FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Key players are hurting. Close games are going the other teams' way. Practices are now closed.
The Atlanta Falcons weren't counting on a start like this.
Surely no one is hitting the panic button. After all, the Falcons (1-2) haven't lost back-to-back games since 2009. But there are sure signs of a team feeling a bit of desperation heading into Sunday night's game against unbeaten New England.
Most noticeably, the Falcons announced Wednesday the media would be largely barred from watching practices the rest of the season. Only the first 30 minutes are open to reporters - a first in Mike Smith's six years as coach.
Smith will only say it's "a football decision and what we feel like is in the best interest of our football team."