Good morning! Welcome to the Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly list of nine things at 9 a.m. Wednesday (Pacific Coast Time this week) that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons.
1. Dimitroff in Mobile: Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
He was too busy to let us know if there were some “sudden and urgent” offensive linemen down there. But I think he answered that question in an interview with the team’s website.
He also went on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio and restated his views on offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and restated that defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was the team’s No. 1 priority. He sounded more confident about getting a deal with wide receiver Julio Jones. In his response to the question about Jarrett, he did not sound as confident.
The former fifth-round pick seems to know that he’s played his way into a big-time deal.
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The Senior Bowl will be televised by the NFL Network and is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Jon Gruden and the Raiders and Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers will coach the game.
Georgia sacks leader D’Andre Walker pulled out of the Senior Bowl because of a groin injury.
2. Team executive to resign: In a bit of sad news, Brian Cearns, who’d been with the team in the public relations department for the past 12 years, announced on Twitter that he’s resigning after the Super Bowl.
3. Holding back McVay: I’m about to head out to Thousand Oaks to meet with Rams general manager Les Snead today. Will be out here working on Super Bowl stories for the rest of the week, while the Sportswriter of the Year Steve Hummer is freezing his butt off in Foxborough, Mass.
I know y’all have seen the video of the Rams strength coach Ted Rath holding Sean McVay back on the sidelines.
“He's kept me out of harm's way where if you bump into those officials, you're talking about a legitimate personal foul,” McVay said. “So, he's great at what he does and like you said, it's a nice little dance that we play that I don't even know I have partner behind me (laughs)."
4. Pro Bowl alert: Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, who’s in his third season in the NFL, and center Alex Mack are set to play in the Pro Bowl at 3 p.m. Sunday at CampingWorld Stadium in Orlando.
Hooper, who had a breakthrough season, was the first alternate at the position. Here’s replacing Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
Hooper caught 71 passes for 660 yards and four touchdowns, all career-highs, last season.
Wide receiver Julio Jones pulled out of the game and will be replaced by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans.
5. Ridley car stolen: Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley had hs car stolen at a gas station in Buckhead on Saturday night, police confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Falcons rookie wide receiver was at the BP on Piedmont Road when he went inside the store; his 2018 Dodge Challenger was still running, said Atlanta police spokeswoman Officer Stephanie Brown.
6. Falcons Fans happy: Falcons fans took to the Internet to express their glee with the Saints losing the NFC title to the Rams.
7. Flood watch: Kyle Flood, who was still listed on the Falcons website as a senior assistant as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, is reportedly headed to Alabama to be their offensive line coach. He set to take over for Brent Key, who landed at Georgia Tech.
8. Outten departs: Falcons assistant coach James Outten, who was recently promoted to assistant offensive line coach, has hired by the Packers on Monday.
With Outten and Flood out, the Falcons have two openings on the offensive side of the ball. Outten, who’d been an offensive assistant with the Falcons for two seasons, will coach the tight ends in Green Bay.
Outten played at Syracuse from 2002-07 and was a three-year starter at center. He helped win the Big East Championship in 2004.
Brian Angelichi was Green Bay’s former tight ends coach.
9. Neal loves the Gram, too: Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal, who’s coming back from knee surgery, is posting some of his workout videos on Instagram. He looks good, but there’s no need to rush back. He clearly appears to be on time for training camp.