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Atlanta Falcons flip script in thrilling win over Green Bay Packers

It’s a bit of surprise that Spiller remains available for the taking. He was cut by the Saints last week despite an encouraging offseason and plenty of work with the first-team offense during preseason action.

Spiller was unable to recapture pre-injury form throughout last season, averaging a career-low 3.1 yards per carry following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Going back to a magical 2012 season with the Bills, Spiller’s explosive playmaking ability jumped off the game tape as much as any back in the NFL. His rare speed and lateral agility led to an eye-popping 6.0 yards per carry that season.

ATLANTA — Dan Quinn had spent the last few weeks divining the signals that this season would be different, that the Atlanta Falcons would not repeat the gut-wrenching swoon of 2015 that had branded his team with one of sports’ worst pejoratives: mentally soft.

He insisted in public that this team was not like last year’s, the one that started 6-1 and then collapsed to finish 8-8, but he was looking for something beyond what showed up in the statistics, the better speed on defense, or ’s mounting sack total.

Those were promising signs for the future, but they hadn’t averted the disasters of the prior two weeks, the losses to Seattle and San Diego in closely contested games that Atlanta had led late. There had been late interceptions in each of them, but those could be explained away by a quarterback pressing to make a play to save his team — his sometimes undisciplined team that got mind-numbing penalties at the worst moments, that could not stop an opposing offense.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — To hear Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy tell it, there is no great mystery about how to fix his team’s offensive problems from last season. Some of that has to do with simply keeping players healthy. More of it has to do with the overall approach this team must take to contend for a championship again. If there is one thing the Packers have to do, it’s to remember how they became so dangerous in the first place.

That was the overriding theme of a recent conversation with McCarthy as the Packers wrapped up their offseason training program. The past three months have been about stripping down the offense, taking a hard look at what works best and reinforcing the notion that going back to basics is definitely a good thing. This is the same team that had spent seven straight seasons heading into 2015 as an offensive juggernaut led by a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Of course, that was hard to recall last year, when injuries and cheap jerseys and inconsistency resulted in what was best regarded as a weekly struggle to move the football.

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Despite the fact that tight end Richard Rodgers was second on the team in receptions last year with 58 (for 510 yards and eight touchdowns), Green Bay was hoping for some additional help to open up the middle of the field. Andrew Quarless played in just five games last year before landing on injured reserve. He is currently a free agent.

Cook, 28, comes to Green Bay after three solid seasons in St. Louis. Since 2013, Cook logged 142 catches for 1,786 yards and eight touchdowns. The former Titan was a third-round draft pick back in 2009.

The draft was held in Chicago for the second consecutive year in April. The NFL has yet to announce any sites for future drafts.

Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the draft include Atlanta, Chicago, Canton, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in April that the draft likely will leave Chicago in 2017. The event had been held in New York City for 50 consecutive years (1965-2014) before it moved to Chicago in 2015.

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