Vick runs but is weeks away

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Mired in a five-game losing streak, the Atlanta Falcons are changing quarterbacks, giving Kurt Kittner his first career start.

Kittner, a second-year player from Illinois, will replace Doug Johnson when the Falcons (1-5) host the New Orleans Saints (2-4) on

"You have to make some tough decisions," coach Dan Reeves said
Wednesday after practice. "We've been struggling for five weeks,
and I just feel like we need to make a change. I told Doug I feel
badly. Everybody on offense should, because he's the one who gets
the blame for it."

Johnson, who stepped in as the starter when Pro Bowler Michael Vick broke his right leg in a preseason game, leads the NFL with 10

"It's not my decision," Johnson said. "I'm throwing it fine.
That's not even an issue. It doesn't matter how well you throw the
ball or your stats -- if you don't win, the easiest person to make a
change with is the quarterback."

Kittner's numbers aren't too encouraging, either. He didn't play
at all his rookie year and is just 7-for-17 for 53 yards this
season. He also has thrown two interceptions, including one that
was returned 74 yards for a touchdown in Monday night's 36-0 loss
to the St. Louis Rams.

"I'm just trying to ... go out and do things I'm good at and
take care of the football and make the most of the opportunity,"
Kittner said. "We're all striving for the same thing. We're all
trying to put the bad stuff behind us and come out on the right

If nothing else, Reeves is counting on Kittner to cut down on
the turnovers.

"I do think Kurt deserves the right to see what he can do,"
Reeves said. "Our room for error is not very good. We can't afford
to have the interceptions and those kinds of things."

Kittner has played in only two games, also mopping up in a 31-10
loss to Tampa Bay. His quarterback rating is an abysmal 9.8.

"He's not really had a chance," Reeves said. "I know he has
the ability, or I wouldn't put him in there. I'm not throwing him
to the wolves. I want to give him a chance and see how he does."

Vick did some light running while his teammates practiced, but
he's still weeks away from returning. The earliest he could play
would be Nov. 2 against Philadelphia, after a bye week.

The way Vick's recovery is going, it might be longer than that.

"I'm doing a lot of exercises," he said. "But the more I
exercise, the more I get tired and weak. Every day is something
different. Some days it's good, some days it's bad."

In the meantime, Vick will watch someone else try to do his job.

"I hope Kurt can give us a spark," Vick said. "Our main
priority is to go out and get win No. 2. You know, that's about all
we can do right now."

Bolden returns after arrest: Juran Bolden was back at practice on Wednesday, four days after the cornerback
was arrested for driving a stolen car and marijuana possession.

Reeves said he has no intention of disciplining Bolden
until the criminal case runs its course.

"I'm not a court, I'm not a jury and I'm not a judge," Reeves
said. "We're going to let the legal part of it take care of itself
and as far as we're concerned, you're innocent until proven

Bolden wouldn't comment on his arrest but said he was glad to be
back with the Falcons. He sat out the first six games after
reconstructive knee surgery, the result of an injury in Atlanta's
playoff loss at Philadelphia in January.

The Falcons have three weeks to decide whether to activate
Bolden, place him on injured reserve or cut him.

"I talked with Coach Reeves and I talked to the team," Bolden
said. "The guys are supportive, very supportive. I'm anxious to
get back on the field and play some football. This is what I do. I
want to do my thing."

Police said Bolden was arrested when officers discovered that a
sports utility vehicle he was driving had been stolen, and the
license plate didn't match the vehicle. Police also found less than
an ounce of marijuana in the car.

The 29-year-old Bolden returned to the NFL last season after
spending two years in the Canadian Football League. He tied for the
team lead with four interceptions.

"He's a part of our family," Reeves said. "If I had a member
of my family going through the same problems, I'd treat them
exactly the same. Hopefully these things will clear up and be in
his favor. But I don't know what the situation is right now and
where that stands."

After practice, Reeves said he wasn't sure if Bolden would be
able to play Sunday, when the Falcons (1-5) host the New Orleans
Saints (2-4).

"I thought he ran well," Reeves said. "He didn't look like he
was limping. But he might have some soreness in the morning. We'll
just have to wait and see how he does."

LB Rogers out for season: Linebacker Sam Rogers
underwent season-ending knee surgery Wednesday.

Rogers, a 10-year veteran, was placed on injured reserve and
replaced by linebacker James Cotton, who was promoted from the
practice squad.

Rogers played in only two of the first six games because of his
knee injury, finally needing arthroscopic surgery to repair bone
cartilage. He is the second Falcons linebacker lost for the season,
joining Will Overstreet (shoulder surgery) on injured reserve.

In another move, the Falcons signed rookie linebacker Terrence
Robinson for the practice squad.