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  1. Let's be honest people, coming from an extreme Sarkisian hater since he arrived here in the 2017 off season, I will say that this year Sarkisian has improved. He hasn't gotten any worse, and no, he will never be on the level of Shanahan, and that's okay. As long as the offense is productive enough we are good, and our offense has been really good this year. The 2018 O-line for the Falcons that Sark has to deal with is no where near as good or healthy as the 2016 O-line Shanahan had. People need to understand that no franchise in the NFL has a historical offense every year, not even the Patriots. Only the Rams from 1999-2001 were be able to accomplish that feat in a 3 year span. Look at the 2015 Broncos when their offense was a complete shell of their former selves compared to 2013, but their championship defense prevailed them. It's the defense that has been the biggest problem with the Falcons ONCE AGAIN, and our special teams (especially the kick coverage and return game) is very poor. I'm very disappointed in Dan Quinn. FOUR seasons in and you haven't given us a good defense yet? Even in 2017 the numbers say we were top 10 in scoring D, but our D still couldn't get enough turnovers. The difference is that our defense was clutch at the end of a lot of games such as the Bears in Chicago, Lions in Detroit, or Saints at home. I fully understand all the injuries that have happened, but when it comes to our long term injuries like Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Ricardo Allen, 2 of those 3 guys are from the secondary, and only 1 is from the D-line. Our D-line depth was already soft and weak coming into this season. People may continue to disagree, but the losses of Poe, Clayborn, and Upshaw hurts the D-line more than people want to believe. I believe Trufant and Alford have been so bad this year because they are missing the leadership of Neal and Rico on the field. Throughout 2017 I believe Neal and Rico being there helped elevate Trufant and Alford's game, in fact, I think most would agree that last year was the best season of Robert Alford's career, but this year he's right back to mediocrity like he was earlier in his career. Trufant has been the biggest disappointment for me, and he wasn't even that good last year coming off injury. Now he's a lot worse. Making him the highest paid corner after a SEASON ENDING injury was the dumbest move the front office as ever made for a long term player on our team in recent memory. Trufant before the injury was never on the level of a Norman or Sherman, so what was the point of that stupid contract? Despite all of what I've said, Trufant and Alford have been here since 2013, and for 2 veteran corners there are no more excuses for playing at such a poor level. That 3 game win streak we had, people acted like our dominant win over the Redskins in Washington was like the previous 2 games in our streak. If it wasn't for those long field goals towards the end of the Bucs and Giants games by Bryant and Tavecchio, we would have started 1-5 after the Bucs and the Giants would have tied us up and forced OT and who knows what would have happened. Dan Quinn continues to get out coached in the 2nd half and choke away late leads in the 4th quarter. We haven't been clutch in the 4th quarter lately, and we find ways to lose or almost lose. We should have sealed the Bucs game 31-29 with a 1st down but we made it harder on ourselves. We should have sealed the Giants game 20-12 with a 1st down but we also made that one harder on ourselves. See the problem? The Redskins game made it seem like we were impressive in that 3 game win streak but if you go back to the Bucs and Giants game you'll know we were just as vulnerable against the Browns in Cleveland. As long as Matt Ryan is still our QB, until we can finally put together a championship defense (which we HAVEN'T, not even 2012 or 2017) we will never get a Super Bowl with Matt Ryan. It's not happening. Until Quinn and Dimitroff can get BIG PHYSICAL guys up front instead of just focusing on speed and skill position all the time, we will continue to suffer as well. Matt Ryan, you have enough weapons, how many more guys do you need? As for the defensive side of the ball, speed is good, but you need big guys too and not just small guys. Or you will continue to get warn out in the 2nd half of games or get pushed around by big physical O-lines or ran over by big backs.
  2. ,1Tru is soft and Alf had brain farts. Neither is the best tackling CB, and granted Alford will make a play on the ball/pick it. Age, contract,and injury has us all looking at them with the side eye. I know realistically we can't do it in 1 off-season, and I do think that Alford is gone due to cap and the drafting of Oliver. Kazee needs to be on the field PERIOD, be it at CB or S, he is a ball hawk/playmaker that every D needs. He play makes a DB expendable. If we had some playmakers at CB this D would be top 10 even with the injuries.
  3. OBJ is special. The easy conclusion to make is that his gazillion yard first half was down to Alford, a dude who gets a lot of heat on here. Unjustly. Did he take his lumps? Yes. But the perception doesn't match the reality. We played a heck of a lot of zone (cover 3) yesterday, and switching to a heavy cover 1 strategy at halftime is what changed the OBJ matchup for us. If you are unaware of the CB assignment for Cover 3, it's to bail to the deep zone. Everything underneath in a cover 3 is handled by the LBs, Nickel and SS (usually) Cover 1 leaves one single high, playing more man underneath. So if you follow the logic, you'll understand that Alford actually had a great game 1-1 vs OBJ.(in the second half..!) Alf is much better suited to press man. Granted, he has issues keeping his hands to himself, but he is a competitve, physical matchup for any WR in this league. If we look at the Long TD (don't have the all-22 or pictures yet, sorry, but go watch the highlight for some context), you can see the misplacement of blame in action. Lineups -The Giants came out with 5 on the line in a shotgun set, trips left single RB. TE lined up to the right -Falcons set up heavy with Jackon, Soliai and Jarrett playing the down linemen. Kroy and Stupar stood up in the Wide 9 (Stupar is on OBJ side). -On the back-end, we have the trips on the left side. Outside to in the coverage is Alf (press look), Moore (off), Stupar (in the wide 9) -2 LBs in the middle are Durant and Bradford. -Trufant is chilling on his own. -Beer is over the TE -Rico is setup deep middle. Pre-Snap Manning motions the RB out right, lining up over Kroy. The Play On the back side, it's a simple deal. Kroy covers the RB, Tru bails in his cover 3 assignment. The left side is where the carnage ensues.... The Giants WR patterns were as follows, Outside to In. OBJ is running what I would call a skinny post, 10yds up and breaking in at a 45 degree angle. Middle receiver runing a similar pattern, but breaking in after 8 yards Inside receiver bails to the flat. For the record, this a wonderful play to bust zone coverage, as the flat route exposes what we are in (moore covers the flat zone after lining up over the slot, Alf Bails), and the routes breaking in travel across zones and find soft spots. McAdoo, you beautiful bstard. Falcons are playing Cover 3, zone underneath. So what happened? -After the snap, there is jittery coverage in the underneath zone. Moore has the outside flat, Stupar just inside. Stupar fails to get his depth, leaving the middle soft underneath. He sat on the flat route for too long. Fact. -The play is to Bradford's side, and he gets caught in two minds. He bails to the back of his zone, but hasn't got the required depth. I imagine Stupar not getting his depth may have influenced that. -Durant has a middle zone, gets his depth well. So when OBJ breaks 2 yards after the middle receiver, and straight behind Bradford, the Falcons realise they are.... Technical term = fooked. Pass thrown -As the ball gets released, Stupar reacts from the flat, coming back in. Too little too late. Bradford chooses to attack the ball, resulting in them both being out of position, swatting at air and colliding into each other. -Durant has done his job, and is right on the middle receiver as the ball comes over to OBJ. -Alf played the bail perfectly (don't get beat deep, ever), and does his best to sit down on the route as OBJ breaks in. -Allen stayed deep, and is caught out completely by OBJs cut. He is left on his heels as he overpursued to the right, and is in trouble right away. Pass Caught -Alf is still over the top, coming in with OBJ -Allen tries, and fails, to set his shoulders, but he is off balance and an athlete like OBJ just ate him up. -OBJ gets round Allen, cutting Alf off. -Durant tries to get back, but that is also in vain. -Oh yea... OBJ scores. Cue $hit Ronaldo celbration. Cue TATF meltdown. Conclusion -The play was in trouble straight away, with confusion in the flat between Stupar and Moore. -Durant did well -Alf played it perfectly -Allen had a bad play, which as we know lead to Therize getting rotated in for a drive. He was out of position, too deep, overpursued, and got caught on his heels. It's to be expected, he's raw. -Bradford miss-read the pass, didn't get his depth, and generally had a mare.
  4. The era of the shutdown corner is over. Actually, I'm not sure there ever was such an era. The notion of "Revis Island" -- so named because Darrelle Revis sometimes shadowed an opponent's best receiver -- swept the football world a few years ago, which led to many simplistic formulations. You know: "Oh, no, you can't use Reggie Wayne! He's facing Aqib Talib this week!" My Twitter feed is still occasionally littered by questions like, how can I rank Michael Crabtree so high, don't I know that Patrick Peterson is on the Arizona Cardinals? But that idea was always specious. The truth is that it's rare an NFL defense formulates a game plan that calls for one cornerback to shadow one wideout everywhere on the field. It happens, but more often than not, defenses come into a game expecting their corners to "play sides," and then adjust as the game proceeds. This is true even of most of the league's very best corners this season, through three games: Where notable CBs have lined up Snap counts, 2014 season Left Right Joe Haden, CLE 108 86 Patrick Peterson, ARI 177 10 Darrelle Revis, NE 129 49 Richard Sherman, SEA 198 3 Aqib Talib, DEN 198 0 Of this elite group, Haden is most likely to be employed in "island" fashion. In Week 1, for instance, he tracked Antonio Brown all over the field for much of the game, but in Weeks 2 and 3 he mixed it up a lot, "playing sides" much of the time, then occasionally shuttling toward Jimmy Graham and Steve Smith as those contests progressed. Revis appeared to be tracking Greg Jennings for much of Week 2, but played the defensive left side for most of Weeks 1 and 3. Peterson, Sherman and Talib, meanwhile, simply are not employed as shadow corners. So proclaiming your WR has a tough matchup because "he has to play against Richard Sherman" is a faulty argument. My observation is that Jimmy Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason McCourty have also done some shadowing this season, but not every week, and often not until a tough receiving weapon proves he needs extra attention. And that's to say nothing of how often NFL corners are in straight-up zone, trading off receivers depending on route combinations. All of this is to say, the next time your buddy tells you his receiver has an impossible matchup because the other team has a good corner, you'll know better. Yet the quality of an opposing secondary is important. In particular, I'm speaking about a defense's top three corners. Nickel formations that include slot corners are becoming almost a default formation in many circumstances on many teams, and if a squad doesn't go fairly deep in the "coverage" arena, they can be exploited. So I thought it would be useful to discuss the best and worst coverage units I've observed through three games, with an eye toward potentially playing matchups as the season progresses. I recognize that this is a very small sample size, and I also recognize that no secondary is "good" or "bad" in a vacuum; upfront pressure -- or a lack thereof -- conceals or creates many back-end sins. Still, I hope we find this is a useful exercise. Three up 1. Denver Broncos (Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, Chris Harris): The Broncos gave $26 million guaranteed to Talib this winter, and while I'm unsure he can stay healthy, he has been awfully good so far. His size and ability to undercut throws has been on major display: His tip of a Russell Wilson pass in Week 3 led to a Harris interception that helped change the game. For his part, last season Harris was the best slot corner in the NFL, but he's mostly had to move outside in 2014 despite coming off a torn ACL. And he's been quite good (plus he has a great name). Roby played the slot in Weeks 1 and 2, then acquitted himself well in Week 3, when Harris shifted inside to deal with Percy Harvin. That's my favorite future formation for this group: Courtesy NFL/CBS The Seattle Seahawks are two-wide and send Luke Willson in motion from the top; Roby follows him across the formation. Doug Baldwin clears out Talib down the right side, and Russell Wilson play-actions to Marshawn Lynch and throws a screen to Harvin. Wilson is supposed to block Harris, but Harris is a slippery target: He avoids the block, gets into the backfield, and tackles Harvin for a 1-yard loss. If Roby progresses to the point where he can stay outside without getting picked on too badly (ProFootballFocus reports that he has been thrown at 20 times, for 16 completions), Harris will bump inside where he's just terrific, and the Broncos will be one mean team to throw against. 2. Cincinnati Bengals (Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones): Hall has torn both his Achilles tendons in the past two years, Newman is 36, and Pacman is . . . mercurial. Yet when they're all playing together, they're a tough group. Newman exclusively mans the defensive left side, and through three games, is usually the player at whom opposing QBs have looked first, but he has acquitted himself well, and should've had a hand-delivered Jake Locker pick-six in Week 3. Hall saw a fair amount of Julio Jones in Week 2 and limited him to zero yards on two targets (Julio scored his TD against Pacman while trailing 24-3) and made a crazy-athletic interception on a deflected pass. Adam Jones is mostly a slot player and if there's a weak link, it's him. But considering the Bengals haven't mustered a big pass rush yet, I'm impressed how well they've held up, especially against Matt Ryan. 3. Atlanta Falcons (Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Robert McClain): Speaking of teams that don't get much of a pass rush: The Falcons have registered three sacks and have generated pressure on just 19.4 percent of opposing dropbacks, a bottom-five rate in the NFL. Combine that with a so-so run defense, and there's a lot of stress on the corners. But the Trufant/Alford combo is good. They absolutely "play sides": Trufant has 184 snaps on the left and zero on the right; Alford has 190 snaps on the right and zero on the left. But it works, and McClain is a spark plug sprinting around the middle. When the Falcons made their NFC championship run a couple of years ago, they were undone by fading players like Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel. That is no longer the case. Three down 1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dwayne Gratz, Alan Ball, Will Blackmon): I feel less confident trashing cornerbacks after three games than I do praising them. I can usually tell good coverage when I see it -- "Hey! That guy really stuck close to that other guy!" -- but it's harder to know why a defender wasn't able to make a play. Was it even his assignment? Did the pass rush take way too long? That said, the Jags have stuck out as particularly hapless. Week 2 against Washington was galling: Courtesy NFL/CBS I mean, guys, I know we're in zone here, but that doesn't mean every single Washington receiver has to be open. Ball was a pretty good player in 2013 after bearing blame for some lean defensive years with the Dallas Cowboys, but he hasn't played well this season, with blown coverages and missed tackles galore. Gratz got eaten up by the Indianapolis Colts last week (especially having to cover tight ends split wide), and Blackmon has been too yielding in the slot. I hesitate to draw season-long conclusions about which defenses are prime-time matchups for your opposing WRs this early, but the Jags will have to turn things around not to own that dishonor throughout '14. 2. New Orleans Saints (Keenan Lewis, Corey White, Patrick Robinson): Actually this is a bit of a cheat, as in Week 3 Robinson fell all the way down to dime duties, losing time to Rafael Bush. Champ Bailey couldn't make the team, and '14 second-round corner Stanley Jean-Baptiste has been a healthy scratch three weeks running, so the point holds: The Saints have very little coverage depth now that Robinson has been exposed. The numbers look good from last week's win against the Minnesota Vikings, with only 188 yards passing allowed. But things get more real this week against the Cowboys. Defenses aren't shying away from Lewis: He's been targeted as much as White, and he participated in one of the biggest botches of the season thus far, the wide-open throw to Andrew Hawkins that allowed the Cleveland Browns to shock the Saints. (To be fair, while it looked like Lewis was the one who made the error, it's impossible to know for sure.) Anyway, watch out for some points in Big D Sunday. 3. Philadelphia Eagles (Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Brandon Boykin): Boykin gets a pass from me. He might be small (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), but he's a dynamo guarding receivers out of the slot. And in last week's come-from-behind win over Washington, Boykin made a game-saving play, slapping down a pass intended for Andre Roberts on a key third down. But he also barely plays! Through three weeks, Boykin has played 69 of a possible 219 snaps, while outside corners Fletcher and Williams have played 206 and 219, respectively. Williams may have made noise with some silly postgame comments last week about coach Chip Kelly's practices, but his on-field performance spoke volumes: Washington ate him alive. And who gave up Allen Hurns' first TD Week 1? Williams. Meanwhile, Fletcher is what he is: a league-average corner masquerading as a No. 1. Kelly's offensive innovations aren't the only reason Eagles games are shootouts. Posted this from my iPad. Someone else can repost. http://espn.go.com/fantasy/football/story/_/page/blueprint140926/broncos-bengals-tough-cb-matchups-jaguars-saints-friendly-receivers
  5. When asked if Alford would get a chance to return kicks, Coach Smith said, "We've got some competition there as well. I think Jacquizz Rodgers will be the guy that going to probably return kicks in the regular season, but we've got other guys we want to take a look at as well; Robert Alford being one of them. Not only kickoffs, but punts". Link to Falcons.com video.
  6. I understand Trufant and Alford but why Franks I mean he was cut last year at one point and didnt show anything last year. I hope this is to try to confuse other teams or something Desmond Trufant - DB - Falcons The Falcons will have a three-way competition between Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford and Dominique Franks to determine who will start at RCB opposite Asante Samuel. It's been widely assumed Trufant would be the favorite to start at rIght cornerback barring a face plant in preseason. However, the Falcons own website believes Alford has just as good a chance of claiming the spot, and cautions not to sleep on veteran Franks. Regardless of who wins the job, Atlanta is likely to scheme plenty of safety help on the right side.
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