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 Post subject: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:23 am 
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http://www.profootballweekly.com/2012/1 ... to-success

Falcons' depth on defense a key to success

Dan Parr
dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor


Posted Nov. 30, 2012 @ 12:04 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Injuries and personnel decisions have tested the Falcons’ defense this season, and it has allowed the team’s depth to shine through, including Thursday night in their win over the Saints.

The Falcons have been without the recipient of their franchise tag (CB Brent Grimes) for all but the first game of the season, and their top addition of the offseason (CB Asante Samuel) missed all but the first three defensive snaps Thursday night after aggravating a shoulder injury in their biggest game of the season thus far. It thrust CBs Robert McClain and Chris Owens into basically full-time duty, and the Falcons still managed to become the first team ever to intercept Saints QB Drew Brees five times in one game and also ended his record streak of games with at least one touchdown pass at 54.

Atlanta has gone three consecutive games without allowing a passing touchdown.

“I am extremely happy with the way our defense played, more specifically, our secondary,” said SS William Moore, who made two interceptions. “I feel like our depth gets overlooked. When Brent Grimes went down, and also Asante (Samuel) this game, guys like Christopher Owens and Robert McClain were ready and prepared to fill in those shoes.”

Brees was sacked only once, but the Falcons provided steady pressure on him. DE Kroy Biermann has played a larger role since the Falcons demoted and then cut loose disappointing DE Ray Edwards after they lost to the Saints in Week 10, and it was Biermann who pressured Brees late in the fourth quarter on the play where he threw his fourth pick of the night.

The Saints had chances to keep Brees’ streak alive — Lance Moore dropped a would-be touchdown and an interference penalty on TE Jimmy Graham nullified a Darren Sproles score late in the first half. Brees didn’t manage the clock well at the end of the half when the Saints were in scoring range but came up empty on the drive.

However, Atlanta clamped down when it needed to when it was not picking off Brees.

The Falcons’ defense has endured. It went the first six games of the season without one of its top players from last season, DT Corey Peters, and also was without OLB Sean Weatherspoon — one the most talented defenders on the roster — for three games in the middle of the season.

Backups have responded when their number has been called, and it’s a big reason why the Falcons are in line to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:34 am 
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Three games without a passing touchdown... That's friggin crazy, especially with guys like McClain and Crisp Owens stepping in.

Hey Crisp... Keep playing like this and everyone will forget the whole Crisp thing.

It's nice to have a defense like this. It is the defense that makes me believe that we have a legitimate shot at the Superbowl this year. That's not to knock the offense, but the offense has not been playing up to its potential this year. Hopefully the offense will come together within a few weeks. However, it really bothered me that someone (a player) said that we got complacent after the first drive. How the hell do we get complacent against the Saints? I have to believe that if the team is getting complacent, that's 100% on Smith. This team loses its fire at times, and I'm going to throw the blame for that on the HC every time.


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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:08 pm 
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No passing touchdowns in the last three games? That's unheard of with how much teams throw these days. Remarkable the Falcons finally have a quality secondary for first time in years and I'm damn proud.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:24 pm 
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What is the difference on our Defense? Our coordinator. Mike Nolan is the reason the D excels.

That's it in a nutshell.

Why cant Pat Hill, and Koetter do the same? They have the weapons....

There is no reason we should struggle against the Raiders, Saints and Panthers with thier awful D. I understand conference games are harder, but we continually play down to the level of our opponents on Offense.

We dont have this problem on Defense. And Mike Nolan, not Mike Smith is the sole reason. And, I bet he becomes a HC after the playoffs. I just feel it. :doh:

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
No passing touchdowns in the last three games? That's unheard of with how much teams throw these days.

Not that unheard of. Doing it 4 games in a row is unheard of, since it's never happened in the past 3 seasons. But 3 games in a row, it's happened before. Rams, Steelers, and Bucs have already done it this year. Cardinals, Dolphins, and Jets did it a year ago and the Saints did it in 2010.

fun gus wrote:
Mike Nolan is the reason the D excels.

I don't want to be that guy, but we might want to pump the brakes before we start talking about this defense as "special."

Nolan is doing an excellent job with this defense, as in primetime games they have played well. They take their level of play up in those situations.

But outside those situations, they are fairly middling if not below average.

Now that said, come playoff time, I expect the defense to carry its own weight and give the offense multiple opportunities to take advantage, which is what they've done throughout the season. The bigger question is whether the offense can/will take advantage of those opportunities.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:32 pm 
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But I'll add this...if the pass rush plays like it did Thursday for the rest of the season, then maybe this defense will be much much more than middling...

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:59 pm 
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Damn looks like I was totally off with that one. Pass rush can make any defense special, its all about doing it on a consistent basis as Pudge said. You can't deny it though, the dome brings the best out of the Falcons defense it seems like.

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 Post subject: Re: Falcons' depth on defense a key to success
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Emmitt wrote:
Damn looks like I was totally off with that one. Pass rush can make any defense special, its all about doing it on a consistent basis as Pudge said. You can't deny it though, the dome brings the best out of the Falcons defense it seems like.



yeah, but why does it seem our Offense struggles at home this season?

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