bills (0-1).

While Freeman was stripped by the team of his captaincy, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finally got his first one.

In Week 1, he started slow, focusing on passing and going 16 of 23, a career-low 125 yards and one touchdown.

Will Newton get his wheels back for Week 2 or is this a new pass-happy player? Look for another tight game but the Panthers will get the win (-2.5, 43.5 o/u).



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